Sunday, March 31, 2013


Once again, our fridge got overstuffed with cakes from families and friends. Thank you all, you are the sweetest! May surprise moments pa kuning kuning. As always, I'm deeply touched :)

Polly's Blueberry Cheesecake from Hubby and kids

A decadent KOCC chocolate cake, a surprise from my co-workers

and a flourless dark chocolate cake I made, recipe of which I'll try to share as soon as I can :)

Forever thankful, yup, that's me! For the years that the heavens granted me which made me wiser; for abundance of blessings, good health and a family that I wished for. Honestly, I couldn't think of any material gift to wish for this year. I feel like I have everything :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Travel: Birthday Getaway at Canyon Cove, Batangas

This is where we spent our first summer getaway-slash-my-birthday celebration two weeks ago. We booked a 3D/2N stay with friends from college. After the Ilocos trip with them, we all agreed that we should do this yearly bonding with an out-of-town rendezvous and this year we decided to do it somewher near. The Ilocos trip last Holy Week was sooo tiring (but fun nonetheless).

The room. We booked superior room for each family. The rooms have either 1 king-sized bed or 2 twin beds and a daybed for all superior rooms

As soon as the kids saw the beds, they went for this. Kawawang kama.

 We adore the daybed. We love waking up here with the view and sound of the sea. I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the loo and when I came back to bed I can hear the soothing sound of the sea. Such a priceless moment. My kids said we should never leave Canyon Cove, they suggested we live there. I like that too :)

The study, TV and bar a.k.a patungan ng kung ano ano. My son was looking for ch.31 (that's Disney Junior channel in our cable at home) every time we're in the room. Sorry honey, no Disney Junior for 3 days muna.

 The bathroom. Pretty basic but clean and generally well equipped.  It's got hot and cold shower so that's good enough. We brought in our own bags of toiletries anyway especially with the kids in tow. We always travel with their own set of toiletries, towels, insect repellant, sunblock, vitamins, meds and first aid kit. I also packed their own snacks which the resort allowed as long as their kiddie snacks.

The picturesque view of South China seas from our balcony

Ehem, someone tried to order room service...

The kids couldn't wait to get to the pool so we headed out as soon as our stuff got settled in.

She was smiling here but after she experienced the waves, she preferred the pool. I was amazed and surprised that Sophie still remembered her swim lessons from last summer. Great job little girl :)

Floaters first before hitting the water. I watched them like a hawk despite those swim gears especially since the place has quite a number of guests that weekend. Good thing the resort has humongous pool so it didn't feel crowded even with that much guests. There are two dedicated pool for kids. One of which is about two feet, safe enough for Sam to swim in which makes it kid-friendly in my book. They also have a playground by the pool area.

Beside the pool is the volleyball area that's always occupied
We decided to just lounge in one of the cabanas (free use for guests), enjoy the outdoor and some chit chat. As I posted on my Instagram, I can get used to this life :)

The poolside also has an al fresco grill/bar where you can orderd grilled pork, fish and other bbq-ed meals and drinks. We enjoyed grilled everything for lunch, although a little pricey in our opinion. On the subject of food, it was okay (as some Tripadvisor reviewers said) but a little pricey for what they serve. Anyway, you can go to town for dinner or lunch as what we did when we feel like going out. We found this gem of a binalot (rice meals with viand and salted egg wrapped in banana leaves) resto beside Mercury Drug in town. They serve delish tanigue steak, silog and binalot meals :)

One of our very few beach photos. The kids prefer the pool.

Oh and one more thing I like about Canyon Cove is the 'mirror' elevator doors. Why? Because I can do this every chance I get. hehe.

Wouldn't leave Batangas without a sunset photo to add to my collection.

The gang (minus 2) before heading back to Manila. I hope our Bohol trip next year pushes through. We definitely had a blast guys :)

The attendants were very helpful and accommodating. Check in was a breeze and check out took a few minutes because of a number of guests checking out as well on a Sunday. We were immediately assisted by the bell boys and concierge because we brought in sooo much stuff you think we’re gonna live there, hehe.

