A New Place To View Taal, Laeuna de Taal, Day 3

On our way back from Eagle's Point Resort, Batangas, we chose to take the Taal-Lemery road via Papaya Road (Diokno Highway) which pass by Fantasy World, to go up to Tagaytay.  We didn't know that the bridge leading to Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway was closed for repair due to typhoon Glenda which hit the Philippines back in 2014.  Yes, 3 years later, it's still on-going repair.

We had to double back and take Laurel Road, which was a 24km highway along Taal Lake.  The view was gorgeous, plus, road trip!

We're all over the map!

On our way to Tagaytay via the twisting and turning road of Ligaya Drive, we saw this new development by Filinvest.  It's named Laeuna de Taal.  I'm not interested in buying a lot on this property, cause I'm pretty sure it would be 'bongga' in price.

What I would share was the grand view of Taal Lake and volcano offered by Laeuna's lay-by.  Like all private vehicles going up to Tagaytay, we parked our vehicle on the shoulder road and jogged to the other side.

Here's the kids backed by Taal Lake and volcano.  Laeuna even had a guard posted on the area to keep the tourists safe, man the traffic and the gate of the development.

Then, there's a sorbetes vendor here.  Dirty ice cream!  A bit pricey, since a cone costs P20.  But, given the steep road that Mr. Sorbetes had to navigate to ply his ware.  Sulit!

So, on your next Tagaytay trip.  Drop by Ligaya drive and have an ice cream at the Laeuna de Taal Lay-by.

Read part 1 here.
Read part 2 here.

Travel Date:  August 2017

Photo Courtesy of:
Laeuna de Taal by Filinvest

Overnight At Eagle Point, Batangas Part 2

Our 2nd day started early, with a buffet breakfast at the Eagle's Nest Bar and Restaurant.  There's fried rice, scrambled eggs, daing na bangus (butterflied milkfish soaked in vinegar and garlic), and longganisa (sausage links).  For drinks, there's orange juice and coffee.

The night before, we ordered lunch from the staff to be taken at Sepoc beach.  Lunch was good for 2 persons and consisted of rice, grilled chicken or pork, grilled squid, pancit (noodles) and a plate of fruits.  All to be cooked by their staff right at Sepoc beach.  Price not included on the room rate, but would be paid upon check out.

We ordered two lunch pack since we're a family of four.  But, the food was enough to feed 6-8 persons.  We actually gave the rest to our boat man, cause we're not big eaters at all.

We did an early check out from the room, to allow us to waddle in the beach until 2pm.  The staff were nice enough to allow us to store our luggage in their office, for free.  We're also allowed to use the pool and it's facility until the afternoon, which I would say a fair enough deal to make.

A boat going to Sepoc beach costs a minimum of P3500.  They have a big boat that could easily seat 10 person.  We borrowed big beach towels from the information desk, since we didn't bring any.

Tide is coming...

Waiting for the boat that would take us to Sepoc beach.

Off we go.

The sea is calm and ohhh so blue.

Sepoc beach is a small cove with white sand beach.  It's really sunny.  Sunblocks are a must!

We did snorkling.  Too bad, I always seem to forget my water proof pouch, to get those under water shots.  It's beautiful, with plenty of colorful fishes to see.

After two, we head back to the resort to wash up and go back to reality.

Read part 1 here.

Travel Date: August 2017

How To: Contact Airbnb

It’s bound to happen in your hosting life that you’d need to call Airbnb and air your grievance.  The golden question is always, ‘How do I contact Airbnb, and what’s their number?’.

Getting a hold of an Airbnb customer care is a bit tricky of people not in the US.  The first option that I always give to those asking is to contact Airbnb thru their twitter handler @AirbnbHelp.  It’s a fast way to getting their attention to your concern and assigning a case manager to your problem.

Airbnb assigns case managers to help hosts solve their problems.  Case managers can be community experts, or fellow hosts who have been with Airbnb for so long, they’re masters on getting you the best answer.

