Category Archives: Places

Basti Loves: Kidzville

We first discovered Kidzville last year when we attended Cecile‘s son’s birthday party. I didn’t even know there was a play area at The Podium. Basti was so small then, and we were very late for the party so we didn’t really have time to explore.

Three months later, we were invited by the owners of Kidzville through Michelle of My Mom Friday. This time we were given an unlimited pass and Basti, plus his cousin Caille, were able to play until they themselves gave up.

We’ve been back a couple of times more since then, and Basti and his cousins always look forward to the “big playground” as they like to call it.

Kidzville has an active play area that can also be found in similar play areas found around the city.


Basti’s favorites in Kidzville are the airball machine and the giant slides. They’re a lot of fun. I swear if I let him be, Basti can stay at the air machine for hours and not get tired of it. As for the slides, I’m the one who gets tired because I have to accompany him on it. He’s too small to slide down on his own. Going down is easy enough. If you look at the height of the slides though, getting up there is no easy task for me and my old age.


Every corner of the area is filled with surfaces and textures your kids can explore till they pass out from exhaustion.


When it’s me who’s in danger of passing out from exhaustion, I coax Basti into the other side of Kidzville, The Village. I love this area. I think it’s what sets Kidzville apart from other play centers.

There’s a doctor’s office with an “x-ray”, a fire station, a cafe, a car repair shop, a farm and a grocery. Each area even has costumes your kids can wear so they are “feel na feel.”


There are plenty of things to move around. You can pretend to drive a bus, there’s a grocery cart you can fill with goodies at the supermarket, lots of cars and trucks to ride, and an actual Volkswagen Beetle you can pretend to repair with tools and everything! Warning: the Beetle has a working horn. If it gets too annoying, you can ask the attendant to turn it off.

There’s an earthling in the buggy!

But everyone’s favorite is the cafe.


It’s so much fun, but it can get tiring. If you have someone else to watch your child while they play or if they’re big enough to be inside on their own, you can hang at the lobby like these ladies.

Kris and Rone having their nails done while I watch all their kids in the play area. Hmph.

Foot spa while you wait! Awesome!

They also have a girly parlor for the little ladies who like being primped and glittered.


What I like about Kidzville is that they obviously do not scrimp when it comes to toys, cleanliness and staff. All the Village props were great quality, the staff were courteous, attentive and helpful, and the play areas were always clean on every single time we went there. Kris noticed that the Kidzville jingle they would place periodically was an original, and a well-produced one at that! (Only events people would notice these things, I swear)


  • Eat before you go and bring a bottle of water.
  • Bring extra clothes for the kids. They will get really sweaty from playing.
  • Bring socks for yourself and for your child. If you forget, you can buy socks from the reception.
  • Weekdays are best. We went on a weekday evening and practically had the whole place to ourselves!
  • Eat at Shi Lin after for some yummy xiao long bao. #walalang

With Kidzville at The Podium, it gives me a good reason to visit that mall. Aside from The Echo Store and Shi Lin, there really wasn’t much reason for me to visit there, even if I find it to be one of the most child-friendly malls in the area.

Thanks Kidzville! I’m sure Basti and his cousins will ask to come back to the “big playground” very soon!


4F, The Podium
Ortigas Center

Basti’s Birthday Getaway: Boracay!

Instead of spendings several thousands on a birthday party that will last 4 hours, we decided to spend it on something that will last 4 days. We celebrated Basti’s upcoming birthday in Boracay!

E. Coli, commercialization, crowds, I-used-to-go-to-Bora-when-there-was-no-electricity… WHATEVER. I love Boracay. While it was my 5th time to go, it was everyone else’s first. I’m always excited to go to the beach anyway.

We stayed at the Boracay Regency Hotel, chosen because of its location which was right smack in the middle of all the Station 2 action. There were so many events going on the weekend we were there, with so many celebrities supposedly also on the island but I didn’t see a single one. We also chose Boracay Regency because it had several pools. I love staying by the pool when it’s way too hot to be at the beach.


But never fear, Tine of The Yellow Mustard Seed sent Basti his swimming set of shorts and a rashguard from LuvGear. It has this special feature that lets you know if the UV rays are way too strong to be swimming outside. Once it glows red, get in the shade! They come in really cute designs too. It came in really handy, since Basti spent the better part of the first day just staring at the water, figuring out why he suddenly had such a big bathtub and why the floor was all sand.

