Family First: Reasons to Spend Time with Family


“The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.” –Gilbert Chesterton


With your perpetually busy schedule, have you ever stopped and thought of giving even just a fraction of your time to bonding with your family? Despite your best efforts in making a living and providing for them, have you ever truly justified your reason for pushing family time aside to make room for your work tasks and responsibilities?

If you have answered “yes” to both questions there is a likely chance that you are not spending time with your family at all—even in the barest minimum. Each day you decline to spend time with your family, you push them further away. And by the time you will have realized all that you have missed, your children will have grown distant and your spouse cold. Then, you ask yourself: Is it truly worth it? Sure, you might have provided for them more than adequately but none of those could ever compare to the warm and loving presence of a parent or a spouse who is physically there. At the moment, the realization might fail to register but once you are old and grey, you will begin to wonder what else you have missed when you spent all that time at work. When you are old and grey, would the extra time away toiling at the office make up for the ones you have already lost with your family? Spending time with your family is more important than you think. After all, you only have one so you might as well cherish the bond that you have. Form a relationship with your kids and solidify it or you might regret it once you are old and grey and would likely forget to spend time with you as well. Besides, spending time with family can be very beneficial—and not just in forming familial ties.

While strengthening family ties by spending time with your spouse and kids is a given, it has also been shown that there are many more profound benefits. So, if you have been wondering if you should catch up on extra work this weekend, you might want to hold that thought and book a family weekend to Sandbox Alviera or elsewhere.

In any case, here are some of the most compelling reasons why family time is incredibly important:


Builds self esteem

Understandably, children who spend more time with parents tend to be more confident than their less-parented counterparts. After all, by spending quality time with your kids, you are building a relationship with them. By going to their school plays, attending their school activities and presentations, you are showing them that you believe in them. As a result, these kids will develop high-esteem and self-confidence which would ultimately redound to having them build better relationships with others. When you spend time with your family, it shows them that you value them.


Nurtures positive behaviors

One of the best reasons why you should spend time with family is that kids will consequently develop positive behaviors because of this. You have better leverage on what they are influenced by and can gauge how well you are executing your parenting skills. More importantly, you will be able to keep a keen eye on what sort of behaviors your children will develop and correct them if needed. In fact, it has been shown that adolescents who spent more time with their parents tended not to abuse illegal substances and alcohol.


Creates bonds

Of course, spending more time with your family will inevitably lead to forming familial bonds with them—which over time, you can nurture and strengthen. If you and your family members constantly get involved in group activities and enjoy together, you will develop strong relationships and be able to handle stressful situations with ease. Understandably, making time for family can be quite a challenge to do in this perpetually busy age. In fact, time away from work might even be considered as luxury by some parents. However, know that no matter how difficult, always find a compromise and try to spend time with your family—your children more importantly. It teaches your kids valuable lessons which they would prove useful to them later in life.


Creates fond memories

Once you are old and grey, do you really want to look back at your life and reminisce about all the times you had spent time working extra hours at the office? Of course, you would want better memories to cherish and immortalize. By spending time with your family, you will be able to create memorable moments worth reminiscing over and over again. By the time you are grey and old, you will look back at those memories fondly and come to the conclusion that you have indeed lived a rich and full life.


Relieves stress

Spending time with a loved one—no matter how long or short—will always relieve stress. Telling them about your day and what happened at work helps you unwind and relax. More importantly, by allowing you to vent without judgment, you are given a momentary breather from what could have been a potentially taxing week. So reduce your stress, be open about your worries and anxieties. Spend time with your loved ones and watch them do the same for you. Money can always be made but you only have one lifetime to spend with your family.


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Family Getaways: Have a Hassle-Free Weekend at the Adventure Park with These Five Tips


“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.”-Lovelle Drachman


No doubt, one of the best ways to bond with your family and children is to take them on holiday trips with you. For those who cannot take an extended leave of absence away from work, you might elect to take on an abbreviated form of a lengthy trip—such as a weekend visit to an adventure park like Sandbox, Pampanga.

While this might seem like a sound and fun idea for the entire family to enjoy, it is not exactly easy to plan and may be a little more challenging to execute than had it been just you and your spouse on the trip. Ensuring that everything goes according to plan or simply just drafting out an itinerary for that day alone can be a little overwhelming. There is a myriad of things to consider, and getting to the adventure park would take a significant time (or a road trip at the very least), what would have been a fun getaway could easily devolve into pandemonium. After all, kids have rather short attention spans—particularly if they are quite young. In this regard, you would need to think of ingenious and creative ways to keep them occupied.

