Our Grand Easter Getaway

Everyone was either in Boracay or Japan. We chose to have our staycation in the grandest resort we know.  Continue reading

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Paranaque City Hall: Voter’s Registration and Police Clearance Application

One of the things that I had been wanting to do for a long time is to go to the Paranaque City Hall and register at the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). You see, until recently, I was still registered in my hometown in Laguna. Every election, I vote first thing in the morning in Bayog . Franco and I would then rush to Paranaque so he could vote. Not only is the trip stressful, I also felt I was not fully exercising my right and duty to vote since I am not familiar with the issues in Los Banos. Thanks to my medical leave, I finally found the time to cross out items on my to-do list including updating my COMELEC registration. I also had another reason to go to the City Hall as Ate Doring needed to get a police clearance. Her insurance requires her to have a valid ID which she did not have. The easiest one to get is the police clearance.

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St. Rita Orphanage Visit

It is been more than a month but I am still on a high. Our visit to Saint Rita Orphanage is definitely one of the highlights of the first half of 2014. It all started when I was sorting the items for our garage sale. There were items like a well-loved baby bolster pillow and 3rd-degree hand-me-down baby blanket that I did not have use for but it did not feel right to sell them. I was not comfortable giving them to preggy first-time-mom friends because these items, although still useful are not as cute as they used to. What to do? What to do? And then a lightbulb moment. Why not donate? Soon, almost half of the baby and toddler items that were supposed to be for sale, were transferred to the “donations” box. I mentioned in one of my blog post of my plans of visiting an orphange. Leslie contacted me thru FB and said she wanted to join.  We asked our online group, Newlyweds@Work, if anyone wanted to donate. Last June 22, a total of 10 families went to orphanage with us. Continue reading

Makati Cinema Square: What To Do and Where to Eat

Good morning!

Makati Cinema Square or MCS is our thrifty family’s official weekend tambayan. Aside from the numerous dibidi stores, there are other attractions worth checking.

Booksale. This is on top of my list. The Booksale branch in MCS is the biggest of all branches that I visited. We love this branch so much we had a photoshoot there last year.

Kodanda, Archery Range. Read more about it here.

Bowling!

It takes me more than an hour to scour through the children’s books and home magazines in Booksale. Franco on the other hand, needs only 15 minutes to check out the martial arts magazines and the Marvel comic books. Instead of waiting for me, the boys go to the 3rd floor and people-watch at the Makati Cinema Arena Continue reading

Field Trip

Happy Monday! Can you believe it’s June already?

Aki starts school next week. I am both excited and sad. It just seems like yesterday when we were playschool hunting. In few days, I am sending him off to the big school. He will meet new friends and new teachers. From a class of 16 students, he will now have almost 40 classmates. His old school was progressive. His big school is traditional. Haaay. How I wish I can watch him 24/7.

Anyhoot, before Aki’s school year starts, let me tackle my last small-school post.
Aki joined his first ever school field trip last February.

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Here are the contact info of the travel agent in case you need one.

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As it was his first and last in his old school, I made myself available to be his chaperone for the day.

First stop, Balik Bukid. Yey! It was our second time to visit the farm. See my post on our playdate and photoshoot there 2 years ago here. Nice to know that although there were additional activities, overall nothing much has changed.

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Rabbit and hamster feeding. FYI. The hamsters (or are there Guinea pigs?) were greedy eaters and almost bit Aki’s fingers.

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Fishing. I caught a tilapia as big as my hand but was not able to take a picture.

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Chocnut, the Carabao.

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At the sandbox. Back in the bus, I found sand in every corner of his body…. behind the ears, between his toes, in his armpits. Days after the field trip, we still kept finding sand in our things.

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But of all the activities in the farm, Aki loved horseback riding the most. He rode the horses 4 times. His favorite horse is Glemor.

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No matter how loud Aki shouted, ” Giddy Up!”, the horse did not run. Hehe

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Haciendero Helio

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Goodbye, Fun Farm! We had fun. Hope to be back soon!

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Continue reading

Manila Staycation VII: Manila Cathedral

We have come to the seventh and final installment of our Manila Hotel staycation series. Did you read the last 6 posts or did you just look at the pictures? I don’t know how travel bloggers do it. From choosing from the hundreds of pictures to looking for other synonyms for fun and beautiful, writing about getaways is a lot of hard work.

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel

Part III – Rizal Park

Part IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

Part V – National Museum

Part VI – Kalesa Ride and Kite-flying

 

Our last morning in Manila Hotel. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 

We woke up early to attend the 7AM mass at the newly renovated and reopened Manila Cathedral.  Know more about the cathedral’s history here. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

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Aside from the details,  what I noticed immediately is that the church was not jam-packed with mass goers. There were a lot of people but I was expecting there would be more since the church is an important part of our history. Our theory is that since there is a number of nearby churches (Paco, Malate, San Agustin, Binondo and the one near MOA) , Catholics in the area are dispersed.

Moving on…

Most old churches feel gloomy inside but Manila Cathedral is different. It is very bright and maaliwalas inside.

 

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This reminded me of Emily. Continue reading

Manila Staycation Part VI: Kalesa Ride and Kite-flying

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel

Part III – Rizal Park

Part IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

Part V – National Museum

 

From the National Museum, we crossed the street and took a quick jeepney ride to Luneta. It was still hot hot hot at 4PM. After asking at least 5 strangers for leads, we finally found a stall that satisfied our craving for ice cold halo-halo.

