Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yes or No to Trick-or-Treat?

Halloween.


It's that time of year when a lot of parents are faced with the oddly serious dilemma of choosing a costume for their little ones, when candy sales are probably at its peak and when hanging a headless man in your front gate doesn't look all that scary. 

When I was young, Halloween and trick-or-treating is not even heard of. November 1 or All Soul's Day is simply a time when we as a family would go to the cemetery and remember our departed love ones.

While it has been a common practice in countries like the US since the 1930's, it has only been made popular in the Philippines in the early 2000 and only practiced in the urban areas of Metro Manila. 

With the proliferation of malls in the Metro, it is no surprise that Halloween and Trick-or-Treating has become quite a norm and made into an occasion. Here in the Philippines, it all began as marketing stunt. And we all fell for it... tsk.. tsk... 

If you don't believe me, then give me another reason why malls and restaurants are busiest on Valentine's Day. Not to mention Mother's, Father's, Grandparents and even Siblings Day. (I wonder what occasion will be invented next.)

Personally, I don't like the ghoulish aspect of Halloween. 

Mounting a mock up coffin and an image of kamatayan, ghost or zombie in your front lawn is just pointless. I mean...what for? To make your place look creepy? Intentionally scare away kids? To be in the spirit of Halloween?  

Such things can stir up fear, questions and misconceptions in the young minds of our children.  While evil spirits and the works of Satan are real. They are not to be taken lightly, much so "celebrated."

The world has already garbled a lot of things all in the name of commercialism. And it is our job as parents to teach our children what is right and what is wrong, what is real and unreal, what is true and what is false.  

When it comes to trick-or-treat, admittedly, that's something I fell for as a new parent. When I was a kid, I didn't really understand why we had to go to the cemetery, but my parents made us all go. I missed the experience of dressing up in costumes and walking from house-to-house for candies and goodies.

These are the things that appealed to me about trick-or-treat. After all, this is the only time of the year that kids can get to dress up like their favorite character. Last year, Caleb dressed up like a soldier and this year, he gets to be a pirate as inspired by Disney's Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Dressing up our child in a ghastly or frightening costume is something that we will never even consider.



There's much about Halloween that gets over sensationalized. It is your choice whether you will let your kids go trick-or-treating or not. You don't have to be pressured just because everyone is doing it. 

As for me, I will just let my kid be a kid and let him enjoy the simple joys of trick-or-treat. 

Someday, he will be embarrassed to be in a costume and take candy loots and goodies from neighbors. He will also have more serious questions about death and the reality of evil. When that day comes, me and his dad will be prepared to give him straight answers.

But in the meantime, we'll let him go on a sugar overload, dance in parties with other kids, laugh, have a good time and savor the moment of just being a kid. 


  




    








Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why You Need To Have Your Air-Conditioners Cleaned Regularly

Morning sniffles... not a pretty way to welcome a new day.

For the past week, I've been waking up with clogged nose and sore, itchy throat. My 3-year old son also started having runny nose.  He coughed occasionally but his coughing and runny nose did not lead to a full-blown cold. 

I noticed that after I turn off our air-conditioner and allow fresh air to circulate in the room, I'd feel a lot better. That being said, guess, what the culprit for our allergy was? 

It had only been a year since our air conditioners were cleaned. I know that I should have scheduled it way earlier since we have been using the unit everyday. But yeah, I've been postponing it. Guilty as charged. And now, it's taking its toll on our health.  

Fortunately, I was able to purchase discount vouchers for aircon cleaning services in Ensogo last month from the same service provider who cleaned our units before, Wiseman Aircon Cleaning Services. They did a pretty good job in cleaning our units so it's a bonus that I chanced upon the discount just in time.

Their service guys came over last Monday. Before they removed the units, they first checked if they are working properly.  

Since we live in a condo, they used our living area balcony as their cleaning station. As expected, they did everything quite systematically. One guy worked on the main unit and the other worked on cleaning the other external parts.



