Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Maia Travels: Day 1 - Arriving in HK Disneyland

We planned this trip for almost a year. Our not-so-little girl had picked to go to Disneyland instead of hosting a party because "I'm not a party girl, Mommy". Much to my delight, this decision of hers. So we proceeded to book our plane tickets (lucky for us on one of the piso fare sale of a local airline) and started saving for this trip.

Despite our excitement for this milestone trip (her first out of the country trip), we rarely talked about it with her because we wanted to keep the excitement at bay till a few days prior. The day before we left, she was more worried about the classes she'll miss. They just got back from a week long semestral break in school so she sort of miss her classmates and teachers. Gladly, we got permission from her teachers and she was allowed her to miss 3 days. Guess what, all those worries were forgotten the minute we stepped out of the plane and boarded the MTR to Disneyland Resort. She was just ecstatic, sporting a grin any parent wouldn't dare wipe off.


We dedicated 2 days of our 4 days, 3 nights in Hong Kong for Disneyland alone. My husband bought the tickets from klook.com and opted to just claim the tickets on the ticket counter at HK Disneyland upon our arrival. We checked a few options to buy the tickets and klook.com came out the cheapest. We saved (if I remember correctly) about HK$30 for each 2-day ticket. Sign in as a member and you get additional discount as well.

Got tickets! Ready to rummmmmbbbbbble!
We didn't get lost from the airport to Disney, yay! Despite the language barrier, we didn't encounter any trouble during the train rides. We arrived in the resort at around 10:30am. We decided to take the shuttle bus to Disney Hollywood Hotel (where we spent one night)  drop our luggage first. We booked 45 days in advance and got a discounted rate for our one night stay. We weren't sure where to leave our luggage but took the chance anyways and fortunately for us, the hotel had a designated baggage drop for early arrivals. We didn't have to worry even if our check in was still scheduled at 2pm. We settled our hotel reservation and headed back to the park by 11am. We decided to just grab a quick bite at the park in case we get hungry. We were still full from the brunch we had earlier anyways.

Our Disney adventure just about to start (and those tired faces were replaced by delight when we got into the park!)
Since we arrived close to opening time, there wasn't a lot of people yet at the park. We got maps (got extras too for friends) and other informational fliers at the gate and got into the park.


We're here!!!!!
Happy to know that the park publishes a weekly schedule of activities so it was easier for us to manage our 2-day trip. The little girl couldn't wait to plan her day!

We decided to walk around first while we plan our two day park itinerary. We wanted to get as much autographs as we can (the little girl made an autograph book for characters to sign during meet and greet time). But we also wanted to take our time at each stop as well.

Let me indulge you with photos for the remaining part of this post. We spent 11am-3pm walking around and trying out some of the rides. By 3pm, we were really beat so we decided to head back to the hotel and rest. We wanted to have plenty of energy for the Night Parade (no expectations. Our goal then was just to experience what it feels like at night in Disney).

Several things I would like to note in here as well:

- We regret not taking the opportunity to have photos taken with the toy soldiers, Jessie and Woody in Toy Storyland because we didn't get the chance to meet them anymore in Day 2.
- We wish we brought more snacks for the little miss since it was allowed anyway. Best to pack light sandwiches for your little kids to munch on. Bring lots of water if you can. We were there November so we were expecting colder season but had to contend with a hot and humid afternoons instead. Winter came late for HK in 2015.
- Make sure to check the weather forecast a week before your trip so you can pack appropriate clothing.
- Our daughter can already handle long walks. But the park also rent outs strollers so you don't have to break your backs carrying toddlers and babies if you're with one.

Main Street, USA. Most of the shops are found here.



Her first ride was here. Via the Slinky Dog Spin.

The Toy Soldier Parachute Drop.She rode this with her dad.
"Parang sakit ng tyan ko, Mommy! Pero ang saya saya!!!"
See that mine cart on the left? She rode that too! Was too much for me but for her, it was just gut-wrenching fun! Haha.
I think we have one adventurer here, Daddy! Get readdddyyyy!

