Family Activities & Travel | What Else Michelle - Part 2

Archive of ‘Family Activities & Travel’ category

Beginning of A Family Tradition

Hubby and I are self-proclaimed beach bums. Our first Boracay trip was in 2007 and it was a memory we would always cherish. For four days, we did nothing but lounge by the beach getting a tan, only going back to our lodging after dinner. We would wake up early in the morning, have a couple of bread from Julie’s Bakeshop and 3-in-1 coffee for breakfast. Once a day, we would indulge ourselves with something really good like chili garlic prawns, butter garlic king crab and grilled lobster.

Three years later, we came back to the island with our 16-month old Bryce. Having a toddler meant going back to the lodging after lunch for a nap and sleeping no later than 9 pm. Meals were interrupted with either bottle feeding or untimely diaper change.  The worst was when Bryce pooped in his swimming shorts (no diaper) while we were enjoying our chili crab with our hands. So appetizing!

And now four years later, there are four of us! Boracay is no longer the same when you’re lugging two kids under 6. We still love the beach, of course, but we surely miss out laid-back moments. Well, I guess we have to wait a few more years before we could take another vacation sans the kids…

Anyway, we decided that this will be our official family pose! Haha! We will try to go back to Boracay every 3 years to take a photo and watch the kids grow and us, get older. I wonder, if  grandchildren would be included someday…family pic2

Part 2 – Short Tagaytay Break: Joaquin’s Bed and Breakfast

Like I’ve mentioned in my previous post, hubby and I spent the night in Tagaytay to simply relax and get away from work. We haven’t had househelp since April so we were juggling everything: household chores, taking care of Bryce, doing our secular jobs. A couple of weeks before our scheduled trip, our house got flooded again so August was a pretty stressful month for us.

The first time we stayed overnight in Tagaytay was during our first anniversary back in 2010. We stayed in The Boutique Bed and Breakfast and since then, we were hooked in boutique hotels. In November 2012, we tried Discovery Country Suites; and then we spent this year’s New Year in Lee Boutique. There’s still a lot of other boutique hotels in Tagaytay but we have heard good reviews about Joaquin’s. For P3,700++ (through, their rate is pretty reasonable so this hotel was our next in the line up. Here’s our Joaquin’s experience…

joaquin's-7When trying out hotels, I’m quite particular about their checking in convenience and if they can accommodate early check-in. We came at around 2:30 p.m. so I can’t make a review about early check-in. But checking in itself was a breeze. After filling up the form, they made us choose our breakfast and time it will be served and we were almost instantly ushered in our well prepared room.


As always, I checked out the bathroom as soon as we entered the room. According to Agoda, one of the room’s features is a bathtub so I was quite disappointed when I found none. I even asked the one who helped us with our stuff which rooms have bathtub and he said, none. I hope they will update their information soon.

I brought three DVDs so we can have uninterrupted movie marathon, but to my dismay, they don’t have a DVD player in the room or one that we can borrow. Good thing we don’t have cable programs in our house so we just tried to enjoy our rare dose of National Geographic. HBO and Star Movies. Hehe!


We have heard that Joaquin’s has the best view of Taal Volcano and we proved it true! The image was taken right inside our room with me standing up. It’s such a perfect view to see when waking up in the morning.joaquin's-3

What I love about Joaquin’s interior is the vintage, rustic, country feel. I may not be a fan of this room’s purple washed walls but I love the use of hard wood planks. I also wished they chose more interesting pots for the fake plants rather than using plastic ones.joaquin's-1Most hotels wouldn’t bother adding decors in their rooms, keeping everything streamlined and minimalist. But with Joaquin’s BnB, they went an extra mile to “personalize” their rooms. Staying here does not feel like we’re paying at all. It was like sleeping over at a friend’s vacation house, so cozy and welcoming.


When staying in Tagaytay, we usually eat out for dinner. This time though, the plan was to stay in all day and night so we ordered room service. The hubby ordered pork binagoongan and I had sizzling tuna belly and garlic rice. The dish were less than p300 each and were enough for two. The garlic rice was in generous amount too and we were definitely satisfied for the night. Hotel food always scares me because they are either cheap but unappetizing or really tasty but ultra expensive. With Joaquin’s, I do not have anything negative to say. Even our breakfast was so good and filling, we didn’t have lunch until we got back in Manila.

