Friday, September 30, 2011

Guess and Mossimo Sale at Speciabilities

Speciabilities Development Center is hosting a Guess and Mossimo Sale again this year, with other wonderful brands like Vans, Chevignon, American Rag, Avirex and Joejeans. The sale is on October 14 and 15 (Friday and Saturday) from 10 am to 6 pm.

For first-timers to have an idea, shirts that are regularly priced P850-P1,000 in the the stores can be purchased for P300 - P350 (adults). For kids, items that usually cost P650-P800 can be purchased here for only P250 - P350.

Feedback and tips from those who have gone to this particular sale before include:
1) Bring someone with you to fall in line as you rummage around.
2) It could be hot so bring fan, water, towel and DO NOT BRING KIDS ALONG.
3) Some bring eco bags where they put all the things that catch their fancy, then fall in line, and audit their loot while in line.
4) Wear comfy clothes.
5) Bring cash. You cannot use credit cards here.
6) Brand paper bags will be given so this is a good opportunity to buy items for gift-giving.

For more information and directions to the school:
Speciabilities Development Center
11 Binamaka St.
Manresa, Quezon City
Tel: 361-9178 and 364-3460 (visit the website for details on how to get to
the school, just click on the tab 'contact us')

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gift Ideas for Births, Baptisms and Birthdays

Say, you have been invited to a christening or birthday party, or a baby shower perhaps, what would be a great gift idea?

Forget the usual feeding bottles and onesie sets being pushed in department stores. Mothers nowadays are more particular about their feeding options and few want their precious ones dressed like all the rest of babies out there.

For baby showers, here's a really helpful starter list:
~ digital baby monitors
~ newborn and sized-small diapers (Prokids, Drypers and EQ Dry)
~ tubs and tubs of wipes (unscented)
~ hypoallergenic skin cleanser/soap like Oilatum, Cetaphil, Physiogel, Aveeno or Mustela
~ CD of lullabies and soft music (or even Mozart)

For baptisms and birthdays, feel free to give:
~ toy chests, both wooden or plastic ones
~ book shelves
~ books
~ wooden blocks and other such toys
~ towels (a lot of people give receiving blankets or hand towels, few ever think of giving baby/kiddie towels)
~ intentional, age appropriate toys (around 3 years old, they can already benefit from play dough sets, or brick sets... kids will also benefit from cook/chef sets)
~ arts and craft materials

So, next time you go shopping, skip the generic gifts and show your relative or friend that you are really thinking of them with your thoughtful gift.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Convertible Clothes for this Party Season

The last three months of the year is when there are more births (so, more birthday parties), more weddings (especially around December), more events (Halloween, Thanksgiving) and parties (Christmas parties and reunions).

What to wear to each one, then, without breaking your budget and going into debt? After all, heaven forbid that you wear the same outfit to each party. You may not upload your pictures on FB but your friends might still tag you, and your other friends will notice that you seem to be wearing the same outfit in each one.

One really good answer to this fashion issue is to invest in convertible clothes (also referred to as infinity dresses or multiway tops). Eden's Infinitude is a good example of something you can use to accessorize basic pieces with to achieve different looks. ForMe also has a multiway top. You may also look into owning a Bina scarf, a Pirose scarf or some Vanessa Knox dresses.

Even hearty eaters can just shop for a cheap plus size cocktail dress and embellish it with different scarves or multiway shawls for different occasions. You can employ color blocking strategies with your accessories and also repurpose old stuff that you may have. Turn old sweaters into scarves and old shirts into cute jumpers. Youtube is replete with tutorials and there are a lot of crafty bloggers who can give you step-by-step instructions on how to make a multiway dress.

Feel free to also borrow accessories to spice up your wardrobe with.

So, don't be disheartened with the coming party season. Embrace it and look fabulous till the end of time (because convertible clothes cannot really go out of fashion!).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Play Pilipinas - The First Ever Play Festival in the Country

Advocating play in this time of structured socialization in the young, handy electronics and city living, Play Pilipinas has combined forces with the international community to bring to Filipinos the first ever Play Festival to be held in the country.

