Tag Archives: Greenhills

Back soon…

Don’t give up on my just yet – it’s been super-quiet around these parts, but at this time tomorrow Tracy will be on her flight back to NYC so all the shopping, eating out, non-working out and non-blogging will cease so normal life can resume.  (I don’t even want to weigh myself:  super bloated, clothes are tight, it’s not looking good…)

More pictures and updates from our trip to Kota Kinabalu and from my trip with Tracy to Coron.  Meanwhile, I’ve posted a ton to instagram lately, and this is what you missed…

Drinking red ginseng tea on my way to pick up Tracy at the airport…  (I was running a 101 fever then – not fun.)


First glimpse at our hotel in Kota Kinabalu (highly recommend the Magellan Sutera – it was wonderful!).


Enjoying the pool, while facing the (tiny) beach.


Karl can’t help but pick up (other people’s) trash from the beach.


Sunday, when my fever was finally gone (without needing to take a fever reducer to function – all gone for real!), we woke up to this (and it was like that ALL DAMN DAY – and it wasn’t just rain, that walkaway flooded soon after):


Inappropriate much?


Yes, the postcard was cute…


Another shot of our lovely hotel!


If you ever wondered:  yep, Starbucks is the same in any country you go to…


Philippines Independence day!  HUGE flag in Ayala Park!


Tracy getting her first foot massage in Asia!


We made it to Coron!  Now it’s dinnertime!


My dinner:  kinilaw (Filipino ceviche – it’s amazing!) and garlic squid.  With rice, of course, this is the Philippines after all.


Tracy’s first halo-halo experience.  Now we keep shouting “halo-halo!” “HALO!” like idiots.  Inside joke, Karl did not get it…


Surprise, surprise!  The view from our hotel (Asia Grand View) was awesome!  Highly recommend it, by the way, super nice people, quiet, a 5 minute, 15 pesos, tricycle ride to town and you get to look at this during breakfast…


Waiting for boarding at the Coron Airport.  And yes, this is the whole thing.


Back in Manila!  Tracy shops at the Mall of Asia!


And buys a ridiculous amount of SPAM at the hypermarket…


Remember our friends who adopted the kitten I found?  Soooo…  They pulled a Carla, and on Saturday I went to help them feed this tiny little kitten.  Here’s hoping he makes it.  Like the one I found, this also had no mom to be found, but was in the middle of the street.  He doesn’t even have his eyes open yet, and the umbilical cord is still attached…


If you have dinner with Tracy, this is what happens:


Lily getting some loving from Karl…


All dressed up, nowhere to go!


Tracy went shopping in Divisoria, and all she got was this huge coffee bun.  Seriously, no purses?  This time, I bought not bags for myself, and was super-proud.  Baby steps.


Karl showing off his Bangkok purchase from January.  May the froth be with you.


Greenhills!  Tracy now regrets not buying the necklace she’s holding in the picture.


Pearls at Greenhills…  Yes, I bought more.  Because you can’t have too many necklaces, right?


Lots of construction noise going on upstairs.  Lily was very scared (but super cuddly, so it’s a win for me!).


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Filed under Asia, Philippines, Pictures, Travel, Traveling in Asia

Manila Favorites!

I know, I know, how presumptuous of me to blog about my Manila favorites when we’ve only been here 7.5 months (OMG, we’ve already been here that long??).  And this list might change in a year for all I know, but since I’m always giving advice to newcomers and even seasoned Manila folks (I have a big mouth, what can I say?), I figured it’s time to write some things down…  Since we live in Makati, my recommendations are concentrated mostly there, so it’s also a good Makati guide.  And by all means, add in the comments your favorites – I don’t know everything here yet, and I can always use more recommendations!


