Category: nengkoy

Nengkoy’s First Hostel Experience

Nengkoy (my mother) is used to check-in a 5-star hotel or resort every time she goes on a domestic vacation.  Because of budget constraints and weak Philippine peso, it is the downgraded to 4 or 3-star hotels during international travels.  However, in Nengkoy’s recent international trip her accommodation experience was further downgraded from a hotel to a hostel!

I am the culprit.  It is because I am the one who booked and reserved a tiny room for three at A Dot Homestay via Booking.com.

Upon clearance from the immigration and retrieval of our luggage at Taoyuan International Airport, I Nengkoy and my sister proceeded to the nearest airport transport service.  We booked a return exclusive luxury car service that will drive us to our hostel and pick us up to bring us back to the airport on our last day’s stay.  The driver was quite surprised upon finding out that we have to be dropped not to a luxurious hotel but instead to an ordinary building where our hostel was located.

a dot homestay taipei
common area (dining & kitchenette) where guests converge and make “chika
a dot homestay
the bathroom, the laundry area and the sleeping quarters
nengkoy at a dot homestay
spot nengkoy (btw, those drawers under the bed are digital-lock capable as if its a safe or a vault)

Actually, upon alighting the luxurious car, I never noticed where A Dot Homestay was located for there was no signage.  Upon noticing that I seem to look confused, the driver was kind enough to point to us the building and entrance gate were the address of our hostel was.  Shockingly, there was no reception desk where to transact our check-in.  Instead, we proceeded to the 5th floor of the building, were asked to take off our shoes and was led to a dining table where we settled our payment and where the crew issued us our electronic keys to our room.

Nengkoy and my sister then told me after we have settled inside our room that both of them were already contemplating of pushing me to transfer to a legit hotel.  It was obviously their first time to be in such a type of a lodging.  They were not used to a guesthouse without a front desk, a concierge and an elegant chandelier in a lobby.

I have no intention of under estimating this hostel.  It is because I, my sister and Nengkoy were quite impressed by the facilities, cleanliness and offerings of A Dot Homestay.  After our first night, we easily adjusted and came to appreciate this cozy and comfortable establishment.

A Dot Homestay basically grew in us.  Maybe it is because it offers remarkable facilities (comfy bed with fresh and spotless linens, clean and big common/shared toilet & shower rooms, a free-to-use washer and dryer, very fast internet connection, hot, warm and cold drinking water, a fridge that all guests can use and even a kitchenette if guests wish to cook their food).  They even offer us to eat and try the free snacks placed and made available at the main table.

But aside from all these pleasant and amazing features, there are two things that I like most about A Dot Homestay.  First is the warm, gracious and well-mannered staffs.  All their staffs whom I encountered can speak English (Sarah, one of the staffs, according to her actually studied English here in the Philippines for 3 months) and everybody were so genial and are so willing to assist so as to make sure that we enjoy our visit to Taipei.  They can even give you tips on where to dine and where to go to.

Second is the location.  A Dot Homestay is literally just a couple of steps away from Exit 3 of Daan Station.  The nearness of the train station is one of my main considerations why I chose and booked A Dot Homestay.  I know that Taipei weather is like Manila weather.  It is hot, boiling and very humid.  Thus, it would be too difficult to walk on the streets so as to reach the station if the hotel would be too far a distance.  I was also glad to have chosen this lodging establishment because I am with Nengkoy and my often-complaining sister who hates to walk under a blistering climate.  Thus, the location of A Dot Homestay is just perfection!

nengkoy & ate gaying at daan train station
nengkoy and my sister at the stairs of daan station
taipei morning
the view just outside the hostel…

Thanks to A Dot Homestay!  It is because this establishment made Nengkoy’s first hostel experience a very pleasant and remarkable one.

Oh and by the way, on our last day, it was a different driver who picked us up and drove us to the airport for us to catch our flight back to Manila.  He was driving a Mercedes Benz.  It was so noticeable that the driver was puzzled and bamboozled why we were not picked from a luxurious hotel but instead by the bustling Xinyi Road in front of an ordinary-looking building.

Kaimpres impernes…

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Happy Birthday Ate Gaying

It’s my elder sister’s birthday today. She was my travel buddy when I got to visit the beautiful country of Israel.  And because of my sister, my travel to the Holiest Land on Earth went so swell.

And since I could not think of a good birthday gift for her and has no time to buy one, I instead hurriedly had my lunch yesterday in my office and create this…

Happy Birthday Ate Gaying!

Pengeng pera!

An Inimitable After-Wedding-Party of Alexis & Thatcher

I’m a proud uncle I must say.  Up until now I can’t seem to overcome the genial feeling at how the wedding ceremony and after-wedding-party of Alexis & Thatcher has turned out.  All elements of a fun party was there.  The wedding reception in particular was a well thought-off kind of a revelry.

