Mom:The Best Title in the World

Won the title,not once but twice:)

There will always be a child in you (there has to be)

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These are Yellow and Keisha. My childhood dolls. Yes, even at my age of 36 with two children and a husband, they are still with me. They are my saving grace, apart from the many graces that God sends my way each day that i am almost tempted to sink into my shell and to never come out again.

Yes again. Even moms and wives need to hold on to that precious chapter of our lives called childhood. It is very important that we take a moment to stop and try hard to remember those carefree days when all our cares were easily taken cared of for us, by our own mommies and daddies. 

Yes again and again. Even moms had moms and dads who doted on them. No matter how strong we may seem now, there was a time when we just needed to cry a little and then big strong arms would be wrapped around us. There was a time when all our heartaches were mended by those soft, warm hands and soothing voice.

Yes. There are days ( so many of these days) when i long to be back in the safety of my childhood home. There are nights ( oh so many of these nights) when i desperately want to retreat to my own bedroom. 

Oh what i would give to just be able to have one day of my childhood back. Just one day.

Waking up to the gentle sound of my Mom’s voice. Breakfast waiting on the table. Music filling the house. No cares. No worries. No heartaches. 

Now, all i have are memories. But i am thankful i have them. And a few treasures to remind me that once i was a child who was loved and treasured.

Yes. We have to remember this every single day, in the midst of the life we have now. 

I was once a child who was adored and thought the world of, despite my flaws.To two proud individuals, i was perfect. No matter what.

Now there are tears in my eyes as i write. Suddenly i feel tired. And scared.

And now i snuggle close to my childhood treasures and try hard to remember that once i was a child, and everything was alright.

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Why i bought tickets to the One Direction concert

As a young girl i knew how it felt to be an adoring fan. I knew how it felt to have the urge to scream, giggle, laugh and cry at the same. But i also know that not all girls go through the same phase. It just so happened that i was born with that extra female chromosome in me that makes my eyes twinkle, my heart beat faster and my body move to the beat of my favorite music.

Even if i was all these things, i turned out alright. Yes. I grew up very well. I finished school. Got my degree with a few awards and recognitions in between. I had a bright career. Married well and now have two amazing children.

And one of my darling angels, turned out just like me. Yes, she is the same giggling, starry-eyed, fan-girl her Mommy was. And still am, by the way.

Just like me, my princess had her heart smitten too. Thrice actually. Troy of High School Musical had it first. It was short lived though. Then Justin Bieber claimed the spot for a couple of months until my daughter realized that his music is getting too mature for her taste. And now five handsome and talented lads have claimed it and i must say this has been the longest by far.

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Through it all, Mommy was with her. Smitten too. Singing and dancing with her. Oh we had lots of happy times and all these are kept in our memory chest.

Now, is this the only thing my daughter is about? Nah, of course not.

Yes she is all these, but so much more. My daughter is a straight A student, very creative for her age, an annointed writer, an artist by heart. Best of all, she has the purest of hearts. While she screams and giggles over her favorite boy band, in her heart she knows that Jesus is her real superstar.

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She is not misguided. She is NOT cheap. She is a perfectly normal young girl with a passion so deep for the things that she loves. She IS normal. Her youthful energy is directed to where it is supposed to be. Enjoying her childhood and adolescence. Something that many of us have missed. Either by force or by choice. And i am not going to rob her of the once in a lifetime  opportunity to enjoy hers.

What’s not normal is people finding the bad in everything. Criticizing others for the things that make them happy. Wallowing in negativity because they can’t find it in their hearts to let go and be happy for others. Judging. Never having the urge to let their hair down, dance, sing and to shout for joy. This to me is SAD. And in my book, this is NOT normal.

As with my past idols who went astray, got into trouble and pretty much messed up, i didn’t turn out to be like them. What they did with their lives beyond the beautiful music that they make, i didn’t delve into. My fascination with them didn’t define what i will  be. And my daughter’s passion towards her current favorite band will not define who she is. So if in the future, or maybe  already at present, the stars that she love will lose their way, it will not destroy the solid character that she already has.

