Amanpulo: Palawan, Philippines. My break into paradise? Was it worth it?

If you’re all lazy to read. Here is a video of our trip to Amanpulo.

Ever since my dad mentioned it, Ive been dreaming all my life to visit this island. When I was much younger and we were less endowed with the best things in life, we used to come to Palawan and visit the more affordable resorts as you may call it. My parents worked really hard, as the eldest child I saw my mom and my dads highs and lows. But the beach or more so Palawan was our safe place, it was somewhere we spent most our time going to take vacations to. In the Philippines my dad only wanted to come here and nowhere else to him was more beautiful. 

Enough of the things about us, We came here for my parents 29th Anniversary. I cannot count with my hands how many times Ive been here to Palawan since I was 10. But Amanpulo is the best of the best here and I only found our 3 days before our flight that we were coming to the island. In the middle of my work and everything I got really excited because this trip would hit the Holy Week break! 

Coming to the island only takes 40-50 mins if youre taking the bigger plane. They greet you with Sampaguitas and give you your own tour in your personal golf cart. Its really an island for the rich, well for 3000-5000usd a night it should be. But this blog wont be about how fancy or luxurious this place was. Im actually going to share to you my own tips on how to visit this island on your budget based on our experience. But of course if you have that money saved up, then by all means you should visit! Personally, if I were to pay for this place myself I would eat up more than half my savings and that wouldnt be a wise way to spend my money. 

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VISITING THE ISLAND: 

My mom found a lot of faults in their booking. I guess they assume that everyone can pay and afford their island. But if were speaking about practicality some rates and things are completely out of any practical persons budget.

We complained more than 4 or 5 times about the pricing and they kept on telling us that they would extend the credit, in the end we were left with Php -800 credit for them to return to us, but not after me viewing their terrible accounting statement of which I had to decipher. It was obvious that the person who made the accounting statement was not an accountant, and they just printed out what they thought was proper deducting and adding, but after doing the analysis and the math, It was clearly a very confusing situation already because different managers were promising different things to us each time and in the end I didn’t know which was the agreed upon statement anymore.

They probably didn’t think that they’d meet someone such as my mom, my mom is just the type of person who wants you to explain it clearly to her, and the manager and staff clearly didn’t know what was going on with their accounting system. If they did, they could have easily told her what the statement stated and included. Instead we got more than how many different managers telling us 3 or 4 different things.

  1. You actually have options that they dont explain.When we first booked the place, they never mentioned it to us. They just sent us a statement and made it seem easy to book. Not that I didnt like that, its just that if there was an option for a cheaper booking I would have saved my parents a lot more money.There is actually an option not to have the room food replenished everyday and that rate they said is cheaper. We didnt know at first because it was not even explained to us how to book in the first place.

    At the end of our trip we ended up asking for the un-replenished daily chocolates we were supposed to receive per day since we did pay for it but it was not mentioned to us, tea and drinks. If it was explained to us earlier we would have taken it. I mean of course we want our moneys worth if we paid extra for it.

  2.   Read all of their agreements and non disclosure agreements.
    There are a lot of charges an rules here and there about the island. Mind you its not cheap either.
  3. You can bring your own food.If it were up to me, i would have survived with 2 meals a day or even just one meal a day. My mom brought some canned tuna and bread from Manila and her own food and snacks. Being on the island, you dont really eat much. And if you paid that extra 70usd for lunch then I suggest you remove it because breakfast is part of your rate anyway.One meal costs about 50-80 usd and the massages range from 200-300usd. We didnt avail for anything on this island. Because a lot of things were freeassuming it was already included in that rate we paid for.

  4. Take the free snorkeling every 10am and 2pmIt will save you a lot of money since going on a private tour is about 200-400usd as well. It would be great if you were a lot but we were only 4 on this trip and it would have not been practical at all. The snorkeling tour goes to places where you can see turtles as well as really big fishes!

  5. The room is big enough for 4 peopleIts an extra 1000usd per person also including the flight to the island. If youre not such a particular group of people there is an even cheaper treetop casita that is about 1900usd per night  including the flight for 2 people and an additional 1000 per head if you add. Of course a double bed will be added. I feel like this is shareable and had i known I would have just asked for this option and slept on my parents couch in the beach casita.

