Destination: Boracay Island, Aklan Philippines

I have heard a lot of great things about Boracay for a long time. And for as many times as I’ve traveled to Manila, Philippines I have never seemed to make plans to go. With the recommendation of a friend, I finally got to go. I spent a week or so in Manila before heading out to Boracay so by the time I was headed there, I didn’t expect much — except that I knew I had to recharge. So that’s pretty much all I did in Boracay — recharge. I went there towards the end of May when there wasn’t too many people. I’ve heard that it can get pretty busy, and I’m glad that it wasn’t. haha

My mom came with me on this particular trip. Again from all the great recommendations, we stayed at the Boracay Beach Club, which is located in Station 1 of Boracay Island. We landed at the Caticlan Airport and not even having reached the resort yet — we certainly felt taken care of. The resort arranged for an escort to guide us from the airport, to a tricycle ride, onto a ferry, and then into a car — to the resort. If there was no escort, it would of taken me a lot longer to get there. haha Certainly right off the bat, every single staff person I came across at the resort was very welcoming and attentive. We felt taken care of and it really did make a difference to my first time in Boracay.

The Boracay Beach Club is quite comfortable. I just came from a pretty heavy trip in Manila, so it was great to arrive to a resort that was nice, clean, good rooms, and most of all a comfortable bed. After my first night’s sleep, I really didn’t want to go back to busy Manila. It was my first good night’s sleep in a very long time. I couldn’t get away from work so much so I did bring my work with me and it was nice to have reliable wi-fi in the rooms, lobby, and even their beachfront restaurant. (Ps. Try the chili from their menu. Way delicious!)

If you get one of the package deals, this particular resort lines up some neat activities for you — a banana boat ride, a sunset cruise, massage. The boat ride and cruise help you see a little bit more of the island. I definitely spent a lot of time in the daytime on the beach and in the water! There’s a pretty active nightlife, which I’ll have to explore next time. But just some advice.. don’t bring your cell phone with you on the beach. haha I’m horrible. I got both my Philippine and US cell phones wet when I underestimated the depth of the water. haha In case it happens to you… there is a cell phone store on the main road around Station 2.

I’m going back. In fact, I may have to always go back everytime I go to Manila. The flight is less than an hour from there, but you feel like you’re a million miles away from everything. (I flew through AirPhil Express from MNL to MPH). Anyways, I think I’ve found my go to recharge stop… I can now drag my business friends for a work vacation. It seems like a place that you can do both!

(Thank you to Alvin and the staff at Boracay Beach Club for a great stay!)

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Destination: Riverside, California

My first trip of the year was down to Riverside, California. I headed out there to visit a client. In my business, it’s amazing the cities, states and countries I end up in. A lot of them are places I never imagined my self to visit or even hear about.

The flight was booked through Priceline.com. They always have great deals on hotels, but I’ve always found Orbitz.com to have better deals on flights. The flight and hotel deal I got was a good deal, considering this trip was last minute and I only had one destination. Most of my trips to the Los Angeles area require me to get a car and find a place that would be most convenient for my meetings.

My air carrier for this trip was United Airlines. They’re okay. They get me where I need to be. But the customer service can be iffy. I don’t have any high expectations, but I do prefer the attentive happy attendants that I get from Virgin America or Japan Airlines. United gets me to where I need to go. They’re everywhere so by default I do end up on this airline often.

I stayed at a quaint inn called the Santa Cruz Inn. I found it intriguing, since it is built by the same architect who built the known Mission Inn. I wish I had time to visit the Mission Inn. But the Santa Cruz Inn was pretty much a very small version of it. It’s a Spanish-style inn built in the 1920s. I’ve always had a fondness for anything historical. Unfortunately this place doesn’t look like the photos on their website. It’s a little bit more run down, but I can certainly see the potential of that place if it were renovated even further.

The inn has an open air environment. But because it was really cold outside I couldn’t appreciate that part of it. I could imagine me appreciating it more if the weather was warmer. I could also imagine it getting pretty hot, but I think it could be nice — you’d almost feel like you’re really somewhere like Mexico.

If you’re looking for a place to pretty much just sleep, this works. There’s city wi-fi that works allright, a bed, microwave, refrigerator, A/C and heating system, flat screen TV with cable, and pretty new showers. And if the wi-fi really doesn’t work for you there is a Starbucks down the street, along with a CVS for anything you may need. I wish I had more time to roam around since it is walking distance from downtown Riverside. This side of the street wasn’t the best. It’s next to some older apartments with noisy folks. But the city seems to be developing the whole area. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Santa Cruz Inn goes through another revamp at some point.

Next time I’m flying into the ONT airport. I wasn’t thinking very much when I got booked for LAX. And about LAX — they need work. I mean they are working so there’s renovation going on, so I’m sure it will be better. But the check-in area needs more signage. And maybe my first experience at the X-ray machine thing is ingrained in my mind for LAX. The X-ray thing isn’t so bad, provided you don’t think about it. How come SFO didn’t have that? I don’t know I’m just spoiled. My home hub SFO is really nice. It wasn’t always, but it sure is now.