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! 

Setting Financial Goals

At 31, suddenly found myself alone in having to support my child. Not to mention the credit card debt and other financial commitments I had. My bank account is not ready. We lived pay check through pay check. I was afraid and unsure if I would be able to fulfill my financial needs with just a single income. Budget was cut into half. I needed to reassess how I handle my finances but did not know where to start. How?

Sometimes, when you ask enough, the universe answers you. I got an invite to attend the RI5E Towards Money for Life workshop with Aya Laraya of Pesos and Sense. It is a series of six monthly workshops that discuss proper money management for all life stages. The first topic last month was goal setting. Exactly where I'm at on my new financial journey. I got to ask myself again, where do I start?

In a 2012 Reader's Digest Article by Ryan Ong titled Wealth Wisdom of The Ages, he said "How you spend, save or invest your money should change with your needs." So what do I need? If you asked me last year, I'd say I need to save up for down payment for my own house, cut off my credit card, continue saving up for an emergency fund, my daughter's educational fund, and my retirement fund. This somehow fits the financial goals of my age bracket to grow my money, as stated on the article. But can I achieve them now?

Coach Aya left us with a couple of tasks - track your expenses religiously for at least a week, hopefully for a month; and write your short and long term goals. It took me a month to answer that hard question: what are my new financial goals?

Tracking my finances was easy. I used to have an excel file where at the start of the month, I will write my fixed expenses and tick them off as I pay them. But I never took note of the P8 jeepney fare, or the P20 I handed out to the kid knocking on my Uber ride. As pointed out during the workshop, those small change can accumulate to hundreds, or thousands even. After the workshop, I started tracking every cent I spend using a mobile App. I'm using Wally+ which is a free Android App. It helps me easily see an overview of my expenses, where I spend my money, and control my budget. At the end of the month, I was surprised by how much I spend on "wants" and upgrades (yes, that biggie meal from Wendy's) and other variable expenses. It got to as much as 20% of my income. Most of it was spent eating out and buying lunch at work.

When I looked at the expense summary, even before the month ended I could see that I had more cash flow than I feel I have. It got me thinking if last year's goals were really as farfetched as I thought they were. So I continued doing my workshop homework. Here's what I wrote:

Short term goals: Get my own car, help fund renovation for the family house, and pay off the credit card debt.

Long term goals: Save for educational/retirement fund, buy my own house, and get enough capital for our own cafe/bakery.

I'll discuss the details of how I came up with these goals in the next posts. But notice how similar they are with last year's goal? With less money coming in, where will I get the money for all these? Simple - from the savings I'm starting now. And yes, I did the math and it's doable, even with less cash inflow. The key word there is NOW. 

Because I am already tracking my expenses, I realized that I spend way less than before and I can even get those expenses lower. I am not sharing payments for house and utilities anymore. No more car payments and I go out less. Finally, I'm not overspending on my daughter's clothes either. My sisters make sure of that. My salary that I could barely stretch until the next payday now seems more.

In addition, I have decided to keep my brownie business and make it grow. I read somewhere that there are times when cutting down on your expenses will never be enough. Often, the best approach is to look for ways to increase that budget. Who would have thought I could earn as much as P2000 per week baking Brownies. I even had to opt out of some orders because I just don't have the energy and time to bake them with love anymore.

So what am I saying here? Most of the time, we get overwhelmed by changes and trials that we have and we end up giving up on our goals. But if we take time and look into where we really are, there will always be a way to keep those goals, achieve them, and even grow you money for more. There will always be money to spend, save, and invest. Track your expenses and compare it with what you earn. I bet you there will be more than enough for you to start achieving your goals. 
Start now. Start small. Start with a peso. Just start. 

As I go through this financial journey, I will share what I learn from the workshop and how I apply it to achieving my goals. Wish me great success please!

Achievement Unlocked: Potty Trained

Who would have known I'd get this excited about pooping? Mila reached another milestone and I can't stop gushing about it. Others may say we're a little late for the party, but at almost 3, Mila finally knows how to properly use the toilet. I'm still amazed with how painless it is to get Mila potty trained. I wish I could give tips for other mommas too but I don't have a magic formula. It just happened and I can't be happier about it. Let me just share our journey and maybe others can pick up something from this too.

