Saturday, May 2, 2015

Travelling with Infant

The blogger and her sweet li'l travel buddy
We just recently concluded a 3-day trip in Puerto Princesa, Palawan with our 4-month old baby when I got this message from a blog reader - “Missy, what are the tips you can share about travelling with infant/s, especially during plane ride?”

I am elated to learn that somehow, I am able to inspire others to travel, and the fact that they reach out to me asking for advice about travelling makes me feel “useful” as a travel blogger. So instead of having a private conversation with her detailing the do’s and don’ts about travelling with infant/s, I decided to write an article instead.

Below are the FAQs with my answers.

When did you decide to travel with your kid? Is there something that you would like her to learn?

I’ve already decided to travel with my kid/s way before their conception. I promised myself that I will let my future children to experience the essence of life through travelling.

I travel with my kid for her to better appreciate the world which is way bigger than our neighborhood. Travelling is the best way to teach children how to get along with diverse kinds of people. The travel experiences are opportunities for us, as parents, to teach our children the similarities and differences that are existent in the world they live in. We can teach them first-hand how to appreciate what they have, why not to fear differences, and to celebrate life through various color of people they encounter and the depth and beauty of nature. Travelling provides vast teaching opportunity for our children and there's no substitute for it.

How did you manage your first travel with your child?

PREPARATION AND PLANNING is on top of my list. I make sure I know about the place we are travelling to; the weather, the culture, the food, the availability of medical aid, bank, etc. in order to manage my expectations. This way, I would be able to bring and have necessary things handy should the need arise.  It’s always better safe than sorry.

After preparing and planning, I GET ORGANIZED. I make sure I have essentials stored in easy-to-access places so I do not have to squander so much time looking for things I (or my child) need.

Do you want your kid to be an avid traveler like you as well when she grows up?

Definitely! In fact I wish when the time comes that she’s grown up and we’re already gray haired, she will still be excited to tag us (me and my husband) along when she travels.

How do you manage to overcome the hassle that comes with travelling with infant?

Touch. I and my husband make our baby feel secured all the time. We keep her near us, carrying her most of the time.
Father playing with our 4-month old daughter during her first boat ride. (left)
Carrying my child for her to see the vast sea water during her first beach trip. (right)
Also, we talk to her before, during, and even after our trip as if she’s a consenting adult and not a helpless 4 months old. We describe to her the experience of riding a plane or going through a road trip. It’s like making her feel that she is really part of the activity and some things are expected of her. Maybe she cannot understand yet what we are telling her but we tell her anyway. Guess what, we get rumblings in reply! Hahaha, she loves talking! J

What are your techniques or life hacks you have learned/researched to make your life easier when traveling with your kid? Any specific tips you can give?

Keep them busy. Cuddle them. Talk to them.
Our child, busy with her fingers, on her first plane ride.
I am a breastfeeding mother and I think I have a very great advantage since I can easily comfort my baby during flight or travel. Breastfeeding my baby during take-off or landing can help her equalize her eardrums since she cannot do it naturally. Since I am a healthy human pacifier, I do not worry about my baby feeling hungry or fussy. I can easily offer my bosom and presto! She calms up so quickly.

Bring a cloth carrier or a sling. It does not take up much room in your luggage yet it is very useful as you can keep your baby with you and still free your hands to do some stuff.

Babywearing while travelling
Until when do you plan to travel with your kid/s?

As long as they want. As long as we can.

Don't you think bringing your will spoil your moment as husband and wife?

Not at all. Travelling with our child actually provides us more quality time with each other as it sets us in a good and comfortable mood to freely discuss our plans. We are not worrying of anything because our precious child is with us, sharing the moment.

I think when we travel with our Anak we do one of the most important parenting activities. Traveling as a family is the best way to strengthen our relationship as husband and wife; parents and kids. It inevitably provides a host of many teachable moments. And since kids easily get tired when travelling (much more infant/s), I and hubby take advantage of her nap time to have quality time

How does traveling with infant change your perception about traveling? 

Travelling used to be so easy, smooth, and time efficient. Now, I have a child strapped to my chest while roaming around a foreign land or conversing with a stranger, or eating alien food. 
With our little one in tow, travel has become difficult, rough, time consuming, and uncomfortable but guess what, IT’S WAY HAPPIER than before!!!

Happiness is written all over this photo right?
My baby serves as great ambassador who can easily act as magnet for strangers. I have never known that starting a conversation with strangers whilst carrying a cute little munchkin on my lap can be this easy! Now, I can easily ask for help anywhere and everywhere with my adorable lucky charm.

So parents, go travel with your kids. There’s really a BIG world out there they ought to see. Someday, they will thank you for not containing their learnings within just 4 corners of a room. 