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Akira, on this very hot afternoon, insisted in ordering  his favorite lugaw with egg. We enjoyed our turo-turo merienda under the shade of the beautiful fire trees.

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Finally, a few minutes before 5PM, the temperature was more tolerable. Time for the much awaited kalesa ride!

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Tip: There are a lot of kalesas around Luneta. Take the ones accredited by Department of Tourism. They are parked near the DOT building, near the fire trees, near the giant Lapu-lapu statue. They do not overcharge because DOT has a prescribed fixed rate which is 50 bucks per passenger. Plus, the kucheros are trained by the department. They will tell you about our history as they drive you to your destination. Say hello to our horse, Antonio and Rizal Park’s very own Arnel Pineda. Sorry, Kuya for forgetting your name.

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You can see in Aki’s excitement could not be contained. That is what Toy Story movie marathons do. He sat in front, sandwiched between Kuya Kuchero and his assistant. Thru out the trip, he kept shouting, “RUN LIKE THE WIND, AAN-TONIOOOO!

The DOT kucheros also offer Intramuros tours if you are interested. The fee is 2000, good for 4 pax.

Soon, we arrived at the Quirino Grandstand. We were so ready to fly a kite for the first time.

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Our attempt 2 years ago was a major major fail!

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Aki gave our kite the most creative name, Birdie Bird. Its nickname is Eagle Da Eagle.

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Manila Staycation Part V: National Museum

Part I – Planetarium
Part II – Manila Hotel
Part III – Rizal Park
Park IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

 

If ever you will check in at the Manila Hotel, do inquire about their free shuttle service to guests going to nearby attraction.

We arrived at 2PM in National Museum. Lucky us, entrance is free for the whole month of May so we did not have to pay.

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Even though I don’t know how to appreciate paintings, I still enjoyed our museum tour. Mega thanks to this history buff.

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The most famous masterpiece is Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, the biggest painting on canvas in the country. Learn more about it here.

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What do you think?

 

As I was saying, I wish I know how to appreciate art.

I did take Art Appreciation in UP Diliman but only got to attend 2 classes. That was at the height of the Estrada (then president of the country, now mayor of Manila)  impeachment. My professor, who was an activist, was out most of the time.

 

I know  it when a window, a staircase or small details in the interiors are beautiful but when it comes to art especially modern or abstract painting, I am clueless.

Sometimes, I look at a painting and it is the frame that I can’t stop staring at. Hihi.

 

What I do like is history.  Continue reading

Manila Staycation Part IV: Saturday Morning at Manila Hotel

Ola!

Part I – Planetarium
Part II – Manila Hotel
Part III – Rizal Park

My husband’s idea of a relaxing getaway is lying in a comfortable bed in an airconditioned room watching cable TV the whole day. Are your husbands like this too? Did the love for being stationary also rubbed on you? For our getaways, I made sure we had a lot of time dedicated to being true to our lazy selves.

Because we are early risers, we were able to watch the sunrise from our room. This was sometime between 5 to 5:30AM. Serenely beautiful, right?

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We were engrossed watching the Graduates when the doorbell rang. Have you seen this movie?

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Snooky Serna, Ronnie Rickets, PJ Abellana, Cesar Montano, Maricel Soriano, Gina Alajar, Gabby Concepcion, Joel Torre and other actors that we still know today, played fresh graduates looking forward to starting their careers. The issues that they had in the movie are as relevant now as they were in the 1980’s.

Manila Hotel surprised us with a cake for Emily. I mentioned to the reservation officer weeks ago that aside from R&R, we’d also be celebrating our daughter’s 1st month in heaven. I just wanted to know where can I get balloons but the lady I spoke with said she will check if she can get a complimentary cake. Thank you, Manila Hotel! And yes, I spent a good part of that morning crying again.

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After the movie, we had our buffet breakfast at Cafe Ilang Ilang.

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I particularly love the smoked salmon and the assorted cheese. Sorry no pictures this time. I was too busy savoring each bite. By the way, have you tasted horseradish sauce? I mistook it for cream cheese and spread 2 spoonfuls in a piece of french bread. Oh. My. God!

Next order of the day was swimming!!!

As it was my first time to swim in a hotel, I was amazed that there is a special way for guests going to the pool. I have always wondered why I don’t see anyone dripping wet whenever we are in the lobby.

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Manila Staycation Part III: Rizal Park

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel 

In my original plan, Aki and I were supposed to go to Luneta park by 4:30PM. By 5:15PM, Akoykoy was still asleep! We were out by 5:40ish.

 

What I love about Manila Hotel is that major attractions in the area are within walking distance. Luneta was just across the street. No Luneta trip is complete without paying homage to our national hero.

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It was high time that Aki learns about Gat Jose Rizal who happens to be our ka-baranggay in my dad’s hometown of Calamba. Who knows, we might be distant grandchildren our town’s pride. Aki wanted to know more about why the Spaniards killed Rizal and how they did it. I told him about the firing squad but it was a challenge to explain colonization, KKK and Rizal’s non-violent stand to a 4 year old.

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Sunset

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The reason why Aki forced himself to wake up was the promise of a trip to the playground. What I did not know is that the Children’s Playground is on the other block. So thankful that my semi-sleepy and semi-excited kid is not used to sitting on strollers. He walked all the way to the other end. Here’s what we saw on our way

Isn’t this the cutest police station?

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Huge Lapu-lapu statue and a photobomber

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I love this fire tree lined path

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Park activities for the month of May. I wish we have a park here in Paranaque

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By the time we got to the Children’s Playground, it was almost dark. Continue reading