More than a year ago, I started training Mila to tell mommy and ask to go to the toilet when she needs to pee pee or poo poo. She's curious enough when I use the toilet myself so I thought she was ready. We were in a single floor apartment and the rest room was easily accessible to her so we skipped the potty seat. We were great for a week. While visiting a cousin, she asked to go #2. I was eating so I asked her dad who just finished his meal to help her instead. Mila was told to just do the deed on her diapers so I can clean her up when I'm done eating. Biggest mistake! From then on, Mila would only tell me after the fact. I tried a few more weeks being diaper-free until we got tired cleaning up the floor and replacing bed sheets. She was not ready after all. Since she knew her dad will back her up, she kept her diaper-soiling days.

When we moved back to my mom's place, we stayed on the second floor room. We only had one toilet and bath which was on the ground floor. It was a hard for my mom to run downstairs everytime Mila had to use the toilet so we settled on using diapers. It's just more convenient.

As an impulse buy, I bought Mila a new potty seat. I had Mila pick her own potty seat so that I'd know she would love it. For a month or two, she used it as a chair or step stool. She would poop in it but just for pretend. 

We let her. No more forcing for Mila to use the potty when she does not want to. We constantly remind her that grown ups do not wear diapers and we use the toilet when we need to. But no forcing her. Until one day, my mom said she will help me save up on some money because she knows I'm saving up for a car. She bought 2 dozens of new panties. We will cut off on diaper expenses, she said. 

The thing with Mila is, she hates being messy. I used that to my advantage. The first day we removed the diapers, she wet herself and she cried "Mommy kadiri. Basa ako!" So I sat her down and explained why she needs to start using the potty. "Honey, when you need to pee, you have to use the potty now so your legs do not get wet and dirty." I demoed it to her once. Since then, she would run to the potty everytime she needs to pee. She knows how to take her panties off, wipe herself, and put the potty cover down. When she needs to poop, she would insist on going to the toilet. She even started learning how to use the bidet and wash herself. I just need to stay there though to make sure it's really clean and that she does not fall. She is still my baby after all.

It's been a few weeks now and no accidents yet. Because Mila had been such a good girl, she deserves a treat. After our doctor's appointment, I asked her where she'd want to eat. I was expecting McDonald's. She said Pancake House. Buti nalang may budget. She ordered her favorite Chocolate Pancake. My mom and I got the Pan Grilled Pork Belly and Special Salisbury steak respectively from the Choose Any Two for P370 promo. Food was awesome and price is on point. Seeing Mila's smile - priceless!


Picnic With Mila At Mott's Apple Juice Summer Fun Day

Everyday, Mila would "cook" for me her specialty, broccoli and rice and we will eat it will cake and apple juice. It's one of her favorite bonding with mommy. After so many afternoons of pretend picnic, Mila and I finally had our first ever sort-of-real outdoors picnic and it will not be the last.

It's been a while since I last attended a blogging event and I was happy when I got an invite to join the Mott's 100% Apple Juice Summer Fun Family Day held at BGC High street. To be honest, we went in there not knowing what to expect. It was more of an excuse for me to spend more time with Mila outdoors.

Mila fell sleep during the ride to the venue so she was a little cranky when I had to wake her up. But there's no bad mood that ice cream and face painting could not fix. The heat of the sun was bearable. Thanks to the unlimited supply of Mott's Apple Juice and treats made from it too to refresh us.
I wanted us to seat at the bloggers' table with other blogger friends but Mila had another plan. She had a a mini tantrum because she wanted to stay on the picnic blankets, even if we get toasted under the sun. Mila hates direct sunlight but it didn't matter, she was having a blast.
Of course, there's lots of selfies from the two of us. We got tired of eating pretend food after a while so we went back to the bloggers' tent to fill up on Mott's Apple snacks. We were right in time because it was time for games. As usual, Mila cried when she say the mascot so we stayed away from the stage and were not able to join some games. She just played with ate Rylee (hi Lally!). Still, us competitive mommies did not leave without winning a game or two.
The event was open for the public. There were lots of games and challenges the whole family could join in. Mila stayed at the ball pit most of the time. She got her hands to some paint too, then she was back again at the ball pit, making noise with her maracas as she sings on her own.
It was such a tiring, happy, fulfilling day. Thanks to Mott's Apple Juice, my daughter and I had a chance to go on an outdoor picnic together. Planning on the next one soon!

Working Mom's Musings

The little girl making pacute because she is wearing a pretty "dress".
It's just my scarf wrapped around her waist. #toddlerimagination
Tonight, I woke up to prepare to go to work and found myself alone with Mila. Got me thinking a few things.

She was just there hugging me, waiting for me to wake up. She looks like she just woke up herself. As soon as she saw my eyes open, her own eyes beamed with joy. "Finally!", her smile told me.

