Styluxe Salon

Sunday, February 25, 2018
Styluxe Salon at The Fort BGC area is located at The Plaza in Arya Residences. It has glass walls, which makes it inviting, and allows guests to see the modern, crisp interiors as they arrive. The front desk was to the left, and staff was friendly. I had a reservation so I was instantly led to the upper level, where my stylist's spot was. I got their Haircut (any length) by Lead Stylist Php390 from Dealgrocer (Php650 regular price, eventhough Dealgrocer would say it's worth Php850).
The ground floor was roomy, despite the limited space. It's clean and mostly has functional items in place.
The upper floor has the hair treatment chairs, rinse area, storage room, and comfort room.
Comfy rinsing chairs.
Individual chairs with ample spaces in between. 
Styluxe Salon Services
Styluxe Salon Services

  • I was given a nice robe which I wore the whole service. 
  • Tea, coffee, and iced tea were also offered.
  • I should say, my stylist did a great job. I showed him a photo of a haircut I like. After my cut, I thought it only looked good because it was blow dried, but it actually stayed on for weeks, after numerous washing and air-drying (until it grew longer).
The Plaza, Arya Residences
The Fort, BGC
Tel: (02) 800 3655 
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Skyview Lounge

Sunday, January 28, 2018
It's my first time to try the Skyview Lounge at NAIA T3 International. Unfortunately, no lounge for domestic flights yet. My credit card is one of the cards with complimentary access and use at the lounge, otherwise you pay around $12. I get to bring an extra person with me, so it was pretty cool. We got free food, wifi, elec sockets (for charging), comfort & shower room access, and a neat view of the runway.
The area wasn't as big as other lounges, but people come and go as their flights arrive, so you'll eventually score a vacant seat.
Beverage consumption is assisted by staff. No carrying of bottles or cartons allowed. They always transfer the drink to glasses before handing them to you.
Rice, pasta, meat viands, soup
Breads, cookies, pastries, coffee/tea sachets
Mini sandwiches

  • Anything complimentary is appreciated. Food was good, selection was ample, place was clean and organized. 
  • Reception would take your flight details and will remind the room (via speaker) that your flight time departure is near.
  • Directions: Take the elevator near Gate 115 to the 4th Level “Airline Lounges”. Lounge is to your right.

Skyview Lounge
NAIA Terminal 3, Airside, 
International Departure Area
Manila, PH
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Zoobic Safari

Saturday, January 20, 2018
Zoobic Safari is an interactive destination. Please bear in mind that all guests are advised to join the tour group. The tour includes a walking trail (if not raining), and tram rides. Visitors happily enjoy views of different animals while riding the tram, as a tour guide with a microphone spewing facts and trivia about each creature. The zoo is technically located in Bataan, and coming form Manila, you take Olongapo, past the SBMA, Ocean Adventure, and into the woods (and forestry), you'll find Zoobic Safari. Just follow the road signs, you won't miss them.
We arrived with voucher in hand. Regular Adult price is Php695, but we got a deal online for 50% off for Php348 each (Metrodeal). I reckon there was a limit of maximum 10 discounted tickets per buyer. There were 11 of us, but good thing the youngest was below 3ft, so he got in free. 
Waiting area by the ticket counter.
Zoo bulletin info.
Zoobic Safari Map. There were a lot of X's in the itinerary, which meant we didn't get to do those. It was raining on and off so we weren't allowed to do the park walk, as well as visit the cave, lion close encounter, and bone muzooeum.
Souvenir shops
Entrance to the zoo orientation area.
Gift shop
There were other groups that day so we were gathered together for the orientation. 
We were escorted next to the Serpentarium.
Snakes and reptiles galore.
Next, we watched the Aetas' presentation.
We boarded the tram next. Different animals have different living conditions. Others were fenced, others caged, while some roam the grounds freely. It helped to have a guide so you can easily spot them. Our guide was standing up almost the entire tour.
Sky Safari: Php199 / person
Forbidden Cave, which we skipped.
More souvenirs.
We were given about 20-30 minutes break at their open cafeteria of sort. There were food for sale, beverages, and of course, souvenirs.

After the break, we transferred to the truck for the Tiger Safari Ride.
The Tiger Safari Ride was awesome. The guide would ask the groups if they'd be willing to buy food for the tigers at Php200 each (chicken meat). Usually groups agree to split on the cost, but the group we were paired with didn't want to, so we paid for it ourselves. The guide made everyone in our group sit near the window, and the other group at the back (far from the action).
Lovely creatures. The tigers were said to be 'wild', but with their daily routine, it's obvious that they're familiar with the setup. Handlers call on them, feed them, would signal them to climb on top of the truck (they rode on top while the truck was moving for several minutes), then climb down again to be fed once more. 
I thought I'd get to feed them, but no guests are allowed to do this. It's highly dangerous, and tigers would not hesitate to chomp anything they could sink their teeth into. The handler was expertly pushing the meat out while keeping all his fingers inside the caged truck.
5D Rider Virtual Ride: Php100 / person
Tiger Close Encounter. This kinda broke my heart. The whole idea of zoos does, actually. Admittedly, zoos are educational. We could never come this close to, and discover these animals if not for zoos. But of course, this is not natural for them. Signs of depression can be seen from the restless tigers, roaming endlessly inside their cages.
Fancy pigs shagging.
Croc feed Php50 each.
This was the last stop, so everyone took their time gawking at the chubby crocodiles. They looked healthy and dandy.
Croc pond.
Horseback Riding (near the entrance / exit).

