Category Archives: Outdoor Experience

First Christmas and New Year in Malaysia

Christmas has come and gone (considering that the date today is 20th of January, that means New Year has gone too!) and here I am, still trying to document the festivities on our first year here in Malaysia.

Babe and I decided to make the celebration fuss free. We got a few Christmas gift from a Hasbro sale we went to and got a few toys for him. Take note, a few means about 5 (LOL!) since we figured out that at Geoff’s age, it’s all about the gifts he will open at Christmas and we have very few friends here. I cooked a few meals and made a dessert just to make our Noche Buena festive.

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Embotido, Roast duck, Pasta, and Leche Flan

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This baby got sick on the 24th and to compromise, we let him open 1 gift a few hours before Christmas

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This was taken on the 26th, and the baby allowed a haircut in preparation for school. Hooray!

As for the New Year celebration, I don’t have the heart to cook another meal and Babe wanted it to be more festive. Fireworks are not allowed in our community and we are not on a high enough floor to witness any fireworks display, so we decided to do a staycation somewhere fun.

We went through the Agoda.com website and narrowed down the list to 1. those with available and affordable rooms during the 31st of December to 1st of January, and 2. somewhere there will be fireworks display and a place where Geoff could enjoy. The search led us to Shah Alam, where the City of Lights is located, as well as the hotel of our choice, Best Western. I will do the hotel and I City review on the next posts. I shall start photoblogging our New Year’s celebration.

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Outside Palm Spring, waiting for the Grab Car to bring us to our destination.

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Ferris wheel that Geoff could not forget

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My handsome boys

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Geoff’s first time to ride a “ride” alone. Big boy na talaga 🙁

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Geoff really enjoyed the Snow walk. You can tell by his face.

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Batman and Robin trying to help out Geoff from the burning building

 

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Family Selfie in Snow Walk

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We were all tired at this point and was just waiting for the fireworks display to start. Geoff told me, “Meemee, we have to ride the ferris wheel, remember?”

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Indeed, a city of lights

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Fireworks!

Overall, it was a memorable celebration. A few firsts, but definitely not the last. Hoping we get to spend more time as a family, especially now that Geoff officially started going to preschool. 

Happy new year everyone!

Geoff Visits Perdana Botanical Garden

This is a very late post.

One day last month (or was it 2?), Babe and I decided to visit this botanical garden in Kuala Lumpur after we saw some posts done by a friend in Facebook. A few days prior, we were already prepping Geoff on what to expect so that he won’t be bored and will also look forward to the trip. Let me get the details on how to get there first, before I go on about the few pictures that we had.

Since we were coming from Petaling Jaya, we took an 88 bus and went off the Pasar Seni station. Both 99 or 88 or BET1 bus lines will get you to Kuala Lumpur, but only BET1 and 88 have routes to Pasar Seni. The 99 line usually drops off in Kota Raya, which is mainly a Filipino store community (if I got the term right). From Pasar Seni, you can grab a taxi and asked to be dropped off to the botanical garden. Make sure to mention the exact name because according to the driver, there are some other gardens available. There is no other means of getting there aside from a car ride or a taxi.

Side kwento: So anyway, from Pasar Seni, we wanted to get our chocolate fix first, so we walked all the way to the Haniffa store. In this supermarket/grocery store, we were able to score Cadbury chocolates at only 5RM each. After we bought some, off we went and grabbed a taxi.

Having arrived late (around 4PM, I think), we were only able to cover small ground as we were trapped by the baby who wanted to be nowhere but the Dinosaur park in front.

I took the description of the park from the website, http://www.klbotanicalgarden.gov.my/ :

The Perdana Botanical Garden, formerly known as Taman Tasik Perdana or Lake Gardens, is situated in the Heritage Park of Kuala Lumpur. It has always been a part of the green lung of the city and has a history of over a decade. Originally created as part of a recreational park but planted with collections of tropical plants, the garden have been rehabilitated and turned into a Botanical Garden. The garden have not only botanical collections but also house features that give the visitors the ambiance of being in a tropical rainforest, despite being in the middle of a bustling metropolis.

This is the map of the entire park. We were only able to visit 3 or 4 areas.

This is the map of the entire park. We were only able to visit 3 or 4 areas.