My family takes care of Mila while I'm at work. Tonight, my parents went on a date and my sister is staying out late on a Friday night. I started prepping up, hoping my mom and dad will be home soon. As I dress up, Mila and I had a conversation:

Mila: Mom, you're going to work?
Mom: Yes honey.
Mila: Why?
Mom: So I can earn money.
Mila: Why?
Mom: So I can provide for your needs.
Mila: But why?
Mom: Because we need to buy your food, milk, clothes, and toys.
Mila: Oh OK.

This exchange is on repeat five days a week. After a few minutes...

Mila: Mom, are you going now?
Mom: Yes honey.
Mila: But how about me?
Mom: Mama Carmen will be home soon.
Mila: Awwww. I'm sad.
Mom: Why
Mila: Because you're not here. I'm alone.


The other day, I read a post from the Facebook group: Glam-O-Mamas. Another member laments how she feels so guilty wanting to work to have "more". She want not just the financial freedom of working but she feels like she wants more for herself than just being a mother. She wants a career.

I can very much relate. We used to explore the idea of me being a stay-at-home mom so I can give more time to Mila. But I know deep in my hearts that I will not be completely happy. Not that I have the most glamorous job or the most fulfilling, world-changing work. I just know that I will always have that what if if I drop my career like a hot potato, knowing I can do more. Now, aside from the fact that I need a job to provide for Mila, I also love to keep my job because I am happy here! 

I have moments of doubts. Like when Mila is sick and I had to leave her side to report for work. Or when I was so tired I could not keep my eyes open to see Mila's new dance. I wanted to quit when I thought work was taking too much from our family. But I held on. I am a mother but I am also a person of my own.

Mila will always be my priority, there's no question with that. But my life is a pie. Mila takes the biggest slice. Sometimes though, I need to put that slice down to take a bite at the smaller slice. I may miss bringing Mila to play dates sometimes. I may have to skip a dance practice or reschedule a doctor's appointment. I may need to spend a lot of time at work. But time with Mila will always be magical. I try my best to give my full attention to her when we are together. Each song merits a round of applause. Each word is heard and understood, no matter how hard it is to decipher. Each boo boo receives a kiss, even if they're just made up. We can spend just 30 minutes together in a day, and that's spent making lasting memories. That gives me strength to go forward. 

Now, who can say no to a girl who just wants to spend a few more minutes with her mom? I can definitely stay and be late for work for an hour or two, if that means I can keep her safe and happy. It paid off well too. While she eats her cereal for dinner (yes, she can eat breakfast food if she wants to), she suddenly blurted out something I was surprised to hear. I had to have her repeat what she said and I was not mistaken. Check out the video I posted in Instagram. It was wonderful to hear her give words to her dreams! My articulate little girl. Another lasting memory made in a few minutes! Priceless!

Now I'm able to go to work with a Happy Heart! :)

Run And Get Slimed At The Nickelodeon Slime Cup Run

Save the date and get your kids and furry friends to start stretching their muscles for the Nickelodeon Slime Cup Run happening at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds on Sunday, May 29 at 6am! The Slime Cup Run promises a race like no other, filled with lots of Nickelodeon’s signature green slime.

“We're thrilled to be organizing the Nickelodeon Slime Cup Run over this school holiday season. We encourage play through sports.And this is a ‘slime-tastic’ opportunity to enable kids, families and their pets to get outdoors and bond over silly, slimy fun – in true Nickelodeon style – this summer!” said Dinna Zaratan, Country Manager, Philippines, Viacom International Media Networks.

The Nickelodeon Slime Cup Run is the ultimate summer activity for the whole family.Everyone, from the little ones to parents, and even dogs can join. Runners can sign up for three categories, namely: the 200m dash for kids aged 7 and below; the 1K race, open to individual runners and dogs and owner tandems; and the 3K run which is open to families, individual runners and runners in pairs.

Nickelodeon gives everyone another awesome way to beat the summer heat with the Slime Cup Run. Following last year’s SupahSummahHapon Hangout, which saw hundreds of kids and kids-at-heart enjoying a four-module obstacle course and limitless slime. For this year, kids and their families will have to dash to get to the slime. There will also be appearances from Bikini Bottom stars, who also happen to be Nickelodeon’s Slime Cup ambassadors this year, SpongeBob and Patrick Star.

The fun factor in the “fun run” is multiplied as runners will not only be running, they would have to hop, skip, and crawl through obstacle courses on their way to get slimed. Loads of ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments are guaranteed as runners will go through the Tire Jog course filled with “booby” traps and the Ninja Run course, where ninjas will appear and try to slow runners down.

