Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy birthday, Papa!

It's my dad's birthday today! And since we won't be celebrating until tomorrow, here's an old family picture first. I think I was about 2-3 years old here. So many years have passed since then and yet my dad hardly looks any different. Well, except for the colored glasses and his hair color, which despite our countless pleas, he refuses to dye black. But, he is as fit and as matipuno as ever and his porma is still the same - khaki pants, piqué shirt and leather shoes!

You are still my number 1 favorite hero, Papa! Happy, happy birthday! Labshoo! :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Family Vacation: Hong Kong (Disney Hollywood Hotel)

We rode a cab from Hong Kong airport to Disney's Hollywood Hotel, where we stayed for just one night. This was a bit of a splurge since we could have gotten a nicer hotel in the city for the price we paid here. However, the hotel was a really fun place if you have kids or if you are a kid at heart. There were hidden Mickeys everywhere and the decor was all Mickey inspired. Plus it was close to the theme park and there were shuttle buses going back and forth, so it was easy to go back to the hotel when the kids were tired or were wanting to nap or rest. We also got the two-day tickets so we didn't have to rush around the park and could explore it at a leisurely pace.

For those of you planning to visit Hong Kong Disneyland, do consider staying at the hotel and getting two-day tickets. Room rates start at HKD1650 (Php8700) per night for a garden view room at Hollywood Hotel, breakfast not included. I suggest getting park view rooms, which was a bit more expensive than the garden view room but cheaper than the sea view room. You can actually watch the fireworks from the comforts of your room! Of course, it won't be as amazing as when you watch from inside the theme park, but it was still awesome. And it worked really well for us since Ally gets spooked by fireworks. Sayang naman if we miss it, diba? Not only did we get to watch the fireworks from our room, we didn't have to worry about the kids being exposed to the elements in the chilly January night. Less worries for me!

Park view room at the Disneyland Hollywood Hotel
Cribs are free of charge, subject to availability though
The room was very child-friendly - no scary corners to be worried about!
Infant/toddler-appropriate Disney Jr was available on TV
Our view of the fireworks 
The beds were perfect, not too soft and not too firm.
Sofia gave it a thumbs up after a good night's sleep!
What I love with this hotel was that the hotel itself can entertain you with its amenities. It has a huge outdoor pool (which unfortunately was closed for maintenance), expansive sprawling gardens decorated with classic cars (perfect for photo ops), a kid-friendly game room, outdoor playground, a gift shop, and hotel restaurants where you can actually dine with Disney characters. If these aren't enough, you can hop on the shuttle to go to the other Disney hotel, the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, which is a more posh, slightly more expensive hotel (compared to the Hollywood Hotel). Now this hotel has a spa, an indoor pool (which will undergo maintenance from end March to April 2013), live music entertainment, outdoor basketball court and tennis court, storybook playroom and a Mickey Mouse maze.

We weren't able to go to the Disneyland Hotel since we opted to spend our whole day at the theme park instead. Of course, we made time for a mini-pictorial session at the Hollywood Hotel's lobby and gardens with their classic cars.

Even the bench had touches of Mickey!

The two-day tickets on the other hand, allow you to visit the park on any two days within a 7 day period (so it is not necessary to visit the park on consecutive days). And if you are thinking that it is twice the price of the the single-day ticket, you are wrong! One-day ticket costs HKD399 (Php2100) for adults but two-day tickets costs HKD499 (Php2620). See? Not bad for an extra day in Disneyland, right?

Check out their website because they currently have a hotel room + 2-day ticket promo. Rates start at HKD2532 (Php13200) for 2 adults. They also have early booking discounts. I booked our room more than 45 days in advance so I got a 20% discount. Good deal, no? Oh, and like most hotels, the room rates are slightly more expensive Fridays and Saturdays. So if your travel dates are flexible, better to stay during weekdays for additional savings.

More of our Hong Kong trip on the next post!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Weekend Fun

Change of pace seems to be this weekend's theme.

Yesterday, we went to Trinoma for lunch and a bit of shopping instead of going for merienda at my parent's place.

Today, instead of our usual weekend pasyal at the mall, we went to BGC. I know, there were still shops there, so technically, it was still a mall. But, we were exposed to plenty of sunshine, the kids were able to play on the grass and they ran (well, Ally ran and Sofia was carried) and got wet by the fountain. Fun!

We really should go to BGC more often. The kids had a blast and my wallet didn't suffer. Teehee! Hooray for cheap thrills!

Sofia seemed confused with all the grass

They removed their shoes to have more fun

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday Mall Day

My sister and I usually bring our kids to our parents' place Friday afternoon. This week however, plans changed after we saw Wee Nam Kee's update on Facebook. They have a 50% off total bill when you use a Citibank card. The promo is only for their Trinoma branch and valid Mar 22-23. Minutes after reading the post and a couple of phone calls later, we decided meet up at Trinoma instead and made reservations to have lunch at Wee Nam Kee.

