A Barrio Fiesta Party As Marlyn Turns 60!

There’s a barrio fiesta in the city because our nanny Marlyn is 60!

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Last 22nd of May was a very joyful and memorable day as we celebrated the 60th birthday of our dearly beloved nanny Marlyn. I always get teary eyes every time I remember that we were kids when she entered our family. She had been with us since I was 5 years old.

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For 32 years she had served us not just with doing many things for us but also doing those things with humility, loyalty, care, patience and love.

She took good care of me and my 3 siblings while my mom and dad were always at work. Now, she’s helping me take care of my daughter. Sometimes she also helps baby sit and watch over my nephews. For a long time, she served as a second parent to us which is why we treat her as a valued family member. DSC_0019I really thank God for giving her to us. I deeply pray to God that she’ll have good health and happy and peaceful life. She’s such a great blessing to our family. In fact, she’s a wonder woman to me because she handled the 4 of us; from cooking, house cleaning, doing the dishes and laundry, to even bringing our lunch to school, feeding us and bathing us, name it, she did all of it! She’s very industrious, generous and helpful not just to our family but to her relatives and friends as well.IMG_20170523_032419Everything she did cannot be repaid by money alone. On the day she will turn 60, we believed that she’s very deserving of a memorable party.IMG_20170522_142214_583A month before her birthday, we planned to go with something fun like a barrio fiesta theme because it’s the month of May plus knowing that lots of fiestas are celebrated here in the Philippines.DSC_0092Everyone in my family contributed money and effort to make the party possible. Nang Marlyn’s friends and relatives also helped us with running a lot of errands.PhotoGrid_1495484034437Since the theme of the party is barrio fiesta which is a cheerful celebration in our country, we made sure that the decorations resemble the traditional fiesta and so, we used bilao, banana leaves, native fans, native baskets, bamboo coin banks, DIY colorful paper roses and clay pots which were traditionally used during the old times.IMG_20170523_034340The foods consisted of delicious native Filipino dishes and delicacies like Lechon or roast pig in English, chicken tinola, karne frita, fresh lumpia, relyenong bangus, pancit, embutido, kutsinta, banana cake, polvoron, barqueron, pastillas, yema, sweet tamarind and more.IMG_20170523_041755Our games included the traditional fun Filipino games such as Pabitin and Pokpok Palayok or Hitting the Pot in English, Kape (coffee) Drinking, Cola Drinking, Bring Me What I Want and many more.IMG_8630 xThe party was held in our humble home and everything was just fun and went smoothly even if it rained in the evening.IMG_8701 xThe guests enjoyed the party. The celebrator was very happy and thankful that she was given such love, attention and appreciation. It was indeed a fun-filled and unforgettable party!IMG_8765 xWe are very happy that our Nanny Marlyn is very happy. The party was a family effort and we would be happy to be able to do this again when she turns 70.

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Amazing Bohol Experience In One Day

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Bohol has long been in my bucket list that’s why a trip to Bohol was what I gave to myself as a Christmas and birthday gift. It was my first time in Bohol but the experience was unforgettable.

Bohol, the 10th largest island in the Philippines, is located 2 hours away from Cebu. It’s a major tourist magnet owing to its amazing historical and eco-tourist sites.

The ancient churches, historical sites, cultural treasures, beautiful nature, diverse wildlife, lovely beaches, caves and great diving sites make Bohol a top travel destination. Moreover, the warm and friendly character of the people is also one of the things that make Bohol worth visiting.

Our tour started from Iloilo where we live. From Iloilo International Airport, we rode a plane going to Cebu and then checked in a hotel.

The next day, we rode a ferry located in Pier 1 going to Bohol. The fare is around 500 Philippine peso for one (Senior citizens and children 7 years and below get a discount). There’s also a terminal fee to be paid. Our smooth-sailing ferry journey took about 2 hours. From pier 1 Cebu, we took the 7 am ferry ride and arrived in Tagbilaran Wharf by 9 am.

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I usually travel without a tour guide but since it would be hard to travel from one place to another especially if you got several destinations to visit in a day plus since I’m with my mom and my little one I decided to book a guided tour online.

The guided Countryside day tour cost us 1,387 pesos for one which included several destinations, nice service vehicle, tour guide driver, entrance fees and buffet lunch at a Loboc floating restaurant. I think the price is worth it. The more you are the cheaper the tour becomes.

