Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cardio Boys - A Fresh Form of Entertainment

My husband once showed me this video of the Cardio Boys dancing in one of the LRT2 trains:

Forget giving away funny t shirts in corporate parties or stressing over loot bags in birthday parties, hire the Cardio Boys instead for a fun, fresh form of entertainment. I am sure kids and adults alike will appreciate what the Cardio Boys can do.

"Happy is for Every Body"
Dance, Workout, Comedy, Performances, Skits, Musicals, Entertainment, Shows, Gigs, Aerobics, Love, Joy
Cardio Boys
Phone (63)915.542.7767

For birthday parties, their rates start at P15k for 3-4 performances. They are currently on vacation now, though, until November but they're the perfect entertainment choice for Christmas parties and reunions as well as other corporate events.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

If you've never been to a wax museum, then Madame Tussauds in Hong Kong is the perfect, more readily attainable first experience for you. And though I do not know around a third of the figures there (Chinese/Hong Kong/India celebrities), it was still just great fun to pose with them and let loose.

Madame Tussauds is located inside the Peak Tower and operates from 9:45am – 10pm daily (last admission: 9:45pm). Some of the more famous figures you can pose with there include:

I don't have time to crop pictures of our crazy poses (plus, I don't want to spoil the fun for you) but we really had a great time at Madame Tussauds. I'm not sure if it helped that we were there between 7 pm - 9 pm.

Of course, you have to wait your turn with some of the figures but there are plenty of them to amuse you while you're waiting. We also sampled the SCREAM attraction, a horror chamber, where groups of 8 people walk through an 'asylum.'

For those going in with kids (like we did), you may have to prepare the easy-to-scare ones. We told our niece that the figures were made from candle (because wax isn't something she totally gets) and painted/dressed to look like people. However, even Lady Gaga could not convince her to come near.

And if a child says he/she is scared, respect the feeling and don't go pushing/forcing them to like/pose with the figures. It might just further traumatize them and they wouldn't trust the world to respect their feelings if their own parents/significant others did not listen to what they were saying. Maybe you can have them photograph you instead :)

Regular tickets:
Adult HK$160
Child (aged between 3 - 11) HK$90
Senior (aged 65 or above) HK$90

2-in-1 Combo Package (Round Trip Peak Tram and Entrance):
Adult HK$185
Child (aged between 3 - 11) HK$95
Senior (aged 65 or above) HK$95

3-in-1 Combo Package (Admission + Peak Tram + Sky Terrace):
Adult HK$210
Child (aged between 3 - 11) HK$105
Senior (aged 65 or above) HK$105

Going to and off the Peak - Hong Kong

The Peak in Hong Kong is home to Hong Kong's wealthiest and offers great viewing, shopping and dining possibilities to tourists.

Unless you plan on driving or walking, there are two easy and affordable ways to go to the Peak. The first is through the really popular Peak Tram, the first cable funicular in Asia.

From Central Bus Terminus (near Star Ferry), board Bus No. 15C to go to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. Pay only HKD4.20.

Be prepared for really long lines though. Those purchasing combo tickets (round-trip Peak Tram fares and tickets to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Sky Terrace) may enjoy a shorter queue but you would still end up with all the others waiting for the tram.

Our group got there at past 6 AM and it took us an hour at least before we got to ride a tram. Unfortunately, we also had to endure the heat and some pushing from the other visitors. There was no special lane for those with kids but a group of travelling senior citizens were given special treatment and were not required to fall in line. Unfortunately again, in all the rush to board the tram, one of them yanked on my niece's arm which scared my niece enough to cry, which upset my SIL and BIL enough to shout at them, "hey, there are kids here!"

Both my husband and another BIL had to secure our kids from the others who were pushing to go in, so we weren't really in the mood to enjoy the tram ride up. Plus, since it was dark already, we only got to appreciate the city lights when we were already really way up high to see them.

After our fun time at Madame Tussauds and upon seeing the long line at the tram station to go down, we decided to just board the bus to Central.

Bus No. 15 gets you all the way from Central (pier 5) to the Peak and back again for HKD9.80. However, it is not a bus ride for the faint of stomach. One of those riding the bus with us had to get off to barf, which made us all feel thankful we hadn't eaten anything yet. Bus drivers in Hong Kong know their roads and tackles these at breakneck speeds, even if said roads are going downhill and zigzagged.

