August 31, 2013 § 1 Comment
Surprise Jong! Haha it’s your turn today 🙂
Happy 10th Year Anniv to you and ImagineNation. I guess we also know each other for 10 years now. Am truly glad to be a friend to you and to Monique. Weird and amazing ang friendship nating apat. I have a relationship with Monique because of N@W, yet my friendship to you is independent of that with mine and Monique and so is your relationship with Abet but we are also couple friends. Aliw lang 🙂 Truly glad to be friends with you guys. There’d be times when we’d see each other so often then times when it’ll be months before we are in touch yet if I need you for anything I know you always always make time for me. I truly appreciate that and am sure you know it is likewise.
Congratulations for the last 10 years! It was not always smooth and it was never always rocky, it had it’s share of peaks and frights. Enough to be interesting and fulfilling. Am really happy to have always been like an adopted part of ImagineNation, back when I know always everybody from the team, to the present when I dont know all but still feels part of the IN Family. Thank you for making us always feel that IN is at our disposal for any of our needs. We feel it truly! We look forward to several more decades of IN!
Jong, I knew you for 10 years now yet I got to be your friend when you are done being ‘gago’ na, so I cant say am so glad you changed and so on and so forth. But I can say am proud of who you are, although I wish you are less busy! You wear so many hats kasi. I know a lot of suppliers now who look up to you as their mentor in photography, some looks up to you for your business acumen and now your IN family looks up to you as their spiritual leader. Whatever it is that you are, you have been giving a lot of yourself to so many people. Please keep doing what it is you are doing, except be less ma drama and matampuhin! Hahah Congratulations again and happy 10th year anniversary. Hope you enjoy the surprise party! Arent you so proud of how the party came about? It is all about everybody’s LOVE for you!
May 4, 2013 § Leave a comment
Travel Kwento: BALI
Travel Date April 13, 2013 – April 16, 2013
Travel Party: Mimma, Didda, Kite, Laya; Sister in Law Leslie with kids Gio & Paulo; Friend Bong with kids Nik & Max – 10 pax (4 grown ups; 3 teenage kids; 2 tweeners & 1 toddler)
Airfare: 50% one way sale P8688/pax
Kunja Villa & Spa: $556/night for a 3 Bedroom Villa (1 room per family kami)
Airport Transfer: P9,100 for both ways
Vacation Type: Luxurious. Pace: Chill.
I booked Cebu Pac on my own but for the hotel I asked help from Happy Travels for recommendations because I knew the trip will highly depend on the place where we will stay since I know the beach there is nothing compared to Boracay. Choices were:
The Dusun Three bedroom Pool Villa: Usd651/net/villa/night – incl. abf
Karma Jimbaran Three Bedroom Luxury Pool Villa: Usd: Usd 674/net/villa/night – incl.abf
The Kunja Three bedroom Pool Villa: Usd 556/net/villa/night – incl. abf
We chose Kunja for the vast space and for the fact that the rooms are all kinda Masters bedroom-ish: King Size bed on all rooms and all bathroom are spacious. Karma was a second choice simply because the living room is air conditioned. It would be nice to be able to stay and chit chat with everyone in comfort, but the layout wasnt as good and the space wasnt as big too.
Our flight to Bali was at 4am so we left house at 1am. So glad Stephen (Happy Travels) called Kunja the day before to find out if we can have early check in. As soon as we arrived the resort, we just filled up the forms at their lobby then we were immediately brought to our villa with a welcome drink of Ginger with Lemongrass (really yummy) and cold towels. We arrive at the villa at 9am and asked reception if we can have breakfast served since our flight on the last day will be too early, they happily obliged and we really appreciate that. While waiting for breakfast, the kids went swimming.
Our IT for the day is to just enjoy the villa and go to KuDeTa in Kuta for Sunset. Our plans for the next day is to do a city tour so we spent the afternoon browsing thru tons of brochure we got from the airport. Nap a bit then headed to KuDeta, a bar in front of the Kuta Beach, nice place to chill and watch as surfers enjoy the waves, the kids playing with sands and just enjoying the beach. Too bad it was overcast that day and we werent able to see the sunset, but our kid enjoyed the beach and the waves so it’s ok. Besides the kids are too tired from swimming since some didnt nap so we decided to head back to the villas as it started to drizzle. Upon reaching the villa we ordered dinner thru the hotel’s reception. Kids swam again after dinner.
We do plan to stay in the villa a lot but still we want to see sights and see Bali. So we rented a car that would fit all 10 of us, we got an Elf Van that seats 12 pax for $75 for 9 hours add $10 for a guide. We picked places I see from the brochures and just asked the guide to bring us there. It was really hot and we are all dreaming of the pool so we kinda cut short the trip and headed back. We went to the ff places:
They left at 8am to go rafting (Siobe & I were stayed at the villa). They came back at around 2pm. Super fun but the walk to the rafts were so tiring and treacherous. Abet & Bong tried white water rafting in CDO and it doesnt compare to this one. This one give you a pause to catch your breath and it is action time again, while the one in CDO has a lot of calm water parts. The kids ranging from 9 years old to 14 years old all enjoyed it and didnt get scared at all. According to them they will definitely do this again should we go back to Bali. Also should research well on which operator to pick. Some are located far so there’s a long long, some have a short rafting route so short rafting time only. There’s too many rafting offers but we chose the one who offered the cheapest price $30/pax inclusive of transfers, rafting, insurance, lunch (lousy one), equipment. The most expensive at $50/pax I wonder if the more expensive ones has the shorter walk/better service.
That night we went to have dinner by the beach at Jimbaran, oh it was far pala (45 mins via taxi at 80,000IDR or P340). The food was awesome. Not cheap but not too expensive since we ordered a lot and we ordered lobster, prawns, crabs, clasm and fish and a lot of young coconut juice. Must try their young coconut juice they squeeze a slice of lime, their clams is also really good, the Barramundi Fish too and the Prawns are really so good. Great end to a great trip!
Wake up at 5am leave resort at 5:30am for 8:30am flight.
Our photos at:
There are several places we want to go back too so perfect for a next trip. Along the way we saw the nice boutique and cafes at the Kuta area (very near Seminyak lang where our resort is) next trip we will do a 4 day trip. Day 1 chill then dinner at Jimbaran Beach. Day 2
Culture day go visit the temples and sights. Day 3 rafting and Sunset at Kudeta. Day 4 Chill, Shop, Beach, Boutique and Cafe day.
