Disappointments and Growing Up

I have been waiting for ToyCon 2016 since ToyCon 2015 ended. When they announced the price increase in entrance fee and the change in venues (from Mega to MOA), I was still 100% sure that I will go. Toys and comic books are what keep me sane. I can spend hours at these types of convention. What a normal 30yo woman feels when she shops for clothes, bags, shoes, or make-up, that’s what I feel when I shop for toys and comic books. 

Anyway, I was deciding whether to pursue buying the VIP Pass worth Php3500 and get Hodor’s signature and have my photo taken with him, or just the regular day pass worth Php500 and spend the remaining budget I already set aside for ToyCon for toys I might want to buy. And that is why I haven’t bought my ticket yet and why I was just planning to purchase it there.

Anyway, I just enrolled M for Grade 5 last Friday morning. When I reviewed the money that we spent for the enrollment of the two kids, their tuition fee, their books and other materials/school supplies that they will be needing, and their school shoes, I couldn’t believe how much money we’ve shelled out just for this month. 

And then when I arrived home from a Client meeting (which I attended after enrolling her), my kids told me that they wanted to continue studying swimming, gymnastics (for M), and taekwondo (for N) even when school starts. They begged me that they really want to.

The kids are both excelling in swimming. They both got awards at the swimming graduation yesterday. M’s gymnastics coach wants to train her for a meet so they can be promoted to Level 1 already. N recently earned a yellow stripe on his white belt and his Coach wants to train him more because they see potential in him. 

A bit of information on how we manage our finances: We are both mid-income earners. My husband pays for the kids’ tuition fee and takes care of all our  needs. I pay for the wants (the shopping, movies, restaurants dates), and the groceries. So when the kids want to take extra classes, it’s usually me who pays for it as those are considered as wants and not needs.

And that’s when my heart did a double take. Do I really need more toys? Because I can use my ToyCon budget to enroll the kids in their swimming, gymnastics, and taekwondo classes. 

I weighed it carefully. When I go to that ToyCon, I will be ecstatic. I have been waiting for it for a year now. But when I use that budget to enroll the kids instead to their extra curricular classes, I know that they will be very happy. 

It boiled down to me or my kids. 

And yes, of course, the kids won. 

Who am I to deny my kids their right to hone their skills more and to maximize their potentials? 

And besides, my kids are my greatest achievements in life. When I had them, I promised myself that I would do everything to give them what they need as long as I can. Their failure and success would be my failure and success. Their disappointments and happiness are mine as well. 
So there, I am terribly disappointed that I was unable to go to the ToyCon. My very loving husband wanted to pay for my ticket but I could not let him. It would defeat the purpose of me choosing the kids’ happiness over mine. (I know you’ll be reading this, and I hope you understand).

I cried a little while writing this post. But hey, I’m a big girl. And there will always be next year. 😊 

And with that, after 9 years of being an actual one, I now know what it truly feels to be a parent and to grow up. 

-Ciao-

Cleaning Out My Closet 

Literally, I did this earlier, and unlike Eminem’s song, this has no emotional baggages or whatever.

After being inspired by blogs and videos decluttering items which no longer bring them “joy”, I started decluttering our items, particularly our clothes. We were left with a few pieces of clothing, which we used often.

After seeing the decluttered closet (me and my husband share one – yes, we’re not that fond of clothes), I still was unhappy. It still looks disorganized. And so I started to work on it earlier.

This is how the closet looks like after I removed all my clothes (I forgot to take a pic of it with my clothes still in it).


My clothes are supposed to be on the right side, my husband’s clothes on the left and our shirts in between. Towels and M’s bedsheets on top. Our bedsheets at the bottom of my side, and other clothing items on my husband’s side. Some papers on the right and hats, etc on the left door.

After 2 hours, this is how it turned out:


Top: I used my extra bin (similar to the bins at the bottom) to house my kids’ towels. I change our towels every 3 days. Our towels are behind that bin. M’s bedsheets (the matching pillow cases and blankets are inside each pillowcase) and fluffy blankets are on the other side. With the kids’ towels now inside the bin, it looks much more cleaner.

I might buy two more similar looking bins to house our towels and M’s bedsheets/blankets. That would look better, right?

My husband’s clothes are still on the left side of the cabinet. I used all our black hangers for his clothes. It looks nicer and more put together that way. His clothes are arranged by function (his preference). So all his dress suits are inside those blue suit organizers which we bought in SM for around 200 pesos each), these are immediately followed by his polo shirts, short sleeved polos, and long sleeved polos. The items closest to our shirt organizers are his sweaters and his jackets.

My clothes, which are on the right side of the closet, are arranged by color. It’s easier to choose that way. I dress according to my mood. So the darker the color, the more tired I am that day. 😛

As for the shirt organizer in the middle, my husband’s white and black shirts are on top. His other colored shirts are on the second layer. My shirts are on the third layer while the kids’ most often used jackets are in the fourth one. M’s gymnastics clothes are in the bottom layer.

Our bedsheets are still in the similar bin. Like M’s bedsheets, ours are already matchingly arranged, with all matching bedsheets, blankets, and pillowcases, inside a pillowcase. It’s easier to change bedsheets that way.

The pink bag infront of the large bin are N’s cloth diapers, which I cannot bear to part with yet, and our linen spray, which I bought from Gourdo’s.

There are 4 matching bins beside the large bin. The ones behind are our seasonal clothings, with one bin storing our thick jackets while the other bin stores our swim wears.

The bin closest to the largest bin are my pants, skirts, shorts, etc., while the bin behind it houses my husband’s pants and shorts.

You may notice that I arrange our shirts and bottoms similarly. It makes choosing what you need easier and it stays more organized longer than storing these on top of each other.

Lastly, here is the left side of the cabinet.


The SM bag has our hats/caps, which we do not use often. The kids’ Kidzania passports and extra Kidzos are also hanged at this side.

And here is the right side of the cabinet.


I threw away papers which we do not use anymore. And kept these.

The first four pockets are our knick knacks. My dart pins, erasers for our whiteboard, and some fans. The next four pockets are for the kids’ ID pics, batteries, and marker for myc chalkboard stickers.

The last 8 pockets are some of the envelopes that we use to organize our finances. Receipts, PDCs, proof of warranty, and expenses envelopes are here too.

Anyway, I’m happier with how the closet looks like now. ❤️

I’m glad I cleaned my closet today.

-Ciao-

On Fantasy, Adventure, and Space Rangers (Hong Kong Day 4)

Disneyland. It is indeed the happiest place on Earth.

One of the things in my bucketlist is to be able to bring my kids to Disneyland (any Disneyland!) and I am so happy that I can finally cross this one off my list.

We were really blessed that our good friends and M and N’s godparents (M’s godfather and N’s godmother) sponsored/ paid for the kids’ two day Disneyland tickets without us asking. They are really just that kind hearted and they love our kids a lot. Thank you so much, Ninong Burn and Ninang Tricia. Big, big help!

Anyway, as for mine, my husband’s, and my aunt’s 2 day ticket, it was included in the package that we got with our Kingdom Club stay. Sulit na sulit talaga diba?

