2016: Of Travels, Friendships, Family, and Spreading Happiness

“Life is meant for Good Friends and Great Adventures”

As we bid goodbye to 2016, I look back at how the past year has brought me to awesome places and taught me life lessons along the way as I travel with friends and family. Lessons that honed me as a person, a friend, a sister, a cousin, a daughter, a mother, and so much more. Lessons that not only helped me but helped those dear to me as well.

January: Cebu

My first roadtrip of the year is to the South of Cebu as I joined in the birthday celebration of a dear friend. It was with a group of friends from my previous team in Cebu and this journey reminded me that it doesn’t mean that friendships end when we stop spending (working) time with each other. It was also the time when some of my new team mates joined the older group and a good opportunity to build new friendships as well.

February: Mindanao Adventure (CDO, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Iligan)

Despite hailing from Mindanao, it was still a fresh experience for me as I went on this Minda trip with friends. We experienced the thrilling rides at Bukidnon, chased Iligan waterfalls, went on white water rafting at CDO, and drooled in amazement at the White Island in Camiguin. As I built new friendships and bonded with old ones more, I learned that you need to step out of your comfort zone to experience the beautiful things, may it be an amazing sunset or a smile of a new friend.

April: Yui turns Seven

My March and April were spent preparing for Yui’s 7th birthday. The entire celebration was blogged here. Most of the decorations were DIY’ed thanks to the help of my family and friends. It was a memorable experience not only because we pulled off the DIY party but mostly because it was a time for family and friends to meet and celebrate with Yui and with each other.

May: Tagaytay and Cebu

It was a pleasant surprise when my dear brother went home for a quick vacay last May. Although he left before our birthday, he was able to celebrate Mother’s Day with us where we spent it together at The Lake Hotel, Tagaytay. Towards the end of May, I went on another Cebu trip with some Manila team mates. It is always fun touring new people in Cebu, which feels like my second home. This month has taught me that a simple surprise is more than enough to warm one’s heart.

From top-left, clockwise: At the Lapu-Lapu shrine in Mactan; #WanderBraders in Cebu; Dayot family in Tagaytay;

August: Hong Kong, Cebu, Batangas

August was probably my busiest travel month this year. Earlier in August I went on a one-week HK trip with family, mid-month was spent at Moalboal, Cebu and National Heroes Day holiday was spent at Pico De Loro with dear friends. I’ve learned a lot from these trips also, most memorable is that I learned who my true friends are – who will stay honest with me no matter what.

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From top-left, clockwise: spending a gloomy afternoon at Pico de Loro beach; roadtrip photo op with close office friends; At The Peak, Hong Kong with sis & aunt-in-law; At the Ngong Ping village

September: Cebu

After two weeks, I went back to Cebu but this time with some of my Manila dev team. We spent some days at the office and the weekend at South Cebu. They swam with the whale shark in Oslob (I just waited at the beach since I already tried this 2 years ago). After the whale shark, we then spent the afternoon at Sumilon Island and basked in the beauty of the sea and blue sky. We trekked at the Aguinid falls and also went up Levels 6 to 8, which are not included in the basic tour. Although there were several 90 degree rock/falls climb, our tour guides and our group helped us along the way. It was a pretty scary trip but it has taught me that I just need to trust my friends and the people who are willing to help so I can reach my goals. This trip was one of the highlights of my year.

October: Singapore

Last October, My family journeyed to Singapore to witness my brother’s wedding. It was a short and sweet ceremony and was witnessed by the couple’s immediate family and closest friends. Although not really a travel escapade (we only spent the weekend at home with the family), it was memorable for me as I got to spend precious time with my family. This trip reminded me that no matter how far we all go or how long we don’t see each other, family is always where the heart is.

November: Singapore, Zamboanga

An unplanned trip, this Singapore visit was a quick one and I just spent it with my brother and his wife. It was here where I felt really close to my brother. I realized that I can move heaven and earth for him, even if we quarreled like crazy when we were little.

Quality time with the bro and SIL

A week after Singapore, we journeyed to Zamboanga to attend my cousin’s wedding (this year is really full of love and weddings :)) I had a great time spending some time with my cousins who I rarely see. I can say that this month was really all about family lovin’.

My cousin’s wedding

December: Batanes

What great way to end the year than go on The Great Batanes Dream. Our 6-day Batanes trip was full of emotional rollercoaster (delayed flights, unfavorable weather, and amazement of the view). We spent the 6 days just being at an awe of the great scenery at Batanes. It was from this experience that I was reminded that all great things are worth the wait.

