Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Peninsula Manila Staycation

We went to the Philippines before the month of May ends and we're all back on the second week of June. We stayed there for two weeks, the longest vacation I had since 2006, and three years after our last visit to our home country.

We basically stayed on both of our parents' (Jane and I) houses while we were there for Ashrie and Lia's to maximize their bonding time with their grandparents, cousins and other relatives.

We also celebrated Lia's 4th Birthday with all of them and met with a few close friends.

A few days before we head home, we had a short break from the chaos of it all and chose The  Peninsula Manila to be our 'home away from home". We stayed for 2 nights in one of their clubrooms and here is our review.

THE MANILA PEN is the quintessential Philippine 5-Star Hotel. From the Grand Lobby to the room interiors, we were ushered in with the Filipino hospitality that we have known and missed.

THE GRAND LOBBY. The Manila Pen lobby is one of the grandest in the country. It boasts impressive neo-classical architectural elements, humongous artworks, towering faux palms, and the iconic sunburst sculpture on the ceiling by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. If you have watched Disney's Tangled, Rapunzel would be very familiar with this emblem.

The symmetrical staircase mimics the design of the grand fountain outside along the corner of Ayala Avenue and Makati Avenue. Unfortunately, it was off during our stay.

THE CLUB LOUNGE. The lift doors open directly to the Club Reception. Check-ins and checkouts are done here as well and it serves as the pitstop for refreshment and cocktails. It is the foyer for Club Room guests wherein the staff can see everyone who goes in and out of the floor.

THE CLUB ROOM. The hotel room is modestly decorated. There is no wallpaper, the wall hangings are simple photographs of local scenes, and there are fresh tropical fruits to enjoy. We have a few favorites amenities in the room like the fresh succulents on the desk, the multi-point charger on the bedside drawer, the selection of wine glasses and water goblets in the pantry, and the luggage area which looks like a padded reading nook.

THE TOILET AND BATH. The bathroom is almost as big as the bedroom and has separate rooms for the tub, the shower, and the toilet. It is grand and luxurious with double sink, toiletries (they don't have a comb), and amenities. It is finished with marble from wall to wall and there was mood lighting in all the right places and music for entertainment.

BREAKFAST AT THE ESCOLTA. We had an awesome time at the Escolta. The ambiance was festive and you will be spoilt for choice with the selection of breakfast items! But on our second day, we opted to have our breakfast at the Club Lounge, it has fewer options but has a more peaceful, more intimate, and more exclusive feel. 

THE POOL AREA. The casual mood at the pool area was made elegant with surrounding park planted with Talisai Trees (Terminalia catappa) with native capiz pendant lights hanging on its branches. Relaxing on the lounger, with the kids playing in the pool, you can almost forget that you are indeed in the middle of the central business district.

 IMPORTANT NOTE: A security deposit of 5000 PHP/day is required during check-in. It will be debited to you after two weeks, the longest.

All in all, it was a splendid staycation. We're back in Singapore and looking forward to our next staycation. Actually, it's already booked. Finally, here's a "familyfie" and the photo of the two kiddos infront of Manila pen's iconic jeepney!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ambika Playhouse (by Ashrie)

During our visit to the Philippines, we went to SM Center Pulilan with our cousins, Guia and Cobie. While walking, we found Ambika Playhouse. We were all excited to go in.

We were going to play for 3 long hours! We put on our socks and went in. Tita Antot was our guardian-in-charge inside the play area.

Wow! We were really surprised to see so much stuff! I was fascinated. We quickly hopped on a carousel and enjoyed the ride. It was actually a bit slow, so Cobie and Guia started pushing it! Now everyone wants a ride!


Next, Guia and I slid down the longest slide in the playhouse. Lia and Cobie slid on the shorter one. The slide was long, but again it was kind of slow. We kept stopping. So, Guia and I had to push ourselves. The slides that Lia and Cobie took were a bit long. I think they also had to push themselves halfway through.

After a while, we played a "Police Game". Cobie and I were the police and Guia and Lia were the bad guys. It was fantastic.

All of us love to slide on the bumpy slide. It has a funny texture as you sit on it. It is made of strong metal pipes. There was also a trampoline with elastic strings on the top part. Once, I got stuck and Guia laughed at me. I guess it's very funny to her but not to me, as I do not like to get stuck.

We also played in the wobbly, jelly-like fish pond. We were fascinated by the amazing water creatures it had. So cool!

We all enjoyed the play areas that Ambika Playhouse have. We like the Pretend Play Area which has 2 toy kitchens, 1 small house, 1 puppet theater, a lot of squeaky building blocks, a television, an ironing board with a toy flat iron, a table with 2 benches with an umbrella on top, lots and lots of pretend food and lastly, a puzzle play table.

There was also a slide with a zip line! We tried our best to move the zip line. But we couldn't make it move an inch. So, we ended up just sliding the zip line slide.


It has been one of the best day outs ever and Ambika Playhouse seems like the best place ever! I had a blast playing with my cousins! I would love to go there again.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

My 9th Birthday (by Ashrie)

Last April 28, Saturday,  I celebrated my 9th birthday. That afternoon, Mommy brought me to Square 2 in Novena. Dad and Lia were left at home because Lia was not feeling well. I had no idea that the Titas, Ninang Diane, Ninong Carlo and Danah were actually there too. We met them at Jollibee. It was a surprise birthday party!

They gave me gifts and I was really grateful to them. The Titas even gave me a bouquet of fresh flowers. We all ate delicious food. Afterwards, Danah helped me open my gifts. I got a book from Ninang Diane, Ninong Carlo and Danah and a small, mouse-shaped bag and a shirt from the Titas.

We went to Smiggle next, Danah and I played with the spy pen and wrote on our hands. When we were going to Toys" R" Us, we passed by a shop and saw a photo booth. Danah and I took pictures in it. When we were going out of the shop, a man gave us balloons and we carried them to Toys "R" Us. In the toy store, Ninang Diane bought a Disney Princess lollipop holder for me, a squishy for Danah and a Marble Slide toy for Lia.

Then Mommy and I took the train home. When we got home, there were more surprises! Daddy and Lia surprised me with a birthday cake and more gifts. They decorated the house with pink balloons, a banner with my name on it and some paper lanterns. It was fabulous! I opened the gifts and got a LEGO Friends Play Set and a couple of gift boxes filled with craft materials like stickers, and glittery gems.

 I am really grateful to the ones who spent their money and time to prepare and buy me presents.


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