We spent our days lazing out by the pool, playing by the beach, pigging out at D’Mall and D’Talipapa. The Painter spent most of the time walking up and down the beach taking reference pictures for paintings. As I mentioned before, there can be no play without work for my husband.


Like a lot of moms, I had body issues after giving birth, and I was lamenting how I wouldn’t be able to wear a bikini till I got in shape. The day before our trip, I said, to hell with that and bought a bikini that was more suited for my, um, state. As Martine said, it’s so liberating to wear a bikini in my mommy body, caesarian scar, stretch marks, little pooch and all.

I love my headbands from The Headware. They sent me three styles before the trip.

I made good use of them on the island. They’re so useful to keep your hair in place and look awesome at the same time. Hassle-free, and works for when your hair is dry, wet, or any stage in between. Hugely popular with travelers and outdoor sports enthusiasts, Headware is great headgear for moms like me. I’m sure any mom can relate when I say that when the whole family travels, it’s mom who’s in charge of EVERYTHING. With Headware, I was able to cross off “do not look like a hag” off my Boracay reminders list. You can even use it as a beanie, a face mask, a scarf and so many other ways!

Sadly, I lost the blue-striped one. It flew from my head when I took my hat off for our island hopping boat ride. I want to get another one in the exact same pattern.

Babywearing is always a fixture when we travel. My Next9 sling was, again, a lifesaver. Strollers are close to impossible, even on the densely-packed sand pathway of the Boracay beachwalk, and carrying a toddler on uneven ground is no easy task.

Spotted at Boracay Regency Lagoon Hotel: The Korean podaegi in action.


I took a moment to #LiveMore by my blog sponsor’s booth.

With my blog sponsor

Here are the Boracay “must-do”s that we did not do:

  1. Get henna tattoos. It seems everyone and their grandmother got one. We were also conscious of the very big sign in the hotel that said they were going to charge us for any henna stains on towels and linens. I did want one done on Basti but I was afraid he would mess around with the henna and stain everything.
  2. Get a massage on the beach. They have “massage areas” now and having a Boracay massage is not the same anymore. I miss the manangs who walk up to me to offer a massage. That was the point of it all, in my opinion.
  3. Take jump shots. No. N-O, NO.
  4. Get braids. I used to get my braided every single time. Back then I would have to find a girl who someone said could do it for me and look for her in some bar somewhere. Now, it seems everyone has trained their children to do cornrows.
Inspite of the commercialization, the presence of fast food joints, Starbucks on the beach, the ferris wheel and the algae, we absolutely loved it. Two days later, The Painter’s brain is still in Boracay. We both love people-watching and the whole island is perfect for it. He was brimming with ideas. He spent most of the day walking back and forth from Station 1 to 3 and back again, and we took home thousands of shots. He loved it so much we actually spent the morning of our second day scouting for possible long-term lodging arrangements. At this point, they’re all just plans, but if everything works out, Basti might spend a good part of his 3rd year of life on the island. I’ll believe it when I sign the lease. Living on the island would be quite an adventure for all of us.

For now, I will hug the memories of Basti playing on the beach, The Painter looking more relaxed than he ever has in months, bonding times with my mom, sister and nephew and keep it close for a few weeks. I haven’t let go of my flipflops and Jelly Nellys, and I’m still walking around in cutoffs.

Happy birthday Basti! You are such a gift to us.


LuvGear swimsuits and rashguard/shorts sets are available at:

  • The Yellow Mustard Seed Facebook page:
  • The Yellow Mustard Seed Multiply site:
  • All Babyland outlets – Glorietta, Eastwood, Shaw & Festival Mall
  • Kuku Duckbill – Market!Market!
  • Rustan’s Department Stores
  • More than Gifts Gift Shop – The Gardens, Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City
  • Expo Mom 2012 on May 5 at Manila Baby Shop’s booth. (Post on Expo Mom coming soon!)

Check here for the nearest Headware distributor in your area. Chances are, your favorite sports shop, yoga studio or bike shop has them!


