Mar 29, 2012

Kick-starting my summer: Fuerza Bruta and my mini-vacation in Manila! pt.1

Here's my long overdue post on how I kick-started my summer (or my mini-vacation in Manila), Fuerza Bruta and an informal list of tips and tricks if you want to enjoy a similar experience in the future.

I got back from Manila two nights ago and it's been a crazy crazier week since then! I'm caught in between fighting a cold and cough and transitioning to "normal" life (i.e. hectic and nothing remotely close to rest and relaxation).

Click on Read More to find out what transpired during the trip!

This post's guest and mini-vacation companion is my cousin Mel. It was not the first time that we were in Manila but it was our first trip there without any supervision from grownups/relatives/Manileños. I was honestly a bit jittery when I was told that our uncle (who lives in Manila) could not pick us up at the airport because he was conveniently vacationing in Bohol. So basically it was just the two of us who were supposed to find our way to Miramar Hotel (in Roxas Boulevard) which neither of us had checked into before.

We were approached by two taxi drivers who offered to drive us to the hotel. Although they were probably noble people, they were driving un-metered airport taxis and were charging us P500-P750! Honestly, I was tempted to accept considering I had no idea how much the difference actually was in metered taxis and I didn't know if there were any metered taxis nearby at all. But I refused and later realized I had done a very wise choice, the ride to Miramar Hotel cost us less than 200 bucks! So, learn from my example!

Tip #1: Look around for metered taxis or metered taxi stands when you arrive at the airport. 

This also applies to boat terminals. In a lot of instances, I noticed that the drivers who are incessantly waiting and who obsessively follow tourists/innocent-looking travelers around are the ones who will not charge by the meter. Make sure you ask them before you get into the cab if they will let the meter run or not. You should also ask help from the terminal security if  you are not sure.

Remember: If you are alone, unfamiliar to your destination or you arrived at a time when it's still dark, don't risk walking into suspicious/unfamiliar places by yourself! In our case, our trip was at 4.15am. We arrived about 5.30 am and since it was still dark outside (and we were still groggy) we decided to hang out at a coffee shop in the terminal and waited until daybreak before venturing out.

The ride to Miramar Hotel took about an hour, more or less. The receptionist was kind enough to accommodate us after I told her that we were deadbeat from our trip. All in all we were satisfied with our stay at the hotel. It wasn't the most glamorous hotel but it was perfectly comfortable, its location was convenient, it was staffed with very accommodating people and the room rates were very reasonable.

Our room had all the basic features I could ask for in a hotel room: a well-functioning air-conditioning unit, hot and cold shower and tub, cable TV, a fridge, a comfy bed and a vanity table. But of course the best part was that the room rate was reasonably priced! We managed to bag a nifty deal (via that cost us about P2500/night!

Another great thing about Hotel Miramar is the location (this is relative to the venue of Fuerza Bruta which is the Manila Hotel). The taxi ride from Hotel Miramar to the Manila Hotel cost us P50! This is good to know information in case you are planning to watch Cirque du Soleil this August (and can't afford a room at the Manila Hotel) or you have any business in that section of Roxas Boulevard (scroll down a bit so you can see the screenshot of the hotel location)!

We were supposed to go see the penguins at Ocean Park when we arrived but we were too jet-lagged and tired to go anywhere. Plus I had a horrible cold coming. We decided to just sleep in, watch TV and order room service. By the way, the food at the hotel isn't fantastic BUT there's a medley of food options available right next to the establishment. There's Yellow Cab Pizza, Chow King, Starbucks and Seven Eleven found in the same block as the hotel and a Bario Fiesta restaurant across it. I think there might be more, you can check the area using Google Maps- that's what I did when we were still looking for a hotel. Follow my example!

Tip #2: Scour the internet for the best travel/accommodation deals! 

Don't just use one internet tool/website to look for options. I used 3 different hotel booking websites to compare reviews, ratings and pictures. I also used Google Maps to check out the location of my choices (how far they were to the Fuerza Bruta show venue), what establishments were nearby and what sort of neighborhood they were located in. Some hotel booking websites include estimates of the distance/time it takes to travel from the hotel to the airport. Don't you love technology?

The red balloon with the letter "A" is the location of Miramar Hotel (click on the image to take a closer look)
Also, click here to look around the area via Google Maps. 

Hotel Miramar is located in:
1034-36 Roxas Blvd corner UN Avenue, 
Manila 1000, Philippines

Contact them at: 
+63 2 523 4486 ‎

Earlier in the afternoon, Mel and I went downstairs to look for something sweet to eat. The fridge in the hotel room was stocked with food, water, some alcoholic beverages and chips but their pricing was crazy (e.g. the 4-wafer Kitkat chocolate was P60 and the 1L water was P50)! We found a Seven Eleven nearby and we bought our own sweets, chips, water and some toiletries.

At about 4 pm we started preparing for the night's adventure.

*warning incessant cam-whoring up ahead*

It was about 6.45 when we left for the Manila Hotel. The staff called a taxi for us. The ride to the venue took us less than 10 minutes and cost us only P50! The show was at 8pm and, like the rest of the early birds, we hung out at the lounge where complimentary (Vodka-based) drinks were served. Guests could also order food.

I had a cocktail that was named after Fuerza Bruta.

Mel had the Look Up cocktail. 

In one corner of the lounge there was a stand that sold merchandise and souvenirs of the event. Everything was marked down by 25%! My cousin and I both fell in love with a cropped shirt that had Fuerza Bruta printed on the front, we both got one. I'll show you a picture on the next post.

*Round 2 of incessant cam-whoring*

And... that ends the first part of my mini-vacation in Manila! Stay tuned for the feature on Fuerza Bruta itself with pictures! Yes a gazillion pictures of the show! Plus a glimpse on what we did on our last day in Manila!

Have you watched Fuerza Bruta? Did you love it? How did you kick start your summer vacation?

Make sure you don't miss the second part of this special feature on Fuerza Bruta! Follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook Page, add me on Google Friend Connect or subscribe via email through the mailing list widget on the right sidebar!

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