The base of our master's bedroom aircon was super filthy!
And we've been inhaling that dirt!



After they're done with the first unit, they proceeded with the air-conditioner in my son's room. Before taking it down, the service guy called my attention and said that the evaporator coil is starting to build up ice.  He then explained to me that this is caused by improper circulation of freon. 

To resolve this, he might need to check if there is leak in the refrigerant or plug in the filter. If there are no leaks or plugs, he might just need to add freon. 

I told him that we seldom use the unit because our son usually sleeps in our room. I later learned from him that not using your air-conditioner regularly can cause the freon to stuck up. He suggested that we try to use it at least twice a week to make sure the freon circulates properly.

Instead of giving a wrong/pre-mature diagnosis (which I might have easily fallen into), he said that he'll first observe if the problem persists after he cleans the unit. 

Look at that filthy water!




When they finished, they checked the air conditioner and the coil did not build up ice again. Whew! I'm saved from another unexpected household expense.

So why is it important to have your air conditioners cleaned regularly? 

Air conditioners are designed to have a specific quantity of air passing through its indoor coil surface. When air filters are not cleaned/replaced, it causes the air-conditioner to work inefficiently. You might end up having an overworked unit (translate: higher electric bill) and later on might affect the compressor (translate: cost for repair/ parts or unit replacement). Simply put, having it cleaned regularly will save you money.  

But the more important reason is your health. A dirty air-conditioner causes poor air circulation. Essentially, the dirt is not filtered and lingers in the air inside the room. And that is the air you breathe. If your air-conditioner has already accumulated mildew/ molds, you might be in for more serious trouble.  

You don't have to wait for summer to have your air-conditioner cleaned.  Get it done soon and don't compromise on your family's health.

Wiseman Aircon Services suggests cleaning and preventive maintenance every 3-4 months or every 2 months if you live in an area where air is "more polluted." For inquiries, call them at 562-7095. They service all areas in Metro Manila*.  Rate for window-type aircon cleaning is P500/ unit and P1,200 for split-type air-conditioners.

*(Additional charge may apply to certain areas.)













Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Music Together Now in the Philippines

A couple of weeks ago, me and my three-year old son, Caleb attended a free demo class by Music Together at the Kensington Place (Playschool International) in Bonifacio Global City.    

Music Together is an internationally recognized music program for children from birth through age 7 and the grown-ups who love them.  It pioneered the concept of research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. 

The program values the role of music in early childhood. By learning to "speak music" at a young age, children can develop a musical capacity that will give them enough music aptitude to play in a symphony orchestra as adults, if they choose. 

The core of the program is the idea that kids learn best from the powerful role models of parents/caregivers who are actively making music. It aims to create a friendly and supportive environment where families can come together, for children to learn how to sing in tune, keep a beat and confidently participate in the music of their culture. 


The program has been offered to the public since 1987 and has now more than 2,500 locations in 40 countries, but it was only recently that the program was brought to the Philippines by The Great Leap Academy.  

MUSIC OF MIXED AGES 

Music Together has chosen Playschool International as the venue for their classes in BGC Taguig City. Since the building is located along Burgos Circle, parking was quite convenient - a very important factor for me in choosing a class venue for my son. We got there quite early so Caleb was able to play with the toys available in the school while we waited for Teacher Rylie and his classmates. 


Before the class began, Teacher Rylie gave name tags to the kids and asked all the moms and caregivers to join and participate. She also assured us that older kids are free to roam around and play while class is going on.  One of the philosophies of Music Together is to create a friendly, no-pressure environment for the kids.

In the demo class we attended, there were only 2 toddlers and 3 babies below 1 year old. I was expecting that the class will be composed of toddlers/ pre-schoolers (not mixed aged) so I was worried with how my son will respond. 

But when she began to play the ukelele and sing the "Hello" song, I noticed that Caleb was easily drawn to the music.  He stopped playing, embraced me from behind and began swinging from side to side.  


In the succeeding songs that were played, Teacher Riley introduced various musical concepts to the parents and explained the idea behind each segment. During the class, she taught about micro and macro beats, rhythms and tonalities. 

