11.27.2014

Retreat to Wilson's Place Bed and Breakfast in Tagaytay

Rest and relaxation. That's our main objective for our weekend stay at Wilson's Place Bed and Breakfast early this month. It's our first time to visit this side of Tagaytay, which is more tranquil and with a provincial setting in a residential community. From the outside, you wouldn't think there's a modern bed and breakfast in this quiet village. It used to be an old resort which was bought by the current owners and transformed into this completely modern structure that welcomes city dwellers in their cozy suites amidst contemporary interiors and beautiful works of art.

Consider this a sequel to my previous post about our exciting day tours at Yoki's Farm and Balay Indang, which are also owned and managed by the same family who invited us to Wilson's Place for a weekend stay.

Though we are not familiar with the area, we did not have a hard time finding the place since it's near a main road, and thanks to Waze too, heeheehee. Anyhow, from the main gate, you might mistake it for a modern mansion if not for the sign by the tree. In fact, it is one, and it's open for the public to discover and enjoy.


By definition, a "bed and breakfast" or "B&B" is a guest house / inn, or small lodging establishment that offers a room for overnight accommodations, and breakfast/morning meal; usually no other meals. Wilson's Place actually offers dinner, bed, breakfast, and more! Since it sits on a secluded part of a residential village, you won't find any dining establishments nearby. So, they made it more convenient for guests to relax upon check-in and be served a special meal come dinner time.

The owners don't advertise their B&B, not even a website, so you'll notice that everything still looks new and clean. It's really their intention to keep a more private feel for Wilson's Place, and only depend on referrals from friends, word of mouth promotion by satisfied guests, and recently, among bloggers.

Just like in my previous post, I have too many pictures to share with you here, so let's start the photo essay.

What to expect from Wilson's Place:

Beautiful architecture and interior design, furnished with an eclectic mix of contemporary pieces, large mirrors and glass walls.  I noticed a number of colorful Baldemor paintings waiting to be hung. This is one side of the dining area, with a stairway leading to the rooms upstairs.



Asian and European accent pieces brighten up the living and dining areas, complemented by bold paintings, a piano, and signature pieces like these bright red Yoda chairs by Kenneth Cobonpue which anchors the airy and spacious living area.  Lots of magazine available for guests. But go ahead and bring your books or projects and let your creativity flow, 'coz you'll find several cozy nooks and reading areas around the house.


Large metal sculptures from the owner's private collections stand proud around the pool area and near the family rooms by the other side of the pool.



 The unique installations add charm and whimsy to the place, which fascinate the kids as well.


The owners shared many plans for improvements in the coming months. I also think more attractions should be added to entertain guests.  This lawn and garden near the parking area could use more lights at night, and can converted to a playground, used as camp site, or feature an outdoor grill area. For now, guests can enjoy the swings from morning til night.


Wilson's Place have a total of 13 rooms. 9 standard rooms in the main house, and 4 family rooms near the pool area. All rooms have different color schemes.

We stayed in the Aqua Room that can accommodate 4.

The air-conditioned family room features a queen-size bed, and 2 single beds, and a living area with LCD TV. I did not notice if they have cable TV coz the signal was not clear in our room. They also have free wi-fi for guests, but the connection was inconsistent when we were there. I hope they can get better internet signal and speed in their area soon.  You can also request for extra pillows.


Their T&B is clean and spacious enough. They provide heated water, modern bathroom fixtures, and comes with complete sets of toiletries, bottled water, and towels, good for 4 occupants.


After our tour of Yoki's farm that afternoon, the kids can't wait to jump in the pool. Cai and her kids were also with us that weekend.

The main attraction of Wilson's Place is their very inviting pool in the center of the property. The rooms on the second floor of the main house overlook the pool, while the family rooms are conveniently a few steps away.


If I remember correctly, the pool is 4 (or 5) feet deep. They provided inflatable lifesavers if kids want to borrow. Despite the chilly water, the kids couldn't care less and dived in! They also offer massage and spa services, in a room behind the lounge area, if you book in advance.



After resting from their cool swim, we got ready for dinner. Aside from the swimming pool and modern setting, the deliciously cooked food is one of their main draws.