Ticket prices are posted on HK Disneyland’s website. But again, if you want to save a couple of dollars and you’re in the airport anyway, go buy your tickets at CTS. This is also so you can avoid the lines at the ticket counter at Disneyland.

So, Hong Kong Disneyland has seven “lands” that you can explore – Main Street, Fantasy Land, Tomorrow Land, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, and Adventure Land.

Starting Day 4. Before going to the park, we had our free buffet breakfast first at Crystal Lotus, which is located at the 3rd floor of the hotel (same as the main lobby).

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It has a fine dining feel to it. Parang bawal mag-ingay. Hehe.

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        This is what I had for breakfast

They also have congee, different types of breads, asian dish, and bacon, and other pork dish (which I was in no mood to try that day) and you can also request for sunny side eggs. There are cereals for the kids and fruits and pastries for dessert.

After having breakfast, we immediately went to the line for the hotel shuttle to go straight to the park.

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               Our Disneyland Tickets

Shuttle to Disneyland. If you’re riding the hotel shuttle, it will pass by the Hollywood Hotel first and then go to the park. However, for dropping off, it’s the other way around. They drop the guests from Disneyland Hotel first before the guests at the Hollywood Hotel. Shuttle comes in every 10 minutes.

Planning for the trip. The park’s operating hours during our stay was from 10am to 8pm. Weeks before, I already memorized the park map and prepared two itineraries. The first one was for when there’s not too much guests – I alloted 30minutes per attraction. Just to be safe. The second one was for when there’s a long line for everything! I alloted 1 hour per attraction.

The plan was to enjoy Fantasyland and Tomorrowland on Day 1 and then Toy Story Land, Mystic Point, and Grizzly Gulch if the lines are not that long (itinerary 1) and then Adventure Land and then try the rides that we like again on Day 2.

Itinerary 2 is just to focus on Fantasyland and Tomorrowland on Day 1 (because this is where most of the rides are) and the rest of Disneyland on Day 2.

Well, guess what? Since there were no lines – absolutely none (it was always our turn whenever we go to an attraction) – we were able to enjoy the whole park in one whole day!

Tip no.14. Try to visit the park on a weekday. Avoid the locals’ holidays. On Day 1, we had about 4 tour groups who were there as well. On Day 2, ang pinakamarami na namin nakasabay ay yung mga Disney graduates. Parang fieldtrip, ganung level. Pero hindi namin sila naramdaman sa pila.

Tip no. 15. Allot 2 days for Disneyland especially when you have kids. It’s much more relaxing that way.

Since we do not actually know yet how many people are we really expecting inside, we skipped having our photo taken at the entrance arch. We told ourselves that we will do it tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Taking photos was not our priority on Day 1. So for illustration purposes, I will already be using some of the photos that we took during Day 2.

Also, we were told that the Elsa and Anna meet and greet passes ran out fast. So keeping that in mind, I was determined to get a pass for the very first wave (they have several waves the entire day. However, sometimes, the passes for the entire day are already gone by 11:30am). Hindi ko din alam kung bakit kailangan first wave. Napakacompetitive lang talaga ng nature ko. Kaya actually nabwibwisit na asawa ko sakin. Para daw akong nasa Amazing Race. Hehe.

The park opened at exactly 10am. They were a bit strict and really inspected all the bags (unlike at Ocean Park). For those with 2 day tickets, you have to take care of your ticket as you will be using that for both days.

They will also scan the adults’ fingerprint at the entrance.

The first thing that we did was to have our photo taken in front of the Railroad station, which was not in operation when we visited because of the ongoing construction of the Iron Man attraction (yep!), with flowers forming Mickey’s face.🙂

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Then there was a photographer who took our photos using our cameras and then took photos of us using his camera. He gave us a photopass, which we can redeem at any photopass booth inside. Again, you have the option of buying the print or not. Print is at 138 HK dollars each. They also have an album, which costs close to 2k HK dollars. You can choose 10 photos and they’ll make it into an album. Nope! We did not get that.

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Once we were done taking pictures, I got a park map and show schedule and asked a Disney staff (they are everywhere btw and they are all glad to help) where we can get the meet and greet pass for Elsa and Anna.

So that you do not need to go into anymore trouble like I did, I’ll tell you where exactly to get one.

Tip no. 16. How to get meet and greet passes for Anna and Elsa? Go to Fantasyland. Go to Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. On the left side is the stage for the Frozen Meet and Greet. There’s a small tunnel near the meet and greet area (to the left), go there and there are Disneyland staff who have the passes. Ask them nicely and tell them how many people you are in your party. They have like 30 passes I think for every wave.

Fantasyland. So I was happy to get our Meet and Greet Pass. It was at 10:45am (the first wave). You have to be there at 10:45 or else, they will forfeit your slot.

Since, it was just 10:15am (ang agap ko diba? Excited lang ang peg), we decided to try some rides at Fantasyland first, as it was really the first destination on our itinerary.

Fantasyland is where most of the princesses are. It’s main attraction being Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

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Since it was the nearest to the meet and greet area, we decided to go to the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh first.

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The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It was a fun ride. The hunny jar shaped car can fit 4 adults and 2 kids. The entrance of the attraction was decorated with gigantic pages from the Winnie the Pooh book.

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There was owl’s house, a bouncing tigger, a dreaming Pooh, a stormy night, and a sunny day, Hooray!

Verdict: Must try especially for the kids.

N was scared at first because of Pooh’s dream and the stormy night but he was able to overcome it because we made him ride this again and again (the 4th time, which happened on our 2nd day, finally did the trick). Oh and N does not cry when he’s scared. He’s just like really quiet and holds your hand so close to his body so you can protect him.

Meeting Anna and Elsa. After trying the Pooh ride twice, it was time to line up and wait for Anna and Elsa.

As I’ve mentioned before, M bought an autograph book and everyone was really game to sign their names on it. They do this while they’re talking to M. They often ask M her name and where she’s from and she proudly answers, “Philippines!” and they’ll chat a little about the Philippines. And then they’ll ask M some more random questions. It was a very memorable experience.

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The kids each had solo pictures taken with Anna and Elsa then there’s one of them together then also with the whole family.

Flying Dumbo. After meeting Anna and Elsa, we started trying out the rides again in Fantasyland. This time, we tried Flying Dumbo, which N really really enjoyed. N rode with dad while M rode with me.

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Verdict: A must try for the kids. N likes it when their elephant goes really high.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups.

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Verdict: I do not like rides that just make you go dizzy. But we tried this for the sake of trying kasi nga wala namang pila. We did not dare tell the kids that they can make our cup spin on their own, and make it even more “enjoyable” for me. For the whole trip, we only tried this ride ONCE.

It’s a small world.

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Verdict: A must try for the whole family! We had fun spotting the different Disney characters in the different worlds. M was also delighted to hear some dolls in Asia sing, “Maliit lang ang mundo. Maliit lang ang mundo.” She excitedly screamed, “That’s Tagalog!”

We did not try the carousel anymore because well, it’s a carousel. Also, we did not try Mickey’s PhilharMagic because the kids did not want to. Since the Golden Mickey’s Show is still at 1:30pm and it was just 11:45am by the time we were done with It’s a Small World, we decided to go to Tomorrowland first and just come back for the Golden Mickey’s Show.