We totalled all the expenses it’s at P240,000 all in na even the terminal fees and airport taxes. 10 pax (4 adults, 3 teenagers; 2 tweens, 1 toddler)
April 29, 2013 § 1 Comment
I grew up in a Chinese Household think Joy Luck Club. My mom is the type who would boil medicinal herbs and drink it with full confidence of its worth, she would regularly force us to drink some and we would device ways and means to get away from it. I also studied in a Chinese school so most of my classmates have kinda the same thing going for them at home. So Ge Lai is a common thing in our house and we grew up believing in its value. For us after giving birth doing Ge Lai is as important.
When I was pregnant with Kite, I had to rely on my mom to take care of my food so everyday the driver brings the food to me sa Balintawak, ang hassle. I wish there was someone, somewhere to order these food na lang. Then 11 years later, when I was about to give birth to Laya, same thing I still had the same wish. I had a friend from Singapore buy me cookbooks for Ge Lai. Hirap but she was able to score me several. I was able to teach our helper to cook the Ge Lai food and ang sarap ha! Basta sesame oil, ginger and wine are staple sa ingredients.
Fast forward to last year, I was told by my friend na her kinakapatid is into Ge Lai food, wah was too excited and was so happy to meet them. Last 2 weeks ago I was finally able to taste their Black Chicken. Ayan na pa blog ako kasi I feel for the moms who’s parents are either too far, too busy or not there anymore to do the Ge Lai for them.
Kaya am introducing Mama Chow by Chef Jonathan Chua, his wife Raquel naman owns Ginquelrus Pastries yummy goodies, she got lactation cookies and cupcakes too that are so yummy. Been ordering her Cheese Cupcake like crazy.
Anyway, here’s how the Black Chicken looks like packed. And uploading some of their literature too.
Yan just order from them if you dont have anybody cooking Ge Lai food for you. I really suggest eating Ge Lai food to help your body recover from birthing. I will try to look for the recipes too that I love from the Ge Lai Cookbooks I got. (Thanks Candy!)
March 3, 2013 § 3 Comments
Ohh it has been so long since I last blogged but this one I really want to blog talaga.
Tuwa, The Laughing Fish is an ecological village with zero waste, they have a sustainable lifestyle that is ready for any climate change. They plant their food, they harvest their our power, they live a life they way our ancestor did with no waste and full use of what is around them in comfort. They were able to create a balance of life there in their paradise in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. I first learned about their place when Dominic Velasco showed photos of this place a year or two ago. He was proud of what Penny, his ex wife have created (dont you love it when couple are friend after separation? Pwede naman eh, hope others follow suit the friends part not the separation part ha). Then last February another friend who is really into eco living, organic life mentioned there’s a nice place to go to daw, so I googled it and found out it was Penny’s place pala. So I immediately invited some people whom I think would appreciate such and off we went this morning. Oohh I so love the place. I wasnt able to career the pacpipicture because I was busy listening to Penny & John explain what PermaCulture is and also on what they are doing in their place and how they are able to do it. I find their life so rich and full of substance, this is the life I want to have. One day… I will have it!
For now, let me share with you their place and hopefully you get to visit it and experience it and hopefully learn and copy also from them. I feel we all owe it to Mother Earth to do our part in not wasting our resources and in making our life sustainable. I felt like it is such a privilege to be able to visit their place and hear them talk about what they do. They are selling their place so they are not accepting bookings for more than 3 weeks in advance. So do find time to visit their place now before it is sold. Or buy the property from them?
Day Trip is P850 per person; P300 for children below 5 years old & P300 also for driver’s meal. Daytrip includes lunch & merienda and a tour and lesson on how they do thing there and why they do it.
Overnight stay is P1750 yata per person inclusive of full board meals.
Their place may be back to basic but it is definitely not lacking of comfort. It is not luxurious but everything you need is there.
Check out some of the photos I was able to take.
You pour this over the feces and they decomposed etc etc and they change the bin every 3 weeks. The last dump was a few hours before we went and yet no trace of bad smell at all. The urine container will smell if it is almost full which is also a signal to change the container.
Penny will explain to you how to use their Dry Toilet so it is really simple and easy.
Main House. Simple, cozy and fully functional.
Penny prepared our lunch. This is called Locavore Cuisine. Food grown within 160 km of its point of purchase or consumption.
I didnt take that much photos because I read a blog where the photos were shot so nicely and explanations are clearer. Please visit the blog of Triple Espresso Shot to know more.
And read also more on the official TUWA website.
Like them too on their Facebook Page.
Please help spread the words.
August 17, 2012 § 7 Comments
This post is not just about Breastfeeding but also about NewlywedsAtWork (N@W). Ok backgrounder. N@W is an offshoot of WeddingsAtWork (W@W). We have our W@W Website and our W@W eGroup who live, talk & breathe wedding preps day in and day out. Since it is inevitable for the members who are married to discuss others things after their wedding, we created N@W, in N@W we discuss anything and everything, showbiz, recipes, shopping, travels, investments and whole lot more but of course majorly about being parents. N@W is my magic place, my solace, my refuge, my go to place. Things I cant post in FB as they are too personal I can easily post in N@W. My motherhood journey is made doubly and triply better because I got N@Wies to share and enjoy it with. I was able to successfully and easily breastfeed solely because of N@W. I actually hesitate blogging about N@W because I am not keen on making it a bigger group than it already is… ssshhhh (di ko talaga binigay ang link noh)
Ok now that you understand how much N@W means to me, then you can easily understand why I wanted to organize the N@W Breastfeed Marathon Shoot. Am actually dumbfounded why I didnt think of this last year or the year before. I was tagged by Stan and Jenny on their Breastfeed Shoot Project and it was just then when it hit me why not make one for N@W. On Aug 2 I sent some text message here and there, emailed the N@Wies asking if anybody’s interested and by Aug 4 the shoot was set and we had 16 mommies (with varied ages of babies from 2 months old to 3 years old and we also have a twins in the set, galing!) which grew to 20 and 19 made it 🙂 We didnt have a theme nor a look nor a peg we just wanted a breastfeeding shot so we can join in celebrating Breastfeeding Month and at the same time have the N@Wie moms have a nice portrait of them breastfeeding for posterity. Hopefully it would help make them ambassadors of breastfeeding among their own peers.
