Relaxation

Places to relax and unwind

(Mis)Adventure September 2012: Legoland Malaysia

Finally my first post for 2012. More than halfway through the year. I’ve always wanted to post a lot of my (mis)adventures for this year but laziness among other things got ahead of me. But this recent trip we went to shouldn’t be left unblogged. *Drumroll* The newly-opened Legoland Malaysia! Located in Nusujaya, Johor, Malaysia, it opened last September 15. Roughly 30 minutes from Singapore via bus, Legoaland Malaysia, is the First Lego-themed themepark in Asia. First built in  its hometown in Billund, Denmark, Legoland has several other parks in Europe (Germany and UK) and two in US (Florida and California).

Our adventure started last week, when my friend, Bullet, from the Philippines came to Singapore for a vacation to celebrate his birthday. Luckily, I was on leave that Tuesday so instead of showing him around Singapore, we decided to go to Legoland. From Singapore, there are two ways to reach Legoland. One is from Johor Bahru Sentral, located at the northern part of Singapore and the other one which is closer to my place, CIQ (Customs, Immigration & Quarantine Complex) 2nd Link on the west side. Bullet stayed at my place on Monday night, just a station away from Jurong East where we will be taking the bus to CIQ 2nd link. Bus departures from CIQ to Legoland are limited (6 trips per day) so I advise you to plan your timing.

From Singapore to CIQ 2nd Link:

– Jurong East Bus Interchange: CW3 & CW4

– Boon Lay: CW6

Bus departure CIQ 2nd Link to Legoland: 08:30, 10:30, 12:30, 15:00, 17:00, 19:30

LEGOLAND Malaysia (Return): 10:05, 12:05, 14:35, 16:35, 19:05, 21:35

We were supposed to take the 1030 am bus from CIQ, but the CW3 bus from Jurong East to CIQ arrived late. We cleared immigration around 1045 and missed the 1030 bus. Worried that we will be wasting time waiting for the 1230 pm bus, I asked around for an alternate route. We were advised to take the bus to Gelang Patah, then from there, wait for the JPO2 bus stopping by Legoland.

We arrived at around 1130. Just outside Legoland, we ate our lunch at the Medini Mall. Most shops are still under construction. Another ongoing project is the Legoland hotel, estimated to be completed by 2014. Despite the sweltering heat of the midday sun on that cloudless day, we got our tickets (MYR 140 for a day pass, mine is an annual pass valued at MYR 270) and entered the massive compound of Legoland. The park is initially divided into 7 distinctly-themed areas.

Legoland Malaysia Map from http://www.legoland.com.my

The park is mostly decorated with countless different Lego designs ranging from small rats to the gigantic Egyptian mummy and bust of Albert Einstein! Most of the rides were really suited for the kids, but these won’t stop the young-at-heart to experience the thrill of the attractions. My personal favorites were the Project X (Lego Technic zone), The Dragon (Lego Kingdom Zone), and The Dino Island (Land of Adventure).

Lego Castle

Albert Einstein and the Lego Academy

What really caught my attention is the Miniland area. The centerpiece attraction of Legoland Malaysia where several Asian landmarks are presented at scale built ENTIRELY using LEGO bricks. Complete with animatronic people, trains, buses, and ships, the experience is simply unexplainable. I was surprised more when they also featured Philippines in one of their displays. One can really be amazed at the complexity and the closest resemblance (including color) at all the structures.

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taj Mahal, India

Wat Arun, Thailand

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Forbidden City and Great Wall of China

Bolinao, Philippines

Singapore

Overall, the experience was one-of-a-kind. I would definitely go back there soon with my wife, other friends or family. It’s a recommended place for families to bond.

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Extreme Sports (and traffic) – Tagaytay/Taal Edition

It feels great when you and your significant other’s birthdays are only days apart. You can just celebrate both birthdays with just one blowout. Ours usually land during the Holy Week. For the past three years, Macel and I have been celebrating them out of town. Two years before, I was invited by her family at Eagle Point in Anilao, Batangas and last year, a long road trip to Ilocos. This year, since her parents were on a 2-week pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I invited Macel to come with us for a short vacation. Somewhere near. Tagaytay.

