Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Jami Started Going to School

The year 2017 offered a lot of things to us. It's a combination of good and bad but still, I am so thankful that we can manage everything.

One of the good things that happened halfway thru the year was Jami going to school for the first time.

I am so excited!!!!!!!

I even planned to save a certain amount for a starter but something came up so we didn't keep that same amount after all. I was sad pero I am so grateful for our families for helping us throughout.

Despite of the struggle, it didn't stop us to continue our new milestone!



Jami is 3 years old, turning 4 this year so I have decided to send him to school. He was a candidate for Nursery 1 since he didn't get any school experience before. I tried looking for schools that offers a summer program for incoming Nursery student but most of the schools around our place don't have one. =(

How we chose the School


Quite frankly, I didn't have much option because we have limited amount of money. I don't even want to spend a fortune at this early stage so I was looking for a school that can give us quality education without creating havoc to our wallets.

My qualifications for choosing the school were:

  • Near our House - This is very important for me since I don't want Jami to get tired of commuting this early. Besides, with all the bad things that happens everywhere, nakaka trauma so gusto ko yung tipong walking distance lang from home. It's cost cutting somehow since I don't want to pay for tuition fee then pay for Jami's fare pa.  

  • Good Education Background - Of course we wanted to send our kids to school na hindi naman sila pababayaan and sure na meron matututuhan. I also want a school where there will be more than 1 teacher in a classroom so they can attend to each students' need.

  • Not too Expensive - with all the private school that's coming here and there, you have to know which school will offer you quality but cheaper naman ng konti diba? I heard pre-schools in Makati charges 30k-40k for a Nursery student! Imagine?? I can't pay that much even maging installment pa. I know we want the best education for our kids but it doesn't mean I have to pay that much naman. Probably when Jami's in elementary, mejo ma accept ko pa ng mejo masakit sa dibdib at katawan. hahahaha! 

Those are the top 3 things that I am looking for so I started searching for schools near our place. I have an officemate who's a pre-school teacher before and I asked about some things to be mindful of. All along I have this 3 school that are all walking distance away.

The first school I have in mind is a really big school with college students na din meaning it was really expensive talaga, around 40k na din in total. The second school was nearer but it was a small school. They offered Pre-school only and they have one room for nursery and kinder with different schedule.The last one is a day care center pero tatawid pa ng highway and I was kinda 50-50 on that kasi ayaw ko nga ng tatawid ng highway. Nakakapraning kaya with all those big trucks and buses diba! You'll never know.

So ending, we choose school number 2. Although it was a small school, it's cheaper compared to school 1 and a lot closer to our home. Jami doesn't have to cross the highway and that I heard good reviews from other moms about the quality of education from school 2. Anyway, I don't want to send him to school na sobrang expensive tapos hindi ko naman kayang bayaran diba? Or yung hirap na hirap naman akong mag commit sa expenses. I am sure it wouldn't be a very nice experience especially for Jami when he has to stop going to school because we can't afford or he would not take exams because wala pa akong pera to pay for his tuition fee. That'll break my heart big time kaya dun lang kami sa kaya ng bulsa namin ni Daryl. Hehe!



During summer, I went there to pay the reservation fee and saw our neighbor's kid. He was enrolled in a 1-1 tutorial class that the teacher's offered for their students. I was surprised that our neighbor can read! Matanda lang sya ng more than a year kay Jami and he only started school last year pero nakakabasa na sya in tagalog! I was so surprised, naalala ko kasi parang grade 3 na ako natuto mag basa hahahahaha!




Our tuition fee is quite reasonable and they have a very affordable installment plan. They charge for books separately along with school uniforms. We bought our own notebooks and the rest of Jami's school things from Robinson's and National bookstore.

I am looking forward to have a positive experience here in this school! =)

What about you Mommas? How did you choose your kids' school?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Circle Inn Hotel in Ilo-ilo

After our tiring day in Gigantes Island, we headed straight back to Ilo-ilo City where our accommodation for the night is waiting. We reached the city at around 2 to 3pm. Since we didn't get the chance to eat breakfast nor lunch on our way back to the city, we decided to eat in Jollibee along the way.

