Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I Learned How to use Bicycle

Would you believe it?

From the title itself, I learned how to bike at the age of 26.

Nakakaawa no?! Hahaha.

Yeah, although people thought I was kidding when I posted this photo on my IG and Facebook account.



But seriously, ngayon lang ako natutuong mag bike and I loved it soooo much! I want to buy a bike na. Hahahah!

I was born poor so mainly, my parents can't buy a bicycle for us. We were 5 siblings so imagine the riot if they only buy one bike for all of us. Lol! When I was in high school, a friend owns one but I was too scared to use it. I had a lot of scars on my legs and I don't want to add more into it. I heard you'll get one before you learned how to use bicycle.

Fast forward to earlier this month, I joined my sister and my niece's jogging session. They go to Commerce Center in Alabang where the place offers a good ambiance for joggers and bikers. There are hardly any cars in that area so you could really have some fitness/fun/family time.


This was near Parque Espana in Alabang. There's also a bicycle for rent so I was surprised my sister want to rent for us to use. I was really scared at first and I have to try and try until I finally found the pace and the balance. It was the balancing that I was scared of but hey, I managed to face my fears didn't I?

I was so glad that finally, I felt free. Lol! I always thought ang sarap siguro mag bike and it was true! I am now aiming to buy just a normal entry level bicycle that I could use when I feel like it.

While in the process of learning how to bike, I kept telling myself that I can do things when I want to. That it's never too late to do things that you like and you are never too old for anything. In a matter of 1 hour, I learned the basics and can now use the bicycle. I know it was very mababaw and simple things but I proved to myself that I can do things when I put my mind into it. Biking scares me before, but I am bigger than my fears! And yeah, I did it. The next day, my whole body aches and I have bruises on my legs, as in a lot of them. Yung tipong para akong binugbog because tumatama yung binti ko in the pedal. Hahahah!


I would now like to have a bike for me, Daryl and a new one for Jami as he has outgrown his baby bike. I want to get one for him that has a wheel trainer at the back and a basic entry level for me. Daryl knows how to bike so definitely he could have his intermediate or advanced bike, if there's such. Lol! We could go here again for some biking/fitness/family time, can't we? I kept telling myself that I won't let Jami and my future kids not to learn how to use bicycle when they're younger. Hahaha!

I have been bugging my team leader about bicycles since he owns once and uses it to go to work. He's been giving me a tip or two about bikes and I am really excited to get one when our  budget allows. =)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Manila Zoo Visit for our 10th Year Anniversary

This is a long overdue post (July last year) but I think this still deserves to be posted. I have been looking for the photos that we took but I really can't find them. Anyway, they weren't that nice because of the resolution of the camera.

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As Daryl and I celebrated our 10 years together, he asked me where I wanted to go. Since I have been working on our budget, I realized the we don't have a spare money to use for our anniversary. I know this day is also important so as our budget. I explained that we can only go to places that we can afford. Couple of weeks ago, we asked Jami if he wants to see an elephant and he said yes so I suggested we'll just visit the Manila Zoo.

It has been a while since I went there so I want to re-visit the place. I know for sure that Jami would enjoy seeing new animals. I also looked forward to seeing the elephant because I heard that it was too old already. I won't be able to bring Jami in Indonesia yet to see a live elephant so I guess this will be an excuse. Hahah!

We reached the zoo at 3:30pm. I was quite nervous because I don't know their operating hours and I was thinking na baka close na sila. We had a little trouble with parking since there were a lot of visitors on weekends. I also heard that entrance fee are quite expensive compared before specially for those who are not residence of Manila. We were charged Php100/each while Jami was free.

Upon entrance, we were so giddy to see the elephant! Lol! He was hiding at the back part of his home so we have to go on the side to see him up close. I bet Jami got surprised na malaki pala ang elephants in real life. Hahah! He doesn't want to go near him, he was a little scared! But good job to our baby he's so happy to see the elephant. We even saw him eating bunch of leaves. It was amazing!! Lol. I never thought I would appreciate these things. Ganun ata talaga if you have a kid, you'll be delighted because you know that they're happy and curious. =)

We went around the place and saw the hippopotamus. At first, he's submerged in the water. But later on was called by an animal keeper to make him eat while a group of tourists were inside the cage watching the hippo closely. He would open his mouth so the keeper could put cabbage and even corn inside his mouth. I can't believe the hippo looked like that, parang ang bigat ng katawan!

