Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cotton Anniversary Travel: 7 Cotton -y Days In Phuket, Thailand

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

our "hearty" wedding bathrobes 

As Asia's most popular beach destination, Phuket, Thailand was our hands down choice for our trip together to celebrate our second year of marital bliss last September 21, 2015. Cotton is the traditional symbol of a second year wedding anniversary so we were particularly eyeing for a romantic getaway with lots of "cotton" stuff during our trip to Phuket from September 18-26, 2015. Since we made a two-day side trip to Bangkok (another post!), we were in Phuket for only seven days, and daily we found opportunities to pick up our "cotton" gifts! Here are our 7 - Cotton - y Days in a destination that does not disappoint! 

Villareal Condo via AirBnB
Day 1 (Evening) - Cotton Couple Tees, Pillows and Bath TowelsOur "cottony" celebration starts right off when we left the Philippines! Aboard Cebu Pacific, we wore our red, matching couple tee - shirts made of 100% cotton and packed six more of these "cotton" tees we bought during our Summer Cotton Travel in Singapore, Johor Bahru, KL and Melaka to put us on a celebratory mood without spending anything! As we arrived at night, it was a welcome thing to have an accommodation in Villareal Heights, a luxury boutique hotel situated conveniently between Kata and Karon beaches in Phuket. I found it on AirBnB for less than P1,000 a night with an outdoor swimming pool! We love the room and it was exactly what we need since hubby was sick and needed rest for two days! Room was spacious and has large windows for the view of the lush mountains and the stunning Andaman Sea. It was fitted with King - size bed, super comfy white beddings, white cotton pillows and tons of cotton towels, AC, huge ref, microwave oven and TV with cable channels

In a restaurant along the road right next to Villareal Heights

View of Villareal Height's Lobby from our room
Day 2 - Couple Tees. Coz hubby still needs to recuperate, our second day was mostly for eating and sightseeing while dressed in our matching couple cotton teesLucky for us because our condo is only a few minutes stroll to Karon, Kata and Kata Noi beaches,shopping and local night life. We walked around Kata which is 10 minutes away and sampled local cuisine in three different restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
Ibis Hotel Swimming Pool View from our room

Day 3 (Morning) - Couple Tees, Towels and Pillows. On our third day, we were ready for the beach so we moved to Ibis Phuket Kata hotel which is located close to the beautiful Kata Beach for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. But since it has a nice outdoor pool, we tested the water there first, sort of preliminary. Our standard Double Bed (P1,250 a night) has a balcony for a view of the swimming pool and Kata Beach.Although the room features only a double bed (a downgrade from King - size bed) it was comfortable and atop two comfy white huge cotton pillows. The LCD TV, fridge and free WIFI Internet access are bonus! 

Kata Beach in our matching wedding bathrobes and matching slippers

Day 3 (Afternoon)  Matching Cotton Bathrobes, Cotton Beach Towels and Couple Tees  - We took Ibis' complimentary transport service to Kata Beach in our matching couple tees. With its  1.5 km strip of golden sand shoreline it was an opportune time for us to soak up in the sun and swim to our heart's content with our beachwear and walk along the beach hand in hand with our matching cotton bathrobes, cotton towels and slippers

In front of Wat Chalong on Motorcycle 

Big Buddha from afar
Day 4 (Morning / Afternoon) Matching Cotton Tees  - We rented a motorcycle (because hubby said so!) and made our way to Phuket Big Buddha on Nakkerd Hills. The roads leading up to the hill are in good condition, but some are steep and have many curves so I wasn't breathing for about six kilometers lol. There are many red-and-white signs so we were able to find the site easily. When we reached the top, we found the giant Buddha still under construction. But we found a good spot for the amazing view of Phuket and took pictures with other smaller buddhas in the pavilion. There is no entrance fee yet.

On our way back, we dropped by Wat Chalong to check the beautiful designs of Siamese architecture, and observe the practices of local Buddhist culture. 

