Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Writing!

Just a quick clip of Ashrie at the Lower Seletar Reservoir Park. It's been quite a while since she's been to this place. Actually, her first after our vacation to the Philippines during the Chinese New Year. Why did I use the title No Writing? You gotta watch this.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Parenting: Trial and Error

Earlier this year, I’ve mentioned about Ashrie attending a playgroup and our dilemma that she might be too young for that. We are thinking that it’s just a 2-hour session and hopes that she might be able to socialize well with other kids her age and to have a breath of fresh air from the everyday routine she has at home. But our good intentions seem not to suit her age just yet.

A few days after attending the playgroup, she developed separation anxiety. She was restless, she couldn’t sleep at night, and she’s having nightmares and even wet her undies. This really troubled us because we know she is not like that, she’s a happy toddler and well-in-fact toilet-trained at her early age.

The thought of school, and hearing about her teachers drove her eyes to well-up in tears. And it breaks our hearts. She’s just two and she doesn’t deserve this kind of stress. After not much thought, we withdrew her from the playgroup. We’ve decided altogether not to get another playgroup and for Ashrie to stay at home for the meantime. She will again be home-schooled by her ever creative mom while we prepare her emotionally for preschool maybe next semester or early next year.

I haven’t heard anyone in his teens who’s not ready for preschool anyway. We’ll just let her enjoy her toddler years to the fullest.

Hmm, I wonder what the teachers are doing with them in playgroup. Hopefully not any of these…

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Annual Dinner 2012

Our company celebrated the past year's accomplishments with a simple get-together cum dinner last Friday. The event was divided into three parts - dinner, awards and lucky draw. I wasn't as lucky as last year's annual dinner wherein I won a $500 Takashimaya shopping voucher but I guess I got a better take on the buffet dinner this year! :-)

Here's one photo taken by an "ang moh" at the lobby of Furama Riverfront Hotel as we were about to leave.

Kayal, Tess, Ingjin, Aung and Me

Until next time!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love Tweet Love

I was asked to do the decorations for this year's Pinoy Connection Valentine Fellowship at church. I said yes (as if I got a choice) and that means Jane and my bro are expected to help me. I've informed them about the activity and, surprisingly not, got their full-pledge support. Thank you guys! What can I do without your help?

So for the past week, after dinner, I would draw, and they would cut, they would paste and I will cut, Ashrie would paint, and Jane will cleanup. Well, that sort of thing. All with this design theme in mind, LOVE TWEET LOVE, Celebrate Valentine in a Masquerade. A cutesy heart-themed event would be easier to do but this one got our artistic side going.

We have decided to make three masquerade mask standees, and letter cut-outs forming the title of the event.

Come Saturday, one day before the event, I still need to work half-day in the office so I think we have started around 5pm already. It was a complete mess in the house, especially when we got to the part of putting on the glitters. We didn't use glitter glue because using this tend to reduced the glitter's "glitter" and is very flat when it dries. But it would have saved us from all the glitters all around the house and all over us. :-)

We had our dinner late because we want to finish most of it before midnight. And we did. We managed to packed it up, ready for picking for the next day's event.

Sunday after the church service we installed all the decorations just in time for the event. And here are the finished products.

And a small one with real feathers!

There were singing, sharing of the Word, more singing, and games. Prizes also were given to kids just for being cute. And of course, Ashrie got a prize!

Teatro Filipino in action
The Love Chapter
Ashrie receiving her prize

We're looking forward to the next Pinoy Connection gathering. I still don't know whether they will asked us again for help though...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hello Kitty at McDonald's Happy Meal

Last time it was the Smurfs, then Alvin and the Chipmunks (and the Chippettes), then came the Puss in Boots series, and also this pinball-like thingy.

McDonald's always come up with something that attract little kids, which I have to admit, my daughter is hooked. Her faves are chicken nuggets (except when it's spicy), french fries, iced Milo, and vanilla ice cream. Sometimes, when we go out, and it's time for a meal, we would order "to-go" for her and would bring the meal to our restaurant or fastfood chain of choice. (Of course, that's when we opt to eat at another "makan" place).

And back to the Happy Meal, lately she enjoyed the collection very much because her favorite Hello Kitty was the feature! She even brought one to our last trip to the Philippines.


Marco Polo and Davao City

Last stretch of our trip is our stay at Marco Polo Hotel and a very short tour (if you will consider it as such) of Davao City.

Returning to the city from the Pearl Farm Marina Wharf, I arranged for a pick-up from the hotel. Professionally, the service was there an hour earlier! We were back in the city and had done hotel checked-in in no time. That same afternoon, Emily's husband Matt delivered our luggage. We stayed in Marco Polo Davao by the way, the only five-star hotel in Davao to date. It's quite old but rest assured they have mastered the craft and is known for their luxurious bedrooms and amenities, and they are located at the heart of the city so everything's in close proximity or a short cab trip away.

The Marco Polo Lobby

With no time to waste, after we have settled our things in the hotel, we took a cab to SM City Davao, the country's biggest shopping center chain. We bought some baby basics, did a little shopping, dine in our favorite local hamburger chain to eat our "so-missed" burger steak, fried chicken and palabok! You've guessed it right, it's Jollibee! We also ordered in food for dinner with the Triggs. It was a wise move to meet in the hotel that night than to meet somewhere else in the city. Dinner was relaxing and hassle-free. And it was a lovely time to end a day, to have dinner and fellowship with an old co-worker in the church ministry, that was Emily, new found friend in Matt, and the cutesy company of little Elijah.