The Peak tram operates from 7:00 AM to 12:00 MN while most of the attractions in the Peak Tower open at 10:00 AM.

Last trip for Bus. No. 15 from the Peak is at 1:00 AM.

Please note that we travelled as a caravan of 8 adults, 3 preschoolers and 1 infant and were in Hong Kong between August 22-27, 2011, the height of summer (and summer sale) there.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hong Kong Science Museum

I first fell in love with Hong Kong Science Museum six years ago, when I spent the better part of a day just exploring its many exhibits and marvelling at the expense that went into those to make Science fun for all. So, I vowed to return with my son.

We chose to go on a Wednesday because the museum lets everyone in for free on those days. I forgot, however, that it's summer season for the kids from Hong Kong and visitors from China so the museum was packed.

The down side of going on a Wednesday is that you cannot go around the exhibit halls leisurely since you'd have to fall in line for some attractions. But attractions, they still were.

kids pushing the mist out of this contraption

one area was all about planes/flight

a big play area was allocated for younger kids, with cushions serving as big, soft building blocks

a Lufengusaurus, my son's first look at a real dinosaur skeleton setup

replica of a T-Rex's skull

the House of Mirrors at the ground floor was very interesting

a touch screen game that teaches where bone systems go

pull the rope and see how long our small intestines are

bird's eye view indeed!

We did not get to explore all we want because of the crowd but I still highly recommend the museum for school-age kids because it can really make learning more fun. The usual ticket price is HKD25.

You would also be met by a hand sanitizer-dispensing staff for some exhibits or see signs like this:

Hong Kong Science Museum
Tel : 2732 3232
Fax : 2311 2248
Email :
Address : 2 Science Museum Road, Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Crumbs Frozen Yogurt Station - Hong Kong

As we were exploring around Nathan Road, looking for a place to have dinner in, we were enticed by a man to sample a free tasting of Crumbs frozen yogurt. Suffice it to say that the free taste did its job because every day would find one of us buying a cup.

1 'jar' with one topping of choice, starts at HKD28 (around P152.00 or US$3.60)

if you're lucky (and shameless), you can get by with the free sample because it's already substantial

Crumbs has many branches in Hong Kong but the nearest to Hotel Benito in Cameron Road is the one at Granville Rd/Shun Yee Street (about 3 minutes away).

Enjoy flavors like Green Tea Mochi and crumbs that run the gamut of fruits (mangoes, starwberries) to crackers (digestives and Oreo chunks) and sweets (Maltesers, gummy bears, candy sprinkles). I know, certainly something to direct a normal adult searching for the top 10 diet pills but Crumbs frozen yogurt is just soooo worth it.

Maybe it will help if you just concentrate on the yogurt = probiotics part. :)


Check Crums' official website:

A week after being back in Manila and my husband is still craving for the crumbs on their yogurt. It sucks I didn't get to try their scones.

Hoixe Cake Shop - Hong Kong

One of the real perks of staying at Hotel Benito in Hong Kong was having a Hoixe Cake Shop nearby. Google it, however, and you won't find a listing of the cake shop along Cameron Road but there is one and we were patrons the whole week we were in Hong Kong. Their bread (pork floss bread and shrimp sandwich) was both breakfast, snack and packed lunch (for Ocean Park and Disneyland days).

It's like Bread Talk but also reminiscent of Carlo's Bakery/Cake Boss for me.

a lot of the breads were self-service fare and it's pretty crowded all the time here

by Hong Kong standards, bread sold here are generally affordable

as you can see, there are many Hoixe branches in Hong Kong

and the cakes are really not bad (they have a lot of desserts with fruits on it that were very pleasing to the eyes, but I really don't like fruit on my bread and we didn't really have a down time to warrant sharing a whole cake in)

I swear by Hoixe Cake Shop's pork floss... Bread Talk's pales in comparison.

