I don’t start feeling the holiday season until I get a whiff of that smell in the air which I like to call, the scent of Christmas. I’d like to be more descriptive but I can’t and I don’t even know where it’s coming from. All I know is that I only smell it when Christmas time is around. In Baguio, however, it is easy to get into the whole Christmasy mood especially between November and February when the weather is cooler. If like me, you are thinking of going to Baguio soon, I know just the perfect place where you can stay. Spend your holiday at Azalea Hotels & Residences Baguio.
My first time to stay at Azalea Baguio was three years ago in a blogger’s familiarization trip. Last September, I joined a different group of bloggers for another fam tour as the plus one of my friend Cathy (escapesanddiaries). When before I hardly knew anyone from the trip, this time there were more familiar faces.
Azalea Hotels & Residences Baguio is located along Leonard Wood Loop, north of the Teachers’ Camp. Getting there from Manila is quite easy. Just take any Baguio bound buses from Pasay, Sampaloc, or Cubao then from the bus terminal you can easily hail a cab to take you to the hotel. Travel time is between 4 to 6 hours.
Hotel rooms, facilities, and services
Azalea has a total of 99 rooms all are equipped with apartment suites facilities. Their room options include a deluxe hotel room, one-bedroom suite, one-bedroom loft, two-bedroom apartment suite, two-bedroom loft, and three-bedroom apartment suite. These rooms have a living room and entertainment area, kitchen and dining, bed and bath, and safety and security features.
As with the facilities, the hotel has an in-house restaurant, Kuya J’s, a bar lounge called 8 Degrees, PWD accessible rooms, a souvenir shop, complimentary WiFi access, travel and vacation concierge, a 3-level basement parking, valet parking, and car hire. They also offer services such as laundry, pressing, and dry cleaning, spa and massage, and medical assistance.
Cathy and I stayed in a premier hotel room with front balcony. Our room has a TV, fridge, kitchen and dining table with tall chairs, and a sofa bed convertible. We also had complimentary fruits and drinks.
If you’re looking for a venue for your next conference, you may want to check out Azalea Baguios’ function halls and meeting rooms. They have a combined space of 490 square meters where guests can hold their meetings, banquet functions, and other events. You can choose from their 4 conference rooms — Azalea Tent, Boardroom, Martinez Hall 1, and Martinez hall 2 — based on your event’s requirements. The rooms are equipped with a DVD player, LCD projector, LCD television, LED widescreen, mobile sound system, microphones, podium, public address system, stage lights, and stage platform (note: equipment inclusions vary depending on your contract).
Everything’s good except their Internet connection. During our stay, most of us had trouble connecting using their WiFi. I’m mentioning this as this is a room for improvement.
The staff, as always, is impeccable, their hospitality bar none. When you arrive, they will greet you with welcome drinks and readily assist you with your belongings. They would greet and smile at you at all times even when they just happen to pass you by down the halls. The staff is obviously well-trained to treat guests with warmth and respect and this is one of the things that I truly appreciate while staying there.
You can have your breakfast buffet at Kuya J’s restaurant. It occupies the same space where their former restaurant, Tradisyon once were.
So why should you stay at Azalea Hotels & Residences Baguio? Well, I can give you 5 reasons.
Splurge on Stay
Azalea Baguio has spacious rooms making it ideal for groups of people like families. These rooms have fully functional facilities like a kitchen. It means you can save money just by staying in a room equipped to respond to your needs.
Kids and Tweener Friendly
They offer half a price rate for 17-year olds and below and if you avail of their Holiday Plan, tweeners can stay in the room with their parents free of charge. Azalea Baguio assures this comes with no hidden charges.
Exclusive book direct benefits and privileges
If you book your reservation to them directly through their website or by giving them a call, they will offer you packages that best fit your budget.
They also offer holiday boosters or add-on perks so you can get the best value out of your money. For example, with their Holiday Plan, you can do an early check-in at 10:00 a.m and a late check-out at 3:00 p.m. (subject to room availability). Other offers include complimentary use of driver’s dormitory, free check-in for one extra person, free one extra bed, and/or a free room upgrade.
Goodies by your doorstep
Lastly, you may shop via Azalea Hotels & Residences’ Goodies. It’s a doorstep service meaning you don’t have to leave your room to shop their souvenir items; they will deliver it right to your room.
