Weekends Best Spent: A Glimpse of the Past at Sulyap Gallery Café and Restaurant

I used to remember before becoming a mom, me and my high school friends loves spontaneous trips. Our wandering feet led us to different destinations along with laughter, stories and adventure. And from time to time, unplanned trips are part of our fun-filled and life-long friendship. This unplanned escapade led us to another beautiful place of interest in San Pablo filled with delicious foods, treasure trove of antiques and vast space filled with history and culture in a day trip in Sulyap Café and Gallery.

The Sulyap Café and Gallery are located in San Pablo City in Laguna. It can be easily reached via a private vehicle or PUVs. It is located just beside Cocoland Subdivision and there are directions pointing towards the place. Our plan for visiting the café was to sample their food and celebrate our good friend’s birthdays. The restaurant crew led us to an “old” house which was converted as a restaurant and also features furnitures and design by Spanish influence. I love their plate’s cabinet/ storage in the corner of the restaurant which reminds me of my Lola’s (grandmother) cabinet in the past.

Upon checking their specialty we tried their best sellers:

  • Kulawong Talong – this is a local dish in San Pablo Laguna and nearby provinces which consist of grilled eggplant in smoked flavor coconut milk, cooked in fire brick stove which is topped with grilled liempo. I find it very tasty and delicious.
  • Boneless Bangus Belly, the milkfish is sautéed in garlic and topped with grilled tomatoes. My son who is a picky eater loved this!
  •  Ensaladang Pako, a fern salad in vinaigrette dressing. I also loved this local version of salad.
  • Pinayti, a local dish of micro shrimp found in the lakes of San Pablo and chopped finely. The dish is also seasonal depending on the supply of the local shrimp.
  • Beef Steak, tenderloin meat which is also cooked in brick fire stove and paired with caramelized onions. I also loved that the beef is tender and tasty which is a real Pinoy comfort food version.
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A hearty serving of their local dish. Our tummies were filled with these local and native dishes from San Pablo City

Most of the foods we ordered are good for two persons only, but we noticed that we were able to share the dishes around  five people. Their servings did not disappoint us and we really love the taste of the local food. For the drinks, we also tried their Sago’t Gulaman which also did not disappoint. And while we were savoring the cozy and homey ambiance of their restaurant, we even ordered desserts such as Banana Con Hielo ( Sweetened Banana with Milk and Ice) and their Torrones Con Sorbetes (which is a Pan friend banana wrapped in thin rice paper with vanilla ice cream on top). After filling our tummies with delicious foods, paid our bill, done picture taking of the restaurant and being the interested individuals in the history of the place, we explore the perimeter of Sulyap Gallery.

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Their restaurant is an old ancestral house with heavy Spanish influence. I love the details and ambiance of ancestral houses. It makes you want to time travel in the past. 

We were given a mini tour of the bed and breakfast rooms good for family care of Kuya Kevin. The rates for the accommodation vary depending on the number of guests. Their family room is spacious with four huge beds available for groups. After the quick tour and inquiry at the bed and breakfast, we were led into Sulyap’s Gallery. The gallery is an amazing treasure trove of antiques and old knick-knacks which will give you a trip to the memory lane and glimpse of the past. The owners of the gallery love to collect antiques gather from different parts of the Philippines and their trips abroad. There are wooden cabinets, lamps, old sewing machine, toys, paintings, beds, posters, utensils, various trinkets and kitchen apparatus and even religious icons collected and arranged in the gallery. Kuya Kevin gave us a tour of the different areas of the gallery and a bit of a history lesson. I love seeing old coffee makers, sewing machines, baul (travel chest), old pictures and old furniture which gives you nostalgia of the past.

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Their Bed and Breakfast. Had a quick tour at their family room

The gallery also offers a great venue for weddings and other memorable events. Their venue for wedding is really suitable for a Filipiniana themed or Victorian themed wedding and can handle the capacity of 90 -100 people. Sulyap Gallery also offers catering package for those who want to avail the venue for their wedding and other events. After our tour, Kuya Kevin also showed us the recreational pool at the other end of the property which is surrounded with lots lanzones and rambutan trees. Not only we get to roam around the vicinity but we were also treated with rambutan picked from one of the trees! The rambutan was sweet and juicy. After lounging for a few minutes and enjoying our freshly picked rambutan, we call it a day.

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Their sprawling plantation of lanzones, rambutan and mangoes… at the end of Sulyap’s property, you will find their swimming pool for guest who wants relaxing swim

Our initial plan for the visit in the café is to sample their foods but we were also treated to historic tours of their gallery and an afternoon around rambutan and lanzones trees. Sulyap Café and Gallery were definitely a great place to visit and get a “glimpse” of the past. It was one of weekends best spent with your High School friends and our spouses. The place is also perfect for a romantic getaway, get together with friends and family. We will definitely come back! Cheers to life-long friendships, birthdays and spontaneous trips!!!!

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Their treasure trove of ancestral artifacts

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Beautiful artifacts collected from different parts of the Philippines and abroad

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Their beautiful gallery that can be used for events such as weddings, anniversaries, baptismal and other celebrations which can cater to more than 100 to 200 plus guests. 

For those who are interested or wants to visit their café and gallery, you may want to check out their site:

Website: http://www.sulyap.net/index.php

Address: Brgy. Del Remedio, Cocoland Compound, San Pablo Laguna

Numbers: (049) 573-2907

Map directions can be found in their website.


