Four Decades of Good Times & Great Memories!


I have mentioned that I’m not a pizza person. Never was. So when I’m out with my family and friends, and they ask for suggestions where we would eat, they’re all surprised whenever I would suggest Shakey’s.

Bakit nga ba Shakey’s? Because it’s more than just pizza (although I fell in love with one of its new flavors, Pizza Bianca!)—I love its mojos, salads…and its fried chicken is among the best fried chickens I’ve ever tasted!

I love Shakey’s mojos and chicken!

I also love the ambiance. The seats are comfortable, the toilets are clean, the air is festive yet subdued. That’s why aside my family, it’s also where my friends and I eat when we want a wholesome evening just catching up on our lives. And of course, to enjoy good food!

Randy meets his high school batchmate for the first time since after their high school graduation at Shakey’s!

We had dinner at Shakey’s to celebrate a friend’s birthday and to send-off another friend to UK.

Truly, there are so good memories I have made with my loved ones at Shakey’s!

Since it first opened its first store 40 years ago in 1975, Shakeys has become a family restaurant, encouraging hearty eating and family bonding over delicious meals they have made famous: Pizza, chicken and mojos. With their restaurants serving as a haven for Good Times and Great Memories, each and every one of their Guests definitely have their own wonderful Shakey’s story to tell.

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Dreamy Pictures from Dreamy-Garden Portraits

Guys, I’ve been meaning to share these super duper wonderful photos of our family with you for the longest time! These were taken by the very talented Nadia Vieira, with the help of Tamami Kretzschmar, of Dreamy-Garden Portrait!

The first time I saw this duo’s works, I gasped. The pictures that they produce are pure magic!

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For some reason, their photos stir up something in me. I feel nostalgic, I feel in love, I feel warm, I feel tingly, and I feel happy! Nadia not only captures the essence and soul of the models, but she also mesmerizes those who look at her photos!

When the creative duo invited our family (that includes our extended family—our bullmastiffs!) to model for them, we readily said, “YES!!!” And boy are we glad that we did, because it was a fun experience. Which of course, resulted to having photos we will cherish for a looooong time!

Tamami (wearing the hat) and Nadia (holding the camera) behind the scenes during our photoshoot

Let’s get to know the 411 on the Nadia Veiera while I show you some of our wonderful photos.

5647_1514313668794682_1057637968_nNadia Vieira, the talented photographer of Dreamy-Garden Portrait!

How did Dreamy-Garden start?

Nadia: Back in Ecuador, I used to run a family portrait business. But then my husband had to work here in the Philippines, and our whole family came with him. Since photography is really my passion, I decided to replicate my business here. I asked my neighbor and new friend, Tamami, to join the adventure because of her artistic skills and kindness to children.

Nadia’s partner, Tamami Kretzschmar is soo good in set design! And yes, she also is a fantastic graphic artist!

There are lots of photographers and photography studios out there. What sets Dreamy-Garden apart and what makes it special?

Nadia: We are a boutique studio. This means that we have a very personalized attention to each client.

On our first consultation, we even discuss the goals of the Portrait Session (what it is for, etc.), and we talk about the location, what to wear, etc.

Nadia taught me how to crane my neck, emote and speak with my eyes!

Each photo session can be arranged at our studios (in Los Banos and in Manila) or at our favorite: outdoors before sunset! We can also arrange for an make-up artist if requested.

After our photo session, we meet again to look at the photos together. At this point, we discuss the custom design wall portrait pieces that we create for each client.

At Dreamy Garden, we look to create an heirloom that will be cherished by the families, and that is possible because we devote time and attention to our clients. That also means we have limited booking slots.


What is your specialty?

Nadia: We are a family-oriented portrait studio. That includes special sessions like pregnancy, newborns, and grandparents…and even pets!

Fun fact: Tamami is also a pet whisperer!

We provide not only portrait photography. We specialize in create pieces of art to decorate our client’s homes. Our products are museum quality: canvas, fine art paper, and wooden canvas. We partner with a framer that offers custom hand-made wooden frames.

I love the photo, and I love the wooden frame!!!

A portrait on wood presents an organic way to display some of life’s most fulfilling moments. Your photos on wood will become a focal point in your home.

