Dec 31, 2015

Festival of Poker: World Poker Tour 2016 National Philippines at Solaire Resort and Casino

Festival of Poker: World Poker Tour 2016 National Philippines at Solaire Resort and Casino

Poker enthusiasts from the country and around the world will soon gather in an epic and grandest poker event dubbed as the Festival of Poker at the posh Solaire Resort and Casino. The Festival of Poker ushers in the much awaited Season 9 of 2016 World Poker Tour National Philippines. The Festival of Poker will start on January 2 and will run until January 8, 2016.

Poker King game area at Solaire Resort and Casino Manila

On January 2, the POKER KING CUP kick starts the poker festivities with a guaranteed prize pot of US$50,000 or 2.350 M in PHP which will instantly make the winner an instant millionaire. Headed by a notable poker player Winfred Yu, the Poker King Cup is a significant event that will make Manila a future haven for world class poker.

Hitting the New Year with a big bang, the TRITON CUP SUPER HIGH ROLLER SERIES-CALI CUP comes with a US$200,000 buy in. Happening on January 3 and 4, the Super High Roller is jam packed with the very best names in professional poker arena while bringing in powerhouse roster of businessmen players from around the globe. With a high $200,000 buy in at stake, this tournament will surely reap epic poker moves and actions in Manila unlike anything else before.

On January 4 to 8 the highly anticipated World Poker Tour (WPT) National Philippines will commence and will feature iconic poker players who will be joining this grand poker event in Manila. Players are all eying to bag the most coveted tittle- WPT National Philippines 2016 champion.
Event Date: January 2 – 8, 2016
Time: 1PM onwards
Venue: Solaire Resort – Grand Ballroom
Main Event Buy-In: $1,500 + $150

The very 1st WPT National Philippines Championship winner for season 2014-2015 is Tetsuya Tsuchikawa aka the ‘cardfather of Japan’. He is known for his calm but strong maneuvers over the poker table. Tetsuya can easily decipher when to call even with a very strong contender such as Kevin Ang of Malaysia.

Solaire Resort & Casino: perfect for poker royalties and enthusiasts

For its second year (season 2015-2016), World Poker Tour National Philippines will have Solaire Resort Hotel & Casino as its official residence which is very much appropriate since Solaire features a premier gaming hub with luxury lifestyle amenities perfect for royalties.

Guests and poker players will enjoy exquisite desserts and award winning cakes exclusively made at The Oasis Garden of Solaire Resort Manila. Food explorations are also limitless when in Solaire where elegant dining options from Asian to Mediterranean cuisines are all serve fresh with exceptional take on quality and service. While enjoying great food, one can also take a refreshing dip at the grandiose Solaire swimming pool. There are also luxury boutique shops for finest fashion wear and jewelry perfect for discriminating shoppers.

The Grandest Poker Player Party at Solaire

Solaire Resort & Casino will host the grandest World Poker Tour players’ party. So far this would be the biggest and grandiose poker player party in Manila. To join in the fun and festivities expect performances from Mocaha Girls, Aerial Silk, DJ Ron Poe, Those Damn Nerds, Aliya Parcs, The Emerald Dancers and Sam YG of Boys Night Out. Fun begins around 9 PM at Solaire’s pool area and is strictly invitational.

For more details visit the following Facebook pages:

Dec 29, 2015

Party from Sunset to Sunrise with Dawin, OPM Stars and Popular DJs at Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown to 2016

Megaworld Lifestyle Malls and Eastwood City are welcoming the New Year with a spectacular and star-studded party that will have revelers partying from sunset up until the early hours of 2016.

One of the most highly-anticipated New Year events in the country, this year’s Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown to 2016 is taking the festivities to a whole new different level as it lines up dazzling spectacles, spectacular performances from the today’s brightest music stars and the best party music from the hottest Djs in town in what can easily be one of the grandest and longest New Year parties in the Metro.

No less than international singing sensation Dawin will be leading the star-studded musical performances at Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown to 2016 on December 31 at the Eastwood Mall Open Park.

Dawin, the American singer behind the smash hit “Dessert”, topbills an equally stellar lineup of performers, which include popular bands Techy Romantics and Imago, and award-wining OPM recording stars such as Kyla, Christian Bautista, singer-songwriter Rico Blanco and world-class Filipina talent, X-Factor Australia 2014 Grand Winner Marlisa Punzalan.

