Da Best of eLBi 2: My Favorite Restaurants in Los Banos

It used to be that I thought of myself as someone who prioritizes yummy food the least.  Back in college when I was scrimping on my allowance so I could buy the clothes I covet, I used to scoff at people who wear dowdy clothes but spend so much on food.  I thought, “Duh, itatae lang din naman nila, dun pa nila inuubos any allowance nila!”

But I surprised myself when I found myself saying that I’d rather not eat if I don’t like the food, or losing appetite simply because the food bores me.

And then it hit me: during college, I was just blessed to be surrounded by restaurants serving delicious foods that still allowed me to save some of my allowance for clothes.

Fast forward to 2014:  I am already working, and I could even afford to eat in fancy restaurants in Metro Manila.  But you know what?  I often feel foolish for shelling out thousands of pesosesosesoses for foods that are actually a fraction of the cost of their counterparts in eLBi.

So guys, lemme share with you my favourite restaurants that are proudly made in eLBi:

(Note:  This is NOT an advertorial.  The restaurants I am featuring did not ask me to write about them, nor did/will I ask something in return for this.  I just really want to share their yummy foods to my readers)

 

1. Faustina’s

 
Faustina’s Restaurant opened in July 2010.  It is actually an homage to the owners’ late grandmother, the Habitos’ Lola Faustina (thus, Faustina’s) who left them with such good memories of family love and food.  With the help of the Habitos’ Interior Designer friend, Rinelle Villareal, they were able to conceptualise and include their Lola Faustina’s memory into the details of the restaurant.

 
I first started to get curious about Faustina’s when of our teachers at Brain Train was raving about the dishes of this quaint restaurant along Raymundo Gate.  He loved it so much that whenever there’s a reason to celebrate or whenever any one of us would muse out loud as to where to eat, he would always say, “Faustina’s!”

And then one evening, my friends and I found ourselves at Faustina’s.  I asked what the bestseller was, and the waiter suggested the silindro ribs.

 
It was love at first bite for me!  Everything was perfect—from the grilling to the barbecue sauce to the sukang pinakurat (I love vinegar on barbecue!)…and most especially the price!  This meal that is a symphony to my taste buds only costs P210.  I remember the time when my friends and I decided to have lunch out of the blue.  We went to this restaurant and when we saw that a similar viand cost almost P400, we just looked at each other and knew we were leaving and heading for Faustina’s.  Hahaha!

When you’re craving for something sweet naman, you should order Faustina’s blueberry cheesecake.  I’ve tried it (the silindro ribs was filling, but my appetite swore to me that my tummy still had space), and I loved it!

 
Other bestsellers (which I have yet to try—I can’t NOT order these two every time I go to Faustina’s eh!) include Faustina’s Pepperoni Pizza, Aussie Beef and Lamb Pies (trivia: the owners grew up in Australia), Spaghetti and Meatbombs, Creamy Shrimp Pasta, and Banana Choco Hazelnut Crepe.

Faustina’s Pizza

 

Faustina’s Creamy Shrimp Pasta

 
Truly, Faustina’s is a gem in Los Banos!  But seats at Faustina’s are just like the rarest of gems—Faustina’s is almost always jam-packed, sigh!  (Celine, palakihin n’yo ang restau n’yo please!)

 
(Faustina’s Restaurant is located at Lola J’s Building, 10278 Ruby St., Los Banos Subdivision, Los Banos Laguna.  Call them at 049 501-1509.  They are open everyday from 11am-8:30pm)

 
 

2. Gastronomeats

 
I have discovered Gastronomeats only recently.  I used to pass by it almost everyday, but I did not give it any second thoughts.  It looks very simple and plain, so I took it for granted. In fact, when my friend Zaira (the same person who brought me to Faustina’s) told me that our next dinner destination would be at Gastronomeats, I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from complaining.  And so there we went.  My doubts about the quality of food was heightened when I saw that even inside, everything was just so simple.  So I was not expecting anything, really.

I ordered their Oompa Liempo:

 
I was surprised that it actually tasted great!  I was expecting it to taste like our regular liempo at home (which also tastes great, by the way), but no, there was really an “oomph!” Hehehe.  Since it was my first time there and since I was also dining with my closest friends, I tasted what they have ordered.  And I loved them even more!