I would say, I missed Jollibee because I had a hard time with our food in Gigantes. I am not a fan of seafood so there was a slight struggle on that. Hahah! Don't get me wrong, I want to be as adventurous when it comes to food pero minsan, di ko talaga keri. Lol!

Anyway, Circle Inn Ilo-ilo is located near Ilo-ilo market and Ortiz wharf which was our entry point to Guimaras. My sister did the research and booked the place for us.

We were really tired after our trip from Gigantes so I was really looking forward to a much decent hotel we could stay. I cannot bear another disappointing hotel at that point (read here). I was really glad to see that the lobby looked homey and maaliwalas. It was a plus that they have a pool where the kids could enjoy. My sister checked us in while we gather our things. It costs us Php1,200/room.

We were given rooms in third floor so after we got hold of the key, umakyat na ako agad! Sobrang tiring talaga. Our original plan is to make  it to Guimaras for a half day tour then continue the next day. I guess we don't have enough energy to continue so it was a right move to take the half day off.

Circle Inn Hotel Lobby



This was just outside their lobby. They serve breakfast here, I think. We didn't take their breakfast anymore due to lack of time. We have to be really early for Guimaras the next day. On the left side of this photo was where their swimming pool is.






The kids enjoyed swimming here for an hour or two after we arrived while I got myself busy online. I had full day yesterday with no phone signal. Besides, the hotel's wifi has a good connection.


Our room!








I just realized now na wala pala akong photo of the bathroom. Hahah!

Anyway, I could say that I am satisfied with the room.

  1. It's big with comfy beds and pillows. 
  2. TV works fine with Sky Cable service provider.
  3. Complimentary coffee and tea.
  4. Clean rooms, restrooms, towels and bed.
  5.  They also provided clothes hanger and safety box inside the cabinet. 
  6. Wifi unit given to us upon check-in.
  7. In the heart of Ilo-ilo City. Walking distance to the market place and Ortiz wharf: your entry point to Guimaras. 
I am hoping they could improve on:
  1. No bidet.
  2. Broken exhaust fan on room 301.
  3. Air conditioning unit takes time to cool down the room. As in! 
The room key is attached to a key card that you have to insert on a panel upon entry to get the electricity running. Di ko kasi alam ang tawag dun. Haha! So when we left for dinner, we have to close down everything including the AC. When we got back to rest, it took 3-4 hours before the room felt cool. Although we had a good night sleep in our room despite of the AC, my sister's room wasn't cold at all even after overnight. They have to move the beds where the AC is to be comfortable. My nephew knocked on our door to sleep in our room that night. We were too lazy and tired to ask for another room because all we want to do is to recharge for another day of traveling.

I was thinking, they could have placed the AC where the bed is specially kung hindi naman lumalamig ang unit. Their ac units are placed across the door going out the room so kapag pumasok ka, akala mo malamig na but when you lie down sa bed, grabe! Joke lang pala yung lamig. Haha!

Well then, I would still say that I am happy with our stay even there were slight 'needs improvement section'.  The lady in the reception was accommodating too and they also allowed my sister to pay half day to extend the room use until 5pm.


The Circle Inn Hotel & Suites
Gov Fermin Caram St, Iloilo City Proper, 
Iloilo City, 5000 Iloilo, Philippines
+6333508 0000

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

My 27th Birthday

Two weeks ago, we celebrated my 27th birthday!

Grabe! In 3 years time, 30 years old na ako! It feels weird thinking about it. Hahaha!

Anyway, we had a very simple birthday celebration. Alam nyo naman, hindi ako fan ng mga bonggahan with matching madaming bisita type of birthdays so it was just me, Daryl and Jami who went out after office hours.

Honestly, this is the first time that I worked on my birthday. For the past 9 years, I always celebrate my birthday at home. Automatic yan, naka leave ako from work. For me, birthdays are to celebrate with family. This year was different and it felt weird. Tumatanda na ata talaga ako! Hahaha!

I went to work just so I could earn more leave credits. Halos sagad kasi ako and it was only half of the year. I know we still have plenty of time to celebrate after work so I opted not to go on leave.

