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Affordable Leisure: Five Activities You Can Do on Weekends with Your Family

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“No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.” –Author Unknown

It has been said that family time is not a matter of convenience, but rather a matter of priority. With this sentiment in mind, we should always endeavor to spend some quality time with our families—most especially on weekends where everyone is unencumbered by work obligations or school homework and tasks. Unfortunately, taking time to really have fun with your family can be a little costly—particularly if you wish to give an incredible blowout such as a weekend spent in Alviera. So, you might have to settle on activities you can do at home, but admittedly, spending time watching TV with your kids can be a little repetitive and it is something you can do on any ordinary weekend. So, how do you reconcile spending a fun weekend with your family and being on a tight budget together?

Well, fun does not have to be equated with forking a lot of cash. Here are some of the best alternative weekend activities you can do that virtually cost you nothing:

1.) Visit your local library

If you and your family are voracious readers, then why not visit the local library for a myriad of books of every genre to choose from? Apart from hosting a range of books, most libraries also have an extensive DVD and CD collection which you can out. If your kids are rather young, some libraries host storytelling time for children and if you live in a rather swanky neighborhood, they would also have book clubs, film nights and book readings.

2.) Play board games

In the age of Internet and social media, more and more of us have become rather dependent on technology. So much so, that it would be quite unimaginable to tear our eyes away from screens for at least fifteen minutes. TO address this dilemma, why not take away your eyes and your kids’ eyes from any sort of screen for the weekend and opt to play board games the traditional way instead? Go old school and teach your children how to play classics such as Monopoly and Pictionary. You can also go contemporary by opting to play Uno and similar games instead.

3.) Volunteer

If you wish your children to become more involved with the community, have them volunteer at local community events instead. Regardless of where you might be, there are innumerable volunteering opportunities for you and your family to try. If you have a flair for gardening, then you and your kids might want to sign up for gardening clubs that spruce up plants in public spaces. If you have a penchant for the beach, take them to do a beach cleanup instead or if you and your family are a bunch of animal lovers, volunteer at a local shelter or animal-rescue organizations.

4.) Meet your neighbors

You might have been living in your neighborhood all your life but have not really had the chance to meet them, then you should make a conscious effort to introduce yourself to them. Go for a stroll in your neighborhood and take your kids with you, say hello to your neighbors and stay a bit for a chit chat. You might not know it, but what started out as an afternoon chat could potentially be a lifelong friendship. Furthermore, meeting your neighbors provides a unique avenue for your kids to make friends with other children who are in proximity to them.

5.) Take up a new hobby

Taking up hobbies and developing skills are best done during a child’s formative years. So, if you have been wishing for them to take up a new hobby or perhaps they have expressed interest in a particular hobby then learn it with them. Horseback riding, pottery, ballets and the like are all activities you can do over the weekend with your child. Moreover, watching you learn the skill with them encourages them to do better and will give them that extra push as well.

 

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Pushing Your Limits: Five Reasons Why An Adventure Travel is Good For You

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“Some people choose activities which give them pleasure, while others seek pleasure in every activity they perform.” -Sukant Ratnakar

 

It has been said that the perfect gift you can give anyone who loves the outdoors is to invite them on an adventure—well, at least according to Ben Stookesberry that is. Indeed, if you know someone with a penchant for the great outdoors, then it is almost inevitable that they would have a particular proclivity for going on adventures. Adventures can mean many things; it may be something as simple as exploring the nearest cave in your neighborhood, trying out something you have never done before or simply getting a euphoric rush from the surge of adrenaline felt in doing such activities. With the myriad of things adventure can mean to different people, it would be unwise to limit those so called adventures only to those that push you beyond your boundaries. However, as it is, those adventures that do push you out of your comfort zone would end up being the defining adventures that would make you feel accomplished and as a result, more fulfilled. Furthermore, the experience can be very enlightening, and it would teach you a lot about yourself and your capabilities.

However, there are many reasons why travel centered on an adventure would be excellent for you. So before deciding to head on to an adventure park such as Alviera, try to see why an adventure travel might be better for you. Here are five reasons why:

1.) When you get dirty, you improve your physical health.

