22 December 2014

It was a penguins and fishes 2nd birthday at the Manila Ocean Park

The day has finally arrived! Riley has been insisting for months that he wanted to go to the zoo and see the penguins. Even though we have been telling him that the #penguins live in a different place, he keeps telling us that he wants to go to the zoo. He has probably seen in on some cartoon that the penguins can be found in the zoo. 

We planned a simple day at the Manila Ocean #Park for his birthday. Instead of purchasing the tickets on-site, I opted to book the package deal from MetroDeal. They had a lot of adventure packages to choose from and I picked the 8 attractions with buffet lunch for only P899 (it was valued at P2000 so not too bad). 

We started with the Oceanarium where initially there were multiple large aquariums that were scattered around a huge multi-level open area. It felt like you were in a jungle fish shop. I did not expect it to have an open area. And I totally did not expect to see a crocodile cooped up in a glass enclosure.

After climbing to the second level, you will enter a dark room filled with pretty tropical fishes and corals.

So pretty that you would think twice if they are real or not.


Awesome to see a starfish up-close.

Riley was scared the whole time. The glass of the #aquarium was so clear that he thought that the fishes can get to him. He kept jumping in our arms whenever the fishes are swimming near him. We kept holding the glass to show him that it separates us from the fishes. But he keeps telling us to just look at it and do not touch it. So we did not force him to interact with the fishes and just carried him in our arms. This is one time I missed carrying him in his ergo carrier.

Dimly lit area. I feel this area is missing some exhibits.

Soon, we traveled to this open area with huge aquariums. Now, I am impressed!

You can see his terrified expression here. Poor baby!
We spent a lot of time in this aquarium tunnel. At first, Riley did not want to go down. Luckily, he got used to it after around 10 minutes. He still refused to go too near the fishes but at least he is willing to go down and give our aching arms a rest.

And the highlight of our trip... the penguins!

And we saw a couple of small penguins. It was difficult to see them clearly because of the foggy glass. Plus, they placed large penguin statues around the area so at first I thought the penguins were not moving at all. To interact with the penguins you have to pay around P400 (for 2 people) and you get to feed them while someone will take your photo. I was so underwhelmed by this penguin enclosure that we opted not to fork out the extra dough for the penguin meet & greet. Mahal!

The trails of Antartica exhibit claimed to have "4 zones including a walk-through exhibit, experience Earth’s frozen wilderness and see Humboldt penguins live". We only got to see the penguins and went inside a big chiller where they will again take your picture and you have to pay extra to get the photo. I was not a fan of the icy wind blowing on my face so I left them inside while they were freezing their ears off inside the big fridge. Where was the walk-through exhibit?! We had to enter this area twice because we thought we missed it but the staff told us that was it. Epic fail.


We headed to the buffet area to ease our disappointed hearts. The main course was bland and you have to pay extra for the drinks. On the positive note, they have keropok and the fruit salad and buco pandan was good despite it being warm.

Telling me about the small penguin that he saw.

We headed to the Birds of Prey area after our lunch. We were all hesitant to go near the birds. They have razor sharp beaks and claws! There were some people who were trying to poke the birds with a stick thinking that the birds will transfer to it. I had my phone's camera focused on them in case the birds attack. At least there will be evidence that the birds were provoked!

It tickles!
We went to the #sharks and rays dry encounter. They only had the rays. And no picture-taking was allowed. If you wanted to take a picture, you have to get their official photographer take a picture and they will charge you a fee for it (naturally).

Quickly heading to the fish spa area, I had my doubts having fishes nibbles on my feet. It was our first time to try it and there was a lot of screaming going on (mostly from me!). Some of the fishes were as big as my palm! I don't think they are supposed to be that big... *shudder*

It was very crowded in the jellyfish exhibit so it was hard to take a decent image. And since it was dark and cool in this area, Riley fell asleep while I was carrying him.

Coloring area in the Oceanarium

If you asked Riley which part he liked in the #Manila #Ocean #Park, he will tell you that he liked the coloring station!

We had fun despite some minor inconveniences (like actually experiencing what they advertise) but overall, we had a fun day. Would we be back in the future? Honestly, no. Maybe because I have seen the quality of the ocean parks in other countries but this is definitely at the bottom of the my recommendations list.