Although stringing along your kids with you on family adventure trips might prove to be a daunting endeavor, it is in by no means impossible. However, you do need to do some prior planning so that you can mitigate the projected burden you will inevitably face during the day. However, it needs a little extra time and patience on your part to effect. In any case, if you are planning an adventure trip, here are some tips that would make your adventure smoother and better:


Do not tell your kids about the trip ahead of time

Once you make the plans of visiting an adventure or amusement park, it can be pretty hard to keep the news from the kids—most especially when the trip is planned and designed with them in mind. However, know that keeping the news from them would be worth it. Psyching them up way too early would mean they would get far too enthusiastic.  Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, some of them might even lose sleep the night before because they could not contain their excitement. Of course, this is not something you would want as they would not be able to fully enjoy the adventure park during the day and might even end up getting cranky. Just surprise them on the day itself and achieve better results.


Buy tickets online

Whenever possible, try to buy your tickets online. In doing so, you would not only guarantee passes for you and your family but you might even score discount deals, most especially if you purchased them ahead of time. Great deals and discounts can also be found if you just do a little bit of research online. With that in mind, do not get duped into paying the full price when you can find so many cheaper alternatives online.


Come up with a day itinerary

To avoid long stretches of time wherein you and your family are still trying to figure out what to do next or which attraction to see, come up with an itinerary. Apart from ensuring that you have a seamless way to go about your day, it also mitigates the chances of your kids getting restless because you are still figuring out what to do. A week or even days before your scheduled getaway, research the activities that can be done in the adventure park and assign time slots for them. In this way, you will have a much more cohesive plan that would ensure that you can make the most out of your visit.


Print a map

Before leaving the online website, be sure that you download their map and keep it close to you. Furthermore, while you are already on the website, it is best to check which rides are worth trying and which ones would be appropriate for your kids. In this regard, creating a schedule would be so much easier as you would already have an idea how much walking you would be doing in between rides and how long you would have to wait before you got on each one. Mapping out your day would definitely reduce the possibility of tantrums, whininess, and crankiness.


Dress accordingly

You would be doing a lot of walking in between rides and possibly a lot of waiting as well. With this in mind, dress yourself and your kids in season-appropriate clothes. Similarly, it is best to color coordinate the colors of your shirts (make sure they are in bright colors!) so that you can easily pick out a family member or your kids from the crowd of people when they start jostling for the ride queues.


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Philippine Tourism: The Top Five Reasons Why Pampanga is the Next Premier Destination in Luzon


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –Henry Miller

Pampanga is regarded as the Philippines gastronomic epicenter insomuch that it has been regarded as the country’s culinary capital.

However, there is so much more to be expected from this province other than their epicurean delights. Over the years, Pampanga has shown great promise in terms of business and industry. Resultantly, a potential boost in tourism can also be expected. In this regard, Pampanga can prospectively expect an influx of tourists to visit the province over the next coming years. After all, the province is only an hour or two away from Metro Manila via the Luzon Expressway which in effect, makes it pretty much nearby the Philippine capital, Metro Manila. In this respect, tourists and locals coming from the adjacent metropolitan city can go for a quick weekend sojourn to the province and would find themselves with quite a lot to do. Apart from being home to amusement and adventure parks (with Sandbox Pampanga being one of them), a series of hotels, resorts, and shopping malls, Pampanga also has an international airport in Clark. From a traveler’s standpoint, these are all the elements necessary to have an advantageous edge in tourism over neighboring provinces.

Slated as the next premier destination of Central Luzon, here are just some of the reasons why Pampanga deserves a visit from you before it becomes overrun with tourists all year long:

1.) Themed/Amusement Parks

Arguably, Sandbox in Porac, a project by Alviera remains to be one of the most popular adventure parks in Pampanga. The theme park cleverly incorporates elements of physical adventure into its attractions that would make for an excellent afternoon of adventurous play. However, while the Sandbox is Pampanga’s iconic adventure theme park, the province is home to more than just one. From Aqua Planet, Insectlandia to Lubao Bamboo Park, one can definitely say that Pampanga is the land for adventurers with theme parks to cater to every and any adventurer and individual there is.

2.) Hotels and Resorts

As Pampanga is home to one of Philippine’s largest international airports, it would be inevitable for the province to see a deluge of tourists from time to time. As a result, the province has seen a myriad of hotels and resorts developed and erected in almost every nook and cranny of the city. Pampanga plays host to a range of hotels and resorts nestled inside Clark and nearby areas. Travelers are given an extensive selection of accommodations from sophisticated and luxury ones to budget-friendly lodgings. In this respect, there would always be a place for every traveler. And regardless of what kind of traveler you might be, you will always find a definitive accommodation arrangement to suit your needs.

