A few days ago, Tito Billy Gualberto invited our family to his resort for the day because he heard through Diego’s Lolo (they are golf buddies) that it was his 8th birthday. We had wanted to keep his birthday low key and had originally planned to go wake boarding with just a few close friends so it was easy to make alternative arrangements to meet them at a later date and celebrate together when it would be convenient for all of us.
We packed the kids up in the car for the day trip to Batangas and headed south early Sunday morning. Whenever we take a road trip it’s an adventure where everyone helps out by taking care of their assigned responsibilities. I task each of the kids to help pack their own clothes with their checklists in hand. I double check what they bring out, and since it is part of our routine already, the kids are actually pretty good at putting their outfits together and making sure their toiletries are complete.
We don’t usually eat fast food, but being on the road doesn’t always offer the healthiest of choices, so of course, there are exceptions. Sunday morning, we decided to meet up with Nino’s family at McDonald’s after Mamplasan on SLEX. While I was waiting for our order, I heard a bit of a commotion only to turn around and see our very good friends Arlu and Anthony! We always love spending time with A & A and whenever we get together we try to make it as fun as possible. You can read about the time we all had a pizza party here.
After we were done with breakfast we continued on the road to our final destination of Klub Keluarga. The Klub is actually only open to the lot owners of Kota Keluarga, but since we were Tito Billy’s guests, we were able to use the facilities. There are parts that are open to the public which are quite affordable and you can use the beach and rent rooms for overnight or weekend stays. Once we arrived the kids were super excited to get into the water, soak up the sun, and play in the sand.
Tito Billy had lunch prepared for us, but because I was so hungry, I forgot to snap pictures of all the yummy fresh dishes. I did, however, make sure to get a picture of the clam soup that Tito had specially prepared for us. I was so intrigued because he said that the long bumpy string bean looking veggie was his favorite. Upon asking, I learned that the name of the vegetable was Himbabao. I want to think it grows much like sitaw. (another kind of string bean readily available here) The challenge will be to find it here in Alabang!
After lunch and while kids were playing in the surf and sand, Tito Billy toured us around the rest of the 650 hectare property. We were able to visit his home and the cottages where guests stay when they come for a sojourn. I really enjoyed all the stories behind the home that he has made for his family and the fun he had in building it from the ground up.
The house that they stay in is actually two different houses dating back to the early 1890’s. They were both dismantled and brought from their original location and pieced together here in Laiya! When Tito was sharing the stories of how the house became their home, with all the attention to details, it was easy to see the creativity and thought behind the interesting conversation pieces scattered through out the house.
After the tour of the property, we had merienda and got ready to make the trek back home. We wanted to stop on the way and have dinner for the birthday boy where he would be happy. Through out my years of parenting and teaching, I have learned that you can give your kids choices. You pick the two restaurants you are willing to go to, and they choose from the two options you have provided. It’s a win-win situation, you can dictate (somewhat) what everyone will be eating, and your child feels empowered that he made the choice. I do this with outfits, veggies (you have to eat two colors from the table at dinner) and pretty much everything in between when guiding my kids to make the right choices. It’s one of the first things you learn in your discipline classes to become a teacher. It’s all about the choices!
Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without the birthday boy blowing his candle out for his cake.
Birthdays are always really special in our family. Some birthdays are spent with lots of people who join in helping us celebrate and others are spent with just the family in a fun filled afternoon. Regardless of the type of celebration, it is always an opportunity for me to thank God for another healthy year for one of my children. I Thank God for Diego everyday, but most especially on his birthday because that’s the day that he officially became MINE to love.
Happy Birthday J-Bird. I love you so very very much.