So after work, I went to pick the boys up from Ma Belen's house. We were deciding where to eat at that point but the original plan was to try those Buffet restaurant like Vikings. I don't eat in places like these because I find it a waste of money. I don't eat a lot so hindi maluwag sa dibdib ko ang magbayad ng almost Php1,000 just for less than a plate of food. I think my birthday is an exception since I am free while I only have to pay for Daryl. He eats a lot so sulit talaga. I am just trying to convince myself that Php300 is worth to pay for Jami's head but I really felt na hindi makatarungan. Hehe!

Although I am not very willing to pay for the amounts of these buffet resto, I am very welcome with experiences specially when I am with my family so maybe once in our lifetime, we could try. I thought my birthday was the perfect date but when we were talking about it on our way to the mall, nag back out ako because I really felt it was a waste of money.

We asked Jami what he wanted to eat because we really can't decide.

Me: Jami what do you want to eat?

Jami: Hmmmm...

Me: Spaghetti? Chicken?

Jami: Hmm.. No!

Me: What about Pizza?

Jami: Yess.. Pizza, Pizza!

So we finally settled to Shakey's. Unfortunately, mejo maliit yung branch nila in Mall of Asia so we have to wait in line for our turn. Even so, I was glad with their service and the food, of course.

We ordered the combos with pizza, pasta, chickens and mojos for Php1,300. It was a filling meal, we even had food to take home.




We inquired about their freebie for a birthday celebrant but you have to be a card holder for you to get a pizza. Their card costs Php499 (same as the large pan pizza you'll get as a celebrant) which will automatically give you 10% discount for your purchase. However, we decided not to get the card since it won't be economical to get a large size pizza with a card then shell out Php499 for one time. I couldn't tell if we will eat in Shakey's quite a lot so a discount card will be of no use.




At some point, some of their crew approached a table near us and sang happy birthday. Jami was looking forward to that! Haha! He might be thinking they were singing because of me, lol!

Anyway, I really love this kind of birthday - with family. That's all I could ask for. It's practical than celebrating with a lot of people. I never got used on getting too much attention on my birthday. Nahihiya kasi ako, lol! So yeah, I prefer my birthday's to be this special. =)

Looking back, I can't believe that for the past 5 years of my life, I did something new.

At the age of:

22, I was introduced with traveling. I considered it my "most traveled year so far".

Nov 2012 at Malacanang of the North

23, I became pregnant and a Mom to Jami.


24, I became an entrepreneur and managed my first online business.


25, I learned the basics of baking and started earning money thru it.


26, I overcame the fear of biking.



I can't believe I had some progress made. It was worth tracking them. Minsan akala ko, boring na ang buhay and paulit-ulit na ang ginagawa ko. Yun pala, I am making these small progress and I am a better version of me. Na- amaze ako! =D I was looking forward to doing or learning something new this year!



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Gigantes Hideaway Inn 2017 Experience

Finding a place to stay at when you are traveling can be really tricky. You don't know what surprises the place will bring you. It can either be good or bad things, right? Well, it's a good thing that information are available over the internet nowadays. You can search almost all places with recommendations from bloggers and backpackers so hindi ka nangangapa in the place you're going to.

Before our Gigantes trip, my sister and I looked for a nice place to stay. As I have mentioned on my previous posts, we would like to DIY as much as we can.

Gigantes Hideaway Inn is a famous place to stay in Gigantes Island. I would say famous because most travel bloggers who stayed here recommends the place.

Why Gigantes Hideaway Inn?


There were 3 resorts that my sister looked into: 

Gigantes Hideaway Inn - was really responsive on my text messages. They answered my questions although I felt bitin at some point since their answers weren't direct to the point. Probably because they were trying to offer packages and I am looking for a DIY fees, so it might be a reason they can't quote me a proper price. We later on decided to book their accommodations only since my sister managed to rent a local boat from a relative.

Rosewood Resort - was also on our list but they were really hard to contact. They respond to my text and facebook messages after a day or so which isn't really helpful if you're cramming to find an accommodation for your upcoming trip.

I also tried to contact Arjan Resort but they were closed during our trip due to family problem, says the person whom I sent a text message to.

To make sure we have a place to stay at, we settled in Hideaway Inn.

 Communication

 

Since the island doesn't have a phone coverage, except on a certain part of the island they called "Call Center" as other blog says, I was really worried that it will be hard to communicate with the hotel. I thought wrong since they reply to my messages quicker than the other two resorts.

During our stay, we weren't able to make calls or even texts since literally no phone signal is available. 