How the shoot came about and thank you’s… First to Stan Ong for saying yes he is willing to do it; to Abie & Clarice for saying yes it is a great idea and they will join… those were my first yesses and it fueled me to go on so when schedule with Stan didnt work out, my next yesses came in the form of Lisa and then John Mateos Ong. Aug 3 when the studio we were eyeing still didnt reply I got a yes from Nelwin agreeing to let us use his studio Cocoon then Chichi came in to say she would want to put some quick make up on the moms, all this while the excited mommies kept emailing they wanna join. Then finally I spoke with Jong and Monique everything was easily set, Life by ImagineNation na daw bahala, then ako pa ang choosy I asked sino pipicture haha when he said Arlene of The Boudoir Dolls I knew it will be perfect na, then he said we can shoot in his place where there is daylight, where there is a big space and he can send us photogs (with S) aside from Arlene to shoot us. And just like that the shoot was finalized na. Special shout out to Bea, Olive & Brianna for being so gaan and so accommodating with all of us being such stage moms and dads, sorry walang kain break atat na stage parents andun eh! Special shout out to Chichi who didnt have along line aba minsan sila pa naghihintay ng next! Iba kayo Team Chichi (am proud to say before she became a professional make up artist W@Wie din siya)! And special shout out to Monique who made things happen, a day before she texted me what do we need, I said water and she had a water dispenser and cups ready, I said we will bring snacks na lang and she had tables for snacks ready, I told the group come early then let kids play, she made a play area with mats and provided toys for the kids too. Diba ang smooth!
Day of the Shoot! It was so much fun, no stress, no complain, no I WISH, no WE SHOULD HAVEs during the shoot and I was truly amazed how it all just worked out. We were even able to take advantage of the shoot and not only did we have breastfeeding shots but also kiddie portraits and family portraits as well. Each family got to shot at all the 3 set ups (black background set up; white background set up and the daylight set up) and we even had Jeff & Lisa take behind the scene shots while waiting for our turns. We didnt have diva moms who wanted to hog time, we didnt have bratty kids who ruined the mood of other kids (oh of course we had whiny kids but none that whined the whole time) I was wondering how come this shoot was so smooth and my only conclusion was because it was a family, we didnt care if a mom had to singit and shoot first kasi her kids suddenly went to the sofa na, it didnt matter if I am the next but a baby is suddenly feeding na so siya na una nag fe-feed na eh, it didnt matter if some had a go at the set several times and some once lang. It was a FAMILY and there was so much love in the set. There so so much love that we ended up posting and texting endless thank you’s the whole night via phone and via FB as we all felt the magic. Before I get too sappy… here please enjoy our shoot. Am proud to say N@W has been and will continue to be a big tool, resource, support to breastfeeding mommies.
To the mommies… N@W is happy to be able to give you this portrait. May you find these pictures when your kids are all grown up and be transported back to this wonderful chapter of your journey as a mom. If these photos help convince even just one of your friend to breastfeed then what a great gift we gave back to the world.
And Happy Breastfeeding Month to all.
Read Mommy Tina of TrulyRichMom’s blog on this.
August 7, 2012 § 10 Comments
Our very first family travel to Hong Kong back in 2007 is super memorable to me. I wont even begin to explain or I will lost track on what I wish to write here. Lucky for us because our good friend Ritchie joined us, so we were able to have family pictures.
Masarap din may karelyebo sa rides to amuse Kite.
Ok the point of this post is… ewan ko saan saan na din ako nakarating til I decided I want lang to make my own tips and advices to HK Disneyland. Actually, I initially planned to just blog about the Disney Autograph Book kasi nag ask si Clarice about it then when I replied ang daming interested so kinilig ako. Tamang tama a few days ago Antonette was saying she wish I will go back to blogging (said a delinquent blogger to another).
Ok here goes my HK Disneyland Do Not Miss List:
1. Stay in Disney Hotel
Stay at their hotel for at the very least 2 nights. We stayed 1 night on our first trip and it was just hard cramming everything in 1 night. We also stayed for 4 nights and I loved it! We were able to explore and really enjoy Disneyland.
Which hotel to stay. Disney Hollywood Hotel or Disneyland Hotel. Because they are not the same price it is for me hands down Hollywood Hotel because I like the vibe of the hotel and it feels more playful and more friendly and more for kids. (Disclaimer: I haven’t stayed in Disneyland Hotel yet but I’ve been there for breakfast and was able to roam around the area). Price of room is a major swayer Disneyland Hotel’s cheapest room is at HK$2100 while cheapest room in Hollywood Hotel is HK$1550 (HK$1=Php6). Do I wish to try staying at Disneyland Hotel? Hell yeah of course, just to try it too. Photo above is from Hollywood Hotel SeaView Room. I tried Garden View and the view is nothing, the Park View gives you a faraway view of the Park and I guess you can see fireworks during fireworks time (good if you stay in the room at such time, we never do). The only difference of the rooms in Hollywood Hotel is the view the room size and amenities are absolutely same. All rooms comes with 2 Queen Size bed, beds 4 pax comfortably. I have known of families who occupies one room for 6 pax (2 pax on the floor).
Update: June 7, 2013. Last December 2012 we stayed in Disneyland Hotel in a Clubroom Floor, himatay sa price but it is really nice. If I can spare the money I will forever stay na sa Disneyland Hotel, much more luxurious, spacey, homey but expensive. We are going again to HK this December 2013 and we are still deciding if we go Hollywood or Disneyland Hotel. The price is really the dealbreaker.
Also during our Dec 2012 trip we got the Park View room and we got to enjoy the fireworks from our room with a channel in the TV playing what was playing right there in the park. So if you are with a toddler might be a good idea to get a Park View room, Laya was 2 .9 then and she wouldnt sleep in the stroller so we had to cut our DisneyPark trip shop so she can sleep in the room. Not that answers my earlier questions about not being in the room at such time!
