Easy Breezy Day at Thunderbird

Since I blocked my sked for any travel this month but my feet are still itching to travel, I thought it would be a good idea to try to spend a weekend in a nice hotel. Sounds fun, specially for me na madalas puro uneasy and flash backpacking ang trips. This one's gonna be different. Luckily I found Thunderbird.

○ The Resort

Thunderbird Resorts - Rizal is located in a highland valley along the Sierra Madre range. The 41-suite luxury resort is a sprawling mass of lush tropical greenery and elegant interior design. To meet sophisticated business and leisure demands, they offer world-class services and amenities – all set within easy reach from Manila.

Thunderbird - Rizal

the hotel facade

the rooms with veranda

Admit it, it's not the hotel facade which makes the guests decide whether to book or not. It is everything about the room, the pool, the amenities, and the food. Well Thunderbird will provide you every reason why settle in their resort.

○ Stay
Thunderbird - Rizal has 3 types of rooms to choose from.
Priced at P15,000/night - this Presidential Suite is I think a good rate compared to other high end hotel brands.

the dining table and receiving area at the back

spacious living room

master's bedroom

writing desk

bathroom with tub

I could imagine a relaxing family bonding in this room over a long weekend.
Anyway, there's also a Deluxe Room which has the same ambiance and comfort, yet more affordable.

Deluxe Room - big enough for 4

2 double beds

small living area - plus points!
I dont like a room without this. ayoko ng puro kama lang..

cabled tv fronting the beds

the spacious bathroom
yes, that's me standing in the tub.. haha

complete with toiletries, of course..

And by the way, this is the view from the veranda..

view from your own veranda

These types of rooms can make me just stay at home. (--,)

---> I hate sharing rooms with other backpackers whenever I travel, but this case is an exemption. It's ThePinaysolobackper who I will be sharing the room with.

(di pa ko tapos sayo Gael, gusto ko ng hardcore na travel with you.. at pasensya ka na, masungit ako sa personal. hehe)

Me, Anton (salingpusa lang sa room namin), and Gael

○ Dine
A good stay is always complemented with a good dining experience. Thunderbird offers at least 3 restaurants to serve its hungry guests.

four seasons

warm thai beef salad

steamed lapu lapu with mango and coriander salsa

panna cotta

Not only the food are pleasant to the eyes, but they also satisfied our stomach as well. I can clearly remember everyone savoring each bite of every dish. Obviously the chef knows how to do his stuff. Kudos to the very attentive waitresses too.

○ Swim
Everyone loves to take a dip in a pool, specially if it's an infinity pool overlooking Manila Bay.

Thunderbird's infinity pool

and it's not crowded at all

kid's area after the bridge (2feet)

care to spend your siesta in this jacuzzi?

I like the fact that there's not much guests here. This is a plus point aside from the obvious part that this pool is very attractive.

○ Play
Inside the resort is the Fiesta Casino. Guests can do gaming, watch live bands, have casual dining and drinking, etc.. There's just so much to do to in this area.

the VIP room for high end gamers

the roulette

baccarat game

gambling is always fun!
ansaya, natutunan ko ang madaming sugal! =)

at Fiesta Casino

Gambling is a game of chance and Im not surprised that I always ended up winning. Too bad sabi ng agent, pag swerte sa sugal, malas sa lovelife.. Oh well, di ako naniniwala dun! Haha

○ Spa
Not a fan of massage, but a 15-min complimentary massage is a must experience.

a complimentary 15-min massage

That's a good way to end the day.

Thunderbird Rizal has ongoing day tour and room promos until December 2011. Why not give this luxury and international resort a try in one of your weekends?

Thunderbird Resorts - Rizal

Updated 01/18/2011
Experience Thunderbird all year round with these promo rates: CLICK HERE

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It was a nice experience to just stay and relax in a hotel instead of the usual out of town trips. In fact Im gonna do it again since wala akong lakad this November. (please dont try to invite me, i intentionally blocked my sked).

So, sinong interested to join? I just need 1 or 2 companions.
Note: this is NOT FREE.
Please email me again if you do (sorry nalito na ko sino yung mga nag-advise before na gustong maging travel buddy ko..) Let me know ha.

