Titus Emmanuel’s 1st Birthday Celebration at Fun Farm
Forgive me for not having shared my birthing story of my little one Titus. A busy-er life is what happens when it’s your third baby already and you’re trying to keep the normalcy at home. Most days I am kept busy breastfeeding, on demand, and Titus can be so demanding. I juggle it with homeschooling Zoe, who is now 10 years old, and PHX, who just graduated from preschool. But I digress. I want to skip my life scenario and tell you how we celebrated Titus’ 1st birthday. If with the first two kids I already got everything almost covered a few months before their birthday, with Titus I was still at a loss how we would celebrate it less than 2 months prior. Perhaps I was getting older so I didn’t have the time, energy, or enthusiasm I had back then, or perhaps I just wanted a change from the usual birthday parties we already hosted so I dillydallied on the idea of hosting something similar. I once attended a first birthday party where there weren’t any hosts, magicians, booths, etc. but I honestly enjoyed it because I got to catch up with relatives I hardly saw on a regular basis. The kids, being kids, found many things to do also as the parents of the celebrant provided modeling clay and bubbles. I also wanted a no-frills party where the guests can bond, relax, and just plain have fun.
Titus’ birth date fell on the summer months, and we know that summer here in the Philippines can be incredibly hot and humid, so one of our major considerations was that the party venue had to be airconditioned. Call us crazy coz we ended up booking quite the opposite! I wanted a venue where the older and younger kids can enjoy and the atmosphere was intimate, relaxed, and close to nature. I wanted Titus to have fun as well and not be overwhelmed by the usual loud party noise.
The one venue that came to mind was Fun Farm at Sta. Elena in Cabuyao, Laguna. The kids have been here twice already and they love it. It was perfect because Titus was really, really fond of animals, too. We knew the other kids and kids-at-heart would enjoy bonding with nature and being outdoors. We just kept our fingers crossed that our guests wouldn’t mind getting sweaty. Good thing the clouds were a bit overcast on Titus’ birthday, and the guests were game enough to join the farm’s activities despite the heat. Fun Farm’s pavilion (a half of it actually) can be reserved for a minimum of 50 guests. The pavilion is shady and electric fans are provided. Their comfort rooms are well-kept, too, with a gracious cleaning attendant present. Their package was Php12,500 for 50 guests for 4 hours. Kids 2 years and younger are free of charge. Their rate allows the guests to roam around the farm and participate in all the activities. For me, this is sooo worth it because the activities gets them outdoors, something kids rarely do these days.
Fun Farm allows you to bring in your own caterer, with an additional fee of Php5k. Because I wanted to stick to a budget and also make the party feel like a picnic, we opted to have food delivered instead from Tia Belle’s, a restaurant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna that’s known for their Pichi-pichi and Pancit Malabon, and the kids’ favorite, Jollibee. We also ordered a dirty ice cream cart thru Ms. Wilma of Fun Farm. We ordered Titus’ birthday cakes, one chocolate cake and one yema cake, from a homebaker based in Paranaque, and just DIY-ed the cake buntings and animal paper toppers. From Tia Belle’s, we got Pancit Malabon, Pancit Bihon (theirs is served with scrambled egg and bits of lechon kawali), Manok sa Pugaran, and Lumpiang Shanghai. We also got our favorite Chinese fresh lumpia/lumpia amoy from Cecil’s Cafe, another resto based in Sta. Rosa. We had to pick up our orders though coz they do not offer food deliveries. There were also toasted siopao and Villa Socorro banana chips as snacks. Buy Pinoy, buy local!
3. Theme and Decor
Thanks to Google, Pinterest, and a dear friend with an eye for styling, we set up the pavilion ourselves. I picked a farm/country picnic theme with red and blue as the main colors. Luckily also, the universe was in our favor as I was able to source red gingham table runners, loot bags, vinyl table cloths, gingham paper plates, blue table napkins, cutlery less than 2 weeks before the big day. Glad that I didn’t have to go all the way to Divi anymore! Here are some of the details of the party:
A registration table was set up for the kiddie guests. The kids got one crochet band, sort of like a marker for the photographer to easily spot who our guests were. Luckily, we were the only group on the farm that day. Our guests thought we reserved the whole farm for the event! Lol!
We hired a Laguna-based photographer to capture our fun event. He was referred by a friend and we were very much pleased with the pictures. He took a lot of candid pics of the kids having so much fun boating, pretending to drive the tractor, fishing, feeding the rabbits and guinea pigs, ziplining, and many, many more!
A few days before the event, my 6-year-old son asked me if the party would have “organized play” or “free play”. He requested it would be free play. I definitely wanted the kids to play to their hearts’ content. We just included a few activities that involved minimal energy. The farm was play enough! There was the scavenger hunt in search of the letter “T” around the farm, coloring farm animal worksheets, and guessing the number of choco eggs in a jar.
Overall, Titus’ party was a success. Despite our very last-minute preparations, we were able to pull through. Whew! Will I recommend a farm party to my friends? Oh yes! Your kids, especially if you have older ones, will thank you! It’s also a fun, learning experience for everyone. It’s not everyday that the kids get to fish, feed animals, ride a horse, or climb ropes. A lot of the kids didn’t want to leave even if they played for 4 hours already. One story I got from a friend was that our kids were boating so well, paddling properly and all. When the parents called them because they were leaving and it was getting dark, for some reason, they couldn’t steer the boat to the “dock”. Smart, funny kids 🙂
Here are a few tips on staging a farm party at Fun Farm:
1. Book the venue early. We would have wanted the event to fall on a weekend but the farm was already booked. So we settled on a Friday, which was fine coz it was Titus’ actual birthday anyway. We also had the farm to ourselves.
2. Inform your guests way ahead of time so they can plan the trip to Cabuyao and make the necessary arrangements, esp. if they will be coming from Metro North. The Fun Farm is in a gated community and is not accessible by public transpo.
3. Bring lots of water. Guests can get really thirsty.
4. Psych your guests on what to expect. We informed them that the venue was outdoors. We also advised them to bring lots of extra clothes especially for the kids and to wear cool summer outfits.
5. I highly suggest that you hire a photographer. The grounds are pretty spacious and it would be difficult to gather all the guests together for the usual photo-ops with the celebrant (read: kids wanting to play, play, play) so the photographer can pretty much go around and take candid shots of the guests instead. Plus the farm is a great venue for a family photoshoot! Nature can work wonders!
Thank you for reading Titus’ birthday story.