This is the dinosaur park. We were held up here for the longest time simply because the baby enjoyed it so much.

This is the dinosaur park. We were held up here for the longest time simply because the baby enjoyed it so much.

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Geoff had fun climbing and sliding 🙂

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He was not scared of the bridges and even found the trampoline fun 🙂

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Yep, he loves them slides!

Of course, since it was a botanical garden, there were lots of pretty blooms and the landscapes are just as gorgeous. There was a lake, a lagoon (?), and a man made waterfall.

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Not sure what this space was called, but it is very pretty up close. Perfect for making tambay. LOL!

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The waterfall wall. Very picturesque!

I am so sorry. This was the closest picture I have of the lagoon. I guess I forgot to take a picture after all. :(

I am so sorry. This was the closest picture I have of the lagoon. I guess I forgot to take a picture after all. 🙁

This was supposed to be a lake. Again, I apologize for the sorry excuse of a photo :(

This was supposed to be a lake. Again, I apologize for the sorry excuse of a photo 🙁

Based on observation, the place is best for spending an afternoon with the family. The place is  tranquil, perfect for joggers and bikers as there are no cars inside (the roads are big enough to accommodate them as far as I saw). We also saw a couple of groups playing football, a bride and groom having their prenuptial photos, a class having their photos, and a group celebrating a birthday. There were also a few who was watching the lake for ducks and birds, some were also feeding them.

Yep, a green place in the middle of a very busy city.

Yep, a green place in the middle of a very busy city.

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The sunken garden

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Walkway towards the lagoon

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An expansive lawn

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Unique trees collection

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Entrance to the sunken garden

Sunset fell upon us, so we had to leave.

Sunset fell upon us, so we had to leave.

We urged Geoff to lay down the grass in front of the lake. This silly boy found the idea yucky and decided to look for a better place to have his milk; a picnic table!

We urged Geoff to lay down the grass in front of the lake. This silly boy found the idea yucky and decided to look for a better place to have his milk; a picnic table!

For those planning to spend a day in Kuala Lumpur and stay within budget, I highly encourage visiting this place. You can even bring your running shoes if you want to (LOL!). The most you will be spending on is food (bring it with you, there are no stores inside), and fare. There is no entrance fee, but since the area is quite big, you have to be there early. Operating hours are Monday to Sunday, 8AM to 7PM.

One last tip, 7PM is quite “early” in terms of light in Malaysia. Meaning, it will start getting dark at around 8PM, so plan your trip accordingly as the hottest part of the day is longer.

Summer Promo: #LetsPalawan

We all know that regardless of the season, Palawan will always be one of the most go-after vacation spots in the Philippines. Personally, I have been in Puerto Princesa twice and once in El Nido, and if asked if I want to go back and explore some more, it would be a very big YES! Some of my posts can be read here, here, and here.

Recently, someone from Lets Palawan got in touch with me and several other people to promote more of the beautiful places in Palawan. I chose my top 3 destinations and may I tell you that choosing just 3 is so difficult?

From: http://letspalawan.com/palawan-packages-2015/#joanneperez

From: http://letspalawan.com/palawan-packages-2015/#joanneperez

Anyway, as part of the Lets Palawan team’s promotion, they are offering $30 off on any of the packages that you wish to avail! Sounds great if you ask me. All you have to do is to click this link and use cKmmC023 for the coupon code. Easy peasy. 

Go, travel, and enjoy Palawan!

Geoff’s Adventure in Snow World

Babe was able to get a leave from work today, thus we scheduled a trip to Genting Highland to visit Snow World.

We already visited Genting Highland last year but did not really entertained the thought of availing tickets to any attractions. We were there to see the sights, and basically just to be there.

With Geoff in tow this time, I wanted to be prepared and did some research. In the process of doing so, we stumbled upon Resorts World’s ticketing tool and discovered that the Snow World ticket was actually on sale. Since Geoff is already past the “free entrance” phase, discounted ticket rates were a welcome treat!

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Discounted rates if you book through their website!

In order to get to Snow World, you have to get to Genting Highland first. Getting to GH from the Petaling Jaya area is very easy; we just boarded a bus from 1Utama Mall, located in the new wing. Rates are as follows:

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This was taken last year but the rates were the same when we boarded the bus today.