I am not exaggerating when I say that Wilson's Place serves some of the best tasting "hotel" food this side of town. It's no wonder since the same culinary geniuses prepare the menu at Balay Indang. Nothing fancy here but theirs are home-style dishes that are cooked and seasoned really well, prepared fresh daily. Our sumptuous dinner includes:

Tuna Pate on Melba toast
Smoked Chicken Ceasar Salad (fresh greens from Yoki's hydroponic farm) 
Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Rice with corn


Shrimp Frito
Fish Pasta
Grilled Pork chop with Peaches and Apples
Chicken Roulade
Vanilla Ice cream  (dessert)
Calamansi Juice with Mint



Before retiring to our suite, we toured the second floor and peeked at some of the regular and petite rooms. I really like the high ceiling design and zen feel of the interiors. 

Red room, regular size with oriental touches.

They call this the Queen room, usually reserved for the owners when they stay over.

Wood elements add a warm touch to this petite room. Shot of the bed as reflected on the mirror.

The Classic, my favorite among the regular rooms mainly because I like the crisp and elegant white-gray colors and tufted headboards.


The kids entertained themselves with the piano the following morning. It was a cool, sunny Sunday and the girl has other plans.

The night before, we were asked what time we would like breakfast to be served. This was a very thoughtful gesture.

Our morning made even brighter with a hearty breakfast:

Assortment of Fruits with yogurt and Feta Cheese
Scrumptious Mini Tuna Sandwiches
Fried Eggs
Beef Tapa, tasty and tender
Gourmet Tuyo/ Ensalada
Sinangag
Pot of Coffee and Hot Chocolate


We were so full from breakfast and the kids bugged us for a final swim. Ok, done.


Before we left, we also checked out the function room behind the fountain area near the family rooms.

If you are a big group, Wilson's Place can close the whole B&B and you can stay for a night, or longer, and have programs or meetings in this cheery function room.

Wilson's Place is a quite respite from our busy and stressful city life. Ideal for retreats, company business planning sessions, family reunions, social parties, and a couple's secret hideaway. If you want to "unplug" / go offline, or hold book club sessions, this is a good venue too.

While staying at Wilson's, I highly recommend you book a farm tour at Yoki's, and reserve a table for a sumptuous lunch at Balay Indang after checking out. The whole experience complements our family retreat to Wilson's Place more memorable. 

For inquiries and reservations:
Wilson's Place 
Maglabe Drive, Tagaytay

You may want to see this previous post:


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11.21.2014

Fun Friday: Day Tour of Yoki's Farm and Balay Indang in Cavite

Third Friday of the month:  Travel / Recreation / Leisure

We have not been back to Tagaytay since last summer, and whenever we get the chance to visit the cool city for the south, we grab it.  Two weeks ago, we excitedly welcomed an invitation to stay at Wilson's Place with a tour of Yoki's Farm and Balay Indang for a complete recreational experience for the whole family.

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11.14.2014

Family Friday: Revisiting Acacia Hotel in Alabang

Second Friday of the month: Kids / Bonding / Parenting

"Remember the giant gingerbread house in the hotel? Is it still there?" The girl vividly recalled our memorable post-Christmas stay-cation at the new Acacia Hotel Manila two years ago when I told her we've been invited to stay over for some R & R. That was our first time to spend a family weekend in the southern city of Alabang. We were treated like kings and queens during our stay at Acacia Hotel, so naturally, we were all too excited to go back for a quick weekend getaway.



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11.13.2014

Smart iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Plans Out Now - Starts at P1799/mo

Smart has officially opened its pre-order page for those who want to claim their new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starting today, November 14, 2014!  Choose your Smart plans now!


Click here for your preferred phones and plans:
Anther good news:  ATM is now accepted as a payment method. Refer to this infographic for a step-by-step pre-order guide.

What's in store for Smart subscribers?

