Holy Week in the Philippines sometimes mean traveling with the family. This year was a local trip to Balesin Island. We still had to ride an airplane though. We were at the hangar before sunrise.
With this post, I am taking you on a short video-heavy tour of some of the places in Balesin we have set foot on. There were more themed villages to see, like Bali, Phuket, Costa Del Sol and Balesin Village. There were fruit and flower farms, fish and aviary to visit, too.
En route to Balesin Island, day one
These were the unusual boarding passes.
There’s our ride!
Upon arrival, we first had breakfast at the Balesin Clubhouse. After filling our bellies, we rode a shuttle to the The Royal Villa. Here’s a quick tour of one of the Royal Suites, where our family of five stayed.
I remember saying, in my previous post, that I wish I could press pause on May. It may look like I did because this blog was quiet for the whole month of May. There was a long inter-May-ssion. See what I did there? 😀
What happened? Well…
When May came in, our helper went out and had a two-week vacation. Hubby and I teamed up for the household chores. The littlest one’s ballet classes were still ongoing. Nobody’s going to stay at home with the other two, therefore, I had to let them tag along. It was just me with three kids, in a mall. Imagine that!
I am grateful, though, that we got to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend via a stay at Marco Polo Hotel Ortigas. For a couple of days, I did not need to worry about cleaning the house or my family’s meals. Thankfully, there was someone who could feed our dogs. My brother let me use one of his vouchers to book a room at a lower price.
Yay for this stay!
What our room looked like: I wonder what the kids were chatting about in this meeting by the window. We placed the two corner chairs together to make another bed. I am happy that the bathroom has a bathtub!
Breakfast was not included in the room rate, thus, I availed of the Continental Club package. It came with two breakfasts, snacks and cocktails (which my husband Rix and I didn’t take advantage of anymore). For dinner, we went out, walked around the block and found ourselves at McDonald’s.
After breakfast on the 44th floor, the children went on a swim at the indoor pool. Our request for late checkout was granted and before leaving, the receptionist gave me a white edible rose for Mother’s Day.
A view of the hotel lobby: These are the three reasons for celebrating this occasion.
Away we go!
In the midst of this craziness, Rix received a phone call that changed the course of the month. The two of us were presented with an opportunity to visit South Africa. We took it; missed the recital, arranged for childcare (thank you so much, Mama!) and packed our suitcases.
Here, we posed with the South African flag on Table Mountain.
It’s my first time to go out of the country with Rix, and without the children. I’ll post about this trip soon, after I blog about Balesin.
How are you doing? Where did you go on your latest trip?
Several families had the same idea as ours. That is to bring the kids to Quezon Memorial Circle on Sunday. The last time I went there, my hubby and I bought plants for his hydroponic garden. The first time I went there was on a date with him as a boyfriend. We bought a pack of chicharon that had human-like hairs. 😯
It’s surprising to learn of the many activities families could enjoy inside. This link take you to a closer look at the place. Who knew that this national park in Quezon City was so big?
We went in the afternoon and found out that the museum closed at four. Aww… Thus, we kept on walking. We arrived where the “action” is. Circle of Fun was the small amusement park. Circle of Joy was the overcrowded playground.
Hunger struck, therefore we had snacks at the food area in the vicinity. Rows of booths sold various food products. We had shawarma, fries, juice, tokwa’t baboy, and hotdogs on sticks.
what we did there
After that, we went over to Pedal & Paddle. As the name implied, it’s where we can pedal and paddle. We opted for the pedal with bikes going around a track. I was intrigued by the sky bike, though. We saw people paddle on the small lake on swan-shaped boats.
My legs felt like jelly after 15 minutes on the tandem bike. The youngest rode with me, the boy rode with his dad, and the eldest rode on her own. The children weren’t satisfied, that’s why I accompanied them on the small carousel. I got dizzy. Good thing I didn’t throw up. Haha!
It was growing dark when we walked back to our car.
We had dinner at The Big Cheese! Pizza. We had the place all to ourselves! Is that a good sign?