If you’re adamant in calling Airbnb, just follow these simple steps.
1.       Open your Airbnb app in your mobile
2.       Go to your Profile and choose Get help

3.       On the bottom of the list, there’s a Contact us button.

4.       There’s an option whether to Message Airbnb or Call them.  Choose Call us.

5.       Choose Something else

6.       Now choose Request Callback if you want Airbnb to call you, or Call Airbnb directly.  You can nominate the phone number where you’d like Airbnb to contact you.
7.       Choosing Call Airbnb directly, would lead to their phone number, +44 203 318 1111
Do you know other ways to contact Airbnb? or you have a different Airbnb contact number?  Share it with us here using the Comment Section.

Overnight At Eagle Point, Batangas Part 1

August 2017 saw 3-long weekends in the Philippines, something that we took advantage by heading to a beach in Mabini, Batangas in the middle of an unusually hot and dry August.

We first came to Eagle Point back in 2012 for the kid’s 5th and 4th birthday celebration. We enjoyed the resort and the view so much that we decided to come back.  

Forward to 2017 and we booked an overnight stay at Eagle Point.

The resort is known to cater to divers from around the world.  Newbies and curious alike, can rent some diving gears and get professional diving instructions on-site.  They even have a salt-water pool with baby sharks and other big fishes for first time divers to try.

No, I didn't try wading on that pool.  Seeing the sharks up close did a number on my nerves.

There's a traffic jam in Batangas City, making us arrive late.  It was dark and we had a problem looking for the resorts' signage.  Good thing a resident saw us driving back and forth along the road and pointed us to the right direction.  The screen grab below is what it should look like at day time. 

From the National Road, there’s a small gravel path at the right leading to the resorts’ parking area.  You’ll have to drive about half a kilometer in a narrow road with overgrowth at each side, ala Pinoy horror movie style.

At the parking area, they have a van that shuttles the guests down the resort.  They don’t allow guests to drive down to the lobby.  More likely that they don’t trusts guests to navigate the winding and treacherous path.  It's only a 5-minute ride, so buckle up.

At the lobby, the receptionist was friendly and helpful.  We felt very welcome.  Time for the mandatory family picture.

They escorted us to our twin sharing room with a huge balcony overlooking Balayan bay.

The room has 2 queen sized bed and ample space.  We did some shots and quickly left to have dinner at their restaurant.

The resort has buffet and ala cart servings and a well stocked bar.  Last time we were here, they even have a grill at the pool side area.  Maybe because it was summer then.
After dinner, the kids tried the pool right away--they were very anxious to get into that water—while the adults tried the bar.

There were a bunch of other vacationing families at the hotel.  Most are foreigners of varied nationalities.  As the night wore on, some started belting tunes at the videoke set-up at the side of the restaurant area.  It was relaxing sitting by the pool, watching the kids play in the pool while we talk over some brandy and margarita.
Day 2 on next post.

Travel Date:  August, 2017

LifeHack Lesson 3: Reduce Your Travel Tax

Traveling is always a fun activity.  More so if you’re traveling to a different country with your love ones to meet familiar faces and places.  However, let’s face it apart from hounding the net for cheap flights, there’s almost no way in getting around the dreaded Philippine Travel Tax.

According to the TIEZA (Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority), the travel tax is a levy imposed by the government of the Philippines, under Presidential Decree (PD) 1183, to all departing passengers.  The price depends on the type of ticket you purchase and only OFW (Overseas Filipino Workers) are fully exempted from paying the tax.  So yes, even you’re kids would need to pay up.

Full Travel Tax
PHP 2,700.00
PHP 1,620
Standard Reduced Travel Tax
PHP 1,350.00
PHP 810.00
Privileged Reduced Travel Tax
for a Dependent of an
Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW)
PHP 400.00
PHP 300.00

But it’s not all pain.  The tax does go to worthwhile endeavors.  At least half of it.
TIEZA portions that money, with 50% going to TIEZA, 40% to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for tourism-related education programs and courses.  Lastly, the 10% goes to the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

But if you’re a family of 4 going to see Mickey Mouse in Hong Kong, that P1,620 could easily balloon to P6,480—roughly the same price of one passenger ticket to Hong Kong and back.

