Soothing Soneva Spa Experience

I take a massage each week. This isn’t an indulgence, it’s an investment in your full creative expression/productivity/passion and sustained good health. — Robin S. Sharma

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I’ve been busy for the past weeks juggling work and other stuff. Feeling the burn from my daily grind, I decided that I go on a 3-day backpacking adventure. Those days spent in the middle of the sea — swimming and bumming around — truly satiated the wanderlust in me since it’s been a while the last time I went for a breakaway. When I got back, I felt the need to go for a much deserved body pampering. And so with the recommendation of a good friend, I went to try this spa and massage house in Quezon City called Soneva.

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I am a self-confessed massage fan. I like trying out different massage parlors and crack different kinds of massage as possible (eventually assessing which one the most is relaxing). I like ventusa, I like Indian head massage, I like “hilot”, I like shiatsu. My visit to Soneva gave me an opportunity to try something new – hot stone massage.

Picture yourself lying down on a massage bed, allowing your aching body and stress flux by as your deep tissues and muscles are therapeutically rubbed with warm stones. While it is true that a usual deep tissue massage can be really comforting, the addition of hot stones makes an entire massage experience more relaxing.

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I am not very good with describing details of a massage experience but my experience with Soneva is really something I’d go for again.  My therapist (a lady named Emily) was really good. I find her knowledgeable and well-trained and knows exactly what she’s doing. I have been experiencing frequent back and neck ache the past weeks, and after this hot stone massage – I have never felt relaxed than ever.

I usually don’t make a write-up about hotels nor spas/massage houses, but I am making this as an exemption as I have justly felt satisfied with Soneva. The service is indeed recommendable. My hot stone massage may cost a little pricier than most types of massage BUT it’s all worth it, certainly quality service.

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And by the way, their massage room is spacious with a pleasant smell, the bed comfortable that I dozed off, a clean comfort room, a lobby with a café (and WiFi); and warm and “smiling” staff/therapists. I’d definitely come back and maybe try their other massage like the Elemental Jade Stone Massage, Banana Leaf “Hilot” massage and Soneva Signature massage.

I went home with my body relaxed. I even went on to further read about the benefits of having a hot stone massage. FYI: Benefits include: alleviating the pain experienced by body’s muscles and soft tissues, improving circulation and getting rid of body toxins, and stimulates calmness and increase relaxation.

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So, if you are looking for a place to get your body indulged after a strenuous day at work or ached from a hiking spree – check out and experience Soneva Spa/Massage.

Soneva Organic Spa

4th Floor, Forum Building

270 Tomas Morato corner Scout Limbaga Street

Quezon City, Philippines

Service Hours: Monday to Sunday, 1:00PM to 12:00MN

Contact No.: (632) 926-6249; (632) 0917 4071129

Email: info@sonevaspa.com

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You can also check out their website at http://www.sonevaspa.com/.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

 

 

Quezon City Memorial Circle (PH)

Dreamy, rousing and outright Instagram-worthy – these are often how I describe a captured sunset experience. Most of us rave about the setting sun’s beauty along the beach. I, personally, consider it as one of the most spectacular moments. But since I work in the metro, a sunset view by the beach is a rare sighting. After working for more than a year now in the Greater Manila Area, I have come to scout places where I can draw out inspiration.

One particular place I find really inspiring is the Quezon City Memorial Circle (QCMC). The “Circle” as locals would call it, has to be one of the prominent landmarks in Quezon City. Through the years, with the endless efforts of the local government, it has been undergoing a lot of changes so as to attract more tourists.

The Quezon Memorial Circle is a national park and a national shrine located in the Philippines City of Stars, Quezon City. The park is located inside a large traffic circle that is elliptical in shape. Its main feature is a tall mausoleum containing the remains of the second official President of the Republic of the Philipppines, Manuel L. Quezon together with his better half, Lady Aurora Quezon.

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I have been to QCMC on 3 different occasions. The most recent one happened when I was fortunately invited to a blogventure as part of the city’s 75th Anniversary celebration.

QCMC is pretty big in terms of area. My favorite spot though is the Circle’s centerpiece — The Quezon Memorial Shrine. This is an art deco-themed monument built during the 1950s. This 66-meter shrine houses an observation deck that can be accessed via spiral staircase. The monument also consists of three vertical pylons (representing the three main geographic divisions of the country: Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao) with three grieving angels holding sampaguita (the Philippines national flower) wreaths.