Happening at the SMX Convention Center (Mall of Asia, Roxas Boulevard, Manila) on October 21-23, 2011, the festival will be composed of three parts:

~ For P10,500, educators, school owners, play advocates and homeschoolers can attend the 3-day conference and learn from esteemed local (e.g. Dr. Honey Carandang, Dr. Maria Teresa Gustilo-Villasor, etc) and international (Marcus Veerman, Anita Bundy, etc) speakers who are experts in the different aspects involving and affecting play. The conference fee includes a DVD on children's play, an exclusive magazine, the conference kit and snacks.

~ For P1,000, mini-workshops are available to educators and intentional parents who want to acquire certain skills or knowledge on various aspects of play. Examples of topics to be covered are Keeping Playtime Safe (by Toni Tiu of, Ideas for Outdoor Play and Integrating Play in the Curriculum.

Play Pilipinas Registration for the conference/mini workshops will CLOSE on 30 September 2011. Please send your forms to reserve a slot - be it for the forum or workshops to or fax via 02-634 0416.

What is a fair without shopping? And what things will facilitate active play in our young? Well, here's what Play Pilipinas will have enticing you at the festival:
• TOY FAIR: A toy fair with over 50 booths, each featuring the latest tools and toys for active play. Organized by age bracket.

• BOOK AND MAGAZINE FAIR: A veritable showcase of the latest and best titles covering play and child development.

• CHILDREN'S NUTRITION FAIR: A taste of the kind of food that makes for fun, delicious and healthy eating for kids.

• CHILDREN'S FASHION FAIR: An exhibition of outfits fit for active play and other children's activities.

• SCHOOL FAIR: A venue for schools or institutions to showcase their programs and the ways they integrate play into their curriculum/activities.

• WORLD TOYS EXHIBIT: An exhibition showcasing toys and games from around the world.

~ Play Pilipinas held a playground design challenge that invited everyone from the country to "design creative and inspiring playground structures and spaces that will give a sense of place, wonder and fun to entice children, teens and adults to play outdoors." The top five finalists will have their designs installed in the SMX premises for fair guests to enjoy.

~ Another installation that should get fair guests interested is the playground design chosen by President Obama for his daughters (so yes, fair guests will have 6 playgrounds to frolic in).

Entrance to the Play Festival is P100 each, regardless of age. This entitles you to 2 and 3 and some of 1 (Kitchen Playtime talks at Workshop Room Hall #4, for example).

All proceeds will benefit Project Brave Kids, an organization helping children with cancer, and their families. (so yeah, P100 won't be too much to ask... think 6 playgrounds!)

For more information or to download forms, just check out their website:

For updates about the event, LIKE their Facebook page:

See you all there. Let's help a cause, advocate play and tire our kiddos out in one go.

Here is the Play festival brochure:

click on the photo for brochure

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eggette: Hong Kong Street Food

One real advantage of staying in Hong Kong hotels and hostels is that you really need not rent an apartment with a stainless steel sink, ovens, and all the pots and pans you'd need plus a dining area... because, well, you need not cook. Even just buying off the streets is cheap.

Take for instance this Hong Kong street food staple, the eggette. It's really a lot like pancakes and waffles (except for the hint of coconut) but it looks a little more inviting because it looks different. And for HKD10, it's a cheap, healthy snack you can bring with you as you roam the shopping district that is Granville.

Two places I know for sure where you can find a stall is at Granville Road (at the corner of Shun Yee street). Another one is just past the camera shops along Cameron Road.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

To Bring or Not to Bring Strollers to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is generally stroller and wheelchair friendly as there are a lot of special lanes/ramps in a lot of the major tourist attractions and shopping complex if you can't take the stairs. However, it may mean having to go the long way for elevators or these ramps. Bringing a stroller may also mean having to fold/unfold it when going down MTR stairs, buses, etc.

