Happy 75th Birthday!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Taal Vista is love! I’ve been there many times before and it just doesn’t fail to give me utterly blissful weekends. Aside from the Tagaytay weather, the beautiful landscape that is also so baby-friendly, Taal Vista is really a great stop for great Filipino food!

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My first time to bring Philip to Taal Vista. Or actually, my second? Check out similar photo in this post and back then I was just about 3 months pregnant, I think :)

It was extra special when we last went because they were on their closing weekend of the Diamond Anniversary Special, where different accomplished chefs were invited to give an extra twist to their already amazing weekend cultural buffet! And we happened to chase upon husband and wife tandem Chef Rolando and Chef Jackie Laudico, who were doing only what they anyway, do best! Gosh, you should have experience Chef Lau’s sinigang with gabi puree and crispy kangkong, and Chef Jac’s frozen brazo de mercedes. I just couldn’t help but eat everything and think about dieting another day!

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My husband and I are fans of the Laudicos!!! I was secretly so kilig that I got to meet them both!

But aside from the eating and resting I was also so honored to be a part of Taal Vista’s tree lighting ceremony, which was my Philip’s first taste of Christmas. AS expected, he was in awe of the decor and the lights! Then the ceremony was also a treat for all to classical Christmas concert and a buffet reception at the Grand Ballroom. The concert featured performances from the multi-awarded De La Salle Dasmariñas Chorale led by Maestro Vell Luis Litan, baritone Joseleo Logdat, soprano Maribel Miguel-Ararao, and pianist Belinda Ma. Salazar. The artists performed a variety of songs from opera and musicals interspersed with traditional carols, which I had to listen to in the far end of the room because Philip was already making so much noise due to hunger, haha! Then there was balladeer, recording artist, stage and film actor Markki Stroem who serenaded guests with a mix of classic tunes and contemporary hits. I never knew Markki sounded so much like Michael Buble!

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The DLSU Dasmariñas Chorale

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The Chosen Children Village with Peggy Angeles of SM Hotels and Conventions Corp., Mrs. Felicidad Sy, Robin Sy, SM Hotels and Conventions Corp. President Ms. Elizabeth Sy, Nina Sy and Taal Vista Hotel Area General Manager Walid Wafik

A day after the tree lighting event we had the privilege of just enjoying a day of rest at Taal Vista and so we definitely went back to Manila with refreshed and a Christmas-inspired spirit! :)

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Taal Vista Hotel is a landmark hotel in Tagaytay City known for its iconic view of Taal Lake and Volcano. For inquiries and reservations, please call +63 (2) 917 8225, +63 (46) 413 1000 or +63 0917 809 1254. Stay connected with Taal Vista Hotel. Visit the website at www.taalvistahotel.com, like the Facebook page (facebook.com/taalvistahotel) and follow the Twitter and Instagram feeds (@taalvistahotel). View the Taal Vista Hotel 75th Anniversary video at http://www.youtube.com/taalvistahotel

Blogging With A Purpose

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Tuesday!

Finally, I get to share something with everyone who’s been asking me about “blogging.” This is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions in my emails! Young women and wives and moms send in queries like “How can I start a blog?” or “How can I monetize my blog?” or “Where does one begin when it comes to blogging?” Honestly, I have my answers but have not got the time to compile them all, aside form the fact that I really don’t consider myself a blogging expert! :)

This is precisely why I recently hooked up with Make It Blissful’s Martine de Luna, an amazing blog coach, to teach me more about the tricks of the trade! And in just 2 meetings, I tell you, I have already grown a lot as a blogger. I’ve also learned more about myself in the process and that is always a great way to start your blog- from who you really are and not who you want to be just because that’s where the money is. :)

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Well, great news for all because Martine is actually holding a blogging workshop! Workshops are fun, aren’t they??? I mean, I am such a workshop hoarder. Every time I see workshop or breakout sessions in a big conference, I kinda hog as much as I can, heeheehee. Honestly, some are just blah-workshops, but along the way it really helped me to grow more as a person and be more effective in the different roles I have to play in life! And workshops with awesome teaching is already a great win, but make it double for Blog Inspired since all proceeds will go to The Joseph Feeding Mission (click this for their mission and vision!), which is the chosen benefactor of Share Movement!

So people, please do consider this blogging workshop for a great cause. You might have had only one cause in mind- which is to personally inspire others with your blogging and so you might wanna improve the skill, but then there’s that bigger cause to help others in pursuing their mission to get as much people as they can out of hunger.

 

Journey to Renewal

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lots of people compliment me about my skin. Totoo naman, I am blessed to have inherited the good one from my mother’s side. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa nagkaka-pimple ang nanay ko, and iilan pa rin lang ang kanyang underarm hair! Ang daya, di ba?

From time to time, I would have pimples, too, and because I am not used to managing breakouts, I must admit that I get stressed when they become really obvious. And the other thing is that although I am successfully able to cover it up with makeup most of the time, I usually end up scraping it down to an ugly scar sa sobrang kong inis. (All dermas will tell you never to do this but I do, I do! Sorry Doc!!!)

