Slider

7 Things I loved about Mountain Lake Resort: A TravelBook.ph’s Blogger Getaway

4 December 2016 Caliraya, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines

Last month I embarked on a Laguna adventure with Travelbook.ph and with other 14 bloggers, which included a 2 nights at Mountain Lake Resort in Caliraya. Well, I got lucky enough to win TravelBook.ph's writing contest, fortunately again. Yay! You can read my Caramoan Getaway, last August, with TravelBook.ph here.

In the two TravelBook.ph's Blogger Getaways, this was probably the one I have been the most excited about. When the announcement of winners has been posted leading up to the trip I had searched the #MountainLakeResort hashtag on Instagram far more times than I'd like to admit, but no amount of digital wanderlusting could prepare me for an adventurous weekend in Laguna.


Located at Caliraya, Lumban, Laguna, Mountain Lake Resort is nestled amid Caliraya's breathtaking landscape - a "nature meets adventure" resort that provides raw adventure paired with unprecedented comfort and amenities. I was blown away with our entire Mountain Lake experience, but there were certain parts that will stay in my mind forever. Here are the Top 7 things I loved about Mountain Lake Resort.

1. THE ARRIVAL


After a night spent on a 6-hour night bus from Baguio, I arrived at Travel Book's building in Mandaluyong slightly dazed and disheveled. The pick-up time was 7:30 in the morning but I was late for an hour because of the poorly timed travel (blame it on the bus line and the Manila traffic)! Gah! But nonetheless, I still arrived at the pick-up point, and thank heavens, they have not left me yet. Aww... Thanks guys! Our transfer arrived very early to whisk us off all the way for a 4 hour drive to Laguna.

Arriving at the entrance gate, we saw the Mountain Lake Resort sign, and I couldn't have been more excited! Driving through the entrance gate to the Club House, I thought to myself, "How huge is this property".

After a 5 minute ride from the entrance, we were first herded to Caliraya Spring's club house.


I was looking for the lake and the Amihan Cottages where we are supposed to stay, but I didn't see any substantial body of water from where we were. Overlooking from the massive dining hall of the club house, only thing I could see was an endless carpet of greens from a golf course.

The Mountain Lake Resort, offers the best in golfing for both the amateur and serious golfer. The golf course was designed by the golf legend, Arnold Palmer himself.


We were really hungry and Mountain Lake Resort prepared a few dishes for us. We were served with sizling crispy pork sisig, which was one of the best I've tried in a long time, a pork sinigang (really yum), and a grilled chicken.

After a hearty meal, we finally headed to our Amihan Cottages at the Marina. It was a ride away from the club house, about 5-10 minutes. They have a resort shuttle that is available to bring guests back and forth.

2. OUR AMIHAN COTTAGE


For our first night we slept in a Standard Amihan Cottage that could occupy up to 5 heads. We were a huge group of 19 (14 bloggers and 5 from Travel Book), and we were divided into 4 small groups. It is a non-air conditioned room with 5 floor mattresses and equipped with 2 ceiling fans and a locker. Need to charge your gadgets? Don't worry as the Standard Cottages has 4 electric outlets.


Oh, by the way, when we arrived the rain was pouring hard and the cold wind was whirling to and fro. You could hear the tarp (that serves as a covering) flapping loud. But, despite of the rain, inside was really warm and cozy. In fact, I had a good sleep. One of the best part of our first night accommodation was the view.


For our second night, we were supposed to stay in glamping tents, but it rained so hard the other night and it might rain again. So we are housed at a Superior Amihan Cottage that can accommodate up to more than 8 pax. So all the blogger girls stayed together in one cottage. Yay!

Well, all Amihan Cottages are all patterned after the traditional Bahay Kubo, and all are non-airconditioned, except that, the Standard Cottage is smaller and the Superior Cottage is bigger. Whilst all cottages are non-air conditioned, it was designed to allow fresh air from the lake to flow through and keep warm during cold nights. The Amihan Cottages area has only one, yet, huge common shower and toilet located at the middle of the area.


3. THE MAJESTIC CALIRAYA LAKE


The Mountain Lake Resort didn't only boasts spectacular views but also offers a sight of Mount Banahaw and pristine beauty of Caliraya Lake. Without a doubt, the lake is the most breathtaking, I have ever seen in my life. I have even tried kayaking on my own on its waters and it was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.


4. THE POOL


After a tiring day of military style obstacles, we can't wait to plunge into Mountain Lake Resort's only pool. Overlooking the Caliraya Lake, anyone cannot miss the pool during a stay at the resort's Amihan Cottages, I mean who can't resist such tranquil and relaxing pool.


