November 28, 2014

DIY Advent Calendar

I still remember when I was young, my aunt brought Kinder Surprise Egg Advent Calendar, we were so excited for our turn to open one kinder egg. Too bad Kinder Egg is yet available here in the Philippines and I don’t know if Kinder Joy offers it. I’ve been meaning to make an advent calendar since my son was 4 years old but I wasn’t able to do it so two days ago, I promised myself that I will make an Advent calendar. 

Advent is one of their lessons in Christian Living so it is the best time to make one and I know my son would be excited to countdown. The Advent calendar is a special calendar that is used to count the days in preparation for Christmas.

I was thankful for different ideas and free printables on Pinterest so making an advent is not difficult. Two nights ago, I printed everything I need and started cutting. 

The following day while my son is still in school, I made DIY Christmas envelopes again because I need 12 pieces to complete the 24 days. 

Place the number on each envelope and put the activity paper inside the envelope. 

1. You get a piece of candy. 

2. Write a note to Jesus. 
3. Make a gift for someone. 
4. Mom will read you a Christmas Story. 
5. Make a fun Christmas craft
6. Watch a favorite Christmas movie. 
7. Play Festive Christmas songs and dance. 
8. Pick out a Christmas Treat. 
9. Make a Christmas cards to give your family
10. PJ Day. 
11. You get to play a video game of your choice for 40min. 
12. Make a new ornament for your tree
13. Watch a favorite Christmas movie. 
14. Sing the 12 days of Christmas 12 times. 
15. Make a Christmas craft
16. Record yourself singing a Favorite Christmas song. 
17. Read a favorite Christmas story. 
18. Call someone you love just to say “hi” 
19. Bake Christmas cookies
20. Bake something special for someone special. 
21. See Christmas lights. 
22. Drink hot cocoa. 
23. Read Christmas story. 
24. Open a present. 

Then I stick all the envelopes at the back of an old calendar. 

I was happy with the result because I thought I couldn’t make it on time. I hang the advent in our door. 

I also printed this Christmas tree for another countdown activity, put it in cardboard and cover it with plastic cover. I am still looking for Christmas ball stickers. 


Christmas countdown
Christmas Advent Calendar
Children’s Advent Calendar

November 27, 2014

November 24, 2014

10 Gift Ideas from The Mind Museum

Considering that we celebrate an extended holiday season--starting from the ber months to late January—you would think people would have enough time to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts that are well thought out. That's hardly ever the case, though. 

Year after year, people rush to stores at the last minute, grabbing run-of-the-mill mugs, picture frames, toiletries, and what have you. Fun, right? Let's face it; getting an ordinary gift doesn't exactly usher in the spirit of the season. Why not wrap something remarkable?

If your loved ones are that special, you'd think of giving them the stars—something they clearly deserve. You can't exactly give them that, but a close alternative is made possible by The Mind Museum—along with other unique gifts that not only add a twist to your usual holiday flavor, they also inspire learning and further celebrate the season of giving. 

1. The Scientific Date: How about a date in an artsy but science-themed gallery, or stargazing in cozy couches in a custom-made planetarium? Surprise your loved ones and the young ones with All Day Passes or gift certificates to The Mind Museum

With over 250 hands-on, minds-on exhibits and live experiment demonstrations that unveil the remarkable science behind living and non-living things, a date or two in The Mind Museum is definitely a unique and exciting way to spend time together this Yuletide season. (The Mind Museum tickets all day passes is sold for only Php750/php) 

Read: Our Trip to Mind Museum

Exploring Mind Museum

2. Name the Stars after Your Loved Ones: Do you know that you can literally leave your mark in The Mind Museum by naming one of their virtual exhibits? You can leave your names or your loved ones’ on digital exhibits found in the different galleries in the Museum, through a fixed donation that come with e-certificates. Imagine the delight of seeing your family’s name imprinted on the virtual stars that make up a constellation, or name a specific kind of dinosaur that inhabits a virtual era in history. 

What’s more heart-warming is that all proceeds for this program go to supporting the institutions’ project of giving free museum visits to public school kids. (Virtual exhibits’ price ranges from Php1,000 to Php5,000, depending on your choice of show. For more information, visit 

3. The Key to Endless Discovery: A year-round, all-day admission to the first world-class science museum in the country—how does that sound? Interactive exhibits, a thoughtfully designed planetarium, meticulously laid-out 3D shows, and exciting science demonstrations await your lucky gift recipient. The Mind Museum’s Unlimited Science Pass also gives free admission to over 300 worldwide science museums, discounts on travelling exhibition tickets, birthday packages, and purchases inside The Mind Museum Store. 

