Our Valentine’s Weekend Staycation at F1 Hotel

My husband and I are both musicians, and that means that our work schedule is unpredictable compared to office work. It also means that during weekends and holidays, we are often working while others are taking a break from their jobs. Valentine’s Day is definitely an occasion during which, more often than not, musicians are working rather than dating. Lucky for me and Casey, since we both are musicians, we can have a work date (which while fun, is not as fun as a date date, but at least we’re together). Haha. This year though, Casey managed to inject a huge dose of romance into our Valentine’s work date by surprising me with a string quartet arrangement of one of my favorite songs! He had been spending hours on his computer the past few days before Valentine’s, and I thought he was playing games, but it turns out he was busy arranging a song for me, which we played during our Valentine’s Day set. Suffice to say, we had a great Valentine’s Day. He also bought us a voucher for an overnight stay at F1 Hotel in BGC, which we were able to use last Sunday.

string quartet Philippines Manila String Machine

Valentine’s Day surpriseHappy family Valentine’s Day

We got a Deluxe Room, which was spacious enough for the three of us. I requested for a crib for Wolf, which at first lacked a piece in its base. We called room service, and they were quick to replace the crib’s base. Overall, I was happy with the room, which was styled nicely and was spotless. The bed was very comfortable, with pristine sheets and pillows with just the right amount of fluff. The towels and bath robes were soft and thick. We had a few minor issues — the floor was fake wood and not carpeted, the bathroom had no tub (making it more challenging to bathe Wolf), and the aircon placement resulted in a draft on one side of the bed.

I took a few pictures but was not able to fix the lighting, because Wolf was not enjoying his crib and wanted me to carry him (as you will clearly see in the pictures). Haha.

F1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe RoomF1 Hotel Deluxe Room

For dinner, we walked over to High Street. BGC on Sundays is great for strolling around, as there are few cars and lots of dogs, which Wolf enjoyed seeing. With the many restaurants, malls, and bars in BGC, you won’t run out of things to do when you stay at F1. We decided to have dinner at Sunnies Cafe, so we could avail of their Buy 1 Take 1 Ricotta Pancakes promo via the Booky app. Aside from the pancakes, we ordered fried chicken and carbonara. Little did we know, one order of pancakes was a stack of four! We ended up having the second order to go. It was our first time in Sunnies, and we enjoyed the food and ambience. Wolf enjoyed their nice wooden high chair and gobbled up a bit of everything we ordered!

At Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies Cafe

At Sunnies Cafe

At Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies CafeAt Sunnies Cafe

We went back to the hotel happily full, and Wolf promptly fell asleep, dutifully giving his parents some quality time alone. What a good little boy. Hehe. The next day, we went down for buffet breakfast a bit late. We got there past 9:30 and the buffet was closing at 10:00 (last call)! It was like one of those timed shopping sprees, wherein you just dump as much as you can into your cart. I got a bit of almost everything and ended up with a plate overflowing with food. Casey had no trouble piling his plate with his usual fare — bacon, sausages, eggs. The food was pretty good. Of note was the bacon that was quite crispy, the scrambled eggs that were creamy, and the cold cuts and cheese selection, which although limited was of good quality and paired very nicely with the breakfast rolls.

Breakfast at F1 Hotel

F1 Hotel breakfast buffet

After breakfast, we tried out their pool. Among their three pools, I chose to try their 4-foot one with Wolf so I could carry him easily in the water. The water was way too cold, unfortunately, and so we didn’t stay long. Next time, we will look for hotels with indoor heated pools so that Wolf can stay longer in the water.

F1 Hotel poolF1 Hotel pool

Checking out of the hotel was a breeze, and we appreciated being granted a late checkout of 1 pm, especially since Wolf decided to nurse after swimming, leaving me no time to put on makeup or even brush my hair! Haha. We didn’t bring a car, but getting an Uber was quite easy. One of the big advantages of F1 Hotel is its prime location in the heart of BGC. I’d love to have another staycation in the area, and I certainly wouldn’t mind going back to F1 Hotel. It was a Happy Valentine’s Weekend indeed!