I booked for an overnight stay for the 5 of us (including my sister and 2 nieces) at Tagaytay Cool Breeze Hotel. Early Maundy Thursday, me and my niece left our house in Fairview to fetch my sister and my other niece at their house in Pasig. I left my car there, changed vehicles then headed off to Alabang to fetch Macel before going to Tagaytay.

When we arrived in Tagaytay, traffic was horrible. Vehicles were barely moving. It was the first time to experience standstill in Tagaytay among the countless times I’ve been there. We checked-in after lunch and decided to rest for a while before heading back to the tumultuous conditions of Aguinaldo highway.

It was past 330 pm when we left the hotel and headed off to People’s Park/Picnic grove. But traffic turned from worse to worst as multitudes of people seem to flock to Tagaytay as their nearest vacation spot. It took us almost an hour to reach our destination. I texted our contact for the boat ride to the island of Taal but he was still with another group. We had to settle with another guide who turned out to be the mom of our original guide. We took our van for another 25-minute drive down through the seemingly endless twists and turns, zigzagging roads towards the shore. Luckily though, there weren’t any traffic along the way. We still had to travel around 30 minutes by boat to the island. By the time we got there, it was almost dark.

MV stands for Motorized Vanca or if you want it... Mamang Vancero

Taal Volcano

If the adventure of going through the traffic, driving down the steep slopes like Baguio, then riding a boat with no lifejacket provisions weren’t enough, we still had to go (extreme) horseback riding going to the mountain summit so we can see the crater. It’s been a long time since I’ve last rode a horse but not riding in the dark along a rocky dirt path on the mountain with cliffs on both sides. But there’s no turning back now. Our safety and most especially our lives now depend on our guide and the horse that carried us. We rode in the darkness only to be illuminated by the stars shining above and some occasional brightness from the cigarette lighters of our guides. On the way up, we could barely see the outline of the trees that lined the mountainside. Below, cavernous depths that you can only pray that you only suffer broken bones should you fall. It was a huge sigh of relief when we arrived at the summit but only to be frustrated because we could not see the crater. Even the brightest of flashes from the SLRs and digicams failed to catch a glimpse of what we were supposed to be doing up there… appreciating the crater of Taal Volcano.

MISSION: FAILED.

Looking at the brightside, we experienced stargazing in the clarity of the cloudless night sky.

Hiyaaa! Tigidig-tigidig!

Dirt Trail and cliffs galore

This is what we were after! (c/o johnmelvinrobles.com)

It was a tiring yet memorable experience as we were laughing our hearts out recalling our own moments. I’d definitely go back there for sure. Next time, it’ll be during the day.

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Nurture Spa – Tagaytay

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Imagine yourself spending quality time with your barkada, family, or significant other away from the hustle and bustle of city life and into a secluded paradise of blissful relaxation, then you should try out Nurture Spa in Tagaytay. About an hour-and-a-half drive from Manila, Nurture Spa will pamper you with their relaxing massage. They have 4 naturally ventilated Ifugao huts and 7 airconditioned rooms where you can further relax or spend the night. They also have 6 twin-sharing spa rooms with their own shower area and jacuzzi (but we didn’t try the jacuzzi when we were there). For outdoor treatments, they have 6 garden gazebos so you can fully appreciate the natural beauty of the outdoors. But they don’t just offer relaxing massages but sumptuous food as well. The restaurant, Aruga Cafe, offers a variety of dishes which caters both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Nurture Spa also offers garden wedding services and other wellness activities such as Yoga and Tai Chi.

Facade

Facade of the reception area

Welcome tea

Aromatic Taragon tea to welcome you

flower petals

For added ambience

Nurture spa 1

View from the garden

Nurture Spa 2

Garden gazebos

Fresh ingredients for facial

All-natural ingredients

Spa room

One of the twin spa rooms

Aruga cafe

Inside Aruga cafe

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Lamb Chops Madagascar

Pollo Tagaytay

Pollo Tagaytay

Ifugao hut

Afternoon nap at the Ifugao hut

Garden Gazebo where we had our facial

Garden Gazebo where we had our facial

The overall experience was a relaxing one. Their food and service were great. Attendants are warm and friendly. They make sure that your stay will be a memorable one.

You may contact their Sales and Reservations Office through Telephone Numbers: 838-0073; 839-2196; 838-3646 or visit Nurture Spa’s website

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