Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Affordable Headphones

Can't quite afford bose ie2 audio headphones yet? That's ok, CDR King offers a variety of headphones that will fit every need you may have.

My husband just recently bought a foldable headphone there for P380. Model HP-002-LA, it works with iPhones and iPods and the bass sound of the headset was really amazing. You wouldn't think you had headphones on, it was like listening from amplifiers!
I think it would make a nice gift for your iPhonographer loved one. Give them the gift of surround sound, hehe.

John's Kitchen in Angeles, Pampanga

At the corner where you see the big sign for Timog Park Homes in Angeles, Pampanga, you will also see a street sign that says, "John's Kitchen, 400 meters".

Unfortunately, we arrived late for my niece's birthday party which was held there so we didn't get to take a picture of the restaurant in daylight. Fortunately, my in-laws saved some of the party food (which they offer as part of their catering menu, not restaurant menu). And they were really good.

I am not into roast beef (or meat) that much but I ate so much of it. I couldn't stop. And the salmon dish was something I also liked, considering I don't like salmon as a general rule. I also loved their mashed potato, even if again, I am not a fan of that! So, yeah, verdict is... I highly recommend the food there.

We were even happily agitated to be sitting beside a table of local celebrities in the persons of Claude Tayag and Raymond Gutierez (an artist and biodynamic farmer from Prado Farms, and taught us clay modeling in my Waldorf crash course). John's Kitchen is just a year old but it is becoming a favorite haunt for the locals and you need only Google it to read good reviews.

the area outdoors

the beef roasting

salad, from my niece's party

the one on the skewer is chicken pesto, it's partner is the roast beef

mashed potatoes

salmon dish, the fish is imported from abroad

chocolate mousse dessert, which was on the dark chocolate-side (loved it!)

peach crumble, served really hot with the best vanilla ice cream (they make their own ice cream) I have ever tasted...

* pictures taken by my husband using his iPhone

The Hot Air Ballon festival is coming up, and I hope travellers will drop by John's Kitchen for great food. John (the owner and chef) worked in Dubai but his menu is more greatly influenced by his training in Australia.

*click on the photos to see John's Kitchen menu better

John's Kitchen is open from Mon - Sun: 17:30 - 23:00 and generally welcomes events/parties till 6 PM (so birthday parties are usually held between 3-6 PM). Like I said, they also cater so keep them in mind for corporate or family functions to be held in Angeles (after all, it's just a kilometer away from Clark).

John's Kitchen
Lot 49, Block 9
Sampaguita Ave., Timog Silangan
Angeles City
proprietor and chef: John Terence A. Dizon
terencedizon at yahoo dot com

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Support System After Birth

First time pregnant moms usually get overwhelmed with the things they have to prepare and prepare for in time for their delivery. Most of the time, moms get preoccupied with shopping for the initial layette and getting their documents concerning health insurance (Philhealth) and maternity leave/benefits in order. Of course, there's also that pressure of coming up with the money for the delivery and thinking up the perfect name while keeping oneself relaxed and healthy. And yes, some mothers also prepare by attending parenting seminars.

However, a lot of moms or prospective parents still miss one important thing: preparing their support system once the child is out. This can be especially crucial in the event of a very difficult labor or unexpected complications in both mother and child. Personally, I had an easier time post-partum with my first, but my second got me looking for depression rehab treatment centers because the melancholy lasted for months and seemed never to end.

So, as early as the minute you find out you're pregnant, make it a habit to dialogue with your partner to help you feel more able to communicate post-partum blues. Also, ask for help from family, and maybe some friends, for help in the early days, if you won't be hiring a helper to help you out. Just know that you may have many people sharing your home with you and still feel all alone after, especially if you cannot ask help from them. So, yes, ask help from them while you're still pregnant so they can help you recover faster.

Consider it as part of your birth plan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Hands down, digital slr cameras offer the best quality photos but there is a growing trend called Iphonography that is making artists out of everyone.

Camera phones are handy (because we all can't seem to live without our cellphones now) and if you can spend on the best ones, they also usually come with decent cameras with one-click, few-clicks filters that can turn your ordinary snapshot into something focused, interesting or just downright funny. The iPhone bests most phones because of its simplicity that allows it to be the most user-friendly.

Even professional photographers have taken to shooting hundreds of pictures a day to document their lives and what they see or share with friends what they thought was amazing or weird. Try it, an iPhone (or some other Android phone) is much cheaper than a professional DSLR anyway... a lot less heavy too!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MOA Park By the Bay Revamped

I'm not yet sure if I like how they have 'improved' on MOA Park (that side by the bay which they call SM by the Bay). For one thing, there is less empty space for kids to run around in. They have also removed the two playground installations.