We normally ask to our clients to send us pictures of the walls where they plan to hang their portraits. We then design and advise our clients about the color and arrangement of portraits on their wall.

Dreamy-Garden offers high quality canvas prints: strong material against UV that makes the color last your lifetime. Portraits wcreate a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!


What’s your favorite subject?

Tamami’s eye for design complements Nadia’s photography prowess!

[Read more…]

Remembering Paul Sargei Azurin

Guys don’t worry. As far as I know, Paul Sargei Azurin is still alive. He’s just really MIA because of his community work in far-flung areas with poor cellphone signal and no internet connection.

Anyway, it was my dear friend & protege Sargei’s birthday two days ago. We tried calling him to greet him a happy birthday but alas, he can’t be reached. Several people have also greeted him on Facebook, no response. Busy-busy ata talaga ang lolo natin.

Tonight, his other two closest co-teachers (Patty and Abe) and I bonded over dinner. Nasali siya sa usapan. And then we can’t stop talking about how much we miss him! Kulang ang summer sa Brain Train Sta. Rosa nang wala si Sargei!

Achtung! Sargei and I

It’s an open secret that Sargei is “my guy”. As in he’s one of my favourites, even if he has had a lot of bloopers. Irvin told me that he noticed I’m often biased for Sargei. I don’t know why, but he has really endeared himself to me. So I was surprised when I learned that Sargei is often misunderstood and people get offended by him.

Tonight, as we remembered and missed Sargei over dinner, we had a run through of his famous lines, guaranteed to offend people who do not really know him.

Sargeism 1

I was telling Sargei how fond Randy is of ladies who are ladylike and gentle. And then…

Sargei: Eh Ma’am kung mga ladylike at demure pala ang type ni Sir Randy, ba’t n’ya kayo nagustuhan e ganyan kayo?

At ang gusto mong ipahiwatig Sargei ay?…


Sargeism 2

Sargei was directing a short play. He was inviting me to do a cameo role.

Sargei: Ma’am, sali ka sa play namin. Saglit lang ang rehearsal, promise.

I: Naku Sargei busy kasi ako these days…

Sargei: Ma’am sige na. Kasi lahat ng artista ko puro estudyante. E kelangan namin ng matanda na. E ikaw lang ang kilala kong matanda na.

Boom! Ang galing ng convincing powers, ‘di ba?


Sargeism 3

We were teasing Sargei because apparently, our driver Dodong scolded him for not being “frefared” (Dodong’s version of “prepared”) when they went to visit a school during the time they were doing the marketing of Brain Train. At that time, Yaya Isay was pregnant (unplanned) with Dodong’s baby.

Irvin: Naku Sargei buti pa si Dodong, “frefared” lagi sa mga byahe ninyo. Ikaw lagi kang hindi “frefared”!

Sargei, rolling his eyes: OK lang. At least hindi naman ako nakabuntis!

Uhm, connection Sargei? Hahahaha!


Sargeism 4

After some time, Dodong and Sargei met again. Yaya Isay has just given birth to her and Dodong’s child. With a huge grin on his face, Sargei excitedly greeted Dodong…

Sargei: Kuya Dodong!!! Nakita ko na ang anak mo…puro rashes!!!

Yes, ganyan talaga. Wala man lang, “Ang cute!” o “Ang ganda!” Rashes talaga ang binati! Hahahaha!

Sargeism 5

When we were doing BT@20: Going Neh-shu-nehl, Sargei lived with us in our house. He was roommates then with Irvin (who also used to live with us).

Sargei: Naku Sir Irvs, ubos na pala ang shampoo mo!

Irvin: Ha? Hindi, marami pa ‘yun!

Sargei: Hindi, ubos na talaga! Kelangan mo na bumili nang bago!

Irvin: Pa’no mo nalamang ubos na?

Sargei: E ako ang nakaubos.

Irvin: Grabe ka naman! Libre na board and lodging mo dito tapos tingin mo libre rin toiletries mo?

Sargei: Oo Sir, parang hotel!


Sargeism 6

Sargei was telling me that one of his new rakets was hosting. He was proudly telling me that he thinks he’s doing a very good job. Since Irvin was also a professional host, I asked him to compare himself to Irvin.