Hosting the revelry, which starts at 6PM are radio jock Joyce Pring and TV host and news anchor Andrei Felix.

At 12 midnight, guests can look forward to more glittering spectacles – the grand fireworks display that will follow the Dazzling Star Drop. Now on its fifth year, the Dazzling Star Drop is Eastwood City’s version of the world-famous Ball Drop in New York City’s Time Square and one of the most-awaited parts of its New Year Countdown.

Adding more color to these annual traditions is this year’s 10,000 balloon wishes that Eastwood City is giving away for free to revelers. The balloons, which contains a piece of paper where people can write their own wishes for the coming year, will be set free a minute before midnight, creating another must-see spectacle.

The revelry continues and picks up a notch at the Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown to 2016 After Party happening from 11PM to 6AM at the Fuente Circle in Eastwood Citywalk 2.

All set to rev up and electrify New Year revelers are some of the most recognized names in the party scene including DJs Ron Poe, Travis Monsod, Martin Pulgar, Cam Abecina, Cammy and Jess Miller. Joining them at the after party are hosts MC Victor Pring and MC Ace. 

“The New Year always brings renewed hope and excitement to everyone and this is the reason why we continue to make our annual countdown special and memorable. Through our world-class performances and spectacles that go up until the early hours of 2016, we want everyone to welcome the New Year with a smile on their faces and with renewed vigor, enthusiasm and optimism,” said Megaworld Corporation First Vice President and Commercial Division Head Kevin Tan.

Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown is co-presented by the Quezon City Government, Standard Chartered, Smirnoff Mule, RTL-CBS Asia and Ivory Music and Video. Official media partners: Myx and 97.9 Home Radio.

Party from sunset to sunrise and enjoy spectacular performances and spectacles at the Eastwood Quezon City New Year Countdown to 2016! For more information, please call the Megaworld Lifestyle Malls Concierge at 709-9888 or 709-0888, 0917-8380111 or visit

Dec 23, 2015

EMBOA Revisiting Manila: Quick reviews of hotels in Manila (Ermita Malate Business Owners Association)

EMBOA: Showcases the best places in Ermita Malate

The Ermita Malate Business Owners Association is a conglomeration of key business owners and managers representing established Manila hotels, poplar restaurants and entertainment hubs in the area. One notable objective of EMBOA is to promote a healthy environment for the businesses and patrons of the Ermita-Malate area. It involves improving safety standards, sanitation, cleanliness and designing activities that will promote Ermita and Malate.

EMBOA Manila Tour with fellow bloggers and hotel staff 

Last December 17 a scheduled tour of Manila was initiated by EMBOA wherein selected bloggers are invited. Lucky me, I was one of the chosen few. Our first stop was the Handog Pasasalamat Christmas Thanksgiving presentation of EMBOA appropriately held at the nostalgic Remedios Circle Park. This event was one way of giving thanks to the communities by EMBOA. Selected 500 children benefited from this event and were able to take home valuable gifts. Manila mayor Joseph Estrada also graced the thanksgiving festivities.

Moving on with the Manila Tour, EMBOA assigned a list of hotels in Ermita Malate area to each group of bloggers. Our group was ushered in a comfy cool van with our very own tour guide. Our Manila tour went on as follows:

Mabini Pension House

Mabini Pension House is located along the busy street of A. Mabini which is lined with many hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Mabini Pension House is an old inn that is suitable for budget conscious travelers like backpackers in Manila. 

Mabini Pension House vintage looking signage at front

Mabini Pension House affordable room rates are displayed at the door

posing on an old stairway

Mabini Pension House reception area

Room rates are pretty affordable with prices ranging from Php 600. to Php 1500. per night. There is an option to choose from a fan room or room with AC but what is nice about this place is its location and old world charm.

Long wooden stairs of Mabini Pension House reliving the good ole Manila days

Mabini Pension House hallway

Lotus Garden Hotel Manila

Next stop is Lotus Garden Hotel.   This Ermita hotel boasts exceptional customer service that embodies the hospitable Filipino culture. Staff here is very attentive and values guests. The rooms are quite spacious and at the same time functional. 