This is what my friend ordered:

 

Slabbed (Bacon Steak with eggs and fried rice)

I loved it!  The mild, smoky flavour of the bacon is perfectly complemented by the mild saltiness of the sunny side up eggs and fried rice.  My friend Zaira says it’s her favourite at Gastronomeats.  So the next time I went there with my friend Irvin, I ordered this as well.

However, when I tasted Irvin’s order—spicy liempo—I told myself that it, too, was delicious!

And so I ordered spicy liempo when I went there with Randy and Raviv.  Randy ordered Slabbed (which I got bits and pieces from), and ordered Sausage Fest for Raviv.  Just when I thought I was already confused with what to order next, I also loved Raviv’s Sausage Fest.  Waaaaah!!!

Three visits to Gastronomeats made me realize this: the owners really needed not to overwhelm its patrons with any kind of decoration—heck,  there wast even a tinge of the usual colour red that is said to whet people’s appetites—because the flavours of their meats would cover just about everything!

(Gastronomeats is located along Lopez Avenue, Los Banos, Laguna.  It is just in front of Centtro Mall.  Its contact number is 09175105215.)

 
 

3. Bonito’s

I only fully appreciated Bonito’s when we dined at Bonito’s and then at Abe and at Crisostomo only days apart.  That’s because when we dined at Bonito’s, Randy had their Kalderetang Batangas combo meal.  And he loved it a lot.  He was surprised to see that what he had—scrumptious beef “stewed for a long time in a garlic-onion-liver sauce” served with rice and iced tea/lemonade cost only P140!  Yes, P140 only!

 
Dishes such as this at Abe and at Crisostomo would be well over P300!  And when it comes to taste, Bonito’s is definitely not lacking!

Aside from this caldereta that I am raving so much about, Bonito’s also serves these mouthwatering dishes that I have yet to try (all images lifted from Bonito’s Bar and restaurant Facebook Page):

 
The best thing about Bonito’s is that it is spacious (relative to other restaurants in eLBi) and can accommodate lots of people.

 
However, food service is kinda slow.  I guess the staff get rattled because of the volume of people and of the orders that they receive.

(Bonito’s Bar and Restaurant is located at Oregano St. corner Lopez Ave., Demarses Subd, Los Baños, Laguna.  They may be contacted through 049 536 3255 or 09153154521.)

 

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I know that there may be other restaurants in Los Banos that are worthy of being featured here, but I may have not tried eating there yet…feel free to suggest where I should eat next time!  I would surely hate to miss out on anything that proudly made in eLBi!

 

Next Feature: My favourite street food joints in eLBi!

Tiis-Ganda

Ayoko nang maging artista.

LOL!

I’m saying this because two or three weeks ago, I had treatments done on me at the Weigh Less Center (Mendez Medical Group) at SM Megamall.  And boy were they painfulpainful physically and painful financially!

Remember when I was ranting about my underarms burnt by waxingNaku, it happened again.  Twice pa after that!  So I really swore to myself I’ll have my underarms laseredSobrang nacacahiya talaga mag-sleeveless.  Plus my friend Dr. Sugar Blanco told me how her boyfriend was raving about her underarms not having hair.  She advised me to look for online promos, ‘coz that’s how she was able to have her underarms lasered without breaking the bank.

And then I saw this deal on Ensogo:

mendez medical group underarms ipl

Perfect, di ba?  At our local dermatologist, each IPL session costs P3,000 na agad!  So this was great.  After all, I’m always in the Metro; Mendez Medical has a branch at Megamall, and our condo is near Megamall!  So on Friday last week after my class, I headed to its Megamall branch to inquire.  I had a feeling that I could get the same deal without having to go through Ensogo.  If not, I could easily purchase it online namanBasta, I’d rather clarify all the terms before buying.  So I went.  And, I was right!  I was able to get the same deal they’re offering at Ensogo!  But aside from the Php 3,000 3-in-1 underarm package, I was also greatly “encouraged” to avail of the additional P3,000 for four sessions of blue treatment + diamond peel to remove the “chicken skin” of my underarms daw.