In the morning after the buffet breakfast (at this point we have been eating buffet breakfast for the fourth straight day and there will be another the next morning), we knew we needed to take a tour of the city. There are lots of historical places to see, museums, parks, but we opted to visit just one place. We definitely would not like to bore Ashrie with grown-up stuffs and we also would not want a cranky toddler all day so we visited the Crocodile Farm. Good thing the ticket is 3-in-1 because the farm and mini-zoo did not pass our standards of excellence. We're from the Garden City, what am I thinking?

The Tribu Kamindanawan is quite interesting; the place needs a revamp though. And the Butterfly Park, although small, gave lots of thrills to our little girl. Having said that, it's a shame that we haven't visited the Pulilan Butterfly Haven, which is actually in my hometown in Bulacan. We hope to visit that place when we visit our families in Pulilan again.

After that we went to Abreeza Mall for lunch and some shopping. We found out that the mall's shops are not as stocked as its counterpart in Manila. Nonetheless, I believe Abreeza is the most convenient place to dine and shop while in this city. Before we know it, it's already night and we still have to prepare for the next day.

The next morning after breakfast, we were fortunate that Aldevinco, that famous shopping center for souvenirs, is just across the street from the hotel where we stayed. I thought it would be easy to choose souvenirs for friends but I was wrong! There were stores and more stores of handicraft products of different sorts, antiques, furniture, sweets, jewelry, etc. Each with a seller at the entrance of each store asking you to enter and take a look at their merchandise. It took me a round or two to finally get what we like and need. But it was indeed fun!

After checking-out from the hotel, Matt picked us up and brought us to their lovely apartment. We had Mexican food for lunch courtesy of the Triggs. It was delish! We had a few chitchats, then it was time to go check-in to the airport. Matt was so generous to bring us to the airport and assisted us all the way. He was indeed a wonderful host.

Our boarding was delayed for less than an hour but we still reached Singapore ahead of schedule. We're so glad to be back safe and sound, with new experiences, friends and memories to treasure.

And here are our treasured photos!

She's home!
Ready to roam!
Little Lady
City view and a glimpse of Mt. Apo
(I guess)
At Tribu Kamindanawan
In one of the tribe's huts
What happened to your feet, Auntie?
She liked this!
With Teriyaki, the guinea pig

 Bye Davao! Bow! :-)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Ashrie knowing that it was Jane's birthday asked her mommy to help her make some decorations. She has linked birthdays, Christmases and other occasions with doing crafts and decking the house with colorful banners and decorations.

They made this and I think its sooo cute!

Yup, she feels it's her special day too.
Happy Birthday Mommy!

And greetings from Daddy too. We love you so much and we pray that God will grant all the desires, hopes and longings of your heart.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pearl Farm Beach Resort

Day 2. Second leg of our visit to Davao was our stay at a beach resort.

From Hotel Tropika, it's just minutes away to Pearl Farm Marina Wharf. This is exclusively for the guests of the resort and serves as a reception while they are waiting to board the ferry boat to the island resort. It is actually a four-bedroom hotel and could also be used for business meetings, weddings and other functions.

Pearl Farm Marina Wharf
From the wharf, it took us nearly an hour ferry boat ride to a secluded cove on the exotic Samal Island, which is now known as Island Garden City of Samal. It is the location of Pearl Farm Beach Resort, our home away from home for three days.

The Pearl Farm Beach Resort was actually a cultivation farm for luxurious south sea pearls before it was converted to a world class beach destination. Tropical Filipino Architecture is predominantly a main feature and is widely employed on most of the structures. World-renowned architect and national artist Francisco Mañosa patterned the structures after the lowly stilt houses of the seafaring tribes in the region and his successful design application gave this resort a unique and interesting character.

Arriving at the Parola, the resort hotel's iconic gateway, we (along with the other guests in the boat) were warmly greeted by the hotel staff, refreshing and delicious welcome drinks were also ready for the taking, recorded ethnic music played in the background, and the sight of crystal clear waters seems to beckon everyone to forget their worries and enjoy the day. And that was exactly our plan for this trip, to really enjoy and have a great time.

After getting hold of our room keys, we packed-out our belongings and had lunch at the Maranao Restaurant, the only food service in the resort. Needless to say, all our buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, including room services were prepared by this restaurant. It is also the only place which is wifi- enabled. Our favorite however is their coconut shake. It is a must try, refreshing, filling and reasonably priced. Also, try their Pinakbet, a local vegetable dish cooked with prawns and shrimp paste.

Although we did not try snorkeling, scuba diving, or even jet skiing (it will be splendid if we had the chance), we enjoyed the crystal clear, emerald-colored seawater and fabulous infinity pool. Ashrie enjoyed it most as she discovered that she can now play standing on the kiddy pool’s floor, ditching her difficult-to-inflate kiddy lifesaver which we brought (not inflated) all the way from Singapore.

We were expecting a beach with fine, powdery sand but it seems Pearl Farm is short of beach spaces. That is probably the reason they compensate this loss of beaches with beautiful houses on stilts along the coast. The Malipano Island however has a wider beach area and can be easily reached by boat. It is also managed by the resort and if you have the means, you can stay in the Malipano suites and villas as well.

All in all, we had a great time staying in Pearl Farm. We were surely glad we made this trip. And of course, here are the photos:

Our boat to Samal Island
A row of hotel suites at Pearl Farm
Houses on stilts
Inside our ethnic-themed Hilltop Room
The Maranao Restaurant
The iconic Parola
with a bar on the second story
My favorite snapshot of MyGirls
Local Flora. I saw this on the road,
a lovely flower fallen from a tree
Crystal clear waters. No need for goggles to view the corals!

More photos on my Facebook account. Our Davao City tour and our stay at Marco Polo Davao are up next. Until then.
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