Family Friday: Revisiting Acacia Hotel in Alabang

Second Friday of the month: Kids / Bonding / Parenting

"Remember the giant gingerbread house in the hotel? Is it still there?" The girl vividly recalled our memorable post-Christmas stay-cation at the new Acacia Hotel Manila two years ago when I told her we've been invited to stay over for some R & R. That was our first time to spend a family weekend in the southern city of Alabang. We were treated like kings and queens during our stay at Acacia Hotel, so naturally, we were all too excited to go back for a quick weekend getaway.

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Smart iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Plans Out Now - Starts at P1799/mo

Smart has officially opened its pre-order page for those who want to claim their new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starting today, November 14, 2014!  Choose your Smart plans now!

Click here for your preferred phones and plans:
Anther good news:  ATM is now accepted as a payment method. Refer to this infographic for a step-by-step pre-order guide.

What's in store for Smart subscribers?

For Smart INFINITY Subscribers:
  • Prestige Plan 5000 (Fully consumable)
    • New members may receive the iPhone 6 (64GB) or iPhone 6 Plus (16GB) 
  • Premium Plan 8000 (Fully consumable)
    • New members receive two 16GB units of the iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 16GB plus a MacBook Air
See more options below:

Other perks included:
  • Infinity Relationship Officer
    • Members have their very own account manager whom they can directly call for concerns regarding their Smart Infinity account
    • Exclusive to Prestige Plan 5000 and Premium Plan 8000 members only
  • Priority Hotline & Smart Store Service
    • Enjoy exclusive 24/7 dedicated call-in service
  • Smart Infinity Worldwide Concierge
    • Smart Infinity fulfills both mobile needs and lifestyle needs as well
    • Members simply call the concierge for dining reservations, gift deliveries, travel bookings, business services and more, here and abroad. 
  • Smart Infinity Lifestyle App
    • Instant mobile access to Smart Infinity services, privileges, account information and international roaming rates
Avail of premium membership services offered by Smart Infinity experience by calling (632)8488806, email infinitysupport@smart.com.ph or visit www.smart.com.ph/infinity.

For POSTPAID Subscribers:

Private Driver from November 14 - 16
Go check out the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus from November 14 -16 and Smart will take care of your ride to and from selected Smart Stores in Metro Manila.
Simply download the Uber app on your phone, book a ride, and enter the promo code: SMARTIPHONE6 and your ride is FREE! 

Choose Your Own Mobile Number
Sign up at any Smart Store nationwide and new Smart Postpaid subscribers will have an exclusive privilege of choosing a customized phone number from a particular number series (as long as number is still available).
This offer is available for a limited time only;  first-come, first-served basis.

Wipe Out Your Current Contract
SMART Postpaid subscribers now have the option to Wipe Out their current contract (even if locked in) and upgrade to an iPhone handset in their new contract for a discount.
Plus get a FREE 1-year handset insurance when you avail of iPhone 6 or 6 Plus for Plan 800 and up. For more details visit: http://www.smart.com.ph/wipeout

Free Movies on your iPhone 6
All subscribers of the Smart iPhone 6 will get FREE 3 Movie vouchers through the smartphone app, Blink.

Avail of SMART iPhone 6 as low as P1,799 per Month
Subscribe to Smart iPhone 6 Plan 999 and just add P800/month = P1,799/month only
That's 0% installment for 24 months under cash-out Plan 999.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it! 
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10 Tips to Travel Safe and Save Fuel

We don't travel as much as we want to, but we try to have at least one out-of-town trip a year. This year, I was very fortunate to be able to bring my family down south for mini stay-cations and our recent Oreo Halloween Trip and Treats party in Tagaytay. All these road trips happened within the span of just four weeks! That said, it's critical that our vehicle is in tip-top shape with a full tank of gas, and we followed some travel and fuel-efficiency tips I'm sharing here with you.

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Foodie Friday: Rita's Italian Ice Now in the Philippines

First Friday of the month: Dessert / Italian Ice / Frozen Custard

I'm taking a break from recipes for today as I want to share the hottest... errr, coolest news in town! Rita’s Italian Ice, the largest Italian Ice concept in the world with over 600 stores in the U.S., is opening it's first store in the Philippines tomorrow, November 8! 

While I enjoy my occasional frozen treats, my husband and daughter are ice cream monsters. That's why I'm very excited to tell you about my newest foodie find.  My blogger friends and I were invited to Rita's Italian Ice product tasting the other day at their first outlet in Greenhills. Long story short, we were all blown away by how good Rita's Ice and Frozen Custards are. I used to handle an imported premium ice cream brand when I was still working, so I pretty much have an idea on how quality ice cream should be.  Rita's delivers it's promise.

Let me tell you about their mouth-watering creations below, and what my favorites are.
Warning: Dessert porn ahead. =)
Dense chocolate Frozen Custard with rainbow sprinkles

"Rita’s adheres to strict product standards.  All of our Ice is made fresh daily at each and every location.  To ensure you receive only the freshest product available, our Freshness Policy requires that our Italian Ice and Cream Ices be discarded if not sold within 36 hours of being made."

