7 Ways to Avoid Germs on an Airplane

March 19, 2011

7 Ways to Avoid Germs on an Airplane
(from frommers.com)

How to Stay Healthy on a Plane

By Beth Collins

There's something about airplanes that just screams germs. The enclosed space, the recycled air, the guy sitting next to you who refuses to cover his mouth when he coughs -- it's enough to make you want to de-plane and drive to your destination instead.

Thankfully, planes aren't as teeming with germs as you might think, thanks to air filters that help reduce the number of microscopic viruses and bacteria. In fact, you're more likely to catch something in the airport than on the flight, says Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease expert with the Mayo Clinic(www.mayoclinic.com). Still, airplanes are by no means germ-free. Follow Dr. Virk's tips for staying healthy en route to your vacation.

Before You Board: Get Enough Sleep & Stay Hydrated

Your best bet for staying healthy on the plane? Board healthy. According to Dr. Virk, a strong immune system is the number-one defense for fighting off germs. "Get plenty of sleep before you travel -- people who are sleep-deprived get more infections than those who get adequate sleep," she says. "And stay hydrated." This will keep your respiratory tract moist, which gives you more protection against germs. Hydrating also prevents your skin from getting dry and cracked, which makes you susceptible to infections.

Wash Your Hands After Touching the Seat Cushion

While your seat might seem like a hotbed for germs -- who knows how many people have sat there before you? -- Dr. Virk says the risk of catching something from it is quite low since your clothes provide a barrier between you and the cushion. If your hands touch the fabric, simple hand hygiene (washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) will take care of most germs you come in contact with.

Wipe Down the Tray Table

Passengers tend to use their tray tables throughout the flight for eating, drinking, reading, and even resting their heads -- meaning these little plastic rectangles are one of the most likely spots for germs on the plane. The crew may not always have time to thoroughly wipe down each tray between flights, so it's up to you to take precautions. Dr. Virk recommends cleaning the tray with an alcohol-based hand wipe before you use it to kill any lingering germs.

Clean Your Hands After Handling the In-flight Entertainment Clicker

If you want to be vigilant, you could always scrub the clicker with an alcohol wipe. "But do I do that?" asks Dr. Virk. "No." Instead, simply make sure you practice basic hand hygiene afterward by either washing your hands with soap and hot water or rubbing them with alcohol-based gel. 

Avoid Touching Surfaces in the Airplane Bathroom

"Treat the airplane bathroom as you would any public restroom," says Dr. Virk. In other words, limit your contact with surfaces as much as possible. Use the paper toilet-seat cover (or place toilet paper over the seat), and try a non-touch technique when washing your hands: Use a paper towel to turn on the faucet, wash with soap and hot water, and use a fresh paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the restroom door. Be extra careful on international flights, Virk says, since there's more of a chance of people coming back with viruses that our immune systems aren't used to.

Don't Worry Too Much About the Armrests

Like seat cushions, armrests pose very little threat when it comes to germs. "Unless you have a skin break, you're not going to pick up anything from here," says Dr. Virk.

Stash Items Near the Top of the Seatback Pocket

If you're like most people, one of the first things you do when you settle into your seat is toss all your essentials -- including things you come into close contact with, like your phone and headphones -- into the seat pocket. Dr. Virk's advice? "This isn't based on a study, but I tend not to put my hand all the way into the pocket because I don't know what's down there," she says. If possible, keep your items toward the top of the pocket rather than letting them slip all the way down, where they're sure to mingle with food crumbs, dirty tissues, and who knows what else.

Isis Bungalows Resort, Bohol: Traveler's Photos

March 10, 2011

Isis Bungalows Resort, Bohol: Traveler's Photos
Standard rooms located on the ground floor.
Further to the right  of this structure is a view of the sea.
Going further to the left side of this structure is the reception.

The reception located at the ground floor.
You can request luggage to be stored here in case you're leaving the place several hours after checkout time

This is our deluxe room located beside the reception.
The reception is at the right side of the photo.
One advantage of getting the room beside the reception is that you have strong wifi. The wifi router is apparently located in the reception.

The view a few steps from our room

The beachfront

The small beachfront in front of Isis Bungalows.
The structure behind is the Isis Thai Restaurant.

Isis Thai restaurant.
The room above the Isis Thai Restaurant is Bungalow 8.

It's the best room for a big family.