Andy Speaks: All About Teachers…

Last week was celebrated as World Teachers Day and pardon me for my late post but I had a busy week. Weekends are the only spare time I had, to sit on my personal desk at home while writing my favorite topics or subjects. I would want to commemorate this event to thank the people who taught me not only in school but also in life. Teachers are found not only in school but also outside the classroom. I also want to share my insights and personal experience on teaching, because once upon a time, I became a teacher in my younger years. My experience as an instructor (even for a short period of time) imparted me lessons and observations that helped me in my current role and chosen career.


I know we always looked up to our teachers who taught us how to read, write, count and prepare us for what lies ahead after school. I am grateful to my teachers in school since my first step inside the classroom. I am also thankful to those people who not only taught me skills but also lessons in life and wisdom. Allow me to thank these following people who imparted their knowledge and wisdom on who I am today:

  • First, I want to thank my mom, who taught me while growing up. I may experience “tough” love from her but I forever cherish the fact that she made my mock quizzes and exams for me and helped me with my assignments. She also brings us to bookstores across the metro and expresses her hope that we will grow up to love books (and it did happen!). She also taught me how to cook and manage the house which is very useful now that I have a family of my own.
  • I want to thank my kindergarten teacher, Manang Cora for keeping up with my tantrums and naughtiness. Despite of my naughty and hyperactive nature, she believed that I would grow up fine. I do now realize that pre-school teachers have huge responsibility to take care of little kids and ensure they learn the basics before entering the big school.
  • I am also grateful to my grade five adviser, Mrs. Manalo for instilling us the love for reading books. I still remember our English assignment on reading one book every week and turn up a summarized version of the book. I had fun swapping books with my elementary friends because of that project.
  • I am also thankful to my elementary Math teacher, Mr. Esmer Maingat who made Math subjects bearable. I may feel tortured answering three pages worth of Math problems but his funny antics and bonus questions, made me pass my Math subjects
  • I want to thank my PE teacher, Ms. Ramos for encouraging us to play sports and early exercise in the classroom because it helped me stay awake in my class and later on become more active during high school days.
  • I want to thank my late teacher, Mrs. Perez, who made us to submit a year-long personal scrapbook which contains our thoughts and dreams. It forced me to show my creative side because during that time I am not good in arts and drawing. It helped me explore my artistic side through designing and writing.
  • I would like to thank my teacher in Economics, Sir Vargas who patiently taught us the law of economics and make it interesting by making sure each one of us is aware of world news and politics. It triggered my love for reading news and researching about history and current events
  • I also would like to thank my late World Literature teacher, Sir David, who not only interestingly made Greek and Roman mythology like a walk in the park but also his dedication on my fourth year notebook which says “You are one of the rare species that would make the world a better place”. Up to this moment, this message still rings in my ear from time to time.
  • I would like to thank my English teacher during third year high school, Mrs. Salipot, who made me love and appreciate short stories, poems and novels. I also loved reading classics from authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Francess Hodgston Burnett and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • I thank my history teacher, Mrs. Dumalaog who encouraged me to participate to quiz bee and appreciate my ideas on World History discussion especially on Renaissance, Middle Ages and World Wars.
  • I thank my favorite teacher and our fourth year high school adviser, Mrs. Esteban who not only encouraged us to do our best but also let us experience one of the memorable highlights of our last year in high school. She made us appreciate Physics and supported us with our plans and dreams. Up until this day, we still see each other from time to time to share tons of life stories and funny memories.
  • I thank my late third year adviser, Mrs. Alfonso not because she terrified me in Algebra and pop quizzes but she was the one who let us create our first “dream board” which list down how I see myself, five to ten years after high school. I don’t have the dream board with me anymore, but I still remember the dreams I’ve written.
  • I thank my college professor, Mrs. Nofuente who impressed me her knowledge in history and constitution. I am grateful to her for appreciating my inputs and discussion points and giving me highest grade when I presented my poem for World Literature class.
  • I thank my teacher in Symbolic Logic who made us appreciate the value of applying logic and exempting us from final exams because it was so easy to understand and apply the methods. It was the first time I enjoyed solving logic problems which later on became useful while doing root cause analysis at work.
  • I thank my teacher and friend, Sir Ryan Vergara who not only made me realize that system design and analysis is a hard work but also pushed me to prove my worth in front of my panelists. He did make me cry during our first oral defense. But who would have thought after a few years, he was not only a good friend to me but also my mentor and colleague. He was also the one who encouraged me to try working in the industry and I did not look back after my first job experience in IT.
  • I thank my panelist during my software defense, you guys made it hard for us but later on I realized that the passing grades we achieve are pure hardwork and effort through team work.
  • I thank my former Business Writing teacher, Mrs. Villegas who not only included me in our college gazette but also appreciate me as one of her sensible students.
  • I want to thank my former professor in graduate school Mam Rafael for making our Software Engineering lecture interesting and something not to miss at graduate school. Whenever I look back on my masteral days, she was one of my unforgettable professor for she exudes confidence and intelligence that you will admire. I loved the fact that she pushes us to do our best and appreciate the grades she gave to me for it really worth the effort and hard work.
  • I thank my former students, for teaching me the value of compassion and appreciation. It makes me inspired to see them conquering the world in their chosen fields. As a teacher I also learn from their struggles and achievements. It is nice to see former students carving a niche for their chosen careers and glad to be part of their lives even for a short while.
  • I thank my Uncle Ezer for teaching and helping me in my high school Math subjects. His life story and dedication for reaching his dreams is also my personal inspiration that nothing can stop you from doing your best if you put your heart and motivation.
  • I thank my former bosses in IBM for encouraging me to step up and keeping up with the demands of being a quality lead. Not only they were my mentors but also they are like a father figure to me for giving life’s wisdom and advise about career and building relationships.
  • I thank my first boss in the industry, Ms. Elyn for showing me what it were like to be “grace under pressure” and her never ending patience when dealing with difficult and assertive people across different organization.
  • I thank CCF for teaching me about what it was to be in a discipleship and the importance of serving and giving back to God. The scriptures and the lessons imparted gave me connection to God and to instill values that revolves around the words of God.
  • I also thank my discipleship group for learning a lot about God centered marriage and life’s lessons through each and every one’s experience.
  • I thank my grandfather for leaving a legacy and importance of having a family. I will never forget his simple smile that can light up anyone’s day and his generosity to his grand kids.
  • I thank for my former colleagues whom I shared more than ten years of experiences in the corporate world and the lessons, realizations and knowledge that was shared across. Some became my good friends and even swapped mommy stories and updates from time to time.
  • I want to thank my father, who taught me things that are not learned in classroom. He and my mother provided me experiences that would help me realize my potential and for supporting my decisions on my goals and dreams. His travel stories are my inspiration and lesson that nothing is impossible with our Lord


