Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hotel Review - Sun Island Resorts and Spa, Maamigili Maldives (Part 1)

It was a 4hrs and 40-minute flight from Singapore to Male. Male has the most interesting view of an airport for its turquoise waters. Our first day was composed of 27 hours on the 26th of April. The weather was hot at 32 degrees. 

Male, fill up the immigration form and you're good to go. After we exited the Immigration,
we immediately looked for the #16 booth where I was instructed to go by the staff of the hotel via e-mail. There were a lot of hotel booths. The luxurious ones were built of fancy stickers and boards on glass doors and marble walls. Ours is built out of wood with the Villa hotels logo. The Maldivian staff was friendly and informed us he is only waiting for 2 more people then were headed out to the nearby airport. Heat was scorching, I could not even feel the wall fans blowing. Since I didn't do a research on the airport, we ended up too early for our next flight to Maamigili. We were starving and was not allowed to go back outside since we already checked in. I just thought there would be a small cafeteria inside the departure area. After an hour, we were ready to go, only to find out we are about to get stucked on the runway. The flyme 50-seater plane had a problem with the air conditioning not working, we were there for 30 minutes with our armpits sweating.

Male to Maamigili took about 20 minutes. I wish it was longer compared to SG-Male because the view is just stunning at 8000 feet. The atolls are visible with the bluish deepest part of the ocean, turquoise and green shades of water. It really felt like I was at the heaven's side of the earth. 

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Touched down at approximately 20 minutes. A tourist van was parked outside the small airport of Maamigili island. In about another 5 minutes we alighted and there was this receptionist that greeted us, I thought she was a Thai but when she heard us spoke in Bicol she said she kind of picked up something and gave her an idea to approach us in Tagalog. Thank God a Filipina and her name is Asuka, half-Filipino half-Japanese. We were guided to board a speed boat which is by the way a fun ride, took us another 5 minutes to the hotel's island. 

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I was still in awe. on this photo, my mind told me: I cannot believe I am seeing this. I thought I'd only see this in the movies. And there it was! 

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Alright, so we passed by a pier that leads to the sunny shore of Sun Islands and there was the receiving area with a small tub at the center accommodating protected turtles. This bungalow is huge. Serves as a waiting area for the people coming in and out of the island. Also a nearby area to wait if the restaurant is still closed while waiting for your buffet meal.


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Cafe with wiFi.

Coconut drinks were served together with a refreshing mint flavored towels perfect for my sweaty face. Asuka has basically explained everything we needed to know around the island. It's a good thing we had someone there to speak Tagalog. As we checked in, I gave all the documents I have. Probably the most sluggish process I've ever encountered checking in.
The front desk personnel find it hard to comprehend. They speak English but when I say something, it seems like you're in front of a 386 computer prompted with a loading sign. Also they would suggest a workaround that is easier for them than for the Guest (e.g. me). Like why do I have to do the changes out of the 3rd party website when I can directly pay them for the extra bed? They finally understood what my intentions are after about an hour. Took us about another half hour to know what the rate was.  There was this Chinese couple on the other side of the desk where the man was already screaming when I turned my back to look. It wasn't the resort's fault though.

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We had another tedious meeting with the front desk staff when I had to upgrade our meals to Full board. It was already tiring so I had a little trauma to talk. We had to talk things over again, someone said he thought were only getting half-board only instead of full board. The additional full board will coast you $44 USD per person and that includes lunch and dinner buffet. Breakfast was already paid when I booked the rooms. Then I had to explain it again regarding extra the bed when we had to transfer to the water bungalow. It was painful.


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The best situated restaurant.

The photos above are from their Alcove Restaurant, where you will enjoy snorkeling. I suggest you explore here more for there's tons of fishes to see.

There are far more better places in Maldives but this hotel is situated in a fine location. I love that the waters surrounding this island is so clean, it almost looked like a man-made pool surrounded with fine sand and clearest waters. But of course, I bet all the sceneries are like this in Maldives. Talk about a Maldivian kind of view?

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My father has an aching leg so they had to take the electric buggy from and to the restaurant when we eat. We had to call the reception for a pick up. Lead time is 10 minutes and waiting time depends when you are in the receiving area. It was efficient. 

My husband has finally learned to bike since we had biking rental for 3 days. I never thought it was a rental until I saw it from the bill. Cost $3.40 per day per bike. We rented 3. It is a huge island so it is also very useful getting around for more exploration. 

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at the pier

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stingray feeding during sundown.


Not the best buffet but they're all good enough. Some would taste odd but you will definitely find something delicious in the menu. You will only get free drinks during breakfast which commonly has 4 variety of juice. Pineapple, apple, orange and guava. For lunch and dinner, you will have to buy all kinds of drinks from water to wine. 1.5ml of bottled water costs $4.75 USD and the smallest Coke was overpriced so I only tried it once for 6.76USD. 


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The experience with the place is a treasure. I will definitely go back but not in this same resort. Other than that, all is good.  

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Kudos to their receptionist/Asuka for providing tips and information about the island. You should be promoted for a Manager position girl! :D

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My sunset photo.

Meanwhile, there's a lot of photos to share with you so watch out for the continuation. I am about to expand this series.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Japanese food

Before I end our Japan adventure. Let me leave you with a gastronomic post for I will put a collage of photos of everything we ate in Japan. Well, we basically fed ourselves with too much Ramen but hope you guys enjoy seeing this collection.


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Japanese food is one of the best food in the world, I am thankful for their Ramen, aside from the fact that Chinese people was the one who invented it, it was popularized by the Japanese.

