Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yoshi's 10th

It wasn't an elaborate plan or anything, but somehow we ended up celebrating Yoshi's 10th birthday several times over this month.  Which is just as well, bcoz Yoshi is no less than special.

On the big day itself, Thom braved Typhoon Maring and came over with a huge chocolate cake for the birthday boy, complete with candles.  (Oww.  Thank you, Thom!)  We decided against going out bcoz of the bad weather, not to mention we were still reeling from our flight back from HK only that morning, so Ches ordered pizza and chick and chips, and we were good to go.

We went out with my family that weekend.  Too bad my in-laws could not make it bcoz they were in Tarlac.

We miss you, Ate!
I LOVE these pix of Rain and Boots.  The boys and Vada are always running away from Rain and excluding her from their games and activities bcoz they think she's pesky.  They're meanies.  I tell them to wait and see - Rain will get all the brains and moolah someday.

Everyone - including my own husband - has been pestering me to get pregnant again and try for a baby girl. I think part of my hesitation is that I already have two baby girls.  What more can I ask for?

To complete the birthday party, we went for some crazy videoke time at Red Box.  I've long wanted to bring the boys here bcoz I just know they're going to get wild singing songs at the top of their lungs.  They so did.

We did the usual songs we sing at home:  One Direction, Taylor Swift, Eraserheads, APO.  The boys also went to town with their wacky Yoyoy Villame hits.  Yoshi is actually a pretty good singer.  I keep nagging him to take voice lessons but all he wants to do is cook and bake.  At Red Box, he sang Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Jason Mraz, Bruno Mars, and sang along with me to The Script, The Fray, Five For Fighting, and even some Adele (ambitious, me).

Altho more of a dancer, Boots also took his favorites seriously:  Jetlag, Bring Me To Life, Ang Huling El Bimbo, Pag-ibig.  This was also the boys' introduction to Parokya Ni Edgar, bcoz Ches sang a lot of their big hits.  Since Red Box, the boys could not have enough of Picha Pie and Don't Touch My Birdie on Youtube - I had to go and buy them a CD.      

And suddenly it became my birthday bcoz I saw Ely Buendia!  Hahaha.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tung Chung

We spent our last day in HK at City Gate Outlet Malls in Tung Chung.  I had loved it the first time I was there only in February this year for an office trip, and I've wanted to go back if only to score more funky Crocs for my boys at outlet prices.  If I could also luck out on Kate Spade shoes as I did last time, then that's a major bonus.  Hahaha.

The boys love their Crocs (I guess bcoz they're just so soft, comfy, easy to wear, and take off) and it's actually always a struggle to get them to wear their sneakers or other shoes when we go out.  Crocs are so worth it for the boys bcoz they wear them all the time.  So we got them those, as well as Puma Ferrari sneakers.  Yes, all three boys.  Me, I just got some clothes from Esprit. I was already happy with my Hello Kitty luggage, to begin with.  We also got Yoshi a Flik Flak watch as part of his birthday gift.  (Sorry, Ate, no Vans Kitty sneakers this time.)

Late lunch was of Macau cuisine at the food court.  This food court is decent and even a little on the side of snooty.  Of course, you also have to shell out more in terms of the prices, but hey - live a little.

We took pix with the interesting sights around the mall.  I wanted one with Li Na bcoz, hello, she's the first and only Asian Grand Slam winner.  I also read about how a reporter asked her if she had any message for her countrymen in China after losing a major game, and her reply was something like:  'I lost a game.  Do I have to go down on my knees and apologize?'  Fierce.  I appreciate celebrities who are honest like this. Those who appear nicey all the time and never ever lose their poise:  fake and lame.


The current theme of the mall decor was Candy Crush!  Something like 'crushing on sweet discounts'.  Too cute.  Ches and Yoshi are certified addicts.  I like to moan to our friends right under Chester's nose about how Candy Crush has effectively bumped me off his list of priorities, and how Candy Crush is the new sex. HAHAHA.  

Yoshi also has his own Candy Crush stories. One weekend he woke up with this beatific smile on his face.

Me:  You had a good dream, Kuya?
Boots:  Maybe he dreamt about his old classmate who keeps sending him life in Candy Crush!

HAHAHA.  Winner Boots.

Our flight back was thru PAL at 10PM, and we were worried whether we would be able to fly out at all bcoz this was the height of typhoon Maring.  Daddy was sending texts worrying where Dan could pass by to pick us up from the airport.  Ate was also emailing bcoz Mama had asked her to. I knew it was a major storm bcoz I saw in my emails that office meetings had been cancelled for two straight days.  It turns out while we were sweating it out lining up in Disneyland and Ocean Park, Metro Manila was being flooded by another deluge of Ondoy proportions.  Gasp.

We didn't know what to expect when we got to the airport.  We were allowed to check in but were told to wait for further announcements on the boarding gate, boarding and flight time.  So we spent a good five hours just touring HKIA, eating more fried rice and dimsum from a Chinese resto, as well as fried chicken and popcorn shrimps from Popeye's.

Thank God we were able to fly out at about 1 AM, and got home safely, too.  It was only later that we would realize how lucky we were - all flights were cancelled the day of and again the day following our flight back.  Thank you, thank you, Lord.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ocean Park

We have never been to Ocean Park before, and this was the perfect time to go bcoz this trip was For The Boys.  Our visit at the park started with a major downpour (that might have ruined my recent favorite VNC fuschia flats - sigh), and I was ready to write off the entire day and just arrange for another trip next time, but the weather cleared up just as we finished our tour of the aquarium (thank you, Lord).

