Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Museum Month: Baby checks out the National Museum

This entire month of May, it's actually free to visit the National Museum. We took Leji to one part of it for the first time last Saturday. We had a blast!

1. murals

My daughter loves warm colors and it was such a delight to show her colorful lifesize figures to introduce her to the world of history.

2. Spolarium

Juan Luna's spectacular obra remains to be the most popular work of art in the former House of Representatives. Leji was delighted by the angel that greeted us near the entrance.

3. sketches

Masters' elaborate pencil sketches and some of their tools are on display. I hope these would inspire my daughter to practice and eventually sketch her own stuff. (We started with crayons and cartolina at Burgoo the other night. She ended up tearing her work haha)

4. angels

Aside from portraits of the Madonna and Child, Leji just marveled at the sheer number of white angels on display. One even looked like her! 

5. special section

Some notable works were loaned from other museums & bank foundations. It's a rare chance to get to see them all under one roof!

I believe that everyone deserves to visit a museum at least once a month to recharge the spirit and inspire the soul.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Barbie Barkada

When I was an only child for seven years I only had my Barbie dolls to talk to most of the time. Ma seldom allowed me to go out so I spent most of the time singing and talking to them in my room. With Barbie, you really can be anything. Here were some of my favorites:

1. Medical Barbie
I sewed white napkins and pretended to cure/examine them as my patients in a hospital. I had a shoe box as my bed haha

2.  Soiree Barbie 
I had a posh mini kitchen and a lounge bar from my Ninang so we had tons of parties. I saved old boxes and turned them into swimming pools. I also made them kiss my teddy bears because Ma was unwilling to buy a Ken.

3. Salon Barbie
I had a short-haired curly Barbie (that hairstyle was so in in the 80s!) & I made her convince her friends to get a trim. I just applied a few drops of baby oil (hotoil!) & pretended to cut. When I turned them over to my sister when I was nine, she gave them actual haircuts that didn't turn out well.. I cried.

4. Mermaid Barbie
My sister thought our Mermaid Barbie really meant what she said ("I want to swim!") when you pressed her tail. She threw the doll into the kiddie pool & actually made her swim in water. All she could do was gurgle the recording after. It was sad. She used to have a shiny purple tail and thick burgundy hair. It got ruined after the actual pool party. Oh well. Mermaids should only swim in our dreams.

5. Beach Barbie
This was my favorite. She had a nice golden swimsuit, blonde hair with some metallic strands, and a lovely tan. She even came with free piña colada lipgloss that was so fab.  I made her borrow my other Barbie's dresses when we had evening soirees because she really was the loveliest.

Oh well. I had my share of fun with Barbie. I'll always be part of Team Pink!

Last Sunday, my baby and I caught up with Barbie's party at MOA. It was exhilirating as fans cheered for their favorite models and Andi Eigenmann. After their movie's success in Cannes,
Andi said girls should not be afraid to
dream big just like Barbie!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Zette's Cafe Opening

Even before Filipino Ms Supranational Canada Suzette Hernandez was born, there was already a Suzette Hernandez who was hailed as one of the most beautiful in Bicol. Her list of achievements and socio-civic works continues to flourish as she re-opens her art gallery Kulayara, and aptly named Zette's Cafe, in San Juan.

Nestled in this quaint neighborhood are some of the finest art by contemporary Filipino masters like Hermes Alegre, Fil Delacruz, Romulo Galicano, Raul Isidro, Gig de Pio and Ephraim Samson.

Brass and jazz play in her neatly manicured garden.

Little beings enjoy a dip in her mini fountain area.

Bb Pilipinas queens Parul Shah and Elaine Kay Moll showed their full support as they donned Filipiñana inspired outfits to complement the artwork on display.

I'll definitely come back one of these days; hopefully there will be more parking space on an ordinary weekday. Their chocolate cakes are divine :)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

In line with Museum Month: Treasures of Venice

In an effort to save time and money, we availed of the Venice Museum Pass. However, we found out later on that lines weren't as long in the museums there as there were in Florence (but the tourism office that sells the unli museum pass is more strategically located in Venice; it was right at the port entry!) It would have been more practical to get an all-day ferry a.k.a. taxi pass (because it's actually more expensive to ride public transport in Venice than in Rome) but they didn't have anything like that.