Tales of the Spa Fiend: My Early Mother’s Day at Nurture Spa Village Tagaytay

The spa fiend strikes again – in Nurture Spa Village, Tagaytay! This time with Basti in tow.

We’d prepared for the visit to Nurture Spa Village weeks and weeks ahead. The only way I could tag along this road trip was if Basti could come along with me. At the last minute, my yaya-for-a-day (i.e. my mom’s maid) was suddenly let go. I got an even better deal; my mom came along instead! And because of that, my trip to Nurture Spa became a really special mother’s day treat!

We wanted to relive our high school days when the whole batch would bus it to Tagaytay for our yearly retreat. Hindi naman malayo sa highschool, diba?



Michelle, Martine (thanks for organizing!!), Jen, me, Basti, Neva and my mom!

Nurture Spa Village is no ordinary spa destination. They are distinct in offering “ecotherapy” or healing by and through nature. Their level of quality service is evident in the careful training of their staff and therapists. While they use international brands such as Algotherm and Biodroga, their massage oils and room amenities are especially blended by their partner, Spa Essentials, using only the best materials available. More than just a spa, they also have wellness packages that use natural healing methods. It is also a place that is distinctly Filipino; the staff are dressed in uniforms made out of Ilocano handwoven fabric, the treatments have names such as Aruga, Ginhawa and Maharlikang Lubos.  It’s a really special place, and the world has noticed. They were named as one  of the 28 Most Relaxing Spas in Asia by CNN Go (June 2010), and one of the Top Seven Spas of the Philippines by Asia Spa Magazine (May-June 2010 issue).


There were wonderful touches of inspiration everywhere that lent to the overall experience of Nurture Spa Village.


We were welcomed by a band playing traditional Filipino instruments, and a spot of tarragon tea that helped us shake off the road trip from our heads. At the pavilion is where the socialization happens. I particularly loved the sungka areas. It was my favorite game when I was a kid.

We were shown their organic garden areas where my mom and Martine gamely picked the ingredients for our lunch and snack salads.


I had to take pictures of the buildings because this is exactly how The Painter and I envisioned our future farm resthouse. I totally loved the outdoor facilities where you can have your facial or footspa. I could sit here all day! You can choose to stay in a standard room with names like Pag-Ibig, Payapa and Revive. Nurture Spa is famous for their Ulog accommodations, which are actual huts from Banaue.


Basti enjoyed being there and couldn’t get enough of the greenery and the fresh air. He loved the giant chess set and was only too happy to finish off what remained of our chocolate fondue.


Speaking of food, the meals were YUM. The best items on their menu are the ones that have ingredients that come from the garden. I loved the salad and the yummy dressing, and the Kakaibang Lumpia which I didn’t take a picture of because I ate it all. Just before we left, they let us sample two items from their raw food menu. Even junk-foodie me couldn’t resist these yummy rolls and choco balls. My beef steak, though good, paled in comparison to all the other healthy-yummy-freshness menu items that were enhanced by the whole Nurture Spa environment. I dare you to read their menu and not think yummy thoughts.


I think what I like most about Nurture Spa Village is that while they promote wellness, organic eating and natural healing, they are also accommodating to the ones who still drink Coca-Cola people like me who are not quite ready to embrace the whole lifestyle yet. I was glad to see meat, coffee, soda and sweets on the menu too! (And yes, they have beer!)

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. Both my mom and I had massages (which were excellent, by the way), ate some great food, and got a chance to take the city-boy-Basti for some fresh air. It was a great day for bonding with my mom and I’m so thankful I also shared it with some very cool girlfriends. I would highly recommend this place for a Mother’s Day treat! Come for the day or stay the night. Either way, you’ll come out healthier and happier than you did coming in.

Thank you Ms. Cathy Turvill for treating us to a wonderful day at Nurture Spa Village!

Read what my spa-mates had to say about our day!

Dainty Mom:
Manila Mommy:
J and the Three Boys:
My Mom Friday:

Basti’s First Dental Visit

At Basti’s last pediatric checkup, one of our assignments was to go for our first dental check-up. I finally got around to doing it today. I decided to check out Dentphix Clinics in Silver City, only because it was walking distance from my house.

I like the lobby and the facilities.


