5 Resorts for an Awesome Family Getaway

I have 5 siblings. With our 2-3 years age gap, picture the chaos in our house and the exhaustion my mom and dad experienced when we were dirty little brats. I remember we argue a lot — on who’s gonna wash the dishes or who’s gonna take my dad’s lunch to the plant he works or who’s gonna bathe our youngest brother or even on who’s gonna have the biggest piece of the divided viand. But behind the disagreements and bickering, I’m proud to say that we love each other.

While 3 of my siblings settles at our province, I’m based in Cebu, my brother is now in Ilo-Ilo and my sister is based outside my country. Thankfully, we have FB and Skype for communication but we still miss each other’s company. So imagine when all of us would gathered together during holidays or special occasions. It would definitely be messy and so much fun. Also, it would also probably be lively if we get to enjoy everyone’s company in a wonderful places aside from home.

These five resorts would be a great place:

1. Duka Bay Resort

3 hours drive from Cagayan de Oro City. It has rooms for overnight stays. Snorkeling and kayaking can be enjoyed here and I’ve heard this is also a diving site perfect to enjoy underwater world.

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Photo Credits: http://www.zamboanga.com/

2. Jpark Island Resort & Waterpark

Located in Mactan, Cebu. One of the city’s best water park with 5 swimming pools, 3 water slides and beach to have fun in the water.

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Photo Credits: Jimmy L. of Memories & Calories

3. HaleManna Coastal Garden

Away from the city’s noise, this resort give you a chance to get up close and personal with nature. Perfect for snorkeling, dolphin watching plus be amazed with thousands of sardines swimming underwater.

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Photo Credits: Jimmy L. of Memories & Calories

4. Raymen Beach Resort

Giumaras Island, home of the best white beaches in Iloilo. My brother and sister-in-law recommended it for family get together. For a big family like us, this budget friendly resort will definitely suits us.

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Photo Credits: http://mustachioventures.blogspot.com

5. Mountain Lake Resort

Laguna, my home during my younger years. Got my first job here and learned “independent living” here. Anyways, as what Mountain Lake Resort’s website says, its a place where nature meets adventure. Would it be good to be back in this place not for work but to chill, relax and enjoy together with the whole family.

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Photo Credits: www.travelbook.ph

NOTE: This is an entry to Travel Book PH’s Blogger Getaway Contest.

Want to join TravelBook.ph’s Blogger Affiliate get togethers, getaways, seminars, and trainings while earning at the same time? Be part of the group by signing up here: affiliate.travelbook.ph 

Wonderful things to do when in South Cebu

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Cebu, the queen city of the south, is indeed a place worth to explore. With the that city already reflects the province’s rich culture and amazing views, wait till you see and experience the sights and sounds of its towns. Here are some of the beauty of the southern part of Cebu.

Visit Simala Church of Sibonga

Simala Church or the “Monastery of the Holy Eucharist” is the castle-like church located in Simala, Sibonga, Cebu. It is currently maintain by the Marian Monks. Believe to be miraculous, Catholic devotees visit the shrine to offer thanksgiving and prayers. Thousands of thanksgiving letters are displayed inside the church as testimonies of devotees’ answered prayers.

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Reach the top of Osmeña Peak in Dalaguete

The highest peak of Cebu island is located at Mantalongon, Dalagute, Cebu. At the top, you get a chance to admire the beauty of the uneven hills made of limestone at 360-degree view. The hills is not as perfect as chocolate hills of Bohol but its imperfection is what makes it beautiful. Read our experience here.

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Swim with the Whale Sharks at Oslob

Lots of whale sharks, locally known as “Butanding”, swim their way in the deep waters of Tanawan, Oslob, Cebu. These gentle giants stayed all throughout the year since locals feed them with small fishes or krills which lead them to be dependents. I personally don’t like that these sharks were used for make revenue. I hate that their ecosystem were to disturbed by chaotic tourists like me.