Tomorrowland. Space Rangers and aliens! This place screams “future” and “beyond Earth”.

We were supposed to check Autopia first but was amazed that we have to wait 35 minutes before we can ride. Nope, can do. We decided that we will just ride that one on Day 2.

Instead, what we did was to have our picture taken with the ultimate Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear! Oh by the way, the characters rest every 20 minutes but no worries, they come back after 5 minutes. I’m pretty sure that the characters will rest more frequently if it’s summer in Hong Kong.

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We then checked out N’s most favorite ride in Hong Kong Disneyland – Astro Blasters.

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Verdict: a must try for the whole family. Imagine the arcade game that you play at a whole new level. We had fun shooting at Zurg’s aliens (shoot the Z). Hint: you can turn your seats around to better hit your targets. At the end of the ride, you get to compare points too. I do not mean to brag but Team Me always wins.🙂 Ayaw nila ko lahat kampihan. Ayaw daw nila mapressure.

The true winner is N though, I have never seen him enjoy a ride as much as he enjoyed this one.

Space Mountain. Since we had spare time before the Golden Mickey’s Show and there was no line, we decided to try Space Mountain. N and my aunt decided to sit this one out while M joined us. It was a mistake!

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Verdict: M cried after the ride. She was scared because it was dark and it was fast and there were tons of things happening at the same time. The child infront of us cried the entire ride. So not a good ride for kids unless you have super brave ones. M likes roller coasters though. She just didn’t like this one. Husband hated it as well. He got dizzy. While I loved it! Not seeing the tracks was exciting for me. Not to mention the tons of special effects that you will be enjoying. It was not that fast also. Just the right amount.

Stitch Encounter. Again, since we had few minutes more to spare and since it was almost 12:30 already, we decided to check out Stitch Encounter because N wanted to check it out.

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We thought it was going to be boring but it turned out to be fun. Stitch from the screen is really interactive and you know who he interacted with? M! That is the reason why there would never the same show ever!

He always mentions her name, calls her his new bestfriend, and even took a picture of her and N. N was so jealous that he wanted us to go back and told M that, “This time, Stitch will ask me my name. Not you, okay?” Unfortunately, we did not have time for it anymore so we were unable to go back.

Verdict: Fun thing to try with the whole family.

We did not try Orbitron anymore as we feel that it is just like Flying Dumbo.

The Golden Mickeys. We went back to Fantasyland to the Storybook Theatre to catch the 1:30pm show of the Golden Mickeys.

We were unable to get a seat closer to the stage but we sat near the aisles and there are characters passing through there.

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Verdict: Must watch for everyone. Seeing all your favorite Disney characters sing and dance on stage is totally worth the lines. There’s Toy Story, Quasimodo, Little Mermaid, Tarzan with his pretty abs, and the ballroom scene from the Beauty and the Beast. It was also fascinating how fast Bebe changes her costumes.

The show ended at 2pm. Since we were a bit famished by then, we had a quick lunch at Clopin’s Festival of Food. The kids had barbeque with rice while hubby and I had Yangzhou fried rice. The serving’s a bit big and a meal could be shared by two people. Taste was so-so though. Prices range from 65 HKD to 80 HKD per meal.

Since it was almost time for the parade and we want to get good seats, we went back to Main Street and decided to wait for the parade to start.

We waited for about 15 minutes and then finally, it was time for the parade.

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Flights of Fantasy Parade. They only have one parade a day when we were there. It was at 3pm.

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M was chosen to participate in the parade.🙂

Tip no. 18. Seat in front. They call for kid volunteers who are seated in front to participate in the parade.

Adventureland. After the parade, we went to Adventureland and tried the Jungle River Cruise.

Verdict: A must try for the whole family. This is also N’s favorite ride. He enjoyed seeing the animals. He got scared with the fire effects but seeing the different jungle animals made him want to go on the ride again and again.

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We did not go on anymore to Tarzan’s treehouse as we do not want to climb up with N in tow. Given that, we did not go on the raft either.

We then went to the three new attractions of Hong Kong Disneyland.

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Grizzly Gulch. This basically has a Western feel to it. My favorite ride is in this area! The Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars! Oh, the surprises that this ride brought! Imagine a roller coaster on a mountain with caves with bears inside the caves.

Verdict: A must try. Even M enjoyed this one.

We also had our photos taken here.

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After this, we went back to Adventureland to catch the Festival of the Lion King at Theatre in the Wild. We had fun watching it. Although N got a little bored in the middle. We like Scar. He was gooood! We also like the flying girl during Simba and Nala’s Can you feel the love tonight?

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Mystic Point. We went to Mystic Point after the Lion King show. You can find Mystic Manor here. It’s like Night at the Museum. Everything comes to life when you, in the story’s case it was Albert the monkey, open a magic music box.

Verdict: WE LOVE IT. Definitely a must try. A car can fit four adults and 2 kids. N got scared with this ride the most. He was covering half of his face the whole time.

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Toy Story Land. Our last stop for the day was Toy Story Land. N had a blast here.

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We rode the Slinky Dog Spin, and RC Racer.

Verdict: Slinky Dog Spin is also N’s favorite ride. He rode this one twice the first day and twice again the next day. RC Racer is the tamer version of Enchanted Kingdom’s Anchor Away. Just when we were starting to enjoy ourselves, the ride’s already done.

We also met Jessie and Woody. Good thing we did because the next day, it was the Green Army Men, who are available for the meet and greet and N is scared of them! We did not try the parachute drop anymore.

We went back to Fantasyland to wait for the fireworks display. While waiting, we went to Fantasy Gardens and had our photo taken with Pooh, classic Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto. M also had her autograph book signed by all these characters. We also redeemed our photo pass here and viewed our photos in the kiosk.

After that, we sat at the bench and munch on some corn that we bought from the food stall.

At exactly 8pm, the fireworks display began. It lasted for 12 minutes. It was truly magical.

Ending Day 4: After being dropped off at the hotel, the kids changed into their pyjamas and waited for the story telling session. After having cookies and milk, we went back to our room.

And I reluctantly started packing as we are going back to Manila the next day. Boo Hoo.

We are hoping for a perfect day still on Day 2 of our Disneyland trip. We were hoping that the lines were as short as the first day because we can only stay until 6pm to be able to catch our 9:55pm flight.

-dancewithnikz-

On Mickey and Minnie Mouse (Hong Kong Day 3)

We started Day 3 of our Hong Kong trip with me and my husband riding the hotel shuttle to Causeway Bay to look for KFC because the kids badly wanted fried chicken (and frankly, I did too). We left the kids at the hotel with my aunt because this is my husband and I’s little adventure. Kung maligaw man kami, hindi kami maguiguilty na pinagod namin ang mga bata.

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Binabalik balikan namin ang kanto na ito kasi may naaamoy kami na masarap na tinapay. Unfortunately, wala naman kaming makitang bakery. Guni guni lang namin kaya? 

We did some groceries as well at Wellcome and looked for local snacks as pasalubong to our families. 

 Even if we had a very good stay in Cosmopolitan Hotel, we were very excited to bid them goodbye and transfer to our next stop. 

 So after a very smooth check out at Cosmo, a more or less 300 HKD taxi fare to Lantau Island, a very very warm welcome at the Kingdom Club Lounge, we were finally checked in at Disneyland Resort Hotel!