Italian ice, also known as water ice, is a sweet, smooth frozen dessert made fresh daily. It is made by the same process as ice cream, freezing the ingredients while mixing them together, which results in a very smooth consistency.
  • It's NOT shaved ice
  • Made with real fruits and fruit purées
  • All Ice is served within 36 hours of mixing
  • Trans-Fat free 
  • Dozens of refreshing flavors (locally, 39 flavors on rotation, more to come)
  • Sugar-Free Italian Ice is sweetened with Splenda® Brand Sweetener

Alex's Lemonade
Blueberry (with fruit bits!)
Cotton Candy

Clockwise, from top:  Chocolate, Mango, Mint Chocolate, Cherry, Banana Split

That's “Ice Cream” backwards -- it's the creamy version of the Italian Ice, smooth and full of indulgent flavors.
Banana Split
Black Cherry Cheesecake
Dulce de Leche
Mint Chocolate Chip

Regular cup of Mint Chocolate Chip Cream Ice

Clockwise, from top:  Black Cherry Cheesecake, Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Cotton Candy

Similar to ice cream, but it's made with eggs in addition to cream and sugar. The egg yolk gives it a thick, creamy texture.
  • Rich, smooth, and creamy
  • Very dense (not like soft serve ice cream that has more air when mixed)
  • Comes in decadent flavors
    • Vanilla, Light Vanilla (has 60% less fat), Coffee, Chocolate
    • Also available - Vanilla/Chocolate Twist
  • Served in cup or cone
    • A Sundae comes with two toppings
Frozen Custard samplers:  Chocolate, Light Vanilla, Coffee

I love the classic Vanilla and Coffee flavors the most. Rita's Frozen Custard is delicious as is, or add toppings of your choice.  

Proof of how thick their custard is, Ted turned over this sprinkled chocolate custard in a cone, 3 times, and it didn't fall off!

Best of both worlds, this is a layering of your favorite Italian Ice and creamy Frozen Custard.
It’s Rita's #1 selling treat and I understand why... I love this too! Get creative with your own combo.
Regular GELATI:  Vanilla Frozen Custard over Dulce de Leche Ice

A creamy-crunchy blend of your favorite Italian Ice + Frozen Custard + choice of topping.
Choose from a variety of toppings, like my fave Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups, OREO® Cookie Pieces, M&M’s® Minis, Snickers®, and many more!

Richer and creamier with milk + Frozen Custard, topped with thick whipped cream and fresh cherry.

A refreshing blend of Alex’s Lemonade Italian Ice + any Italian Ice flavor of your choice. Sip and go!

A blended combination of your favorite Italian Ice + Frozen Custard, Misto is like Gelati you can drink.

Frozen Custard sandwiched between two jumbo OREO® cookies. Winner! You can roll them on rainbow sprinkles too!

Rita's Italian Ice - Philippines currently has 39 flavors and over a dozen toppings on offer. It's gonna be hard to enjoy just one cool treat from Rita's, I tell you.  They also plan to come out with a Pinoy-inspired flavor to add to their menu. Will have to watch out for that!

On my next visit, I want to try this Custard Cookie Sandwhich, and maybe a Blendini too. Bonus for us is the store's location is near our neighborhood, woohoo! My kids can't wait to go to Rita's!

Tip:  A Regular cup of any order is quite filling (because it's thick and dense).   
I suggest you come with your family and friends, order different creations and share them.  This way, you get to try and enjoy more flavors.

Get Rita’s. Get Happy!
Thanks for having us, Rita's Italian Ice, and welcome to (warm and sunny) Philippines! You'll be a hit, for sure!
With Ted Castro, Rita's Ice PH's Operations Manager; Jamie Snyder, Franchise Business Consultant for Rita's Ice PH (she's been with Rita's Ice for 20 years!), and my friends Rowena (center) and Trixie (right). Thanks  also to Rita's V-Mall crew!

Rita's Italian Ice - Philippines
V-Mall, Greenhills, San Juan City

Get updates on Rita's products and new flavors here:
Instagram: @ritasiceph  #RitasIcePh

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
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Thank you and do visit again!
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Mini Melissa Steps Out in Style

When I'm invited to an event that allows me to bring any of my kids, it really gets me excited. That means sharing a unique experience with my kids while also enjoying the company of my friends. That's what happened during the launch of Mini Melissa footwear recently. I love shoes (who doesn't?) and I love my pointy red flocked Melissa shoes. I know my girl will have fun discovering Mini Melissa at this mom-and-me event!

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What Happens When Jollitown Comes to Life?

I've only seen and heard of Jollitown at the kiddie parties of Jollibee. It's a fantasy playland with mascots having fun in a bright and colorful world. Well, imagine no more.  Jollitown came to life last October 26 at SMX to celebrate National Children's Month. Let me show you what welcomed us at the event.