And because the institution always interlinks its efforts with expanding the knowledge of today’s generation, this unli-pass directly supports free museum passes for underprivileged kids. For a group of four or more, avail the Unlimited Science Pass for only Php2,250/pax

4. All for Science, All for Love: To celebrate the holidays in a different, more meaningful way, why not sponsor a trip for public school kids this Christmas? You can even ask your family or friends to join you in spearheading this project to further enrich the sense of wonder of these young ones. Don’t worry, The Mind Museum’s doors are open to plan and accomplish this advocacy of embracing and sharing the true spirit of the season. (To inquire about this project, please send your email to The Mind Museum is a gallery of endless activities and possibilities so, of course, we have more in The Mind Museum Store for you! 

5. If these shirts could talk: Let your friends “wear their wit” with these design shirts that are exclusively available in The Mind Museum Store! These shirts come in different colors and are tastefully designed with vibrant graphics and statements that will truly make science a cool fashion statement of choice this holiday season. (Prices range from Php379.75 to Php499.75)

6. Of Puzzles, Papers, and Pencils: Instead of those tired old notebooks or planners, try giving the young ones (or even your family and friends) this funky Human Anatomy Notebook and Science Alphabet Notebook! They’re, indeed, a safe space for random thoughts, important lists, or mind babbles. Here’s a tip: pair these notebooks with Puzzle Color Pencils and let its colorful tips become their wand to create their DIY-diary. (Human Anatomy Notebook and Science Alphabet Notebook are sold for only Php379.75, while Puzzle Color Pencils set is sold for only Php649.75.) 

7. Own the Universe: While these kids are taking baby steps towards their dreams, you can show them the momentary short-cut in seizing the universe, literally, through the Star Planetarium! Projecting 3D stars, planets, and constellations, this amazing contraption also includes 3D glasses for a more mesmerizing virtual representation of what’s above and beyond the world, we’re living in. (The Star Planetarium set is sold for only Php2,579.75.) 

8. Unearthing the Dinos: Be a paleontologist and travel back to the era of dinosaurs with the special edition of Dino Excavation Kit. Dig for the bones hidden in the gypsum block, assemble them and enjoy your very own miniature dinosaur skeleton replica. Top it off by learning more about the fossils you have just uncovered. (The entire Dino Excavation Kit is sold for Php2,699.75.) 

9. Tricks and Treats: Put a little ease and fun in teaching kids using playing cards that are exclusively sold at The Mind Museum store. You can either get What’s GNU?—a 3-letter learning game deck or go for a game of speed and visual tricks with Hyperswipe! Grab these cards now, be the learning and game master at the same time, and let the enlivening game itself, too, serve as an added gift to these kids! (What’s GNU deck costs Php9,49.75 while the Hyperswipe set costs Php1,349.75.)

10. Build Your Own, Learn on Your Own: Teach your young ones the basics of gardening, without having to worry about landscaping your backyard, with these innovative plant miniatures! You can either let them grow the Sweet Leaf, which grows leaves that be used as a natural substitute for sugar; the Mini-Melons that will actually produce sweet mini cantaloupes in less than 2 months; or get really out-of-this-word with the Curious George Outer Space Adventure Garden that will even allow them to experiment right in their mini pots! (Sweet leaf and Mini-melons cost Pho829.75 each while the Curious George Outer Space Adventure Garden is sold for Php1,229.75.) 

Happy Holidays!

November 21, 2014

Fulfilling their Grown Up Christmas List

Christmas is in the air, you will see bazaars, warehouse sales, and mall-wide sales left and right. People are now busy writing their Christmas lists and finishing them as early as possible to avoid the Christmas rush. 

As a full-time mom, I always have a Christmas Planner, where I write our holiday menu, gift list, and Christmas budget to avoid overspending. Though there are times that you want to spoil your special someone by fulfilling their grown-up Christmas list. Most of the time this list is expensive gifts like gadgets and for someone who has a limited budget like me, I will take advantage of the Taiwan Excellence Christmas Contest.

TAITRA, is a non-profit, semi-governmental trade promotion organization in Taiwan, which is one of the organizers that launched the campaign in the Philippines to promote different high-quality products in Taiwan. They aim to give an excellent lifestyle to our everyday lives. 

Not only that, they are so generous to help Filipinos to wish for things for their love ones. Ten winners will be receiving the chosen Taiwan Excellence product this Christmas, with one lucky winner will have the gift delivered no less than Taiwan Excellence Celebrity Endorser for the Philippines, Iya Villania-Arellano, to the person your selected recipient. 

