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Summer Fun at Villa Escudero

The other tourist spot we went to this summer was Villa Escudero in Quezon. My cousin and I went there together, with my family, when we were young. This time, it was our kids’ turn. We hired a van to accommodate us all and it took us about 3 hours, with a couple of stops, to get there. It’s still a beautiful place, with better facilities. I honestly just wanted the kids to experience eating lunch by the waterfall like we did as kids haha. Although we failed to check out the museum and watch the cultural show, I’m happy that our kids got to enjoy the place.

The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.  Tip: visit the museum first!
The pink building behind the plane is the museum. We decided to go straight to the waterfall when we arrived and visit the museum later in the afternoon, but then it closed at 5pm. We were too late.
Tip: Visit the museum first!
You pay Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That's inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. :)
Php1,250 per head on weekdays, Php 1,400 on weekends and holidays. Only children below 4 feet are charged half, while babies like Gianna are free. That’s inclusive of the carabao ride, entrance to the museum, use of the pool and bamboo rafts, all you can eat lunch at the waterfall. You can bring chips in, but not much else. 🙂
 Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. :)

Luningning was our carabao. We were amazed at her strength. She carried us, our stuff, and the musicians who played nice Filipino music for us. 🙂
A field we passed during our carabao ride. :)
A field we passed during our carabao ride. 🙂
Not sure if this is still in use.  A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. :)
Not sure if this is still in use. A visit to the museum would have been helpful, haha. 🙂
the waterfall! :)
The waterfall! 🙂
the waterfall from where we ate :)
The waterfall 🙂
lunch by the waterfall! :)
All you can eat lunch by the waterfall! They have water dispensers but other drinks aren’t part of the entrance fee. I ordered buko juice in its shell for Php40. Grilled pork, grilled tilapia, pancit and other Filipino dishes. On a banana leaf, with your bare hands. Yum. 🙂
the water was cold! the kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! :)
The water was cold! The kids enjoyed wading and getting wet! 🙂 Tip: Be there by 11AM because the place got surprisingly packed by 12PM.
i don't have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. :)
I don’t have a wide shot of the pools but they have 3 that look pretty well-maintained. 🙂
i don't have shots of the swimming pools, but they now have 3 that look pretty well maintained. swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. :)
Swimming in the lake is prohibited, but the kids enjoyed fishing (for which they had nothing to show haha) and rafting. 🙂
danae insisted on going rafting and my cousin's hubby accommodated her. thank you tito vincent! :)
Danae insisted on going rafting but King was not with us, so my cousin’s hubby accommodated her. Thank you tito Vincent! 🙂
the kids were fishing here, and the structure they are in is where they held the cultural show. i think it's also a restaurant. the show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. i of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. :)
The kids were fishing here (Php100 for the rod, and I think you can keep or have whatever you catch cooked), and the structure they are in is where they hold the cultural show. It’s also a restaurant. The show was quite lengthy and my cousin said it was great. I of course had to stay with my kids who were sometimes in 3 different places at the same time haha. 🙂

The kids enjoyed swimming so much that we got out of the pool area late! We missed the carabao ride back. It would have been a tiring ten minute walk back to the front, if not for the electric shuttle. That’s also when we were told that the museum closes at 5PM. They have accommodations as well, but we only opted for a day trip. Click here for more information.

It was another memorable time for my kids. Even though they don’t see their cousins often, they will have these awesome memories to always go back to. I thank the Lord for opportunities like these. 🙂

Family, FEATURED

Summer Fun at Manila Ocean Park

It was a busy time in our household last month because we hosted my cousin and her family. It was my nephews’ and niece’s first time in Manila ever, as they reside in Cebu and San Carlos city, Negros Occidental. So about two months ago, their mom and I planned some activities for them to make it a memorable visit. One of the places we decided on was Manila Ocean Park (we were hoping to drop by Manila Zoo and Luneta Park too but failed to). IMG_0065 The Park