I remember screaming my heart out while i watched the old, black and white videos of the Beatles when i was in High School. By the way, much as i love and will always love the greatest band in history, they were not the first boy band in my life. Menudo occupied that space. I fondly remember too how my parents indulged the fan girl in me by buying me long playing albums and posters of them. I was eight years old. And i turned out to perfectly normal and decent.

From Menudo to the Beatles, New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, i was a consistent fan. And when i look back on all those years, there is always a smile on my face and a tug in my heart for i know i can never bring them back.  For a few hours maybe. You see, when the New Kids and the Backstreet boys went here for a concert, i didn’t miss it.  How could i?  Ahh.. to be young and free…..

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So to all my fellow Moms and Daddies too who would do anything for their children’s happiness, i salute you. No one has the right to judge our children for what makes them happy. And no one has the right to judge us  for the way we love our children.   To those who judge, i have five words for you, “live, laugh, love, DANCE and SING!” It’s a beautiful world :)

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Oh and before i forget, the reason why i bought tickets to the One Direction concert is this: My daughter loves them, i love her, and so i love them too. It’s something that is waiting to be kept in our treasure trove  of memories.  And by the way, they are super duper cute too!

Still a fan girl and always will be:)

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Enjoying Batangas and Tagaytay

 

My family and i went to our first wedding event last Saturday at Balai Isabel in Talisay, Batangas. It was our second time to go there. The first time we were there was for a wedding that i hosted for one of my clients. The kids enjoyed the pool while Mommy did some work. This time, we were guests to a good friend’s wedding and this was why hosting their reception program was even more special. And again, the kids enjoyed the pool while Mommy entertained the guests by making them forget about the extreme heat and focus on the reason for the occasion: To rejoice in  love and celebrate new beginnings.

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As expected, our water babies stayed in the pool till almost dinner time. While i did not go for  a swim myself, it was enough to watch their bliss while also getting a majestic view of Taal Volcano.

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If not for their grumbling tummies, they would have stayed in the pool till closing time. Good thing we were able to get a room at Balai Sofia, which is right beside Balai Isabel. It’s a new bed and breakfast addition to Balai Isabel’s facilities.  A much cheaper alternative to the quite pricey rooms and villas but a perfect choice for those attending a wedding and who have kids who will spend most of their time at the pool and less time at the hotel room.

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We loved the simple coziness of our room. It has everything you need for a comfortable rest. I especially loved the stained glass windows and sliding door to the bathroom. And because it’s new, they haven’t installed the televisions yet which is a most welcome absence for me. Truly, a good night’s rest means no TV:)

But before retiring for the night, we headed for Cafe Terazza for a buffet dinner. We were not disappointed.  While we delighted our tummies with the fresh tilapia, juicy pork liempo, saucy beef kaldereta and mouth-watering leche flan, the little one chose to doze off just after a few bites of his pasta:)

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We didn’t make any plans for the following day. Spontaneity has always been a trademark of our family. So we played it by ear and decided as a team the next morning.

Our unanimous decision took us to Tagaytay. We took the zigzag road just a couple of blocks from Balai Isabel. The first time we took that route was in the evening. It was so dark that we didn’t get to see the breathtaking view.  This time, we were treated to the best view that we ever had of Taal Lake. The entire 9 kilometer uphill trip towards Tagaytay was filled with “Ooohs and Aaahs” and one innocent remark that would sum up our weekend getaway from our four year old son.

” Wow, Mommy, this is a special place on earth”.

Indeed, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

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Before we knew it, we were at Tagaytay City already. Not wanting to be overwhelmed by the huge number of people eating in the usual popular restaurants, we headed to our “usual” simple but homey corner at Papa Prito and had our favorite nilagang bulalo and took out a couple of pork barbeques at Eli’s. Our simple yet very filling lunch:)

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Next stop was Fun Time Arcade at the Summit Ridge where we all had a marvelous time being kids:)

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And of course, a day in Tagaytay will never be complete without a horseback ride. Because it was a special day, the kids got to ride bicycles too and a fun time at the Residence Inn playground.

