T minus 1

A wish I have will finally come true in 24 hours.
I dream I had for the last 2 decades will finally become a reality.

, here we come, and here’s my 4 year old, setting foot at your soil for the very first time! I can’t wait for him to experience you and to witness his little adventures!

It’s been a while and I pray for the best trip ever.

All our bags are packed and we’re ready to go…..

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Fun Shoot c/o Kulot MNL

When I was a kid, my mom usually bring me to Great Image for my yearly shoots. I’m not really the type of person who does this kind of thing, now that I am grown up. I think my last shoot was my graduation pictures, aside from my pre-nup shoot and wedding shoot.

But this came, My sister has a passion project for her new business, Kulot MNL. She wanted the curly haired humans of Manila to be the star for a day. So she commissioned with photographer, Mikha’el Marav and Chroma by Ara for make up. Soooo… when the shoot was over, Vic, Coco and I took over the make shift studio that was made in our Ortigas condo.

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How to Apply for a US Visa for a Child in the Philippines

It has been my plan to visit US again since I last went there was in 2006. But since I got busy with school, graduated from school, got employed for a while, got married and Coco was born, I never had a chance to go back, especially that it would require additional expenses.

But now that I only have 3 years to use my 10-year multiply entry visa (and suntok sa buwan for me to have another one in the next few years) plus Coco is now 4 years old, I think It is the right time for him to visit one of his favorite countries, the US of A.

Note: I have a 10 year multiple entry visa while the husband doesn’t have one, he is not applying with Coco for the mean time. We are applying for a B1/B2 Visa for the boy.

Make sure that you already have a passport. My Coco has had his passport since he was a year old. Sorry, I was lazy to blog that time, I didn’t have a blog regarding our passport appointment. But I remember it was scheduled around 2PM at SM Megamall. But we came a little earlier and they still assisted us to fast lane. As far as I can remember doing, to apply for a passport for a child, you still have to book an appointment. But since you have a child (a baby at that), you can come in anytime you want as long as you bring all your requirements needed. You can also apply with your child. Since I am already married, I also applied for my passport using my maiden name that time. It was a very fast process and it was delivered exactly on time.

Anyway here’s what I did to apply for the US Visa:
1. Visit this website.
2. Click YES if it is the first time you are applying for a visa (so automatically, it is a YES)

3. They website will ask if you are applying for an immigrant or non immigrant visa. Click immigrant.

4. It will then lead to to this page in the website that details the steps in applying for an immigrant visa.
5. Determine your Non-immigrant Visa type – since we were there just for a visit, we are applying for B1/B2 type. Check your visa type here and check the visa fee here.
Note: B1/B2 is $160 as of today – its conversion is P8160. It changes depends on the PH conversion. Conversion is usually posted at the Visa fee page and it will be valid through a certain date.
For example:

6. You will be asked to create a profile in that page. To finish it, you will also need your DS-160 Confirmation number. It is your application form that you can create here.
7. Pay the Visa fee. You can check the details from this page. You can pay via bank deposit or online banking. I paid via BPI Online transfer. I just clicked on this link, enrolled US Visa in my BPI Online Banking Account, take note that they will give you a unique reference number in that link. That is the number you will use when you enroll US Visa in your online banking account. This number will also serve as your receipt number when you book your appointment.
8. Before you will be able to book an appointment, you will have to wait for a few hours for it to be posted. I paid midnight on a Monday, so it was confirmed by noon – almost exactly 12 hours.
Here’s their processing time line.

9. You can now book online. Visit this page. Click SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT that you will see at the left side of the website. Under the side bar menu, you can also see the earliest possible date that you can apply. Just answer the questions that is asked and you will be able to book your appointment in the end. You can also call (02)9768500 to schedule an appointment, or you need more assistance.
10. Go to the US Embassy on your scheduled date. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current and all old passports. Read on your appointment letter for more details and things to remember.
*The DS-160 confirmation page can be found after you finalize your application. You can send it to your email as well.
*The appointment letter is sent to your e-mail.
*Always print then from the email itself. You will see a small printer icon at the opened e-mail that you want to print.
*They didn’t ask for the printed copies of the photograph, but it was uploaded before confirming the DS-160 form.
*Because the applicant is a minor, I brought along, aside from the applicant’s passport, my own passports with my US Visa. Since my US Visa was issued when I was still not married and my passport is already under my married name, I also brought a copy of my marriage certificate. I also brought with me is my husband’s passport. I also brought a copy of the applicant’s birth certificate.
11. If approved, just wait for its delivery to you!

