Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cebu Pacific Seat Sale is On!

The Cebu Pacific seat sale is on again in time for the Labor Day celebrations. I tried booking ourselves for Hong Kong but upon computation, I realized it's not really that inexpensive. There are other charges for the luggage and the meals. We are used to Philippine Airlines' flight prices wherein luggages, meals and the Philippine Travel Tax are already inclusive. We just have to pay for the terminal fee upon departure. Unlike here in Cebu Pacific, there are other add-ons we definitely cannot live (or fly) without. Having a 5 year old child certainly entails us to bring more clothes, milk, snacks and her favorite blanket or stuffed toy. We also like shopping when we're abroad so we of course needs to have check in baggage. For two hours up in the air, we'd like of course to have something warm to eat... even the meals are not included in the base price. Okay, okay... that's why it's called the seat sale... Anyway, I still attempted t0 book, but after trying to get through the 4 or 5 steps of online booking, I gave up. The website's too slow and error keeps on occurring. Maybe I'll try again when a seat sale comes up in the future.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Out on A Spa Date

Because our favorite massage place, Moments closed up a few weeks ago, Romy and I have been on the look out for a spa for our regular couple's massage nights. It's not easy hunting and finding Moments because we wanted a place that's cozy and near our place. We are also very particular with the massage therapists and the music they play. We've tried one based inside a mall and we felt really icky just because the music sounded like they've been copied from sexy movies. Last Friday we tried the newly opened Mont Albo Massage Hut. Though they were pricier than the others that are being offered in our area, we tried them first for the sole reason that they have numerous francise, so for us that kinda relates to their credibility and good customer feedback. So what can we say about the experience? Well, the ambience was ok, I like the white drapes on the ceilings because that kinda reminds me of Asian-inspired movies. I like their music because they transport me to nature, zen gardens and even jungles, though Romy didn't like their selection of pieces. The massage itself? Well, during the massage it was ok. I enjoyed it and i feel relaxed. But we didnt like the fact that the therapists keep asking us if the "pressure was fine." It's like, they ask us every five minutes, so instead of being able to doze off to sleep, we were always alerted by their questions. We intended to tell them after settling the bill but because we were jolted by the fact that they were all (around 6 or more of them) standing at the lobby when we appeared from the cubicle, it slipped our mind to mention. Romy told me we might have to try other spas in the vicinity until we find one that suits our taste.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The nanny has been away for the past week or so for her summer vacation. I know she needs to spend time with her family, and take a break from her work here at home. I wasn't as stressed this year as I was when she left last summer. And it's a nice thing she's coming back 5 days from now. But for now, I'm slowly feeling the exhaustion of being the housekeeper/nanny 24/7. My daughter is already 5 but she still wants me with her in all her activities. I mean, she's a smart kid and wants activities pouring her way round the clock. By the time she wakes up and finishes her morning routine (breakfast, bath, toothbrush), she starts asking for things to do. We usually start with her Kumon worksheets, then we do something physical like a game, then we do colouring, crafts, legos, barbies, pretend play, etc. I love planning these activities with her and I adore being with her, but not having time for myself and the things I need and want to do is somehow draining and frustrating. I know I should be thankful for being a WAHM, and for the opportunity to be able to be with my child every day and every night... I just need to be able AS WELL, to pursue the things I want to do.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One of the perks of being a work at home mom is that I get to plan my daughter's activities for the day, I get to spend quality and quantity time with her, I can monitor everything she does and watches on tv and plays on the tab and eats and drinks and if she washes her hands properly all the time and alot of other things working-outside-the-home moms cannot get to see on a daily basis. I'm just so grateful that I have this job that very seldom keeps me away from my family. I pray that the Lord bless us more with financial and material breakthroughs in the years and decades to come.

What would life be without internet?

From looking up sale alerts to comparing gadget specs to reading reviews of hotels and theme parks, to almost anything I need to know about, the world wide web has always been my go-to guy. Makes me wonder how I could make decisions on certain stuff if I don't have connection? Thank God I live in this day and age.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Dog is Preggy!