10 December 2014

Back from the land of the busy bees

We're back! It has been a frantic November and an even more busy December is coming up. Riley has celebrated his 2nd birthday at the Manila Ocean Park and had a party the day typhoon Ruby was supposed to enter PAR. I have been loaded with work projects and at the same time trying to keep up with the demands of my outspoken toddler. I will be posting detailed stories soon!

06 December 2014

A #Thomas the Train themed 2nd #birthday party

Despite the incoming typhoon Ruby that was predicted to make a landfall that weekend, we decided to push through with Riley's 2nd birthday celebration. And as a right of passage for every two-year-old in the world, we had a Thomas the train themed party!

I was able to purchase the Thomas the train banner and plastic table runner at Toy Kingdom. The Thomas the train party hat was bought at our neighborhood party supply shop. Sadly, I did not take proper pictures that day as I was so overwhelmed by the preparations! And most of the decoration and balloons where blown away by the strong winds by the time the guests arrived. 

All aboard the birthday express!

Most of the food was home cooked and we used disposable plates and utensils to lessen the clean-up afterwards (sorry Mother Earth!). The cute customized Thomas the train cake was made by my sister-in-law (thanks dear!). It was a small party that consists of close family and friends. We wanted to have an intimate gathering so we can have the time to actually chat and catch-up with our guests. Luckily, the weather cooperated and aside from the strong winds, it was perfect. 

After painstakingly sticking the papers on the wall, it was no match for typhoon Ruby.

Riley enjoyed meeting and playing with his young guests. After the party, he was asking if he could invite them to the house so they can play again (once a year only babe).

The birthday boy dancing to the beat of the birthday song

The chocolate fountain was a hit with this little boy
Mocha cake (my fave!) from the cousins
A coloring station for the kiddos

I downloaded and customized the coloring sheet with a birthday/christmas theme
The happy birthday boy
Happy birthday my love! 

05 December 2014

An fun-filled afternoon at Kidzoona Robinsons Galleria

Since my office is located nearby Robinsons Galleria, I stroll around the mall during my lunch break (clocking in extra steps in the pedometer!). I saw this newly opened #playground located in the mall. Too bad we did not get to avail the opening discount offer of piso play.

We were here on a weekday so there are less kids (and adults) running around the place. They also offer arcade #games but when we visited almost half of them are under maintenance. They have a locker area where you can place your shoes, stroller, and bags. Good thing there is no extra payment for this. Checking in your child with their computerized system assures you that your child will not leave the area without proper validation. You still need to be vigilant though! These are only preventative measures and not a guarantee that nothing untoward will happen to your child.

They have a spacious area with a variety of games and #toys for kids of all ages. Even the grown-ups are having fun running on the bouncy mattress and sliding down the 2-story inflatable slide.

One of the attendants convincing Riley to place the plastic ball on the blower so it will float.

The ball pit is massive! It is definitely the largest ball pit area I have seen in my life. The only negative thing here is that there are too many balls which makes it difficult for me to walk in. Riley can't walk there by himself. I had to carry him to the slides. He loved "swimming" in the ball pit though.

Gripping the foam barricade in case he falls in

You can jog, hop, and jump on this bouncy mattress. Foam pads are placed on the floor beside it to soften the landing of over-enthusiastic #kids. Another plus to Kidzoona are the number of attendants they have to assist and watch over the kids. And they also keep the area tidy. Less hassle to search for the toys when they are already in their proper place.

Riley spent a lot of time in the toy train section. I love wooden toys but hate the price tag that comes with it. I noticed that some of the toy structures on the table are glued on. Why?!

They also had ride-on cars. Two small cars in a big area. It seems lacking somehow.

Kidzoona has a lot of choices in their pretend-play area. Your child can make ice cream, crepes, serve cakes, make sushi, and do the grocery in the produce section. Riley kept on stacking the ice cream on the cone and pretending to lick them. Cute!

We would love to come back here as the hour spent was not enough. I am crossing my fingers that they put up a branch in the south!

Kidzoona is located at the 4th level of Robinsons Galleria. Rate is P200 per child and one companion for an hour. This is a great deal as other playgrounds with a much smaller area charges as high as P400+ with companion for an hour.