Friday, 31 July 2009

Learnings and Tips

Here are some tips to help you in your do-it-yourself and budget travel to Hong Kong:

1. Be on the look out and Buy budget airfare - Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines have regular promos. I availed the PAL Great Miles Getaway (50% off Miles Redemption).

2. Book in a Hostel ( is in a good location other hostels in Kowloon areas are recommended too >Dragon Hostel

3. Buy park tickets in Travel Easy in the Worldwide House (Central) We got our Disney tickets at HKD320 at the gate you can get it at HKD350. The Ocean Park Tickets only HKD195 while the true cost is at HKD208. Other tickets such as Ngong Ping 360 are also cheaper there.

4. Bring water to the parks or buy water at Wellcome Grocery or at Worldwide House. a 500 ml bottled water in Disney costs HKD16 while a 1.5 liter costs HKD8 in a Pinoy store in Worldwide House. In our case, we initially brought 2 1-liter bottled water (included in our check-in luggage) and bought 2 1.5 liters for our Disney tour. In summer like the time we went there, water is a must.

5. Bring a Stroller, I was against this idea so I have regrets because we didn't have babies anymore but my little Achilles who is still a toddler by the way, always asked to be carried and it's not enjoyable anymore if you are walking up and down a sloping park like Ocean Park.

6. Be ready to accept changes in the itinerary. Children when tired the previous day tend to oversleep and most of the morning scheds are either skipped or moved to a later schedule.

7. Be prepared for incidentals. I was shocked when I found out the conversion rate of the Mickey Fan that Aloysius wanted but we still bought it anyway. Its the same cost as a stand fan here in the Philippines. Ika nga ni Mastercard, Mickey Fan HKD XXX, Aloysius' smile - priceless.

8. Bring lots of batteries, chargers and memory cards for your pictures and videos.

9. Don't be too strict in your planned itineraries, spend more time in an area where the kids enjoy (like what we did in Astro Blasters) and also cherish the moments, enjoy!

Hong Kong Trip Day 4

Day 4 (July 22) Ocean Park

We left Tornberg's place around 9:45 and got to Ocean Park around 10:30am. Lucas and his pinoy yayas went with us to tour us. It was bonding time for Lucas and the kids. We went to Panda Adventure in the lowlands then headed straight to the Cable car that would take us to Headland for the Dolphin Show. But the line is so long, by 11:30 we were still at the Cable Car so we decided to skip the show and tour the headlands. We went to Pacific Pier which housed the Sea Lions, then went to Atoll Reef on the other side or the upper side. We saw many of these: >> Nemo

Walking in ascending mode was tiring and the scorching heat didn't help so the snow cone cart though maharlika @ HK$28 was what we needed.

Haay, Ocean Park was located on the side of a mountain and you can get a whole view of the sea in the rides and on the way but the sloping orientation and Kyle asking to be carried made this Ocean Park Trip a very tiring one. Add to that the scorching heat, the long queue at the food stalls and unavailability of seats, we lost energies in no time. We just munched on the oatmeal cookies I got in my bag and the sandwiches Lucas' yaya's brought to keep us sane until we reach Pok Fu Lam for a late lunch. We rested for a while before we headed to the airport to go back to Manila. Finally, we got some good deals at the Disney store at the Duty Free shops in HKIA. Our HK Adventure ended with lots of good memories in our hearts to cherish.

Thanks to my dear hubby for this gift and also to our friends, Martin and Ethel Tornberg for being such generous hosts. We will never forget this. Maraming Salamat!

Hong Kong Trip Day 3

Day 3 (July 21) - HK Disneyland, MTR Central Maze, TST Window Shopping @Harbour City

Today is a very hot day. We stayed in Disney Hollywood Hotel inside the park so we had the privilege to oversleep but we missed the breakfast with the characters at Enchanted Garden in the other Hotel. Achilles enjoyed the showers at the bathroom because of the Mickey Curtains. Lito and the kids posed in the other areas of the Hotel while I check out at the Lobby and left our luggage at the Concierge. We got to the park a little after 11 am so after more walking (good thing the train was there to take us to the other end), we reached Fantasyland Garden with the characters for more photo opportunities. We saw Minnie Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto but only posed with Pooh and Mickey because the line was long. Afterward, we lined up and watched the first Golden Mickeys show for the day and we enjoyed it except for the Cantonese dialect, we had to read the translation to understand the show but the songs were great and the production numbers were excellent as in really watching the Disney Movies live. Kyle and Aloysius would have another word for it - Awesome!