But they have installed more carnival rides (a mini Viking ship, a bus, a bee plane, another plane ride... the bumper cars are an old attraction). All cost P50 per ride. The carousel is still there. And the newest installation is a ferris wheel that invokes the idea of The Eye in London, because it's super high.

Yep... it costs P150 per person, and even babies like Yamee pay full price

each car has its own air-conditioner and is sealed on all sides

at first, I wondered about the wisdom of putting such a ride by the bay, where it could get windy during typhoon season. But each car is solid and you don't even feel yourself going up or down while in the ride

the ride is now this imposing structure that you can't miss

so I guess, all balikbayans must now try this

it even provides some sort of light show at night

I think the best time to ride that ferris wheel is at sunset, because you really get a great view of the bay and everything in it. I can't imagine seeing the harbor lights at that height at night will make for the steep fare, but if you're up there at 7 PM, you can watch the fireworks show from great seats.

Forget about taking great pictures of the bay from that height either, because the windows of each car is made from a sort of scratched glass material. Each car seats a maximum of 6.

Yes, a trip there just got more expensive.

(we don't have pics of anything from that height because we took a video instead when we rode the ferris wheel)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Crunchy Turon for your Guests

At my sons' party last November, we served crunchy turon (plantains fried in a wrapper and sprinkled with sesame seeds) because we loved it when hubs' cousin brought some the week before at a family gathering. His wife makes it. At P5/piece, it was a healthier and more homey kind of dessert for our guests.

,img src="http://mecsexy.smugmug.com/Children/Yannis-Mikah-YAMEE/Yamees-1st-Birthday-Party/i-2M8fd46/0/S/Yamee-Yakee-0053-S.jpg">

We also ordered cream puffs but I have no pictures to show for it. Suffice it to say, some guests preferred to take those home because they, too, were a hit.

Hubs' cousin's wife could actually land any Chef de Partie Jobs but she prefers to work from home.

If you want delectable desserts like the ones she offers, you can contact her on Facebook. Just look for Jeanette Cantos. Minimum order for her cream puffs (15 -18pesos each) and butterscotch bars (5-6 pesos each) is 36 pieces.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stoybooks and Storytelling Party Package from Adarna

If you're looking for something different for your child's birthday party (or any party where children are present) where entertainment goes, why not consider the offering of Adarna Publishing House?

Get storybooks from them as your party giveaways (minimum of 50 books) and they will throw in a storyteller for free. The storybooks will actually come with a pencil, two stickers and a bookmark in a plain brown bag. You also have a choice of stories which allows for a more wonderful storytelling/reading experience for your kiddie guests because you can get the storyteller to 'read' the same storybooks they're taking home. Nothing could be a better way to be introduced to a story.

At my sons' party last November, we had Mr. Nonoy Bonanciar storytell "Ang Mahiyaing Manok" and "Ang Madyik Silya ni Titoy". We paid P4,745 for 65 books. The storyteller read the stories in Filipino and the guests just really loved it. Most of our kiddie guests were English-speakers but they still really listened in rapt attention to the storytelling. Their parents appreciated this quieter and more educational form of entertainment, one of which even commented that it was a great review for his daughter's upcoming exams in Filipino.

So, yes.... not only do you entertain your guests and educate them, you also introduce/reinforce Filipino culture and literature when you get this package from Adarna.

I just printed a quote on sticker paper and pasted it on the brown bag the storybooks came in, so as not to waste the bags

my son following the storyteller's instruction to crow like a rooster

kids engrossed in the storytelling

Kuya Nonoy telling the story of the Mahiyaing Manok

he was really a hit among the kids

I especially loved it that Sir Nonoy arrived way early at the party (the caterers were still just setting up and he was there already!).

Adarna Publishing has a pool of professionally-trained storytellers and storybooks for various grade levels. Contact ergoe at adarna dot com dot ph or fax at (+632) 352-6765 local 125 for inquiries and quotations.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hong Kong Tips for those Travelling with Babies and Kids


1. Choose your hotel location with care. Check its proximity to restaurants, groceries and transport stops.

2. Arrange your itinerary by plotting must-visits in the same area. Utilize Google maps for directions and distance/travel time approximations. You might not know it but taxi cabs may be refusing you, not because the drivers do not understand your English but because your destination is too near for them to be bothered.

3. Don’t plan too many things in one day and come up with a flexible IT. Going around with kids will cause delays and you want to really enjoy a place, not just go through it.

4. Don’t schedule a trip to Ocean Park and Disneyland on consecutive days as both amusement parks will require a whole day and lots of walking. Better to also schedule a trip to Ocean Park first, when you’re less tired from all the walking you will be doing in Hong Kong, and so the kids can go home with the last impression of Disneyland.

