June 13, 2015

Magnum Manila Review ~ Heaven Sent Dessert

What do you say to a Magnum Bar, with three (3) of your choice toppings, on a super hot afternoon? 
It was obviously a big YES (with a huge GRIN) for me and my boys. 
I have been wanting to try Magnum Manila's "make-your-own" ice cream bar, but the long queues is such a turn-off.  
We were back at SM Aura last week, and the queues were not as long ~ Yipee!
 A DIY Magnum Bar cost P100. 
After paying, a crew takes in your choices of three (3) toppings...
(Tip: There are so many toppings to choose from, if you are not certain, get the toppings labelled "best seller")
 You  would be asked, whether you want a vanilla or a chocolate bar; and preference of chocolate coating: dark chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate.  

The ice cream bar is dipped into the chocolate coating and the toppings are then sprinkled to the ice cream bar, and "tada", the bestEST Magnum Bar ever!!!
 My choice: vanilla ice cream, dipped in dark chocolate with almonds, marsh mallow and choco dots for toppings. 

My boy is so proud of his own ice cream creation. 
I guess we will be back again soon (hopefully without queues)!
Magnum Manila is located at the 5F Skypark, SM Aura
Check out their facebook page for details: Magnum Manila

Midas Hotel and Casino Review ~ A Posh Boutique Hotel

I snatched a Midas Hotel deal via a group buying website, which I thought was perfect for my husband's birthday staycation.
The package we got is for an executive room, inclusive of buffet breakfast for two (2), access to the executive lounge, high-speed internet access, use of fitness center, and free transport to the SM Mall of Asia (although we did not use the free transport, since we used our own car).
Location was perfect as we have plans of going to DreamPlay at the City of Dreams, located just a few minutes away the hotel.

 The Midas Hotel lobby is posh and modern.

The executive rooms are clean, but basic.
The pictures presented in the web are way-way better.
We opted for two (2) single beds, which were quite comfortable.  The linens and pillows smell fresh and new.

(The beds are a bit small, but the plush daybed made up for the lack of bed space. My youngest laid claim to this one!)

The room is equipped with flat TV, with plenty of channel options to keep everyone entertained.
 The bathroom though small is spic-and-span.

We had a clogged sink early in the day, right after  check-in, but maintenance was fast in fixing it.
The bath tub and shower in one.
Open bar with coffee and tea making facilities.
Bathrobes were provided.
Robes and towels smells fresh and new, as well.

I was surprised to see a complete ironing set nicely tucked inside one of the closets ~  very nice. This would come in handy especially for business travelers.

The safe works and is easy to use.   

Executive rooms come with Bulgari bath toiletries, impressive.
Complete toiletries set for two.


Guests billeted at the Executive Floors enjoy exclusive access to the Sunset Lounge for complimentary spread of gourmet snacks and hors d’oeuvres, and choice drinks from 4 pm to 8 pm. We were, however, unable to try this one since I don't want to leave the kids alone in the room.
  • Staff are well-mannered and welcoming.  I felt so at home, with staff greeting us nicely, opening doors, carrying our bags ~ admirable customer service.
  • There is no indoor parking, but they do offer valet parking for free to hotel guests, very convenient.
  • Wi-Fi is complimentary ~ fast and reliable. My boys went gaga downloading games.
  • There is no swimming pool, but my youngest made do swimming in the bathtub.   
  • Buffet spread is plenty, but just so-so.  The pastries, however, were exquisite.  Since our package is just for two (2), we paid extra for the kids at P400+ each.

We were so into the pastries, we forgot to bother taking photos of the buffet spread...my bad!



I call this place ~ Pastries Haven!

Overall we had a satisfactory stay.  It is a decent hotel for business travelers, but not so much for families.  Although it is just a short distance the SM MOA, StarCity and DreamPlay, traversing to and from the areas of interests may pose a bit of inconvenience.
Location and contact number:
2702 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City 1300, Philippines.
Contact Number: +63 902 0100

June 11, 2015

NBA Cafe Review ~ Boys Day Out

If you have boys (and a husband :P) who are so into basketball,  you should consider dining at the NBA café at SM Aura, BGC Taguig. 
The huge NBA logo at the store front, was quite successful and attracting my kiddos' attention.  The crew invited us in and my kids were all eyes, on the NBA theming of the place ~ furnishing and decorations.

There are television monitors, everywhere you look, tuned to obviously the NBA channel.   
We came in at 11:30, with only a handful of people eating, but
I can imagine this place full of fans cheering their teams on at playoffs and finals. 

Just look at these NBA jerseys, such an eye-candy for my baseball stars wannabes.

 Do you see the main monitor at the background? It is humongous
And don't fear missing anything important as you excuse yourself to the bathroom, they have built in audio inside the restroom to make sure you are completely updated with the game.
We ordered cheese burgers, creamy macaroni and cheese and creamy spinach, white bean and artichoke dip. 
 The cheese burger plate ~ P 385. 
Topped with Gruyere cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles  cheese burger is heavy, my husband and my eldest had their fill and felt full even after dinner time. They said they should have ordered just one for sharing.
The creamy macaroni and cheese ~ P375.
I shared a bowl of macaroni and cheese with my youngest.  The sauce thickens as the meal cools. 