We saw more animals like Monkeys, Crocodiles, Hebra (it was crossed breed by a horse and a zebra), deers, tigers, different kinds of birds, Owls, Fishes etc. I was so glad to be able to see those animals again. It's not everyday that we could get to see them. I am just sad that the Lion can't be found. I don't know if the lion I saw years ago died already but we can't find him there. Also, I was told that an orangutan was there too years ago but not there when we went.

The night before our visit, I checked Manila Zoo's Facebook page to check their operating hours but what I saw was mostly negative feedback about the zoo. I was saddened and hesitated to go too but we still gave it a shot to see how it looked on our own perspective. Well, honestly, I never been to another zoo before so I don't have anything to compare with.I would say that the zoo was kind of sad and weren't maintained religiously. I hope they could look after those animals more because it's saddening to see them in a state that weren't so happy.

Anyway, for a quick getaway, you can visit Manila zoo for the benefit of your kids to see those animals that they rarely see in the metro.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day Tour at Stilts Calatagan plus Budget Guide

On Mother's Day, we went to Stilts in Calatagan, Batangas. I have been looking to have some beach time over the past weeks and it was a last minute decision to pick Stilts.

I was looking for a nice resort in Batangas for months and I am really eyeing the Aquaria Beach and Waterpark resort. I found an all day pass on a discounted price but still find it expensive for a day tour. I am looking for a place where we could enjoy the beach and lounge on swimming pools at some point too.

As far as I can remember, Stilts offers a wonderful place to stay but with a very stiff price. I have read blogs about it and it looked really nice. It's on my radar for quite some time but can't afford to stay overnight.

As I said, on last minute, I came across Stilts Calatagan and their day tour rates when I searched for cheap day tours in Batangas. I was so glad to see that it's affordable despite of their expensive nightly rates. I immediately texted them and asked about their day tours. The person whom I exchange text message with (didn't get the chance to know his/her name and he/she didn't bother to introduce his/herself too) was every accommodating. He/She answered all my questions and was very prompt specially during the booking process.

I want to schedule our day tour on a Saturday, May 13, but was told they are fully booked. Good thing, they could still accommodate us the next day which was on Mother's Day! Yehey!! =) The only thing is that they no longer have huts available except their cozy nook.

I took it so we could push through with it. It was very timely to have a celebration anyway. =)

I was sent an email to reserve my slots and was asked to deposit 50% downpayment. Since it was on a Friday and I can't go to the nearest bank, I asked if I could just fund transfer which they agreed. I sent the screen shot of the deposit and immediately received a confirmation email of my booking.

We don't have a private car so we decided to commute our way to Calatagan.


How to Commute to Stilts Calatagan

We came from Pasay so from Mcdonalds in MRT Taft station, a terminal of buses to some parts of Luzon and Visayas are available. I asked about a bus going straight to Calatagan but was told there were no available buses to take us there. They offered to ride Nasugbu bound instead.

From MRT Taft Station, our bus took the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite. The bus got so crowded in some part of Cavite up to Tagaytay so better to go on their terminals to secure seats. Bus fare from Pasay to Lian is Php150+ pesos. After 2 and a half hours of bus ride, we dropped off at 711 in Lian, Batangas. We walked on a street before it and saw the jeepney and tricycle terminal. We rode a jeep going to Calatagan Market that took about an hour. Jeepney fare was Php38.When we arrived in Calatagan Market, we bought mineral water and looked for a tricycle to take us to Stilts. Tricycle ride is Php40/head.

Tip: There are other bus terminal around metro manila that you can go to. There are van in Metropoint in MRT Taft too that could take you to Calatagan for a higher price. You could also choose to go to Buendia since bus from Calatagan to Manila have terminal there or go to bus terminal in Coastal Mall (update - Macapagal terminal). In that way. you can avoid the hassle of commuting longer and save time and energy for your day tour. Alabang also has a terminal in South Station for buses bound to Batangas.