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It was happy day for all of us. I thank God for his provision, for the gift of our children who are a constant reminder to us how beautiful life is. I thank Him for the gift of family because at the end of each day, no matter how bad things get, they will always be my silver lining. The one thing that will always be there.

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The legacy i would want to leave to my children

Last night we were asked this question at our couples group meeting in church. I have never thought about it, but once the question was asked, i realized that more than earthly possessions, there are treasures that are far more worthy of giving to my children. These are treasures which will make them ready for life after we have passed. Treasures that will define their future and their children’s future. Now, more than ever, is the time to make sure that  they learn and understand these  by heart.

An attitude of gratitude.

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I want my children to always be grateful for all their blessings. To acknowledge that everything they have and will ever have comes from God. I want them to thank God for everything that they have and don’t have. To learn to appreciate every kindness shown to them and to give them back a thousandfold.I want my children to be grateful for simple joys. To see the beauty in all circumstances and to rise above every difficulty because no matter how sad, lacking or painful a situation is, there is always hope. There is always, always something to thank for each day.

Humility at all times.

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I want my children to never boast about what they have. To know when to speak up and fight but and do it without a shred of pride in their hearts, but always with the intention to inspire gently but effectively. I want them to know that being last is not the worst thing that can happen and being first should not be the be-all and end-all of life. To share their blessings without asking for anything in return. To never seek for revenge and to always choose to do good even when faced with the enemy’s attack.

Excel for the glory of God.

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I want my children to use the talents that God has given them. To maximize their potential in everything that they do. I want them to strive to please and honor God in all their endeavors and to never seek  and rely on the world’s opinion of them.

Obedience.

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I want my children to have an obedient heart always. To learn to trust and obey God in all situations. To listen and obey without questions and doubts knowing in their hearts that God’s way is always the right way.

Nobody gets left behind.

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I want my children to value the gift of family next to God. To know that a family is one of God’s greatest blessing and to have one that is complete is already  a gift no amount of money can buy. I want my children to fight for their family, to stand by each other no matter what. To stick together through thick and thin.

They are precious.

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I want my children to know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. That they have been saved by the blood of Jesus. I want them to know that nothing that they have done or will ever do will ever take them away from God’s favor. That they will always be forgiven, accepted and loved.

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I pray to God for the wisdom to live these everyday. For the grace to be a good testimony to my children. To know that they have these in their hearts is a reward no amount of earthly possession can equal.

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How to be yaya-less and not be totally helpless

It was the busiest month of the year. It was  the time when i get the most number of bookings for hosting gigs. It was a merry and exciting time. It was also at this time when my yaya of three years told us she is going home to spend the holidays with her family. My initial reaction was, “uh-oh”, not this time. Any other time, but now. But then somehow, there was this soothing voice who told me, “Dont worry, everything’s going to be alright”. My ever-reliable mother’s instinct told me to trust that voice. And the reassuring thing was, the voice sounded a lot like my own mother’s voice. I knew right away that things will work out just fine:)

I happily told yaya she can go home and take the time that she needed to enjoy her vacation. It was a sincere wish. No hard feelings and a reproachful, “How can you leave me at a time like this?”. Nope, weird as it may have sounded, i was secretly glad she was going. It would be an intimate time for me and my family.

And a time of  teamwork and learnings on patience, humility and simple joys, we would later on discover.

That first morning after she left, i woke up with this realization: What do i need to be scared of? I grew up being taught how to do household chores. I was no primadonna. I have no qualms getting sweaty and having calloused hands. I was able to take care of my daughter for four straight years without a nursemaid, while doing the household chores myself, and doing a couple of freelance work in between. This is doable. Even if there are now two children, instead of one, more clothes to wash, healthier appetites to feed a bigger space to clean, more stuff and clutter to organize and squeezing in some work that actually pays. By God’s grace, this is doable.