(Side Trip to Bangkok)

Our bed in Kata Orient House with our
 cotton towels shaped into kissing swans

Day 5 (Morning) Cotton  Bath Towels and Cotton Pillows  - From Bangkok, we checked in at the Kata Orient House for the last two days of our stay in Phuket. I booked it in for P1,000 a night. Our room is in the ground floor as in all the rooms in this hotel, so it is easy to get our luggage in. We were impressed to see our bed with dark pink cotton towels shaped into two swan kissing and forming a heart! The room is medium size with AC, TV and internet. There is an outdoor swimming pool and a 7/11 right in front of the hotel so not having a ref is ok!

 "Three Beaches" Hill top for the view of Kata Noi, Kata and Karon beaches

Day 5 (Afternoon) - Back in Phuket and wearing a complete matching couple attire - cotton tees, shorts and slippers, we rented again a motorcycle and headed to Karon View Point which is near our hotel. Also known as the "Three Beaches Hilltop", we were able to enjoy a panoramic view of the three (3) beaches of Kata, Karon, and Kata Noi. There is no entrance fee.

Patong Bangla Road

Day 5 (Afternoon/Evening) - Still aboard our motorcycle, we drove along the coastal road to enjoy the view of the country side, stopping along Karon Beach and Patong Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the area. At night, we went to see the Patong Bangla Road for curiosity sake. I was totally shocked and not sure what to say! 

snorkeling in Phi Phi Ley's Maya Bay

Maya Bay
Day 6 (Morning / Afternoon/Evening) Cotton Beach Towels and Couple Tees  - We saved the best for last literally when we booked our Phuket to Ko Phi Phi by Express Ferry Day Tour during our last full day in Phuket! 

The tour package (which we got for P1,500 each instead of P3,000) includes a visit to the iconic island of Ko Phi Phi, snorkeling in Maya Beach, hotel pick up & drop off and buffet lunch at Phi Phi Don.
Stepping On Phi Phi Don White Sand

Ko Phi Phi Don
Ko Phi Phi or Phi Phi Islands is the highlight of our "cotton" anniversary as it was made famous by the filming of Leonardo Di Caprio's movie "The Beach" in 1999. There are actually five islands, but Phi Phi Don is the largest and most inhabited. This is where we have lunch and played on its soft white sand as part of our "journey to forever" couple's feet picture tradition! 

The other island which is often visited is Phi Phi Leh particularly the Maya Bay. Actually it is Maya Bay that was actually featured in the movie. Our ferry moored in  deeper water so we could jump off to snorkel. It was so beautiful both in the surface and under water with all the brightly colored fish and corals. 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Double Four on Hubby's 44th Birthday!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

44 Birthday Treats - 4 cheese potato, 4 kinds of chocolate cake
and 4Dx movie - Ant Man at BGC Cinema
"A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.– Unknown "
My husband Raymond is forty-four-year-old today, July 20! Yeahey! But knowing that he does not like anything big or fancy on his birthday, I worked extra - hard for that part of the birthday surprise! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Money Matters: Five (5) Ways To Save P500K in 10 Months To Pay Off Our Policy Loans!

By: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

My hubby Red has little tolerance for having debt. So when we discovered last June 1, 2015 that our policy loans of P500K remain unpaid, he suggested that we use our current Holiday Savings Fund (the P200sP100s and all loose coins collected into small yellow tin can and deposited on our joint passbook savings account every 15th and 30th of each month) to pay off the loans and refrain from taking trips abroad in the meantime. I said, No way (silently)! 

Don't get me wrong. Though not required, I want us to repay the policy loans (so that the cash surrender value of the ten (10) policies I got when I was still single, will not be reduced by the amount of the loan plus interest). But I still want us to enjoy a good life while doing so. I want us to be able to take our Summer and anniversary vacations in September while paying off the loans from June 2015 until March 2016. But I know this means we should save money by changing our lifestyles, cutting our cost every chance we get, and keeping track of our spending to find ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary expenses. 

Here are the  Five (5) Ways we are adopting to Save Money to pay off policy loans in the next 10 months...

1. Our Savings Bottles Plan. This is very similar to how we build up our Holiday Fund Savings Account with a little twist. I have five (5) containers - the P200 bills still go into the yellow tin can for our holiday fund, the P100 bills are collected for policy loans payment, the P10 coins go into Red & Mhe's bottle for anything that we want to buy guilt free, P5 coins are collected for fun entertainment, and the P1 coins for eating out. I know that the amount is not much, but it adds up quickly and we are still able to live a good life while trying to pay off our debt.

