Showing posts with label Fun & Games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fun & Games. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bikes, boats and balloons in Burnham Park

Our Baguio adventure continues today at Burnham Park! Yesterday, you got a glimpse of our fun day at the popular tourist destination. Today, I'll share a few more photos of our activity-packed morning there.

It's a huge park at almost 33 hectares so we decided to just do three things: bike, run around the gardens, and go on the boat. But there are many other things to see and do at Burnham. There's a skating rink, lots of little stalls to shop at, parks and gardens of roses and orchids, large areas for picnics and for playing sports, and the Children's Playground. This last we found just as we were about to have lunch so even though the kids wanted to play, we didn't let them. We knew better that they're already hungry and will get super cranky and weak if we let them play. But it was such a fun playground! Next time, next time!

Again, I'll just share photos today! Here's what we did at Burnham Park:

We went biking! This was Vito's first time on a bike. He loved it!

Well, okay, that's a trike haha but little steps, little steps.

Vince and I rode pedicabs with the littlest boys as our passengers. I had Piero, Vince had Iñigo. And because we're out in a park so rarely, Vince and I allowed ourselves to let the boys have cotton candy and balloons.

All that sugar fuelled their urge to run run run! Sugar's great for little boys because they're sooo malikot! They can burn through it in seconds!

So let's supplement with dirty ice cream heehee

So madungis! My kids are always sticky, sweaty and sweet.

Off to the man-made lake! It's brown. Has it always been brown? And no life vests??? But did we still ride those rickety, leaky boats anyway???

Yes. Yes, we did. The boys were so unhappy hahaha But at the end of our 30-minute ride, they were enjoying it. That was basically our Baguio trip—the kids suspiciously eyed every activity we offered them, but they ended up enjoying themselves anyway!

Parenting is so weird. But it's also the most fun I've ever had! More of our Baguio adventures tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Family fun in Baguio City

After almost two decades, Vince and I went back to where our love story started—in Baguio City! We met at the UP National Writers Workshop. He and I were fellows for short fiction. By the end of the two-week workshop, we were in love. Eight years later, we got married. Eighteen years later, we have three beautiful boys and, yes, we're still writing. We have the most beautiful life!

I thank God every day for this life because I honestly didn't think I'd ever love marriage and motherhood and I never believed I could make a living out of writing. But I did it all anyway! I treasure my blessings. We may not be swimming in money (one day, one day!) and we could use someone to help us with the chores so we won't be so exhausted all the time, but what's that compared to enjoying my family and my work every day? Okay, maybe it's not so amazing every day haha, but at the end of the day, I still know that life is glorious and I shouldn't take it for granted.

Thank you, dearest Lord. I am so grateful! You are good always.

One of the best things that happened lately is our family vacation in Baguio. We decided to go celebrate it there, this time with the boys. We honestly didn't think it was a good idea because our sons are super magulo in the car but we had such a great time! I'll just do a photo essay today and add more stories through the week.

We stayed at Le Monet Hotel. It was okay. Nothing to write home about. But we got a really good deal, and it was in Camp John Hay, and the staff was so polite and nice, and we did enjoy the view!

Lots of birds always outside our window. Vince took lotsa photos of the birds. He always does that when we're on vacation.

Also outside our balcony were horses. Which meant the cool mountain air was redolent of horse poop aroma! My kids thought it was horrible but Vince and I didn't mind. It added an element of freshness to the atmosphere haha

Kids posing for Mama's Instagram...

... and for Papa's real camera.

Foggy Baguio mornings. Takes me back to those magical weeks when Vince and I fell in love!

And look at this adorableness that our love produced!

The kids at the hotel breakfast buffet. We went there just after Easter hence that golden egg on our table.

Happy baby Piero!

After breakfast, we went to Burnham Park to go biking. I've always wanted to do this when I was a kid. So happy I was able to do this with my own family. We had such a great time!

Fun balloons for just P50! The boys loved their balloons!

Even though Baguio is a cool place, all our biking, walking and running made us hot. It's a good thing ice cream was available everywhere.

As a kid, I've also always wanted to go boating in Burnham Park! But we never did huhu so I was so thrilled that Vince and I were able to take our kids on the lake. Vince actually didn't want to because it was the touristy thing to do but I don't care! It's on my Baguio bucket list. Check! And—despite the boys' faces haha—we had fun!

I'll post more photos this week of our touristy Burnham Park day!

After lunch and a rest, we went hiking on the Eco Trail. That was a looooooong walk. Well, actually, it's just 2 kilometers but because there were lots of climbing and clambering, it felt longer. This was such an adventure. We loved it!

I'll post more photos and a review of the Eco Trail this week. Have lots of advice for families bringing small kids.