First, my underarms were treated with the whitening cream.  While waiting for the cream to dry, I asked about their sclerotherapy.  See, it’s also on my bucket list—to eradicate my varicose veins and spider veins!  Ever since I gave birth, they’ve started being visible on my legs.  Plus I teach the whole, and that requires me to be on my feet for long periods of time.  Eh you know how conscious I am about my thunder thighs ‘di ba?  Ngayon na nga lang ako nagkakalakas-loob mag-shorts-shorts, tapos babasagin pa ng varicose veins na ‘yan.  I can’t just ignore this, because I remember my pretty cousin, Ate Frances, very vividly said this a decade ago:  “Basta ako, hindi ako magsho-shorts ‘pag puro varicose veins ang legs ko!”

The clinic attendant called one of the dermatologists there, a Dr. Panes.  She looked at my legs and estimated that with their Buy 2 Take 1 promo, I’d be spending a huge amount to fully eradicate the unsightly and painful varicose veins.

Whaaaaaat?!??

Napalunok ako.  Here I thought I’d only be spending P3,000 for my underarms.  I said I’ll shelf it muna.

Then I asked about what may be done about my crow’s feet.  Botox daw.  Botox?!? Parang hindi ko kinaya.  Parang sobrang extreme na ng Botox di ba?  Feeling ko, ‘pag ipinagawa ko ‘yun, parang retokada na rin ako.  Because honestly, never akong naging suki ng derma or any beauty clinics.  All my life, I went to a derma just once or twice.  One of them was a few days before my wedding when I had a diamond peel.

Then Dr. Joel Mendez came to see me.  He was really nice, despite his status as a celebrity doctor.  He checked my legs and said it was OK naman daw, albeit yun nga, some veins are starting to run through them.  He offered me great sclerotherapy deal—freebies worth around P6,000!  So, GAME!  I got only a fraction of the quoted total sclerotherapy package, para at least ‘yung mga obvious man lang ang matanggal.

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Wardrobe Diary #55: Pretty in Pink (Feb. 23, 2014)

Hi you all!  I’m so glad to have this time to chat with you again.  If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably know I’m “Stressed Drilon” these days.  As in.  No glow ako!  It’s because we’re swamped with work.  Our new Operations Manager and staff are hardworking naman, yet we still have so much load.

stressed drilon

But Randy reminded of the positive side: our being swamped with work means that people trust our services.  And really, I am very grateful for that trust.  In fact, I get very, very upset when we commit a boo-boo.  Every boo-boo stresses me out.  While some people would take such in stride, I would take them very seriously.  As in there are times when I don’t sleep fitfully when I hear a complaint, even when the complaint is unwarranted.

Anyway, part of that heavy load is the fact that we are expanding big-time in Metro Manila this year—our venues there almost doubled from last year (thank you Lord!) Birthday cake  Ergo, Randy and I thought of getting a modest condo unit in the Metro.  That way, we do not have to waste time looking for decent, inexpensive hotels every time we, our teachers and staff when we have teaching loads in the Metro.  A condo unit, we believe, would be a good investment.  Even after the summer we would be able to use it.  Honestly, one of my frustrations in life (frustrations talaga!) is that sawang-sawa na ako sa Festival Mall at Alabang Town Center.  Talaga!  Randy is allergic to the MMDA and to traffic so when we shop it usually is just in Alabang.  But not all blame lies on him:  kahit ako tinatamad just thinking of hurdling a heavy traffic after a tiring pasyal or shopping in the Metro.

Since we were just about a month away from using our future condo, we acted fast and scheduled ocular visits.  Inipon namin lahat ng options on this Sunday, and this was what I wore to our condo hunting:

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  • pink and white checkered blouse: Pretty Giraffe
  • shorts: Orange Juice
  • sandals: Aldo
  • bag: Chanel Cambon Medium Pink Tote

Fink na fink baActually I don’t really like pink, but I read somewhere that wearing clothes and accessories that are bright can actually lift our mood.  And in fairness, mukha naman akong fresh sa photos na ‘to.  By the time Randy took those photos, pagod na pagod na kami n’yan ! We were already on the road as early as 7:30 a.m.!

The properties we looked are either located in Mandaluyong and Eastwood, as we were looking for a condo that’s accessible to most of our Metro Manila venues.  Let me show you some of the units we looked at:

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What Convinced Me to Get an HPV Vaccine

More than two weeks ago, I got my first HPV vaccine shot.