Always gonna be at awe with Batanes

The holiday season was filled with office Christmas party, meet-ups with friends, and quality time with family.

I’m one lucky person to have friends like them. Will always be grateful for these people


Holiday with the clan: Always crazy, Always fun, Always busog!

 

2016 ended already, but the memories and lessons I’ve learned will stay with me as I greet 2017 with open arms. Here’s a huge shout out to everyone as I welcome 2017 and spread love and good vibes. Lablab!

Life Skills You Learn from Minecraft

I was never a hardcore gamer and would conservatively call myself a casual one at that. The only gaming accomplishment I’m most proud of is completing Diablo II in PSP a looooong time ago. Well, aside from getting 5 stars in Just Dance. Haha. 

With this I would say that Yui’s Minecraft addiction and gaming skills didn’t come from me. But as a supportive mom, I’ve grown to love the game as well and by watching her play, I came to realize that there are actually life skills you can get from playing Minecraft. 

1. Creativity and Imagination

Yui has built a number of houses, hospital, roller coasters, boats, rockets, the Garden of Love, and even an automated farm. All of which amazed me at how her imagination turned these into communities in her minecraft world. She’s learning not just building infrastructures but also other science-related stuff like gems, potions, biomes, etc. I like how the game uses the child’s creativity to teach certain concepts through play. 

2. Patience

Buildings, boats, and other creations may take several days (minecraft days) to finish. It teaches the child that if they want to have something, they have to work hard and wait for it. 

3. Goal-setting

Minecraft also teaches Yui to have goals. When playing in creative mode, she would have a vision as to what that world will look like and then slowly build it. 

4. Teamwork

The multi-player mode allows for them to build teamwork and improve her relationships with others (usually her cousins). They would plan on what to create and then work together to finish their creation. 

5. Delegation

In relation to number 4, the game has also taught Yui how to delegate tasks. During multi-player mode she would assign parts of the world for her cousin to create so that they can finish faster. They would also do the same to her which teaches her to accept tasks to achieve a common goal.

6. Resourcefulness

The game helped her be more resourceful. Whenever she wanted to build something, she knows how to find them in Youtube or Google. She’s also built things without tutorial, just by knowing the blocks available in the game. She made a trampoline with a slime block and magenta carpet. Just because she wanted a magenta trampoline. 

7. Vocabulary building

Through play, Yui learned new words which she uses in our daily conversations. Not a lot of children, or even adults, would use the word parkour but this is now common in the household. She would describe the ingredients that she need for brewing her potions, talk about what happens in the nether, and if she would use an oak wood or birch wood to build her house. 

These are some of the reasons why I support her gaming. As they say, everything in moderation. So as long as it’s not a hindrance to her studies, I’ll be a minecraft mom. She’s enjoying the last few days of minecraft madness before classes start and it’s back to weekend games. In the meantime, there’s still a few more days to learn new stuff. 😄

Yui’s 7th Birthday: Tangled Party

For her 7th birthday, Yui wanted a party so she can celebrate with her friends. At first she wanted a Minecraft themed party, then changed her mind and wanted Descendants instead. I was already searching the net for ideas when she asked if she can change it again. I told her that as long as we haven’t started the actual preparations, she still can. Her third, and thankfully the last, theme is Tangled – the Rapunzel movie. I got excited as well since I LOVED that movie too! I immediately told my friends Rog, Wendy and Ivy so we can start the preps. We spent two months for the planning, Divi shopping, and DIY-ing the decorations and other items for the party. Complete with a detailed workplan, help from other friends and our hyper-mode excitement, we were able to pull our DIY event styling.

Our DIY moments

Here are the things that we DIY’ed for the little girl’s party. (Apologies for the long post, I just wanted to chronicle our labor of love ❤ hehe!)