5. THE BIKES & THE KALESA


In comparison to many other Caliraya resort in the area, the Mountain Lake Resort is a one massive resort, that boasts nearly to a 300-hectare property that perfectly blends a sumptuously tropical accommodation with fun-filled outdoor activities. We tried biking to get around the whole resort independently (but if that sounds too strenuous, there's always the golf buggys, and the kalesa). I absolutely loved using the bikes all the time as they kept us active and meant we could zip around the resort in no time.


6. ADRENALINE-FILLED OBSTACLES & ZIP-LINE


Have you taken on a 7k, half-marathon or even a marathon only to find yourself asking, "So what's next?". The answer to that question combines mud, military style obstacles and even heart-pounding water slides that will test your fitness and willpower. The Mountain Lake Resort does just like that.


On our second day we tried their obstacle course: Wall Climb Slide, Military Climb, The Water Slide for beginners or the Slide & Drop for the adrenaline-junkies, Tire Challenge, Cable Balance, Karate Kid, Tarzan Swing, and Palo Sebo. Oh, I didn't signed up for this! But I got chicken at the beginning of the race, which began at the Water Slide. Haha. Sorry team mates.


In the afternoon, we got the chance to try out a more advance obstacle course. To, ehem, redeem, ehem, myself for the group, I volunteered to take the first challenge with Mon. We have to get to the other side of the lake with a makeshift bamboo raft and with a rope. With all our might, we pulled and pulled the raft, through the save-point (which was the tree) and back. Luckily, we won!

Oh by the way, during our whole stay, I got the chance to try their mini zip-line, not just once, but two times, and it was a blast. I wanna go a few times more. Haha.

7. ATV RIDE


One of the best moments of my stay on the resort was when we drove through Mountain Lake Resort's terrain using an ATV. Since there are only 8 single ATVs (plus 2 big ones used by the guides) at the resort we have to wait for the first group until they are finished. We, the second group, went for a bike again instead while waiting. Hehe. It was my first time to drive an ATV, but before we roam, the guides patiently taught us how to drive the thing. After a few test drives and not more than 30 minutes, we were like pros already. Then, we went to brave through Mountain Lake Resort's terrain - from a hilly and bumpy drive, to a muddy ride, to a rocky steep, oh boy, it was such an amazing experience that we don't want the time to end. It was such a surreal moment!

THE VERDICT


I can say with confidence that Mountain Lake Resort has the most adrenaline and fun-filled activities suited for every age - good for the couples looking for an adventurous yet relaxing stay, team-building and a family getaway. It truly delivered, a true to its own tag line - "nature meets adventure". I relished the sizzling crispy pork sisig, early nights, ATV ride, and sunshine Vitamin D. All of this combined with the naturally breathtaking beauty of the resort created a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience that I couldn't ever recreate even if I tried!


Mountain Lake Resort
Address: Caliraya, Lumban, Laguna, Philippines
Contact Number: (02) 723-0781 | (0998) 555-8394
Email: mountainlake.inquiry@gmail.com
Facebook Page: Click Here
Rates and Booking: Click here

What did you think of my stay at Mountain Lake Resort? Have you stayed here or are you thinking of booking a stay? If you want to know more about the resort or if you enjoyed reading this post, do not hesitate to drop a comment or a question in the box below. I would be so happy to read and answer all of it.


This three-day blogger getaway is organized by TravelBook.ph Blogger Affiliate Program in partnership with Mountain Lake Resort - Caliraya. Special thanks as well to our generous sponsors, Céleteque Philippines, Alfox Printing Services, Century Pacific Food, Inc. (555 Tuna), Vivo Lumio, Cetaphil Philippines, Mystery Manila, Totem Philippines, Escape Hunt Manila, LazerXtreme, Sidlan, and Zalora Philippines.

If you want to earn and score free blogger getaways to different Philippine destinations, be a TravelBook.ph Blogger Affiliate by signing up at affiliate.travelbook.ph.

Office Party Etiquette

3 December 2016



It's surprising, but true: People really do need reminders about how to behave appropriately when they mix business with pleasure. This is particularly the case if you're a new employee or a manager trying to put your best face forward at a holiday office party this year.

The key word in 'holiday office party' is office and you are still an ambassador of your company.

Here are 10 tips to remember during office parties to help you through the holiday season.

Read The Invitation For Clues:
A lot of the time, the easiest way to know the type of party you're attending is what's written on the invitation. Besides the basics, including date, location and time, an invitation should also note if you can bring a guest.