Hotels/hostels nearby include (1-5 minutes away):
Hotel Benito (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Fountain House Guest House (James Lee Mansion, Carnarvon Road, Hong Kong)
Guangdong Hotel Hong Kong (Prat Avenue)
Park Hotel (Chatham Road, Hong Kong)
Chungking Mansions (Nathan Road)
Majestic Guest House (Haiphong Mansions, Hai Phong Road, Hong Kong)
Tai San Guest House (Nathan Road, Hong Kong)
Lee Garden Guest House (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Star Guest House (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Sealand Guest House (Majestic House, Nathan Road, Hong Kong)
Butterfly on Prat
Kimberley Hotel (Kimberley Road, Hong Kong)

Hotel Benito - Hong Kong

Hotel Benito was indeed a lucky find for us as we were planning our Hong Kong trip. At first, we were considering the hostels in Chungking and/or Mirador Mansions but I was iffy about those since we will be travelling with kids. We knew we would be out all day and only needed a safe place to stash our stuff in and sleep in at night but I still wanted some place nice.

We chose to ride the Airport Express (for the experience, as most in our group were HK first-timers) and were shuttled by bus (for free) from the Kowloon station to Park Hotel (Chatham Road corner Cameron Road, because the driver knew where this was). We easily saw Hotel Benito's building and just walked to it (around 3 minutes, with luggage and kids in tow).

Hotel Benito's entrance is at the side street going to Cameron Lane (not facing Cameron Road). Other landmarks that will tell you you're near the place are Watson's, Aji Ichiban and Body Shop as well as KFC, Burger King and Yoshinoya signs. It's a one-minute walk to the MTR B2 exit.

the very clean (someone kept on cleaning all the glass, which our kids kept on kissing and touching) and simple lobby/reception area, with 2 elevators to the right servicing the building

standard twin room (which we got for HKD800/room/night [around P4,340/night] for the first 3 weeknights and HKD950 for our last night, which fell on Thurs-Fri; if we stayed another night, the weekend rate would have been HKD1500/room)

the twin beds can be moved together to form a bigger bed (which accommodated my family of 2 adults, 1 preschooler and 1 infant well enough), and there is ample cabinet space to stow your things in

really clean comfort rooms with a separate shower area (no tubs though); two bath and two hand towels were provided and changed daily

the separate shower area; hot water isn't a problem; shampoo and liquid soap dispensers inside (and they smelled nice enough and felt minty)

toilettries provided include toothbrush/toothpaste, razor, comb and cotton buds/balls and are replenished as used

The air-conditioning in our room was working fine. We were also provided with two bottles of water daily; an orange and apple upon arrival; and packets of coffee, milk tea and jasmine tea (electric kettle provided).

There seemed to be only 20 TV channels or so, most of which were Chinese. There was Nick Jr. so my son was happy enough. We did not bring a laptop so we weren't able to test the internet cable but our relatives in other rooms surfed and Facebooked just fine.

There was also a mini ref where we kept our drinks cold (even froze beverages for next-day outings).

The staff were really unobtrusive but quite helpful. The concierge would readily whip out a map to draw on to better direct you to where you want to go (and they spoke and understood English). They also allowed us to leave our bags in their care so we can wander around Hong Kong already before the check-in time of 2:00 PM and allowed us to leave the bags there for last-minute shopping after check-out (12:00 NN).

I also appreciated the care that went into cleaning our room. Our first night there, we pushed the beds together but without care and found it the next day (after coming home from Ocean Park) pushed together by the window, with some of our clothes that were left on the bed piled neatly on the backrest of a chair. Our scattered belongings on the dresser table often got some semblance of order too, even the nebulizer we brought will be stood upright under the dresser, ready for next use.

One other thing was the lack of noise in that area. We'd hear the occasional siren of a police car/ambulance maybe but it really wasn't noisy there, and we stayed at the 3rd floor only. If I would have a point of contention, it might be waking up to a big face (a well-lit ad from across the road) but our curtains were always drawn, anyway.

And we just really loved that we could walk to the MTR (and from there, walk to several places in an air-conditioned environment) and that restaurants that are familiar were nearby. Most of the shopping we did were also around the area (Nathan and Kimberley Road).

Hotel Benito did not offer any meals with its rates, but I guess it didn't want to compete with the restaurants near it. Less than 5 minutes from it are the noodle houses and barbecue shops and dessert cafes at Carnarvon Road... and just across it is Hoixe Cake Shop (Hong Kong's version of Bread Talk) which offered soooo many great things, we practically lived there too.

I would really highly recommend Hotel Benito to others looking for a nicer place to stay in Hong Kong and would definitely book rooms there again should we return.