I: Sarge tingin mo, level mo na si Irvin sa hosting?

Sargei: Tingin ko po.

I: Sino sa tingin mo ang mas magaling sa inyo?

Sargei: ‘Yung totoo Ma’am? Tingin ko, ako.

I: O talaga ganun ka na kagaling? Pa’no mo naman nasabi?

Sargei: Eh mas charming ako kesa kay Irvs.

I: Bakit naman?

Sargei: S’yempre po kasi maganda ang built ko e siya mataba siya!

Irvin’s reaction when I told him about this conversation: Isang malakas na halakhak!


Looking back, onga, may pagka-tactless nga ‘ata si Sargei, hehe. But I haven’t been offended by him because it’s either I am tactless myself or because I just know Sargei too well. I think it’s both, actually. But let’s focus on the latter reason.

I am proud to say that I love Sargei because I know and appreciate the real him.

Yes, he may be tactless, but he’s the most honest person I’ve ever known. I love him because of that refreshing honesty that came with the candor many people frown upon.

Other people may also get annoyed by his being overcompetitive. But that competitive spirit of him is truly inspiring! He’s passionate about the things he does, and it’s contagious! Lethargic people around him suddenly do not want to become mediocre anymore.

And even when he’s bragging about his abilities, he’s also the most humble person I know. He commits errors, yes, but he is quick to apologize for any mistake. He does not fabricate any excuses. He would also readily accept a scolding and not bear any grudges. He just moves forward and tries to rectify his mistakes.

Now, it’s getting clear to me why I love Sargei despite and in spite of what other people may think of him: Sargei is one-of-a-kind, and he has a pure heart.

Sarge, kung nasan ka man ngayon, know that we are with you in spirit on your birthday and all the days to come. Don’t ever, ever change, because we love you just the way you are.

Ay wait. I think Randy will love you even more if you wake up earlier than usual.

Happy birthday, Sargei!!! We hope to see you soon. May our virtual hugs keep you warm always!

Raviv’s Wardrobe Diary #30: Nanay’s Shopping Buddy (May 8, 2015)

On Facebook and on Twitter, several people have been requesting me to blog about Raviv again. Onga, I haven’t been blogging about mi amorcito these days! Truth be told, we haven’t really bonded in the last weeks. We would be together physically, yes, but mentally my mind is wandering and wondering.

So last Thursday when I learned I have no classes (yep, Brain Train’s MomsterTeacher is back!!!), I decided to take Raviv out. It was a simple day out kasi SM Sta. Rosa lang ang kinaya naming puntahan. Nuvali or Paseo de Sta. Rosa may have been more sosyal to the ears, but we go there almost everyday already, and there are not too many stuff for kids in either mall. So SM Sta. Rosa it is! Here’s what he wore on our day out:

  • polo shirt: Old Navy
  • mustard shorts: Rustan’s Jr.
  • sandals: Florsheim Kids
  • abaca hat: SM Dept. Store
  • sunnies: Dickies

You know looking at this, I can’t help but smile. Binatang-binata ang anak ko. And I just gotta say it: he’s definitely a looker!

First, we went to a bookstore where I bought Raviv all books he wanted. And he was so happy! Next we went to SM Kids Fashion at SM Department Store. I really wanted to buy him new clothes because Raviv was going on a date with his Ninang Light Manuel the following day. Since it was medyo last minute, I wasn’t able to pack Raviv enough nice clothes (most of his clothes were in Los Banos; I brought clothes to last him until Friday only as he was supposed to travel back to Los Banos on this day). And wouldn’t you know it, there was a sale on most kids’ clothes!!! I got Raviv these:

Garfield Polo Shirt at 50% off; from P400 to P200 only!

Boys Got Style (BGS) shirt at 50% off; from P300 to only P150! I love BGS because even though they’re really affordable, they’re sturdy and stylish! What I love about this shirt is that the cloth is really soft and thick, and the rubberized surfboard design is a headturner!

However, even if there were lots of sale items, I still wasn’t able to resist buying Raviv these pants and polo that weren’t even on sale. Ang ganda kasi! Look:

Disney’s Cars denim short-sleeved polo. This is actually too big for Raviv, as it’s for 7 to 8-year-old boys! But this was the last piece and I wanted it so badly. We tried it on Raviv, and tucking it in did the trick!

