Monday, December 7, 2015

Hello!

Hello everyone!  I know I have been neglecting this small space that I share with you all for almost a year now.  There's been a lot of things going on which I will be telling you soon. For now, I just want to say hello.  I hope the holiday season has not pushed you to edge of insanity...  I know it almost did for me.  It's crazy out there in the city jungle with all the Christmas shoppers.  Traffic is horrendous that my normal travel time of 30 minutes from my house to work is now 2 hours or more!

Insanity, I tell you!

Anyhow, hang in there, folks!  And hello from my side of the world. :)

Photo credits: ThisOneSite.com

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Manila Ocean Park Tips

To add to our earlier post about the Manila Ocean Park, I am  giving you some tips for your visit.

Summer is definitely the best time to drop by if you are going to bring the family to the water park.  Because you can take them even on weekdays, the parks will not be as busy and jampacked as it normally is on weekends.  You can roam around freely and stay as much as you can.  There is no time limit. 

We were a party of twelve when we went there last Saturday, March 21st.  Days before that, I checked the park's website for special rates.  They have various promos which you can check out here.  I found the Summer Bundles affordable - you can even choose on the packages to get, depending on what you want to visit.

Taken from the Manila Ocean Park website

Because we were on tour with the kids and kids-at-heart, it was definitely a must to visit  Yexel's Toy Museum.  So I called the reservation office to see if they have other packages available.  I was able to talk to Renalie Lamboon, MOP Account Executive, who gave two packages to choose from.  I chose Package 2 that includes 9 attractions, including the toy museum, for just Php600. Definitely a good buy especially for a big group like ours! 

The nine attractions included are the following:
  • Ocenarium
  • Jellies Exhibit
  • Penguin Talk Show
  • Birds of Prey Kingdom
  • Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter
  • Trails of Antarctica
  • Fish Spa
  • Symphony Night Show
  • Yexel's Toy Museum
If you want to get the same package, you may get in touch with Renalie at +63906 467 2760 or at rlamboon@manilaoceanpark.com.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spending Time at Manila Ocean Park!



Hello everyone, I’m back with more pictures.  You missed me I’m sure.
What, no?  Not even a little bit?
Sad.  But that’s all right, because I’m not here today to talk about me.  Today I want to tell you about a trip I took with my family to a place called Manila Ocean Park.
Now if you live in Manila, chances are you already know what this place is.  For those of you who don’t, let me start off by showing you this:



Already you know it’s not a swimming pool, right?  And since I haven’t embedded a creepy audio file written by John Williams you’ve probably guessed it isn’t a movie studio, either.  Bravo. 
It’s actually an aquarium located on Manila Bay that’s full of fish and birds and mermaids and fountains and talking penguins.

Talking penguins, yes, you heard that right.  I’ll explain later.  For now, have a gander at what you’ll find should you decide to visit:





We walked around this place for half a day, and believe me, there was plenty to see.  Once inside, you will pay a brief visit to an office, where you’ll be given a sheet of tickets that get you into each of the individual attractions.  From there you make your way to each attraction in turn, in any order you like, and for as much time as you’d like.  My favorite was the Ice Village—because it was cold, man!  Below freezing cold.  I was finally home again, if only for a short while. 
(note:  we could not get pictures of this village, as the cold tends to frost over camera lenses)

As for the kids, they had other ways to define their fun.





These shots come from inside a museum dedicated to what I can only think of as movie pop culture.  What it’s doing at an ocean park I’m not too sure, but it is damned cool (check out Vader and those storm-troopers, all life-sized!). Naturally, the kids went nuts, especially for the superheroes and the minions.

By the time we left the museum it was nearing dark.  At seven p.m. we attended an outdoor light and fountain show, but on the way to that, there was the talking penguin.  There are no pictures of this oddity here, either, as the show took place inside a movie theater, where documentation with our gadgets would have been rude.  But let me explain it by saying that a cartoon penguin walks onto a movie screen and interacts with an audience of 100 people in real time.  How exactly this is done I’m not sure, but of course there is a guy sitting somewhere out of view, chattering away with his guests whilst the penguin makes appropriate gestures onscreen.  Again, the kids went nuts for this.  Portia even tells me it was her favorite part of the whole day.

If you’d like to see this place for yourself, you can find out how to get there by visiting the Manila Ocean Park homepage here.  It’s worth it, even with all the traffic you’ll fight.  For less traffic, try going on a weekday (of course), or rig a mini-gun on the hood of your car and watch ‘em all scatter when you squeeze the trigger!



Okay, ignore that latter suggestion.  I just got done watching the Machete trailer on Youtube and am feeling a little cheesy.  (Do NOT click that link if you are not old enough).