Yet, we loved the pizza! The toppings were tasty, not salty. The dough was delicious.
I was amazed at the sink at the hand-washing area. It’s operated using pressure from the knee.
I hope we get to visit the Quezon Monument Museum next time. Quezon Memorial Circle is great for a Sunday walk with the family.
Have you been here before? What were the things you did?
I think that playing dress-up is innate in every child; most of them wouldn’t hesitate to don wings or capes. Is it their idea of fun or they just want to escape reality for a while? I read somewhere that children have things figured out. I would add that they could get away with it, too!
That’s how my kids are. I remember my boy wearing my Ugg boots, an upside-down Jollibee bucket as his helmet and a sword in his hand. Here is my youngest, dressing up as a princess, then a ballerina.
One occasion that allows them, or even us grown-ups, to go out in public wearing costumes is Halloween.
Our family isn’t big on Halloween. It’s okay for us to not go trick-or-treating. The kids weren’t super insistent.
Then, we were invited to an event and my hubby agreed. Can you guess why?
A day before, the three kids and I trooped to Fisher Mall to hunt for costumes. It was tiring because we even included the girls’ footwear. Additionally, we ate snacks and went to the restroom. Oh, and we also took home these.
Getting goodies just for playing dress-up
We were ready on October 30. With bags all packed and costumes all worn, we headed out to EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. Alice in Wonderland – the theme. Spooky Monstercation – the name. A show, activities and goody bags – the game. For that afternoon, they were someone else.
Our angel, Woody and Elsa gamely posed for the camera. Hey, their dad’s the photographer!
It’s not yet Halloween. It’s not technically trick-or-treating as in going from house to house. The little ones got candies, sure. But, for me, the event was like a kiddy birthday party. There was a host and entertainment, also different photo booths. Kids could join various activities.
There were loot bags; and a buffet tables full of snacks. Except the fact that all these weren’t free.
The place was a visual treat. I wonder if the kids felt like they were in Wonderland.
There were areas like this where they got to exercise their creativity.
It was the children’s first time to attend a Halloween event in costumes, it was also their first time on a trampoline.
Even the teachers from Clayton Learning Center were really getting into character in their elaborate costumes and set-up. They manned the coloring and painting station. There was also a storytelling session spoken in Mandarin Chinese.
It seemed that the children enjoyed. I am glad that they weren’t out under the sun and the place was air-conditioned. Also, we had a room where we rested our tired legs and feet. Yay!
When going on family getaways, my husband and I make sure they’re fun and somewhat educational for the kids. It’s one of the ways that we can bond with each other and with the little ones. Another perk is that we get to see, experience and learn about a different city or province. It’s wonderful! Being four years old and above, they could still remember their adventures and talk about them for months. Hence, looking at photos could trigger memories.
We have expectations of the places we visit. These are based on the research made before the trip. It’s important to check the weather and accommodation so we’ll know what necessities to pack. There was one hotel abroad that didn’t provide dental kits; therefore, we needed to bring our own toothbrushes. It’s helpful to read about how to pack for travel with kids. For hotel rates, we usually use online booking sites such as Traveloka to take advantage of promos and to compare hotel facilities.
We also ask this question. “What activities could the kids do in the area?” It would be too boring to stay in the hotel room all the time, right? If there’s a swimming pool, we need to bring their bathing suits. If there’s an outdoor playground, rubber shoes are a must. Packing for the kids with their help could be an enjoyable bonding moment.
Furthermore, we need to know if the hotel or condominium unit where we will be staying at has the following options:
extra bed for our eldest (if not, two queen-size beds)
Exploring Tagaytay With Children
Family getaways don’t have to be expensive or far. There are plenty of group buying discount deal websites that offer price reductions on various accommodations around the country. One place that is not too far from our location is Tagaytay City. It’s a respite from the city heat and pollution. It’s where we could have a good view of Taal Volcano. Something that the children could see for themselves, and not just read about in textbooks.
