From Our Tree to Yours

Merry Christmas!

Having a Christmas tree at home is very important for our family not only for aesthetic purposes but also because every Christmas eve our family gathers around the tree to open presents.

Growing up, my parents has taught us patience by setting aside gifts under the tree as we receive them.  We can only open them together at the strike of midnight after we enjoy our annual Noche Buena (Christmas eve feast). Dens and i have instilled the same discipline in our children.  Troy has learned the art of self-control this year. I am fascinated at how he brings home unopened gifts from school and dutifully places them under the tree. There are still days when he tries to ask me if he can open 'just one gift, mommy...please!' but after several failed attempts, he has learned to stop asking and just patiently wait for Christmas.

So you see, our Christmas tree is more than just a lovely reminder of the yuletide season. It has been a part of our family's most anticipated christmas tradition.

Dens and i put up our first Christmas tree in 2008, the year Troy was born. We used stuffed toys as ornaments as we didn't want any broken ornaments that can be a safety-hazard.  This is to protect Troy from the tree...and vise versa.

This year we have been blessed with our first baby girl. So i thought a more feminine tree is in order. On top of our stuffed snowmen, bears, and moose, we added some precious moments ornaments for our little Dawn.
I am sure our tree will continue to evolve as the kids grow up. Maybe in a few years, our kids will have more input on the ornaments that will hang on our tree. So until the day when we will probably have hanging cars and barbie dolls on the trees, here's wishing everyone a merry merry christmas.


Ayala Triangle Light Show

December has been the usual busy season.  I love Christmas and always get butterflies in my stomach as the season approaches.  I kept on thinking to myself during the start of the month that i have been too busy with a lot of things and have not truly felt that lovely Christmas feeling yet. Christmas was fast approaching and it felt like i was in a race to finish a lot of things.

Last December 20, our family scheduled our first family Christmas activity for 2011.  We parked our car in Greenbelt and trekked to the much talked about light show at the Ayala Triangle.

We got there around 6:30pm and decided to have dinner first. There's a row of nice restaurants in the area but since most people were waiting for the show, the line to get a table anywhere was pretty long. We finally got a table at Amici and had dinner until around 8:30pm. The light show ran every 30 minutes so the next one to catch was at 9pm. That was the last show for the night and was a good one to catch since the lights would stay on after the show. This meant more photo opportunities.

The waiting did not feel so long as we enjoyed the park and cool weather (as cool as it can get in Metro Manila). I have to hand it to Ayala when it comes to developing and maintaining real estate projects. The park at the Ayala Triangle was pretty well maintained considering it is public and free.

The show started at exactly 9pm and ran for about 15 minutes, i think. It was a pretty awesome show of lights and sounds.

The green leaf things turned into bright stars
Dancing LED lights in multiple colors
Touch a falling star...
...and poke your hand inside
View from Ayala Avenue

I don't know if it was the magical musical score, the blinking LED lights, or being surrounded by my family and seeing other families embrace their kids and take pictures endlessly...but i finally felt the Christmas spirit that night. As my daughter, in her favorite baby sling, rested her tiny head on my chest and as i took pictures of the rest of my family, the butterflies came. I had that nice tingling feeling in my stomach once again. Christmas is here.



Ebenezer System

A few months ago, i read about a story of remembrance in the Bible. When God granted victory to the Israelites against the Philistines, Samuel took a stone and set it up in remembrance of the goodness of the Lord saying “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” - 1 Samuel 7:12(b)

Wikipedia defines it as a memorial established in remembrance of what God has done for a person or a group of people. 

The name Ebenezer was first mentioned in 1 Samuel 4.  It was a place where the Israelites camped and suffered defeat against the Philistines.  Three chapters later, the Israelites repented of their sins and God's blessing was restored to them. That was when they received victory against the Phillistines.

It has been said that Samuel named the stone of remembrance ‘Ebenezer’ to remind the Israelites that God can turn things around for them. What a wonderful idea, right?  So i thought, why not come up with our own 'stone of remembrance' as a way of reminding us of God's faithfulness in our lives? So before we end the year 2011, Dens and i started our own Ebenezer System at home.

It's a very simple concept of just writing down things that we are grateful for, whether big or small. This box will continue to be filled with thanksgiving all throughout the year.  Each time God does something good for us, we just write it down and drop it in our Ebenezer box. Don't forget to write the date too!

Here are a few of the things that we have written down so far:

  • Thank you for giving us a very healthy and normal baby Dawn. Feb 22, 2011
  • Thank you for a super fun-filled trip to Hong Kong with the family. October 27, 2011
  • Thank you for Troy's very good grades in school. November 2011

Now here is the fun part. Each time you're experiencing those not-so-good days, just pull out one piece of paper from the box and be reminded of God's goodness.  A simple reminder of our blessing is a sure-fire way to renew our faith and joy.

I end with one of my dad's favorite verses found in 1 Samuel 17:37 "The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Remember.  Believe.  God is faithful!


