About Me

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An occasionally belligerent mother of five and an autism parent / advocate who believes that traveling, good food and good company are vital to keep one sane. I've worked as a news writer/newscaster, a quality systems auditor, a ISO9001 consultant, an FM radio DJ, a Filipino tutor, TOEFL reviewer and have gone into the food industry both as an entrepreneur and as a mommy chef, giving a sponsored demo on healthy cooking in a mall and on local TV. My favorite job however, is being a mom and a wife.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Mediocre Wanderer's Top 5 Baby Travel Gear Guide

one happy traveler - Juju's got his snacks, a comfy seat and a rechargeable fan with a mist blower
8 years ago, I posted a blog about The Ins and Outs of Travelling With A Toddler Or An Infant. Fast forward to 2019, and we have an 11 month old baby, my 5th son, Justice Killian Lex.

Juju's carseat set up in the van that we use for long trips. We use a forward facing car seat for the car that's used for our daily grind 
When Juju was around 2 months old, we had to go out of town. Remembering the amount of travel we did with his older brother, we were so ready to bring a tiny person out to see the world. 

for those days when wearing a baby carrier just won't work
We were so ready that all the gear bought by the hubby PRIOR to the baby's birth was geared towards portability during a trip, also taking into consideration storage when not in use. 

it's even big enough for our 11 year old 
Lucky for us, the decade in between the 4th and 5th kid was long enough for new materials and new baby gear to be developed. 

Here's our TOP 5 BABY TRAVEL GEAR:



1. PUJ FLYTE - undergoing an emergency C-section left me unable to lift things heavier than the baby. This foldable baby tub was god sent mainly because all you need is any standard sized sink. I'd simply just unfold it, open the tap and fill the sink with bath water.


It's non slip, resistant to mold and mildew, lightweight (weighs like a child's pool kick board), folds and packs well in a suitcase and you just fold and hang it to dry. No lifting heavy plastic tubs, and it allows me to bathe the baby, standing up. It's good for babies 0-6 months but I still bring it along even if Juju is 11 months, mainly because I'm still not sold on putting the baby on the shower floor, when staying in a hotel or resort.


We also got a Fisher Price Calming Waters Vibration Tub for home use as we make the PUJ Flyte our primary travel tub.

AMAZON: $34.99


2. GIGI's BABY 3 in 1 DIAPER BAG, TRAVEL BASSINET and PORTABLE DIAPER CHANGING STATION - we thought of buying a Pack and Go type of system for Justice, but ended up with something smaller.


Aside from having pockets to store diapering essentials, I love how I can just unzip and unfold it to create a sturdy travel bassinet.


It also makes a perfect co sleeper.

AMAZON: $39.99


3. SUMMER INFANT POP AND SIT PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR - Though a 20 minute drive away, Juju's paternal grandparents belong to an entirely different zip code. This was a purchase that we felt we needed, when we visit the 'rents as well as when we go to places that may not have a highchair.


It's lightweight, super easy to setup, has a 3-point harness for safety, easy to clean and comes with a bag, so you can carry it around (like a slightly bigger and heavier yoga mat.

AMAZON: $34.23 (we got it then at $39.99)


4. SUMMER INFANT POP AND PLAY PORTABLE PLAY YARD - Another one of our "weekend with the grandparents" gear. It's perfect for days when we all hang out at the yard.


It's also lightweight, comes with that bag, easy to clean and set up's like opening an umbrella.

AMAZON: $49.99


5: FOLDABLE STROLLER - when our MAX traveled with us, the Maclaren Quest was the perfect umbrella stroller.


When I had Juju, we ended buying a Graco Travel System (car seat and stroller rolled in one). The problem with the latter was that it was quite bulky. It ate up a good part of the trunk of the car and was too heavy to travel with.

stock photo from the online store that we bought the stroller from
We ended buying a foldable stroller. It folds and stores in a carry all bag that can fit a plane or bus' overhead compartment. It's sturdy and comes with a sunshade, drink caddy, rain cover and a thicker cover for use in the winter.


There's also that additional padded bar at the front of the stroller as added protection on top of the 3 point harness. There's a small storage basket underneath the stroller for a mid sized baby bag.