If you are one of those individuals who would be incredibly meticulous about a little grime and dirty, then perhaps roughing the outdoors might not be for you. But then again, as we are on the topic of going out of our comfort zones, you might want to give it a try. It has been found that getting a little dirty can actually be good for you. This is because, as scientists have found, an obsession with cleanliness can actually lead to a rise in allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma. Getting a little dirty is an excellent avenue for developing and improving your immune system.

2.) There are no age limits on adventure

You do not have to be young to enjoy your own adventure because when it comes to adventure and exploration, it does not distinguish between the young and the old. Just about anyone can make the great outdoors their playground and going on adventures is an activity you can do for life. However, if you have any existing health problems, it is best if you consult your physician first before going on some taxing adventure excursions.

3.) It raises your tolerance for uncertainty

No matter how meticulously you plan and detail the itinerary of your travel, there would always be the possibility that things may not go as planned. This is particularly the case for adventure trips where you will be constrained to make compromises when something unforeseen occurs. Consequently, you would be able to cope with uncertainty better—whether it is in your adventure or your life.

4.) It fosters reflectiveness

One of the best things about adventure travels is that it cultivates a sense of self-awareness and it promotes individuality—two things that seem to be in short supply today. Without a doubt, adventures would often make the best memories, and you can expect to relive and reminisce about those memories for years to come. Apart from being an avenue for introspection, it also allows you to discover how truly capable you are and discover more about yourself. In a sense, by pushing yourself beyond your limits and your comfort zone, you would then learn to conquer some of your fears.

5.) It lets you “try on” different lives

If you have been living in the same skin for so long and have gotten so used to your everyday routine, life can be quite dull after a while. An adventure travel reinvigorates your soul and reawakens your thirst for life by letting you safely “try” on alternate lives. You are allowed to shed your skin for a while and pretend to be anything you want to be in a foreign place. In a sense, you would soon ask yourself who you would be had you lived there.

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Four Reminders and Tips to Enjoy a Day at Sandbox

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Alviera has an attraction which is aptly termed as an adventure park called the “Sandbox”. Located in Pampanga, Porac, this park promises to offer something for everyone—children and adults alike. The Sandbox is considered as a popular destination particularly during the summer season where patrons would arrive by droves and to keep things fresh and interesting, there has been a vastly increasing number of fun activities added to it regularly. Indeed, the Sandbox caters to a wide array of individuals as travel junkies, adventure enthusiasts, kids and kids at heart would all find something enjoyable to do while there. However, keep in mind that to fully appreciate and enjoy your experience, you need to take a few precautions as well and know a few reminders. After all, safety should be a priority in order to have a fun time in this park.

So, if you are planning on visiting the Sandbox, here are a few reminders you should be aware of:

1.) Constantly hydrate

The Philippines is considered as a tropical country. As a consequence, we would be experiencing humid weather conditions. However, in the summer, the heat can be incredibly unbearable—especially at particular times of the day. While living in this country has made us learn to adapt and enjoy the summer even through the scorching heat, it does not mean we should be any less cautious when enjoying a day out in the sand. The Sandbox is an area located smack right in the middle of flatlands. This means the place is without trees or plants that could possibly absorb heat. Considering this, it can get hot pretty fast. Furthermore, you can only enjoy the place when the sun is up as it would hardly be feasible for any of their themed adventures to be open at night or when it rains. The activities in the park are mostly done out in the open air and under the scorching sun. So, with this in mind constantly hydrate, apply sunblock and wear cool and breathable clothes.

2.) Choose your adventure

There is a separate fee of seventy-five pesos for the entrance while the array of activities you can do inside would have their own fee. The Aerial Walk would cost P150 per head, P100 for the Giant Swing as well as the Free Fall, P50 for the Rappel Walk and Wall Climbing. Roller Coaster Zipline, Mini Gold and ATV would set you back P2,500 for each activity. So, before you set foot in Alviera, it is best if you already have an idea of what you want to do. So, en route to the place, begin planning the adventure you want to experience. If you are on a budget, it might not be possible to check out all rides so choose wisely.

3.) Safety first

The Sandbox is known for taking safety very seriously, but that does not mean you should not take any safety precaitions of your own. Before riding any of the rides or taking part in any of the adventures offered, know the safety guidelines first. If you are unsure of anything, ask the staff for assistance and if you need any clarification, ask them as well. Lastly, remember to wear closed shoes as it is not only advisable, but necessary. Remember, you are going to be roughing it and you are not likely to be playing pretty so keep your feet adequately protected.

