Up north

We had our annual family vacation this year in Alaminos, Pangasinan. This actually happened about three weeks ago but hadn’t had the chance to blog about it yet. Anyway, we kind of dragged ourselves there because it was kind of far away, and this is the longest we drove in a private car (we went to the hubby’s home province in Cagayan but on a public bus so no one among us got tired driving), and I am happy to report that we all survived haha. My brother was going on and on about “not doing this again ever” because no. 1: it was Holy Week and everyone was driving away from Metro Manila, ergo, major major traffic!; no. 2: it was a ten-hour drive; and no. 3: let’s just go abroad!

Because I was not driving, I enjoyed myself because I really like the provincial scenery. It is really like leaving your worries behind in the Metro as you drink in the beauty of nature–trees, animals, fields, mountains, rivers. Even the kids like it when they were not asleep. I like to hear the awe, especially in Maxine’s innocent young voice, as she points out birds, cows, dogs, goats.

Finally, we arrived in Alaminos City in the mid-afternoon of Holy Thursday. We had enough time to visit the city’s church and had some time relaxing by the pool of the Northwood Hotel where we stayed. We had dinners and breakfasts at the home of our host, whom we fondly call Mommy Ann. She used to be based here in the Metro but has since moved back to their ancestral home. It was such a great place, full of old charm and history.

The following day was spent traveling (again) for the better part of the day down to Cabongaoan, a place in Burgos, Pangasinan known for its wonderful and secluded beaches. It was dirt road for the most part, and we rented a jeepney to take us there, but the destination was great. There were even depth pools, which we didn’t have the energy to trek for. lol.

Kids had so much fun, even Mischa, who used to dislike the beach and wanted to swim just in pools. Great that they’re beginning to love the sea!

Pool party

Pool parties seem to be the norm in grade schooler parties. We’ve been invited now to a couple but this is the first time we went because Mczy’s parents are good friends of ours. I am now officially old because I have gone from being a swimming fanatic to a scrooge. I’m sure every mother would understand me and this quirk of not enjoying having to pack clothes, keeping an eagle eye on kids while trying to eat and mingle, washing them up, keeping wet clothes and so on. We actually had fun anyway but you know…

I am just happy my kids were happy until you had to tell them they have to go out of the pool.

Yayoi

Because we’re suckers for Japanese food, we decided to try Yayoi, which serves teishoku or full meals (rice, viand, soup, dessert, side dish). The good thing though is they have an ala carte menu too, so we didn’t have to endure the big servings. Lately, in a bid to lose weight (there’s a Biggest Loser contest in the office), we’ve been trying to cut down on our (or at least mine. lol) food intake. But I really couldn’t stay away too long from two things: noodles (ramen, pasta, pansit, pad thai, jap chae, etc.) and Japanese food.

Yayoi has a different dining experience such that you don’t have to call out your server all the time. On each table sits a touch screen pad where you can just press for whatever you need. Starting from your order, asking for utensils, having your water refilled, and so on, it is literally service at your fingertips. I wonder though how the technologically-challenged would fare on this. I guess the wait staff are still around to get you through.

The hubby had chicken jyu or chicken over rice with a special sauce and I had, guess what, niku udon. Both are quite good. Mine had sukiyaki beef in the soup, and an egg that seems to have been braised in something (sorry couldn’t really figure it out). His chicken was perfectly crispy despite the sauce on top. But I would still go for ramen anyday.

Toddler grades

Woot woot for the baby bunso!

So proud and happy of her improvements in school. The good grades are a bonus. But more importantly, our hearts swelled during the parent-teacher conference when her class adviser told us how her speech has expanded by leaps and bounds. Also, at this stage, she is showing signs of being a good leader. Among her peers, she is still the only one who doesn’t cry when no one around is familiar, and she has also mastered her class’ daily routine.

Good job, baby! Keep it up!

Busy as a bee

My little cutie pie was made a star during their recent production in her school’s foundation week celebration. All the students were assigned “Houses” and each house was composed of students from all year levels starting from the toddler class to high school. Maxine was made part of Red Agila, which she was so proud of though I doubt she understands it hehe. Since she was the youngest, and the cutest (stage mom alert!), she was the baby and as I said the star. During their practices (I brought her to school during these times because I played nanny when Mama just had her operation), I saw how all her other house-mates take care of her. They were playing with her, carrying her around, and basically vying for her attention. It was too cute for words!

Come the day of the actual presentation, or the field demonstration, where all the Houses will showcase their production numbers, she made a grand entrance, riding a tricycle-turned-mini-float dressed up with a bazillion paper flowers. She was the cutest bee! Her Dad said (I was again absent from this!) that she didn’t actually dance, rather just stood there and be cute. I didn’t think she had any inkling that they were entertaining the guests. And the best thing–their team won for best performance, yay!