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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Smart Travels: Five Reasons Staying in Hotels Should be Your Last Resort for Accommodations


“Not all those who wander are lost…Unless they are pissed and are trying to find their way back to the hostel” –Author Unknown


There has never been any doubt that accommodations play a pivotal role in determining what kind of vacation you are aiming for.

Those who wish to have a more luxurious and relaxed stay can opt to stay in hotels while those who are on a budget might want to consider the alternatives. Unfortunately, most travelers are not savvy enough to explore their options and are under the impression that they are constrained to staying in hotel accommodations. However, in a world rife with booking apps such as Trivago and Airbnb, this notion is not only preposterous but incredibly archaic as well.

More importantly, those who do not care to explore their options might end up missing out on a lot as well. Besides, when you are out of the country, you would be spending most of your time outside of the room and would probably only get to stay at the hotel between the hours that you sleep at night and wake up at the morning. So, if you are paying a premium each night for your stay, it would not make much sense if you do not get to take advantage of it—even more so when you are on a budget. With this in mind, it always pays to take a look at your options first before going with the obvious route such as a hotel accommodation. Regardless of whether you are traveling domestic and are looking for Pampanga hotels or internationally, here are some of the compelling reasons why choosing to book a hotel for your stay should be your last resort:


Hotels are expensive

Hotel accommodations are pricey. No need to mince words as they really are. Sure, you might get to enjoy the myriad of amenities offered from the pool to the gym, but do you really need those when you would be mostly out and about in the city? More importantly, some of the amenities offered in hotels are offered in some Airbnb rentals as well as a chain of hostels—at a fraction of the price of a hotel room. You are pretty much getting the same service at a significantly reduced rate. So, why not consider the alternative?


The nightlife scene is significantly more interesting than in hotels

If you are a relatively young traveler, you will no doubt be searching for things to do at night. A few of the things you might be considering would be clubbing, hanging out in bars or perhaps capping of the day with a drink or two—all of which you could do at a hotel. However, hotels have a more conservative and reserved clientele given that most of their guests are composed of families or at least esteemed guests. Guests who are within your age range have no business staying in hotels unless they are with family (or are feeling particularly luxurious which is rarely). The nightlife scene in hostels is pretty much like your first year in college all over again. You get to meet people from all over the globe, get to know and hang out with them. Who knows? You might even end up being friends and travel buddies for the rest of your trip?


It is cozier

Hotel alternatives such as hostels and short-term rental homes are far cozier and more personal than hotels. Hotels tend to be a bit more detached and it is quite difficult to feel at home in them. Hostels on the other hand are far more comfortable and homey to stay in. More importantly, you would get better recommendations for cool restaurants and local bars in hostels better as more locals would be hanging around in the lobby. Hotels may give you information about places around as well but it is likely because they are paid to do so rather than an honest reference of the place.


Shared meals

Staying at an Airbnb accommodation means you might get to share meals with your hosts. It is not uncommon to have your hosts stay with you during the length of your stay and interact with you. Apart from giving you good recommendations, they might even share home cooked meals with you! Hostels are also accommodation alternatives wherein the sharing of meals is encouraged.


You will make stronger connections

Hotel guests go out and about without ever interacting with one another. Hostel guests on the other hand are encouraged to meet and greet each other insomuch that they might potentially become travel chums. Hotels tend to be detached whereas hostels are more connected. If you wish to have a more memorable and immersive experience, go for the alternative and stay in a hostel or an Airbnb hosting instead.

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Philippine Adventures: Compelling Reasons Why You Should Try ATV Riding at Least Once


“It is great adrenaline rush, especially running waterfalls. The feeling of dropping off the edge can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time.” -Anna Levesque

It has been said that you have never truly lived until such time that you experience that rush of adrenaline that takes you to new heights.

That feeling that gives you an inexplicable sensation is unlike any other brought about the slight risk in what you are doing. For this reason, a slew of people would literally chase death-defying activities that would more often than not, cross the boundary of what you would consider as daring enough. However, what about those of us who would wish to experience that very same kind of rush sans the risk involved? Well, ATV (all terrain vehicle) riding might just be an activity that addresses your need.