For Smart INFINITY Subscribers:
  • Prestige Plan 5000 (Fully consumable)
    • New members may receive the iPhone 6 (64GB) or iPhone 6 Plus (16GB) 
  • Premium Plan 8000 (Fully consumable)
    • New members receive two 16GB units of the iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 16GB plus a MacBook Air
See more options below:

Other perks included:
  • Infinity Relationship Officer
    • Members have their very own account manager whom they can directly call for concerns regarding their Smart Infinity account
    • Exclusive to Prestige Plan 5000 and Premium Plan 8000 members only
  • Priority Hotline & Smart Store Service
    • Enjoy exclusive 24/7 dedicated call-in service
  • Smart Infinity Worldwide Concierge
    • Smart Infinity fulfills both mobile needs and lifestyle needs as well
    • Members simply call the concierge for dining reservations, gift deliveries, travel bookings, business services and more, here and abroad. 
  • Smart Infinity Lifestyle App
    • Instant mobile access to Smart Infinity services, privileges, account information and international roaming rates
Avail of premium membership services offered by Smart Infinity experience by calling (632)8488806, email infinitysupport@smart.com.ph or visit www.smart.com.ph/infinity.


For POSTPAID Subscribers:

Private Driver from November 14 - 16
Go check out the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from November 14 -16 and Smart will take care of your ride to and from selected Smart Stores in Metro Manila.
Simply download the Uber app on your phone, book a ride, and enter the promo code: SMARTIPHONE6 and your ride is FREE! 

Choose Your Own Mobile Number
Sign up at any Smart Store nationwide and new Smart Postpaid subscribers will have an exclusive privilege of choosing a customized phone number from a particular number series (as long as number is still available).
This offer is available for a limited time only;  first-come, first-served basis.

Wipe Out Your Current Contract
SMART Postpaid subscribers now have the option to Wipe Out their current contract (even if locked in) and upgrade to an iPhone handset in their new contract for a discount.
Plus get a FREE 1-year handset insurance when you avail of iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for Plan 800 and up. For more details visit: http://www.smart.com.ph/wipeout

Free Movies on your iPhone 6
All subscribers of the Smart iPhone 6 will get FREE 3 Movie vouchers through the smartphone app, Blink.

Avail of SMART iPhone 6 as low as P1,799 per Month
Subscribe to Smart iPhone 6 Plan 999 and just add P800/month = P1,799/month only
That's 0% installment for 24 months under cash-out Plan 999.


I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it! 
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11.11.2014

10 Tips to Travel Safe and Save Fuel

We don't travel as much as we want to, but we try to have at least one out-of-town trip a year. This year, I was very fortunate to be able to bring my family down south for mini stay-cations and our recent Oreo Halloween Trip and Treats party in Tagaytay. All these road trips happened within the span of just four weeks! That said, it's critical that our vehicle is in tip-top shape with a full tank of gas, and we followed some travel and fuel-efficiency tips I'm sharing here with you.


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11.07.2014

Foodie Friday: Rita's Italian Ice Now in the Philippines

First Friday of the month: Dessert / Italian Ice / Frozen Custard

I'm taking a break from recipes for today as I want to share the hottest... errr, coolest news in town! Rita’s Italian Ice, the largest Italian Ice concept in the world with over 600 stores in the U.S., is opening it's first store in the Philippines tomorrow, November 8! 

While I enjoy my occasional frozen treats, my husband and daughter are ice cream monsters. That's why I'm very excited to tell you about my newest foodie find.  My blogger friends and I were invited to Rita's Italian Ice product tasting the other day at their first outlet in Greenhills. Long story short, we were all blown away by how good Rita's Ice and Frozen Custards are. I used to handle an imported premium ice cream brand when I was still working, so I pretty much have an idea on how quality ice cream should be.  Rita's delivers it's promise.

Let me tell you about their mouth-watering creations below, and what my favorites are.
Warning: Dessert porn ahead. =)
Dense chocolate Frozen Custard with rainbow sprinkles

"Rita’s adheres to strict product standards.  All of our Ice is made fresh daily at each and every location.  To ensure you receive only the freshest product available, our Freshness Policy requires that our Italian Ice and Cream Ices be discarded if not sold within 36 hours of being made."


