The new Montero Sport

 

 

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I am like a Mommy chauffeur. My daily schedule revolves around my girls’ school drop off and pick up times. I fix my work commitments so that I can pick up my kids every day. It isn’t as tedious as it sounds. It actually brings me a lot of joy seeing their faces light up when I’m the one picking them up in school. Usually the ride home from school is filled with chatter from all three girls competing for my attention — lots of stories.

In my other life, outside of mommying, I still have to attend to my work — meetings, design and deliver jewellery, attend product launches, host events, do interviews, appear as guest in TV features, have shoots — you get the picture. My September started with my amazing book launch for CHIC: Tips on Life, Style and Work. It has been crazy hectic. I need a vehicle that can take me to places in comfort and style. I usually bring extra bags containing a change of shoes and some make up. I love doing my make up in the car (because of the natural light), so I need a car that runs smoothly. Needless to say, someone drives for me 99% of the time.

The past couple of weeks we have been using the all-new Montero Sport. I was able to test drive this best-selling mid-size Sport Utility Vehicle which won the Top Gear Philippines Shakedown comparing it to all midsize SUVs. It boasts of better performance, comfort and safety. What I like most though, is that it’s a stunner I can take with me wherever.

 

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We have three of these huge suitcase-like school bags that have to be loaded in the back of the car.

 

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My siblings in Toronto are shocked that I can drive in Metro Manila with no hassle. In fact, I find it easier to drive here than in North America because I’m terrified of speed.

 

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The back seats fold up completely flat, leaving a large space for cargo. Perfect for when I do grocery shopping like there’s no tomorrow.

 

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The Montero Sport comes with luxurious black seats. I found the seats very comfortable. It had enough support for my picky back and neck, yet it wasn’t too firm. It was just right.

 

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The seats have a multi-layer cushion with more rounded shoulder which supports the position of your upper torso comfortably. That’s a shameless selfie before going to pilates.

 

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The Montero Sport is fitted with an array of active and passive safety features.

 

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As a mom, I am very strict with seatbelts and carseats. My kids are beyond carseat sizes now. But they always wear seat belts.

 

20160823_094237 Admittedly, with all the errands that I have to do, having a driver is really a huge perk. I don’t have to worry about parking the car myself.

 

20160827_132728 This was the time we dropped off my brother-in-law at the airport. Stella sat comfortably at the back. Seatbelts!

 

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I sat in the driver seat, passenger side, back seats. All comfortable.

 

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We liked that there were different temperature controls for the aircon vents. I’m not a fan of super cold cars. While my husband and kids always want cold air blasting in their faces.

 

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I love it when the Skyway is clear and not congested. It makes living in Metro Manila so much more pleasant.

 

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The GPS was enjoyed by my driver. I didn’t have to share my phone/Waze anymore.

 

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On weekends we find ourselves in our soon-to-be cottage (I hope) where we have a few vegetables planted. So we drove to the “farm” in the Montero Sport.

 

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This little piece of heaven already feels like home for the kids.

 

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Traffic was horrendous, as it was a long weekend. But the kids were so comfortable in the back seat. There is a third row for seats but that weekend we used it for cargo. So all three stayed in the second row. And they were more than fine.

 

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We brought some special banana seedlings to the farm.

 

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That pot is huge and it still left plenty of room in the back.

 

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Montero Sport still looks bold and stylish while being sporty. We couldn’t drive it in to the property because we are still mapping out our vegetable patches.

 

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While I am still sketching my site plan, we need to figure out where the driveway would be.

 

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We dropped off our special banana and bamboo plants and brought home some harvest.

 

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Back in the city, on days when I am not working as a host or speaking somewhere, I go about my errands in comfort.
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And from my non-technical assessment, I would say that the comfort and ease of the Montero Sport fits my lifestyle – both urban and rural. It is CHIC!

 

For more information, visit the Mitsubishi Motors Philippines website and learn more about the Montero Sport. For price list, please click here. Like them on Facebook.

