Tag: 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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Chilin at Shilin Night Market

Taipei, Taiwan based on travel blogs seem not in the top list of places to go to on the planet.  But I along with Nengkoy and elder sister Ester nevertheless adventured into seeing what Taipei has to offer.  Actually, yesterday we were back to Manila and actually just arrived from Taipei.  And before the lazy bug bit me, let me showcase an awesome experience while we were there.

taipei morning
a beautiful taipei morning

Night markets in Taipei are quite popular.  Shilin Night Market located near Jiantan train station is considered the largest is actually the most popular among tourists.  This is the night market that Nengkoy, I and my sister chose to chill at and visit during a very short stay in Taipei.

Shilin Night Market is known to offer various food and nonfood items.  Aside from a couple of cool t-shirts I purchased, I got to try two amazing stuffs at this lively, brazen and well-admired night market.

The Ampaet Drink

First, I got to try the white bitter gourd juice.  Bitter gourd is known as Ampalaya in the Philippines.  Here in my country, Ampalaya is green in color and never used as a juice drink flavor.  Because of its bitter taste, it is one of my most hated vegetables.

white bitter gourd display
inviting ampalaya display!
20170831_080926
this drink is so me!

But in Taiwan, they got a white/albino variety and they use it for a refreshing juice drink.  Upon learning that such is mixed in a cold drink, it got me curious.  I even thought that the albino variety would be a redeeming version of the green-colored variety.  I was expected that it would be sweet to the taste.   So as to end my pondering, I ordered a tall glass.

As for the taste, it was a disappointing bitter taste same as the green version.  And same as the green variety, I hated the white kind.  It was not my type! Ampaet! (Translation: so bitter!)  But as a consolation, I nevertheless will no longer have to brood over on what the taste was of such a rare drink when I get back to Manila.  To get rid of the bitter after taste, I, Nengkoy and my sister decided to gulp on a very cold bottle of pure and freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, which is also a popular street drink in Taipei!

The Uncut Cutlet

Second, Shilin Night Market shall be for the record the place where I actually had the largest piece of chicken cutlet.  It was so big I thought it was an ostrich!

There was a long queue at store called Hot Star.  I actually don’t know what people were queuing up for.  And since the line is very long, I assume the food stuff that store was selling must be amazing.  I just decided to fall in line and only got to realize that it was a humongous filleted chicken cutlet that was being sold when I was already paying for it.

hot star chicken queue!
hot star: the chicken that sells like hotcake!
hot star chicken cutlet
that piece of chicken is even bigger that the face of its seller
hot star chicken and neil
enjoying my humongous piece of chicken

Hot Star chicken cutlet was surprisingly very good and very tasty!  The chicken meat is evenly coated with a crunchy deep fried golden brown batter.  Before the ginormous cutlet was handed over to me upon payment, it was sprinkled with flavoring powder which I believe (based on the whispers of my taste buds) is composed of white pepper, sea salt and special spices.  This chicken cutlet was surprisingly tender and juicy.  It was so ginormous I shared it with Nengkoy!

These are just two of the million or more possible stuffs that people can try when they visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market.  There is a cornucopia of stuffs that visitors can taste when they chill at this amazing night market.  Try visit sometime and prove to yourself that Taipei is actually worth a visit!

 Kakaiba ka Shilin!

Like Me!

Facebook has just informed me that my FB friends have liked my posts at an accumulated 20,000 times.  It is a proof that my FB friends are indeed friends!

like me!

It is so unlike this blog.  This blog is already more than eight years old (considered an adult in the blogging universe) yet it has to reach even a hundred like. Hahaha!

Don’t forget to press like!

Huy, i-layk nyo naman.

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…

2017 Mudra Day: I Joined PAL’s Moments With Mom Promo

I joined PAL’s Mabuhay Miles Mother’s Day Promo.  Mechanics says that participant needs to post a photo with his/her mom in any memorable Philippine Airlines destination.  Chosen entry will win 10,000 mile-points and an overnight stay for 2 at Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar.

Though it looks like me and Nengkoy is not going to win because I saw the other entries and theirs were so stunning and beautiful, I enjoyed joining.  It’s a way I suppose of expressing how fun to be with her and that I am proud of Nengkoy!  This is my entry…

winning entry! hahaha!
happy mother’s day to all

I actually don’t need to win because having Nengkoy, my Mudra, in my life is the ultimate reward! Happy Mother’s Day Nengkoy!

At sa inyo din, hapi mudra day!