Blog 1QiWellness (pronounced “chi”) Hands down the best massage I’ve had.  I’ve tried The Spa and a lot of other local places and I never get a massage quite consistently good as in Qi (though I admit The Spa’s atmosphere cannot be beat!).  My favorite massages are both 90 minutes long, and cost P1080 ($25):  QiVitality massage, is a bit deeper pressure with some stretches (perfect after a workout!), and QiTranquility is a combination of lymphatic drainage and a bunch of other things to relax the hell out of you…  Once in a while I go for the Hot Stone massage, just for variety.  QiWellness is located at: 119 L.P. Leviste St, Salcedo Village, Makati.



Blog 2QiWellness does a great foot massage, but I’m cheap, so 99% of the time, you’ll see me going to Lotus My Massage Place for a one hour foot massage for only P350 ($8).  I always go for the reflexology one:  it’s super relaxing and even includes a great lower leg massage – awesome after a run!



Blog 3NailTropics, Greenbelt 5.   Great prices and you can splurge for the foot/hand treatment if you’re feeling fancy (or want to relax).  It includes a foot/hand massage and scrub, and it’s awesome.



Blog 15

This is a tough one…  People’s Palace in Greenbelt 3 is an all-time favorite, and their Pomelo Salad cannot be beat. 

But I have had equally amazing meals at Simply Thai in Greenbelt 5 (they’re 3 Sauce Softshell Crabs are yummy), and Mango Tree, also in Greenbelt 5, has impressed as well!



Blog 7Alba, in Polaris St, Makati.  The ham croquettes are fried to perfection, and the paellas are amazing.  I love their paella negra with squid ink, while Karl is a big fan of the peppered steak.  The pitcher of sangria is only P600 ($14), and if that wasn’t enough, they have the cutest band there, serenading you with Spanish and English songs as you eat.



Blog 9Have you heard of a cake being blended in with ice cream?  That’s exactly what CBD, on Ayala Triangle in Makati, does.  Though their burgers and cheesesteaks are nothing to write home about, their milkshake is to die for (and really, eating a burger before a milkshake is not the way you want to go about this!).  If you’re a peanut butter fan, I highly recommend their peanut butter vanilla toffee.  There are chunks of peanut butter!  Karl’s favorite is the chocolate cake one – and you guessed it, chocolate ice cream blended with chocolate cake.



Blog 8I know the local favorite tend to be Chili’s (yes, that Chili’s), but it’s always crowded and you wait forever for a refill.  I recently found Mr. Jones, and aside from great American food (their macaroni and cheese with mushrooms is to die for), they have great frozen margarita.  At P225 ($5.25), it’s not cheap, but it’s at least twice the size of the one at Chili’s making this a great deal!  If you prefer a margarita on the rocks, I have yet to find a place that does them better than Chili’s so go for it.



Blog 16Seryna, in Little Tokyo, right across from Makati Cinema Square.  When you’re eating sushi and listening to Japanese being spoken around you (not that I can understand a thing), you know you’re in the right place!  I go there for lunch a lot, since their bento box is only P350($8).  If you want to try the bento box, they’re open every day for lunch until 1:30pm, including weekends.



Blog 10Swagat Indian Cuisine in Rada St, Makati — it was recommended by my friend Irida (who is the true expert of Manila, seriously, but to my despair she has now moved back to Italy), and I’ve been there with her and it was delish!  We liked it way better than the famous Queens of Bollywood in Greenbelt, even though Bollywood does have a better atmosphere.



Blog 11

Corner Tree Cafe, on Jupiter Avenue, Makati.  I know, I know, I’m far from a vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy dishes lacking meat.  Corner Tree Cafe has great food (even very-carnivore Karl agrees!) and there’s enough variety that you won’t even be missing meat, I promise!



Blog 12 (2)Arya Persian Restaurant, in Greenhills.  This was another one of Irida’s recommendations, and though I hit Persia Grill more often than not (it’s cheap, and it’s a couple of blocks from our place, perfect for rainy days!), Arya definitely has better quality food.