At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel At F1 Hotel


Hotel Kimberly, Tagaytay: A Great Choice for Quick Family Vacations

This is my long overdue review of one of my favorite hotels in Tagaytay, Hotel Kimberly! This was the venue of my officer training program culmination in China Bank. This was also the venue of the annual outing of the Manila String Machine (MSM), our awesome music family. We stayed there overnight last July 21 to 22.

Casey, Wolf, and I stayed in a Deluxe Room. The rooms of Hotel Kimberly are simple yet elegant, with comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. Most importantly, they are quite consistently clean. This makes the hotel an excellent choice for families with small children.

Wolf was already a fast crawler when we had our outing last July, and so we brought his crib, which we were able to set up beside our bed (proof that their rooms have ample space). The bed mattresses are on the firm side, but we found them quite comfortable even if we are used to the softness of our memory foam mattress at home. One negative comment I have about the room is that the placement of the ledge in the bathroom for toiletries was not ideal, as it was too far from the sink and the tub.

It was Wolf’s first time to swim at the outing, and I did my best to make sure he enjoyed. We bought him full swimming attire, taking care to get a long-sleeved rash guard to help keep him warm. We also waited till the sun was not too harsh but still present to keep the water temperature tolerable. A heated pool would have been great, but unfortunately, the hotel’s pool did not have heating.

I think Wolf enjoyed his first pool dip. Although he didn’t smile much, he didn’t cry either. We took him out after ten minutes and brought him straight up to the room to bathe in the tub. However, to our dismay, we found out that the water heater in our room was not working! We immediately called room service to sort out the problem. They were able to get the heater to work in around 20 minutes from the time we called, but that is a long time for a baby who came from the pool. I just hugged him the whole time to make sure he stayed warm.

After swimming, we hung out in the hotel lobby, which was decorated nicely and had comfortable couches. Wolf’s first dip left him super tired, as children (and adults) often are after swimming. He was so tired that he fell asleep mid-picture. Awww.

For dinner, our table had yang chow fried rice, tinapa fried rice, tawilis, pakbet bagnet, and liempo. We were only four, but two among us were hungry daddies. Haha. The food was good but not remarkable. The tawilis, unfortunately, was not crispy. The hotel hosted a bonfire with marshmallows and movie night, but we missed it because we were too busy having dinner. Haha. After dinner, we went to the game room, which we found was too noisy for Wolf, and so we went up to our room instead and watched Transformers before settling down for the night. The swimming sufficiently tired out Wolfie to allow him (and his mom) to sleep for four hours. Hallelujah!

We got up bright and early the next day to avail of our buffet breakfast, which consisted of arroz caldo, chow mein, dilis, fried chicken, longganisa, tocino, rice, bread, fruit, eggs, and bacon. I wished they had corned beef though, which is my favorite breakfast food! Again, the food was passable but nothing to write home about. In particular, I enjoyed my omelette with everything in it — ham, cheese, onions, and bell peppers.

After breakfast, we traipsed over to the hotel’s mini farm. It was quite impressive, with a larger variety of animals than I had expected! One of the animal caretakers toured us through the farm. He was very friendly, and he knew so much about all the animals. My favorite parts were the rabbits and sheep, while Casey was most interested in the chickens and hydroponics. We were able to feed the sheep, because we made sure to visit during their feeding time. We noticed one sheep was separated from the rest. The caretaker said that the sheep’s mother died after his birth. He was bottle fed away from the flock, and when the caretakers brought him back, the other sheep began to bully him. So he became an outcast. Poor baby. We chose to feed him instead of the other mean sheep. Haha. The rabbits were very popular with all the kids, and we almost bought the grey one. They were really so cute! The farm also had three horses, and one was available for kids to ride. I would say that for families with small children, the mini farm is a must-see at Hotel Kimberly.

We checked out at 12 noon and visited their souvenir shop, which, frankly, had nothing interesting or of value to me. This is probably the area of the hotel that needs the most improvement. After checking out, we had lunch at Bulalo Point before heading home.

We had a great time relaxing and bonding with our MSM family at the hotel. With clean, well-appointed rooms, a big pool, and lots of fun activities, Hotel Kimberly is at the top of my list for a family vacation in Tagaytay.