All you have to do is register at and select a Taiwan Excellence gift for your loved ones, upload your photo, and share why you want to give your Taiwan Excellence gift to your selected recipient. No purchase is necessary to enter and/or win the contest. When done, feel free to share the Taiwan Excellence - Made to Enjoy Christmas with your family and friends.


November 20, 2014

Zoobic Lodge

I won Zoobic Safari Package last month, the package includes 5 entrance tickets, 5 free rides and 1 overnight package in Zoobic Lodge. I got excited because I haven’t stayed in this hotel so I immediately search for it. I have no idea that the zoo offer rooms too because the last time that we went to Subic, we stayed in Camayan Beach Resort.

I was having a hard time in getting information even the website have limited information and photos of Zoobic Lodge. Then I found out that Zoobic Lodge a.k.a. Tiara Hotel is the former Crown Peak Homes. Waah!, I stayed here 14 years ago, yes more than a decade already. I went here with my college friends. My excitement was gone already because I know it was already an old hotel. I’ve been reading reviews pa na it looks creepy, knowing me na sobrang matatakutin and I don’t watch horror movies nga, parang I don’t want to go na. But my husband said, sayang and kasama naman daw siya. 

So I asked my husband to call the office to check if we could use the gift certificate even on weekends. There was a note kasi na “not valid for weekends and holidays”. The staff said yes because there is an available room. Day before the trip, my husband called to confirm our reservation and he was surprised because there was no reservation under his name. We emailed the gift certificate to reserve and still no reply. My husband called again to follow up and reserve na nga daw. 

We really hoped that it was really reserved but we prepared ourselves for worst scenario, just in case makalimutan ulit. That is the reason why after our Zoobic Safari tour we went immediately to Zoobic Lodge, to check if we could check-in because if not, we will just go home. 

Good thing that our room was really reserved. After watching the Animal Parade in Zoobic Safari, we went back to Zoobic Lodge. The hotel was really old and I was praying na sana marami kami nagcheck-in. #paranoid 

I must agree with other reviews because I find the place creepy. Everything is old and really need an improvement. Actually, the room is big, it has a kitchen with fridge, you have an extra bed pa, Thank God that the aircon is working fine. 

The bathroom has hot and cold shower, it has a bathtub but you can’t use it kasi wala naman pantakip sa butas. Lol I thought they won’t provide towels but they deliver it to our room without asking. Soap, toothbrush and toilet paper for toiletries. 

Zoobic Lodge has a mini restaurant where you can eat so we did not go out anymore for dinner. There is wi-fi too in the restaurant but I haven’t tried it.

P95, grilled liempo for my son and porkchop for me +iced tea

P85, one veggie and one meat + iced tea
I told my husband that we will go home after breakfast but he promised my son that they will swim. Around 7AM my husband asked the staff what time open ng pool, he was informed 8AM kasi lilinisin pa daw niya pool. So we had morning walk around the area while waiting for 8AM. 

We went down and only to find out that the pool was still closed. My husband looked for the staff and was told na 9AM pa daw at maglilinis pa. My son cried already because he wanted to swim but we have no choice but to wait. 

Ready to swim na but still closed
We went back to our room, I took a bath and persuading my son to take a bath too so we can go home. But he was determined to wait til 9AM so he could swim. At 9AM, they went to the pool and it was still closed. And the staff was eating and saying, mamaya na bumalik na lang kayo at maglilinis pa nga. Oh my goodness, we wasted our two hours waiting for the pool, I don’t understand bakit ayaw niya iopen. Maglilinis pa? Two hours na nagdaan, ni hindi naman niya ginawa. #lokohannaito High blood na kami mag-asawa so my husband and son took a bath and we went home. 

The staff at the reception asked? 

Staff: Sir, di na kayo maliligo. 
Husband: Hindi na. 
Staff: Sir, pasyensya na po kayo dun kasi Blah! Blah! Blah! 

Hindi ko na inintindi kung ano sinabi niya about dun sa isang staff na ayaw buksan ang pool. All I knew is, we wasted our two hours waiting for nothing. I don’t know if that staff is under the Zoobic Lodge. We’re not dying to swim in that pool, it just so happened that my husband promised my son that they will swim, trust issue ito. So we convinced our son that the pool is dirty at may mga frog. We promised that we will swim in other pool na lang.

Anway, although the place was creepy for me, wala naman ko nakita o naramdaman na kakaiba. Lol The service was ok except for the pool staff. I don’t know about the room rates but I saw this in our room. 