In front of the monument is a dancing fountain that is lit up during sundown and further makes the area jovial and colorful at night. Many people start to flock this area as the day ends and as darkness starts to creep in. I love the sight of people (family, friends, visitors/tourists) enjoying the beauty of “The Circle”. As for me, the sunset view at this park is such a visual spectacle that makes me feel relaxed and inspired.

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***My visit to Quezon City Memorial Circle is not originally part of the 3 destinations we were assigned to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration. Since the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Park was already closed when we arrived, I opted to come back the following day and go to QCMC.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

La Mesa Eco-Park (Quezon City, PH)

As a nature-lover, I have a soft spot for parks and eco-tourism hubs. So when I have learned that our group’s destination during the blogventure event (an activity that is part of the 75th Founding Anniversary of Quezon City) included an eco-park, I became even more ecstatic. Moreover, I have always wanted to go and see the La Mesa Eco-Park.

The La Mesa Eco-park is a 33 hectare park that is part of the La Mesa Watershed (an important water source for the Greater Manila Area). It was in the year 2004 that the park was opened to the public as a means of generating income for the watershed’s maintenance. Moreover, the park aims at providing opportunities for enjoying a healthy outdoor recreation and also an avenue for environmental education.

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According to our energetic guide, the park is one of the oldest and largest parks in Metro Manila. During our brief stint, I have noticed that the eco-park seem to be a known outdoor destination for school and company field trips, and also family and friends gatherings.

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Through the years, the park’s rehabilitation and reforestation is a joint effort from both the public and private sectors. I am personally amazed that there are a lot of facilities on park’s grounds that can be used for various activities. From a public saltwater pool, a large picnic area, camping sites, a boating and fishing lagoon, an awesome biking trail, a beautiful flower terrace, a butterfly sanctuary and an eco-museum – this eco-park is such a great breather from the hustle and bustle of city life. Guided tours are available at a minimal cost and there are even pavilions for leasing.

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The La Mesa Ecopark is located within the La Mesa Watershed in East Fairview, Quezon City. It is owned by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Ssytem and is jointly operated with the Quezon City government, Bantay-Kalikasan and other private companies.

***My visit to La Mesa Eco-Park is one of the 3 destinations (and write-up I made) I was fortunate to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration.

For Inquiries and reservations, contact
(02) 430-4051
(02) 430-5207 (telefax)
Lamesaecopark@abs-cbn.com

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

EREHWON: An Art Center (Quezon City, PH)

As a child, I was described by my mom as someone who is artistic. I like singing, I like dancing, I like the art per se. My creative side was not only limited to doing these forms of art but is extended to my admiration for museums and the like. And I thank my mom for this “love of the arts” and for exposing me to art at a young age.

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As I grew older, I found myself being more fascinated with various forms of art. I found myself visiting more museums and art centers more often. So when an invitation to visit Quezon City’s premier spots which includes art centers, parks and business centers, I immediately signed myself up. This activity is part of the 75th Founding Anniversary of the city where bloggers are given the opportunity to get to know Quezon City attraction drawers. The bloggers who were part of this “blogventure” were grouped and assigned with various destinations.

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One of the 3 destinations our group (Van #7) visited is Erehwon, an art center. Honestly, it was my first time to hear of this art center. I know the other museums in QC but Erehwon really is foreign sounding to me. As we entered the gate of the center, we were greeted by a group of their staff together with the owner, Mr. Rafael Benitez and this awesome and humongous piece of art at their lobby. (see the photo below)

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EREHWON, as a center, is dedicated to being a living hub in the Philippines. As such, it intends to bring together the Filipino artistry and talents. The building will serve as an avenue for these artists who are keen in developing art to a higher level.

Erehwon (when read backwards, it is actually Nowhere), is a four-storey building. Looking from the outside, it seems to be simple and really discreet. But, once you step into the building, you will will be impressed as it houses an array of art galleries, painting and sculpture rooms, a simple art residency dormitory, a dance studio, a mini-orchestra room, a café, a print production area and a spacious roof deck.

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After a quick tour on all 4 floors, the owner gave us further insights about Erehwon. Sir Raffy said that the building used to be a bakery, but they had to close it down for some reasons. In 2012, they turned it into an art center. He was quick to point out that they prefer to call it as an arts center and not a commercial gallery nor a museum. The exhibits come from various artists and people are not forced to buy the artists’ work. Moreover, the center is not limited to visual art (just like most galleries and museums are).

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As we have seen during the tour, the center is the home of the Philippine Daloy Dance Company (that is why they have a dance studio). Also, the very enthusiastic owner said that there is also a room for the Metro Manila Music Orchestra. Prominent artists like David Pomeranz even used that room for his practices when he had his concert in Manila.

