Friday, July 31, 2015

KidZania in Manila!

"Oh wow, this is so fun Berry! We didn't have this growing up!", I excitedly told Berry as we entered KidZania, an 8,000 square meter play city for kids in Bonifacio Global City set to open on August 7, 2015 - where they get to choose from 100 role play activities:  from firefighter, pilot, courier, to cashier, doctor, even recording artist, and live out their dream career.

I spotted an LBC, National Bookstore, Oishi store and Healthy Options, all built to scale for kids, and it was just so cute! How come we nobody thought of doing this when I was a kid?

It really looked like a shrink gun semi-shrunked a city, complete with paved streets and a transport system. The stores, offices and schools are made small enough to make the kids feel like grown-ups in the real world. 

The fun began at the Cebu Pacific ticket counter. Online ticketing goes live by August 3, 2015 at But tickets will also be available for purchase here at the KidZania Manila ticket counter starting August 7, 2015.

We were required to wear an RFID (radio frequency identification) security bracelet. 

It is their policy for each child to be matched with a corresponding adult who will also wear an RFID security bracelet. No child is allowed to leave the facility without being accompanied or picked-up by the registered adult.

As an extra precaution, professional security and other measures such as CCTV monitoring cameras, paging system, emergency facility features, and a first aid team are on standby to ensure that each child remains safe while inside KidZania Manila.

KidZania partnered with over 40 real world companies, all providing children with reality-based activities and skills that they can use in real life.

When kids work, they earn wages in KidZania's currency called "KidZos". The more they work, the more they earn. Of course, they can choose to save or spend what they earn.

They can encash checks, open bank accounts, deposit money and withdraw at BPI.

They can take care of the babies in the nursery at St. Luke's Medical Center Kidzania.

Shera Tiu shares the cash registers at Healthy Options prints out real receipts. I love!

There was a Shell gas station there, but they were closed already, 30 minutes prior to the 4 pm closing time. In real life, if I was the gas station owner, and found out that they closed ahead of schedule, these people are going to get fired.

There's a beauty salon. For when the kids get stressed from too much work I guess. Oh wait, they're supposed to work here too pala.

As in real life, there's a tax collection center too. Because kids better know early on that this is one thing in life that is certain.

Sorry if that sounded like a downer. Hahaha.

Back to the good news! KidZania Manila will be on soft opening starting August 7, 2015 with limited slots available, just to make sure kids don't have to wait long for their "work shift".

It will be open 7 days a week, with one shift Mondays through Thursdays, from 9AM to 4PM, and two shifts Fridays to Sundays and national holidays, from 9AM to 2 PM for the first shift and 3PM to 8PM for the second shift.

Ticket pricing is set to increase after the soft opening period:

Other than the medyo mahal price, this is fun stuff. Imagine being able to get to experience different jobs early on so you can really zoom in on what you like and are good at?

I appreciate how kids now can get a feel of what it is like to be an adult, with the chance to figure out what they really want to do when they grow up through play.

Because role-play at KidZania is not only fun, authentic and legit with all these real companies on board, it's a powerful developmental experience in itself.

I can't wait for Xavi to turn 4, so he can participate in the activities. I was telling Dada we might just throw a KidZania party for him there to celebrate!

About KidZania

KidZania, locally franchised by Play Innovations, Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corporation, is an interactive kids’ city combining inspiration, fun, and learning through realistic role play for children 4 to 14. Kids can independently explore a kid-sized city with over 100 exciting roles. Each experience is designed to empower kids, giving them the confidence to be their best selves, and inspiration to be great global citizens. 

One of the world’s most inventive, most awarded, and fastest-growing kid’s educational entertainment concepts, KidZania has 20 locations in 17 countries, including the Philippines. 

KidZania, Inc., headquartered in Mexico, was founded in 1997, opened its first park in 1999, and is privately held. 

For more information about KidZania Manila, visit or follow @KidZaniaManila on Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ma'am and Madam

My friend P was distraught. She just had to share this in our private FB group:

Hi mothers, just wanted to share. 

At the garden center, I was talking to this guy I judged to be about the same age as me. But throughout our conversation, he kept saying 'po' and 'opo' which made me realize he probably thinks of me as SIGNIFICANTLY OLDER! 

Redeeming moment at the supermarket today, when a man who looked to be in his late 40s called me 'Hija.' 

Who here has been thinking a lot about aging lately? Because I have! Anybody know how to stop the clock?! 

"Maybe he is just being polite?" some of us surmised.

"You can go to a college campus and still fit in.", K chimed in.