One such time was when I went to Europe – my first time pa naman din, and there was this really stubborn pimple on my face, right in the middle of my left cheek. I recently scanned photos from that trip so I could post them on peralehood.com and I realized that I don’t have much solo shots I can use simply because nakikisali talaga ang pimple sa bawat picture. :(

So really, I understand Belle’s concerns about her big day. Belle is also a soon-to-be Mrs. like Marian Rivera and is quite worried about how her skin will be in this once in a lifetime event! I can’t blame her since her story reveals that she’s been plagued with pimples in almost every important event of her life, and so coped by simply chickening out. On her birthday, she didn’t go to school and she almost ditched meeting the parents of her fiancé because of so much shame and regret.

Lagi ko pa naman ding sinasabi sa mga kaibigan kong ikakasal- “Rest well and remember, you are the most woman girl on your wedding day.” I guess mahirap talagang isipin ito when pimples are covering your whole face. Don’t get me wrong because I think Belle has such a sweet spirit and I know that even if she has pimples, hindi naman yun ang mapapansin ng mga tao. But then I also know that it is important for a bride to do everything that she can to look good not only for her husband and guests, but more importantly for herself. It begins from the heart and so it is crucial for her to know that both spirit and flesh are beautifully working as one!

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And how sweet naman of Marian, a rather glowing soon-to-be Mrs.Dingdong Dantes, to actually make time for Belle and talk to her about her feelings before the wedding. In the interview, Belle also admitted that she sometimes fails to finish the process required for renewed skin but then she realized that she can’t really do that now if she really wants to be the best looking bride she can ever be.

Buti na nga lang that with a few steps, simple and easy, Maxi-Peel is able to give new hope to Belle with their new campaign, “Bagong Ganda, Bagong Pag-asa.” Together with the brand and its ambassadress, Belle wants to surprise everyone with radiant and glowing skin like Marian’s on her wedding day.

Kaya naman talagang I will surely be praying for Belle’s desires! My hope is talagang ma-surprise tayo with a kind of skin that reflects her inner spirit and personality. She seems to be a very joyful person and I believe that diligently following the steps provided by Maxi-Peel can help her express more of that!

Suitable Helpmate

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I recently received an email from a young lady who is tasked to speak to a crowd of unmarried women. She is asking for anything I might want to share with those who are preparing themselves for marriage. I appreciate this lady’s diligence in covering a topic that is clearly not her season just about yet, for researching from those who have first hand experience. I also realized this is part of what I’ve been wanting to share with the single women out there who might wanna prepare for marriage.

First things first, no matter how much you prepare for it, nothing quite does it perfectly and one can never be fully prepared for such things. It’s like birth- you can learn techniques and follow guidelines but all else are theories until you actually go through the process. More often that not, both marriage and birth will make you go through moments that can’t be found in the books. So I am one with Tim Keller when he said that if one wants to marry, rudimentary skills of forgiveness, repentance and change are crucial, as they do quite well with the unexpected.

Nevertheless for a woman I have more to say. I think that “to be submissive” is an overstated requirement from a woman in marriage. I myself have had to go through this many times over, and it surely isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Even the most submissive woman on earth will, perhaps, have a problem or two about submitting at some point in their marriage (even if it’s just about the rice you’d like to make in your house- brown, red or white, you have to do it in agreement and for women, in submission!) and this is because I think that no two individuals can be one and the same about everything all the time. (And I realized that this is the hardest part about being married- to be one and the same in everything!)

Perhaps single women think it’s either easy to submit and worse, that’s all is required. A tip: try reading Proverbs 31 so you understand that submission is not all there is about being a wife. That’s just one thing and so we must not forget about the original design for world’s very first wife as meaning to be a tremendous blessing to her husband…

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When God decided man was not good to be alone, He thought to make a wife that was going to be of suitable (another word for FIT) help to him.

If it is not clear enough, the very first wife was made to be of help to the very first husband and so that means she must be strong and able to do so! May I also add that when God made Eve, Adam was in deep sleep (so deep he didn’t even wake up though the surgical nature of God pulling a piece from his rib cage) and thus did not need help from the husband in creating the kind of woman and wife Eve was going to be. In short, Eve as a woman and as a wife was purely a divine idea and independent of man’s depiction, direction, imagined design of her (Genesis 2:21-22).

So to my single women friends out there, here is a thought if you really want to prepare yourselves for marriage. Men need helpers and rather suitable or fit ones for their wives. Surely they don’t need puppets to follow them around and just be unthinkingly submissive to them. Each husband only needs one wife but that one wife must be able to bless them with strength and dependability. They need women who can manage a household and raise their children well, which cannot be expected from women who look and act and think like drones. And men don’t need their wives to be just beautiful, they need them to be glorious.