Okay, so today my husband brought our dog to the baranggay for the anti-rabies vaccination. He noticed that our askal Lucky has gained weight and the boobs are more noticeable than before. We looked back at Lucky's activity for the past month and we are now convinced she might be pregnant. And if our estimates are correct, she might be giving birth in a month or less! It's time to build a whelping box! Now my 5 yr old daughter is excited to care for the puppies. And I must say I am excited, too! I've been researching on dog pregnancy and dog labor for the past hour and I'm hoping we give Lucky the best care as she brings puppies into the world. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Family Fun in Malaysia

September 2012 nang una kong nalaman sa isang kapwa mommy sa school ng anak ko na magbubukas na ang Hello Kitty Town sa Malaysia. Mula noon ay nagsimula na akong mag-reseach tungkol dito. Medyo at a loss ako nuong simula dahil wala pang masyadong tourist information at travellers’ reviews tungkol sa lugar na ito. Sa aking pagre-research, nalaman ko ring malapit lang ito sa Legoland. Kapwa sila nasa Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Para sa isang metikulosang byaherang gaya ko, tuwing may oras ay nagse-surf ako sa internet tungkol sa mga lugar na ito, at kung paano ang pinaka-convenient na pagpunta. Naghanap ako ng sagot sa mga tanong ko, tulad ng mas maigi bang via Singapore muna kami papunta sa Johor Bahru, o dapat via Kuala Lumpur ang kunin naming flight. Sa tulong ng aking yahoogroup, at mga sites tulad ng tripadvisor.com, unti-unting nagliliwanag ang mga plano. Sa madali’t sabi, naging interesting ang pag-usad ng aking research. Tinawagan ko na rin ang aking suking travel agency, ang Scorpio Travel and Tours sa Megaplaza sa Ortigas at nagpagawa ng quotation. Matapos ang email and phone correspondence namin ni Lyn ng nasabing travel agency, at matapos makuha ang opinion ng aking asawang si Romy, nagpa-book na ako at inanunsyo na sa aking 5 year old na chikiting na mamamasyal kami sa Malaysia. Dahil higit siyang nag-eenjoy sa mga previous travels naming pamilya kada taon, sobra siyang natuwa nang malamang aalis kaming muli. Day 1: We took the first flight ng Philippine Airlines papuntang Singapore. Pinili kong via Singapore ang rutang kukunin dahil mas mabilis ang byahe papuntang Johor Bahru mula dito. We arrived at the Changi Airport at half past nine. Travelling to Johor Bahru, Malaysia from Singapore was a breeze. Dalawang immigration o checkpoints ang dadaanan upang magpatatak ng passports. Wala pang alas-onse ng umaga ay nasa hotel na kami sa Malaysia. Dahil oras ng tanghalian, kailangan naming lumabas upang mag-lunch at magpapalit ng Malaysian Ringgit. Mabait naman ang staff sa hotel at itinawag kami ng taxi kahit wala pa kaming pambayad… I specified to her that the cab driver need to bring us first to a money changer para may maibayad kami sa taxi. One Malaysian Ringgit (RM) is equal to P13.00 and a few centavos. Dahil na rin sa limitadong choices sa napuntahan naming lugar, nag-order na lang kami ng Chicken Rice, Fresh Buko at Siopao. Maraming hainanese-style chicken stalls dito. At sa affordable na halaga ay mabubusog ka naman. Dahil free day ang unang araw, naisip naming pumunta na sa Hello Kitty Town. Ito ang information that I intentionally withheld from my daughter. My husband and I saw to it that we don’t mention anything about this place to Aliya until we’re already about to go. Kaya naman nang malaman niyang doon ang punta namin ng araw na iyon, she was super delighted! Ni hindi nga niya alam that there’s such a place… ang kilala lang niya ay Disneyland at Universal Studios, at ang sinabi lang naming papasyalan namin sa Malaysia ay ang Legoland. Kaya’t the thought of going to a place named Hello Kitty Town, hindi siya mapakali sa sobrang tuwa! Sa mga nakakaraang byahe namin abroad, laging may private coach transfer sa package na ina-avail namin going to and from the theme parks. But I realized that maybe this time, we can be more adventurous kung magko-commute lang kami. Malaking halaga rin ang natipid namin sa travel agency nang pinatanggal ko ang private coach inclusion. Subalit nang nag-aabang na kami ng cab pagkatapos naming mag-lunch papunta sa Hello Kitty Town, nakaramdam ako ng kaba… paano kung hindi kami