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They also have a café conceptualized by artist Ben Cervantez. According to Sir Raffy, the café was put up for 3 reasons: for one, it serves as an area for artists to converge, second is for them to collaborate their projects, and of course, to be a center for living art.

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We really had a great time listening to Sir Raffy’s stories. He even mentioned that plans of expanding is already on its way. They will soon develop an Erehwon Art Center in Baguio City, and hopefully 2 more centers in Davao and Cebu.

The Center and the people behind it really hopes to inspire and strengthen art-making in the country and be a helping hand to artists and other aspirants. Kudos to the entire team of Erehwon! Thank you for this very informative and moving experience.

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The very energetic and accommodating owner of Erehwon, Sir Raffy.

FYI: “Tagaligtas 44,” an acrylic on oil painting honoring the 44 elite police commandos killed in the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash, was actually an output of the artists of the Erehwon Center for the Arts in honor of the SAF 44.

The EREHWON Center for the Arts

#1 Don Francisco Street, Villa Beatriz Subdivision, Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City

Contact Information: (+63) 927 5753 531 or (02) 218 2618; events@erehwonartworld.com.

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For your reference on how to go to Erehwon. Credits to rappler.

***My visit to Erehwon Center is one of the 3 destinations (and write-up I made) I was fortunate to visit during Quezon City’s 75th anniversary celebration.

with my fellow QCblogventurers and staff of Erehwon.
with my fellow QCblogventurers and staff of Erehwon.

Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust’. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Let’s Eat: Caution Hot (Quezon City, PH)

Last night, my friends Daphne, Hazel and I decided to meet up and eat somewhere in Maginhawa Street – a popular food hub in Quezon City. Because the area is lined up with loooots of cafes and restaurants to choose from, it is quite a challenge to decide which place to dine.

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As Daphne and I were waiting for Hazel, we saw this imposing sign at the corner of Magiting Street that says CAUTION HOT. Our nosiness led us to their doorstep and checked out what is in their menu. Entering the simple and straightforward resto, my sense of smell immediately signaled my stomach that this is where it would want to be filled. It was a noodle house. Honestly, I am not a fan of Chinese noodles and is more of a Ramen person. BUT, after seeing their menu and the bowls of noodles being served, my taste buds seem to have had a change of heart… errrr I mean, taste.

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And so we lined up (yes, we had to wait because this noodle house is full-house that time, giving me an impression that it must be a gastronomic-worthy place). While waiting, Daph and I decided on which noodles to try. Here is their menu (if you notice, prices are actually cheaper than ramen).

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Okay so this is how you order. (It is like a DIY thing).Firts, you have to choose the toppings (all veggie, pork, beef or seafood); second, the kind of broth (option of Szechuan, Asam Laksa, Classic). Next you will be asked to choose the kind of noodle (whether wheat or egg noodles), and finally, your choice on how you would like to burn your taste buds (First Degree Burn, Second Degree Burn, Third Degree Burn and Ultimate Burn) — which indicate how spicy you want your noodle bowl to be.

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What did we order?

Our 1st bowl is made up of Seafood + Szechuan + Egg Noodles + First Degree Burn. (Hahaha, we were quite apprehensive that the 2nd degree would already denude our buds). Our 2nd bowl contains pork + classic + wheat noodles. Since it is classic, the broth is non-spicy. We also ordered Pork-Kutchay Dumplings, served with chili sauce, calamansi and a light soy dressing.

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Now for the verdict: The Schezuan broth in 1st degree burn was already spicy to me, but was tolerable and I/we enjoyed every taste of it. I love that it contains veggies like bok choy, cilantro, garlic and mushrooms.  The seafood (shrimps, crab, squid) that go with it are as tasty as the soup base. And the idea of adding a sunny-side egg (instead of a hard boiled one like most ramen have) is such a nice surprise. The classic pork noodles was equally palatine-satiating. I like the subtle sweet taste of the pork that goes well with the not too salty soup base. So if you will ask me which I like better, I say I can’t because I love them both. The dumplings, on the other hand, were so delicious (oooops sorry for that cliché description,that is more than enough for me to describe its taste because I have a special liking for dumplings).

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I will definitely come back and try their Soy Milk, Oolong Milk Tea and their Fruit-Syrup Shaved Ice or Bao Bing. Food is great, not very expensive (we only spent Php490/3), and really a noodle-lific, satisfying food experience in Caution Hot.