Basti liked the play area.


Our dentist was Dr. Fina Gupit-Lopez, a very pretty lady with four kids of her own. She checked Basti’s teeth, cleaned them and did a flouride treatment, all while Basti’s favorite Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was playing on a television set in the room. Basti did well. There were a few tears of protest but he mostly stayed still and was cheerful again soon after, with a little toy and a Mickey Mouse toothbrush from the dentist to reward him. I wish I had someone there to take pictures. It was really pretty awesome. Sadly, Basti already has signs of tooth decay on his front teeth. That’s what I get for procrastinating!

Here’s a few things I learned from our visit that I thought I’d share with you:

  • The bacteria that causes tooth decay is contagious! The dentist said that blowing on your child’s food before feeding is a cause for passing on the bacteria. So mommies, don’t do this, and tell your yayas not to do this too!
  • It’s good to go for a dental check-up on your second trimester of pregnancy so you don’t have bacteria to pass on when you give birth.
  • There is no need to rinse after brushing your teeth, even for us adults! Don’t rinse your teeth and let the flouride work its magic. If you rinse or eat something within 30 minutes, the brushing would have been for nothing.
  • Basti nurses during bedtime, so the doctor suggested I give him a quick brush just before settling in. She said to do it lying down in bed, and again, no need to rinse. Basti will learn to spit eventually. Keep the amount of toothpaste to just a dash.
  • Chocolate is a better snack than crackers or potato chips because it melts and gets washed off by water. Crackers, cereal, wafers or chips will get stuck in the teeth and cause cavities!

We’ll be back again in two weeks to catch up with the decay on Basti’s teeth. Good oral habits is something I want to establish with Basti. During my childhood, regular dental visits was something we didn’t do, even though my aunt was a dentist! I’m going for my own visit soon.

Thank you Dr. Fina and Dentphix for such a great experience for Basti!

Dentphix is on the Ground Floor of Silver City in Frontera Verde, Pasig City. Tel. No.: 5840693, 2162928.

Previewing The Bayleaf Hotel

My siblings and I are a crazy lot. One of my brothers, Carlo, is a bit loony and a total Star Wars freak. He has a Darth Vader Potatohead.

And oh yeah, he’s an outstanding chef.

After working at The Legend Hotel and at the Pico de Loro Resort, my brother is now taking the helm at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros, Manila. After our Sunday pig-out at our grandma’s house, the whole family decided to pop-in and see what’s going on.

There’s going to be a cafe on the ground floor specializing in churros.

Here’s the lobby, the terrace (spectacular view of Manila!) and the hallway. My sister and I were going for a The Shining-esque effect.

The premier rooms are decorated in four color schemes. Teal is my favorite.

The bathrooms are gorgeous. As Carlos Celdran mentioned in his Facebook status update, they have a budget. Cecile would approve, I think.

They also have a superior suite and twin rooms. All rooms will have WiFi. We couldn’t take a peek at the Presidential Suite because it’s not done yet.

And finally, we went to the Penthouse lounge for refreshments. I had the best iced tea I’ve ever had. I cannot wait to taste my brother’s menu!!

We also took a look at the kitchen. We saw this appetizer display thing-y.

The Bayleaf is also home to the culinary and HRM school of Lyceum. At the back of the hotel is the very nice looking staff canteen, which will also be open to anyone who wants a good, affordable meal. I like the idea. There’s a McDonald’s back there too.

The hotel promises 3-star prices, 4-star amenities and 5-star service. Knowing my brother’s track record, it’s going to be a great place to stay, relax, and most especially, EAT. It opens in September. Bro, you better invite me to the launch. I wanna taste your food!!!


Tales of the Spa Fiend: Nuat Thai Libis

Hello, my name is Eliza and I am a spa addict.

I love spas. As much as I love home massage services for their convenience, there’s nothing like walking into a spa and getting lost in a world of relaxation and utter pampering.

So when Michelle of My Mom Friday invited a few mommy bloggers over to try out Nuat Thai Libis, I quickly confirmed and prepared myself mentally and emotionally for the 2-hour activity. Does that seem OA to you? Well, it just so happens this was also the first instance that I left Basti with my parents. It wasn’t for any justifiable reason: a meeting, an interview, an important errand – but an afternoon that was purely just for me and me alone. I admit I was a little guilty.

