Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Weekend Footnotes

I was invited to an 80th birthday celebration last weekend.  My friend and his siblings wanted to celebrate the birthday of their mom, and they did so in a grand way!  The Grand Ballroom of Makati Shangri-la was transformed into an enchanted garden.  To keep everyone entertained, the family members presented special song numbers for their ah-ma.  The evening was perfect as the food and company was great!  I wasn't able to take photos of the food, except for my soup bowl, because I was catching up with friends seated on our table.  This chicken broth with bamboo pith, mushroom, asparagus and sliced chicken was so good.  This is one of my favorite soup when we eat at Chinese restaurants.  
Look at the photo above, on the lower right ^^^ guests who were wearing red took home "angpaos."  Yay! Hahaha!  And for the 8 lucky winners of the games, they took home electronic gadgets such as Samsung tablets and Samsung LED TV!  Bongga noh?

Monday, April 28, 2014

{Japan} How To Get Around Kansai + How to Plan a Commuting Itinerary

If you're new to doing a self-guided tour, and even if you're not, the necessity to plan and book everything yourself can be overwhelming. Throughout most of the early planning stage of our Japan trip, I was under pressure to make sure that everything will all fit together. But after a while, I realized it's not really difficult if I do a thorough research about the destination and organize my data properly. You can read my post about what websites and apps I use to help me plan a self-guided tour.

After creating our Kansai Itinerary, I handed over the wheel to C, since the next step involved making our commuting itinerary. I couldn’t make heads or tails over the train routes, and all the names of the train stations made me dizzy – no joke!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where To Stay In Osaka: Toyoko Inn

In my previous post, I wrote about Fraser Residences Nankai. It was where my family stayed and it is my hotel of choice in Osaka.  It is perfect for families with kids who value a spacious retreat to come home to after a tiring day of sightseeing.  It is walking distance away for where all the actions is:  sightseeing, shopping and dining! 

However, if you are traveling with a group of adults, and don't mind to walk and explore and stay in a much smaller hotel room within this area, then I also recommend Toyoko Inn.

My 2 younger sister decided to join us at the last minute; since all the rooms at Fraser were booked already, they just decided to get a room here since it is just a walking distance away from Fraser and the Nankai train station. It was further away from Fraser by a 10-minute walk, but if you do not have kids with you then the distance should not be a problem. They stayed only for 5 days, and on their last day, the kids and I visited them to help them check-out and have a look at their room.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where To Stay In Osaka: Fraser Residences Nankai

We traveled to different cities in the Kansai region during our Japan vacation, but C decided to just make the Namba area in Osaka our base, and we just took day trips out from there. There are different opinions on whether to stay in one city or two. Initially I wanted to stay in Kyoto for the first part of our trip and then move to Osaka on the second half of the trip. But C personally believes that staying in one city is ideal. Sige na nga! Husband knows best. :)

His reason: We will lose precious time changing hotels. Couple of hours lost just checking out, carrying the luggage to the train station, from the station to the new hotel, and the new hotel would probably not let us in until the 2-3 afternoon, even if they will hold our luggage for us. One day of our trip would me messed up just for moving hotels. Not to mention the fact that we have 6 luggage between the 5 of us. We do not know the meaning of “travel light,” obvious ba? We actually had 5 luggage flying in, and 6 going out.  We kept one of the smaller luggage inside a bigger one when we left Manila.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Todd English Food Hall

Seems that everyone in Manila is waiting for a chance to dine at TODD ENGLISH FOOD HALL!  At least that's what it seemed to me, when we waited for our table to be ready last Sunday.  It's a good thing we went right after Sunday Service, and when we got there the list wasn't that long yet.  But a few minutes after, super haba na...

The curiosity about the place is well-placed; after all, TODD ENGLISH is the first restaurant by an international celebrity chef to open in Manila.  Todd English Food Hall started in the Plaza Hotel in New York.

Monday, April 21, 2014

CCA Manila Young Chefs Boot Camp 2014

Summer is a good time to let our kids spend some time in the kitchen. In my house, I have assigned my oldest to cook dinner for the family once a week for the duration of summer. Not elaborate meals, but just a simple “one ulam dish” that will add to what is already on the table.  I also assigned the girls to make a breakfast item every Monday, the one requirement I have is that is should hold up well in the fridge (muffins, granolas, pancakes, etc) so we can have it as our breakfast or merienda for the next 2-3 days… such a time-saver on days when this mama is pressed for time.  My kids are such big eaters and are always hungry so having something in the fridge all the time is a requirement in this household.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

{Osaka + Kyoto} Snippets of Our Japan Vacation

While I am still sorting through all our Japan photos, and writing down my thoughts about our recent trip, please enjoy yourself with selected snippets of our Japan vacation!  I've enjoyed making it as it brought back such beautiful memories!  In the coming days, I will be sharing our trip with you, one day at a time.  I feel that a daily recounting of the trip is the best way to tell you all about it.
In the meantime, you can read about my Japan-related posts here:
{Japan 2014} Osaka, Kyoto, Nara & Kobe Trip Itinerary
{Japan 2014} Websites and Apps To Help Plan A Japan Trip

If you are taking the kiddos with you, let me share this with you:
{Phenomenal Tip} My 10-Step Guide On How to Enjoy a Family Vacation With Kids

I've updated this post to provide a link to ALL MY JAPAN POSTS!

1. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/03/phenomenal-tip-my-10-step-guide-on-how.html
2. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-osaka-kyoto-nara-kobe-trip.html
3. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-websites-and-apps-to-help.html

4. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-snippets-of-our-vacation.html
5. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-where-to-stay-in-osaka.html
6. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-where-to-stay-in-osaka_25.html

7. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/04/japan-2014-how-to-get-around-kansai-how.html
8. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-1-arrival-at-osaka.html
9. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-2-universal-studios-japan.html

10. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-2-ippudo-ramen-osaka.html
11. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-3-eastern-kyoto.html
12. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-3-eastern-kyoto_16.html

13. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/05/japan-2014-day-3-eastern-kyoto-kodaiji.html
14. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/07/japan-2014-day-4-western-kyoto.html
15. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/07/japan-2014-day-4-western-kyoto-kinkakuji.html

16. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/11/japan-2014-day-5-downtown-kyoto-nishiki.html
17. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2014/12/japan-2014-day-5-southern-kyoto-fushimi.html
18. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-5-nara-nara-deer-park.html

19. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-6-osaka-kuromon-ichiba.html
20. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-6-osaka-tempozan-harbor.html
21. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-7-osaka-shinsaibashi.html

22. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-8-kobe-kitano-district.html
23. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-8-kobe-kobe-steak-lunch.html
24. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/01/japan-2014-day-8-kobe-meriken-park.html

28. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/04/japan-2014-day-10-osaka-osaka-museum-of.html
29. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/04/japan-2014-drainspotting-in-japan-art.html
30. http://thephenomenalmama.blogspot.com/2015/04/japan-2014-ways-to-save-so-you-can.html