She passed up on this. Because we can hear the "screaming" from manor entrance.
This was her at 3pm. Sooooo tired. We decided to head to the hotel first for a quick rest.
Read Part 1 here.
Read HK Disneyland at Night here.
Review of the Disney Hollywood Hotel, Breakfast with Chef Mickey and Day 2 of our Disneyland experience here.
Read about Maia's HK Science Museum experience here.
Exploring TST and Mongkok here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Maia Travels: HongKong Disneyland (Part I)

"Byebye Disney. I will be back. Kung sana malapit lang dito bahay natin no? Or kung pwede na lang tumira dito, Mommy ano?"
(If only our house is just near, no? Or if only we can live here, no Mommy?)

That was my daughter's emotional farewell while we were walking out of HongKong Disneyland. I used to think I'm tough enough to never be lured by the tag line "happiest place on Earth" but turns out the tag line is never bounded by age nor race nor generations. Only by your wallet, I suppose. Hehe. But this trip proved to me one thing -- the child is me is still alive, after all!

We arrived in Hong Kong half past 9 in the morning last Wednesday via Cebu Pacific Air from Manila. Good thing our flight was on time. Building itineraries are not my best points, so I told my daughter and husband to manage expectations. Anyways, we planned for a slow-paced trip so we have plenty of time for rest stops.




We took our sweet time lining up at the immigration since its the little girl's first out of the country trip we tried to explained how things work when one leaves his or her home country and arrives in a different territory. I couldn't really tell if she understood everything. I will probably find out the next time we go on another trip abroad. But for now, I took all the nods as a "yes".

After exiting immigration, we went to find Cafe De Coral at the 7th floor of HKIA since we wanted to fuel up before leaving the airport. We wanted to have plenty of energy in case we get lost on our way to Hong Kong Disneyland.


Most of the breakfast items were already sold out. The cafe was already starting to put out the lunch menu. But we still managed to eat a decent meal. We ordered meal sets. I think we spent about HK$70 for 2 meal sets but they were already very filling. The little girl liked the ramen soup particularly and finished the hefty serving all by herself.

After the hearty breakfast, we prepared to leave for Disneyland. Being first timers in HK, we went to find the information counter at the airport first to make sure we are headed to the right direction. There's several ways to get to Disney. I supposed the cheapest would be to take the bus but we decided to take the train instead since we have a kid and 2 luggages with us. It took us 3 train rides to get to Disney. But the transport system in HK is very efficient so we didn't feel any hassle despite having to do several train transfers. All 3 rides were comfy enough for our little girl to enjoy the ride. I'm sure in her mind - "I CAN'T WAIT TO GET TO DISNEY" was on constant play.
Train from HKIA to Tung Chung (this was the shortest but most expensive among the 3 train rides) then Tung Chung to Sunny Bay

Sunny Bay to Disneyland Resort!

Part 2 here: Maia arrives in Disneyland Resort.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Recipe: Easy-Peasy Cinnamon-y Bread Pudding

I hate to throw away food. As much as possible, I cook just enough to serve the number of heads I am expected to feed. But of course, on occasions where leftovers are just inevitable I try my hardest to be creative. And I believe, modesty aside, my creative juices flow better when I'm in kitchen.

Not to say that I don't rely on recipes entirely. I have yet to level up to being an innovator in this field but familiarity with how ingredients would taste or react with each other helps me a lot when I cook or bake.

The other night, a Facebook friend posted her freshly baked bread pudding and I remembered again the bread loaf that I've been keeping in our freezer for two (I think) weeks now. I immediately asked for her recipe and seeing I had everything on hand got me giddy to bake again.

This morning, the little miss and I finally got to work while the Daddy of the house is still asleep. I had about 4 cups of old bread and we tore them up to tiny pieces, dumped them into the baking pan, poured the custard (well, more like milk really) mix and pop it into the oven.

Here's a list of the ingredients:

4 cups of old bread (torn into tiny pieces it was a mix of white and wheat bread but it didn't really matter)
2 large eggs, well beaten
about 1 cup of evaporated milk
about 1 cup of non-fat milk (since that's what I had left)
4 tbsps muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (it would've better if I had vanilla beans, i'm sure)
1 tsp cinnamon
about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I used McCormick)
a pinch of salt
about a tsp of unsalted butter to line the baking pan


suggested toppings: cold condensed milk, peanut butter, chocolate spread, whipped cream, powdered sugar, maple syrup, honey, fresh berries/fruits

How we did it:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Mix all ingredients - eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg - except for bread.
Line the baking pan with butter.
Fill the pan with bread (about 2/3 of the pan).
Pour milk mixture over the bread until they are thoroughly soaked.
Press with spatula to even out the top.
Brush with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Bake in oven for 40-45 mins till knife comes out clean.