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The bus.

We originally purchased 2 tickets for a one way trip to GH. This includes the bus fare and the Skyway. When we got to the entrance to the cable cars (Skyway), we were told that we have to pay for Geoff. That was an additional RM6.40.

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Bus ticket was free for Geoff, but not the Skyway fare.

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The cable car

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Mandatory shot at the model car

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The ecstatic little boy during the cable car ride.

When you alight the cable car, it is a bit of a walk going to the location itself. Be aware of the signs and don’t forget to ask for directions. You will have to pass through the lobby of the Maxim’s and RW hotel and a few escalator rides. Snow world is located at the second level, 2A to be exact.

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No pictures allowed inside.

It was -5 degrees inside, thus, it is highly discouraged to bring in cameras or gadgets. It might be damaged by the cold.

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Dos and Don’ts

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Current temperature is flashed outside. It was -5 when we went in!

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Operating hours

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Regular rates.

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Picture taken from outside

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Some of the displays

Jacket, gloves, and boots were provided as part of the the entrance to the attraction. If you are the type who gets cold easily, I suggest you bring an extra coat, or and earmuff or a scarf to protect your ears and neck (some of the coats provided has no zipper nor velcro to close it).

As there is only a limited space to the attraction, what you are really paying for is the experience of extreme cold. There is no actual snow that you can form into a ball (as what Geoff really wanted) but there is Cresta Run and a few sleds that people can use in order to get the winter feel.

Photographers also roam inside Snow World, however, since I have read that the rates for the shots are more expensive than the actual entrance rate, we decided to skip it.

We picked the 3:30 PM – 4:10 PM schedule, so after that, it was mostly a waiting game as the buses going back to 1Utama mall was not due until 8:30 PM. Aside from Snow World, there is also an indoor theme park for kids. I was not able to get the rates, but you can visit the RW website for the rides and rates. Since we were just killing time, we bought 4 pay per ride ticktes, 2 for Geoff and 1 for Babe and I to accompany him. It costs RM8.50 each.

After we were done with the rides, we went back and spent a few minutes in the arcade. The arcade uses the swipe card, much like Timezone and the minimum you can buy is RM20. We just let Geoff roam the arcade and went outside to enjoy the cool afternoon fog. Geoff also enjoyed hamming it in front of the camera.

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Foggy

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He asked his Deedee to take his picture. The act earned him a chocolate bar because the lady beside us was amused at his antics 🙂

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With deedee

And after all the excitement, Geoff was able to see the sunset and said bye bye to the things he saw today. 🙂

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Geoff’s firsts today: cable car ride, snow world, fog, forest, and sunset.

Malaysia Diary – Day 0.5 (From airport to MY)

After months of planning and anticipating, THE DAY finally arrived.

When Babe resigned and got his last pay, we planned for me to come and visit him. This was back in June. We counted down the days, and finally, we finally saw each other for the first time in months (which is also the longest time we have been apart!).

To back track a bit, I had a very early flight, and I was required to be in the airport at 3am. I also had a bit of a difficulty with the immigration as 1)l didn’t have any hotel accomodation 2) I didn’t have a company ID with me (we had to surrender it during the company ID printing but the printer was unavailable, thus I don’t have it with me) and 3) they were asking for Babe’ details such as a copy of his oec, passport, and address. Luckily, I was able to move forward and was allowed to board the plane.

After 3 and a half hours in the air, I landed in KLIA2. One of the things I noticed is that the place is really big. There were a lot of passengers with me who chose to freshen up first. For some reason, after I got out, there was hardly anybody in sight, signs are all in Malay (?) and I was literally alone to find the exit. Aside from being a big place, the internet connection is a big convenience. Never was there a spot that I wasn’t able to get a connection. This was a big plus since I decided not to enable my roaming and relied on viber to contact Babe.

20 minutes later, I found my way out, saw Babe and made our way home. Travel time from the airport to Petaling Jaya is an hour and a half. More of our simple adventure in the next posts.