 

 

Prêt-a-PorTea at Raffles Makati

 

 

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We were invited by Raffles Makati to try their “New York State of Mind”, the fourth in its Prêt-a-PorTea series, with the legendary Tiffany & Co. at the Writers Bar. My girls and I love afternoon tea. So we took them up on the offer and made a date of it. We dressed up in our lovely clothes on a rainy Saturday afternoon, and had a mommy and daughters day.

The Prêt-a-PorTea sweet and savoury creations are inspired by Tiffany and the Big Apple.

 

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I can’t tell you enough how much joy it brings me to be able to spend slow days with my three daughters. I savour every moment.

 

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The kids had cold chocolate drinks.

 

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It’s not high tea if there are no scones and clotted cream.

 

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With my three little women.

 

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Savoury teacup sandwiches like bagels and lox, pastrami, mini-hotdogs, and soft pretzels were served.

 

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I loved this mini bagel with lox.

 

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Macarons and cupcakes designed with that trademark robin’s egg blue.

 

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So much loveliness – the iconic Tiffany Blue Box caramel cake, a white-chocolate bracelet inspired by Tiffany’s iconic T collection, bite-sized apple coated in chocolate-caramel, a sweet take on the Big Apple, and the famed cronut.

 

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The kids were so charmed by the setting, they kept taking pictures. Each of the Tiffany-inspired afternoon tea three-tier pastries is good for two people. It includes other treats like the classic New York cheesecake and all-American favorites, like the lemon meringue pie, creamy strawberry-shortcake, and sour-cherry whoopee pie.

 

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Me and Lily

 

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Making memories with my lovelies.

 

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Again, those Tiffany blue boxes and a reminder of the Big Apple.

 

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My bookworm girls were in heaven at the Writers Bar.

 

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OOTD info, Stella’s dress from Gingersnaps, shoes from Melissa. Lily wears a dress from her big sister’s closet and Saltwater sandals.

 

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My not so little Sophia now wears Just G (a subsidiary of Gingersnaps). Her purse is a hand-me-down from me, a cute Kate Spade bag. Her sneakers are from Paez shoes.

 

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Raffles Makati’s  “New York State of Mind” Prêt-a-PorTea series.

 

You may enjoy this delicately designed afternoon tea from September 1 to November 30, offered from 2:30PM to 5:30PM daily at Php 1500++ for two. Add a glass of champagne at Php 900++ for a sparkling afternoon. For more information and reservations, please call the Raffles Makati Restaurant Reservations at +632 795 1840, or email dining.makati@raffles.com.

 

 

S&R Members’ Treat

 

 

 

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Are you ready for this? Every year, I look forward to this Members’ Treat Sale at S&R. It is fun and crazy and totally worth it. The deals are incredible. A couple of years ago I was able to do my Christmas shopping. Not only were groceries on sale, but also gift items and housewares were marked down or on two-for-one. This is one of their biggest sales where they offer 50% off on items and even Buy 1 Take 1 deals.

Mark your calendars, this year Members’ Treat Sale is on  September 30 to October 02, 2016 nationwide. The sale takes place in these locations: S&R BGC, S&R Aseana, S&R Congressional, S&R Alabang, S&R Shaw, S&R Cebu, S&R Pampanga, S&R Davao, S&R Imus, S&R Nuvali, and S&R Davao.

 

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I took this shot a few years ago.

 

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I like going to S&R during mornings, usually after my Pilates class. This was a regular shopping day, not a Member’s Treat Sale.

 

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Also taken during a lean time.

 

I’m sure you have your own strategy for hitting this Members’ Treat Sale. Do you go on the first day? Do you go morning, midday, or near closing time? Do you go alone so you focus? Or do you bring the whole family? Do you meet up with other mommy friends? The way I do it is I go alone so I can concentrate, haha. My husband is a minimalist when it comes to shopping. I also come with a general gift list because those Buy 1 Take 1 deals are really amazing. Then I like sending updates on my chat groups with my cousins and mommy friends. They do the same. We let each other know what the best deals are. If I need reinforcement (an extra cart), I ask my driver to come in so we have two carts. There, that’s my strategy.

