From July 11th to 15th, 2019 the winners of our #SweetSummerEscape Challenge in collaboration with Tourism Authority of Thailand went to Bangkok and Khao Yai to enjoy their all-expenses-paid trip! Read through the article to see where they went during the trip!
Arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok at the afternoon, the winners directly visited Talad Rot Fai Ratchada Train Market, the newest and most famous night market in Bangkok. From 5pm until late, the winners found everything they needed for an introduction to Bangkok here; from various street foods to souvenirs to sweets to clothing to film rolls to smartphone casings, all are in a bargain price... Plus a dedicated 21+ section filled with bars and booze.
First thing in the morning on the second day of the trip, the winners went to the tallest building in Bangkok: The King Power MahaNakhon Skywalk. The building stands more than 300 meters above the ground and gives you the best all-round view of the capital city. What's most interesting was the glass-floored observation deck at the top floor which gives you all the chills when you look down and see all the other buildings and streets underneath you! The winners enjoyed their time at the rooftop bar, sipping some famous thai iced tea and taking some great photos!
After enjoying the breeze on the highest point in Bangkok, the winners went to the famous Siam Square; the shopping and entertainment area, with as many as five interconnected shopping malls, from MBK Center to Siam Discovery to Siam Center to Siam Paragon, and even to Central World and Central Embassy, all reachable by walking through the Siam skywalk spanning all the way from National Stadium BTS Station to Chit Lom Station.
The winners went to the famous Line Village at Siam Square One, had their high tea session at Central World, and then watched the dancing fountain show at Icon Siam to close the day.
From the third to their last day in Thailand, the winners visited Khao Yai, a scenic mountainous city three hours drive north of Bangkok. After having their lunch at Grand Monte Winery, the winners went to the very classy PB Winery to do some wine tasting. Thanks to the higher altitude and temperature during the winter season, this city comes alive with choices of fine wines – from Shiraz, Chenin Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines in this particular joint are made by a certified Thai winemaker with relatively light, sweet and refreshing aftertaste.
After having their wine tasting session and capturing some great photos at the vineyard, the winners went to have a little slice of Italy a la Thailand in Khao Yai's Primo Piazza. Surrounded by terracotta-toned buildings, quaint cafes and classy canopies, you’ll feel as if you have landed in a middle of a relaxing Tuscany village. Other than the chill Mediterranean vibes and excellent eateries, the winners were spoiled with the superb greeneries all around. But what will blow your mind is the roaming four-legged furry animals such as sheep, alpacas, llamas and donkeys you can feed and pet to your heart’s content.
The winners stayed at the beautiful Thames Valley Resort in Khao Yai, experiencing an authentic British-countryside vibe during the nights and mornings.
What a fun trip! We'd like to say thank you to our partners Tourism Authority of Thailand, Lancca, Optik Melawai, American Tourister, Hello Yuna and IZIRoam for making this trip happen. For the rest of you, do stay tuned in SweetEscape's channels for more exciting competitions, promotions, and challenges in the future! Capture every moment with SweetEscape and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!
Back in early 2001, Maritoni Fernandez, a Philippine cinematic gem, was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. At the time, Maritoni was very busy with her acting career and during a brief visit to the US to get a second opinion for her mom’s medical condition, Maritoni was surprised to find out that a lump she had noticed years prior, which she thought was benign, turn out to be positive for cancer. It’s 20 years later and she still tears up when she recalls the moment that turned her life upside down. But as surprising as the diagnosis was, her year-long struggle with a disease that could have taken her life, soon came to an end with her on top. Feeling very strongly about paying-it-forward, she’s been an iCanServe member for 19 years and has made sharing her story a personal advocacy; “The day I stop sharing my story is the day I’m no longer brave and I hope that never happens.”, she says.
Maritoni grants us an afternoon to share her inspiring story with the hopes that it gives others, going through the same experience, strength to overcome it.
Looking back, she feels blessed that she followed her instincts to have herself checked again despite getting initial medical advice that she had nothing to worry about. Admittedly, she was hesitant to bring it up again as having the thought of a possible sickness is something she didn’t want to verbalize. Being the strong and determined person that she is, soon after confirming her diagnosis, Maritoni set her mind to overcome the biggest hurdle in her life. “In hindsight, it felt like a wild roller coaster ride. It’s also a test of patience and grit.,” said Maritoni. She decided to create a relationship with her cancer to help prepare her for the long journey she had ahead of her.
During treatment, she went through 4 Chemotherapy sessions followed by 26 sessions of radiation therapy. She was then put on oral medication and was instructed to stay on it for 5 years but with the help of her medication complemented by natural supplements, her body recovered in just 3 years and was blessed with a miracle of being pregnant with her second child.
Despite the terrifying experience, her faith got her through the ordeal. She says “I knew the fight was not mine. I physically had to fight it, but the fight was really HIS. I was allowed to get sick because a lot of people are gonna learn from it. “ Her lovely daughter, Lexi shares the same sentiment saying that “The world can get to me but having faith keeps me grounded. And this is something I’ve learned from my mom’s journey.”
Ever since she was declared cancer-free, Maritoni has taken it upon herself to share her experience and inspire people to keep the faith and to not look at cancer as the end of one’s journey. Her advice to those who’ve been diagnosed? “Have faith, don’t lose hope, and pray as God is a mighty healer. Breast Cancer is not a death sentence. Follow what your doctors tell you to do but don’t be scared to get a second opinion before getting aggressive treatment. At the same time, don’t just leave your prognosis to your doctors. Do something about it and research. Keep your chin up, keep going, and find something to live for everyday - for me it was my daughter Lexi. If you do get healed by the grace of God, pay it forward.”
For this shoot, Maritoni prepares for a charity ball which she supports. She believes this is worth remembering because she attended with her daughter and SweetEscape is the perfect partner to capture this moment in this warrior’s life.
SweetEscape connects you to thousands of photographers in more than 500 cities around the world. Get your photos within 48 hours of your sessions directly to your devices through our mobile app. You can also share and download them directly from the app, so book your session today and let's #MakeLifeMemorable!