Friday, February 2, 2018

Staycation Files : #AngTwins First Staycation at F1 Hotel Manila

This year is all about FAMILY.

It's the first year that we'e moved on from being a married couple to now a family of FOUR. For the past 3 months, we've done everything as a family. With the twins growing at rapid speed, they're starting to insist on what they want and that also means wanting to sleep closer to us and not on their crib anymore. Being fully aware of the dangers of SIDS (new moms, I urge you to read up on this), it's been a struggle trying to get my little L most especially to sleep on her own and not beside me or snuggling close to her Daddy. For several nights it has been endless cries and kicks until one of us would give in. My sweet little J has always been an independent sleeper from Day 1 but he would still wake up at the middle of the night wanting to feed and that's when he would refuse to go back to be let down on his crib. We're working on it and hopefully soon I'll gain back my space on our matrimonial bed once again.

Aside from us, there's my parents who have been super helpful in taking care of the twins. I say this without exaggeration but I don't think I would have survived the past months without them by my side. It's the little things actually like how Mommy would come rushing in at 8 in the morning, the time when the twins would suddenly tandem cry to signal their wet diapers or simply wanting to be picked up and she would come in to assist or she'd get the crying twin and tell me and Paul to go back to sleep. It's also when Papa would quickly finish up his meal to go check on the twins allowing Paul and I a bit more time to eat in peace. Apart from the people in the house, I also have my sister and brother in law E who willingly stepped in and took care of J overnight when L had to be admitted in the hospital. I also got Paul's sister J and our brother in law Ahia J whom I would run to whenever I have any questions about child rearing as they have 3 adorable kids of their own. As the saying goes... it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it will take the entire universe to raise our twins.

Speaking of Family, we also got our KTG (Kain Tulog Gang) Family. Even back when I was in Singapore, they're one of the few friends who continued to keep in touch with us. Every time we come home for a visit, they would find time to meet up with us for a delicious meal or two. So, as 2018 rolled in, we joined them for a fun weekend staycation at our favourite city hotel, F1 Hotel Manila. This staycation was to celebrate the New Year and the birthday of one of my favorite foodies and dear friend, Richie of The Pickiest Eater. It was also just the perfect opportunity to introduce the #AngTwins to our KTG family.

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As much as Paul and I hate being late, having babies means simply throwing all your clocks and timelines out of the window. Despite how early we started preparing for our overnight stay, we somehow manage to still leave the house 30 minutes before noon. 2 hours late for our intended call time. *sigh* Thankfully, our friends and the kind folks of F1 Hotel Manila were all so understanding and warmly welcomed us as we entered the Premier Lounge to check-in. Our dear friend Spanky even waited for us to arrive! (You're the best, S!) We were given the Fort Suite which was similar to the room that Paul and I got last year. I was really touched that they put in the extra effort to add a crib for my twins to sleep in. However you and I both know where they pretty much ended up that evening. That pull out bed was for their Yaya D who happily told me that her bed was really big and comfy.

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Here's a peek at the Master's Bedroom where it has an adjacent bathroom. The bed was big enough for all 4 of us. Despite how my twins tend to twist, turn and kick throughout the night, both Paul and I manage to sleep well sans any back pains as we got our entire bodies fully on the bed.

To view more details of the room, see my older posts here and here.



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It was finally time for lunch and on our way there I was really praying that my twins will fall asleep as I was starving and I wanted to eat a lot. Fussy baby means less eating time for Mommy, Daddy and Yaya. Well, what do you know?! They ended up extremely fussy but we were so lucky to have our KTG family ready to step in for us.

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Our lunch at F All Day Dining was prepared by Chef Chubby Timban and team. He's the new Executive Chef of the hotel and I must say the spread was pretty impressive! I love how he would mix well-loved traditional dishes with his own special rendition.

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Some of my favorite dishes were the Prawn Tempura, Pork Pastrami, Beef in Red Wine SauceLechon Cebu, and their freshly cut sashimi and sushi. I also loved the Seafood Laksa soup too! It has been my 4th or 5th time having lunch at F All Day Dining and I've always been so impressed every single time.