Right after the show, we had lunch at Festival of Foods. We ordered Sweet and Sour Pork and the kids had BBQ (HK$48-50 each but good for 2 persons serving). Next stop >> It's a Small World! The boat ride was amazing with the song It's a small world playing and seeing the dolls donned in different national costumes and Disney characters - the little girls Chloe and Candy would appreciate this more. After this, we finally posed with a Stitch character scattered all over Disneyland because the theme for this Summer is Lilo and Stitch. The kids and I lined up for the Tea Cup Madness and we enjoyed it (although I felt dizzy after the ride, ang tanda ko na talaga! haha). After here, we already positioned ourselves for the Parade. There's a warning that we can get wet but we still waited at the front line. The kids and adults like me enjoyed the parade and getting wet because of the scorching sun. I had it recorded in the video the whole time, oh except when there's a chance of the camera getting wet. I loved the princesses (natomboy na naman po) and the floats.

After changing, we went to Tomorrowland and tried the Astro Blasters, we loved it here, firing at Zergs while enjoying the ride in a space and neon setting. We got fastpass ticket for this and it said that we can go back between 4:40 to 5:40. So off we went to Adventureland for the Jungle Boat Adventure. The kids enjoyed this ride as well although they got scared at the fire in a rock formation. After this, Achilles started his tantrum because he wanted to be carried. Haay, this was the not-so- enjoyable part of the trip because he was heavy and I thought I had the holiday from carrying Alexus. Anyway, we headed back to Tomorrowland and lined up for the Orbitz ride but the queue is long, we decided to go back to Astro Blasters instead (our alternative to Space Mountain ride because we didn't want Kyle to miss it, his height is not yet allowed for the indoor roller coaster ride). We so loved this Ride that this is the only ride aside from the train that we had a double. Of course, we were also challenged at Aloy's score which was Level 3 when all of us, imagine all adults same level with a 3-yr old Kyle..we finished the game me - finally Level 3 but Lito still Level 2 but he said he took pictures pa din hahaha, what an excuse! hahaha. After posing in Tomorrowland's Planet and heading to the castle one last time, we finally called it a day. It was 5:30 and I had to get the luggage from the Hotel. We left the Resort at 6:00 pm and headed to Central MTR to transfer to TST.

The Central MTR Station was a labyrinth and Kyle having his tantrums made it difficult for us. We reached TST station a little after 7 and got little time left to browse the Harbour City Mall which was 2 more blocks from the Haipchong exit so we had to walk again. The mall was like Megamall in size and stores, they got all brands but we failed to see Toys R Us where we intend to buy Disney goodies at cheap prices. We left empty handed but Lito was able to score some camera stuff at Suntek Trading along the way. Mister Softee ice cream van was timely and the kids and adults enjoyed the cold softees in a hot and tiring night. We headed back to Ethel's and arrived there a little before 10 to have a late dinner, again our gracious hosts served sumptous meal. We hit the sack late again.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Alexus Milestones and Christening

Alexus was christened last July 26 and it was also the send off party that close friends and relatives attended. We were happy to see them after long time, it is seldom that we meet them and the get together was a success. Wendy and Carter gave us a surprise AVP showcasing our pictures from the different travels and outings we’ve been to and other get-togethers with them. I was teary-eyed after watching the show and hearing the send off messages from my friends and relatives of Lito. I took this opportunity to honor and thank our parents when it’s my turn to speak, I called them to come in front and asked the guests to help us in honoring and thanking them for being our parents and second parents of our children who grew up under their care by giving them Clap offering.

Alexus would not have understood all these but he enjoyed being carried by our friends and relatives. He just turned 8 months and he is starting to get mobile. He was looking cute in his hand-me-down white jumper. I guess Lito and I need to shop to increase Lex’ wardrobe now that he is getting bigger. Good thing, I have an online source for babies clothes to be updated with what’s best for my baby boy.

His first set of teeth appeared a week ago and he can already stand on his own, making it difficult for us to leave him on his own and let him play (or eat his toys). Now is a good time to look for activity toys he can play to keep him busy and explore and learn at the same time. I guess there’s a lot of shopping to do once we arrive in Canada…my pleasure hehehe.

Hong Kong Trip Day 2

Day 2 - The Peak, Central, Disneyland

We woke up late but we got the chance to get a glimpse of the eclipse thru the curtains. After a hearty breakfast, we headed to the Peak Tram Terminus near Central, rode the tram and got a 45 degrees view of the buildings until we reached the highest peak in HK. We availed the Sky Terrace package and went to the topmost of the building. We had a great view of the skycrapers in HK:

After eating lunch at KFC in Central and went back to Worldwide House to exchange money - they got higher rates there, we headed to MTR and rode the train going to Disneyland. (Oh, BTW, we also went to Jollibee because Kyle needed to go to the toilet hehe)

Here comes Disneyland:

