Saturday, May 25, 2013

Canyon Cove Beach Nasugbu ~ Fun! Fun! Fun!


  
My family enjoys barefeet strolls along warm fine beach sand.  We can spend hours just gazing on the beach and people walking by.
 
... And did just that when during our Canyon Cove overnight!
 
 
 
Water was warm and inviting...
 
My boys came prepared and brought their beach toys with them.

Play time!

Loving the sunset!

Rowilda's Abel Iloco

 
Abels are Ilocos regions's traditional wooven textile made from yards of cotton. 
 
Abel textiles are produced into blankets, bedsheets, pillow cases, washcloths table napkins, bags and purses, table runners... the list goes on!
 
You can get your abel from the Vigan public market or Calle Crisologo. 
 
Since I wanted to see first hand how abels are made,  I just have to get mine from one of the local weavers Rowilda's at barangay Camanggaan.
 
Prices are just about the same in Calle Crisologo, unless you are buying in bulk. 
 


I bought table napkins, wash clothes and blankets for pasalubong, however, when we reached Manila, I can't seem to part with abel buys.  I decided to keep them all (hahaha).  The blankets are well made and very soft ~ I regret not buying more! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Momarco Resort's Mini Zoo

 
 
My Momarco Resort day tour ended with a visit to Momarco's mini zoo...
 
 
There were very few animals, limited to a boa snake...
 

 
 various birds...
 


koi fishes...

 
The zoo is indeed mini, but is very good add on especially if you have kids tagging along.
 
 
 
 
Now for the going home pose :P




Momarco Resort's Playground

 
 
 
 
 
A trip to Momarco Resorts turned into a kiddo's day out for my kids. 
 
My boys, especially my youngest is crazy about playgrounds.  He was so excited when he found out Momarco has one.  Right after we have settled in our cottage, he begged for a visit to the playground. 
 
My youngest is a social butterfly.  I wasnt long until he found some one to play with.

My turf!  Yeah!!
 
 
Alone again!  My friend just left :C

Oh well... swing-swing nalang!!!
 
Please check out also my complete review of Momarco Resorts, Tanay. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND'S - IT'S A SMALL WORLD

 
I love dolls!  A visit to Hong Kong Disneyland's "It's a Small World" attraction was my kind of thing.  I am not really sure, however, if my boys enjoyed the show as much as I did :P
 
 
The set up was just amazing!  There must have been hundreds of dolls making up these collections. 
 
 
The dolls (wearing costumes representing nationalities of people from the different parts of the world) twirl and dance around an elaborate podium with cultures and customs of  various countries and continents around the globe as backdrop.
 
 

 
 
 


My favorite part of the show is ofcourse the Filipino dolls dancing to a Tagalized version of "It's A Small World".
 

 
 
 
I was sad to see the "Paalam" signage!   I honestly wanted more... :C
 
 



Beach Bumming at Canyon Cove Nasugbu Batangas

 Three hours away from Manila and just about an hour away from Tagaytay is Nasugbu Batangas. 
 
I got a weekend deal from a group buying site and ended up 110kms South of Manila in Canyon Cove Residential Beach Resort,
 
The drive to Nasugbu was a breeze... all thanks to the C6 shortcut via Taytay out Bicutan (also saved us a couple of bucks on toll fees).   
  
 


The resort lobby was flooded with guests. It was understandable that it would take the receptionist another hour to get everyone settled in.
 
 
We were led to a 2nd floor superior room with 2 twin size bed and a bay bed (spacious enough for 5 adults). 
 
It took my kids just seconds to warm up to the beds.  The room is quite comfortable ~ I could just stay here for the rest of the day and sleep inside this well-airconditioned room.



The room opens to a balcony with a view of the beach below.  We just love, how, the rooms are situated and with direct access to the water excitement below.
 
 
 
Our view of the beach (unfortunately blocked the trees outside).  I think a 3rd floor room would have gotten a better view. 



The resort has play ground.  My youngest played a while, but the I had to cut short the fun as it was scorching hot outside.




The pool comes as a good alternative to those who hates the feel of sand on their face. There were plenty swimming, but the pool was so huge, the volume of people dwarfed in size.
 
