Refreshing Birthday at Hotel H2O

Summer vacation plans can be overwhelming. There’s that part when one wants to get that well-deserved pampering in a hotel and there’s that urge to get out of the urban jungle to be one with nature. Both though, however contrasting, have one general benefit to everyone–an experience that soothes the senses. Then ask anyone and more likely than not there would be that common element they have in mind that is synonymous to relaxation. Water. 

Cruise ship docked close to Manila Ocean Park.

Thank heavens, we need not split friends or family members into groups anymore just to satisfy everyone’s wish and there’s no need to burn gas just to drive farther out of town either. Located within Metro Manila is a haven called Hotel H20 which provides the best of both worlds. Whether you’re in for an overnight staycation (when did this word come into life by the way?) in a comfy hotel or if you’re looking for opportunities to interact with wildlife, this hotel has it.

The Oceanarium tunnel.

Its name derived right out of our science subject, H20 stands for water–remember? Situated along the scenic Manila Bay area, and in close proximity to the historic Luneta Park, Hotel H2O  offers its guests a variety of refreshing options. All it takes is some good online deal hunting skills which thankfully my wife possesses–whether naturally or out of necessity.

A fan of Metrodeal, wifey was able to find a good package once again just in time for a birthday celebration. Our kid, Marcus, turned nine yesterday and this time he wished for nothing but to see fish. His regular visit to the hospital’s saltwater aquarium during his therapy sessions must’ve been a factor . So imagine his surprise when we entered Hotel H2O’s room and for him to see one whole wall where different colorful fishes swim back and forth 24/7. This beats any Ultra HDTV entertainment, yes?

Great for kids and working moms. Even Spongebob approves.

Our accommodation package includes access to Manila Ocean Park’s attractions that complete our son’s birthday wish like touching the once intimidating stingray in the Close Encounter with Sharks and Stingrays area. In the Oceanarium, we were surrounded by giant aquariums that made us all feel like Finding Nemo characters. It was a bonus that Marcus got to see the scuba divers feeding the fishes. 

Like being one with the ocean.

But Manila Ocean Park is more than just about water creatures. There’s Birds of Prey area where Eagles fly almost freely. Anyone who likes to see rare collection of toys would definitely want to see Yexel’s Toy Museum–the Iron Man set is must see. Then there’s the variety of jellyfishes that seem hypnotic as they move gracefully in their own aquariums. Our package does not include the Creepy Crawlies but the extra pay was worth it.

Yexel’s collections.
Colorful Creepy Crawlies animals.

This is Marcus’ fourth visit to Manila Ocean Park though our first time to stay in H2O Hotel. He discovered that we skipped the bubbly pool in the Liquid pool area so being a fan of pools he would want to be back soon. Hopefully by then improvements would have been made.
***

Waves have crest and trough. That’s ups and downs. In summary, here’s our Hotel H2O  experience.

Crest

  • P5000 was worth the package.
  • Bed and linen are clean and comfy.
  • Toilet fixtures are mostly functional
 
  • Most hotel staff are friendly and helpful.
  • For picky kids, the option to grab their favorite fastfood few walks outside the hotel is a big plus. I was out late night for a burger steak meal.
  • The attractions are PWD-friendly.
We always appreciate seeing something that Marcus could relate to.

    Trough

    • Bidet please.
    • Shower area doesn’t have enough recessed floor and the glass door has gaps so it water leaks out of the enclosure.
    By design, the door is shared by the shower and toilet area. Take note also of the clear glass walls.
    • PWDs would have some access challenge.

    • Don’t expect too much from the Liquid dining buffet. 
    • The penguin area needs some love.

    ***

    Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Pool time.)

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    The Nokia 5800: A Perfect Bum Tool

    This lovely piece of Finnish cellphone has been with me for more than a week already after I succumbed to my wife’s persistent request to replace my 3-year old Motorola L6. Besides, the old cellphone is becoming to be the cause of failure-to-communicate since its speaker conked out due to countless drops and misuse. And needless to say, in my current bum status, not clearly hearing an initial job interview over the phone is a no-no—justification, justification, justification.

    So far since I bought it though, I haven’t had any job calls. But why should I care, this phone after all isn’t just a phone. If there’s one phone that will make one happy even while his much awaited calls seem unlikely to happen, it is the Nokia 5800. There’s just so much to this phone that job hunt frustrations can be easily forgotten and that killing time can become a habit.

    The Nokia 5800’s touch pad meets expectations although I’ve read that upgrading the firmware version from V11 to V21 will improve its response. Right now I care less and might not care about it in the near future after learning from Nokia Care that it will take at least two hours to do the upgrade.

    This model is part of Nokia’s ExpressMusic series and true enough it sounds crisp either through its earphones or its loudspeaker. I don’t recommend connecting it though as an input to the car’s stereo as the MP3 quality varies thus affecting the volume of each music file that other than watching out for potholes while driving, one would have to deal with adjusting the music volume all at the same time.

    The Nokia 5800 comes with a 3.2 MP that is great for shots under bright light—e.g., daytime—and just like any other low quality/resolution cam, it doesn’t perform well under low light conditions. But you get what you paid for, right? Paying P14,900 for a phone one shouldn’t expect an SLR-like quality. Don’t get me wrong though, for a bum, for a blogger (both of which best describes me), this is more than enough. I just hate it though that there’s no option to turn the camera shutter sound totally off (there are 3 other settings but none that makes shooting discreet). It’s a skeuomorph and I don’t like it.

    Shots of places in Manila taken using the Nokia 5800.

    I love most of the videos (mp4 format) that comes along with this phone. The resolution is unbelievable. Even those I’ve shot came out almost on par with my Sony handheld video recorder. However, I discovered that the mp4 format has to be converted at least to wmw for it to be played once transferred to the PC. Good thing I was able to download a converter from Freewarehome.com.

    Others raise their eyebrows at the guitar pick that comes along with the strap of the cellphone. But I don’t, as I prefer using it over the stylus, except when I’m in the mood to kill time by texting using the handwriting feature which I’m now starting to learn and appreciate.

    With the hectic time I have right now both at school and at home where my favorite photo subjects are—my wife and kid, it might take me another week more to discover and learn the other features that this perfect bum tool has. I’m just wishing though that next time I’d hear another lovely HR voice saying, “…Mr. Nacionales, this is to inform you that you are scheduled for an interview…” When that time comes, I’m quite sure she’d hear me clearly say, “Yes…I’m coming”.

    ***

    Mood: 3/10 Honks!