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Kingdom Club. We stayed in a Kingdom Club room. The Kingdom Club has a separate reception area where you can check-in. You will also need your room key to access this floor.  

Tip no. 11. If you have the extra budget,  go for the Kingdom Club rooms. Totally, totally worth it. 

What we love about the Kingdom Club? 

1. The Service. Disney people are the friendliest people in Hong Kong. But the ones in Kingdom Club are really caring and extra friendly. They will explain everything to you. Give you tips on how you can enjoy the park and assist you on everything that you’ll need.

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2. The Lounge. This is where most of the magic happen. You get free snacks, free appetizer, free wine, free milk, free coffee, free dessert… as long as you can see it on the serving area, it is free.

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The kids having some cookies and apple juice while waiting for the room to be ready.

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                                   I am FREE!!!!

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3. The character visit. Mickey or Minnie, in our case it was Minnie, will say goodnight to you in their pyjamas!

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4. The bedtime story. Every night, a Disney staff will read a Disney book to the kids while they are having cookies and warm milk! There’s a schedule for English, Mandarin, and for Cantonese. Kids are rewarded with stickers after.

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So basically, here are the other things that you get for free when you book a Kingdom Club room:

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Convinced you yet?🙂 Also, the free buffet breakfast at the Crystal Lotus was a big deal breaker for us.🙂 Mukha talaga kaming pagkain. Takot kami magutom. Haha. 

Consider it. 

Hotel Room. There’s this certain distinct sweet smell that welcomes you as soon as you step inside the main hotel lobby and it does not stop there! That smell goes all the way to your room. Sa totoo lang gusto ko na tanungin yung housekeeping kung ano yung pabango nila. Lalagyan ko din buong bahay namin. 

Disneyland Hotel has a Victorian theme so everything was as grand as we expected and the “Disney feels” on every detail is spot on.

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This was our hotel room. Miss ko na siya agad-agad.

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And we were beside the Walt Disney Suite!

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You get these cute room keys,which you also get to take home as souvenirs.

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There was a bathtub!!!! Hallelujah! Kids were so happy when they saw this.

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       The shower area’s pretty big too.

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The closet and the bathroom have the same doors (without the mirrors for the bathroom). The table that you can see from the closet’s mirror is the vanity table.

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    We love how comfy the beds are🙂

Some more Disney details:

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                 This was on our bed

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               This was on the other bed

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We also had our own balcony. I’m pretty sure the other rooms had too. But we love our view.

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               Amazing view, right? 

 While waiting for our 530pm dinner at Enchanted Garden, we decided to roam around the hotel first.

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The first thing we did was to play in the maze with Daddy and N as partners and me and M as partners. Naturally, the boys got out first as we were busy taking photos. Lol

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We also took pictures in front of the pretty flower garden.

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We then went inside to check the rest of what the hotel has to offer.

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There’s the boutique. M badly wants to try this but we reasoned out with her why that would just be a waste of money because she cannot take that home with her. 

 So we went to the hotel shop and got an autograph book instead. And this was a great buy.

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Tip no. 12. Buy an autograph book! M had fun asking the characters and the princesses to sign. We also brought her instax so she could attach her photo with the character on the page where that character signed.

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Anyway, we continued strolling around the hotel and we came across their indoor and outdoor pools!

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                      The indoor pool 

 And there was a lifeguard on duty even when there was nobody swimming. So cautious! I like that.

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                    The outdoor pool

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             Pool schedule and rules 

 Since it was too cold to swim, we did not dare try the pools out. We checked their playground instead!

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After that, we checked their Storybook Playroom.

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N had so much fun! There were different play areas that the kids can go to. They also offer arts and crafts activities for the kids.

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Ayaw na actually niya magdinner eh. Ang kulit lang talaga namin. 

Alas! It was time to bid the playroom goodbye and go to Enchanted Garden for our early dinner.

Enchanted Garden. Enchanted Garden is one of the three restaurants inside Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel.

I reserved in advance by calling from when I was still in Manila and good thing, I did. The place was full for that slot. 

The first or second seating is actually cheaper than getting the full seating. We opted to get the first seating kasi hindi kami tatagal ng 8pm pa kakain ng dinner. 

 Tip no. 12. Check for online promos. Was able to get a 50HKD discount per adult and 30HKD discount per kid. Just print this coupon and voila! Savings!!!

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I was unable to take photos of the food as I was losing battery already. But basically, they have Chinese food, Japanese food, Indian food, and food for the kids. Oh and they had self serve soft ice cream!!!

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                     The dessert area

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                  Hubby’s very weird dish

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                     My Mickey Pasta

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         Kahit kelan sulit sa buffet ito eh. 

 And the real reason why we dined here? The character meet and greet! There are normally 4 Disney characters, who will go and visit your table. For us, they were Duffy, Shellie May, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse. We are not really familiar with the bears but they were cute.🙂

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They also have a professional photographer who takes photos and you have the option to buy the print if you want. Hulaan niyo kung binili namin. Siyempre, oo. 

Ending Day 3. After watching the fireworks from the balcony and meetinf Minnie in her pyjamas, the kids changed into their pyjamas and went back to the Lounge for the bedtime story. It was indeed a very magical day for them and they slept with smiles on their faces. 

 And this was a nice touch from the hotel:

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Watch out for my day 4 entry – Disneyland Day! 

-dancewithnikz-

On Dolphins, Penguins, and Panda Bears (Hong Kong Day 2)

Day 2 is Ocean Park Day!!!! Halata bang sobrang saya namin sa dami ng exclamation point?

As I’ve mentioned in my Day 1 post , we bought our Ocean Park tickets at China Travel Service. I have been carefully planning the itinerary for our day in Ocean Park as the park will open at 10:30am and will close at 7:00pm. Studying the map and the show schedule, I know that it is physically impossible to enjoy the whole park for just 8 hours.

This was a family trip so I consulted with the whole family beforehand what attractions they want to really see and what attractions can they forego; which shows should we not miss, and which shows are okay not to watch. That way we can really maximize our stay in the park.

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We rode a cab to the park. Since the hotel is near Ocean Park, it was just a 15-20 minute drive. We arrived at the park at around 10:45am. 15 minutes delayed from our original plan to arrive once the park opens.

Tip no. 4: It’s good to have an itinerary but have it as a guide instead. The park is really big and it’s unwise and would take a lot of time to transfer from the Summit to the Waterfront. However, do not expect that you can follow it to a T. You will just be disappointed. At mabwibwisit lang sayo asawa mo (based on true experience).

As soon as we arrived, we had the customary family photo at the front of the park. There was a professional photographer taking photos and we have the option of purchasing the photo only if we want it. No pressure, really. It can either be in a frame or inside a snow globe or as key chains. Prices range from 300 HK dollars to 500 HK dollars. If you are getting just the print, it’s close to 200 HK dollars per print. A bit steep, really. The good news is you can ask the professional photographer to take your photo using your own camera. :) Pero mas maganda talaga kapag sila yung kumukuha eh. Di ko rin actually alam kung bakit. 

20150302_104046This was the one from my phone’s camera

We bought a souvenir photo with the frame and a photo of the kids inside the snow globe because well, we’re really those kind of tourists. Madali kaming mabentahan ng souvenir photo.