After i have resolved that, my second thought was: Good thing i was able to train my daughter to help with the chores as early as kindergarten. Being raised by a certified home maker myself, i was not going to be a Mom to children who depend on the house help for a simple task like getting a glass of water.

So there. We are going to have the best of the busiest season of the year. First agenda on our list was to tackle the laundry. And boy, what a marvelous time all three of us had. If you find this hard to believe, these photos will tell you so.

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But of course, for small, bright and active minds, no chore should be done without a bit of fun. So, in between the rinsing and spinning, we have managed to transform our backyard into a mini resort. I never knew doing laundry could be this much and wet :)

And if you would think the little one did not do his share of the chore, that’s where you are wrong. He took hold of the hose and proceeded to clean the laundry area for as long as he wanted. He did a pretty good job at it too. I happened to note that when our water bill arrived  a month after :)

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Next on our list was to prepare our meals. Now, this is mighty easy for my active kids who love playing chef and customer with their kitchen toys. I am also grateful to have a daughter who is always excited to lend me a helping hand in the kitchen. There was never a time when i had to drag her into learning how to cook. She was always right  beside me even before i ask her.2013-12-20 17.55.49 2013-12-20 17.55.59

This daughter of mine has come a long way from our scrambled egg  and pancake days back when she was in preschool. At ten, she is now able to prepare pasta sauce, slice and saute vegetables, mix ,wrap  and fry shanghai rolls and cook the rice.   Still she dislikes slicing onions :)

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Not to be outdone, our other sous chef has his own share of cooking abilities too.

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Well, this one’s really more for photo purposes. Still he demanded that i let him hold the ladle as he sautes our vegetable tofu dish for dinner.

But guess who chopped the nuts for our fruit salad last Christmas Eve dinner? :) It was a task not to be taken lightly for my little boy faced it with ardent focus. I tell you, the nuts were transformed into polvoron :)

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To tell you the truth, it was the best fruit salad we ever had, with my two kitchen helpers pinching in and leaving me with almost nothing to do at all :)

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When there is a lot of food, there will always be lots of dirty dishes. But this was not a problem for my “mini me” who loves getting her hands wet . Honestly, she would scrub the dishes to a spotless state that could  even outdo Martha Stewart :)

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As for trying times like this, one would always need some cheering up. That’s where our little comedian comes in:)

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At last our laundry has dried, folded and organized . Next step is to iron the ones that needed to be ironed. I was ready to do this alone, but no, my kind and industrious daughter will not let me. She asked if she could do it. What can i say?

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And if you would look closely at this photo, you would see a sad face at the back. He was not happy that he was not given a chance  at the ironing board. But “Baby boy”, i said, ” This chore is still to heavy for you”. :) But don’t you worry my darling someday, but not too soon, you’ll get to have the heaviest chore of all. Washing Mommy’s car :)

This was our life for over a month. It was very challenging. But i can truthfully say, it was one of the best times we shared as a family.  It was a time when we learned to rely on each other, to be sensitive of each other’s needs, to be a team. It became an opportunity for me to teach my children a valuable lesson in life: That no one should grow up not learning and being to do a single household chore.

So you see, it can be done. I almost told our helper not to come back. But my ever soft-hearted husband talked me out of it. He didn’t want to be the cause of one’s unemployment.  Still, with a helper now in the house once again, we have managed to stick to our routine and  the lifestyle we have acquired during our more than thirty days of being yaya-less.

And i’m proud to say that this family knows how to stick together  and will never be helpless through a mountain of laundry and piles of dirty dishes. :)

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Pajamas all day and afternoon snuggles

It’s half past two  in the afternoon and here we are, the three of us, in our pajamas, huddled close together, snuggling under my favorite wedding present comforter. And life couldn’t be more perfect than this. Give me anything. Anything at all. Try to entice me with a last minute hosting gig, a trip to the spa, a facial gift certificate or a free pedicure session. Even the sight of a new novel lying on my bedside table will not succeed in tearing me away from these two adorable angels. There is nothing more precious than this moment. And i am here because of the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I became Mommy.