Start of Day Tour

We arrived at Stilts around 9:30am. The guard asked us for our name and checked the reservations. There was another guard shortly after and it was our tricycle driver who advised them of our booking. The driver dropped us off on the resort's make-shift place for reception. There are probably a lot of visitors that day so they decided to have a tent to accommodate groups of people conveniently. They offered a welcome drink and made us pay the Environmental fee of Php30/pax. We also paid the remaining amount due, gave us a map and directed us to Harmony Beach where day tours mostly stay. They offer a free van ride to any point in the beach for you to conveniently bring your bags. I am surprised though that they didn't inspect our bags to check if we brought cooked food. The receptionist only asked if we have cooked meals with us.



We looked for the cozy nook which can be pretty easy to find because of the big trees that served as a shade from the scorching heat of the sun.

Cozy Nook 1
Sorry I don't have a much nicer photo of their cozy nook as we put all of our things immediately when we arrived. Here's how it looked like from their website.

source
 This is exactly how it looked like except that tire-swing which was on the other side of the tree. It was the perfect spot since it was close to the beach, we could watch Jami while he's swimming plus that big tree that shields us from direct sunlight. I would say that it was really worth the amount we paid for that spot. I prefer this rather than the nipa hut as it can get a little humid dahil magsisiksikan kayo sa loob. The cozy nook offered us what we need - the beach, the sand, a little of the sun and the fresh breeze of the air.

When we finally settled down, Jami wanted to swim agad so off he went with his playmate, Kuya Angelo. We were starving so we went to their restaurant to check the menu. Food ranges from Php250-450 good for sharing (2-3 persons). They would allow day tours to bring food but with a corkage of Php 200 per head for any cooked/heavy meal food. Breads, chips, spread etc won't be charged. We were considering of just bringing in food but since we will be commuting, we decided to buy from their restaurant instead. I would say that the prices are comparable to Max's restaurant however, I didn't enjoy the food that much. Although it tastes okay but nothing spectacular.


 They delivered our food to our nook earlier than lunch time which was fine because we were starving at that point. It took probably around 30-45 minutes earlier than what we expected it to be. We thought it will be delivered to us around 12noon.


After lunch, we immediately went to swim in their pool. I wasn't surprise to see that there were a lot of people during our visit, it's Summer months and Mother's Day too.


The deepest pool height was around 6ft. The farthest pool on this photo was the kiddie pool. I would say that Jami enjoyed the pool so much. As long as he's wearing his borrowed vest from his cousin, he can be left alone. But then, we're not taking any risk so we have either Daryl or his cousin and Kuya Angelo to look after Jami. By the way, their restaurant is located on your right in the photo above. We stayed in their pool for good 30 minutes to 1 hour.

After some photo session with the gang, we decided to eat snacks and enjoy the beach. We were blessed with a weather that's cloudy so it wasn't that harsh to our skins. Just before we decided to head back to our nook, we saw the opportunity for some photo ops.





This was a view deck of their cottages. There were wooden tables and chairs for day tours. It's across their restaurant.

We suddenly wish to go near the cottages. On our way down, we saw a sign that day tours are not allowed to go there but everyone's so busy, we went anyway. Talk about matitigas ang ulo! hahaha.

The farthest cottage

The view
We didn't get the chance to see the cottages inside but some of them have hammocks outside perfect to lounge and watch the horizon. Wow! May ganun?

After our photo op, we went back to our nook to eat merienda. I couldn't believe that Jami's enjoying the place so much. He doesn't want to leave the water. I was kinda worried since he's skipping snacks already so we asked him to sit down for a while and eat. Pahirapan pa talaga. Haha!


I loved how calm and shallow their beach was. It's perfect for families so as not to worry about the safety of the kids. Although please keep in mind to look after them at all times. You don't want to risk their safety right?

They also have this part of the beach where beach weddings could be facilitated.During our stay, a group of men were preparing the venue so we took the chance to take some pictures.

You take nice pictures of them, when it's their time to take your photo.. never mind. =D
By the way, Stilts is well maintained. You can see it in their restroom. It's clean and has a separate shower area and restroom. It has a good supply of water and have place to put your things inside the shower area.

Restrooms/Shower Areas are on the right side of the photo
We ordered plenty of food for our lunch and brought breads, chips and bottled water with no corkage fee. It lasted us for merienda so we didn't order food from their restaurant anymore.