Grabe. I’m so stressed out the night before I got to schedule an appointment. I checked the earliest schedule available Saturday midnight – June. I paid Monday midnight , and is about to book an appointment, when I saw the earliest available was for August na! Which will be too late for our proposed date for the trip. I asked around if it would still change, and thank God, most of the people told me that it will still change, some slots could still open, maybe earlier slots can still open. I slept, and when I woke up Monday, 11 hours after I paid, March 27 na ang available. I rejoiced! But my payment wasn’t posted yet. So I tried calling the hotline, and still couldn’t book an appointment. I refreshed the page where I was trying to book online after an hour, and it went directly to the page where I can pick the scheduled time. So, voila! Coco is now booked for April 3 appointment. So, since everything is already posted online, I will just reiterate that the available schedules MAY still change. SO, if you tried booking and you got a date which is not good for you, book it. And then just check everyday (try every midnight) as there would be cancelled slots that may open for you. Just like what happened to me, I haven’t booked yet, but there might be someone who canceled that’s why I was able to book an earlier date.

I picked the earliest possible time because I am anticipating long waiting times, and my Coco might get cranky.

Appointment date came. We were at the US Embassy by 9:00AM. But the outside entrance signage says that at that moment, they were already assisting those with appointments at 9:45AM. I fell in line and answered a green slip (this is for the applicants with someone processing for them – example parent and their child). The lady gave me a Yellow E cardThe Express card! Hooray! I thought because my son is already 4 years old, he won’t be applicable for that.

Next stop is the lane that checks your appointment form. I gave the staff my son’s passport and she placed a sticker with a barcode with the DS-160 appointment form number.

We were then asked to go inside the security building where the x-ray machines are. Coco’s food was allowed to enter, but have to finish the food because it isn’t allowed inside. So we were about to enter the building, when the lady guard called me and told me that there is a USB in my bag! OMG! I thought i left everything in our car. I didn’t realize that my USB was inside my wallet. I didn’t know what to do, my mom already left the place. I went out of the security building and some from the crowd called me and asked if I needed to leave something. I can’t just throw away my USB because there might be important documents there that I don’t remember. So, I just took the risk and left it in one of the stalls selling food and drinks. It was P100 and risk, it was that or throwing it away. So, I just paid, they gave me a number and I left and went back inside the security building. So, check all of your belongings before you enter the US Embassy.

We entered and went to the pavilion. Coco and I ate our baon for a few minutes and then we proceded to Gate 2.

At Gate 2, they again checked the bags. There was a small pack of M&M’s, that I again forgot about. They asked if I have a child, so they allowed it to be left inside my bag and just told me not to let him eat it anymore.

We then went to Step 1 window. We didn’t have to fall in line since we have an E pass. The lady checked the DS-160 confirmation page and passport. Then asked as to proceed to Step 2 window. Step 2 window is a finger printing station. The lady asked for the passport and chatted with me. She even greeted Coco a ‘Happy Birthday’ as she saw that he just turned 4. She didn’t require Coco’s finger prints anymore, as he is a child. She then asked me to proceed to Window 24.

Window 24 was actually the judgement window. The third window that you will go to is the window where the US Embassy officer will interview you. We were asked by the marshal to take a seat first because aside from the one that was currently being interviewed, there is another one in line before us. Then it was their turn and Window 25 was now open and available so, we were asked to proceed there.

This is how it went for us.