My suggested itinerary:
for an overnight stay. Check in as early as you can, if room is not available by 9am just leave your luggage and head over to the Park already, stay in the park til it closes. Go back to hotel and join the bedtime storytelling at the Activity Room then take a swim at their heated pool (pool closes at 10pm) and enjoy finding hidden Mickey’s if your energy can take it. Day 2 start the day with having a Character Breakfast at Disneyland Hotel then head off to the park again till you satisfy your Disney appetite.
for a 2 night stay: check in and enjoy the kids activities they prepared for the day. See what interest you, swim in their heated pool. Then head of to Tung Chung for Citygate Outlets and shop and have your dinner there. Day 2 & 3 follow the IT above.
for a 3 night stay: use the extra day to explore Nyong Ping and more shopping time at Citygate Outlet and swimming time at the pool.
for a 4 night stay: use the extra day to explore HK’s main land sightseeing spots then another day for Ocean Park then either squeeze the 3 night stay to 2 nights or use the 2 night stay IT
here is a sample activity sched for the day (circa 2008)
I absolutely love having breakfast and seeing the characters come and visit. They make sure they go to ALL tables and have enough time for each guest to have the picture taken solo, with some, with all, to sign autographs and if it is a slow day even for some playful interactions. Please do save for this make sure you do this. Oh if you can hold off telling your kids the characters are coming the joy is even more seeing the kids exclaim that Mickey, Minnie, Pluto or Goofy or whoever just came in the dining room! Oh what a joy.
3. Check out Maze at Disneyland Hotel
If you go to Disneyland whether you are a hotel guest or not, you can take the shuttle that does the round. From Disney Park/MRT station next stop is Disneyland Hotel then next is Hollywood Hotel then back to the Park/MRT station. You can go to the hotel and enjoy the common area. We were able to explore Disneyland Hotel after our breakfast in Enchanted Garden. There is a door from Enchanted Garden leading you outside to the maze area. It is fun to get lost in the maze, not sure if it is easy but definitely not scary (hmm maybe it wold be for a kid who cant see over the hedges?)
4. Swim at the Piano Pool of Hollywood Hotel
5. Bedtime Storytelling
No big deal really, but most likely you got nothing to do after the park closes so why not. Dont work your sched around this but if it fits then go for it.
6. Autograph Signing
Tips re autograph book.
1. You may buy an autograph book from any Disney Stores (15 pages) or bring any of your notebook.
2. If buying an autograph book remember to take photos in landscape format. We were aware that we need a photo but it slipped our mind that the photo would be nicer in a landscape format. Try not to copy our mistake.
3. Using a notebook tend to be frustrating kasi most like there will be a lot of pages. Autograph book are just 15 pages and having 15 characters sign is the right amount for a 2 day Park trip.
4. There’s a girlie autograph design and also a boyish design so dont be misled by my photos our kid is girlie so she chose a pink one.
5. The Cast Members and characters are very very tolerant of kids with autograph book, so if you are with 3 kids do not feel embarrassed having 3 books signed, having 3 solo pictures and even sibling photos and family photos. They can take the photos for you using your camera (dslr, point and shoot, cellphone cam, any cam at all) and they are quite quick. They are very very courteous but they also wont tolerate over staying they will gently lead you to leave if you are taking longer than needed.
Hope I didnt miss anything. As for Park Tips? Hmm just go for the ride first before you hit the lines for the autographs. Refer to Park Maps (available upon entrance) to see where the character photo ops are. Don’t forget to eat those Mickey Mouse Head Ice Cream, I love the bitter taste of the sugar in their caramel popcorn, I love the Duck Rice at Comet Cafe across Orbitron but check sched this is not always open. Of course DO NOT miss the parade & the fireworks. Do not ever ever skip PhilHarmagic, next dont miss Buzz AstroBlaster. Golden Mickey is a missable show for me. Lion King is also a missable show for me.
Hope this helped!
Can’t wait to go back to Disneyland!
Update June 2013: Please visit my December 2012 Disneyland Trip. Got more advices there as some debunked my earlier comments here. HK Trip Day 1 | HK Trip Day 2 | HK Trip Day 3 | HK Trip Day 4 | HK Trip Day 5
June 2, 2012 § 2 Comments
Those who know me knows how much I love eating. Those who’ve seen me would guess I love eating. But it is not just simply good food I am after, it’s the whole experience. A perfect meal for me would be long meals with nice ambiance, good camaraderie with your meal mates whether to discuss heavy stuff or just nonsense babaw stuff.
I remember clearly my memorable meals these days kasi seldom na lang yung unhurried meal, yung meal na di puro naka internet or games. One is the one we had in Baguio with Mama’s Table with Chef Vicky the lunch was 3 hours long but would have been longer if not for our trip back to Manila. Another is my lunch with my barkada in Antonio’s in Tagaytay yun din 4hours long or more pa. And yung lunch outing with W@Wies at Ugu Bigyan’s which deserve a blogpost on it’s own. (One day soon I hope magawa ko) But in a gist Ugu Bigyan in Tiaong Quezon accepts lunch booking at just P600/pax super busog and super ok yung food they serve, yun nga lang 3 hours travel. But well worth it! Prior reservation needed, I think before they used to have minimum head count but now ok lang kulang basta there’s another group booked. Call na lang and ask highly recommended yan.
Anyway, we had a not as great one when we went to Bale Dutung, food was good but Mary Ann Tayag being so OC and being too serious about their food, she came off close to being rude and it just staled everything for us but good thing company was super great, na negate tuloy. But what made me come back to blogging is what we experience last night with Pinoy Eats World (PEW).
I love meals with ekek. Ayaw ko yung tipong we just go reserve a place sa resto then eat tapos yun na yun. That is good for close friends. But with so many new friends and upcoming friends we meet sa wedding industry masarap din yung we just go out and experience being served or pampered naman. After our experience s Bale Dutung several wanting a follow up, so I wanted one where we need not travel far but still special yung meal, a meal na di lang ganyan ka bilis ma replicate. I knew whom to go to, or at least this is what I think they do. I have never met them nor joined their dinner but from always checking out their events that is what I gathered. So I emailed them that night agad and ask if they can work out a dinner for us. We exchanged emails and met once then that’s it. Wala na akong balita. I myself had no idea what will happen or where the dinner will exactly be nor what food will be served. I just gave them a brief background, na we want to be able to talk and enjoy and chat and basically have fun and not be scolded for chatting (kinda what happened when we had ours at Bale Dutung) and we want lamon talaga hindi tikim tikim. I gave them the list of who’s coming then sila na mag research. Hahah what they did they contacted Madge and didnt need na to research, Madge helped them with concept and planning. And we were surprised to ind out Madge was involved.