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Thursday, November 13, 2014

TAGAYTAY WEDDING GUIDE

While many are dreaming of a beach wedding, there were us who fantasized about tying the knot on top of a mountain. Me and my now-husband Jim Bryan met neither in an ordinary place nor casual circumstances. We met under the canopies of gigantic trees at the summit of one of the mountains in Laguna. This was the very reason why we hoped to exchange our “I Dos” some place up above - That didn't happen.

Although I initially thought that only us and us alone have the right to decide about our wedding, it is inevitable that along the way there are things/people that you have to consider. Since we both grew up in a culture of close family ties, we had to think through if our family and friends will be able to witness our grand union if we held it on a mountain top. With this dilemma in our hands, we decided to go with the second best, someplace more accessible but still with high elevation just so we can get that win-win situation. We ended up having our wedding in Tagaytay.

I want to share with you all the happiness, love, and experiences we went through from preparation to actual wedding but I think that's really not important and you won’t and don't care anyway. So, this article was written to provide you not with ladidas but more so with important details and things that you must be aware of if you plan to have a Tagaytay Wedding.

Read ahead. I will be brief. Promise.

WHAT YOU MUST HAVE

·         Time – if your location is some place in Metro Manila or father, you have to set aside ample time for your Tagaytay visit. Location hunt (church and reception) will eat a lot of your precious while. If you are working full-time, ready yourself as most of your off days/weekends will be spent roaming around your wedding location. If you are thinking of setting your foot in Tagaytay for just once or thrice, forget about getting married there.
·         Car – Unless you want to look like a garbage at the end of the day after every ocular and location visit, then go ahead and try commuting.
·         Money – We have the most affordable suppliers (or so we claim) but our initial budget which was 250k was tripled, so yeah, be prepared. This Tagaytay Wedding is not emotionally and physically draining but pocket and wallet straining as well. It's gonna be worth it, don't you worry.

CHURCHES TO CHOOSE FROM

I am trying to help you by saving your time. Provided below is already a shortlisted version.

CHAPEL ON THE HILL – This is where we got married. It’s just a small chapel with a circular floor plan accentuated by a labyrinth pattern and can accommodate 100-150 guests. This chapel has a 360-degree view of the serene and green environment through its glass walls/windows. We chose this because of it's name! Well, if we cannot have our wedding on the mountain, why not on hill right? Besides, the overlooking majestic view of Mt. Batulao makes everything perfect!
CONTACT DETAILS
Mary Help of Christians House of Spirituality
Don Bosco Batulao
c/o Tagaytay Post Office,
4120 Tagaytay City Philippines
Telefax No. (632) 743-5614 ** Mobile No’s. 0926-6163301 | 0906 - 8144474
Email: info@donboscobatulao.orgParish
Office Hours: Monday to Sunday (8:00AM to 4:00PM)

FEES AND INCLUSIONS
PHP 12,000 - use of chapel
PHP 5,000 – Compulsory donation to the parish

CALERUEGA / TRANSFIGURATION CHAPEL– This is a beautiful chapel with calming environment and beautiful landscape. The only reason why we did not choose this is because the place is kinda “overused”. Most, if not all, of our friends have been or planning to get married here. We want some place different.

CONTACT DETAILS
Caleruega’s Transfiguration Chapel
Brgy.  Kaylaway, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas
Phone: (043) 706-0348 / 0921-830-4226 / 0921-270-9890

FEES AND INCLUSIONS

PHP 15,000 - use of chapel

** This place also has aircon reception venues that you might to consider renting to get rid of the hassle of travelling after your wedding ceremony. See rates provided below:

·         ·     Plaza de Aza & Tuktok (Roofdeck) - PhP 40,000 – can accommodate 200 persons and can be outfitted with tents.
·         Veritas Hall - PhP 30,000 – can accomodate 200 persons. Additional charge of PHP 7,500 for aircon use.
·         Gazekubo - PhP 25,000 -  can accomodate 60 persons. Additional charge of PHP 7,500 for aircon use.

SAN ANTONIO DE PADUA – This church is actually our very first option. It’s spacious and has an impressive architectural design. There is also a very nice place beside it which is best for reception. Only our wedding day, June 13, coincide with the feast of their patron San Antonio de Padua, so there we failed to get it.