magkaintindihan ng cab driver? Paano kung maligaw kami? Paano kung hindi mabuting driver ang mapili namin? May dumaang isang red cab sa harap namin. Sabi ko sa asawa ko, “Nakakatakot ang mukha. Wag ‘yan.” Pero ang isa pang dumaang taxi ay occupied na. We waited a little more, pero wala nang ibang dumadaang cabs. In short, napilitan kaming kunin ang cab na nakaparada a few meters away from us… yes, yung may “nakakatakot na mukha.” The whole trip, I was so nervous… paano ba naman ay napakalayo pala ng Hello Kitty Town sa hotel namin! Ni hindi nagsasalita ang driver at ni hindi namin alam kung tama ba itong tinatahak naming ruta. May mga nadadaanan kaming paunti-unting bahayan, mangilan-ngilang rows of stores, may dinaaanan pa kaming pagkahaba-haba-habang highway! I remember, sabi ng isa sa mga reviews na nabasa ko, wala daw talagang public transportation na dumadaan sa Hello Kitty Town. Kinabahan ako kung paano kami babalik sa hotel at the end of the day. Pero nang sa wakas ay nakakita na ako ng mga road signs na alam kong nabasa ko na sa aking pagre-research for the trip, mas nakahinga na ako ng maluwag… slight. To cut the long story, or should I say, the long cab drive short, nakarating din kami sa wakas a Puteri Harbour, kung saan naroon ang Hello Kitty Town. Umabot ng RM26.50 ang taxi meter namin. Nagbakasakali kami ng asawa ko at nag-request sa driver na balikan kami at 6PM. He nodded his head while drinking from his mineral water bottle, though at that point, we weren’t even sure if that meant yes. Hello Kitty Town, Little Big Club One thing nice about this place is that it’s indoors. Sa humid weather sa Malaysia, gugustuhin mo talagang magbabad sa isang mall na malakas ang airconditioning. As expected, punung-puno ng Hello Kitty stuff ang buong lugar. The ground floor houses the souvenir shop and the cafĂ©. Sa first floor or sa upper ground ang Hello Kitty. Pagpasok pa lang namin, saktong may photo op na sina Hello Kitty at Dear Daniel. Dahil weekday ito, kaunti lang ang tao. Hindi tulad sa Disneyland na mauubos ang oras mo sa pila para makapagpa-picture kina Mickey at Minnie Mouse, we only waited less than a minute for our turn. The iconic Hello Kitty House is awesome. Parang bumalik ako sa pagkabata nang pumasok kami dito. Everything inside the house is Hello Kitty. Her dining table is something I’d want for my own home. The kitchen is to die for, the huge bath is so relaxing! Pero pinaka-paborito ko ay ang bedroom. Overload of cuteness talaga, pati ang closet niya! It was an advantage that we were there without the usual weekend crowd dahil nalibot namin ang Hello Kitty House nang hindi nagmamadali, at walang traffic sa picture taking sa bawat room. Pagkalabas sa Hello Kitty house, matatapuan ang Wishful Studio. Dito ay maaring mag-manicure ang little girls (much to my Aliya’s excitement), mag-paint ng Hello Kitty shaped cookies that you can eat after, mag-design ng bracelet that’s yours as a souvenir, mag-dress up in Sanrio costumes and magpa-picture. Ang highlight ng aming bisita dito ay ang Happy Carnival Parade. Maganda ang music at costumes ng mga dancers, pero overwhelming makita ang Sanrio characters! Uulitin ko, bumalik talaga ako sa pagkabata! Nakakatuwang makita nang live sina My Melody, yun nga lang ay wala sina Kiki at Lala ng Little Twin Stars. Sobra kong saya nang kunin nila palapit sa Purrrfect Stage ang mga kids, at makatabi’t makasayaw ni Aliya si My Melody. Sa sobrang saya niya, nahiya siyang ngumiti! Maliit lamang ang Hello Kitty Town, kaya’t my oras pa kaming umakyat sa second floor kung saan naroon ang Little Big Club. Ibang klase ang feeling na mapunta sa mga lugar na napapanood lang namin sa DVD… dahil nandito ang igloo ni Pingu, ang ballet studio ni Angelina Ballerina, ang workshop ni Bob the Builder, ang bahay at play yard ni Barney. Sa studio ni Angelina Ballerina, may mga pink tutus and mouse ears na maaring isuot for picture taking purposes. Sa third floor naman ay matatagpuan ang Thomas and Friends. May mga rides na bagay sa kids 3 yrs old to around 9 yrs old. Talagang nag-enjoy si Aliya dito. Isa pa, sinasanay din kasi namin siyang maging matapang sa mga rides and these basic rides are a good place to start. We bought a few stuff sa souvenir shop and waited, hoped and fervently prayed na sana, balikan kami nung driver na nasakyan