They say in life, there are no accidents; only God directs us towards right people and situation to get closer to our destination. I know this is quite late but allow me to say that not only we need to thank our teachers who made an impact in our lives and helped us learn but also those people who take their time to stop and mentor us. We would not be able to learn on our own but these “teachers” helped us see more of our potential, encourage us and accompany us in our life’s journey. As I close this entry, I want to share this Bible passage in Psalm by teaching us towards right direction.


Happy World Teachers’ Day! Thank you to everyone who “taught” me in school, in life, experiences and with God.

[P.S. Photo credits to their respective owners. Love seeing colorful quotes and words of wisdom, so some of my images are downloaded]

Gastronomic Delights: Good Food with Good Friends at Nina’s Kitchen

It was one great discovery made by our friend Mico, which led us to one of the hidden treasure inside Southwoods in Binan, Laguna. During one of our girls’ get together with friends from CCF church; we decided to have our bonding at Nina’s Kitchen. It was a quaint, homey and nice restaurant tucked at the corner of the Silmer Village. For quite some time, I’ve been passing around area (when going to Carmona, Cavite) and it was my first time to visit the place. For a time I thought it was just a house and later found out that this is a good restaurant if you want to chill and relax while dining with your loved ones.

Upon entering I was greeted by their friendly crews and led me to a nook where my friends are already dining out and sharing stories. I was given a menu and was happy that their meals are reasonably priced. I’ve ordered Cream Pesto Pasta and Watermelon Shake. While I was waiting for my orders to arrive, my friend even told me to try sample their meal, Mico told me to try their Truffle Pasta and it was delicious! Our friend Danielle also appreciates their Baked Salmon (which I put in my mental note to try it next time I go back in the resto). The food we ordered satisfied us. Their pesto cream sauce is not too overpowering. The serving of their meals can also be shared by two people. I had a hard time finishing my plate because of the servings and very fulfilling to my tummy.

A few weeks after our visit, we decided to try it again with our friends. For our second try, we were able to bring our spouses and kids. This time I sampled their Baked Salmon while hubby tried their Croque Monsieur. I had the salmon paired with mashed potatoes and vegetables which I love and hubby also appreciate the Croque Monsieur. And while we were having catch ups with our friends, I tried their Suman with Mango and Caramel Sauce and paired it white chocolate mocha coffee. Our friends also ordered additional dishes and drinks.

We even had the pleasure of meeting the owner and chef of the restaurant, Ms. Nina Almoro, who shared us the story behind Nina’s Kitchen and how she started turning her passion into business. Prior to studying at CCA and the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu, she’d been a flight attendant before and loves to cook for her colleagues and family. She shared her words of wisdom for starting a business that not to be afraid to try especially if you love what you are doing. The location of the restaurant has also an interesting story behind it. It was her father’s rest house and nobody was using it, so she decided to convert the place into a restaurant. Some of the furniture and kitchen materials were re-used for the restaurant. Their old tables and chairs were refurbished, her mom’s plates and utensils were utilized and her good collections of salt and pepper shakers were also displayed in the restaurant. She also shared to us that the restaurant started to cater to private clients and then eventually expanded through good word of mouth around the area and her friends who gave great recommendations of the place.

So for friends who want to try something new in Southwoods Binan, Laguna or for those who passed by at the area, you may want to check Nina’s Kitchen. They have parking lots for cars, friendly crews and intimate feel on the restaurant because it is tucked away inside the village. So it was like going out for a date with your significant other minus the hustle and bustle of busy crowds plus the ambiance is quite romantic and private. You can choose to dine inside the restaurant or have a cup of coffee in their patio outside. The food is good and reasonably priced, so you won’t break your wallets having an “intimate” date or having a bonding with friends.

Nina’s Kitchen can be found at Lot 32 Blk 8 Silmer Village, San Francisco, Binan City, Laguna. From Southwoods Exit, you can turn left in between of Southwoods Mall and Coral Tree Building. Upon seeing the “arch”, you can turn right and drive straight at the village. At the corner area, you will see Nina’s Kitchen signage.

The restaurant is open every Tuesday to Sunday at 11am to 9pm. They are also accepting private functions for a good number of people.

If you want to read more about Nina’s Kitchen, you can also visit these blogs:

Nina’s Kitchen

An Interview with Chef Nina of Nina’s Kitchen

Travel Tales: A Fun Trip to IKEA Singapore

One of the things I love about owning a house is having an excuse to go on shopping for furnishings, materials, kitchen stuff and decorations. I am one of those mommies who graduated from shopping too many clothes and shoes in exchange of having a great time inside a furniture store or eclectic boutiques for great finds at home.