The event started with all of us meeting in a Starbucks near the place, para daw we all start together (nice nice idea). As soon as we were complete nag convoy na kami to the place where it must not be named (bawal mag check in sa foursquare haha), then Chef JJ Yulo (founder of PEW, that night emcee siya – oh he accepts hosting gigs for weddings – seryoso) started welcoming everybody. He then introduced us to his wife Cres Yulo (who is a photographer too swerte namin may photo coverage kami), our Chef for the night Chef Namee Jorolan (who’s getting married sa January hahah pwede siyang mag inquire after cooking). Ayun di ako sobrang nakinig sa intro niya kasi I was busy reading and being kilig sa menu card! Hahaha.
Here is what they came up with specially for our group:
He would introduce the course before serving. Fun kasi some courses were named in honor of one of us, some dishes were served, some where placed sa counter so gulangan at sikuhan para mauna. We were really stuffed! I love the food, the company and the experience.
I love the mashed sweet potato & the roasted bone marrow
I love the side dish of the bone marrow na parsley salad and the sigarilyas na partner ng pork loin… oh, my first taste of sigarilyas pala yan!
Am blogging this kasi super enjoy talaga siya. So plan one with your friends, ahh mahal if you host the party kasi medyo pricey siya if to treat friends (for me ha) so maganda siyang pang KKB (ballpark rate P1500/pax) tapos isip kayo anong theme gusto ninyo. The place is private kaya maximum capacity na yung 20 pax. Although in my opinion a perfect number for dinner parties is 10 lang, pag 10 you get to talk to all, the group gets to have group talks aside from pocket chat with your neighbors. With 20 pax kasi I wasnt able to chat much with those on the other side of the table na. 😦
Here’s the casting (sayang wala si Cres sa photo… but ok na din kasi if Cres was there baka walang photong ma post)
See photos of the evening here photos by Cres Yulo.
Cant wait for the next one! Still up for another one? Who wanna join us?
April 28, 2012 § 6 Comments
Travel Dates: April 11-13, 2013
Travel Companion: Didda, Me, Kite, Laya & Yaya Jhona, Bong and his kids Nik & Max
Backgrounder: I saw Club Tara’s deal on groupon sites na, found it interesting kasi new place, kasi Rhila posted about Jellyfish Lake, kasi si Yaya Jhona taga Surigao. BUT my I stopped myself kasi baka bili bili tapos ma stress lang para gamitin before mag expire. So deadma na. Tapos nag offer ulit sila nung November so tinignan ko ulit, but ignored it again. But nag text si Bong may Surigao Club Tara daw sa groupon site if we wanna go for summer for the kids. Hmmm sige for summer pa naman. Ayun bili na kami both that night. We ignored the coupon since we dont have our summer sched pa naman. Come January I started checking na sa Trip Advisor waaaahhh the feedback on the resort was so bad 😦 But sayang na the coupon P13,000 din ito. So mind conditioning na lang. I started checking na for flight waaah ang mahal ng flights nila P8000/pax 😦 Pag Cebu Pacific naman no direct flight will go to Cebu muna then Cebu to Surigao at P1000-2000 less per head, hay malaki laki din but baka lalo kaming ma bwisit if sobrang pagod sa biyahe tapos kadiri yung lugar etc etc. Oh well we decided to go na lang via PAL. So far this trip is not going so well. Hmm I was disheartened so dilly dally lang ako. Half thinking if sayangin na lang yung P13k but dyahe naman kina Bong. And am guessing Kite should also experience bad resort para di naman siya puro nice places lang, tsaka maski pa how bad the place is for sure enjoy yan kasami naman fam ni Bong eh. Hay ayun matagal tagal bago ko seryosong inayos ulit yung trip. Mga early March na when we booked our flights. Then upon finalizing with Club Tara doon ko lang nalaman na to reach the resort we have to take a bus/rent a van and the trip is 1 and a half hour long! Tapos need to ride banca pa for another 45 mins. Ha? Eh 2 night lang kami doon tapos tanghali yung flight naku ano pa kaya magagawa namin sa place nila. But at the back of my mind, ok na din para short lang stay namin since pangit ng review sa lugar. Eto pa ang nakaka inis. Alam na na super bulok yung resort, pero acting 5 star sila 😦 if we avail daw of their transfer service we have to pay P1500/pax for 2 pax or P1000/pax if 4 pax or more… imagine transfer lang aabutin kami ng P14,000 for our group or P8,000 for my family! Que horror. I asked how much if we do it ourselves and how is it, easy lang daw and around P6,000-P8,000 round trip if we do it ourselves. yikes I hate pa naman being in a place na wala kang alam and have to rely on asking and haggling but no choice ayaw ko magsayang ng extra P5000 one way. I remember transfer sa Boracay grabe sa mahal eh easy easy lang to do it ourselves. We booked the Sohoton Cave Tour with Jellyfish Lake tour via Club Tara at P1000/pax
Ayun with proper conditioning we are set na. Alam na ng buong grupo to expect the worse and just enjoy being in a new place. Ayun our flight suppose to arrive Surigao at 130pm arrived at 2pm. We went to the bus station and found out the bus left na, although I dont plan to take a bus naman talaga it was medyo kaka tense kasi napaisip ako what if wala ding banca sa pier when we arrive, anyway we hired a van to take us there sa pier. Ok naman but nakaka frustrate/hiya ang system natin. May lumapit sa amin and said P1500 for the van so ok kasi if bus at P200 each that’s P1400 na din naman eh. But when the van came P1700 daw well ok na but nakaka inis kasi naiisip ko kakahiya sa mga foreigner ang mga ganito. We arrived the pier after 1.5 hours and was able to get a banca to bring is to the resort at P1500. Yung banca is small, I sat beside Abet and exacto lang kami, so there’s mga 4 rows. The banca is small as in di ka makalipat ng upuan but stable siya, maski may konting alon di scary, wet lang kasi splash ng tubig. I guess di siya maalon kasi di siya open sea talaga yung dulo is set of islands eh.
We stayed lang sa resort that day, kids went to the pool and we chilled lang then after dinner kids used the jacuzzi in the room. We were told our Sohoton Cave & JellyFish Lake Tour is after lunch. Perfect for us who all hates waking up early. This way we can stay up late if we wish and wake up late too.