Our tour guide/driver named Alan picked us up in the wharf. I’d like to call him Kuya Alan; he was very patient with us and he kept us entertained. He made our countryside day tour smooth sailing and exciting.

Our one-day countryside tour consisted visiting these wonderful places…..

Python and Wildlife Park

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Actually, I wanted to skip this destination because I’ve got snake phobia (Ophidiophobia) but I changed my mind as I wanted to overcome my fear which I did…a little bit. Ha ha!

Here, we met Prony (the original one passed away last 2013 and is now preserved) and Prony 2; they are both huge and long pythons measuring 23 feet or 7 meters long.

Aside from various snake species, there are also other animals found in the Python Sanctuary like monkeys, etc.

img_20161218_222801We had a nice picture taken beside Prony 2, where I don’t look terrified but deep inside I’m like going to pass out. Ha ha! That was for my little one. Hell yeah, it was a really cool experience!

Tarsier Sanctuary

bohol-tarsier Finally, I get to see a real tarsier (which I usually see in our history or Social Studies books). The Tarsier Sanctuary is a must-see place when in Bohol.

The tarsiers are the smallest primate in the world with very big eyes. Cute! They are so small and delicate not to mention already endangered. Disturb or touch them or they’ll commit suicide that’s why tourists are advised to observe silence, turn off camera flash and avoid touching the adorable miniature primates.

Bilar-Loboc Man-made Forest

bohol-man-made-forest Seeing a lot of lush Mahogany trees is just pleasing, rejuvenating plus I felt I was able to breathe truly fresh air. You wouldn’t think that this forest is just man-made, would you? Yes, this forest located in Loboc is a man-made and a reforestation project, that creates a cool and fresh atmosphere. We took a short stop to take a photo of this worthy place to see.

Chocolate Hills

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My long wait since I was a kid was over, I can’t imagine myself seeing these iconic cone-shaped hills for real. The Chocolate Hills Complex is the ideal spot to see the beautiful landscape of this natural wonder. Be prepared to climb 214 steps to reach the deck; makes a nice exercise, though.

The Chocolate Hills, located in Carmen, are one of the natural wonders of the Philippines. They are actually made of limestone. During the summer the hills turn brown and green during the rainy season.

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You can also ride the ATV or buggy car if you want to get near the hills. Too bad, we canceled our buggy car ride since it rained. A bike zip is also available for the adrenaline junkies.

Loboc River Cruise

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The Loboc River cruise was scenic and relaxing. We enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed the buffet consisting of Filipino food. There’s also a live band playing on the floating restaurant, making the cruise more enjoyable.

loboc-river-cruise We were able to see floating souvenir shop, the Busay Falls and local children dancing Filipino folk dances.

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I loved the dancing part it as it preserves and brings the culture to life and also made me reminisce my elementary days dancing folk dances! =)

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Baclayon Church and Museum

baclayon-church The Baclayon Church is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines founded by the Jesuit Priests.

I got teary-eyed after seeing the inside of this Church which was badly damaged by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013.

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The church was currently under construction and chemical treatment that’s why people are not allowed to get inside the church.

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The convent beside the church was made into a museum; you can find interesting things such as antique statues, centuries-old relics and artifacts.

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Picture taking is not allowed inside the museum. At the back of the museum, you can find a nice small garden and a wishing well.

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I’m happy to have visited, lit candles and prayed in this church.

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There’s also a souvenir shop on the second floor and below the museum.

Apronia Souvenir Shop

We skipped the Butterfly Garden so we headed to Apronia souvenir shop where we bought the famous and delicious delicacy called Peanut Kisses. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a picture of this shop. There are lots of delicacies and items that can be bought in this shop as ‘pasalubongs’ or gifts for people back home.

Blood Compact Monument

bohol-blood-compact-monument The last stop of our Bohol Countryside day tour is in the Blood Compact Shrine located in Bool District of Tagbilaran City. According to history, this is where Datu Sikatuna, the Chieftain of Bohol and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the Spanish explorer sealed their friendship.

There’s a nice small hotel beside this site. Just like the people staying in the hotel, we were able to get a good view of the Bohol Sea and the Panglao Island.

So, that ends our countryside day tour in Bohol which lasted for approximately 7.5 hours. What a day!

Kuya Alan dropped us off to Tagbilaran Wharf where we boarded our ferry to Cebu. It was already past 8 pm when we arrived in Cebu. We rested in the hotel to recharge and enjoy Cebu for the next 2 days.

