Sunday, January 12, 2014

How we spent Christmas PART 2

After spending the first half of our Christmas break with my in-laws (read about it here), it was time to spend some quality time with my family. My sister has a house in Manila that would fit us all, so we trooped to her beautiful and cozy home, together with my parents, and brother with his family. My eldest sister just gave birth in the US so they could not go home for the holidays.

I can best describe our Christmas with my family as child-like and laid-back. Our activities were centered around our kids, and because of the location of my sister's house in QC which is very near UP, we spent most of our free time going to parks and kiddie places.
 On our first day together, we trooped to my papa's favorite resto. Papa was in pain due to a cracked and impacted tooth, and was having a hard time eating, but seeing him enjoying his food at his fave resto made our day.

The next day, we met up with my cousin who arrived from London. She treated everyone to yummy and soshal lunch at Cibo in Shangri-la. Sa sobrang sarap ng food, we didn't take any pictures. Hehe Thank you to Ate Cielo, Kuya Stephen and Julienne for the fantabulous lunch, and for all your generosity.

Watching Disney on Ice was one of the highlights of our vacation. It was really for the kids, and I didn't mind paying a hefty sum just to see my son, nieces, and nephew enjoy their day. Kami din super enjoy!
Ano ang saya ng gatherings kung walang kainan? After watching Disney on Ice, we heard mass and went off again to another one of my papa's fave resto, Muang Thai. Everytime I eat in this place, I always forget about my diet at napapakain ako ng extra extra!
The next day, we didn't have concrete plans, so we headed off to UP Diliman to kill off time. We just gave the kids a free space to roam around and play, while we relaxed and basked at the beauty of nature.

That's my boys having a tender moment.

The next day, I squeezed off some time to meet up with my 1st legit friend ever. Lindy and I have been friends since I was in Kinder, and she shares a huge part of my childhood fun. We're pre-occupied now with our own personal lives but it feels good that every time we meet again, it feels like we just met yesterday.

After meeting up with my friend, we went to UP Circle so that the kids will have fun. Nag-enjoy naman sila, from the mini-train ride, to the Ice Age tour and program, and even the go-karts were fun too!

Rocco was so scared of the dinosaurs in the Ice Age tour. Haha! Look at that scared face!

I still have to get used to seeing Rocco being all toddler now. Ibang-iba na talaga.
After a tiring but fun afternoon at the park, my mama treated us to an eat all you can Japanese dinner. Talk about heaven! Their sushi, sashimi, maki, and all those Jappy yummy stuff were so amazingly good! I think I gained 2lbs that night alone.

The next day was New Year's eve, and because we had nothing to do, tambay nalang kami sa Starbucks, at nagsunog ng wallet sa Uniqlo (again!).

My BIL's (sister's husband) family invited all of us to spend New Year's eve with them, so we trooped to Malabon to enjoy their amazing fireworks. It has been their family's tradition to spend a fortune on fireworks and firecrackers which start from 6PM up to midnight for the finale. And I'm not kidding when I say ang daming fireworks, kasi every 15minutes may paputok sila. Very organized, and EXPENSIVE! :)

The next day was New Year, Jan 1, and it was time to go home. We really enjoyed our vacation in Manila. It would have been perfect had we been in Tacloban, but God had other plans, and there was no other way but to just accept whatever happened, and move forward with positive vibes.

Now it's 2014, and I can feel great things that are yet to come. With God's grace, we will make the best out of 2014.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

How we spent Christmas PART 1

Since our families in Tacloban were displaced after Yolanda, everyone decided that we would collectively spend Christmas in Manila. My SIL has a condo where my in-laws stayed, while my parents stayed with my sister who has a house of her own there. We could not stay in our own house in Makati since we had it rented our already.

It was really bittersweet to spend Christmas in a different place, most especially for my parents who are home-grown Taclobanons. We could still sense the sadness every time we talked about their Yolanda experience, and what it did to our home. But still, we made the most out of the limited time we had together, and made it more memorable especially for my son, nieces, and nephew.

We left for Manila on December 21. It was a much-awaited vacation since prior to that, work for both my husband and I was really hectic and we had limited time with Rocco. It was a good decision also not to bring his yaya during the Christmas trip so we can have more privacy and bonding time with our son.

Hubby's brother went home from Dubai for my MIL's 6oth birthday, so it was also a reunion for their side of the family.

The day we arrived in Manila, we had dinner at the Ayala Triangle Garden where amazing Christmas lights were on display.

We split our time between my in-laws and my immediate family. We spent the first half with my in-laws. Rocco enjoyed his time in the super mini-playground of his Auntie Ann's condo.
I also had the chance to meet up with my elementary and high school friends who were in Manila. All our families were directly affected by supertyphoon Yolanda.

We had lunch at the posh 7th Avenue of the Bonifacio Global City, and had some tea at the Serendra strip where our kids enjoyed their time at the park.

After more than a year, it was also the first time that Rocco and his BFF Geboy met again. Boy have they grown so fast!

After my lunch and afternoon with friends, we headed off to SM Aura to meet up with my in-laws. We watched the cartoon movie, Frozen. Such a beautiful movie, parang ako ata ang mas nag-enjoy :) Rocco was behaved for about 3/4 of the movie, until he started saying "Go Home!" Patay tayo diyan! We took turns to bring him out of the cinema because he was getting noisy by the minute.
 The next day was the 60th birthday of my MIL. We originally planned to have a big celebration in Tacloban, but due to the aftermath of Yolanda, the plan was abruptly changed. Since most of my hubby's relatives also temporarily relocated to Manila, the family decided to hold a simple gathering on my MIL's birthday, which was hosted at the function hall of my SIL's condo. My side of the family was also there.

