motherhood comes first

Motherhood Comes First – A Mom’s Rants About Being a Mother to a Hyper Toddler

This blog post is mostly a one long rant so please bear with me…

I was very much excited to write several blog posts about our long Boracay vacation last March. I still am looking forward to writing down all my stories, travel tips and what-have-you but I just don’t know when I’ll find the time. Life just got busier and busier that I didn’t realize it was already April and we are once again preparing for a one long family travel, this time, a fun road trip with my parents from Luzon all the way to Mindanao.

Anyway, going back to life getting busy and all… Continue reading

Bonueva Home

Bonueva Home Guesthouse – Boracay Cheap Room

I consider Boracay my second home. If you go to my old Sexynomad blog, you’ll find that I have a total of 30 posts there just talking about my various Boracay experiences all these years beginning 2004.  Here’s the link if you want to visit: http://www.sexynomad.com/search/label/Boracay

I started visiting Boracay in 2004 when I first bought a Club Membership at The Panoly or better known as Club Panoly then. It was a ten-year membership that cost me my beach wedding savings of P250,000 which I thought could be better spent enjoying unlimited vacations in Club Panoly’s resort in Boracay and its other RCI affiliates worldwide. Unfortunately, the resort had some legal battles sometime 2009-2010 so suffice it to say that I only got to maximize my money’s worth for 5 years instead of ten years. After that, it was all budget accommodation for me. I got so guilty for spending such huge amount of money on a luxury club membership that didn’t hold true to its promises. Don’t get me wrong though, those five years with them were pure bliss every time I’d stay in their posh resort and other affiliates because they were still properly maintained at that time. The main resort had free shuttle service, butlers everywhere, nice amenities… the works! I’m not sure if at present they’re still in operation. I might give them a call one day and ask if I can refund the other 5 years of my supposed 10-year membership. Hmmm.

Anyway, after that long stint of luxury Boracay stay, I decided to still continue going to Boracay because I honestly fell in love with its fine white sands, amazing sunsets and exciting vibe. But this time around, I’ll visit Boracay on a budget… Continue reading

Baguio Panagbenga Flower Festival 2017 Guide

The Panagbenga Flower Festival 2017 is currently being celebrated in Baguio. It started on February 1, 2017 and will end on March 5, 2017. I’m not fond of festivals in general because I don’t like being with a lot of people, getting hot and sweaty (and worse, mugged!) or being caught in horrible traffic but Panagbenga Festival (aside from the Hot Air Balloon Fest) is one of those few festivals I attend almost every year. I even celebrated a long weekend here back in 2007 for my 29th birthday together with my best girls as we were also stalking Brownman Revival (we were a groupie back then, hahahah!) Gosh! That was a decade ago. (Photo below)

Continue reading

Horizon Hotel

Horizon Hotel Subic Review

We didn’t plan to stay in Subic for one more night. But after doing a ton of activities like the Hot Air Balloon Fest, Ocean Adventure,  Valentine dinner by the bay,  etc., Mahal just didn’t have enough energy to drive us back to Manila anymore. And so, with a very limited budget at this time, we looked for a very affordable hotel in Subic, around the price range of P1,000 or so per night. If there’s a lower-priced hotel than that, then all the more okay for us.

Unfortunately, those priced below P1,000 are located in Olongapo, a bit farther than where we already were which was in Freeport Zone, Subic, Zambales. Thank God for the deals at Agoda, we found a seemingly good hotel at around P1,200 per night and that hotel was Horizon Hotel. It had 7.9 (Very Good) rating at Agoda so that was good enough for us. We immediately booked using my data on my mobile phone then we headed straight to the hotel. Continue reading

VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine’s Day Top Tips for the Luxurious, Budget-Conscious and Parental Kind

It’s the eve of Valentine’s Day. Have you already thought of something special to give to or do with your significant other? Are you one of those people who loves to celebrate the Day of Hearts and make it more meaningful and special for your loved ones? Well, I am one of those people and through the years, I’ve already had my fair share of celebrating the season of love. And because of this, I’ll be sharing with you some of my most favorite Valentine’s Day celebrations that I did in the past, both big and small, expensive and affordable.

This blog post will be divided into three parts with my top 3 tips each so please bear with me. If it’s a a little luxury you need this Valentine’s Day, just read the first part. If you’re the frugal kind and it’s the budget-friendly tips you want, head straight to the second part. If you’re like me who now has a baby / toddler and you’d like a few advices on how you can celebrate Valentine’s with your spouse sans the mess a child brings into the picture, then read the third part.

So let’s begin… Continue reading

Best Western Plus Subic Hotel

Best Western Plus Subic Hotel Review

It was around Valentine’s last year when  we went to the Balloon Fiesta at Clarkfield, Pampanga and checked in at Best Western Plus Subic Hotel on our first night. This hotel is quite pricey compared to other hotels we’ve stayed at.So it’s a good thing that we got a 50% discount via Agoda and it already included a breakfast buffet. Perfect! If you’re planning to go to the balloon fiesta this year, you can check my Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2017 Guide first. If you’re traveling with an infant, don’t fret. It’s easy. Just check my How to Travel with a Baby guide.

So anyway, it’s my second time to experience checking in at a Best Western Hotel. The first time was in 2013 when I went to Bangkok, Thailand with friends and I can say that though that particular Best Western hotel branch one was a lot bigger (it was in Thailand after all! and I will blog about that sometime soon), it had the same kind of chic ambiance… Continue reading

hot air balloons

Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2017 Guide

I can’t believe it’s already the second month of the year! Time really flies so fast when you’re having fun! So many things have already happened; the new goals we set out for this year are already coming along smoothly… and slowly, things are falling into place for this new venture we’re doing. I will share with you the details in the future, when it’s already successful. For now, we’re keeping it a secret for it to not be jinxed. Hehehe.