Later on, she brought out different instruments - castanets, maracas, bells, egg shakers and tambourines.  We learned new songs and sang familiar ones with a slightly different melody.  Caleb had lots of fun dancing and playing the instruments. Seeing how my son respond made me appreciate the beauty of the program. Even when Caleb was younger, I already saw his natural interest in music. I think that Music Together will help build a good foundation for him to develop an inclination to music just like his dad who plays the saxophone and flute.

Playing the castanets
Using the tambourine as a drum




I personally liked how Teacher Rylie conducted the class. She has a very soothing and clear singing voice. She led the class in singing songs, some of which are from different genres and cultures.  I thought that the folk aspect of the music brings a unique character to the program as it exposes children to a new kind of music - something that they don't usually hear. She said that in the actual class, we can play different kinds of music both familiar and unfamiliar and even incorporate contemporary songs for the kids and parents to sing.   

After the class, she entertained our questions about the program like how Music Together differs from Kindermusik and other music programs for children. One of the ways they differ is that in Kindermusik, the kids are grouped by developmental age, while Music Together's philosophy is that learning in an informal family style is best.   

Music Together Fall 2014 classes in BGC will start on October 9, 2014. Regular Rate is P8,500 for 1 term (3 months, once a week classes). Flexible payment terms and early bird rates are also available.  Upon enrollment, you will receive 2 professionally recorded CDs and an illustrated songbook with family activity suggestions.

Currently, Music Together is being offered in the following locations:

1.  The Great Leap Academy - Don Antonio, Quezon City
2.  Brewing Point Dance Studio - Tierra Pura, Quezon City
3.  Playschool Internation - Kensington Place, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig 

As much as I want to enroll, I am due to give birth by the first week of November so I will have to wait until the next term (January 2015). And because siblings below 8 months can attend the class for free, it got me even more excited! 

For inquiries on Music Together, visit their Facebook page or Website:

Music Together by The Great Leap Academy Facebook Page


http://www.musictogether-tgla.ph/





Thursday, October 2, 2014

6 Ways to Parenting with Confidence: Lessons from the book "How to Win Your Child's Heart"

When I became a parent a few year back, a friend gave me the book, How to Win Your Child's Heart by Dr. Ruth Chang.  The book gave valuable insights and practical wisdom especially for a new parent like me. I recently read the book again and thought about sharing some of the things I've learned and how I was able to apply them so far.  

In the book, Dr. Chang begins by saying that many of us enter parenthood without knowing what real parenting is all about, much more set goals in raising our children in the right way. More often, we just copy what "more experienced" parents have been doing and have that mentality of going with the flow. 



In order for us to fulfill our role as parents effectively, we should turn to God because He is the one who has given us the privilege of becoming parents.

The Word of God clearly defines what that role is and that is far from raising rich, successful professionals. Our real success as parents is  determined by their becoming people of great character - for them to become people who love and honor God and who love and genuinely care for other people.

As it says in Deuteronomy  6: 4-9:  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. 

6 WAYS TO PARENTING WITH CONFIDENCE

Dr. Chang shared 6 essential parenting principles to raising our children the right way.  For her readers to easily remember the principles, she used the acronym:  P-A-R-E-N-T.  Let me share my take away on each principle and how we have been trying to apply them as parents:

1.  P- Praise

Positive feedback is the most important source in building our children's confidence and self-esteem. When our kids are young, it seems so natural to praise them. However, as they get older, parents often fall short on this area mainly because we don't know what to praise them for or how to praise them. 

One way that we can do this is to LISTEN to them and to acknowledge their feelings instead of being critical or negative. 

When we do praise them, we should also be sincere and not exaggerate. One way that we are trying to apply this is by being specific whenever we praise our son. 

Before applying this principle, Randy and I would normally praise our son by just saying, "Good Job!" Now, we're learning to be more specific in praising/giving our son a compliment. An example would be saying, "It really makes me happy every time you pack away your toys right away after mommy asks you to do it."