5. Consider going to free or not-so-expensive attractions in Hong Kong too: Nan Lian Garden, Kowloon Park, Hong Kong Science Museum, etc. (here is a list of parks)

6. Save on ticket purchases by getting them at discounted rates at kiosks near your hotel.


1. Consider bringing a bigger luggage bag to accommodate all your things and your prospective shopping. If you're leaving your luggage at HKIA or Ngong Pin, they will also charge per bag. If you're going to leave your bag in your hotel, it will at least be just one huge bag they need to watch for you (ours just roped off the bags in the lobby, so one bag was still easier to keep an eye on). Just having one huge bag also allows whatever free hand you have to hold onto your child's.

2. Hotels may provide shampoo and soap but if your skin is sensitive, better to bring your own products.

3. Print destination addresses in English and Chinese, if you can, to make it easier to ask for directions. Once you get to Hong Kong, utilize the free maps you can get from HKIA or your hotel to go around and asking for directions.

4. Hong Kong is generally stroller and wheelchair friendly as there are a lot of special lanes/ramps if you can't take the stairs. However, it may mean having to go the long way for elevators. Bringing a stroller may also mean having to fold/unfold it when going down MTR stairs, buses, etc. Read To Bring or not to bring strollers to Hong Kong.

5. Everyone should wear sunscreen when going out, wherever you are, but especially kids in HK... even during cold months. It's easy to get sunburned there without you noticing.

6. Bring the usual medications your child might need (paracetamol, antihistamine). If you didn't, Watson's generally delivers.

7. For families with diaper-wearing kids, it's up to you to bring diapers to HK or just buy there. However, prices may be higher in HK and there may be sensitivity issues with your child. This also covers formula and baby food and baby soap/wash. But if you don't want to bring any of those, HK has enough groceries to provide what you may need.

8. Bring extra clothes for the kids especially if going to Disneyland and Ocean Park. Plan your visit in these parks because most kids get sick after being out in the heat then entering an air conditioned show/attraction. Pack these extra clothes together with other changing implements so you just have to get one bag when needed. And during the summer (which is also their rainy season), bring foldable umbrellas (but make sure the umbrellas are in your checked luggaged at the airport).

9. If you're bringing baby food, either pre-pack in disposable containers or bring all the things you may require for each feeding (water, extra spoons). Typical noodle houses/restaurants don't really give mineral water for free and may serve food that used preservatives, processed ingredients or msg. Some noodle houses may also serve spoons of questionable cleanliness.

10. Extra batteries for your gadgets or your chargers. The humidity in HK reduces battery life to half (or even 1/3).

11. Loaded cellphones, in case we will need to text each other, and roaming instructions depending on your cell network. P25/sms when you text (people from the Philippines can text you at P1/text lang).

12. Money in HK dollars (so you can immediately pay for Octopus card or Airport Express... half of your intended budget) and US Dollars

13. Water bottle for each person. Buy water in gallons at the grocery or replenish your bottles at your hotel. You can easily buy water from 7-11 but it will naturally be more expensive.

1. It helps infants' ears if they're breastfeeding/bottle feeding as the plane takes off and descends. It helps toddlers if they're chewing on something or drinking, or yawning, or you can cover their ears with your hands. If you're flying with a child that has colds, ask your pedia if you can give a decongestant to avoid earache.

2. Depending on your carrier, you might not be offered snacks/meals so bring your own for your kids. You may also want to bring 1-2 toys or books to occupy them during the 2-hour flight. If you can, keep them awake before the flight while at the airport so they'd nap during the flight.

1. Main attractions like Ocean Park and Disneyland have nappy-changing areas but not all establishments in the general HK area all offer a changing room or even toilets. So, don't wait till the last minute to change your child's diaper. Don't wait till the last minute to have your kids pee.

2. Consider having your young child wear diapers even during the day since it’s not always easy to find toilets in the city.

3. For babies, a sling is a lifesaver.

4. You may be tempted to get a harness for your child (and with the crowd in HK, it's logical to be scared you will lose your child). Be prepared to be stared at if you will use one. However, if your child can already walk, the harness might just be a hassle as it gets tangled up with other people when your child starts running around. Hold his hand instead or put him in a stroller. You may also consider putting your hotel's calling/business card in their pockets (or a printed ID with your contact info and temporary address in HK).

5. You can breastfeed anywhere, especially if you have a nursing cover. But you may have to go to the classier hotels if you want to pump. And you would need a cooler with ice pack if you're storing your milk. You need to stay in a hotel with your own ref (with a good freezer) if you're storing your milk to bring back home.

6. There's an Octopus card for kids so avail that. Kids 3 years old and below ride free in some buses so research/ask the driver.

7. You will not go hungry in Hong Kong because there are different types of dining available everywhere, all the time (well, until really late at least). However, although the familar fast food chains are to be seen there, they will taste a little (to a lot) different from what we have here. So, just bring enough snacks as emergency stash but there is no need to panic buy kiddie treats.
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