In a nutshell, ATV in the Philippines is pretty much just like driving a small motorcycle or car insomuch that you have pedals to break and accelerate. Perhaps the biggest difference lies on the kind of terrains you would be driving on. All terrain vehicles are specially designed to function in all types of terrains and seasons. With this in mind, you are sure to have that rush of adrenaline. Indeed, while a semblance of risk is involved in ATV riding, it is a calculated one. More importantly, if you invested in a set of appropriate safety gear, the chances of anything untoward happening to you are pretty much mitigated. In any case, if you needed more compelling reasons as to why you should try ATV riding at least once, take a gander at the list below:


It takes camping up a notch

If you have been camping for a while, it can feel like you have been doing exactly the same thing every single time insomuch that the monotony of it all tends to take away the fun of camping itself. Forget about doing scavenger hunts, stories and songs around the campfire and take it up a notch by injecting a bit of fun into it. Go ATV riding instead and bring them with you. Explore the wilderness with your ATVs and you are guaranteed to have an even better time scouring the woods than you would have been had you been simply on foot.


It beats expensive vacations

Sure, expensive vacations can mean a lifetime of memories, little trinkets and souvenirs from your trip. But after it ends, what are you left with? More importantly, kids tend to get a little restless and fidgety when you are traveling by always asking where you are going next and if you have arrived yet. Instead of taking another fancy vacation, why not take yourself and your family on an ATV ride instead? ATVs can be a medium for spontaneous adventure and fun where all you would need in is simply to hop in, find a good terrain and be on your merry way.


Great exercise

This might have escaped your notice but ATV riding actually makes for a very good exercise. While some might think of it as a bit of a stretch to compare it with lifting weights and going for a run, it does get your heart pumping. More importantly, it works your muscles as you have to be tight so as to have better control over the vehicle.



ATV riding is an incredibly liberating activity for many. In fact, it is an avenue for stress-relief by some. With everything that is currently happening in your life at the moment, it is imperative to stop and focus on the now. If you feel locked and have lost motivation in your work or just need a little dose of inspiration, simply going through the woods on your ATV would help you feel free. It would help you relax and get rid of anything that might be bothering you–at least for the time being.


Better than therapy

Sometimes, you just need a good outlet for your frustrations. Unfortunately, everyone is different and sometimes, it takes more than just talking within the four walls of a room to feel better. Maybe what you need is a healthy dose of adrenaline rush–one that takes you to see the sights, enjoy the beautiful landscapes while feeling the air against your skin. Indeed, ATV riding is an excellent way to feel rejuvenated.

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Movie Magic: Four Modern Innovations that Changed the Way We Watch Modern Films

“I intend more of a kinship with silent films than more modern film. I like the old cinema. My films are more of a hybrid—a different style of filmmaking to what I call talking head movies. Some people do not get it–especially the more academic types.” –George Lucas

With the rise of video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, IFlix and the like, it is any wonder why anyone would still go to the cinema nowadays.

Personally, I find it more satisfying to enjoy a film in the midst of strangers and in a darkened chamber rather than in the confines of my bedroom or living room. To me, it just gives cinematic releases a more authentic feel and would elevate the entire experience. Not to mention that there is just something about movie theater snacks that would make the film even more appealing—but hey, maybe that is just me. In any case, there is still so much truth in the fact that the film industry is somewhat declining nowadays as people rarely bother going to the movies. Apart from the rising prices of movie tickets, people seem to find it more convenient to wait for it online to watch and in the confines of their home rather than get out of the house. However, before we get to all that, one should know that back in the day, movies were enjoyed differently. In fact, if there is one industry in the world that has been expansively affected by technological changes, it is none other than film. After all, just compare the effects of movies decades apart and you would see just how far we have come. Apart from that, mechanical and digital innovations have influenced everything from equipment to distribution which changes how films are made and the manner in which we consume them.