2.  A-Accept

Acceptance is showing our children that we love them unconditionally. We should be able to recognize the unique qualities of our children and not "push" them into certain social standards or stereotypes.

Spending quality time with each of children is one way that we can show acceptance. We should also give our full attention when our child is speaking to us and minimize having to say, "I am busy right now." 

Many of us are guilty of this, including me. I'm trying to change this by pausing for a while when our son needs a drink or just wants to show me what he made with his blocks.  When I'm in the middle of something very important and could not immediately attend to him, I try to explain that I will get back to him in a while and do as I say.

3.  R-Respect

Respect is essentially treating our children with kindness and dignity. Showing respect to our children is necessary so that they will trust adults later on and not be rebellious.

To show them respect, we should practice using courteous words at home like "Please," "Thank You," "Excuse Me," and "I appreciate it"  even while they are still young. My husband and I are very particular in teaching Caleb how to be respectful and courteous so we make sure that we model it correctly to him.

Another way to show respect is to solicit our children's ideas and involve them when making some decisions at home like in setting up family rules and consequences for misbehavior. 

4. E- Empathize

Empathy is the means to developing a strong bond with our children.  It is being sensitive, understanding and responsive to their needs.    

To truly empathize to our children, we must be attentive to both verbal and non verbal cues. Oftentimes, this will also require us to suspend our policewoman role and not be quick to judge or correct them. 

I used to commit the mistake of telling our son to stop crying when something is wrong. Now, I'm learning to be more sensitive to him by asking, "What's wrong, sweetheart? What are you upset about?" At 3 years old, he may not be able to fully verbalize his feelings but usually, just hearing me ask him why he's upset is already enough to calm him down.

5.  N- Nurture

As parents, we need to nurture our children in all areas of their lives - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

This is one role that I have been practicing as a parent from day one. 

To nurture him physically, we teach our son to eat right - eat vegetables and fruits. Because we don't want him to indulge on what's "bawal," when we are not around, we don't deprive him with "enjoyable" food like sweets and chips. Instead, we teach him to eat these kinds of food in moderation and learn how to eat healthy and balanced meals.

To nurture him mentally, I enrolled him to several classes in music and gymnastics at an early age. I also feel privileged to be able to homeschool him since he was 2 years old. Everyday, I make sure that Caleb engages himself in some form of learning activity, may it be arts, music or numbers. Reading to him is one habit that he always looks forward to and because of this, he is learning to be a good story-teller. I am also always on the lookout for new programs and classes that will stimulate his mind and challenge him to learn new skills.

To nurture him emotionally, we always have "gigil time" with him where we just cuddle, tickle, kiss, hug and tell stories in bed. Our son always love gigil time and he drops anything that he's doing every time I say, "C'mon, Caleb it's gigil time!"

To nurture him spiritually, we make it a point to pray always - upon waking up, before meals and before bedtime. We would read bible stories together during school time and I also teach him to memorize bible verses. We also love to sing bible story songs together. Every time we would request him to sing, it's not a surprise that his default song is "Jesus Loves Me" because I've been singing that song to him since he was still in my belly.

6.  T-Train

Training our children entails instruction, correction and modelling by our example. To train them effectively and not be succumb to frustration, we need wisdom from God.

To instruct our children, we should set well-defined boundaries that still make them feel loved. It is an ongoing process of teaching our children to do what is right. Correction on the other hand is our means of changing a wrong/ inappropriate behavior.

Recently, we have been finding it hard to correct our son's complaining attitude. We were surprised to see him exhibit tenacity and deliberately choose to disobey even when he knows the right thing to do. We never tolerated his tantrums that is why we were taken aback to see this attitude surface.  

Randy and I are have tried various approaches - giving punishment and consequences which sometimes work and sometimes do not.  I am glad I revisited the book because I picked up a new concept which is, ignoring wrong behavior and rewarding appropriate behavior. 