I read that IKEA will open in the Philippines this 2017 and there are swirling rumors on their prospect location (as of this writing, there are still no confirmation on when IKEA branch will open in Philippines). Still, I could not help but get excited on the teasers and news about its opening.

Last year during our Singapore Trip, I forego my plan to shop for a new bag and clothes during our visit in exchange for a trip and purchase in IKEA (Compromise really do works for me and hubby!). My budget for shopping was allocated for my IKEA visit. At first hubby was hesitant to visit the store knowing that I won’t be able to leave the place without purchasing any item. He is not convinced that I would be able to control myself once we reached the store.

During our last day, we promised to drop by at our discipleship group friends to celebrate her special day. Fortunately for us, after our hearty lunch care of our friend’s mom, we headed to Alexandra using the SMRT to reach the IKEA store. We visited the IKEA store located in Alexandra, Singapore. There are two IKEA stores in Singapore – located in Alexandra and Tampines. We chose Alexandra store, since this is the most convenient location for us and just a few SMRT ride from our friends’ location. We could not help but get excited with our little fieldtrip to IKEA. Visiting IKEA feels like a child being brought to his favorite store with lots and lots of toys to select. Just like a toy store, IKEA seems like a winter wonderland for mommies like me because of beautifully arranged furniture, arrays of kitchen, bath, garden, bedroom and living room and storages, plus wonderful knick-knacks you can find inside the store.

Upon entering the store, you need to take a catalogue, push cart, paper list and pencil for your purchase. The store is neatly and strategically arranged that one would not be able to miss all the displays of the store. I read that IKEA purposely does this to ensure that the clients won’t be able to miss anything in the store and encourage to buy more. The displays include their best seller items and new furnishings based on their 2016-2017 catalogue. One would need to select items on the display and the store is self-service. Crews can assist customers at the minimum, but most of the time you need to find all the items by yourself – that is why the paper and the pencil is useful because you get to list down your prospect buys at the shelves display. In addition, during your “field trip” in the store, when you see beautiful items on display, you may need to find the bins and racks where the items is stashed so that you can put it in the push cart. You must ensure that you check your items before paying it. Cashiers are located at the end of the store after your trip. It took us at least half a day to explore the place and that is the reason why I also loved having a local IKEA store here in the Philippines (because I feel like I could practically live there! Just kidding!). Kidding aside, one should not missed trying IKEA’s famous Swedish meatballs, their 1 SGD cinnamon roll and coffee because your trip will not be complete without sampling their famous gastronomic delights. And here is to reminiscing our IKEA shopping trip!


P.S. Special thanks to our D-Group Leaders Albert and Viv for the fellowship and accompanying us at IKEA. It was one of our memorable Singapore visits!

Can’t Miss Events: 38th Manila International Book Fair

It is the time of the year that book enthusiasts, bookworms and bibliophiles unite for the annual Manila International Book Fair. This is the third year of my visit to SMX to check and acquire books for me, my son and my husband.

This year, the book fair was expanded by utilizing the two floors of SMX Convention Center. The first floor of the book fair is for different publishing houses, books suppliers and stores which has different genres and specialties, while the second floor of the book fair showcased publishing houses and book suppliers for children literature. Not only you can get books for a fraction of a price but also, you can check out the booths which offers school and office supplies and arts and writing materials at a discounted rates.

Since I already visited the Manila International Book Fair for two consecutive years, I already had an idea and plan on where to visit my favorite publishing house to avail discounted books. I even scored a free entrance tickets to the book fair by following one of the local publishing house that joins the book fair annually. And just like the previous years, hubby allowed me to browse and shop for books as long as I don’t overspend. As usual, he gave me a budget of two thousand pesos to shop for books. My target materials for my son is workbooks and teaching aids to supplement in his school activities and further his interest with different subjects. I, on the other hand look for inspirational and informative materials that will help me for my quiet times.

Here are the list of my selected stores where I acquired the books

  1. OMF Literature: A good friend of mine from CCF church, Mico gave a recommendation to scour the OMF publishing house for good books priced at 60 pesos. I found different titles on their bargain bins and if it weren’t on sale, I would paid 2,460 pesos but I only paid 360 pesos for the six books I bought. There are also interesting titles and devotional books which is discounted for twenty to thirty percent.
  2. CSM Publishing House: Last year I discovered a treasure trove at CSM Publishing House. They sold book copies of local Christian authors at cheaper price. Most inspirational and devotional books are sold at around 200 – 300 pesos each but when you purchase at CSM publishing house during the book fair, you may be able to get the books at 100 pesos. It is priced almost 60% less compared to its retail price at book stores. There are also books you can buy two for 100 pesos. I was able to purchase few copies and was even contemplating on buying their planners which is sold also at 100 pesos.
  3. Learning is Fun Booth: This is where majority of my son’s books were purchased. Last two years ago, I was able to get a lot of stuff from this booth because of their bargain prices. This year I was still able to purchase a few books and workbooks. There are still affordable copies in their booth but I hovered for an hour to check out their stocks.
  4. Adarna Publishing House: After my trip to the first floor of the book fair, I also checked out the booths at the second floor of SMX convention for children’s books. This year, I decided to also include local copies of children’s book for my son’s reading list. One of the booth is Adarna Publishing House which has a wide array of local copies and special deals. I was able to purchase a book bundle at 99 pesos.
  5. Vibal Publishing House: Vibal Publishing House also offers wide variety of local copies of children’s book and was able to purchase three books for my son. They are the ones behind Chikiting Books. The usual price of the books ranges from 99 pesos each. I let my son choose which titles he wanted to read and we were able to purchase the books at 60 pesos each.
  6. Other Features of the Bookfair: Aside from the usual books and learning materials sold at the book fair, there are also numerous book signings with local authors and digital materials to aid students and schools. In addition, the expansion of the book fair was a nice improvement since it shows that more people are flocking during this period to check out the booths and stores for discounted rates of books. There are booths from Enchanted Kingdom if you want to avail discounted tickets for teacher and a discounted passes for Museong Pambata.

