Our Green Christmas

Gift-giving is one of the highlights of our Christmas morning. The kids excitedly open their presents and play with the toys inside the boxes. After all the fun and excitement, it was sort of heart-breaking to see the pile of gift wrappers dumped in the big black garbage bag. I imagined how much they cost and the trees that were cut just to make those red, green, christmasy paper.

This year, I told daddy bunny that I planned not to buy any gift wrapper for Christmas and he totally supported the idea. What we did was grab December issues of our magazines. I especially liked those issues because its got all those glittery, Christmas themed pages.

December issues

Christmas pages

I got my crafts box out so that I can use the ribbons that I saved up from my previous scrapbook activities.

Crafts box

The challenge with this project was wrapping pretty big gifts because you have to join a lot of magazine pages just to wrap one gift. After several days and with the help of my handy helper, Yui, we were able to wrap all our gifts just in time for Christmas. I’m very satisfied with what we did, and although it wasn’t 100% eco-friendly (maybe next year we’ll use cloth to wrap presents), at least we’ve done something to save some trees this year.

Finished product

It was also amusing to learn that our cousins did the same thing too, as suggested by our niece Bea. Kids these days are really aware of issues and its amazing how they want to help save our mother earth. After all, this is the only one that we’ve got.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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The Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort Experience

Having my entire team in Cebu has its perks and one of those is being able to visit different beautiful resorts around Cebu. During my latest trip, we had our team building at the Sumilon Bluewater Island Resort. Sumilon is an island about 2 1/2 hrs drive south from Cebu City with a 15-min boat ride from the mainland. The island is the first marine protected area in the Philippines and was made a fish sanctuary in 1974 under the guidance of Siliman University Marine Reserve. Since Bluewater is the resort located in the island, one can enjoy the many beauties that the island has to offer when you check in with them.

One of the main features of the resort is the shifting sandbar. It changes its shape and location depending on the time and season.

white sand

The resort offers different activities without extra charges so you can go snorkeling just within meters from the shores. You can also go swimming in their infinity pool, kayaking and trekking. We trekked up the trail and reached the lighthouse and the ruins of the baluarte. It was a day full of games, laughs and adventures. Sumilon is a place that you can just visit to have a fun and relaxing day.

The infinity pool offers a view of the vast blue ocean. It is a good spot for a relaxing dip in the afternoon heat.

infinity pool

There is a lagoon that is a nice place for a kayak or to just imagine a crocodile snapping its jaw at you. :p

kayak

Going up the trail to the lighthouse, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the great view of the island with the lagoon and the ocean separated by the picnic grounds.

trail view

Enjoying an afternoon of peace having a siesta at the hammock. There are a lot of these cozy hammocks around the island.

hammock

 If adventure is not your cup of tea, you can still enjoy your stay reading a book with the sound of the ocean waves in the background. Although their selection is sort of outdated, there are a lot of different genres to choose from. So if you forgot to bring a book, you can grab one from their library.

library

Grabbing some cookies from their souvenir shop will surely make the people waiting for you at home enjoy some of Sumilon’s best as well 🙂

cookies

Being a beach lover myself, I definitely had fun at Sumilon. The Philippines’ beaches are really the best! 🙂

beach

Life Lessons You Get from the Potty

Almost 2 months since we’ve started on the potty journey, I can say that we got into the groove fairly easily and everybody just joined in the fun. Through the entire process, I’ve realized that potty training can teach you pretty solid life lessons. And as we continue with this journey, we just have to always keep an open mind and enjoy the show.

Here are five things that I learned from potty training my baby bunny:

1. When they’re ready, they’re ready.

I’ve read the “signs that your child is ready for potty training” guide but we still tried to train her a few months back. She doesn’t know what the heck was the potty for and would pee in her panties without batting an eyelash. Fast forward to September when Yui can say “poo poo” even if meant wiwi. At least she’s telling us when she wants to go. Then it evolved to “wiwi” and “poo poo” until finally she both did number 1 & 2 in her potty. She’s definitely ready this time.

In life, we do things that are sometimes “forced fed” into us, thinking that we are ready for that responsibility. Oftentimes, people might just react negatively to that and will not perform the duty properly because deep inside, they are not yet ready. If we wait for that person to warm up with the idea and prepare emotionally for the duty, then we might have better results. No wailing and no accidents.

2. Consistency is key.

I noticed that we had greater success when everybody’s on the same page. Everybody knows where the potty is and guides Yui to it whenever she asks us. Whoever is with her at the moment knows what to do. It’s easier, more consistent and successful.

Say, just like in our everyday life. Our performance at work gets better and better if we are consistent with the output that we deliver. By consistently practicing, we create champions.

3. Laugh in the face of adversity. Or “accidents”.

After days in her panties at home and a successful 1-hr Burger King dinner, we thought she is ready to go to school without her nappies. Performance anxiety might have gotten into her as she pooped in her panties during class and then afterwards in the grocery she peed in the cart (good thing they were at the carpeted section). We just shook it off, laughed at the experience and then tried again.