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To this day, i still marvel at the way things have turned out for me. It’s amazing how God writes one’s story. You never know what will happen next, but somehow you know that something good and amazing is bound to happen. Looking at this picture now of me and my children, i couldn’t help but remember that time when i was a million miles away from where i am now, from who i was then.

Work was my focus that time. I wouldn’t be caught dead in my pajamas at six o’clock in the morning. I was up at three, rehearsing my lines, reading the morning paper and tuned in to the early news. I wouldn’t permit myself to be in bed by ten in the evening.

It was a promising time with everything going for me.  My pocket was always full.

But there was no one to be silly with. No one to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed with. No one to have a tickle party with. No one to watch a Disney movie marathon with. No one to cuddle and snuggle with. My heart was bankrupt and i didn’t have any laugh lines.

Now, i am nowhere near  the person i was before. No steady income coming in. Away from the limelight.

But there is a steady stream of grace flowing everyday. A fresh dose of love is being deposited in my heart every minute. My days are full, yet strangely, there is peace.

Best of all, i get to be in my pajamas whenever i feel like it, get cuddly with my care bears  and enjoy this miracle called motherhood.

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This and all the other simple, unhurried times with my two babies will always be the greatest moments of my life. Thank you Lord for writing my story. This for me, is Happiness:)

 

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A Refreshing Change in Education

In just a few days, our daughter will be starting her first year in Grade school. While she is excited, as she always is whenever school is concerned, I am confronted with separation anxiety attacks. Each time i pass by her old school where she spent amazingly wonderful four years of pre-school, i feel like crying. I miss her pre-school years. I miss the reassuring familiarity of the school, the warm friendliness of the teachers and staff, the strong school and home partnership and the bubbly chatter and contagious laughter of the children.

But I am thankful that our daughter will not really be so far away from the fun, learning environment that she had. I thank the Lord for Progressive schools and i will always be a staunch advocate of it. It is a blessing to have options now unlike before where only traditional schools were the norm. Well, they are still the norm, but i am happy to observe that more parents are being open to the benefits and advantages of progressive education. I have seen how our daughter flourished in this educational environment with her creativity, cognitive and social skills being developed year after year. She has always been a remarkable child and the choice to enroll her in a progressive school sustained and improved that even more.

When my husband and i attended the parent orientation of her new school, i was asked by the school directress of what i remember most during my grade school years. I immediately said, that it would have to be the social activities. Frankly, these are the ONLY things that i remember. I dont recall being excited going to school beause i wanted to learn a new lesson or because i cant wait to see and talk to my teacher. But i do recall the field trips, sports fests, christmas parties and other learning activities that are associated with interaction. This precisely is what i love most about progressive education. It makes learning so much fun like it should be. And  schools should never kill the enjoyment of learning by putting pressure on the students. They should instead cultivate it and encourage it further. I hate to see our daughter’s creativity killed because of too much memorization, worksheets, daily homeworks and weekly quizzes. Tests, i believe are a way to gauge the mastery skills of the student and should not be a basis to compare one student to another. As for competitiveness, our daughter has never backed down from any competition. She’s always ready to try new things with so much enthusiasn.  Her school further bolstered the confidence that we have always instilled in her at home.  This is why when i first learned about progressive education, i convinced my husband right away and enrolled her in a blink of an eye. I couldnt be happier with our very informed decision.

To this day, our daughter has been able to think critically out of the box. There are days when i am just blown away by her candidness and confidence. She is very analytical and doesnt stop with one single answer for every question asked. She is amazingly creative for her age, has exceptional communication skills and she  can hold her own within an adult setting. She’s not afraid to speak her mind, very far from it. But she’s never disrepectful and is conscious of other people’s  private space. She remembers all her teachers from Junior class to Prep. She even drew all of them as she fondly remembers them. With a small class size, the teachers know each child by heart and recognizes the strengths and limitations of every student. I couldnt quite picture how traditional school teachers cope with a class of 40 students and i wonder if they ever really knew who is who among these numerous faces. I would hate to have my daugtrer associated with a number or letter grade that supposedly determines her standing in class.  Each child deserves to be known for who she really is and what she can do. I believe each child is unique and that there should be a different approach for every one of them.  My daughter’s report card has always included a QUALITATIVE assessment of her progress for each semester.Cognitve, Social and Physical. More than the numbers, these are what really matters to me because i get a clear picture of who my daughter is at school.  I am grateful for  the time that the teachers have invested into really  knowing her inside and out. It really aided us parents into enriching her growing years even more.