Based on my three years’ experience attending the Manila International Book Fair, there are also three things I learned: 1) Better to scour books early (so that means arriving early at the venue) 2) Get a nice comfortable footwear (to save your feet) 3) Save up for the copies and books you want to acquire at the fair.

First Floor Venue of the Fair

Second Floor Venue – Mostly Children’s Books and Fan Signing Area

My loots for this year! Not only I was able to get affordable books, but also affordable school and office supplies. Was able to score a Calligraphy pens for cheaper price.

Hope everyone had a blast attending the Manila International Book Fair! Til’ next year!

MommyMusings: Work-In-Progress

Time flies so fast and as much as I hate to admit, sometimes I miss my son’s toddler years. It was the time of discoveries and exploration. There are things I learned and discovered being a parent. No matter how many books, articles and tips you read being a parent, it will always be a “work in progress”. Working in progress as a parent means trying to be a good negotiator, a nutritionist, a supporter of no gadgets hobby, a librarian, teacher, nurse, coach and other endless roles to teach my kid. Looking back, I feel nostalgic over my son’s first coos, his natural baby scent and his twinkling eyes when he laughs. But even though I am nostalgic on his “first” moments, I am also glad that I am way past those diapers changing days, his terrible twos, struggles when we travel and guessing which food he likes best.

Now my son is already in pre-school, I love seeing him donning his school uniform, being the lead singer inside the classroom, showing me his good works at school, talking to me about his dream of becoming a pilot or a chef, requesting for his favorite food and showing me his favorite toys. I love the thought that I could bring him at different places because he can appreciate places and experience, he talks and ask questions non-stop and becoming more observant than ever. What I learned about being a parent working in progress is that you will always make mistakes and used those mistakes to learn. As I tread through this challenging, funny, heart-warming and tear inducing younger years of my child, allow me to share some of my realizations and learnings about being a parent.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

As a mother and parent especially to our first born, we tend to be overprotective and anxious on caring our child. I learned that it will never be helpful if we keep on making mountain out of a molehill. Though it is very critical for us to observe our child’s milestone, too much worrying and anxiousness will never help us. In addition, do not be anxious if your house looks like a mess and not having IG worthy moment to post around the house. Sometimes the great moments are not captured in camera (or phone) lens but in the eyes of the parents and children. Enjoy the times you spent with your child and chores will come in later. After all, how many times will you get to laugh with your kid or had fun in the garden while playing with a hose or mud?


Comparison is Never the Solution

Now that social media and information are readily available and handy to us parents, it is hard not to compare our kids based on what we see on the social media. TV, print ads, Internet and even friends or acquaintances (no matter how far they are to us). These have a profound impact on us especially on getting tips on how to raise our kids and what products we need to use in order to become an effective parents – To become an effective parents, never compare our child to his or her contemporaries, questioning his/her capacity against others. All kids are unique, so we are as parents. No parenting methodology provides one size that fits all. As a parent it is still our discretion to decide, which works for us and effective for the peace of our home and family.


Nobody is Perfect so you are not a Super Parent

As a parent, we tend to be anxious that we would be labeled or grouped in the bad parents category. I learned that it is OK to say when there are times you feel sad, tired and frustrated. It is ok to take a break and it is ok when you need alone time when things get too overwhelming. We are all normal beings. There are days when the sun shines and there are days when rain pours. I learned not to pressure myself if things did not go well – like when my son woke up late because I overslept too, I was not able to prepare breakfast, I forgot to sort out our clothes, I forgot to buy his favorite snack at grocery and I just feel so tired that I need a break. We are not Transformer’s Autobots or airplane’s autopilot. The world will go on if we commit few bloopers and mistakes. At the end of the day, we learn a lot from our bloopers and mistakes, and sometimes looking back it will make us laugh and appreciate life.


Love Yourself

Having a “me” time is not bad. One of the things I still struggle is making a habit on meditating. But when I do make a quick devotion in the midst of my busy schedule at the office, I am still reading and answering my “Busy Mom’s Book of Inspiration”. The book includes insights and tips on motherhood, parenting and family that are based on bible verses and quotes. One of the passages tells about mother’s love to her children, and in addition loving and appreciating ourselves.

“Be glad when they succeed and concerned when they struggle, but your personal happiness shouldn’t rise and fall based upon what’s going on with your child. That’s too much pressure for anyone, especially a kid. Love them and care for them, but don’t make them the center of the universe. ”

When we became parents we tend to prioritize our kids above anything else and think of ways to make them feel loved. Most of us would admit that we tend to shift our focus more on our kids. But we should not forget to take care of ourselves. No matter what life situation we are in, never forget to take care ourselves – it could be spending a day in a spa, doing yoga, have catch up dinner date with our closest girlfriends or mommy friends, a date night with our hubby, buy a makeup and be pretty, do your favorite arts and crafts activity, or just get a good book to read for a quick break from reality. Never forget the things that make you smile or the dreams you want to become a reality. A happy wife and mother is also an equivalent of an effective wife, parent and individual.