Packages 

 

Gigantes Hideaway Inn offers packages which includes Island Hopping including tour guide, Boat transfers, Full board meals (breakfast, Lunch and dinner) add accommodation of fan room. This complete package costs Php2,185/head per adult and kids 7 years old and above while 6 years old and below are free of charge. This package meant a public transportation from Estancia to Gigantes Island at 10am and 2pm the day of your arrival.

Since we were 10 pax at the time of my inquiry, and we weren't sure if we can make it to 10am public boat, I asked how much it will cost for a private boat for transfers and island hopping. This way, we could manage our own time and plan our own itinerary. The amount will be at Php2,500/head which we felt quite steep.

Accommodations

 

The Inn charges Php200/head for their fan room while additional Php500-1,100/per room (on top of the Php200/head) for air conditioned rooms. 

Originally, my sister booked an air conditioned room for Php1,100x4 adult (Php200/each) = Php1,900 while I found the Php200/head fan room comfortable since I want to experience the "probinsya style" which was a bad idea after all. Lol! I have Jami with me and it's quite humid at some point. One fan isn't enough for him and me plus Nanay who would stay in our room too. I decided to upgrade to air conditioned room at that instant. They offer rooms good for 3 or 4 occupants. Rooms good for 3 are rooms inside an old big house with 4 rooms, a huge living room, kitchen (with no equipment) and an outdated, dirty bathroom. I paid Php200x2 + 500 (for AC room) = Php900.

 

Rooms

 


The AC room for 3 persons gave us very basic things. It has 1 double bed and 1 single bed, a fan and an AC. We also have 3 pillows and a very small blanket. Hehe! You know I could live in this, di naman ako choosy. What's important for me is that, Jami can comfortably sleep at night. I wasn't just really happy with the restroom since it looked dirty, stinks, and old. It has a very old plastic drum that's broken and looked really dirty. No sink available but a broken and old mirror. The water supply isn't good so kelangan mo muna mag ipon ng water sa sirang drum before you can take a bath.

Nanay wasn't glad either since she doesn't want to stay in a very big house tapos walang katao-tao. Haha! Talk about scared of ghosts. 

The room given to us was a makeshift room made from wood. For me, it looked like an old dining space that was converted to a room. Our walls were made from woods that divided us from living room and the kitchen. I wasn't happy since there were three other rooms in the house and it seem to be deserted so I can't understand why we can't occupy that.

Meanwhile, my sister's room that are good for 4 occupants looked better and they have their own restroom. I forgot to mention that electricity is only available from late afternoon to 6am the next day so to make the room cooler, you can open the windows and doors in the morning. You'll just have additional guests by then - the flies. =D 

Food

 


Included on Hideaway's package are the full board meals. They would refer to it as Buffet style but when we were there, it was plated, so it was Buffet-plated meal. They serve seafood only so if you are a fan of seafood, then it's a feast. For some who aren't, it's kinda tricky. For I am a very picky eater, I had trouble liking the food since it's very new to me. Lol! I don't eat a lot when traveling so it wasn't an issue anyway. I'm sorry for I have no photos of their food. I will work on it on my future travel. =) Their buffet-plated meal are for php185/head which includes 3-4 types of seafood viand and rice. Gigantes are rich in scallops, fishes and squids so expect that these are the food they would likely to serve.


Services

 


One thing that I am not really happy about was their services. When we came to Bulubadiang Island, where their hotel extension is, a guy approached my sister and said that he was the tour guide assigned to us for our entire stay. Since we have our own boat and the boatmen/relatives could take and tour us to our destinations, we opted not to take a tour guide from Hideaway Inn. We advised him that we only wanted the accommodations and that we will take care of our island hopping etc. He said it was okay so we proceed with our island hopping and went to Hideaway Inn in the late afternoon for check in. 

Since our relative brought food with them, we asked them to cook it for us for a fee of Php150. Came dinner, we asked what they have in their menu that we can order. They then asked if we have our tour guide because he's also in charge of everything like food, accommodation, etc. So meaning, the tour guide isn't just for touring you around but also in-charge of everything you might require. Because we wanted to DIY and didn't opt for a tour guide, we ended up with only ourselves with everything we need in the resort. We asked if we can buy whatever they can cook for us but since they offer "Buffet" food, we could only buy if there are extra serving. 