Oooops, wouldn't miss Leslie's bulalo and crispy pata in Tagaytay City. Lunch at Leslie's on a Sunday was a test of patience. We were #10 in the wait list. Good thing the queue moved faster than we expected so we were seated after less than half an hour. Yup, mabilis na yan. We were so famished I forgot to take photos of our food.

And some treats we brought home from Rowena’s. The fruit tarts and sylvannas are simply the best! 

How was your summer coming along so far? Have a great one guys and stay safe ! :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Blessed at 37

March 19, the day I officially turned a year older. I'm 37 years and 2 days old today. Big number as I look at it but come to think of it those years made me so much wiser and brought countless blessings that never ceases to overwhelm. The past weeks alone presented an array of beautiful surprises:

 - A text from Sam's teacher saying that my son got a perfect score in his assessment exam. One proud and teary-eyed mama here :) Despite the limited time to review because Ate also needs to review, he excelled in his exam.

- An impromptu thanksgiving activity. I feel the need to give back more this year as thanksgiving for my dad's recovery, the countless blessings, kids' good grades in school, etc. An email from a co-worker asking to help orphans of Tahanan ng Pagmamahal was the answer to that wish.

Tahanan ng Pagmamahal houses orphans and sends them to school. Under their their care are babies, toddlers and teenagers whose parents can either no longer provide for them or just abandoned them. That day we met the girls of the orphange. What I like about helping these kids is that they are school kids and you know that they dream of better life and success someday because they pursue their education. It's fulfilling to help those who help themselves.
It was heartwarming to meet them, they are the sweetest and very respectful, from the kids to the adults. I wish to be able to do this every year. We brought along Sophie to the outreach so she will be enlightened why there are places like Tahanan ng Pagmamahal and for her to learn the concept of sharing and giving even at a young age.
Sorry, I can only share very limited photos, it's the organization's policy.

I know that when doing charity work, never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing but I want to share this with you in case you also want to help. The babies need formula milk, diapers, baby food while the kids need clothes and their daily supply of baon for school. Visit this site if you're interested:

An out-of-town getaway with friends. Last year we booked a 3D/2N stay in Canyon Cove Nasugbu, Batangas for my birthday this year (by now, you may have figured I'm such a plan ahead freak, from investment to travel). But hey, planning and paying for this trip early gave me the financial leverage to spend my money on good deeds this year. More of that trip in my next post.

view from our room

Thanks to all my family, friends, colleagues who texted, called and flooded my FB timeline with warm greetings and special thoughts :) Another pleasant surprises were the adorable birthday greetings from unexpected people. I'm simply overwhelmed. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Then and Now

Here is an exhibit of how my mom made our photo albums personalized. Talk about doing everything from acratch.

The first few photos below show that my album's pages were made of cartolina cut into size bigger than a legal sized bond paper. Our (my siblings and I) albums are color coded, mine is yellow.

 The cover was made of illustration board covered with orange felt paper and plastic which by now is screaming for an upgrade (note to self: give that album a face lift please!). 

Most special about this album is that Mama handwritten dates and notes on each photo. Talk about personalization. 

Look closely at the left photo and you will see how much it cost to give birth to a child in the '70's. 

This album (along with my siblings') have become conversation pieces in my parents' home until I got married and Mom handed mine to me as keepsake. 

Thanks Mom, this is amazing although it's really embarrassing sometimes to show to friends. When they see my photos as a toddler, they would turn to me and back at the photos several times with that seemingly confused expression. Okay, I get it, I look prettier now. hehe. 

From my sagalas to my mountaineering photos, they're all here, documented. Note that the sheets have turned to white, I guess the bookstore ran out of that dark yellow cartolina

My college (and post college) extra curricular activities: theater and dancing which tie at no. 2 on my list of fave hobbies. I still continue to dance until now and choreograph every now and then. Looking at these photos takes me back to those times of endless rehearsals, tiring but fun.

Now that I'm a mom, I do the same for my kids. Before we used to call it photo album, now we have a more crafty call for it - scrapbook. The modern times also gave us more options to create artistic work, embellishment is all abound in bookstores. Imagination is the limit.