Water is clean and warm, just perfect for the kiddos. 




 
Nothing beats the beach for these boys though.
 
 
 

We so love sunsets in the Philippines!  Very romantic...
 

 
 
 
 
 

 Canyon Cove Residential Resort is just perfect for family get-aways.
 
If not for the poor food options, would have easily given this place a 5 out of 5.  Food was real bad ~ our office cafeteria food tastes better at 1/4 the cost we paid for. 
 
For better meal options, I suggest a 5-10 minutes drive out the resort to Nasugbu town proper and head to Kainan sa Dalampasigan.
 
 
Canyon Cove Resort  Far East Road, Piloto Wawa, Nasugbu, Batangas.
 
 
 

Burnham Park Baguio

 
 
Burnham Park still is the best place for your kids to mingle and socialize with other children when in Baguio.
 
There are lots of activities for your tots to enjoy and do!!!
 
(1) Race your kiddos on rented Bikes
 
 
 
 
 
 
(2) Do sight seeing and take tons on pictures
 


 


(3) Take a leisurely boat ride at the Burnham Lagoon 
(get a boatman to enjoy the ride more) 
 
 
 
(4) Get a book, sit under one of the pine trees while the kids roam the playground.
 
 
 
You need not spend a gazillion to have fun-quality time with your kids.    

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vigan Itinerary (3D/2N)

Part 2 of our North Luzon road trip is Vigan City.

Day 1 (Maundy Thursday)
  • 10am - Left Baguio (we were hoping to reach Vigan by 2 pm via the Naguilian-Bauang La Union Road) 
  • 12nn - Stopped for lunch at Rose Bowl in La Union
  • 3pm -  Lovely pristine Suso Beach, Sta. Maria Ilocos Sur stop over
  • 4pm - Finally Vigan City after 6 hours (4 hours trip obviously is just a wishful thinking if you travel on a Holy Week). Check in at Hotel Felicidad
  • 5pm - Dinner at Hidden Garden (went there via a kalesa - it would be faster by tricycle, but I wanted my kids to experience the kalesa ride).  We requested manong kalesa to wait for us, since it was already dark and ride back might be difficult.
  • 7pm - Calle Crisologo
  • 8pm - Coffe and dessert at Dulcelise
  • 9pm - Back to base

Day 2 (Good Friday)
  • 8am - Hotel breakfast
  • 9am - Baluarte tour
  • 11am - Heritage River Cruise (the place was closed when we got there, we contented ourselves to taking pictures with the bancas as our backdrop)
  • 1130am - Rowilda's Handloom Weaving (best place to buy your abel products)
  • 12nn - Lunch as Uno Grille
  • 2pm - Back to base to freshen up
  • 5pm - Plaza Salcedo and Vigan Cathedral to watch the procession of saints
  • 7pm - Calle Crisologo (AGAIN...)
  • 8pm - Irene's Empanada (we had take out empanada; Ordered coffee and dessert at My Coffee - place is airconditioned, I guess that would explain why we decided to settle here instead!)
  • 9pm - Back to base 

Day 3 (Black Saturday)
  • 8am - Hotel breakfast
  • 9am - Pahabol kalesa tour around Vigan
  • 10am - Early check out from Hotel Felicidad
  • 1030am - Bantay Church and Bantay Tower stop over before bidding Vigan goodbye
  • 11am - Off to Manila
  • 1pm - Late lunch at Kubong Sawali, Bauang La Union  
  • 3pm - Stop over at the Basilica Minor of Our Lady of Charity, Agoo Pangasinan
  • 5pm - Bagsakan, Villasis Pangasinan (we went fruits and vegetable crazy and filled our car with as much farm produce it can carry).
  • 530pm - Dinner at Jollibee Villasis (we had to eat dinner early or the kids might fall asleep and miss dinner totally)
  • 9pm - NLEX finally (traffic was so bad...did I say bad?  I mean really BAD!!!).

If we had time, we would definitely head off to Laoag.

