Monday, December 06, 2021

Family fun at the Mountain House at Antipolo


We went on our first vacation in years! Yes, it was just a quick one, an overnight stay at The Mountain House in Antipolo, just a drive of an hour-and-a-half from our home in the middle of the city. But since halos dalawang taon na kaming nakakulong sa bahay, that drive felt much looooonger! But malapit lang talaga pala siya.

Inulan kami during our stay so I don't have review-type photos, and so I wasn't planning to blog about our trip anymore. But sayang naman our happy weekend! And if you found this post because you Googled for a review of the Mountain House, let me tell you about our experience. 

The Mountain House is a one-hectare property right by the side of Calawis Road. May malaking bahay na bato right at the entrance. You can't miss it kahit na maliit lang yung sign. Basically, i-Waze mo yung Mount Purro Nature Reserve - nasa kanan yung Mount Purro, nasa kaliwa ang Mountain House. You won't get lost, promise.

Pero ginagawa pa yung roads getting there so medyo stressful because our car hasn't really gone for long distances for 20 months so medyo scared kami na may mabali or ma-flat kami sa lubak-lubak na road.

From Marcos Highway, turn left when you see this.
We're driving on the wrong side of the road because half of it isn't done yet. 

Anyway, the parking is right inside, by the gate. Then the property slopes down into a moderately sized garden bounded by a bubbly creek. The garden has a small playground (just a swing set really), space for camping and a bonfire, and two glamping pods sitting almost on top of the creek. Also in the garden is an outhouse with a sink, toilets and showers. Plus an outdoor kitchen where you can cook, get water, and wash dishes. Yes, there's plumbing and running water naman.

This is the garden and camping area. At least I think that's what those circular platforms are for.
Secret pathways!
The two glamping pods

The big house has 5 bedrooms and looked beautiful but it was booked for that weekend. Sayang. The photos of the main house look great. Plus, my friend who stayed there with her family said there's hot water. And that's why my review will look different from other reviews you'll find online because theirs feature the gorgeous house, while mine will be the, uh, affordable version haha 

Since there were just 5 of us, I had planned to book the glamping pods but I was told the pods can accommodate only 2 people, 3 max. So they told me they had a Standard Room for 4 people. I booked that. When we got there, well, it's more of a room for 2 people soooo buti na lang payat kami! No aircon but grabe ang ginaw sa gabi!

The Standard Room was P4500 a night. Maliit lang yung room. Para siyang gardener's shed actually so nagulat ako dun kasi ang standard room sa hotel is at least 30sqm and this room was smaller. Lima kami, remember. But it was comfy enough for us. Malaki naman kasi yung kama. King-size siya, plus may two-seater sofa where our youngest boy slept. May electric fan. That was enough kasi maginaw nga. I wanted to turn it off nung mga 2 a.m. sa sobrang ginaw but if walang fan, the noise from the road isn't muffled. Yes, diba sabi ko sa tabi mismo ng road yung The Mountain House? It's a busy road, even in the middle of the night! You'd never think you were in a mountain. You can hear the trucks, tricycles, etc etc. 

That's where we stayed - the room to the right. The main house is behind it.

I know my pictures make it look less than stellar but it super rained while we were there so it looks damp and gloomy. But it's really a beautiful place! And it's great it can only accommodate a few people. I was really looking for a place na walang ibang tao because, hello, may COVID pa. And we hardly saw anyone, except during the bonfire, which we shared with another super nice and generous family. No checkpoints, no need for rapid antigen tests, no vax cards to present. So hindi siya complicated na trip. 

Oh, this is the best surprise for me! The food. Okay, you can bring your own food. No corkage fees so that's fantastic! But I highly recommend you get your food from the Mountain House. Ang sarap ng food nila! Pinoy food lang ang nasa menu - sinigang, pritong isda, adobo, laing, inihaw na liempo, tocino, longganisa, plus may fresh fruit, and drinks. Simple lang but I don't know if it was the fresh mountain air or they really cook well (I think both!) but the food was soooo good. 

And ang dami! You have to order in advance (all payments are done in advance, too). I ordered only for 3 people (P1,100 per head for 3 meals plus snack) kasi hindi naman kami malakas kumain pero hindi rin namin naubos. Daming food! Sarap! Napakain talaga kami.

Breakfast! Sarap kumain sa labas - chilly morning air tapos mainit yung food!
Lunch namin was in the kitchen ng main house kasi umulan nang pagkalakas-lakas.
 
Okay, what to do at The Mountain House. Well, there's not much to do, which is the whole point. If you just want to be surrounded by nature and get your kids away from the gadgets and the internet, go there (meron wifi but I didn't tell my boys that hehe). 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Review: Seeds of Hope by Tiny Buds


I got a Tiny Buds press kit last week. Inside the box, I found three baby-care products, a growing kit (pot, soil, seeds), and a book to read to the kiddos. Honestly, when I saw the cover, I didn't think much of the book. "Oh, just another baby book, not for my school-aged kids." But my youngest boy wanted to read it anyway, and he read it aloud, and we LOVED it! That's why today, I'm going to do a book review of Seeds of Hope by Tiny Buds.