Azalea Hotels & Residences Baguio
No. 7 Leonard Wood Loop,
Brgy. Manuel Roxas, Baguio City
Contact nos: (02) 3484 0081 / (02) 3484 3061 /
(63) 917 8611641 / 919 9944140
When I travel, aside from the scenery I like discovering the best cafe and sometimes, a spa. What I don’t do is traveling to get a beauty treatment, which means this is a first for me when I went out of town just to have microblading and permanent lip tattoo. I didn’t mind the long travel because I trust the artist who would do the procedures. Her name is Kathy Santos, the best eyebrow artist in Bulacan.
Who is Kathy Santos?
Kathleen “Kathy” Miranda Santos is a 27-year old entrepreneur born in Pampanga. She studied and spent most of her life in Bulacan and considers herself a Bulakenya. She finished a Psychology degree but ended up pursuing her true passion in the beauty industry. Since high school, Kathy has always shown the tenacity and potential of a businesswoman having started selling beauty products to her classmates. Even then, her interests lie in beauty, offering manicure, pedicure and hair extensions to people she knows.
But her first love is makeup and she liked to practice with friends. However, she was frustrated over the fact that makeup gets easily erased. This is how she got the idea of learning how to do permanent makeup (PMU).
Her foray to the world of PMU began with a training in August 2016. She then continued her education the same year at PhiBrows by PhiAcademy the most prestigious school for PMU. She trained under Dovile Zilinskaite, a master of Phibrows and PhiContour and founder of PhiBrows London. Kathy has several certifications from PhiBrows, such as PhiBrow Certified Artist (eyebrow tattoo training), PhiRemoval Artist (permanent makeup removal), and PhiLings (the umbrella term for PhiAcademy’s cosmetic treatments).
She also took courses under Cosmo Beauté where she gained the following certifications, Micro Shading, 3 Tone Ombre Shading, Meso Glow & Pigmentology, Magic Shadow Eyeliner, Eyebrow Feather Drawing, Reborn + Hair, Aquarelle Lips, and F-Men Brows.
Even when she’s already fairly known in this industry, Kathy doesn’t intend to stop her pursuit of knowledge in this field. She likes to keep challenging herself because she believes there is so much more to learn. Her most recent venture is when she joined the Cosmo Beaute World PMU 2019 competition in Indonesia. Kathy placed 4th place in the microblading category out of 120 contenders from all over the world.
When asked why she chooses to join competitions like this when some of her peers thought she didn’t need it anymore, Kathy shared,
“All of us, even those who are considered masters in this field were once beginners. I want to try something new. I want to broaden my network, leave my comfort zone and I don’t want to be overconfident. I want to completely embrace the world of PMU because I’d like to meet people whom I could learn from and share my knowledge as well.”
I must say I find her perspective admirable because the moment one becomes too confident or unteachable, is the moment a person stops growing.
What is MLFC?
Three years ago, Kathy established Magical Lashes & Facial Center in Baliuag, a venture she described as a “dream come true.” It specializes in eyelash extensions and eyebrow embroidery/microblading. The business started with a mere 4 staff, today it has 12 whom she trained herself. MLFC
In a span of three years, Kathy has started to make a name for herself in this industry. She has become the eyebrow expert in Bulacan with clients coming from different parts of the country.
MLFC Treatments and Services
I met Kathy through a common friend and got a chance to meet her in person two weeks ago. I am no novice in PMU having tried an eyebrow tattoo treatment and lip tattoo a couple of years back. I loved it as the results looked natural and I also liked the convenience of not having to do my brows every single day. But unlike body tattoos, cosmetics tend to fade easily, hence I was more than eager to visit Kathy to undergo the treatments.
Microblading and Eyebrow Tinting
Also known as embroidery, microblading is a tattooing technique for the eyebrows. Unlike the Digital Hyper-Realistic Brows method that uses a machine, microblading is more manual; the artist uses a blade to etch the hair-like strokes into the skin.
The procedure is pretty fast, I think it only took not more than 30 minutes in my case. It started by cleansing my eyebrows after which they were covered with a thick layer of numbing cream. They let the cream sit for about 30 minutes.
The next step is taking measurements and stencil. Kathy measured my brows, making sure they are symmetrical. She then drew on the eyebrow shape that would serve as her guide during the process. As you can see in the photo below, my old eyebrow tattoo is almost gone.
Then the pain begins. Well, the first few times, it didn’t hurt that much as the numbing cream had just taken effect. I could just feel some gentle nudging on my brow area nothing more. When the effects have started to fade, that’s when things got a little bit uncomfortable. I toughed it out reasoning that I endured getting body tattoos without anesthesia before so I was not about to act like a baby now.