LAZADA: PHP 2,800.00 (sale)

Juju's first plane ride

These are my favorite travel gear for the baby. Next time, I shall talk about our Top 5 Travel Essentials for Feeding and Diapering Your Baby.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!!!


Monday, March 4, 2019

Top 3 Waterproof Make Up Must Haves For That Summer Perfect Pic



Summer is definitely right around the corner, and with that, plans of beach getaways and pool time are already going through our minds.

starting my day with a clean canvass
Of course, with the perfect vacay comes the perfect look, for that perfect pic to post on social media or serve as a keepsake to get you through those non vacay times.

beach outfit, check! waterproof foundation and water resistant eyebrow gel - check AND check
I don't know about you, but I definitely don't like looking like a drowned rat in my beach/pool photos. I'm also not a fan of putting too much make up on before getting in the water. 

wearing make up that won't melt with the heat
Here are my Top 3 Waterproof Make up Must Haves to achieve a natural but decent looking photo while you're in the water or after a swim:


1. TONY MOLY BCDATION WATERPROOF CUSHION WITH SPF 50 - yup. You read right. It's a make up that gives you even, natural coverage, moisturizers your skin AND works as a sunblock! It comes in two shades: warm beige and skin beige. It works as your BB and CC cream as well as a foundation. Apply on thoroughly cleansed skin before you go out and enjoy your day. Won't melt in the heat or wash away once your face hits the water.



2. BENEFIT 3D BROWTONES - this water-resistant, long-wearing brow gel is both buildable and sheer that it perfectly highlights your natural brow hair without giving you too much brow color. It's a brow highlighter that enhances your eyebrows and not convert it into geometric shapes that natural brows don't come in. It also stays on for 12 hours and comes in 6 fun colors - light/medium (for those with dark brows), medium/dark (to highlight light colored brows), deep blue, copper, rich purple and magenta. I use the light/medium shade.



3. MAYBELLINE SUPER STAY MATTE INK LIQUID LIPSTICK - 16 hours of highly pigmented lip color that would not come off until you swipe on some lip color remover. My favorite shade is globetrotter from the City Edition. 

Simple, natural looking and easily packable make up that can be applied in 5 minutes or less. These are my go-to products when we travel. 


Bonus tip: I usually use a primer, concealer and foundation for my everyday look. However, I don't like bringing all my bottles and tubes when we travel. Lately, I just pack travel sized: make up remover (whichever brand I'm trying out ATM), face wash (Clinique Pep start), a moisturizer to use before bedtime (Clinique Turnaround Revitalizing Moisturizer), a serum to use before I put on makeup (Clinique Turnaround Accelerated Renewal Serum), a foundation (Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free + Balance Stick Foundation, if I'm not going to swim), and the stuff I mentioned above. That's my travel skin care regimen and basic travel make up all summed up. I've "road tested" them, and so far, they work on me. BTW, these are all available in the Philippines. 



Hope these tips help. Don't forget to always stay hydrated too.

just because I have 5 kids doesn't mean I'm willing to look like a drowned rat in every single vacay pic :D
From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Good Food, Good Location, Good People: The Fat Belly Project

MAX and his Act of Kindness Meal. This will go down in history as THE.BEST.MEAL.EVER

Know that acts of kindness still exist. Believe that the world is still a good place to live in and that angels can be people too. 

It was our usual Sunday family lunch at the in laws. Despite the sumptuous lunch, our Max, being under the spectrum and prone to picky eating, did not eat enough to make himself full. He had a slice of cake and that was it.

Fast forward to us leaving the family house and heading off to The Marketplace by Rustan's, along Leonard Wood Rd. to pick up some essentials for the week. 

We've frequented this grocery and the bldg. plenty of times and are quite friendly with a couple of the tenants in the area. And it's because of this familiarity that we don't break into a sweat whenever Max leaves us to go up and down the escalators as we shop (which is often a hurried affair unless Max is seated in a huge shopping cart).

even the little one got to eat!
While the hubby was settling our grocery bill, I told him that I was off to call Max over. As the baby and I got closer to the escalator, I saw someone on their way down, smiled and asked if they had seen a boy going up and down the escalator. She immediately smiled back, replied "yes" and told me that he was at their restaurant and proceeded to accompany me 2 floors up.