Margaux: Good morning! (while carrying Coco and having him seat at the counter and him echoing my greeting)
US Embassy Officer: Good morning! May I have the passport please?
M: (gives him Coco’s passport)
USEO: So, this is for the little boy, do you also have a US Visa.
M: Yes (and gave my old passports since my US Visa is in there, plus my current passport)
USEO: So the father isn’t joining you for this trip?
M: He can’t join us because of his job.
USEO: Which is?
M: He works in a BPO.
USEO: But does he know you are bringing your son to the US?
M: Yes he does know all about the trip.
USEO: Did you bring a letter of consent from him?
M: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring one today
USEO: But do you have a copy of his passport?
M: I actually brought it with me (gave him the passport and I don’t know if he noticed, but Jhe’s passport is already expired, I just remembered it when I was telling my mom about the interview. My bad!)
*I noticed him kind of looking at my stack of papers and I felt he was going to ask for my marriage certificate)
USEO: Do you have your marriage certificate?
M: I do have it (and reaches over to give it to him)
*He was busy entering date at his computer and then he hands back the passports and marriage certificate that Coco reached for and gave to me)
Coco: Here you go!
USEO: Good job buddy! (Still busy) Okay, your Visa is approved and you will receive it in 10 days!
M: Thank you so much! Coco say thank you..
C: Thank you!

From the moment I entered Gate 2, it was only 15 minutes for us, it was that fast. Yes, I still got my USB with me.

2 days after, I received a text message saying that the passport was already released to the courier.

Today, it arrived. My Coco boy is now a US Visa holder! Congratulations my boy!

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Jump Yard Fun

The birthday fun ain’t over yet. Ninang Rissey and Tito Vic took Coco out for some jumping fun at Jump Yard. It’s our first time here so Coco is so excited. We’ve been passing by the area for the longest time and he has been wanting to go here.

We came in at 3 in the afternoon so we had to wait till the session before us is over. The good thing with Jump Yard is that even though we came in super late in the afternoon, you can still come in with a toddler because they have a toddler area, unlike in Trampoline Park. It also has mats stretched from corner to corner, wall to wall.

Unlike the other one, they have segregated the different areas and enclosed them in a closed netted wall. You can jump as high as you can, jump into foam pits, play Dodgeball, dunk basket balls, wall climb, run wild, and more!

We registered at the front desk first, and had a waiver signed. Since I am with Coco, and we were staying at the toddler area, they told me I can’t jump inside. In Trampoline Park, we don’t have to wear grip socks, but here in Jump Yard we have to wear one. We have to buy 1 each for P100. The good thing is they have kids size, and I like the socks’ quality, it was not the cheap type. They will give you wrist bands after. A few minutes before your session starts, they will have you watch the safety video and do some pre-jumping work out in the briefing area. The cubicles are also at the briefing area, so keep you valuables together.

There are lots of Jump Yard marshals around the whole vicinity to look out for every guests. Make sure you jump properly so that no accidents would happen. While Coco could only stay at the Toddler Area, the marshal on duty allowed him to play at the dodge ball area since there are no other guests playing in that area.

Anyway, the birthday boy has so much fun, much fun that he actually ended up crying because he also wants to jump with his fave people at the olympic trampolines. It was an exercise sesh for both me and Coco – him having a super high-energy, as it was just a few hours since we woke up and me for running around following him, as well as the good half an hour that I was also able to jump around.

*Don’t forget to bring water and change of clothes!

Regular rates:
Php250 per jump hour – Monday to Thursday
Php350 per jump hour – Friday to Sunday and Holidays
* YES! same rate for both kids and adults)
Non-jumper but will be going inside the yard: Php100 /person

Tip: Check Metrodeal or other group buying sites, we got a 50% rate for a weekend today.

Frontera Verde Complex, Ortigas Avenue Corner C5, Pasig City
Like and follow @jumpyardPH on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram
Call (632) 544-0703
Mobile: 0908 472 0031

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CocoFourtastic Birthday

I wanted a small celebration with only the family and Coco’s best friends. Good thing, I thought of reserving the function room of Ristorante Bigoli, it has the best location for all the people I invited because we all live around the area.

Coco has been asking me to have a PJ Mask Party and a PJ Mask Cake. I didn’t plan of anything fancy. But I ordered a personalized cake for him, instead of something both from a bake shop like last year.