Dress To Impress:
The location and time of the party should indicate the dress code. You don't want to show too much skin or be blinged like a Christmas tree - find something in between. If you want to get in the holiday mode, red suspenders or ties for men and sparkly red belts or pumps for women.

Prepare Ahead:
Think of conversation topics before the party starts. Perhaps take note of your colleagues' loved ones or congratulating employees who won awards that year. The safest question to ask is about their holiday plans.

Respect The Privacy Of Your Colleagues:
In our tech-savvy world, almost every phone is equipped with at least a camera, if not a video camera. Some companies have banned employees from bringing their phones to the holiday party. You should always respect the privacy of your fellow employees and ask before you even take pictures of them.

Do "The Two Fridge" Test Before Posting Pictures:
We all remember our parents putting up our report cards and pictures on the fridge when we were kids. The "two fridge test" should be done any time you take a picture at your office party. Before you put photos on Facebook, consider this: Whatever you want to post, imagine putting it on your fridge at home and see if the pictures are appropriate if your kids walk by. The second fridge is at work. If your co-workers or boss walks by, is it still okay?

Drink, Dance And Sing In Moderation:
We still need to remember we are at an office party and everything should be done in moderation, especially if you are a manager or a new employee. Keep it PG-13!

Spread Gifts Around:
If you want to give a gift to your boss or employees, having an office-wide Secret Santa or buying your boss a gift as a group. Don't get too personal, unique gifts and presents can be a fun way of getting around this quandary.

Remember Your "Thank You's:"
The holidays are all about being thankful. Take the time to write a thank you note, not only to employers but whoever organized the celebration.

Don't Contemplate Attending:

Attendance should be mandatory. Your employer is putting together a celebration for recognizing employees. If you are a new employee, talk to other colleagues or your HR department to see what you can expect from holiday office parties.

Be Safe:
When it comes to alcohol, all employers and employees should be aware of their safety. Consider setting up taxi services with HR or the venue and a good way to ensure everyone gets home safely.

The Best Entertainment Destinations Around The Globe

2 December 2016

Lying on a beach for a week or two is a fantastic way to relax and unwind, there’s no doubt about that. But if you prefer to be up and about, doing things, seeing places and getting lots of new experiences then a beach holiday is probably going to leave you feeling a little underwhelmed! Instead, you could consider these epic destinations to be truly entertained for the duration of your trip.

London

London is home to the West End, with shows and musicals aplenty. There are also tons of local gigs and concerts, both from stars (who almost always have London on their tour list) to up and coming artists. There are comedy clubs, festivals, sightseeing tours and so much more which you can experience in this vibrant city. The UK isn’t known for fantastic weather, but if you visit during the summer the temperatures get surprisingly high, and you could well have a week of sunshine.



Vegas

If you’re after entertainment, then fabulous Las Vegas certainly won’t disappoint. With roller coasters going through hotels, casinos, drive by weddings and world famous dancing water fountains it’s truly a feast for the senses. You could relax in the evening in a cool lounge or cocktail bar, or catch a show. You can catch Cirque du Soleil at the Bellagio hotel, or see a concert or show at various places around the strip. This site has more information. It is definitely a trip for those who love action and adventure!



Florida

You could visit the magic of Disney in Orlando; no one is too old to enjoy an experience like this! From epic water parks to shows to animal encounters to theme parks and so much more, there’s far too much to see and do that you could ever manage in one trip. Alternatively, you could visit the Florida Keys for some of the best snorkeling and dolphin encounter experiences in the world. You could visit the Kennedy Space Centre or Sarasota Air Museum for something a little more educational. Either way, if you’re looking for fun and excitement, then Florida should be on your radar.



Dubai

Dubai has invested billions in becoming a mecca for tourists, and as a result, there’s a massive selection of things to do there. It's a city that demands attention, from it’s enormous five-star hotels to gigantic shopping malls. You could visit Wild Wadi Water Park for a day of fun and excitement, check out 'Sky Dubai' for a thrilling, unique experience. There’s a ‘dolphinarium’ which includes shows and educational talks on the majestic creatures. And so much more, you will need to do your research when planning your visit to ensure you get a chance to see the things you’re most excited about.



Where in the world would you go, if you were after a trip with lots of action and fun things to do?

Where To Next 2017 Planner Review & Giveaway


I am not the type of person who would shell out PhP 2,000 ($40) or more in my pocket just to drown myself with cups of coffee for stickers in exchange of a planner. That's not a smart idea, personally, for me. I would rather buy an airfare ticket which would cost exactly the same.

But yes, I wanted a planner.

