Weekend escape

Weekend escape

Quest Hotel & Conference Center in Clark has a 36-hole golf course and a two-pooled villa. What’s not to love? 

As I check in at Quest Hotel & Conference Center on Mimosa Drive in Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, I get a hint I’m in for a pleasurable stay.

I see renovations are ongoing—the hotel is being rebranded from Holiday Inn to Quest Hotel & Conference Center—but it does not keep the property from revealing glimpses of pleasures.

The hotel is clean and elegant—taupe walls, marble floors; the hallways are spacious; and there’s window all over letting natural light spill in.

The earthen tones extends to the Club Lounge.

The main lobby is composed of earthen tones and texture at play, with a vibrant flower arrangement at the center. It’s minimalist with velvety couch seating as main furniture pieces.

Check-in is fuss free and personalized. Once I’m settled, somebody offers to take my bag and leads me to my room.

Wow factors

The Mimosa Golf Course is an enviable 36-hole facility set within Filinvest’s201-hectares property. You don’t need to be a member to get to play.

Lose all the pounds you gain here.

The swimming pool, brand new gym and equipment, and yoga studio are great for keeping fit while holidaying, not to mention the expansive grounds for early morning jogs.

Families with kids will love the well-appointed kid’s corner too.

And when they say grand, they mean GRAND.

The Grand Villas built in between the main hotel and the golf courseis the ultimate in pampering. Fetching 75 grand a night, the Balinese-inspired comes with a personal butler, a private pool, a lavish living room, cable satellite TV, a king size bed, kitchen with top tier fittings, all-white bathroom with vanity area and a grand bathtub with a view.

The nest

Got this room to myself.
And clearly enjoyed it. Photo by Kat Magsino

I’m billeted in a 22sqm Club Deluxe Room, furnished with a king size bed, a work table and a seating with a view. There’s cable TV, private bathroom with hot and cold running water, and coffee and tea making facility. Lighting is subdued but who needs it when you have bright interiors andbig windows for natural light to seep in? Loved the vintage inspired white cabinet, and found the daily fresh fruits thoughtful.

Wining and dining

Lots of options to choose from but the Club Lounge is special, giving you exclusive access if you’re booked in a Club Deluxe Suite. Here, you can have breakfast or enjoy fill after fill of cocktails and snacks from 5 pm to 7 pm.

Charley’s Baris a countryside-inspired sports bar at the ground floor, which serves wines and spirits, and an international menu. Their classic Margarita is a must try.

Lunch may be had at Q by Mimosa, located right within golf and country club, for American, Korean and Filipino favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed their meaty Bolognese spaghetti and Mimosa Salad.

Opening soon is Mequeni Live, an all-day interactive buffet featuring a grilling, Asian, Kapampangan(Pampanga local fare), desserts and other stations. Look forward to their specialties palabok and pork sisig. Guests can expect their favorite dishes to be personalized as they will serve it according to the customers’ preferences.

The basics

From Php6,000 (USD113) per night for two
Questhotelsandresorts.com/clark/
Tel: +6345 599 8000

Get there

Take a P2P Bus going to Clark for Php350 (USD7) at NAIA Terminal 3 Arrival Bay 14 then ask to be dropped off at Mimosa, Filinvest

Words by Kat Magsino

5 can’t-miss Christmas events for 2018

5 can’t-miss Christmas events for 2018

For most Filipinos, December is synonymous with one big thing that started three months ago: Christmas. It’s a time when families and friends would go out and bond either at a restaurant, their family retreat, or even a theme park. 

If you are one who’d want to surprise your loved one with new of ideas, then this list is for you. Here are five Christmas events you should not miss:

Lights and Shadow Play at CCP

The light and shadow play at the CCP Facade is on daily from 6 pm. Photo by Kiko Cabuenas

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) has always been know for Christmas plays and concerts, along with an over-the-top Christmas installation at the CCP lawn. This year, they’re changing the game a bit with a Light and Shadow Play featuring three storyboards: The Christmas Story (Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem), Paskong Pinoy Traditions (Misa de Gallo, Aguinaldo, and pagmamano, among others), and The Promise of A New Year (different New Year traditions such as paputok, bumbong or bamboo cannon, and Media Noche).
Show is every night with three intervals: 6pm, 7:30pm, and 9pm, at the CCP facade. The time schedule might change, or the show may be canceled in case of inclement weather.

Concert IV: PPO’s 36th Concert Season (2018 – 2019)

After watching the night’s Lights and Shadow Play, complete your CCP experience with a Christmas-themed concert by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

Concert IV gives audiences a Christmas treat with the following pieces: Hans Pfitzner’s The Christmas Elf Overture, Mozart’s Violin Concerto, Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel Prelude to Act One, Tchaikovsky’s ever-popular The Nutcracker Suite, and a collection of Christmas hymns, carols and songs familiar to most Filipinos.
PPO’s Concert IV is on December 14, 8pm at the CCP Main Theater. Tickets are available at the CCP Box Office or online on TicketWorld.

