On Top of the World @ 18

Hello, birth month! ❤ February is finally here, and I’m so excited for everything planned this month, not to mention my upcoming birthday on the 21st! To channel my hype and to celebrate the start of the beautiful month of February, I decided to take you through a throwback blog post of my 18th birthday which I celebrated in Dubai, UAE last year.

Kempinski hotel, Mall of the Emirates lobby

Turning 18 is one of the greatest milestones in a girl’s life, as it signifies the coming-of-age of every young woman. It has been a tradition observed in the Philippine culture to have what we call a “Debut” party in celebration of the said event. In my case, however, since traveling is my one and only true love, my parents have used this opportunity to take advantage of my wanderlust and opted to book a trip to Dubai for my special day instead, which included a two-day stay at the luxury five-star Kempinski hotel, Mall of the Emirates plus a lunch reservation on D-day at At.mosphere Restaurant, the highest restaurant in the world, on the 123nd floor of the iconic Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai!

Burj Khalifa, tallest building in the world

The only thing was, my 18th was on a week day, which meant conflicts in the family’s schedules for the day were inevitable. For a milestone such as this (and another opportunity to travel!), I was willing to miss a day of school (YOLO), and my mom was more than obliged to move things around at work to be with her “baby girl” and Unica Ija on her special day. So then it was settled: my mom and I would fly to Dubai a day before my birthday, then return back home on the evening of the 21st to catch a dinner celebration with the entire family.


We’ve been in Dubai for more times than I could count before this trip, so we had no hassle to attend or visit any other places in the city and allotted the entire stay for solely celebrating my birthday. Itinerary for Day 1: my favorite hobby and the best cardio in the world, SHOPPING!!! Lucky for us, Kempinski was directly connected to the Mall of the Emirates, so it was shopping galore for us the whole day.


Quick room tour!


Kempinski, Mall of the Emirates was ever-accommodating and hospitable that we had such a pleasant stay. We were pampered and given so much special attention that we felt like royalty. Everything was grand and exceptional, from the service, the room, to the food, you name it! They even prepared a birthday cake for me to blow out at midnight. They sure did prove their five-star reputation. If I could live there forever, in a heartbeat, I definitely would!

Shopping break @ Aspen Cafe, Kempinski

Surprise gift from the fam!Surprise gift from the fam! ❤ I’ve been eyeing this for a long long time and I couldn’t believe they got me one, too!

Breakfast @ Olea Restaurant, Kempinski

Then morning came – it was officially my birthday! I was in so much bliss; it was the kind of morning that you would remember for the rest of your life. After prepping for the day ahead, my mom and I ate at the most heavenly breakfast buffet at Olea Restaurant in Kempinski before heading to church to attend mass (it was a Sunday), then straight to Burj Khalifa for our reservation at At.mosphere.


It was the best way to celebrate my Debut. Burj Khalifa has always been so majestic and magnificent especially up-close, and more so was At.mosphere on the 123nd floor which had a spectacular 360 view of Dubai right by your table. The sight had my complete attention as we were guided to our table. I was speechless; everything was perfect. The ambiance was so light and enjoyable, as well as the staff. We were actually the first ones to arrive for their lunch serving so they allowed us to choose our table. It was everything I imagined my 18th birthday would be – grand, memorable, AND at a place so lavish and awe-inspiring. Not to mention the upscale fine dining was to die for!


I couldn’t thank my family enough for making this one of the most remarkable days of my life. I had THE time of my life. Also, special thanks to At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa for having us!


Before the flight back home, we did a bit more of last-minute shopping at the Mall of the Emirates. Finally, when we were reunited with the boys of my fam, we went straight to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, where we enjoyed every last minute of my 18th in each other’s company.


A happy happy birthday it was, indeed. I was “On Top of the World”, both in the literal and idiomatic sense. ❤


Live, Laugh, Travel,



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