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Throw Back Thursday: Thunder Bird Resorts – Rizal Getaway!

8 May

Hi! It’s been a while since the last time I posted here in my blog…so busy and things are getting complicated for the last few months. Anyway, here I am trying to share some of my activities, experiences etc. etc. Actually, I have lots of things to blog about but the time didn’t permit me to do so. Now I’m thinking to have a series of Throwback Thursday blog entries, It will be posted every Thursday (obviously.. hehehe). I hope I can be consistent to do it weekly or else I should call this Super Throwback Thursday.

For the start I want to share to you our Staycation to majestic Thuder Bird Resort – Rizal. We went there during my last year’s vacation, October 12, 2013. I have booked directly in their website for 3,979 per night which includes breakfast for 2. We reserved 5 rooms for 16 pax, The rate is reasonable compared to a day tour (8 to 5PM only) which cost 1,500 per person, included in the rate are uses of the amenities and 1 light snack and lunch.

The Resort is located in the first-class municipality of Binagonan Rizal. Can be reach about an hour from our location in Pasig City.They provided free shuttle service for casino players and hotel guests from different pick up points in Metro Manila and Rizal. Check out their websites for the timings.

Thunderbird Resorts Rizal is one of the best resort to visit for a number of reasons. Aside from the breathtaking view of longest mountain range of Sierra Madre, they also offer superb amenities and activities to enjoy.

Mountain view

View from our room

Hotel facade

Hotel Facade

Rooms

The assigned room was huge and has 2 queen size beds, more than enough to accommodate 4 persons.  Imagine we’re only 2 in the room me and my daughter. We just actually shared  in 1 bed, another 1 empty… How I wish my hubby was with us too. They have provided toiletries and coffee making facility and complimentary bottled water.

Comfy Bed

Comfy Bed

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Happy Kiddos

Toiletries

Toiletries


Coffe making facilities

Coffee making facility

Infinity Pool, Jacuzzi, Pool Bar

The resort has infinity pool, kiddie pool and jacuzzi which we truly enjoyed.

 

Infinity pool

Infinity pool

Kiddie Pool

Kiddie Pool

Pool Bar

 

Pool bar 

We also ordered some beer for only 10 pesos and  yummy lechon kawali from the pool bar

Play Area

They have also play area for the kiddos .

Play Area

Play Area

Koi pond

Koi Pond

The Koi Restaurant

The package comes with free breakfast only. Since we want to maximize our stay, we opted to have our dinner in their restaurant too. Honestly the food was just so-so to me, nothing spectacular in the menu. They even serve the half cooked barbecue to their guests.

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With the gang enjoying the food

Fiesta Casino

The packages comes with complimentary Casino voucher which we  didn’t use since we need to shell out 300 pesos more to play. Nevertheless, we were so lucky to watch the concert of Erik Santos in the Casino for Free.

Casino voucher

 

Aside from the mentioned above there grand ballroom where events can be held. Just right next to the property is an 18-hole golf course, too.

Golf course

Golf course next to the hotel

Promotions

Thunder bird hotel offers promotions all year round. During our stay we availed the following:

Free Concert of Erik Santos at the Casino

October Fest – They offer a bottle of  beer for Php 10.

Eat all you can for 299 at Koi Restaurant

Sunday Funday – Lots of activities for the whole family such cake workshop and body painting for kids

Pomotions

Ongoing promotions

Cake Workshop

Sunday Funday 

Thunder Bird Resort-Rizal

website: www.thunderbird-asia.com

e-mail: rizalreservations@thunderbird-asia.com

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Eid Staycation: Al Maqta Hotel (formerly Rocco Forte Hotel)

7 Oct

Late post

Hotel Stay + Vacation = Fun

Every eid holiday, my family religiously organized a get together, a sort of relaxation for the whole family. Me being the leader of the gang assigned in  scouting for a nice hotel in a nearby place.  After looking for some several options, we finally chose Al Maqta Hotel.

I booked the hotel through agoda.com with the early booking rate of  AED 300 which is fairly reasonable since it’s peak season.

Al Maqta Hotel (formerly known as Rocco Forte Hotel) is a 5 Star hotel situated in the center of Abu Dhabi, less than 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport or 10 minutes’ drive from Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre or 5 minutes from our home. Yes it is a stone throw away from where we live.

Al Maqta Hotel features a unique curved glass design, each room offer a stylish space to relax, complete with a mini bar and a flat-screen TV.

Ok,  Let me tour you around the hotel.