Next time we go to Bohol, we will reserve Bungalow 8 far in advance.

As you can can see, Bungalow 8 also has the view of the sea from it's window.

The view from Isis Thai Restaurant.
This view can also be seen from the window of Bungalow 8

This path, to the left of the Isis Bungalows Resort, leads to the center of Alona Beach.
It took us around 5 minutes to leisurely walk to the center 

From the path shown above, compare the location of Isis Bungalows with the other accomodation from the map below:

Isis Bungalows Resort  is at no. 49. Check out http://jimspears.net/alona/map.htm for more details. 
Thanks to jimspears.net for the map

Hennan Resort Alona Beach Opens in Bohol!!

March 7, 2011

Great News!!!
Hennan Resort Alona Beach 
(formerly Alona Palm Beach Resort) 
Opens in Bohol!!

For those of you who were fans of Alona Palm Beach Resort and were sad to see it close, here is some great news. I'd like to share with you the official announcement of Henna Resort Alona Beach (highlights are mine):

" Experience the pristine beauty of Bohol like never before as Hennan Resort Alona Beach formally opens its doors to guests beginning March 15, 2011. Located along the immaculate shores of Panglao Island, the luxury resort has 12 exclusive villas amidst lush tropical gardens with refreshing views of the sea, palm groves and infinity edge pool.
Formerly Alona Palm Beach Resort, Henann Resort Alona Beach is the newest acquisition of Boracay Regency Group of Resorts also known as Henann Resorts, owner and operator of Boracay Regency, Boracay Garden Resort and Regency Lagoon.
“We are very excited and pleased to announce the re-opening of this well-loved resort. Our ideal location, spacious rooms, sumptuous food, and efficient staff make Henann Resort Alona Beach your dream destination in Bohol,” said Henry O. Chusuey, Chairman of Henann Hotel Management, Inc. 
Chusuey chanced upon the property during one of his ocular visits in Panglao in November last year. He was captured by its natural beauty and saw its potential to be the next big tourist destination in the country. This led him to quickly strike a deal with the former Swiss owner.
Henann Resort Alona Beach is situated on a slightly elevated area along the powdery white stretch of Alona Beach . Offering the utmost privacy to guests, the villas are separated by 70-meter wide coconut palm groves from the white beach. The resort has the widest beach front along Alona Beach and also features a 450-meter fresh water swimming pool with bar.
Each villa has a split-type air conditioner and ceiling fan, terrace with sun beds, LCD TV with cable, telephone with IDD and NDD, WIFI access, personal safety box, and mini bar. 
Henann Resorts also brings to Bohol one of its famous restaurant chains now operating in Boracay -- Christina’s, which offers international cuisine specially prepared by experienced chefs. 
With only 12 villas currently available, the sprawling 6.5 hectare-property is the future site of a 350-room paradise resort that will offer full service convention facilities, lagoon shaped pools, luxury spa, international restaurants, fitness center, and a chapel for intimate weddings.         
“Over the next two years, we plan to develop a world-class resort to answer the demand of our foreign and local clients,” added Chusuey.
The province of Bohol is centrally located in the Visayas region and is only an hour away by plane from Manila . Land transfers from provincial capital Tagbilaran City to Henann Resort Alona Beach takes less than 30 minutes.
Aside from the Chocolate Hills and the Philippine Tarsier, Bohol is also famous for landmarks and attractions such as the Dauis Church , Blood Compact Shrine, Magsaysay Camp, and Loboc River . Popular tourist activities include bird spotting in Rajah Sikatuna National Park , diving in Panglao Island and whale and dolphin watching in Bohol Sea , among others.
For reservations and inquiries, please call Henann Resort Alona Beach at +632 5231234 or email manila@henann.com."

Summer Outing at Pranjetto, Tanay

March 3, 2011

Summer Outing at Pranjetto

Summer 2010 is the hottest summer we've experienced for the past few years. We live in Antipolo and this is the only summer when we are forced to open the aircon in the middle of the day. An electric fan is usually sufficient to get us through the heat. But this year, the midday heat is so unbearable that we usually open the aircon when at home.

Being only an hour away from Antipolo, I didn't think  Pranjetto Hills Resort in Tanay will have a weather no different from what we experience in Antipolo. But I was so pleasantly surprised when we arrived there. It was windy and cool even at midday. The receptionist said it was the hottest summer they experienced, but for us who live in Antipolo, and for the rest of our relatives who live in Manila, this place provides a welcome respite from the heat. I can imagine how cold it is from December to February. 