It was then time to enter the park. Even if I have a copy of the map already, I got a new one plus the show schedule for the day at the booth near the entrance of the park.

Tip no. 5: Make sure that you check the animals out during their feeding time. The staff who feeds them sometimes make the animals do tricks for the guests. And well, para sure na hindi sila tulog. Hehe. Also, it would be wise to plan your itinerary around the show schedules. So that you do not miss anything.

Ocean Park has two “worlds”. One “world” – the Waterfront is divided into three parts: Aqua City (the first one you’ll see), Amazing Asian Animals, and Whiskers Harbour. The other “world” is the Summit, which is divided into five parts: Marine World, Adventure Land, Thrill Mountain, Polar Adventure, and Rainforest.

I have decided even before the trip started that we were going to the Summit first as it closes an hour earlier than the Waterfront.

So the first thing we did was to line up for the cable cars. There was quite a line when we arrived and it took us a good 8 minutes to board one. Before we boarded, we had our picture taken again by the staff. Mukhang mukha siguro kaming Pinoy kasi sabi ni Ate in Chinese accent, “Mabuhay!”

Tip no. 6. You need to board the cable cars fast. Mapapagalitan ka pag mabagal. They only stop the cars if there’s someone in wheel chair who needs to ride. Pero kung stroller, bitbitin mo yung stroller mo at sumakay ka ng mabilis. 

The trip from the waterfront to the Summit takes about 10 minutes. The kids were really brave and behaved the whole ride. N was enjoying it and while M has qualms, she faced her fear and just refrained from looking down.

20150302_111730Inside the cable car, on our way to the Summit

The Summit

The Cable Car station at the Summit is nearest to the Marine World. So that’s where we decided to explore first.

Marine World. As it was already nearing 12noon when we arrived at the Summit, we decided to go  first to Ocean Theatre to watch the first show for the day of Ocean Wonders. Here, the kids saw northern sea lions and dolphins performed with their trainers.

Verdict: Good to watch. It’s okay. The show was not in English but you get a gist of the story line. N had fun seeing the dolphins jump and play with the trainer.

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The show ran for about 30 minutes. We were starving by then so we decided to have lunch first instead of going to the Shark Mystique. This was a big mistake as we became too lazy to go back and by the time we were ready, N was already sleeping. Shark Mystique is a really cool attraction. Imagine a tunnel aquarium full of big sharks and you are walking under it. Isn’t that so cool? At least, we have a reason to go back.

Tip no. 7. Make sure that you go to Shark Mystique. Do not make the same mistake as we did. After the Ocean Wonders show, go there immediately.

We decided to go to Polar Adventure and have lunch there as the next in our itinerary is the walrus feeding at 2 in the afternoon.

Polar Adventure. We decided to have lunch at Tuxedos Restaurant. It was an amazing experience for the kids as they had their lunch while they were looking at and playing with the penguins at the other side. Yep, the other wall of the restaurant is where the penguins enclosure is.

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Verdict: For the experience, this is definitely a must-see. For the food, it’s okay. Nothing extraordinary. We had pizza, wings, fries, and ribs and chicken platter with rice. The serving size’s pretty good though. Price range is well, the normal theme park range. We paid around 600HKD for everything that we ordered. But again, for the experience, it was totally worth it.

20150302_130800The kids were given the aprons as souvenir🙂 

20150302_134010The kids had so much fun inside

After lunch, we went to the north pole encounter for the walrus feeding and the northern sea lion feeding. The walrus performed some tricks for us and N was mesmerized by how big the walrus was.

20150302_140631Hello, Mr. Walrus!

After this, N got sleepy and so since we were there already, we decided to forego the Shark Mystique (again, big mistake) and just tried one ride on Thrill Mountain – the Rev Booster and one ride on Rainforest – The Rapids.

For the Rev Booster, it was nothing extraordinary. I like extreme rides though so what may seem mild for me maybe extreme for others. But still, umiikot ikot lang ang ride na itoBumibilis naman siya pero wala, keri lang. Nabore ako. Haha.

For the Rapids, we brought M with us. You can buy rain coats there while in line. It, of course, comes with a hefty price of 40 dollars, I think. It comes with a free kiddie raincoat though. There are also storage lockers to put your stuff in but we left ours with my aunt, who sat on one of the benches to look after N. It was again, ordinary for us. If you have tried Rio Grande Rapids in Enchanted Kingdom, it’s somehow like that. I honestly prefer the one in EK than this one because the one in EK has more surprises and the ride’s duration is longer.

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After that, we decided to go back to the Waterfront using the Ocean Express. It’s like a subway train with underwater simulation inside. No outside views. The show is really inside the train. The only advantage of this over the cable cars is that this is faster. But I’ll choose the cable cars anytime over this.

The train stops near Amazing Asian Animals but we went to the Whiskers Harbour first to catch the Bird  show and the sea lion fun time show.

Emperors of the Sky. We caught the 3:30pm show. This is at the Amazing Bird Theatre near the Whiskers Harbour sign actually. However, it is still a part of the Amazing Asian Animals section so the map will tell you that it is located there. We were seated in front and it was a delight for N and a scare for M as there were different birds flying in from different directions near our faces. Again, the show was not in English so the kids had a hard time relating. As per the actions though, it was about a man who cuts trees and then the tree god got mad at him and sent birds to haunt him. Hahaha. Promise, ganyan intindi ko. If I will compare Ocean Wonders and this, I like this better because the actor was better.

20150302_152628The stage

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The vulture

Whiskers Harbour. This is a place for your kids. M and N tried the rides here with my aunt while we were waiting for the Sea Lion show. I cannot give a verdict on this as I was not the one who tried the rides but my kids enjoyed it a lot. There were also these areas where you can drive your own mini speedboat and cars using a remote control for only 20HKD. We did not dare try although Husband really wants to. Feeling ko lang sayang sa pera. Ako na KJ. 

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We then went to catch the 4:15pm show of the Sea Lion at Whiskers Theatre.

Sea Lion Fun Time Show. This may be N’s favorite show. We enjoyed it as well. The storyline and the tricks here are the best that we’ve watched so far. It’s actually a little better from the sea lion shows that we’ve watched in Ocean Adventure and Manila Ocean Park. Although I haven’t been back in years so I do not really know if they updated their story lines and the tricks.

We were again seated in front so it was really a good experience for N who did not take his eyes off the stage. It’s not in English but we were able to understand the show. However, M really wanted to volunteer but they were looking for Mandarin/Cantonese speaking kids so she felt a bit disappointed.

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That was the last show that we were hoping to see for the day. We then went to Amazing Asian Animals to catch the 5pm feeding of the giant pandas.

Amazing Asian Animals. Panda. Enough said. This was the highlight of my trip to Ocean Park. I was so relieved that they were not sleeping, that they were happily munching on the bamboo leaves, and that we even saw one sneezing, the other one walking. It was so cool. We were also able to see the red panda. My husband has the photo though so I won’t be able to upload it here.

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We also visited the Gator Marsh and Goldfish Treasures and the otters.