Prayer Works

As parents, we all wanted our kids to grow up God-fearing and good individual. Raising our kids is a challenge because we exert our effort in ensuring that our kids grow in a loving and caring environment. We are most proud when we heard them doing their own prayers but one of the most effective tools on how we deal being parents is through prayers. Prayer for a longer patience when every tactical plan for discipline goes awry, prayer for protection, prayer that someday my son will grow up a better individual, and prayer that he will be able to enjoy and learn a lot in his new school.

I know prayer works and a lot of times when we think we are a failure as a parents, it soothes and comfort us knowing that our prayer to God that we are being steered in the right direction.


KISP – Keep It Simple, Parents!

I learned that being a parent, we need to keep things simple. I know we all want an IG moment of “awwww” and “likes” in our profile but always remember that simple moments and things create a lasting impression in our child’s memories. They might not remember the grand birthday parties they had when they turned one year old but the times when you kissed their ouchies, play with them on a sunny afternoon, do errands with them and travel to new places.

In addition, do not force or pressure our kids to do things we wanted to do. Let them explore their interests and hobbies. I learned that as a parent, it is also important to observe and see which objects, things, subjects our kids wanted. Do not force them to learn dancing when what they love is singing and do not force them to learn a lot of things all of once that in the end they really don’t know what they wanted because everything offered to them is too overwhelming.


I know in the future that there would still be lots of learnings and realizations, but one thing that I always remind myself that I am not perfect and there are lots of things to learn, what is important is that working in progress as parents means trying his/her best to provide and bring out the best in our kids. We should not forget that as parents our kids look up to us as their role models, inspiration and source of strength. Enjoy the small moments with laughter and smiles because one day, we will look back to them as our fondest memories as family.

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Can’t Miss Events: Kevin Kwan’s Manila Book Tour

Last month FullyBooked announced that they will host Kevin Kwan for his book tour of his newly released book, Rich People Problems. Kevin Kwan is the author of the international best-selling trilogies: The Crazy Rich Asian (2013), China Rich Girlfriend (2015), and the most-recent Rich People Problems (2017).

A few months back, I just bought my first copy of Crazy Rich Asian and fell in love with novel. The book is funny, entertaining and addicting. I fell in love with the book’s characters Rachel, Nick, Astrid and Charlie. After buying my first book (with blessing from my very understanding husband), I got the second book and recently purchased the third and last book of the trilogy. Not only that the book is quite addicting but I also love that the background of the story takes place in the beautiful country of Singapore. The Crazy Rich Asian book is also turned into a movie and just last June 2017, the shooting and filming wrapped up in Singapore.

Announcement from FullyBooked

Since I love the book and looking forward to see the upcoming movie, I did not miss the chance to attend Kevin Kwan’s book tour. He already visited Philippines last 2015 to promote China Rich Girlfriend book and came back again to promote his newly released book and the upcoming movie. Thankfully the schedule for book signing is located to various places in Manila so there are five choices and schedule for me to choose. I chose going to FullyBooked’s flagship store in Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City for the registration and book signing activity.


The event started at two o’clock in the afternoon and you can almost feel the anticipation of each and every book fans who went. After a few minutes Kevin Kwan appeared and started the event by reading one of the excerpts of Rich People Problem which is during Rosalind Fung’s Christian Fellowship Banquet at Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The audience laughed at the funny story lines between Eleanor and her friends remarks and the incident that happened during the Fellowship Banquet.

Photo care of FullyBooked. Kevin reading one of the book passages of Rich People Problems

After Kevin read a few excerpts of his book, the host proceed with a question and answer portion. Kevin gamely answered all the questions regarding on his book’s characters, inspiration and personal preferences. The audience was also given a chance to personally asked Kevin about the book and the movie. I was also lucky to personally asked him a question about his book. I also took mental notes for some of the key takeaways during his question and answer portion:

About the Books:

  • Kevin Kwan has a personal inspiration for Astrid Leong’s character in the book
  • Some parts of Kevin Kwan’s trilogy is based from his personal experience while growing up in Singapore and United States
  • The different locations mentioned in the trilogy are also based from Kevin Kwan’s travels such as India, Sydney, London and Palawan, Philippines.
  • In Rich People Problems book, the famous scene at Rosalind Fung’s Christian Fellowship Banquet where someone hurled a laksa was based from author’s personal experience
  • It took him fifteen years to publish his first book – Crazy Rich Asians and it went international best seller
  • The challenge in writing the book is that there are too many characters and story lines. (It was his answer to my question)
  • The first character he wrote in the book is about Eleanor Young
  • He was a creative director for some of the famous magazines around US, working for Martha Stewart, Oprah and other publishing houses.
  • His first love was writing, so he just decided to take a try. There was an instances that his first book proposal was rejected by different publishers, but he did try and finally get to publish his first book
  • Kevin shared to his audience that for the next book he will publish would focus on one of the characters of the Crazy Rich Asian Trilogy

About the Movie:

  • Kris Aquino is part of the cast of the Crazy Rich Asian movie – Kevin Kwan said that Kris did all her best to impress the movie director Jon Chu and the movie producer to get the part
  • Aside from Kris, there are other Filipina actresses that were suggested to audition for different roles – Kim Chiu and Heart Evangelista were suggested to audition and some Filipino actors as well.
  • The movie was shot in Singapore and Malaysia
  • Kevin Kwan also helped in selection of lead actors and casts
  • Initially, HBO offered Kevin Kwan to do a series with the book but it was instead turned into a movie – which fans are eagerly waiting for the release of the trailer
  • Crazy Rich Asian movie was Henry Golding’s first acting debut – he was the lead actor and cast as Nicholas Young
  • It was twenty six years since the last time Hollywood produced a movie with whole Asian actors as cast. The last movie was Joy Luck Club (which is written by Amy Tan) and was also an inspiration to Kevin Kwan.