But to be fair, it was actually quite delightful to have some of the museums to ourselves that day. (Although some were quite tough to spot--because of the limited number of fans)

It was quite a challenge to find some of the museums like the Jewish Museum because it was nestled deep in the heart of the quiet Jewish community. Here we found remarkable silver pieces like these:

We also found holy books intricately bound in precious metal.

We were ushered to the blow glass capital Murano in a hotel-sponsored sailboat.  In their glass museum, we found pieces that tell stories.

When we visited quaint churches to pray and warm ourselves that cold winter, we also found unexpected intricacies in ivory.

Despite the agua alta (high tide) we had to endure one night with our plastic shoes, museum hopping was actually quite fun in the city where it's fun to get lost. Just follow the teenagers and their troops would lead you to the next convenience store where you could grab cheap drinks after. haha

Friday, May 20, 2016

Soup Monster

My bubbly 8 month old is now comfortable with solid food. I try to mix breastmilk with everything she eats; she enjoys eating broccoli, fish, potatoes, cereals, peas, carrots, squash & ground beef. But when we're out, she loves trying soups in various restaurants. Here are her top picks:

1. Pako soup (from Costa Pacifica Baler)

2. Mushroom Soup (Recovery Room, Tomas Morato)

3. Upland Rice Puree (Antonio's, Tagaytay)

4. Pumpkin soup (Frazzled Cook, QC)

5. Chili Con Carne Soup-- with less spice! (Rumpa, Pampanga)

Basically we just mash everything up. I try it first with my spoon, then she tests it with hers. Eating out is definitely more fun nowadays.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Art in the Island

What's more fun than imagining another world? Being part of it on photo! 

This is exactly what we did at Art in the Island in Cubao.  Adults have to pay 500php but small kids could get in for free. Here are some of our favorite photos:

1. Under the Sea

Leji loves Sebastian from the Little Mermaid.  Here she was thrilled to act like a lobster! 

2. Small animals go large

Here we met some remarkable furry friends. Can't wait to visit Bohol with Leji so I can show her how small Tarsiers are in real life.

3. Chavit's Pet Tiger

 I've experienced bottle feeding baby Tigers in Subic but this looks way cooler than that! I remembered meeting Chavit Singson's tiger in Boracay years back. My youngest sister was the only one who dared ask for a selfie.

4. Captain Hook's Alligator

Here, Leji shrieked "Oh mai gad!!!" Too bad I didn't get that on video. Tsk.

5. Pail of Surprises

We weren't really sure what we were doing here. haha

6. Magical Falls

I'm such a damsel in distress when I climb mountains (yeah, at least I tried climbing mountains before despite knowing my level of physical fitness). This photo made it seem like I could sashay in Sport's Unlimited's next episode.

7. Let me be your angel

Here my little one fell asleep as if on cue. Aww.

First time swimmer

Leji got to try wading in the kiddie pool out of town for the first time. I wasn't too scared because the water wasn't chlorinated (Oldwoods by the Sea in Pangasinan sources its poolwater from the mineral-rich mountain stream). She has always been fascinated with water; she loves splashing in the tub at home. She didn't even cry during her baptism five months ago!:)

When we arrived, we just relished the glorious sunset. Leji loves warm colors but she hates the icky heat. We didn't get to go to the beach as we were forced to take her indoors where they had aircon. Leji didn't like insects too.  Thank God, her insect repellant patch was effective and shooed them away somehow.

Leji's fave room was Gmelina. It has predominantly white interiors and lovely lace curtains.

It features a daybed where the little cruiser showed off how she can manage to stand on her own.

The next day, we slathered on some Dermax Milk Sunblock before heading out to the pool.
Even if she got weirded out by the bubbles, overall we had a fun time. The pool floors were slippery though (damsel in distress mode :/) It was fortunate that Leji was in the pool when I slipped.