In this regard, we should be able to appreciate today’s films better seeing as the art of perfecting them was a long process. So, before checking Solenad Cinema schedule, you might be interested to know these little technological tidbits that made movies the way they are now. You might just not know it, but it would probably make you appreciate the way you enjoy 3D movies viewed in IMAX today.

Movie Camera

Most of us tend to neglect moving pictures which we call films and shows today because we are used to them. Today, they are commonplace but back in the day, a camera that could capture a sequence of photographs into a filmstrip in quick succession was basically nonexistent. The invention did not come to light until the 1800s and without it; we would not have the visual medium that we all enjoy viewing in dark rooms. We might not pay it much heed in films today, but back then, it was said that the audience allegedly ran away from the screen after mistakenly thinking that the events that unfolded on the screen were real.

Synchronous sound

If you are a film enthusiast—even somewhat loosely—you should know that back then, silent films were the thing. In fact, silent films enjoyed a long run before sound could be simultaneously captured to picture. This era was known for over the top slapstick acting as actors had to compensate for the absence of sound. Apart from that, there was also the use of intertitles (titles between shots) and live-music accompaniment to films in theaters which meant that there were obvious limitations in narrative. As a result, complex storylines were basically a nonentity.


Before the introduction of color into films, movies were enjoyed in black and white. This is not to say that there is something wrong with good black and white films—after all, many films filmed entirely in black and white have received accolades. More importantly, black and white films have been shown to provoke an emotional experience in today’s audiences which can elevate the cinematic experience. However, color did change film for the better—not because it gave movies a pop of life and allowed it to mimic life realistically but it segued to better narratives. One such way that color was cleverly utilized was in The Wizard of Oz in 1939 which depicted the film in two segments: black and white in Kansas while Oz in Technicolour.

Green screen

While it might be a bit difficult to believe, early digital compositing started way back in the 1940s with the “traveling matte” process. Essentially, it utilized blank colored walls as backdrops which they would then superimpose images. Screen colors might have changed throughout the years, but the process and the effect have largely remained the same. With this technique, actors would then be allowed to perform “anywhere in the world” without having to be physically there. More importantly, it gave science fiction and fantasy films a better and more authentic film to them.

The internet

Many of you might be confused as to how the internet made it to this list. But no matter how you look at it, there is a grain of truth to it. After all, the internet has drastically changed the way we see and consume movies. Today, most of us would be viewing movies on our phones or from our personal computers. Incidentally, new formats have emerged and resultantly, ways of accessing them (streaming and downloading) essentially shifting the power from the industry to the consumers.

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Hotel Hacks: Four Money Saving Tips for Your Next Vacation or Staycation


“Of course great hotels have always been social ideas, flawless mirrors to the particular societies they service.” –Joan Didion


Today, hotels are no longer places of refuge which we would consider only when we are on vacation.

Today, hotels of any kind and sort and of whatever tier in luxury have transcended its conventional connotation by being considered by most people as an upgraded version of their rooms at home. Modern hotels are not only commonplace but offer their guests the kind of convenience they cannot experience at home insomuch that people would often check into hotels in proximity to their homes. They would either do this should they wish to relax, unwind, and avail of their amenities and facilities or simply in honor of a momentous celebration.

After all, hotels were not designed solely to cater to tourists but locals who are wishful of a quick getaway as well. And thus, the apt moniker “staycation” as an abbreviated form of a lengthy vacation was coined. Unfortunately, while staying in hotel rooms sounds like an excellent alternative for an extended vacation, it is in by no means affordable—particularly if you have developed an affinity for staying at five-star hotels. However, there are money-saving hacks that would mitigate your overall costs should you wish to book your stay at a hotel. Here are some of the money-saving tips that would help you reduce the overall costs should you book into any of the Pampanga hotels or elsewhere:


Enroll in a loyalty program

Enrolling in a loyalty program is especially beneficial to travelers who frequently go on travel trips and check themselves into hotels. Many hotel chains offer loyalty programs with various incentives either for free or for a minimal price. Incentives would range from earning free buffet meals to free rooms after a certain number of stays. In this regard, you would earn more points the more you travel and the more you stay at the same chain or its participating partners. Enrolling in these programs could easily guarantee you a free room after multiple stays. However, even if you do not travel frequently, being a member could still be advantageous for you as you would often get to receive perks that are unavailable to non-members such as spa access, free room upgrades, bottled water and the like.