"The first time I met my brother-in-law's ex-GF, she said "po" and I was so pissed! And ending was, she turned out to be older than me!", shared J, with obvious hugot.

"I get surprised when somebody calls me 'Madam'!", P added as an afterthought.

"Come to think of it, I get called Madam a lot! Nakakainis Ang Madam! Parang matrona!", I vented out

"Feeling ko inaasar ako pag Madam, hahaha", K said. 

"I get called Madam a lot too, naiinis lang kayo because a true donya would be offended!", jabbed P, who must have recalled this from Tita K's insightful Facebook status post on true donyahood.

"When I think Madam I think big helmet hair na alajada!", I explained. Visions of Imelda Marcos and her Blue Ladies, plus Meldy Cojuangco and her Forbes Park amigas come to mind.

But nobody followed my train of thought, and the topic shifted to gardening and the possible death of plants.

Which left me still pondering on P's anecdote and my personal experiences as of late. 

When I look in the mirror, I see that no amount of Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum will take care of the wrinkles that appear when I smile or squint my eyes, the way that Botox can. And I refuse to do Botox. (Kids, don't make it a habit to rub your eyes, it loosens the skin around your eyes, and unfortunately for me, I cannot turn back time)

I have toyed with the idea of having my lids done though, because my eyelids droop in a way that resembles a hoodie. 

When I look at the skin on my tummy that has been stretched thrice, thanks to my three beautiful children, I remember the times when it was taut and trim, and woe is me that I never even bothered to have photos taken to prove it.

Worse, I go to a photo shoot and the models call me Tita. Tita!

In a year and a half, I will be 40 years old. I remember when my Mom and her friends were 40. They seemed so old. And a lot more mature than I am now. But this observation deserves a post of its own.

I remember her friends who would say how offended they were when they were called, "Tita" and I would think to myself then, "Well, you are a Tita! What else would you be called?". But because I was taught to keep my opinions to myself, I would just smile politely, out of respect for my elders.

Uhm, I guess that's me and my friends now. The sort of folks who would get curious stares from the kids hanging out in the cool clubs, should we even dare go to Palace Pool Club or wherever it is millennials go to now. And that the pretty girls of our time now look like the moms that they are, and the sleazy guys of our generation are now the official Dirty Old Men. Hahaha.

I guess we will just have to accept aging gracefully, lest we be the ones who live out our glory days way past our prime.

In fact, there's this old couple I often see at church who look like they are dressed for a Grease themed party. Lola with teased curly hair, tight jeans and heeled slides, and Lolo with greasy pomaded hair and his short sleeved shirt folded just like John Travolta's.

They actually look cute and can get away with it, and I often think of how they must have had a great time in the 70s and 80s that they identify with the look of the era close to 40 years later.

Ahhh there goes 40 again. That said, I will hold my bottles and jars of SK-II close to my chest, and keep Coco Chanel's words, in my heart.

Then again, Coco Chanel calls her perfume Mademoiselle instead of Madame.

So f*ck it. While I think I am doing a decent job with my anti-aging routines, I may need more intervention down the road.

Because here's one scary fact: In a study of 100 Japanese women aged between 22 and 55, scientists from beauty brand SK-II discovered that while 'skin power' - the ability to protect itself from UV exposure and pollution, and to renew and regenerate itself - steadily declined, it went into free fall at 35.

Support group na ito! Fellow Ma'ams and Madams, tips please?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Get FREE Instagram with SMART

I'm guilty of spending way too much time on Instagram. Too much time. It's really a time sucker.

I start my day just browsing photos, and two hours later, I realize I have to go and really start my day.

Not that I'm complaining. I love how I can document life, i.e. share photos of the kids, our trips, my shopping finds, sale announcements, fun ideas, and everything else that I want to remember via Instagram.

I actually started a new hashtag #EverydayWithBXT on IG, so it's easy for me to look up my photos of Berry, Xavi and Tepper. It's a lot of fun seeing all their photos in one neat little album.

And if you are a SMART subscriber, you can do the same too, I mean browse and post on Instagram everyday, because it is now FREE for all SMART postpaid and prepaid subscribers.

Prepaid subscribers can enjoy free Instagram browsing and posting up to 30MB per day, along with any prepaid promo such as All Text 20, Unli Call & Text 30, All in 99 and Mega 250, among many others. 

Users who subscribe to any of Smart’s Surf Plus Plans can enjoy the Free Instagram offer as part of their freebie app bundle for 30 days. 

“More than just connecting, Instagram has allowed its users to give their friends and families a peek into people and the things they love the most—from the most vivid details of their daily lives, to the most exciting things that they are currently passionate about,” said Ariel P. Fermin, Executive Vice President and Consumer Business Group Head at Smart.