I already purchased a 2017 planner from Belle de Jour months back, but still I wanted to get my hands on the WTN planner just to satisfy my curiosity. So weeks ago, I bought two Where To Next 2017 Planners. One to keep, and one to give away to one of you. Ha, I'm feeling generous.

It starts with a tremor. A light pulse. A fever that's slowly creeping in. An itch you could scratch but never could relieve. Dry lips, cold sweat and all. That's how it begins. But if you choose to be brave enough, you might find yourself ending it with those three words. If only to come full circle, yet again. So with courage allow me to ask.

Where to next?

The WTN 2017 Planner


The planner itself measures 148 x 120 mm (A5) when folded and 297 x 210 mm (A4) when spread. It is a Smythe-sewn hard bound with a world map as a cover design. The laminated cover serves as a protection against dust and water. The planner also comes with a cover box and dons a catchy quote as a print. You won't need the box much, but with such beautiful words that touches the soul that was imprinted on it, it may be difficult for you to throw away. Well, you can just cut it out, frame it, and hang it on your wall.


It comes with a WTN sticker too!


The specs:
  • 148 x 120 mm - A5 (folded)
  • 297 x 210 mm - A4 (spread)
  • Smythe-sewn Hard Bound
  • Edition Ivory Paper GSM 80
  • Comes with a Custom box
  • Laminated cover for protection against dust and water

The pages


This is a collection of stories gathered on winding roads with the best company we could ask for. In between these stories are pages for you to fill with your own.
Dateless. The planner has 13 dateless months. Meaning, you can start it on any day of the year and start planning whenever you want. You can use it for the coming years to come too.


13 chapters of Lessons on the Road & Thoughts on Passion and Purpose The Lessons on the Road is based on a collection of passion for travel shared by circle of friends. There is also a section where wanderlusts share their thoughts on following their passion and finding their purpose.


2017 to 2018 Calendar. Well, the 2017 and 2018 calendar.


Philippines and Southeast Asia Bucketlist. Swim, hike, bite, ride, shoot and learn, whatever you are up to, there is something for you to cross out, and maybe add to your Philippines and Southeast Asia Bucketlist.


Philippine Provinces Chesklist. What provinces have you been to already? Well, the WTN 2017 Planner has an 81 provinces checklist for you to tick-off. The Pearl of the Orient is seethe with incredible wonders and hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Its incalculable attractions enthrall a year long of journey and priceless life moments.


Vacation Leave List. The list of Philippines holidays for 2017 has been released, so go ahead and plan that well-deserved vacation using the Vacation Leave List page. On the other side of the page, there is a vacation leave template that would come handy.


Games for the Road, Movies, and Music. Bus and train trips, long flights, delays in airports and train stations, hostels without TV; the list of situations where a traveler has time to kill is long. That’s right — travel is not always exciting. There will be dull downtimes, and you may not always be able to read a good book, so the WTN planner has a handy-dandy games provided, like sudoko, crossword, and tic-tac-toe. The next page features some good movies and roadtrip playlist suggestions too.


Backpacker's Checklist. Even the best-laid vacation plans can be easily dashed by something as simple as forgetting to pack the creature comforts and small necessities that you, well, need. Frustratingly, it always seems to be the obvious, everyday things that you use all the time (your glasses, for example, or your toothbrush—doh!) that get left out of the bag, and consequently left behind. But fear not -- with this handy list to ensure that exact scenario never happens again, and that you can confidently head off on your next trip sans that nagging "I think I’m forgetting something" feeling.


In a nutshell


I like how the Where To Next 2017 Planner was cleverly designed. It is light and I could take it with me wherever I will go and it only cost PhP 595 ($12) - price is fair enough with other planners in the market. You can buy it here online. The minimalist style and the unique theme and perfectly portable planner features spirited, exceptional, and innovative photographs that simply invites creativity and moves beyond the traditional planner. The week-per spread view has room enough to record my favorite moments of the year and post mementos. So this planer is not just an organizing tool - it can also be a keepsake. I can paste photos, ticket stubs, favorite quotes and stickers on the note sections. And, to top it all off, upbeat captions scattered throughout the planner's pages add a delightful and individual touch.

Bet you can't wait to get started too, so I'm giving away a WTN 2017 Planner! Hurray!

Just follow the giveaway widget below and be entered for a chance to win. This giveaway is open to Philippine residents ONLY and will end on December 31, 2016 at 11:59pm.