3.) Natural Wonders

Pampanga is more than just a food enthusiast’s paradise; it is also a haven for natural wonders. Apart from being blessed with natural beauty, Pampanga also has a lot of human-made attractions that are worth adding to your itinerary. If you ever have a proclivity for being in touch with nature and exploring its natural and bountiful wonder, go trekking in Pampanga to better appreciate what Mother Earth has to offer. Some of the places you can visit are Mount Arayat, Haduan Falls, Mount Pinatubo, and Dara Falls Porac to name a few.

4.) Local attractions and tourist spots

While Pampanga undoubtedly has its prolific share of natural wonders, its attractions extend beyond what nature can offer. For one, the province has quite a lot of malls that are just an hour drive or less away. Your weekend activities can range from visiting scenic and picturesque beaches up north and wrapping up the day in a shopping mall by nightfall. In any case, there is never a shortage of activities in Pampanga that you can expect your weekend itinerary to be full and enjoyable.

5.) Historical and Heritage Sites

If you have a penchant for history, then you are going to have a unique affinity with Pampanga. As one of Pampanga’s provinces was once the former United State’s airbase, the place will inevitably be teeming with history. So, if you are one of those individuals who wish to take a closer look at a place’s vibrant past, then some of your must-visits should include churches, museums and historical and heritage sites—all of which can be found in Pampanga.


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Pampanga Living: What You Need to Know About Kapampangans

“Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.”-Mehmet Oz

Known as the culinary epicenter of the Philippines, there is a lot more to Pampanga than just their world famous sisig.

While the gastronomic delights, epic food trips, and the weekend wonderland Sandbox Pampanga would all primarily and collectively take center stage, the place’s charm is undoubtedly found in its residents—in its people. So, if you have ever considered living in this colorful province or decided to marry a Kampampangan, know that you are not only buying a home in this province, but you are buying into the neighborhood and marrying into their culture as well. In this regard, it might be helpful to know a few things about the people from Pampanga to commence your assimilation process.

Here are some of the things you should know about Kapampangans:

1.) They have their own language

Most Kapampangans have an excellent command of the Filipino language, but they have their own respective dialect as well which they prefer to utilize in communicating with each other. When they do get together, they can be rather loud, but that is just because they enjoy the sound of their languages and hearing themselves talk. In fact, their affinity for their language extends to the point wherein they would scour a crowded room just to look for someone speaking in Kapampangan. When they do come across one, they would easily become friends and would converse almost immediately. On the surface, the language might sound a little gruff, but that can be attributed to the dialect’s accent.

2.) They are a proud bunch

Kapampangans are proud of their race as well as their heritage. However, this is not to say that they are conceited and ethnocentric but instead they find honor in the fact that they were born a Kampampangan. Like most Filipinos, they believe that they have the prettiest women and are pretty much the best in everything—particularly in cooking and Filipino cuisine. No one can argue that indeed, Kapampangans are known for their legendary food offerings but they also believe that they are the first in everything such as the first woman author, the first novel in English and so on. Kapampangans wear their heritage with a seal of pride and would proudly announce to anyone who would care enough to listen to where they are from. They are fiercely patriotic—not only to the Philippines but to the Kapampangan nation as well.

3.) They produce novel dishes

This one should be a no-brainer. After all, where did the legendary Filipino sisig come from, right? Known to be the culinary capital of the Philippines, it should be no question that Kapampangans are talented and skilled at cooking. In fact, many of their dishes are original and novel—so much so that Pampanga is known to be the Filipino foodie’s ultimate destination. While other regions are recognized for one dish and desserts such as the Lechon for Cebu and the chicken inasal of Bacolod, Pampanga has a cornucopia of epicurean delights. In Pampanga, original recipes are considered as prized birthrights passed down from generation to generation. Consequently, everyone is expected to cook regardless of whether you are a man or a woman.

4.) They take offense when called dugong-aso

If you do not want to be at the receiving end of another Kapampangan’s death glare, you should never call them dugong-aso or dog blooded. They would take offense and see it as an affront to the memory of their ancestors as well as a personal attack. People from Pampanga have endured being seen as traitors for generations. For years, people have carelessly regarded them as nothing more than treacherous cowards, and since then, the insult has struck a deep chord in them. Refrain from implying that they are or calling them so if you wish to stay in the good graces of your Kapampangan community.