Getting back to the family fun, you’ll love this place if you love seeing your kids laugh and watching exotic fish of all types and sizes brood at you from behind thick aquarium glass.  Check it out.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Richwell Summer Kids Craze Haul

In my earlier post, I shared with you that Richwell Philippines is having a summer Kids Craze Sale happening on the second and third weekends of March 2015.

It was extremely difficult not to give in, since Pot's birthday was coming up.  She's been begging us to get her Shopkins (blame it on those Toy Review Channels in YouTube).  At first, I was against it because they are small but pricey little toys.  Alas, I couldn't anymore.

Pots and I traveled from Alabang to Quezon City on Saturday morning.  Since, my 5-year old was sleeping over my sister's house, we decided to just use public transportation.  Saturday traffic is always a pain.

So after more than an hour of traveling, Pots was shrieking at the lobby of the building all excited.  At first I told her that I was just visiting a friend... no toy store!  She didn't really say anything but you can see her eyes droop.  Imagine my delight when the elevator opened to a floor full of toys!

The reaction was priceless.  She was running around like a silly little hen!  We got what we came here for:

SHOPKINS!

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Not Everything Rose Wants, Rose Gets"

... This is probably the best thing my grandmother has taught me when I was a little girl. 

Back then, I could not understand it. Why can't I watch TV when it was just a matter of a flick of a switch? Why can't we get the toy that I want when we can afford it? What's one more cookie when there's more than enough inside that jar? Why do we need to wash our clothes to get extra money?

Were the grown-ups at home just scrimping? Tipid-tipid? Maybe. More than anything though, it was because that's the best sword they can give us in life.

I can also imagine how difficult it was not to give in to us kids that asking for a lot of stuff. It surely is tempting these days to give what the kids whine about. 



Now that I have my own children, I understand better why I often heard that phrase - Not Everything Rose Wants, Rose Gets. It helped me allow for things to slide.  If things doesn't go according to plan, oh well.  As long as I tried, I'm often okay.  It saved me from a whole lot of heartaches and fights. It helped me accept.

I hope I can share the same with my girls.  The generation is a lot different now - it is the age of instant gratification.  To borrow a scene from Barbie and The Secret Door:

Video from YouTube:  Cartoon Arts DMH en

Here's hoping we parents find a healthy balance of giving and holding back.  They will thank us when they are older.




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Richwell Sale 2015: Summer Kids Craze

If you are following Richwell Club on Facebook then you probably know that they are doing a Summer Kids Craze sale for two consecutive weekends this month!

Be it starting early on your Christmas shopping or just pure joy on giving in to your kids' indulgence, driving to their building in Quezon City is a must!

Toys like Monster High, Barbie, Hotwheels, MegaBloks, V-tech and the biggest collectible toy, Shopkins, can be bought on a discounted price.  Stylish clothes and shoes from Big & Small, Orange Juice, Barbie, Ollie among others will also be on sale!


Some of my affordable finds in my years of shopping in Richwell Prime's warehouse sale includes a stroller, a bike, a truckload of Barbie and Monster High dolls, V-tech toys for back when my girls were still babies, kids' story and activity books, a lot of clothes and shoes.

The sale will be for the next two weekends - March 13-15 and March 20-22! Discount ranges from 20% to 80%.

I am sure my almost 8-year old birthday will do anything to shop for Shopkins here.  It's great that they are including them this year considering they are hard-to-find in local toy stores.

Have fun shopping!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

*NEW!* Portia And Nemo Visit The Fun Ranch Playground!



Earlier today my kids went to a dentist in Alabang to get their teeth cleaned.  The experience turned out to be surprisingly brief and painless for them both; as a matter of fact, they thought it tickled.  This sure isn’t how it goes for an office visit in the United States, where dentists often chide their patients for having bad teeth and then proceed with at least an hour’s worth of drilling and picking and pulling.  A piece of advice for all Filipinos:  Do not go to a U.S. dentist unless there is sign on the door that promises No Judgments (you will find these if you’re willing to look just a little bit, trust me).

Oh...I can't wait to see what happens next.

As a treat for surviving the experience, my wife and I took them to a playground near Alabang Town Center mall called Fun Ranch and Big Red Barn.  This is a giant playground/restaurant-type place that kids beg their parents to take them because the pizza and ice tea are so good.  Rigghhht.

I just love the coloring paper

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Novel Excerpt From Yours Truly

December 2015
Hello again everyone and thank you for sticking around.  You guys know the door is always open, right?  Or if it isn't just use a pair of bolt-cutters on the lock.