  • Tour took about 2 - 2.5 hours.
  • Food is not allowed to be brought inside the premises. We stocked our lunch in our van and ate there. 
  • The whole tour was guided, from the moment we entered, to the orientation, tram ride, and after the croc-loco, the tram went straight to the parking lot to drop us all off. There's basically no time for anyone to loiter around the zoo on their own. 

Ilanin Forest West (Morong, Bataan)
Subic Bay Freeport Zone

Telefax: (+6347) 252-2272; (+63) 929-7072222
Hours: 8AM to 4PM
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Urban Pack Hostel

Monday, January 8, 2018
Urban Pack Hostel in Haiphong Mansion at Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong is an awesome spot to park your tired tracks after a long day of touring around HK. We skipped Chungking Mansion for lesser chaos, and this hostel is perfect in many ways. The location is just across the TST MTR Station, right along the relevant Nathan Road, 15-min walking distance to Kowloon Port (Star Ferry), very near fast food joints (McDonald's, KFC) and 7-11 convenience stores. Lobby was always in order, few to several people at a time. The elevator was never crowded, at least during our stay. 
From the airport, head to the Bus Terminus. Take shuttle bus #A21. Alight at Stop #13 at Cameron Road, Haiphong Mansion - Urban Pack Hostel is just across. Bus fare: HK$33, duration: about 1 hour. No eating nor drinking inside the bus.
There are 2 entrances for the hostel. One along Haiphong Road, the other at Lock Road. The lobby is pretty straightforward. It's just a hallway leading to the elevators. There are CCTV cameras at all corners, and front desk watching security.
Clean, wide corridors on level 14.
The hostel's receiving area is on the 14th floor. There were a lot of people when we arrived. Just wait your turn, the staff were really nice.
14th floor common area.
Urban Pack Hostel House Rules, and price list for other items.
Guests are allowed to use the thermos, cutlery, glasses, plates, etc.
Microwave was functional.
We were assigned to the 15th floor, which we loved. It has a small terrace where you can overlook the city below. Haiphong Mansion is next to a Kowloon Park, so it's an incredible view with all the trees, open area, and the rows of buildings at Nathan Road.
Dining area
View from the outdoor terrace.
Dining area during day time.
We got this Private Room for 2 pax: Php2950 per night via Agoda. It's tight, but well designed. It has a double deck bed, narrow cabinet, A/C. Bathroom is shared. 
Beddings and duvet were provided. We rented towels, HK$15 each, I think.
Modern bathroom. 2 showers, 2 toilets.
Shower area. Bit of an issue with their hot water. It wasn't consistent, took too long to heat up, then would escalate to scalding hot.. hehe. Anyway, just try to manage the water temp and it'll work out.
Toilet stalls. There's no bidet so they actually ask guests to throw tissues in the bowl when doing number 2. Otherwise, everything's spot on. Clean, toilet rolls on stand by. Bins were provided.
Thermos, cups, and electric sockets.
These restaurants are at Lock Road, few steps from Haiphong Mansion. They offer breakfast options and open around 7AM.
We got to try Ocean Empire Restaurant. It was lovely, staff were friendly in their own way, and food was good.
Ocean Empire Breakfast Menu
Congee + noodles + milk tea: HK$37
Plate of scrambled egg, bread roll, butter, ham + milk tea: HK$39
This congee saved our asses each time we're hungry. And it was all we could afford too.. hehehe. We had to scout several 7-11 stores to find it and buy in bulk. Food in HK is pricey. Rice is hard to find at affordable eateries or fast food. We only got to eat Yang Chow fried rice (no plain rice) at large Chinese restos in tourist spots. Price was high but serving size could feed a clan.

  • Before you book via agents, try to contact the hostel's FB messenger first. From what I know, they offer discounts for direct booking.
  • According to their site, a key deposit of HK$200 would be asked upon check-in. 
  • We never got to explore other levels of the mansion, but from posters we've seen, there's a massage spa, and some restaurants.
  • Going to the airport, just find the Bus Stop for #A21 along Nathan Road, near Haipong Road. Same fare HK$33
Urban Pack Hostel
14thFloor, 1410 Hai Phong Mansion
53 Hai Phong Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2732 2271
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