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It was indeed a memorable experience! Hopefully, I’ll be able to explore more of Bohol and visit Panglao Island next time.

Little Euan’s Mustache Bash

Oh yeah, better late than never! It was really late to celebrate and there were a lot of time constraints but thank God we managed to celebrate my nephew Euan’s special day.

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My little nephew Euan turned 4 last November 21, 2016 but we were able to celebrate his birthday at home just last December 2, 2016 due to our very hectic schedules. And yes, thank you very much God for another year of Euan’s life!

Speaking of Euan’s mustache bash….There are many cool birthday party themes but I chose the little mister theme because I think it fits my nephew, who is a funny, cute, hyperactive and smart little young man.

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For the decorations, I only focused on the candy buffet area and prize table. I used pastel colors such as pastel blue, light yellow and white and black for accent for a cool visual effect. I used some pastel colored storage crate, grey and white stripe cloth, white mugs, black bird cage décor, tiny cabinet, eyeglass, balloons, bow ties, grey hat, wrapped used bottles, mustache cut-outs and wooden picture frames.

img_20161204_150408Euan’s mustache birthday bash was a family effort. Everyone in our family chipped in and had our own tasks. As usual, I’m always in charge of the party planning, candy buffet decorations, invitations, some party giveaways as well as games for kids.

My brother and his wife made the cool little mister cake, cupcakes, molded chocolate lollipops and sugar cookies. They also took care of the prizes and giveaways. My mom and the rest of my family took charge of cooking the food and beverages. How I wish we had our event styling and catering business because we truly make a great team.

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Taking charge of the games was also fun! We’re happy that the birthday boy and the guests enjoyed our simple party.

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The little man theme is perfect for kids’ birthday and baby shower parties. Such theme is cool and easy to style.

It’s really fun to celebrate kids’ birthdays. And, it’s my passion and happiness to organize and style the special events of my family members.

A Halloween Birthday Party For Liam

Weeks before the Hallows’ Eve, I got this eagerness to be able to style a cool Halloween themed birthday party for kids without breaking the bank. And yes, I was able to do it when my nephew Liam turned 2 last 30th of October.

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My very supportive mom and I planned to throw a simple and fun party for Liam 7 days before the date of his birthday. Since it’s October, we thought that Halloween would a perfect party theme. And, it was!

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Because Halloween parties, scary gimmicks and trick or treating are not so common in our country since past 2005 I think, according to my observation, I became curious and excited of how it feels to have a fairly spooky party.

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Luckily, creepy decors are on super sale; the timing is so perfect. I was able to get the things that I needed for the backdrop and candy buffet at extremely low prices.

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Everything in the party was a family effort. The candy buffet, party decorations and games are on me and my mom and sister on the food and drinks. My brother and sister-in-law made the mummy cake, weird cupcakes, pumpkin-looking cake pops and ghost lollipops. Everyone helped in cooking the food. My little Anika and brother drew some weird faces on the balloons. We used a lot of old things including some toys, containers and cloths found in our home and most of the things are DIY (do-it-yourself).

I didn’t expect that a Halloween kid’s party would be really fun but it sure was! Pardon me for my naivety; this is my first time to experience to set up for and celebrate this occasion in a fun way.

I had so much fun putting weird decors and setting up the candy buffet. Doing a simple skull face make-up was also enjoyable. Kids dressed in their favorite costume are delightful to see. It was an awesome first time experience for me and my family.

There were no tricks just lots of sweet treats for adults and kids. We’re happy that our little Liam’s special day was celebrated and our guests had fun. I’m looking forward to do another spooktacular party next year.

Anika’s Pink and Purple Butterfly Theme Birthday Party

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It’s been 7 years since I have received the very best gift in my life, my daughter Anika, who celebrated her 7th birthday last 7th of August 2016. Time flies really fast and it’s been really a pleasure to see my daughter grow into a lovely and smart kid. She taught me how to love unconditionally and make me experience how it feels to be a parent.

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Yes, the journey to parenthood is not always smooth-sailing but definitely worth it! In a world filled with uncertainties, it is my daughter who gives me direction, inspiration and the reason to live. Often, I would look at her baby photos and I can’t help but look back in the past and reminisce the moments when she was still a baby. Sometimes, I can’t help but regret being a workaholic back in the days and usually left her in the hands of her nanny and my mother. Now, I want to spend more time with her and always be with her.

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Every year, I always like to celebrate my daughter’s special day by throwing a simple party; this is my way to give thanks for the gift of life and for all the blessings we’ve received.