I was so happy we decided fast. The resto was kinda small and all the tables were reserved when we got there at 11am. I had my hands full with my super likot Sofia so I wasn't able to take photos at all! We feasted on roasted and steamed chicken, cereal prawns, hot and sour soup and spinach soup. Total bill for 9 pax? Only Php1500. Sobrang sulit price wise and we were so busog and satisfied. Wee Nam Kee's chicken rice tastes exactly like the ones in Singapore and remains to be the only one here in Metro Manila that doesn't taste pilit, in my opinion.

Sofia entertaining Mamang with her likot antics
I love my sister's porma, so casual and chic!
After our very satisfying lunch, we dropped Ally, Pito and the yaya over at the playground area before going around the mall. We paid for 3 hours of play, which I originally thought was too long and Ally would get bored before the time was up. I was wrong. They had so much fun, they stayed until practically the last minute.

It was easier for us to go around the mall minus the bigger kids. Walang makulit asking to go to the toys section or to the bookstore or to McDonald's for ice cream. We were able to shop in relative peace, for me at least since Sofia was asleep in her stroller. I was able to buy cute summer-y shorts and sandos for Sofia and a pretty (also summer-y) watch for me.
Circo shorts and sandos from Landmark
Cute watch from Call It Spring
It was a good change of pace for all of us. It was definitely a great way to kick off the weekend fun.

Happy weekend!

Friday, March 22, 2013

OOTD Mar 16

Here was what I wore to Mickey and Anne's wedding last Saturday.

Was I as dalaga-looking as my grandaunt said?

Mickey and Anne's Wedding

We attended my cousin Mickey's wedding at Glass Garden last Saturday. It was my first time to attend a Christian wedding where the wedding ceremony and the reception was in the same place. It was all new to me, and I found it odd to be seated in a round table during the marriage rites. It reminded me so much of Bill and Fleur's wedding in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Too bad they couldn't just magic the chairs and tables like they did in the book.

The place was beautiful! The foliage and the lighting added a certain romantic feeling to the atmosphere. The 'altar' was adorned in fairy lights and flowers. Truly a perfect setting! My one complaint was that the aircon was too cold! Maybe because it was raining outside that day, I don't know. I had to keep moving around so I won't freeze (exag but felt true at the time).

Ally was a flower girl (her fifth in 15 months), and I was so proud of her! She needed very little 'coaching' but she walked down the aisle unaccompanied and smiled throughout. Very stariray for my usually public-shy little girl! And she was such a behaved little princess the whole evening. My grandaunt complimented me on Ally's comportment, and said she (Ally) was amazingly mature for her age and that I was raising her well. So touched and kilig! Thank you, Ally, for making your mother look good to the elders.

The stage mother giving last-minute instructions
This was taken while she was walking down the aisle.
Love that Ally is always camera ready!
Sofia behaved a lot better than I expected. She was a bit cranky at first, which might have been caused by her discomfort at the temperature too. But she didn't make too much of a noise during the ceremony, to my great relief! She was all smiles after her nap midway through the event and only asked (or rather, demanded) to be nursed late in the evening, which I was thankful for since my dress was not breastfeeding-friendly. 

Doesn't Sofia look so adorable?
Best part of my evening? Receiving a couple of compliments on my look! Yihee, so kilig! So shallow, I know, but hey, it really did make my night complete. They said I looked well put-together and dalaga-looking! And a few relatives even commented that I seem to be losing weight. Woohoo!

All in all, it was a great evening and we had so much fun! It was such a treat to dress up and celebrate with family and loved ones. Again, congratulations and best wishes, Mickey and Anne! Thank you for hosting a fun and memorable evening.

My cousin Mickey reminded me of Lee Min Ho here
Proud (and teary-eyed) parents of the groom
Newlyweds Mickey and Anne with the flower girls and ring/bible bearers
Me and my princess
Battung family picture (with Ally's pouty lips and Jojo's SMB)
With my siblings
Barangay Macias with the newlyweds
Welcome to the Paras clan, Anne!
Grandpa and Ally 
Princess Ally
With my mom and Mamang. Parang sisters lang!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This is Love

Lookee at my fab find at the Chinese mini-grocery at Greenhills - red kiamoy pure powder. So salty-ly, evil-ly good! To balance out its evil-ness, I eat it with healthy and wholesome apples and fiber-rich pineapples. Yummy!

I am sure I am going to feel bloated and icky with all the water retention later in the week, but right now I think will be worth it. This really is the good kind of bad!

Pictorial at Cafe Via Mare

I mentioned briefly in my previous post that the lighting at Cafe Via Mare is good. Here is my proof - amazing photos taken on a mere Nikon D90.