Randy and I have discussed a reward system for our son which I would definitely share in my future blog post after we have implemented it.

Last but not the least, modelling by our own example is the most powerful tool. No matter what we tell our children, they will still pick up what they see us do. Personally, I think this is the most humbling aspect of parenting since we are not perfect and we are also prone to committing mistakes. However, what is important is admitting your mistakes and being transparent to your children.   

ENJOY PARENTING

Parenting is never easy. In fact, it is the most challenging responsibility one could ever have. Our words, actions, choices, basically everything we do will make an impact in the lives of children. And yes, that's scary!

That is why we need wisdom and guidance from our God the Father Himself. Overwhelming as it may seem, children are a blessing from the Lord!  He has given us the privilege of raising children so we should always be conscious of our actions and continuously strive to learn and improve our parenting skills. 


   








Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Ideas for Teaching Letter Recognition

To help young children develop writing and reading skills, it is important that they first learn letter recognition. 

Research shows that children who can recognize letters of the alphabet will help them connect the letters and the sounds they stand for. To help improve letter recognition, constant exposure and practice with writing letters are necessary.

I first introduced the alphabet to my son by exposing him to books and flashcards even before he turned a year old.  I also religiously read to him everyday and supplemented our reading with educational videos and audio CDs. At a year and a half, he was already reciting the alphabet and their respective sounds. All these helped broaden his vocabulary and assisted him in articulating words clearly.  

Now that Caleb just turned three years old, I'm starting to teach him how to read and write. Part of his home school program is letter recognition. Although the program recommends different activities to help him develop this skill, I still think  and research other creative ways on how can learn.  The internet is also a good resource for a lot of fun activities for young children to learn and enjoy. 

Here are some ideas that you can do to help your children develop his letter recognition skills:

1.  Provide different materials for your kids to learn about letters.  Keep flashcards handy and organized by filing them in single ring binders



2.  Download android apps for letter recognition and phonemic awareness.  I personally like the alphabet app http://www.starfall.com. Although this one comes for a minimal fee, there are other apps that you can also download for free.



3. Form letters using clay/ Play dough and plastic straws



4.  Use available toys and materials at home - blocks, shape sorters, marbles, etc to trace and form letters.





5. Incorporate learning letters and playing with your kid's favorite toys

"B" is for Bulldozer


6.  Trace letters with cut-out shapes or by finger painting to help develop motor skills, an important skill for writing





7.  Use different materials with different textures in forming/ tracing letters to improve sensory skills 



8.  Practice connecting capital and small letters



9.  Play alphabet match 

Fill clear plastic jar with rice grains and small magnetic letters. Seal with clear packaging tape to secure contents. Shake the bottle and match letters that appear by placing stones on your alphabet chart



10.  Paint letter using Q-tip to strengthen fingers and develop fine motor skills


I hope you found the ideas useful. If you have other ideas/ activities for pre-schoolers, please feel free to share them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lippies For Mommies

I have a confession to make. I love lipsticks! 

Wait. Let me rephrase that... I am obsessed with lipsticks! 

As a makeup artist, I know that I shouldn't have too much at one time because lipsticks, as any other makeup/ cosmetic product have short shelf life (1 to 2 years). But sometimes, they're just soooo difficult to resist... 

Because I'm now a mom, I've learned to be practical. Gone are the days when I can easily splurge on a lipstick that would easily rip me off at least a thousand bucks. 

Nowadays, price is of utmost consideration. I'm learning that products that are more affordable are not always substandard in quality.  You would be surprised that there are a lot of good finds out there that won't hurt your wallet.  

Aside from price, I also consider products that best suit my lifestyle. When I'm out and about with my tot, heaven knows, I don't have the luxury of time to retouch my makeup. It's always go, go, go!  I also like to shower my little boy with lots of kisses and beauty should not be a reason to compromise. So essentially, a long-staying lippie is must!

