Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Chill-axing at Bintan Lagoon Resort in Indonesia

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Indonesia, “The Emerald of the Equator” is a very popular country to visit as it is among the three countries easily accessible from each other. In our case, our gateway through one of its island resorts is from Singapore.

"Terimah Kasi", "hati hati", just some of the words that we learned when we visited for the first time the country Indonesia, meaning “thank you and take care” respectively.  It was my better half’s birthday present to me. I and my husband got married in the year 1995, so to be exact it was also our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. My feeling was melancholy because my children didn't come with us, however, glad because I enjoyed our out of the country getaway.

Sometimes, a husband and wife should also have moments of their own, temporarily away from their children. Besides my kids are already all grown-up.

This is to make their relationship grow fonder. According to Mingon McLaughlin, "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” I am fortunate having my family together through thick and thin which makes my life complete and meaningful.

Bintan Lagoon Resort is a five-star island resort in Indonesia. Our stay there for three days and two nights was so relaxing. I and my husband arrived there on November 11 at around five o’clock in the afternoon, coming from Singapore and travelled to the island via ferry from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

Aside from a resort staff with the placard containing the name of my husband, and bringing a golf cart to exclusively fetch us, while the rest of the visitors rode the bus,
we were also welcomed by Indonesian cultural dancers at the hotel lobby, and followed by lemongrass welcome drinks and cold towels from the friendly resort staff. Truly a VIP welcome for borh of us.

The reception area is quite spacious and awesome. There is an elevated area where lots of sofa sets are being arranged and seem inviting every guest that arrives to sit down and relax for a while before checking in at their rooms. Later, we were given our spectacularly classy room that will be our temporary home for three days and two nights. I most especially loved the comfy bed plus the spacious and elegant bathroom.

I was surprised when my husband opened the room door, because I saw beautiful flowers scattered around the bed with a towel shaped like a well and an elephant. On the table was a slice of cake with the “Happy Birthday” written on it. My heart melt with joy with what I saw, it was really a surprise for me since it was a bit early for a birthday greeting. My birthday is still on the 13th. Because of this, I fell in love again with my better half, and would like to thank the resort for the warm gesture of greeting me in advance of my natal day.

In the evening of the same day, we had our dinner in Nelayan Restaurant, a Japanese restaurant inside the resort. We were treated as very important persons (VIP), pampered with recommendations of their best dishes for our budget enough to feed royalties. We will share the details on a separate blog post. For the meantime, look for the videos all over our official Wazzup Pilipinas Facebook account.

Our second day in Bintan Lagoon Resort was a lot more exciting, after a filling breakfast at Fiesta buffet restaurant, and a quick tour of the resort to see the different amenities and accommodation options, we got to visit different areas of the island through the guidance of a kind hearted driver and tour guide in one.

Our first visit of our Heritage and Eco Farm tour package sponsored by IndoBintan Tours and Travel was at Safari Lagoi, then followed by visits at a Chinese Temple, Muslim Temple, Public Beach, and culminating at a late seafood lunch feast at one of the restaurants located within Bintan Mangrove. We will share the detailed stories of our tour on a separate blog post.

Our tour guide brought us back to Bintan Lagoon Resort where we had late dinner of their best pizza, burger and coffee at Terrace Sports Bar. But that was only after we took a dip in the huge main pool of the resort which almost feels like we have it all for ourselves since there were only a few people also hanging out at the pool area.

Our third and last day in Bintan was equally awesome, since we got to try some if the activities included in our Chillax package - the chance to drive their All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) through a jungke path, ride on a Ninebot Segway at their Leisure Center, shoot arrows at the Archery area near where we also tried to hit golf balls at the Driving Range.

Honestly, we were already rushing the activities but unable to do the rest of the packaged activities like the water sports which includes the jet ski, and other complimentary activities including billiards, gym, and practically all other ball and board games available at the resort.

We ended the activities with another filling lunch at Haskell's restaurant beside the golf course. Got to catch them at a time when they were doing photo shoots of their dishes, so we had an opportunity to get a look of the other dishes, aside from those we ate.

The Chillax package we mentioned on Chapter 1 of this series was among the 2 To Go Packages - an all inclusive 3days and 2 nights Chill-axing time which starts from IDR 4,042, 500 per person, which includes a De Luxe room for two, the round-trip ferry service, complimentary breakfast at Fiesta, lunch and dinner credits for two at IDR 262,500 and IDR 420,000 respectively, complimentary cocktail or mocktail drinks for two every night, plus other discounted rates.

