Category Archives: Birthday

Happy birthday our dearest Bhot!

This post is in honor of my husband of 17 years (going on 18 this December 2018) who will be celebrating his birthday tomorrow, 6th June.

A very blessed happy birthday to you, my dearest Bhot!

Indeed, I am so grateful to the Lord for giving you to me as my husband.  You are one of the kindest, most understanding, most patient and most humble man I know.  You also have this immense capacity to love and serve the  Lord and His people, our family, friends and even strangers; never counting the cost and sacrifices that it entails you.  You are always, always there for me – ready to listen, ready to hug, ready to encourage, ready to ‘just be’.

I am, of course, even more grateful to God for having you as Pia’s dad.  From the very beginning, you have been her first love; you always take care of her and protect her with your whole self.  I see how she loves you by affectionate hugs, kisses, shared laughter and tickles, and it warms my heart that you are a very ‘present’ and ‘hands-on’ dad to her.  Sometimes I even feel you know her more than I do because you get to spend more time with her than me!

My (our) prayer for you on your birthday is that the Lord may continue to bless, mold and form you into the man of God that He wants you to be; that you will always be a man after God’s heart so that that the Lord with His Holy Spirit will help you to lead us, our whole family, towards our Heavenly Home.  We also pray for continued strength of faith; a sound mind, body and spirit, so that we will have many, many more years of being together and serving together God’s Kingdom here on earth.

We love you so much and we wish you a very blessed, enjoyable and memorable birthday!

Always and forever,

Lisa & Pia


(All photos – credit to the owners. Thank you.)

A Birthday Post for my Mama!

Today, my Mama is celebrating her 66th birthday. I would love to be with her on (all) her birthdays but I am based in Brunei while she is in Philippines.

And so I dedicate this post for her today – I love you very much, Ma!

A Birthday Prayer for Mama

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank You for the wonderful and precious gift of my Mama. I thank You for giving her to me as my mother, for all the things she has done and given to me.

I pray today and everyday that You will always bless her and surround her with your love and protection.  Lord, continue to bless her with good health and strength so that she may enjoy her family, friends and the many blessings that You have in store for her.

Thank You for always being there for her, as her Rock and Shield, her Fortress and Strength.  Thank You for molding her into the wonderful woman of God that she is today, and for always using her to remind us of Your Great Love for all of us in every little or big thing she does.

Mama Mary, thank You too for being an inspiration and example to her and for always being there to listen to her prayers, especially her prayers for her children.

My dearest Mama,

God rejoices and delights in You!


May you have a wonderful and memorable birthday!

Thank you for always being my constant source of strength, hope and love; for always supporting me, believing in my dreams and aspirations, for always praying for me and loving me despite my many imperfections.

Love you always and forever,

Your firstborn: Ma. Eliza Magnolia

Pia’s 5th Troll-ific Party

Pia turned 5 this year and we held a Trolls-themed birthday party for her as per her personal request, last 26th March 2017.  After watching the ‘Trolls’ movie together as a family on the big screen, as well as several times again on the smaller screen at home, it was no surprise that she chose this theme for her birthday party this year.  And who wouldn’t love a colorful and joyful party, right?

After doing some research a.k.a. Pinterest viewing plus crunching numbers for her birthday budget, we came up with a lovely birthday celebration for Pia with family and some close friends at one of our favorite restaurants in Kiulap, BSB, Brunei.  It was perfect timing that they had just renovated some private rooms above their restaurant, and it was just nice for our intimate gathering.

Taking the cue from the Trolls movie, all the party decorations were in bright and lovely colors of the rainbow, from the banners, buntings, and the balloons. These were all bought in Divisioria, Philippines through the kindness of my brother-in-law, Anthony. Additional items displayed were customized water bottles and loot bags which had colorful pens, glow sticks and candies in them.

For Pia’s birthday cake and cupcakes, I went back to Mariah’s Kitchen, the same baker I contacted last year.  I saw the original cake design on Pinterest and she was able to capture the cake design that we wanted for Pia’s Trolls cake.  I also added in cupcakes like last year because I remember that they were a big hit with the kids and adults alike.

