Earlier this month, we were invited to visit New World Manila Bay Hotel. The kids were all super excited to have some time away, and I was equally excited to take advantage of The Residence Club on the 10th floor. The time leading up to Christmas is always busy, filled with parties and preparation, as well as lots of last minute things that need to be addressed before the city shuts down to celebrate Christ’s birthday.
Whenever we stay in a hotel as a family, one sure fire way take advantage of all of the amenities is to request a room on club floor.
These rooms will usually have access to the lounge, or in this case, The Residence Club Living Room, that has comforts which we all can equate with home.
The Residence Club Living Room has snacks and refreshments that are available all throughout the day, but I know Nino and I were both looking forward to a time where we could wind down, and enjoy the time with the kids without any interruption from work. We were both looking forward to capturing the sun setting over Manila Bay, and perhaps Jeanne knew we were looking forward to that because she included the time of the sunset in a convenient card reminding us of all of the fun things to take advantage of.
After checking in, and exploring the room, Gelli had a great time just playing in front of the mirror. I took advantage of the time to sit and chat with Nino in one of the living rooms of the suites that were connecting for our family of six.
I realized how easy it is now to travel with Gelli, if I pack properly. As long as she has her tried and true toys that are her favs, she can actually keep herself occupied for some time. She played while we waited for her Kuya Diego as he was following us from a friend’s birthday party just in time for dinner.
We took full advantage of our time in The Living Room. I encouraged the kids to take advantage of the board games to play quietly, while I enjoyed a Wine Spritzer with Sabrina, and adult conversation with Nino.
With access to a FULL bar of mixed drinks and wine to choose from, I wanted to be sure that I didn’t get tipsy before dinner with my parents at LiLi. A spritzer was the best choice for me since I enjoy white wine, and it doesn’t make me sleepy.
Sabrina was also staying at the hotel during the same weekend and they were celebrating Sancho’s birthday together with her in-laws as well. What a fun celebration for them because her mother and father in law celebrate just a day shy of one another! Super saya!
After drinks and snacks we proceeded to the private room that Jeanne had arranged for us for dinner. We were really looking forward to trying a bunch of the different dishes, as our family LOVES Chinese food, and LiLi is known for having a wonderfully versatile menu that can make any foodie happy.
Here are some of the dishes that we enjoyed with my parents and the kids:
The Crispy Japanese Tofu made everyone happy. Even my dad liked it.
The Crispy Taro Tower was an amazing crunchy flavorful beautiful mess. Hehehehe. I say mess, because once we dug into it, I just kept scooping more on my plate.
The Roasted Pork Belly was suggested by our host in marketing, Jeanne. This dish did not disappoint and Nino, my mom, and I LOVED it.
Tender Squid coated with a Salted Egg Batter was the perfect version of salty and crunchy for this calamari lover.
Gia wasn’t eating with us on this evening because it was Stephen’s surprise birthday party that she and Stephen’s best friend, Mark planned for him. That meant that I wanted to order wisely, because one of the things that I try to teach the kids is that they need to finish what they request in order and not be wasteful. It was already a treat for us to enjoy such a wonderful meal, that I was sure we could only finish a half order of Peking Duck.
Diego even enjoyed the leftovers of this dish cooked the second time, back in the room when he was hungry for a midnight snack.
I reminded the kids not to stuff themselves too much, because I remembered that the desserts are just as delicious as the main courses that I have had before. Good thing they listened.
Nino enjoyed the Hot Taro Pudding and because I like to taste a little bit of everything, I enjoyed a little taste of all of the desserts on the table.
The week before we had this staycation planned the flu went through our entire home. Gelli got hit first and was down for a week, when Gia and Nino followed shortly. Even our long time helper Joann got sick and had to stay home for this staycation because I needed her to be fully rested come Monday when we would be off with the Ressa Family again for a different kind of treat.
That meant that Miguel was under the weather while were enjoying ourselves.
But he was sure to rest in between each meal, and when meal time came, he would muster up the strength to join us for the delicious food that we were treated to in both The Residence Club Living Room and LiLi.
After dinner, we waited for Ate to come back to the room after her celebration with Stephen and we killed the time by watching The Greatest Showman with Gelli and Diego.
Confession: There was a moment. A moment of gratitude that both Nino and I were caused to pause. Here we were, all cozied up in the kids’ room (Miguel had a cot in the living room so we wouldn’t disturb him) and Gelli and Diego were under the covers watching The Greatest Showman when Jenny Lind was singing “Never Enough.” Gelli started singing (all of) the words to the song with hand motions mimicking Jenny’s character. I think Nino was surprised and got a little emotional. Actually, we both were very much in awe of our littlest who was singing all the words softly to such a meaningful song…
It was a beautiful moment for two very lucky parents of a very special girl…
Once Gia got back from the surprise party, we were all able to draw our BLACK OUT curtains, turn up the aircon, and cuddle so we could set off to restful night’s sleep. And to think, Nino and I had these plans of meeting Sabrina and Sieg for drinks before bed. Good thing all of us were on the same page in terms of resting and taking full advantage of the comfy beds.