When I arrived at The Fat Belly Project, our son was seated in one of the tables, a chicken basket and a cup of iced tea was set in front of him with one of the folks from the resto, watching over him. 

Apologetically, I offered to pay and explained that my son had Autism and was mostly non verbal. I added that he had skipped lunch at his grandparents and may have been quite hungry at this point. Prior to entering the grocery, I had already ordered and paid for a fries platter to go, so that Max can eat on the ride back home.

The owner of the establishment waved my apology aside and remarked that everything was ok. No judgement. No scolding. Just smiles and understanding. In fact, she was more concerned over the fact that Max may have allergies with the food served!

I left Max one more time with the kind folks at the resto, somehow knowing that all will be well, not to mention that Max wasn't going to budge without us ordering more food for him. I went downstairs and informed his father of our whereabouts and that Max wanted to eat at The Fat Belly Project. 

I went back up and ordered for him a "sexy platter" of ribs, steak, mashed potatoes and buttered veggies. The owner ushered us to a booth seat because she felt it would be more comfortable for Max. And it was! They also threw in a buko pandan cup for him too. 

Now this is what I call sexy!

Max enjoyed his huge meal and had leftovers to eat later. 

Maam Chona Quinto, the owner, was concerned if Max enjoyed his meal, to which we assured her that our son would not touch his food if it wasn't to his liking. 

Thanks to Max, we met an amazing group of people today. We also discovered a good place to eat a hearty meal. And yes, faith in humanity was clearly restored. Thank you Fat Belly Project. You're our kind of place with our kind of people. Thoughtful and a 100 levels of amazing. Thank you!

Know that acts of kindness still exist. Believe that the world is still a good place to live in and that angels can be people too.

From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!

For the curious, here's a look at The Fat Belly Project's Menu:






Thursday, February 28, 2019

Paradise Found: A Review of Parklane Bohol (East Coast White Sand Resort)

brace yourself for a whole lot of zen
I left my heart in Anda. Yes. That pretty much sums up my feelings as I write down this blog. 



We've been to Bohol in the past. Tagbilaran... Panglao... Balicasag Island... The Loboc River. ...Chocolate Hills. It's always been a delight to go and visit this island that's why, when Phil's law school batch mates suggested that they hold their reunion here (with family in tow), we were positively psyched to fly out. Unfortunately, the section reunion didn't push through, but by then, we had already bought our plane tickets.


Another good thing that came out of the planning stages of their reunion was us being introduced to the East Coast White Sand Beach Resort. After securing our reservations at the resort, I found out that they were recently bought by a hotel chain, Parklane. This would account for why my social media posts have those two places as the location.



As with the TMW norm, I shall breakdown our Parklane Bohol experience into 5 categories, for a more objective scoring.

come join us as we head out to Parklane Bohol

1. LOCATION

Parklane Bohol is anywhere but near from the airport; the more popular city of Tagbilaran and the resort town of Panglao.


Upon landing in the new Panglao International Airport, a van (which we had arranged with the resort) picked us and our belongings for a 3 hour ride (roughly) to the resort.

Manong Dante's van (ask the resort to make arrangements for ya)
We passed through 12 towns and yes, the route is quite scenic, dotted with historical churches and landmarks. 

every town we passed by had one church built during the colonial times
A rough road leading into the general area where Parklane Bohol and Anda Cove Resort is the only underdeveloped path going to our destination.

my planets have aligned. This is going to be a great vacation!
Fuel is pricey in Bohol, so bear that in mind when booking transport and buying stuff. The one way charge for getting us to Anda was PHP 3,500 for a 107 km trip.

Anda, unlike Tagbilaran and Panglao,  is much closer to Camiguin (Mindanao) than to Cebu (Visayas) 

because of it's close proximity, Camiguin lanzones are roadside treats that you can purchase when in season
The thing is, like childbirth, you have to go through something painful to see something magnificent. Pain, being the cost of the trip and well...you get the rest. It's really a toss up, because, my goodness, Anda is seriously one beautiful destination. I'll give 1/5 for the cost and a 5/5 on where the place is situated in. That's 3/5 average for location.