Here is Sophie's scrapbook and I decided it should be handwritten as well. It just looks more personal that way. 

Sonogram collection and her first photos with Mom and Dad. 

These 3 pouches contain her navel, very first cut nails and her first hair cut. 

If you are like hubby and I, you also have these - celebration of your kids' monthsaries

This post is more like a reminder that I'm way behind updating their scrapbooks. For Sam, I've only gone as far as his baptismal. I really need to make time for this.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Aerosmith Live in Manila

I was supposed to post something else today but I couldn't resist posting this first.
OMG! Aerosmith is coming to town on May 8. I now have one entry on concert-to-watch list this year. All you Aerosmith fans, mark the date!

ROCK N' ROLL GODS. After a very long wait, legendary band Aerosmith is finally coming to Manila. Image from the Aerosmith Facebook page

photo from:

I totally had a blast watching the eternally cool Sting in concert last year and I can't wait to see this ultimate rock band perform LIVE!
No ticket prices yet but organizer Pulp Live Productions and SM Tickets  will release ticket pricelist soon. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Playmates and BFFs

Sorry boys but this is another one of my wholesome posts. Nothing hot and sexy here. This is, after all, a mommy blog :)

See, the little kulitogs, now 6 and 3 (and turning 4 in a few weeks) have become each BFFs of late.

For parents, that brings glorious smiles to our faces and a different kind of warmth to our hearts.

Fact is, it hasn’t always been like this. I’m sure most parents with 2 or more children will agree that playtime can be diverse for each child and that at times, either siblings ignore each other or disagree/fight during playtime.

Of course, they're still fighting or bickering every now and then but when it comes to playtime, they agree on everything! Sometimes, they conspire to play a trick on mom and dad. Really, there are times when I’m not sure if I should be mad or amused; if we should give them corner time or laugh with them. Ahh, children.

This is one of their play time, we did a makeshift tent out of a blanket. 

Next thing I know, they were on top of the blanket! Guess who's arm is this? 

See? They decided it was more fun to make the tent a swing. Haaay. I immediately replaced that 'pamana' blanket with an ordinary one. 

Maybe at some point the kids already understand the concept of BFF. When we ask Sam who his bestfriend is, he always blurts out ‘Ate Sophie’ and vice versa. Isn’t that swell? :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Online Worksheets for Kids

With our hunt for Sophie’s new school comes our preparation for the entrance exams. We are not yet sure if she will turn grade 1 or  kinder 2 again next school year. It will depend on the school that we will decide on.
You may be wondering why she needs to go through K2 second time around. For some schools (like UPIS), K2 is their only entry level for her age level so we practically have no choice if we decide on this school (or if they decide on us since slots are limited).
Good thing, the little girl is enjoying the school hunting and entrance exams. At first, I worry that it may be too much for her to take tests several time. Ako nga pagoda na sa kapupunta at kaka-research about these schools.

I found these helpful online review websites for my little girl and it may provide some help for your review time as well. I read one blog where the parents make their own reviewers with matching drawing for topics that needs illustration. I wish I have the time for that but I don’t so these sites are really heaven sent to us: - they have worksheets for math, language, reading and even puzzles which Sophie enjoys. The site is easy to navigate and has practice worksheets from easy to difficult levels for kinder and grade 1. – you need to be a premium member to access more worksheets but there are also free printable worksheets to use. This is a great reviewer since it’s a Filipino site; particularly appreciated the Money: Identifying Bills reviewer. - a good website for parents who are homeschooling and for afterschool reviews. I love that it's interactive, kids does not seem to mind school work. There's also a subscription fee per child. We haven't signed up yet but we tried their demos and the activities were well explained with fun sound effects (the producer side of me can't help but notice the sound effects and graphics, hehe).

We don’t print the worksheets to save on paper (and trees). What we do is provide Sophie with numbered papers or booklet, let her read the questions from our computer and write the answer on the paper. We just turn off the automatic sleep function of your computer to avoid hassle during review.

Another helpful reviewer are the workbooks from their previous school year. I use Sophie's kinder books to review both Sophie and Sam at home. There are some topics and practice pages there that kids (even at higher level) can still use since some topics are recurring.

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