CONTACT DETAILS
San Antonio de Padua
Pooc, Silang, Cavite
Phone: (+63 46) 414.1891
Parish Office Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (8:00AM to 5:00PM)

FEES AND INCLUSIONS

PHP 2,500 if either of the bride or groom is a parishioner, PHP5,500 if either bride or groom is from Cavite, PHP 10,000 for non-parishioners and non-residents of Cavite

WEDDING RECEPTIONS

BEATRIZ GARDEN
Venue Rate: PHP45, 000 (no time limit)


Pros:
·         You can use the venue for preparations even a day before your wedding and you can stay overnight without having to worry about extra hour charges.
·         Has air-conditioned rooms (PHP3, 000 – PHP3, 500 per room) that can be used for preparations and are perfect for guests who want to stay and relax.
·         You can bring your own catering service without having to pay corkage.
·         The place is large enough to accommodate big crowd of around 500-700 people.

Cons:
·         Unlikely location. Some of our guests weren’t able to find the place thus they decided to go home right after the church ceremony.
·         The large place can pose as a problem when setting up lights and sounds. If your wedding reception is at night, make sure there will be enough lights and you have a good sound system in order to create buzz and make the place alive and animated.
·         No enough parking space.

SONYA’S GARDEN
Venue Rate: PHP10, 000 (4 hours) plus PHP5, 000 per hour of extension
 
One of the wedding reception venues
Pros:
·         They offer in-house catering so you no longer have to worry about food.
·         Complimentary overnight stay for couples with a minimum of 100 guests.

Cons:
·         Additional charge for sound system (PHP7, 000 for small venue and PHP9000 for large venue).
·         Expensive corkage fee.
·         No enough parking space.
·         The place looks so crowded. This is the primary reason why scratched it off our list.

VILLE SOMMET
Venue Rate: PHP150, 000 (4 hours only although there’s a 2 hours free allotted for ingress)


Pros:
·         They offer in-house catering so you no longer have to worry about food.
·         Big parking space.
·         Beautiful, fab, and serene location.

Cons:
·         They have only 4 accredited caterers to choose from. You cannot bring your own.
·         Expensive.

HACIENDA ISABELLA
Venue Rate: We failed to get the exact amount as we just walked-in and no one from the people there seems to know exactly what was happening and why were we there.  Based on my readings online, renting this place costs around PHP150,000 (+ 12% VAT). For a reception venue this ugly, I don’t know why it is that expensive.


Pros:
·         The place is so big that it can accommodate up to a thousand guests.
Cons:
·         Too far from the highway. Difficult to find.
·         The place looks old, weary; rotten even. Although they are doing some kind of renovation when we went there, so maybe it looks better this time.
·         Not worth the price and travel.

(** to follow 3 pending reception venues) 

SUPPLIERS

I will only provide you with the list of the best. Those I did not include here are not worth mentioning. Saves us both some precious time, yeah?

JACKIE FLORES OF MAJICA MAKE-OVER – ohhhh, people of MAJICA can really do magic! They are superb when it comes to bringing out the best in you. They can definitely deliver; even exceed your expectations. Check their work hereYou can also play the video below to see her other amazing works. 


If you’re the bride and really want to look like a goddess on your big day, you will never go wrong with Jackie’s team. Word of advice (this I learn from Jackie herself): Do not stress out yourself before and during your wedding day because no matter how great your HMU artists are, they will not be able to cover up the ugly aura that reflects from within you. And did you know that when you are under stress your skin becomes acidic and make-up might end up looking “cakey”? So there, do not become a freakin annoying bridezilla!!! Chill. (Contact Number: 0927-203-1079)

GLADYS PUNZALAN OF EXTRA ESPECIAL EVENTS – book her if you want to have life on your rather boring reception program. She’s awesome and can handle dead time pretty well. No dead air. Our guests are not as participative as expected but she and her team handled the night pretty well. (Contact Number: 0915-276-1330) 

ANNA CHUA OF MY PINKWASABI – See this personalized cake?

The mini figures are: The bride and the groom (in outdoor activities)  and our adorable chow, Waway :)
It’s not just pretty, it’s also heavenly yummy! No wonder she was chosen to be one of the suppliers during the bridal shower of Marianne Rivera and has also been featured in Pop Talk.  Need I say more? Book her!

JEROME FRANCISCO OF INDEMAND WEDDING FILMS – If you are looking for a group that can sacrifice enough time, exert too much effort to reach perfection, and give their best to reach the desired quality of output, you can count on Jerome’s team. See it for yourself, check our Save the Date Video

Yes, they climbed all the way to the summit of Mt. Palay-Palay in Pico de Loro just so we can come up with that awesome production. The only drawback with Indemand Wedding Films now is the delay of delivering the wedding highlights. It has been five months since our wedding but we still do not have a copy of our wedding video. That’s understandable though since they are handling a lot of clients this time. Anyway, their promise is 6 months before they can deliver the wedding highlights video, we have yet to wait another month. For sure they will not let me down. (Right, Jerome?) :D

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