Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Family Vacation: Adventures in Subic

What to do when you have two relatives about to leave Manila to go back to the province and 2 hyper active toddlers wanting to go out? tadah.....go to Subic and explore the adventures it has to offer!

From Quezon City, we used the Mindanao exit to NLEX, which is fast (30minutes from Commonwealth Avenue QC to Meycauayan Exit NLEX) and beats going to traffic-ridden EDSA. From there, Subic is just less than two hours via SCTEX. Round trip toll fees (NLEX, SCTEX, Tipo) will amount to less than P700.00. Since we brought our car, only one full tank of gasoline is needed for the roundtrip (P1,500.00++).

First stop at Subic, Ocean Adventure from 10:30am to 2:00pm. We watched all the shows (wild animal show, dolphin show, sea lion show), went to the simple aquarium of fishes and souvenir shop. Adult fee is P 500.00 and child rate is P 400.00.

Here's the Park Schedule as of September 2010:
Sea Lion Marine Patrol Show (Nautilus Theater): 10:15am, 2:15pm, 5:15pm
Dolphin Friends Show (El Capitan Theater): 12:45pm, 4:30pm
The Adventures of Olongapo JOnes Show (Seaside Theater): 11:00am, 3:45pm
Walk on the Wild Side Show (Eco Theater): 11:45am, 3:00pm
Sea Lion Photo Encounter: 10:45am, 2:45pm
Dolphin Photo Encounter: 1:15pm, 5:00pm

Ocean Adventure may also offer swim encounter, beach encounter, dive encounter and animal trainer adventures to interested persons.

If you're planning to go here, better eat lunch outside since the restaurant here is overpriced. Meals cost P 200.00 per person but food is just average in taste. Before going to Ocean Adventure, eat lunch at Puregold which is along the Argonaut Highway going to Ocean Adventure. There's SR Pizza and KFC to choose from. You can also shop at the Mango outlet while you're there.

After Ocean Adventure, we checked-in at our hotel, The Courtyard Inn, which is along the Central Business District of Subic, across Gerry's Grill. We stayed here last year and the place was clean and recently renovated at that time. However, this year they are constructing a big building beside the inn, thus it was noisy and the room we were given looked like it was not cleaned for a long time. Although the beds were clean, the floor was full of dust so we had to request the attendants to clean it again : ( The inn has a playground but no pool.

In the afternoon, we strolled along the Boardwalk beach area, which is just a few minutes away from Courtyard Inn. It was disappointing that a lot of garbage is being dumped on the sand and near the beach front. I hope SBMA and the restaurants near the beach front would take the responsibility to clean this area, so that more tourists and local would come here. I saw a lot of people swimming despite the garbage floating nearby.

After the boarwalk, we went to Lighthouse Marina for dinner. The hotel is well-designed and has a big pool where a lot of kids are swimming. We ate at the al fresco Sands Restaurant. The food is tasty and reasonably priced. Next time we'll stay at Lighthouse Marina. Along the Central Business District street, there are a lot of restaurants to choose from. I also saw Levi's and Dockers Outlet Store but wasnt able to go inside.

The next day, we satisfied our duty free shopping at Puregold in its new building and location. Cadbury chocolates are so cheap, a bar will cost only $3.58, peso dollar conversion at P44.10, canned goods at less than a dollar, pringles less than 2 dollars. I spent around 90 dollars on pasalubong. Bought lots of chocolates, Nuetrogena shampoo, irish spring soap, coffee, fruit juice,etc.! What a way to end your overnight adventure in Subic.

If you will stay longer, there are lots of activities for families. You can go to the Camayan beach or other beaches inside Subic, Zoobic Safari, Jest Camp Butterfly/Insectarium Mini Zoo, Bat Kingdom, Forest Trails, etc. the adventures are endless if you and your family have all the time in the world.

Suggested Itinerary for Overnight Stay in Subic

Day 1
Am - Go to Ocean Adventure for dolphin, sea lion, animal shows
Pm - Stroll/Swim at Boardwalk or Camayan beach, shop at outlet stores along Central Business District (CBD); Dinner at any of the restaurants along CDB (Gerry's Grill, Lighthouse Marina, etc.) or at the Camayan Beach restaurant

Day 2
Am - Go to any tourist spot (forest trails, Zoobic safari, etc.)
Duty Free Shopping and Late Lunch (Puregold, Royal, etc)
Pm- Go back to Manila

Regardless of your itinerary, what's important is that you and your family had fun and enjoyed the pleasures of travelling together.

If travelling with kids, bring portable dvd player and CDs, crayons and coloring books to keep them entertained during the road trip. Bring light snacks, food and trash bag (just in case someone gets car sick on the way!).

Here's to more fun-filled family travels in the future!

--Wondermom A.

Travelogue: 11 things to do in Beijing

My husband and I went to Beijing for their office annual outing. It was fun, hot, tiring and unforgettable. I find Beijing friendlier than Hongkong. I noticed a lot of things there i.e. a lot of Audi cars which is by the way their official government car according to our guide, vast flower pots placed at the sidewalks (really nice), several parks where Chinese commune with each other, several American fast food restaurants (KFC, Mcdonalds) has invaded Beijing, increasing pollution, you can actually see a white dust on cars at the end of the day, medium rise housing which look "homier" than the high rise condominiums at Hongkong.

I would definitely go back to Beijing to bring my kids when they're older, just to check if they can climb the great wall heheh and if I still have the stamina to join them.

