Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tagaytay Meet Up with My Bestfriend

My bestfriend, Mhy, and I have been friends since college, so that's more or less 15 years of friendship. Sometime around 2005 or 2006, she decided to go to Singapore for work and we've seen each other less since then except for the infrequent trips home she made each year. We did have disagreements in that 15 years, most of them petty but we share some things which I think are cool - like we're both the eldest, we're both born on the month of January, even our kids share the same birth month and year of October 2010 and the best thing of all, my husband, Deck, and Mhy's husband, Bong, are friends with each other as well way before we were all married. And that makes meeting up all the more fun!

This year, Mhy decided to stay home for good. She arrived from Singapore earlier this month and it was only yesterday that we both found the time to meet up. They wanted to do a break-in of their brand new car and they decided to head to Tagaytay and who am I to say no?

My Bag of Beans all-time fave, Blueberry Cheesecake P195
and Bottomless Kapeng Barako P120

One quick family photo before our meal arrived
We chose to go to Bag of Beans as Mhy's family already had lunch and were dying for some desserts. Bag of Beans' Blueberry Cheesecake is the best especially if paired with bottomless Kapeng Barako that's why these two are my usual order whenever we visit Tagaytay.

Ethan, Mhy's son and Johan sat beside each other the entire time, played with Ethan's toys and shared a plate of Bag of Beans' Funny Face.

Funny Face P130

It's heartwarming to see these kids get along with each other. It has been my dream for Mhy's kids and my own kids to be friends and get along within themselves as Mhy and I have been to each other. Now, if there's something else that makes me happy aside from that, it's watching these two goof around and rekindle their own "relationship" with each other.

If they had a moment, Mhy and I made sure we had ours as well.

Taken during our escape to the comfort room to make the dads watch
over the boys

And then these two adorable little boys had their turn in front of the camera.

Melts my heart each time and I really, really hope they'd grow up to be very good friends like their moms and dads.

It was just a short trip but it's more than enough for all of us to meet and have a great time.

Cheers to friends!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Food Trip - Sambokojin

Last week was pretty toxic for me and my batch mates from work. We had to go through a week-long boot camp in preparation for our CPC exam on Saturday, October 12. We were excused from doing our usual work and concentrated on training to pass the exam. It was hard as we had to read through three huge books on medical coding and took practice exams from Monday to Wednesday and eventually had a mock exam which was even harder than the actual CPC exam.

We were all very tired at the end of each day and by the time the CPC exam was over on Saturday, we just couldn't wait to get out of the examination room and leave.

We planned on eating out after the exam as a treat to ourselves after all the stress and pressure we had gone through that entire week and everybody agreed that good food is what we all needed. Hence, the decision get a reservation at Sambo Kojin in SM Southmall.

We arrived at SM Southmall early so we had to hang around the mall until our reservation which was at 5:30 PM. We were getting tired and so we tried going to Sambo Kojin to see if they'll let us in already. The staff was very kind and ushered us to our table 30 minutes earlier.

When we decided to eat at Sambo Kojin, I was quite hesitant. I was never a huge eater, whenever I see loads of food on plates or even on buffet, I instantly feel full and lose my appetite. That's why I surprised myself and even my friends when I was able to finish three combined plates of grilled meat, maki and tempura when we were there and even had space left for dessert!

The choices of food in Sambo Kojin is huge and we all had fun loading our plates with the fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisine that Sambo Kojin is offering. There were so many varieties of marinated meat to choose from that you'd be grilling on your table. The grilling part was tremendously enjoyed by my friend TJ.

I loved everything I got - from the Tempura to the Bacon-wrapped Asparagus to the Maki - everything tasted great. Even their Miso Soup is so good and perfect for that rainy day.

That day being Day Three of the UAAP Finals, we just couldn't resist not catching a bit of basketball on the side and satisfied ourselves on watching the game via live stream from our friend's Samsung Galaxy S4.

Can you spot the S4?