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Dip in the cool waters of Kawasan

Kawasan Falls is located at Badian, Cebu. The cool, crystal clean freshwater from the falls is definitely refreshing.

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Snorkeling at Moalboal

Beautiful corals, turtles, school of sardines and different species of fish are just some of the beauties found under the sea of Moalboal. More fun here.

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Photo credits to Michael A. and Jimmy L.

So what are you waiting for? Come! Visit and have a trip down south of Cebu :)

Afternoon Play at Cebu Happyworld Museum

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Father-in-law was here last month for his quarterly check-up. After his laboratory tests and day-long queue for his doctor’s appointment, we thought we’ll gave him a breather by going to Cebu Happyworld Museum.

Cebu Happyworld Museum offers three-dimensional paintings. It is an optical illusion art museum that consist of 6 sections — World Famous Arts Section, Divinity Section, Ocean Section, Jurassic Animal Section, Philippine Section and Ending section. Visitors not only gaze and appreciate the paintings but rather take a photos together with the paintings and make a pose based on what the painting perceived. The paintings with the light’s reflection will do the trick thus photos seems real.
Visitors are encourage to participate and be imaginative.

Cebu Happy World Museum
Brgy. Gabi, Cordova, Cebu
032-520-1695
032-2363261
Daily 10AM to 9PM (last admission at 8PM)

Admission Fees
Museum Php 350 (adults) / Php 250 (children; free for 3 yrs old below)
4D Ride Php 130

Tips:

  • The more the merrier, so bring the whole family and friends.
  • Do not forget to bring a camera with fully charged batteries and an available file storage
  • To maintain cleanliness of the museum, you are to explore the museum barefoot. Better wear socks if you’re not used to it.
  • Pose. Be creative. Be adventurous.
  • Capture lots of photos.
  • Have fun.

We were only able to take few pictures using only our phones. We forgot to charge our phones and was not able to bring the camera :( Oh well! That means we will surely be back!

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Cebu Taoist Temple

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Inside a private subdivision in Beverly Hills, Lahug, Cebu City, sits the majestic temple maintained by Cebu Chinese Community. According to Wikipedia, the temple is the center of worship for Taoism, the religion which follows the teachings of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Zi.

It has displays of dragons, temples, tiered tower and worship rooms with statues of Taoist gods. Its captivating bright red and green adds color and energy to the place. Plus being placed in the higher grounds of the city makes you see the magnificent view of Cebu.

Because it is also open to non-worshipers, we were able to enjoy the place and even brought with us my parents :)

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Inside Dreamworks’ Dreamplay At City of Dreams Manila

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With the nice building architecture and with those shining golden strips, City of Dreams Manila will surely get anybody’s attention. Wikipedia states that the place is a luxury integrated resort and casino complex located within the Entertainment City of Manila. One of the building displays the huge DreamPlay signage with Shrek on it which obviously attracts little people like my kids. This luxury entertainment building not only have amusement for adults but also offer for kids — DreamPlay by DreamWorks. Since the place is located on our way to airport’s Terminal 4, we decided to check the place while waiting for our flight going home. We were very grateful that the husband tag us along on his business trip in Manila.

DreamPlay is a DreamWorks movie-inspired interactive entertainment that offers Play, Create and Learn as their slogan suggest. Activities are influenced by the three DreamWorks movie – Shrek, KungFu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

The site indicates:
Weekend/Holiday Rates:
4 hours – P880 for children, P400 for adults
2 hours – P600 for children, P330 for adults
Hourly extensions: P300 for children, P150 for adults
Day rate: 1500 for children, P680 for adults
Toddlers two to 4 years old: P100, flat rate

Weekday Rates:
4 hours – P680 for children, P300 for adults
2 hours – P480 for children, P260 for adults
Hourly extension: P250 for children, P120 for adults
Day rates: P1200 for children, P350 for adults
Toddlers two to 4 years old: P50, flat rate

DreamPlay_Ticket

However, we had to pay 880 for all the four of us on a Monday afternoon even if we plan to avail the 2 hours stay only. Reason? Peak Season! Initial fix rate for both kids and guardians at P880 fix rate! — promise! sakit sa bulsa!