Zoobic Lodge
Tiara Building, Upper Cubi, 
Subic Bay Freeport Zone,
2222 Zambales
(047) 252 8638

November 18, 2014

Revisited Zoobic Safari

It is very unusual to me that I will revisit one place or attraction within a year because I always wanted to visit new places and discover new things. But this year, I visited two places, twice in a year. Last February 2014, we had a family trip in Zoobic Safari and Ocean Adventure, then last month my son had field trip in Ocean Adventure and at the same time I also won Zoobic Safari Package in one contest. Sayang lang, kasi after field trip ko na nakuha prize.

We’re supposed to use the gift certificate last sembreak but my husband was busy as a bee and could not take a vacation leave so it was only last weekend we were able to use the voucher. We left at 5AM and made a quick stop at Petron Lakeshore for our breakfast. My husband suggested “Fiesta Keni!” (Mangan Tanan), it is an eat all you can breakfast at P149. 

He always eats here if he has business trip up North. The price is worth it kung malakas kumain but for somone like me and my son, lugi. My son only ate one fried egg and rice for P75. 

Tuyo, longganisa, tocino, fried egg, salted egg, rice and coffee. I only ate salted egg, longganisa and rice. 
Then off we went to Zoobic Safari, I just gave my gift certificate and paid P20 per person for Environment Fee. Again, there’s no tour guide available, second time na so feeling ko wala talaga tour guide, para sa mga nagfield trip lang. Lol

We started our tour again in Bird Walk and went inside the Bird Thrill. Last February, this was closed so we were happy to experience this on our second visit. We had our first bird feeding experience in Residence Inn Zoo, pero mas maganda dito kasi standing position naman. Hehehe! P10 for the bird feeds. 

Next stop is the Zoobic Cave and Forbidden Cave, we skipped the forbidden cave and went straight to Tiger Safari, crowded kasi at may kasabayan na nagfield trip. 

Last time, solo namin yung jeep but last weekend we have to share it with other groups. The chicken is P200/3 so I paid P70 for my share. Since we did not avail the package, we only had tiger safari and no more lion safari. 

Then we moved to Close Encounter, Savannah, Animal MuZooeum, Aeta’s Trail, Hip-Hop-Bay-a-Walk and Croco Loco. During our last visit, masipag yung staff, she was giving us information on every site, trivia about the animals and other information so I was disappointed last weekend, nag sight seeing lang kami till we reach the Croco Loco

Hubby and son tried the crocodile feeding again for P50. 

We missed the Amazing Bird Show and my son did not want to leave the place until he watch the show but he has no choice because we did not want to wait til 1:30 or 3PM. 

We went to Zoobic Lodge to check if we could check in early but unfortunately 2PM pa daw. We ate lunch at Aristocrat near Harbor Point Mall, they have good service here. 

Then we went back to Zoobic Safari to watch the last show which is Animal Parade at 3PM. We waited for almost an hour, we were happy because it was a different show and it was nice to meet the Zoo mascot. I did not know na may mascot pala each zoo. 

Click here for our Zoobic Safari last February 

Zoobic Safari 
Group I Ilanin Forest 
Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Philippines 
Telefax: (+6347) 252-2272; (+63) 929-7072222

November 13, 2014

Save Money Using Citi Cashback Card

We’ve been loyal to our credit card company for the last several years because they are offering different promos like free Starbucks coffee, gas rebate and I can even convert my points to miles. They even waived our annual fee for the first few years but after that, they only waived half of the annual fee. 

Last year my husband decided to apply to Citibank so we’re now using the Citi Cashback Card. So far, we’re still happy with the card because we can get a cash rebate. You can have up to 6% cash rebate on your supermarket expense, 2% on Meralco rebate, and 0.20% rebate on all other purchases charged to your card, e.g., gas, cellphone bills, travel expenses, online and boutique shopping, dining bills, department store purchases, tuition fees, gadgets, and appliances. 

Last May 2014, we redeemed our cash rebate. You need to call to use your cash rebate and it will be deducted from the amount due. At that time, per 500 points ang pwede iredeem, we redeemed 2500 points. Last September 2014, we redeemed our cash rebate again and this time, we can use all our points, 2193 points. 

In less than a year, we were able to redeem PHP4693, not bad di ba. Big savings pa rin. I hope they will also waive our annual fee. According to them “Just spend at least P15,000 a month or P180,000 a year and your PHP2,800 principal card annual fee will be automatically waived”

Update: May 2018

If you want to redeem your Cash Rebates, you need to do it online because if you call, there is a charge of 500 points so it is better to do it online. Just log on to your account and click REDEEM REWARDS, choose Cash and Voucher. You can choose from P50, P100, P200, P500, P1000, P1500, P2000, P2500 or P5000. It will take 7 days before it will be deducted from your bill.