Book rooms now!!!
Hotel Benito
7-7B Cameron Road,
Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Tel: (852) 3653 0388
Fax: (852) 2369 1283

Please note that we travelled as a caravan of 8 adults, 3 preschoolers and 1 infant and were in Hong Kong between August 22-27, 2011, the height of summer (and summer sale) there.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What to Put in Party Loot Bags

Most parents who are planning their child's party will gravitate towards candy to include in the loot bags they are giving away. Here are some intentional suggestions and food for thought:

1) You don't have to put food there. This way, you're sure nothing gets spoiled by a guest who doesn't eat that food item, or has a Mom who disapproves of that food item.

You can put puzzles instead, or sticker books. You can put crayons, bubbles, glow sticks, even mini books. You can put erasers, pens, a small stuffed toy. A lot will depend on your budget and theme but pretty much any little thing a child can appreciate (and a child is usually easily pleased).

2) If you must include food, choose healthier alternatives.

Commercial cupcakes, crackers or wafers will be nice. Welch's fruit gummies instead of the usual gummy worms. A muesli bar or honey sticks or a small pack of nuts (just forewarn parents that allergenic products are in the bag so they will check for sure).

3) If you want to give away sweets, think local.

Chocnut will forever delight people. Also those pinipig bars sold at bus stations. Or ampaw/pop rice (plus, kids don't see much of these anymore... they are sold at wet marketplaces still). Make your own sugar lumps or candies from bao/amis which is pure sugarcane goodness. Give yema or pastillas or polvoron instead. This way, you know what ingredients were used rather than buying the more affordable but often dubious China-made stuff sold in Divi.

4) If you must give sweets, think chocolates instead of candies.

Chocolates, though sweet, are not as acidic as hard candies and are still kinder to teeth. Buy chocolate crisp balls or chocolate eggs in bulk and just repackage to give away. Give small tubs of bread sticks with chocolate or strawberry dipping, or a chocolate lollipop. Plus, 3 pieces of chocolate kisses still say a lot more than a slew of cheapo candies (that may or may not raise manufacturing issues).

5) Never put gum in there.

Some parents do not check and not all children will know it's gum and not supposed to be swallowed.

6) Don't go overboard.

Sure, we all like freebies and kids will always love free candies and sweets. But one or two (or three) IS enough. You did not invite kids to your party to give them cavities nor did you attend a party and gave gifts to be given diabetes in turn. Control your desire to please, conform and/or be perceived as well-off or generous or cool. This will save you money, which you can channel on more important aspects of the party (like the entertainment).

7) Don't give away anything you won't give your child.

If you're not letting your child play with plastic toys with uneven edges or let him eat candies with ingredients you cannot pronounce, then don't give any like those away. If you're an intentional parent, chances are, your invited friends are the same.

8) Feel free to do away with a loot bag, especially if there's already a cool giveaway.

Save money and energy, just give something more substantial (but not necessarily more costly) as a token of your appreciation for your guests having come... instead of having a souvenir and a loot bag. If they're taking home a book or a stool or a tumbler, they aren't likely to forget your party anyway. It may even save their parents a meltdown from the over-stimulating party because there will be nothing else that would have to be opened/eaten/played with in the carride home.

9) Give away intentional stuff.

DIY finger puppets will get your child guest (and hopefully their parent) using their imagination. Busy bags will be appreciated by parents and little books will be used a lot longer. A child can also never have enough stickers or crayons.

Good luck with party planning and filling those bags up!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Abroad: Time for Repairs

It's summer abroad and the perfect time for repairs.

Adding a verandah to your house? Cement is sure to dry faster! Paint will dry faster too.

In a location of drastic winters? Time to do repairs on the roof, check your fireplace inserts, clean up chimneys and check (or replace) heaters

Located in areas known for terrible storms? Check your storm shutters, revisit your cellars and panic rooms.

This is also a good time to take stock of your furniture and appliances. Anything you haven't used for the past two years, consider selling (to maybe would-be college students), giving away or throwing away. And then make the repairs and refurbishing in your home to give it a fresher, uncluttered feeling.

Make lemons out of the lemonade that is intense heat. Take advantage of the kids being home as there will be extra hands to do the work.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

LATCH's Get It Off Your Chest Campaign

If you're undecided about going to the All About Baby Fair for fear of going into debt from all the possible purchases you may end up doing (especially if you have a girl and see all the cute, fab outfits being sold there) then I have a wonderful solution for you.