For dinner, we went to the critically acclaimed Amare la Cucina. Here's Iñigo watching our pizza being baked in the brick oven. Everyone said Amare served the best pizza in Baguio. As we are a family of pizza lovers, we highly doubted this, especially when we saw the dark and unappealing decor of the restaurant. But, guys. They really truly do serve the BEST PIZZA. Like, kailangan niyo siyang puntahan. Like, I wish they'd open a branch in Manila, specifically right outside my door. Their pizza and their other food like the baked ribs was AMAZING.

Before we went back to our hotel, we stopped by Choco-Late de Batirol for some hot cocoa. They served really good and thick cocoa. My kids—used to Swiss Miss and Milo—were surprised. They didn't like it, which made me sad. Must serve them real hot chocolate drinks from now on!

But that didn't stop Piero from eating the generous topping of marshmallows!

The next day, April 18, was our anniversary! But before we celebrated it with a special luncg, we went to Good Shepherd to buy goodies because Piero loves ube. His pediatrician said he was like an old person haha

For lunch, we went to Vanilla Cupcake Bakery at Kamiseta Hotel. Here we are at the receiving room of Kamiseta Hotel. The hotel was a delight. The food was delicious! And my kids were not up for photos hahahaha

But they were certainly up for cupcakes! Here's Vito and Iñigo waiting for their dessert. I'll blog about our excellent meal this week!

I just really want to share with you this blessing because we honestly didn't think it was going to happen (we had no money haha) but I asked God to make this particular anniversary extra special and within a week of praying that, I found a great deal on Deal Grocer that not only had a hotel in a great location but also allowed for 3 months' instalment! And then when Kamiseta found out we were going to Baguio, they offered us a free meal at their hotel. And then just before our trip, our checks were released and cleared so that we had money for our vacation and for tuition! God is good!

For more of our Baguio adventures, check out:

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

We're going to ToyCon! You can go, too!

This post is brought to you by SMART.

But first, a confession: I had no idea that ToyCon was a big deal in this country. I'm not a toys kinda girl so it just was never in my radar. But my husband is a toys geek and a few weeks ago, he brought it up. ToyCon. He was wondering if he and our sons should check it out. Yes, my sons are toy geeks, too. We discussed it a bit, then I forgot about it because diba nga I'm not really a toy person. But I am a Game of Thrones fan so when Vince said, "Hodor will be at ToyCon!", I was so in!

We're going to ToyCon, people!

Thanks so much to my blog partner, the unrivalled mobile services provider Smart Communications, for sponsoring ToyCon 2016 + Pop Life FanXperience! Smart is inviting its subscribers—like moi!—to the biggest toy convention and pop culture event, with promises of awesome prizes on top of the fun experiences this weekend. 

Yes, it's this weekend na, guys. From June 10-12 at the SMX Convention Center. Mark your calendars! ToyCon 2016 will showcase toys, games, movies, cosplay, anime, and collectibles. There will be a 25-foot Voltes V statue! A Stan Lee Excelsior exhibit! Themed zones from Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Cartoon Network, Capcom, Namco and DOTA! Etc!!!

Smart isn't just sponsoring the event, it's also making fans have a more fun experience na pang-social media (because ika nga ng mga millennials, if there's no picture, it didn't happen!). Smart created larger-than-life toy boxes of iconic shows like Game of Thrones, Lego, and X-Men! Magpa-picture, i-share, and please use #SmartTOYCON for your Instagram posts.

And here's my favorite part: There will also be celebrities, comic artists, and creative directors from iconic TV show and films. Like Kristian Nairn a.k.a. Hodor from Game of Thrones (I want to hug you for HOlding that DOoR!). And because I watched and loved Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, I'm so looking forward to seeing Dean Cain!!! Other Hollywood stars making an appearance are Daniel Logan from Star Wars, and Bronson Pelletier and Kiowa Gordon from Twilight. Thai heartthrob Maurio Maurer will also be there. R&B artist Frankie J din at marami pang iba! Go na!

We're going to ToyCon, people! And you can, too!

If you're a Smart subscriber like me, you can get a chance to win ToyCon 2016 tickets, too. Just post a photo of you on your social media accounts dressed up as your favorite character. Walang costume? Okay lang! Just share a screenshot or photo of your favorite video game or toy! 

Make sure to use the hashtag #SmartTOYCON! Wag kalimutan yan. Many contests are not won dahil hindi marunong sumunod sa instructions!!!

So do it like this:
Superheroes ready to go to #SmartTOYCON 2016!
But first, pizza. Because even superheroes need super fuel. See you at #SmartTOYCON!

Good luck!!!

Anyway, if you go to ToyCon, do check out the Smart Zone booth, where you get a chance to win exciting prizes such as Smart Bro Pocket WiFis, limited edition jackets, toys, and gaming gears. Bumili lang ng Smart SIM at load or mag-subscribe sa bagong Smart Postpaid Plan and you get a chance to win!