4.) Prepare for a long drive or commute

The Sandbox is located in Pampanga which is not exactly a short drive away from Metro Manila. Although you can commute to the place, there is hardly any passing jeepney or other public utility vehicles in the area. People who are taking their own private cars should prepare for a long drive so it is best if they got adequate sleep the night beforehand.

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Five Family Friendly Activities You Can Do in Pampanga

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“Traveling in the company of those we love is home in motion.” -Leigh Hunt

The weekend is usually reserved for families to bond, relax and spend some time together. Typically, most Filipino families would flock to the malls, major commercial and entertainment establishments with their families on these days. However, it can get rather dull and predictable if you and your family are doing this week after week. After all, Manila might have a myriad of malls, but if your typical weekend is consistently spent watching movies and eating at restaurants, it can get pretty boring fast. If this is the case, then a change or scenery should be in order. So, if you are seeking a fresh new way to spend your weekends with your family, plan a day trip to Pampanga where the food is not only divine, but the activities are diverse and numerous. Pampanga is only an hour or two away from Manila, so it would not be too difficult to plan. Furthermore, with a long list of restaurants, heritage places and historical landmarks, the province has a multitude of options for adventure. Here are some of the best activities you can try with your family on a weekend in Pampanga:

1.) Have a grand adventure in Sandbox

If you and your family have a penchant for outdoor activities, you are going to love the Sandbox in Alviera. Located in Porac, this adventure park has a lot of thrilling and exciting activities you and your famiy can try. For those who wish to test their balancing skills, you can try the Aerial Walk Challenge, or you can ride the Philippine’s Giant Swing, or simulate flying with the roller coaster Zipline. Be sure to be there early as there is a capacity limit for the rides. No need to worry about an age limit as most of the rides are suitable for kids aged 7 years and above.

2.) Explore Dinosaurs Island

If you have little tots with an interest of Mesozoic Era, then they are going to enjoy Pampanga’s Dinosaurs Island. Fans of the hit movie Jurassic Park will similarly find fun in this theme park as well. Life-sized animatronic dinosaurs are abound the tyheme park while you walk along the forest trail. Furthermore, a trip to the park can be an educational experience as well as a guided tour is offered where you can observe giant fossils and even watch a dancing dino show.

3.) Reach new heights in the Pampanga Eye

If you want to see the province from a unique vantage point then climb aboard Pampanga’s Eye , the country’s known tallest ferris wheel. Found in the Sky Ranch of pampanga, you and three of your family members can fit into one of its air-conditioned gondolas where you can observe the perimeter of the province from a bird’s eye view. However, if heights are not your thing, you can try the amusement park’s other rides such as the Loop Roller Coaster and the Double Decker Carousel.

4.) Relax at Puning Hot Springs

Being able to relax from a long week at work is anyone’s idea of what a good weekend should be like. If you and your family think along the same lines, then you might want to visit Puning Hot Springs. However, you would need a 4X4 vehicle that can brave the rugged landscape around Mt. Pinatubo just to get there. The little effort required to reach this place is not all for naught however as there are various activities you can enjoy. You can take a dip in the natural pools of the volcano, have a unique and pampering spa experience by being covered in sand from the neck down as well as enjoy the natural sights.

5.) Go food tripping in Angeles City

Pampanga is known as the central hub for gastronomic treats, epicurean dishes and delightful meals. It would be no question that some people would consider Kapangpangan people as the connoisseurs of tasty food as the province itself is known for some of the most delicious Filipino food. Never leave Pampanga without at least sampling some of what their homegrown restaurants has to offer. From tasting their siganture dish, sisig at Aling Lucing’s Sisig to having a refreshing dessert at Kabigting’s Halo-halo, your foot options are virtually limitless.

 

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The Top Five Restaurants You Should Try in Circuit Makati

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“A restaurant is a fantasy—a kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast.” -Warner LeRoy

 

Circuit Makati may be quite new to the entertainment development scene, but since its inception, it has already been making waves. This 21-hectare property used to be the former Sta. Ana Racetrack property of the Philippine Racing Club Inc. and is now a mixed-use development land. Today, Circuit Makati is known to be one of the famous and most happening entertainment districts in the metropolis. It is poised as the unequivocal destination for all things entertainment. It features multipurpose entertainment spaces, open grounds, and an indoor theater. Indeed, even if Circuit Makati has not been around for quite too long, it has already made an impression on locals and has cemented its claim to fame by being the go-to venue for fun and entertainment.

