DreamWorks DreamPlay Manila: Complete Guide (Part 1)

DreamPlay ManilaDreamPlay Manila for our family is the coolest indoor playground in Manila.   Quite sporty and competitive, our hearts were pumping wild when we first had a glimpse of what DreamPlay is. It's a DreamWorks inspired playground filled with challenging obstacle courses with varying degrees of difficulty. To top it all, considering the Manila heat, it's great to have it indoors and air-conditioned!

Plus what can be cooler than training to be the next Dragon Warrior! Hi-ya!

Sharing with you what to expect in each of the 15 attractions, FAQ and tips on how to get the best experience at DreamPlay Manila. [Read more...]

DreamWorks DreamPlay Manila: Complete Guide (Part 2)

Outside DreamPlay ManilaThis is the second and final part of TheGoMom's DreamPlay Review. To read part 1 where the first 12 attractions are detailed, click DreamWorks DreamPlay, Manila (Part 1) . In part 2 are the three other attractions especially geared for younger kids, parent's FAQ plus tips on how to get the best experience at DreamPlay Manila. [Read more...]

New Attraction at Kidzania, Manila: McDonald’s Burger Shop

Mcdonalds Burger Shop Kidzania ManilaSomething yellow, red and happy just opened in Kidzania, Manila. You guessed it right:-)  McDonald's Burger Shop is the newest exciting work station to open its doors to kids of Kidzania! Kids would surely be thrilled to work in the much familiar and loved McDonald's Burger Shop. They get to experience what it is to be a McDonald's crew and make their very own [Read more...]

SM by the Bay: Fun for the Fam

SM by the Bay

Have you guys tried walking the 1.5km stretch of SM by the Bay?

My family and I just did, last Saturday.  OMG, ang saya!  Isa syang malaking fiesta!  Perfect for families, balikbayans, barkadas and of course, since Valentine's is this weekend, with your labidabs.

It was the opening of the Annual Pyro-Musical Competition Show and if the fireworks during New Year gives you endless ooohs and aaahs, the fireworks displayed here will leave you breathless.

Pyrotechnics Competition at SM by The Bay

Photo Credit: SM by the Bay Facebook Page

Photo Credit: SM by the Bay Facebook Page

Be-a-u-tiful!  I went with my 2 kids, my mom and brother and we were all in awe of the fireworks display.  The fireworks display of the Philippines went on for a good 20 minutes as different bursts of light and sounds danced to popular tunes spanning several decades.  Each Saturday till March 14, 2 countries will be competing in a grand fireworks display.  SM Mall of Asia together with Platinum Fireworks have been hosting the competition for six years now at SM by the BAY.

If you are planning to watch the show along the bay,  SM has designated areas that are accessible for a fee for as low as P100 to P1,500  (with dinner).  Show starts around - 7:30pm for first competitor and the next one would be between -8:30- 8:45pm.  Each show lasts between 15-20 minutes. The show will run every Saturday until March 14, 2015.  Tickets are available at SM Mall of Asia, SM ticket booth, Ticketnet and Ticketworld outlets.   Otherwise, you can also choose to watch the fireworks from the restaurants at SM by the BAY.


Check out SM by the Bay Facebook page for more details.

Apart from the Pyro-Musical show, street entertainers, from firedancers to robots, are all over adding flair and festivity to the occasion.

Men on Stitls at SM by the Bay

Men on stilts.

Light up drummer boys at SM by the Bay

Light-up drummer boys.

bumblebee robot

pacific rim robot

And OM! My kids, especially my boy,  went wild in excitement when Bumblebee, the robot in Pacific Rim and a few other robots walked by.

When we got to the rides section,  my kids darted off in different directions!  My girl wanted to ride the Magic Dance while my son wanted to drive a motorcycle.  There are around 15 different rides to choose from,  fees range from P50 to P150/person.

Magic Dance Ride at Mall of Asia SM by the Bay

Magic Dance is similar to the Octopus ride.

Motorcycle Ride at SM by the Bay

My boy darted off in his motorcycle.

Rides at SM by the Bay MOA

Other rides include Twister and Drop Tower (for the dare devils), Flume Ride (like a log ride), Indiannapolis car and of course pwede ba naman mawala ang carousel:-)


The star of the rides is the MOA Eye.  It is the tallest Ferris Wheel in Manila towering to a height of 180 feet.  You can see all the lights at MOA, the bay and even parts of Solaire.  Tapos aliw because each gondola is airconditioned pala and can sit a family of 4-6:-)

I want to go back and try the MOA Eye on a sunset.  I bet it's going to be lovely.

