Thunderbird Resorts & Casino, Rizal

Most tourists are probably familiar with the Mediterranean-style Thunderbird Resorts & Casino in Poro Point, La Union. But did you know that there’s another resort under the same management just an hour away from Metro Manila?

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Family Staycation at Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas

When I travel or go backpacking on my own, I don’t mind sleeping in run-down hostels with public restrooms, camping in a tent on the beach or even just hanging up a hammock somewhere for the night. But when I travel with my family, I want to make sure they’re comfortable. Hotel staycations are a nice way to relax and can be a lot of fun if you’re with family or friends.

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Tugawe Cove Resort, Caramoan

After our long motorcycle ride from Manila to my hometown Naga City in Bicol, I was all set for a few days of just chilling out at the beach. My family decided to spend Christmas Eve in Caramoan, a rugged getaway best known for being the filming location of hit reality show Survivor. To maximize our stay, we took a 3D2N package at Tugawe Cove Resort, a beautiful resort hidden in a cove.

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Surreal Supertrees in Gardens by the Bay

As dusk fell, the towering trees lit up, tiny lights flickering like fireflies in between metal branches. Inspiring orchestra music started to play as the alien-like trees shifted colors. The blend of moving music and lights transformed the grove of metal trees into a magical rainforest. Everyone watched silently, their eyes transfixed at the spectacle above above. From below, I could see figures standing still along the curved skyway connecting the trees.

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A Hobbit Birthday Party

September 22 marks the mutual birthdays of hobbits Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, two of the most loved characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The day is actually known as Hobbit Day! So, we thought it would be a fitting theme for my nephew Eli’s fourth birthday last Saturday. Here’s a quick look at our Middle-Earth celebration.

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A Trip to The Mind Museum

When we were kids, my sister and I always looked forward to visiting museums and science exhibits. I remember family outings to the old planetarium in Rizal Park, the Dinosaurs Exhibit and Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Shangri-la (anyone remember this?). I also got to visit the Science Center in Singapore during a trip there a few years ago.  I’ve been wanting to check out The Mind Museum in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the first wold-class Science museum in the Philippines, ever since it opened to the public in March 2012. It’s only appropriate that the trip was a family affair, this time with the next generation.

A couple of weekends ago, I invited my sister Lorie and her son Eli (age, almost 4), cousin Roxy and daughter Annie (age 7) for a kid’s playdate. We’ve been looking for fun places to take the kids, especially during this rainy season when parks and outdoor areas are not ideal, so the visit to Mind Museum on a stormy Saturday afternoon was perfect.  Continue reading

Christmas Party Theme Ideas

My family is a real sucker for themed parties, especially during Christmas. For the past nine years, my sister, cousins and I unleash our creativity by converting what we already have into DIY costumes, making our own props and brainstorming on games that will fit the theme. My grandmother and aunt also tend to go overboard with the food preparation and the decor, making sure every little detail will go with the theme. If you’re looking for themed party ideas for your next bash, here are some party peg suggestions based on what we’ve already tried.


A Black & White Affair is a classy theme that’s easy enough to pull-off since everyone has something black and white in their closet. For our 2004 Christmas party, we went for a vintage feel with classics as our background music and a mafia touch to the games, program and food. We came up with a customized murder mystery game based on Cluedo and had a Christmas Exchange Gift (anything vintage).

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Amazing Harry Potter Cake and Cupcakes

The Regali Kitchen designed the most amazing treats for my nephew Eli’s Harry Potter-themed 3rd birthday! Since Eli started going to school this year, this topsy turvy stack of Hogwarts spell books represent Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. Kudos to Chef JB Cada and Stephanie Santos for the wonderful treats!

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Beach Wedding in Batangas

Exactly last year (3.21.11), my cousin Ria exchanged vows with Web at a gorgeous all-white beach wedding in Laiya, Batangas. They’re now blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby named Alon (such a cool and fitting name!). Here’s a look back at some of the wedding snapshots I took during the event.

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A Seussical Birthday Celebration

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

Last March 2 was Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel’s) birthday so I’m taking this opportunity to divert from travel and share another how-to-party guide from my nephew’s 2nd birthday party, which was Seuss-themed. My sister Lorie and I love themed parties and we always try to find an occasion to hold one. Since Seuss party merchandise is not available here in the Philippines, we had to make do with a lot of DIY stuff and a few lucky finds.

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