( If any of you are interested in contacting Mariah’s Kitchen, follow them on Instagram @mariahkitchen or DM/WhatsApp them at +673 8214014.)

To capture fun moments with the guests, we set up an actual photo booth area this time, complete with props which were also purchased from Divisoria by Anthony.  Guests had a lot of fun at the photo booth station, as did our birthday girl!

As for Pia’s cute birthday outfit, it was a mix of old and new: the old – her pink tutu from last year, pink tights and sparkling rubber shoes; the new – her white top with the different Trolls movie characters on it, a gift from her Rodriguez cousins and her pink polka dot party hat.

Birthday games were Guess the Candies in the Jar, Trolls Coloring Contest, Pin the Hair on the Troll and Freeze Dance.  Kids had a blast with the simple games we prepared, especially dancing to the great songs of the Trolls soundtrack.

Food was aplenty and more than enough for everyone at the party. The guests were all able to eat to their hearts’ content, trying out all the delicious dishes set up at the buffet table.

And to end Pia’s 5th Troll-ific party, we requested guests to pray over her with us, led by her Lolo Mon (my Papa).

And that’s pretty much how we celebrated Pia’s 5th year of life.  Many, many thanks again to everyone who celebrated with our family.  For those whom we invited but were not able to make it for one reason or another, we do hope to see you next time!

Special and extra thanks goes out to my Papa & Mama, Anthony, Tina and kids for going to Brunei to be with us and for helping us purchase, bring over, put up  and put down the party decorations, and for just making her party truly special, memorable and Troll-ific!  We love you all mucho! Next year again, pwede? 

And to our little miracle, happy 5th birthday once again.  You are truly a gift, a miracle sent to us from above! We love you so much!

Pia’s 4th Ice Cream Birthday Party


Our little miracle, Pia, has turned 4! And would you believe my last post here was about her 3rd Birthday Party – that’s how long I have not been blogging! Time truly flies!!!  (I should really set aside some regular time to blog!  Aarrrggghhh!)

Anyhoo… back to the task at hand. 🙂

We celebrated Pia’s 4th Birthday with an Ice Cream themed birthday party with a simple and hassle free celebration at the newest Jollibee Brunei branch located at Kilanas.  The venue was recommended by an architect friend for its spacious function hall.  We went to have a look even before the soft opening of the branch and we were immediately sold on the venue – the space was perfect for Pia’s party.  We were told that it could comfortably fit up to 100 people and being a private room, you won’t have to worry about your party guests spilling over to the public area of the restaurant, which is a big plus indeed.


As in previous years, we had a PVC banner printed for the party which of course featured a picture of Pia and reflected the theme of the party.  This lovely design was made by Kristine, who has actually been designing Pia’s birthday banners since her 1st birthday.  Don’t you just love how it turned out?  And since we had the banner printed in the Philippines, we saved quite a bundle compared to printing it here in Brunei.


The centerpiece of the birthday venue, besides the birthday banner, was Pia’s beautiful and super delicious birthday cake and cupcakes.  I ordered these from Mariah’s Kitchen, a local Brunei home based baker.  Having learned from previous years’ experience that ordering a large cake just meant ending up with a lot of leftover and/or wasted cake, we decided to order a smaller cake this year which was just perfect for all the guests.  Pia’s 4th birthday cake was a 6″ Oreo Cheesecake Brownies cake with pink icing, topped with cone and chocolate drip.   If that sounded delicious to you as you read it, the actual taste of the cake was superb!


The cupcakes are Mariah’s Kitchen’s own creations: I ordered their Butterscotch and Maltesers cupcakes.


They were a big hit with the kids as they were quickly devoured; some even came in for seconds and thirds!  If any of you are interested in contacting Mariah’s Kitchen, follow them on Instagram @mariahkitchen or DM/WhatsApp them at +673 7214014.


In addition to the balloons that came with the Jollibee birthday party package, we got Pia’s special helium filled birthday balloon arrangement from AstroVision, our go-to-place for such special occasions.  Pia’s special ice cream foil balloon came all the way from Divisoria, Philippines but the pink and purple balloons were from AstroVision.