The Slime Cup Run may not be a race against time, but it is a guilt-free, slimy fun race. Head on to select Chris Sports branches to pre-register and visit for more details. A registration fee applies for the Slime Cup Run and part of the proceeds will go to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

Those who do not wish to run can still experience the glorious green slime in the Slime Hub for free, where various booths and activitiesare run by Nickelodeon’s partners. Nickelodeon’s Slime Cup Run is made possible with the support of event sponsors Barbie, BOOMco, Hapee Kiddie Toothpaste, Jiggels, Magnolia Chocolait, Milkita Lollipops, Plus! Juice Drink, Propan TLC Drops with Zinc, Skechers Kids, and Toy Kingdom; official venue partner SM Mall of Asia; and other partners, Chris Sports, Gatorade, Maynilad and Pet Express.

Boracay Trip on a Whim! - Mila Goes to Boracay

Woohoo! Finally, I'm getting my much needed vacation! Never would I have thought I could go to Boracay without months of planning. Much less go on a RORO Trip to the island with my daughter. But here we are, aboard the Montenegro Lines ferry, on the way to Caticlan. Isang tumbling nalang, paradise na

Just this Monday, my mom received a call from her friend asking if she wants to join them on their weekend trip to Boracay. They'll leave Thursday afternoon and will bring their van to drive from Manila to Caticlan through RORO. My mom had been taking care of Mila every night while I'm at work so she was hesitant because they'll leave Thursday and she could not leave her apo alone

Without much thinking , I told her sama nalang kami ni Mila. I already have a scheduled leave on Friday, with no real plans. I just need to ask for Thursday off. That night, I filed for an extra day off and Tuesday night, I got an approval. When I got home Wednesday morning, my mom told me they'll leave Thursday morning instead. Oh no! I still have work. I guess it's not meant to happen. No Boracay trip for the little girl. I though we could go to Tagaytay or Baguio instead. Our mom and daughter bonding! 

I got home Thursday morning expecting that my mom already left. Well, she waited for me and asked if  we'd like to follow. We could book a 2Go trip and our hotel room will be waiting for us. Oh YES!
At 9am, all gears are set. Mila was so hyped and got her bathing suit on. I tried to book our tickets online for the 9pm trip from Batangas to Caticlan but the 2Go website was down. I started packing our bag. At 10am, I called 2Go to reserve our tickets. FULLY BOOKED until Saturday night! Bummer! 

I could not bear Mila's face when I told her we might not go to the beach after all. I never want to see her disappointed. My fingers went to work and I figured, we can do it! Airline tickets worth P5,000+ is out of the story. I don't have the extra cash for that now since I just paid my first investment for Mila's future. I found that the Penafrancia Bus Line has a direct RORO trip from Pasay. Called them and was told that all aircon buses are booked. We can take the ordinary bus instead for P1,000+ but my mom would die (she's asthmatic). Another roadblock. 

I would not be denied this vacation! Mila and I will get our first Boracay Trip now. I made the decision that an adventure is what we need! We will brave the uncertainties of a RORO travel, transferring from one vehicle to another until we get to see the beauty of Boracay. 

At 12pm, at was at Divisoria for some last minute shopping. 3pm, I was back home packing my bag. 5pm, we're out of the house, on our way to our adventure. With no reservations! 

Ps. Watch out for the next posts to see if we got to our destination (and how)! Wish us luck!

Vote Wisely. But Who is Wisely?

My favorite hashtag on this election is #wagpiliindahiltrending. Sikat kaya dun ka? Kulelat sa survey manok ko so dun nalang ako sa second option kasi mas posible yun manalo. Puro bashers yan sa Facebook, Ayoko dyan kasi baka mabash din ako. Sya boboto ng family and friends ko kaya dun na din ako. Heard these quiet too often.

Yesterday, an intelligent young woman posted her fears regarding the election and why she would hate if Duterte wins. Amidst all the disagreement by her family and friends who supports the mayor, she stood her ground and proved she can make and fight for her own educated decision.

I just wish all voters will be the same. Research on your own. And when I say research, that's not just Facebook or any other social media. Use what you've found out to #votewisely. May it be pro or anti Duterte (or any other candidate), you have my respect if you know how to think for yourself and you #voteforthecandidateyoubelievein.

And in the end, whoever wins, show your support. If you need change, start with yourself. Start with following the leader of the country, whoever that may be. Continue to be discerning. Question what is wrong, follow what is right. And give each plan a chance to pan out before you disagree and raise a commotion. You want change? Be open for changes.