Where To Next 2017 Planner Giveaway

Wedding Woes: How To Handle the Stressful Elemenets Of Planning

1 December 2016

Getting engaged to be married can be a very exciting time in any woman’s life. It the sign of commitment to one another that you are staying together for life. But once the initial excitement is done it’s time to get serious about the wedding aspect and plan the actual thing. Of course, this might seem like a great journey to embark on, but there can be some stressful elements to planning a wedding. Especially when more people want to get involved in the process and have their say and opinions heard. With that in mind, I thought I would share with you some ways to handle the most stressful points of wedding planning. I hope it helps you if you find yourself on this journey.

The transport


The logistics of your wedding can be a big part of the planning process. It’s all well and good choosing the perfect venues for your day but what about your guests. How do they get there? Where will they stay? Transport is a huge topic of conversation among you and your guests, so the best advice is to organize this at your earliest opportunity. Then you could even include all the relevant information in the formal invitation that will go out. You might want to consider this charter bus company or perhaps add to your theme by thinking more vintage or modern forms of transport. Whatever you decide, organize it sooner rather than later to avoid any last minute stress and drama.


The flowers


Flowers form a huge decoration element to many couples weddings so you may be considering them yourself. These days there are so many different options from real, artificial or paper and foam. It’s about deciding on important factors like your budget and the theme of your wedding. Many people will agree that there isn’t much difference between the overall look, but there can be a huge impact on the budget. Explore all your options and be happy with your own choice. Try and not consider what other people think.

The cake


The cake is a big factor of the day for some brides. It’s a centerpiece and also very much part of the traditional wedding. But a cake can take on so many forms these days and gone are the days where you choose a three-tiered iced cake. You can now have something called naked cakes, a cheese cake even. Or perhaps something very modern like a doughnut cake instead or a tower of cupcakes. The options now are endless, and you can go against the grain of tradition and opt for something that matches your personality. So take to websites like Pinterest to explore all your options.

The dress


The dress is one of the biggest decisions a bride will make. Some will find the process easier than others. All searching for the feeling “the one” dress will give you the moment you put it on. Choosing a dress can put you in an awkward position, especially if you bring a lot of people with you for your try on appointments. What you like someone else won’t. But trust your instinct and take the pressure away. You will find the right dress for you.

I hope some of these tips help you take the stress out of wedding planning. Remember it is your day after all.

How To Find The Perfect Look For Every Occasion

Despite the common belief that all women are born shopaholics, it just isn’t the case for many of us. While our best friends, sisters, and even sometimes, the men in our lives, can easily go into a store with no idea what they want, and come out with a full, perfectly matched wardrobe, for some of us, it’s not that easy.

We can certainly identify what looks good, but when it comes to pairing actual outfits together that can be used with multiple other items, we often fall short.

Whether it's heading to Christmas parties, or summer BBQs, there's always an excuse to hit the shops in hope of finding something amazing to wear, so we've listed some ideas for you to help you create the perfect look each time that can actually be put together without costing you a small fortune.


Makeup: when it comes to makeup, less is often more - the trick is to enhance your existing features, and not look like you're wearing a mask of products. During the warmer summer months, a tinted moisturiser or even just a touch of concealer and blusher, and a bright lip gloss will usually do the trick. Keep in mind your skin tone and look for shades that match. During winter - especially if you're going to parties and events, you can get away with more dramatic looks, such as smokey eyes, and darker shades on the lips;


Hair: if you're going to be frequenting places like the beach or just relaxing with friends during the summer, then simply pulling your hair up into a messy bun will give you that relaxed look while also ensuring your hair stays away from your skin and doesn't bother you. For a more formal evening look, you can wear it down with some bouncy curls;

Shoes: comfortable shoes don't have to be boring shoes. If you need comfort, but also want to look stylish, then a nice pair of ballerina pumps will never do you wrong - the good thing about these is, you can wear them at parities, or just for day-to-day activities as the perfect addition to your summer outfit. Of course, if you love a bit of height with your shoes, then you really can't go too wrong with a nice pair of black stilettos for a classic evening look;


Outfit: for women who love dresses, keeping it simple is best - when you do this, you'll find the perfect one to flatter your body shape. If a dress isn't really your thing, then a nice pencil skirt and top, or even a jumpsuit could be just the right thing for you. For more casual looks during the day in summer, then bright tank tops with a nice pair of shorts and some ballerina pumps are enough to give you the comfortable, dressy look you desire;


Accessories: again, with these less is sometimes more. One simple piece worn around your neck or a pair of earrings to match your handbag is sometimes all you need to pull off a complete look. Just make sure your accessories highlight your outfit and don't take away from it. For example, a necklace with a red stone in it would be the perfect addition to a black evening dress worn with red lipstick. It will give you a bright, yet subtle look.

Latest Instagrams

© Charlotte Anne. Design by Fearne.