We were so excited and Miggy was all smiles upon seeing the train with Mickey ears all over. That train took us to the Disneyland Resort. We proceeded to Disneyland Hollywood Hotel first to leave our luggages then finally, we were heading towards our fantasyland - the realization of our dreams. On the way there, we already had many photo opps, at the entrance we already saw Stich but we skipped because the queue was long. Our plan for the first day was to watched all the shows first, then rides so our arrival was timely, we queued for the Festival of Lion King (Adventureland). The show was amazing, it was live. Then we went to Mickey Mouse ClubHouse for photo opps with Mickey and Minnie. After that, we lined up for Mickey's Philharmagic (a 3-D show) (Fantasyland) which we enjoyed very much, getting wet and all. We missed the Golden Mickey show and skipped the Adventures of Pooh to be able to make the most of this day. We then rode the train to get a view of the whole resort, it was during this ride that we saw the Autopia (car ride) (Tomorrowland) so after the train ride we immediately lined up here. The queue is very long it took most of our time, but it was worth the wait. We were driving our own cars -Lito and Miggy teamed together while Kyle and I rode the other car. After this, we went to the Castle of Sleeping Beauty and positioned ourselves for the Fireworks Show. It was a long day, we headed back to Hollywood Hotel to finish our KFC bucket but it was cold that made Lito decide to buy other viands at the Hotel's Restaurant.

Proofs of our Disney Adventure:

Hong Kong Trip Day 1

It’s been a week since we came from Hong Kong for our Disneyland adventure and I haven’t updated this blog. We are all busy, it’s only a few days left (one week to be exact) before we fly to Canada. Would you believe that we haven’t finished packing? Anyway, here’s my account of our last trip to HK.

Day 1 -July 19 Central (Pacific Place, IFC Mall), TST (Symphony of Lights, Avenue of Stars)

Our flight was 8:00 am and we’re supposed to be at the airport 3 hours before the flight, we arrived at the airport at 6:30 am because the kids didn’t want to wake up and Kyle’s fever was on and off. Good thing, we were at Terminal 2 and the queue was not that long. The kids were busy with the coloring and activity books I brought while Sharyn and myself was busy taking shots at the airport, we didn’t notice the time and shortly, we were boarding the plane. The PAL plane (I don’t remember which Boeing model it was) had TV monitors at the back of each seat so the kids enjoyed the sometimes turbulent ride. While Sharyn and I felt dizzy each time the plane moves, the kids would say WEEEE as if riding a rollercoaster in Storyland. Kyle was still hot when we landed so I gave him Paracetamol before we disembark. Moreover, since we were the last passengers to go, we had the chance to go to the cockpit, meet the pilots and had the pictures taken with them (well, the advantage of going with kids who kept on asking where the Pilot is hahaha). When we arrived at the HKIA, the kids asked “Are we there yet?” and were too excited to go out. I had to call the Tornbergs to confirm if the driver was fetching us because it was Signal No. 8 the previous night. Martin confirmed that Mang Nick was waiting for us at the airport and after a few minutes, we finally bumped into each other. It was another 30-40 minutes ride going to Pok Fu Lam in HK Island and we enjoyed the view on the way there. It was still drizzling when we arrived and on the way, I was wondering what will happen to the itinerary I prepared for the day. We finally met the Tornbergs and we had a sumptuous lunch. Miggy and Lukas hit it off and they were playing as if they knew each other. By 4:00 pm Martin called to tell us that it was not raining and it’s safe to roam around the city. We went to Pacific Place and Hong Kong Park, rode the tram to go to Worldwide House, on the way there we saw many Pinays in the HSBC area and in the Worldwide house as well. This is where we bought our Disney and Ocean Park tickets to avail discounts >>Travel Easy. By this time Lito was still on the way and we haven’t heard from him if the flight was delayed or not so we decided to watch the Symphony of Lights without him and proceed to the TST. We had snacks inside IFC Mall (the tallest building in HK) We were running to catch the ferry that will take us to TST area and check out the Avenue of Stars. While grabbing photo opps, Martin told us that Lito called and was already in their place waiting for us, so that’s it for the day. The kids were surprised to see their dad and I was happy to see him too. We had a late dinner and hours of catching up with Martin and Ethel, we hit the sack a little after midnight. (Side note: Surprisingly and Thank God because by the time we headed back from TST, Kyle’s temperature already normalized, preparing him for the Disneyland adventure the next day)

Friday, 24 July 2009

A promise fulfilled - Prelude to our HK-Disney Adventure

Last year, Lito said that he'd rather have a picture taken with Mickey Mouse in Disneyland than in the Meet and Greet promo of SM. It was delayed because of our US trip but this year, He fulfilled his promise. Before flying to Toronto Canada for good, I took the kids (Aloysius and Achilles) as birthday gift to myself and met with Lito in HK for a 4D/3N holiday. The 2 days was spent in Disneyland but most of the nights we were at Martin and Ethel's place in Residence Bel-Air at Cyberport or Pok Fu Lam. Our gracious hosts Martin and Ethel Tornberg took us to the city and TST on our first day. I have lots of stories to tell but since I haven't seen all the pictures yet, I have here the photo of our family with Mickey Mouse - a promise fulfilled:

Friday, 17 July 2009

Dreams and fulfilling them

I haven't remember my dreams for the last few weeks but last night was vivid. I see bleachers in my dream. Here's what I found on the meaning if this dream:

bleachers - To see or sit on bleachers in your dream, indicates that you are reflecting on your progress in achieving your goals.