  6. Pets are not allowed on this island.I really wanted to bring my dog, considering the priced we paid. My chihuahua is really small and I hoped we could have brought him with us too. But I can’t complain about this so much, since I guess its a private island and I shouldn’t really be expecting to be able to bring my little baby.

  7. My sister and I nearly got lost at sea, be careful of the currents.

    I don’t want to explain much about it, I already got comments on Facebook that blamed me as a sister for not doing much. I think I was able to do my part by staying with my sister. Just be careful when you’re out with young kids. They don’t really monitor you so well and I think when you’re with a kid you just need to stay by the shore.

  8. They will want to charge you for the bigger room so you could bring more peopleI also read this on their Facebook comments section. They really want you to get the Villa which is $21,000. When I called them at first, they really wanted me to get the Villa for our whole family instead of 2 separate rooms which would turn out cheaper. Just remember that you have a lot more options than you think, and even if they’ll hate you for asking, just ask them, you’re a paying customer.

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For a 5 star resort, maybe my expectations were just higher than this. Maybe it is really visited by people who bring their maids on vacation and we were too poor compared to these other people to understand the situation. But It made me see also how different the other side of life is like. There is beauty in simple places and more homey hospitality. Personally i did not feel it on this island. 

They have 400 employees on this island and we didnt see most of them on the island. Most of your money probably goes to the extra people  who need to maintain the island and its filtration system and the good food and chefs. Being aware that the island has more employees than actual guests. I was disappointed when I realised that we were so little compared to them. As the island is only home to about 47 cottages and half of these are privately owned and not for rent. 

Now after reading you might think, how much of a cheapskate can this girl get? Come on, bringing your own food and sleeping on the couch?! I guess doing this is not for everyone and we all have different ways we want to live. I just think that looking at it in an economical more practical standpoint. That money could have been used for so many more important things than just the food on our vacation or the chocolates and drinks in the fridge.  And of course I have to make this post neutral for those haters who might say, enjoy it, it was a free vacation after all! That is true, I will not of course deny the beautiful memories I made here with my family, good or bad.

I do believe it is somewhere you could go to experience for once in your life. I will definitely say that, I loved the beachfront and there is nothing like it or compared to it. I just hope that someday the management improves and their staff training. It is definitely what you’d call a luxury leisure resort and the staff are also just as in leisure as the guests.

Wishing you all happy days!
Hope this all helps you make decision in visiting the island.

thebackpackingballerina.com

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Inside the Paris Opera Ballet: The Oldest National Ballet

 

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The Paris Opera Ballet was breathtaking and if you watched the video I posted on YouTube which is below the tips section, you could see the different Marbles and the structure of the place was really just amazing. Every room feels like a dream and every stairway was so picturesque. If I ever got to Paris again I hope that I am able to watch a ballet show with the Paris Opera, even if I have heard not so okay reviews about their companys politics. It would be a really wonderful experience for sure to be with the crowd of snobby French people appreciating their art. Now that is something I really would love to experience firsthand, unfortunately there are no shows during the summertime when we went to Paris.

Its Amazing how this place built in the 18th-19th century is still so beatuiful. The place was built if I remember correctly during the time of Louis XIV. When ballet or social dancing during that time got too demanding that they had to build a place where dancers could train for performances. During that time the dancing was usually done like a court dance, but with all of the complicated steps being added by the kings personal ballet teacher, they eventually had to make a system of ballet and thats when the steps were noted and eventually put into system and thus the birth of the ballet school and the Opera Garnier to watch performances.

Some tips if you intend to visit the beautiful Opera House.

TIPS: 

  1. The entrance is not at the front but on the west side of the building. So if you want to go inside, just make sure to go from the side of the building where the famous statue is located. That statue is the one believed to be protecting the Opera House from any fire. 
  2. No need to come early, we were there around 11am but the line isn’t so long usually since Im sure most people who come are dancers or people who love art and the threatre. 
  3. If you are under 26 you always apply for the student discount! Don’t forget because it will make a big difference 

I wish I was just able to visit the flooded ground floor, Im sure there is a way to visit that place but I will probably have to pay a lot more and hire someone to bring me there.

 

My sister and I really enjoyed the Paris Opera Ballet theatre or the Palais Garnier. I think anyone who isn’t a person of ballet, would instantly be turned into someone who will be interested in the art after coming here. What is beautiful about Europe and or Paris is that ballet is still treated as being a part of their culture. Whats even more interesting is that so much of that culture was also brought to the Philippines in the past! Do you know that a lot of famous ballet dancers visited the Philippines long ago.