I am wishing that these things are on 50% off –  household cleansers, toilet paper, organic chicken stock, quinoa, chia seeds, chopped garlic, Chicago mix popcorn, Christmas tins of anything, and other surprises like coffee tumblers, lunch boxes, flashlights, bath mats, towels. My wish list can go on and on. I can’t wait til S&R releases the official list of items on sale. But I am also open to surprises.

 

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Here’s a little teaser of some of the items that are going to be on sale on September 30 to October 2: UP Baby Wipes, Irish Spring Soap, Tresemme Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner, Suave 2 in 1 Professional Shampoo and Conditioner, Scope 1.5L, Dove Rough Patch Lotion Tube, Pantene Hair Spray, Dial Kids Hair and Body Wash Berry, White Rain Kids 3 in 1, Colgate Kids Mouthwash Bubblegum, UP Baby Wipes, Irish Spring Soap, US Vanilla Marble Ring Cake, US Double Choco-chip Creme Ring Cake, US Apple Raisin Creme Cake, Ben & Jerry Chunky Monkey, Ben & Jerry Chocochip Cookie Dough, Ben & Jerry New York Fudge Choco, Ranch House Angus Rib-eye Steak, Ranch House Beef Short Ribs, and Ranch House Angus Strip Steak.

See you at the S&R Members’ Treat Sale!!

 

#LoveSnr
#SnReveryday

 

 

Coffee, the De’Longhi way

 

 

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We take coffee seriously in our house. Patrick is very particular about the brewing process, the type of beans, the way they’re roasted, how they’re poured. We used to have an espresso coffee machine with special plastic pods of ground coffee. But after using it for a while, we felt guilty about the amount of trash it produced. Those plastic pods end up polluting the seas even if they promise to be biodegradable. So we went the extreme opposite and handcrafted every cup of coffee.

 

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Patrick’s daily love offering to me is my morning coffee. Haha. Because I missed the convenience of a coffee machine, he promised he would make my coffee for me. And he did everything from scratch. Newly roasted coffee beans (bought in small batches to ensure freshness) was ground by hand and poured over a canvas sieve.

 

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My kitchen started to look like a science lab. Sometimes Patrick used his Japanese siphon. These coffee stories made it to my book, CHIC, Tips on Life, Style, and Work. Sophia drew all the illustrations of her dad’s coffee paraphernalia.

 

A few months ago, I got a call from Anj Imperial, PR of Concept Specialist Inc. She asked me if I was interested to visit the De’Longhi showroom and see their newest top of the line machine – the PrimaDonna Elite. Before she continued, I had to ask her, “Does the machine use pods? Because if so, we won’t be interested because it produces too much garbage.” She said it does not. It uses whole or ground beans. And it has a built-in grinder. She told me more about the brand and that they had other kitchen appliances. So I made that special trip to Quezon City.

 

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At the De’Longhi showroom in Quezon City where I met Anj and the GM Joenie Hung.

 

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We talked all about coffee.

 

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I was introduced to the new PrimaDonna Elite which was then just about to launch. Since I wasn’t going to attend the launch because of a trip to Tokyo, they gave me a private preview and demo.

 

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The PrimaDonna Elite has an intuitive interface – 4.3” colour touch display – making it easy to choose any of the preferred coffee-based beverages in one touch.

 

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This is the PrimaDonna Elite. That carafe on the right is for hot chocolate.

 

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With the coloured touch display of the PrimaDonna Elite, you can personalise any drink to perfectly match any taste. You can also set-up your own personal profile by memorising ideal aroma, as well as temperature and quantity of coffee and milk for each drink.

 

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Perhaps what makes the PrimaDonna Elite even more special is that you can control the machine remotely by using your cellphone. Just download the Coffee Link App.

 

P7130052PrimaDonna Elite is the first De’Longhi machine with connectivity. You can select your favourite drinks, create new recipes with complete freedom and discover infinite personalizations.

 

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The De’Longhi LatteCrema System ensures dense and creamy milk froth with a silky smooth texture for any of the coffee-based milk drinks. The LatteCrema System always delivers best in-cup result: the perfect density – the perfect creaminess – at the perfect temperature, until the last drop.

 

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And here I was thinking I had given up milk-based coffee. After tasting the milk froth of the De’Longhi machine, I’m back to drinking cappuccinos and flat whites.