The entertaining Q&A portion of the book signing program

After the question and answer, audiences was asked to line up and do the book signing and picture-taking. I was thankful to have my book signed and personally meet one of my favorite authors. I must say that the feeling is very elating and surreal.

Anticipating my turn for the book signing

It was no secret that I love reading and collecting books by my favorite author and it was a real delight to have my book personally signed by my favorite author. I am looking forward for Kevin Kwan’s new books and the future and the movie. It was one of my weekends best spent.

My happy moment! Having a book signed by my favorite author!

P.S. Thank you to Fullybooked for organizing Kevin Kwan’s book tour and special credits to the pictures 🙂 (the ones without watermarks)

Happiness Project: The Joys of Spending Weekends at Home

Weekday’s flurry of activities is overwhelming. There are numerous errands to attend, activities to be finished and things to plan and organize. For working and busy parents, it is a never ending tasks to accomplish. Weekends became your sacred time to replenish and renew your strength and bond with your family.

When I was younger, weekends for me is equivalent to going to mall for shopping, eating and meeting up friends; have a quick weekend getaway at nearby provinces or if my budget allows; and lastly fly across different islands and go the beach to refresh.

Currently, weekend for me is a different approach. You always do your stuff with your family. It is also the time where you need to rest and accomplish all your personal errands. Having a family should not hinder you from doing things you love but you get to see the different perspective of life. I know looking back at my previous activities, there are changes in my routine and tasks. I get to appreciate having to sleep longer, having my own personal quiet time, catch up with my reading and playing with my son. There is a joy in doing simple things. Sometimes, the simple things that keep you happy all weekend, will make your work week bearable and glitch free.

Don’t get me wrong I still love to do weekend trips to mall from time to time and staycations / vacations outside our home, but taking a break in the comforts of your home and appreciate simple things make you grateful and appreciate the stillness of life.

    • There is a joy in weekend fun in village – walks in the playground, swimming in the clubhouse, biking around the village and jogging at the nearby amusement park
    • There is a certain joy when you cook with the family. As simple as cooking pancakes for breakfast, baking cookies for afternoon snack or preparing dinner with our kids.
    • Sometimes it is fun to binge watch your favorite rom-com movies or catching up with your favorite TV series
    • I love weekends wherein I could lie in my bed while reading books. It is a great feeling to relax while holding your favorite book and keep yourself warm by your cozy sheets
    • Weekend naps and rest are best when you are surrounded by the earthy scent of natural oils in diffusers and dehumidifier.
    • Simple activity such as going to market for fresh produce and grocery makes you look forward for weekends knowing after your errands you will cook your favorite lunch or dinner.
    • Hubby and I has this one habit every weekend that we always love: Having a fresh brewed coffee or steeped tea during weekend breakfast. It feels good having coffee outside your house while enjoying the morning mist.
    • Listen to your favorite music while cleaning your house
    • Decluttering your home, it is a good feeling to see your spaces and corner in order.

Sometimes staying at home looks boring especially if you have a car to get around the nearby malls or places of interest. But as they always say, there is no place like home, especially if you spent the weekend lounging and resting. In addition, staying at home means less expenses on eating out and buying unnecessary stuff while you were in the mall. I also noticed that I appreciate less noise and peaceful surrounding compared with the usual hustle and bustle of crowds. Your home becomes your valued sanctuary during your rest period.

How about you, what are your simple home activities you love to do every weekend or de-stressing activities that make you feel like staying at home for the weekends?

[Image credit from Heather Stillufsen of Rosehill Designs]

Travel Tales: Nature Trip at Singapore Zoo

As I continue to provide details on our 2016 Singapore trip, one of our unforgettable experiences is in Singapore Zoo. Among all the other places of interest, Singapore Zoo is one of my son’s favorite places that we visited. Singapore Zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions along with Jurong Bird Park, River Safari and Night Safari. For my son’s birthday, we decided to bring him to the zoo and have fun on his special day by meeting all the animals he saw on the books and TV. And I guess I was right on hunch to bring him in the zoo because I believe he will have a best time of his life. Even after our trip, he keeps on telling stories to his grandparents and friends on his trip to the zoo and all the animals he met and saw.

Based on the Wildlife Reserve website, Singapore Zoo occupies 28 hectares (69 acres) on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore’s heavily forested central catchment area. The zoo was built at a cost of S$9 million granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 27 June 1973. It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manages the neighboring Night SafariRiver Safari and the Jurong BirdPark. There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16 percent are considered to be threatened species. The zoo attracts 1.7 million visitors each year.


Getting there was quite far from our place of stay. We used the Singapore’s MRT and almost stopped at all train stations across Singapore. It took us at least an hour and a half to reach the nearest station to go to the zoo. We alighted at Woodlands Station and traverse the Causeway Mall to find a taxi that will bring us to Singapore Zoo. We paid 10 SGD for the trip and then went inside to avail the tickets. After getting our tickets our journey and experience with Singapore Zoo starts.