For the past few years of being a mom, I've experimented on several drugstore brands in search of the best lippies for mommies.  Allow me to share some of my favorites:

1. L'Oreal Paris Shine Caress  - Watsons, P595

This lippie promises the texture and shine of a gloss with a long wear of a stain. I was buying some toiletries in Watsons when I chanced upon this product. 

I was really looking for a red shade but I have to admit that I was a bit doubtful at first because red lippies can be a bit tricky. It's always a make or break situation. It can either make you look like a streetwalker or a hot bombshell.   

After trying it on, guess what! This red shade proved to be a keeper! The applicator was easy to use and fills my lip creases and lip corners very easily. It has the right amount of sheen and gloss and also did not break up even after I had something to eat/ drink. My only complain about this product is that although the color lasts, it tends to leave a little smudge on my cup/ glass. Overall though, I am very happy with it.


L'Oreal Shine Caress in Juliette, 702



Wearing my latest favorite lippie, L'oreal Shine Caress in Juliette

2.  Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick - Ulta.com, $5.49

If you're looking for a lippie that will stay on all day, this is it!  It is true to color and gives the right amount of shimmer.  I like to wear this lipstick when we're going to a party or a dinner out because the color stays on even after you eat and drink.  

But even though it glides smoothly when applied, it tends to dry up and stick to your lips too quickly. The dryness eventually leads to cracking so I usually top it off with a clear non-sticky lip gloss to seal in moisture.

Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstik in Premium Pink, 010




3.  Mizon Water Glam Lip Tint - Suesh.com, P375

Mizon is a nifty Korean cosmetic brand. Their widely popular product is the Mizon Snail Recovery Cream. Yes, you read it right. SNAIL. Apparently, one of its key ingredients is snail slime/mucus. Eeww! But don't let the name fool you.

Women around the world are raving about this product for its regenerative properties. It even made it's way to Buzfeed's 22 Cult beauty products from Asia.  Enough said about their Snail Recovery Cream.  

There's not much reviews about Mizon's lip tint, but given the good reviews about their recovery cream,  I thought it might be worth a try. When I saw it on TasteCentral.com, I ordered it right away.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, but to my surprise, the product exceeded my expectation!

The packaging was attractive and unique. It's shaped like a lipstick, only, the stick is a plastic casing that houses the liquid tint. A gentle twist will bring out just the right amount of tint. I did not like the feel of pressing the plastic casing on my lips so I used a lip brush to apply it.  And what do you know! The texture is light and smooth, the color is vibrant, won't kiss-off and most importantly long lasting! I'm very satisfied with it, and I'm actually thinking of trying out other shades.

Mizon Water Glam Lip Stain in Hot Pink Glam, 04

4.  NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain - Amazon.com, $4.50


I first chanced upon this lippie in Walmart in the States. Initially, what caught my attention is the marker type applicator. I chose the Forever Fuchsia shade and I love how vibrant the color is!  It took awhile before I got the hang of using the felt tip applicator. I found that outlining the lips and then working my way inside and unto the corners of the lips is the best way to apply it. It's also important to apply it on clean, dry and oil-free lips, which is usually at the beginning of the day.    

This lip stain is absolutely smooch proof as it claims. The only drawback is that it is just a lip stain. It doesn't have a gloss or sheen so I always top it with a lip gloss/ lip balm and I'm good to go. It's also good base for another lipstick. You can layer it with another shade of lipstick or tinted lip gloss and you're good to go!  

While I'm very satisfied with the Forever Fuchsia shade, I find the Persistent Pink quite pale on my lips. I use this shade when I want the natural, no makeup look.

NYC Smooch Proof Lip Stain in Forever Fuchsia, 496 and Persistent Pink, 490

As you can see, each product has its hits and misses. More often, the shade I choose to wear depends on my mood and outfit.  That's just how it is with lippies. They're pretty much like clothes, bags or shoes. You simply can't own only one.  And that's something that our husbands may never comprehend. 

While it may be good to experiment on colors every now and then, it is important to stick to a shade that best compliments your features and skin color. Personally, I like pinks and reds because they give a more youthful glow and are perfect to wear from day to night.  