To complete his PJ Mask party, I got him a PJ Mask costume, via Amazon last December pa. I’ve been keeping it for the last 3 months. I’ve been tempted to show it to him but thank God, I was able to stop myself. When he was about to blow his candle, that’s when I dressed him up. He was surprised and was really in awe. He went back inside the function room with pride.

Coco’s best friends, Robert and Alonzo came and that’s one of his wishes. Robert has been present since 1st birthday, that’s why I really wanted them to be present as well.

Watch this short clip of Coco’s celeb made by my cousin, Claudean. Thank you ate Dodin for this video!

Ristorante Bigoli (Citywalk, Eastwood City) – Thank you very much for accommodating us. They actually gave us the function room without the 10k worth of orders, as long as we don’t use it exclusively. There was another table inside with us of another group of guests. But what we did was, we set up the food in buffet style.

Hello Sugar! – I ordered from someone near to us this time, as they were located in Cainta, so as to save a little. It didn’t disappoint me. The cake was so delicious, almost the same as the cake that we always order for Coco’s celebs.

Oh, before I forget! We had brunch at Coco’s favorite, Pancake House with Rissey and Vic because they wouldn’t be able to join us for dinner. Coco played at Tom’s World after.

Thank you to everyone who joined us, and for the gifts as well. We’re so happy to spend Coco’s special day with all of you.

Dear Anak,
I hope you had a fun fun day today, in a few weeks time, your 3rd birthday wish will come true. We love you so much!

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2017 Fun Summer Activities

Summer has officially arrived! School Year 2016-2017 has officially ended!

I’m quite curious on what other moms has in store for their kids this summer. My Coco is turning 4 years old in a few days, I think he can now join in some classes that may be available. BUT he will be taking Summer Class in the school where he will be enrolled this coming school year, so I think we will be skipping the summer fun this year.

Still I am able to gather classes and workshops (aside from the usuals: ballet, jazz, singing, swimming, taekwondo, soccer, etc) so might as well share it here.

1. Jollibee Mini Manager Camp
Learn the values of service and leadership that make the best managers! Inquire now in participating Jollibee stores! Visit this link for more information.

Age: 4-12 years old
Fee: P600

Tip: If your child is already a Jolly Kiddie Club member, you just have to pay for the workshop fee. If not, you have to pay for the membership as well.

2. McDonald’s Kiddie Crew Workshop
Let your little one practice discipline and try out new things as a kiddie crew. Visit the McDonald’s website for more information.

Age: 6-12 years old
Fee: P650

Tip: If you have a child younger than 6 years old and you think he/she can follow, you can visit the branch where you want to register and talk to the manager in charge. My friend was able to enlist his son who’s turning 4 this May.

3. Goldilocks Junior Crew
Visit the Goldilocks’ Facebook Page for more details.

Age: 6-12 years old
Fee: P650

4. Yoshi Kido
Visit Yoshinoya Facebook Page for more details and inquiries.
Age: 4-12 years old
Fee: P600

5. Power Mac Center Summer Workshop
Now is the time to take your skills to the next level. Whether its crafting a digital comic or making your own movie, our Apple Authorized Trainers will help you maximize your devices with apps for productivity and creativity.

Here are the courses that the kids can choose from:Game Design and Development, 3D Architecture Design, Graphic Design and Photo Editing, Cartooning and Animation, and Stop Motion Animation and Digital Storytelling. The non-digital courses are Kiddie Cooking Class, and Drawing and Painting.

Age: 9-13 years old
Fee: P4,500 per course
Location: Trinoma & Greenbelt

For more info call: (632) 553 4211 / (632) 5536399 / +63 908 885 6277

6. Ready, Set, Yoga! A Parent & Child Yoga Adventure
45 minute parent-child storytelling yoga class with “Amazing Me Yoga for Kids” Author Nica Hechanova and “Today Tala’s Adventure Begins” Author Dr. Raissa Paje-Bayawa

Age: 3-8 years old
Schedule: April 7, 2017, 2-4 PM
Location: Urban Ashram Yoga at Active Fun Building, Bonifacio Global City
Rate: P1,500 per parent and child

You can reserve a slot here.