Dens' Biggest Fan

I remember when i started blogging in my multiply site ( back in 2007, one of my friends, who did not know at that time that my nickname at home is Fan, thought i created the name of my site to mean i am a fan of Dens. I remember laughing and thinking she must have thought I was this lovestruck woman, crazy in love with her man.  Then i thought again...well yeah, maybe she's right. Maybe i am Dens' fan.  I became his wife in 2004 and earned bragging rights for the million and one things i admire about him.

If you asked me 3 years ago, i would have told you that i am Dens' biggest fan. But i was overtaken by an even more avid fan the past couple of years when i gave birth to our little Troy.

Troy adores his father. He loves to imitate and do things that Dens does. Here are 5 things that Troy loves to do with Dens.

(1) Wear the same clothes.

Troy loves it when he is wearing the same outfit as Dens. I remember last year when he was 2 years old, he saw a pair of shoes that resembled Dens' Adidas classics. To the amusement of the saleslady, Troy told her 'I want to buy the papa shoes". So after we went to check out designs from other stores, i went back to Adidas and the saleslady asked 'ma'am, kunin nyo na yung papa shoes? (ma'am, are you going to get the papa shoes already?)

So here's Troy and Papa in their 'papa shoes' :)
(2) Play basketball

Dens loves playing basketball. He is pretty good at it especially when being cheered by his biggest fan. Each time Troy gets to watch a game, you would see him wearing his own mini version of Dens' uniform and filling the gym with shouts of 'Go, Papa, Go!'.

Troy doing pre-game stretching exercises with Dens

(3) Be "Handy Manny"

One of the things that Dens loves to do is fix things. I think he was on the right track when he took up Mechanical Engineering in college. He loves to fix everything that is not functioning as it should. From bikes to cars to leaking faucets. He is indeed our Handy Manny at home.

As you would expect, Troy has his own set of tools and readily brings them out whenever he sees Dens fixing stuff. He loves to help in his own cute little way.

Here are some Handy Manny moments at home.
Fixing one of Troy's bikes back in 2010
Tightening the chains of Troy's big bike a few weeks ago
Fixing a leak in the kitchen
(4) Swim

When Dens was younger, he was part of a swim team doing tournaments regularly. To our delight, Troy is also such a water baby ever since.
Balai Isabel
We enrolled Troy in swim school last summer and he learned to swim underwater by himself. Check out his swimming video in Boracay taken a few months ago.
(5) ...and just about anything else

Troy decided he'd rather push his stroller than sit in them when we started bringing Dawn's stroller to the malls. Guess why?
Boys with wheels
Today we celebrate two occasions that compliment each other. Today is thanksgiving and also my loving husband's birthday.

Love, i am grateful each and everyday to God for blessing me with you...and for blessing my children with a father they can be proud of. You are God's answers to my prayers.

I love you more than you know.

Your first 'fan'
Disney 2011


Wabitoy: Watch it Grow!

A few months ago i started a little project of clearing up Troy's room of anything that can be allergenic. Most of the items i had to pack away were his stuffed animals.

Troy loves playing with stuffed animals ever since he was a baby. When he was smaller, he had a number of stuffed animals that he extra loves and will not part with even for a day. Given his allergic tendencies, we had to make sure that all stuffed animals be washed regularly. This proved to be challenging because he'd look for them during bedtime and a lengthy explanation is necessary before he'd agree to sleep without them.  Moreover, the stuffed animals don't dry as fast and it will sometimes take a week before he can play with them again. But that was before Wabitoy.

A few days ago I was introduced to this new stuffed animal that grows with water and can be cleaned and dried instantly in a few seconds. I was very excited to test it out when i got home.

The toy looked like a deflated stuffed animal at first. It will appear like the manufacturer forgot to put stuffing inside.

It measured just a little bit bigger than my palm
 You can grow the animal in 3 easy steps. Massage, Squeeze, Dry!

Soak in water
Massage the toy
Squeeze out the excess water
Dry the fur with a towel
I was amazed at how heavy it was after being dried. It kind of soaked up the water but it's not wet at all. It's an interesting little creature.

The manufacturer said it will deflate after a while but you can simply go back to the 3-easy steps and have a chubby little animal again. No sweat!
 Check out before and after pictures below.  


Troy can now play with the animal anytime he likes and i can also wash it every single day. It's even better than being hypo-allergenic. Hurray for mommies! It's a stuffed animal that does not need to be packed away.
Hello little turtle
Wabitoys come in a variety of designs and are sold for only P290 each. It is a great gift for nieces, nephews and curious little 'inaanaks' who seem to have everything. 

They have 10 other designs of Wabitoys. They all look so adorable and i'm curious how each one will turn out once soaked in water.  It's really so hard to choose! 

You may order them online from  or reach them through the following contact details:

Spunkdesigns Shop
+632 622 0680
+63917 569 8993
Facebook: spunkdesigns shop


Everything is Magical in Disneyland

Compared to the other Disney theme parks in Orlando, LA, and Tokyo, the Hong Kong version was rather compact.  I feel that it is just the perfect size for those traveling with very small children. No need to keep on rushing from one show to another and the entire park was small enough to finish leisurely in a day or two.