For children who love animals and would love to pet rabbits and guinea pigs, Hotel Kimberly is a great place to stay in. It has a farm at the back which has horses, chickens, turkeys, sheep and more. There’s an outdoor playground, an adult and a kiddy swimming pool. When we returned to Tagaytay one time, the kids were begging to check-in at Hotel Kimberly again.
The weekend that we traveled to the south, there were storm warning signals. We attended my friend’s daughter’s first birthday. Afterwards, we drove straight to Tagaytay. It was cold and wet when we decided to check in at Taal Vista Hotel. Because of the downpour, we weren’t able to roam the grassy area overlooking Taal Volcano. We weren’t able to go swimming. Good thing the hotel has a play room. Therefore, the kids had a bit of fun with the toys there. I’m glad!
If you’re in Tagaytay and craving for pasta, try to visit Buon Giorno in Cliffhouse. It’s an Italian restaurant with a lot of choices. For me that means, it’s child-friendly. Aside from staying at hotels, Tagaytay is a great place for going on food trips. Plenty of restaurants and stores that sell specialty food dot Aguinaldo Highway, the road that leads to a variety of destinations.
Food is also an educational part of a trip, you know?
After a satisfying lunch, I like having coffee and dessert in the afternoon. Twin Lakes is a relatively new property that houses a branch of Bag Of Beans. That’s where we went to on one of our family day outs. It has a country ambience that made us feel instantly at home.
The “most beautiful Starbucks in the Philippines” is also in Twin Lakes. The seating area is down the stairs where a door leads to an outdoor walkway overlooking Taal Volcano.
Other activities that families can do in Tagaytay include:
Have a picnic, fly a kite or simply stroll in People’s Park. Maybe try the zipline.
Visit Sky Ranch. Ride the Sky Eye ferris wheel or a carousel and other rides.
Dine at Mushroomburger then ogle at a display of various kinds of mushrooms.
Have a serene breakfast or lunch at Antonio’s or Sonya’s Garden. Afterwards, take lots of photos!
Eat authentic bulalo. Yum!
Buy pasalubong at Rowena’s. Ube tart!
Savor Pastulan Store’s Good Shepherd ube jam.
There are a lot of places that my family and I have yet to visit… Like Paradizoo and Puzzle Mansion. I will definitely add them to our to-visit list!
Have you visited Tagaytay? What do you love about it?
My family and I recently came from a trip to Tagaytay. It was a last-minute getaway. I just packed the morning before leaving! Thankfully, we still got a room at Taal Vista Hotel. Even so, family getaways always excite me.
When they were still babies, though, excursions like this need a list first of all. Impromptu ones? A no-no! I would have preferred to stay home than lug the whole nursery to the beach. Think of all the onesies, diapers, burp cloths, towels, bottles, bottle sterilizer, the bottle brush, the nipple brush, the cleanser, the baby wash, the baby lotion, etc.
Now that my youngest is almost five, the second is six and the eldest is nine, I look forward to family outings.
I believe there are advantages of traveling with children 4 to 9 years old.
They are old enough to walk. Long walks and not asked to be carried all the time. We don’t even bring a stroller anymore!
They are old enough to remember these family adventures.
They are old enough to drink ordinary milk. We don’t need to bring formula anymore.
They are willing to try new or different cuisines.
For my girls, they have not hit puberty yet, thus, there’s no threat of getting period on the trip. There’s also no need to bring brassieres for them yet.
Their things and clothes are kid-sized that do not yet take up too much luggage space.
The three of them use just one kind of kiddy toothpaste. And a head-to-toe body wash would still do. It makes packing easier.
Two of them get free hotel breakfasts or buffet meals and we pay half price for one.
We could all still fit in one hotel room. We would opt for a room with two double-size beds or a king plus a single.
They get discounted tickets to attractions or exhibits.
These are ten of the things I like when traveling with children 4 to 9 years old. Do you have anything to add?
Going to places with the kids is one way of making memories during their childhood that they will gladly look back on. It’s time together as a family that everyone can cherish.