Venezia Hotel's Las Vegas Bistro

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Las Vegas Bistro in Subic Bay Venezia Hotel,  that I can share. Last Saturday, we were invited by the marketing head of the hotel to dine in at the hotel's main restaurant, the Las Vegas Bistro. We did not know what to expect as we came in, but we were not disappointed by what we had.

Our small group of bloggers, with Ms. Grace of TAG Media and Ms. Jackie of Treetop PH, came in around 1:30PM. I'm glad we were missed the lunch time crowd because we stink big time and I feel so under dressed. We were just on a lunch break from our Treetop adventure and all of us had been under the sun the whole morning, running, jumping, and rolling around the whole yard (will share that story next), I bet we stink like old socks. Nonetheless, we were welcomed with warm smiles and were led to our seats.

It did not take long before the first dish arrived. A beautiful plate of Nachos followed by Beef Quesadillas and Salsa whet our palate. Ready attendants served the Crab & Corn Soup (P250.00). For our main course, we had an assortment of Asian dishes. The Honey Spicy Chicken (PP240.00) had the right balance of sweetness and spice. The King Dao Pork Spareribs (P240.00) which I normally would not order, surprised me because it did not have the sickly sweetness I associate with the dish. The meat was tender and well marinated. The group favorite was the Braised Fish Brisquet (P290.00) with soft, melt in your mouth fillet. My personal bet was the Beef with Mango dish (P240.00) because the refreshing tropical taste was perfect for the hot, humid afternoon. We finished the meal with single servings of Leche Flan (P50.00), over a layer of custard sauce, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and cherry to balance the taste.

The whole spread was so colorful and fun that our whole table got energized just by looking at it. All of the dishes are good for 2 to 3 person and the prices are so affordable, I was already planning on going back with my family even before we left. As we finish our meal, we got a chance to interview the manager and head chefs of Las Vegas Bistro. The Subic Bay Venezia Hotel has two dining spaces - The Wooza Bar & Cafe and The Las Vegas Bistro. The new look and menu is just a little more than a year old. Like in Vegas, Nevada, Las Vegas Bistro offers an assortment of dishes from Chinese (which was our spread for the day), to Italian, Japanese, or American. You can pretty much get everything from Noodles to Steak. Assistant Manager Arvie told us though that they will be undergoing some major changes to the restaurant by the end of the year and it's something worth going back for.
Corporate Marketing Head; F&B Manager Edgar Co; Head Chef Edgar Judia (Tex-Mex); Head Chef Christian Dela Cruz (Asian/Japanese); and Assistant Restaurant Manager Arvie Fulguerras
Subic Bay Venezia Hotel is known for it's casino so we spent a few minutes in there. I'm not very good with gambling but it was fun trying out the slot machines with friends that are equally clueless with how we we win or lose. We each tried to play with P100 felt a little silly with our piso bets. Of course, we did not win but we had fun so that was good enough.

It was past 4pm when we left. Still full with all the food we had, and ready for the next part of our Subic Adventure. I will be back soon with my family and will try to book a room this time. surely, my mom and dad will enjoy the casino, my daughter will enjoy the pool, and we will all enjoy the good food!

Have you been to the Venezia Hotel or the Las Vegas Bistro? What's your recommended dish?

A Day Of Dance At The Halili Cruz School of Ballet

"Dancers are not great because of their technique. They are great because of their passion!"
After days of excitement, we finally got the chance to watch a live ballet show at the Halili Cruz School of Ballet during their first Bloggers Conference held at their main studio in Quezon Ave. last July 18. The school is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and wanted more people to be aware of its advocacies and contribution to the arts so they invited online influences, including myself, through the help of Tag Media.
Photo copyright: HCSB Facebook Page
While everyone was watching the ballerinas pirouette, I'm busy watching Mila get mesmerized by the show. I could not help it. She had been showing a lot of interest in ballet and I wanted to know if she really understands and appreciates the dance. There were 2 group performances and 2 solos. Mila's eyes were dancing as she follows each turn and lift of the beautiful ballerinas in front of her. She was front and center from start to finish. In between sets, I hazard to ask Mila if is she's enjoying. She answered with a curt nod and a shhh. She did not want to be disturbed. My daughter really loves the ballet!

When the performances were over, Mila was ecstatic and she was literally bouncing with joy. A few minutes later, cute little girls started marching into the room. Teacher Anna Kathrina Halili-Cruz Bueno, HCSB's Associate Artistic Director told the crowd that all the kids can join at the front. Even before I said a word, Mila was there in front, lining up with the rest of the girl. She was the youngest and smallest and she first to volunteer. I was such a proud momma! (check the video below)
It's amazing how three to five year old kids are able to not only follow the instructions, but they are also able to identify what each ballet pose or steps are. HCSB has developed a systematic promotion procedure that checks the progress of the students through semi-annual oral and written examinations, coupled with actual evaluations in both theoretical and practical aspects of the discipline. 

After the kids, the mommies got their turn too. No matter how much I dreamt of becoming a ballerina when I was younger, I would not have thought I'll be dancing in front of a crowd, no matter how simple and short the steps were. But I did it for Mila. She thought mom was so awesome! And I had so much fun, much to my surprise. A few minutes of basic ballet moves and all of my muscles got a little kick. 
Photo Copyright: HCSB Facebook Page
Teacher Grace Garalde-Perez, Associate Artistic Director of HCSB told us that the school offers basic ballet classes for adults to. They found that not only it is a great exercise for the body, it exercises the mind too and a way for most of their students to deal with stress. Coming from Ms. Shirley Halili-Cruz herself, Artistic Director and Founder of HCSB, "Ballet Education is far more than just producing a ballerina as a dancer as it is intended to arm students with discipline, creativity, initiative, perseverance, patience, and high self-esteem that will make them better artists and the best people they can be."