My family and I have been to Manila Ocean Park before when Danae’s pre-school had their field trip there, but that was more than  five years ago I believe. I did enjoy the oceanarium and the jellies, Danae kicked and giggled at the fish spa, and the only other thing I remember about the place was their mermaid show (because I found it very funny hahaha…sorry). Well, that and the facts that you pay for every attraction you want to enter and that one ticket equals one entry only. You choose which attractions you want and pay accordingly at the ticket counter. You enter each attraction, you exit, and there’s no going back unless you have another ticket. I find that odd because usually, you pay an entrance fee and are free to go in and out of whatever area you want to check out. Anyway, I was up for new, fun memories that my kids would make with their cousins. We searched online and discovered the summer promo! We went for the 13 attractions, which is really 11 because Trails to Antarctica has 2 parts and the other so-called attraction is a souvenir (go figure). Instead of it costing 4,350 Philippine pesos per head, it was Php990 per head. And when we got there, there was a promo on top of that! If you’re a group of 7, you could get the Php990-deal for Php890 per head. So we paid Php890 for 7 of us and then Php990 for the rest, except of course the baby. She, and anyone under 2 feet, is free.

Promo was until may 31 (I'm so sorry I was not able to post this sooner), but I'm sure there are other promos. I saw one on metro deal. :)
Promo was until may 31 (I’m so sorry I was not able to post this sooner), but I’m sure there are other promos. I saw one on metro deal. 🙂

The Attractions

The twins, my two other nieces, met us there. We arrived right before noon, and we were able to visit the Birds of Prey Kingdom first, and then catch the Bird Show at 1:15. There weren’t many people yet, and two of my nieces were chosen as volunteers for the show! Danae volunteered but kids were not allowed. That was a fun experience haha. IMG_0035

No pictures of my nieces volunteering. We were busy taking videos and laughing. :)
No pictures of my nieces volunteering. We were busy taking videos and laughing. 🙂

We saw a shark and touched a huge sting ray at the Sharks and Rays Dry Encounter (we forgot to buy our photo — cameras not allowed in this area) before we had our late lunch at North Park (there are restaurants inside, even a lunch buffet). We caught the 3pm Sea Lion Show (there was also a 5pm), in the same stadium as the bird show. We noticed a lot more people filling up the seats. We went straight to Trails to Antarctica. There was a snow village, which according to them was so tiny, it was literally just for a photo op. I did not go in because Gianna was not allowed due to the extreme cold I guess. I did get the kids to feed the penguins! It was Php300 for 2 people, but you could add Php100 for an extra person. That was my favorite part — that they not only got to see them, they got to be in the enclosure with them and feed them (touching was not allowed). They had a nice hallway with interactive stuff about Antarctica, which led to the fish spa and the Back of the House. 11304064_1072657429430928_86560067_n 11350013_1072657382764266_2144795017_n They all went into the spa to have a relaxing (and ticklish) 30 minutes with little fish eating the dead skin off their feet. And then right by it was the the Back of the House, where you could see what they do at the back of the house. Near the spa was also the Aquanaut and Glass Bottom Boat Ride, but we did not avail of those.

Back of the house. This is how they clean Manila Bay's water and use it. They also have a breeding room for jellies and small fish.
Back of the house. This is how they clean and use Manila Bay’s water. They also have a breeding room for jellies and small fish.

We got to the Penguin Talk Show right in time, around 530pm, where there is this funny penguin (cartoon and voice) talking to the audience. It was a treat for us since he singled out my girls and one of their cousins. My girls enjoyed that greatly. The Jellies Exhibit was nearby and it was our last chance at 6:15pm to visit it before it closed, so we went thru it quickly so we could make it in time for the Symphonies Show.

jellies! :)
jellies! 🙂

The stadium was packed! I didn’t expect much from the fountain show, but I enjoyed that a lot. It wasn’t hot anymore and I was comfortably (though my chair was broken) seated. There was music, fire, water. At the climax of a couple of songs, the water shot up extremely high and sprayed practically everybody as it came down. Everyone got a kick out of that one. There were fireworks at the end too. IMG_0167 We did the Oceanarium last since we could still catch the last entry time at 7:15pm. We were excited about all the fish! We were literally the last ones there. My phone died right about that time, and as much as I wanted to take more photos, I no longer could. IMG_0279 IMG_0281 IMG_0307

Was it worth it?

It was tiring and many times uncomfortable because of the heat, but it was worth it. I’ve seen better bird shows and sea lion shows, but it was worth it. Our kids learned and they made memories. They will look back at these times fondly as they grow up having good relationships with their cousins. I love my cousins and I love that my girls love their cousins too. 🙂