Follow your favorite hotel chains on social media

In this modern age, it would be almost impossible for a hotel chain not to have a social media page where their customers and prospective ones could follow them and their promotions—that is unless they are rather old and have not decided to go digital yet. However, know that by following your favorite hotels, you can easily see online promotions such as discount deals that only followers are privy to. Similarly, you would also be the first to know of these deals and you can easily avail of them before they run out.

Look for hotels that do not charge children

Depending on the management, hotels do not typically charge children who would be staying in a room with their parents to a certain extent and if they are below a certain age. However, this purely depends on the hotel management as there are some hotels such as all-inclusive chains that do in consideration of the activities done and food consumption per person. In this regard, it is best to look for hotels that do not charge kids that share a room with their parents. An even better hotel would be one that does not charge kids for meals so that you can save by a lot on meals alone. Incidentally, look for hotels that offer you complimentary breakfast for your stay where the entire family can participate and not only the adults.

Eat in

Hotel food can be pretty pricey and if you are a family of four or more, the expenses on food alone can really add up. With this in mind, look for hotels that have in-room fridges and food reheating appliances such as microwaves and then go to town in your local convenience store. Find snack items, drinks, and easy-to-prepare meals which do not require much food preparation to consume. Keep the family well-stocked and fed. However, this does not mean that you should live on cup noodles alone for the duration of your trip. What it does is ensure that everyone can keep hunger pangs at bay without having to spend a lot.



With the tips above, you would not only be able to ensure a comfortable stay but one that does not break the bank as well—regardless of whether you are booking a hotel room for a long vacation or a brief staycation. With these tips, you would not be taken aback by the exorbitant hotel bill and charges by the next time you check into one of the hotels in whichever part of the world.


The Top Four Reasons to Hold Team Building Activities


“A successful team is a group of many hands but of one mind.” –Bill Bethel

We have all heard the merits and benefits of hosting team building events. The two words themselves can mean different things to a lot of people. For employees, a team building event can mean at least a day away from the office, and perhaps a chance to check out the grounds of Nuvali. Furthermore, team building activities would mean engaging in fun activities that would consequently strengthen their bond with their colleagues. Unfortunately, for employers, this could mean a day that could potentially have been spent productively but was instead spent on what would be akin to a makeshift vacation at the company’s expense. However, employers, supervisors, and bosses should not be so quick to dismiss the idea of team building. After all, apart from granting your employees a brief reprieve from work and having fun with each other, it also strengthens their morale which could significantly remunerate the company—as it is, happier employees would consequently result in a better workforce and office environment.

In any case, here are some of the reasons why you should hold team building activities:

1.) Increases productivity

Team building activities—regardless of wherever they are held—are generally collaborative in nature. As a result, not only does it challenge employees to learn how to work as a team, but would also enable them to learn how to work together efficiently. It allows your staff to discover their colleagues’ different skills as well as showcase their own—both of which are paramount in understanding how to approach a problem. This very same knowledge, when applied in the office environment, would make for a productive workforce and would resultantly make for a more efficient set of individuals.

2.) Improve communication

Team building activities would give participants the opportunity to openly communicate with each other. In the office setting, clear and open communication are two integral elements paramount to the success of projects and relationships. The exercises involved in team building activities foster better communication skills among your staff and as a result, would cultivate open communication in the corporate environment. Furthermore, team building activities allow your staff to get to know one another beyond the confines in the office and a casual setting no less. When it comes to building trust among your staff, this is important.

