5 Funtastic Must-Do's When Your Child is Graduating

Graduation is the beginning of another journey.

For Filipino families, graduation is a remarkable event not only for the graduating student but for the parents and siblings as well.  It is the culmination of the hardships and sacrifices of everyone in the family. To the parents, to have children with college diplomas under their sleeves is an achievement no amount of money can buy.

The road leading to the graduation ceremony is a challenge for the graduating students - from submission of the final project paper and last-minute reports to buying the graduation dress, fitting the gown, and host of other graduation-related preparations.

Our youngest daughter, Ciara Alyssa graduated last summer of 2019 with the degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Riverside College, https://www.theriversidecollege.edu.ph/. She was also CUM LAUDE and Legacy awardee.  These awards, especially the Latin Honor is extra special for us, parents because it shows that she is one of the top students of her batch.

Like any proud parents, we are excited to see her march and come up the stage to receive her diploma.  To make this momentous event memorable, we are sharing with you the 5 important pre-graduation must-dos that will surely guarantee a disaster-free ceremony.


1. Book a hotel room in advance
Usually, graduation ceremony is a whole-day affair - the whole morning is dedicated to the Baccalaureate Mass while in the afternoon for the graduation ceremony proper.

It is practical to get a hotel room near the ceremony venue and check-in the night before to give ample time for preparation and travel to and from the venue and hotel.  We checked in at the L Fisher Hotels Ecotel, which is about 15 minutes drive going to the events venue, SMX Convention Center.  This allowed us to relax and get our reserved seat hassle-free.

Staying in the hotel gave us the luxury to go back after the morning program, leisurely ate our lunch and prepared ourselves for the afternoon session. 

 
Booking a hotel room is a breeze with the online technology


2. Set a make-up session with the make-up artist early
During the graduation months, most of the make-up artists are fully booked, making it difficult to get our preferred beautician.  Therefore, giving a call to your beauty expert ahead of time will surely make a difference.

Since this occasion happens once in her lifetime, we made it a point to make Ciara doubly beautiful because she was comfortable having the same make-up artist every time she needs one. 

Make-up enhances the beauty within you.


3.Secure the tickets for the reserved seats
During the program, there are certain rules to follow.  Let us not forget to bring our tickets as a pass for entry to the venue.  Most schools are very strict in enforcing this rule because of the limited seats and capacity that are allowed inside the events venue.

Riverside College has the most disciplined and strict committees who ensure that the whole proceedings are running smoothly.  While there were clamors heard in the afternoons program, these were addressed promptly by the energetic members of the committees.

Entrance tickets guarantee seats for the program



4. Bring a camera and extra batteries
A graduation ceremony is a precious moment that should be immortalized through pictures.  Having a camera and batteries on hand will surely accomplish this goal.

Riverside College has engaged the services of a single photography agency, which really help in ensuring that the ceremony, was quiet and solemn as possible since only these uniformed personnel were seen taking pictures and videoing the program.

We used our camera during the post-graduation picture taking with classmates and friends as well as family members.

Camera is making our photography skills to the next level

5.Plan out the post-graduation celebration
While most of the soon-to-be graduatesfamilies were not particular about celebrations, it is wise to decide where and what to eat ahead of time.  This will give the restaurant ample time to prepare the food and designate the table for us.

Our post-graduation celebration was held at Clems Bisto.(https://m.facebook.com/clemscuisine/) For us, this is the ideal place because, it is located far away from the program venue; with little traffic, allowing us to reach the restaurant on time.

Milestones need celebration.


 Graduation ceremony maybe quick or lengthy, depending on the number of graduates and program courses.  Having a diploma tucked under our sleeves is an accomplishment that we should be proud of.  The graduates hurdled college life with flying colors.  But the real battle is yet to begin.   

Have you experienced having a graduating student in your family?  What are your preparations?  Please share it in the comment section below.




Travel Tipid Tricks: Exploring Guimaras on a Budget


The famous landmark of Guimaras, located in Jordan Capitol Ground provides a background for selfies and groupies.

They say that unplanned travel adventures are the most memorable and happiest. That was what
exactly happened when South Bacolod General Hospital and Medical Center, Inc. (SBGHMCI) -
Accounting Section ventured into a road  trip to the province of Guimaras with few days of preparation
and limited resources for their annual summer activity. This yearly time-off from office works is part of
the hospital’s program to promote work-life balance of the employees.

Traveling on a budget allowed travel hunters to find ways to get the most out of their hard-earned
money. Sharing of expenses, getting the lowest prices for an item, haggling and planning make a
difference in saving that extra pesos which could be used to buy pasalubongs for their loved
ones back home.

