Monsters

Before Netflix and Xbox.

There was once a time when Monster Inc. ruled the TV. Not Xbox, not Netflix. Just Monster Inc. It played a lot that I could almost memorize the lines, I almost know most of the characters. Marcus would watch this Pixar film day in day out and his reactions remain the same as if it is his first time every time. And I would pretend the same thing. I would act scared when the robotic kid would shriek during the scare simulation scene. I seem to miss those days.

Marcus has since upped his entertainment. It’s now Xbox with Call of Duty series leading his choices–shooting game, I know. More so recently that we finally had success in redeeming the Xbox Live Gold prepaid subscription which by the way was purchased out of his coin bank. Yes, he had P2000 out of it. It was a matter of talking with Microsoft’s chat support agent who incidentally was Filipino. The solution was just to change the region on my account from Philippines to United States and voilĂ , no more error. Nada. Nil. Gone! Funny but Microsoft’s current online FAQs related to this error do not mention anything about this very simple solution. I wonder why.

The activation happened on a Labor Day. It was while I cherish my first ever legit Labor Day time off after a long time working in the BPO. This time there is no need to compete with anyone for vacation slots, no need to fake sickness or get creative with alibis. It’s one of my few new benefits. A day off away from monitoring calls all day is always a bliss. It was one day sans the monsters disguised as bad English, moody agents, rude customers, and anything in between. I felt bad that I ended the chat after realizing too late that I need to answer a survey for the very helpful Microsoft chat support agent. Thanks a lot anyway dude, you made our son very happy. Now we know what to do when we redeem another code when his subscription ends 12 months after. 
***

Mood: 5/10 Honks! (Dark clouds ahead on a hot summer day.)

Genetic Testing At Last

What started as a table discussion in the US has finally materialized. Yesterday, Marcus’ genetic testing was done at UP-NIH. It took us several  exchange of emails with support groups (thanks to you guys!) and hospitals  and leg work that require trips to Metro Manila to exhaust our options in finding an alternative to this expensive procress. Now Marcus blood has been extracted and would soon be tested to determine if his strain is the one that the new DMD drug in the market can cure.

But testing is one thing, the medication is another. We keep our hopes high yet our expectations realistic. It’s waiting game for now until 3-4 weeks after. Que sera sera. We’ll make our next steps whatever the outcome is.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Survived Tuesday.)

Refreshing Birthday at Hotel H2O

Summer vacation plans can be overwhelming. There’s that part when one wants to get that well-deserved pampering in a hotel and there’s that urge to get out of the urban jungle to be one with nature. Both though, however contrasting, have one general benefit to everyone–an experience that soothes the senses. Then ask anyone and more likely than not there would be that common element they have in mind that is synonymous to relaxation. Water. 

Cruise ship docked close to Manila Ocean Park.

Thank heavens, we need not split friends or family members into groups anymore just to satisfy everyone’s wish and there’s no need to burn gas just to drive farther out of town either. Located within Metro Manila is a haven called Hotel H20 which provides the best of both worlds. Whether you’re in for an overnight staycation (when did this word come into life by the way?) in a comfy hotel or if you’re looking for opportunities to interact with wildlife, this hotel has it.

The Oceanarium tunnel.

Its name derived right out of our science subject, H20 stands for water–remember? Situated along the scenic Manila Bay area, and in close proximity to the historic Luneta Park, Hotel H2O  offers its guests a variety of refreshing options. All it takes is some good online deal hunting skills which thankfully my wife possesses–whether naturally or out of necessity.

A fan of Metrodeal, wifey was able to find a good package once again just in time for a birthday celebration. Our kid, Marcus, turned nine yesterday and this time he wished for nothing but to see fish. His regular visit to the hospital’s saltwater aquarium during his therapy sessions must’ve been a factor . So imagine his surprise when we entered Hotel H2O’s room and for him to see one whole wall where different colorful fishes swim back and forth 24/7. This beats any Ultra HDTV entertainment, yes?

Great for kids and working moms. Even Spongebob approves.

Our accommodation package includes access to Manila Ocean Park’s attractions that complete our son’s birthday wish like touching the once intimidating stingray in the Close Encounter with Sharks and Stingrays area. In the Oceanarium, we were surrounded by giant aquariums that made us all feel like Finding Nemo characters. It was a bonus that Marcus got to see the scuba divers feeding the fishes. 

Like being one with the ocean.

But Manila Ocean Park is more than just about water creatures. There’s Birds of Prey area where Eagles fly almost freely. Anyone who likes to see rare collection of toys would definitely want to see Yexel’s Toy Museum–the Iron Man set is must see. Then there’s the variety of jellyfishes that seem hypnotic as they move gracefully in their own aquariums. Our package does not include the Creepy Crawlies but the extra pay was worth it.

Yexel’s collections.
Colorful Creepy Crawlies animals.

This is Marcus’ fourth visit to Manila Ocean Park though our first time to stay in H2O Hotel. He discovered that we skipped the bubbly pool in the Liquid pool area so being a fan of pools he would want to be back soon. Hopefully by then improvements would have been made.
***

Waves have crest and trough. That’s ups and downs. In summary, here’s our Hotel H2O  experience.

Crest

  • P5000 was worth the package.
  • Bed and linen are clean and comfy.
  • Toilet fixtures are mostly functional
 
  • Most hotel staff are friendly and helpful.
  • For picky kids, the option to grab their favorite fastfood few walks outside the hotel is a big plus. I was out late night for a burger steak meal.
  • The attractions are PWD-friendly.
We always appreciate seeing something that Marcus could relate to.

    Trough

    • Bidet please.
    • Shower area doesn’t have enough recessed floor and the glass door has gaps so it water leaks out of the enclosure.
    By design, the door is shared by the shower and toilet area. Take note also of the clear glass walls.
    • PWDs would have some access challenge.

    • Don’t expect too much from the Liquid dining buffet. 
    • The penguin area needs some love.

    ***

    Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Pool time.)