I promised myself to see Ilocos Norte in the future,  but next time we would probably just take a plane and save ourselves some precious time.  The road trip was a good bonding experience with the kids, but to get the most out of your vacation - travel by plane is recommended!!!

Baguio Itinerary (3D/2N)

We have always wanted to do a road trip to Northern Luzon with the kiddos. 

The plan was a 3D/2N stay in Baguio as an entry point to our 3D/2N stay in Vigan. 

We could pushed further North, but the traffic exodus out of Manila on a Holy Week was just unbearable.

The first phase of our trip up North is Baguio City. The summer capital of the Philippines.  I was seven (7) months pregnant with my second son, when we last visited Baguio and my second son is now 4 years old.  It has been that long and I was quite excited to go back.

As this was just a 3D/2N trip and with kids, we had to plan in advance on where to stay and what to do, to make the most of our Baguio visit. We also had to skip some of the usuals in our agenda for a more child friendly itinerary.

Day 1 (Holy Tuesday)
  • 5am   - left for Baguio (the plan was to reach Isdaan in Gerona Tarlac for breakfast)
  • 10am - Isdaan sa Gerona Tarlac - arrived an hour later than expected. We were tempted to grab a quick fastfood bite in NLEX.  It was a good thing we have emergency baon (ham and cheese sandwiches and boiled eggs).  Isdaan was so worth the wait and a must stopover if you are heading North.
  • 1pm   - reached Baguio City, but took another 30minutes to locate Azalea Residences our accommodation for Baguio Day 1.  We rested a while and headed to the first item in our agenda.  We decided to leave our car in Azalea and took a taxi. 
  • 3pm - Baguio Cathedral - Our Lady of Atonement (It is Holy Week after all)
  • 4pm - Burnham Park (this is a must in your itinerary if you have kids).  Suggested activities: (1) Burnham Park Lagoon boat ride (I remember riding one of these boats with my siblings as a child, those were happy memories and I hope my kids remember this day also as special); (2) Biking (although the bike seats were quite hard and there were so many people, it was near impossible not to bump against other tourists); (3) Burnham Park Playground (entrance is free but my kids enjoined this activity the most). 
  • 6pm - Good Taste for take out dinner.  Our boatman recommended the place and says its delicious and price reasonable.  
  • Back to base :P  (Tomorrow is another busy day)! 
Day 2 (Holy Wednesday)
  • 8am - Hotel Breakfast
  • 9am - Mines View Park, while there we stopped by Good Shepherd (best buys: ube and jam) and Ibay's Silver Shop (best buys: jewelries cheaper than in Manila although styles/choices quite limited).  Other good buys in Baguio are the native brooms (lasts longer than the ones sold in Manila) and farm produce (however, since we are still heading to Vigan - I can't buy any :( ). 
  • 10am - Back to Azalea Residences for early check out (our Day 2 accommodation is at Camp John Hay Manor)
  • 11am - Ben-Cab Museum Tour and Lunch at Cafe Sabel.
  • 2pm - Check in at Camp John Hay Manor (CJHM).  Freshened a bit and then roamed around CJHM's grounds. For the Holy Week, CJHM, had stationed a play ground, a butterfly sanctuary, mini zoo and an artist corner for kids to enjoy.
  • 6pm - Cafe Batirol for dinner
  • 7pm - Back to base
Day 3 (Maundy Thursday)
  • 8am - Breakfast at Little John's then Fruits in Ice Cream (FIC) for dessert (we were nuts and ordered ice cream - I nearly froze finishing my ice cream).
  • 9am -  Roamed CJHM grounds once more
  • 10am - Early check out (Head off to Vigan)

Places we missed in last Baguio Itinerary:

(1) Tam-Awan Village - it was a choice between Tam-Awan and Ben-Cab, since we have been to Tam-Awan before Ben-Cab museum was the winner by default.
(2) Oh-My-Gulay - The ambience and art works that adorned this restaurant is a must for first timers in Baguio.  We should have just gone here instead of Good Taste!  Oh-My-Gulay is a complete experience!
(3) Cafe by the Ruins
(4) A leisure walk along Session Road (not a good idea if you are vacationing with kids)

See also Part 2 of our North Luzon road trip - Vigan Itinerary (3D/2N).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sta. Maria (Suso Beach) Ilocos Sur - the WOW beach!