 

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Look at the layers and gradation. This machine allows you to create your favourite cup of coffee with exceptional standards, just like a Barista.

 

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With a De’Longhi bean-to-cup coffee maker, you can quickly and easily enjoy the experience of a perfect Italian espresso at home. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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Each time you make coffee, it is guaranteed to be fresh because the beans are freshly grounded by the integrated grinder and the professional brewing unit takes care of preparing full-flavoured expressos. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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Imagine all the coffees you can create with just the touch of one button. Latte art, not included. Source: The Coffee Chronicle by De’Longhi.

 

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De’Longhi’s International Commercial Director for Asia Pacific and Americas, Paul Accornero, together with Concept Specialist Inc.’s President, Joseph Hung, PR Manager Angela Imperial, and celebrity guest, Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo celebrated the launch of De’Longhi PrimaDonna Elite last July 20, 2016.

 

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Judy Ann unveiled the PrimaDonna Elite at an elegant event at the Shangrila Fort.

 

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De’Longhi’s Regional Manager of South East Asia and Pacific, Vincent Cheng teaches Inah Estrada how to do a latte art while TV Host Suzy Entrata looks on.

 

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Tessa Prieto Valdes and Patty Laurel Filart taste hot chocolate.

 

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Broadcasters all in attendance – Julius Babao, Gelli Rivera, Janice de Belen, Tintin Babao, Nelson Canlas, Luanne Dy, Rhea Santos, Nina Corpuz, Lyn Pascual.

 

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Patty Laurel-Filart, Tracy Ayson and Andi Manzano-Reyes

 

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Angel Aquino, Vivian Hung, and Concept Specialist Inc.’s General Manager Joenie Hung.

 

 

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Then it was my turn to welcome De’Longhi in to my home. After our Japan trip, De’Longhi delivered this beautiful PrimaDonna DeLuxe XS.

 

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Unboxing is always a thrill.

 

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PrimaDonna XS DeLuxe is the compact version of the PrimaDonna Elite. It does everything the same way, minus the touch screen, App capability, and chocolate carafe.

 

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Space is an issue in my kitchen. The De’Longhi’s slim, space-saving bean to cup coffee maker sits perfectly in my kitchen counter. It no longer looks like a science lab.

 

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The PrimaDonna DeLuxe XS is so sleek. I love Italian design. Now we can make cappuccino, cafe latte, cafe macchiato, espresso , steamed milk using freshly ground coffee beans. It is so easy to use.

 

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The PrimaDonna Deluxe XS features a patented Autocappuccino System for the perfect cappuccino, latte macchiato, caffe latte and hot milk, automatic cleaning integrated in the froth regulating knob, extra cappuccino device for steam and hot water, personalizing from short, medium or long. You can try a strong or extra mild aroma, enjoy it piping hot, medium or low temperature. The machine can be used with either coffee beans or ground coffee. The coffee bean container can hold 150 gr. There is an active cup warmer with dedicated button. You can prepare two cups of coffee with a single brewing. The coffee grinder has 13 adjustable settings. To top it all off, it is so easy to clean.

 

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Patrick and I are back to using a coffee machine, and not just an ordinary one. We have De’Longhi’s top of the line compact machine. His other coffee gadgets are still there for times he wishes to make hand-crafted coffee, but that doesn’t happen too often.

 

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That visit to the DeLonghi showroom in Quezon City opened up a whole new level for our appreciation of the art of making coffee. I also saw their complete line of kitchen appliances like – low-oil fryer and multi cooker, electric ovens, stylish kettles and toasters, bread makers. I ended up with an amazing mini convection oven that makes bread. Will blog about that next.

 

Concept Specialist Inc. is the official distributor of global brands such as De’Longhi, Sanremo Coffee Machines, Thermoplan and Fetco, and is the first in Asia to launch De’Longhi’s PrimaDonna Elite at the new Shangri-La at the Fort in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

For more information about Concept Specialist Inc. Like De’Longhi Philippines on Facebook and follow @delonghiph on Instagram.

Visit the De’Longhi showroom at 72 Sct. Dr. Lascano, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City and the concept store at D&K Kitchen Essentials at L/G East Wing, Shangri-La Mall, Mandaluyong City.