We woke up had breakfast then the waters were begging for kayak, it was too enticing, so the kids went kayaking while Abet & Bong used the paddle surf. Then when kids got tired and went to the pool, the two boys went kayaking to the snorkling area.
We had lunch and then off we went for to the Sohotan Cave & JellyFish Lake Tour. We arrived at the tourism area (around 5 mins by boat fromt he resort) when everyone is obliged to stop and pay fees. I like it that they are very organized, am ok with paying more but the locals get jobs fairly, it does not go to the most agressive instead they all take turns. We found out upon arriving that for the jellyfish lake we are going to each ride one small banca, and they discouraged bringing Laya so Yaya & Laya stayed sa Tourism Hut.
It was breeding or egg season at the Jellyfish Lake (around 5 mins away from the tourism hut) so we are not allowed to swim, bummer but it gave me a bit of satisfaction to know these boatmen are adhering to the rules, I was half expecting them to allow us in exchange for a hefty tip. We saw a lot of eggs swimming. By June daw they will allow swimming na and the jellyfish will number to a million. We did spot a lot of jellyfish but not enough to warrant the name jellyfish lake. Sayang would have love to swim and see it sana but ok na din at least we saw lots naman.
Back to the tourism hut to ride our banca again, our banca is small so we are allowed to use it to go inside Sohotan and need not hire another one, a guide just accompanied us. If I remember correctly fees were P100 each banca to Jellyfish lake then another P500 for the guide who will join our banca to the Sohoton Cave. Sohoton Cave is also a few minutes away form the Tourism Hut. The entrance is low but we need not lower our head to get inside so tide was perfect upon our entrance, I think the tide gets high at late afternoon so entrance and exit is impassable and those inside wont have a way out (except walk for hours?) But the cave is not really a cave, it is like a whole new world inside, the area is vast and open.
We had 2 stops in there, first is the luminous cave, there’s a small opening and there’s a lake inside and when you take pictures the water is luminous. I didnt get to go in coz am a scaredy cat, but when they told me easy lang I wanted to but Laya was crying na so no na lang.
Next was the jump site, to get to the jump site they have to pass thru a cave and etc. The jump was quite high but Abet & Bong did it.
After that back to the Tourism Hut to drop the guide off then back to the resort. The whole tour took 3 hours. It was the highlight of the trip 🙂 The kids had so much fun they want to go back on June when they can swim with the jellyfish. Back at the resort, we were all hungry and tired… but no food available for order. Diba kaloka? The goods are arriving pa lang that afternoon sabay with new guest coming in. Good thing I brought 2 cans of Vienna Sausage (1 left kasi the kids ate 1 na the night before) & a can of luncheon meat. So I fried them sa kitchen nila and ask them to turn the leftover rice from lunch to garlic rice. Well exacto naman for everyone. Rest rest, nap and the kids playing around. Had dinner then chat a bit but was tired na din and we are to wake up early the next day.
Breakfast and leave resort by 9am to get to airport before 12nn for our flight. We stayed in Bastie’s a resto outside the airport that
offers meals and cakes and pastries, coffee and free wifi! Perfect place to stay and wait for flight as the PA system of the airport is
connected to their speakers too. We barely had wifi the whole time in the resort so when a 30 min. flight delay was announced it we were not even bothered nor annoyed 🙂
Overall I would say the trip is fun. Our short stay in the resort was perfect as a even a half a day extension would be too much. A shorter stay also wouldnt suffice as our time is exactly right for our stay. Even the sched of the tour was perfect giving us enough time to eat and do some activities without forcing us to wake up early or rushing to beat time.
Would I go back to the resort. Yes because that is the best place in the area for now but I definitely wont go pay their real rate, will
only go with major discount or coupon deals.
Would I go back there? I dont plan to but I just might for the jellyfish lake.
Was it time well spent? Yes.
Was it money well spent? Maybe not but it’s ok.
April 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
Travel Dates: December 30, 2011 – January 4, 2012
Airfare P12,000/pax (includes travel insurance) booked April 1, 2011; Airfare booked Dec 1, 2011 was at P16,755.20
Fundacion Pacita Family Terrace Suite P9,500/night good for 3 pax, we were charged P1200/night for the extra bed. I booked the room Feb 19, 2011 via website and paid 10% around P3500 then the rest paid to their bank account before we went there although we can choose to settle in cash in Batanes, they dont have no credit card facilities but they are expecting it soon.
Prologue: original trip is Dec 31-Jan4 lang kami kaso Seair texted me around Dec 1 to tell us na the flight on Dec 31 is cancelled and we can either go Dec 30 or Jan 1. I felt 3 days might be bitin so I opted for 5 days. Looking back mas ok sana yung 3 days kaso it would definitely leave me feeling bilin and rushed. Our 5 days there was really long, the last day talagang wala na kaming ginawa. And becuase we have such a long stay na usisa namin ang mga kwarto, naka pag bike kami sa city and etc etc sa akin ok ako sa long stay namin but I know Kite & Didda was bored na nung last day. But good na din kasi now we dont have an urge to go back parang na-namnam na namin siya ng husto.
Tour choices from Fundacion Pacita:
Whole day Batan Island Tour P2100/pax if 4 pax – lunch included
Half Day Northern Tour P1,790/pax if 4 pax – lunch included
Half Day Southern Tour P2,000/pax if 4 pax – lunch included
Sabtang Tour P2,350/pax if 4 pax – lunch included
I also found out we can rent a car at P350/hour (yung rent a car nila pala with driver di pwedeng we drive around) or P3000 for the whole day then if we want a guide too that’s P1000. I asked lang eh mas mura if we get the car and the guide and ask the guide to do the North or South tour with us. So ayun ang ginawa namin. I requested for Roger kasi yun yung isa nirecommend sa akin sa FB. Pag dating sa FP I was asked which Roger kasi 2 daw Roger nila waaah. I just googled and hope the Roger I will google is the right Roger.
*turns out he is not the Roger Ivan of Old Manila Walks was refering to, yung Roger daw is in his 30’s or 40’s fyi.