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My friend, Dr. Sugar Blanco, administered the shot.  She’s actually a pediatrician hence the smiley bandage.  Hehe.

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Perhaps you’re all wondering why it took me a long time to get vaccinated, when it’s been years since the campaign was in full swing.  Everyone was saying that cervical cancer is the only cancer that could be prevented, and that as a responsible and educated woman I should get vaccinated.  Well, I have a plethora of reasons that made me think it was just a waste of money.

  • First, I have never been and am not promiscuous.  I won’t get into the details of my sex life but as you can see, I was willing to bet my life on that fact.  Never in my life did I get scared I’d get any strain of any sexually transmitted disease.
  • Second, I believed that it would dissuade Randy from ever engaging in sexual activities with other women.  Why?  Because he knows he’ll be the person to blame IF I ever get infected.  My husband knows how faithful I am to him, so the only time I’d get an STD is IF ever he fools around.
    But you know what?  I learned that the human papillomavirus (HPV) may be acquired in other ways.  Yes ladies—even if you’re celibate, you could get it!!!  I was told by my friend and UP Nutrition professor, Liezel Atienza, that using clothing that was used by a person with HPV could get you infected too!  That includes using towels and beddings that were not properly sanitized (good thing I always bring my own towel when we stay even in high end hotels), and fitting clothes that were previously worn or fitted by other infected females!!!  As a certified ukay queen and shoppingera, I am at risk pala!!!  So scrap feeble reasons one and two.

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Familia Ladaga Goes to Thailand Part 3: Safari World Review

continuation from Familia Ladaga Goes to Thailand Part 2: Transportation, MBK Mall, and Cuisines Kwento/Review

Day 2

Day 2 of our Thailand trip is probably the most memorable, because Safari World exceeded our expectationsif you’re in Thailand, this is a must-see!

I’m normally chatty but for this post, I’ll just give you a few fast facts about Safari World, and then I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

Safari World is in the outskirts of Bangkok.  Its exact address is 99 Panyaintra Road, Samwatawantok, Klongsamwa, Bangkok.  From Century Park Hotel, our chauffer Pon was able to bring us there in 30 minutes or so.

These are the rates:

entrance admission safari park and marine park in safari world

Of course, we got the bundle.  I don’t think they (Safari World) were expecting anyone would get just the Safari Park or Marine Park, because no one was checking.  Raviv got in for free by the way. :)

2013-10-30 10.32.15 2013-10-30 10.32.20 Our Thailand chauffeur Pon helping Raviv pay for our tickets

In my opinion, Safari World is Zoobic Safari + Ocean Adventure + Manila Zoo.  And even when you combine the “powers” of these three, Safari World is ten times better!

safari world entrance

The shows and attractions

Safari World is like Zoobic Safari and Ocean Adventure because it has several shows.  We missed the Orangutan Show because it was about to be finished when we arrived.  Here are my reviews, photos, and video clips of the shows:

Sea Lion Show

2013-10-30 10.51.19 To the Sea Lion Show

2013-10-30 11.00.45Jampacked auditorium

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The sea lion show at Safari World, Bangkok

We had fun watching Safari World’s sea lion show but it was just at par with the sea lion show at Ocean Adventure.  Also, I enjoyed Ocean Adventure’s because the dialogue at Safari World’s was incomprehensible.  There was some attempt to speak in English but it was still very difficult to understand.

Elephant Show

This was what I was most excited about!  As a kid, my favorite animal was the elephant.  And now, I was going to see more of them!  I actually ran to the venue of the elephant show to ensure we were gonna get good seats.  And we did!  So how was the show?  I was not disappointed!  The elephants were so cute (of course, I’m not talking about their sizes) and smart!

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2013-10-30 11.41.21 The entrance of the elephantsI loved how the the trunk would curl around the tail!!!

elephant show talented elephants The talented elephants

PA302925 Care to get an elephant massage?  When someone asks a volunteer, raise your hand right away!