I think we stayed at Sambo Kojin for a good one hour and we left with our tummies full of good food and hearts full of laughter that only the good company of friends can provide.

The Sambo Kojin dinner buffet during weekends costs Php 659.00.

Grill all you can. Eat all you can!

Ground Level
Eastwing Food Street
Alabang Zapote Road, Las Piñas City
511-7843 / 511-7853

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Johan's 3rd Birthday at the Manila Ocean Park - The Musical Fountain Show

This is the final installment to our Manila Ocean Park trip and the last attraction we went to was the Musical Fountain Show.

The Musical Fountain Show started around 6:30 PM and by the time we reached the area where it will be held, it was almost full with the other guests and we were lucky to still be able to get good seats. By this time, we were all tired from all the walking around the park and we're thankful that this would be the final show already. :)

The show was very entertaining! Everybody in the audience were just amazed with the lights and the fountain and they truly are breathtaking. The most appreciated part was when Nemo suddenly made an appearance and the kids went crazy! Johan kept on shouting, "Wow!" and every time the show would shift from the lights and fountain to the narrative story with the entertainers, he would shout, "More, more!".

Here are a couple of videos I took during the show, enjoy!

Nemo made an appearance!
An amazing show of lights!
Our Manila Ocean Trip was a huge success! I'm glad that the birthday boy had a blast and that we waited until he's three before we went to MOP. He's at the right age where he's curious, asks a lot of questions and very appreciative of everything that's happening around him. Every "Wow!" and every "That's cool!" coming from the little boy made this trip all worth the money and the effort.
For those of you planning your own Manila Ocean Park trip, here are a few tips:
  1. Try to arrive early. If you're going to get the same package that we got, it would be best to arrive around lunchtime so you'd catch the shows and still have time in between shows to walk around the park.
  2. If possible and the budget allows, see all the attractions at the park. It's too bad that our tickets didn't include an entrance to the Trails to Antarctica, it would have been great to see live penguins. 
  3. Bring water and a few change of clothes. When we were there it wasn't too hot but it's pretty humid and with an active toddler, pretty humid is just enough to make him dehydrated and his shirt wet from all the running around that he did. Make sure that you'd let the kids drink water every now and then to keep them hydrated.
  4. Bring enough money. Since our tickets were already paid before we got to the park, our only expenses were for food, water and a few other items I got from one of the stalls. There are many food stalls scattered around the park and if in case, you'd get hungry there are many to choose from. There are also some stalls selling knick knacks like shirts, accessories, toys and other souvenirs. 
  5. Familiarize yourself with the area and where certain shows will be held. I asked for a map when we got in and it was very useful since I remembered where all the shows will be held. That saved us time from running from one place to another trying to look for a certain show. If all else fail, ask the staff, they really are very helpful.
  6. Plan your itinerary. Before going, I made sure I checked the MOP's website and list down the schedule of each show. By doing that I was able to maximize our time at the park and saved us from rushing from one show to another. 
  7. Bring extra batteries for the camera or a power bank for the gadgets. My phone's battery died down before we even get to the final show.
  8. Eat before you start with the tour. We had lunch before we watched the first show and with lunch out of the way, we had enough time to enjoy the attractions without our grumbling tummies bothering us.
  9. Dress comfortably. As I've said, it can get pretty humid inside the park as not all areas are air-conditioned so it's advisable to wear comfortable tops and a pair of shorts. Wear flip flops if you can as you'll be doing a lot of walking, you wouldn't want to have blisters on your feet by the end of the day.
  10. And the best advise I could give, ENJOY! Put down the gadgets, log out of Facebook, Instagram and all the other social media and just be in the moment. It is not everyday that you'd get to see the marine animals and be surrounded with all the beautiful creatures at the park. Act like a kid and share the wonder that only a kid's eye can see.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Johan's 3rd Birthday at the Manila Ocean Park - The Oceanarium

We saved the best attraction for last - the Oceanarium. I've been looking forward to this trip just because of that huge tunnel of water that I used to see just in photos on the internet. It's just unfortunate that we were sharing the park with a huge number of kids on their field trips so my goal of taking a picture of us inside an huge, empty aquarium tunnel was a fail. But we all had fun, anyway!