 

 

Discovery Shores Boracay

 

 

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Kids have been back to school for a month. The rains are here. Even though we had the longest summer break, I don’t know where our “summer” went. We didn’t do any major long trips. We did Tokyo on the last week of July, but for most of the summer break we were just home. June was the most action-packed for us, with my sister Johanna and her family visiting us for three weeks.

The highlight of my sister’s visit was our trip to Boracay. We wanted pure tropical bliss and an easy and safe destination for our kids. Discovery Shores Boracay was all that and more.

 

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Very nice Discovery Shores welcome

 

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Foot bath in our room, with 5 minute foot massage for each of us.

 

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We stayed in a one bedroom suite.

 

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Coffee machine and a nice kitchen counter.

 

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The living room was huge, with a balcony that led to our bedroom. Here is Sophia, receiving her welcome foot massage.

 

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The kids slept on the daybeds at the living room.

 

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The kids never stopped doing their art.

 

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My sister and her family stayed right next door. We kept our door open and shared our huge living room.

 

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Discovery Shores Boracay is very well-maintained.

 

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The second-floor corner room was our room. It had a wrap-around balcony.

 

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Sandbar during the day.

 

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I loved the landscaping, especially with these anahaw plants.

 

It is the service and personal touches that make a hotel special. The décor and maintenance of Discovery Shores Boracay were superb. But it was the service of the very well-trained and happy staff that made our stay most memorable.

 

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Every night they made these towel sculptures.

 

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Turn down service was lovely.

 

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And all over the resort, the staff was pleasing, knowledgeable, hospitable. They offer face sprays while you’re lying on the beach. Very refreshing.

 

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They give chilled cucumber slices for your eyes, which Lily loved.

 

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And they also offer to clean your sunglasses!

 

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At the pool, there are free snacks for all. We had muffins, cookies, halo halo!

 

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Free halo-halo

 

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Every afternoon the kids have activiites.

 

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We particularly loved the T-shirt painting activity.

 

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While the kids played, we did our thing… happy hour.

 

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The location of Discovery Shores right on the beach at the end of Station One makes it one of the more exclusive sites with the ultimate luxury of having the softest, whitest, finest sand in Boracay.

 

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Boracay is beautiful no matter what time of day. I particularly love how silvery the beach gets during midday.

 

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My lovely sister

 

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This is my favourite “attraction” in Boracay. When everything and everyone slows down for the greatest sunset show on earth.

 

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Magic hour glow.

 

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My nephews.

 

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Night scene, lighting design is beautiful at Discovery Shores.

 

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Lighting is everything.

 

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Food in Sands Restaurant was so good. We always looked forward to their impressive breakfast buffet – with continental, oriental, Filipino dishes.

 

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I loved this incredible chicken pork adobo. Oh my. I don’t know how many hours they slow cooked this. It was soo good. Best adobo I’ve had ever!

 

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Seriously!

 

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The kids’ meals were generous. Most of them were shareable sizes.

 

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Burger…

 

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Lechon kawali…

 

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It’s always Happy Hour when you’re on vacation.

 

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Room service was fun too. We loved the hotdog and fries! Comfort food!

 

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Discovery Shores Boracay’s Indigo Restaurant was featured twice in the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants List, and shortlisted for the 2010/2011 MIELE Guide to Asia’s Best Restaurants.

 

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The other half of the resort fronting the beach is Sandbar.

 

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Sands Restaurant and Sandbar.

 

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Back to Indigo… They prepared a wonderful dinner for us by the beach.

 

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This was our view.

 

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Dinner at Indigo, Discovery Shores Boracay with my sister, the boys, and our family.

 

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The servings are big, family-style. Plating was so creative.

 

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Comfort and great service even til the end.

 

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Our boat transfers to Caticlan.

 

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The boat ride was just five minutes long, and the attendant made sure we were comfortable. She offered water, cookies, a cold towel.

 

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Three nights in Discovery Shores Boracay. Perfect.

 

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Thank you, Discovery Shores Boracay.

 

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Transportation: Air Asia
Accommodation: Discovery Shores Boracay