Let me end by sharing the comment I left on that post:

"Binay won for VP because he was well-loved by the people of Makati. Others not from the same city voted for him because "He can do to the country what he did to Makati". Look at him now. I wish it's not a similar story with this mayor.

If he wins, I will pray that his bravado will be backed by concrete actions that will benefit everyone in the long term. He had 20yrs to "fix" Davao. Let's see what he can do with shorter time and bigger jurisdiction.

If he lose, I pray that his supporters would be man enough to accept defeat and not start a coup. He is just winning the surveys and yet, some people are claiming the position for him and ready to shoot and kill if things do not go their way. Why not? If their leader kills, why couldn't they?"

Good luck to each and every Filipino!

On This Day, Three Years Ago

I know what this post was about. I clearly remember. It's the first time I caught him cheating.

I did the deadma mode and did not say anything to him. I just observed and gathered info. I tried to block any pain as I focused my attention to my growing belly to keep me sane. But it got to the point that I had to block the girl from his FB account and phone. It got unblocked with no questions from him.

We didn't talk about it because the happiness of being pregnant was way more than the pain of being created on. No confrontations. No drama. I think Mila made him give up the girl. She just disappeared from his life. I thought that was strong of him to do so.

Until he found another girl. That one was a whole different story.

(PS. I posted this earlier without edit. I finally broke my blog silence and it feels good. This is not my way of ruining my daughter's father's name. This is me trying to heal. Just had to go back and edit the obvious grammatical errors. ;) ) 

Happy Holidays!!!


Mila and I want to greet everyone Happy Holidays!

The year is almost up. It's the time to look back on what was and look forward to what will be. 2015 had been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. It's fortunate I love riding extreme rides

I feel like the year went by too quickly, yet it was so full of memories and lessons. My top lesson: love yourself. Health concerns had me pause and realize that my body is not what it used to be, and never will be. I should take care of me first so I can take care of everyone else. Thank you Lord for giving me a longer lease in life.

My little princess is growing up quickly too. There are times I wish I could keep her like this: sweet and innocent. Yet I'm as excited to see her explore the world and grow into the best person that she can be. My fervent wish is that I will be there to guide her along the way. 2015 thought me that I cannot be with my child all the time, but my love for her will stay and guide her always.

There are a lot of things in my life that has room for improvement. I say, be happy with what you have yet be bold to aim for more. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask. Like now, as I write this at work (shhhh), I asked no one in particular if they have food since I'm hungry. And someone responded and gave me cup noodles. Thanks Vince!
There are tons to be thankful for. From small wins, to big success. Even the trials that had thought me to be stronger, I thank God for that. Most of all, I'm thankful for my family and friends. For my husband who show me that I am stronger than I think. For my dad who inspire me and motivates me to work harder in keeping my family. For my Mom who spoils my kid with love and got my back every time. To my sisters who I bully, and bullies me back to remind me I can be more beautiful. To my aunt and cousins who put up with my craziness. To my in laws who inspire me to keep my faith. To friends who I owe so much time and kwento and yet, they still understand and support me. To my workmates who make long hours spent at work more worthwhile and enjoyable, even if it's challenging. To my blog community who had taught me a lot. To our current and past yayas who love and take care of our daughter.

Our Daughter. MILA. My one and only reason for everything. If there is only one thing I will be thankful for this year, and the years to follow, it will always be Mila. She teaches me humility and pride. She makes me experience the pains of failure and gives me the endless joy of success. She is my pride. She is my life. Thank you Lord for my wonderful girl and for all the time I get to be with this angel.
I have so many thing I want this coming year. Goals and missions for myself and the people I love. Dreams I know I can make come true. I'll make that list private lest I preempt them. Let's just say that 2016 will see a new me. 

Let's leave 2015 and start 2016 with a happy heart and a determination of making our goals and dreams come true. Wishing everyone a joyful celebration! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and oh, Happy Birthday to me too! ;)

Jake And The Never Word

Jake and The Neverland Pirates OOTD 
My daughter loves watching TV. I allow her to watch Disney Junior even before she turned one year old. She is the master of the remote control and has her favorite shows now. One of them: Jake and The Neverland Pirates. Jake is one of the first Disney characters that Mila had recognized. I think it's because his name is easy to say. There's also at least one catchy tune each episode that my music-lover girl would not miss. 