And a word from ToyCon's sponsor: "For the ultimate fan experience at the event, be sure to load up with Smart Big Bytes 50, which now lets you enjoy 2x data with 700MB for your dose of surfing, and access to top apps like Facebook, Instagram, Viber and Twitter, plus additional 600MB for streaming your favorite videos on YouTube and iflix – valid for three days for only P50. Just text BIG 50 to 9999."

We're going to ToyCon! See you! Say hi to me and my SalesVIPs!!! 

For more of Smart promos that let you live out your passions, follow its official accounts on Facebook (, Twitter and Instagram (@SmartLife). 

Monday, April 04, 2016

Game boys

So cute my Topaz Mommy readers! Topaz Mommy is my now-dead mommy blog and the last post I published there said that when my kids turn 6 years old, I won't post their faces online anymore. Not a few readers sent me messages saying they miss the boys already. One even said, "I've seen them all from pregnancy to birth to birthdays. Wag mo naman ipagdamot!"

Nyak! Dearest reader, si Vito po ay hindi pa 6. Sa August pa. Yung dalawang sumunod ay 3 and 1 pa lang. So may oras pa po tayong ma-enjoy sila rito sa aking blog at sa Instagram (follow @francesasales @topazhorizonblog and the hashtag #SalesVIP!). Wag mag-panic! May 5 years pa tayo, and baka by then may iba na kayong cuties of other mom bloggers na katutuwaan.

In fact, para hindi niyo isipin na madamot ako haha, let me share with you a few of the thousands of photos we have of the boys. Only a few make it to social media! The rest we pore over obsessively, usually on those nights just before we go to sleep but the kids still aren't sleepy. So I show them their photos, I tell them the stories behind the pictures, and sometimes I make up silly bedtime stories a la comics style using their pictures.

Like this for example:

The Day Piero Became a Gamer

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Piero 
who wondered where his brothers disappeared to. 
He found them in Papa's bedroom where they were battling evil foes.
"Holy macaroni!" Piero said. "Vito and Iñigo are slaying monsters by the hundreds!"
"And they're using these magic black things to be heroes."
"Mama, how do I get to be a hero, too?"
"Vito's going a bathroom break? He just said he needs to wee-wee? And that means..."
"Die! Die! Die!"
Piero: "What happened?!?"
Vito: "Mama, Piero made me lose my game!"
"Give that back."

Heehee. Our stories are really super simple, nothing that will ever see the light of day (er, except for this silly one!), and the boys usually scroll through my photos and they'll pick a few from when they were babies or from when they were somewhere else, and then they'll beg poor, sleepy, exhausted me to tell them a story. And I do. And they're so easy to please. And they laugh and laugh over my nonsense stories till I finally tell them to stop their delaying tactics and go to sleep.

And they do, happy with new memories to dream about in their sweet sleep.

Aww, those pictures of the boys are nice. Maybe I can share with you more old photos every first Monday of the month? I really do have thousands upon thousands! These are from New Year's Eve. Our kids don't play a lot of video games actually, about twice a month maybe, and only during the day. But it was New Year's Eve and we wanted to keep them awake to greet 2016. But they tired of playing and off to bed they went. Fun photos from a night I had actually forgotten about. Thank goodness for photos!

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Engineering for Kids makes learning tons of fun!

Oh my goodness, it's summer!

Well, in the Philiipines, it's either summer season or rainy season so it's actually been summer for a while now. But because we just had a graduation, there's suddenly a clear line marking summer break. And there's just a ton of things to see and do for kids! Like trips abroad, holidays by the beach (our beaches are the best in the world!), activity centers, sports clinics, art workshops, and summer classes.

My kids recently got to try Engineering for Kids and LOVED it. They did. Iñigo even had a meltdown when it was time to go home (this came as a shock because Iñigo doesn't have meltdowns anymore!). Even Vito and Piero lingered and dawdled when it was time to go home. They had so much fun!

They made a moon from DIY play dough. This activity taught them about shapes, texture, numbers.
Waiting for snack time!
Enjoying snack time!
They made rockets to blast off to the moon!
Iñigo built Iron Man from giant Legos.

Now let me tell you a bit about Engineering for Kids. Engineering for Kids is an educational program based heavily on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a rapidly developing world, engineers and scientists are what's desperately needed but schools don't seem to devote enough time to these subjects, and when they do, maths and sciences are deemed both boring and stressful by students. Engineering for Kids makes STEM fun, challenging and hands-on. Kids learn how important STEM is to understand their world and how it works and to come up with solutions to many problems big and small. Very useful life skills!

If you're near the Katipunan Ave. area in White Plains, do check out Engineering for Kids. It's right by the gate of Blue Ridge, across Pan de Americana, the building with upside down vehicles. Here are their summer offerings:

Enrol in any of the programs and use my discount code: SMILE-0316B. Enjoy!

To learn more about Engineering for Kids and STEM curriculum, click here.