As they say, “Don’t take life seriously”. Which is true in life. If we just keep our cool, then there will be world peace. 🙂

4. You get to save money. Or do you really?

A lot of people rejoice at a successful potty training since this will free them from buying diapers. SAVINGS! YAY! But as our pile of laundry include the little one’s panties and our purchase of tissue paper increased (we teach her to wipe after),  it got me thinking if we’re really saving on money or just splurge on other things? Sure, we still get savings on the nappies but don’t forget that we will still spend money on laundry detergent and tissue paper. Good thing is everyone in the house does the laundry so we just add in her panties to ours. Not really wasting money on that.. 😀

In life, you have to be prepared for your expenses. Not because you got a discount on a purchase means you really saved money. What if we bought a ref at a bargain price but has to spend on maintenance and repairs frequently? What if you bought that nice dress at a markdown sale but got to use it only once because it shrunk horrendously when you washed it? Really, it’s about saving smart and not just saving big.

5. You will never understand how wonderful it is to see poop (in a potty) until you’re a parent.

I’m guilty of taking a snapshot of Yui’s first poop in her potty. That’s just how excited I am when she first said “poo poo” holding her butt then ran to the potty. Really. You will never understand the excitement of it until you become a mom or a dad. Poopies are awesome!

Okay, so how do I really relate this to my life? Let’s just say that there are a lot of things we take for granted in our everyday life. Like, we never really appreciate the basic needs like electricity and water until our homes are submerged in knee-deep flood and we’re out of both electricity and drinking water. We should learn to appreciate the little things in our life. Like poop. Poopies are awesome! 😀

Luggage the Explorer

We have this trusted little ole luggage that we carry with us whenever we travel. It’s been with us for quite a while and even went to Chicago with me back in 2008. We have occasional travels here and there for some years and never really appreciated this luggage until today.

old buddy

As 2011 is about to come to close, we looked back at the travels that we had with our old buddy.

1. February 3-6, 2011: Singapore

My brother, who is now based in Singapore, treated mama, papa and kuya Duke to an all-expense paid trip to Singapore to celebrate Chinese New Year with him. It was their first out of the country trip and they had quite a blast joining in all the celebrations. Our luggage had fun with all those bunny decorations too!

2. March 10-12, 2011: Cebu

I had a quick 2-day trip with my friend/colleague/kumare, Ivy to visit our team in Cebu. Our team is based in Cebu (with only the leads in Manila) so we get to see them at least twice a year (or so we plan :))

3. May 20-22, 2011: Cebu

Another one of those almost overnight travels with my bunnies. We three bunnies went to Cebu to join in my team’s summer outing at White Sands Beach Resort, Cebu. It was a fun trip seeing my team albeit a pricey one :p

4. July 4-15, 2011: Cebu

When Ivy and I got back last July, we made sure to stay longer than we last did. The two-week stay included a day-tour at Danao Coco Palms Beach Resort, 1 on 1 meetings with the team, and seafood & lechon food trips. Little old luggage was quite filled to the brim in this trip.

5.  September 14-October 7, 2011: Japan

Daddy bunny had a month-long Japan trip this year (probably his last business trip there too) and of course little old buddy is there to save the day! All of his pasalubongs and clothes had a nice flight home in our trusted little luggage. 😀

6. October 28-31, 2011: Singapore

The bunnies had a 4-day trip with our college friends to visit our other friends and also see Universal Studios, Sentosa and Singapore Zoo. It was a very tiring but fun-filled trip. Of course, our little ole luggage is there to be baby bunny’s savior when she got really tired. She just climbs up the luggage perched in the cart like there’s no tomorrow.

7. November 28-December 3, 2011: Cebu

My last Cebu trip for the year and who else to share it with but our travel buddy. Always there when we need it. It’s also the only time that there are a lot of space left in the luggage. I guess I just traveled really light. Or it’s also because I lost my towel (this is for another post)

Upcoming Event:

8. December 22-January something: Zamboanga

Mama will be going home to Zamboanga to spend the holidays there and I’ll bet my wallet our little buddy is coming with her. 🙂

We’ve had quite a nice ride with this little guy this year and I’m looking forward to many more travels. Maybe next time, we’ll take a photo with our luggage in the places that we’ve been to just for the memories. 🙂

It’s December, Baby!

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again. When it’s perfectly acceptable to over-eat, party hard and go on leave from work. It’s Christmas time!

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of work, series of gatherings and a week-long visit to my team in Cebu. I’m way behind my blog posts and everything’s still in draft. I’ll try my hardest to finish them on top of the upcoming parties, gift shopping and wrapping.

It’s such a frantic season and I’m just wallowing in all the excitement. Now before I forget, let me just greet everyone a HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  🙂