These last few weeks have been a wonderful mix of day-to-day normal and fun adventures. There is a lot to report on this post so let’s get to it!
The Mind Museum
I took the children to The Mind Museum in The Fort with a couple of their friends.The Mind Museum in The Fort with a couple of their friends.
The Mind Museum is a science based learning environment for the children. I had heard mixed reviews but felt it was a pretty impressive effort. It is definitely aimed at the primary aged child. However there were so many interactive displays involving pressing buttons, flashing lights, noises and cool sciencey stuff that our children had a wonderful time.
On arrival you are greeted at the pay booth by a talking moving robot. Once inside you are ‘inducted’ into the ‘flow’ of the museum by another talking robot, which the children thought was the greatest thing ever. At first it just seems like a big room filled with an abundance of different displays with no real rhythm or structure. This was difficult as there were four small children wanting to look at four different things. Once we were through the first section however the museum was broken into sections focusing on areas of science including space, creation, the human body and the senses. We particularly enjoyed the shadow box where the children made shadow shapes on the walls, and the piano staircase, where every step was a piano key. I personally always enjoy a good dinosaur skeleton and I was not disappointed. You could walk up a staircase to the head of the giant T-Rex standing imposingly in the center of the room.
After the museum we went to another wonderful icecream place called Farmacy. This icecream and soda fountain is named from the days when customers visited their local pharmacy for a soda fountain.
Each day the icecream is made fresh using only natural and low fat ingredients. There is a wonderful old-world atmosphere here, with decor taking us back to the days of the old style pharmacy. Wood panels, glass beakers, pharmacy drawers and round tiles on the floors. This place actually brought back memories of the local chemist my parent’s friend’s owned. While the front end was a modern pharmacy, the back room where our Chemist friend mixed his brews was an old style set-up and I thought it was such a treat being allowed back there. A place no-one else was privy. I loved looking at all the old fashioned glass pharmacy jars and bottles with hand written labels, sitting on the old style pharmacy shelving. Ahh memories.
FlutterBug – Ballerina Princess
Since being here FB has gone from Tom Boy to Princess loving, dress wearing girly girl. So it really came as no surprise when she said she wanted to do ballet classes.
FB is three so for me dance should be about movement, play and rhythm. Thanks to a new friend of ours we found our perfect little class. It is small, inexpensive and beautifully adorable. Little girls in tutus running around tossing feathers, being princesses, practicing their ‘frog feet’. I just love attending each week because I get to laugh, a real belly laugh from the total cuteness of these little cherubs. Last class FB told me off for not clapping enough.
BGC Public Art
Driving around The Fort we got to check out some amazing murals being created on walls around this city. Part of the BGC Arts Initiative, this was a mural festival.
Public Art has a huge presence in this space and I just love walking around the shopping district noticing all the wonderful sculptures, murals and creative touches such as butterfly seats for people to sit and rest on. I really love that the sculptures are all interactive so children are able to run around and experience art in a tactile way. Meanwhile I can sit and enjoy a coffee in one of the many cafe’s along this strip.
Gardening and More Great Food
SandyBug has a big project while we are here. His job is to landscape our little courtyard. He discovered a new garden shop and we all went there to visit the other weekend. This place was like a private oasis complete with an attached organic and raw café called Hillside Café & Juice Bar.
This cafe is small, bright and wonderfully casual with bench seating and small intimate tables. I had the felafel, the children had spaghetti and coconut smoothies, SB had a burrito. The food was delightfully fresh and rich with flavour.
After lunch at this wonderful cafe we ventured into the jungle paradise next door to shop for plants. I put my order in for my herb garden (which is yet to come to fruition), and insisted on buying this most stunning little tropical flower called a Strophanthus Preussii which we have hanging on our bedroom balcony.
I also gave my perspective on the indoor plants we could have. This clearly had no impact as the next day SB went out adventuring, to return with six ginormous ‘indoor’ plants. So as I sit here and write I am staring at a tree in the middle of my lounge room. It is there because we are unsure where to put it. This condo is not large and so giant size plants are taking up much needed space and look a little, well, out of place I guess is the word. On an upside they give Noodles a place to hide behind when he knows he has been a bit naughty.
Using my Brain
Last week SB and I took the opportunity to attend a local quiz night. Put on by one of the local expat groups here. It is a regular night out which gives the chance to mingle and meet people. We took a friend visiting from home and had a lovely night out. Our team lost, but I am not taking responsibility for that. I had some good answers and I even knew a chemistry based question but no one would listen to me. So they put the wrong answer. Not that I am blaming anyone in particular, and not that I am competitive or anything…
Hidden Valley Springs Part 2
Last weekend we took another trip out to Hidden Valley. Another great day, this time with a few friends in tow. What I enjoyed this time round was that I did not need to fill every second with exploring. I hired a cabana, with the big wooden platform that is a day bed. On arrival I took the children to the kiddies pool where they had a marvelous time, and SB took his mates off to show them the hidden waterfall.
After lunch I took the children to the cabana and they had a nap. I cannot think of a more idyllic place to sleep than in the middle of the rainforest, warm air kissing your skin, the sounds of waterfalls, rustling trees playing in unison with the cicadas chirping. I sat in our cabana and caught up on some reading and watching my babes sleep peacefully.
On the way home we stopped at a fruit stall and brought some pineapples and a fruit called Gubano or Soursap. A new special blogging friend Vashelle from Write or Die Wednesday put me onto this. I received her message as we were leaving that morning where she said to give it a try. It is such an intriguing fruit. It is soft and squishy inside with big smooth black seeds. You tear out the flesh and it tastes a bit like peach, a bit like loquat, a bit sour, a bit sweet. Very refreshing. Thanks for putting me onto that V.
We also brought some local Coconut Wine, called Lambanog. It is 80% proof.I chilled it down. When I poured it into my wine glass it had a wonderful coconut aroma. It reminded me of Malibu just not as sweet. SB pointed out this was not actually wine, it was like a spirit so I cautiously had a taste. Yep he was right. The alcohol overpowered all else so I mixed it with soda water and lemon juice and it made a kind of gin and tonic type drink. Much easier to get down. Not sure I will make a habit of this though.
The Birthday Party
After Hidden Valley we attended a birthday celebration here. One of the local girls who lives in our set of condo’s turned seven. The Filipinos make a big deal out of the first and seventh birthdays, as well as the eighteenth and twenty first for men. Interestingly I asked a couple of different Filipino friends of mine what the significance of the seventh birthday was and no one could tell me. So I thought I would research it, as I tend to do. Interestingly no one appears to know. There is no reliable source anywhere to explain the importance of this age. So I did some digging and I have come up with a theory, perhaps more plausible than the ones I read about online. I think it is related to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during WW1. In Japan the number seven is very significant and they celebrate the seventh birthday. That is my opinion. If anyone actually knows, please enlighten the rest of us.
This party was held in a wonderful Bonsai Garden at the University of the Philippines. Tucked away, you walk through the entry into a secret garden wonderland. Perfect for a fairy party. We spent a lot of time that afternoon exploring this garden, breathing in the tranquility it brought to this busy, busy city.
Our next big adventure is about to start. BB starts school next week! Well, Summer School, just one hour a day. However this is to transition him into proper school in five weeks time. This topic is a whole other blog post so I won’t start on that now. I am currently trying to get my body adjusted to early morning starts in preparation. Let’s just say it is not going well. More on that later.