Anyways, with the thought it might take the family awhile to go back and visit Manila again and we were already at the DreamPlay and to avoid ending the vacation with a disappointment, we gave in… for the kids, for the kids in us, for this moment :)

So here are our photos on what we did while inside DreamPlay and you’ll be the judge if its worth the pay :)

Shrek’s Swamp Stomp
Walk across the rope bridges. See what’s inside Shrek’s house.

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Cooking with Gingy
Learn to bake and decorate their own gingerbread man. While the eldest had a feast on her creation, the youngest just took a small bite the give the rest to me. He’s more excited to try another adventure.

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How to Fly Your Dragon
Get inside the dragon’s mouth and climb up to the top and slide on their way down.

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Whatever Floats Your Boat
Build your own boat (that floats) and watch as it sails in down the river.

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Afro Circus
Play soft balls

DreamStudio
Create their own animation but I doubt if the youngest enjoy it considering he doesn’t know how to play with the monitor compared with the eldest who can read. This is nice, this can encourage kids to become future movie makers.

Kung Fu Fighting
Train to become a Kung Fu master

(We were not able to get photos here)

DinoTrux
Have a race in the DinoTrux

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Wall of Destiny
Test their climbing skills at the wall of destiny.

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Thread of Enlightenment
Face the obstacles challenge

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Tips:
Wear pants / leggings or long sleeves as the place is so cold, besides plays and activities are interactive.
There are sessions with pre-defined schedules. You may check this first to maximize your time.
Bring extra money, prices set in their website may change without prior notice.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay Experience

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In our short stay in Luzon, we went to see a glimpse of Tagaytay too. We just want to let the kids personally see Taal Lake and the crater which are mentioned in their Civics and Science textbooks.

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We went to see Taal Lake and Volcano thru Sky Ranch Amusement Park. I had to say, this park is expensive! Entrance Fee is at Php80 and each rides has its own cost from Php50 to Php150. They don’t have entrance + ride all you can package or some sort. Considering there are plenty of rides to choose from and with 2 kids in tow, I’ll definitely end up money less!

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Inside the park are gazebos for rent, green and clean ground that I like it for awhile until I realized that they used artificial grass. Maybe because the management know that real live grass cannot withstand daily footstep from everyday visitors. Nonetheless, I still don’t like the idea of using artificial grass.

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We decided to ride only the famous Sky Eye — ferris wheel taller than that of Enchanted Kingdom. One loop ride cost Php150 around 8-10 min. It still is expensive but we grab it to have a chance to see the beauty if Tagaytay and Taal Lake from bird’s eye view.

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Then the rest of our time were spent taking pictures or watching the beauty of the lake.

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It rained for awhile and after we rested, we head back to Batangas.

Sky Ranch Tagaytay is expensive, we hoped they’ll improve the ride costs to accommodate those who have limited budget :)

Having Fun at Enchanted Kingdom

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Because hubby had a scheduled business trip to Manila last month, I thought to accompany him together with our kids. Its been awhile not seeing Manila again and this opportunity is a waste to disregard. It will be our 10yo’s second visit while 4yo’s first. Me, my sister and hubby with some our college classmates used to work in Laguna way back our younger years and the thought of visiting Manila and Calabarzon area again makes me feel nostalgic on fond memories with work and colleagues and friends or waking up early to catch the bus ride to work, leaving office desk the first time the bell rings to catch the first bus ride to home, malling during off-duty days or having fun and experiencing the thrills at Enchanted Kingdom.

Enchanted Kingdom is a theme park located in Santa Rosa, Laguna. I’ll name it as the happiest place in Laguna :)

About 15-30 minutes travel from Sto. Tomas, Batangas thru Star Toll and South Luzon Expressway. We stayed at my brother-in-law’s home in Batangas.