For more info call: 0919-9112421
Email: hello@pumplepie.com

7. Young Brick Builders Summer 2017 Workshop
BUILD, PLAY & LEARN how to design different kinds of brick models.

Age: 3-13 years old
Fee: 3-5 years old: P350
6-13 years old: P500
Date: April 22, 2017 – 2:00 – 5:00 PM
April 23, 2017 – 8:00 – 11:00 AM
Location: Carlmig Homes Emilia Street Palanan, Makati City (beside Cash and Carry Mall

For more information: JOIN MOMMY BRICKS PHILIPPINES GROUP – I am part of this group because my son is one young brick builder. This group aims to promote play through building with toy bricks such as Lego, campaigning against kids being engrossed with playing with gadgets. Here’s the Mommy Bricks Facebook Page as well.

8. Toy Kingdom Kiddie Crew

Age: 7-10 years old
Fee: Free

For more information visit this link.

9. Kids Camp at Gawak Kalinga Enchanted Farm
Inspire the entrepreneur and nature-lover in your kids. Let them try farming, feeding animals, fishing, creating their own social enterprise products like stuffed toys and peanut butter, and making new camp buddies!

Age: 3-12 years old
Schedule: 8:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on April 15 & 29, May 13 & 27
Venue: GK Enchanted Farm, Angat, Bulacan
Rates: P2,200/ child and P1,600/adult

Call: 0917-7138607
Email: info@madtravel.org
Website here.

10. Summer Painting Workshop by Sip and Gogh

Visit the website for more details.

Workshop Fee: P5,500 (Basic)
P6,500 (Intermediate & Advanced)

11. Trumpets Playshop
Children theater, musical theater, hiphop and streetdance

Age: 4-6 years old, 7 and up
Workshop Fee: P4,500- P7,500

Check the Trumpets Playshop website for schedule and fees.

12. Repertory Philippines
Learn everything from stage presence, voice projection, basic staging, basic character analysis, and a whole lot more, all while having so much fun as you sing, dance and act all the way to the Workshop Showcases wherein each class will be putting up a full production at the end of the workshop complete with costumes, sets, lights, props, and what have you.

Age: 5-8 years old, 9-12 years old, 13-16 years old and 17 up
Fee: P10,000
Location: Active Fun, BGC
Classes starts on April 17, 2017

For more information please call: (+632) 843-3570 / (+632) 584-8458 or visit their Facebook Page.

13. PETA Workshop Express
Experience Philippine theater at its finest, enroll at PETA.

For more information please call: +63 905 369 6003 / +632 410 0821 / (+632) 584-8458 or visit their website.

14. Star Magic Workshops

Visit: Star Magic Workshops Facebook page for more info.

Hope you and your kids will have a fun-filled summer! As for my little boy, we’re off to school in 3 weeks time!

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Let’s Celebrate World Sleep Day with Uratex

Athletes like The Captain Alvin Patrimonio himself, know best that we all need regular sound sleep to nurture life. In celebration of World Sleep Day, join Uratex in raising awareness on the value of good sleep despite our busy lifestyle.

As the country’s Sleep Specialist, Uratex brings premium and technology rich products that can equip the comfort that you desire.

So come join Uratex and celebrate the value of good sleep. #SleepSoundlyWithUratex

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Welcome to the Bride Side! A Pop Color Jeans Event by Old Navy PH

It was such an awesome experience to be invited in an Old Navy event as we have always been an Old Navy aficionado. Coco wears Old Navy a lot!

It was a big closet raid. We can wear any item (We includes ME!, but I didn’t hihi) from the store and have our photo taken at the official photographer’s photobooth at the ground level. Pictures here are only the Boy sections.

The kids section is at the second floor. So I let Coco choose his outfit first (with my guidance, of course). We got two sets first. Then we had his photo taken, went up again for another 2 sets.

