Owesome Bali! (Part 2.1: Sunsets, Swim Spots, Sights)

Excuse the forced alliteration, but hey! It works right?

Before I forget, this is our itinerary for the four-day getaway.

Day 1: Arrival, Nusa Dua
Day 2: Stay in hotel
Day 3: Ubud, Kintamani
Day 4: Taman Ayun, Tanah Lot
Day 0: Going home

For this part, let me breakdown all the places we went to, including our hotel.

Aidel arrived a little past midnight on 5 August.  Boy, were we relieved. We originally wanted to pick her up, but because of the round trip, the fare would cost twice as much. Good thing Dodi advised us how to direct her to the airport taxis. He insisted that those taxis are far more secure and affordable than the ones scouting right by the pickup zone.

Most of our time was spent by the amazing pool of our hotel, Terrace Hotel at Kuta. Located perpendicular to the popular Legian Street, this quaint hotel boasts of its hospitality, pristine amenities and affordable price.

Hotel Terrace 1

We originally intended to stay at a hostel for a more affordable trip. However, because of our mission to include relaxation and leisure in this trip, this hotel won hands down. It is also quite conveniently five minutes away from the famed Kuta Beach.

Hotel Terrace 4

Yes, their restaurant is adjacent to the pool and it is brilliant. After eating, you want to jump right in right away.

Our rooms were on the second floor. While this is a photo from the hotel's Facebook page, trust us when we say it looks exactly like this in real life.

Our rooms were on the second floor. While this is a photo from the hotel’s Facebook page, trust us when we say it looks exactly like this in real life.

Finally complete!

Finally complete!  Well, this is Day 2.  So there.

This is the hotel welcome area. They give you a welcome drink upon checkin and they have the nicest staff on board. (Photo from Facebook)

This is the hotel welcome area. They give you a welcome drink upon checkin and they have the nicest staff on board. (Photo from Facebook)

And this is why they call it Hotel Terrace.

And this is why they call it Hotel Terrace.

To know more about Terrace Hotel at Kuta, visit their website at www.terraceatkuta.com.

 

Tourist Spot 1: Dreamland, Nusa Dua

Dodi took us here early to avoid the throng of Chinese tourists that usually come around 11 in the morning. I have to first admit that I am not a beach person. I survived a good part of the last decade not being anywhere near a beach, and I’m sure I didn’t miss much. That was until I saw this:

Dreamland 1

There was something serene and scary about the waves in Nusa Dua that day. Of course, at the time, our mood was still quite somber, not having Aidel around. But this beautiful beach was given the perfect throne. In spite of the aging hotel and the seemingly perilous descent to the shore, the view was just breathtaking.

Dreamland has the most comfy lounge chairs.

Dreamland has the most comfy lounge chairs.

With an exchange rate of US$1:IDR13,400, we're millionaires in Bali. But then, everything starts at IDR10,000.

With an exchange rate of US$1:IDR13,400, we’re millionaires in Bali. But then, everything starts at IDR10,000.

This has to be the most expensive bottle of water we've ever had. This is also one of the prettiest. IDR35,000. You do the math.

This has to be the most expensive bottle of water we’ve ever had. This is also one of the prettiest. IDR35,000. You do the math.

Or maybe I’m just exaggerating. I don’t know really. But for someone who has not really fancied the beach, this was a very good introduction to what Bali has to offer.

 

Tourist Spot 2: Uluwatu Temple

One of the things that Dodi told us when we got to Uluwatu was to remove everything that can be snatched or grabbed, particularly those that are shiny like gems and plastic. After tucking in our sunglasses and watches, we trekked into the temple.

Hello, co-tourists. Photobombing today eh?

Hello, co-tourists. Photobombing today eh?

Upon paying the entrance fee, they will give you a mini sarong to cover your legs. While this is one of the more famous tourist spots, it is still a temple. We got lucky because there was a ceremony during our visit. Speaking with the locals, we found out that the ceremony is a celebration for the bountiful harvest they had the past full moon.

Us in our cutesy purple barong. We didn't get much assistance putting it on. We think they must have thought we're locals. No, we're not.

Us in our cutesy purple barong. We didn’t get much assistance putting it on. We think they must have thought we’re locals. No, we’re not.

It was oddly serene, even though the traffic of people was continuous. I still had a hard time grasping the offerings to the monkeys but hey! Tradition is tradition, and four days is hardly time to fully appreciate and comprehend them.