Helpful hints:

1. It is a standard to be in the airport 5 hours before your flight when travelling international. However, in my case, my flight was at 7:30am. In terminal 4, they will only allow you inside when immigration people arrive at 4:30am. As such, you can be at the airport during this time so as to save you the hassle of waiting (you only get to wait outside, FYI).
2. Exchange rate of pero to ringgit is 100=6.70 (Maybank KLIA). To give you an idea, my P2,500 only converted to RM167.
3. Bus tickets are available at the basement area of the airport (near the exit). Ticket prices vary by location and departs by schedule. Tickets to 1utama mall in Petaling Jaya costs RM15.
4. We mostly travelled by local commute (bus) and the usual fare is RM1. Again, they depart on a 15-20 minute interval and routes differ depending on the bus number.
5. Be prepared to walk o and from bus terminals. Taxis are a bit expensive especially when the price of the commodities sink in (haha!).
6. Chinese food are the most common. Indian dishes next.
7. Taxes are computed separately, so if you purchased a RM5 dish in a restaurant, it is usual that you have to pay more (government tax is 6%).
8. Language can be a challenge. Bring patience and listen well. It will also not hurt to keep an open mind in order to understand what is being asked.

Geoff’s First Fun Ranch Experience

It has been Babe and my plan to bring Geoff over to Fun Ranch, however, the plan did not materialize due to time constraints. Even when Babe left, the topic would come up during one of our conversations. That was how badly we want Geoff to experience Fun Ranch.

The plan materialized one Sunday afternoon when Ate Jen sent me a message to meet them there. I immediately said yes because 1) We miss them! We haven’t seen each other in months and I’m pretty sure Geoff misses them too! and 2) Geoff would finally experience Fun Ranch!

So, I will let the photos talk. Please note that this is not an actual review of the place, and more of documenting one item off our bucket list.

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This was lunch when we got to Tiendesitas to meet up. I’m not sure of the food prices, but everything seems to be affordable (I think!)

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The baby could not help not to ride the red dog near the entrance. It costs P10 per ride.

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Dragon roller coaster. Geoff was accompanied by his Tita Lady. These are Geoff’s cousins, Ate Danielle and Kuya Cyv.

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Before the ride. Geoff kept his eyes covered throughout.

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Happy smile before the ride started.

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A hopscotch area.

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Hanging bridge. Geoff loved the bouncy feeling while crossing, my brave little boy.

This is how fun the bridge was for Geoff:

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Choo choo train area, bump car ride just beside it. This is located on the second floor.

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A view while waiting for Geoff’s bump car ride to finish. There is a carousel below, as well as a few other rides. Ticket prices differ if you prefer to get the ride all you can, or per piece.

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Teacup ride inside.

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Another picture with Tita. This time, Geoff was identifying the animals placed everywhere in Fun Ranch.

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Mini bowling alley. There is also a mini golf course. These are not included on the all you can ride tag, the price is P100 per game/ per player each.

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Teacup ride and mini golf sign.

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While waiting for his turn to try the mini golf club.

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Airplane ride. This was what Geoff and I first rode together, which is why I don’t have a picture of us together.

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Fishing game. Geoff wanted more to annoy his cousins and splash around.

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Family, sans babe and the grand parents.

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Cousins up close.

By the way, fee for Playdium is not included in the all you can ride tag (P350, I think). Ate availed of the 30 minute play for Geoff which costs P120. Geoff enjoyed the experience, me, not so much. I find running, climbing, sliding, and running after Geoff some more quite exhausting, especially that the place is quite big for a playplace.

Overall, it was a fun day, not just for Geoff, but for everyone. Special thanks again to my lovely sisters, Ate Jen and Ate Lady.

Review: Cristina Villas Mountain Hotel and Resort

Okay. Confession time. This is a really and truly delayed post (so sorry!). Anyway, let me get the ball rolling and babble away.

We went to Cristina Villas last March 15, 2014 at around 12 noon. We were actually expecting a crowd since it was a Saturday, and a payday to boot. To our surprise, there were very few people in the resort.

Cristina Villas is not actually a new resort for me. I have been here a couple of times during my dalaga days with my friends. I am quite pleased with the developments done without changing much of the original setting.

There is ample parking space should you and your guests decide to bring a car. Since the said resort is also a hotel, you may also opt to stay overnight (though if you plan to swim throughout, then, there is no need to check in anymore!).