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Halloween Trip and Treats Party Planning

It's the Halloween weekend and I'm sure there will be a lot of spooky-fun revelries around the globe. As I've mentioned in my past Halloween posts, we never really prepare for this event since it's not traditionally celebrated in my family. My kids only joined the fun at school parades or when they invited to go trick-or-treating. Anyhow, my boy and I just had our most memorable Halloween party yet, courtesy of Oreo!

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Kids Get Happy Treats at Pancake House

My whole family loves Pancake House. J and I have been loyal patrons since our younger years! I still remember their old resto in Greenhills with all the Hollywood movie posters on display. Fast forward to having two kids, the family continues to enjoy dining at Pancake House. And if you're following me on Instagram, you may have already noticed several posts with my kids and our favorite meals. Naturally, I cannot pass up an invitation to bring the kids over to Pancake House to reward them for a job well done at school.

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iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Available from Smart this November

It's coming! The most awaited iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be available from Smart this November! 

Pre-order the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus starting Friday, November 7, 2014 at www.smart.com.ph/iPhone.  Smart Communications, Inc., wireless services leader and the country’s biggest network, will offer the iPhones beginning November 14, 2014. 
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

I'm using an iPhone 4 for a couple of years now and it's starting to show signs of use and abuse, heehee.  I'm not the type to jump in on gadget trends so I am still contemplating on replacing it anytime soon.  However, this sexy new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are so tempting! Online listings peg the prices at PhP50k and up! Isip-isip. I'm not into big phones, so I might consider the "smaller" iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 = 4.7 inches
iPhone 6 Plus = 5.5 inches

Here are just some of the exciting features of iPhone 6 / 6 Plus:
  • Biggest and thinnest iPhone to date
  • More powerful - 64-bit, M8 motion coprocessor, longer batter life
  • Multi-touch display
  • Retina HD display
  • Touch ID technology - fingerprint security
  • iSight camera with Focus Pixels for faster auto focus
  • Slo-mo and time-lapse video mode
  • Faster LTE and WiFi support

So, if you are lusting for one, register your interest with Smart, here: http://smrt.ph/smartiphone6 -- now na!

Do watch out for attractive #SmartiPhone6 and #SmartiPhone6Plus phone plans coming very soon, so I will update you on this.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
Get instant updates:
My Mom-Friday on Facebook
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Also on Google Friend Connect, or Subscribe Via Email.
I try my best to reply and answer any questions you may have on each entry so check back if you've left one. Thank you and do visit again!
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Easy Cheezy Halloween Sandwich Bento

We are all cheese lovers here, and so I try to incorporate different types of cheese in our meals, from breakfast to snacks. The kids especially love cheesy sandwiches, so it's a no-brainer for me to send it as their baon to school or on road trips. That's why, I make sure we're well stocked with cheese slices, grated cheese, and spreadable Cheez Whiz all the time.

I grew up with Cheez Whiz so it's also a staple in our pantry. The versatility of this favorite cheese spread makes it very easy to use, especially for bento meals. Thanks to Cheez Whiz, I'll be sharing with you three bento creations, starting with this month's theme -- Halloween!

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Mom-Finds: Skechers GOwalk Shoes

It's not yet the last Friday of the month, but I have other plans for Halloween next week. So, I'm now sharing with you my latest Mom-Finds, and I've been raving about it on social media and to friends as well because it's the lightest and bounciest pair of shoes I've worn -- rubber shoes pa yan ha! My style is also not sporty, so I welcomed this style change which even the husband appreciates, all thanks to Skechers GOwalk! =)

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Fun Friday: Halloween Costumes Flashback

Third Friday of the month: Events / Celebrations / Halloween

It's mid-October and we're already seeing tons of fun, cute, scary costumes for halloween on display. Back in the day, we never made a big deal out of halloween -- in fact, we never celebrated it. It was only until I had kids and they started school that they had halloween parades. Naturally, they went to school in costume. We are just so lucky to have relatives abroad who are so generous and thoughtful to send the kids cool costumes to wear. I never really made much effort to dress them up and tried to keep things simple. Same as the halloweens past, this year's costumes will probably be a replay.

As they look forward to upcoming halloween parties, I looked back at how they dressed up before. It's flashback Friday for me once again as I reminisce, and delight at how they've grown and changed through the years -- in their halloween costumes.

Can you name all their characters? =)
(Click on photo for full story,)





2013 (reused costumes)

The girl have not decided if she'll be Elsa (our own gown design up top), or take 3 with Cleopatra. For the boy, it's gonna be his trusty old Harry Potter robe and specs.

I hope you found some inspiration from their characters here and create (buy) your own costumes -- adults and kids alike! Two more weeks to go before halloween weekend. Have fun dressing up! =)

More halloween costumes for kids:

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
Get instant updates:
My Mom-Friday on Facebook
Follow @mymomfriday on Twitter and Instagram
Also on Google Friend Connect, or Subscribe Via Email.
I try my best to reply and answer any questions you may have on each entry so check back if you've left one. Thank you and do visit again!
(Comments with links will automatically be flagged by Disqus.)
read more