The set-up was grand, the live music was impeccable and the host was entertaining!  Elements of Alexis and Thatcher’s personalities were present in all corners of the venue, from geeky/techy toys and designs to youthful books and journals.  I never realized that chic elegance and non-mainstream geeky-ness can jive well and would be such an exciting type of a wedding party concept.

grand!
nengkoy with the couple…
blue label…
ninong duties

Another impressive aspect of the party were the food and drinks.  When I saw the menu, I immediately concluded that the line-up of these exciting dishes were well-scrutinized.  The dinner was absolutely lovely!

I am not a wine connoisseur but my having three glasses of the red wine that night would signify how good the wine was.  But the most impressive of all in terms of drinks was the serving of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.  There was nothing geeky about it, but the serving of this rare Scottish whisky – a freakin’ bottle on every table – was sheer elegance!

But all these were topped by the dance number that Alexis and Thatcher has performed that night.  My family knows that the couple (both seem to possess considerable levels of geeky-ness) shall be the last to dance in any of our family’s occasion.  Seeing both strutting a swanky and ritzy dance number was such a treasure to behold.  Alexis and Thatcher’s romantic dancing made me super cheery, my emotional equilibrium went berserk that it made me cry for joy.

Here’s how grand the event was… watch it…

Awtstanding…

Speech at Alexis+Thatcher Wedding

The Wedding Reception Party of my niece Thatcher and new nephew Alexis is one of the coolest parties I’ve attended this year.  And in this gathering held at the Marriott Hotel Manila, I was given the task by the couple to render a speech (me being the representative of the family of the bride).

Before you read my speech here’s the cool pre-nup video of the couple…

Here’s what I said during the grand celebration of love…

Hi! I am Neil and I am one of the loving uncles of Thatcher, tonight’s lovely Bride.

Like what everyone knows, it is unfortunate that Thatcher’s dad (my brother) passed away when she was still a little girl.  I’m pretty sure that my Kuya Iko, Thatch’s dad, would be so happy now that she has grown up to be a fine woman and has finally tied a knot with a gentleman.  Kuya Iko must be smiling and watching up there in Heaven.

Thatcher grew up with her brother Denden who acted as her father figure.  It was always her Kuya Denden and at times Ate Erika whom she can count on.  Kuya Denden and Ate Erika are Thatcher’s significant human beings that made Thatcher the way she is today.  While I, along with my elder brothers Wreigh & Bogis and Ate Raquel’s elder brothers: Larry, Dennis & Nelson were her warriors if need be. 

One of the most touching deed that Thatcher has done to me is a note she composed a couple of years back.  The note was part of a gift she gave me that Christmas.  I was touched when I read that note for it indicates how appreciated my being an uncle to her.  That note was one of the best gifts I received that Christmas and up to this day that note is kept in my treasure file.

The first time I met Alexis was in Japan.  Prior to meeting him, I have heard a lot about him from the stories of my Nanay Nengkoy, nieces Erika, KrisMae and Mica and nephews Denden, Luis and Miggy.  One big conclusion was derived from their stories, Alexis is a rich kid who does not seem to know anything about household chores.  Because of this pre-conceived idea, simple tests and challenges were concocted for Alexis during our family’s vacation in Osaka.  These challenges were simple household chores that Alexis needs to undertake, i.e. from fixing the bed, to taking the garbage out, to even washing the soiled dishes. 

At the end of that vacation, my family all agreed that Alexis passed these simple challenges.  Though not with flying colors at least Alexis did his very best to get along with a crazy family like ours.  He even passed the test of eating his vegetables as insisted and enforced by his Ninang Gaying.  In my own personal analysis, the most impressive trait of Alexis is his being respectful.  During our first meeting, he automatically addressed me as Tito Neil.

To you Thatcher & Alexis, now that you are married, let me correlate my unsolicited advice with that of your recent pre-nup video.  Your prenup video was shot in Enchanted Kingdom, a theme park with various rides and attractions.  Please be advised that life indeed is like a roller coaster ride.  At times it may be like a happy ferris wheel or a nerve wrecking space shuttle ride.  There would be moments that life’s challenges may seem to be like a trip inside a horror house.  But you should always remember that no matter how hard and difficult trials may be, never stop falling in love with each other.  I’m pretty sure that life will simply be a breeze when you’re together like that of a gentle ride on a Merry Go Round. I hope that you stay together forever and live an enchanted-kingdom-like life ahead!  Congratulations and cheers to Thatcher & Alexis!

Alexis+Thatcher

Best Wishes…

Blaming Millenials on the Dwindling Availability of Greeting Cards

One of my monster pamangkins (nephew) recently shared this in his Facebook page…

It may have some good points but I’m sorry because I find this video-message seem to border on egotism, arrogance and conceit.  This is my personal stand on this clip after me and Nengkoy had difficulty looking for a greeting card. Hahaha!  I felt sadness while inside the National Bookstore (the leading books, stationaries and greeting card store in the country).  It is because the availability of greeting cards have dwindled in the stores where it is usually available.

Nengkoy wanted to send a Thank You card to one of her best friends who is based in the United States because this sweet longtime friend sent her a package of American-made presents.  Unfortunately, National Bookstore no longer seem to sell Thank You greeting cards and what is so evident is that greeting cards are now positioned at one lonely corner of the store with very limited themes and varieties to choose from.  Gone are the days when almost half of National Bookstore is filled with various types of colorful greeting cards.

nengkoy searching for a thank you greeting card

And I am blaming the millenials for this turn of events.  It is because the generation today no longer send greeting cards via post or snail mail.  Millenials may love to travel and go on an adventure but gone also are the days when travelers around the planet would get a postcard from a local store of their destination and send it home via postal.