namin kanina, kahit malayo ito at posibleng wala siyang pasahero papunta dito. Pero hala, we were outside before six and he wasn’t’ there yet. Medyo kinakabahan na kami dahil kung hindi siya babalik, iisang blue cab na lang ang naka-parada sa vicinity. I prayed to God that if our cab driver will indeed go back for us, let him come before another passenger gets this one and only remaining blue cab. By 6:10, we saw one red cab arriving… tiningnan ko agad ang plate number… siya nga! Binalikan nga niya kami! At ni hindi niya binaba ang metro, ni hindi niya kami kinontrata! Sobra talaga naming tuwa at pasalamat kami nang pasalamat sa kanya. Nagsimula lang ang metro nang makasakay na kami! Nagpahatid kami sa hotel and my husband had this brilliant idea to ask if he can pick us up again tomorrow for our Legoland Tour. Aba, pumayag nga at binigay pa ang pangalan at cellphone number niya! Sobra kaming convinced na provision talaga itong si Mr Rahmat ni God! Day 2: The next day, lolo Rahmat (as we dearly call him), was there at the hotel entrance to pick us up. Sabi ko talaga sa husband ko, blessing talaga itong taong ito. Ni hindi namin akalaing magkakaroon kami ng instant personal driver in a foreign land as this… plus point pa na hindi niya kami kinokontrata, hindi kami sinisingil on top of iyong presyong nasa metro at hindi humihingi ng tip! Legoland We got to Legoland at 10:30, around 20 minutes after leaving the hotel. Now this is another dream come true. Just a few months ago I was browsing the net for pictures and reviews about this themepark, and being here finally is wonderful. We came prepared for the hot weather – extra shirts, towels, umbrellas, sneakers, drinking water, wet wipes, fans. The rides were fun and talagang pambata. Hindi scary at all. Again, dahil we were here on a Friday, there wasn’t any crowd. Pinakamatagal na naming pagpila para sa aming turn sa rides is 5 minutes. Paborito ni Aliya ang Wave Racers, dahil added fun sa ride is that fact that we get wet. She also loved the Beetle Bounce. As Aliya put it while trying to stop laughing, “Parang kinikiliti ang tummy ko!” There are also rides na pwedeng mag-isa lang ang bata tulad ng sa Royal Joust at Junior Driving School. May nagtataasan at complicated na roller coaster rides din tulad ng Project X, but we opted not to try it. I guess pinakamalaking area ang occupied ng Miniland. Mga miniature models ng different parts of Asia na puro gawa sa Lego! Dito makikita ang Petronas Tower ng Kuala Lumpur, ang Merlion ng Singapore, ang Wat Arun ng Thailand, ang Taj Mahal sa India, Hoi An ng Vietnam, Angkor Wat ng Cambodia, at ang Bolinao Pangasinan ng Pilipinas. It’s amazing looking at all these works of art. Nakakamanghang isipin na may mga Lego artists na matyagang kinopya ang tunay na itsura ng mga lugar na ito at ginawan ng mini versions all made of Lego! Dahil sa init ng panahon at laki ng lugar, the big lunch we had was well-deserved. The watermelon fruit cup that came with the combo meal was delicious. All the staff were also very friendly and accommodating. Because we still had time, though we hadn’t tried all the rides yet and entered all the attractions particularly the 4d shows, Aliya wanted to go back for the Wave Racers. All in all, she rode it 4 times. The Legoland experience won’t be enough without buying a few souvenirs. Dahil there’s a bit of walking from Legoland through Mall of Medini para makarating sa loading/unloading area, I was praying the whole time habang ako ay naglalakad na sana, babalik nga si Mr. Rahmat. Though part of me was confident he’d be there. Indeed, he was already there, happily chatting with the other drivers! Again, we profusely thanked him and gave him a tip for being an unexpected blessing. He brought us to City Square Mall. We again thanked him and said we’re happy to have met him. As he drove away, teary-eyed talaga ako habang palayo na ang minamaneho niyang cab. We prayed for him habang palayo na siya, including his family, his job and his health. Actually, up to now I still say short prayers for him. In a nutshell, our Malaysia trip was fun-filled and exciting. Aliya’s smile and laughter were priceless, the bonding we had as a family was precious. The memories linger long after we’ve travelled back to Singapore, and back to the Philippines two days after. ***