I guess it's right. With the migration and the fulfillment of going to Disneyland, it's timely to say that I'm on my way there.

Today is my birthday and I can't thank God enough for all the blessings He bestowed on me. I just resigned from the company I work for more than 3 years and I would say I have gained numerous friends. Both young and old, we shared insights and help each other along the way. I received many send off messages that touched my heart, I didn't realize that I have made some impact in these peoples lives. I remember one advice that truly deserve to be blogged about, Thanks Remcel. Here goes:

WHEN YOU'RE STRUGGLING OVER A DIFFICULT DECISION my advice to you is to give it "THE ROCKING CHAIR TEST". Imagine that you're ninety years old, sitting on the porch and rocking in your chair as you reflect back in your life. Will you regret doing this or not doing it? Choose the decision you can live with, and have no regrets in your choice, Believe in the choices you make. -by Anne Larnella Hood

Happy Birthday to me! :)

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Countdown to HK and Disney Trip

After going thru the stress of resigning, turning over, EMS Documentation and preparing for migration, I think it's about time I get that rest. I'm looking forward to our trip in HK (my birthday gift). I'm usually preparing for a trip, researching on cheap or value for money deals, knowing the sights to see, food to eat, and adventures to try but I didn't have the luxury of time and it will add up to my stress. I just wanted to enjoy and let it be. No more listing down itineraries and budget (impossible haha) I hope I can still remember all the stuff I research about HK last year so we can still make most of this trip. I wonder how this will turn out...nawala pagkaOC more energy, time to really rest and enjoy...well, it's only 2 days to go and Hong Kong here we come.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I will remember you

A glimpse of my life as a career woman which will be relinquished soon to become a full time mom and wife in Canada. It was a fruitful and rewarding?(sometimes haha) experience.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Friday Photo Flashback - Irmee as a bride

I haven't posted my Friday Photo Flashback in 2 weeks now and here's my entry for this week. Lito and I will celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary in December and what a great time to reminisce how it felt to be a bride. I was wearing a simple gown I designed (or copied from a TV commercial hahaha). It was a no-frills, no laces gown which showed my curves (I had it then hahaha). I was also proud to walk down the aisle without a baby on my tummy unlike most brides back then. I had my wedding in Moonwalk Nature's Church and I was also proud to say that I did all the preparations on my own, seeking help from the internet and online friends who were also brides at or newlyweds

I also had my first website celebrating it's 10 year anniversary too in October for my wedding details. More Flashback Photos there.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Reading & my baby's books

I love to read whether on my own or to read to my kids, we make it a habit to read a story before we sleep. How I wish that my kids would also love to read even without me telling them. That's why each time I would go to a mall, I would go to a bookstore and check out what can I buy for my kids. Aloysius loves to read picture books before, but then PSP era came so he only read books when I told him so and when Kyle also read books. I remember I was only 8 years old when I started to read hardbound, my very first one - The Wizard of Oz is half inch thick without pictures. Then Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew hardbound books that I borrowed from my classmate Grace Canlas. My heart jumped at the sight of the Hardy Boys Hardbound Collection in National Bookstore ATC while I browse for books and waiting for the rain to stop. I wish Aloysius would also start to read paperbacks or hardbound soon - the Hardy Boys would be a great start or the Narnia Chronicles (he loves this movie) or the Harry Potter books. If I can only have a magic wand and make that PSP and Nickelodeon disapppear, haay. Anyway, Kyle is into coloring books, mazes and cutting Kumon books. I have not seen him read a storybook on his own. I hope that my little Lex will develop a reading habit that's why I started collecting his own set of books aside from those his siblings read before. I also purchased books that I can use to entertain him on our 18 hour plane ride to Canada. Here's my latest loot:

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Michael Jackson Mania

It's almost a week since the news broke that my favorite MJ died. Now I hear his music, see his pictures and read articles about him everywhere. The memorial was a blast (but I was not too impressed with Mariah's performance). The songs make my heart beat and send me back to memory lane, in high school while dancing, parties and MJ look was phenomenal. Would you believe that I once had that MJ hairdo? I didn't know what's come over me but the gay beautician transformed my once straight one-length hair into a Michael Jackson curls. Imagine me donning a Michael Jackson outfit and wearing his 'do' hahahaha enough for my HS bf to run away with my best friend (Thriller di ba?).

I hope I can find that picture and post it here for the Friday Photo Flashback.