Upon getting inside we were able to meet monkey hanging from the tree and otters rolling around the pond. My son was so excited seeing the animals. The zoo also uses hidden barriers and natural enclosures that you feel that the animals are in open display. There are hidden barriers with grass, moats and glass enclosure. Another feature of the zoo that I love is that it is well-maintained and has many animal species on display. I had to admit, I’ve been to different zoos before in the Philippines but seeing a lot of animals that I only used to see on Internet and books are a surreal experience. It was my first time to see these animals:


Polar Bear






White Tiger

Tree Kangaroo

Big Tortoise




Wild Dogs



Plougshare Tortoise


Pygmy Hippopotamus




Komodo Dragon





Aside from animal display, my family and I watched two animal shows which feature the Asian Elephants and Nature Conservation which is very appealing and enjoyable with kids. My son was in awe seeing elephants at work and showing off their skills and the different types of animals which shows their different talent and skills while educating people the importance of wildlife conservation and taking care of nature. The schedule of the shows is being listed in the Singapore Zoo pamphlet they distribute to the visitors.

Another highlight of our trip is that we let our son experience feeding of the animals. We fall in line with Giraffe Feeding activity so that we would be able to meet the giraffe up close and personally feed it. You have to pay 5 SGD to avail the giraffe’s foods which consist of sweet potato and carrots. My son was so excited and happy seeing the giraffe first hand and able to experience the feeding. After our feeding, he wouldn’t stop talking about it. We also availed the free tram rides in the zoo because the zoo is so large and would take more time to walk all the places of interest. We even used the map to check if we already covered all the animals we wanted to see. It took us a day to visit the zoo and I must admit that it is tiring to roam around and check out all places. During the last leg of our visit in the zoo, we already availed the tram rides because our feet were already sore from whole day of walking. The experience of Singapore Zoo was a memorable, fun and one of a kind experience for our family. It made me realized that it was a good decision to spend my son’s special day in the zoo because it was one of his memorable trips.

What I Love Singapore Zoo

  1. It is clean and well-maintained.
  2. Though the place is quite far to city centre, it is accessible to all types of transportation. There are also buses that offer trips to the zoo and you need to check the schedule of departure and location. In addition it is also near within Woodlands MRT and getting a taxi going to and from the zoo is not a problem.
  3. It was fun experience seeing animals for the first time. (Hello white tiger and polar bear)
  4. I love their animal shows. Everyone will enjoy their shows especially the kids
  5. The zoo offers knowledge on animals and encourages everyone to protect the wildlife
  6. The 2.50 SGD chicken legs sold at their food kiosks. (It was a quick and delicious snack). You can also bring your packed lunch. Restaurants lines and tables tend to be full during lunch hours so it is also best to bring packed lunch – just ensure that you clean the place after eating.
  7. The ticket kiosks for online reservation. It was an automated machine which produces your tickets in an instant
  8. The zoo is managed by Wildlife Reserves and has the support of Government of Singapore. I loved the fact that Singapore Government is taking part in conserving wildlife and each animal is adopted by different organizations and companies across Singapore. (It reminds me of Philippine Eagle Conservation Center in Davao City)
  9. It exceeded my expectation. I had to admit my zoo experiences in the Philippines were very far from what I’ve seen in Singapore. I wish our country would also improve and upgrade Manila Zoo in the Philippines because I’ve seen how Singapore ensure that even though they are progressing economically, they are also taking an active role on promoting wildlife and nature conservation. Plus, it is very educational to see the animals up-close and learn about their habitat.
  10. I also had a good time with the giraffe feeding session with my son.


Tips while visiting Singapore Zoo

  1. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. While our visit is not too hot on a November day, it is still best advised to dress comfortably. Also wear shoes or slippers that will provide comfort because most of your visit will be walking around the area.
  2. Reserve tickets via online website. When you get via online website, you have complimentary tram rides during your visit. The complimentary tram ride saved us at least 45 SGD because each times your ride a tram you need to pay 5 SGD for each person. We tried the tram rides three times and it saved us time from walking and the money we saved was used for our lunch.
  3. Bring insect repellants. Make sure you apply insect repellant lotion and stickers especially to your kids prior to going to the zoo.
  4. Bring water and light snacks. Strolling across the zoo can be very tiring especially to your little ones so it is best to have a quick drink and light snack especially on peak hours on restaurants.
  5. It is best to go there early so you may be able to see the whole zoo and shows offered. The zoo opens as early as 8:00 AM.
  6. Bring extra shirts or clothes during your visit. You may want to change your clothes after a whole day of strolling at the zoo
  7. Time your visit. Check out the shows and feeding schedule in the pamphlet. It is fun to experience the animal shows and animal feeding. (That is why it is better to arrive at the zoo early in the morning)
  8. Enjoy the day!
  9. If you have toddlers or pre-school kids, it is advisable to bring strollers in the zoo for convenience. There are also available strollers for rent but you need to shell out few Singapore dollars to avail it. The strollers for rent are first come first serve basis. So it is best to bring your trusty strollers with you.

Our Singapore Zoo is one big memorable experience for us!

Andy Speaks: Reason, Season and Lifetime

One of the things I love during my breaks is reading quotes and mantras. I came across this very interesting blog because of this poem that really makes sense. Looking back on my younger years, sometimes there is a lingering doubt on trusting people and when to let go when things did not work out. Later on in life, I realized that people come, go, change, grow and leave. This poem is a good leverage for us to realize that nothing is permanent in the world and we should be grateful that God gave us people who will stay with us for a lifetime, people who came and left for a reason and people who stay for a season to teach us important lessons in life.


Reason, Season, or Lifetime

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.


When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.


Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.


Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.


LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown


Source: https://lifelessons4u.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/are-you-a-reason-a-season-or-a-lifetime/

How about you? Are you a reason, a season or a lifetime for someone’s happiness and life journey?