On Valentine's Day I posted an excerpt from a novel I have already finished, so this morning I find it only fair to post an excerpt from one I'm still working on.  It's called Crystal Grader and will be out this Christmas.  The genre is coming-of-age.  A young girl falls in love with the man who is giving her writing lessons and decides to go after him, full court press.

To set up the scene you're about to read (I hope) let me say that very same girl is tasked to do chores around her tutor's farm as a method of paying for her lessons.  Only today the tutor is off on a book signing tour, which means Crystal (our heroine) is left to complete her chores alone on a dark, windy day in an old, spooky house.  Her mom, whose name is Lucretia, drops her off at the front step.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Cars I Used To Own (part 2!)

As promised, I return this week to provide another installment for the…wait for it…carrrrrrs of yesssssteryeaaarrrrr.

This goes against a major dogma taught to us by Walt Disney—which is to say, keep moving forward.  But on most mornings I find myself too scared to look further ahead than what might be coming in the afternoon, so for now, I place Uncle Walt’s multi-billion dollar advice on the shelf, and take down in its place an old photo of a little car that caused big headaches.

Car Number 3


The 1978 Ford Fiesta

My brother sold me this car, apparently after deciding that he’d been a complete idiot to purchase it in the first place.  Was it any good off the showroom floor?  I don’t know.  My brother bought it 3rd hand and by then it already looked like a prop piece left over from one of the Terminator films.


The Fiesta looks much, much cooler today.  If you don’t believe me go take a peek over at Wikipedia.  My particular Fiesta barely ran at all.  I can’t remember why I bought it (I was working at a grocery store on the north end of town in those days and had a pretty nice mountain bike to take me there), and I didn’t own it for long.  There’s a reason for that.  Death comes to us in many guises.  For the Fiesta, it wore the face of a snowstorm.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Valentine's Interlude



As the holiday for lovers is fast approaching I thought I would do a post in relation.
The following short scene is from my novel, Regions of Passion, and involves a boy and a girl sharing their first kiss.  I do hope it inspires you, or at least makes you feel warm and fuzzy for a few minutes.
Happy Valentines Day, everyone.  You set the table and I’ll pour the wine.

Ingrid offered him coffee after the two of them were alone.  There was also a box of plain donuts next to the mirror.  Scott accepted both.  He found that he was ravenously hungry, and had to force himself to eat with some modicum of manners while in the presence of a lady.  He filled the spaces in between bites with the story of how Lisa had gotten him out of the police station.  Ingrid was fazed by none of it.  She was back in her sitting position on the bed, her legs crossed, her fingers spread on the mattress.
When Scott was done with all three of his courses--coffee, donuts, and story--she asked if he wanted a shower.  That welcoming smile, he noticed, was still on her face, but it had softened a little, and her eyes were shining in the light as if the mind behind them had discovered a dream that pleased her.
There was a new toothbrush in a holder under the mirror, as well as a small shaving kit.  With the shower done and a towel around his waist, Scott cleaned his teeth, and had his hand on the razor when Ingrid appeared in the doorway behind him.
"I forbid you to do that," she purred.
"What, shave?"
"Save the stubble, Mr. Johnson.  It's for a good cause."
Scott looked back at himself in the mirror.  "It's getting to be a bit more than stubble I think."
"No.  Let me see."
She came to him.  Her hand, small and soft, rose to touch his face.  A scent of lavender wafted from her hair.  Her fingers traced down his cheek to his chin. 
"It's okay, Scott.  Just right."
"In that case I'm glad you caught me in time."
"I caught you two years ago, didn't I?"  Her finger touched his lower lip and slid gently across it.  "Say it again," she whispered.  "Please."
Scott raised his hand to touch her face in return, brushing away a lock of brown hair.  Her skin felt smooth, delicate.  "What do you want me to say," he whispered back.
"I love you."
These words had never been a problem for him.  Ingrid would always be worth the bravery it took.  He moved closer, putting his other hand on her cheek, so that her face was fully cradled when he said:  "I love you, Ingrid."
It made her beam with joy.  A tiny breath of air slipped from her lungs.  Scott had never seen her smile with such abandon.  It suited her, like a ray of nourishing sunlight over a garden long rained upon.  Her cheeks turned red under his fingers.  She let out another breath, this one more of a laugh.
"You're blushing," he teased.
"Can I hear it one more time?"
"You can hear it as many times as you like.  I love you, Ingrid."
A second, delighted little laugh came.  She stood on tip-toe…
And Scott pressed his lips to hers, kissing her for the very first time.  His hands moved back through her hair, making their way down to her waist.  Ingrid responded by opening her fingers over his shoulder-blades, while her soft lips continued to drink the kiss in.  A sudden burst of sweet breath plumed from her nose, followed by a long gasp.  Scott, still holding his own breath, cautiously reached beneath the hem of her pajama top to caress the small of her back.  Ingrid went with it, arching her spine.  Her fingers found the front of his bare chest and began to rake with the nails.  But as they ventured towards his naval they suddenly froze and retreated with some abruptness, as if in fear of discovery.  Except that they weren't afraid at all.  Rather than moderate her advances, Ingrid arched an eyebrow up at him, and began to unbutton her top...