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Pulled out my Photoshop skills to create her invite. Since we’re digital, go green and all, this wasn’t printed anymore but was just posted in the FB event

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Created 40 of these lanterns in 3 weeks

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We braided 20 of these yellow yarn, glued them on headbands and decorated with flowers

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The welcome sign board. Wood work by Rog

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The lanterns and sun bunting that we hang in the ceiling. Wendy cut 150 suns and glued them on the bunting in 2 months

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Our venue, Casa Camba, was transformed into Rapunzel’s kingdom

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Daddy Melvin hand-painted the cover of Yui’s guestbook

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Tower window by Daddy Melvin and Rapunzel braid by Mommy Ena. It took 6 hours to finish this braid! #NotDoingItAgainHaha

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We hung 50 of these WANTED FLYNN posters all around the place, which we used for the treasure hunt during the games

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Pascal party blowers. Since we can’t find ready-made blowers in Divi, I did these blowers after watching a how-to video in YT

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We opted for art materials for the loot bags since Rapunzel loves to paint ❤

 

Even the cake and the dessert buffet are all DIY. Of course, my dear mom baked Yui’s cake. It was yummy as usual! Then Rog designed our dessert buffet with goodies that I bought from my trusted baking supplies shop. 🙂

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We bought a Php40 tree branch in Divi, which we decorated with lanterns and used as backdrop for the cake

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Grandma Ethel’s cake. Yum! ❤

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Cake topper up close

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Dessert buffet station

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One of the animal chocolates. These lady bugs are so cute! Bought these per kilo at the baking store

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Grandma Ethel’s mini cupcakes

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Lots of mini choco cupcakes!

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Marshmallows. You can never go wrong with mallows 🙂

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The birthday girl at the dessert station

 

On the day of the event, I also got some help from other office friends in manning the registration booth and giving out prizes. I’m ever grateful for helpful friends. Love you guys!

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The DIYers. Thank you braders! ❤

 

Our Suppliers

Yui’s #1 request is to have inflatables (bouncy bouncy) at her party. This prompted us to find for a bigger venue but it was totally worth it! I rented the bounce castle from Smile Party Events & Balloon Decor, which I first saw in olx then contacted thru FB. The kids had 4 hours non-stop playtime at the bounce castle. If there’s anything that you want to be a sure hit at kiddie parties, I’ll vote for inflatables!

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Bounce Castle from Smile Party Events & Balloons

Our other supplier was G2Photography for the photo booth and official photos. I got them primarily because of the photo strip layout. It was a breeze doing business with Sir Gerald. He was accommodating on my feedback on the photo strip layout and responds timely on questions.

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Yui’s photo strip from G2 Photography

We also had a hair & makeup salon, c/o Christabel Santiago, sister of Yui’s Home Room teacher. It was a blast – both for the kids and kids at heart!

Lastly, the venue we got is Casa Camba at New Manila. I stumbled upon them in google while searching for venue near our place. I went to see the place and fell in love with it immediately as it fits with the Tangled theme. I read some negative feedback online but there were also more good ones so I took the risk, and I wasn’t disappointed. The head waiter that attended to us that day was great too. He was very much attentive to our needs all throughout the party.

Overall, we are satisfied with our suppliers as they helped make Yui’s party a success! 🙂

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Happy Birthday Princess! ❤

 

Chronicles of a Work at Home Mom

Okay, so technically I’m not really a work at home mom. Not permanently anyways. Every once in a while, my mom would go home to the province and I would have to ask permission from my ever understanding boss (oh, hi boss!) to work from home since we don’t have a nanny. These are the days I enjoy the most – being able to spend the whole day with Yui and feel like a traditional housewife. But with the added pressure of work and colleagues pinging me every now and then. Hence, the work at home mom.

I don’t know what about it this time though because only 2 days in and I feel like crashing. With an upcoming major Production deployment on Friday, office budget woes, resources on emergency leaves and Yui’s advance finals next week, it has just been a whirlwind of activities! But instead of ranting about how hectic it has been for the past 2 days and I can only imagine for the next 3 days as well, I would like to focus on what makes this setup extra special and why I would pick this over anything else right now.

Basically, my life this week can be summed up into these things:

All set: lappy, headset, reviewers

All set: lappy, headset, reviewers

I’ve started to find a routine wherein I’ve injected Yui’s activities into my work schedule. The laptop is open bright and early, have to rest for when Yui have to study, eat and brought to bed, then off to work again until the wee hours of the night. It’s not ideal but it gets the work done. 

Funny how a couple of weeks ago I was snickering at my former boss for using a bluetooth headset for a meeting and asked him what the heck does he need that for (yeah, when you don’t have money to buy what they have just poke fun at them). But I remembered him and his headset this morning when my meeting was running until lunch time and I have yet to cook our lunch. Now how I wish I have those bluetooth headset so I can cook and attend the meeting at the same time! Anyways, good thing there are pantry staples that enabled me to cook our lunch in a jiffy. Lunch is served! With a dash of goofing around on the side. Ah, good times.

