Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Summer Road Trips

stay·ca·tion.  noun \ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\
 A vacation that is spent at one's home enjoying all that home and one's home environs have to offer.
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If you do not have any plans of going out of the country this summer, why not take some time to discover the beauty of our own islands - take your brood for astaycation

For the circus that I call family, we go on staycations regularly, whenever there are long weekends/holidays that allow it.  Staycation ideas for families abound for us here in Manila; we are lucky to live in a country with diverse topography – all nearby.  There are road trips to do, mountains to climb, beaches to visit.  There are a number of attractions waiting to be explored. 

Take advantage of living in a tropical island and take a pick of any of our beaches.  Beaches feature a number of activities that the whole family can enjoy, such as kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkeling, etc.  Just imagine:  azure blue water, white sandy beach and verdant coconut trees…  

Slather on the sunscreen, put on those sunglasses and go out!

Here are some suggestions:
1.  Go on a Food Trip to Pampanga, the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. 
2.  Kids love to visit Ilog Maria Honey Bee Farm in Tagaytay
3. Tagaytay's Paradizoo is another must-visit place in Tagaytay
4. Tagaytay also offers a lot of restos, so you (and your pants) might as well squeeze in a Food Trip

6.  Stop over at Nuvali on your way to any of the Southern destinations
7. Swim in the best infinity pool in Laiya, Batangas (Acuatico Resort)
8.  See Bataan in a whole new light by staying at Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Resort 

9.  Subic in Zambales is a joy to visit now because of the SCTex.  Visit Ocean Adventure, enjoy the rustic stables of El Kabayo, or pay the wild animals a visit at Zoobic Safari.  We usually stay at the Subic Yatch Club, but you can also read Mom-Friday's post about her Subic accomodations.
scenic El Kabayo taken from my pre-blogging days
10. Villa Escudero, in the border between the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, is also another option for your wanderlust toes.  Admission fee already includes:
~Lunch with your legs halfway dipped in flowing water as the dining tables are situated right below the hydroelectric dam 
~A visit to the Escudero family museum which is housed inside the Villa Escudero church contains the family's private collections.  

~ go around the plantation on a carabao-driven cart
~Kayak on native bamboo rafts along the peaceful Libasin Lake, home of the country's first working hydroelectric plant.

I bet I have you packing already…


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ten Commandments for Swim Parents

This should be posted by the door of every club pool. :)

Ten Commandments for Swim Parents

by Rose Snyder (adapted from Ed Cledaniel’s "Ten Commandment for Little League Parents ")

1. Thou shalt not impose your ambitions on thy child. Remember that swimming is your child's activity.  Improvements and progress occur at different rates for each individual.  Don't judge your child's progress based on the performance of other athletes and don't push them based on what you think they should be doing.  The nice thing about swimming is every person can strive to do his or her personal best.

2.  Thou shalt be supportive no matter what. There is only one question to ask your child "Did you have fun?"  If meets and practices are not fun, your child should not be forced to participate.

3. Thou shalt not coach your child. You have taken your child to a professional coach.  Do not undermine that coach by trying to coach your child on the side.  You job is to support, love and hug your child no matter what.  The coach is responsible for the technical part of the job.  You should not offer advice on technique or race strategy.  That is not your area.  This will only serve to confuse your child and prevent that swimmer/coach bond from forming.

4. Thou shalt only have positive things to say at a swimming meet. If you are going to show up at a swimming meet, you should cheer and applaud, but never criticize your child or the coach.

5. Thou shalt acknowledge thy child's fears. A first swimming meet, 800 free or 400 IM can be a stressful situation. It is totally appropriate for your child to be scared. Don’t yell or belittle, just assure your child that the coach would not have suggested the event if your child was not ready to compete in it. Remember your job is to love and support your child through all of the swimming experience.

6. Thou shalt not criticize the officials. If you do not have the time or the desire to volunteer as an official, don't criticize those who are doing the best they can.