When she turned two, Mila started saying "Never" just like how Captain Hook would say it. She'd normally say it when she is pretending to be mad or when we're asking her to take her afternoon nap or take her favorite shirt off. She looks so cute saying never like a pirate but I just had to be a parent. It's not a habit she should keep. Saying "No" for EVERYTHING TO ANNOY MOMMY, is a phase that most toddlers go through. My Mila just do it the pirate way. It's also a phase that can be quick and less annoying.
Jake and The Neverland Pirates OOTD 

How I Stopped My Daughter From Saying No or Never All The Time

Give Options
I understand that saying no/never is a toddler's way of asserting themselves. It is a developmental sign that shows your child is on her way to becoming an independent person. She is simply using her new found power - making decisions. To avoid the power struggle and encourage her to continue on this path of self-reliance, we found ways on how she can feel like she is the decision maker. We give her options. 

Instead of saying: "Let's change you clothes now", I say "Do you want to wear the pink dress or the blue shirt?". She makes the decision and you get what you want.

Set Expectations
Little kids likes consistency and hates being interrupted. If you suddenly ask them to stop playing to take a bath, the immediate response will be a big No. Set their expectations. 

"Honey, let's take a bath after you watch Jake, ok?" She knows that when the credits roll, it's time to move. No sudden interruption, no fights.

Have Them Do Favors For You
Your kid loves you to the moon and back. They want to please you. If you want them to do things they hate, do not command them. Ask them to do if for you as a favor.

Instead of saying: "Put away your toys now", I say "Can you help mom clean up by putting your toys in the box? It will make me so happy."

Distract Her
Sometimes, No is just an automatic response toddlers will give you.

"Mila, come here"
"Come here now!"
"Beecoz akbcasjva ascbajcva baksucvak" (I know she gave her reasons, I just can't understand yet)
"Ok, I understand. But I need you to go here to mommy, ok?"
"Ok po!"

Changing the question, or giving her something else to do or think about, will stop the pattern of no. She'd forget the resistance and may not realize she is already saying Yes.

Choose Your Battles
Mila and I always fight during mealtime. She just won't eat when she does not want to. Whatever food it could be, even if it is an old favorite, she'd refuse it. I've since learned to choose my battles.

If it's meal time and she does not want to eat or seat on the table with us, I just let her. Sometimes, I give her options to eat what we have or she can just have rice and soup. If it's still a No, then I let it go. She may be full or just simply not ready. She will eat eventually. I noticed she eats a lot more if I let her have her meal on her own time.

If it's something that will put her at risk though, then her No's just won't cut it. If I ask her to hold my hands while crossing the street, I become the boss and no amount of refusal will be accepted. Safety first.
Jake and The Neverland Pirates OOTD 
Talk to Her
Young kids copy what they see. The show Jake and The Neverland Pirates is generally a great show that promotes good values but it maybe too much for a two year old to differentiate between who is good and who is bad. All she knows is that she is copying a catch phrase on the show. This is when parental guidance place a very important role on any of your kid's activities.

I sat down and explained that Captain Hook does bad things and she needs to copy the good guys only. The word never is ok sometimes but it's not a nice thing to say all the time. When she says Never or No for no valid reason, I ask her if it's nice. She knows it's not and she'll stop.

Also realize that No and Never is not always bad. A child needs to say no appropriately. Someone's giving her softdrinks. "No thanks." Eat the toy food. "No, pretend only." A stranger wants to carry her. "No please." Someone wants to touch her private parts. "Never."

With constant reminder and practice, any toddler can easily outgrow the refusal phase. Mila still says no occasionally but it does not annoy mommy anymore. I know she just have her own preferences now. She is starting to be a woman who knows how to make decisions for herself. *Sob*
Jake and The Neverland Pirates OOTD 
On a side note, the shirt Mila is wearing is from Desiree of Caprichosa. I found her in Facebook earlier in the year. I ordered a few clothes for Mila which she sent with lots of free books. Something for mommy too, yey. During this summer's Babypalooza, we stopped by a booth selling beautiful tutu dresses. Of course, we just had to get a few of them for the kikay princess. When the seller handed me her business card, I realized it was her and I was glad to be able to thank her in person. She recognized Mila more than she recognized me. Not surprised at all. As we were about to go, Mila saw the Jake terno shirt hanging on display. She kept calling out the characters as we go, punctuating each word with Wows. We were already a few booths away and Desiree catched up to us, handed Mila the shirt and said she wants to give it as a gift. She is just too sweet. So if you want good quality, locally made clothes for your kids at the most affordable price, visit her online store or catch her in her next bazaar. Tell her I said hi when you talk to her.