The beautiful cliffs of Uluwatu

The beautiful cliffs of Uluwatu

Oh look! So much room for activities!

Oh look! So much room for activities!

There was a steady stream of people coming to worship and offer at the Temple. Tourists were not allowed inside, but of course, some did not even take notice.

There was a steady stream of people coming to worship and offer at the Temple. Tourists were not allowed inside, but of course, some did not even take notice.

There are so many offerings to the monkeys. Or the gods. The local we spoke to wasn't that well versed in English, but he gave us a good idea why that day was ceremony day.

There are so many offerings to the monkeys. Or the gods. The local we spoke to wasn’t that well versed in English, but he gave us a good idea why that day was ceremony day.

The wonderfully accommodating locals.  <3

The wonderfully accommodating locals. <3

While we didn’t see any monkeys at the temple – apparently, they’re shy types when there are huge throngs of people – we did see a good number at the parking lot, where it was less crowded. One of them looked as big as a dog, while another tried to grab Marga’s bejeweled slipper. Talk about a close encounter!

He just walked up to this platform and started eating his sweet potatoes. Eh. Normal day.

He just walked up to this platform and started eating his sweet potatoes. Eh. Normal day.

The moment right before this little rascal grabbed Marga's slipper. You can tell he was on a mission.

The moment right before this little rascal grabbed Marga’s slipper. You can tell he was on a mission.

You can't not go to Uluwatu. You will miss this view.

You can’t not go to Uluwatu. You will miss this view.

 

Tourist Spot 3: Jinbaran Bay

After checking in the hotel, Dodi took us to Jinbaran Bay. He said, we should celebrate our first day on the island in spite of being incomplete. He reserved a table for us at his favorite restaurant, front and center to the view of Jinbaran Bay’s sunset.

The sun was behind us. We were right by the beach.

The sun was behind us. We were right by the beach.

This island is just so full of culture. While waiting for our food to arrive, a ceremony was being held. It was odd at first, as we were not really used to prayer and dance being part of a sunset. At the same time, it was enchanting. The locals gave their offerings to the sea in the end.

Each ceremony comes with music and dance.

Each ceremony comes with music and dance.

Marga found the sweetest corn on the beach! You can choose between butter garlic and spicy butter. Of course, I chose spicy butter.

Marga found the sweetest corn on the beach! You can choose between butter garlic and spicy butter. Of course, I chose spicy butter.

Now this is a better shot. It was kind of windy.

Now this is a better shot. It was kind of windy.

Hoy, Aidel, where are you na? Hahahaha.

Hoy, Aidel, where are you na? Hahahaha.

While I enjoyed our time by this beach, I still can’t help but compare the sunset to our very own in Boracay. I think the Jinbaran sunset was just underwhelming because of the presence of volcanic ashes on the horizon, so we never really saw the sun dip in the pool. True enough, the next day, the airport closed because of those ashes.

Jinbaran Bay 5

It was a great way to end the first day. When we got to the hotel, we received the good news that Aidel is arriving slightly past midnight. It was such a relief; we can enjoy Bali even more, now that we’re complete.

I hope you stay tuned for more Owesome Bali updates.  Are you on your way to Bali too?  And if not, when do you plan to go? :)  See you for the next part!

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All The Good Things with Up Dharma Down

It has been a very hectic couple of months as school, wedding and work all fought for my time and attention.  I was in dire need of a relaxing couple of hours, a few moments that need not require deep slumber.  So when I was invited to listen to the genius that is Up Dharma Down, who am I to refuse such wonderful company?

IMG_9313

At the musical hotspot 12 Monkeys in Century Mall, Makati, Up Dharma Down set the stage as they unveil their newest single All The Good Things inspired by their recent travel to Singapore.

I love this band.  I really do.  I love them so much, I get goosebumps each time I hear them perform.  Because it is never short of soul or spirit or inspiration.  So I’m not surprised that they came up with new music while on vacation.

UDD in Gardens by the Bay

In collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board, the band signals a refreshed initiative to invite Filipino travelers to see Singapore in a whole new light and to share with them the unique experiences available in Singapore, as seen through the eyes of the band.

“The song is about having an idea of what’s good but only coming to terms with it upfront by actually doing something about it, such as traveling after a long time of toying with the idea of it. It’s about being open to new experiences, having that proactivity and positive outlook. We saw that during our trip in Singapore and we thought that it is a lot like us as a band. Always moving forward and always innovating,” said Armi.