I also got him these stylish pants to finish the look:

Snoopy red skinny jeans. Again, these were too big for him but since the waist was adjustable and the hem could be folded, keribells na!

After Raviv patiently tried on shirt after shirt and pants after pants, he somehow sensed I was in a good mood already. So he pulled me to the toy department. I normally don’t buy him toys, but because he was such a good boy today—indulging his Momma in her kaartehan—I got him a Ben 10 toy. On sale, too! ‘Yun lang, masaya na s’ya. Then we had lunch. We were supposed to go back home after lunch. But then I spotted the Uniqlo store! I love Uniqlo! I’m such a fan! The items may be a bit more expensive than Bench’s or Penshoppe’s and other local stores’s pero naman, the quality of their items are different. Fabric is softer yet sturdier, and design is casual yet fashionable. Plus I love that their stores are roomy and not cramped, and their sales assistants are always helpful and courteous.

Lookie lookie at what I got:

These shirts (made of super duper soft fabric!) cost P390 each…but wait, there’s more: If you buy 2 shirts you get P100 off! If you get three, that’s P200 off! Since I got 4, I got P300 off! Wow, what an offer! Hehehe!

Of course, I also got Raviv shorts from Uniqlo.

I’ve forgotten whether these shorts were on sale, but I found this pair too cute to pass up!

And yeah, I got Randy a pair of walking shorts, too!

Whaddya think? I honestly had second and third and fourth thoughts about buying these shorts. They’re lovely but I was thinking: Ready na ba si Randy sa ganitong shorts?!? But I proceeded buying anyway.

[Read more…]

Wardrobe Diary #70: It Takes Gutz to Rub Elbows with the Gutierrezes (April 18, 2015)

Hello! I’m still reeling from a hectic day of travelling and teaching. So as much as I have promised myself I’m gonna blog about Gymboree Sta. Rosa’s Grand Launching, I feel it’s too much work (I have 1,600+++ photos to choose from. Waaah!) In place of that, here’s another Wardrobe Diary entry, featuring my outfit-ey when I “rubbed elbows” with la familia Gutierrez!

Had I not been extra, super duper to the max haggardous organizing our grand lunching/open house/Zion’s birthday party, I’d have gone shopping to buy an outfit especially for the occasion. But since I had zilch time and energy, I had to make do with what’s already in my closet.

The night before the big day, I finally decided to wear this:

(Photos taken after the event, when I finally had the time to smile and breathe)

  • jumpsuit: Forever 21
  • necklace: XOXO
  • watch: Motherhood’s Philip Stein
  • stilettos: Aldo
  • bag: Balenciaga Velo

I kept it simple, choosing to wear only two colors. None in this ensemble is new—everything’s been worn before and has been in my closet for months/years. Still, I was happy with my chosen ensemble. Everything would have been perfect if only I had enough time to do my make-up and hair. Waley eh. I was busy in the morning during our Open House entertaining our sponsors and answering inquiries, on top of overseeing everything else. Then I had about 30 minutes to freshen up, put on a little bit of make-up, and fix my hair a bit. Because not long after, guests have arrived. Waaaah!!!

Here are some sneak peeks of moi photobombing some of the activities and festivities, with a little bit of chika:

Eksena 1: Surprise–Tita Anabelle Rama is in the house!!!

Honestly, I thought that only Richard, Sarah & Baby Zion were coming. But when I was called to go down when our special guests have arrived, nag-panic ako because si “Tita” Anabelle Rama agad ang bumulaga sa akin! But my fears were misplaced. Ms. Anabelle was really friendly and accommodating.  She was also soft-spoken and was always smiling!  And yes, she truly looks like every inch like a donya.

Tita Anabelle’s quote of the day to me (bilang siya talaga ang Number 1 priority kong asikasuhin):

‘Day, iyo ba itong building na ‘to? Ang ganda ha! Nice place. Ang ganda!

O ‘di ba? Pasado sa standards ni Tita Anabelle!

Eksena 2: The Dedication, The Chanel Bags, The Prada Footwear and the Slippers

The photo above was during the message of dedication.  Randy and I were intently listening to Pastor Jon Dolor of Victory Los Banos’s message and prayer…

…and here, Motherhood intentionally stood beside the Gutierrezes, hehe.  Her shoulders literally rubbing Eddie Gutierrez’s elbow!