CAUTION HOT: Spicy Noodle House is located at Magiting Street, Teachers Village,Quezon City, Philippines. Operating Hours are as follow: Mon to Thurs: 1130am to 11pm; Fri to Sat: 11am to 12mn; Sun: 11am to 11pm

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Thanks to Daph for allowing me to use her phone’s camera to capture these. Cheers to more food-tripping with you guise! And yes, do not be a wasted soul, be ‘juan’derlust. Take it easy ebri’juan’…

Art in Island: Largest 3D Museum in Asia

Are you an art-slash-photography aficionado who likes to put into test some of your hidden theatrical skills?  Then, this Interactive 3D Art Museum is a perfect place for you. For a price of P500, the museum can take you to Rome to Egypt, ride a flying carpet or a horse-drawn carriage, and up-close encounter with Vincent Van Gogh and more!IMG_20150503_153335

Art in Island is said to be the largest 3D museum in Asia in terms of the number of 3D paintings available (around 200 masterpieces). It was founded by Yun Jae Kyoung together with his other Korean partners. This two-storey museum is about 3,800 square-meters, with 14 3D artists from Korea who worked on the paintings in just four months.

The museum encourages everyone to be a “part of art” hence the term interactive. Unlike many museums, where touching the paintings nor taking pictures of it is not allowed, Art in Island allows visitors to interact and have fun and be creative with the art pieces.IMG_20150503_153605

So, before we begin this virtual tour, here are some reminders/tips and other essential information about this very artistic hub.

  • Art in Island is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 9:30 am to 9:30 pm.
  • Entrance fees: P500 for regular ticket; P400 for students; free for children below 3 years old.
  • No food or pets are allowed. Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the museum.
  • No flash photography. Use of tripods are not also allowed.
  • Upon entering, you will be asked to leave your shoes at the counter. This is to preserve the paintings because some can be found in the floor. Better wear socks or bring one.
  • There are markers that will guide you where to properly stand and take photos. There are also sample pictures displayed on the wall to give you an idea on how to properly pose.
  • Respect: Wait for your turn and do not interfere when there are people posing and taking pictures at a certain art.
  • BE CREATIVE! Think outside the box and display your artistic side.
  • Make sure your camera is fully charged with plenty of memory space.

Now What Will You See Inside Art is Island?

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Art of Optical Illusion: Upon entering, you will be greeted by a few framed optical illusion art hanging in the walls. Here are some of them:

Themed Zones: As you go further, you will find yourself be amazed with the different themed zones which include the following:

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Animal Zone12 122

Masterpiece Zone (where one gets to interact with the famous paintings around the world).21

A huge Central Hall (where one can explore the dungeons of the ancient times. This is my personal favourite).456IMG_20150503_1652150132

Religious Zone2134

Fantasy Zone748

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Plus, the museum’s cafe – Cafe Minou – which is a sight to behold itself.0006

How To Get There:

Address: 175 15th Ave. Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City

*** Art in Island is roughly a 15-minute walk from Araneta Center Cubao. When commuting, the nearest stops are MRT Cubao and the Cubao bus stops along EDSA..

Contact No.: (02) 421-1356

E-mail: artinisland@gmail.com

Website: www.facebook.com/artinisland

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Let’s Eat: Friuli Trattoria (Maginhawa St., Quezon City, PH)

One of the recommended places for a food trip in Metro Manila is Maginhawa Street in Quezon City. The place is lined with a diverse range of restaurants/cafes offering various cuisines to fit any foodie’s cravings. Most of these food hubs are small family-owned restaurants or start-ups of young entrepreneurs with a nonchalant and artistic vibe. One of the 1st restaurant I have been to is Friuli Trattoria.

Friuli Trattoria is a simple food abode that offers affordable Italian comfort food – basically pasta and pizza. The restaurant has a simple, and homey ambiance. Nothing fancy – usual chequered table cloths, monoblock chairs, and walls showcasing their menu items. But what makes the place stand out is the food.During my first visit, I did try 2 of their best-selling pasta.

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Angel Hair Puttanesca (P140.00)

Angel hair pasta with their version of puttanesca –  made of tomatoes, capers, anchovies & olives. The delicate strands of angel hair pasta is a pleasant contrast to the savoury, and zesty red sauce. I personally love olives and tomatoes that is why I went for this dish. This is a real Italian treat!

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Spaghetti Carbonara (P140.00)

It is a classic carbonara – white sauce with egg & bacon served with spaghetti.There carbonara has a distinct creaminess that is just right to my palate.

Friuli Trattoria

Address: #79A Maginhawa St. UP Village, Quezon City, Philippines

Store Hours: Mon-Sun: 11:00am – 1:00am

Phone: (02)4341416