How about you? What is your go-to lippie? Feel free to share your favorites and let me know what you think of the ones on my stash. Mwah!








Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pico De Loro Birthday Celebration

To celebrate our son's third birthday, me and my husband decided to go out-of-town for a family vacation. Last year, we did the same thing and celebrated his birthday at The Manor in Camp John Hay in Baguio. For his third birthday, I suggested that we go to the beach. We considered flying out to Cebu or Bohol, but since I'm already 7 months  pregnant, we chose a resort that is nearer to Manila. 

We finally chose to book for a 2 nights stay in Pico De Loro in Nasugbu, Batangas. We have stayed in the resort before when Caleb was 9 months old and we did not mind coming back. In fact, we liked the place very much because it is exclusive (not too crowded), accessible to Manila (only a 2-hour drive via Ternate, Cavite) and most importantly family and kid-friendly. 

Pico de Loro Beach and Country Club is exclusive to members and residential owners, while their hotel, Pico Sands is open to guests. We availed of their corporate rate through my husband's employer. A 2 nights stay at their Superior Lagoon View (with 1 queen-sized bed) costs P16,000 inclusive of buffet breakfast for 2 persons, F&B credit for P2,000, 10% discount on their spa and access to the country club and Pico Beach.

Because we booked weeks in advance and checked-in on a weekday, they gave us a corner room with 2 balconies.  Their rooms are cozy, clean and simple, but quite spacious. It is equipped with a LCD TV with Cignal HD channels, a small fridge, the usual hotel amenities, 2 bath robes and safety deposit box.


On our first day at the resort, we took Caleb to Club Pico. For just a P100 fee (weekday rate for guests), kids can enjoy unlimited play time.  Caleb  pretended to be an American Ninja Warrior while he climbed up, hurdled the obstacles and sneaked out of the holes.  It was a challenging course for a three year old, but he enjoyed every moment of it!




After his play time, we took a dip in the pool at the Pico Country Club. There were different pools to choose from, but we ended up in the pool with the fountains. While Randy was giving Caleb swimming lessons, I used the pool's fountain as hydrotherapy to massage my aching back.  What a perfect way for a pregnant mommy to relax!






Our second day in Pico was Caleb's birthday. To make it special, we prepared three simple surprises for him. As soon as he got up from bed, we gave him his first surprise.  Caleb opened his gift with much thrill and excitement! It may just be a simple gift, but the joy in his eyes was absolutely priceless! As it turned out, his gift - a big magnetic drawing board came in handy because it kept him busy while we were in the hotel room.



Prior to our stay, I requested for a small cake which the Pico De Loro staff gladly arranged to be delivered in our room. When I announced surprise #2 to him, Caleb was just ecstatic!  We sang him a Happy Birthday and he blew the candle with so much joy and appreciation. Too bad, we were not able to take a picture of it, but my husband captured that sweet moment on video.  After blowing the candle he embraced both of us and kept repeating I love you, I love you. We never expected how much that simple gesture meant to our little boy.

After breakfast, we went for a stroll around the lagoon to take pictures. Next, we headed to the beach for a day of frolic in the sun and sand! Much to our disappointment, it rained a lot while we were at the beach.  But not even the rain can stop our celebrant from having fun.  He was just content playing with his excavator, bulldozer and dump truck in the sand. The little rain left us enjoying the beach to ourselves. How sweet of God!

Still full from our buffet breakfast, we had a light lunch at The Reef Bar by the beach. After a quick rest in the afternoon, Caleb requested to play again in Club Pico. 









We went to Pico Restaurant at the hotel for dinner.  Randy ordered Spaghetti Carbonara and Spaghetti Amatriciana for me while Caleb chose Fried Chicken with fries. We were very much satisfied with the food and service at the hotel. Food was delicious and the waiting staff were friendly and courteous.  For hotel food, I would say that their prices are also quite reasonable.