Motherhood’s quote of the day:

Buti na lang pinilit mo akong gamitin ‘yung Chanel bag mo…at least pareho kami ni Anabelle! Pero pinalitan ko ‘yung sapatos ko—isinuot ko uli ‘yung wedges ko! Si Anabelle Rama nga naka-slippers eh!

That’s because before the event, I urged Motherhood to ditch two things: her Cath Kidston floral bag (haller, ganyan ang outfit n’ya tas Cath Kidston floral bag?!?) and her Mendrez wedges. Alam n’yo ‘yung wedge na typical na sinusuot ng women her age? Exactly. I knew sasablay si Motherhood sa footwear and bagelya category, so I packed an extra bag for her (this quilted Chanel) and the Prada kitten-heeled shoes I made her wear during her surprise birthday party.  Which she jilted when she saw Annabelle was wearing thong sandals lang.

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The Bad Weather of May!

Ang init kasi ‘di ba? LOL!

Of course, you know what I’m saying. Like many people (including non-Pinoys), I felt like Mayweather was cheated. Yep, Mayweather was denied by the judges the humble pie that his malnourished conscience has long been craving for. I’m not saying this simply because I’m a bitter Filipino. I really thought Manny was gonna win. We (I including those who were watching with us on Pay per View at home) were all optimistic that Pacquiao had it in the bag, until the announcer said, “…and still undefeated…” Then the whole world crashed.

Earlier, we were preparing a mini-feast for lunch. We grilled fish, squid, tahong (super sarap!) and liempo. Then I also prepared ensaladang talong at manggang hilaw, and I cooked yang chow fried rice. Nagpa-beer pa si Randy for our boys! We were supposed to eat that while watching, but the fight started earlier than we expected so we ended up delaying lunch (hindi pa luto ang pusit!) and just focusing on the fight. And during the bout I was thinking we’re gonna have a great lunch relishing Pacquiao’s victory. But then ayun nga. Hayst! I really lost appetite eating the food we prepared. Sarap pa naman!

Imagine nawalan ako nang ganang kainin ‘yan!

Of course after that I joined the netizens in expressing my disappointment! There were lots of funneh hirits, but the one I loved the most was a comment on Fashion Pulis:

Favorite ko ‘yung “Lydia de Vega” hirit! Lakas maka-80’s eh! And ramdam ko ang sarcasm n’ya. Hihihi!


By the way, let me share with you some of my conversations with Randy (who spent hours yesterday reading about fearless forecasts and watching analyses) about this fight:

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Worry-free watching with PLDT Telpad


My sister-in-law posted this on Facebook some time ago:

Ang bongga ng niece ko ‘di ba? :) Of course I got intrigued with “Peppa Pig” and “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom” and wanted Ravivo to watch those shows as well. Unfortunately, I learned that these are shown only in Nickelodeon, and our local cable operator does not carry Nickelodeon. When I checked out the Nick Jr. channel, I was amazed that it carries so many educational cartoons that Raviv would surely love and learn from.

But then I learned of the latest PLDT Telpad offering: Kids TV! Yehey!!!

So what is Kids TV? PLDT HOME partnered with Cignal Digital TV, the country’s biggest pay TV operator Cignal Digital TV, and launched a new service that will allow kids to watch top entertainment and learning shows.

  • Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network house some of today’s most popular children’s shows
  • NatGeo and Nat GeoWild give kids a close–‐to–‐real–‐life preview of the exciting outdoors and its diverse animal life
  • Da Vinci Learning is an internationally broadcasted knowledge TV channel which airs documentaries and education series on topics such as history, sociology, biology and physics.

Yes, your child can have access to all of these on Kids TV for just P99 per month on top of your Telpad Plan. Definitely a great offer!

This is just so wonderful, because I am assured that during the times I may not be able to closely monitor what Raviv is watching, he’ll have access only to kid-friendly and educational shows. Unlike with YouTube. It has happened many timesthat I would search a good video for him. But since most videos are short, it would end abruptly and then Raviv would start on clicking other videos on the sidebar. Ravivo has been directed to “related” videos that were not wholesome! Que horror!!! Or sometimes, the “related” videos have a nice cover but are actually trashy home videos. Raviv ends up getting frustrated.