The pudding was done just in time for breakfast. We had it warm and topped generously with condensed milk.

Thin, crisp top and soft on the inside.
If you are an occasional baker most of these ingredients are probably already available in your pantry. This is so easy to make and my little girl was so proud to serve this to her dad at breakfast. I'm happy that I finally made time to try this today. This is a great alternative to french toast (another leftover bread recipe) which is also one of our faves. Will share the recipe in another post next time.

p.s. Thanks Lisa for sharing that photo the other night!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Daydreams Of The Future

On quiet moments, you'd catch me and the husband staring at our little girl more often than usual.

Chubby cheeks still intact but when we hold her legs and thighs, we can see how strong this kid is growing up to be. Will she be a runner/sprinter? A soccer player (Like Tito Bogart and Tito Manuel)? A volleyball player (like her Tita Bim)? A swimmer perhaps? We wonder all the time.

Our mind would skip from scene to scene imagining us cheering by the sidelines from one game to another.

Yes, of all the things the husband and I wish for her to excel in, sports sits on top of our list. She is starting to be a voracious reader (because I am a bookworm, Mommy! [insert giggle]) and doodles her idle time away. And we still support these 100% but we believe that while these activities sharpen the mind, sports will help build and strengthen her character (resilience, competitive spirit, persistence to name a few). So yes, I hope soon you will find that one (or two, or even three) sport that will ignite your passion, little girl.

Soon, we can imagine you already joining me and daddy in fun runs. Longer than the 500m dashes that you used to participate in. We can start with that. She just might be the motivation that I've been looking for several months now having gone on plenty of running hiatuses since me and the husband ran that first full marathon in 2013.

Soon. Soon. Soon.

racing with her manong Gogol somewhere in Guimaras, c 2014


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

First Day Of School Traditions

The other day a blogger friend asked me if we as a family observe any first day of school traditions.

This year will be the 4th year that we will be welcoming the first day of school with our little girl. Traditions?

Well, apart from me ensuring that I personally prepare her lunch box and snacks (at least) during the first week of the school year, I'm not sure if it can be considered a tradition but we have been consistent in the last 3 years of ensuring we have our family photo taken in front of our house.

We're just going on our 4th but when I look back at the last 3 years, I can clearly see how much this little kid has grown. I personally miss the chubby cheeks she had when she was still in preschool.

When she graduates from Grade School, I think it would be nice to gift her with a collage of all these family photos, don't you think? I sure will try to keep on doing this as long as we can.

How about you? What first day of school traditions do you observe with your kid/s?

Sharing these interesting ideas for first day of school traditions that I found online:

25 Fun First Day of School Traditions : The Dating Divas



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer - 6th Year Edition

For school-aged kids, summer is probably like Christmas in April. There are no gifts, but this is where you get to be free of tight schedules and early wake up calls.

My little girl just had the taste of that "summer" this year. Being a gradeschooler, she had to contend with 7pm bedtimes and 430am wake up calls for 10 months. So when she learned there is such a thing called summer vacation, oh boy did she looked forward to it big time.

In the past 5 years, being the working mom who felt like she had to prove she is wonderwoman, I several activities lined up already before summer even started. And the little miss never retorted. But this year, she insisted to just stay at home. To appease me, she promised to do some readings and take notes of new words to increase her vocabulary. (Poor girl, right?)

Fortunately, it turned out to be something she really enjoyed. By the end of the summer, she finished 6 Thea Stilton books and still managed to squeeze in 10 sessions of basic swimming lessons.
A video posted by Faye and Maia Paras (@chroniclesofmaia) on

This summer felt like a full transition period for us. Growth spurts, more freedom, less hovering. We are witnessing more and more independence unfold in front of us. It is almost heartbreaking. I couldn't count the times when I would hear the husband heave a deep sigh and mumble -- "hanggang 6 ka na lang muna Maia, please".
A photo posted by Faye and Maia Paras (@chroniclesofmaia) on

Next week, we start our 2nd year in Grade School. Just more sighs, Daddy. I don't think we can really stop time.
A photo posted by Faye and Maia Paras (@chroniclesofmaia) on
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