Seeds of Hope tells the story of three tiny seeds that are happy and cozy in the soft, warm earth. After my son read the book, he instantly grasped the metaphor. "Mama, the three seeds are just like me and my brothers. And the earth is our home!"


Now if you think it's all happy-happy-joy-joy, nope. In fact, the seeds experienced many hardships. To the point that two of them said that it's better to just stay deep in the earth, safe and warm forever. But one of them insisted that they should have hope and still go out and learn to face their challenges. The world may be a harsh place but this little seed needs to grow and eventually adapt to or overcome the difficulties.

After he read the story, my boy said, "Mama, that's like you saying you're teaching us many things now because we need to be ready for life later!"
 

I'm telling you this Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds is really good! It's short, easy to read and understand, and teaches important lessons on resilience, courage, determination, and - of course - hope. I highly recommend it for you to get for your kids!


How to get? It's FREE! Together with the Tiny Grow Kit Set, the Seeds of Hope book is a FREE GIFT from Tiny Buds when you buy a minimum order of P1,111 on 11.11 (Nov. 11). That's today! This promotion is happening on the Tiny Buds official Lazada, Shopee, and Edamama stores.


If you still have babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I'm sure it's easy for you to rack up P1,111 worth of Tiny Buds products hehe They have soooo many great quality products for your kid and for mommy, too.

To be honest, since my kids are big na, I don't buy Tiny Buds anymore. But I will say that until now, I buy the After Bites Natural Soothing Gel and the Natural Baby Fabric Softener. After Bites is my favorite. It really works! Kawawa my kids when they get bug bites and I've tried a ton of creams, oils, and whatever. Tiny Buds After Bites is the one that made the itch and the swelling go away fast. Best! 

As for the fabric softener, actually, Downy user ako forever but last year, I tried the Tiny Buds Natural Baby Fabric Softener for our undies. I love it. I love it super. Gentle and hindi matapang ang amoy (lakas ng amoy ng Downy kasi). So this is my recommended fabcon not just for baby clothes but also for the delicates of the whole family.

Okay, that's my book review and product recommendation for today! Do get the Seeds of Hope book by Tiny Buds, mommies. It's super nice. We really loved it as a family. You will, too!

Follow @tinybudsbaby on Instagram, @tinybuds on Facebook, and through its official flagship stores on Lazada and Shopee. You may also join the “Tiny Buds Family” Facebook Community to learn more.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Kate and Meghan twinning!

The Kate Camp and the Meghan Camp like accusing the duchess they don't like of copying the other but goodness, if I wore a yellow dress tomorrow, would that make me unoriginal? Neither duchess copyrighted any OOTD so let's give it a rest and just enjoy how both beautiful women styled their looks!

Here's what I think:

Meghan in Brandon Maxwell (July 5, 2018)
Kate in Dolce & Gabbana (July 15, 2018)

Sunny yellow! I love both dresses. I love how Meghan's showed off her toned arms and warmed her skin. I think it should be 2 inches shorter though and the waist cinched a little. Also, it's a wee bit too simple. Earrings would be nice or a statement necklace.

I love how Kate's hugged her bosom and waist, for example. And showed off her legs, too. I wish Kate would dress this way again! She's been in high-necked, long-sleeved, midi dresses for a looooong time.

Kate in Alexander McQueen (January 19, 2019)
Meghan in Burberry (February 13, 2018)

Love Kate's coat here. The fit, the tailoring, the length. Perfection! Love the black tights and gloves. It's such a sleek look. Very feminine power. Love!

Meghan's coat added bulk to her slender frame. And she has a penchant for wearing pants that are too long. I think that's really her style. If you lived through the 90s, you'd know the puddle pants trend was huge. Our parents hated us for looking sloppy haha. But I also wish Meghan fixed her hair. But this is also another style of hers - her messy hair. If you're going to look sloppy, you polish the other parts of your look - your hair and makeup. This looks just messy all around.

Kate in Stella McCartney (June 18, 2020)
Meghan in Victoria Beckham (March 5, 2020)

Possibly my most favorite Meghan look ever. Even if her dress is riding up her hips, I don't care. She looked AMAZING. The hair, the makeup, the red lip, the matching clutch and pumps - perfection. The way she didn't wear jewelry to distract from her showstopping dress. The way she used other shades of blue for her accessories - love it!

As for Kate, well, her look is bland and boring here. It's something any of us would wear to brunch or the mall. But like I keep saying, I miss it when she wore shorter hemlines. She has fabulous legs. She should show them off more.

Meghan in Black Halo (April 19, 2018)
Kate in Roland Mouret (Nov 10, 2020)

Okay, I know I mentioned I don't like Meghan's messy hair but this casual bun is sooo pretty. Love the hair, the dress, the slim belt, the laced up heels. SEXY!

Kate wore a similar dress - same color, same asymmetrical neckline - but hers is the matronly version. Again, she'd look better in a dress ending at just below the knee and sleeves maybe ending at just above the elbow.

There you go! Just a few styling tips from me today. Maybe I'll do this again! This was fun. Happy weekend!