Day 1 (Dec 30) flight was 5:15am, we didnt sleep na kasi we left the house mga 2:30am and to be sure we are in the airport by 3am, kaso our car broke down, new car siya more than 1 year old lang and it broke down so the pessimist in me was asking hmm sign ba ito? well syempre inasikaso muna everything and we were able to leave mga 3am na, dahil madaling araw we got to the airport by 330am, flight was delayed mga 6am na nakaalis. We arrived Basco around 7:30am na. Grabe ang lamig!!! I have been monitoring the weather via yahoo and it says 22-24 degrees and ang Manila daw is 28-29 so I didnt think it was THAT COLD! hay naku naku naku I kept visiting blogs and nakikita ko shorts and tank tops mga suot, then Abie’s blog said she is not prone to sweat but her dormant glands came alive (yes I know different season but basta yun nga. We went to Baguio mid December and it was less than 20degrees yet ok lang kami so di ako nagdala ng jackets namin! (Yes I know I know, lesson learned na…) Anyway, ok naman mga damit namin kasi I can layer BUT the worrier in me was stressing kasi nga walang jacket. I hate it kasi I prepared and researched.
Well after airport we proceeded to Fundacion Pacita na and was told the rooms are being prepared pa kasi kakaalis lang ng mga guests so have breakfast muna. The breakfast was yummy 🙂 Shortly ready na ang room. I also learned pwede mag pa cargo ng gamit via seair so I scrambled to call the house to prepare the jackets etc para mapadala but yun nga walang flight the next day so our jackets arrive Jan 1. (Malamig lang sa Batanes nung Dec 30, 31, nung Jan 1 di na gaanong malamig grrr, nung Jan 2 & 3 in fact maaraw pa!) I also took the waiting time to find out about tours and booked a tour guide and a car for the next day.
Ok after breakfast we slept lang sa room. Nagising kami 3pm na, had lunch then marvelled at the place lang, picture dito picture doon. Our lunch was super yummy! Bistek na ma garlic and ang sarap at P350 na good for 2 na; then rice is at P30 each and then P120 yung pako salad with yummy vinagrette. Total bill for lunch was P970. Not bad.
Ang siste sa FP, they will ask you lang to choose among the menu for the day ano gusto mong ulam usually it’s 2 dishes lang to choose from.
Yung breakfast set meal yun and kasama sa room cost so walang pili pili dyan. Ang breakfast nila if you are ordering is P350/pax. Mas mahal pa kesa sa lunch.
We asked din ano ang New Years Eve festivities ng place, di pa daw alam ang plans kasi lahat ng supplies and paputok is nasa barko pa, it left Manila and dapat daw by Dec 24 nasa Batanes na kaso yung last leg ng barko eh di makatuloy tuloy dahil sa lakas ng alon, the fruits on board nga daw are pabulok na. The supplies in the barko is not just for FP but the whole town, mga tindahan daw wala na halos benta and their bigas are really low na sa supply. According to Sec Abad they flew in rice na that day for the town.
Day 2 (Dec 31)
Northern Batan Tour (I chose Northern muna kasi mas malamig yung Southern and wanna wait for our jackets muna).
Our tour was supposed to start at 9am so gising and eat breakfast at 8am, ready na kami by 9am waah the tour guide wasnt there. By 9:30 di na kami natutuwa so Didda said let’s wait na lang sa room tamang tama si Laya want milk na, so we went sa room, shortly after he arrived na, we said wait a bit kasi tulog si Laya. Well off we went sa tour, he apologized kasi daw he was hesitating kasi mukhang uulan, actually sa city daw raining na so sayang lang yung tour if raining etc. Then he proceeded with his tour and kwento about the place, wow impressed kami kasi he is really good and knowledgeable about the place, political leader siya so madaming alam about the city talaga.
We went to Radar Station, Ijang (mga fortress na bato lang no big deal but it was along the way and took maybe an additional few minutes lang so no sweat; Boulder Bay; Rolling Hills (I super love this place!) then nag mamadali na yung tour guide namin bumalik kasi mukhang malakas daw ang ulan so we didnt go na to the lighthouse, we went straight to eat na at Batanes Seaside Resort, dahil Dec 31 wala nang ibang bukas we ate there and the food was blah! pancit bihon and lumpiang shanghai na made of fish and soup na parang tinola na mas maalat ng konti and it was P250 per person! eh yung food namin sa Fundacion na ang sarap na eh sa Fundacion pa was P970, itong sa Batanes Seaside na walang ambiance tapos di masarap eh P1000 grrr at this point I was thinking ulit ok ba yung guide or are we in for a ride… baka maling Roger yung nakuha namin?
Anyway the tour was roughly 3 hours lang including our lunch na mga 45 mins so parang yikes ang bitin yata and ang daming kulang based dun sa IT ng North Tour ng FP. But when I asked him if we settled with FP or sa kanya he said direct na lang daw, and dun he didnt charge us day rate for the rental ng car instead per hour lang and he charge P1000 for himself so total namin was P2050, ahh bumalik ulit tiwala ko kasi I was ready to pay P4000 na. Madami kaming mga di napuntahan itong day na ito like the Mt Carmel Church and the Lighthouse in Basco.
Upon arriving sa FP we were told we are invited da by Sec Abad for New Year’s Eve daw, just go to his house (within the FP complex naman) at 10pm, have food daw. We went naman kaso di naman mahilig makichika sila Didda & Kite, tapos Laya was sleeping na so we just dropped by I was really secretly hoping si Pnoy was there as visitor eh, nagpa picture lang ako with Sec . Abad and Patsy (yung girl sa P200 bill) then shortly after eating Didda & Kite went ahead na to the room, ako chumika pa ng konti. Sarap ng Ivatan Adobo 🙂 And super nicey ng pamilya Abad, so nice and accomodating. Tsaka parang fellowship night siya since other hotel guest were there too. I wuld love to stay if only its not 12 midnight.
**I saw sa bill ng isang guest sa office (tambay kami sa office kasi doon ang wifi, yung 3G namin sumpungin eh minsanok minsan mahina) Coconut Crab so pwede pala umorder doon but feeling ko mahal sa sa town na lang ako kakain.