So, to the question of whether to bring a stroller or not with you for your trip to Hong Kong, here are the things you must consider:

1) How old is the child?
Personally, I think an infant will be better off being worn in a carrier or sling or pouch. This way, you don't have to remove them from the stroller when necessary.

For toddlers up to 3-4 years old, strollers may be the best way for you not to lose them in a crowd. Plus, they will still really complain about long MTR walks (where everyone is in a hurry and all you see are people and exits). They don't mind the walk so much if you're not in a hurry and they can stop to check things out along Hong Kong streets.

2) Who will be in charge of the stroller?
Will you have a designated driver for this one? Who will it be and will he be amenable to keep folding and unfolding it when you ride buses, or to carry it down MTR stairs or Ocean Park steps if you cannot be bothered to look for the elevators and special ramps?

Ocean Park has a lot of ascending or descending terrain

3) Where will you be going and how do you plan on getting there?
If you don't intend for the kids to tag along when you brave shopping districts, and would only really need them at amusement parks, then just rent at amusement parks.

If you're going to so many places in a day, and boarding the bus many times, a stroller may prove to be a hassle since you have to fold/unfold it and stow it away properly. You may also have to worry about where to park such things in the general Hong Kong area. Plus, since you're likely to also put your things in there, you may inadvertently leave a valuable behind when you're parking it aside for a show.

But if you're say, staying in the Nathan, Kimberley, Cameron, Granville area and intend to just shop there, and keep utilizing the MTR, then a stroller will help in keeping the "Are we there yet?" and "I don't want to walk anymore." moments to a minimum.

4) What is the purpose of your HK trip?
If you're after visiting as many sights as possible, then you'd probably be in a hurry to get places and a stroller will slow you down. But if it's a leisurely trip with the purpose of delighting the kids you are with, then a stroller would serve you well as you visit parks too.

5) What kind of stroller do you have/plan on bringing?
If you're like us who own a heavy duty one with shocks and a really sturdy body, it just may be impractical and just more work to bring it along.

If you own a lighter model (most umbrollers are) or can borrow one, then taking the stroller up and down some areas may be easy as pie.

* Other notes/tips:
~ you have to carry strollers up and down MTR stairs but there are elevators within the MTR station and spaces inside MTR cars for strollers and wheelchairs

~ Hubs felt we'd have felt bad about a new one getting roughed like ATV Tires at Ocean Park and fully appreciated their heavy-duty rentals.

~ even 6-year olds will benefit from a stroller at Ocean park becase it's really a huge area to cover on foot. However, a stroller may not be maximized as much at Disneyland since the attractions are closer together so the child will be more likely exploring on foot.

~ for those willing to push and carry (up and down steps), a stroller will also accommodate your backpack and shopping as well as provide a place to nap for your tired toddlers/kids

~ there are designated parking spaces for strollers at Disneyland and Ocean Park, just be careful not to leave any valuables (or the umbrella) behind

~ Strollers/wheelchairs may be rented at Hong Kong Disneyland (HKD60/day with HKD100 deposit; HKD200 deposit if weather forecast suggested rain to cover the stroller rain gear) and Ocean Park (HKD40/day with HKD60 deposit). You get the deposit back upon returning the strollers and you get to keep the name card (a sort of ID attached to the stroller, with your child's name written on it) as a souvenir.

~ Strollers aren't allowed inside the Ocean Park cable car but there are special lanes and allocated area for people travelling with kids/strollers inside the Ocean Express (tram).

Kids can remain in strollers inside the Ocean Express and watch the show from the ceiling screens from there.

Ultimately, it is still your call whether to bring your own stroller or just rent from there. People used to be able to rent strollers from YWCA-HK too but nobody responded to my e-mail. You can also shop for umbrollers there for as cheap as HKD250 and dispose of it later if you really don't want to actually bring a stroller and check it at the airport.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Christmas Shopping, Christmas Savings

September usually heralds Christmas season in our country and shops everywhere start enticing us with Christmas music while putting goodies on sale and displaying new inventories.