My 45-Hour Coron Getaway

Actually, this is supposed to be a 48-hour trip. Very bitin I know! And unfortunately our flight got delayed for 3 hours more so there, it became a 45-Hour trip. ^_^

Nevertheless, I still get my hopes high in this trip. Besides, a lot of Pinoys say that Coron is the best spot in Pinas.

a preview of Coron's paradise

At 2pm, finally a touchdown at Busuanga airport. My friends and I met our driver kuya Mark who's been waiting for us since 11am. After a 45-min drive to town proper, we we're introduced to our boatman Kuya Toto (contact number 09077468955 and 09276945752). And off we go to our destination: Banana Island.

journey to Banana Island

Note: spending a night in Banana Island is quite pricier than staying around town, but since we don't have enough hours to visit coron loop and the beaches in 45 hours, we all agreed to maximize our time and spend our 1st night at Banana Island.

arriving at Banana Island

We reached the island after an hour or so. We paid Aling Violeta and his husband, the owners of the island, P800 each for a 12-hour generator powered stay. The 7-hour generator rate is of course cheaper. Anyway, since we were the only visitors, we were given 4 kubos, 2 occupants sleep per kubo.

Banana Island accommodation

each kubo has 2 beds, 2 fans, a decent CR

A decent accommodation in a remote island. The kubo as well as the bedsheets are clean. The restroom has fresh water too.

Im usually tamad on the 1st day at ayoko pa muna magpicture taking. Relax muna on this duyan.

super beachfront accommodation

just in time for the sunset

Due to my working and sleeping hours, I rarely catch the sunset. Nakakamiss din pala.. Anyway, our kind and funny boatmen prepared our dinner. They are very maasikaso. Also, thank you Kayleen and Cha for buying our supplies ahead.

meet my friends from college

That ends Day 1. I slept early because I haven't slept for the last 24 hours.

Day 2: Coron, indeed one of the best spots in the Philippines

Coron Essentials:
underwater camera, snorkeling gears, off lotion

you'll regret big time if you don't have these 3 things with you

Right after breakfast which was prepared by our boatmen, we headed to the shore and enjoy the beach!

○ Banana Island

Banana Island

the sand is white, the water is clear, the seabed is mabato

kat and thea, ito ay jump shot lamang, hindi long jump competition Ü

shaded stretch

A beautiful secluded place yet convenient. Plus points!

○ Malcapuya

We put our things in the boat and started island hopping. The nearest beach is next - Malcapuya.

arriving at Malcapuya

the nipa huts

the super fine beach stretch

Howkey, dahil corny pag may cover-up..

my nautical swimwear by http://waterwear.multiply.com

Me, Jacq, Dred, Pola, Kay, Cha, Kat, Thea

We enjoyed this place all by ourselves. Ansaya!
Super ganda, though I've seen better..

○ Skeleton Wreck

arriving at Skeleton Wreck

Entrance is P100.
We looked around and everything impressed us. Rock formations are noticeable. The water is very clear. The fish are everywhere. I cant wait to go snorkeling!

presenting my accidental underwater shots:

underwater world

corals and more

and so much more

andaming fish!

our boatman's feet - captured

photo op with the fish

dont these fish get full?

amazing fishies

super enjoy

Parang underwater photography na ang gusto ko maging career!
Never miss Skeleton Wreck in your island hopping tour.

○ Kayangan Lake

Most awaited and the highlight of every tour in Coron. The limestone rock formations are very impressive.

Banul Beach
Ayaw na namin ng beach, gusto namin snorkeling activity!

approaching Kayangan Lake

Entrance is P200.
Truly, this place is malamok. Good thing we already put on some mosquito repellent even before we started the island hopping. Better safe than sorry, right?

the most photographed spot in Coron

living in a postcard

To be honest, it didn't look very outstanding sa personal. Good but kinda fell short my expectation.

On the other side is the lake. Light bluish water welcomed us.