Pardon me for the photo quality on the next batch of photos, MOP is implementing a No Flash Photography rule inside the Oceanarium to prevent the stress it would bring the marine creatures. I only hope they'd enforce this rule a little bit more rigidly and put more MOP staff inside to remind the guests as I saw a lot of people not following this rule.

As soon as we went in, the birthday boy shouted excitedly,"Nemo! Nemo!" and so that began our search to find the tank where we can find the world's most popular marine specie.

There's Nemo!
The boy spent a huge chunk of time just staring at "Nemo"

When the boy finally agreed we continue on with the tour, here are some other marine creatures that we found inside the Oceanarium.

I love it that they named each section of the Oceanarium accordingly depending on the marine life to be found on each particular section.

The Oceanarium is huge and I think we spent an hour and a half touring the area until Johan got tired, asked for milk and fell asleep on one of the ledges.

Deep in his sleep

While he was sleeping, we all sat down, talked about things and just enjoyed the serenity - of the moving creatures gracefully swimming about - brought to our tired bodies and minds. I truly love being around sea creatures and having this huge aquarium with all the many species around relaxed me. I honestly think I am one of them in my previous life. :)

Johan was out for a good one hour and when he finally woke up, we only have a few minutes left for more photo ops until it was time to head back down the Acquatica section for the final show of our trip.

The final show on our Manila Ocean Park trip - The Musical Fountain Show - coming right up on the next post.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Johan's 3rd Birthday at the Manila Ocean Park - The Jellies Exhibit and Birds of Prey Kingdom

After we made our hasty exit at the Penguin Talk Show, we walked around the park to see what else could be done inside. It is still a bit early and we have lots of time before the final show on our list which was the Musical Fountain Show which wasn't starting until 6:30 PM.

We decided to look around first before we enter the other attractions that we have tickets for.

Johan at Trails to Antartica
Hubby and Johan

Too bad our package didn't include the Trails to Antartica, it would have been great to see live penguins and to actually feed them. Well, there's always a next time, besides, the boy enjoyed running around the wide open spaces inside the park and had lots of fun pointing at the colorful lights installed on the floors and announcing each color out loud.

After we think we've seen all there is to it, we went down again and proceeded to the Jellies Exhibit.

The entrance to the Jellies Exhibit

This is a huge tank full of jellies, quite a bit icky but breathtaking nevertheless
Mom and the birthday boy
Tanks and tanks full of jellies

The highlight of the exhibit - the jellies reflecting the colors of the light as
it changes from color to color
Right after the Jellies Exhibit we then proceeded to the Birds of Prey Kingdom. I kinda expected this to be a big area full of birds but I was disappointed when we came inside and only eagles are there to be seen.

At the entrance of Birds of Prey Kingdom

My brave little boy wanted to get closer to the bird but I stopped him scared that the bird
would peck him with it's beak
Mom is more scared of the eagle than Johan
Hubby and one of the eagles

The Birds of Prey is just a small area, which is disappointing, but the eagles flying around and perched on the fences were a sight to see. The highlight of our tour here is when one of the staff approached me and asked if I wanted to feed an eagle. I hesitated but then gave it a go when the staff said it was for free (hehehe)!

Photo op with my glove-covered hand - Okay pa ko this time

When the staff dropped a piece of meat on the glove that's when I began getting scared

Here's the eagle taking a lunge at me - well at the piece of meat on the glove

It was scary because I thought all the birds would come to me would compete with the other birds just to get that piece of meat on my hand and only after the staff said that only one eagle will come to me did I began to relax a little.

My fave photo taken that day

Next post: The Oceanarium

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