While this was going on, they have already cleansed and put numbing cream on my lips in preparation for the lip tattoo but more on that later. To continue, the eyebrow tinting ensued after microblading to make the eyebrow color bolder and the brows to appear fuller.
The result is perfection! Below is the side by side comparison of my brows before and after the treatment. As you can see, my brows look soft and natural. It is no wonder Kathy is regarded as the best in Bulacan.
Lip Color Enhancement with Contour
Whoever thought of the saying, beauty is pain was clearly undergoing a lip tattoo procedure. The effects of the numbing cream was a lot shorter on the lips, probably because the skin in that area is thinner than that of the brows. I’m telling you it was painful even for me who has a high pain tolerance.
I had a lip tattoo procedure in a known beauty center in Ortigas before but my lips ended up becoming too swollen I looked like Marge of The Simpsons. Thus, even when they told me to go back for the second session, I didn’t return anymore. When the color has faded, I noticed that it left a weird permanent lip liner mark on my lips and it took a while before it completely disappeared.
So I told Kathy of my misgivings about this procedure and she assured me that it’s never happening under her watch. Apparently, the lips are not supposed to become extremely swollen in this procedure, if it did, it means the person who performed the procedure isn’t very well trained. So I decided to go ahead and do it.
Lip tattoo takes a lot longer than microblading because it’s harder for the tint to get embedded into the skin. Many times, the artist will have to run through the needles onto your lips repeatedly until the color sticks. I’m telling you honestly to set expectations that it would be painful regardless of the numbing cream.
If you have a low tolerance for pain, you may have to think really hard before getting this procedure. But then no beauty without pain right?!
Here are the photos of my lips before, after, and 1 week after the lip color enhancement procedure. Thankfully, Kathy was so good at this, my lips didn’t swell.
I am still up for a second session after one month. I will update the photos then to show the final result of this treatment.
Lash lift with tint
After a week I returned for the lash lift with tint. My eyelashes are short and straight but I don’t like using an eyelash curler, instead, I get an eyelash perm. This makes my lashes stay curled for at least 2 months.
My lashes have returned to their original state so it’s time to prettify them. I had them lifted followed by tint, which given an effect that I am wearing mascara. Lyn, the girl who did the procedure on me was real careful the entire time. I felt zero pain, not even sting from the solution that I’ve already gotten used to experiencing whenever I get my lashes permed. It was all so relaxing, I think I even managed to nap for a few minutes.
The photo above shows the completed job. My lashes are short, as I already mentioned so believe me when I say that this result is already good considering the staff didn’t have a lot to go on. I also like that dark liner effect on my upper lash line.
Lastly, I had their gel polish treatment for both my fingers and toes. Gel polish lasts longer than regular nail polish, which is perfect since I would be going on a trip soon. I chose a nude color but due to the Merthiolate that the staff put on my nails, the polish ended up looking pink. So I made a mental note that next time, I’ll ask the staff that we skip the Merthiolate so it doesn’t change the color. Nevertheless, my nails look pretty.
Professional Skincare Formula
MLFC also offers products from Professional Skincare Formula by Dr. Alvin. Kathy gave me a few of these products. I am particularly fond of the Ultra Brightening and Hydrating Foaming Wash, which comes with a facial brush. It smells fruity and feels cool to the skin.
You can find these products in a store at Stall D 268 J.P Rizal St., San Jose Baliuag Bulacan.
I’d like to talk a little bit more about Kathy as a person beyond her profession. During my visits, I instantly noticed her camaraderie not only with her staff but also with her clients. Normally, people in this industry don’t break the customer-business owner relationship and keep things professional. But Kathy has a warmth about her that is genuine and sweet. She goes beyond the usual his and hellos, she asks people about their day. One of her staff was having personal issues and she took the time to show her concern to ask how the person was doing. She could decide to maintain the divide between the employer and employee but she chooses to give compassion and treat them like family.
She shared with me her future plans for herself and for her business and there’s no doubt in my mind that she is quite capable to achieve them. She is driven and passionate and truly has the heart for what she does. It was inspiring to say the least. I know Bulacan is far from here but I hope you take the time to visit her. You will not regret it.
To know their wide array of treatments and services including the rates, you may contact them through the following:
Magical Lashes & Facial Center
268 JP Rizal street San Jose,
3006 Baliuag, Bulacan
Contact nos: 0925-3066550/0906-2385032/0916-5143627