Here are Coco’s sets – solo plus 1 with Ella and Cobie

Behind the scene:

It was like a reunion of some sorts. I haven’t seen Len and Cobie since 2014 (when Coco and Cobie were just a year old) and Camille and Ella since 2015 (the last Hi-5 mall show in Manila) and then meeting all the other mini fashionistas and their mommas of Instagram world.

Old Navy just release their new range of colors for everyone’s favorite denim styles across the family at Old Navy, Bonifacio High Street in march 8, 2017. By highlighting display looks with new color offerings, Old Navy inspires customers to add a pop of spring as they transition out of Holiday outfitting.

Neo Nautical Spring kicks off with a mariner theme that is seen through stripes, prints, colors and detailing. Time-honored hues of red, white, and blue become more dimensional through shades of ochre, coral, and teal.

For sprint, our classic Rock star comes in a sunny range of soft-wash colors with touches of fray and perfectly imperfect destruction. Her figure-flattering favorite comes in spring-soft colors and full-ankle-length inseams. They’re the perfect counterpart to a soft fleece pullover or chic striped top.

For guys, conversational fleece hoodies and Flex-Max denim in soft neutrals are versatile wardrobe staple. Our 5-pocket pants deliver an unbeatable hand feel, plus Built-un Flex. And introducing Built-In Flex Max: double stretch technology for the ultimate in comfort.

Visit facebook.com/oldnavyPH or follow @oldnavyph on Instagram for more information.

Thank you Old Navy PH for having us and for making it like a great momma meet up! We had loads of fun!

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Gardenia: A Pocket Full of Cheers

It only took a pocket full of cheers to brighten up my little boy’s sad face. The new Gardenia Chocolate Pocket Sandwich simply made Coco’s day. What with its rich chocolatey filling that is totally delicious! This a big help for moms of picky eaters like this boy. Everyday merienda is solved!

Gardenia Chocolate Pocket Sandwich is made with soft and creamy White Bread with rich chocolate filling and sealed to lock in its goodness. Baked fresh everyday so you can enjoy your favorite sandwich anytime and anywhere.
High in iron, folate, vitamin B1 and source of vitamin A. This pocket sandwich is high in folate which contributes to normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin; Vitamin B1 which helps release energy from proteins, fats & carbohydrates; it is also a source of Vitamin A which is essential for the function of the eyes.

Also available in Peanut Butter flavor
Suggested Retail Price: P15
Availability: In leading supermarkets

For more about the Gardenia visit http://www.gardenia.com.ph. or drop by the Gardenia Facebook Page, Twitter or Instagram.

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Bike Day

For the last few years, I’ve known that MMDA closes an area of Ortigas (F. Ortigas Jr Road or formerly, Emerald Ave.) to the public to encourage Carless Sundays. I never knew what was going on on that area at those times, since I was never in that area. In fact, they also close Flood way every Sunday too for the same purpose. As far as I remember, I never saw the purpose nor appreciated it at all. I was even pissed one time because we had to do a detour, which was a longer way going to a certain destination one time that we went out and happen to pass by the area.

But today was different. My mom told me that she was taking my son out today for bike day. I thought it was in The Ayala Mall 30th because she was also talking about it that time. She mentioned that there were bicycles for rent. So, I didn’t bother to bring Coco’s bike. I just though it was one of the kid’s recreation amenities inside the mall.

Then, we were dropped off at the corner of Garnet and F. Ortigas. From there, I can see a closer view of what was in store for my little boy.

Kids were riding their bike, scooter and go-cart. Teens were skating, some were riding their hover board. Adults were riding around in their bike as well. I was worried, we didn’t have our bike. Lucky us! They have bike, side car, go-cart for all ages for rent – Php 100 / hour only!

I told my mom that she should have told me, we could have brought Coco’s own bike. But I think it’s all good, he was able to experience driving a side car. Some were even playing badminton and volleyball.

It was an hour of biking for my little boy, and he got super tired after driving from start to end of F. Ortigas. He totally passed out afterwards.

Bring your kids and their bikes to F. Ortigas Jr. Every Sundays – 6AM to 6PM for some FUN Family time – cheap at that! Hooray for Pasig!

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