“It’s more than just ‘sharing’, ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’—Instagram is giving Filipinos the chance to preserve their precious memories in visual form, and Smart is proud to provide access to all of these anytime, everywhere through our innovative mobile services,” Fermin added.

The Free Instagram offer comes on the heels of the company’s efforts to help its subscribers live the ‘Smart Life’, which gives them access to the best digital services and most meaningful innovations that allow them to live out their passions in life. 

Experience the “Smart Life” via FREE Instagram on your Smart phone, along with a vast world of entertainment through iflix, FOX, SPINNR, YouTube, and other services. 

For more information on this offer, go to

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Weekend or Weeks on End at Ascott Makati: Part 2

"I miss Ascott already, Mom..." Berry said longingly, only a few days after our weekend staycation.

"But we were just there...", I replied with a bit of disbelief.

"I know, but it's so fun!", Berry insisted. Eventually, after much discussion, I found myself promising that I will do my best to take them on a staycation again, and hopefully soon.

I totally get it though. The kids really had no time to get bored while we were there. For one, they had this outdoor play area to themselves.

They could have stayed at the pool for hours, if only we let them.

There's a jacuzzi too.

Indoors, there are Cubbies Activities to keep them busy. The weekend we were there, they had a Pizza Making Class scheduled.

We didn't get to join that, but the kids were thrilled to have crayons, a coloring book and a puzzle to keep them entertained in our room.

Bigger kids can find their way to the game room, right above the lobby. Apart from the pool table, they have board games to keep them occupied.

The adults will mostly gravitate to the Fitness Center, I bet. They offer massages.

There's an outdoor tennis court.

A dance studio.

And a fully-equipped gym.

Which is a perfect complement to all the eating a guest at the Ascott will end up doing. 

Milk and cookies were thoughtfully sent up to our room the evening of our stay. The kids loved this.

The next morning, a breakfast buffet awaited us at Cafe on the 6th, where the kids had a blast trying to decide on what to have for breakfast. There was an array of bread, cheese, oatmeal and cereal, milk, juice, congee and dimsum, omelette, salad, fruits, pancakes, rice, tapa, bacon, the works. Of course, I went for the congee, dimsum, tapa and rice!

For lunch, we had chicken & beans salad, beef salpicado, baked spring chicken and kung pao chicken.

The night before, we had a feast of pizza, pasta, a burger and chili dog sliders.

Of course, a huge come on of Ascott Makati, is its proximity to shopping and being in the heart of the Makati Central Business District

Being right smack in Glorietta, one need not go far to procure supplies or do groceries, watch a movie, or dine at the many restaurants in the area. It's also just a couple of blocks away from Ayala Avenue and Legaspi Village, and a quick ride to the offices in Salcedo Village or Bonifacio Global City. 

Come to think of it, Berry is on to something. Just the fact that I don't have to worry about housekeeping alone, I wouldn't mind living in a serviced apartment permanently. Heehee.

- From now until July 31, 2015, guests can enjoy a special rate of Php 5,750 nett for a studio deluxe and Php 7,500 nett for a one-bedroom classic, inclusive of breakfast for 2 pax and internet access. Preferential rates and perks are also offered to long-staying guests. 

- Online members, make sure to ask about the Mid-Year Promotion exclusive to you until August 31, 2015. Online members who book and stay during this period can enjoy an exclusive 30% off on prevailing Best Flexible Rates while non-members get 20% off on prevailing Best Flexible Rates.

Friday, July 24, 2015

A Weekend or Weeks on End at Ascott Makati: Part 1

When we moved to Singapore, we stayed at a serviced apartment for two whole months. Two whole months! 

As much as I loved living so close to Orchard Road then, it was driving me nuts. It just didn't feel like "home". It could have been the weather (humid), the noise (another luxury apartment was being built on Cairnhill Road), missing New York, the tiny cramped feel of the place, or all of the above.

Maybe it would have been a different story if we were staying in a serviced apartment like Ascott Makati. Just take a look at the lobby.

It feels like that of a grand hotel. With thick pillars, brass accents and black & white marble flooring.

When we got to our room, these greeted us at the table. Ripe and dried Philippine mangoes, and local artisanal chocolate from Theo & Philo. Nice, welcoming touch.

While an impressive lobby and thoughtful touches are fantastic as is, let me tell you about the space of our 2 bedroom suite: all 113 square meters of it.

The living and dining rooms are generously sized. Let's say you have six full grown adults seated at the dining table, or watching TV in the living room, there's still plenty of space left over.

The kitchen is workable. I can imagine cooking here everyday, and it won't be a problem.