For Pia’s birthday give-aways / souvenirs, we had these cute ice cream coin banks to give out to the party guests, which we bought from Divisoria, Philippines.


For the star of the night, her whole birthday outfit also matched the party theme, of course!  Pia’s ice cream headband was lovingly designed and hand-made by my cousin Nina; her ‘Birthday Princess shirt’ was selected by my Mama while her super fluffy hot pink tutu was bought by Nina who just happened to have a neighbor who was selling it at a special discounted price – talk about perfect timing, right?  Overall, the whole outfit turned out pretty awesome, if I do say so myself!!! Doesn’t Pia look more beautiful and adorable? 😉



Pia’s very special guest for her party was her beloved Lolo Mon, who has never missed any of her birthday parties since she was born.  He was also the one who selflessly brought all her birthday supplies from the Philippines (banner, balloon, coin banks, birthday outfit) for us.  Super duper thanks again, Papa / Lolo Mon for being with us and for making Pia’s birthday party a beautiful success!


Special thanks too, of course, to the very professional and courteous Jollibee team for the greatly organized birthday party.  The Filipino creativity, attention to detail and hospitality really shone through!





Jollibee himself made an appearance at Pia’s party and though Pia was a bit scared of him in the beginning (she’s at the stage where she’s scared of mascots), towards the end of the evening, she eventually warmed up to The Bee (to our relief and delight!).




So that’s it, that’s how we celebrated Pia’s 4th Birthday last 26th March 2016, her actual birth date.  Since it is already July as I write this, it’s time to start thinking of what her 5th birthday party theme will be! 😀


Many thanks again to everyone who made time out of their busy schedules for our little miracle’s 4th birthday!  See you all next time!


(For the full photo album of Pia’s 4th Birthday Party, please visit the Facebook Page of Studiothirty and look for the album named Pia’s 4th Birthday. Thanks Domeng and Tere for the great shots! Till the next time!)

Pia’s 3rd Art & Music Birthday Party

This is a looooonnng overdue post that I was supposed to write months ago (Eeep!) to share how we celebrated Pia’s 3rd Birthday Party…. but as usual, life happened and hence this late blog post! So here goes and hope that my memory still serves me well… Hehe!

Pia turned 3 years old last 26 March 2015 and we celebrated her birthday on the actual day of her birthday which fell on a week day, Thursday.  Being a week day, the party was held in the evening at this nice, spacious and (of course) budget-friendly restaurant, Nice Delight Cafe, Kg Madewa, BSB.   Birthday girl seatOur chosen theme for the party was ‘Art and Music’ seeing that these were (and still are) 2 of Pia’s current favorite activities.  The theme allowed us to work with a lot of colors, which I liked a lot (you would understand why if you read about the themes we used for Pia’s 1st and 2nd birthday parties).

It also gave us a chance to showcase Pia’s early art works and music/singing videos which Rhenee lovingly made into a short AVP that we showed as part of the evening’s program (super thanks for that, dear Daddy Bhot! Yayu!)


Decorations were simple yet colorful: our traditional birthday banner/backdrop (ordered from Phils. as it’s so much cheaper!), balloons (what’s a party without balloons, right?), and buntings, garlands plus bright red table covers that I ordered from this online party supplier shop that I found on Facebook: My Little Party Shop Manila.  (You should check them out if you’re planning for your little one’s birthday or other event, they have a lot of super cute and elegant items on their site.  Thanks MLPSM!)

Center table 2

Center table 1


In addition to the above, in line with ‘Art’ theme, we displayed colored marker pens and paint brushes placed in transparent jars plus water paints  on the center table.  In line with the ‘Music’ theme, we displayed some of Pia’s musical toys: her colorful piano, drum & drum sticks, trumpet, clapper, musical eggs and a small microphone.  These were all displayed along side her beautiful ‘Art and Music’ birthday cake and cupcakes that were especially designed to match our chosen theme.


Art & Music Cupcakes

Birthday Cake - Side View Birthday Cake -Top View

Pia’s birthday cake was generously sponsored by one of my girlfriends, Voon, and ordered from the ever reliable and talented duo behind #eielterecakes, Eiel and Tere (thanks ladies!) while the cupcakes were ordered from #shelylee (thanks Shelly!).  Besides being pretty, both the cakes and cupcakes were delicious!