There are 19 restaurants along the bay.  As expected,  they were packed, with the al fresco seats overlooking the bay filling up faster than you could say "I want to sit there."  There were a number of good themed restaurants. Hooters is there!  Syempre my daughter said, "Mom I don't think you can work there, they are all sexy!"   And then there is the famous buffet restaurants Vikings, Buffet 101 and Banzai (another themed restaurant kids will enjoy).

Related Blog Post:  Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater.

We dined at the fun and entertaining, Movie Star Cafe.  It's a movie-themed restaurant where super heroes, villains and well loved characters come alive to dance and perform onstage and gamely post for photos after!  We all had a blast.  Hehe hindi na nga kami halos maka kain sa excitement!:-)

Movie Stars Cafe at SM by the Bay MOA

We took so much pics, I think  I'll just make another post for it.  Movie Stars Cafe is at Bldg. D, SM by the BAY Seaside Boulevard, Pasay City.  Do make reservations by calling 550-1234 to get the best seats.

Movie Stars Cafe SM by the Bay MOAGuys, you have to take your family to SM by the Bay this weekend or any weekend till March 14.  It will be a great experience for everyone.  The fireworks is amazing.  The Manila Bay is lovely as always.  And the festivities SM by the Bay prepared is sooo entertaining! Parang Mardi-Gras!  If the happy twinkle in your kids eye is what you are after, they will be twinkling bright that night.

Ok, on which Saturday are you dropping by?:-)

SM by the bay


CHRISTmas Merry-Go-Around: Best and Merriest CHRISTmas Displays in Manila 2014

For the past seven years,  it has been my family's tradition to go all over Manila to catch the best and merriest displays.   We would have a good dinner, hire our driver to come in that weekend and hop-on, hop-off as we marvel at the lights and beauty, and to the dismay of my kids, take lots of photos.   Sharing with you some photos of the most resplendent displays in town ...

Manila Peninsula

I think the best decor is always at the Pen.  Their high ceiling allows them a tall luxurious tree.  Have ice cream at the lobby:-)

I think the best decor is always at the Pen. Their high ceiling allows them a tall luxurious tree. Have ice cream at the lobby:-)

These glass reindeers are beautiful.

These glass reindeers are beautiful.

Come and take a bite of this gingerbread house.  It's a real and large gingerbread house.  Kids are amazed as always.

Come and take a bite of this gingerbread house. It's a real and large gingerbread house. Kids are amazed as always.

Makati Shangri-la

Last year it was angels,  this year a sleigh.

Last year it was angels, this year a sleigh.

Rockwell PowerPlant

Festive and elegant wreaths give warmth to Rockwell.

Festive and elegant wreaths give warmth to Rockwell.

They have this polar bear display yearly but it is still adorable all the time.

They have this polar bear display yearly but it is still adorable all the time.

Liwanag Park at Meralco

I love that the center of the display is this Nativity scene.  In the end,  all these festivities is in celebration of God made Man.

I love that the center of the display is this Nativity scene. In the end, all these festivities is in celebration of God made Man.

Simbang Gabi isang tradition na kay ganda at tunay na Filipino.

Simbang Gabi isang tradition na kay ganda at tunay na Filipino.

Maliwanag at Maligayang Pasko

Maliwanag at Maligayang Pasko

Wishing you all the Merriest of Holidays.  And a most Blessed CHRISTmas!








Doll Joy: A Doll Museum

Doll Joy Dolls of the World CollectionChildren who love dolls will have a field day when they visit Doll Joy Factory and Museum in Pasig.   Displayed are over 2,100 pieces of assorted dolls, clustered in varying themes that will delight young and adult doll lovers.

This is the second time I visited Doll Joy this year.  First was with a couple of good friends from the village.  And the second time was when my toddler visited it for his school field trip.

Here are the highlights of my 2 trips. [Read more...]

The Week that Was: Pig out to the Max!

Oh men!  I think I gained 5 pounds over the week.  As in pig-out to the max!