That's my MIL in the pretty floral red dress :)

Some of my hubby's relatives.

My cute little boy said he was a monster. He was copying Sully from the Monster's Inc movie.

The next day was Christmas day and it was time to open the gifts. Rocco had a lot of gifts. He is a blessed and lucky child. We had lunch at my sister's house, then heard mass, and then went to Uniqlo to shop before eating dinner (eating again!). Seriously, I love that store! I think in all the times that we dropped by malls while in Manila, we went to Uniqlo each time, and stayed there the longest :)

PS: I don't have any other photos of Christmas day. Maybe my hands were too full running after my son :)

The day after Christmas, we didn't have any specific plans. My SIL was busy preparing for her US trip the next day, and my BIL was also flying off to Dubai after a few days. It was also the last day we were spending with my hubby's side of the family because we transferred to my sister's house the next day.

My boys killed time by swimming at the pool. After lunch, we slept and after we woke up, headed off to SM MOA. Of all the malls I've been to, I dislike MOA the most. It's just too crowded for me. And for a person like me who craves for space, I always get a splitting headache in those places. Anyway, after MOA, we braved the traffic and rainy night, and had dinner at Dampa.

The next day, we were off to my side of the family! That's part II!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rocco turns 2!

Last November 22, we celebrated the 2nd birthday of Rocco. We had things planned out, a party with his kiddie friends in our village, and his grandparents and cousins would be here with us in Cebu to celebrate his birthday.

I had already prepared the invites, souvenirs, name tags, and reserved for the clown host, balloon twister and face painter. I even had kiddie chairs reserved, bought decors, and already prepared the ingredients for his cupcake tower.

But Yolanda happened. Oh well, I refuse to dwell on the negativity of the tragic event. The important thing is, we're complete and alive.

When we saw the aftermath of Yolanda, I decided to cancel Rocco's party and just celebrate simply instead. It doesn't sit well with me to be celebrating here in Cebu when my parents do not even have a roof on their head, and a lot of friends and relatives barely have food to eat in order to survive. The money can be used for other more important things, like helping out family and donating to relief ops. We can have a big birthday party in the next years when everybody has recovered already from the catastrophic tragedy. Hubby agreed with my decision.

Still, kailangan pa din mag-celebrate, kahit simple lang. I decorated our dining area with balloons, cooked yummy food (which everyone really loved), and baked his favorite blueberry cheesecake.

My in-laws, who were able to get out of Tacloban via Ormoc, spent Rocco's birthday with us. My papa was still in Tacloban that time, and my mama was already in Manila because she was able to fly out via the US C130 plane to Manila.
Hubby went to work because he was cramming for his China trip that weekend. Buti naman at nakahabol pa din :)

Dearest Rocco,

Wow, how fast time flies. You are now a certified toddler, but I don't want to tag you as a terrible two because you are everything sweet, and not terrible. 

Everyday, we are amazed by your impressive milestones. You never fail to surprise us with your new words, how you can memorize all our names, from your grannies, cousins, titos and titas, yayas, and of course, us your parents, how you can follow and sing songs so easily, how you can count from 1 to 30 at 2yrs old, how you can solve puzzles and cognitive games which are complex for a 2yr old brain, and many more!

I always thank God for giving us such a sweet boy, who loves to kiss and hug and say "I wab you mama Diane". I will cherish these moments because as your papa said, when you grow up, you wouldn't let me kiss you anymore :)

Anak, I'm sorry we had to cancel your party. I know you will understand. My wish for your birthday is not for you or for us, because we are bountifully blessed, but for our families and friends who are struggling to survive Yolanda's aftermath. I hope to see the smile again in your grandma's face because she's been so sad and crying, and I hope that someday you can visit our house in Tacloban again. It was so beautiful anak before it got destroyed, and we promise that we will restore it back to its beauty. 

We love you so much Rocco!

Mama Diane

Monday, November 4, 2013

Our Sweet Boracay Escapade

Our Boracay trip this year was not really planned, but as it turned out, sometimes those that are not planned are the ones that push through. Buti nalang we decided to join my in-laws, because we had a great time! Bitin nga ang time that we spent there, but we can always come back next time.

We stayed at Astoria Boracay. It's a super nice resort. They have large rooms, great layout and design, impeccable service. Our package included land and sea transfer, breakfast buffet, one free dinner buffet, and free room-service massage. Because my SIL's husband wasn't able to join, his share of the payment was converted to food, so we ended up eating buffet the entire time that we were there.

So much has changed in Boracay since the last time I was there around 2005, but I'm glad to say that the change has been all for the better. Good thing that they preserved the beach front and maintained its cleanliness despite the influx of tourists day in and out. The tourists have also learned to respect and preserve this beautiful piece of nature by not littering around. During our early morning walks, we would see some joggers pick up trash that they would see along the way. That's how educated and civilized people act! Sana ganyan din sa mga squatters area.
Rocco had a great time at the beach. Initially he didn't like the feel of sand on his feet, but when he got the hang of it, aba, ayaw na paawat. He really enjoyed swimming. All I can say is, ang ganda talaga ng beach sa Boracay. Nakaka-relax, nakakatanggal ng stress, and nakaka-bless that we are able to enjoy this kind of beauty. I just loved sitting there and basking in the beautiful seashore. The seawater was so clear we could see pa a school of fish swimming around our feet.
Basically we just chilled out there, tulog, kain and swimming. REPEAT. Mejo nakakasawa na din siguro if you stay there longer than 3 days. OK lang for those single and enjoying the night life. But for someone like us with a kid in tow, walang night life kasi tulog agad sa pagod kakahabol sa makulit at active na bata.

Till next time Boracay, we will definitely be back for more!


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