"Don't cut up your credit cards, the problem is not the cards, it's the lack of financial literacy of the person holding the cards and always make the best out of a bad situation" Robert Kiyosaki

Update 2023: We decided to cancel this card because they no longer waive the annual fee. PHP4500 is not cheap. 

November 07, 2014

List of my Favorite Leche Desserts

Leche is the Spanish word for "milk" and I have so many favorite foods that inludes leche, the first thing on my list is Leche Flan. I like leche flan and I feel so happy whenever I see this in any occasion. Cooking leche flan is not difficult but I seldom cook this dessert because nanghihinayang ko sa egg white. You can check the baked leche flan recipe here

I have a friend who knew that I love Leche Flan so she always gives me one whenever her cousin cook Leche Flan. This leche flan was gone in 60 seconds because my family loves it too.

And because I love Leche Flan, when I saw the Leche Flan Roll in Red Ribbon way back 2011, I immediately tried and it was love at first taste. 

Aside from that, I also love the Dulce de Leche Cake of Red Ribbon, these two cakes are really my favorite in their store. I still remember that I always buy this when we’re still celebrating my son’s monthsary and even birthdays. 

Next is Dulce de Leche, I tried so many times to make my own homemade dulce de leche, I tried cooking on stove and oven but it was an epic fail so I was really happy when I saw the Dulce de Leche bottle in S&R and I made Dulce de Leche French Toast.

And last but not the least is the Leche Puto, this is my new discovery. I bought it at Noel Discovery Bazaar at Filinvest. This puto is from Quezon and I bought it at P220. It is a combination of Puto and Leche Flan. We all love it because it is not sweet. 

Read: Leche Flan Puto Recipe

How about you, what is your favorite leche?

November 04, 2014

Learn to DIY and Save Money

One of the disadvantages of a full-time mom is not having a salary and it is really hard to budget single income so we have to think ways and means to meet our needs and maybe wants. But this disadvantage could also be our advantage because we can learn new things, enhance new skills and discover gifts that we didn’t know that we have.

D.I.Y. or Do It Yourself can help you save money because you don’t have to buy stuff from the market, mall or restaurants. You will be amazed that there are things that we can do using our own resources at home. 

When I became a stay at home mom, Google became my friend because I always search and search if I need to know something. I’m so thankful that I don’t have to buy books or go to the library if I need information.

I’ll be sharing with you our DIY stuff. 

1. Homemade Play Dough 

My son loves clay and we are aware that Play-Doh is not that cheap and I was really thankful when I’ve learned that I can do playdough at home. My son knows that I can make play dough so whenever he runs out of clay he immediately informs me “Mommy, cook clay please”. 

Read: DIY Homemade Play Dough

2. Homemade Food and Pastries 

We seldom eat at the restaurant, as much as possible we eat home-cooked meals and even desserts. I try to look for some recipes and try it at home and this is one of the best ways to save money. You know that fast food and restaurants are very expensive and I guess P500 is not enough for 2-3 people.

3. Homemade ingredients

Some ingredients are not easy to find and some are not affordable but don’t be sad because you can DIY some ingredients and you can also substitute some ingredients. 

4. Party Giveaways – if you have spare time, make your own party giveaways

5. Sewing 

This is one skill that I really want to learn but I know some basics so if I need to fix buttons, hooks or anything that require basic stitches, I can do it. I hope I can buy a mini sewing machine so that I can enhance this skill especially now that we are spending money for my son’s costume in his school activities like Linggong Wika, United Nation, and Halloween Party. 

Update: I have my own sewing machine now, read more here.

6. Gifts and Cards 

If you are into art and craft, you can save money by making your own gifts and cards. Make your own paper bag, envelope, cards and wrap your own gifts. There are so many free printables in Pinterest

7. Home Repairs or Installations

If we need home repairs we don’t always hire repairman, my husband always check if he can fix it. If we need to install something at home, my husband will do it. I’m very fortunate that he can do almost everything.

8. Home Renovation 

I remember when we live in a small apartment, we painted our own apartment and my husband put all the vinyl tiles. We painted our own house too. 

9. D.I.Y Travel 

Traveling is one of our favorite bonding and to save money we don’t avail travel packages. I always look for seat sale and make my own itinerary. Click here to learn how to plan an itinerary

10. Homemade Gifts

This will you save you time in buying gifts in the mall. If you have the skills and talent you can do your own gifts. It adds more personal touch. 

Read: DIY Homemade Gifts

That’s it for now and feel free to share your DIY stuff.