So I arrived and was welcomed warmly by Janine and Jay, the franchise owners of Nuat Thai Libis.

The other mommy bloggers were already there, but no time for chit-chat because we were quickly led by our therapists to get ready for our Nuat Thai experience.

They provided a pair of very clean flipflops and we were led to a footwash to freshen up and cool down our tired feet. (I myself get a little conscious when I come in for a foot massage from outside. Sorry Manang Therapist for my gross feet! So this was a huge plus for me) I give you Neva of Manila Mommy’s feet in this picture:

Here are a few more points about Nuat Thai:

  • The foot massage was amaaaaa-zing. I dozed off into a limbo-esque nap – a sure sign that the right buttons were being pushed. It’s very dark, very quiet, and the therapist’s hands were magic. One of The Best foot massages I’ve ever had in my life. (And believe me I’ve had a lot).
Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday
  • You are taken into your own cubicle for your massage, with crisp sheets, an abundance of towels and a proper place to hang your clothes and stow your bag. Very skilled therapists who ask about pressure levels and your choice of oils. I also noted that the therapist was very quick to sanitize her hands when she moved to different parts of your body (feet to back, back to head, head to face).
Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday
Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday
Photo courtesy of My Mom Friday
  • They have valet parking! Don’t you just hate it when you are aching to de-stress and unwind and just before you do, there’s the added anxiety of trying to find parking? Ha! 10 points to this place for providing a parking service for their clients. Parking in front of the building is quite limited so this was an extra touch I truly appreciated.
  • Their pricing is SUPER. Just look at these price points:
    • Nuat Thai Foot Massage (1 hour) – PhP 250.00
    • Thai Body Massage (1 hour) – PhP 250.00; with oil – PhP300.00
    • Swedish Massage (1 hour) – PhP 350.00
    • Aromatherapy Massage with Herbal Balls (1 & 1/2 hours) – PhP550.00
    • Hot Oil Massage (1 & 1/2 hours) – PhP550.00
    • Thai Head, Back and Shoulder Massage (1 hour) – PhP250.00; with oil – PhP300.00
    • Express (30 mins of either Foot, Back or Head Massage) – PhP150.00
  • The place is very dimly lit and the staff don’t hesitate to remind clients who are just a tad too loud to keep it down. They play very relaxing music and the fountain in the background helps put you to ease.

We all emerged refreshed, rejuvenated and raring to go! They served us Serenitea (yum!) and Mom and Tina’s cupcakes (yum, yum, yum!) and we spent a bit of time chatting before we headed home.

Rone of Mothering Earthlings always makes me feel like a dog. So mamalicious!

And here is our group shot:

Martine of Dainty Mom, no-make-up-and-won’t-let-go-of-Serenitea-me, our host Michelle of My Mom Friday, Rone of Mothering Earthlings, Noemi of Touched By An Angel, Neva of Manila Mommy, Jane of The Yogini In Manila, and Tina of Our Phenomenal Life.

This was totally worth the guilt of leaving Basti for 4 hours. (Who didn’t even miss me or look for milk while I was away, hmph. Sniff.)

Thanks Nuat Thai Libis and thanks Michelle for making it happen! I’ll definitely be back with The Painter in tow. (Massage-addict too!)


Nuat Thai Libis

2/F #90 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave. QC (across Shopwise, above Allied and RCBC banks)

Tel # 477.5004

Open Daily from 12nn-2am


P.S. Next on Tales of the Spa Fiend: a Nail Spa mani/pedi adventure because I won (!!!!) Dainty Mom’s Nail Spa giveaway and a taste of Tian Di (Deal Grocer, you will be the death of me).

Revisiting Baguio

When I think of Baguio, my mind instantly goes back to two periods of my life: childhood and college. As a child I have fond memories of being in Baguio with the family: staying at Pines and Hyatt Hotel, taking early morning swims at the Hyatt’s indoor heated pool, biking all afternoon at Burnham, eating at the 19th Tee at John Hay (ice cream and steak sandwiches, yum!!!). When my family finally bought a house in Baguio when I was in college, there was Spirits disco (Oh.Em.Gee.), bareback trailriding on the Marlboro Trail, spending Holy Week and half of the summer there and gaining 10 million pounds in the process and spending Christmas break there all bundled up and actually using our fireplace.