Lunch.

Sauté onion, garlic, pork, carrots, potatoes. Add tomato sauce and water. Viola! Lunch!

Goofy girls

Lunch this fun can only be found at home

In between afternoon meetings, I have to set aside time for Yui’s reviews. She’s a candidate for academic award in Math and English so instead of having just short quizzes in the coming days, she has her advance finals next Monday already. We have to review topics that haven’t been discussed in school. Good thing she’s a fast learner. And I just learned that teaching her to tell time is fun! 

Telling time

Time Space Warp… ngayon din!

She’s also improved a lot in her Math skills and can add and subtract faster compared to last week. Coolness! I also feel that I earned a mommy tutor badge just for that. 😛

Subtraction

Answered in a flash..without arguments! Whatta feat!

All these office and mommy duties are surely keeping my plates full but being with this funny, noisy, and one of a kind little girl makes it all worth it.

Funny girl

My little funny girl

 

She sure is one of a kind but not when it comes to clothes. Haha! 😉

Terno with her playmate. Fashionista girls!

Terno with her playmate. Fashionista girls!

Look-alike Meter 2013

When Yui was a year old, we tried this online Look-alike meter to settle “disputes” on who she looks like more.  And this was what we got:

Look-alike meter 2010

Look-alike meter 2010

And now  after 3 years, we tried the meter again to see if there’s a change since Yui’s grown up from the last time. The verdict is…

Look-alike meter 2013

Look-alike meter 2013

Maybe that’s why there’s still mixed opinions on who Yui looks like more, because it might depend on what angle you are looking at, if she’s having a bad hair day or just being a cutie patootie. 🙂

Happy 3 Years!

This month marks my blog’s third year anniversary. I wouldn’t have remembered if WordPress did not greet me. 🙂

Lucky Three! :)

Lucky Three! 🙂

Wow, I can’t believe I lasted this long (I think this is the longest blog I’ve kept). I’ve posted a lot of personal thoughts, adventures and Yui stories in this blog, but to commemorate my third anniversary, here’s my top 3 most favorite posts.

#3 The PaRK at Real, Quezon

Probably the most visited page in this site, I still can’t believe how many people are interested about this little surfing slash hangout slash chillin’ place in Quezon. I felt ecstatic too when I learned that this post is in the first page of the Google search results when you search for the resort.

#2 Until We Meet Again, Dear Sister

One of the most emotional blog post I made is this short eulogy for my sister-in-law, Aileen. She was one strong, fun and free-spirited girl and losing her this early was heartbreaking for the whole family. Until now, Yui would randomly blurt out that she misses “ninay” Aileen. Then she would go quiet for a while. Despite the very short time that we got to spend with her, I’m still thankful that Yui was able to meet her “ninay” and they were able to build memories together.

#1 Look-alike Meter Part 1

And for my top favorite post… The Look-alike meter. Oftentimes, people would wonder aloud who Yui looks like. This look-alike meter settled all the questions and wondering. It’s fun to see how Yui looks exactly like Daddy Bunny and me. A second post was done when Yui was almost 2 years old to see if the percentage changed. Well, it did. by 3% , which is negligible. I wanted to check the look-alike meter now but unfortunately the site does not work anymore 😦

 

So there, those are my most memorable posts the past 3 years. I’m looking forward to posting more stories and adventures for the next 3 years, and the next and the next.

Things That Make Me Smile: Family and Reunions

In this edition of the TTMMS (things that make me smile), I would like to show some photos from recent reunions between family and friends…

 

At Sage’s baptism: all mommies and babies in our barkada are present. And we’re so happy to know that our dear friend Leslie is expecting! More babies! Yey!

Mommies and Babies

Mommies are babies’ first BFF 🙂

Daddies and babies always make me smile.

Daddies and Babies

Daddies are little girls’ first love

 

Goofy family photos are love! ❤

Goofy Bunnies

Goofy Bunnies

 

Seeing my grandma on her homecoming after 9 years of living in the US brought happy smiles to us especially my mom. 🙂

Reunited and it feels so good

Reunited and it feels so good

Family reunion

Family reunion

Four generations. One happy family. 😀

4 generations. 1 family.

Quatros Marias