Aqua City. Our last destination for the day was Aqua City, where the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures and The Grand Aquarium are.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club houses the golden monkeys and some more pandas. It is a close enclosure though and it feels like you cannot stay long inside to ogle at the animals as there are tons of people behind you.

The Grand Aquarium does not have the underwater tunnel, where it feels like you’re swimming with the different sea creatures. Shark Mystique has that. There are tons of cool things to see in the Grand Aquarium though. N even had the chance to touch a hatched egg of a shark.

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We did not get that much photo inside the Grand Aquarium as the picture quality won’t be that great anyway and we do not want to use the flash because of the rules and well, because we know what the flash does to a fish. Hello Marlin in Finding Nemo!

You can also find the Aqua City Lagoon here. This is where we also watched Symbio, the super cool lights show, which is like the equivalent of the fireworks display in Disneyland.

While waiting for Symbio, we had some mock sharkfin’s soup at Old Hong Kong while the kids rode the Sea Life Carousel.

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Then finally it was time for Symbio! It has fire effects though so it might be a bit overwhelming for kids. But all in all, we enjoyed this.

20150302_190919Symbio!

Aside from us missing Shark Mystique, it was a really enjoyable experience for the family. It was our first time to see a panda bear. It was our first time to see sea lions that big. It was our first time to see a walrus. Our N is really an animal lover and that day was supposedly just for him. So it was really surprising that all of us thoroughly enjoyed our experience here as well.

Few more tips:

Tip no.8. Bring a stroller for your kids. The park is really big. Maraming pababa at paakyat na lugar. Feeling ko nga nagmarathon ako. Naghahanap an actually ako ng wheelchair para sakin.

Tip no.9. Wear rubber shoes or comfy sneakers. Even for the kids. Wag pahirapan ang sarili ninyo.

Tip no. 10. If the weather says 18degrees, the temperature at the Park is close to 14 degrees. Bundok eh. Ocean pa. Malamig talaga. So bring extra outer wear for the kids. Better to bring something to protect their ears too.

Ending Day 2. It was finally time to go back to the hotel. Getting a cab back to the hotel is easy. Our cab fare just amounted to 60HKD. That was the cheapest cab fare we’ve paid so far. We packed our stuff as tomorrow is the start of a new adventure – Hong Kong Disneyland Resort!

Watch out for my blog entry on our stay in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and our experience in the Park.

-dancewithnikz-

On Horses, Stars, and Grilled Squid (Hong Kong Day 1)

Magical. Best Day Ever. Awesome. Worth every peso. Truly memorable. If you ask my family to describe their 5 days, 4 nights in Hong Kong, those are how they would describe it.

I was just supposed to upload all photos on Facebook and create a very long and boring album description but I feel like I owe this to all the blogs that I’ve read and that have helped me plan this really amazing trip for our family.

Some things to take note of:

1. We were 5 in our group. Me, my husband, my aunt, my 8 year old M, and my 3 year old N.

2. We stayed for 5 days and 4 nights. We transferred hotels on our 3rd day.

3. We opted to ride a cab or the resort shuttle all throughout the trip. We are more for convenience especially with two kids and an almost senior citizen in tow. So I cannot really help you if you are looking for reviews or tips on MTR and such. Hong Kong has a very efficient public transportation system though. What I know is you can buy an oyster card to help you get around. This oyster card can also help you purchase stuff at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Wellcome.

So let me share with you our Hong Kong Day 1 experience.

Departure. We booked our flight months (I think around July) ago when Cebu Pacific had their piso fare seat sale. We added luggage allowance for my husband though and we chose our seats in advance so we ended up paying Php7000.00 per person. It was still a good deal,really. Considering that it was a round trip ticket and we were in comfortable seats and we were not forced to bring just one pair of pants each for the whole duration of the trip.

Upon arrival at Terminal 3 of NAIA, we paid the travel tax for Philippine Passport Holders. If you’re not then you don’t need to pay this. Also, the kids’ travel taxes are cheaper by a few hundreds. We then paid for our terminal fee at Php550.00 each.

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Our flight was bound to leave at 7:55 in the morning. Fortunately, boarding was not delayed. The crew were very helpful and pleasant as it was also their first flight for the day. The kids were very cooperative in the course of the flight. N was asleep until we landed while M just woke up during the trivia game hosted by Cebu Pac.

20150301_072721See you on Friday, Manila!

Arrival. We arrived at Hong Kong at 10:05am. There was a 10 minute delay (we were supposed to land at 9:55am) due maybe to the fog/ mist. It was 18degrees when we landed and it felt like it got colder as the day progressed.

We had to take a coaster from the plane to the immigration and customs area. Immigration interview was short. Actually, they were just checking if we were really the ones on the passport. They also just did a quick thermometer check on N.

By the way, for tourists, Hong Kong does not stamp passport anymore. They just give landing slips instead. I do not know what will happen if you lose that piece of paper but I guarded mine with all my might. Takot ko lang hindi makauwi ng Pilipinas. 

2015-03-06 02.07.57My landing slip

We just had a little mishap when we were claiming our luggages in the carousel area. It seems like the airport officials got it from the carousel themselves to make way for the luggages of the other three flights that we were sharing the carousel with. We were just lucky that we heard someone spoke in Tagalog that “Ayun! Binaba lang nila sa gilid!” 

And true enough! I saw N’s stroller on one side, two bags on the other side, and our last bag in the middle of nowhere. Saya. Haha.

So tip no. 1Kapag hindi ninyo makita bagahe ninyo, hanapin na ninyo sa gilid gilid. We passed on the good deed by telling the other Filipinos who were also waiting for their baggages to check the other side of the carousel if their luggages were one of the “casualties”.

20150301_105101Haller, Hong Kong!

The next thing we did is to exchange some of our US dollars into Hong Kong dollars. We decided to do this at the airport as we arrived on a Sunday and we were not sure if the foreign exchange places in the city are open. And besides you need Hong Kong dollars for taxi fare, etc.

If you are arriving on a weekday, consider just exchanging a few dollars for taxi fare plus a few stuff and then go to Tsim Sha Tsui and look for foreign exchange places there. You may also check any Hang Seng Bank as I’ve heard that they have good exchange rates. Since it was a Sunday, there was no commission fee. The exchange rate is at 1USD to 7.07HKD.

20150306_103254-1 Exchange Rate at HKIA

We had a quick lunch at Mcdonald’s, where Husband had a yummy Grilled Chicken Burger. I was also fascinated that their Happy Meals are served with either juice or fresh milk. Healthier option than soda for the kids.

My main agenda as soon as I arrived at the airport is to look for China Travel Service or CTS to buy our theme park tickets. It’s not that difficult to find as it is one of the first things that you will see as soon as you’re done with the foreign exchange booth. It’s near the place where you get tickets for the MTR and other public transportation.

Why was it on top of my to-do list? 20150306_103423

These are what we paid for our Ocean Park tickets. Regular adult tickets are at 345HKD each and regular child tickets are at 173HKD each. See the difference? You can also save around 40HKD dollars each for your Hong Kong Disneyland tickets.