2. "No IMAX movies". Red is a sucker for movies and he wants to watch movies every Friday on IMAX which cost P450 each (or P400 with our Tap To Pay Card). This means that we spend P4000 every single month on combo movies with snack. We decided to just watch movies at condo on our 42' inches TV with skycable and utilize snacks from the fridge.

3. "Don't Buy Just Because It's On Sale". This ones for me! I love to buy new clothes or shoes whenever I see the word SALE and this translate into spending  about P4000 to  P5000 on a monthly basis even though the clothes or shoes are on huge discount. 

4. Adopt a Hearty Receipt System. Just because I have two (2) heart-shaped boxes where we keep the receipts for GROCERY and OTHER lifestyle expenses (while hubby continue to keep other receipts). This way we will know where our money is going and make adjustments where needed. Since a huge chunk of our budget goes to food, we decided that we will eat at home more often.

5. Buy Bread at French Baker At 8:30PM. Red loves bread, and I am lucky to learn that French Baker at Cash & Carry sells all their breads at 50% off, thirty (30) minutes before closing time on a daily basis. But you must line up by 8pm to ensure that you get the breads that you really want. Hubby loves bonnet raisins and cinnamon rolls so I line up at least once a week.

This list will  surely grow as I am on the look out for some more frugal ways to save some money. With this five (5) ways, we were able to pay the first policy loan amounting to P54,000 last June 29. Yeahey!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

21 on 21 and 21 Names I Call My Amazing Hubby!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

It's Out! My Husband Has 21 Other Aliases (read on...)

We are celebrating our 21 months of marital bliss today, June 21. Luckily this day coincides with Father's Day celebration, a choice opportunity to shower some love and presents and more love to the man in my life I call "honey" . But since my hubby Raymond is very difficult to buy gifts for, I am letting him (and everyone) know instead, that he is amazing and I am so grateful for all the things he does that made my life so much happier (& easier) 

So honey, here are 21 reasons why I say that the best "HUBBY" in the world belongs to me. Time for name calling ---

1. You are a Big Hugger. 
Thank you for always putting your big arms around me, 
for your welcoming embrace, and for finding time to snuggle against me
on a daily basis!

2. You are a Caretaker in every sense of the word.You care for me enough to just let me rest while you take care of the house' messy chores and the dirty dishes!

3. You are a Motivator. You encourage me to set goals and you motivate and support me until I tick it off my list. But when do we hit the gym? lol

4. You are an Elegant Driver(in this photo!).
But we both know you don't always dress like that, reason you love motorcycles. 
Anyhow, thank you so much for driving me safely and patiently to all my appointments and that what matters most!

5. You are my cheapest LaundromatThank you for always loving to do the laundry every week! You get the job done fast, clothes are clean and smell good, and payment is cheap - a kiss and a hug

6. You are my Superhero.Is your name Iron man because you are always behind the ironing board? 

7. You are A "Baby Sitter". 
You never fail put me to sleep on your arms at night !

8. You are my Interior Designer. You never tire moving the furniture around the condo, for a new look -- daily!

9. You are my Fashion Adviser.You just know what clothes or shoes to buy for me!

10.You are a Monster Tickler. 
Who's crying during our tickling sessions? lol
Thank you for your sense of humor and 
for always being up for a good laugh!

11. You are my Protector.Thank you for carrying heavy stuff, opening soda bottles with your strength, opening the door for me, getting that umbrella out when I get out of the car to protect me from the sun and the rain. And oh, I almost forgot, thank you for always reminding me of my supplements.

12. You are My Tall, Twin Sister. 
Being the only girl in the family, I have never been able to wear 
matching shirt, matching short, and flower in the ears with anyone else before. 
With you, all those are possible big time!
13. You are an enthusiastic Story Teller.What's the latest news on Kathryn Bernardo? lol

14. You are the Total Entertainer. You can sing, you can play the guitar, you can compose songs, and you can dance - sweet and very sweet! 

15.You are a Great Playmate!
Thank you for fun play time, giggling and joking around.

Makes it easier to handle the serious -not-so-fun stuff!