There were the usual Disney parades, musical shows, disney-themed rides, and 3D/4D movie adventures. But one thing that i saw in Hong Kong Disneyland that i have not seen anywhere else was this...

Is he for real?! The guy was doing his business cleaning the park when he suddenly paused and started drawing disney characters using his broom and a pail of water. We were wondering whether he is a paid actor/artist or just a really talented maintenance person who had a passion for Disney. I personally feel that he is the latter especially since he went back to sweeping afterwards.

What do you think?


The Park Lane Hotel, Hong Kong

After 2 nights in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, we moved to the city and stayed for another 3 nights in The Park Lane Hotel.  Park Lane is a 5-star hotel perfectly located in the heart of food and shopping in Causeway Bay. I've been to Hong Kong a number of times and I think this is by far the best hotel it terms of location and comfort. I'm a big fan of nice hotels as i always feel that it can make or break a good vacation.

The Park Lane is just a block away from the MTR Station so traveling around Hong Kong was very easy. SASA was practically across the street and IKEA is located in the hotel basement so no need to lug huge IKEA items in the MTR or cabs. What more can you ask for?!

I don't remember the exact cost of our room but I know it was a bit pricey. However, I think given the convenience especially when you're traveling with two kids, it's worth it.

The bathroom was very nice. It has a see-through glass wall from the bedroom which works well when you need to watch the kids while you're inside the bathroom. It has a heavy curtain that you can draw in case you need a little bit more privacy.

Nice modern bathrooms in the Deluxe room
There is a glass wall that allows you to see the bathroom from the bedroom

The room has an LCD TV and a DVD player which came in very handy for us. We came prepared and brought Dawn and Troy's favorite DVDs with us.

Nice study table and a good-size LCD TV in the room.

The room had a queen-size bed where Dens, Troy, and I slept. We, once again, requested for a baby cot for Dawn. It's interesting that all baby cots in Hong Kong and even Japan look exactly the same.

I highly recommend The Park Lane Hotel for your next Hong Kong trip. Check out online sites for special deals that may give you a good discounted rate for the said hotel.


Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

Sorry for the long absence as our family have been travelling the past week. I will make up for it by posting about our experiences in Hong Kong.

We were supposed to fly to Bangkok for the long weekend but re-routed to Hong Kong at the last minute due to the flood situation in Thailand.  It's Dawn's first trip abroad and we all agreed that the added stress of possible flood and being stranded in a foreign country was just unecessary.  So with only 5 days before the trip, we moved fast to change our plane tickets and book our hotels in Hong Kong.

Our first stop was the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. We stayed 2 nights in the Disney hotel before moving to the city. 

There are 2 Disney hotels in Hong Kong. The first one is Disney's Hollywood Hotel.  The hotel has a hollywood theme and is much reasonably priced compared to the other Disney hotel. During non-peak seasons, you can get a room for only P7,700 a night. On peak months though, it can go as high as P10,500 for the basic Garden View room.

The one we stayed in is the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. The hotel website described this hotel best when they said it has 'Victorian elegance'. That was truly how it felt going inside the hotel. It's like you're in a modern European castle.  The non-peak rates for the basic Garden View room costs around P10,500 but can go as high as P15,000 or more during peak months.

Entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel

While we were at the lobby, we saw Snow White and Princess Aurora (a.k.a. Sleeping Beauty) so we took the photo opportunity and had Dawn pose with them. Troy did not want to pose as he said 'But that's only for girls, mommy!' ...okay, fine.

We also visited the gift shop where Disney items abound. Check out the cutest thing i found :)

Outside the lobby was a really nice garden maze. The hedges were not so tall so it was not much of a maze for adults. But Troy had a blast going around and getting lost. My sisters just had to keep on following him around to make sure he doesn't REALLY get lost.

Garden maze at the back of the hotel
Troy gave the maze a try
Check out how tall the hedges are

The hotel also boasts 2 swimming pools. Our room had a nice view of the garden and the outdoor pool but what was more amazing for me was their indoor heated pool. We brought our swimsuits but did not get the chance to swim since we wanted to maximize our time in the theme park.

Our room was beautiful although i would not say it was extraordinary. There were touches of disney designs on the wood carvings but that was about it. What was more exciting for me were the kiddie bathrobes and slippers that they had. I shrieked what i saw them. Super cute!

Junior bathrobe! How adorable is that?
little bedroom slippers for little feet :)

The toiletries were also nicely packaged to give you that extra Disney feel.

The room that we got had 2 twin beds and we requested for a baby cot for Dawn. That's one good tip for travelling with a baby. We always request for a baby cot when checking in hotels instead of lugging around the portable (but oh-so-heavy) baby playpen. They also provided baby bedding essentials so you don't really have to prepare anything else.

The baby cot between the 2 twin beds
Door in the room that opens to a veranda

After checking-in, we immediately got ready to go to the theme park. There is a free shuttle that goes around every 10 minutes from the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel to the Disneyland Park so it was very convenient. The same shuttle also passes through the Hollywood Hotel so all guests are covered.

The bus to Disneyland Park is here!
Here we go. It's a Toy Story bus!

Watch out for the continuation of our Hong Kong adventure...


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