Pia’s birthday banner served as our photo booth backdrop where guests had their photo op with the birthday celebrant who was dressed in her specially made birthday outfit that my cousin, Nina, lovingly made for Pia.

The birthday girl


The evening’s program began with a short opening prayer led by Lolo Mon and this was immediately followed by the singing of the birthday song and Pia blowing the candles on her birthday cake.  Dinner was served and then Rhenee played the AVP he made of Pia that everyone thoroughly enjoyed, most especially Pia herself! Hihihi!



Blow your candles Pia



Funny Faced Pia

After the AVP,  instead of having games we decided to have an art activity for the children, which was the final part of the official program we had prepared.  Kids were given colorful aprons to wear and asked to choose their colored markers to use for drawing on the ‘art wall’ we had made on one empty wall of the restaurant.



The kids loved this activity and really let their individual artist shine through.  Even the youngest kids enjoyed the freedom of drawing on the ‘art wall’!  At the end of the activity, to the surprise of the kids, we let them keep their aprons and markers as souvenirs.



Little Artists

It was indeed another super fun and happy birthday celebration for our beloved miracle, Pia.  Special thanks to Lolo Mon and Lola Tita for coming to Brunei again to celebrate with us and for helping bring the party items from the Phils. for her birthday party.

Pia and Lola Tita

Pia and Lolo Mon

Thank you too, of course, to all the kids and adults who joined our simple birthday celebration and for your gifts (in cash and in kind) for Pia.  We hope to see you again next year for Pia’s 4th Birthday Party! (Have to start thinking of a theme for that soon! Hehe!)


If you want to see all the photos from the above party, they are on my personal Facebook page, photo album named  Pia’s 3rd ‘Art & Music’ Birthday Party.  Pictures taken by Leny, Bhot and myself.

(Note: As of this writing, the cash gifts received have already been added on to the mutual fund investment account we opened at Soldivo Strategic Growth Fund, Inc. for Pia’s education fund. )


Surprise! Another Party Award!

Belated Happy New Year to everyone!  🙂

It has been a few months (again) since I last posted something here on my blog and my last post was about receiving by an award for best party theme and decorations from (  That award was for Pia’s 2nd birthday party with the theme ‘Noah’s Ark’.

Early this week I received an email from Sue Hansen who works with (  She’s in charge of connecting with parents who are throwing their little ones top notch parties and she wrote me because of my post “Pia’s First Birthday”.  She says she was doing some research to try and find rainbow themed parties that were bursting with love and creativity and that’s how she found Pia’s.  She found the cake so cute and really liked Pia’s rainbow tutu which was in her own words ‘too precious’.



And so on behalf of Shindigz she selected to award me the “Party Expert Approved” badge because Pia’s party looked fantastic!

Would you believe it??? Another award for one of Pia’s birthday parties!  Thanks Sue and, much appreciated!

Pia’s 3rd birthday party is coming up in a month and I have yet to start planning for that in detail.  Yet these awards are motivating me to tap into my creativity juices once again.  How does an ‘Art Party’ theme sound to you? 😉


Pia’s 2nd Noah’s Ark Birthday Party

As mentioned in my previous blog post, we had decided to celebrate Pia’s 2nd birthday with a Noah’s Ark theme on the actual day of her birthday, i.e. 26th March 2014.  The selected venue was Aiko Sushi Restaurant in Kiulap, BSB at their private function room on the 2nd floor.

Papa, Mama, Rhenee, Pia and I arrived at the venue about an hour or so earlier than the guests so that we could set up and decorate the venue in time for the guests’ arrival at 730PM.




Decorations were pretty simple but also took up some time to do.  I asked Papa to put up the birthday banner to one side of the stage which also served as our photo both corner.  Then I placed the high chair I requested from the restaurant and decorated this with the special made-to-order birthday balloons set Rhenee and I collected earlier in the afternoon.  The balloons were filled with helium and the special foil balloon had colorful animal designs on them which was perfectly in sync with our party theme.  Pia loved her balloons and so did a lot of the little (and big!) kids that they wanted to take them home! (One ‘kuya’ actually managed to cut out one balloon out of the set without our prior knowledge!)