Breakfast in the Club Living Room was a welcome change to eating the Market Cafe. Of course, there are so many advantages to enjoying The Market Cafe Breakfast Buffet, but something about sitting upstairs, just down the hall from our rooms with Gelli in tow seemed so much more appealing. So after asking the receptionist at The Residence Club to cancel our reservations downstairs, we opted for the quieter (but still with so many different selections) accommodations for our somewhat noisy family of six.
I asked everyone what their favorite parts were to staying on the 10th floor in New World Manila Bay and this is what #TeamGellibean had to say:
Nino: I loved how “homey” our stay on the 10th flloor was. Everything was at our fingertips.
Mish: I loved the ease with which I was able to take care of the whole family. Something for everyone.
Gia: I loved the board games. Especially playing with Stephen and Gelli.
Miguel: I liked that the water bottles were glass. It shows me that New World cares about the environment.
Diego: It totally felt like a family place. It was fun.
+ 1 Stephen: I loved the view of Manila Bay.
So, because Miguel was curious, he also did a little homework. He found out that New World Manila Bay is quietly doing their part to take care of Mother Earth as well. Here are some of the things he shared with me:
- They have reduced single use plastics in quite a few ways.
- No more straws, instead they use stainless straws if you need one.
- They have glass water bottles instead of plastic.
- Even the toiletries in the bathroom are wrapped in paper instead of plastic.
Of course, we know that most hotels, are pitching in and making sure they do their part in taking care of Mother Earth, so it was nice to see such simple ways that our kids took notice of and appreciated. Little known fact about Miguel: he has always been attuned to taking care of the Earth. Ever since he was about four years old.
After breakfast, Miguel really wasn’t feeling so well, so Nino and I walked to the nearest drug store to pick up some medicine for him to give him relief. I am not a big fan of giving the kids medicine right away, because I like them to fight and build antibodies, but in this case, he was really suffering so Nino and I didn’t mind taking a quick walk to get him what he needed.
By the time we came back, I was ready for my second cup of coffee, so we sat in The Living Room once again, and took advantage of the fact that the kids were all relaxing in the room together before we were to have our All You Can Eat Dim Sum Lunch at LiLi.
It’s no secret that we LOVE dim sum.
The nice thing about this all you can eat buffet at LiLi, is that you don’t even have to stand up to avail of the dishes you want!
You can check off the dishes you want and even order PER PIECE so that there is (again) very little waste, which you know we are very conscious of, as a family.
We have visited other hotels where there is an all you can eat option for dimsum, and to be honest, it’s really a difficult choice unless we have a big group to go with that has similar tastes in dimsum. Imagine if it’s just Nino and myself and we have to order our bamboo steamed baskets and finish them all? At LiLi, we can order 3 pieces, 7 pieces, or even more than that based on what every body prefers!
Miguel’s favorite is Xiao Long Bao.
Diego’s favorite is Sio Pao.
Gia’s favorite (USED TO BE) Pan Fried Radish Cake.
Which is nice, because all of the big kids get to choose what they like, order as many pieces as they want, and come back for more, if that’s what they want.
I asked everyone (once again) what their favorite part of the All You Can Eat Dim Sum Buffet Lunch was at LiLi, and here’s what they said:
Nino: I love the Sio Pao. (that’s where Diego gets it from.)
Mish: I loved the deep friend Hong Kong Wanton.
Gia: I loved the Pumpkin Dumpling.
Miguel: I love the Xiao Long Bao. (no brainer)
Diego: I love the Mango Pudding. (again no brainer because he loves sweets)
Gelli: Chocolate. I love Chocolate.
+1 Stephen: I loved the Baked Pork Pastry Puff.
We really had a blast enjoying our quiet family time just before the holidays together. It’s funny. I found myself sitting and quietly observing the kids as they would play with and joke one another. There were moments that both Nino and I sat in amazement at just how cool our kids are, and how wonderfully blessed we both felt.
And I asked him, “Is that what we need to do more often?”
Do we just need to stop everything and sneak away with the kids to appreciate their growth as individuals and their growth as #TeamGellibean? I mean that’s what this weekend really was to us. Of course, it was an opportunity to learn more about New World Manila Bay and how close it is, to so many different things we could do as a family. Of course, it was also an opportunity to enjoy all the wonderful fare from LiLi, and the different dishes that are new to us, and of course we enjoyed our favorites as well.
But, this past weekend was more than all of that. It was a moment to pause, to take stock, to watch our kiddos, to sit on the sofa and talk to them and laugh with them, and rediscover them in a way that we could not do if I was sitting on my own sofa, thinking about the laundry list of chores and things that needed to be addressed.
Thank you, New World Manila Bay for hosting our family for the weekend. We had a wonderful time.