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We are grateful for the tonkatsu, their pasta is also a delicious-o, onigiri - tuna is my favorite brought to you by your friendly neighbor Family Mart. It's where we often see it but I'm pretty sure there are other places you can buy it from.  

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Hotoh Restaurant Kawaguchiko Station, located just the opposite of the train station. The Houtou noodles that looks like the soba noodles is perfect for the cold weather with its thick chubby sized noodles cooked in normal texture with the right amount of crisp and slime in a huge bowl of miso or pumpkin soup. Served with the right amount of cooking time rendered for the vegetables.

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Miso soup always comes free especially in Yoshinoya. Yes, we did eat one breakfast to try if there's any difference. I've always loved Yoshinoya beef even in Hong Kong so I can't tell any difference because nothing tastes better than authentic Japanese beef!

Before we went to Japan, I was already a maccha fan. So can you imagine when I went full gaga mode every time I see edible flavored maccha.

yummy desserts

  uppermost left is a maccha pudding, center top is the famous Tokyo Banana, Pocky Maccha, Fujiyama cookis,      Haagen Dazs wafer ice crea, Three eye monster yummy sweets from Disney Sea and the Black Metal burger from McDonalds! (just kidding! they call if black burger but it was actually purple-ish, colored by octopus ink.

On drinks, we didn't try sake but we had Japanese beers and coffee! 

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An uber cute coca-cola can (yes, its a can), Sapporo beer, Pronto cappuccino, and a Japanese Nescafe caffelatte in a can from Narita Airport.

Don't forget to taste some nutritious fruits as well. They might taste all the same but doctor's recommend to eat fruits everyday! :)

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I finally found where these photos are. Just a fair warning to everyone when you go to Narita International Airport. If you're brave enough to try, who knows if you'd like it. It was just tasteless for us.

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airport soba

Japan is also well known for making wax food display. These creations are such an eye candy not only for their colors but because of their shinny texture too. Makes you drool over something you haven't tasted yet.

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I admit and regret that we didn't try all possibilities to eat the new and unfamiliar food but believe me, we never went hungry. Our tummy was always full even without eating rice on a single meal. The servings are huge enough for 2 meals.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Under the Maldivian Sun

This is going to be a quick 2 entries. I hope you are excited as much as I am! I skipped my last 2 Japan entries so I can answer the queries of some friends. To start off. Let me share with you that this paradise has been on my wish list for a very long time. How can it not be? If you have tried googling it before, how could someone resist this place?

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I have never thought I'd reach Maldives beyond my dreams. When I saw the sale seats from Tigerair, I thought this could be it. And it was! I booked the flight 5 months advance. Tigerair is a budget airline where you can take advantage of their affordable rate for half the price of the other airlines. I think it was 50% off when I chanced this promo. Approximately 250SGD including taxes. 


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Budget concerns? Good news! If you're on a budget travel like I am planning when I go back, you should check on this link. Lakwatsero spent approximately 19k Php excluding airfare last 2013.  

At first I thought I'd be researching for a DIY budget getaway. Instead, I ended up looking for a one night stand with a water bungalow accommodation. This is already budgeted for having a one night only. Come on, the best views are in the water bungalow types so I have dreamed of getting one. 

One of the finest beaches I saw online among Bora-Bora in Tahiti, Boracay and Palawan in PH. Maldives is a surreal getaway. Dreamy and pricey. [Boink! No, I'm not going to spoil this story.]

Maldives is an island in the Indian ocean, the country is built of 26 atolls -- ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets [as per Wikipedia]. The atolls are referred to as North and South Atoll and the reason why this lovely country is most geographically dispersed. This photo will show you what I mean.


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Aerial view taken using LG G3

The whole experience is still unbelievable but mostly unforgettable. We were so blessed to see this haven. The capital of Maldives is Male, we were astonished by the blinding turquoise ocean, imagine, this is just the airport, what more could the resorts looks like? I thought Siquijor's port has the cleanest water I will ever see whereas such place caters large number of people going back and forth from day to day. As seen from an aerial spectacle, Male has the most number of buildings on its island compared to the others but It's not as tall as the ones we see in other cities like in Manila or Singapore.

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Speaking of aerial view, the finest white sand is visible at 8000 ft, I could not believe my eyes. I'd like to boost my pride on this statement that Filipinos have high standards when it comes to white sand beaches. Maldives or at least the Maamigili island has surpassed that expectation. The sand does not just look like fine, it was smoother when it touched my feet.

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The amazing God's creation has been in this country all along. From the stingray area where they swim before the darkness falls. I'd probably trade Ariel's life to mine if she'd ask me. Having to swim in the water so clear with fishes everywhere is mystical. Watching the baby sharks swim underneath a pier is so relaxing during night time. I'd never imagine they are well-behaved creatures even the biggest one that looks like a 25-inches. 

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Maldivian waters are home to a vast variety of corals and marinelife. The illuminating planktons was also seen here, Asuka mentioned its seasonal but she only witnessed them visiting the island twice.

Apparently, Maldives is rich in terrestrial animals too.


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To complete my unbelievable list, second to the last is the so called waterspouts. At first we thought it was a small tornado. It was about 6 in the morning, we swung the door open, rain poured and there it was. It was the sound of a howling wind that made us check what it was. We were stunned, watching the air funneling until we saw it vanished to a far away direction. 


Nostalgic is the overrated word. I posted on my instagram: It is the sunset that makes me feel what an incredible world God built us with. It's true how could nature be fascinating. I could not even fathom what the colors of the sunset are. Sunsets are just beyond words and Maamigili has showed me without pretension.

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This couple was shooting their own prenuptial photos.


Next entry -- Hotel Review for Sun Island Resort and Spa.
 
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