My daughter has a very strong bond with her classmates and the rest of the school population as well. But she doesnt fold up when immersed in a huge crowd  and instead she shines even more. That’s our social butterfly for you. I cant wait to see her blossom even more in grade school. And being in a progressive school environment once again, i have no doubt that she will breeze through grade school in flying colors.

If there is one childhood regret i have, it’s not having the chance to have a progressive education. I honestly think i would have been a much better individual if i have been given the freedom to speak my mind and explore my creativity during my early years in school. But learning is a lifelong experience. I am constantly learning every day and with my daughter being in a progressive school is just like being a student there myself. And so with this last line, i resolve to face the fact that my daughter will now be in first grade, stop the sentimental tears and  look forward to  seeing my daughter eagerly get ready for school, join her in school activities, bond over arts and crafts and to just enjoy this chapter called school life :)

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A day at the Zoo

Our family has been meaning to visit Ark Avilon Zoo ever since it opened it’s first branch at Montalban, Rizal. Somehow, we never got the chance to do so. This was why it was a welcome surprise to find out that my son’s preschool class has scheduled a trip to Ark Avilon, in Tiendesitas.  Though i heard from friends that the one in Tiendesitas  is  smaller, it was more convenient to take small children there instead.

As a parent, me and my fellow Moms had high expectations.  To our youngsters, just the promise of seeing the animals is enough to excite them.

We were scheduled to start our tour at nine o’clock in the morning. Anticipating the traffic, we left a couple of hours early to be there on time.  True enough, there was heavy traffic along Katipunan, all the way to Libis. Still, we arrived thirty minutes before opening. The Zoo’s facade is very appealing. You just have to make sure that your child knows the concept of the story of Noah’s ark before taking him there. That way, it will be more fun and interesting for him while he tours the zoo, discovering all the animals.

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The zoo’s lobby was  very nice. The kids saw a couple of birds feeding as well as guinea pigs, turtles and rabbit that were for sale. These animals were not in cages and the children were encouraged to observe without touching them. Good thing the kids were all well behaved  or we would have bought everything that they touched :)

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Though there was one bird that they were encouraged to touch, without having to pay for it. My son quickly obliged :)

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Once inside, we were treated to a colorful  display of toys and other knick knacks. There were stuffed animals, slippers, pencil cases and animal figures too. The prices are also affordable, ranging from one hundred to three hundred pesos for each of  the stuffed animals.

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And being kids, they all momentarily forgot the animals  as they were all hooked on choosing which toy and souvenir to buy :)

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We were the first group to visit the zoo that day and so there was still a very relaxed atmosphere in the venue. A guided tour soon followed after our group was divided into two.

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To my son’s delight, the first animal that we saw was the white tiger.

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The word fascinated is not enough to describe my son’s reaction to the tiger. He was simply rooted in his place. We were still in front of the tiger’s cage even after our group has moved on to the next animal. Truth be told, he was okay to go home already after seeing the tiger :)

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The other animals that we saw after that did not interest him much anymore, except for the crocodile. But then, the crocodile was sleeping and he wondered and asked me a couple of times if the crocodile was dead :)

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The zoo also has it’s most famous celebrity. And for the Tiendesita’s branch, it is “Jenny” the Orangutan. For only fifty bucks, guests can sit beside Jenny and have a photo with her.

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Aside from  Jenny,there are also photo opportunities with the other selected animals.

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Although the photo sessions did not appeal to my young explorer, he most definitely enjoyed feeding the rabbits. Carrots  and leafy vegetables are on sale for forty pesos per piece. A tad too pricey, i might say, as you can buy these at the market for a much lower price.