Anyway, February is actually one of my favorite months because aside from the fact that I’ll be celebrating my birthday in less than two weeks, February, for me, has just so many fun activities in store for everyone, especially if you’re living here in Luzon.

Having said that, this will be a 6-part kind of February blog post which will cover:

1. 21st Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
2. Best Western Hotel Subic Hotel Review
3. Horizon Hotel Review
4. Budget Tips for Valentine’s Day
5. Panagbenga Flower Festival
6. My 39th Birthday and How to Celebrate It

Okay, let’s get on with it then… Continue reading

travel with baby

How to Travel with a Baby? (A 2016 Travel Recap)

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone!

I took an almost month-long break from blogging to enjoy the first month of the new year. I didn’t work as much, I had some legal stuff to take care of and we headed to exciting adventures as a family. Now that the Chinese New Year has just ended, we’re back home concretizing our new plans and new adventures for 2017. It’s gonna be exciting!

New year, new set of goals and travel plans. Yey! Like I said, we just started traveling again, hence, the super busy schedule we now have — juggling parenthood, business plans, work and leisure. But before I share with you about our current adventures, I want to do a recap first of the travels we did last year through this blog post of knowing how to travel peacefully and enjoyably with a baby. Plus, I still want to share with you one by one those places we visited before that I still haven’t published yet (to be done on some future blog posts). But first things, first…

BACKGROUND

Mahal (my partner) and I have been traveling since we first became friends in 2012. Me, I’ve been traveling since I was 6 years old. My grandfather has this 7-acre farm in Northern Mindanao, we have a 26-hectare ancestral land in Southern Mindanao (2,000 square meters of it are mine, weee!) and my grandfather used to travel a lot for work (he was a lawyer with Ph.D. and was a School Superintendent of Region 10) and he would sometimes bring me to places south of our archipelago during vacation. When I became a self-supporting adult, I would frequent various beaches with my friends. When I retired from government service at the age of 30 and got a fat retirement paycheck, I invested a lot of it and spent some of it on budget travels all over the Philippines and some parts of Asia. Last year, when I was pregnant, we were touring Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon for a month and we even climbed the three levels of Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig Surigao del Sur on my 7th month of pregnancy. Suffice it to say that we love to travel. I believe it’s our only luxury since I’ve already partly given up shopping for new clothes, shoes and accessories ( I used to be a shopaholic in my 20’s and early 30’s and now my clothes are mostly a decade old, lol! Don’t worry, I already did some minor shopping because of a friend’s wedding I recently attended and I plan to shop for some more new stuff before going to our other vacay destinations this year, unless I can find new-looking stuff in my old trunk, hehehe). I haven’t bought anything new using cash in a long time. My handy Citibank Visa takes care of other expenses, hence, the late nights we spend doing work so we can pay all our bills on time. We’re frugal and resourceful that way. After all the monthly bills are paid and there’s extra money left, we spend it on travel. So even when baby Tuz came into our lives, it wasn’t that hard for us to travel. In fact, our lives seem to be much simpler and easier every time we’re on the road heading some place new.

So for those of you who are about to have a baby or already have one and would like to travel peacefully and enjoyably despite the fact that your baby is less than a year old, the tips that I’m about to share with you could be helpful. These tips are not exhaustive though. They’re just based on how we were able to travel with our baby safely, soundly and enjoyably for the first twelve months of his life. Continue reading

I Quit Social Media for a Week and Here’s What Happened…

I think I started my year right by quitting social media – for at least a week now… and I plan to do more!  I’ve actually been wanting to quit for a long time now because it has become quite toxic for me. Instead of doing other more important things, I find myself wasting precious time perfecting photos I want to upload and share, coming up with posts that can garner more likes, mindlessly browsing at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Social sharing is okay up to a certain extent especially if it offers valuable information that I need and especially if it makes me feel good, but if it doesn’t make my life better anymore, if it brings out negative feelings in me, if it’s not contributing anymore to my well-being and the well-being of my family, I guess that’s the time to call it quits.  I’m not even “chismosa” in real life. I’m a quiet person. I mind my own business. And I more often than not don’t care about what my neighbors do. But with social media being open to the world, it’s like something is pulling me to eavesdrop or take a peek at other people’s lives and most of the time, the things I see just make me feel depressed about my own. But since it’s part of my job (I manage a lot of social media accounts for my clients), I really can’t quit it all together and that’s okay. What I mean is to quit my own personal social media which I’ve done for the past week. And here’s what happened: Continue reading

2017

Hello 2017! Three Questions to Ask Yourself This New Year…

It’s almost 3AM, Philippine time, on the first day of the new year and this is the first time, in a long time, that I am able to breathe, relax and write down my thoughts… I hope this is a good sign… sort of like saying that the new year will bring me more relaxed moments to just be. *crossing my fingers*

Anyway, the house is now all cleaned up, quiet and dark after a whole day of preparation — running errands, picking up groceries and slaving away in the kitchen so we can all have a feast come media noche. And hurrah! Indeed, we were able to fill our dining table with yummy dishes that I think will last for another week just like our Noche Buena did last Christmas which lasted until New Year’s Eve. Hihihi! We feel so blessed! No more cooking the rest of the week, yey! I’m sure a lot of you can relate.  Continue reading