Jami wants to go back to the beach
 It was a sad thing that this is the only photo of the three of us here in Stilts. Mostly, it's me with Daryl or me and Jami. Eto ang nag iisang photo, hindi pa maayos. Haha!

At around 3pm, we decided to swim in the beach to get the feel of it and I would say that I enjoyed it too. The sand was white and fine while the water is clear.  I was hoping we have plenty of time to roam around, enjoy the beach and the place. I know that Stilts is a really big property and has a lot of picture perfect place to visit.

Last photo before going home
We left Stilts before 4pm so we could catch the bus from Calatagan to Manila. For summer months, Bus terminal in Calatagan extends up to 6pm for their last trip due to the amount of people going there versus their usual trip of 4pm.

Pros

1. Affordable. For the price of Php385/head, the place is more than it's worth. Kids 6 and below are free of charge.
2. Resort and Beach area are well maintained. They offer a lot of accommodation for a day tour, you just need to reserve upon booking.
3. Free use of pool and beach area included in the entrance fee.
4. Free ride from your cottage to the entrance of the resort. Although you can opt to walk if you still have the energy to do so.
5. Staff are accommodating. From booking process to the actual day of our tour. There were securities roaming around and staff that cleans the beach from time to time.
6. Very close to Manila, perfect for short vacations.
7. You can ask the tricycle driver to pick you up when you are ready to leave the resort. They would usually offer since there were no ways of commuting around the area. The kuya who drove us to Stilts left his mobile number to text him when we are ready to be picked up.

Cons

1. Food tastes okay.Nothing spectacular though for it's price. I hope they could improve on their Sinigang. =)
2. For commuters, you have to cut your day tour short on non Summer months due to buses last trip is at 4pm. If you have a private car then you could stay until 6pm and wait for sunset. 

I can't think of anything else that needs to improve on. I just hope they maintain the service they give at all times as Stilts is a wonderful place to stay. 

Budget



You will be able to save some if you ride the bus that goes straight to Calatagan instead of riding the Nasugbu bound. Also, I put Php500 for the food but it is adjustable depending on how many food you order. I would say that it would only be for lunch since you could bring light food and water inside the resort without corkage. Bring bread, spread and snacks to save some money as resort prices could be thrice the regular price. If you wish to bring your own cooked food or grill them in the resort, you could do so by paying Php200/head corkage fee.Charge for Cozy Nook or Nipa hut can be divided with your group so it will be a lot cheaper.

Do I recommend Stilts?

Definitely a big Yes! It was a very nice place and day tour doesn't even catch everything that the place has to offer. I hope we could stay longer but we have to go back to Manila for work. I say this is a place we could always come back for some short vacation.


Stilts Calatagan Beach Resort
Calatagan, 4215 Batangas, Philippines
+639175863343

Friday, May 19, 2017

RITM Animal Bite Center Experience and the Cost

Last month, we went to RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) because Daryl got scratched by a cat that goes to our house for food.

So here's the background of the cat. It was called Dudut by Jami and has been in the house on and off for about half a year. It was a very malambing na cat kaso recently, she gave birth and we don't want the kittens to be inside the house kasi mabaho and kapag nag poop and pee sila, grabe ang amoy so we left them inside the compound but outside our house. Yun nga lang, Dudut carried them everywhere so hindi ko na alam kung saan napunta ang kittens. I saw one lately and mejo malaki na. Kaso mag isa na lang sya. I am not sure kung nasaan na ang iba. Hinahayaan lang namin yung cat to roam around the house most of the time because they help to minimize the existence of rats.

Anyway, ayun na nga, one morning, Daryl was lying on a cleopatra style wooden chair beside our window kung saan dumadaan si Dudut. Unfortunately, nadulas si Dudut or it didn't notice Daryl lying on its landing place so it fell straight on Daryl's face. Sa gulat nya, he took Dudut away from his face pero Dudut was holding for her dear life so yeah, nakalmot nya si Daryl. It was a really long scratch from his cheekbone to down to about an inch before his panga.