Among the myriad of activities, you can do in Circuit Makati are attending hot music festivals and skateboarding in the skateboard park, doing sports related activities on the football pitch or go for a go-kart ride. With the array of things you can do in the entertainment hub, it would be no question for it to come armed with its own arsenal of excellent restaurants. If you ever have the chance to visit Circuit Makati, here are some of the best restaurants you should try:

1.) Palm Corned Beef Corner

What could possibly be better than corned beef for breakfast? Well, corned beef for lunch and dinner as well! It is a well-known fact that corned beef is one of the breakfast staples in a Filipino home. In fact, it is the favorite breakfast food of many—a fact which Palm Corned Beef decided to capitalize on. Considering that it is one of the leading corned beef brands in the country, Palm Corned Beef decided open their own restaurant which can be found in Circuit Makati. Apart from the New Zealand corned beef, you can enjoy a lot of food items from their menu.

2.) Mudpie Heaven

Dessert connoisseurs will rejoice—particularly those who are incredibly fond of chocolates. Mudpie Heaven is the physical manifestation of an ode to the thirty-year-old recipes of the owner’s (Ashley Cayuca) mom. Of course, this place serves more than just desserts. Known for their extensive menu of reinvented Filipino-American comfort food, this restaurant is a must try for food enthusiasts with an insatiable palate for food fusions. If you get the chance to visit, remember to make room for their rich desserts as their signature Mud Pie ice cream cakes are a definite must-try!

3.) OnBoard Game + Gastro Pub

This restaurant, as the name suggests, is a fusion of a board game center and a pub. This straightforward concept promises a full-service kitchen that would serve craft beers, comfort food, and specialty cocktails among others. Patrons can play a wide array of board game titles that would suit all ages and preferences while waiting for their food. A pretty nifty concept so as to keep your diners entertained while their food cooks.

4.) Backyard Kitchen + Brew

If comfort food is your thing, then you might want to try a contemporary rendition of it at Backyard Kitchen + Brew. Owned by Chef Edward Bugia of Pino, this far-to-table bar and grill concept serves modern comfort food with a little twist. Of course, indulgent drinkers with a unique taste for liquor are not left behind either as they serve a wide selection of craft beers and beverages.

5.) Outre Manila

Ice cream and dessert enthusiasts have something to rejoice about—especially since hand-crafted liquid nitrogen is now readily available in Circuit Makati. Although Outre Manila traced its roots back in BF Homes, it has now expanded to cater to a wider market and is newly opened in Circuit Makati. If you have a hankering for complicated and unusual desserts or simply just love ice cream and gelato, then this place is for you. Alternatively, those who are ravenous can get hot meals in this restaurant as well.

 

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Must Read for Newbies in Budget Traveling

Given with a little amount of money, what can you do to all-out the fun and enjoyment with your travel? Well, actually there are a lot! Whether you are going for a day tour or three-days-two-nights trip, you can minimize your expenses without compromising the adventures you are out for. For example, if you are going to Cebu, condo out for staycation rent is good. Want more tips? Continue reading:

BEFORE WANDERING

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Draft your itinerary and other plans ahead of time

Every trip needs careful planning. From the flights, resort, and food choices and down to the activities you are going to do. Just remember to leave some time for spontaneity and rest.

Basically, planning ahead of your target travel date saves a lot of time and budget. Hello to Piso sales or seat sales of Airlines and discounts you can get if you book hotels few weeks or months prior to your stay.

And obviously, know how to save money

At the end of the day, you are still going to spend money. You just can’t say “Bahala na” and go on your trip even if you are so broke. Again, traveling requires enough money. Know how to save without compromising your needs.

Consider taking travel and tour packages

Surprisingly there are a lot of cheap travel and tour packages flocking online. If you are going to closely take a look at it, in some offers, you can still save a few bucks if you are going to plan on your own. However, considering that everything is already there usually includes transportation, accommodation, and itinerary, it’s also a good deal. However, some people don’t avail of travel and tour packages for they feel restricted on having their own activities.