I hope that there would also be more infused culture of supporting the arts and ballet in the country. A challenge to all the ballet companies and schools to keep their shows up to standard and to keeping the art alive.  I hope and pray that times change for the better. For now enjoy my ballet loving blogs and vlogs.

Much Love,
dancebylina.com
thebackpackingballerina.com

 

Stuck in a dance plateau?

Do you feel like you’re not improving at all? Don’t worry we’ve all been there. Its normal, even in life sometimes to feel like, something is missing or something is not right. There will be days when you feel different and days when you feel like everything is in perfect place. But life is always about a good balance of everything and about overcoming these times when we feel like we’re stuck somewhere in our dance lives.

So here are my personal tips, and I also made a video to explain something about being in your dance plateau. Hope that these help you improve and help you gain more understanding to your dancing and your thinking too. Most of your dancing actually comes from your willpower to keep on going.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone
    There are different reasons of being in your dance plateau. You have to do the assessment yourself, are you putting enough hours? Are you getting enough time to practice? If you are, then maybe you just need to try something new. Sometimes, its okay to take a short break to destress and to do something different from what you usually do. Learn to get out of your comfort zone, in and out of class.

    You can try taking a new style of dance maybe? Or maybe try going to a new teacher just to bring out some new ideas and give your mind some more.

  2. Talk to your teacher 
    Sometimes your teacher doesn’t tell you up front in class, because she doesn’t want you to get hurt in front of your classmates. But the more you ask, the more you will find out. Maybe your teacher has somethings she wants to say, or maybe you also have things you want to clarify. Learn to communicate with your teacher, create a good relationship with him/her. If she gives you some constructive criticism, learn to accept it and learn from the new information.
  3. Go back to your basics 
    Maybe you’re missing something? Maybe you are not. But it is always good to go back to your basics. Try a slower class maybe to help you break down all the steps again. Slow classes are always good for all of us.
  4. Find your own identity and focus on your own body
    Maybe you feel like you are stuck because you are comparing yourself to the girls around or beside you. Not everything in life is a competition, most especially ballet. This is why I love ballet, you can be good at something that someone is not. Someone can be better but you can be better at other things. Find your niche, find you own identity and focus on your own body.
  5. Set GOALS
    Go to class with a goal in mind, I encourage every dancer to keep a notebook of their goals and dreams. It is always better to write things down than to type them on your computer. When you write things, they process better in your head. Set a goal every week, and talk with your teacher, and ask her to help you note your concerns and the thing you would still like to improve.
  6. Enjoy the process

    I will always finish my blogs with, Enjoying the process. Because that after all is what will keep you sane. The only thing you can control is how you can react to things, so enjoy each and every step and problem you encounter with you dancing.

    Its not everyday that you feel this way. Your dancing may be feeling like it is plateauing, but remember there is always a spike up in improvement every now and then. Just keep on going and keep your mind set farsighted on your goals. Hope these tips help! and you can catch my VLOG on the same topic too, on YouTube.

 

WHAT I THINK MAKES A GOOD DANCE TEACHER, THE KIND I ASPIRE TO BE:


Anyone can be a dancer but not everyone has the skills to be an effective and good dance teacher. It takes so much skill and patience for a teacher to be able to mold a beginner into what they visualise someday for their dancers. Theres so much more to teaching than a lot of people think of it, even more than just choreographing steps, its an art.
We all of course differ in our opinions of what makes a good dance teacher. Some would prefer a more relaxed and happy teacher as others might prefer a more strict teacher. I don’t think theres just one way of teaching, each teacher has something to offer. But regardless of that I think there are certain qualities that A eacher should possess.

1. Professionalism:  A good teacher respects her students. I think a teacher should be someone you will respect no matter what situation. They can handle situations effectively, in the way they speak, talk and dress. Its really important that the teacher for me interacts well with students.

2. Experience and Reputation: Although i don’t believe that a dance teachers educational background matters or is directly related to their way of teaching, as I have had plenty of amazing dance teachers who didn’t even take dance as a course. I think reputation and experience speaks for them. Plenty of dancers, even without any certification such as retired professionals can be amazing dance teachers. I think its important to consider how long they have been teaching and observe their class before enrolling too.