It is the birthday week of my firstborn and it was one eating fiesta after another!  It started with a lunch in Chili's last Sunday.  A Miensan lunch and a special dinner at home on Tuesday.

My son's favorite dishes from home Iberian Chicken and Vongole plus Sugarhouse's Cashew Toffee Torte.

An overflowing potluck on Friday and ended with a buffet at Vikings today!

Grover!  Kung dating mukha akong 3 months pregnant,  ngayon ang tanong na sa akin, "Anytime now?"  As in!

Last Friday,  I helped organize an after QT (quarterly test) party for the classmates of my son at a classmates' house.  I'm so happy because all the moms are so supportive and we got almost half of the class attending the party.


And with any potlucks with so generous people,  the food was overflowing!  The boys were all over the house, swimming, playing basketball or football, basta burning calories.  While we moms,  oh my,  the moms were eating and chika galore from 12 noon till 6pm!!!  Ang saya!

As for our Vikings,  satisfaction to the max!  It is my family's first time in Vikings.  We are really not into buffets.  First, medyo kuripot kami.  We compute the amount we are going to chunk and equate to how much we can buy if we cooked at home instead.  Once in awhile though we indulge ourselves in fancy dining and lavish buffets.   Secondly,  ok medyo jologs but may thinking kami na kailangan sulitin yung bayad so we stuff ourselves to the max, we regret it after.

So today ang mantra namin when we went into Vikings is  --- Ang buffet dapat i-enjoy, hindi sinusulit.

We had a wonderful meal.  We were stuffed but we didn't pig out to the max, ok maybe a little, but not over:-)

My usual fave at any buffet.  Salmon sashimi:-)

My usual fave at any buffet. Salmon sashimi:-)

vikings philippines

And steamed shrimps, crabs and baked oysters. Not in the picture but I equally love, roast beef and lechon!

Nice ambiance at Vikings Marikina.

Nice ambiance at Vikings Marikina.

Vikings delivered very well.  The selection is wide and the quality of food is very good.    My husband and I felt the quality of food and selection is comparable to hotel buffets already.  Although of course sa hotel they give you sugpo instead of suahe and the oysters are bigger and crabs fatter.   But generally it was very, very good.   The food is chosen, prepared and cooked well and not mass style. One of the best buffet, if not the best buffet, that isn't in a hotel, my husband says.

The restaurant is well kept and clean and it even has the hotel feel to it.  The service was also very efficient.  They are fast in replenishing empty food trays and the waiters are very attentive in cleaning up your area so you can get your nth plate:-)  Since it was my son's birthday,  giving my son a birthday cake (which you can take home) and singing him a simple happy birthday (by the staff) added a nice touch to the mini-celebration we had.  They also have a special birthday treat for celebrants.  If you are dining on the day of your birthday,  celebrant is free as long as accompanied by one paying adult.  If you are dining within the month of your birthday,  celebrant is free as long as accompanied by four paying adults.  Bring an ID with photo with birthdate or for kids ID plus photo copy of birth certificate for birthday verification.  Lastly,  do make reservations in advance since the resto can be full especially on weekends.

Tomorrow, I swear diet na!

How about you?  How did your week go?

For more details on Vikings branches, rates and promos, please click Vikings Philippines.

Disclosure:  We paid for my family's entire meal at Vikings, Marikina.

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Banzai: The Great Teppanyaki Theater and Authentic Japanese Buffet in Manila

inside banzai sm mall of asia

Japanese food lovers will have a gastronomic feast at the country's biggest (500 seating capacity), all-unlimited Great Authentic Japanese Buffet, Banzai!

My kids and I had a complete Japanese dining experience at Banzai in SM Mall of Asia.  We were transported to Japan with Banzai's wide range of authentic Japanese food, all-out Japanese interiors plus a grand theatrical dance parade of performers garbed in stunning geisha, shogun, samurai and maiko costumes.

Authentic Japanese Buffet

Banzai Japanese Chef

"Banzai, where only the water is local and only the ice cream is frozen," so goes the joke of former actor-turned-restopreneur, Marvin Agustin.  Banzai lives up to its Authenticity by offering only ingredients imported from Japan.  They also hired 3 Japanese chefs to lord over the 3 main areas of Banzai: sushi; ramen and teppanyaki. Yum!

Beef Teppanyaki at Banzai

My personal fave is their Teppanyaki.  The beef is tender and delicately flavored. Paired with Japanese fried rice, it has destroyed my diet.

