Monday, April 30, 2012

pampered at mandarin

After almost 4 hours on the plane, I was keen to get through immigration, grab my luggage and get out of the airport. 4 hours direct flight ain't long compared to the arduous journey I went though to get to the US. I knew the sun set earlier here and I wanted to get enough rest before reporting to work the next day.

I was pleasantly greeted by name when I opened the door to the Mandarin Oriental (MO) lounge at the airport. The lady took my luggage, checked my name and promptly got my Toyota Altis ready. Not a limo like in Chicago, but still, a really nice comfy car!

The chauffeur asked if I was comfortable with the car temperature, offered me towels and drinks. The ride was smooth, I was protected by the tinted glass from the evening sun and street peddlers. I soon realised that the road leading to the city would be quite a contrast to CBD where I was going to be based at.

Reaching the entrance of MO, the bellboy opened the door, ushered me inside, and I was immediately whisked to my room. No need to wait and stand in line to check in. Everyone I met along the way greeted me "Ms Lee". It's as if everyone had been waiting for my arrival!

While I was given a tour of the room and its facilities, the Front Desk officer promptly prepared my check in documents and presented me pick up and drop off coupons. I got 2 a day, available for me to use anywhere within Makati. Since I was on business trip, I had to limit these to going to the client office instead. >.<

I was informed I would have free laundry service for up to 3 pieces of clothing, and have complimentary breakfast everyday. Found out later that these were all part of the corporate arrangement.

The room I was placed in looked like a typical deluxe hotel room, but it was the personalised touch and superior service that really won me over! Everytime I pick up the phone to call Housekeeping, or Room Service or most anyone, I would be greeted by name.

On some mornings when I was rushing to work, the lady at Concierge noticed I was packing some muffins in paper napkins. She asked if that was all I was having, and promptly got another staff to bring a paper bag to put my food, and even included some drinks to go along with those.

I was quite tired that evening, so decided to order room service for dinner. That was my first time doing in room dining! Come to think of it, the stay at MO was probably my first staying in a 5-star hotel. So I'd like to reiterate, I was pretty much bowled over by the whole ambience and treatment.

Dinner was served on a portable table, decorated nicely as if in a restaurant. There was even complimentary Filipino dessert. Unfortunately I picked the wrong choice of food - everything looked the same colour! From the kids macaroni and cheese, broccoli soup and calamansi juice. Recovering from a slight cold, I wanted something warm and simple, but forgot that hotel food isn't the best around!

Kitty came along, just like how some people can't sleep without their stinky pillow or security blanket.

I was given a seat near the poolside on my first morning. Too bad I'm not a morning person, I had to push myself to wake up early just so I wouldn't miss the scrumptious breakfast spread. Found out later they rotate guests in different parts of the restaurant so people like me wouldn't hog this seat every morning.

As inviting as it was, I didn't get a chance to swim in the pool. I saw for myself why travelling on business ain't all fun and games. What a pity - really nice hotel but couldn't fully utilise! I stayed there only for my 1st week, and now I'm placed in a serviced apartment, really miss the service at MO.

Monday, April 16, 2012

over the moon

my unknown dream came true! well, my "known" dream has been to travel around the world. i thought i'd seen a lot during my stay in japan, but mostly around the asia pacific region.

last year marked a significant journey with trips to known paradise island bali, new countries such as thailand, and to new continents altogether in north america and the middle east. most were unplanned trips, and looking back i'm truly grateful that although it was a tumultuous time i could see that these were truly blessings from above.

so with this business trip, it was rather unexpected. when i see friends and colleagues go on working assignments overseas i had sometimes wished i would get a chance too, but wouldn't have been disappointed if i didn't get it.

i was interviewed for the role some 2 weeks earlier, but even with the 2nd round, it wasn't really confirmed until a few days ago. so it was last minute arrangement with visa, flight and accommodation when the team lead fell sick.

i didn't even dare to tell many people, except for those my being away will impact them. like very very close people! you might know that i don't really announce my overseas trips, it's like i have a principle not to jinx my trip until it really happens. meaning when i'm already on the plane, flying over the oceans and finally arriving at my destination safe and sound. >.<

i tried to keep my expectations as low as possible, despite hearing from people who've been here, done this and that.

so, i was blown away and very impressed with what i'm getting so far. of course, with little to no expectations, i'm a pretty much over the moon at the moment.

it's not a holiday, and i have training at night, with regular consulting hours before that. but the little luxuries help. i'll share a bit more on another post, as i have to dash off for my online course but i'll leave a little pic from my mobile.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


It's been quite a week. It feels like something's enveloping, but I dare not expect anything more. Telling myself not to count the chicks before they hatch.

Just that this annoying sore throat has been bugging me from last month. The virus is stronger than I thought, even after few rounds of meds and self-prescribed pills and plenty of warm water.

Oh well, I'll accept whatever this week brings with gratitude, even if they don't amount to anything. I guess I'll just be a good grrl, stay at home as much as possible to nurse this throat, settle any outstanding errands from my to-do list, and hope everything works out fine.

Friday, April 06, 2012

2nd batch of yellow-bellied

Just early this week, I found out that the 2nd batch of eggs have hatched. I took a peek into the nest, while perching precariously on the stool to reach the top of the clothesline.

Last week I found out that the mummy sunbird had already laid the eggs. Really tiny ones, like the size of my pinky nail. So I shouldn't have been surprised that the babies that came out were equally small.

But what left me staring into the nest were that they were orange in colour! I would have expected something like pale skin colour or brownish, closer to the colour of the adult.

In the furless orange colour, they looked like 2 micro roasted chicken. Just imagine a full size oven-glazed chicken, and shrink that 1000 times. So small you can pop them into your mouth like a pill.

Since it's a hanging pouch-like nest, it was quite difficult to try to get a picture of the birds inside. Unless I shrink my camera to micro size too.

Just today I visited the nest again, and was surprised they'd grown quite significantly. I'm guessing they double their size every day. I didn't know feeding on nectar can do such wonders.

No more micro roasted chicken, now they're growing a bit of dark fur and is probably the size of my thumb. They look like they can't open their eyes yet, so when I go near, they can't really see me! >.<