November 10, 2016

Anvaya Cove, Bataan

Sep 11, 2016. Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club is a leisure development of Ayala Land located in Morong, Bataan. It's just a short drive away from Manila via NLEX-SCTEX, which makes it a perfect getaway during weekends. If you're visiting on a long weekend, prepare to be greeted by throngs of other guests all eager to get a respite from the daily grind. 

The Bamboo Restaurant at the main pavilion serves buffet lunch. It's reasonably priced and the food is really good. Our favorite? The dessert of course! We couldn't have enough of their sinfully delicious crepes. For those who are watching their weight, the restaurant also serves a la carte dishes. The Hainanese Chicken is worth a try.

Create your own crepe

We spent most of our time lounging by the sundecks at the pool area while the kids swam to their hearts content.

Their "White Sand Beach" has white sand at the Gazebo and playground area but turns darker as you approach the beach. 

The Water Sports Pavilion offers tons of activities including Banana Boat ride, kayaking, stand-up paddle board and aquatrike. The kids had a blast riding the banana boat into the sunset.

We also played football, beach volleyball and frisbee! Equipment are available for borrowing at the Game Room.

We stayed at the Sea Breeze Veranda - a low-rise condominium within the Anvaya Community. It was a spacious two-bedroom unit with sweeping views of the mountains.

Access to the Club is strictly for members only. We were able to visit the place by renting a unit at the Sea Breeze Veranda and having the member endorse us to use the Beach Club.

Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club
Barangay Mabayo, Morong, Bataan,
Tel: +63 2 793 3000
Mobile: +63 917 826 8292

November 01, 2016

Dreamplay at City of Dreams Manila

Have a blast with your favorite Dreamworks characters

March 25, 2016. DreamPlay, located at City of Dreams Manila, is an indoor playground filled with fun, exciting and physically-challenging activities. The play center is an eye-candy dotted with larger-than-life-sized characters from popular Dreamworks movies. 


We arrived a little after lunch and there was no line at the tickets so getting in was a breeze. We were given tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids good for 4 hours of play which was included in our room package at the Nobu Hotel.

First on our list is to sign up for a baking class at Gingy's Kitchen. Now while waiting for our schedule, we went around to try the different activities.

The Dream Theater features short 4D film snippets from some of the famous animation movies from Dreamworks and show runs every 30 minutes. The film isn't really a coherent mini-movie and the seats are not moving, so over-all, I didn't really enjoy it. I guess I was expecting much more than just stitched movie trailers. 

How to Fly your Dragon features a workshop where you get to design and build your own dragon then launch it at the top and and see it fly across the area.

There are two ways to get to the launch area -- take the normal stairs, or climb up the aluminum dragon body all the way to the top. My kids of course, prefer the more challenging way.

Shrek's Swamp Stomp takes you to Shrek's home and invites you to stomp around while looking for his missing keys.

Whatever Floats your Boat is where you design and build your own boat and let it sail in an obstacle-filled river. This activity is actually similar to How to Fly your Dragon.

Dreamstudio is an animator's dream as it lets you create your own animated film featuring Dreamworks characters!

Fast as Lightning Kung Fu Fighting features an Xbox 360 game where you have to follow the kung fu moves being taught by the Furious 5.

Afro Circus is a two-storey arena where kids can shoot away and play around foam balls. It's mainly for the tiny tots but my big kids had a blast here nonetheless.

Dinotrux is where you navigate a course using remote controlled eggs (or Reptools as they call it)

Now for the best attractions -- Thread of Enlightenment and Wall of Destiny! Older kids will surely get a kick from the adrenaline rush when they complete the obstacles -- it's like American Ninja Warrior for teens! 

The Wall of Destiny features a number of activities. They have a massive regular climbing wall, another wall with rotating climbing holds, Stairway to Heaven and Leap of Faith. The first one we tried is where the wall has a Yin and Yang circles that rotates as you step/hold on to them. This one's a bit challenging as only my agile daughter was able to complete it while my older son cannot bring his weight up to the top.

Stairway to Heaven is where you climb a series of escalating poles with the highest one almost as high as the ceiling. When you reach the top, you then jump to the ground (with a harness of course!). It get's really challenging as you climb up because the poles get wobblier as you ascend.

Stairway to Heaven
Leap of Faith is an absolute must do! You climb a tall tower and stand on a diving board-looking ledge. Instead of jumping down, you jump horizontally to reach the boxing bag a few meters away in front of you. How cool is that?!? I'm glad to say that both my kids were able to do this and I'm absolutely relieved that only kids can do this activity (saved me from making up excuses for not trying it).

Climb to the top
Then hold onto dear life!
Another favorite is the Thread of Enlightenment (again, as an adult, I'm not allowed to participate in this activity). It's an elaborate obstacle course set two stories above ground! It's a test of balance and strength and this one really reminds me of the American Ninja Warrior show. Kids have to be at least 140cm tall to try this activity.