Do we still need to emphasize how pampered we were during our stay at Bintan Lagoon Resort?

Isn't it obvious that we enjoyed our stay and would definitely want to go back in The Emerald of the Equator – Indonesia, since Bintan Island is just a small part of the said country. But if given a choice of destinations in the country, I would always pick Bintan Lagoon Resort again, and highly recommend it to everyone. Not to exagerrate, but our stay at Bintan Lagoon Resort was undoubtedly a very memorable experience.

Contributed by Wilma Del Rosario

Sunday, December 30, 2018

List of Countries Philippines Passport Holders Can Visit Visa-Free

Wazzup Pilipinas!

We're planning to level up our blogging / vlogging so now we are trying to look for possible countries to visit to give Filipinos a personal taste of how it is like to travel at a foreign destination.

Filipinos can now access 66 international destinations without the need for a visa as seen from a chart prepared by CNN Philippines.


Here is the updated list of visa free international destinations for Philippine passport holders

• Brunei
• Cambodia
• Hong Kong (special administrative region of China)
• Indonesia
• Kyrgyzstan *
• Laos
• Macao (special administrative region of China)
• Malaysia
• Maldives *
• Mongolia
• Myanmar
• Nepal *
• Singapore
• Sri Lanka *
• Taiwan
• Tajikistan *
• Thailand
• Timor-Leste *
• Vietnam

• Benin *
• Cape Verde Islands *
• Comores Islands *
• Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
• Djibouti *
• Gambia
• Guinea-Bissau *
• Kenya *
• Madagascar *
• Malawi *
• Mauritania *
• Mauritius *
• Morocco
• Mozambique *
• Rwanda
• Seychelles *
• Somalia *
• Tanzania *
• Togo *
• Uganda *

• Cook Islands
• Fiji
• Marshall Islands *
• Micronesia
• Niue
• Palau Islands *
• Papua New Guinea *
• Samoa *
• Tuvalu *
• Vanuatu

• Dominica
• Haiti
• St. Lucia *
• St. Vincent and the Grenadines
• Trinidad and Tobago *

• Bolivia
• Brazil
• Colombia
• Costa Rica
• Ecuador
• Nicaragua *
• Peru
• Suriname

• Armenia *
• Iran *
• Israel
• Palestinian Territory

* visa on arrival

But here's the partial list of countries Philippines passport holders can visit Visa-free (with length of allowed stay):

Brunei Darussalam - grants Filipinos visa-free access for 14 days

Cambodia - does not require visas for trips up to 21 days

Indonesia - Visa-free travel to Indonesia covers trips up to 30 days

Laos - offers visa-free privileges to those who plan to stay for 30 days, at the most
Malaysia - Filipinos can enjoy a no-visa-required stay in Malaysia for 30 days

Singapore - travel policy lets Filipinos visit visa-free for up to 30 days

Sri Lanka - The visa travel arrangement between Sri Lanka and the Philippines allows for a maximum 30-day stay

Thailand - Filipinos can fly to Thailand without a visa and stay for a maximum of 30 days

Vietnam - Visa exemption rules in Vietnam permit trips of up to 21 days

Myanmar - Visa-free travel to Myanmar started in January 2014, for visits of up to 14 days

Israel - Filipinos do not need a visa to jet off to Israel, although the length of their stay should be within 90 days

India - issues Philippine passport holders a 30-day visa upon arrival at the airports of Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Kochi and Bangalore

Macau - Macau allows Philippine passport holders to visit and stay in their region for 30 days, without the need for any visa
Hong Kong - allows visa-free entry for trips not exceeding 14 days

Maldives - Filipinos can travel to Maldives without a getting a visa prior to arrival. On arrival to the island nation, a visa valid for 30 days is issued

Nepal - Filipinos get visas on arrival that are valid for 150 days and their passports must have at least 6 months validity on entry

Armenia - Filipinos can obtain Visa on arrival in Armenia. No supporting documents required. ... Submit your passport and application form in the visa application counter and pay 3000 AMD for single entry visa, valid for 21 days.

Philippine passport holders can also enter Korea VISA-FREE if they meet EITHER of the following conditions:

1. Having visited Korea at least 5 times in 2 years, or at least 11 visits in total.

2. In possessin of a) a valid visa or entry permit to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or Japan, and b) a confirmed ticket leaving Korea for any of those countries within 30 days.

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