So, I was very happy to know that I wouldn’t have to pay the full price.  Being an OFW dependent, my gang and I can avail the reduced price of P300.  An 80% decrease from the full price.

All OFW dependent can avail this privilege, even if you’re not travelling with the OFW.  As long as:
1.       Your destination is the same country where your OFW is deployed.
2.       You’re part of the OFW’s immediately family.
a.       Parents
b.      Spouse
c.       Children
3.       You have proof of family relation
a.       Original NSO copy of Marriage Certificate for Spouse
b.      Original NSO copy of Birth Certificate
4.       Proof of OFW deployment
a.       Copy of EOC, issued within a year
5.       Passport and Booking confirmation

To avail of the reduced travel tax, go to the TIEZA desk at the airport and submit all your documents.  Don’t worry about handing out your NSO files.  They will hand it back to you.  The most important part is the OEC of the OFW.  They should be registered and active in the POEA system.

Afterwards, you’ll be asked to pay P300 for each passenger.  A receipt and OFW dependent certificate would be given to you.  This you’ll present to the check in counter as proof of travel tax payment.

So next time you travel, don’t forget about this neat trick.  Go ahead and visit your OFW.

Philippine Holidays 2018

Plan those long weekends as early as now, as Malacañan already signed Proclamation No. 269 which declares 18 red days for Philippine calendar 2018.

For 2018, Philippines would have 4 extra long weekends; not including the traditional vacay days for Lent, Holloween, Christmas and New Year festivities.

Not only that.  There are even 3 holidays that would fall on a Tuesday.  And we all know what that means... ipit day is an extra vacation leave day!

So make sure you have enough leave credits, and add this calendar to your next team meeting, cause it always pays to plan ahead!

How To: Pay PLDT Bill via BPI Expressonline

Having access to BPI Expressonline is such a big convenience, as they have a wide range of online banking service to makes bills payment a little easier.

Here's a step by step guide on how to enroll and pay your PLDT bills using BPI Expressonline.

Enrolling your PLDT bill

1.       Log-in to your www.bpiexpressonline.com account.  If you don’t have one yet, here’s a quick link on how to create one.
2.       From the top menu, go to Payments & Reloading > Bills Payment > Enroll All Other Bills.
3.       Fill in the details needed.
a.       ATM Card number – choose from the drop down menu
b.      Joint Account Indicator (JAI) No. – this is the 2-digit number located at the lower right hand corner of your ATM card
c.       Bill Information – choose PHIL LONG DISTANCE TEL CO (PLDT)
d.      Account number – this is the n10-digit your account number that you can get either from your printed bill or from my.pldthome account.  Notice that there are only 9-digits there, so you’d need to add a 0 as the 1st number.
e.      Enter your security details, such as registered e-mail address or your Mother’s maiden name.
f.        Hit Submit.
4.       You’ll receive a confirmation of your enrollment and can now proceed with payment.

5.       Alternately, you can also enroll your bill from the payment page by clicking the Enroll Bills link.  A pop up will open, where you'll be asked what type of bill you'll be enrolling.  Choose Utility, Insurance and Other Bills.

Paying your PLDT Bill
1.       To pay, go to Payments & Reloading > Bills Payment > Pay Bills Today
2.       Fill in the details
a.       Pay – list of merchants enrolled to your account
b.      The amount of – payment amount
c.       From my account – list of accounts where payment would be debited
d.      Additional Reference Number – for PLDT, leave this blank
e.      Remarks – type any information that you wish to put here as reminder, or leave it blank
f.        Hit Submit.
3.       You’ll receive a confirmation of your successful transaction in the page and also to your registered e-mail.