Day 3 (Jan 1)
Tour of Southern Parts. Dahil nga laging nag dri-drizzle I opted to schedule the tour agad, dapat kasi rest day then tour day after kaso naisip ko what if umulan tapos di pa kami maka tour so pina sched ko na itong tour maski alam ko baka late kami magising dahil nga new Year’s Eve the night before. We just started the tour at 11am. Ito the tour was 6hours long. We went to lots of places. Super notable are the view deck na may mahabang stairs, yung Marlboro Country, and the whole place actually. Ang sarap ng lamig. Although umaambon ambon and paminsan minsan lumalakas ang ulan, sinuwerte kami kasi everytime we reaches a place it stops raining so drizzle lang or sandali lang humihina na. Aside from di kami nakapunta dun sa lighthouse sa South part walang nasira or nagulo sa sched namin because of the rain. Yun lang I worried lang baka magkasakit si Laya. So may mga places na pinuntahan kami na di ko na si Laya pinapababa ng car. Also the car Kuya Roger brought this day was a rickety old FX. We arrived back sa FP mga 6pm na kasi we started the tour at 11am, also we went to the places na di namin napuntahan the first day like Lighthouse & Mt Carmel kaya din siguro humaba ang tour. I asked Kuya Roger to find saan makakain ng Coconut Crab kaso wala, most places kasi were close pa tsaka hibernate time daw ng crabs.
When we reached FP nag ask ako if may Coconut Crab nyeks ubos na daw kasi reserved na, ayun maski mahal sabi ko the next day hanapan nila ako.
Day 4 (Jan 2)
We relaxed lang itong day kasi we were able to go to all places na eh. On our own lang kami so mga after lunch nag tricycle kami ni Didda to Basco and went places, we checked out the other resorts para in case the Vespa Club wants to come eh naka occular na kami ng rooms. Then we went biking around the place. Cost: tricycle fetched us from FP then we went to Pension Ivatan (may bakery kaso maguumpisa pa lang magluto ng bread), Casa Napoli (closed), then Post Office (dyan daw pinanganak si Pacita Abad) Tricycle cost was I think P160 (may computations sila for ilang stops, ilan yung distance and also ilan minutes waiting time sa stops). We then walked around merienda sa SDC Canteen then we rented bikes na P25/hour each bike. Sakit na pwet namin tsaka legs kasi may mga uphills tapos 1 hour lang pala yun. Then while biking may naamoy kaming baked bread smell so takam na takam kami so mega bike to look for bakery kaso wala, sa SDC lang yata but the bread we ate there was not what we were looking for. Ayun we went back to Pension Ivatan kasi nga by then dapat baked na mga bread nila, ayun dun namin na realize na ang tricycle sa Batanes eh tinatawagan pala, so we called FP to ask a tricycle to pick us up. Initially kasi ang plan was tricycle bring us to town then pasundo na lang kasi sa FP pabalik, but since we wanted pa to go to Pension Ivatan’s bakery we figured tricycle muna tapos doon na kami sunduin ng FP. But after buying bread ayaw na namin maghintay so pahatid kami again sa tricycle to FP this time tricycle cost was P130. Pag dating namin sa FP tamang tama papunta na si Kite & Laya & Yaya to the office so ayun pinasakay muna si Laya sa tricyle ikot ikot.
Dinner namin was Coconut Crab. Buti na lang nagbilin ako kasi hirap din silang makahanap ng crabs but they were able to find for us. It is yummy kasi ANG DAMI DAMING aligue nung crab, but ang luto nila was parang they steamed it lang eh. Mas yummy pa din for me ang Shanghai Crabs… drool!
Day 5 (Jan 3)
Last day na namin but wala na kaming maisip anong gagawin, Sabtang is not an option kasi di ako papayag isama sila, mag worry naman ako about the kids if iiwan namin sila ng ganyan katagal and walang 100% assurance makabalik kami kasi may chances ma strand if pangit talaga ang alon. So wala kaming plano for the day. So we explored FP further, may access kasi ang FP na papunta sa beach nabasa ko sa blog, so ayun ang ginawa namin, josme ang haba haba so mga 3/4 or maybe halfway ayaw ko na kasi ok lang yung pababa but I can imagine if we went all the way down anong hirap yung all the way back up. It was really nice yung stairs so ok na ok na ako maski di kami bumaba sa beach. After that may time pa so inaya ko si Kite & Didda to go to the rolling hills again since nagmamadali kami when we first went, eh ayaw nila so me, Laya & yaya na lang. Hay grabe ang ganda talaga nung place. Yun nga lang di maganda picture ko kasi si yaya nag picture :(. Tricycle lang din kami again. Round trip cost us mga P260 yata including waiting for us for mga 30 mins while we picture picture there.
Back to room, pack na ng gamit. Then relax and settle na ng bill.
Day 6 (Jan 4)
Woke up yaya had breakfast sa resort kaloka P350 yung congee na kinain niya, kami hindi na kami kumain kasi wala na yung free breakfast kasi we ate breakfast upon arrival, we went straight na to airport. Dun sa airport since tapat ng airport yung Pension Ivatan dun kami kumain, we ordered a several Ivatan dishes to try out.
Please check out pictures at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150683317563662.494530.594228661&type=1
May mga captions na din mga pictures.
The end 🙂
Super duper thanks to Roslyn for answering my never ending last minute questions; to Jade for her trip with Summer and Winter ayun kaya ako biglang nag decide kaya namin; Abie for her pictures and kwento (ayy sandali di yata ako dapat mag thank you dahil sa iyo Abie shorts dala ko! hahaha joke lang) and Peachy Juban too for her files on Batanes.
Hanggang sa susunod na lakbay 🙂
March 28, 2012 § 4 Comments
Ohh our darling Laya (though a handful right now) is turning two already!
We are commemorating this event with a pictorial again instead of a party. And choosing pictorial over parties is proving to be such a wise decision, aside from we got great photos, it also cost a lot less not even a fraction of a party and Laya loves this more as she doesnt like too many people trying to carry and get her. I dont know if it is just because we have easy access to great photographers but I strongly encourage moms to do this. But a word a caution too: it is highly addictive!
Here’s our 2nd Bday Party Pictorial! Of course it has to be Pinoy Pop Culture (si AngPambansang.com kasi ang nagisip ng concept eh).
More photos at my FB Album 🙂
Getting permit to take pictures in Luneta is now easy as 1,23.
The day before the shoot it was raining hard, the day of our shoot we found out was the hottest day of the year so far and the next day it was again raining hard. So lucky noh?
Happy birthday darling Laya!