He was really worried because he posted the photo on his facebook account and tinakot na sya ng mga tao. Haha! So he was asking me to bring him to the hospital. He waited for me to go home since no one will be looking after with Jami. Just when I was on the way, Daryl and Ma Belen started looking out for clinics na pwedeng magpabakuna. After a while, they can't find any so we all agreed to meet in SM Southmall.

Good thing, I read a blog (forgot the link) where an anonymous comment says that the cheapest vaccine for animal bites can be found in RITM in Muntinlupa. I texted an officemate who lives in the same city to ask directions on how to get to RITM from South Station in Alabang.

Just before we headed to RITM, we decided to check in Alabang Medical Center in Madrigal, Alabang to see if we could instead get a vaccine from there. When we went inside ER, we were told that they have vaccines but they couldn't accept Daryl's case because the scratch was on his face. Any bites or scratch from neck and up will be directed straight to RITM immediately.

We got no choice left so we went to RITM. It was past 7pm when we arrived but people there were very accommodating including the security guard who was stationed beside the entrance of their ER. I was told that it wasn't really a hospital but a research center. After a while, a doctor interrogated Daryl on what happened including why he came in late. He should have went earlier since the scratch was around 8 in the morning. He was ask to go to pharmacy and pay the medicine. They also did a skin test for allergies.

The cost of the vaccine was a total of Php1,200 which contains 8 shots. 3 on his arms, 2 on his face beside the scratch, one on hips and 2 more on both of his legs. We have to wait for an hour to make sure that Daryl didn't feel nauseated or dizzy or any after effects of medicine. We were done at around 9:30pm.

Daryl was given a paper that contains information of his vaccine and a card for his next visit. He should come back after 3 days which fell on a holiday (May 1) so it was adjusted on the 4th day. He also has to come back for 7th and 28th day. He was told he'll have two shots on his second visit and would only need to pay Php100.

How to commute from Festival Mall to RITM

The easiest way is to get to Muntinlupa Fire Station and look for multicabs that are waiting just along the corner (near Festival Mall and Crimson hotel). Tell the driver to drop you off at RITM and pay Php15 per head. If you are traveling alone, you might need to pay for a special trip or you may wish to wait for other passengers.

You will notice at this time that RITM is on a secluded place and there are no public transportation near the place. Don't worry, the multicabs goes there from time to time to see if there are passengers waiting to be brought back to Alabang/Festival Mall.

Total Cost

We paid a total of Php1,200 for the initial vaccines. That includes an anti-tetanus vaccine as well since Daryl hadn't had one. It might be a little cheaper if you got one before hand. Anyway, this is the cheapest price that you could get for an animal bite vaccine. Most private hospitals charge from Php3,000 to Php15,000. Bare in mind that you also has to go back for other sessions so it can get really expensive.You could also opt to get your succeeding  vaccines on a local health center near your place for convenience. You just have to make sure that it's the same brand/medicine content with your initial vaccine.

In total, I am really glad with our experience with RITM. They didn't give us a hard time and didn't encounter a masungit na Nurse or Doctor. They are all accommodating and would answer your questions promptly. For the price we paid and the kind of service they gave, we were really happy.

Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)
9002 Research Dr,
Alabang, Muntinlupa, 1781
Metro Manila, Philippines

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Our Mother's Day 2017

Hi Mommies?

Did you guys had a fun Mother's Day this year?

I did! It was one of the best Mother's Day ever.

You know how much I love going places and this year, we made it possible to celebrate Mother's Day more special. On my last post about Daryl's 28th birthday, I mentioned I want to celebrate small things if we can. Those small things that we do will sure make Jami remember the bonds of a family and how important occasions are. Even before Mother's Day, I asked Ma Belen if we could go out of town and she made it possible for us. I am so glad the plan pushed through on Mother's Day. =)

Jami wants to go swimming na kaya sad! :D
We had our out of town at Stilts Calatagan last Sunday kaso na sad ako to see na wala pala kaming family photo! Na realize ko when the next day when I was uploading the photos on Facebook. This is the only photo of the three of us tapos hindi pa nakisama si Jami. =(

Anyway, I'll tell you all about our trip. I can't wait to share with you the wonderful place we went to. =) Belated Happy Mother's Day to Mama, Ma Belen, my sisters, extended sisters, friend and kumares and everyone of you who's reading it.