So for tip no. 2, if you want to save a few dollars, go buy your theme park tickets at CTS! Just do it! Just. Do. It!🙂

Going to the Hotel. We booked a cab at the airport. Do take note that you have to pay 5HKD for every baggage that you will put in the compartment. Also you have to shoulder the toll fee. Cab’s normal capacity is 5 pax. Since the airport is in Lantau and our hotel is in Wan Chai, it took us about an hour to reach the hotel. Our taxi fare amounted to about 320HKD.

20150302_103531Taxi Rules

On Horses. We were booked at Cosmopolitan Hotel in Wan Chai for 3 days, 2 nights. We chose this hotel as this was near Ocean Park Hong Kong, our target on Day 2. The hotel is located near the Happy Valley race track.

20150301_150111The room numbers are adorned with horses.

We booked a family quad room.

These are some of the benefits that we got (as promised on their website):

“Exclusive benefits when booking on Cosmopolitan.com

  • A welcome gift for kids upon check-in
  • Free upgrade to Grand Deluxe Family Quad Room (subject to availability)
  • Free Premium WiFi (up to 200 Mbps and 10 devices at a time)

Additional facilities:

  • Amenities for 4 persons
  • Kid-sized bathrobe and slipper
  • Dental kit for kids
  • Baby body care or childcare toiletries
  • Mobile storybook library filled with reading materials for all ages
  • Free use of baby cot and child bed rails (upon request)
  • Complimentary use of smart phone with free 3G Internet and personal hotspot for multi-device connectivity, local calls and IDD calls to Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, UK and US
  • Bathroom with bathtub or walk-in shower
  • Quality bedding with duvet cover and mattress topper
  • 11-choice pillow menu
  • Kimono
  • Free tea and coffee making facilities
  • Fully stocked minibar
  • In-room safe
  • Individual thermostat control
  • Hairdryer
  • Executive work desk”

I like how friendly the staff are. The guest service manager speaks really good English and was kind enough to accompany us to our room while explaining all the benefits that we will be enjoying. We can borrow a smart phone while we are staying there. The wi-fi is free for up to 10 devices.

The hotel despite being in a business district is very family oriented and kid friendly too. The kids get a free toy and a snack box. There’s a mobile library and a DVD library. And the ultimate benefit for the kids – THEY HAVE A BATH TUB.

10360616_10205516733931817_4332540986142308972_nSnack box, Free Toy, and Free Smart Phone

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20150301_141941This was such a sweet gesture. Miakka found this in one of our drawers.🙂

On Stars. After resting for a while, we rode a cab to Tsim Sha Tsui. Again, since we are based in Wan Chai and TST is in Kowloon, we had to pass by the Cross Harbour Tunnel. We paid around 70HKD to cross the tunnel. This is on top of our cab fare.

We asked our cab driver to drop us at Harbour City because the kids really want to go to Toys R Us. I promised them that they can buy one toy each.

Harbour City is big. We had to use a map in order to get to Toys R Us.

Nikko bought a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Playset. It was on sale at only 499HKD. It was really big and so we had to remove the toy from the box immediately and leave the box at the hotel. Miakka bought a Crayola Marker Maker at 250HKD.

20150301_205759Nikko’s toy

From Harbour City, we walked to the Avenue of Stars. It’s pretty close, a 10 minute walk, from the exit nearest Toys R Us.

At the Avenue of Stars, we walked, and walked, and walked, and walked kakahanap ng pagkain. Ang kaso bigo kami. Waley! However, we enjoyed the view and we had fun taking pictures.

20150301_165600Ang aming turista pose. Ehem.

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On Grilled SquidBut wait, hindi naman kami talaga totally bigo. :) There were two food stalls that sell grilled squid at 30HKD. It tastes nice despite na parang mababali lahat ng ngipin ko sa pagnguya sa kanya or baka talagang tom jones na lang ang lola mo by this time kaya kahit anong ipakain mo sakin magiging masarap. 

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We waited for the Symphony of Lights, which they have everyday at 8pm. The kids were dead tired at this point plus I guess it doesn’t help that it is not in English so we left early and did not finish the show.

We took a cab back again to the hotel. Tip no. 3: Make sure that your taxi crosses borders. We had a little problem with our cab as it turns out that he does not cross borders. He is not familiar with the hotel and he doesn’t speak English. Sakit sa bangs! 

But infairness kay Manong, hinatid niya kami sa taxi line kung nasaan yung ga taxi na nagcocross ng borders. Na 22 HKD flag down rate nga lang ako.

Anyway, the toll fee back to the hotel is just 25 dollars. Again, this is on top of your cab fare.

Ending Day 1. After we all enjoyed a good long bath in the tub (hindi kami sabay sabay. Wag mag-OA. 20 minutes each. Nakatimer.), my good friends from college visited me in the hotel and played with the kids.🙂

Had so much fun catching up with them.🙂

Will blog about our Day 2 next – all about our Ocean Park adventure.

-Nikz-

A is for Alligator, B is for Bear, C is for Cat, D is for Dog, E is for Elephant…

N’s interests right now are still the alphabet and all types of animals – farm animals, jungle animals, and zoo animals. Since we believe in supporting 100% the kids’ interests, our family has been visiting different animal places these past 3 months. So far, we have been (some more than once) to the Animal Farm in Tagaytay Highlands, Ark Avilon in Tiendesitas, and Manila Zoo.🙂

The Animal Farm  I blogged about the Animal Farm before when I first blogged about our trip to Tagaytay Highlands. You have to be a member (or be with a member) in order to go inside (I think. My tita’s a member so I don’t really know the process for non-members, here’s their website if you want to check it out: http://www.tagaytayhighlands.com/.  It takes about 30-40minutes to roam the place and enjoy looking and interacting with the animals.

  • What We Love: What the kids enjoy most about the animal farm are seeing and having their pictures taken with the different types of birds (well, the birds are perched on us and the kids – ayun, sa gilid lang namin, nakapose). The farm, as mentioned in my previous post, has an “open concept”. The kids can interact and touch the animals that are safe to touch (most of the animals there are tame anyway). So the fact that the kids can feed the alpaca, the llamas, the sheep, the pony, the donkey, and the ostrich, is a good reason for them to always visit the farm whenever we go there. They also like playing hide and seek with Chino, the orangutan. He’s really moody though. If he doesn’t like you, he doesn’t come out of his little cave. Because not a lot of people visit the farm, the restrooms and the whole place are well maintained. The cages are relatively clean and the animals seem well fed. You can also take your time going around the place because it’s going to be three to four families at most. There was this one time that we had the whole place all to ourselves.
  • What They Can Improve On: The place is not that big so I guess it’s understandable why the animals Nikko likes are mostly not there. Farm naman nga kasi eh jungle animals ang gusto nitong anak ko. The farm is continuously adding more animals in their care though like the bear cat and the sugar glider.  “Guided tours” can also be helpful particularly for those who will visit the farm the first time. There are attendants though in the entrance area who can take your pictures and assist you with the birds.

Manila Zoo We weren’t expecting to enjoy our trip to Manila Zoo. I guess with issues that we have been reading on its maintenance problems, we have been a bit apprehensive of bringing the kids there. However, my friend, Abie, shared with us that their recent trip to Manila Zoo has been worthwhile. She told us about Kinder Zoo, where her son enjoyed a lot. I googled about Manila Zoo and true enough, when we visited there, the zoo looks promising now. It was clean enough, animals look well-fed. There’s  a bit of issue with the smell but hey, it’s a zoo!🙂 Took us about an hour to roam the place. yes, it’s pretty big.