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Hotel facade

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Hotel lobby

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Swimming pool area

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Mom at the pool lounge

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Room lobby

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Our comfy bed

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Tangerine Couch inside the room

If you want to have a quiet and peaceful vacation, Rocco Forte Hotel is definitely for you. The amenities is great but not much activity for children. The interior is very minimalist there’s actually lot of open spaces. I think they need to re-design the interior especially the lobby and corridors to become more sophisticated and cozy. I like the room though,  spacious enough to accommodate kids, beds and pillows are very comfortable, the orange couch is my favorite.

I have heard that this hotel will be taken over by Hilton Management, so I’m expecting lots of improvement in the hotel in the future. Overall it was a nice stay, we enjoyed the pool area, the only reason why we stay in a hotel is because kids love swimming, so as long as the pool is outstanding our kids will be more happy.

Overall rate: 7.5 bananas

bananas

Super Family! (Man of Steel)

1 Jul

My family used to go out once in a while either for some special occasion or just a simple bonding with family. One Friday weekend we decided to watch Man of Steel. As usual we have our compulsory outfit, everyone should wear Superman Shirt (Thanks to kuya for printing our shirt, he’s a talent indeed!) Even my cutey patootie 3 months old nephew wear his S shirt.

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Everyone is excited, we arrived half an hour early to have some photo ops before going in. We booked 15 tickets at Al Wahda Mall Cinema, our baby is free of course, he will only sleep in the cinema anyway. We occupied the entire row, plus the baby stroller.

We had a great time watching it… Everyone enjoyed it. I’m not an avid fan of Superman but the movie is awesome, not to mentioned the gorgeous Superman (yeah).

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Super Family

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Our Superman

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Our Super Baby

Looking forward for our next Family Bonding! Despicable Me seems good. Let’s see… Inshallah.

Khalifa Park

11 Oct

Khalifa Park is one of the best place here Abu Dhabi especially for the young and young at heart like me. We’ve been to this Park several times already and we really enjoyed every visit.

This Park is situated 1.6 kilometre from Abu Dhabi International Airport and very near to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This place has a lot to offer for all types of visitors. It has a beautifully landscaped grand avenue, a central plaza for meeting, a maritime museum, a time tunnel ride, a monorail, an Amphitheatre, a party hall, a women & children’s garden, a theme park, a mosque and an Islamic garden also. Tours can be carried out via train or by foot, whichever is more convenient.

Entrance Fee – 1 AED for adult

Train – 2 Dhs

For just 1 dhs (around Php 11.50) you can enjoy the following attractions inside the park:

Play Ground

Kids will surely love the Playing Area, it’s quiet big and lots of attractions. You can have all the playing facilities here for free. My daughter always had a blast whenever we come here.

Fees: (Park)

National History Museum and National History Museum

This museum provides information about the history and culture of Abu Dhabi. This history traces back to prehistoric times to the present time of Abu Dhabi. The Time Tunnel ride is the highlight of this museum, the monorail offers a journey of a living history with all the sights, sounds and smells of the past.

Fees:

Murjan Splash Park

Murjan Splash Park comprises an adventure land with water fixtures, areas for play, food outlets and seating areas. Exciting underwater events are highlighted by multi-coloured umbrellas and images of aquatic creatures as well as a theatrical lighting and sound system, which helps to create an interactive environment.

The main feature of the Murjan park is the children’s play area located in a shallow pool with four small waterslides, a giant tipping bucket, a crawl tunnel, water guns, a water umbrella, small tipping buckets, a water wheel and showers.

It also has a 257-metre lazy river that is 0.6 metres deep where one can relax in a tube and ride it around the twists and turns of the park. It also contains four trampolines. Guests will also be able to pilot their own dhow around obstacles, through tunnels and past other boats in the Radio Controlled Dhow Derby.

Timing: 4pm to 11pm in September

10am to 6pm From October to April

Fees: 40 Dhs

Children under 3 Free of Charge

Restaurants

There are several restaurants and Fast food Chain inside the Park like KFC, Pizza Hut and Hardees. Coin operated beverages units also scattered everywhere. There’s no  restriction in bringing food inside so you can have whatever you like. You can enjoy a barbecue session also with your family and friends, there are designated place in the area that allowed that but be sure to clean the area after.

The Dome

If you’re looking for the ideal venue for some important events, parties, weddings  etc. ,The Dome in Khalifa Park is definitely the place to be. The Dome offer outstanding facilities with state-of-the-art projection capabilities allowing you to create unique environments for any event or function.

You can have a look at their online brochure by clicking this link.

Meet KC!

11 Aug

Meet our new Baby “KC”

Finally, we got our 1st Car, It’s a Kia Carens 2013 model. Owning a car is a must here in UAE especially if you are living with your family. Taxi fare is quite expensive. The monthly budget  you will spend to transportation is actually the same with the monthly installment when you get your own. There’s a public bus roaming around the city but you need to wait for a minimum of half an hour and if you are willing to mingle to some smelly people (I’m not discriminating people here… I’m just saying the truth).