Kayangan Lake

see how clear the water is

my accidental underwater shots again (kayangan edition)

spectacular limestone formation

i like these water reflections

we didn't bother if there's not much fish here

submerging and posing infront of these wonders is enough
kahit parang malulunod na ko any moment

Just so you know, andami kong lunod moments before I achieved that shot. About 2x-3x as my height kasi yung lalim. Haha

me with jacq and cha
the water looks magical

After our there-seems-no-tomorrow swimming activity, it's time to get back and eat our lunch. Our boatmen prepared our heavy meals again. Perfect for our heavy gutom! Thank you sa aming mga maasikasong boatmen! Ü

our heavy meal at Kayangan Lake

Right after, ilabas na agad ang iced cold San Mig Light. Pinapatagal pa ba yan?


○ Barracuda Lake

approaching Barracuda Lake

Entrance is P100.
They say still water runs deep. True enough. This calm water is literally very very deep. Btw, this lake is good for scuba diving.

lime-stoned walls

still waters run deep..
true enough, this water is 30-40m deep or 130 feet

I read somewhere that if you have to do nude swimming, then this is the perfect place. Dont be alarmed, we don't have the guts to do that. But what we can do is remove our lifevests and jump into the 100++ feet deep water!

matapang ang may life insurance!
jump into the 100++ feet deep water

Ang lalim nga! Antagal ko nakasubmerged bago lumutang ulit. Haha
Risk more to enjoy more! \m/

○ Twin Lagoon

Entrance is P50.
To pass through the lake, everyone must swim under the cave. Fun but we took the balsa instead. More fun! Ü

passing through the lake

neon yellow ladies riding the balsa

There's only 1 remaining underwater camera left, the other 2 are already drained. We saved it for our next destination.

○ Siete Pecados

Entrance is P100.
It's almost past 4pm when we arrived. We wasted no time and started snorkeling again.

Siete Pecados = 7 peaks

photos taken by me using FinePix (Fuji)

beautiful creations underneath

i don't know why some are bright colored

the shelter

Actually we saw and encountered a lot of fish here. Sadly most of the photos are blurred. This one's photographed by our boatman.

keep your feet together, that's the size of this fish

After all this time I was a beach loving person. But not anymore, not after experiencing the beauty of the underwater creatures in Coron. Snorkeling and diving na ang gusto ko!

now this is my real calling - to snorkel and dive! chos!

○ Maquinit Hotspring

Entrance is P100.
Very hot indeed, above 40degress I think. Daig ang init sa Ace Water Spa herbal pools. Ang sakit sa ulo ng init.

mangroves all around the pool

at 40 degrees and beyond

Finally our long day is over. We rented a van to drive us to our lodging place- Princess of Coron. We instantly fell in love with this place. Surely you'll agree too..

shutter priority: 0.3"
partida- walang tripod yan

the big Nony Room

fabulous and super spacious rest room

Aircon works properly. The mattresses are very comfortable (more comfy than the bed). Rest room has hot and cold water. They provide free towels too. We don't have anything to complain about this place. Truly a gem.

We had dinner at Kawayanan Grill. Pricey yet nothing spectacular.

Day 3 is for last minute shopping of pasalubong. We still had time to climb Mt.Tapyas but we decided to sip it. At 8:30, the driver picked us up at Princess of Coron, and we headed to the airport to catch our 10:50am flight.

Now the total expenses for this 3Days-2Nights Coron trip:
(once and for all, we didn't avail any tour package, but we used Leidy's contacts that's why we got good deals)

a total of P4,198 including airfare

I know you always want proof. Here's the e-ticket.

P388 for 4 passengers. P97 each roundtrip ticket

○ Obviously, we all had fun. I enjoyed that much that Im willing to trade my DSLR for a good underwater camera.. Hahaha

I'd like to thank Leidy for lending us her contacts. If you need a cheap Coron tour package, please visit her site. http://leidyscorontour.multiply.com/

Thank you sa bestfriend ko, Che-che sa pagpapahiram ng snorkeling set. Pwede ba this year yan ang give away? Hihi
Thank you Leidy para sa superb Canon underwater camera mo. Inggit na inggit ako!
Thank you Kay and Cha for organizing our supplies. We had fun doing this trip with you.
And Kat, kala mo ligtas ka na! Ipagkakalat kong naiwan ka ng airplane! Haha Happy Bday! ♥

So is Coron the best spot in Pinas? One of the best! Pasok sa top 3 ko! ^_^

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