RITA'S ITALIAN ICE
Italian ice, also known as water ice, is a sweet, smooth frozen dessert made fresh daily. It is made by the same process as ice cream, freezing the ingredients while mixing them together, which results in a very smooth consistency.
  • It's NOT shaved ice
  • Made with real fruits and fruit purées
  • All Ice is served within 36 hours of mixing
  • Trans-Fat free 
  • Dozens of refreshing flavors (locally, 39 flavors on rotation, more to come)
  • Sugar-Free Italian Ice is sweetened with Splenda® Brand Sweetener


MOM-FRIDAY'S FAVORITE ITALIAN ICE FLAVORS:
Alex's Lemonade
Blueberry (with fruit bits!)
Cotton Candy
Mango

Clockwise, from top:  Chocolate, Mango, Mint Chocolate, Cherry, Banana Split

CREAM ICE
That's “Ice Cream” backwards -- it's the creamy version of the Italian Ice, smooth and full of indulgent flavors.
MOM-FRIDAY'S FAVORITE CREAM ICE FLAVORS:
Banana Split
Black Cherry Cheesecake
Dulce de Leche
Mint Chocolate Chip

Regular cup of Mint Chocolate Chip Cream Ice

Clockwise, from top:  Black Cherry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Cotton Candy

FROZEN CUSTARD
Similar to ice cream, but it's made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. The egg yolk gives it a thick, creamy texture.
  • Rich, smooth, and creamy
  • Very dense (not like soft serve ice cream that has more air when mixed)
  • Comes in decadent flavors
    • Vanilla, Light Vanilla (has 60% less fat), Coffee, Chocolate
    • Also available - Vanilla/Chocolate Twist
  • Served in cup or cone
    • A Sundae comes with two toppings
Frozen Custard samplers:  Chocolate, Light Vanilla, Coffee

I love the classic Vanilla and Coffee flavors the most. Rita's Frozen Custard is delicious as is, or add toppings of your choice.  

Proof of how thick their custard is, Ted turned over this sprinkled chocolate custard in a cone, 3 times, and it didn't fall off!



GELATI
Best of both worlds, this is a layering of your favorite Italian Ice and creamy Frozen Custard.
It’s Rita's #1 selling treat and I understand why... I love this too! Get creative with your own combo.
Regular GELATI:  Vanilla Frozen Custard over Dulce de Leche Ice

BLENDINI®
A creamy-crunchy blend of your favorite Italian Ice + Frozen Custard + choice of topping.
Choose from a variety of toppings, like my fave Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups, OREO® Cookie Pieces, M&M’s® Minis, Snickers®, and many more!

MILK SHAKES
Richer and creamier with milk + Frozen Custard, topped with thick whipped cream and fresh cherry.


FROZEN LEMONADE
A refreshing blend of Alex’s Lemonade Italian Ice + any Italian Ice flavor of your choice. Sip and go!

MISTO®
A blended combination of your favorite Italian Ice + Frozen Custard, Misto is like Gelati you can drink.


CUSTARD COOKIE SANDWICH
Frozen Custard sandwiched between two jumbo OREO® cookies. Winner! You can roll them on rainbow sprinkles too!

Rita's Italian Ice - Philippines currently has 39 flavors and over a dozen toppings on offer. It's gonna be hard to enjoy just one cool treat from Rita's, I tell you.  They also plan to come out with a Pinoy-inspired flavor to add to their menu. Will have to watch out for that!

On my next visit, I want to try this Custard Cookie Sandwhich, and maybe a Blendini too. Bonus for us is the store's location is near our neighborhood, woohoo! My kids can't wait to go to Rita's!

Tip:  A Regular cup of any order is quite filling (because it's thick and dense).   
I suggest you come with your family and friends, order different creations and share them.  This way, you get to try and enjoy more flavors.


Get Rita’s. Get Happy!
Thanks for having us, Rita's Italian Ice, and welcome to (warm and sunny) Philippines! You'll be a hit, for sure!
With Ted Castro, Rita's Ice PH's Operations Manager; Jamie Snyder, Franchise Business Consultant for Rita's Ice PH (she's been with Rita's Ice for 20 years!), and my friends Rowena (center) and Trixie (right). Thanks  also to Rita's V-Mall crew!

OPENING on NOVEMBER 8, 2014!
Rita's Italian Ice - Philippines
V-Mall, Greenhills, San Juan City

Get updates on Rita's products and new flavors here:
Instagram: @ritasiceph  #RitasIcePh

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
Get instant updates:
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Follow @mymomfriday on Twitter and Instagram
Also on Google Friend Connect, or Subscribe Via Email. I try my best to reply and answer any questions you may have on each entry so check back if you've left one. 
Thank you and do visit again!
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