We considered a lot of  different brand during the planning stage, they are all nice, they have their own distinctive features. But the first thing that we need to consider in choosing a car is the budget then the seating capacity and of course durability and performance.  Kia Carens suits our needs, the space is impressive and it’s relaxing environment on long journeys. I can take all the members of my family; we even use it in our business (Cargo Business)  aside from that its very fuel efficient. Budget wise… It’s very affordable, Low interst rate and we can start our 1st installment after 3 months. Amazang Isn’t it?

We’ve been using this car for more than a month now and I must say we had excellent experience. It’s clear how far Kia has come with the quality of its cars.
Kia Showroom staffs are all accommodating; they assist us in whatever we need, very fast and friendly environment. Their Service Center in Mussafah is situated in very convenient location plus they have state of the art facility.
My husband and I were very happy to have this car; even my only daughter was delightful to ride in it, she in fact named it as “KC” (Kia Carens).
Thank you Kia!

Back to School

11 Sep

Today is the start of School year here in UAE… It means a more hectic schedule for me and my daughter. I need to balance my time sa home, work, sideline,blogging and FB.

My daughter Kat is so excited to go back to School, after 6 months of looong vacation. She came here last March after completing her 2nd Grade in the Philippines. This is her 1st time to study abroad and I think she need a little adjustment lang naman sa  bagong environment. Mostly naman kase Filipino Kids din mga classmates nya meron lang mga ilan ilan na ibang lahi mga Half – Half ika nga.

Mahirap din pala yung matagal  nagstop  from Schooling medyo ako yung worry, feeling ko baka nakalimutan nya na yung mga tinuro sa kanya. Puro play, computer games, and movie marathon pa naman ang inatupag nya dito. Wala din kaseng masyadong mapaglibangan ang mga kids… unlike sa Pinas na may mga Physical Activities.

As the School Year start, Maraming adjustment na gagawin. Need namin masanay sa bagong routine, or else I will suffer a lot.

  • Need to Set bed time limits. Lights out at 10 PM. Nasanay kase si Kat na late na magsleep so kailangan ng konteng strict. Madalas pa nga na pag pinapatulog ko sya ng maaga mas nauuna pa ko matulog.
  • Limit computer games and TV –  Remove the power cord if you need to! – This is more challenging for me, sobrang tigas ng ulo talaga ng kids pag mga games na ang pag uusapan. Isama mo pa yung mga favorite TV shows nila. Sobrang fave pa naman nya yung 100 Days to Heaven, medyo late na rin kase ang air time dito sa UAE.
  • Needs to wake up a little early than usual to prepare things she needs fo school. Good thing is walking distance lang yung house namin from School. Kung dati I woke up at 6:30 ngayon mga 5:30 pa lang need ko na gumising.
  • Need to budget my finances, coz I need to set aside money for  school projects, assignments and other extra curricular activities.
  • I should be more patience din, kase sometimes may tantrums ang mga kiddo, andyan yung ayaw gumising ng maaga , Ayaw matulog ng maaga, ayaw gumawa ng assignment.
  • I need to experiment din sa pag prepare ng baon nila sa School para hindi magsawa. Minsan kase ayaw na nilang kainin yung baon nila pag paulit ulit yung pineprepare mo for them. It will result to poor performance sa school pag gutom syempre ang student.

Bilang mommy sobrang excited din ako sa 1st Day nya sa school, parang medyo nakakapanibago lang kase 3 years ko din hindi nagawa tong responsibility ko para sa anak ko. Ngayon ko narealize ang sarap pala maging mommy… Sulit yung pagod, gastos and sacrifice mo para sa anak mo. Specially pag alam mong they gain more knowledge and wisdom.

Oooops It’s 12:30 midnight na pala… I should be in bed na dapat di ba? Till my next post… Expect more blog entry about my Kat’s School experiences.

Good Night!  Ciao 🙂

Pamilyang OFW!

7 Jul

Ang nakaraan

Four years ago sinubukang makipagsapalaran ng bunso kong kapatid sa bansang UAE o mas kilala sa tawag na Dubai. Hindi na bago sa amin ang pangingibang bansa dahil yun ang ipinangtaguyod ng ama ko sa amin magkakapatid. Isa akong anak ng OFW kalahati ng buhay ko ay wala si papa sa aming tabi , mahigit dalawang dekada si papa nagtrabaho sa bansang Arabo, mas piniling lumayo para mabigyan ng magandang buhay ang pamilya. Maging si mama ay naranasan din mag abroad, 2 taon syang naging mananahi ng isang prominenteng pamilya sa Riyadh, isang typical na kasambahay no, day-offs, no overtime pay.