Ramen at Banzai Manila

I didn't have enough room to try their Ramen but my son said it was good.  They offer Miso, Shoyu, Chasyu, Tan-tan Men and Tonkotsu Ramen.  They said the broth is slow-cooked for a minimum of 24 hours to ensure maximum flavor.

Tempura at Banzai Mall of Asia

The Tempura is good.  The batter seasoned well and the shrimp is still firm inside.  Oddly though, in my 2 visits to Japan,  Tempura cooked our style is a rarity.  The Tonkatusu was a little bit tough.

What I ate in Banzai Manila

What I ate in Banzai.  Diet na 'to ng lagay na yan.  I enjoyed their sashimi although I think the salmon sashimi should be a bit more firm.  Their roasted pork belly melts in your mouth.  They also have a few Western dishes and every quarter they feature a specific international cuisine to add to the buffet.  When I went it was Chinese.  Menu is 90% Japanese and 10% international cuisine.

Desserts at Banzai Mall of Asia

They have a wide selection of desserts and my kids loved the snow cone station.  I got two servings of their creme brulee.  Drinks, including the popular iced Milo, are included in the buffet.

The Great Teppanyaki Theater

Banzai ups the Japanese dining experience to a higher level by providing "A Festival of Japan," a grand theater production inspired by different Japanese performance artforms such as kabuki and noh.

Theater Production at Banzai Restaurant in Manila

The performers, donned in stunning Japanese costumes,  moved with grace and intensity - it is very theatrical!

Geisha at Banzai SM Mall of Asia Manila

The production is directed by renowned director Floy Quintos.   The performers danced to Japanese music and moved around the main buffet area.   Best seats to get are near the main buffet so  you get the best view of the show while seated.  My kids were enthralled by the performance.

Banzai Teppanyaki Show

The "Festival of Japan" show culminates with The Banzai Teppanyaki Show.  It features 4 chefs simulating teppanyaki cooking in motion to Japanese music and drum beat.  They juggle, flip - utensils or food - to the delight of guests.   The shows are available from Fridays to Sundays at 12:30pm, 7:30pm and 8:30pm.

Posing with the Performers of Banzai's Theatrical Production

Guests posed with the performers.  When I went to Japan,  I squealed in delight when I saw a Japanese geisha,  I almost tripped trying to get a better glimpse of her.  The intricate detail of her dress etc.  The geishas and maikos here are fantastically dressed!

Banzai Trick Art Gallery

Banzai also has a small Trick Art Gallery featuring paintings of Japanese scenes.  Wigs, like the one I wore in the pic, are also available.  Strike a pose!

Trick Art Gallery Banzai

My son gamely posed as a Ninja.

Banzai Owner Marvin Agustin

And I gamely posed as Marvin's girlfriend, pwede!   Haha peace husbandry:-)  Marvin and his partner Ricky Laudico and Raymund Magdaluyo are the proud owners of Banzai.   They know their expertise is Japanese and they have once again brought another wonderful dining experience to Japanese-food loving Filipinos with Banzai.*

Banzai SM Mall of Asia


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*Marvin Agustin, Ricky Laudico and Raymund Magdaluyo owns Sumo Sam, John and Yoko etc.  46 restaurants to date!

**Banzai is a Japanese greeting that means ten thousand years of life.


Monday-Friday (lunch) P 699   (dinner) P 899

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays P 1,088

Children below 4.5 feet Php 499; Children beow 3.5 feet are free.

Left over price P 1,288.

Rates above are inclusive of service charge and unlimited drinks.

Address:  Banzai, SM Mall of Asia by the Bay, Pasay City (beside the Ferris Wheel).

Contact Numbers:  0916-377-5357; 552-7368

Disclosure:  Thanks to Banzai for inviting my kids and I to the media launch.


4DX at BHS: Revolutionizing our Cinema Experience

4DX Cinema at Bonifacio High Street4DX™ at BGC, the first 4dx technology in the Philippines, is a supreme movie experience that immerses all senses!

My kids and I were grinning from ear-to-ear from start to finish as we watched "Amazing Spiderman 2."

