While I enjoy Hanoi’s old world architecture and bustling city streets. Sometimes the crowd and constant noise of speeding cyclos can get tiring especially when one has to deal with the daily routines of urban life and work. A change of pace and a new environment is a welcome change to recharge and find solace in a hectic environment. Just an hour away from Hanoi is the province Vinh Phuc where the Flamingo Dai Lai Resort is located. I may not live in Hanoi, but as a tourist, I found this immense resort with well-maintained gardens, established pathways, scenic lakes, elegant villas and top-notch staff and ideal peaceful getaway near the city.
“Oooh! I got my own water dispenser in the room. That’s something new and unexpected for a place like this.” That was my first reaction when I saw my room at Sandbar Lepa Beach Hotel and Restaurant. Back in 2008, when I first visited Tawi-tawi, there were no cottages in this Sandbar Lepa beach. Only the lepa-styled (a house boat by the native Sama people) restaurant stood there since year 2000. Almost six years after, they now have a hotel and a huge convention hall.
How about a panoramic view of one of Vietnam’s top attraction, the Ha Long Bay, either from the room window or a few steps away from its lobby doors? Halong Plaza Hotel, our home in Halong, Vietnam during our Cebu Pacific Air familiarization tour, has just that. This 4-star hotel is located at Bai Chay, Ha Long City near the Bai Chay bridge and fronting it is a small promenade where guest can have an unobstructed view of Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you have ever seen Christian Bautista’s music video “Masusulan Tawi-tawi” and wondered where that picturesque beach was where most of the budding romance scenes from the video were shot? Look no further than in Pahut, Bongao in Tawi-tawi. This is the famous Dr Ibbo’s Beach now known as Almari Beach Resort. The landmark mangrove tree, the white beach, clear sea waters, peaceful garden and native cottages makes this a local favorite in Tawi-tawi.
Figuring out Baguio’s transport system can be daunting at first due to its winding and narrow roads. But staying there for four nights, I got a gist of commuting and can go comfortably off town. While not centrally located downtown near Session Road, C Boutique Hotel has its own special charm. Coming from the mountain haven of Sagada, C Boutique Hotel was a quiet transition. It’s away from the bustling city center and closer to the mountain views in which Baguio is known.
There’s comfort in familiarity at times. After more than a weeklong travel in Tawi-tawi then a brief stop in Zamboanga, I was yearning for something familiar. A place to slow down, re-organize and re-energize a bit. When I flew in Davao, it was comforting to know I would be staying at Microtel by Wyndham Davao. It’s actually my second time to stay here and the sixth Microtel by Wyndham branch I’ve been to.
I just realized it was almost three years when I last went to Banaue. This part of the Cordilleras has a special place in my travels being one of the first few places I visited in the Cordilleras. Ever since my first visit to Batad, I’ve gone back here more often than I could remember. But this time I was here to run my first 21k road-trail. Team Malaya organized a Banaue-Batad Marathon and I excitedly singed up. Since it was my first halfy I wanted to have a good rest before the race. When in Banaue, I often go straight to the towns of Batad or Bangaan but this time I have to stay in town. I looked through Agoda and glad to find Banaue Hotel listed there. A familiar sight for me since I’ve visited it before and explored the village behind it. I guess it was it’s about time I stay in this already an institution of an accommodation in the home of the 8th wonder of the world.