Swinging Pole Bridge
Horizontal Web
Unfortunately, my son was not able to complete the course. The obstacles were just insanely difficult. 

After trying out almost all the activities, we went back to Gingy's Kitchen for the baking class. It's basically just a decorate-your-cookie activity but the full-on costumes plus the little side show makes this activity more interesting and fun. 

There are more or less twenty activities to try, and though it might seem like a lot, a four-hour stay is enough to try and enjoy all the activities.

Helpful things to remember:
  • Wear comfortable clothing and rubber shoes (slippers are not allowed) as there are a lot of physical activities
  • Socks are required for the ball pit in Shrek Swamp 
  • Sign up immediately to secure a schedule at Gingy's Kitchen 
  • They have a mini-game where you collect badges by scanning your DreamPlay bracelet as you complete the activities in the different areas. You get a freebie (pin or sticker) depending on your achievement status.
  • Once your time lapses, you can still enjoy the attractions and you'll be billed at the exit. So keep track of the time if you don't want to pay extra :)
  • Operating Hours: Monday-Thursday 11AM to 8PM, Friday-Sunday and Holidays 10AM to 8PM

City of Dreams Manila
Asean Ave. cor. Roxas Blvd.
Entertainment City, Paranaque
Tel: +63 2 808 09 09

July 24, 2016

Malapascua, Cebu

Kandaya Resort in Daanbantayan

Jun 30 - Jul 2, 2016. It's that time of the year again when I turn a year older and we celebrate by packing our bags and going off to another adventure. This time, we decided to endure an hour's worth of flight and four hours of land travel to visit the much-talked about Malapascua Island in the northern tip of Cebu. 

From Mactan Airport, we took a cab to the North Bus Terminal and rode a V-Hire (it's like the UV Express here in Manila) going to the town of Daanbantayan. It's cheap and faster than taking the bus, but definitely not comfortable. They cram passengers like sardines (especially in the last two rows) it's bordering illegal. I swear people there have to no concept of overloading.

Instead of staying at a resort in Malapascua Island, we decided to stay in Kandaya Resort, located just a few minutes away from Maya Port. Then from Maya Port, we'll just take a 30-minute boat ride to Malapascua.

Lucky for us, Kandaya Resort is absolutely heavenly! Upon arriving, we immediately felt relaxed and we got excited to explore the place. All the stress from the long travel just melted away!

I just love how they designed the place. As you enter the lobby, you'll see in the horizon their gorgeous infinity pool, which meets the tranquil ocean, which then meets the blue sky. Absolutely breathtaking. 

And when you step out of your room, it opens up to a garden and you'll be greeted with colorful Koi fish.

The resort has all sorts of activities and amenities prepared for their guests so there's always something to do. Our first stop of course is the restaurant! First thing we notice is the giant fish traps decorating the place. This, plus the magnificent view of the ocean and the breezy salty air filling the room as we enjoy our lunch. 

Breakfast served at Kusina Restaurant

There are only a limited number of rooms/villas at the resort and the privacy is just divine. The place is absolutely peaceful and I enjoy lounging by the pool without noisy kids running around or rowdy groups chattering. 

Hammocks abound all over the resort

Aside from lounging by the pool or soaking up the sun by the beach, there are plenty of activities offered by the resort. They have a tennis court, a basketball court, an MMA gym -- and the best part is, guests can use them for free. Other activities being offered are  horseback riding, biking, stand-up paddle boating and kayaking (also for free except for horseback riding).

The next day, after a hearty breakfast, we headed to Maya Port. We decided to hire a private boat for the day. They'll take us to Malapascua, then take us snorkeling to three different spots, then take us back to Maya Port at the end of the day.

We have the boat all to ourselves

Crystal clear water

Malapascua is famous for it's resident Thresher sharks, which you can see when you go diving. But since none of us dives, we opted for the more kid-friendly snorkeling tour of the island. First stop is Coral Garden. 

As the name suggests, the area is one huge garden of corals of all variety, shapes and sizes. It was a little disappointing though, because we didn't see a lot of fish.

Next stop is Guimbitayan, where a shipwreck lies beneath. This Japanese vessel was bombed during World War II and what was left of the once massive ship, is now home to some fish and breeding ground for more corals.

Our last stop is Dakit Dakit Island. Our boatmen started jumping in the water too, as they try to catch sea urchins for dinner. More corals can be seen from here, though not as impressive or massive as the ones in Coral Garden.

Our trip, though short, was truly eventful. Nothing beats spending your special day collecting memories with the family.

Kandaya Resort
Agujo, Daanbantayan
Cebu, Philippines
Telephone: +63 32 260 6006
Mobile: +63 999 8886691