5.) They are deeply religious

As Pampanga was designated as the country’s capital during the Spanish colonization when Christianity was first introduced to the Filipino people, and it should come as no surprise to find how religion has become deeply ingrained in Kapampangans. In fact, their deep-seated devotion to the Christian faith has now since transformed to an excessive devotion to anything that might be associated with their colonizer’s religion. In this regard, you can expect their temples to be intricately decorated and feast days to be festive and elaborate. Known to be the region with the most devout Catholics in the Philippines, Pampanga has effected quite a lot of religions to this end—not only in Catholicism but several variations of it. It is known to be the home of Apollo Quiboloy, the founder of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and Dating Daan’s Eli Soriano.


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Weekend Getaways: Tips to Keep You Sane When Visiting Amusement and Adventure Parks with Kids

“If you are completely exhausted and do not know how you are going to keep giving this much of yourself day after day you are probably a good parent.”-Bunmi Laditan

We are all well-aware how important spending quality time with our family is. After all, quality time is paramount to fostering a stronger bond with our children and our spouses. Furthermore, it helps us cultivate a better relationship and connection with them. In this regard, we plan weekend getaways with the entire family where we either spend a holiday at the beach or go for something that requires less travel time such as visiting adventure or amusement parks. Unfortunately, while the idea itself sounds whimsical and exciting, having two or more children in tow with you in this
escapade is hardly likely a prospect you would find yourself looking forward to. Children, no matter how delightful and charming they are, are potentially the biggest and most significant source of stress you will inevitably have in this family jaunt should you elect to bring them with you.

No doubt, taking the kids to the adventure or amusement park can be challenging. It will test your perseverance, patience and in some cases your endurance. In fact, some parents might regard you with awe should you endeavor to this feat. Inevitably, you will find yourself at wit’s end trying to control little versions of you and getting them to behave. However, this does not have to be the case at all times. With a little planning on your part, you will find that bringing your kids along would not be as cumbersome as you initially thought it to be. However, do bear in mind that a great deal of patience is required of you—regardless of how well and seamless your plan sounds. In any case, if you are planning to bring your kids to Sandbox Pampanga or elsewhere, here are some of the tips to keep yourself sane:

1.) Buy your tickets online

Whenever possible, always choose to buy your tickets online. Waiting to buy them at the park itself would compel you to queue up and to see as kids have incredibly short attention spans, you would have to resort to creative ways to keep them occupied while you are buying tickets. Should they get bored, they would be more likely to get your nerves. If possible, select a date and buy your tickets online instead. Apart from saving you the hassle of lining up, you may even score great deals and bargains on ticket prices online.

2.) Print a schedule

If you are bringing your kids with you, never head on to a park without a planned schedule. Prepare an outline of activities you wish to do the week before your trip (or at least the night before). In this way, there would not be stretches of free time wherein you and your family will be figuring out what to do next. Furthermore, it gives the entire getaway a sense of cohesion and the transition from one activity to another will be seamless and organized. To know which activities you wish to participate in, check the website the night before your trip and take a gander at the offerings that might be to your fancy. Check out what time certain shows and attractions would be so that you can schedule your day around them. Apart from giving you and your family a sense of direction on the day itself, it also helps you avoid rushing around at the last minute and missing out on certain shows that you or your kids had wished to see.

3.) Print a map

Before you schedule your day, try to see if the park’s website offers a layout of the entire area. Print this out so that on the day itself, you and your family would know where to go. Moreover, having a map helps you identify must-see attractions and which activities you would most likely want to check out and participate in. Apart from that, having a map mitigates the chances of you getting lost. This means you would effectively cut the time walking around and figuring out where to go by leaving you with more time for activities and attractions. While it does not necessarily guarantee your trip would be a success, mapping out your day will reduce the likelihood of your kids throwing tantrums as it effectively cuts down waiting time.

4.) Dress accordingly

Bear in mind that you would be on your feet the entire day. That in conjunction with the fact that you will be watching your kids and probably running after them during the day would constrain you to wear clothes that are both practical and comfortable. This goes for the kids as well. Dress them in bright colors and if possible color-coordinate your entire family so that you can easily pick them out from the crowd.

5.) Stay vigilant

Keep your younger kids by your side at all times. Remember that parks tend to get crowded and your kids are likely to get jostled and mixed in the horde of other patrons. To keep them from getting lost, ensure that you are holding onto them. It would also be helpful to give them a rundown of what to do and where to go should they ever get lost.


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Four Reminders and Tips to Enjoy a Day at Sandbox


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


“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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