This year, I chose the pretty in pink and purple fairy princess party theme. We decorated the place with pink and purple butterflies, balloons and banners. Thank you to my brothers and my mom’s helpers who helped me in decorating the venue – The Monte Rosa Clubhouse.

I had the prizes placed in white baskets wrapped with pink gift wrapper and pink and purple tulle. Most of the prizes were school supplies like watercolors, pens, glue, headbands, coloring books, pen holders, pencil case, sharpener with eraser, correction tape and stickers.

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Instead of piñata, I had seven big balloons placed at the ceiling; they were filled with candies to be popped at the end of the party.

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I bought some white mugs and decorated them with ribbons, butterflies and balloons to serve as our centerpiece.

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To avoid wearing too many hats at the party which I usually do, I hired a reliable catering service provider to take care of the food. The foods were mostly delicious Filipino main dishes including Crab Omelet, Hototay Soup, Fresh Lumpia, Potato Salad, Fried Chicken, Pork Hamonado, Beef Frita, Roasted Pork, Pork Barbeque, Steamed Fish Fillet, Sweet And Sour Fish Fillet, Spaghetti with White and Red Sauce and Buko Pandan Salad.

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Our candy buffet (open for take home) consisted of birthday cake, cupcakes, cake pops, molded butterfly chocolates, marshmallows and blueberry cheesecakes.

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As usual, I had fun setting up the candy buffet especially making cake pops and practicing making molded chocolates and yeah I need more practice. Ha ha ha!

Kids enjoyed the parlor games and swimming that came after the party. It rained but the children still enjoyed night swimming in the pools.

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Adults, mostly, enjoyed the food. LOL!

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I’m happy that my daughter enjoyed her party!

Oh, before I forget, thanks a bunch to my brother and sister-in-law who made the butterfly theme cake and cupcakes.

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Anika’s party also served as a reunion of relatives and old friends and ended with loads of fun and smile.

To my little Anika, I wish you the best of health and happiness. I pray that you’ll grow into a good-hearted and god-fearing individual, full of love, kindness and hope. My love for you will be always and forever. I love you more than life!

Arcy’s 1st Incredible Hulk Birthday Party

Children’s parties are fun and enjoyable to set-up! Incredible Hulk theme is an awesome theme for a little boy’s birthday party.

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My sister wanted to throw a party for his little one Arcy. The theme was actually Incredible Hulk. I was assigned or rather volunteered to help set up the backdrop and the candy buffet for Arcy’s 1st birthday. At first, I was prejudice of the theme but as we made plans it turned out to be an enjoyable theme to have. We searched all of our inspirations online and fused different ideas to be able to come up with our own set up.

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As a huge fan of DIY stuffs, most of the things were done by us (me, my sister and brothers). We had a board made and polished it with a varnish to look like a nice dark wood. We framed Arcy’s photos from his first month to 12 months showing his milestone.

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In our candy buffet, we had mallow pops, lollipops, candies, chocolates, cupcakes and cake. My brother and his wife made the Incredible Hulk inspired cake and cupcakes. Instead of cake pops, I made some mallow pops because it’s a bit quick and easy to make.

For our banner, we downloaded and printed a free Incredible Hulk birthday banner. Isn’t it nice to find loads of free printables online? They just save me a lot of time from creating a birthday banner from scratch.

The Incredible Hulk toy collection of the celebrant’s dad made the set up awesome. The toys were huge carved stone that look like Incredible Hulk.

The party of my nephew was last June 27, 2016 and was held in Esca’s Garden Restaurant in our local area. The place is great particularly for parties and function plus the foods they serve are delicious yet reasonably priced. Among the food on the buffet table, I have to say that the Chicken Ala King was great!

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A magician was hired to facilitate the program and the games. Children and adults enjoyed the magic show, the games and the nice useful prizes.

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The party was a success and the mom and dad of Arcy were happy. Guests went home with full stomach, loads of prizes and smile in their faces.

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I’m glad I had the time today to blog my nephew’s birthday party. Hopefully, I’ll be blogging more kid’s parties soon.

My Valentine Wish

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Here’s a poem that I’d like to share. I wrote this poem way back February 13, 1997 in our classroom when I was 17 years old. I dedicated this poem for my crush during my high school days who became my partner in life and better half.  It’s been 17 years that this poem was made and all I can say is that true love knows no age and distance is not a hindrance. For me, every day is Valentine’s day. XoXo!

My Valentine Wish