Spaghetti Carbonara, P385

Spaghetti Amatriciana, P375

Fried Chicken w/ Fries, P300

The next day, we checked out after breakfast and headed back to Manila. Randy took the route via Ternate which saved us an hour of travel time, considering the heavy traffic in Tanza, Cavite. Just when Caleb thought his birthday was over, I announced that surprise #3 is waiting for him on his bed.



For his main birthday present, we got him an Emco construction block set. Our little engineer was over the moon as he and his daddy assembled the trucks and construction site. 

Our son had the time of his life! I was also glad that we were able to take this much needed vacation before I give birth in a couple of months.  Seeing our son so happy is a precious blessing. Truly, God is faithful! It was a simple celebration, but one that is memorable and special. And for a child, quality time spent with mommy and daddy is all that matters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom And Baby Fair at St. Luke's Global City

Last August 15 and 16, 2014, St. Luke's Global City held the Mom and Baby Fair at the Henry Sy, Sr. Auditiorium in celebration of Breastfeeding Month.  Aside from vendors and exhibitors, the event also featured various talks from different medical practitioners about Prenatal and postnatal care, Anesthesia in pregnancy and Effects in Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding 101 and sponsored talks about Baby Care by Lactacyd and Cord Blood Bank by Cordlife. The event is open to all, with no entrance fee. Participants for the Mom and Me symposium held on August 16 were also given free snacks from de Original Jamaican Patty Shop and free lunch as well.

I attended a similar event three years ago during my first pregnancy but I was only able to stay for a couple of hours so I was curious to learn about new things in pregnancy and childcare. I was happy to find out that their program included separate talks for fathers and caregivers, particularly about their roles and participation in breastfeeding. 


The program started of with a Mother's Yoga Class, followed by a talk from the project head, Dr. Elisa Malvar-Cornelio on the hospital's breastfeeding policy. One of the reasons why we chose St. Luke's Global City is because they encourage rooming-in of newborn babies with their mommies to promote breastfeeding upon the child's delivery. 

What I especially like about the talks is that they open the floor for participants to ask questions from the doctor speakers. In the talk about Anesthesia in Pregnancy, I was able to ask about the chills I experienced when I was given an Epidural. The speaker anesthesiologist explained that one of the effects of epidural is core hypothermia or altered heat distribution in the body.  She assured me that this is pretty normal and that there's nothing that I should be worried about.

Since August is Breastfeeding Month, one of the event's highlight was a Kids' Fashion Show which featured the breastfed kids of St. Luke's Global City.


Another thing that I looked forward to in this event are the generous raffle prices given away by the sponsor merchants/vendors. I was looking forward to winning this time (like the high chair or stroller from Richwell Trading), but it was again not my lucky day :(


Big brands in Baby/ Kids' Essentials and Fashion displayed their products and offered hefty discounts.  Of course, I did not pass up the chance to shop for some of the baby items on my list.

Cribs and strollers at 30 to 50% off from Safety 1st

Mommy and Baby Care products from Mustela

Elle Kids and Chico shoes at 50-60% off

Other vendors include Baby Company, Chino Pino, Early Learning Center 
and Mothercare
Here are the items I bought: 

  • Avent One System Breast Milk Storage Cups, set of 10 reusable cups with lids (P1,141 originally at P1,629.75) 
  • Honey Suckle Breast Milk Storage Bags, box of 25 bags (P360)
  • Avent Replacement Nipples (P280, originally at P399.75 
  • Bug & Kelly Pajama Set (P300)
  • Elle baby girl shoes (P150 each, originally at P399)
  • Emco Construction Block set (P1,439, originally at P 1,799.75) - not in picture 


It was a long, but productive day for all the expectant moms. The event was well attended and I was surprised that a lot of mommies finished the program which lasted until pass 3 PM. Although I was already familiar with most of the things that were discussed,  I left the event feeling happy from all the new information I learned. I was also happy to see more merchants/ vendors who gave away a lot of freebies. I think pregnant mommy events like this never gets old.  Hmm...I wonder if there would be a third time for me to attend?