 
How could one not stop and admire the pristine beauty of Sta. Maria's "Suso Beach"?   Uhm yes, it has an amusing name, left me wondering myself, why it was named Suso Beach... 
 
This is an absolute must see on your road trip to Ilocos.  The beach is spotless, stretch of sand clean and the view was just magnificent...
 
 
My eldest admiring the view!

Water is surprisingly warm...


Current was a little strong and it was high tide when we were there, but that didn't stop us for a leisurely stroll of the beach....  be extra careful though and remember to keep your eyes on the kids.
 
 
Before we left we saw of group of locals cleaning and picking up scraps and trash left by visitors. I think it was so noble of these local boys to be thinking of keeping the area clean for everyone to enjoy... kudos guys!
 
 
Stop, look and splash a while!  Your kids will love it...
 
 
 
 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Calle Crisologo shopping time na!!!

 
Calle Crisologo stop is a must in your Vigan itinerary.   Your Vigan experience is honesty incomplete with out a stroll along its cobbled stone streets.
 
The famous Calle Crisologo is a sight to behold  - truly pictureque and charming (be it day or night)!
 
 
 






 
 
The street was busy and crowded when we went there. 
 

Good souvenier buys in Calle Crisologo:

(1) "Abel's" cotton-loom wooven textile - although I got mine at Rowilda's, however, I noticed difference is not that much.  Rowilda's is quite a distance from town and if you are not buying much, shopping at Calle Crisologo will be more convenient.

(2) Native "pamaypay" fan - you should buy this before you begin your tour of Vigan, will come in handy against the humid Vigan weather.


Addicted to Kalesa Rides

 
 
The "STAR" of our Vigan tour is our kalesa ride.  My kids just can't get over these horse drawn carriages.  Real "patok" with the kids and yet not so hard on the budget.
 
Cost of a kalesa ride is P150/hour and you would have toured the entire of Vigan City within 3 hours or less.
 
 
There are ofcourse other means of transportation, but hey you are in Vigan  - so might as well enjoy the kalesa ride all you can.
 

 
 


 
 




My MOMARCO Resort Tanay

If you are looking for a family resort in Tanay Rizal, Momarco Resort may just well be the one you are looking for. 

I was here last April for an impromptu summer getaway with my family.

Momarco Resort is a haven surrounded by the lush forest of Tanay. 
I was immediately drawn to the well manicured garden, the resort's huge pool.

It was a hot sunny day, but the forest that surrounds the resort creates breeze, enough to cool the place.  If there is a hammock near by, I would have laid down and taken a doze off.



The gazebos are very maintained and the place surprisingly clean - despite the volume of guests. I saw a couple of resort staff regularly roaming around and taking after trash left over by slob guests.
 
Gazebo comes in small, medium and large size. 
We got a medium gazebo as they were located nearer the pool area. 
 

Huge ground, clean grounds (ants free :P).  I saw guests lazing on the grass!
 
 
My paps surveying the land below :P  - sight: just lovely!

Play ground is in good condition with rubber matting.

 
 
My family - loving Momarco...
 
Tips: 
(1) If you are a busy mom and hates packing baon, Momarco has a restaurant that services guests.  Food price is reasonable with hefty servings.  Order in advance and agree on a pick up time, so that you need not wait long for your orders to finish.
 
(2) There are plenty of security guards in the place and you would really feel safe, however, still be wary where you park your car or leave your belongings.  
 
If possible park where your car is visible to the security guards and ask them to watch over it - we almost had our car bumper stolen (we were obviously parked in an obstructed area). 
 
(3) Stop over one of the many fruit stands along the road.  Buy mangoes (especially the small ones - super sweet) for pasalubong, they are among the best produce of Tanay.
 
(4) If you still have time, go to Regina Ricca - I love this place and will be back again soon.
 
(5) if you are visiting on a weekend or a holiday, expect volumes of guests.  Come early or make reservations - gazebos are limited.
 
 
Enjoy summer everyone!