LATCH will kick off their "Get it Off Your Chest" campaign at the fair. One part of the campaign is an exhibit of inspiring moms and their take on breastfeeding. Another is a backdrop to be provided for people (men, women, children alike!) who will pose with their answers to LATCH's breastfeeding-related questions. The shy, on the other hand, will be provided with Post-Its to post on a board for their answers. The pictures will then later be used by LATCH to come up with a hopefully inspiring photoslide on breastfeeding.

So, the solution is simple: hang out at our booth! Answer our questions and ask us about breastfeeding! :) You will also meet a lot of phenomenal women there.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Batangus Grill Restaurant: Affordable Steak Goodness

Suddenly, I am craving steaks and ribs. Hubs said the reviews on Batangus grill, a restaurant we often pass on the way home from my son's school, is generally great. And since my father hails from Batangas, I loved the play on the name and we checked the place out.

It has the feel of a slightly expensive beerhouse minus the smoke and noise. The staff were friendly and warm and didn't mind that we came bringing McDo fried chicken for our son.

We didn't want to be greedy so we just ordered their Barako Steak and Crispy Ribsi (?) Spicy Fried Rice. The spicy rice isn't that spicy at all and really very nice. The Ribsi wasn't that crispy but it tasted like the street food 'sebo' without the greasy threat of a heart attack.

Batangus served us steak that was just delicious. We had ours well done and it was still really tender, really tasty, really juicy. Hubs said it didn't need the so-so gravy but I loved the gravy with the mashed potatoes.

the choice of sauces

the crispy ribsi

the barako steak

clean plates after!

Hubby, the meat-eater, was really super satisfied with our meal.

We ordered a hamburger to go. It was huge and heavy and smelled so nice. It also came with fries. Unfortunately, my hubby said he thinks it's just okay and had issues with the bun. I liked it, however, which is saying something since I don't generally eat burgers.

One thing we agreed on is that it's so wonderful to have eaten all that beef without having grease on our lips. We are definitely going back there again (and again)!

Help us support our Batanggenyo Farmers :)
Batangus Grill, Savana Market
Savana Market, Pasong Tamo, Brgy. Tejeros
Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 403-3970

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Toy Kingdom Toy Fair

Toy Kingdom at SM Mall of Asia is holding a toy fair, with most toys at discounted prices.

Got a child interested in your echo chainsaw? Buy him Handy Manny type of tools and construction toys.

Got a child needing to master his fine motor skills? Buy him play dough sets, building blocks or brick sets (I just realized that Lego costs two times more than the brand Mega Bloks!).

Got a girl into all kids of homemaking play? Get her an oven set or playhouse.

Now could be the perfect time to purchase costumes in time for Halloween too.

The Toy Kingdom fair is for the whole month of August. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

EcoTREElogy at Nuvali

Received this in my inbox


Journey to a present-day enchanted woodland right in the heart of NUVALI!

Make Believe Productions invites you to witness EcoTREElogy, a dramatic narration of three tales about preserving nature.

Join us in an enthralling interactive show where storytellers weave magic and also promote Filipiniana in commemoration of Buwan ng Wika.

Nature-inspired face-painting will be offered for free before the event as well as a theater workshop sampler.

AUGUST 7, 2011, Sunday,
3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Solenad 1, Nuvali, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
See you guys there!

Make Believe team


Make Believe Productions also does parties and offers these services to bring a different kind of magic to a kiddie party:
Arts and Crafts Activities
Story-Making with Children
Games and Party Host
Short Performances
Interactive Shadow or Puppet Play

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

All About Baby Bazaar

Working Mom (and ABS-CBN) has partnered with the Lifestyle Network and LATCH and is bringing you the All About Baby Bazaar on August 13, 2011 at the Rockwell Tent. The bazaar will allow our favorite mompreneurs to have the much needed exposure to boost their businesses while also providing the public with their quality and intentional products.

The usual pregnancy and breastfeeding-related products will be there but there will also be a lot for dressing up your wonderful tots and accessorizing the fabulous Mom. Who knows, there may even be moissanite jewelry sold there, or branded bags (after all, what better opportunity for the father to thank his breastfeeding wife for all the hard work?).

Grab a copy of Working Moms' August Issue and bring it to the bazaar to get your whole family in for free.

There will be short talks as well, on breastfeeding and keeping a life balance.

LATCH will also have a booth to offer free breastfeeding counseling, so do not hesitate to approach their (our) booth.
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