As with all serviced apartments, it comes fully stocked with plates, and other kitchen essentials like a baking dish, a cheese grater, a measuring cup, tea pots, the works. They've really thought ahead to have everything a guest needs to feel right at home.

Including the dish washing liquid and kitchen sponge.

The great thing about serviced apartments is that you have the comfort of staying in a place that has the amenities of an apartment, but with room service and housekeeping. 

I remember in Singapore, I unintentionally left some dirty dishes as I had to rush out to bring Berry to her Kindermusik class in Tanglin Mall, and when I returned, the cleaning lady had already washed the dishes for me. I like washing my own dishes though, and I ended up washing them again, just to be sure, but it feels nice to come home to a clean apartment, ya know what I mean?

The rooms are nothing to sniff at either. They're quite, errrr roomy. Here's the main bedroom, with a King sized bed.

And here's Bedroom #2, with a Queen sized bed.

The rooms have their own toilet and bath, and yes, look a bit dated, but they are clean and cozy nonetheless. 

Niza Forschler of Ascott Makati mentioned that they are in fact due for renovation, and I did manage to get a sneak peek of how it will look. I would have to say, it will be a pleasant stay for future residents. Wink. Wink.

It was also nice to see that Ascott Makati takes resource conservation seriously. They give guests the option to keep their linens or have it changed daily. They also offer vouchers for food/drinks in exchange for days when they want to opt out of cleaning services (guests who stay a week or more need to have their rooms cleaned at least once a week of course).

For pack rats, I've counted five closets in our room alone to store belongings in. It's no fun living in a suitcase, and having all these space to hang stuff in? Major plus points.

Our suite also came with a maid's room, and one of our yayas excitedly volunteered to stay there. I think she wanted have a room to herself, as it was her first time to stay in a serviced apartment. 

Her room was right across the laundry area, right beside her own toilet and bath. There's a service entrance/exit here too, which makes it convenient to bring in groceries straight to the kitchen without having to pass through the main door, if we are talking a long term stay at the Ascott.

I promise to tell you more about the amenities and food in my next post!

Meanwhile, you may want to take advantage of these offers:

- From now until July 31, 2015, guests can enjoy a special rate of Php 5,750 nett for a studio deluxe and Php 7,500 nett for a one-bedroom classic, inclusive of breakfast for 2 pax and internet access. Preferential rates and perks are also offered to long-staying guests. 

- Online members, make sure to ask about the Mid-Year Promotion exclusive to you until August 31, 2015. Online members who book and stay during this period can enjoy an exclusive 30% off on prevailing Best Flexible Rates while non-members get 20% off on prevailing Best Flexible Rates.

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Things to Know About MANGO Kids

Shopping for our little ones is always fun. But here are some fun facts, so you can maximize the full MANGO Kids shopping experience ;)

1. The MANGO Kids store in Glorietta 2 is the FIRST stand alone store in Asia.

The entire section on the right is for the boys.

Turn left, and you've got this whole entire area filled with things our little girls will love.

2. You may also buy MANGO Kids, inside the MANGO stores in Mall of Asia, SM BF Paranaque, Trinoma, and Ayala Cebu. All stores carry items for girls and boys.

MANGO Kids t-shirts for girls are really sweet and pretty

Fun, colorful and heroic t-shirt for the boys at MANGO Kids

3. Newborns and kids up until age 14 will have a grand time getting all decked up in MANGO Kids.

One whole wall at the back is dedicated for the newly born little darlings

Once these newborn babes hit 3 months old, they get to graduate to the baby boy section, 3 months to 3 years old

Boys, 4 to 14 years old get to choose their clothes here

the baby girl section

Even I want to wear some of the pieces for the bigger girls (4 to 14 y.o) 

4. Ask the sales associate for the Mini Me styles, so your little ones can go matchy-matchy with you or Dad. Check out some of the Mini Me looks Berry & I played dress up with, here.

5. Apart from tops, bottoms, Mango KIDS also has jeans, accessories, bags, shoes, even swimwear. You can create an entire outfit without having to step out of the store.

for the boho bebe: pompom slippers, embroidered denim shorts, sleeveless shirt and scarf all from MANGO Kids

they've got skinny jeans for boys, and princess t-shirts for the girls

preppy swimwear pieces, sandals and bead necklaces, all from MANGO Kids

Fun no? How can we not shop, shop, SHOP!

To see more of MANGO Kids, follow @mangokids on Instagram, or better yet, visit MANGO Kids in Glorietta 2, Mall of Asia, SM BF Paranaque, Trinoma, and Ayala Cebu.
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