[emebd]http://youtu.be/RGjDUIv0a90[/embed]

And, would you believe that an elephant painted this:

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Familia Ladaga Goes to Thailand Part 2: Transportation, MBK Mall, and Cuisines Kwento/Review

DAY 1 continuation from Familia Ladaga Goes to Thailand Part 1: Century Park Hotel, and Bull Mastiff Hunting Review/Kwento


Airplane and train rides in one day!

Just a few minutes back at the hotel, Motherhood went to our room and asked whether we would like to go with them to MBK, one of the malls in Bangkok.  Randy and I agreed, as we wanted to have dinner and did not know where to go.  With Motherhood were the other Philippine delegates.  Aaand, two of them were Dev Com professors.  Nacacahiya, because one of them was my teacher back in college when I was delinkwente, as in I go to her classes late and just chat with my seatmate (to my college professors whose subjects I did not take seriously—insert Kathryn Bernardo’s face and voice—SORRY POOO…Promise, pinagsisisihan ko po ‘yun.)

Because it was rush hour, our group decided to take their version of the MRT.

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This was Raviv’s first time to ride a train…coincidentally, on the same day he also rode an airplane (but this wasn’t his first time on an airplane)

After several minutes of walking and of riding escalators, we have finally arrived at MBK Mall.  Motherhood and her friends immediately went shopping, but the three of us were famished so we looked for a place to eat.

A gastronomic feast—plethora of cuisines!!!

On the 4th (or was it the 3rd?) floor of MBK Mall is its food court where a plethora of international cuisines were served!

mbk mall foodvourt

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Randy’s Surprise Basketball-Themed Birthday Bash Part 3: Photo Story

Continued from  Randy’s Surprise Basketball-Themed Birthday Bash Part 2: Finally!!!

As promised, here are more photos during Randy’s special day.  This time, I’ll let the photos tell the story behind Randy’s Lebron James/Miami Heat basketball-themed party.

Basketball-Theme Party Set-up

desserts/sweet treats table  basketball theme party set-up

Desserts/sweet treats table  basketball theme party set-up

Desserts/sweet treats table  basketball theme party set-up

CFC (12)

Randy’s age above ;)

CFC (126)

Desserts/sweet treats table  basketball theme party set-up background Desserts/sweet treats table  basketball theme party set-up background

The Food

Sweets

blowing lebron james design fondant cake

miami heat lebron james cake for basketball theme party Lebron James birthday cake by Rainbow Confections

cupcake with basketball toppers for basketball theme party

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Ang Pagbabalik ng “Balik Alindog Project”

More than a month ago, I posted the following on Instagram:

 instagram

And so you’re all wondering after almost two months:  Pwes, anyare?

This:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wala ba kayong nakikita?  Kung wala kayong nakita, ‘yun ang sagot.  Wala.

Waaaah!!!

So really, anyare?

In fairness, I lost four pounds naman.  However, I have valid excuses once more. First, kasalanan ni Alona (our helper)Inengganyo ako uminom ng slimming tea n’ya.  And how could I not be tempted?  She lost so much weight with that tea!  She’s a living proof that it worked.  And, another in fairness, in the first days I was actually slimming down.  It definitely helped curb my appetite and made me even more enthusiastic to exercise.

Speaking of exercise, in fairness to me, ang sipag kong mag-exercise during those days.  Even Randy was impressed!  Every time I felt like I overate (My Fitness Pal is a great app!), I would burn the excess calories in our elliptical machine.  Happily pa!  Why?

The elliptical machine was perfect!  For one, it’s readily available.  I need not go out.  Pag feel kong magpapawis, anjan lang s’ya.

And I mentioned that I exercise happily, right?  T’was because whenever I exercised, I’d watch Pretty Little Liars–one of my guilty pleasures.  Pretty Little Liars is purrr-fect for me!

exercising while watching pretty little liars on tv I on the elliptical machine, still wearing an oversized shirt I used when I slept, and watching Pretty Little Liars

Why?  First, I get so engrossed with the plot and the fear factor that I barely notice the timemy legs would just move on their own.  Second, the girls and their outfits are so inspiring!  When I felt like giving up, Aria Montgomery or Spencer Hastings would appear in outfits I soooo love.  Then my brain would tell me:  “Hoy hindi bagay sa mataba ‘yang outfit ni Aria!” or “Tamo ang braso ni Spencer ang ganda!”  And just like that I could go on and on and on for a longer time.