It is incredible to be able to move with Spiderman! When he crawled up the wall, the chairs tilted back add up high-res 3d visuals, and it as if you are scaling the wall as well. When Spiderman took a dive from a building you can actually feel the wind blasting in your face.  When Electro unleashes his powers, bolts of lighting flashes through the ceiling.  When Electro is hearing voices from his head,  you hear it all over the cinema, you actually feel his torment. It is, for lack of a better word, amazing!

4DX Cinema at Bonifacio High Street

4DX™ is located at the recently opened Bonifacio High Street Cinema at the Central Square Building, 30th cor 5th Street (if you are familiar with Serendra it's at the opposite end of the strip).

Tickets can be bought at the cinema but better to get it at Sureseats.com so you don't have to queue up plus the cinemas are always, always full.  Sureseats, however charges a P20 web fee per ticket bought.  Also,  you still have to queue up and present your e-ticket in the ticket counter for them to issue you the actual ticket.  We didn't read that fine print and almost missed the start of the movie.

If you wonder if front row seats will be a horrible dizzying experience,  fret not.  We got front-3rd row seats and it was fine.  I feel there is not much difference between the first rows from 3rd row. Besides, if I'm not mistaken, there are only 7 rows.  But of course if you can get farther from the screen seats, better.

Bonifacio High Street Cinema has 4 state-of-the-art movie theaters employing different advanced technologies for your ultimate movie experience.

  • 4DX™ (P450) (Cinema 4)
  • Dolby Atmos™/3D (P400) -(Cinema 2)
  • Dolby Atmos™ (P330) (Cinema 1)
  • Regular Cinema (P250) (Cinema 3)
This cinema has motorized recliner chairs (ala la-Z boy). I'm guessing it would be Cinema 2 - Dolby Atmos™/3D.

This cinema has motorized recliner chairs (ala la-Z boy). I'm guessing it would be Cinema 2 - Dolby Atmos™/3D.

Dolby Atmos™  is a surround sound system by Dolby Laboratories.  The speakers are front and ceiling mounted to give you real than life sound feel.

The 4DX™ technology incorporates chair movement (up/down, forward/back, right/left), mist, fog, light flashes, wind and even scents that gives the audience a feel of physical participation within the movie. We didn't detect any scent though.  They could have made the cinema smell like burnt wire or decaying body but I guess that would be very unpleasant.  The experience is amped-up by full surround-sound environments through front and ceiling mounted speakers – the aural enhancements from the latest from Dolby Laboratories – the perfected audio environment of Dolby Atmos™.

Bonifacio High Street regular cinema

Regular cinema seats.

With regard to movie snacks,  Family Mart (yay Green Tea Ice Cream), Potato Corner, Candy Corner and a nacho store I forgot to get the name of (but there was a long line there) are there to fill you up.   Also, for those with young kids,  you would be happy to know that the 4DX™  has its own bathroom.

Bonifacio High Street cinema lobby

Revolutionize your Cinema experience and be prepared to be entertained with Bonifacio High Street Cinemas!

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  We paid for our tickets.

Have fun with the Fam!

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14 Four Cafe: Taytay’s Charming Surprise

14 Four Cafe Taytay RizalMy family and I are on a hunt for new restaurants that have wide open spaces that kids can explore and be free.  So when I saw the post of Anton Diaz on the 14 Four Cafe, I thought the fam would love it.

My husband, crunched his face up when I said the restaurant is in Taytay, Rizal. I, however, was determined.  So, one lazy Sunday morning the whole family drove to 14 Four Cafe in Taytay, Rizal.   The drive was surprisingly fast and easy,  less than 15 minutes (no traffic) from the C-5 and Julio Vargas intersection.

The restaurant is unassuming from the outside.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

But what welcomed us upon entry, drew warm, pleasant smiles to our faces.   The place was completely charming!

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

The blue wooden chairs added charm to the already delightful garden patch.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

All the artsy furniture blended seamlessly into the greens.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

My toddler is all smiles.  He can actually roam around here to his hearts content.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

Light and pretty.  The Stick Designs Furniture Showroom, owned by the father of the chef, Nikki Sambile is also housed in the resto.   Too bad they are closed on Sundays.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

My son explored the garden, again and again.  Watch out though a mango fell off the tree while we were there.  The tin man on the lower right is actually their drainage.  Ingenious!

