Celebrating a Milestone: Gabriel Turns 2 in Subic Zambales
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Celebrating a Milestone: Gabriel Turns 2 in Subic Zambales

We took our son on an out-of-town trip to Subic Zambales to celebrate his 2nd birthday. Instead of the usual food part preparation at home or throwing a birthday party ‘’handaan’’, we opt to take him for a new travel experience. 

Subic Zambales is not our first plan of destination. Our first option was to go to Manila Ocean Park because we knew he would enjoy the place.

So we tried asking him and letting him choose what he wanted for his birthday. I don’t know how it started but a month before his birthday, he kept saying he wanted to celebrate his 2nd birthday by going to the beach. 


Since it is summertime, we thought it was also the best time for a beach getaway to escape the extremely hot weather in the Metro. 

So we started looking for nearby out-of-town beaches where we could go for a 3-day 2-night family vacation.


After looking at many recommendations on social media, we ended up with Subic, Olongapo Zambales. It is a 3-4 hour travel from Metro Manila.

Our Accommodation

Where to stay in Subic Zambales? Well, we found 2 affordable beachfront resorts in Subic that you might like, too. 


We decided to book 2 separate hotels just to have a glimpse of different resorts in 3 days.

Day 1: Subic Grand Seas Resort

We booked our 1st-night accommodation at Subic Grand Seas Resort. We reserved the room a month before our trip while they were on promo. So we got their Twin Deluxe room for only 2199 (Sunday to Thursday rate promo). Their weekend promo at this time is 2,999. 


We like the room because it’s more spacious than the usual standard-size room we have been to before. The TV is internet-ready so my son was able to watch his favorite YouTube video while we rest after swimming. I wasn’t able to do a room tour because my boys were so excited to lie down on the bed. 


The next morning, I just decorated the corner of the room with this Happy Birthday Banner. We bought him a cake the night before. 


I woke him up with a happy birthday song and a cake. 


The receptionists were so nice and approachable. Our friend checked in at past 9 pm. The reception desk was already closed by that time so the key card was with the security guard. 

baby surprised with a birthday cake in bed

The Cake is from Cindy’s Bakery in Olongapo and we love the taste so much.


We checked out at 12:00 pm. We stayed in the lobby for a while to take some photos. 

subic grand seas resort

Day 2: Icove Beach Hotel

On our 2nd night, we booked our accommodation at Icove Beach Hotel. This is about a 5-minute walk from Subic Grand Seas Resort. 


We were beach hopping for 2 nights. Lol 


Icove has this beautiful pathway that is so Instagrammable. They also have a beachfront swimming pool and a jacuzzi. 


The ambiance of this resort at night is much more lively than on the Subic Grand Seas which is already quiet at late night. 


We got the standard room at 2799 only with free breakfast for two. The wifi speed is quite slow, though. But it’s fine since we were there to enjoy the place not to be on our phones.  


Our friend got a Deluxe room with a veranda. They had a few problems with the amenities of their first room. So they got transferred to another deluxe room close to the swimming pool. The staff were friendly and nice as well.

Travel Experience as a Gift

I saw this quote on Facebook that said ‘’Normalize traveling with kids, they deserve to see the world, too.’’


That made me desire for more travel experiences with my son not just out of town but out of the country. For now, on his 2nd birthday, he is on a beach getaway at Subic Zambales. 


Dada and I were even having this conversation where we said that our goal for Gab is that one day when he is older and he is feeling a bit scared to explore new things, he can say ‘’I’ve been traveling since I was 8 months old and it’s fun to explore new places..’’ 


Different experiences open their eyes to new perspectives. They get to see new places, new cultures, new environments, and sometimes even meet new people. 


Just like adults, kids also learn through experience. 


Books and videos are great but it’s different when they explore something physically, when they explore places. They get to nurture their curious minds.


So for his 2nd birthday, our memorable gift to him is this family beach vacation experience. 


Of course, we also get to unwind as parents. 


Icove Beach Hotel

Learning to be Independent

On the day of his birthday, we just had lunch at Mcdonald’s near Icove Hotel. It has a mini playspace so Gab gets to play while we are waiting for our food. 


And he just unlocked a new milestone. Yay! He can now slide independently. I mean, we used to always hold his hand when he went on a slide because he might bump his head accidentally. 


Today, he didn’t want us to hold him anymore. It’s like he is not scared anymore.


He confidently went up the slide, counted 1-3, and slid down. And you can see in this video how proud he is that he realizes he can do it on his own already. 


Toddlers have their own growth phase. I feel like they know already when they can do something independently and when they need help from us.


As parents, we just feel proud that our son is slowly learning to do some little things on his own. And what’s even more special is that we get to be part of his journey and witness it with our bare eyes.

Collecting Memories, Not Just Things

If there is one thing I am learning from my toddler, it is being joyful in little things and moments. 


Kids do have that natural charm and gratitude in their hearts. They are already happy with little experiences and even little things.


Toys can make them happy, that’s for sure. But we want to limit the amount of toys we accumulate at home. Someday, he will outgrow those toys.


What will remain are the memories, the moments they had with that toy. 


So as much as possible, we want to create a balance between the toys he accumulates and the outdoor experiences he will have. 


Both make him happy and help him learn in many ways. Both are joyful parts of his childhood days. 


Experience makes him an explorer and storyteller. Educational toys ignite his curiosity, and creativity, and can even boost his ability to focus. 


We want him to grow up knowing the balance between the two. We want him to collect memories not just with his tangible things but also with experiences that can be captured by eyes, appreciated by the heart and kept in mind.

Still, thanks to the digital era. We get to record memories like this that we can show him when he is older. 


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