But with this innovation from PLDT Telpad, Raviv could just easily watch a Nanay-approved educational show by clicking on the HOME player widget on his Telpad. And after the show is finished, he could proceed to watching another educational show. So it’s reallyanother great way to enjoythe Telpad!

Know more on how to enjoy Cignal on Telpad!

Visit For more information and updates like PLDT Home on:

Facebook, or follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Gymboree Birthday Party Part 3: Wardrobe Diaries

Continued from Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Gymboree Birthday Party Part 2: The Most Fun Party, Ever!

and Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Gymboree Birthday Party Part 1: The DIY Decor & Aesthetics

I had a difficult time looking for Raviv’s outfit. I looked for it online and in children’s clothing boutiques. Nada. I thought it was easy to look for clothes with dinosaur prints because they were everywhere when Raviv was still a baby. But for some reason, dinosaur prints were no longer as popular for toddlers! I didn’t want Raviv to wear a full-on dinosaur hunter costume because he has worn something like that on his jungle safari first birthday party.

Good thing I dropped by SM Department Store a few days before Raviv’s birthday, because I was eager to use the P3,000 worth of gift checks that SM Kids Fashion gave me…

…because wouldn’t you know it, I found the perfect ensemble there! Look:

I got an inner shirt with the body of a dragon (but looks like a dinosaur when the wings are covered), plus matching paleontologist-isque khaki polo and shorts. Still looks like Raviv’s jungle safari costume #2, but the inner shirt makes it perfect for a dinosaur party!

Look at mi amorcito on his special day:

[Read more…]

Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Gymboree Birthday Party Part 2: The Most Fun Party, Ever!

Continued from Raviv’s Dinosaur-Themed Gymboree Birthday Party Part 1: The DIY Decor & Aesthetics

Halloooo! I know you’re all eager with my blow-by-blow account of our Grand Launching last Saturday. I am, too! However, I have promised you a part deux of Raviv’s Dinosaur Dig Birthday Party. Moreover, you will know through this blog post how I had the “gutz” to celebrate Zion’s party at Gymboree—that’s because I knew it would be fantastic, just as Raviv’s Gymboree birthday party was. Now, here are more details!

Party Venue: Gymboree Sta. Rosa Playfloor

You remember how stressed I was with the delivery of our equipment? I’m happy to say that in fairness, the additional crow’s feet and wrinkles I may have added to my face because of all the worry were all worth it. Look at our playfloor that was completed just in time for Raviv’s party:

Gymboree Sta. Rosa has the new and improved play equipment that kids 0-6 years old can enjoy!

Ang ganda, ‘di ba? It’s really different from the usual playplaces with just slides and balls and whatever toys the owners can get their hands on. Occupational therapists and developmental pediatricians who visit us would always gush at how stimulating and developmentally helpful our playfloor is! As they say, “Nothing in Gymboree is an accident; everything was carefully planned.” So of course, this playfloor was irresistible to all of Raviv’s guests!

As soon as the guests arrived, they were all smiles right away and they rumbled and tumbled on the Gymboree playfloor! So I didn’t have to worry about any other activity for the kids. Yes, no need to buy crayons, coloring books and no need to prepare any other activity for the kids! The Gymboree playfloor more than makes up for everything else.

It’s Party Time: It’s a Gymboree Party!

Prior to this, I haven’t attended a Gymboree birthday party. And I’ll be honest with you: I was skeptical. I can’t imagine how a birthday party without magicians and puppeteers and the usual she-bang could be fun. In fact when we were discussing Gymboree birthday parties during training, I was asking our trainor what parent in his right mind would prefer a teacher-led party on the Gymboree playfloor over the traditional magician. Our trainor explained that aside from the one-hour, teacher-led celebration on the playfloor, the payment would also cover another hour on the playfloor. But still I wasn’t convinced.