Creamy spinach, white bean and artichoke for appetizer ~ P195.
The appetizer came with very few chips that we had to get more chips for an additional P60.
  • NBA café is perfect for a day out with your boys.  It is wonderful concept for basketball fans.  
  • Our orders were good, but not spectacular.  
Are we coming back?  
With boys who are so into basketball, I am guessing Yes! 
NBA Café Manila is located at the 5th floor, Skypark, SM Aura Premier Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Telephone Number: 63-2-556-1683.
Check out their website for more details: http://www.nba.com/nbacafe/about.html

June 10, 2015

A Day at DreamPlay City of Dreams Manila

 City of Dreams Manila recently opened the door to it's latest attraction "DreamPlay". 

DreamPlay is an interactive play concept, where kids and adults alike can play, create and learn with their favorite DreamWork's characters.

(image taken from Wikia.com)
Let me help you in planning your family day out, by sharing with you tips from our own experience, visiting DreamPlay.
1.  Get your tickets at an SM cinema ticket outlet.  We got ours at SM Aura before heading to the theme park. It proved to be a wise decision as the line queue outside the park is quite long.  I must have saved 30+ minutes waiting time.
You can buy tickets via SM cinema online, but these would need to be exchanged for the actual tickets in an SM cinema outlet.

2. Weekend/Holiday ticket rate is more expensive.

If possible go on a weekday and save money on your tickets.  I am assuming it is also less crowded on a weekday, so you can get the most out of your money.

(please read through above the themepark's general policies)

3. You ask, how many hours does one need to visit DreamPlay? 

Well, the answer depends on the following:
a. the age of your children
b. what activities you want to do
c. volume of guests/visitors inside the park

It is a relatively small park and very easy to navigate, especially if for older kids.  I got my family, two (2) hours adult and children's tickets.  I figured, I can easily get a top-up/upgrade (should we decide to extend).  The extension hours though is a tad more expensive, but only by a few pesos.

4. There is separate queuing for guests with pre-bought tickets.  We were asked to enter the back door via the DreamPlay souvenir shop entrance. Look for the guest services.

Entrance was a breeze and only took us 5 minutes tops.

At the guest services, I was asked to sign a parental consent form for my kids.  I only used one form for my 2 boys.
The attendant got our names and assigned us each an RFID wrist band.  
5. What's inside DreamPlay? The park has six (6) mini-zones.
a. Kung Fu Panda's  Wall of Destiny and Furious Academy

My youngest is too small to try the Wall of Destiny and opted for the Furious Academy. The concept is much like a Wii game were participants are asked to follow the actions of the characters.

b. Shrek's Swamp Stomp. Younger children would love to play around Shrek's swamp home.  They also may register for free for a cooking class at Gingy's Kitchen
Cooking looked fun and kids looked adorable in their chef's costume, unfortunately Gingy's filled up early and the next available time slot is at 8:30pm.


c.  How To Train your Dragon. My boys made their own dragons and had the chance to make them fly. 


d. Madagascar's Whatever Floats Your Boat, guests make their own boats and test-floats them. 

The Afro Circus is a play area for smaller children.


e. Dinotrux. You can build and pilot your own reptools in this zone.

f. DreamWorks - Dream Studio, Dream Tales Library and  Dream Theatre

Learn to create your own animation.

Watch a 5 minutes 4D movie.
Spend hours inside the Dream Tales Library, where occasional story telling and puppet shows are held.

7. Hungry? There are food outlets inside DreamPlay, but quite expensive.  Good, we had heavy lunch before heading to DreamPlay, so we were still too full for merienda. We did get the kids fries and drinks before leaving, which left a 300+ dent in papa's wallet.

(P140 bottomless cup and P90 for the fries)

Note, eating also consumes your DreamPlay time.  I suggest having a hearty meal elsewhere, before heading to DreamPlay.

6. Remember to check your time, excess time is rounded to an
extra hour, even for a fraction of time exceeded.

  • There are ample free indoor parking.  You only need to take an elevator and exit to the upper ground floor to get to the park, really convenient.
  • Unlike most theme parks, DreamPlay does not issue park maps. We were actually lost for a good 10-15 minutes wondering what to do and where to go.  I recommend you research first on the activities they offer, to plan your visit well.
  • DreamPlay is relatively small and is designed for kids 6-13 years old.  Activities for toddler guests is quite limited.
  • Souvenir items were as expected expensive.  They were pretty cute though... but, yeah still pricey!

I am not sure my kids will be begging to come back anytime soon. It was a good experience, but my kids have been to better parks before, so it was a hard comparison, with the size and limited activities a bit of a let down. 

DreamPlay is located at the City of Dreams
Asean Avenue corner Roxas Boulevard, Entertainment City, Parañaque Manila