But wait. Make sure first that the things are really on sale. And do you really need it, want it, or would you really use it?

Audit your family's wardrobe first. Maybe there are enough hidden treasure in your closet to make you buy just one or two extra shirts for your boys, rather than five. Check the toys first. Check your appliances too. Take stock of what you have, what needs to be thrown away, what may be donated (or put on garage sale, or sold on Ebay) so you'll have a better grasp of what you already have.

Plus, spring cleaning at this point may make you realize what gifts you received that were cute, but also proved totally useless for you (maybe because it was too cute?). Let that guide you in your Christmas shopping for friends and relatives.

Take advantage of groupon deals (but check first if they're real deals) and Ebay or bazaar finds and slowly build on your Santa Claus sack... choose to give a small token instead to those you know can afford their own stuff. Consider baked goodies instead of lavishing other families with gifts. Consider, too, making your own newsletters or digital greeting cards instead of sending out tons that will only gather dust (and waste paper and ink).

Then, all the savings can go to tuning up your car, making repairs at home or finally making that big purchase for a family treat (think plasma tvs or an ice cream maker).

The cost of goods and our way of life has been constantly rising so we really have to be creative now in our gift-giving. Maximize your money and really have a Merry Christmas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ocean Park - Hong Kong

Our caravan decided to go to Ocean Park first before going to Disneyland because we wanted to:
1) Tackle Ocean Park and its vast area when we're still fresh, and
2) Let the kids go home with the impression of their favorite Disney characters

Ocean Park is a park more for adults and teens, not for little kids. However, there is Whiskers Harbour that's for little ones, full of kiddie rides, a playground and a talking tree. You can easily just spend your whole day there.

The highlights of going to Ocean Park includes:
1) The many adult attractions concentrated on The Summit starting with a ride on the cable car. I don't recommend going on the ferris wheel though because there is no Fast Pass option at Ocean Park and the line there tends to be long, and that big wheel will just spin around once for you. For the same effort, just go on the Ocean Park Tower for the view.

try the cable cars at night too, really breathtaking experience

Ferris Wheel

view from the Ferris Wheel

Ocean Park Tower

2) Must-rides are the Abyss and the Flash, if you're thrill seekers. However, they only accept 12 year olds and above at the Flash plus, many don't really make the effort to go where this ride is because it requires people to go further up. Enjoy relatively shorter lines for these rides too.

the Abyss

view of the Flashh from the Ferris Wheel

The Flying Swing is also very popular and there is another roller coaster being built in the park.

3) It can be quite educational because of the aquariums, pandas, seal/dolphin show.

4) Tickets cost cheaper than Hong Kong Disneyland at HKD280 (adults) and HKD140 (child). Tickets are even cheaper if you get them at China Travel Service or via travel agencies and hotels since they generally get discounts. Plus, Ocean Park is not strict about bringing in food so you can freely bring all the beverage and food you want. Don't be surprised to see some people using shaded places as picnic grounds.

5) Even rental of strollers and wheelchairs is cheaper at HKD40 for the whole day (plus HKD60 deposit). The strollers are a little weird though, made of heavy-duty plastic that can accommodate kids 1 year old and above.

It can also be a pain having to bring these babies up and down some stairs (without the child in it, obviously) but has plenty of storage space for your bags.

6) Lots of trees and mist fans around. Since we went at the height of summer, it was really pretty hot and our mini fans all conked out on us. But it was still generally tolerable because there's still a lot of shaded areas. One really cool area is that roofed part before you go down to the Ocean Theater and there are tables and benches there too so you can easily camp there.

7) Lots of refreshment vendors. Bottled water costs HKD20 and sodas/juice sells for HKD22. Ice cones also cost HKD22. No drinking fountains anywhere though.