Here are five travel tricks from SBGH Accounting personnel, which may help your summer outing
in Guimaras extra memorable without the guilt of having to spend on unbudgeted expenses.

Transportation
Taking the Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras route is long and expensive.  Considering the limited time and
budget, the team took the Pulupandan route which saves us a few hundred pesos and around three
hours travel time. Haggling or “ayo” is important when it comes to expenses. The group hired a van
that would fetch us from the port to the hotel and some side-trips along the way, which cost
P 1,000.00. However, the team wanted to visit as many tourist spots as possible, so we haggled to
add another P 1,000.00 for the extra stop-over. The standard van rental rate is P3,500.00 for a day
tour, but we got it for P 2,000.00, saving us P 1,000.00 on transportation.

Resort Accommodation
It always pays to make advance reservation because one can get his preferred room arrangement as a large chunk of our budget went to the resort expenses. The team made the resort reservation about three weeks before our scheduled trip and fortunately, the large room which can accommodate 8-10 persons is still available.  This air conditioned room and the extra foams made our weary souls rested enough for the long road travel the day before. Aside from getting the best price for the shared room, it allowed us to have long conversations with our work mates and gave us a glimpse of each other’s personal life. A room for two persons was also occupied for our couple-companion, which was charged to their personal account, since this is not part of the team’s budget.

Tourist Sites
Guimaras offers so many places to visit - from their famed beach resorts, historical monuments or old churches, or you may opt to try their world’s famous mangoes. Wherever you may want to visit or whatever you want to do, it is always advisable to plan your itinerary ahead of time.
  1. San Lorenzo Wind Farm. To make the most of our time, from the port, we proceeded to the town of San Lorenzo, the home of the famous San Lorenzo Windmill. These giant windmills, about 27 of them, produce renewable energy and are serving the electricity needs of the towns and its neighbors.  We made a lot of selfies and groupies here with the huge machine as the backdrop.
    The San Lorenzo Windmill Farm in Valencia is slowly becoming a must-see place while in Guimaras.
  2. Manggahan Festival.  Our second stop was in Jordan Capitol Ground, the host of the Manggahan Festival. We saw an agro fair exhibit and plenty of mangoes arranged beautifully, which tempted this writer and his wife to go back in the afternoon to partake of their Mangoes-All-U-Can, wherein you can binge on mangoes - ripe or not (with bagoong on the side) with bare hands for P120.00. This was this blogger’s favorite part.
    The world-famous mangoes are arranged beautifully.

    The Mango-Eat-All -You-Can is one of the highlights of the Manggahan Festival.
  3. Guisi Lighthouse.  Next, the group visited the Guisi Lighthouse. These are the ruins of the famous lighthouse which guides navigators at night time during the Spanish era. Situated on the hilly portion, one can see the vastness of crystal clear blue waters of the sea. Going down a man-made stair of about 100 steps, tourists can take a dip in the cool waters of Guisi Beach Resort nearby.
    This signage allows visitors to know the historical significance of the Guisi Lighthouse
  4. Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort. Our last stopover was in Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort. Next to each other, both resorts offer rooms at affordable prices without sacrificing the basic amenities of a standard hotel.  The beachfront is breathtaking with a very nice view of the sunrise and sunset and white powdery sand. If you do not want to get a tan, ideal swimming time is between 4 PM to night time and from sunrise to around 9 AM.
    Raymen Beach Resort has various airconditioned rooms and amenities suited to the needs of its visitors.
  5. Island Hopping.   Some members of the group went island hopping. These islands can be accessed by small pumpboat for a minimal fee and are best for exclusive swimming, snorkeling and even cliff diving. Some islands waiting to be discovered are Ave Maria Islet, Tatlong Pulo Beach, Buho Ramirez Cave, Taklong Island and a lot more.
  6. Trappist Monastery and Gift Shop. Before heading home, the SBGH personnel dropped by the Trappist Monastery and gift shop. The monastery is a quiet place to reflect and say a prayer or maybe light a candle. If you are lucky, you may find the monks at the monastery during their scheduled prayer. This writer was told that visitors were not allowed to talk to the monks.The group bought some delicacies and trinkets from the gift shop. Tourists may find all the food stuff the whole of Guimaras offers plus all kinds of products made from mangoes – piayaya, dried mangoes, mango jam, mango crinckles, mangoscoth (variation of butter scotch), etc.  The shop also sells religious and novelty items, perfect as pasalubong.
    This haven for the weary souls is ideal for retreats and teambuilding activities

Food
Every traveler's mantra is - travel light. Nevertheless, one should make an exception if one is traveling on a budget. Bringing food stuff and pre-cooked meals is practical ways to reduce costs. It is also wise to eat in the resort’s canteen or buys meat or fish for grilling. This recipe does not require complicated preparation and utilizes few ingredients. Plus, spending in front of the grille with team members allows for endless bonding moments, which rarely happens in the office.