16. You are an Artist in the Kitchen. Such a great cook. Thank you for surprising me with a ready-to-eat breakfast you lovingly prepared!

17. You are my Savvy Handyman, a do - it- yourself repairman, plumber, electrician, carpenter and even a gardener! 

18.You are an awesome Travel Companion.
Be it a road trip, staycation, backpacking adventures,
business trips or our annual Summer and Anniversary travels,
you never tire being with me and carrying the luggage!
19. You are a True Leader by being the servant in our home.You lead by your selfless service and always taking the first move (at throwing the trash, doing the dishes, etc. lol).

20. You are my Best Friend.Thank you for giving up your job and becoming interested with mine, so you can help me. You always see to it that we spend time together,talk about things and have fun together like good friends do.

21. You are my King of Pops 
(that's coming from your daughter or grand daughter me! lol)
                           Thank you for being such a sweet dude with a sweet tooth!                                                            

And HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to ALL wonderful husbands, dads, and brothers out there.

*all photos are taken by Alain and Azon Tagpuno.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 Wedding Anniversary Travel: Spending Summer in Singapore, Johor, KL and Melaka in Malaysia

Mhe-anne L. Ojeda - Isidro

This has all our motif colors - red, yellow, blue and white
Our second wedding anniversary is not until September 21, 2015, but just the same we (and even our friends) are already in celebratory mood! (see those "2" signs!! lol)

"V" sign with Japanese colleague at the Forever Living Global Rally
Cotton is the traditional symbol for two years of marital bliss, while China is its modern counterpart. Here are Five (5) Ideas how we incorporated our second year anniversary symbols during our summer trip to Singapore and Malaysia from April 18-26, 2015!

Day 1 - Manila to Johor Bahru, Malaysia
1. Wear Identical Cotton Shirts for 9 - days. Not only it makes it easier to pack paired wardrobe, couple tees are trendy and catchy at that! Believe me! I easily spotted my hubby among the throng of people during the trip lol! 

Day 2 - Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Day  3 - Johor Bahru to KL

Day 4 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Besides, cotton is the best fabric for summer according to human touch of chemistryas it allows better air circulation to avoid fungal breeding, light weight so heat just passes through and prevents allergic reaction

Day 5 - Melaka, Malaysia

Day 6 - Singapore Merlion Tour

Day 7 - Singapore Sentosa
Day 8 - Singapore Heritage Tour

Day 8 - Singapore to Manila
2. Visit Sights That Reflects "2" like Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the tallest twin tower building in the world! These two (2) towers  have double - eight (88) floors and feature a double - decker skybridge connecting  the two - towers on the 41st and 42nd floor, which is the highest 2-story bridge in the world!

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Cotton Bath Towels and Bathrobes. Oh well, summer is not summer without water, lots of water! That means there's a lot of opportunities to use cotton bath towels and bath robes.
Legoland Water Park has the bring your own towel (or you rent)
so we brought our own cotton bath towels!
Dorsett Hotel has an outdoor pool and provided us with white
and orange cotton bath towels and white cotton bathrobes
4. Cotton Pillow Cases. Summer travel is all about accommodations and those comfy white cotton pillows and pillow cases are part of our basic must - haves for choosing boutique hotels in Singapore and Malaysia.

Dorsett Room at Dorsett Hotel in Chinatown
Venus Boutique Hotel has white and lavender cotton pillow cases
5. Anything ChinaThe place and not "china" plates! But I am playing with words here since the theme is not limited to material, right? And since we have not booked a trip to China, we see to it that we stay at "Chinatown" while in Singapore, eat "Chinese" dishes and spot anything "China" like a picture with a Chinese boy while at the MRT station.

Red just love this Chinese boy picture at the MRT station in Chinatown

We stayed in Chinatown for the four days that we were in Singapore, and it was definitely the best choice as we were so close to everything "cheap but great" - be it "hawker foods", "culture", "history", "picturesque temples & mosques", "quirky shops" and "24 - hour eateries"!
I Heart KL sign at the KL City Gallery near  Merdeka Square
So the long (that's Red) and short (that's me) of it, is that we are in love, and we heart celebrating our second year of togetherness in a big way twice this year (in Summer and in September)!