Note that to ask for some free time if ever you are going to take travel and tour packages. You need and deserve it.

Read blogs and articles about others’ trip

It is also important to know some tips and reviews from other travelers. They’ve been there so most probably and they have a better grip on what’s with the place you are going to visit. It would be best if you have a friend or someone you can ask who resides in the location you opt to travel to. Ask for some advice and tips. You will be lucky if they allow you to stay in their place. So tipid!

DURING YOUR TRIP

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Set your budget for the day

Know and keep your limits. How much are you going to spend for the meals, transportation, and miscellaneous? You should also keep an allowance or extra on top of your budget.

Don’t be afraid to bargain

We all know that most, if not all, tourist hotspots tend to sell their goods and services way higher than the usual. Some are too much, but others are reasonable. If you can ask for discounts, go ahead. Don’t be too shy to ask but remain to be polite.

Go for carinderia or small food stalls for your meals

Sometimes, you can taste authentic delicacies in not-so-high-end food hubs. Aside from it saves you some money, eating at small food stalls will give you more positive and homey vibes.

Don’t forget to recall all your expenses vis-à-vis the things you’ve done after your trip or right before you leave the place. Make sure all your bags are packed, and nothing’s missing.

There you have it! For sure, you also have a lot of inputs for this topic. Nevertheless, we hope that this short blog was able to give you some clues or ideas for your next travel. True enough – we only live once, so you better make the most out of it. Do not let money matters hinder your way in setting your journey. Wish you all the best of adventures in life!

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Four Interesting Facts About the Philippines

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“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” -Leonardo Da Vinci

The Philippines has been long hailed as one of the most exotic Southeast Asian destinations of the world. This country whose pride resides upon their crystal clear blue waters, powdery white sand beaches, and majestic landscapes is not only a place with a myriad of picturesque vacation spots, but it is also known as a melting pot for a variety of cultures. The tropical climate of the country makes it a premier spot for diverse activities. In fact, outdoor activities in the Philippines could rival those of their western counterparts.

Philippine history would be easy, to sum up. You have the initial settlers in the archipelago with many various countries vying to subdue them and claim the country as a colony. And though the country has been embroiled in several colonizations in the past, its people have battled for independence, and as a result, they have learned to develop a sense of culture and tradition they can proudly and distinctly call their own. Indeed, there are a lot if interesting things that truly make this country beautifully unique. So if you are visiting the Philippines anytime soon, here are some facts you might want to know:

1.) The national flag can be used to symbolize war or peace.

The Philippine flag is a combination of four colors, namely: white, blue, red and yellow. Sewn by three ladies (Lorenza Agoncillo, Delfina Herbosa de Natividad, and Marcela de Agoncillo) in Hong Kong, it made its debut during the battle on May 28, 1898. What makes the flag unique is the fact that it can be meant to symbolize war or peace. In times of war, the flag is inverted to show the red stripe on top, and during times of peace, the blue stripe takes the upper part.

2.) Three of the largest malls are in the Philippines

Filipinos love to shop no doubt, and mall developers are only happy to cater to the local’s penchant. In fact, the country’s capital has a mall in almost every nook and cranny which Filipinos would love to spend time in during their downtime. For this reason, it would be no surprise that the Philippines hosts three of the world’s largest malls namely SM Megamall (third largest mall in the world), SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia (fourth and tenth largest mall respectively)

3.) Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest wind ever recorded at landfall

In November 2013, Super Typhoon Haiyan wreaked havoc in the central part of the Philippines which killed at least six thousand people and injured a lot more. The deadly typhoon left the country devastated, but what occurred months after was a true testament to the Filipinos resilience. Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm recorded at landfall, so much so that PAGASA decided to erase the name from the typhoon naming lists. In the same vein, the ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee likewise announced that the name would be replaced with Bailu instead.

4.) Three of the largest pearls were found in the Philippines

Considering that the Philippines is rich in marine life, it would be no wonder that three of the world’s biggest pearls would be found here. The largest pearl in the world called The Pearl of Lao Tzu was discovered in Brookes Point, Palawan by a Filipino diver in the year 1934. The Palawan Princess who is considered the second largest pearl in the world was also found on Palawan island. Lastly, the Pearl of the King (which is said to be bigger than the Pearl of Lao Tzu) was discovered in the Philippine waters.

 

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