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The feeding station is located at the second level of the zoo. It is also where the goats are kept, and so it was a bit smelly. Good thing the area is not enclosed and there was a substantial amount of air coming in.

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There was also a play area right beside the feeding station where arts and crafts activities are done.

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Here are some artworks done by previous guests as well as Ark Avilo’s very own “Jenny” the Orangutan :)

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A small canteen is also located at the second level beside the play and crafts area. You can choose from a variety of affordable snack items from hot dogs, sandwiches, popcorn, ice cream and chips.

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Our visit lasted for about an hour. This already included  the feeding and arts and crafts activities. The guided tour was a bit short and the explanations a bit quick for a preschooler’s pace. Although the tour guide assigned to us was very pleasant, one can’t help but notice a couple of wrong grammar used  and some mispronounced words. Perhaps the management can provide a more comprehensive communication training for  their guides.

Apart from this, we had a pretty good tour,  and wouldn’t mind visiting again.

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A lazy weekend in Sta Rosa, Laguna

Our family is blessed to have doting in-laws who love us generously. Family outings with the Aunts and Uncles are always a blast and our children always look forward to these trips.  And so on a cool Saturday morning, we packed our bags with overnight things and headed to Laguna, a couple of hours away from Manila, to cheer and give moral support to my sister-in-law who was participating in the “The Bull Run” for the first time. We told the kids that it would not be a weekend of activities as we will be in the hotel room most of the time. The weekend will be all about sleeping, eating and sleeping. We hadn’t even planned on going out of the hotel. The children seemed content. To me and my husband, this was the dream weekend:)

My sister-in-law booked us at El Cielito Hotel, a couple of minutes away from Paseo Premier Hotel where she and my other sister-in-law were billeted. Our tagging along for this weekend getaway was decided at the last minute and all the other  hotels near Nuvali, where The Bull Run would be held were fully booked. Our room at El Cielito was the last one. I thought, it was really meant for us :)

The Hotel Lobby

The last time we stayed at El Cielito was almost six years ago. We had a very nice experience and we pleasantly noted that nothing much has changed since then. It was still the same, simple, but homey hotel. The staff was very friendly, though service during that weekend was a bit slow. We thought that they were probably overwhelmed with the number of visitors they had. It seemed that majority of the guests, if not all, were participants of the Bull Run and their families.  We didn’t mind so much.  The friendliness of the staff made up for it. Parking was a bit challenging though as there are limited slots at the Hotel’s basement. However, there are a couple of parking spaces out front. You just have to be very careful not to leave any personal belongings and to secure your vehicles.

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My favorite part of our stay were the bread and pastries. I was surprised that they tasted good. I honestly did not expect they would as the display was done so simply and the price was very affordable. A gentle reminder to me that good things do come in simple packages.

The simple spread of different kinds of bread.

For coffee that afternoon, we tried their whole meal bread. We were not disappointed. And for only sixty six pesos, our tummies were instantly filled. The price may be cheap, but it certainly was not done cheaply. Among the other bestsellers are the blueberry cheesecake and raisin loaf, which i can honestly say, taste just the same with the famous Baguio Country Club version. And it was way cheaper too at only ninety nine pesos.

The whole meal bread. A pleasant surprise.

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After coffee and pastries and depositing our stuff in our room, we then headed to Paseo Premiere Hotel to drop off my sisters-in-law.  It is also a business hotel and fairly new. It is conveniently located within the Paseo shopping and dining district. It is also right beside the South Luzon Hospital and for Moms like me, this is a very reassuring thing when going on out of town trips with the kids.

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I brought the kids’ swimsuits just in case we could find a nearby place to swim. We knew that our hotels do not have a pool. Still, you never know what we may discover. True enough, Paseo Premiere’s sister hotel, Technopark Hotel had a pool and guests of Paseo Premiere are welcome to swim there upon endorsement. The kids were jubilant. I silently congratulated myself for thinking of bringing their swimsuits :) The drive to Technopark was no hassle at all. It was just a couple of minutes away from Paseo Premiere. And just like at El Cielito, the hotel staff were very friendly, courteous and accommodating.