3. Patience and Organisation: A good teacher, knows how to organise his or her lessons. And and effective teacher knows that it takes time to master a step and choreography. A good teacher puts emphasis on the simple steps, rather than jumping straight to the difficult ones.

4. Punctuality: A good dance teacher is always a good example. Being Punctual means he or is a responsible teacher, if your teacher is more than 10 mins late to class with no apparent reason all the time then i think you should consider changing your school.

5. Dedication: A good teacher is completely dedicated to teaching you the best things they know.

6. Constantly learning: A good teacher is also someone who constantly strives to be better, and to give you the best dance education.

7. Passion: And finally a good dance teacher is passionate about what she or he does. Good dance teachers, inspire and they share. They are constantly giving and learning for you. A teacher is also a student, A teacher learns new things and adapts them for you in class. This is what i aim to be, to generate dancers who want to dance and to inspire them to aspire to become the best in an artistic and technical way.

if you have a teacher like this then good for you! REMEMBER: At the end say that a good teacher deserves an equally good student, so do your best and do them justice. Tag your favourite dance teachers and tell them how much you love them. ❤

VLOG #1: The Backpacking Ballerina

 

HELLO DANCERS! 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸
I decided to start a video blog about Dance by Lina and I would love it if you could follow our new YOUTUBE PAGE, I’ll be including our videos from our deliveries, some from the dancing and the teaching workshops that I take around the world from Japan, US and our soon in LATVIA! 
Our blog page is also mainly focused on ballet and tips on ballet shops around the globe. I hope i could get some new ideas from all of you! LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO LEARN OR HEAR  I’m also looking into featuring special people of ballet. I would really love your help dancers.


This link leads to our current youtube channel link, so i hope you could give us a follow! Besides my blog, I’ll be doing a LIVE streming video on “The art of ballet” on MAY 6, stay tuned for more information. 

https://youtu.be/3yNqLVObx70

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

SHOP AND BLOG: 
dancebylina.com 
thebackpackingballerina.com

 

Dance by Lina Update: Spring and Summer collection

Update on my dance wear line, we’re currently trying to develop 4 new things. The portable ballet barre, a mens sizing chart, a tweens sizing chart and a plus size line. I recently gave up on making leotards as it is too difficult to deal with the spandex fabric. I decided to stick to warmers, knit and cotton. Also some skirts, and our favourite tutu bag.

Here are some of the new colours we might be introducing by the end of this month! You can follow my Instagram account for other updates on colours. These colours are for our knit warmers.

For our long skirts, which did so well last year we decided to add a new  for spring: PLUM, we are also hoping to add at least one more rose colour, then for our portable ballet barre update we just finished our first sample! So we are much excited to showcase this by the end of the month.

We always appreciate our customers comments. So any suggestions are welcome! A lot of these ideas always come from you guys and what you guys want to see me develop next, Thank you for always supporting my line, its really almost like a dream come true that started as my own little hobby into becoming something quite big and special to me.

❤ Lina

FOLLOW OUR JOURNEY! (my shop and I) dancebylina.com

PERSONAL INSTAGRAM: @dancebylina_

INSTAGRAM shop: @dancebylina_dancewear

Dance by Lina update, May 2016

Its our recital in 2 weeks, my birthday in a few days and I still have to rehearse my students with the other school. I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to update again. We started making a new line of pouches. Pouches for your small dance things. I get all the cloth from Japan and everything is Pure Japanese cotton. Well thats what my supplier would say.
We also decided to stick to skirts, laces and other things like the sort. Recently my sewer and I studied how to make Practice tutus and tutus so we are also looking into making more of those too. I know I’m not a professional designer, but I’m having a lot of fun figuring things out and working on more things. It’s starting out to be a very exciting business.
I’m not sure weather I should continue it or not after next year or just pre ready everything months before and shipping out orders. Plenty of decisions to make, but looking forward to an exciting things ahead of us this year. Its been really fun and I’ve being doing really well but It takes so much of my time that sometimes I don’t get more than 3-4 hours of sleep in a day.
Foot Stretchers, Ballet pouches, Ballet skirts, Practice tutus and dance costumes ❤ This is my focus as of now. All products are available on the link below or visit The Dance store PH for any of my products.
dancebylina.com