Small but Terrible
Guimaras is a small province comprising five towns. However, it should not be underestimated when it comes to its tourist attractions. It is not only the world-famous mangoes but the pristine clear waters of its beaches, uncrowded islands and the friendly and charming smiles of the people that will make your travel extra special.
We are just a pebble in the ocean called life.

The SBGH Accounting personnel went home energized and just like Guimaras, it promises to continue to bring smiles to the people in the workplace.

Experience Gastronomic Delight and Nature's Beauty at Balsa River Cruise and Floating Restaurant







If you are a tourist and have traveled to Bohol City, I guess you never missed eating your lunch or dinner while traversing Loboc River on a boat.  Well, there is a local version of this rdining innovation, they aptly called it, the Balsa River Cruise. The idea is the same - to serve unlimited food to customer while riding an improvised boat (“boat” in local dialect means “balsa”), but the sights of lush greeneries, birds and the clean waters of Ilog River are what make this place different.


Advanced Booking is Required
Tourists are required to book in advance because the boat can accommodate around 50 passengers. They do not allow walk-ins probably because they will prepare food for those with confirmed bookings to avoid unnecessary food wastage. Two Booking booths are available, one is at the take-off station in Malabong, Ilog and another one in Kabankalan City.  One may also book online by visiting their FB Page - https://www.facebook.com/balsarivercruise.com/





Accessible and Clean Location
The place is a 10-minute drive away from Kabankalan City, whether by private car or tricycle, the only public vehicle plying this route.  It has a spacious and clean waiting area with a 50-meter Led TV set to keep the guests from not getting impatient while waiting for their scheduled trip.  It serves light snacks to go with the TV entertainment.

This picturesque view greets tourists upon entry to the lounge area

Wide Selection of Seafood and Native Delicacies
Diners are served with around 7 to 10 kinds of seafood such as garlic  shrimp dunked in sweet sauce, steamed crab,and talaba, steak bangus, adobong pusit, chicken and pork adobo, fish kinilaw and jackfruit ensalada.  They also serve pancit guisado, native products such as maja blanca, camote delight, suman and others. Drinks and coffee are overflowing too.



All -you-can-eat seafood and meat dishes are served  generously.



Fruits and native delicacies are plenty




The buffet table is strategically placed on the center aisle to facilitate smooth flow of foot traffic


Live Acoustic Music
While eating and cruising along the river, guests are treated to a local acoustic band which sings soft music that will make you love your spouse more.  The singers accommodate request for songs, or they may even sing birthday songs for birthday celebrants.

Amazing Sights along the River Banks
The beautiful scenery makes tourists  feel refreshed and relaxed. There are plenty of lush vegetation along the riverbank which protect the area from soil erosion and balance the ecosystem.

There are birds of different species flying above or near the river bank. I learned that the river is becoming a breeding ground for some of the birds.  This is a rare sight for someone who is living in the city who have limited open spaces and green initiatives are placed on the sidelight.

The boat ride takes around 1 to 2 hours, covering around 7 kilometers of the river with clean water.  The river bank is devoid of any waste materials, and birds make food by catching fish.

If you are  good in finding the right angle, there are nice views that you can photograph inside the “balsa” with the clouds or water as the backdrop.


A refreshing view for someone who lives in the concrete jungle, we call home.


This Ilog river is home to some bird species, balancing the ecosystem in the area.

Friendly Staff
The boat ride experience is never complete without the friendly and helpful staff.  They make you feel really important and they have what you need in an instant, such as toothpick, extra glass, etc.

Our Balsa River Cruise Experience is one for the book.  It allows me and wife to enjoy good food, while listening to soft music and at the same time appreciate how generous God is by gifting us with these blessings.


The couple enjoying good food, mellow music and wonderful sights.

You may book your reservation online at telephone no. 09101886420 for P450.00 per pax (roughly around USD$ 9.00)









Palmbeach Resort and Spa (Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines): Our Home in Lapu-lapu City

I have not been to Cebu City for so many years.  That is why exploring Mactan Island in Cebu is exciting; not only because this is...