Tucked at the highlands of Northern Taiwan, Yangmingshan Tien Lai Resort and Spa offers a luxurious stay while enjoying top-notch outdoor hot springs, pools, spa facilities and refreshing mountain views.
From one cool location to another. Coming from the serene Sun Moon Lake, we took a speed train to Taipei, then transferred to our all-familiar tour coaster up to the slopes of Yamingshan north of Taiwan. With elevations up to 1,120 meters above sea level and and just an hour’s drive from Taipei city, Yamingshan is a popular national park for people to enjoy cold weather, lush environment, natural wonders and hot springs. So fitting that our home for the night is the Yangmingshan Tien Lai Resort and Spa, a favorite destination to enjoy Japanese style indoor and outdoor hot springs in the Jinshan District.
Setting off to a distant island across rough seas and under intermittent weather in the wee hours of the morning aboard a large fishing vessel may sound like a romanticized adventure. But that’s exactly how our journey to Seco Island began. Well not exactly, it’s actually a clumsy ride on a flat boat that held everyone’s breath as we grope for balance to transfer from the shore to the big boat. I’ve only seen flat boats used here heavily in Antique, but these outrigger-less, flat surfaced geometrical boat is a challenge to balance on water especially with a number of people inside. But it did wake us up under the starry night sky and kept us alert as we boarded the shipping vessel for a 2-3 hour ride.
Work travels can be taxing and my regular yoga teaching demands a lot of my body. As a bodyworker, I practice self-care and take time to pamper myself as well. Spas is a common place to ease those tense muscles. It’s nice to know there’s a new Bluewater Day Spa in Ortigas, quite accessible to my place. I’ve tried their services before and can attest to their quality and consistency.
Like the Isla Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo, Mararison Island, got under the tourist radar after Typhoon Haiyan. This little known island just 15 minutes off the mainland of Culasi, Antique used to be enjoyed exclusively by the locals and a few tourist. But soon, word got out, or simply, photos of picturesque hills and an alluring sandbar found in just one island went viral across the net. Being highly accessible from the mainland, the once quiet fishing community now welcomes visitors at their tropical island home.
Coron has been declared one of the most beautiful islands, not just in the Philippines but the whole world. So, if Coron is not on your bucket list, then it is time you did so, or you would be missioning out on a whole lot of fun and excitement. It is a haven for the adventure lovers who simply love the breathtaking scenery, the pure nature, and the clearest waters.
The beach and the sea may be my playground but I always felt more at home in the mountains. The nippy air, being among trees and soothing greens is a balm to the senses. Upon learning that in my return to Antique, just barely after a month from my last visit, I would have a chance to visit one of the highlands in Panay Island. On the first night of our Antique Heritage tour, we’ll be located at 869 meters above sea level at Aningalan, San Remegios, south of Antique bordering close to Iloilo. It’s where clouds roll along hills, dramatic rock formations jutting out the cascading landscape and a glassy lake are found.
Carles in Northern Iloilo is steadily getting a good stream of tourist nowadays. The municipality, once ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan is now a popular jump-off point for Isla de Gigantes island hopping exploration. If not staying on the islands, Carles is the best area to stay. Coming from the earliest flight from Manila to Iloilo and a 3-4 hours road travel to Carles, I finally made it to my home base for two nights, The New Beach Head Resort. It’s easy to downplay the resort for having only a 1-star rating in booking sites. It is also considered as the “2nd best resort” in the Carles. But it honestly didn’t feel 1-star at all! It felt more than 3-star in terms of comfort and neatness. Not to mention, a beach area where beautiful sunsets abound.