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Of course, I had to end my meal with dessert. I don't know why but normally I'm not very fond of chocolates or sweets but after giving birth to my twins I've been craving for chocolates, cookies and ice cream on a regular basis. Has anyone experienced this too?

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After lunch, we all headed up to our room to rest. The twins got to nap while we continued our feasting with the cheese platter that they thoughtfully left on our room. Even Yaya D loved the nuts and bread that was served with it.

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Finally, it was time for dinner and this also means the KTG Annual New Year Party! I tell you, it ain't a KTG party without good good food! Before I share with you the impressive spread, we were all treated to a good selection of Serenitea drinks. Unfortunately, no caffeinated drink for this new mommy so I had to stick to Milo Dino which was just as yummy. Oh I can't wait for the day when I can finally have my Hokkaido Milk Tea once again!

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We also got to try some delicious cheese from La Petite Fromagerie which is the brainchild of our fellow KTG member Karla. I was so excited for this as I've been dying to try her Truffle Cream Cheese Spread which was amazing! She was so sweet to give me a bottle to take home and I think I had one of the best breakfasts days following that. I had it with bread, crackers, chips and crostinis. Next time I buy from her, I'll try it on savory cooked items too.

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The main highlight though was her raclette which was so gooooood! Some of my friends had it with their Plaza Ham sandwich. Unfortunately, I got so caught up taking care of my once again fussy and hungry twins that I wasn't able to try this combination but luckily Paul was so sweet to set aside a sandwich for me. Yay!

We also had drinks from Karla's Swizzle Mobile Bar and while you may think that they just serve alcoholic beverages, actually Karla made sure to add Pink Lemonade slush to the mix which is perfect for the little ones (and preggy/lactating moms) in the group.

Okay, now let's focus on our dinner buffet spread. Chef Chubby impressed us once again. Here are some of the dishes that evening and my personal favorites too:

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Stuffed Beef Belly with Black Forest Sauce
The last time I had beef with chocolate was at Pasta Brava, my favorite Italian restaurant in Singapore. I was so happy to be able to enjoy this delicious combination again and what made it so good was that the beef was oh so tender.

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Fish Roulade in Creamy Mushroom Masala
This was probably my most favorite dish of the night. Despite getting my food late as I made sure the twins are all settled and happy, I was so happy that Chef Chubby made sure that we're all well fed and provided really generous serving of each dish which his staff religiously would replenish from time to time. This was really good! I love the creamy mushroom sauce making this such a very comforting dish.

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Tinapa and Aligue Pasta
You can never go wrong with this combination and this was also another winning dish that evening. So yummy!

Aside from all these we also had a salad bar, Herb Roast Chicken, Wok Fry Ratatouille and of course, a good selection of dessert.

KTG kain tulog gang
The Kain Tulog Gang (KTG)
Paul and I have been part of KTG since its inception back in 2013. It began with just a couple of us, foodie friends and later on more and more joined our growing family. However, we were already based in Singapore then so I admittedly wasn't as physically active as I would have loved to be. This year's New Year's party is a clear testament of how friendship can go from online to offline. KTG is not just the food blogger or foodie alone but instead he/she brings with him/her his family and it's amazing to see these KTG babies grow each year. I hope that as we're finally back in Manila, we will be able to spend more time with our KTG family and have our twins grow with this group too.

It was such a fun and relaxing weekend staycation. It was a first for my twins and it seems like they enjoyed it as well (despite sleeping most of the time haha). Looks like they took after their staycation loving mom and dad. I guess one factor also is how F1 Hotel Manila made sure that we're having the best time all throughout our stay. From the very welcoming and spacious rooms, to their great service down to the yummy meals that we had all weekend. This is just the first of many staycations that we will surely take as a family.

Check out F1 Hotel Manila located at 32nd Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City. Visit their official website for more details.

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