Promo price for Lotus Garden Hotel Manila is posted on entrance

Reception counter and lobby

Cozy Christmas nook at Lotus Garden Hotel

What makes Lotus Garden one of the best hotels in Manila is the unassuming décor. Each room has hardwood flooring and with touches of Filipino design. Even some of the corridors and side stairway have hardwood floors with a newly added wing that features suites perfect for groups and families. 

Hallway of Lotus Garden Hotel Ermita reminiscence of old Manila

Impressive hardwood flooring of the stairs of Lotus Garden Manila

A functional meeting/ boardroom at Lotus Garden Hotel Ermita Manila

Jacuzzi in black marble stone at the basement of Lotus Garden Hotel- area is open for mini party  

Billiard table at the lower ground floor

Exercise equipment for the guests

I find Lotus Garden Hotel somewhat special because it reminds me of home where I grew up. Walking the corridors and being in one of the 116 rooms in this hotel feels like home. I am sure guests will love the homey atmosphere.

Twin single bed room at Lotus Garden Hotel Manila

A workable counter with modern LED TV

Huge comfy bed with lounging chair at Lotus Garden Hotel Ermita

Spacious standard bathroom with shower at Lotus Garden Hotel Manila

Cozy ambiance in each Lotus Garden hotel room

Closet space 

Old wooden hotel room doors 

Common sitting area 

Lotus Garden Hotel restaurant at the ground floor- displayed on the wall is a collection of international dolls

City Garden Suites Hotel Manila

City Garden Suites Hotel in Ermita Manila comes next on our list in our awesome EMBOA Manila tour. The lobby and main restaurant Café Miranda exude simple elegance. 

Colorful reception counter of City Garden Hotel Ermita

City Garden very own restaurant Cafe Miranda offers a wide variety of yummy dishes 

The dining area of elegant Cafe Miranda at City Garden Hotel Manila

Full bar service is available at City Garden Hotel Ermita

 Main lobby of City Garden Hotel Manila

Elevator of City Garden Hotel Ermita

The rooms are all cozy, spacious and efficient. There’s even a full kitchen on some rooms where guests can cook and enjoy meals. 

A full kitchen and dining area in some rooms in City Garden Hotel Manila

Living room area in the room

Receive guests and still find privacy in one of the rooms in City Garden Ermita

LED TV in the living and dining area in some rooms

Large area to entertain guests

Some rooms have private balconies and separate receiving/living room area. This is great for casual travelers and even perfect for families on staycation. Price wise, City Garden Hotel Manila offers good value for money.

Single double bed room type

Twin bed hotel room option

Working desk and drawers

Personal safety deposit box is a standard in City Garden Suites hotel rooms

Some rooms have private balcony

private balcony 

Handheld shower

City Garden Hotel bathrooms are clean

Ibarra’s Garden Party Venue & Catering

Last stop is a popular events place called Ibarra’s Garden located in Ermita Manila and it offers the perfect venue for every occasion. 

Impressive colonial Spanish style exterior of Ibarra's Party Venue Ermita

The building that houses Ibarra’s party venue and catering is an architectural gem that exudes the charms of old Manila era. 

Ceiling draperies fit for a princess!

A table setting perfect for a royal wedding only at Ibarra's Garden Ermita

There are several party rooms that have various guest capacity. The charming garden setting is a total plus with fancy ceiling that perfectly fits any memorable event. Ibarra’s is now a pioneer in events places in Manila. 

Fun and elegant decor surrounds Ibarra's party venue Manila

Whether it’s for small birthday celebration or for a big wedding reception, Ibarra’s Ermita knows how to throw in an unforgettable experience plus they provide great food too.

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The four places that we visited in our Manila tour only revalidated my notion that the Ermita Malate area still has that old Manila charm. 

The warm people that we met and the establishments that we visited made me realized that EMBOA is doing a significant job in uplifting and reviving the vibrant tourist scene in this side of the city with emphasis on Filipino culture and genuine hospitality that visitors can enjoy.

The Ermita Malate Business Owners Association or EMBOA has over 130 members such as Manila hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, cafes and shops including Robinsons Place Manila.

To learn more about EMBOA you can visit their official website at the this link-

Websites to visit for reference:

Lotus Garden Hotel Manila-

City Garden Hotel Manila-

Ibarra’s Party Venues & Catering-

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