Tag Cavello is a novelist and short-story writer.
Download his stories (for free!) here and here
Download his novel, Regions of Passion, for only five good American dollars from these same web addresses!

Cheers!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Cars I Used To Own (part one)


Today will begin a series on cars.  Big cars, small cars, old cars, new cars.  Cars of all colors and creeds.  Cars that got me from A to B all of the time…and cars that only did it some of the time.

I’ve been driving since I was sixteen years old.  I’m forty-four now (my birthday isn’t until April, but tant pis, we’re close enough), so this list is going to be long.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to break it down into manageable chunks, like a true Six Sigma Black Belt.













At sixteen I got things started right away with the Dodge Aspen, a 70s something, pine green 6-banger that I will refrain from saying bad things about, because this car was never bad to me (at least not on purpose).  I learned how to change alternators with the Aspen, a skill that would come in handy with a car coming later on this list.  I also learned how to close a door made by Dodge.  Lift and pull!  Is it still like this?  Maybe one of you Viper owners can tell me.















This car excited me, mainly because it was my first.  It had an unkillable slant-six motor, rusty holes all over the body, and a front grill that looked like it had been punched through by Ivan Drago.














Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Time Will Take You Away From Me













Time will take you away from me.
The ash will fall as you stand
In a place that’s safe to see
The end of my part in your plan.
 __________
It cannot be stopped,
Nor changed, this decree:
Time will take you away from me.
 __________
Which way will you turn from the lane,
As I watch at the other end?
Such ignorance I do not feign,
Nor wisdom of the calling bend.
 __________
For the kitchen table is shed
At midnight of this meal you ate,
And now you’ve turned and gone to bed,
And I sit with the empty plate.
 __________
It cannot be stopped,
Nor changed, aye, truly:
Time will take you away from me.
 __________
Tomorrow when you wave goodbye
From the door of your school classroom,
The look will be there in your eye,
Of something deeper, something soon.
 __________
So you are in the know as well,
I’ve seen that look in passing,
From time to time between the swells
Of tears for mock reasons casting.
 __________
It’s coming, you see,
Inevitably:
Time will take you away from me.
 __________
Time will take you away from me.
We cannot go hand in hand.
Time will take you away from me.
So let’s enjoy time while we can.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Just A Little Something From Ms. M.I.A.

As a lot of you have noticed, I have been missing-in-action for a long time in this blog.  Call it procrastination, writer's block or just plain old laziness, I have been neglecting this page for a long time.

My countless of readers (three but let's pretend I am not so good with numbers, heh) deserve much more than this.  This is why I have tapped my husband, Tag, to help me continue this small space of life that we share with you all.  He will be posting blogs from time to time (who am I kidding, he will most probably be the person writing 90% of the time).  With him I am sure, we will connect with you all more.

Let's talk again soon!  For now...


Take care (Oh, and enjoy the new layout!). :)


-- Rose


Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015, Here Goes...

New Year, New Me!!!

BAHHH! That's what I say all.the.time!  Truth is, it is nice to have resolutions. It helps one reflect on goals and if you keep them as your guide, it will let your memory-gap'ng self remember what you originally want to do. 

But still, Rose... You had 10 resolutions the previous years?! Add that to work and home responsibilities, how busy did you want to get? It got to being totally unrealistic.

This year, I'll stick to what is important.

1) HEALTH - I vow to remember to take care of my health more. Healthy food, healthy lifestyle, exercise. Realistic weight-loss included. I am going to see my cardiologist regularly.  Because... How else do I try to be there for my daughters' important life events?

2) SAVE - I can't stress it enough how valuable it is to start saving up for our future. How else can the kids go to college?

There are items under this list - things that will help me achieve goals 1 and 2. Not surprisingly, the things that make me miss these are inter-connected. 

3) TAKE TIME OUTS - spend time with friends outside of the pffice environment. This keeps parents sane. 😱

Let's see how this year goes. Happy New Year, friends! May this year have all the good things of last year and all the great things that hasn't been offered before.

-- Rose