Wednesday, January 16, 2019

What I Think of The Bund Hotel in Shanghai, China

A few days after we landed in the stunning city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang, we went on a 2 hour 30 minute bus ride to Shanghai, the largest city in China by population and the second most densely populated city in the world.

From Hangzhou's sprawling scenery and admirable infrastructure, the ride provided an unhindered view of Shanghai's equally formidable edifices and skyscrapers mixed with equally cared for scenery and waterfronts. 

That's why when we were scheduled to visit The Bund, a highly-recommended attraction that's a fitting fusion of both worlds, I for one, can't wait for it to actually happen.

Tutapel near the Orient Pearl Tower just opposite of The Bund

It was already nighttime when we arrived at The Bund Hotel located along Guangdong Road in the Huangpu District. The hotel lighting for instance added a splash of elegance to the exterior which was of course more of a necessity rather than of sheer opulence. 

 The Bund Hotel at night

As we maneuvered our luggage from the lobby to the lift and finally to the hallway, I can't help but remember that Hollywood film that underscored the importance of a "hotel's soul" when choosing accommodations. 

Mark Harmon, founder of Auberge Resorts, a chain of luxury boutique properties throughout North and Central America, even gave a speech about this concept in a TEDx Talk dubbed "The Soul of a Hotel." 

Hallway at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

For me, the best way to discover this is to focus on how your room makes you feel. 

 Welcome to our room!

 Our assigned room at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

When we stepped inside the room, my initial reaction was that the space was bigger than I expected. Though it looked kinda dated, it still exuded an elegant feel thanks to the furniture choice and accessories.

What I assume to be the Deluxe Room at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Tutapel's Customary Pose at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Tutapel browsing through a magazine inside The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Chillaxin' at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

What's new Tutapel? 

The Deluxe Bathroom

A huge bathroom was certainly something to be glad about. The gleaming white tub was a welcome sight as well as the clean glass-encased shower.

Yeah baby, there's a tub at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Glass-encased shower at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Freebies on a brown marble countertop...

Complimentary Toiletries at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

The Bund Hotel Resto

The Bund Hotel offered appetizing Breakfast spreads that fused both Western and Chinese dishes.  Our palates appreciated  the food choices, textures and tastes in this hotel rather than the menu made available in our hotel in Hangzhou which overflowed in unfamiliar spices and veggie dishes. 

Gorgeous Resto Inside The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

The place to be for special brekkie requests at The Bund Hotel Resto in Shanghai

Fresh Salad Bar at The Bund Hotel  Resto in Shanghai

Refreshing Watermelons at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

Really Delish Waffles at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

Butter & Jelly Station at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

 Cereals Bar at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai 

Wet Bar at The Bund Hotel in Shanghai

Meats and Cheese Section at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

A Closer Look at the thinly-sliced meats at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

A Closer Look at my favorite chunk of Blue Cheese at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

Sushi & Sauces at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

Warm, toasty and flaky croissant at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

A Basket of Sweet Breads at The Bund Hotel Restaurant in Shanghai

I just love good-old fashioned bacon with white bread! Yum!

 Hot Food Buffet Section at The Bund Hotel Resto in Shanghai

What's not to like about sweet potatoes and corn?

Steamed Buns (Cuapao) reminiscent of that scene where San Chai gave Dao Ming Si these delish breads during their date

Hard-boiled eggs galore @ The Bund Hotel Resto in Shanghai

 Brekkie  Plate # 1:

Hording on Fresh Salads with my fave croissant on the side washed down by a glass of tomato juice

The Bund Hotel was indeed a welcome respite after days of being unable to enjoy the spice-laden veggie dishes in Hangzhou. I actually feel ashamed that we weren't able to truly enjoy the city's food offerings mainly because of our differences in food preferences.

Aside from good food, however, The Bund Hotel staff proved friendly and accommodating to the extent of suggesting new places to visit and hot spots to check out.

The Bund Hotel 
Address: 525 Guangdong Rd, Huangpu Qu
Shanghai Shi, China 200001
Phone Number: +86 21 6352 2000


I used Fujifilm X-A2 for this particular blog post.

Photo of Fujifilm X-A2

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Mayon Volcano: The Muse Behind Catriona Gray's Ms. Universe-Worthy Gown

If the intricate beading and fiery color were not enough hints in figuring out the inspiration behind Catriona Gray's Ms. Universe-winning attire, then I guess its moniker "Lava Gown" was a dead giveaway.

I never expected anything associated with the term "lava" to be synonymous with something sexy; but, designer Mak Tumang proved everyone wrong when Catriona Gray had donned the intense-looking gown before she strutted down the 2018 Ms. Universe stage with what we now call as the "lava walk."

Having seen the Mayon Volcano up close, it's no wonder that the designer and the new Ms. Universe were so captivated to the point of creating an evening gown because of it.

The first time I saw this natural wonder located in Albay, the volcano's perfect cone was barely visible due to a group of obstinate clouds unwilling to let visitors bask in the volcano's complete glory.  

