Sunday, September 07, 2014

PLAN A TRIP TO ISTANBUL WITH YOUR BESTESTBESTESTBESTEST FRIEND. YOU WON'T REGRET IT.

My best friend and I fell in love with Istanbul. Armed with an Istanbul card, we hopped on and off the tram, the ferry and the Metro to get to the city's most famous places. We had loads of fun eating, walking around, going to the historical and cultural sites, getting lost and in the process discovering cool pubs and coffee shops, getting battered and scrubbed in a Turkish hammam, and meeting strangers who helped us navigate around the the city. I always found myself in a postcard moment I could never ever capture right, given my poor picture taking skills. But I tried my best, and here are my snaps of one of my favoritest cities in the whole, wide world.
The Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet Square is a must see. 

The Blue Mosque ceiling

Inside the Blue Mosque

It's popular with tourists any time of day.

We had to take the ferry at Eminonu to cross the Bosphorus, effectively going from Europe to Asia! 

Our hotel has the most amazing view of the Bosphorus and Galata Bridge. 

Easily our favorite street food in Istanbul. Medya dolma: stuffed mussels!

A great cafeteria-style doner place in Taksim Square. Cheap & cheerful.


Our hotel: Sumahan on the Water. It's on the Asian side of the Bosphorus.

We particularly loved Istanbul's tram. Cheap, clean, efficient and comfy.

Hagia Sophia - A church-turned-mosque-turned-museum.

Intricately painted ceilings. During the Ottoman period,  Christian mosaics were hidden under a layer of Muslim artworks. Some of them were recovered by carefully scraping off the top layer.

Magnets.

Ancient tiled walls at Topkapi Palace.

Good morning from Istanbul!

We binged of free samples of Turkish delights, and bought some more to take home. 

Bought a few souvenirs at Hagia Sophia.

Hazelnut chocolates. Yes, please!

Efes. Our beer of choice in Istanbul.

Istiklal Street's musicians bring life to Taksim Square.  

Some super strong Turkish coffee to cap the evening.



Galata Bridge at night. We got lost a few times but finally figured out how to go back to our hotel .

Basilica Cistern. A magical underground attraction.


This is right underneath Istanbul's busy touristy area.

On the way to the Spice Bazaar. A loooong walk, but worth it.

Spices.

Teas and spices.

The oldest Turkish delights shop in the country. We bought a few boxes to take home.

Of course, we had to experience the hammam or Turkish bath. It would be inappropriate to post pictures of anything beyond this door .


Inside an antique shop located beside the hammami.


Taksim Square. 

Sumahan on the Water. Once a distillery, it's now a luxury boutique located in Cengelkoy. It's conveniently close to cafes and pubs, plus they have their own private boat exclusively for guests.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

HUMA ISLAND RESORT & SPA in Busuanga, Palawan, Philippines

We landed in Busuanga and had to take a boat to the resort. The super fast "Luisa" cut the trip by half, taking us there in less than 30 minutes.

Our villa was stocked with lovely hand-woven souvenirs.

We were also welcomed with fresh fruits and a bottle of rose!

We admired the lovely view of sea and mountains from our very own jacuzzi.

The bathroom decor was very understated but luxurious. And of course, I brought my Biyahe PH bag with me! (Follow @biyaheph on Instagram)

My Biyahe PH bag lounged around with us.

I like that I was able to take a photo of us without showing our mugs!

The other villas were equally stunning. Inspired by the nipa hut.

We tried to explore the whole island in the two days that we stayed there.

A stroll around Huma Island.

We were the only guests at the pool. 

Island living. Not bad.

Sand and sea, but the sun was quickly disappearing as two typhoons approached the Philippines.


A view of a nearby island.





Arab-Filipino fusion: an Arabic-inspired chandelier attached to a bamboo ceiling.

The water villas, where we stayed. It was awesome.
Busuanga sunset.

It was raining hard by day two, but that didn't stop us from using the jacuzzi. Making the most of our holiday.

Rudi's Wine and Cheese Bar. Rudi designed the place but passed away recently. We celebrated his life by ordering two bottles of vino and a large cheese plate.


My favorite part of the holiday!

The glass flooring let us view the fish and other sea creatures as we enjoyed a relaxing massage!

Huma's spa makes use of organic coconut oil and other natural ingredients.

The weather was gloomy, but we couldn't be happier :)