This is a popular destination for motorbike riders. So you see a lot of riders traversing this route. When I drove our car going there, I understood why they use the route to practice their riding skills. The turns are sharp and the road gradually goes uphill. The road is well paved and motorists do not frequently pass the route. Bikers usually have breakfast at a small restaurant at Pranjetto.

What That Kids Will Enjoy
During summer, what the kids would enjoy would be swimming. This place has one swimming pool with several huts around it. It's located in a slightly shaded area. This resort is surrounded by trees and located in a slightly forested area.

What That Adults Will Enjoy
1. The adults will like the proximity of the place from Manila. It's only an hour's ride from Antipolo, an hour and a half, from Cubao.
2. The cool weather even in the hottest of all summers
3. The paved roads
4. The peace and quiet
5. The beauty of the natural landscape.

Traveler's photos of the Resort:


How to book:
My sister-in-law who booked the huts had a hard time contacting reception. Contact numbers are shown above with the rates.

My tip:

1. In any day outing, the hardest part is providing lunch for everyone in the group. On this trip, what I did is order Jollibee. The convenience of fast food takeout is:

  • you can order the meals only the night before, and have it ready for pickup the next day. In the case of Jollibee, you can also cancel anytime until 30min before pickup because they text you in the morning prior to making it to find out if the order is still on.
  • it is already individually packed, complete with utensils. So all you need to bring when you leave home are the drinks.  
The nearest Jollibee along the way from Antipolo to Pranjetto is Jollibee Cogeo. I ordered Spaghetti and Yum with TLC for pick up the next day. Jollibee Cogeo was very efficient and had my order ready and on time when I picked it up.

2. Sunday is the best time to do this trip. People are usually out on Saturdays at the malls. When you go to this place, you have to use Marcos Highway which has several malls along the way.
3. If you live in Antipolo, you can avoid the traffic caused by jeeps en route to Cogeo by Sumulong highway and making a right at a fork 2 km from Assumption Antipolo. It leads you directly to Cogeo town.

What to bring:
  • swimsuit
  •  sunblock
  •  towel/sarong
  •  slippers
  • floaters
  • pump
  • food in disposable packs 
  • drinks (especially water) 
  • first aid medicines (for headache, fever, dizziness, indigestion) 
  • hand sanitizer 
  • tissue/toilet paper/wet ones 
  • camera (digicam or videocam), extra batteries
How to get there:

  • for detailed directions, see my article " How to go to Pranjetto Hills, Tanay".

Travel time:
  • from Cubao to Pranjetto on a Sunday: 1 1/2 hours
  • from Antipolo to Pranjetto on a Sunday: 1 hour. (Pranjetto is 42 km from Valley Golf, Antipolo)

Day Tour Itinerary:
Day tour hours is from 8am-5pm, which means the resort is open to day tourists from 8am-5pm only.
9am-11am: Travel time from Antipolo to Pranjetto with stop at Jollibee Cogeo 
11am-3pm: Swimming and Lunch 
3pm-4pm:   Travel time from Pranjeto to Antipolo

From Cogeo to Pranjetto, there is no store where you can buy pasalubong. You have to go up to Antipolo to encounter any pasalubong store.

Total cost of the trip: Under construction
To compute for your own trip, download this interactive excel file: 

Pranjetto Hills Resort: Traveler's Photos

March 2, 2011

Pranjetto Hills Resort: Traveler's Photos

          To see the rates, my itinerary, and travel tips to this destination, check out my article "Summer Outing at Pranjetto".

          To find out how to get there, check out my article "How to go to Pranjetto Hills, Tanay."

This entrance is along the National Road and leads to the small restaurant

This entrance is also along the National Road, at the right side of the restaurant.
Cars can be parked here.
Motorbike parking near the national road

The small restaurant

The simple menu of the small restaurant

The convention hall

Amethyst Hall
This is located at the left of the convention hall shown above

Diamond Hall
This is located at the center of the convention hall shown above

Ruby Hall
This is located at the right of the convention hall shown above

This is where the rooms are located

Another view of the building where the rooms are located

The swimming pool is surrounded by trees

The swimming pool
The yellow building on left is the comfort room.
The building behind the pool is where the karaoke is located.

The surrounding forest

The view of the resort from above