The aquarium is supposed to be one of The Waterfront's - or even the whole park's - biggest draws, but it was a bit of a letdown compared to Sentosa in Singapore or even our very own Manila Ocean Park.  There weren't any new underwater creatures we haven't already seen in those two venues, and my favorite feature of those latter two - the walkalator with the giant aquarium on the ceiling and walls - is sorely missing here.            

As advised by our tour guide, we headed straight to The Summit as soon as the rain let up, as that is where most of the attractions are.  As in Sentosa, going to The Summit involved a cable car ride.  Woohoo!  You can actually also choose to take the train, which is a lot faster in terms of queue and travel time.  We took the train going back, bcoz by evening the waiting time for the cable car went up to 60 minutes (gasp).

Wow, The Summit is massive.  We spent a good part of our first hour there getting lost and going up and down these giant escalators in search of rides we ended up not going into bcoz Boots didn't meet the height requirement.  It's times like these I am ever more so thankful that my kids are so low-maintenance, that even when things don't work out as planned and even if they're tired and hungry, they just barrel along, anyway, like real troupers.  Boots did ask to be carried several times, but I told him Daddy couldn't bcoz he just had surgery, and Mommy couldn't either bcoz she has scoliosis.  (I do still carry him around bcoz I realize this could be the last year I am able to, before he grows too big for me to carry.  Sob.)    

In the process of getting lost, I did luck out on this area called Pacific Pier, that is highlighted by - a lighthouse!  It was faux and all, but it was enough joy for me.  I'm shallow like that.  It housed another aquarium inside, but seeing the quality of the big one in The Waterfront, we didn't bother.

Instead we lined up for all the rides we were allowed to get into, and for those where Boots was not tall enough, either Ches or I went with Yoshi.  His favorite is something called The Dragon, a roller coaster overlooking the water with several loop the loops.  Ches and I played rock -paper-scissors to see who will take him to that, and I won!  Yes!  Me already!  I did ride with him in the Crazy Galleon (like the Viking ship in EK and MoA).  Also scary, and in my scaredy cat opinion the ride was far too long, but whaddaheck - All For The Love of Yoshi.

There is Haagen Dazs in HK!  They've pulled out in the Philippines a couple of months back (sadness), and so I took advantage and ate up in HK.  I would've brought home some if I was smart enough to figure out how they would not melt in my luggage.

The more extreme rides were in this area called Thrill Mountain.  You know exactly what you're getting into if you get into a ride with a name like Hair Raiser, right?  Boots said if you ride the thing, your hair ends up permanently raised in fright.  Hahaha.  There was even something called The Flash which goes around 360 degrees as if to throw you up in the sky and straight down to the water below. Gasp. Wouldn't it be faster if you just slash your wrist?  Thrill Mountain definitely has some of the most scary rides we have ever seen in person.  Even Yoshi The Brave sat these ones out and was content just watching clips of the rides and getting their vicarious thrills on Youtube with Boots.  These boys are addicted to rides.    

We headed back to The Waterfront bcoz we wanted to catch the panda.  We have never seen one.  Ate said there were pandas in the Washington Zoo but we couldn't find a parking slot so we ended up going to cathedrals instead.  This time, we lucked out and saw up close one of two pandas lent by China to HK and housed in Ocean Park.  Yay!

Boots was so enamored with the panda that we ended up getting him a replica in the form of a stuffed toy/pillow that he named Opy.  Our deal was, we were going to buy it for him so he can retire his old Kitty with Opy as replacement.  He agreed, but then after a while he got all dramatic and started crying in one corner bcoz he was going to miss Kitty.  Sigh.

The Waterfront also had a huge playground and rides that are more appropriate for Boots' age range.  Yoshi accompanied him to something called Frog Hopper, I went with him in a mini ferris wheel, and the three of us all went in the carousel.  In a few years' time even Boots will find these kinds of rides lame (as Yoshi does now), and we will not even venture into this area anymore.

The aquarium faces a magnificent fountain that greets all visitors in the park as they come in.  I'm not sure if this fountain is the water referred to in 'Waterfront'.

The fountain is the site of the nightly show called Symbio. It is the story of two dragons fighting each other for power over the planet, told thru lights, music, fire, and fireworks, all around the fountain.  It was amazing.  I have to say, it is a lot more fantastic than the fireworks in Disneyland (or maybe it's just I've seen that one too many).

Like in Disneyland, the food in Ocean Park barely passed muster for us, so we decided to have dinner near our hotel instead.  We settled for this place that was teeming with locals but did not even have an English name or menu.  Our waiter was nice but he is what you would call 'pretentious' - he pretended to know what fried chicken and fried spare ribs meant.  These were what we ordered, but instead we ended up with two huge pots of chicken and pork, stewed and all lathered in sauce the way my kids usually don't like.  They ate up, anyway, I guess bcoz (1) they had no choice, (2) they were ravenous, (3) the food was good even if not fried, and (4) they're just really good kids.  Yoshi said at least the waiter got the fried rice, veggies, and cream soda right. Hahaha.  All's well that ends with yumminess.