Papa and Mama also helped pump the other rubber balloons using our air pump.  The balloons had the words ‘Happy 2nd Birthday’ on them and came in a variety of bright colors.  We bought these in the same shop where we ordered the helium balloons.  I used these balloons as table centerpieces together with a Noah’s Fun Boat party hat (these were actually just left over hats from Ate Rysse’s 1st Birthday Party so these were free!), some Noah’s Ark coloring sheets (downloaded from the internet so these were also free!) and a box of crayons (also free since I had several in stock from previously attended events).




The other end of the stage was designated as the sweets corner.  I put another table where Pia’s birthday cake served as the centerpiece and surrounded it with small stuffed animals that were just lying around in our room (mostly gifted items so I didn’t have to go out and buy any!).  This was actually a last minute idea which turned out quite nicely (if I do say so myself! Hehehe!)  I also placed the colorful and delicious cupcakes we ordered from Le Apple Bakery on a cupcake stand on the same table and left a small space for Pia’s birthday gifts.


The program for the night was pretty simple and straightforward too.  While waiting for all the guests to arrive, guests had their photo opportunity with Pia at the photo booth corner.  The opening and thanksgiving prayer was led by Papa which was followed immediately by the singing of the birthday song and cutting of the birthday cake.  Then dinner time and some simple party games namely Pin the Tail on the Zebra for the young kids, Animal Sounds game for the older kids and Samson-Delilah-Lion game for families.  The final part of the program was a pray over of Pia by the guests led by her ninong Alan.








The event was a success, by God’s grace, as most if not all of our invited guests took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate Pia’s birthday with us.  Guests enjoyed the food and the simple program and were all generous in granting our request for cash gifts for Pia which we would allocate to her mutual fund savings/investment.

However the best part of the celebration was seeing the joy and delight in Pia’s face throughout the whole event.  She was singing and dancing and playing (even if she did not take her afternoon nap that day!) and had the energy to ‘entertain’ her guests the whole while – a real trooper!

We love you so much our little miracle! – Mommy & Daddy 🙂













Pia is turning 2!

Can you believe it? Pia is turning 2!  🙂

It feels like it was just yesterday when we celebrated her 1st birthday and I was planning like crazy a few months in advance!  Hahaha!  (Details of that party can be found here:

We had originally planned to have a big celebration again this year.  Well, not really grand, but something a bit similar in the scale of what we had for her 1st birthday.  However due to my maternal grandfather getting sick and eventual passing last Sunday, March 2, we decided to scale down the celebration and (try to) limit the guests to Pia’s godparents and grandparents.  Lolo Mon and Lola Tita, my parents, will be flying in to Brunei next weekend so we’re all pretty excited about that! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I had originally wanted a Ladybug or Cupcake theme for Pia’s 2nd birthday but my loving hubby, wanted a Noah’s Ark theme.  I told him that it was a bit too similar to the Rainbow theme we had for her 1st birthday but then he said the Noah’s Ark theme will focus on the animals and not the rainbow… which was true… and seeing how Pia loves her Noah’s Ark stickers and reading books about animals, I eventually agreed with Rhenee’s suggestion. 😉

The first thing I did was to contact Kristine, my ever reliable SFC sister to design the banner, save the date and invitations for the party.  As always, she did a fabulous job!  Here’s the banner design – thanks Kristine! 🙂

pia's 2nd banner

As of this writing, Kristine is editing the save the date and invitations due to the change in the date and venue of the celebration.  So I’ll just post those later on.