Loreland Farm Resort - good and not so good points

My daughter loves the water! She's so elated each time she goes swimming, even if it's just in her inflatable swimming pool, or in hotels. But this year, we made it a point that she experience swimming in a resort. Last Holy Week, we booked in Loreland Farm Resort in Antipolo. We got the aircon room as we intend to stay there for two days. Aliya, my daughter was so excited and I can understand why. I'm so happy we went because her laughter was just priceless. However, since we were there on Holy Thursday, I guess the resort staff got a bit overwhelmed that checking in wasn't organized. Good thing I had us reserved two weeks ahead and so getting a room wasn't difficult. We got the room for three adults since we brought the nanny along. Loreland has improved a lot since we last went there. There are a number of swimming pools though most are quite small. The room was averagely clean, though when we first went inside, there were ants on top of the side table. The walls are also thin that we can hardly sleep... because we can hear the closing and opening of doors, the footsteps and the voices of the other guests every two seconds! However, it was all in all a nice experience for my daughter, and that's what made our stay memorable. Room for triple sharing: Php3,500 Lunch at the Verde Restaurant: Around Php700 (Kare-kare, stuffed squid, rice, bottled water) Dinner: Rice in a bucket, around P60 each. Breakfast: Sotanghon, suman, around Php150 for 4 pax. Snacks: very affordable at less than Php per person depends on what you order at the numerous food stalls inside the resort.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

When I was thinking of summer activities for my daughter, I was gearing towards enrolling her in Kumon and in a swimming class. Until close friend Jacque told me about McDonald's Kiddie Crew workshop. I just excited right away since I know it's going to be a fun, new venture for my 5 yr old daughter. She has actually no idea what it is but I signed her up anyway. When I got home, I told her and explained to her what's in store for her. On her first day, she got assigned to make the Coke Floats and to man the condiments section, and was later stationed to the Pick-up area of the Drive Thru. Second day she assisted in the cashier and manned the Coke Float machine. Today she helped in serving the orders and putting fries in paper bags at the take-out counter. She also helped arrange the trays and put the tray liners. It's her third day as a Kiddie Crew today and she's having LOTS of fun! She looks forward to her "job" every day and has lots of stories to tell after every session. I commend McDo for coming up with such an enriching experience for kids such as this. I wonder why Jollibee hasn't come up with something like this, considering this workshop has been going on for years! Glad to be able to enlist her in this summer activity. Kudos to McDonald's!