Tuesday, December 12, 2017

'Paseo de Belen' Showcases Dagupeños' Creativity Through Colorful and Creative Nativity Scenes

I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem! (Luke 2: 10-11)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Dorsett Wanchai in Hong Kong is a Kid-Friendly Paradise

The hotel's Deluxe Family Quad Room.

During our final two days in Hong Kong, we stayed in a hotel that all the mommy bloggers in the world are gushing about because the staff always goes the extra mile to accommodate guests with little tots in tow. 

The Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong (formerly known as Cosmopolitan Hotel) is the ultimate choice for group travelers and/or tourists traveling as a family. The hotel promises a pleasant experience despite having the lowest rates in town without ultimately having to sacrifice comfort, luxury, and accessibility.

The Dorsett Wanchai (formerly Cosmopolitan Hotel) in the distance.

The Dorsett Wanchai is just a stone's throw away from well-renowned tourist hotspots like the Happy Valley Race Course, the Hong Kong Racing Museum, Victoria Park, and Hong Kong's answer to Japan's kawaii cafes, the Hello Kitty Secret Garden.

The bus stop across the hotel is where Bus #40 (to Stanley Village) drops off and picks up passengers every 4 minutes to take directly to the beautiful Ocean Park. Should you wish to experience the cool, crisp air and the high-end shopping that Victoria Peak up in the mountains has to offer, there's another bus stop near the Dorsett where Bus #15 (to The Peak, Terminus) makes a stop every 12 minutes.

As a reference to its close proximity to Hong Kong's famed Happy Valley Race Track, the hotel's room numbers were superimposed on horse figurines!

Check-in was a breeze. The courteous receptionists just looked at our travel documents and reservation confirmation and, once satisfied, swiped my credit card for the security deposit and called for a bellboy to take us to the nineteenth floor-- all in a span of less than ten minutes!

The Dorsett's Deluxe Family Quad room as captured by my unprofessional photographer's lens.

Mini-bar, coffee, and tea maker.

What's inside the mini-bar?

Ironing board and flat iron, mini-safe, cotton robes, and indoor slippers.

The bathroom.

Our suite came with a bath tub!


When navigating in and around Hong Kong, a pocket wi-fi can be your best friend. The handheld comes free to use for Dorsett Wanchai guests.

When Dorsett Wanchai's hotel manager learned that I was traveling with a three-year old primadonna who celebrated her third birthday one day prior to our stay, he gave her two complimentary Dorsett Wanchai teddy bears instead of the usual one teddy along with the complimentary kiddie snack box and complimentary set of Johnson's baby care products! I didn't know who was more thrilled from all the gifts-- me or the little one.

In Dorsett Wanchai, everything is double the fun.

The complimentary kids' snack box. It has a milk drink, a packet of chips, a packet of sweets, and a box of chocolate balls inside.

Johnson's Baby Bath and Baby Shampoo for our little pampered princess.

One of the thrills that comes with being a child guest in Dorsett Wanchai is going "treasure hunting" inside the room. Playing on the fact that kids are naturally curious about opening drawers and peering inside nooks and crannies, the hotel staff hides "treasures"-- little packets of sweets and snacks-- where an exploring little tyke may find it. In my three-year old princess' case, she found one inside our side-table's drawer and another inside a corner of the closet.

Look at what my princess found inside one of the drawers! What a treat!

Should your little one get bored, Dorsett Wanchai also offers a mobile library service upon request (subject to availability). The management at Dorsett believes that empowering children to read at a very young age can make better our world's future, because is there a better way to cultivate fruit than to nourish the soil that binds the roots? 

A tisket, a tasket, the books are in a basket!
(Some pictures from other blogs show the mobile library in the likeness of a big two-tiered dollhouse in wheels filled with books.)

Reading together is a fun way to bond with your child!

"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader."

Our stay at the Dorsett Wanchai came with free breakfast buffet for four. The buffet is served daily in the Dining House on the second floor from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM. 

Bread station.

Fruits and vegetable salad station.

Cheese and dried fruit. The kitchen help need to replenish plates more quickly.

Juices and milk.

A table for cereals.

Grilled tomatoes and beef curry.

Chicken sausage and beef burger patties.

Scrambled eggs and Chinese-style sauteed vegetables.

During the afternoon and evening, the Dining House reverts back to being Dorsett Wanchai's Chinese/Seafood Restaurant. Taking pride in serving only the freshest seafood, there are rows upon rows of glass tanks where customers can just pinpoint what they want served to their table.

My sweetheart probably wants to play with them more than have them buttered with garlic and chili.

Are these sea cucumbers?

Clams are surprisingly cute and stretchy!

Overall, we had a wonderful time at the Dorsett Wanchai and would like to stay again if we were to return to Hong Kong with a much older (but still little) travel-savvy baby girl. The service and the warm, hospitable staff were the best! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

There's an Addictive New Role-Playing Game for Travel and Food Enthusiasts (Like Me!)

Move over, Pokemon Go!

I came across Chef Wars when I opened my App Store and saw it as the Featured Game of the Day. With the promise of being "a food and cooking RPG (role-playing game)" with "over 900 recipes to discover" and "over 500 different towns to explore", I could not resist sacrificing my three-year old niece's Playfirst app (much to her chagrin) just to make more room in my phone for a 116.9 mB app.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Spending the Last Few Days of Summer at the World-Famous Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort

The stunningly-beautiful infinity pool at Villa Escudero.

I'm not usually one to visit an attraction that I've already gone to in the past unless (1) some part of it was revamped in a major way, or (2) it was designated as a place where I need to go to celebrate something. In the case of my second visit to Villa Escudero, it was for both aforementioned reasons: their swimming pools were newly-renovated and my father booked us a room for Fathers' Day.

And so, we drove to Tiaong, Quezon province in the middle of June for a family staycation where we expected to be free from the stresses that came with living in a generation where dogs eat dogs.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

[In Photos] Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market: The World's Largest

I love you, King Crab. Now come into my tummy!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Three of Baguio City's Most Popular Ukay-ukay Hotspots

Shelves full of pre-loved (and some brand new) sneakers and boots from an ukay-ukay in Bayanihan, Baguio City.

Before the year 2017 ends, by God's will, I might be traveling to somewhere with negative temperatures.

While I'm all consumed with the excitement of flying off to my third G7 country after Canada and Japan, 'til a few weeks ago I was plastered with worry about what I should wear to keep my fingers and toes attached to my hands and feet and where I could shop for them. Just as I resigned myself to making orders for winter boots and ski apparel from online shops, my mom presented her brilliant idea of staying for a few nights in Baguio to scout all the ukay-ukay establishments within the city. 

And if there's any place in the Philippines where ukay-ukay shopping is a pleasant experience because of the constantly cool climate and the wide variety of items for sale, it's gotta be the Summer Capital, Baguio City.
Copyright © 2015 Travel Hard, Hannah!