Here's my list of 11 things to do if you're in Beijing:

1. Walk from North to South Gate of the Forbidden City
2. Visit the Palace Musuem and see the richest collection of cultural relics in China
3. Watch the Beijing Acrobat Troupe and be amazed
4. Climb the Great Wall and prove you're a true man/woman(?!)
5. Eat peking duck at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
6. Buy your own lucky jade
7. People watch at the Summer Palace
8. Go to the Lama Temple and wish for the one thing your heart truly desires : )
9. Go to the Hutong Area and eat home-made dishes at Red Capital Club
10. Haggle like a Chinese and buy souvenirs at the Market (ask 80% discount)
11. Exercise at the park near the Water Cube and Bird's Nest and meet new friends

For more information, visit http://www.bjta.gov.cn/

Have you been to Beijing? What is your most memorable experience?

--Wondermom A.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Words of Wisdom

My worst fear

My worst fear is getting at me again.  News about gang rapes abound.





God bless and comfort the victims. Please God, always bless my women family, my two daughters, my women friends.  May they always be safe and secure wherever they are. 

To you rapists, you have no right to ruin women, their lives and their families.  Shame on you all! God has a way of correcting your wrongs.  Siya na ang bahala sa inyo!

I am woman. I have rights.

I am a woman. 
I have the right to live a full life. 
I have the right to say no.
I have the right to decide on when to have a family and how many children I would have. 
I believe in God. 
I believe in the Catholic faith. 
I believe in prevention, not abortion.
I believe the state should have the responsibility to control population in order to curb increasing poverty in the country.
I believe that state and church should work together to educate and inform Filipinos about natural family planning.
I believe in responsible parenthood.
I support the RH Bill.

--Wondermom A.

For more information on laws, legistation and Filipino women, please go to the Philippine Commission on Women's website. http://www.ncrfw.gov.ph/index.php/laws-legislation-filipino-women.

For the whole text of RH Bill 5043, please click the link below:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cry and the whole world cries with you!

What is it about a child crying that makes an adult go berseck and lose control? I'm no master at patience and understanding when the situation is like this.  My eldest daughter cries a lot.  She cries when she's not the center of attention,she cries when we are at home, she cries when her younger sister taunts her.

Last night, while hubby and I are eating dinner, she made that ghastly loud piercing cry, which really broke my hubby's patient demeanor.  I intervened because I took pity already.  The main reason of her crying episode, which she barely able to mutter is that ali (her sister)  "kurot me". Hay. Is this sibling rivalry already? I had to also reprimand my other daughter because its not good to hurt people.  Im sad to say that even if I read a lot of parenting books about smart parenting, what to expect the toddler years, etc. my hubby and I are always caught off guard.  I really get angry at times, much to my dismay.  I find comfort in knowing that these too shall pass.  Wishing that we come out better, wiser, and closer in faith and love!  

Have you been in this situation before? What did you do?
--Wondermom A.

BookWorm Update: Eat Pray Love

I bought the book "Eat Pray Love" because I got interested in watching the movie soon starred by Julia Roberts. I'm a Julia Roberts fan that's why : )

It narrates Elizabeth Gilbert's travel from Italy to India to Indonesia, from nourishing her body in Italy to rejuvenating her spirit and her faith in God in India to finding love, stability and happiness in Indonesia. Actually, i'm still in the Pray part, but I already have a lot of quotable quotes that I love. I wish also that someday I can travel to my favorite countries to experience and find fulfillment just by being there. Now, it seems a bit difficult to do that because Im a mother of two toddlers, and it seems like everybody needs me to be home-based. But someday I know I'll have my time. It will be the ultimate wondermom journey. Hey! maybe I'll write about a book about it : )

Hmmmm...what will be my three countries?
Maybe Spain to Eat, Israel to Pray and Canada to Love...SEC dont forget about me : )

Sharing with you some of Elizabeth Gilbert's words that touched me somehow...

...same thing which has helped generations of Sicilians hold their dignity has helped me begin to recover mine, namely, the idea that the appreciation of pleasure can be an anchor of one's humanity...to come here to Sicily to understand Italy...

...But is it such a bad thing to live like this for just a little while? Just for a few months of one's life, is it so awful to travel through time with no greater ambition than to find the next lovely meal? Or to learn how to speak a language for no higher purpose that it pleases your ear to hear it? Or to nap in a garden, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day, right next to your favorite fountain? And then to do it again the next day?...

...The search of God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In search of God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you've given up...

...Devotion is diligence without assurance. Faith is a way of saying "Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding". There's a reason we refer to "leaps of faith"-- because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational to the unknowable...Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark...

...Instructions For Freedom

1. Life's metaphors are God's instructions.
2. You have just climbed up and above the roof. There is nothing between you and the Infinite.
Now, let go.
3. The day is ending. Its time for something that was beautiful to turn into something else that
is beautiful. Now, let go.
4. Your wish for resolution was a prayer. Your being here is God's response. Let go, and watch
the stars come out - on the outside and on the inside.
5. With all your heart, ask for grace, and let go.
6. With all your heart, forgive him. FORGIVE. YOURSELF, and let him go.
7. Let your intention be freedom from useless suffering. Then, let go.
8. Watch the heat of day pass into the cool night. Let go.
9. When the karma of relationship is done, only love remains. It's safe. Let go.
10. When the past has passed from you at last, let go. Then climb down and begin the rest of
your life. With great joy...

I'll add my favorites on the Love section when I get there.

Have a nice day everyone!
---Wondermom A.