Vita Cubes: A Yummy, Healthy Jelly Candy

Rebisco Vita Cubes Title Header
In a few days, carolers would surely start knocking on our doors. This Christmas season, I came prepared. I some yummy, healthy Vita Cubes to share with the kids. 

When I was a kid, my friends and I would go around the neighbor, singing Christmas carols. I remember one year when I even brought my Lyre with me. It was fun spending time with friends, specially by the end of the night when we get to share the money we collected. Most often than not, the money we got was used to buy candies and chocolates. 
Rebisco Vita Cubes
Now that I'm an adult (or at least pretending to be), it's my turn to give to the young carolers. Yes, I could always give some change to the young kids but I thought I could do better. Last week, I got a pack of Vita Cubes during the Mommy Bloggers Philippines' Christmas party. That gave me a great idea. 

Remember when we included Vita Cubes in our candy table and loot bags during Mila's 2nd birthday? It was a hit! So for a guilt-free treat this Christmas, we will be sharing Vita Cubes Jelly Candies to anyone who knocked on our doors singing some Christmas cheers. 
Rebisco Vita Cubes Gift Pack
Wanna know why it's guilt free? Vita Cubes is not just yummy, it's healthy too. Check these vitamins and minerals each Vita Cubes treats have:

Lysine: contains 70% of the child’s Recommended Energy and Nutritional Intake (RENI). Aids the body in proper growth and energy production. Also helps in calcium absorption.

Zinc: contains 70% of the child’s RENI. Known to help in proper functioning of the immune and digestive systems, energy metabolism, and in increasing the rate for healing for wounds.

Vitamin A: contains 40% of the child’s RENI. Helps in increasing the body’s immunity to fight infections. Also plays an important role in ensuring healthy eyes and bone development.

Vitamin B: supplies 30 – 70 % of the child’s RENI. Promotes growth and strength and stimulate memory in kids during their formative years. Helps boost the oxygen circulation in the body, especially the brain, which in turn improves circulation. Helps convert carbohydrates and fats into energy.

Vitamin C: supplies 30% of the child’s RENI. Helps form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues. Helps your child’s gums stay healthy. Strengthens your child’s blood vessels, minimizing bruising from falls and scrapes. Helps cuts and wounds heal, boosts the immune system, and keeps infections at bay. Helps the body absorb iron from food sources.

Vitamin E: supplies 45% of the child’s RENI. Boosts the immune system and helps the body fight germs. Keeps blood vessels open wide enough for blood to flow freely. Helps the cells of the body work together to perform many important functions.
Rebisco Vita Cubes Mason Jar
For some special kids and kids-at-heart, I've prepared mason jars full of Vita Cubes in singles packs. I'll be giving them away during my Christmas/Birthday/Thanksgiving party. This is a good idea too for giveaways and tokens during Christmas parties for friends and classmates. Just tie a nice ribbon and add a gift tag, and you're all set. The Mason jar can be reused after they've eaten all the yummy jelly goodness of Vitamin Cubes. 

Can you suggest other fun packaging you can share the Vita Cubes Jelly Candies? 

Be Beautiful Inside & Out With Myra Facial Wash

Be Beautiful Inside & Out. It's one of my mantra growing up. I may not be the most attractive person but I try my best to be a good person and that makes me beautiful.

As I grew older, I found another meaning to that quote. I am not growing any younger and it shows on my skin. I tried different oils and lotions to bring the moisture back into my skin, and yet there is still something missing. I knew I needed to help my skin get better from the inside too.

Then I found out about Myra® Facial Wash. I've always associated the brand with Vitamin E supplements - an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Their new products, Myra® VitaSmooth and Myra® VitaWhite Facial Wash are multi-benefit products and will be the only facial wash in the market with Vitamin E beads to help keep skin healthy and nourished while riding skin of excess oil and dirt. Here's some information on these two new products from the PR brief:

Myra® VitaSmooth Facial Wash 50ml - Moisturizing Facial Wash
  • Enriched with antioxidant Vitamin E beads which protect and nourish skin to help keep it healthy with a youthful glow. 
  • Has Moisture Plus formula that retains and seals in skin’s natural moisture, keeping it hydrated and more supple. 
  • Contains French Spring Sea Water and Aloe Vera Extract that improves skin elasticity and helps keep it smooth and young-looking 
  • And of course, because its from Myra®, it is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested to be safe for everyday use. 
  • SRP 70.00
Myra® VitaWhite Facial Wash 50ml - Whitening Facial Wash
  • Enriched with antioxidant Vitamin E beads which protect and nourish skin to help keep it healthy with a youthful glow.
  • Has Biowhite Complex which is derived from plant extracts that gently whitens skin
  • Has Niacinamide that evens out skin tone by reducing red blotches to make skin more radiant.
  • And of course, because its from Myra®, it is hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested to be safe for everyday use.
  • SRP 75.00
For the fast two weeks, I had been using the Myra® VitaWhite Facial Wash. I've always had oily skin with uneven tone. I love how it leaves the skin feeling moisturized without the sticky feeling but I can't really see if it had helped lighten my skin. On my sixth day of using Myra VitaWhite Facial Wash, my sister who I had not seen for weeks, visited and asked if I was using any products on my face. She actually gave me complements. She said my skin looks smoother, and the color of my forehead is lighter (it's always darker than the rest of my face). I never noticed those changes myself but I guess another eye can see better sometimes. 