The refreshing pool at Technopark HotelThe hotel villas from the inside.

We were the first ones at the pool that afternoon and we took advantage of it pretty well. The kids swam while i devoured a novel i brought with me. I never leave home and go anywhere without a book. You never know when that precious and rare moment would come when you could read :) My husband planned to swim with the kids but he never got around to it as fronting the pool was a billiards table. It has been ages since he played. I was so happy to see him enjoy his  “me time”. Best of all we all got to do our own things that afternoon while being together in the same place. It was truly a lovely afternoon for us.

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The gym at Technopark hotel

We left Technopark a couple of hours later, just as the other guests started to come down for a swim. They too were families of the Bull Run participants. We were grateful we were there early. We went back to our hotel after to freshen up and a short rest. By then, other guests , all participants of the Bull Run have started to arrive as well.

Rested and refreshed, we then went back to Paseo to have dinner with my sisters-in-law. It was a very cool evening and the stars were out. We browsed through a couple of Outlet Stores first before settling into Zong for dinner. We were happy we chose to dine there. The dishes we ordered were very filling.

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Fried salt and pepper squid. Me and my husband's all time favorite.

Fried salt and pepper squid. Me and my husband’s all time favorite.

For my chicken lover little boy :)

Roasted chicken. For my chicken lover little boy :)

A different kind of vegetable rolls.

A different kind of vegetable rolls.

My  first time to try this dish and it was absolutely delicious.

Steamed boneless milk fish. My first time to try this dish and it was absolutely delicious.

After dinner, we strolled for  a bit to enjoy the cool breeze and the starry night.

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We even stayed to listen to the live band for a bit as they sang our family’s favorite  Rey Valera song.

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We would have stayed a little while longer but we planned on having a early start the following morning to watch my sister-in-law start and finish the Bull Run. So we headed back to our cozy hotel. But the night proved to be too early for our late sleepers and soon we found ourselves down at the hotel’s coffee shop once again to eat more pastries  and ice cream. It was a busy evening too at the hotel as the Bull Run participants were already having their breakfast at eleven thirty. They were due at the starting line at one o’clock in the morning.

After coffee and cake we went back to Paseo Premiere to see my sister-in-law off  for some good, solid, family support. We were her very own cheering squad:)

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Breakfast the following day was simple but filling. The buffet  menu was the same as what you would would normally have at home on a lazy weekend. The kind of food that our cozy, little family enjoys. We were never a fan of fancy food. The kids had cerreals and donuts while me and my husband had corned beef, omelette, seafood chowder, garlic sausage and my favorite raisin loaf.

El Cielito's Buffet Breakfast

It was a quick weekend getaway, but surprisingly there was nothing quick in it. We enjoyed everything at our pace and had a relaxing, unhurried and beautiful time.  My sister-in-law finished the 42k marathon and we were so proud of her. Though we were sad to leave, we made a promise to visit Sta. Rosa again for another lazy weekend and further explore the other amazing things that it can offer to simple and fun loving families like ours.

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Cuddle Time

Gab slept beside me last night. He was so sweet and funny. Insisting on having the bed all to ourselves. So Daddy had to stay in the living room for a while and sneak back into the room when he is already asleep. Our children have been sleeping in their own rooms for a few months already, but there are still nights when they would crawl on our bed and cuddle next to us. Last night was one of those nights for Gab. Such an adorable little boy, even engaging in small talk like we’re pals. I loved it and if not for my aching back and droopy eyes, I would have wanted to stay up till late too just talking to him. Until now, I am still the only one who can understand him as he struggles for his best in complete conversation. How beautifully funny he sounds when he tries to hold his own when talking to us. What do I have to do to keep him like this. Is there a way when we can go back to nights like this with his silky baby powdered skin cuddled next to mine? With his soft and mischievous voice asking me endless what’s, why’s and wheres? You are an adorable, wonderful boy, my Gab and I thank the Lord everyday for having you.

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