Blog 12The champagne brunch at the Spiral at Sofitel.  They’re closed until the spring, due to damage from the typhoon, but the brunch is being served at the bar and it was just as nice.  I recommend making a reservation, skipping breakfast that morning, and if you call they’ll tell you the brunch opens at 11:30am, but keep in mind they only start serving champagne at noon, so make your plans accordingly.  I totally ate my weight in cheese when we went there for our anniversary, and though it’s expensive (I think P1,800/person?) it was worth it, so worth it.


FAVORITE DRINK:  If you like lychee, the best drink I’ve had in Manila so far is “A Long White Cloud” from People’s Palace (linked above).  Lychee, elderflower, citron vodka, lemongrass, rosewater.  YUM!



blog13Uh, I have already talked about this one:  Greenhills!  I’ve been to Divisoria too and wasn’t as impressed, Greenhills on the other hand, tugs at my heart each time!  It’s overwhelming at first, but every time I go back I feel more and more at home.



Of course, I’m totally biased because that’s the only gym I’ve been to here, but I did tour Gold’s and Fitness First (both were PACKED when we went).  FTX might not be best if you like to just hit the weights or the cardio machines, but if you want to do something different, like circuit training or take classes, I highly recommend them!



Blog 14Coras Derm Centre (they don’t have a website, but this is the best place to link them to).  I really should go more often, I know…  It’s the only place where I’ve been so far where they actually take my face seriously and give me a facial (I went to a place in Salcedo, and I got a 5 minute facial and a 55 minute head massage, I was livid – I don’t even like head massages!).  I also get a “hydra-diamond peel” there as well (basically a microdermabrasion with serum).


To see another perspective on Manila recommendations, check out Sarah’s post from earlier this year.  And the facials was totally her recommendation too!  (I go to the same threading place as well, but I have mixed reviews of it, so not recommending just yet…)


Filed under Manila

I *heart* Greenhills

22 - greenhills

There is a shopping center/market here in Manila called Greenhills.  If you ever been to Manila, for sure you have heard of it, because that’s where people go to buy pearls.  Lots and lots of pearls.

23 - greenhills pearl vendor

I have to be honest, before moving here, pearls didn’t really excite me.  But I had no clue how much variety there was to be found!  I have since stocked up on many different colors and styles of freshwater pearls, and also bought a tiger eye necklace, a lapis lazuli one, a couple of turquoise ones… 

Yes, one can say I have a problem…  (But wouldn’t you have one too if you could score all of the necklaces below for a little over $150?)


Now where does one store all these new necklaces?  Well, in pretty jewelry boxes also bought at Greenhills, of course!  They’re made with coconut shells, seashells, seeds, bamboo…


Another one of my favorite Greenhills purchase?  This awesome vase made of coconut shell!  I think the asymmetrical sides are so cool!  I have a feeling I’ll be buying a couple more of these before we leave Manila…


Boxes and vases aren’t the only thing made of coconut shell – there are many bowls made with a technique similar to the boxes and vase above, or just a simple shell, glazed on the inside…


And let’s not forget my collection of coasters made with seashells…


And if none of this excites you, they also sell clothes, pillow covers (our couches are a lot prettier now!) and other tapestries, handbags, backpacks, electronics and even furniture!  (I’m in love with a dining table they sell, and though I like my dining table ok, I’ve been wondering if they can make it into a coffee table for me…)

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So though I’m walking distance to fancy-shmancy Greenbelt mall, I never shop there.  I wait to do all my shopping at Greenhills.  I can’t wait to take my mom there, as I know she’ll fall in love with that (crazy) place as much as I have!

And yes, if you ever decide to visit me here in Manila, get your wallet ready for some shopping!  And that’s my biggest problem:  every time I go there, either to buy gifts or to take a new person to Greenhills, I come home with more necklaces for myself…

(Photos of Greenhills were taken by my friend Liz when she was visiting.  You can check out her other photos of the Philippines, or all her travels at her photo website.)


Filed under Manila, Philippines