Jose Mari Chan: Going Home To Christmas at Solaire

No Philippine Christmas is complete without hearing a Jose Mari Chan song. But instead of hearing the legend’s songs blaring on mall speakers, why not listen to the man dubbed The Father of Philippine Christmas Music sing live for a change?

Chan will perform his greatest Christmas hits—the ones you’re going to hear at the mall—along with other holiday favorites live at The Theater at Solaire on December 22.
Jose Mari Chan: Going Home To Christmas is at 8pm on December 22. Tickets are available on TicketWorld.

Nuvali’s Magical Field of Lights

It’s THE perfect way to end your day, especially if you’re in the south: a relaxing set of Disney tunes. Photo by Andronico Del Rosario

There is a “new kid on the block” that’s looking to knock off the Ayala Triangle Gardens from being the go-to Christmas spectacle: Nuvali’s Magical Field of Lights.

It’s all the way in Santa Rosa, Laguna, but it’s worth the journey. Nuvali has something Makati will never have: a ton of space. Nuvali gets turned into a literal field of lights as spheres of varying colors cover the open space usually inhabited by nothing but grass. This year, they’ve upped the ante through their “sister’s” (read: Ayala Triangle Gardens) Disney celebration.
The Magical Field of Lights at Nuvali lights up every day until January 13. It’s at 30-minute intervals from 6pm to 10pm. 

Sweet Illusions at Estancia Mall

Most malls have Christmas displays that consist of a big Christmas tree and a couple of large gift boxes. Estancia Mall, however, takes their Christmas decorations seriously.

Case in point: their annual Christmas display. What they’ve got this year is a completely different take from past years: four “secret” rooms that’ll make your inner child scream and give your IG feed a boost. They’re called Sweet Illusion Chamber rooms and they’re scattered across the mall. You’ll be greeted by the candy-themed Rainbow Prism Room at the entrance of Estancia Mall, the trippy laser light at the Laser Room, shadow displays at the Shadow Light Room, and probably the biggest IG hit: the candy-colored neon paintings of the Dark Light Room.

All four rooms are open to the public and will run until January 6.

That pretty little bed and breakfast

That pretty little bed and breakfast

This is a place very far away from Manila that can make you blurt the perfect awww: Bernie’s Bed and Breakfast in Ivana, a sleepy town in Batanes some 15km from Basco Airport.


Bernie’s is a two-storey seven-bedroom hotel inspired by the traditional Ivatan architecture with touches of modern. Its “quaintly” features? The stone-dotted façade with trellis and vertical windows; the stone path leading to the entrance; the homey but bright and airy interiors, and the careful mix of wooden furnishings, kerosene lamp-inspired fixtures, ornamental plants and art pieces. One nice touch at Bernie’s are its books, shelves of them, that are the first to greet guests.

The B&B is logically designed—the social spaces are on the ground floor while the rooms on are on the second floor.

Slip at the small garden at the back for a quiet moment by yourself and take in the sun and Ivana’s peaceful surroundings.

Sleep

 

Author Jonalyn Fortuno enjoying some peace and quiet at the Queen Room

There are queen bedrooms and double bedrooms,
all spacious. I stayed
in a queen room with whitewashed walls and stone tiles, well-furnished along with mod cons. It has a spacious bathroom with fine toiletries. At full house, Bernie’s can be filled with up to 21 people.

Eat

 


Bernie’s only serves breakfast and it’s typically what’s available like fried flying fish, rice and coffee. The innkeeper may cook a meal for guests.

Do

See Batanes’ famous landmarks close by: the House of Dakay, the oldest stone house in Batanes; Honesty Coffee Shop, an unmanned store that operates solely on trust; the Old Spanish Bridge.

The basics
Starts at Php3,500 (USD67) per night
Facebook.com/Bernies-Bed-And-Breakfast

Get there
SkyJet flies daily from Manila to Batanes Book a SkyJet flight now.

Story by Jonalyn Fortuno; photos by Ferdz Decena

Comfy meets artsy in Poblacion, Makati

Comfy meets artsy in Poblacion, Makati

Drink and try every concept bar you may have heard of in Poblacion, Makati City’s budding “it” place,” because at the end of a long night of partying, there’s a place in the hood you can have a restful sleep in: Element Boutique Hotel. Next day, the hotel’s intriguing artworks in every nook will sober you up.

The warm French bistro at the ground floor is made more interesting with art pieces here and there

In a neighborhood that is becoming a home for all things artsy, hipster, cool, and cosmopolitan, Element Boutique Hotel on Guerrego Street in Poblacion, Makati is like a calm haven that lets you breathe after a night of riotous fun.

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