We are definitely charmed by place.  The food though can be improved.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

The Calamares (P225) lacked taste.  It seems like they just dipped it in flour and stopped at that.  The margarita pasta (like chicken parmigiana) (P420) was dry.  The tapa (P210) was ordinary and a little bit tough.  Not in the picture was the country fried chicken (P250) which was just plain fried chicken fried with salt.  The beef stew (P340) was good though and we ordered 2 of those.  It tasted like caldereta.

I find the price a little bit expensive considering servings are not meant to be shared.

This Cinnamon Bun Pancake (P190) we had for dessert, however, redeemed our entire food experience.  It was delicious!  It is pancakes served with cinnamon and sugar topping served with cream cheese on the side.  What is so yummy about it is the insides are soft and fluffy while the outside had the delicate toasted crunch to it.  We devoured it in minutes!

Cinnamon Bun Pancake

My family and I would love to go back to 14 Four Cafe to get that warm serving of their Cinnamon Bun Pancake and indulge in a little piece of quaint right inside the Metro.

14 Four Cafe Taytay Rizal

14 Four Cafe

144 Magnolia Lane, Gregoria Heights Subdivision, Brgy. San Isidro 1920, Taytay, Rizal

Contact Numbers:  0999-888-0144 (be sure to call before going because they are sometimes closed for private functions)

Website: www.14fourcafe.com

Facebook: 14 Four Cafe

Date of Dining: March 2014

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My family and I paid for our meal.

Eat Happy!

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Anvaya Cove: Things to do with the Kids

Anvaya CoveAnvaya Cove is a well manicured village set in the forests and shores of Bataan.

A members-only development of Ayala Land Premiere,  it is a 2.5 hour drive from Manila thanks to the good roads of NLEX and SCTEX.

Residents have built sprawling beautiful resort inspired houses that are a haven by itself.  My friend who hosted us built her house's concept with an eclectic mix of Balinese and Morrocan inspiration.

I love her doors!  All are Balinese inspired and made by the crafty hands of Pampangenos.

different kinds of doors

I heard there was a hotel but due to lack of time,  I wasn't able to check out the place anymore.

The main pavilion, the focal point of Anvaya opens up to pockets of pools that are interconnected.  There are no deep parts, maybe 4.5 feet and has wide shallow banks where toddlers can play while an adult stands on the deeper part of the pool.  I brought my son to the 4.5 feet part of the pool and was asked to move to the shallow banks or kiddie area since he doesn't have floaters.

The beach, right below the pool, has a long shoreline.   The sand is a mix of light brown and black but powdery.   The beach waters is not that clear but it is calm with a little surf.

Kids would love the jungle gym play area built on sandy ground.

Anvaya has several nature camp activities for everyone.  My kids sweat it up at the Magma Field Obstacle Course.

Obstacle Course at Anvaya

And they were on a high at the 100-feet high, 260 meters long Adult Zipline.  Kids 12 years and above and weighing 100 pounds up are allowed.  This is for their safety since if they are too light,  they might not reach the end of the line and would still need a rescue team to push them down to the end.  A scary scene, I would think.

Anvaya Zipline

They have a Kiddie Zip line too but it was undergoing maintenance check when we were there.

Anvaya Kiddie Zipline

Don't forget to bring your rubber shoes when you go there.  All activities in the nature camp are better done with rubber shoes on.  We didn't bring our rubber shoes so I had to skip the fitness trail.  The trail is a 30 minute session where you trek around the forests and there are fitness stations along the way,  pump weights etc.

When the heat is getting to us already,  all 10 kids headed back to the beach club. Some played ping-pong, some were in the foosball, some were in the air hockey and the tweens were, well, in the game room catching up with Facebook.

What is nice with Anvaya is you are not charged at every turn.  All the activities I mentioned were all free! Just prepare a tip for your zip line attendants:-)   Tipping is not encourage in Anvaya according to one reader.

Apart from the activities mentioned,  they have the usual water sports activities like banana boat, kayak, pedal boat etc.  They also have wind surfing and wakeboarding lessons.  As for land activities,  they have the nature camp and bikes for rent.  I would like to bike and do the fitness trail on my next visit.

My general review of Anvaya is that it is a good place to relax over the weekend.  It is just 2.5 hours away and the drive is easy.  It doesn't have that "wow" factor that I expected from all the rave reviews I heard but it was nice.  Planning my next trip already!