Today’s generation can easily send a recycled, reused and secondhand digital greeting to a friend’s or relative’s social media account, which for me is a little cold, stony and unfeeling. It is unlike receiving a greeting card which is more warm, tender and congenial because you know that it took quite an effort on sending such a tangible greeting.

Yeah millenials are fast, smart and proficient but I just hope that classy and classic Greeting Cards remains available for the likes of Nengkoy and those who were born before this seem-to-be-conceited generation.  I hope today’s fast paced generation would acknowledge that the likes of Nengoy and the older folks are the precursors to the development of delightful living for today’s young population to enjoy.

Kalungkot lang…

Wicked (the musical) In Manila: A Wickedly High-End Run

This will most probably be one of the last write-ups of Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz musical as it ends its latest run here in Manila.  Me, my sisters and Nengkoy (of course) had the awesome opportunity to catch and watch the last performance night here in Manila.

We were of course bedazzled and captivated by the sheer magnificence if the costumes, the colors and the music of Wicked.  But I will not write anything about the musical for there has been millions of it in the web.  Instead, let me deliberate on the venue and the people on the night we watched the show here in Manila.

Unlike my sisters and Nengkoy, it was my first time seeing a musical show in Solaire Theatre.  I have seen a couple of shows in Broadway, New York but never was I been so stunned and dumbfounded by the high-endedness (is that a word?) of Solaire.  The theater was so modish and dashing there were moments when I doubted being in poverty-stricken Manila.  While waiting for the ushers to allow us inside the actual theater, the well-lighted foyer area was played with chic jazz music.  I never noticed or heard stylish jazz or muzak being played at the measly lobby and waiting areas of New York theaters. In some New York shows, we the audience actually have to queue at the cold and dusty side street.

nengkoy & my wicked sister with her high-end bag! bag lang nya ang high-end sa amin nung gabing yon. hahaha!
pictures muna
me & my sister… defying gravity…

And what further dumbfounded me were the rest of the audience.  Everyone was well-dressed for the night.  Well-dressed, I mean well-dressed.  Gentlemen were in their crisp long sleeve shirts with matching coat and necktie while the ladies were dressed to the nines.  Some ladies were even donning in elegant gown and seem to have been to some pricey beauty saloon prior to the show just to watch Wicked, The Musical.

I was actually so shocked, wearing just a polo shirt and my old dungarees, I could not control my utterances about the theater and the people.  I told my sisters that I have seen a couple of Broadway shows in New York but the atmosphere was never this chic, high-end and elegant.

Buti na lang di ako nag-tsinelas.  Taray… Walang ganyan sa Nyu York!

Gaston of Beauty And The Beast

 

Pure enjoyment.  That is how I would describe my general view and opinion after watching the rebooted and newest version of Disney’s Beauty And The Beast.  It is a film that is loaded with thoughts, scenes and features that will warm your heart.  Viewers will definitely fall in love with the lead characters and will delightfully be mesmerized with the characters who were cursed to become inanimate objects.  The Be My Guest scene was spectacular!

I’m pretty sure a lot has been written about the various characters of the movie.  Even LeFou the sidekick of Gaston (the main nemesis) had loads of write ups about him because of his being a member of the LGBT.  And since I am more of a fanatic of the antagonists that those of the usually boring bida, heroes, heroines or protagonists, let me write about Gaston.

Personally, Gaston (superbly played by Luke Evans in the movie) was a potential favorite at the beginning of the story but I eventually dropped him when he turned unreasonably evil.  Gaston was funny and a likeable idiot at first half of the movie.  With the good looks of Luke Evans, I’m pretty sure some of the viewers would rather drop the Beast and instead root for Gaston.

In the movie, Gaston started as a conceited narcissistic dude with a dash of charming-ness but his funny-at-first demeanor suddenly turned unappealing when he starts to get too irrationally sore and unreasonably obsessed with Belle.  I don’t like the Gaston characterization at the end part because it does not have a background on why Gaston turned out to be the Gaston in the movie.  Gaston is unlike other movie nemesis in which a backgrounder is presented on why they turned evil.  I actually just assumed and have to settle on a thought that Gaston who wears a military uniform must be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after being in a terrifying war or traumatic battle that is why he is so unstable.

Though with unexplained past and unexplored personal history in the movie, I guess, Gaston’s character and wickedness is one vital need in the movie so as to enhance and further emphasize the pureness of the hearts of both Belle and the Beast.  Without Gaston, there won’t be a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, (all together now!) Beauty and the Beast.

Gaston did a pretty good job.  He is actually the true and spot-on beast in the movie.  If he survived the high fall at the end part of the story, he now has adequate reason to rile and aggravate the future lives of the Beauty and the Beast!

Dahil kontrabida ang peg, Team Gaston ako!