Old folks however have a different interpretation on this matter. Legend has it that when this happens, Panganoron, the brave warrior who loved Magayon, the only daughter of the tribal chief of Rawis, is indeed kissing her; and, when the rains do trickle down the slopes, they are actually Panganoron's tears as he mourns for his lost love.

Clouds swirling around the world-famous Mayon Volcano in Albay

But I didn't travel 11 hours from Manila to Legazpi to be found wanting. That's why I watched the volcano like a hawk from every possible angle.

Clouds start dissipating around the world-famous Mayon Volcano in Albay

Good thing is, the Mayon is so mighty and resplendent that it's impossible to see anything else when you're travelling all over Legazpi.

Mt. Mayon In All Its Glory

That translates to a plethora of chances for photo-ops, selfies and famfies.

It's A Triumph In Itself Just to See Mt. Mayon


I used Fujifilm X-A2 for this particular blog post.

Photo of Fujifilm X-A2

Kaye Langit-Luistro: Tagalog Voice Talent with Studio

Thursday, December 20, 2018

What Starbucks Was Like In Hangzhou & Shanghai (China)

Several months ago, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced that the coffee giant will close down about 150 stores in the US by 2019.

I can't help but ask whether this decision will affect its global satellite branches as well?

Though I'm in no position to speculate about such financial matters, I guess I have a thing or two to say about customer service in Starbucks' international stores like in China. What I'm pretty sure is that Starbucks in Mainland China handles clients differently from my home country, the Philippines. 🤓

Starbucks in Hangzhou Songcheng Park

If you're flying to China this holiday season, chances are, you're more than likely to get your cup of java and frappe fix from good ole Starbucks. Some people maybe biased against this juggernaut for a number of reasons with the La Boulange Mess at the helm of its most controversial business decisions. 😠

Despite this ill-fated, heart wrenching yet premeditated tactical maneuver, as some sectors believe, we can't deny the incredible pull we feel whenever we're confronted by Starbucks' delectable array of Hot Drinks, Frappes, Cakes and Pastas.

That was why when we had visited the Mainland, we took it upon ourselves to check the coffee landscape of Starbucks' satellite branches in Hangzhou and Shanghai.

The queue was long and I thought perhaps it was because of the language barrier. Little did I know that most tourists were in fact relatively good in Mandarin. What caused the delay was a spatter of follow-up questions about their orders simply because they weren't familiar with Starbucks' usual offerings in China.

I believe the less adept Mandarin speakers resorted to English at some point because the lovely girl at the counter was indeed proficient.

Earlier, I asked one of the staff whether the store's accepting Mastercard; and, to my disappointment, she said NO. Thank goodness I had the common sense of checking with the cashier whether this claim was true or not. Imagine my jubilation when she said that they do process Mastercard, but for some branches, VISA is the only credit card recognized.

Starbucks in Hangzhou, China 

After placing an order for a frappe, my mugs of choice were wrapped in paper and properly stowed.

To while away the time, I perused some of the store's offerings which included an alluring plethora of moon cakes, sandwiches, cakes and  signature mugs.

Starbucks Cakes in Hangzhou, China

Starbucks Sandwiches in Hangzhou, China

Starbucks Mugs in Hangzhou, China

The downside: It turned out that there was only ONE staff member in charge of concocting drinks which explained the terrible delay in my order. 🤔

Starbucks in Hangzhou Songcheng Park

Despite the 20 minute waiting time, I was able to get my frappe... 

                                     Frappe at Starbucks inside Hangzhou Songcheng Park

...and proceeded to have lunch at this resto right in front of Starbucks. 

Chinese Resto inside Hangzhou Songcheng 

Starbucks in West Lake, Hangzhou
This particular Starbucks branch is truly exquisite because it overlooks the infamous West Lake

It was just unfortunate that we weren't able to enjoy the view from the store because we had to comply with the tour itinerary, much to our disappointment.😢

Starbucks in Hangzhou, China

Although I wanted to come inside this branch and buy more mugs, I wasn't able to follow through with my plan because of the time restrictions involved in being part of a tour. #TourDownside

Starbucks in Hangzhou, China

Starbucks Shanghai Plaza

On our last day in Shanghai, I managed to veer away from the tour itinerary while the others were having lunch at a nearby building.

The only Starbucks in sight was the one at Shanghai Plaza, a shopping mall in the Huangpu district.  

Starbucks in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Banner in Shanghai, China

Although it wouldn't hurt for the staff to project a more friendly and warm demeanor...

...I still got my frappe through CASH transaction since almost all Starbucks branches in China don't accept MASTERCARD, just VISA#KudosTitoUnaki 

Starbucks Tropical Colada Frappe in Shanghai, China

It's always beyond interesting for me to window shop on comfort food because somehow my leptin, hormone that decreases appetite, is enforced, making me full minus the calories. 🤣

Starbucks Sandwiches in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Sandwiches in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Sandwiches in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Pastries in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Cookies in Shanghai, China

Starbucks in Shanghai, China

Starbucks Signature Mugs in Shanghai, China

My Starbucks Collection so far...

Starbucks China Collection


I used Fujifilm X-A2 for this particular blog post.

Photo of Fujifilm X-A2