Location Information:

Address:  Anvaya Beach and Nature Club, Morong, Bataan

Rate:  Members-only.  Find a member friend to endorse you:-)  Hotel rates range from P 5,000 - P10,000

Contact Numbers:  (02) 793-9000 or 9178-ANVAYA

Website:  www.anvayacove.com

Food:   Sorry will have to update this.  I stayed in my friend's house and we had our meals there.

Washroom: Wasn't able to check this out as well.

Density of People:  Tolerable.  We were there on a weekend and there were quite a number of people but not enough to crowd the place.

Date of Travel: May 2013


1. Take the North Luzon Expressway.

2. Then take SCTEX Exit (Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway)

3. Take Subic Exit

4. Enter Subic via Subic-Tipo Toll gate

5. Once inside Subic, follow the Anvaya road signs. If there aren't any, follow the signs to “Morong Gate”.

6. Keep driving until you reach Morong Gate.

7. Just stick to the road until you reach the entrance of Anvaya Cove.

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My family and I went to Anvaya Cove upon invitation of a friend who has a house there.

Travel Happy!

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Bahay Tsinoy: Impressive Life-Sized Exhibits

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade

My daughter and I were pleasantly surprised with our visit to Bahay Tsinoy (House of the Filipino-Chinese) in Intramuros, Manila.  It is a museum documenting the rich history of Filipino-Chinese here in the Philippines.  As a Filipino married to a Chinese,  I developed a greater appreciation of my husbands' roots.  And my daughter beamed proudly as she saw one side of her great ancestry.

The museum, a good stop for history-lovers even without Chinese lineage, is filled with well crafted, life sized exhibits documenting the history of the Tsinoys.  The exhibits were so realistic and well presented, everyone in our group (it was the field trip of my daughter) were clearly impressed.  The museum is very organized taking you through the early contacts in pre-history, to the Spanish period and to the current-day involvement of the Filipino-Chinese in the country they now call home.

Here is a photo essay of our Bahay Tsinoy experience.

A huge Galleon ship welcomes you as you enter the museum proper.  The Galleon ship is the means of transportation used by the Early Chinese while conducting trade with the early Filipinos even prior to Spanish occupation.

Bahay Tsinoy - Galleon Trade1

Sangley, the term used by the Spaniards for the Chinese, comes from the word siong lai, meaning "frequent visitor" in Hokien.  They were separated by the Spaniards from the rest of the community and dwell in separate quarters called the Parian.  Shown below are the main occupations of the Early Chinese - merchants, laborers and artisans.

Bahay Tsinoy - Sangley

The exhibits come with descriptions that are easy to read and are very well written.  I enjoyed reading them.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese Occupations

Since time immemorial and up till now,  the Tsinoy's can be relied on for business.  Shown here with a sari-sari store.

Bahay Tsinoy life sized exhibit of a storeShown here is a typical mestizo house.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Early Chinese in their Household

The early Chinese were also knows as artisans.  Some early Chinese helped in constructing parts of the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila.  Shown here is the facade of the San Agustin Church.

Bahay Tsinoy - Facade San Agustin

Part of the museum includes the Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery with artifacts dating 10 to 17 centuries ago.  Depicted on the upper right is a wealthy Chinese trader.  And on the lower right are Chinese peddlers selling their wares before the San Agustin Church.

Ching Ban Lee Porcelain Gallery and Life Size Exhibit of the Early Chinese at Bahay Tsinoy

Emerging from the rich Filipino-Chinese ancestry are well known figures from the past till present.  According to Wikipedia, Jose Rizal was a 5th-generation patrilineal descendant of Domingo Lam-co, a Chinese immigrant entrepreneur who sailed to the Philippines and married Inez de la Rosa, a Sangley of Luzon.  Lorenzo Ruiz,  the first Filipino saint is from Binondo Manila,  and born to a Chinese father and Filipina mother.

Bahay Tsinoy Life Sized Exhibit of Filipino Chinese Mestizo Hero Jose Rizal

Not pictured here,  but also featured in Bahay Tsinoy is a cool hologram of a Tsinoy telling the story of the transformation of the early Filipino-Chinese to modern day Tsinoys.

Today,  Tsinoys are very well integrated into the Filipino society serving as leaders and catalysts in their respective businesses and professions.  A hallway honoring Filipino-Chinese who defended Philippine freedom in the past to public service advocates of the present are also featured.

