Work has not had the best effect on my physical and mental health lately, so I wanted to go away for a few days keep my mind off things. With the privileges I’ve been given, I could have gone anywhere I wanted to but I chose Bali. Particularly, Ubud. The place is peaceful, popular amongst yogis, and heaviy strewn with villas in the middle of rice fields.
I wanted to be somewhere where I could only see green and blue, where I could just sit for hours staring at nature’s beauty and not get bored, and of ourse where I could only breathe in fresh air. Ubud was the perfect haven for me.
A friend of mine shared her experience with one villa called Santosha Villas and Spa, I was such in awe of what she had told me that I booked the same place for my little getaway. There were a few bad reviews about the place, but I couldn’t have cared less as long as I was in the middle of nowhere taking time for myself.
When I got to the villa, I thought of how perfect it was for me. The size of the room was enough for two or three people even though it was only me staying there. The bathtub and shower were situated outside and had a sunroof. A round wooden table was perched on the porch, perfect for a healthy breakfast and greeting the early morning breeze. The only negative thing about the place is probably the fact that you wake up to tiny lizard droppings, and when it rains, multiple insect wings. It’s understandable though when you keep in mind that you are in the amidst flora, the breeding ground for all the tiny forces of nature.
I’ll give the place a 4 out of 5 stars. Although the food choices were limited and there’s a certain stone-y, moldy scent in the bathroom, nothing beats the personal care that the hotel’s staff provide. They make sure everything you want is put in place. Need a Yoga instructor at 8 a.m. sharp everyday? Say no more. Want that breakfast delivered to your room while you shower at 9 a.m.? No worries. Need a taxi in 5 minutes? You got it. Want personalized tour that’s not even part of the hotel provided package? They’ll make it happen.
Santosha also perfectly set the ambience of the place that it’s become the main bait for me. From their yoga station, to their swimming pool you’ll hear calming music so soothing to the ears that it feels like the day isn’t going slow enough. Just reliving this entire experience makes me want to quit work and move over to Bali.
I read on multiple blogs that Filipinos, who have a US visa, can enter Georgia without applying for the country’s visa. On top of that, Filipinos who have residency in any Gulf country can enter upon showing our residency cards. Luckily for me, I happened to have both the card and a US Visa.
So off I went to Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city, for my four days off. It was wonderful. Basically, I did all the important things in just half a day and saw the extras on my second and third day. Here’s a sample of my first day’s itinerary for your perusal, should you have limited time to see Tbilisi in the future.
Arrive in Renaissance Hotel Tbilisi (a review to follow)
1 minute walk to St. Trinity Cathedral/Sameba Cathedral, the biggest catheral in Georgia and third tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world (lucky for me, this was literally just outside my hotel)
6 minute walk to the Presidential Palace. (people are only able to see the back of the palace, and the area is heavily gated. There’s no way of seeing the front as how one would see the White House. Tourists can only see this while driving on the road or when on the Narikala Fortress)
2.50 GEL metro ride (+4 GEL for the card) to Marjanishvili Square for lunch
Lunch at Barbarestan, paid 59 GEL (24 USD) for good food.
2.50 GEL metro ride to the city center
2.50 GEL cable car ride to the Narikala Fortress for an awesome view of the city (the metro card can be used for the cable car as the latter seems to be part of their usual “public transportation,” even though everyone using it is a tourist)
went down the pathway to get to the I LOVE TBILISI sign. Yes, this is just right below the Narikala Fortress
walked our way to VinoGround for some 10 GEL wine tasting. (I believe we ended up drinking with the owner -he refused to admit that he was the owner- and he vehemently wanted to waive our payments as a gift to us. But we refused and insisted we still pay.)
3 GEL taxi back to the hotel and end the day (there is no Uber in Tbilisi, so I used the app Yandex.Taxi)