Hindi  man lang pumasok sa isip ko na isa sa aming magkakapatid eh pipiliing makapag trabaho sa ibang bansa partikular na sa Middleast. Lahat kameng magkakapatid eh may mga maayos na trabaho at maliit na negosyo na kahit papaano eh nabubuhay ng maayos sa pang araw araw. Bukod pa sa alam namin ang hirap ng buhay na malayo sa Pamilya. Si kuya ay nagsalita na rin minsan na hinding hindi sya mag aabroad, hinding hindi nya pipiliing malayo sa pamilya dahil para sa kanya sipag at tyaga lang ang kailangan maari mo ng marating ang mg pangarap mo sa buhay.

Ang pakikipagsapalaran

Subalit alam natin na walang permanente sa mundo lahat ay pwedeng magbago . Minsan di mo alam may ibang plano pala ang tadhana para sa’yo. To make the story short, matapos ang ilang buwan sumunod na rin ako sa kapatid ko dito sa UAE.

Tuluyan na ring kinain ni kuya ang sinabi nyang di mag aabroad. Pinili na rin nyang makipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa ng subukin sya ng tadhana. Nilimas ng magnanakaw ang computer business nya sa Pilipinas na ilang taon rin niyang pinghirapang ipundar. Bukod pa sa kakapusan dahil sa lumalaking pamilya, kakapanganak lang ng kanyang asawa sa pang apat nilang anak.

Naging maayos ang pakikipagsapalaran namin sa UAE, nabiyayaan ng maayos ayos na trabaho at napupunan naman ang lahat ng pangangailangan ng pamilya. Masaya kame sa puntong ito subalit ang pagkamiss sa pamilya ang unti unting nagpapabigat ng buhay dito sa disyerto. Hindi kailanman matatakpan ng salapi at materyal na bagay ang presensya mo bilang ina, anak at kapatid. Ang mga panahong kailangan nila ng kapiling pag masaya o malungkot man sila.

Ang Bakasyon

Dalawang beses ako kung umuwi sa Pilipinas sa loob ng isang taon, magastos sobra pero aanhin mo ang pera kung ang kapalit naman eh lungkot hindi lamang sa side mo kundi sa mga naiwan mong mahal sa buhay. Kung single lang siguro ako, kaya kong hindi umuwi ng straight 5 years. Ngunit may  anak akong kailangan ng gabay ng isang ina. Wala pang sasaya pa sa isang ina na makita ang kanyang anak na nakangiti at tumatalon sa tuwa habang sinasalubong ka sa Airport, priceless ika nga.

Gustuhin ko mang umuwi sa Pilipinas for good para makasama ko na sila, ang mga pangarap ko para sa kanya ang syang nangingibabaw. Alam kong hindi ko kikitain sa Pilipinas ang kinikita ko dito, alam naman natin kung gaano kahirap ng buhay sa Pilipinas. natatakot akong di sya mapag aral sa maayos na school or maibigay ang gustong gusto nyang laruaan at matikman ang mga paborito nyang pagkain, kaya lagi kong pinagdarasal sa panginoon  na sana isang araw makasama ko sila dito sa Abu Dhabi.

Ang pagdating

Ako na yata ang pinakamasayang tao noong araw na maaproved ang visa ng family ko. Sa wakas magkakasama na ulit kame, personal ko ng magagabayan ang paglake ng anak ko at magkakatuwang na kame ng asawa ko sa paghahanapbuhay. Pagtutulungan naming mag asawa ang aming kinabukasan, ang makapag ipon agad at makabili ng bahay, makapag tapos sa maayos na skwelahan ang anak ko at makapagtayo ng sariling negosyo sa Pilipinas para kahit papaano ay makatulong sa mga kamag anak kong walang trabaho.

Ang pagbabalik

Sa ngayon ang ay nandito kameng magkakapatid sa Abu Dhabi kasama ang aming mga sariling pamilya. Panandalian namin iiwan ang Pilipinas kasama ang taimitim na dasal na sana ay maging matagumpay ang pakikipagsapalaran namin sa disyerto.

Alam kung dadating ang araw na babalik kame sa lugar kung saan nandon ang puso namin, ang lugar kung saan kame magiging masaya. Masarap pa rin manirahan sa sarili nating bansa, di man kaseng alwa ng buhay na tinatamasa sa UAE, wala pa rin hihigit sa simple, masaya at masaganang pamumuhay sa bayan mong sinilangan kapiling ang mga mahal mo sa buhay.

Ang post na ito ay aking entry sa Pinoy Expat / OFW Blog Award (PEBA). Kung nagustuhan nyo po ang aking sinulat bisitahin po ang kanilang website http://www.pinoyblogawards.com/ pakivote po ang nominee no. 10 – Ang blog ni Ana Banana.

Maraming Salamat po!