Aimee, my brother-in-law’s wife suggested to go after lunchtime to avoid early heat exhaustion from hot summer weather. Also, my brother-in-law offered to drop us to the park as he will head to Sucat for a meeting. Thankful that we did, since the theme park did change their schedule to open at 2PM. Ticket costs is P500 for Adult Regular Pass and P250 for Junior Pass for kids below 48in height. With the entrance cost, we get to enjoy unlimited use of park’s rides. With the cost though we were warned that there are rides that needs height requirement and our 4yo might not be able to ride on it.

The 4yo was not in the mood at first, I’m not sure if he got scared from the huge crowd and long queues outside the gate or from the wizard statue or from the warm weather or from afternoon nap.

Our first ride was the Dodgem (Bump Car). It is supposed to be mine and or 4yo’s ride but he didn’t feel better yet. Still I rode to get the feel of being young and having fun again :) It is a 2-minute ride to bump anyone in your way. I got problems maneuvering the steering wheel so I get to spend half of the time figuring how to used it thus, I got bumped instead.

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Our next ride is the Up, Up and Away (Ballon Ride) but it got me dizzy. Those rides which will lift you up and swing you around through the air.

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I still feel dizzy that I did not have the courage to ride the Roller Skater (small roller coaster) and EKstreme Tower (a sudden drop from above) ride. But hubby, Ate Coy and our 10yo did.

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Our 4yo started to enjoy the park when he saw dinosaurs and when he was able to ride the Bumper Boat and Air Pterodactyle (airplane ride) while the rest of the gang went to ride the Flying Fiesta.

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Next ride is 4D Rialto — showing Rio. The show was nice and colorful. The 4yo doesn’t like getting shake on his chair or getting wet from the sprayed water, worst he doesn’t like wearing the 3D glasses. The 10yo loved the show and wants to watched it again.

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Hubby and 10yo also tried the Space Shuttle (big roller coaster).

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Our 4yo so want to try the Air Racer but was not allowed due to height limitation. Rider needs to secured because it is a 360 ride. Imaging being upside down from the ground. Amazing.

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But settle for Jungle Log Jam.

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Because they are already wet from water ride, we tried Bump N’ Splash to get wet.

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We rode on Anchors Away. It is a pendulum ride. The last time I rode this, I seated in the back and it was scary. I don’t have the courage to sit at the back again thus I settled in the center but, I still feel those unbearable shakes in my tummy.

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The best ride we have or rather our 4yo had was RioGrande Rapids, good thing queues are not long thus we got it enjoy the ride thrice. Happiness is when you see your kids getting excited being swayed from the water rapids or the giggles from the thrills of getting bumped and wet. It was the best for us.

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After changing clothers, our 10yo and Ate Coy ask for one more ride and tried Disk-O-Magic. Its like Anchors Away plus a revolving seat but was not able to take a picture already.

Overall, it was so much fun. our 10yo and Ate Coy enjoyed the extreme rides while 4yo enjoyed the water rides.

Thank you Enchanted Kingdom for the fun and thrills. Till next time.

Exploring Manila Ocean Park

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When you are in Manila and you tag along with you your kids, Manila Ocean Park is for you. Located across Roxas Boulevard and just in front the Luneta Park, Manila Ocean Park is a recommended place to explore freshwater and seawater creatures. My kids love water so much thus, a visit to the park is surely a good idea to get up-close and personal with the marine life.

Went there on a weekday to avoid the crowd and because its summer, we were able to avail their summer promos wherein they combined different attractions for a certain price. We chose a 580php package and that includes a visit to Oceanarium, Back of the House, Jellies Exhibit, Sea Lion Show, Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter and the Symphony Evening Show.