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I love this area in the hotel. If we brought Bryce with us, we can have our breakfast here and he can run around chasing butterflies and love birds. It would even be great to have a lunch party here so everyone can enjoy the perfect view.


And of course, whenever we stay in hotels, I always look for ideas to steal.

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1 and 2. Brightly colored, distressed furniture. I am still waiting for a furniture to re-do so I can apply this. I’m planning to use DIY chalk paint.

3. Crackle paint finish. I’ve seen a tutorial on how to do this and will try this myself soon to our shoe rack. I promise to keep you posted.

4. Plank bathroom countertop. Instead of using granite, marble or tiles, you can add a rustic feel to your bathroom using wooden planks finished with several coats of polyurethane to protect the surface from water.

5. Recycled wine bottles. Yes, we’ve seen it several times but it still looks good. Add a drop of food coloring to the water to make it a bit more colorful. See, even a simple suntan flower can look elegant with the wine bottle!

6. DIY bed canopy. If you want to add a whimsical feel to your bedroom, you would only need a few yards of sheer fabric, a large embroidery hoop and some hooks. Just sew the fabric on the embroidery hoop and attach the hoop to the ceiling using screw hooks. You can always take it off when you get tired of it.

Overall, our stay in Joaquin’s is one of the best. We’re actually planning to spend the New Year’s Eve here, staying in one of the rooms below with garden veranda.

Part 1- Short Tagaytay Break: Bag of Beans

Last Thursday, hubby and I spent the night in Tagaytay. I had already booked a hotel more than a month ago because I really wanted to spend an entire day in bed, doing absolutely nothing; taking a break from the busy, noisy city; and having a total rest day from all the house chores and motherly responsibilities. I didn’t even bring my laptop so I won’t be tempted to do any work.

I was on my 32nd week then and I know I wouldn’t be able to travel that far anymore. Actually, the trip was already tiring for me. My ankles were swollen and I couldn’t find a comfortable sitting position. To make matters even worse, the traffic was so bad considering we left Thursday around 10 a.m. (It usually takes us 1.5-2 hours to get to Tagaytay on a weekday but we got there at past 1 p.m) The weather was extremely hot too, you could hardly feel the car aircon and kept making my contact lenses dry. To cool ourselves off, we had to stop over at Chowking for halo-halo. 🙂bag of beans1

We had late lunch at Bag of Beans. We’ve been here several times already but only to have a cup of coffee or buy doezens of pan de coco. Did I tell you that they sell the best pan de coco ever? For P120.00 half a dozen, I can say that it’s totally worth it. Just a tip though: their pan de coco sells out quickly, you’re lucky if you can still buy some at lunch time. If you’re staying overnight, pass by the store on your first day to reserve so you can bring it home freshly baked the day after. But if you’re just there for a day tour, better call them a day before your planned trip. I’ll post the address and contact info after the post.

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I was craving for a caesar salad and hubby ordered lasagna. Both dishes are good for sharing so I think their price is pretty reasonable. You can check out their complete menu here. They have weekend buffets available but I’d rather bring friends and families with us who are willing to share their food because I’m not one of those who can get their money’s worth at buffets. bag of beans5

Here was our cozy little booth. Sorry, I wasn’t able to remove our bags anymore. Next time we visit Tagaytay, we’re taking the same booth. Bryce would have loved to lounge on that day bed and Kenya could sleep peacefully while we’re enjoying our meal.

Here are some of the views from around their garden dining area. They have a covered pavilion too where you can hold events. The bakery is upstairs but I was no longer able to take photos anymore because our food came quickly and I was already famished. Hehe!bag of beans2

Love the wicker bar chairs and simply centerpiece. Oh, and they have spa-like ambient music continuously playing while real birds are chirping non-stop. Such a relaxing atmosphere!bag of beans3And what is a trip without me doing some bathroom gawking. Love the seamless look of the sink and the shells underneath. If we had a powder room, this is how I want it to look.

Bag of Beans:

115 Aguinaldo Highway, Mendez Crossing West, 4120 Tagaytay City

Contact Number: (046) 413 2724



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