The school offers an appropriate and comprehensive program with the 2-level Tiny Tots Ballet Syllabus, a 5-level Baby Ballet Syllabus, and a 12 level Classical Ballet Syllabus that are based on the Filipino physique, innate artistic ability and culture. Each student also has the chance to perform in local and international stage, and even join competitions if they choose to. By the time students graduate from the 12-level course, they are certified to be great and competent teachers of the art. 
A photo posted by chronicles of life with mila (@milastolemyheart) on

I promised Mila I will let her pursue her interests and if ballet is in her heart, then so be it. After her 3rd birthday this coming month, she starts her ballet classes in HCSB. The way I saw how much passion Mila has for the ballet, how much concentration she had trying to get the right step, I know Mila will be great! Just watch how she did the first time!

Would you enroll your kids in ballet school too? Would you consider enrolling yourself? Hope to see you in the hallways of HCSB!

Little Miss Ballerina and The Halili- Cruz School of Ballet

Every girl at one point thought of dancing the ballet. My daughter certainly does. Videos of graceful ballerinas are on her YouTube playlist. She'd often show me how she can stand on her pointed toes.

Ballet originated in the 15th Century Italian Renaissance Courts and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia.  It has been globally influential and has been the foundation of other dance genres.
When Mila gets a little bit older, we hope to try The Halili-Cruz School of Ballet (HCSB). It has been considered as one of the best ballet schools in the Philippines. It has been awarded as the “Most Outstanding Ballet School in Asia” from 2000 to the present. The school has successfully represented the Philippines in different international festivals and competitions in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Brunei, South Korea, Russia, England and the USA.

5 Times My 3-Year Old Daughter Is More Adult Than Her Mom

In a few weeks, Mila will turn three. There are lots of times when it feels like she is waaaaaay older. More often than not, she's more my mom than I am hers.

1. On her first time to go to Enchanted Kingdom, we were in a bus with other Mommy Bloggers. I was a fidgety, trying to find the most comfortable position so Mila and I could take a nap before we get to the theme park (I just got off my 9-hour shift). And what did Mommy Mila told me? 
"Wag likot ha? You might fall and hurt yourself. Sit properly lang!" Yes po Mommy Mila.
As soon as we had the entrance on sight, I told Mila we've arrived. Her response? 
"Oh, is that the place? It's amazing! I'm so excited to go to the castle!" Talagang is that the place ang dialogue
Made me wonder if I was with a colleague instead of my kid. Then she begged to go closer and the spark on her eyes reminded me she is still a child!

2. Mila is not a morning person. She usually wakes up at 10am, even noon sometimes if I let her. When I had to bring her to a morning session of mommy and child bento workshop hosted by Frabelle Foods, I thought I would have a cranky kid. Seeing her friends made her a happy, active kid and she was giddy the whole time. Well, almost.

A couple of hours into the workshop, she came running to me and said 
"Mommy, I need a holiday!" I said "What?" Mila had to repeat "Mommy, I said I need a holiday. Please? I need a holiday now!" Oh anak, mommy needs a holiday too!

3. Money are toys for Mila. Usually, she will ask for coins so she can shop or sell her stuff. "Pretend only", she'd say as she opens up her grocery store. Paper money serve as her babies' blankets when there's no tissue around.

I was on a meeting and Mila and her Tita tagged along. She called my attention to ask to borrow some coins.
"Mommy, can I borrow coins? I want to play".
"Honey I don't have coins. Go ask tita."
"She said she does not have money"
"I don't have money too."
"Can I just borrow card please?"
"So I can buy milk and diapers! Do like this! (proceeds to swipe a credit card in mid air)"
I wonder if she will ever be entitled for her own. At least she had the intentions of buying necessities. Hay!
4. Every night, when I have to leave to go to work, I will ask Mila what pasalubong she wants. It never fails that she'd ask for donut. I'd say "Donut again?" and she'd just smile her sweetest smile.

When she had a cough one day, I thought donuts will make her feel better. I got the cutest pink donut with colorful sprinkles - Mila's top choice. Got schooled by my child when she said 
"Mom I have cough oh. No donut today po. Hindi pwede sweets sabi doctor. See *cough* *cough*! Told you I'm sick. Wag na eat donut ha. Later nalang when I'm better!"
5. Whenever Mila hears that my voice is louder than normal she starts to get mad and say "Mommy! Stop!" Even when I'm just a little too excited to sharing a story, she reminds me to control my tone. More so when my Mom and I talks. For Mila, she thinks we're arguing, even if we're just discussing petty stuff like showbiz chismis (we're not fighting, this is just how we sound). Mila would stand up and say to my face 
"Stop now. No fighting. Stop and say sorry." 
Imagine her doing that with her face all crumpled up and both hands on her hips. Nanay na nanay lang ang dating. Even when I'm really mad, I couldn't help but laugh when she does this. I'd take a mad Mila anytime than a crying, sad, frightened girl as she see her parents fight, repeatedly saying  "Sorry mommy, sorry daddy, sorry". I would never let that happen again. 
I always ask myself if I'm raising my kid well. I sometimes doubt my decisions when it comes to parenting. When I see Mila acting more grown up than I am, I can't help but give myself a tap on the back. It's a reminder too that I should be careful with what I let her see and experience. All toddlers are sponges and I want her around good role models. I'm constantly working on making sure I am one of those people.

If you think these are funny or sweet, there's more of these short convos with my 3 year old daughter turning 30! Just use the hashtag #MilaSerye in Facebook or Instagram. Follow us our accounts too while you're at it!