3.) Develop problem-solving skills

Most team building activities require problem-solving skills and would naturally involve a simulated problem that your staff needs to work out and solve. Considering that most team building activities are conducted in a casual setting, participants are less likely to feel any pressure than they would should an issue occur in the workplace. In a way, their success in solving problems in team building activities would build their confidence and increase their morale. Lastly, the skills they would have developed during the various activities would be ones that would ultimately be beneficial in the corporate environment.

4.) Keep employees motivated

Conducting a team building activity lets your staff and employees know that their success is integral to the company and that you, yourself care about them. Apart from providing employees an avenue for relaxation, team building events are tailored to help participants develop new skills and help them grow as well. These are two things which would show your commitment to your employees’ success. As a result, your staff and employees would likely reciprocate by producing better work and investing in the business. Moreover, they would feel a sense of pride in their individual jobs and are likely to attempt achieving company goals. Considering all these, it would be natural for employees to feel motivated and enthusiastic in doing their jobs. Seeing as team building activities are centered on building better professional relationships, your employees would likely look forward to reporting for work as it would mean seeing their colleagues.

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Four Things to See and Visit in Pampanga


Home to the world-famous beer match, sisig and other innumerable savory dishes, Pampanga is known to be more than just the Philippines’ central hub of epicurean and gastronomic delights. Back in the 1800s, it was one of the eight provinces placed under martial law when it rebelled against the Spanish government. Today, it is known to be a vibrant and buoyant province with three cities and nineteen municipalities. However, apart from being incredible connoisseurs of Kapangpangan food, there is a lot more that would entice a local or a tourist to visit this lovely province. Aside from Alviera in Porac, there are a lot more attractions to see and behold in Pampanga.

Here are some of the spots you should see and visit whenever you get the chance to be in the province:

1.) Water Park

While Laguna has its share of a water park in the form of Splash Island, it has nothing against the couple of water parks situated in Pampanga. Puning Hot Springs which is located in Sapang Bato in Angeles City is known not only for its hot springs, but is also considered to be an Aeta ancestral land as well. Surrounded by lush and verdant foliage, Puning Hot Springs draws patrons by the droves with its eleven natural hot springs. For those who prefer something a little different, there is also a hot sand which visitors can soak themselves into. In Clark Freeport Zone, another water theme park has found home in the form of Fontana Water Park. It has a total of ten water park features and among them the wave pool is the most popular with waves as high as three feet coming in six kinds.

2.) Adventure Park

Pampanga has no shortage of adventure parks, and the Sandbox is just one of the many it hosts. Situated in Ayala Land’s Alviera estate in Porac, the Sandbox features the first rollercoaster zipline which gives visitors a rush of thrill and adrenaline. Furthermore, the Giant Swing which is known to be the tallest swing in the country can also be found here. In Mabalacat, one can find Zoocobia Fun Zoo. Do not be misled by the name though as it hosts more than just zoo animals and is, in fact, a theme park. Apart from the myriad of animals, one can see, it also boasts a garden maze full of animal topiaries while you make your way around the garden maze. Lastly, for individuals looking for a bit of a rush, they can try the Zooc which is the only gravity car track in the Philippines.

3.) Museums

Museums are the remnants of what was passed down in history and are considered to be cathedrals of ancient artifacts. Seeing as Pampanga is known to be an excellent place of history, it would only be understandable for it to have its fair share of museums. Nayong Pilipino is the epitome of Kapangpangan history as it features replicas of the Philippines’ most famous sights such as the Chocolate Hills and Magellan’s Cross. In Angeles City, one can find the Air Force City Park which doubles as a recreational facility that features and showcases actual fighter aircrafts used during the second world war.

4.) Natural Parks

Pampanga has no shortage of natural parks. If horseback riding is your thing, Clark Freeport Zone’s El Kabayo should definitely make it to your itinerary. The place itself is reminiscent of an old Western town inspired from an American cowboy movie. You can even see Western structures and establishments such as a makeshift saloon and a telegraph office to add to the authentic feel of a Western town. Activities one can enjoy are riding lessons, carriage tours, shopping and a myriad of photo opportunities.


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