So how do you prepare for this, right? Well, top of my head: be dependable instead of being annoyingly overly dependent on men for everything STARTING RIGHT NOW. Those who think life is not complete until they marry are dangerously treading on the puppet or pet scale, moving only upon the command of a master. And men who marry such women usually find they have wives who cannot quite pull their weight in marriage because they had no real individual identities to begin with. Like what Nick Vujicic once said, “If you’re not happy single, you can’t be happy married.” So let me say this, “If you are not whole and complete while you’re still single, you won’t be whole and complete when you’re married.” You cannot be a blessing and worse, you will be a drag because of your insecurities and inability to bless your husband as his wife. Remember that neither marriage nor man is the answer to your insecurities. But Jesus is.

marriagetriangleillustration1In Jesus I find wholeness and love and forgiveness and power to change. In Him I find peace and love and joy and more than enough that even if I die single I can say there was not a single lack in my life. (Here is what I really think: those who can see themselves dying single and unmarried and still so joyful and fulfilled in God and God alone are really the ones fit for marriage.) You need something as powerful and as true as this, Woman, if you wanna be ready for marriage. Because only Jesus can make you suitable and strong and dependable and confident enough to be a blessing in marriage.

And lastly, God knows I am not enough to be all that I need to be as Joseph’s wife, and yet I live in so much peace that God faithfully gives me the strength to be more than what I think I could be for my husband. And that because I married someone who is also completed by God instead of me, I live knowing that he doesn’t look to me to provide all that he needs. So it really does make sense, that triangle. That the more we individually love and depend on God, all the more we are able to draw closer to one other.

 

Azalea in the City of Pines

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Last week I posted a couple of photos from our trip to Baguio, where I shared about the places we went to for coffee and meals. Then someone asked me to share where I usually stay when in Baguio and I really wanted to do that for this week anyway so here it is. :)

Well, my husband and I together with Philip usually stay at The Manor. It is also because we get good rates from the hotel, being our partner for big events and seminars that we’d hold over there. The other option, cheaper, but almost exactly the same as The Manor would be Forest Lodge. Except for the garden and buffet breakfast, rooms at the lodge are just as charming and comfortable as those in Manor.

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The last time we went up though, we’ve decided to try Azalea Residences. We ended up there as I was really looking for a family friendly hotel more than anything else. When you have a baby, that becomes a priority. When it used to be boutique hotels (which means cute and inexpensive for me), now it must be big bed, spacious for a crawling boy, big on cleanliness, and overall baby friendly. Actually, this was when I really started to use Agoda as an amazing searching mechanism for family friendly properties. (Click this to see how I included this as a concrete advice when planning for family trips.)

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Like what I once said before, Agoda is helpful because of its provided information on the lefthand side. Aside from that, ratings and reviews help greatly. When I tried it in Korea, the reviews were pretty much accurate. It did not leave any room for surprise or disappointment for me. Travelers report quite well and so I highly suggest you read through those if you don’t want any shocking encounters, haha! (Agoda has more than 1 million worth of family reviews so take advantage of that!)

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About Azalaea, I was actually very satisfied. I imagine even more when I have kids older than Philip’s age. The family rooms are built with a small living room, kitchen, and lounge for two, inside. We made full use of the space, as the kitchen counter was for Philip’s food ready for mashing and the sink for washing his utensils. Underneath was an amazing place for soiled diapers! Though it is built to keep the smell of rotting food away, I was able to use it for Philip’s stinky diapers as well, haha! Bathrooms are not elaborate but clean, considering that they are made out of white tiles. No leaks, no problem with the heater, so it was all good.

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The bed was also great, although because we are co-sleepers, I wished they could have a king-sized one for us next time. (Hashtag: #cosleepersproblem!) Nevertheless they had play yards on standby, as well as a sofa bed that unfolds to a double bed if you wish.

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Buffet breakfast is good, and we once had dinner in their cozy restaurant where they had a pizza and pasta buffet.

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Staff were friendly and courteous, as it is always mentioned in their reviews. Pretty much it was a pleasant stay at the Azalea which, before I forget to mention, is also very prettily lit at night!

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Should you like to book, Agoda has the best rates for them and you may check them out with projected travel dates over here: Agoda for Azalea!

There are over 40,000 family friendly properties listed under Agoda and so I also suggest to keep refining your search until you get to find one that meets your standards. (Like do you want fast wifi? Big bed? Big bathroom?) Whatever you are looking for, I highly suggest to maximize the searching capacity of Agoda! :)

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Munsayac Inn is just down the road of Azalea, and so you might wanna drop by for a kamagong spoon or two! 

And for book lovers and fans of book sales, click this to know what Book Ends is all about!

So far, these are the only places we’ve been to in Baguio but then who knows if I’d be able to try more in the coming years! After all, this is my husband’s favorite vacation place in the Philippines and we might just find more and more of ourselves paying a regular visit in the City of Pines. :)

How about you? What’s your favorite travel destination and hotel in the Philippines and why? How did you chance upon it? Feel free to share your stories and information in the comments section below. Happy Wednesday! :)

 

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