2013-07-19 06.57.03 Bet na bet ko ang ensemble ni Aria dito that I even paused our media player and took a photo


Don’t you just love Aria’s quirky fashion sense?  I certainly do! Image lifted from liveinfashion.wordpress.com

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Our July Clark Getaway Part 2: Staycation at the Holiday Inn Clark Villa

Remember the entry I made about Familia Ladaga’s first Clark getaway in January?  I mentioned there that I inquired at practically all the hotels in Clark and even in the town proper, yet it was the Holiday Inn Clark that was so memorable to me.  Primarily because I saw that it had a playplace.  So when I was looking for a hotel in Clark for our second lakwatsa there, the Holiday Inn was on top of my mind.

When I learned that Holiday Inn Clark has single detached villas that can accommodate up to eight persons, I gave it a go right away.  See, Randy wanted to bring with us our two new helpers, Gina and Raviv’s Yaya Gigi.  They are eager beavers when it comes to lamyerdas, as their previous employers never brought them along lamyerdas.  And it was my sister-in-law Ruth’s vacation from her Erasmus Mundus master’s degree schooling and was staying with us, we brought her so Cousin Yoona could come with us.  My mother-in-law also came along.

our Holiday Inn villa at Clark

villa at holiday inn clark

So what are my thoughts about our Holiday Inn villa experience?  It was overall a great experience, but let me go to the nitty-gritty.

Ambiance: Holiday Inn hotel and villas are in nestled in a lazy and cozy community.  Makes me think of a suburban village where trees and other plants still abound.
Downside: none that I can think of

Location: The villa we were in was a stone’s throw away from the main building/hotel where one can easily dine in one of Holiday Inn’s restaurants, swim in their pool (but the swimming pool was under renovation at that time.  Darn.), or where kids can play in the playplace.  Our villa was also near the outdoor playground of a smaller hotel, Monte Vista.  Raviv and Yoona had a blast in that playground.

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Aside from that, it is also relatively near Duty Free shops, SM, and tourist attractions (Dinosaurs Island, Zoocobia, El Kabayo, etc.) within the Clark.  No traffic too!
Downside: The swimming pool was under renovation.  Over the phone, I was told that Holiday inn guests could swim at Fontana.  Turns out that we used the swimming pool of neighboring Monte Vista Hotel.  Swimming pool was blah.

Decor & Ambiance Inside the Villa : Nothing special, really, but some features of the house made me feel as though I were in a “classic” US house.  It was also fully air-conditioned so the kids loved running around the house.  And oh, there were no breakable knick-knacks inside so the kids were able to run freely.

holiday inn clark villa living room

holiday inn clark villa kitchen

inside a holiday inn villa

Amenities in the living room and dining included a ref, TV, and dining tables and water boiler.  I forgot whether there were ready eating utensils such as spoons and forks (ed. Sept. 16).
Downside: Cooking was prohibited so there were no cooking utensils.  There was also no microwave.  There’s corkage if you bring outside food.  And, I don’t like the wall.  Rough-looking.  Better if wallpaper were used.

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Our July Clark Getaway Part 1: Dinosaurs Island

Dinosaurs Island is the reason why Randy and Raviv tagged along with me to Angeles.  Ever since we learned that the dinosaurs here are not your usual statue (they move and make sounds!!!), this has been on Randy’s must-go-to list.

While I was teaching in OB Montessori, Raviv and Randy together with my mother-in-law, two of our helpers, my sister-in-law, and Raviv’s cousin Yoona proceeded to Dinosaurs Island.  Later in the afternoon, Randy and Raviv returned there with me.

Here are their photos (I was still at OB Montessori):

dinosaurs island clark entrance

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t-rex at dinosaur island clark
sitting on a dinosaur at dinosaurs island
They said that Raviv was mildly scared of the dinosaurs because, in fairness, the dinosaurs somehow seemed real.  I guess there’s a censor that when someone comes near, it would begin to create sounds and it moves.  Raviv’s cousin Yoona, on the other hand, was very scared!

Just before guests head for the exit of Dinosaurs Island, a dinosaur mascot would roam around.  And poor Yoona was inconsolable when she experienced seeing a “live dinosaur” up close and personal. [Read more...]