Next I contacted the terrific duo behind #tereeiel cakes and asked them to make Pia’s birthday cake.  I just told them the theme and will let their creativity and talent do the rest. It’s pretty exciting to see how the cake will turn out!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

As for the food and venue, hubby had originally thought of just letting his ‘inner chef’ loose and handle all the cooking but in the end, we decided to just have the celebration out of the house at a local restaurant so we wouldn’t be stressed about the preparations and clean up afterwards.  Plus even with the very limited guests invited, we would still be cramped in our tiny flat!  Praise God we were able to find a suitable and affordable place that serves great tasting food in Kiulap, Gadong. 😉

As for the program, it will be a very simple one: family and friends just coming together to celebrate Pia’s 2nd birthday while enjoying simple food and fellowship.  The main highlight would be Pia blowing the candles on her birthday cake, the guests saying their wishes plus praying over Pia.  Sounds good, yeah?

My hope is that with this celebration, Pia will be able to add on great childhood memories, most especially how much she is loved and treasured by Mommy and Daddy.  Every day with her is truly a miracle!  We love you, our precious miracle Pia! So very much!


Pia’s Pre-Birthday Photo Shoot – Part 2 [Super late post, I know!)

OMG! Where has the time gone?  Feels like ages since I had a new post up here on my blog and I had forgotten all about blogging about Pia’s pre-birthday photo shoot done by our good photographer friend, Uniokeez.  So anyway, here goes…

On the morning of Pia’s post birthday party on 7th April 2013, Uniok came by our flat to take some shots of the birthday girl and the birthday party preparations.  He would not be able to shoot during the actual party so he wanted to do the pre-birthday party shots.

I remember that it was only a little past 8am when Uniok knocked on our door and I was actually a bit surprised at how early he came by! Hahaha!  Most of us had just woken up and we hadn’t even given the birthday girl her bath!  Anyway, Uniok was in no hurry so we went about Pia’s morning routine of breakfast and bath time, while getting her party things ready as well.

After getting Pia dressed and packing up the things we needed to bring for her party, the shoot began.  Uniok also took shots of some of the party items – balloons, party hats, party favors, etc. – before taking shots of the birthday celebrant herself.  Later on, he also went with us to the party venue and took some great shots there as well.

Hope you like the photos as much as we do! Thanks again, Uniok – you’re awesome! 🙂

Shots at home








The pretty birthday girl 🙂







Loved this idea of Uniok to take a shot of Pia’s feet – adorable right???



Pia and Lolo Mon – Uniok says they look alike, do you see the resemblance? 😉


Shots at the party venue










Pia’s 1st Birthday – Home Celebration

I know, I know…another post on Pia’s 1st Birthday! Hehehe! Well, it’s my blog so I can pretty much post whatever I want so am taking the opportunity, ok?  That’s one of the reasons I put up this blog site anyway so bear with me! Haha!

So anyway, going back to the subject of this post.  Like I mentioned in my previous post on Pia’s 1st Birthday – Rainbow Party, we had a simple celebration at home on the actual day of her birthday, 26th March 2013, which fell on Holy Tuesday this year.  Months before that, we had celebrated her birth date every month so of course on the actual day of her 1st birthday, it was a must! 🙂

By this time, Pia’s grandmother, my Mama, was already with us in Brunei.  Rhenee and I discussed the idea with her and we came up with a simple menu for the celebration which we decided would be held in the evening: baked chicken, 2 kinds of spaghetti, and of course a yummy chocolate birthday cake.  The birthday cake was lovingly made for Pia by Ate Terry, one of the wardens at our church and a former SFC member.  The night before, Rhenee and I went to Quadravision in Gadong, that specializes in party supplies and we bought a special balloon arrangement for Pia.  My idea was that we would set it up after Pia had gone to bed and surprise her with it when she wakes up on her birthday. 🙂

And she loved it! Just look at the evidence below! 🙂 🙂 🙂

DSC02473 DSC02483 DSC02487 DSC02488 DSC02477 DSC02484 DSC02478 DSC02493 DSC02494 DSC02490

Pia’s birthday home celebration guests were just a few friends, mostly those who wouldn’t be able to make it for her post birthday party.  They were the first to see the birthday AVP that Rhenee had made – it was an instant hit!  Afterwards we just sang Happy Birthday to Pia, watched her blow out the candles on her birthday cake, shared the simple meal that had been prepared and enjoyed the rest of the evening together hanging out with each other and Pia.

Pics of our simple feast:

DSC02496  DSC02497

Pics of our guests: