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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Isdaan Laguna : Good for the Eyes not for the Tummy

The Isdaan in Calauan, Laguna is a welcome complement to the Isdaan at Gerona, Tarlac which is dubbed as the 'Halfway to the North'. Isdaan Floating Restaurant boasts of their famous Aztec inspired setting mixed with a touch of Thai (probably because of the huge Buddha images all over the place).


The entire restaurant is built over man-made ponds to create the 'floating' theme while most dining tables were set inside a Nipa Hut for that all-Filipino atmosphere. Having said that, this place is definitely great for tourists from overseas or even for our Balikbayan relatives.

 
can you spot the Superhero?

There are plenty of activities for the kids, and heaps of photo opportunities too for hobbyist and enthusiasts like statues and life-size images of people especially famous personalities like Pres. Obama, former Pres. Cory Aquino and former Pres. Joseph Estrada that welcome guests to the restaurant.


This exhibitionist of a waiter also stands proud near the comfort rooms. Very naughty, don't you think?


Nude ladies by the pond...

 

For good measure all kids are asked to wear a life jacket in case they fall over the water. I find that an good gesture from the management and owners of the restaurant, and for that I am giving them credit.
 
 


 
For the kids and kids at heart, the huge statues of favorite Disney and Marvel characters are all over the area. My children had a grand time roaming around the restaurant cum theme park, posing for pictures with their favorite characters, biking and playing around the huge vicinity.
 
 

 

As an added attraction, a cultural show is staged every afternoon at 6 o'clock. Usually tribal dance numbers are performed followed by an acrobatic show.

If everything failed to entertain the kids, I guess the fish feeding will do the trick. The food servers can give you fish food/pellets for free if you ask them (nicely).

A short boat ride can also be enjoyed for Php20 per boat as tip to the boatman.


I didn't take much photos of the food. We've been to their original branch,  Isdaan Gerona, a few times and we already know how exactly the food tastes like. Overall, they were okay but there's nothing special in them that would make me crave to drive the 100 kilometer from Manila. The service is quite slow too, and they tend to miss orders. To give an example, I ordered Arroz Caldo (chicken porridge) for our 7 month old baby. After 30 minutes of waiting, the server came to our hut and informed us it's unavailable. We've waited that long before being told order is not coming!
 
I find the food overpriced too considering the portion size and the quality. I can't believe a Tortang Talong (eggplant omelette) could cost over Php200. Also the location is in the province which is quite far and out of the way so we were expecting the price to be 'considerate' if not competitive.

By the way, Isdaan is owned and operated by the Barrio Fiesta group, the same company that operates Barrio Fiesta, Singing Cooks and Waiters, etc
 
Tips for the budget conscious:
 
1. If you are after the ambience, the scenery and activities rather than satisfying your hunger, I suggest just ordering some light snack and the fruit shakes. They don't impose a minimum purchase for diners to enjoy the amenities of the resto/theme park but just to be fair to the restaurant it's good to order something.
 
2. Bring mosquito repellent! The place is surrounded by water and plants - perfect combination for insects.
 
3. Average spend per person is Php500 if having a meal (lunch or dinner) of around 3 viands plus drinks.
 
4. They don't serve free drinking water but rather sell bottled water. A good strategy to generate beverage profit, don't you think? Diners please bring your own water!

Friday, February 15, 2013

You'll Find Them When You're Not Looking

If there is one thing I love about general cleaning it is that moment when you find something lost for a very long time. It could be ring I thought someone have stolen, a worn-out wallet with crisp Php100 note inside, or that diary I kept before blogging came to the world. More often than not, I find treasures (not for their monetary but for their sentimental value).

So what have I found this time?

I've unearthed a very very long necklace made of plastic beads, a pair of blue capiz earrings, a fancy bracelet which I think was a gift from someone when I was still working in a hotel, a red rubber tie for my hair, a gift card, The Hubby's old watch and a cellphone charm.


Let's take a closer look at some of my finds, particularly those that made me gush in delight when I saw them..
 
Look at this cellphone bling bling that spells out my name :) I can't remember where I bought this or when. Honestly, I didn't even know this exist! Well, I've now attached it to my tote bag so I forget it again.
 

And then there's the gift card from my parents. The sentimental in me also attached the tag of the watch they gave me that Christmas of Year 2000. The watch, a Pierre Cardin, was lost during that unfortunate taxi hijacking incident. Anyway, I am happy I've kept the card which is now very special as it has my Dad's beautiful handwriting.


And last but definitely not the least was this watch from Trend Micro, the company where The Hubby has been working for over a decade already. I am not sure when this was given to him but I am pretty certain it was over 7-8 years ago.

 
At the back is The Hubby's name which makes it very special, and I bet all those rewarded with this watch had their names engraved too. I wonder who else in Trend Micro kept his/her watch...

 
There you go, my great discoveries from this clean up. I'm raring to get to the upper cabinets or closet this weekend. I bet there will be many "ohs and wows". Gotta get the ladder ready tomorrow.
 
 

Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY Tissue Pom Poms

Balloons are always the first choice for party decorations especially for children's birthdays. A simple decor of a small venue could go from Php3500 to Php6000 and that's just might be 100 floating balloons and a pair of pillars. Surely moms on a budget would rather do their own decors if they can but more often that not, they find it extra difficult doing the balloon decors themselves. First, they have to buy the balloons and need to go to Divisoria to get a good deal.

The good news is there's a new alternative way to decorate your party on your own.

TISSUE POM POMS!

This chic and stylish decor is made of tissue paper. No, not the kind we use in the toilet but the soft ones that is used to pre-wrap presents in high end malls. It's like a softer version of onion skin.


lovely photo from www.phoebegazal.com

I've seen this at Martha Stewart's site and instantly fell in love. I knew I could do this on my own so I spent hours on the internet to learn how to create tissue pom poms and get various decorating ideas. I got hooked to this for days!

It's great for outdoor parties as you can hang them to tree branches. Simple yet romantic...

this beautiful photo is from www.weddingbee.com

They can be used to enhance your table centerpiece just like what I did for my daughter's christening reception (balloon centerpiece also a DIY :))


It's also a good way to spice up a candy buffet station, or a cake table


I got my inspiration from this...
 

great tips and ideas from source of this photo: www.blog.koyalwholesale.com

So where do we get tissue pompoms? Well, in the US, a set costs around $12.00. So you tell me, "I thought this is supposed to be a cheaper alternative to balloons?"
 
Okay, don't fret yet. Why buy when you can create these beautiful babies in just ten short minutes?


I am not gonna spend that much too on paper so what I used for my paper pom poms are crepe paper and Japanese paper (papel de hapon). You just need to be extra careful with the Japanese paper as it tears easily.

For video tutorials, please check this and this.

Have fun!!

(cross-posted at www.domesticatedpartygoddess.blogspot.com)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

MomGyver and the Letter Pancakes

It's one of those weekends when I want to do something special for the kids. Normally, I'd cook a really nice lunch, or take them to McDonald's for breakfast. However, for this particular Saturday I thought I'd do something that would really amuse the kids, especially Eone.

So I made pancakes! And not ordinary pancakes at that. I made letter pancakes to spell out my little girl's name. Then for my 3-yr old, I made various shapes (but even I could not even tell what those shapes are).

 
You bet she loved it! In fact she wants me to cook more and spell her full name. OMG! Thankfully, my son was just content with the shapeless pancakes as long as I put lots of chocolate syrup.
 
For mommies out there who wants to try, simply buy a hotcake mix from the grocery. The only difficult part was getting the letters done especially if you don't have a pattern (like me). In fact, it took me 5 failed pancakes before I managed to make a readable 'e'.
 
I am going to try again maybe one weekend and use a ketchup bottle or some sort of dispenser to make it easier in forming the letters and shapes.
 
Meantime, I am happy with my output nonetheless. My kids adore me today like I'm their personal Santa. :)

Friday, February 08, 2013

Love at First Wash

When people ask me what I like most about Japan, I'd say the orderliness of the place, the Japanese attention to details, their ultra modern technology, and the FOOD (who doesn't LOVE Japanese food?).


 
 
Then I will add towards the end of my litany, "Oh, the toilets. I absolutely adore the toilet seats.".

Really, their toilets had me the moment my butt first laid on them. Hahaha. Call that love at first wash! I was very impressed with the toilet but thought maybe since I am at the 6-star Mandarin Oriental Tokyo it's only that hotel that has those kinds of toilets.

It didn't take long before I was proven wrong. ALL toilets are fitted with an electronic bidet seat that has a temperature control (yes, it warms up during winter so your bum-bum wont freeze!), adjustable water pressure and nozzles that moves, you know, if you want that water from a certain angle? If you still can't picture what I am talking about, try browsing BidetKing reviews. Make sure you can try to stop your jaws from dropping.
 

 
(thanks treehugger.com for the photo)
 
I want one at home but I honestly haven't seen one here. In fact, I've been to other countries but have not seen any electronic bidets like those in Japan. Then someone whispered to me that electronic bidets are already available in other countries (US, Australia etc), although not as widely used or as popular. I haven't been to the US that's why I haven't seen other bidets like those from BidetKing. (Mental note to self: find out how much is the shipping cost).
 
The Hubby, whose been dreaming of a bigger house, wants one of those too! I think he too, fell in love at first wash (sorry, no better term, eeww in love with a toilet!) .
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