And Kinder Zoo was fantastic!🙂 Not a lot of people when we went there. It was just basically us so the attendants’ attention were all on us. Type yata din kasi nila yung isa sa mga anghel namin. Hehe. Oh yes, we were with our helpers as that trip was also our treat to them. To fully enjoy the Kinder Zoo and the 100 pesos you paid for, it would take you about 30 minutes to 40 minutes. The extra 100 pesos though is truly worth it. Since Mark works in Manila, we were considered as Manila residents. We paid half the price for the entrance fee for Manila Zoo which is around 60 pesos per head. I think it’s 100 pesos per head for Non-Manila residents. For the Kinder Zoo, it’s 100 pesos per head. You need to pay for the entrance fee for the Manila Zoo first before you can pay for the Kinder Zoo entrance fee. E nasa loob din kasi ng Manila Zoo ang Kinder Zoo.

  • What We Love: Manila Zoo: The elephant, the hippo, the tigers, the monkeys (who were fighting with each other and their fight ended with one monkey dead :(), the hebra (horse interbred with zebras), and basically the whole zoo feel.Kinder Zoo: the open concept. The kids were able to interact and hold most of the animals inside.Oh and you can also rent the zoo jeepney (it looks like the zoobic safari jeepney) for the trip. It’s P50.00 per head. It can take you around Manila Zoo and drop you off at the animal enclosures. They also have boats (water looks murky though) which you can rent for an hour or so.
  • What They Can Improve On: I didn’t try the restrooms but since visitors are required to “donate” any amount before they can use the toilets, I’m assuming that the facilities are clean. I didn’t see restaurants inside. There were food stalls though. Not that much but will do. AND I WANT TO SEE A GIRAFFE🙂

Now to share some of the photos we took:
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               Mali the elephant

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N’s dream finally came true! An elephant in the flesh!

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The Hippo!

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When we arrived, the hippo was sleeping so it was submerged underwater. However before we left, we decided to try our luck again, and fortunately, N saw the hippo awake!

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The tiger on the tree! We spent a lot of time looking at this one because it seems like it really want to get out

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It’s a Horse! It’s a Zebra! No, it’s a Hebra!

Now, for the Kinder Zoo photos:

Before you go inside, you can have your picture taken with the birds, the caiman crocodile, and the python, using your camera or you can just buy the your photos from the camera man. I forgot how much a print cost but it must have been around 50 pesos each for the small ones. The ones that I will share are not the ones that we bought. Those were much nicer. Hehe. These are from our own camera.

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Us with the birds

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The snake

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The caiman crocodile

After having our pictures taken, we then went inside Kinder Zoo. The birds are just flying around and it’s really funny and cute. However, M cried because one of the birds (I forgot what type) playfully ran after her. Lol. But the bird was really really cute🙂

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Us with the toucan

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Well, they’re doing their “thing”

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With the turtle

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With the pot-bellied pig

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The owl

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And here’s Potter with his wand

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And them,  also doing their “thing”

I guess it was “do the thing” season when we went there. Lol. We also saw a couple of monkeys (well, they always do it wherever and whenever we see a group of them) doing it.🙂

Ark Avilon Zoo in Tiendesitas. Now this is the biggest surprise that we had. We weren’t expecting anything. There were vouchers for it so we bought some. We live fifteen minutes away from Tiendesitas so if ever we will feel disappointed, no harm done, right?

We paid P200.00 for each voucher. Regular price is: 10492421_10203731169093812_2750224283644900365_n

And WE LOVE IT. It’s our favorite so far. Well, it’s a bit expensive because you have to pay for each animal feed that you will buy, and each picture that you will take with any of their animals. However, the experience, particularly for my kids, is truly worth it. Make sure that you visit the Ark at around 3pm🙂 If it’s before that, the animals are still sleeping because they just had their lunch so chances are wala ka ding mapapala. The animals on the feeding area are also clamoring for attention during this hour because it’s time for their merienda and it would be such an honor for you to give that to them.

Also, if the animals become too big, they are transferred to Avilon Zoo in Malabon so they can be bred (according to the attendant). So we kind of miss the white tiger, who was very friendly and who we saw the first time we went there. It was replaced by a smaller one.

  • What We Love:INDOOR ZOO! No need to worry if it’s raining and well it’s not too warm inside. The animals are really well fed. The place is well maintained. The animals’ aquariums (they’re not cages) are likened to their habitat. Restrooms are clean. Not that crowded (or ang swerte lang talaga namin na palaging walang tao. The first time we went, it was just basically us and one other family.)The super open concept. If your kids are scared of birds, make sure you hold them before entering the ark. Birds are everywhere, just flying around. A bit scary for M at first but she got used to it later on.The feeding area on the second floor (and some on the first floor). I can’t say enough how much enjoyment and fun this activity brings to my kids. Basta they love it!The canteen and play area on the second floor🙂

    This is the first zoo in the Philippines, where I first saw the following in one place: tiger, lion, jaguar, puma, leopard, sun-bear (who is very very suplado. E he’s color black pa! Ang hirap niya makita. Kailangan mga 20 minutes kang nakatitig sa aquarium niya.), jackal, gibbon, and penguins! So much to show Nikko🙂

    There are also bear cats, gorilla, different reptiles and birds on the second floor, farm animals on the second floor, and some crocs, turtles, tortoise, and the arapaima on the first floor! For a small place (although because of the feeding sessions, it takes us about an hour and a half to enjoy the place), it’s really worth the trip🙂

  • What They Can Improve On: Guided tours and some more info on display (aside from their names) about the animals will be greatly appreciated.🙂

Now, picture-time!

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First time we went there🙂 This is also their pet shop. They also have a souvenir shop inside🙂

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Feeding the carps

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That’s where the arapaima(s) are. They eat chicken meat. They are also related to arowana(s).

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The white tiger. Super friendly. He’s currently in Avilon Zoo.

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This is the feeding station at the second floor.

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See? Walang tao🙂

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He fed the bearcat bananas.🙂 The bearcat’s really friendly. He shakes hands with those who feed him🙂

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One of their favorite activities. Try feeding a carrot to the guinea pigs on the other side and it’s like The Walking Dead – the guinea pig edition. The 5-10 minutes for the rabbits to finish eating the carrots, takes 2 minutes for the guinea pigs to do so. As in patong patong sila sa pag-aagawan. Nakakaloka.

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And because of that, M refuses to feed the guinea pigs and waste around 15 minutes to feed the rabbit. Masaya siya diyan so keri lang.

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N bottle feeding the lambs and the kids

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M bottle feeding the lambs and the kids

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Feeding kangkong leaves to the donkey

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And the pony

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They also fed the meerkats, worms

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And the highlight of all of our trips to Ark Avilon – Jenny. She’s really friendly and bright.🙂

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During their first visit

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During their most recent visit. See how N is more comfortable now? Nakarest na talaga arms niya. Then before he left, he even hugged Jenny! 

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During our most recent trip to Ark Avilon.

So there, we are hoping to bring the kids to Avilon Zoo and Zoobic Safari next.🙂

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