I believe roasted corn also cost HKD22 (we bought at the Rainforest Snacks kiosk) and that's really unremarkable so buy the turkey something instead there (because that was really delicious).

8) Get to ride a hot air balloon! Of course, you have to tediously wait your turn.

9) I loved that there were a lot of toilets and changing stations... they're gender sensitive/equal opportunity too.

10) Prepare to be exhausted, not just by the heat (in summer time) but by the amount of walking you have to do. And here, strollers are a must for kids 5 years old and below because you really have to cover a lot of area if you are to see all the attractions the park has to offer. Bring fans, extra clothes, wipes. Plan your visit and know where the shaded/rest areas are. Prepare to walk uphill, downhill and up and down stairs.

One last thing... strollers are not allowed in the cable cars so either ride the Ocean Express going up and down, or do what we did: ride the cable cars at night (just before closing) going up and then immediately go down again via Ocean Express.

Guests can easily go to Ocean Park by going to the Citybus' Ocean Park Express (Route 629) station just outside Admiralty MTR station (Exit B). The bus fares are HK$10.6 for adults and HK$5.3 for children (aged 4-11).

The park is open from 10:00am - 7:30pm. For further inquiries, you can contact them at:
Tel: (852) 3923 2323
Fax: (852) 2554 2089

I just have to say I was disappointed by The Grand Aquarium. I guess it is a bigger aquarium but I preferred the old one (now the Sturgeon Aquarium). I also failed to watch the fountain and lights show that caps the Ocean Park experience. Maybe when we return.

And yes, i'd love to experience Ocean Park when it's real cold and foggy up there.

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.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Full Restaurant - Hong Kong

We had the misfortune to eat at Full Restaurant for dinner the first night we were in Hong Kong. We thought it was your typical Chinese Noodle house but it turned out it was more Chinese-Vietnamese and not really your usual noodle house.

All in all, the food was so-so to good. The staff absolutely didn't know any English so we really just pointed on the Chinese-English menu what we wanted... and still, there were some wrong orders served us which we did not challenge anymore due to the language barrier.

Cleanliness was also an issue. Our group used chopsticks to eat even though we were given spoons and forks because those just looked too dirty to put in your mouth. What's more, the spoons/forks were put in a plastic glass filled with what seems to be tea so, throughout the duration of our stay in Hong Kong, we were not sure if the probably-tea in plastic glasses that were being served us were meant to be drunk, or to sterilize utensils in. Hehe.

this is some sort of yogurt drink with beans

taken before we ate there, haha

For what it's worth, the servings are huge... but I am sorry to say that the best thing about this place is that it's so near Crumbs Frozen Yogurt Station because it's also located at Granville Rd/Shun Yee Street. And shopping is just around the corner from this place.

I really suggest you steer clear :)

Summit Delicious Noodle House: Open 24 Hours in Hong Kong

One way to save on food costs in Hong Kong is to bring your own instant noodles and crackers (even water, if you don't have much luggage) and just eat these in your hotel/hostel.

Another is to subsist on bread from any of the ">bake shops in the city. A flossed bread or chicken/hotdog sandwich will just set you back HKD12.

Yet another, and the more common route taken by travellers to Hong Kong, is to make noodle houses your home away from home. You can almost never go wrong with your orders.

I love shrimp wonton noodle soup and absolutely LOVE it made the Chinese way: with whole shrimp (sans head and shell, of course) and chopped fungus inside a dimsum wrapper. And we just love eating at Summit Delicious, located at Hart Avenue, just off Cameron/Carnarvon Road.

