5 reasons why Misibis Bay should be your next family travel destination

I was recently asked by one of my followers in Instagram if I can recommend any baby-friendly beach resorts in the Philippines, as she was planning a vacation for her family. I thought about it and quickly came up with a list (which I decided deserves its own blog post–SOON). This was, of course, based on my recent experiences traveling with my husband and toddler Tristan.

Misibis Bay was one of the resorts that immediately came to mind, as my last trip was super fun and memorable. I was there to shoot for my lifestyle and travel show: #TrendingWithKelly, at the same time it was a family trip because I brought Tristan with me. Actually, I bring Tristan with me to all my trips because I am still breastfeeding, but not all the places we go to are family friendly (I realized this after we were done filming Season One). Needless to say, Misibis Bay gets high points from me, because they really pulled all the stops to ensure my family had a great vacation.

For those of you who don’t know where Misibis Bay is, well, it is in the exclusive enclave of Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay. To get here, to need to book a flight to Legaspi City, and from the airport Misibis Bay staff will pick you up and bring you to the resort with one of their vans. Everything from the flight (unless it is delayed) to the transfer is seamless. It is usually super quick and convenient, as their staff will take care of everything for you.

It was actually my third time to visit Misibis Bay–the last two times I went were for a magazine shoot and a newspaper editorial back when I was still modeling. Those trips were several years ago when the resort had just opened. To be honest, it was nice to come back after so many years because then I got to see how much the resort has improved.

This time around, I got to stay in one of the Pacific view rooms in the newly opened mid-rise structure just beside the beach. The room offered a bright and modern design which was different from the villas, which gave a traditional tropical vibe. Both are super luxe and comfortable, but I have to say, I really enjoyed that amazing view when I woke up in the morning–it somehow made me feel like it was my first time to stay at the resort.

So, okay, I said in the title I have five reasons why you should vacation in Misibis Bay. Well, there are actually more but these are the top five things that I personally loved about the resort. I hope this helps you decide on your next travel destination.

1.) You get a spectacular view of the Mayon Volcano. It truly is a breathtaking sight, and though I’ve already seen it before, the view this time around still took my breath away. This volcano is quite famous, because of its perfectly symmetrical conical shape. In fact, it is considered to be the world’s most perfectly formed volcano because of its symmetry. It is an active volcano, which has erupted quite a few times in the past (the last ones were in 2006, 2008 and 2009-10). Seeing it from the ocean was amazing, and something I recommend you try at least once. You can rent a boat from Misibis Bay to take you to this beautiful spot.

2.) There are plenty of fun activities for the whole family. Back when I was still single, my mission whenever I would go to a beach was to find that perfect mix of relaxation (getting a tan and massages every other day) and fun (going out and partying all night). But these days my idea of fun is completely different–it is now all about wholesome family activities, like swimming, building sandcastles, jet skiing, banana boat riding, snorkeling and diving. Of course, Tristan is still too young to do some of these activities, but I can totally imagine older kids having an incredible time while at the beach. The good news is Misibis Bay offers all these and more, making it a truly fun family-friendly resort. For babies and toddlers like Tristan, Misibis Bay has a huge kiddie playroom that offers activities like drawing, painting, tie dye t-shirt making as well as full access to so many toys. Personally, I think these are great ways to keep the kiddos busy, especially around 10am to 4pm when it’s too hot to swim.

3.) You have access to a white sand private beach facing the Pacific Ocean. One of the highlights of Misibis Bay is this amazing beach that you have practically all to yourself (only guests have access to this stretch of white sand beach). That view is just unbeatable, and it is completely safe for kids. It was difficult to convince Tristan to get out of the sun, as he was busy building his own version of a sandcastle. For water sports, you can choose to snorkel, paddle board, jet ski and windsurf!

4.) You get to sleep on an amazingly comfortable bed. At the end of the day, after a full day of activities, the only thing you want is to snuggle into a cozy bed. Well, that’s exactly what you get at Misibis Bay, because their beds are just incredible. No doubt, hotel beds are my favorite, because they are just so comfortable and you end up sleeping so well. This is no exception–their beds here are topnotch.

5.) There’s plenty of space to explore. Misibis Bay is a sprawling five hectares of land that has amazing views from different vantage points. The best way to see these is by riding one of the ATVs! You can ask a guide to take you to the most scenic spots (to get gorgeous photos), and if you prefer a more adventure-packed ride, there is a much rougher trail you can go on with amazing views of Mayon Volcano.

There are still so many reasons to stay here–the food here is delicious (Filipino cuisine is their specialty), you have a choice to swim in their many pools, they have huge function rooms to accommodate weddings, reunions and other big events, and their staff are just so warm and welcoming. Clearly, this is a great place to bring the fam bam on vacation! For more information, go to www.misibisbay.com.

 

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WATCH: #TrendingWithKelly in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur will always have a special place in my heart. This was the first destination that our show, Trending Now explored and I remember being all kinds of nervous because it was my first time to host a lifestyle/travel show. It all seems like eons ago now, especially since the show has become my very own show (hence the new title: #TrendingWithKelly). I am happy to explore KL once again, this time with a new amazing team. Watch and leave a comment below. ❤

Travel Diary: 12 hours in Madrid

What do you do when you only have 12 hours in Madrid? You eat, of course!