This sari sari store is right in front of the hotel. Before, this is where we used to pay for entrance and cottage. Now, the guard will direct you to the front desk personnel so that you can choose the cottage you want, explain where the chosen cottage is near which pool, as well as the prices. Rates for daytime (8 AM to 5 PM), night time (10 PM – 7 AM), and straight slots () differ.

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In house sari sari store. They sell drinks, chips, crackers, toiletries, and such.

There are a bunch of sights to see as you go along. There is a Malakas and Maganda sculpture, a sort of belfry, an overlooking area that can be rented for a wedding or such, a couple of lounge chairs, and lots of trees and plants. The resort also is under renovation but it is not something that would cause any hassle during your stay. The workers pretty much keep to themselves.

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Malakas at si Maganda. There are a couple of sculpture scattered all over the resort. Even on the pools.

 

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A nice area for photo ops.

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A couple could get married here. The view is fantastic 🙂 

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See?

We stayed in what they called a lower casita. This one costs Php700 and is good for 3-4 persons according to their guidesheet. It is very near the kiddle pool, the first adult pool, the dormitory, toilet and showers, and the overlooking area.

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This is what a lower casita looks like. It can easily fit more than 4 persons, and each casita is spaced appropriately, providing privacy to the customers. We stayed in 5. 

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LC 5 is located at the far end. What’s nice about it is that it has another set of stairs leading to the toilet and showers, a terrace, and the pool. If you’re the shy type who would not want to pass by the all the other casitas, you have the option to do so.

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This was the mini pool beside the lower casitas. It has this sort of shower, and 2 slides leading to the main pool.Slides lead to 4 ft deep and 6 ft deep end of the pool below.

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Though the slides were not that high, it still served it’s purpose and we enjoyed it a lot!

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Pool rules and regulations

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A view of the terrace and the alcove where the water is only about waist high. There is a stairs on the left side leading to our side of the Casitas

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The other end of the adult pool, the jets of water were really harsh!

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A closer look at the slides

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There is a bench on the terrace where you can hang out once the sun is down

A few steps from the main pool, are the kiddie pools. There is one small pool above, with an overlooking view, and one bad ass kiddie pool below.

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More of a chillax corner. Water level is below the knee. The mushroom cone provides some sort of a shower effect.

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First angle – from above 

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From one side. This is the side where Geoff enjoyed the most as the slides were more slippery than the one on the other side

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The slide where you can’t slide (LOL!). Honestly, Geoff was disappointed when he found out he had to work hard to reach the bottom 😛

For large groups, they have the option to rent the dormitory. This area was closed off (thankfully!) during our visit.

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A strict warning for non dormitory users.

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There is a lonely bench swing inside. Must be fun to try that!

As with other resorts, a must have are toilet and shower stalls. This area, I like! There are lots of shower cubicles, toilets, and separate areas where you can change. There is also a long area for faucets, floor length mirrors and even an area where you can do a fish spa session!

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Notice the floral shorts on the lower right, he’s a kid who was about to feed the fishes his callused feet! (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture)

After our swim, we decided to take a look around the resort, as I was only able to explore the lower parts of the resort before. There were 2 or 3 other pool on the higher part of the resort among other things.

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Time out! The baby got tired of running around and opted to sit on the ground. Wala lang. Ang cute eh 😀

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Never mind us. These were the lounge chairs near the overlooking area of the resort.

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Signage on rocks

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A cross on the highest point of the hotel. This was right beside the tree house

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These are the big casitas

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The tree house

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The cross from another angle

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The hotel facade. The lobby looks normal, however, the third floor windows are boarded up. They must be renovating.

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This area was under construction but the swings were very relaxing to sit in.

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I am not sure what happened but I told babe to take a photo of the infinity pool. Well, this is the shallow part, with the showering falls

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Part of the infinity pool. Babe thought the shot was artistic. I think so too (I just wished he took a photo of the whole pool! -_-)

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Deserted steps leading to I don’t know where. This are is under construction too!

Overall, the stay was enjoyable because we were lucky that there were very few people. Just the same, the price was not that bad. I don’t even think that they raised their prices since 2007 or 2008 (last that I have been there), yet, the facilities were improved and the things I loved then were still there!

Promise, I will post the list of prices as soon as I see it.