Sandugo - the site of the first blood compact between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. One of the many historical sites you could see as you drive through highway route 850
For more information, message your queries to: 09287628730 or parklanebohol@parklanehotel.com.ph 

my favorite person at Parklane Bohol :)
2. STAFF and SERVICE

Can I just say that the staff of Parklane Bohol were all just AH-MAH-ZING?! Endless smiles, attention to detail, thoughtfulness, I could go on and on about how they made us feel like VIPs for the whole 5D and 4N that we were there. Service was second to none. So yeah, they get a 5/5 on this category.

the Bam-I is soooo god. It's go pork, shrimp, squid and a whole of yum in it
3. SERVICES/AMENITIES

a. FOOD and DINING
This was a rough call for me mainly because the kitchen staff were super accommodating to our food requests. Especially to Chef Anna, who went above and beyond the call of duty. To Allan, Ginell and our favorite waitstaff, Efren, you are all superstars!!

the breakfast buffet is available when the resort is fully booked. Ala carte breakfast is served when there aren't that many people checked in
The thing is, food at the resort was a bit pricey, and not all of it was good. For sure, we loved the fried chicken, the bam-i, the ceviche, the adobo and the humba...but the rest...not so. 

the mango salsa is now my favorite condiment
Food can be a tad oily and salty, so if you have issues with either, you'll have to speak up, or forever hold your peace. 

spot the bits of fish

Portions weren't consistent in a sense that some dishes had generous quantities of meat in it, while some (like the ceviche) had you playing hide and seek (lots of veggies, and tiny bits of fish) with your protein. 

they don't served snacks at the resort. Fish and Chips are the closest, but will set you back by PHP 450 
This rating does not, in anyway, reflect the performance of the staff. Portioning and menu were decided upon by management. Score: 3/5 

Kananan's Menu:







On a side note, I would love to offer my services for free as your f and b consultant, if I get to visit your resort more often . LOL


b. FACILITIES 

When traveling with kids, ESPECIALLY when traveling with kids, cleanliness is simply a basic requirement. Parklane Bohol has this in spades! There's always someone cleaning the pools, the surrounding areas, the floor at the resto, so yeah, I'm pretty happy about it. 

pool no.2
I've gushed endlessly about the whole set up of the place. The pools are beautiful, the view decks give you the best vistas ever and the pathways in and around the resort give you access to the beauty around you. 

pool #3 with the massage hut at the back
Massage services can be availed in your room or at the massage room by the pools. At PHP 400, it's not a bad idea to get one. 

powdery white sand
The also offer canoe rentals if you want to paddle on out over the pristine waters just below the resort. Scuba diving is also as simple as walking down to the beach and getting in the water. Lots of live corals underneath plus lots of fishes and urchins too. Score: 5/5 or 4/5 for Services and Amenities.

standard rooms
4. ACCOMMODATIONS and AMBIANCE

We booked through the resort directly. At PHP 4500 a night, we got ourselves a queen sized and a single bed, all bundled up in a quaint standard room. Room wasn't bad, just so basic. 


The glass back doors allowed us to get a good view of the pool, view deck and ocean , so that was a bonus. 


Bathroom was clean, but a bit dated. Hot water in the shower and a bidet can be found, along with toiletries.


Complimentary water, tea and making facilities are also available.


Cable TV and a really cold AC are sweet additions. 


Mattress and pillows are hypoallergenic but nothing special. Blankets are available upon request.


Ambiance, however, is another thing. Serenity abounds in this resort. Zen practically claims your entire being the longer you stay here. 



For the price over what we got, I'd give this category a 3/5 but for the ambiance, wow, seriously 100/5!! SCORE: 4/5

the perfect beach wedding venue

5. VALUE FOR YOUR MONEY


Value is relative. If you factor in how beautiful the surroundings are of the resort, then it's top marks all around for Parklane Bohol. But when you count the cost of meals and the meh rooms, I'd probably score the place a 3/5, which is a fair way of rating the place.

our Justice Killian Lex is a fan of Parklane Bohol
So there you have it, a 3.8/5 average score factoring in the cost AND the beauty of the place. But regardless of the score given, we enjoyed Parklane Bohol / East Coast White Sand Resort IMMENSELY. If cost weren't a concern, live a little and visit this resort. I swear, you won't regret it! BTW, here are a few more quick videos of our Parklane Bohol experience:






From TMW, may all your wanderings be better than ours!!