(Can I just say that I love awkward Armi?  ADORKABLE GALORE.)

Up Dharma Down All The Good Things

What I loved about their post performance interview was this quote:  “You need to be affected by the community around you.”  And I agree.  The song was full of life, full of excitement, without losing the UDD signature.  It was great.

That same night, they launched the music video that goes with it.  From the Gardens by the Bay, to the 2am:dessertbar, the music video boasts of everything Singapore the band tasted and experienced.  With a constantly changing urban landscape, each visit to Singapore proves to be different from the last one.

UDD in Haji Lane

It really is a rock star life.  Carlos kept saying that it was the first time they saw Singapore in day time.  I guess they’re only there at night and with Singapore being so close to home, it must be a fly in-fly out thing for our musical geniuses.  I can’t help but be happy for their well deserved break (which turned out to be a fruitful one too).

Paul Yap in 2am dessertbar

Can I just say that no one looked happier than Paul to be in front of this amazing dessert?  Hahaha.

I’m still looking for that one trip with my friends before I jet off to marriedhoodness (yes, I invented that word), so in a way… maybe Singapore just might be the answer.

It doesn’t hurt that Singapore is celebrating its 50th year.  And it definitely doesn’t hurt that there are Golden Jubilee deals.  The Golden Jubilee promotion is an exciting selection of exclusive deals on flights, hotels and more.  Take advantage of special airfare deals, stay at any one of the participating hotels in the city for 2 nights to get the 3rd night free, shop till you drop during the Great Singapore Sale for a chance to win S$500 daily, and embark on a gastronomic adventure with exclusive dining discounts from various establishments.

UDD in Pidgin Kitchen & Bar

Head on over to  www.yoursingapore.ph to listen to All The Good Things and see what inspired Up Dharma Down during their visit.  Of course, for Golden Jubilee deals, visit www.yoursingapore.com/goldenjubilee

*searching flights now*

Got time for a survey and some $20?

UPDATE:  16 May 2015

Just in case it’s not yet obvious, I’ve extended the promo till I complete the survey responses. :)  For those who have stayed in the Philippines, please fill out this survey here:

Thank you! <3
UPDATE:  8 May 2015
I’m at the edge of my seat and almost desperate to get respondents.  So if I left a message/comment on your blog, I would like to confirm that I am not spam. Hahaha.
I am still about 350 responses away, please please WordPress family, help me graduate? ❤️❤️❤️ 
Thank you!
Original Post:
If you travel — around the world, in Asia, in the Philippines, wherever, basically travel travel travel — please do me a solid, help me out and fill out my survey as part of my final marketing campaign for graduate school.   
I promise it will be quick, at most just five minutes of your time.

And just for kicks, I’ll throw in a reward too.  If I reach 500 responses on or before May 10, 2015 4:00PM GMT+08:00, I will raffle off a $20 Amazon Gift Card.  Just don’t forget to leave a note or comment on this post, so I can include your name in the raffle.

I know I raised the stakes with $20 and all (chuckle) but please let’s do our best to leave bogus respondents out of my research.  Data harvest clean = yay research cred. :)

You’ve been with me all this time, since I started this grad school journey.  I’d love to finish this off with you. :)

But seriously.  Thank you very very much in advance.  Sincerely thank you.  Oh and don’t forget to spread the word!

 

<3 Carla

Here’s a photo post.

I had a pretty amazing 28 hours.  I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am right now, so I decided to collate some random photos just to share it with you guys. :)

It was by far one of our best days. :)

—-

By Carlo Vergara

 

I will help DOT!

Since the launching of the #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines campaign, a lot of people have been creating their own versions to support this statement.  Secretary Mon Jimenez Jr. was quick to tap Chuvaness and Anton Diaz to help promote this.  Already he knows how powerful social media is that he immediately contacts top bloggers to help spread this campaign!  Smart man.

So in my head, I should do my fair share of promoting.  I’ve decided to always end my posts with a meme supporting #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines.  I would love to feature your work here, so if you have one, just email it to me at carla.arriola@yahoo.com.  Don’t worry; I’ll make sure you get all the credit.  I can also link it back to your blog or site, should you have one.  Your submissions will not only help me in helping DOT promote tourism in the country, but would also pressure me into writing more regularly. :)

So here we go!  Let’s start now shall we?  Send in those reasons now!

by Johnathan Libarios Rondina