It was kinda frustrating knowing that they can't help us with our requests because we only paid for accommodation and not their "package". They were expecting our own boatmen to assist us throughout. Pano naman mangyayari yun? Our boatmen doesn't work in the resort. It's as if they were trying to explain to us that we need to get a tour guide if we want them to assist us. We were leaving early next day, it won't be practical to get one either. We contented ourselves with the food brought by our relatives and ordered two of their "buffet-plated" meal. 

We checked out early next day so we can go back to Estancia port before lunch. We asked how much do we have to pay in total and noticed they weren't organize at all. They are not even sure how many food we took on lunch. We paid them and just before we left the hotel, a lady approached us and said we haven't paid the drinks we took for dinner. I can't believe it wasn't even included on the final bill we paid. Anyhow, I was really glad we're leaving since I can no longer tolerate the services.

My Take 

 


These were our experience of the resort. It may be different from others who took their packages. It seemed that they advertise their packages too much, they failed to offer good services for those who prefer DIYs. Or probably because they thought we were locals because of our relatives and our own boat so they lack the assistance and services they usually provide to tourists. Even so, would it only be fair to treat every guests fairly?

If I will be asked if I'll recommend the resort? No I won't. I will not go back there at all.

I loved Gigantes Island and there's so much I have yet to see but I'll sure try other resorts. We were told by our relatives that the owner was the first tourism officer of Gigantes Island so it was probably the reason why it was so famous, but then there were other resorts that looked well-maintained.

When we went to Gigantes Island, I lowered the expectations of the resorts since it wasn't like the ones that we see in Manila. I am totally aware that this will be a pobinsya-like way and that I have no complaint on that. I just thought that based on the reviews that I have read from other bloggers, that this resort will give us a homey and stress-free stay. For the amount we pay, the resort is not well-maintained. Oh by the way, the tour guides were having their drinking session on their mini bar while we eat dinner. At first I was thinking there were guests too, but later on realize that they weren't.

Please also note that their swimming pool is no longer available. If it is, I tell you, it's really small. I wasn't even in the mood to take pictures of the resort because I don't recommend it at all.

This summarize our stay on Gigantes Hideaway Inn. This is not to ruin their nice online reviews since this resort's target customers are those who are backpacking. For family with kids, look elsewhere or get a tour guide and pay more so they could accommodate your concerns.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Family Trials

You know, I really love the month of June!

Aside from it being my birth month, I felt I receive more trials during this time of year, every year.

Hahaha! Exage! But yes, that's what I usually feel whenever my birthday comes.

The past couple of weeks, I was really stressed. Although we received good news too, I can't keep being happy for too long because of other things that we have to face.

Well, instead of dwelling into those negative things, I'll share with you those that are good ones. Sabi nga nila diba? Don't dwell on negativity. Be happy and the universe will conspire to make your wishes come true.

Char! Ako lang nag imbento nyan, but sort of like that yung mga kasabihan diba? Hahaha.

On June 14th, we had the chance to celebrate my birthday. I wasn't really expecting anymore since we have a lot of things to bear in mind first but Daryl, as he always does, want to make sure that I'll get to celebrate my birthday. We were originally planning to eat in Vikings but decided to eat somewhere else to save money.




The past weekend, we celebrated Father's Day in advance. We ate in Bonchon kasi favorite ni Daryl yung Bibimbow nila. Also we bought school supplies for Jami.



We decided to buy Jami's things in Robinson's Las Pinas para maiba lang. We always go to SM Southmall which at times, gets really crowded. I would say that mas madami lang talaga ang options in SM Southmall.



Jami had his first day of school yesterday!! For the past two days that I am observing him, I'll blog about it in a separate post. This is a such a big milestone I have to document it. Hehehe!



While I was really happy with Jami's new endeavor, I am equally happy with Daryl's first day at work. =) He was finally called to start and signed the contract. I know that he's excited with this just like I am.

So there, these are the things that I am really glad about despite of all the trials that the family faces now. To give you a hint, one of it was the "looking for nanny immediately" part. Since Daryl now have a job, no one will look after Jami. We need one really soon! I am hoping we could find one who would really take care of him, yun bang may malasakit.

Oh God! Please help us.