She had more fun playing with her aqua toys inside our room! haha

Til our next out of town adventure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Take me back to paradise

My little girl is now a crafty crawler & I'm fantasizing where it would be fun to take her with me in the near future. Dear Universe, please be kind to us dreamers. 

1. Pompeii

In the movie, everyone just dies in the end.  Devastating, I know. But it would be super exciting to take her on a bullet train ride from Rome (kids ride free!), eat pizza and oranges at Naples (I'll make her wear a face mask; it smells icky in that station--it reeks of pee), and we'll have so much fun cruisin' the remains of the glorious city vanquished by Visuvius.  Hopefully this Unesco Heritage site could spark her interest in world history, theater, and anthropology.

2. Versailles

Leji adores Sophia the First on Disney Junior.  It would be amazing to take her to a real castle! We would wear nice dresses and stroll along the garden, admire the carvings, paintings, and the gold and attempt to speak French when asking for directions. We'll visit Louvre and the Eiffel and souffle and ice cream after.

3. Mt. Fuji

I've never seen real snow fall from the sky.  I would want to share that first time with my daughter. We'll drive up to the highest point accessible by car to Mt Fuji.  Or if that's too hard for her, we'll just try the cable car at Mt Takao. We'll head to Hogwarts Wizarding World to drink butterbeer and Disney Sea after to watch the fountain show and hunt for Sebastian (she loves red).

4. Ilocondia Mini Zoo

We have Melby the (stuffed) Rabbit as one of our bedmates.  It would be cool to see her play with real ones.  But I don't intend to keep rabbits as pets so we'll just visit them in a nice clean zoo.  I'll make her interact with other animals too.

 5. Autumn Garden

I don't know where the best autumn garden in the world is...but I'd like to take her there.  Leji loves warm colors and it would be truly delightful to see her face light up once she gets to see all the fire-coloured trees.
The world is just more exciting to explore now that she's around. Thank you, Lord.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Take me back to Vatican

When Duterte mentioned of his plans to head over to Vatican and seek the Pope's forgiveness once he's proclaimed president, an experience of a lifetime all started coming back to me. Part of me wants to head over there too.  

Rome has a special place in my heart. Even as a little girl, I've dreamed of wandering all over the ancient city.  History just comes alive from each corner.

Before Pope Francis even visited the country, I sought to be part of the Papal audience one cold rainy Wednesday morning.  Shivering under my red and black umbrella, I was one of the few Filipinos present in the square that day.  One was based in Spain, the other in the US; and they conversed with some of the old Latinas in fluent Spanish.

I sat on an old paper bag from McDonalds (yeah, I tried American fastfood in Europe while waiting for the next train; do not judge me!:p). It was a vain attempt to protect my skirt, hose & undies from getting wet (tsk, I didn't know my sister's leather skirt would have been useful). I chomped on some apples from my bag to comfort myself.

Alas, when Pope Francis arrived, the senior citizen Latinas suddenly became like giddy teenagers in an Elvis Presley concert. They were just WILD. They pushed and shoved like there's no tomorrow. 

But just one glimpse of the Pope and the remarkable energy of the crowd when we prayed in multiple languages made it all worth the effort.  And when you're there seated in the square, you can't help but study in detail the statues of the angels and saints up above.

I noticed that those in bridal gowns that day were free to come forward and ask for the Pope's special blessing.  Too bad I didn't know that that was possible.

The next day, the weather improved and my cousin dared me to don a wedding gown. He borrowed a dress from a friend and voila! I had my instant bridal pictorial in Rome! People kept saying "Auguri!"-- best wishes in Italian.  Some even took pictures with me pretending they were guests/family.  It was cute. They were all supportive.

I crossed the street, fed pigeons, and even rode a bus wearing that dress! Thank God I had my boots and leggings underneath.  I have Kuya Rey and the rest of his family to thank for forcing me to do this once-in-a-life pictorial.

Needless to say, it was really fun.  I really wish I could go back and eat all the pizza and cheese at Piazza Navona..

I pray all the best for our country now that we've just elected a new set of leaders.  I hope our new president could hug Pope Francis for us.