And then I saw Teacher Eli Santiago host my Ravivo’s birthday party. I just knew then that a Gymboree party was the best birthday party a toddler could ever have! Look at Raviv during the party on the playfloor:

Now look at Raviv’s friends’ and classmates’s faces:

And finally, look at the joy plastered on the faces of parents and even of adults who didn’t come with kids during the party:

It was just so, so, so fun! If you haven’t been to a Gymboree birthday party, it pretty much goes like this: the parents select a party theme, and then the activities on the playfloor would revolve around that theme. The kids’ imaginations and creativity are exercised because the Gymboree host leads them to a world of make-believe while continually reminding everyone who’s the special girl or guy of the day. The celebrant truly feels special! And he/she has so much fun because the Gymboree parties are designed for toddlers. And then after the party on the playfloor, kids would eat and then just go back to the playfloor! So really, there’s no need stress about other activities!

I’ve been to several kids’ birthday parties with the usual she-bang I was talking about. In fact, Raviv’s first birthday party had the whole enchilada: magicians, a clown host, dancers, a bubble show and lots of parlor games. But the problem was that Raviv didn’t feel special on that day. We know very well that toddlers can’t grasp magic shows, can’t appreciate the now-popular Vice Ganda brand of humor (often used by clown hosts), and can’t participate in the usual parlor games just yet. Often, the host of kids’ parties resort to Rated PG jokes and comments. They also have to force annoyed and KJ adults to join parlor games. All these are happening (crass humour, magic shows and parlor games for reluctant adults) while the celebrant is running around, not even being involved in his/her own birthday party. I believe these activities must be reserved for when our kids turn 7 or older, but definitely not when they’re still in diapers.

To ensure the best Gymboree birthday party for your kid, here are some tips: [Read more…]

Come One, Come All: Zion the Young Lion Visits Gymbo the Clown at the Grand Launching of Gymboree Sta. Rosa!


Sta. Rosa City, Laguna – Babies and parents, the long wait is over: Gymboree Play & Music is already in Sta. Rosa! Owned and operated by BT Brain-Train Academic Center (the same group behind Brain Train Review & Tutorial Center), Gymboree Sta. Rosa is a very welcome addition to Brain Train’s services.

“We are happy that finally, we have heeded to the request of many parents,” said Dewmaine Sales-Ladaga, Gymboree Sta. Rosa’s Directress, “because for such a long time, satisfied parents of our review students have been requesting us to open a school for their younger kids. We refused to even think about it because our forte was really hard-core academics for older kids. But when we had our son, we saw how much fun it is to work with young kids and their eager parents. So we started to entertain the idea of putting up a toddler school.”

Dewmaine and husband Randy originally wanted to create their own toddler school program, but then they realized that the first years of a child’s life is too important to experiment on. Many studies show that the most critical stage in a person’s development is in the first three years of life when 75% of the brain is developed.

“We do not want to shortchange our students and their parents by creating a program that has not been tried and tested. That’s why we decided to get a franchise of a program that has stood the test of time and is continually being developed by experts,” Randy explained.

And before long, the couple decided to get a Gymboree franchise. “We believe we have made the right decision. The more we see Gymboree’s programs, the more impressed we are.”

Gymboree Sta. Rosa Grand Launching Invite JPEG - low res


Gymboree Sta. Rosa marks its Grand Launching on April 18, 2015 with Free Gymplay in the morning from 9-11, and the ribbon cutting follows in the afternoon. Zion Lahbati-Gutierrez (aka Zion the Young Lion), who himself is a proud Gymboree kid, will be assisted by his parents Richard Gutierrez and Sarah Lahbati in the ribbon cutting. After the ribbon cutting, Zion’s 2nd birthday will be celebrated on the Gymboree play floor ala Carnival Style!

Aside from Gymboree Sta. Rosa, Gymboree Panay Ave. also recently had its grand launching.  I’m excited to bring this wonderful program to these communities,” said Ann Tan, Managing Director of Gymboree Philippines. “From the moment they walk in the door, parents can see that we offer a one-of-a-kind environment where kids can feel confident and free to move, touch, explore safely as they climb, slide, crawl on our colorful and dynamic playscape. The play equipment was custom-designed for young children by early childhood experts and supports them in reaching their potential with an emphasis on discovery and fun. Our classes have been developed to provide a range of age-appropriate play challenges and skill-building exercises, allowing each child to personalize their play experience so they can participate and learn at his or her own pace.”