Bahay Tsinoy - Contemporary Filipino Chinese

To sum it up,  I would like to quote choice excerpts from one of the write-ups I read in the museum:

Throughout Philippine history, the destiny of the Chinese-Filipinos has been closely intertwined with Filipinos. In every significant event that shaped the Philippines as a nation, the Chinese-Filipinos have marked their presence... there emerges the Tsinoy, the Chinese who is Filipino or the Filipino who is Chinese, molded through the centuries by Philippine life, enriching this land with the legacies of his Chinese heritage.

Bahay Tsinoy Information:

Address:  Kaisa Heritage Center, Anda cor. Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila

Operating Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Rate:  P100 for adults  and P60 for students (bring ID)

Contact Numbers:  527-6083 / 526-6796

Directions:  3 minute walk from Manila Cathedral or San Agustin Church in Intramuros (Old Walled City), Manila

Website:  www.bahaytsinoy.org

Washroom:  ascetic clean

Density of People:  Check first if there is a field trip and try not to go at that time,  unless you want a group of kids around:-)

Approximate Time to Spend Inside:  One hour if you just want to look and 2-3 hours if you want to read the descriptions.

Date of Travel: February 2013

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  My daughter and I went to Bahay Tsinoy on her field trip day and we paid for our entrance fees.

Travel Happy!

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UP Sunken Garden: Things to Bring for a Complete Picnic Experience

UP Diliman Sunken Garden

UP Diliman Sunken Garden

Take advantage of the cool, overcast January weather by taking the kids outdoors.  Cool days like these only last till mid to late February so it's the perfect time to go to places you would not normally visit when it's burning hot.

We took the kids to UP Sunken Garden last Sunday and the whole fam had fun.  The weather was perfect and the kids had fun running around the grass while daddy was busy flying the plane RC.  I, of course, a proud UPista told them for the nth time - that this was my college Alma Mater.

A UP Garden Kids Playing

We even had yummy dirty ice cream in mango, avocado and cheese flavor.

Mamang Sorbetero

Mamang Sorbetero

For a complete UP Sunken Garden experience,  you might want to bring the following:

  • Banig / Mat - so you can sit down on the mat picnic style
  • Outdoor Toys (See list below)
  • Snacks and Water - Be sure to clean up after.  There are cement trash cans but if you can't see one, please bring your trash home.
  • Camera
  • Book - O, di ba it's like a scene from a movie.  Maybe,  I should bring wine next time:-)
  • Sunscreen - It may be overcast but the sun is still out there.
  • Bike  - There is a bikers and runners lane.  You and your kid can run around the entire oval.  For serious runners, distance covered is      2.2km.
  • Frisbee
  • Soccer Ball
  • Kite
  • Bubbles
  • Airplane or 4 Wheel Drive RC
  • Water Blasters / Gun - Don't forget to bring your own water refill and be prepared to board wet children in the car.
  • Wind Spinners
UP Diliman Bikers and Runners Lane

UP Diliman Bikers and Runners Lane

The acacia trees that lined the UP oval provides the perfect shade and panorama for a good run or bike.

Relaxing, cool and expense free Sunday morning with the whole fam!

Hope you can share with me your UP Sunken Garden experience here at TheGoMom.  Would love to hear your comments.

These Crayola colored bubbles comes with a purple hue.

These Crayola colored bubbles comes with a purple hue.

Mind Museum at Taguig: Areas you Shouldn’t Miss

World Class Science Museum.  That is how I would describe the new Mind Museum in Fort Bonifacio.  The architecture inside and outside is modern, impressive and the displays are stunning!

Must Not Miss Areas:

Outdoor Science Playground -  kids can explore mechanical objects, go inside a bubble or try [Read more...]

China Town

We had a "staycation" as always.  Ever since I was a child we always just stayed in Manila during Holy Week.  Now that I have my own family, I still don't dare go out of town since I try to avoid tons of cars and hordes of people.  Yeah, yeah and I'm corny too.

Last Saturday,  tired of watching dbd2, my husband had a brilliant idea to go to China Town.  My kids detested the idea,  finding the idea a bit boring.  My son, who would rather play Nerf, goes, "Uh, why are we going to China Town?"  So, I went through a long lecture of how important it is to know your roots and culture.  I was mighty proud of the brilliant knowledge I imparted on them only to be received with [Read more...]