The last time I went to Baguio was when I took some Chinese friends for a day tour when I came home from China for Spring Festival. Last week was the first time I stayed in our house in over 5 years! I’m so happy to be back, now with little Basti in tow.

We actually didn’t get to do anything because it was SO COLD (my China-winter tolerance is gone!!) and it was kind of rainy. Ok, I confess. We were just relishing the cold that gave our bedrooms a hotel feel and just stayed mostly in bed all day, napping. Basti included. We had dinner out once, at a place called Oh My Khan! (spelling, not sure), a Mongolian barbecue place that was just so-so. Sweet Inspirations in Katipunan is better, which says a lot, considering Oh My Khan! has the best ingredients Baguio has to offer, including watercress.

One place we didn’t miss though, was the BenCab Museum.

It was such a nice way to spend the day. We walked through the many galleries showcasing the artist’s vast collection of paintings and sculptures. I’m glad we went off-season; I can’t imagine walking through the halls if there were a lot of people around. We had lunch at Cafe Sabel. It was nicely situated at the base of the museum, and has a lovely view of the museum’s farm, pond and garden. It was so relaxing. My mom said that we should come here everytime we go up to Baguio.bencab museum

We had a really nice lunch. My favorite was the Chili Eggplant Surprise. It was a beautiful pan-fried catfish fillet served with an eggplant dish of some sort. My dad had their adobo with mountain rice. I had a spicy tuyo pasta that was okay. I’m going to try and recreate it here at home.

It was a great way to spend our last day in Baguio. We’ll come for another visit, on our next trip, soon!

bencab museum

Gymbo, We Meet Again

I said goodbye to Gymbo in 2008. At first I showed up occasionally to sub for  desperate teachers-slash-friends, and then I just stopped teaching altogether, especially when I got pregnant.

And then Basti was born. Now at 6 months, he is fully interacting with the grand total of 3 adults in our household and I felt he needed other faces to see. I wanted him to interact with babies his own age already. With much delight, I donned my Gymboree uniform again for a grand reunion with Gymbo The Clown.

gymboree shangrila

I think he had fun, even though he was so sleepy during his actual class. He liked song time and dance time the most, and stared in wonder when bubbles were floating overhead. He loved seeing the parachute colors and laughed when the parachute breeze hit him.

gymboree shangrila

gymboree shangrila

It’s fun being on the other side of a Gymboree class. I always had fun teaching, but it’s way different when you’re attending the class with your own baby. I think I grew as a teacher just by attending that one class alone. I can’t wait to see Basti grow through the levels and interact more with the children and the playfloor as he gets bigger and bigger.

P.S. I’m done gathering all the entries for the giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone for joining! 303 entries in total, whew! Watch out the the announcement of winners!

The Ramen Bar and the Eastwood Breastfeeding Room

I promised I would treat the family to dinner sometime, and so I did last night. We decided to try out The Ramen Bar, opened by a fellow PhilMUGger and birthing class classmate, Charlie Paw. I also wanted to see the Eastwood breastfeeding room.

Simple menu, with just a handful of appetizers, ramen varieties, and just one each of a rice bowl and dessert. If they are planning to expand the menu in the future, I think what they currently have is a good way to introduce themselves. I will not claim to be a ramen expert (or a food expert, for that matter) but I do know what I like. I have a chef for a brother; does that make me any more credible or just makes it more obvious that my family loves to eat?

Good ramen.

Supposed to be good for 1-2 people. Uh, good for one Eliza only.

I couldn’t take a picture of the pork buns because they were gone before I could snap a shot. Okay I admit, I ate them up. Fast.

My sister approves.

Yapi likes

To this day we need to figure out how my sister became part-Japanese.

Here’s the Eastwood breastfeeding station.

Comfy chairs, changing area, dedicated airconditioning and breastfeeding information on the walls. Great job L.A.T.C.H. and Eastwood Mall!

I also have a new thing on my I Want Need This List that I saw at Babyland:

Lassig Shoulder Diaper Bag

I wonder if The Painter will indulge me?