Geoff’s Swimming Day

So last Saturday, we pushed through with our swimming plan to celebrate Geoff’s birthday. It was a simple celebration, as it was just me, Babe, my mom, our yaya, and of course, the star of the day, Geoff.

One week before the planned outing, we did an occular as to which resort is the most kid and budget friendly (our choice was narrowed down to Loreland and Cristina Villas, so we only visited those 2!). Having visited the latter twice now, I was quite obvious that I favored the said resort. And so, after seeing the place, Babe gave an okay signal to choose Cristina Villas Mountain Resort and Hotel.

Anyway, this post is all about Geoff’s celebration, so let me save the review of the resort on another day. 🙂

Warning: This is quite a photo heavy post

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Babe was being goofy while Geoff was showing off a diamond

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Happiness is a slide, within the pool. The baby loves both, thus, the very wide smile on his face

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On his own

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Did I mention that he was ecstatic? 😛

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Dancing in the pool, assisted by a fan (lol!)

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Bad boy look daw 🙂

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Beh-lat!

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Mama Lola, look at the camera please?

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Shh!

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Look up

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I’ll smile na lang Mommy!

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I’m tired!

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Look out. I’m on a mission

Overall, we all enjoyed the place, the weather was neither too hot nor too windy. The water was a bit cold, but who cares if everybody enjoyed the water, right? What matters is that we got to see Geoff (even his Mama Lola) enjoying every moment, until kami na yung gustong umawat na from swimming!

Watch out for the review on my next post 🙂

Week 3 – Let’s Go For A Swim

Last Sunday, my friends set a swimming date/mini reunion at the Pasig Rainforest Water Park. We had a blast, most especially the baby. The water was cold, the wind was strong, nevertheless, even as he was chilling to the bones, Geoff was a happy baby throughout the day.

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Alanganin ang smile kasi nanginginig. LOL!

Hello Palawan! (The Itinerary)

Hello! Hello! It’s been a week since we returned from our second anniversary Palawan trip. Yes, a week since we returned to reality (LOL)! Though the trip was planned, we were unable to visit everything that I had on my list due to laziness and meager funds. Thanks to 8 Dragons Tour and Em of Akira and Everything Nice, Babe was able to experience the beauty of the Underground River.

We stayed in Puerto Princesa for 4 days and 3 nights. Considering that we wanted the trip to be relaxed, we only booked 2 days of our stay with tours. Anyway, here was what we did for 4 days:

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Day1: Early morning arrival from the Airport. We booked our tickets through Air Asia, and I must say, the airfare was cheap, but the service was fantastic. Not only we arrived on time, but was a little early as well. We were booked at Balay Inato (more details on the next posts) and slept until the afternoon. Upon waking up, we freshened up and looked for something to eat. We ended up at Skylights hotel, which has a restaurant as well. We stayed there at least an hour or 2. After lunch, we went to the Butterfly Garden. This was our last stop for the day since most of the tourist spot (save for the usual gardens and the baywalk) has an operating hours of 8AM to 5PM. For dinner, we ate at Balay Inato (Haim Inato) and had the best chicken.

Day 2 – This was the day we went to the Underground River. The tour ended at around 4PM or 5PM. I don’t quite remember, but we slept again right after we got back to the Inn. We had dinner at Balinsasayaw that night. BEST. DINNER. EVER.

Day 3 – We booked the Honda Bay tour. This was where we were able to buy and eat a rock crab or what they call pitik. More kwento about this on a separate post. This tour ended almost the same time with the Underground River. As explained by our tour guide, Sonny, the bangkeros were expected to be back by 5PM for safety reasons (their boats does not have lights, thus, are only allowed to go during the day). We had dinner at Haim Inato again (did I mention that their chicken was the best?)

Day 4 – The longest day is often the last day. The heat was really unbearable, so we only went out to buy a few things to give the family and friends back home. We ate lunch at Bona’s Chaolong, which was said to serve the best Vietnamese dish (Chaolong) in Puerto Princesa. Let me say that it was good, however, my tongue is not used to a different taste, thus, I found it a bit weird. We arrived in Manila about 15 – 20 minutes earlier than expected. We purchased return flights, so, we boarded the Air Asia aircraft again.

It was work day the very next day, so imagine how tired and sleepy I was during work. I will be posting about our expenses in another post as I go along the activities that we did during our stay.