the sign to the place at night; there's another noodle house before this one along Hart Avenue but this is the highly recommended one and it's near the corner/end of the avenue, across Mr. Kebab
(Type "Summit Delicious, Hong Kong" in Google Maps and see a picture during day time)

shrimp wonton noodles mean hand-pulled noodles and three pieces of really delicious shrimp wonton, HKD25

beef noodles at HKD28; my husband could never finish an order but keeps ordering it because it's so tasty; my hubby's description is "meat cooked for 3 days" and the bowl is 3/4 full of beef and it's fatty sauce/essence (if you're used to eating beef noodles in Chinese noodle houses in the country, you'll know what I'm talking about); feel free to request extra soup (but rice will cost HKD5)

oyster cake, HKD55, and my BIL wolfed down all of it by himself

beef noodles, takeout

shrimp wonton noodles at top right, takeout

Honestly, I want to return to Hong Kong just to eat at Summit Delicious again! The staff were really friendly too.


Hotels/hostels nearby include (1-5 minutes away):
Hotel Benito (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Guangdong Hotel Hong Kong (Prat Avenue)
Park Hotel (Chatham Road, Hong Kong)
Chungking Mansions (Nathan Road)
Mirador Mansions (Nathan Road)
Tai San Guest House (Nathan Road, Hong Kong)
Lee Garden Guest House (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Star Guest House (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Butterfly on Prat
Kimberley Hotel (Kimberley Road, Hong Kong)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Fancy a Dessert? Five Generations in Hong Kong Serves Them Real Fancy

We were itching for real desserts (I wanted cake) and it was a great time to spoil ourselves (we were almost at the end of our Hong Kong trip with kids, and just survived Disneyland). Hubby has mentioned finding Five Generations, a dessert place just across our favorite food-on-a-stick place (Wah Kee), and since we had our late dinner at Summit Delicious (same area), it was a no-brainer that we'd end up there.

Those going there with kids might be a little turned off by the smokers hanging outside at night. It's really a small place and if you ask them, they would even tell you they don't have any English name :) It's a good thing this sign is pasted on its window:

and proof of the win can be found here, giving Five Generations its reputation for serving the best desserts in Hong Kong

looks more like a bar than a dessert cafe from outside

it's really cramped inside, it can maybe fit a maximum of only 30 diners

because we were a big group, we decided to order different things (forgot the names of the desserts though)

we don't recommend whatever this is, both hubs and my SIL (who ordered it) didn't like it

this, on the other hand, was as gratifying as how it looked

snow storms are flavored and shaved ice best eaten with the stuff surrounding it

both chocolate (previous) and coffee (above) snow storm desserts are served with nata de coco, mini marshmallows, chocolate-flavored crisped rice and chocolate chips

we were told that this chocolate pudding was what won them the BEST DESSERT (so yeah, communicating in English may be a challenge); this is much like a chocolate souffle that collapses into a hot, gooey, chocolatey madness, best eaten with its other components (there's some light syrup with the strawberry, plus the choice of ice cream flavor) for optimum decadence

All in all, we did feel spoiled with the experience. The snow storms average HKD38 and I believe the chocolate pudding cost HKD45. And although I think there are a lot of restaurants in Manila that can match or beat them, we'd still go back to try the other things they have on the menu... like the award-winning egg pudding.


Open Sunday-Thursday, 2 p.m.-1 a.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m.-2 a.m.
五代同堂 "Five Generations" 25-31 Carnarvon Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, tel. +852 2723 3383

It's easier to find the cafe if you look for the corner where Prat Avenue(Wah Kee Snacks) meets Hart Avenue (Five Generations), just off Carnarvon/Hanoi Road. If you check Google Maps (satellite pics), however, you'd see a boutique right where the cafe should be, so better believe me instead for we were there!

And our little girls were happy!


If you're not prepared to spend so much on desserts but still want something nicer than what a Hong Kong bakery can offer, just head down Hart Avenue and you'll see another dessert place to your left.


Hotels/hostels nearby include (1-5 minutes away):
Hotel Benito (Cameron Road, Hong Kong)
Guangdong Hotel Hong Kong (Prat Avenue)
Park Hotel (Chatham 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)
Butterfly on Prat
Kimberley Hotel (Kimberley Road, Hong Kong)
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