7. Honor thy child's coach. The bond between coach and swimmer is a special one, and one that contributes to your child's success as well as fun.  Do not criticize the coach in the presence of your child, it will only serve to hurt your child's swimming.

8. Thou shalt not jump from team to team. The water isn't necessarily bluer at the other team's pool.  Every team has its own internal problems, even teams that build champions.  Children who switch from team to team are often ostracized for a long, long time by the teammates they leave behind.  Oftentimes, swimmers who do switch teams never do better than they did before they sought the bluer water.

9. Thy child shalt have goals besides winning. Giving an honest effort regardless of what the outcome is, is much more important than winning.  One Olympian said, "My goal was to set a world record.  Well, I did that, but someone else did it too, just a little faster than I did.  I achieved my goal and I lost.  This does not make me a failure, in fact, I am very proud of that swim."

10. Thou shalt not expect thy child to become an Olympian. There are over 300,000 athletes who swim.  There are only 52 spots available for the Olympic Team every four years.  Your child's odds of becoming an Olympian are 1 in about 5,000.  Swimming is much more than just the Olympics.  Ask your coach why they coach.  Chances are, he was not an Olympian, but still got enough out of swimming that they want to pass that love for the sport on to others.  Swimming teaches self-discipline and sportsmanship; it builds self-esteem and fitness; it provides lifelong friendships and much more.  Most Olympians will tell you that these intangibles far outweigh any medal they may have won.  Swimming builds good people and you should be happy that your child wants to participate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Version Of Summer

It is right in the middle of summer already, so how is yours going along? 

I hope the earlier posts I shared on summer activities (taken from Smart Parenting) was useful.  It covered basically everything from culinary arts, to sports, to academic enrichment, and performing arts. Still, if you feel that you need more ideas, here is a compilation of the activities my kids have done in the summers past.

The idea of conducting my own summer camp for the kids initially stemmed out of a practical solution to avoid having to drive the kids all over town.  I have three kids and taking into consideration the multiple and varied interests each of my kids have, my mind cannot process and my body simply disagrees with the task of taking them everywhere all at the same time.  And the amount I spend paying for their summer activities alone could easily swell to an amount close to what I would pay for school tuition for one child.  And that is NOT an exaggeration. 

Here are some of the ways we have spent our summers, hopefully you can also enjoy the same with your kids!  You can click on the titles if you want to read more of that particular activity.

1.  ARTS and CRAFTS.  I enjoy drawing, painting, crafting, writing, baking, gardening.  Those areas are basically where I hold court, so summer mornings with my kids are, by and large, spent doing any of those cherished activities. 

Iron-On Shirts
Take your cue from your child and put out his/her favorite character into a shirt.  You can read the DIY instruction for IRON-ON SHIRTS here.
Click here to read more about making your own ice cream.

Bake some CUPCAKES! Swirl or monogram your frosting.

Click here to read more about the different ways to enjoy summer fruits


Camping:  Dad and Me Camp
 Read about their adventures on their first camping trip here; and the subsequent camp here.


Enjoy your Summer!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ateneo Aquathlon 2011

Like the previous year, J's swimming team supported this year's Ateneo Aquathlon as well.  But unlike last year, the 12 and under participants are to bear the brunt of the unforgiving summer sun, with their wave the last to start at 8:30am. 

With some of her team-mates from CAL Swimming

Thank goodness!  She managed to remember to put herself in front of the crowd of swimmers...

She performed well in the water, and was the fifth girl out of the pool.  She is to face what is the hardest part of the race for her - the run leg.  I remember, I ran alongside her last year...

This year, I was contemplating on running with her again, but C put his foot down and decided that J should run her own race this year.

Heading straight to the official's table to check her time after crossing the finish line.  (Notice a veteran tri-kid with her own personailized tri-suit behind J)

For future reference, her race stats are:  400m swim: 6min 28 sec, 3km run: 19min 06sec, total race time:  25min 34sec. 

She is obviously pleased with her finish!

 Read how she handled her first aquathlon here.