But before we get to that, let me explain why we only had less than 24 hours in Madrid. This is so embarrassing, but well, I might as well admit it: I made the worst mistake and counted the dates wrong! So when counting the number of days per country, I didn’t include our travel time. I seriously thought we had about three days in Madrid. And when I found out about the mistake it was too late–I had already booked all our tickets and Airbnb apartments. Oh well. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson right? And maybe not plan the entire trip myself. Anyway, we had fun and enjoyed Madrid more since we had very limited time to explore it.

So, okay, before we went off to explore the city, let me share that because of this mistake of mine, we decided to book an Airbnb flat near the airport (since our flight was early in the morning). The airport was about 40 minutes away from the city centre so we really had to make the most of this city tour. The good thing about this Airbnb was our hosts were the nicest people, and were so helpful as to where to go and what to do with our short time in Madrid. Oh, and we arrived in Madrid at 4pm, so we had to hurry!

We took an Uber to Plaza Mayor, and walked all around the city. Of course, another genius move was that I forgot to charge our camera. So I only had my iPhone to take photos with, and I couldn’t really take so many photos and videos because I had to conserve our battery to be able to get an Uber back to our Airbnb flat. These were our only photos in Madrid haha, but it was such a memorable trip because we were in a mad rush to see as many places as we could and eat as many amazing dishes as possible.

First stop: Puerta del Sol, which is one of the best known and busiest places in the city. When we went though, there wasn’t so many people. Love the gorgeous architecture.

At the public square where there was an equine statue of King Carlos III.

Pretty flowers everywhere.

These buildings are just stunning. I couldn’t help but imagine what its like to live in one of these buildings.

A few minutes walk was the Cathedral de la Almudena, which my mom wanted to see. It was well-past its closing time when we went so we didn’t see how it looked inside.

Beautiful cathedral.

That sunset was just amazing. The colors were so vibrant that day.

We were craving for CHURROS (how can we not have it while in Madrid), so we walked to find Chocolateria San Gines, which was on my Google Maps. We didn’t find it, but we found Mercado de San Miguel, which was even better!

If you want variety, and if you want to eat well, YOU HAVE TO GO HERE! Mercado de San Miguel is a covered market that was originally built in 1916. It is a gourmet tapas market, with over 30 different vendors selling a wide variety of freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods and other amazing food. Oh, and you can totally have your beer/wine/champagne fix here!

When it Madrid. We had to have paella.

         

I am saddened by how little photos I have of this day, because we had a feast! Oh well, come to think of it we might have enjoyed more because I wasn’t so engrossed with photographing everything. But hey, we had churros! We shared eight orders between four people!!! ❤ Hope to be back soon, Madrid!

Travel Diary: Sintra

I have to say, this gorgeous Portuguese town took me completely by surprise. I saw photos prior to booking the trip, but seeing it all up close was just spectacular. The town is known for its Romanticism style of architecture, and you can see this in the ancient castles, palaces and all around town. We couldn’t help but take plenty of photos as every corner is just picture-perfect.

We spent one day exploring Sintra, but I feel like it wasn’t enough time as there really is so much to see. I checked Airbnb that day and found plenty of beautiful places you can stay for the weekend. I feel like 2-3 days is enough time to really enjoy Sintra, so you can really take in all the beauty and visit all the attractions.

One place you shouldn’t miss is the Pena Palace (Palacio da Pena). It is just exquisite, and is regarded as one of the finest tourist attractions in Portugal. A little history lesson here: the brightly colored palace was commissioned in 1842 by King Ferdinand II who was very much into the arts, literature and music. The king wanted the palace to reflect that of a scent from an opera, which is why the Pena Palace looks so regal and extravagant.

So I looked it up and found out that the Pena Palace is a combination of different styles and influences, ranging from North African to medieval gothic. The interior has been restored to how it would have looked back in 1910 when Queen Amelia spent her last night in Portugal before fleeing to Brazil because of the revolution.

No doubt, the Pena Palace is a popular tourist attraction, which means it can get very crowded (especially during the summer). We went in May, and it was quite full. It is best to book early, and try to get tickets online to be sure you can enter. We went through Lisbon Pickup Transfer (http://www.lisbonpickuptransfer.com), which was super easy and efficient. We had a service pick us up at our flat in Alfama, Lisbon and bring us to Sintra. It was about an hour’s drive away, and oh, in case you didn’t know Sintra is high up so it can get cold. Bring a jacket and scarf, especially if you’re planning to stay until the late afternoon or early evening. You will likely spend about 3 hours in the palace, so free your day for this. And the adult ticket is 14 euros.

There are so many more places to see though, so make time for Sintra if you want to explore all of it. We just allotted one day, which only allowed us enough time to see the Pena Palace and walk around to explore the little shops and restaurants in town.

A list of places I am planning to see when I go back are: the Quinta Regaleira (for its beautiful gardens), the Convento dos Capuchos (a Franciscan monastery that blends with an ancient forest), the National Palace or Palacio Nacional de Sintra (a gothic styled structure which served as the royal residence until 1910), the Moorish Castle or Castelo dos Mouros (a restored 9th century fortified observatory originally constructed by the Moors–it provides a spectacular panoramic view over Sintra), the Monserrate Palace or Palacio de Monserrate (a 19th century mansion that contains the finest example of Islamic inspired architecture in Sintra), the Santuario da Peninha (offers a stunning view of the entire Sintra coastline), Pena Park or Parque Nacional da Pena (a maze of forested paths with Romanticism-inspired features) and the Cabo da Roca (a headland of massive cliffs and powerful seas).

Scroll down to see photos of the Pena Palace. It is just stunning.