Arrived at the park around 10:30AM and because we still have to queue for our tickets, we were not able to watch the 11AM schedule of sea lion show, thus have to start our exploration in the Oceanarium.

OCEANARIUM
The main attraction of the park which consist of the 4 sections — the Agos, the section which will greet you as you enter the oceanarium, displays fresh water animals and crocodiles; the Bahura, a dark room with lighted aquariums, thus you’ll be dazzled by the fishes with the reefs and corals as their colors are emphasized; the Laot, fishes in the deep of the ocean and the Buhay Ng karagatan, the tunnel with lots of fishes, sting rays and sharks.

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We spend most of the time in the aquarium that we forgot to take our lunch. Food stalls are available inside the park so you don’t need to worry though as there are a lot of options.

BACK OF THE HOUSE
After our lunch, we went to see whats inside the back of the house attraction. The noisiest room as it pumps water from the bay. This room reveals how they get water from the bay, the water filtration and oxygenation process so the marine creatures gets to enjoy the clean and safe water.

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JELLIES EXHIBIT
Dancing fairies indeed as we were mesmerized by the jellies as they change their color based on the lamp’s light.

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SHARKS & RAYS DRY ENCOUNTER

The chance to touch the sting rays.

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SEA LION SHOW

We waited for the 3PM schedule to watch the sea lion perform. The 20-minute show displayed stunning tricks of the two sea lion together with their respective trainer. Tricks like giving a big smile, a fliper wave, their ability to retrieve the lost items, their jumping skills, their dancing skills and they even kissed one of the audience. I personally admire how these animals gave us a good show, even my kids were amazed on how talented these sea lions are.

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Though they are not harmed, I have mixed feelings for the sea lions which were used for peoples enjoyment. I wonder why this is allowed :(

SYMPHONY EVENING SHOW
We were not able to stay long to wait for the fountain show as we need to travel going down South.

Tips:
– There are plenty of attractions not included in our package like the Trails to Antartica (Penguin Exhibit and Snow Village), Birds of Prey Kingdom, World or Creepy Crawlies, Fish Spa and Aquanaut, thus spending an entire day to visit all attraction is recommended.
– Foods bought outside are not allowed, don’t worry though as their are lots of foods stalls inside.
– Bring camera but be aware that some areas prohibited the use the camera flash.
– Be mindful of the schedule of the show, they will not let you in when you are 5-10min late.
– Baggage counter is available inside the park.
– Enjoy :)

You may want to visit their site for promos — https://www.manilaoceanpark.com/

9 Cebu Churches for Visita Iglesia

Filipino Catholic faithfuls practice the Visita Iglesia during Holy Week. Visita Iglesia is a pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition by attempting to visit seven churches or religious sites. Traditionally observed on Maundy Thursday, it is commonly practiced during any day of the Holy Week. In the Philippines, the general practice is to visit seven churches either on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday and recite the Stations of the Cross in them. The pious and able would double the number of churches to fourteen, while the infirm and elderly usually visit only one or a handful. Until the 1970s, people recited all fourteen stations in one church, but the more recent custom is to pray two stations at each church. (Source:Wikipedia)

For us, it is our chance to tell to our kids Jesus’ story of giving up His life in order to save us, by reading the Stations of the Cross. For this year, last Maundy Thursday, we visited nine of Cebu’s beautiful churches.

Our Lady of Fatima Parish
Basak. Mandaue City, Cebu
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Our Lady of the Rule Parish Church
Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu
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National Shrine of Saint Joseph
Centro, Mandaue City, Cebu
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Basilica del Santo Niño
Along Osmena Blvd St., Cebu City
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Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral
Mabini St., Cebu City
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The Archdiocesan Shrine of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Dionisio Jakosalem St, Cebu City
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Redemptorist Church
Queen’s Rd, Cebu City
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Saint Joseph Parish
Pope John Paul II Ave, Cebu City
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San Narciso Parish – Consolacion
Cebu N Rd, Consolacion, Cebu
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