Watch the newest TV Commercial for Myra Facial Wash featuring Kylie Padilla!

Have a Staycation at The Linden Suites

{press release} 
With the many hotels in the metro, The Linden Suites stands out as being one that offers business or leisure travelers world class accommodations and notable service. The elegance and functionality of one of the top hotels in Pasig City is known for having spacious guestrooms.

Currently having 12 types of suites (Deluxe Room, One Bedroom Suites, Two Bedroom Suites, Three Bedroom Suites, and Penthouse Suites), guests also have recreation, dining and health facilities for a well rounded and relaxing stay.

The hotel offers a buffet breakfast; all day dining and room service, function spaces that can accommodate small and medium size groups are also available for business meetings and social events.

The Linden Suites is continuously enhancing its facilities such as with the newly refurbished suites complete with kitchen facilities, posh lobby, indoor heated swimming pool and more.

Located in Ortigas Center, major shopping malls and other leisure establishments are easily accessible. Their in house dine establishment, Mesclun Restaurant And Café offers world-class international cuisine. Ideal for business breakfasts, lunch meetings, work dinners and family gatherings.

Guests can unwind at The Linden Suites Health Club which has a fully equipped gym, temperature-controlled indoor pool, jacuzzi hot tub, and a sauna and spa massage.

This holiday season The Linden Suites is offering you the Suite-est Holiday with these special rates.

Facebook Page: 
Trip Advisor: 

The Linden Suites 
37 San Miguel Avenue, Ortigas Center, 
Pasig City 1600, Metro Manila, Philippines Tel: (63 2) 638 7878 
Fax: (63 2) 638 7877 | (63 2) 631 6547 
[email protected] 
[email protected]

Recipe: Beef and Mushroom Taco

If you want a fun food to bring to your holiday potluck or serve on the table on Christmas or New Year's Eve, try considering Tacos. 

For the last two years, my husband and I had Tacos for our holiday meal. It's light enough for midnight snack. It's perfect to pair with two bottles of ice cold beer to toast the night away. 

This year, I'm serving up a jazzed up version of our family's holiday classic. Using Jolly Cream of Mushroom and Jolly Mushrooms, we got a perfect Beef and Mushroom Taco recipe. I recently found out that mushroom is one of the foods that give a natural umami flavor when cooked. That means this Beef and Mushroom Taco recipe will surely leave you salivating and licking those fingers clean. No crumbs left behind. 

1/2 cup Jolly Mushrooms, minced
1/2 kilo ground beef
1 can (10.5 oz) Jolly Condensed Cream of Mushroom
1/4 cup water
1 pack (40g) Taco Mix
1 Tbsp paprika
Cayenne Pepper
Sour Cream

For Garnish:
shredded cabbage
diced tomato
diced onion
taco shells

1. Saute Jolly Mushroom. Add some salt to draw the liquid out of the mushrooms and help it develop the umami taste that will make you want more. Add onion and garlic.

2. When onion is cooked, add the ground beef. Cover the pan and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Wait until Beef turns brown.

3. Add the Jolly Cream of Mushroom. Add water and stir until thoroughly mixed. (you can dilute the Cream of Mushroom with some water before adding to the pan if you prefer).

4. Add Taco powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Add a little at a time, tasting in between because some brands of Taco powder can be really salty. Cook until liquid is reduced to half.

5. Remove from heat and transfer to a strainer. Catch the sauce in a bowl. Add a dollop of sour cream (all purpose cream can substitute). You now have your delish sauce.

6. Transfer the meat back into the pan and cook for a few more minutes to brown. Serve with slices of lemon.

Tip: when building your Taco, add the cabbage at the bottom so it will drippings from the salsa, meat, and sauce to prevent the shells from getting soggy.
Beef and Mushroom Taco Jolly Cream of Mushroom