There’s something truly magical about commemorating love that has stood the test of time. As my parents approached their 36th wedding anniversary, my sister and I knew we had to pull out all the stops to honor this milestone in a way that befit the magnitude of their enduring bond. And so, we embarked on a mission to craft an unforgettable surprise that would etch itself into the annals of our family’s cherished memories.

Our family has a time-honored tradition of celebrating special occasions with utmost reverence and thoughtfulness. From our humble beginnings, when our allowances barely stretched beyond a few coins and some small bills, my sister and I have always made it a point to set aside funds for our parents’ anniversary celebration yearly.

Last year’s celebration saw us whisking them away to the luxurious Okura Hotel at Resorts World Manila, where we were all enraptured by the opulent Japanese-inspired amenities and the plush comforts of their accommodations.

This year, we thought it would be nice to indulge our parents in an experience that would surpass even their wildest dreams! Knowing my mother’s love for Okada Manila, particularly its lavish casino and exquisite dining options, we planned on orchestrating a surprise staycation.

Planning the Perfect Surprise

Every detail of our plan was meticulously crafted to ensure maximum impact and delight. We secured a deluxe room adorned in the signature hues of Okada’s opulent aesthetic (pink – one of my favorite colors as well!) weeks before. The room is complete with indulgent amenities such as a decadent jacuzzi in the bathroom and room offerings for convenience.

Executing the surprise required precision worthy of a covert mission! My sister, the “sneaky ninja” behind our operation, undertook the “Herculean” task of packing our parents’ stuff without arousing suspicion. She carefully got our parents’ clothes from their closets and essentials and hid them in a bag. She even had to switch from a regular travel duffle bag to a bigger suitcase because there was just too much stuff to hide!

The Execution

On D Day, anticipation was in the air as we drove to Okada Manila. Actually, we told our parents we would be dining in a restaurant somewhere in Pasay. They were surprised to learn later it would be in Okada Manila, which is one my mom’s favorite places.

Upon our arrival at Okada, I strategically parked our car at a discreet distance from the entrance, laying the groundwork for the grand unveiling that awaited our unsuspecting parents. As part of the script, our excuse was that my sister and I had to go back to the parking lot to move the car nearer so it would be faster for our dad to walk.

After our lunch at Red Spice, our parents strolled in the casino and we told them we would go back to the parking lot to move the car. Off we went and quickly, we got our luggages, then proceeded to the Coral Wing to check in.

Lunch at Red Spice Okada

After checking in, we hurriedly walked from the Coral Wing to the Pearl Wing because apparently our hotel room was located on that wing. As we were walking, my sister saw our parents about 10 feet away from us. We panicked and rushed to hide behind a wall with a small space for hiding. I checked them and saw that their focus was in the stores, so we just ran to the other side without looking back.


Finally, we left our bags in the hotel room and told our parents to meet up in the restaurants area. With nerves tingling and hearts aflutter, we orchestrated the perfect ruse, leading our unsuspecting parents to believe we were bound for a picturesque photo session overlooking the azure expanse of Manila Bay. They followed us without any question or wonder.

A Moment of Pure Joy

As they entered the hotel room, the realization dawned upon them, and their expressions of surprise and excitement illuminated the room. My mom’s ecstatic shrieks echoed our joy as we basked in the warmth of the unforgettable moment, while my dad’s hearty laughter echoed the sentiment of sheer bliss that suffused the room. We stayed in the room for an hour or so before heading out to dinner.

Savoring the Moment

I made an early reservation for dinner at La Piazza, and we arrived on time. Immersed in laughter and shared moments, we savored every minute of our time together, capturing memories that would forever be etched in our hearts. Food was great as well as the intimate ambiance. We also appreciated the viewing area as we watched the mesmerizing fountain show from a perfect distance.

Relaxation and Reflection

Returning to the hotel room, we enjoyed the comfort of the jacuzzi and soaked in the tranquility of the moment. Amidst shared laughter and heartfelt conversations, we reflected on the significance of family bonds and the joy of spending time together.

On the next day, we went swimming, visited the spa area, and had a sumptuous brunch at the Okada Lounge before going back home. Though the staycation had come to an end, the warmth of our shared experiences lingered, a testament to the enduring love of our family.

Wrap Up

Surprising our parents on their 36th wedding anniversary with a staycation at Okada Manila was more than just a gesture; it’s the best feeling, knowing that we had made their anniversary so special. Plus, we carry with us another batch of cherished memories of laughter, joy, and stories we can always retell. Here’s to many more years of love and unforgettable moments with the ones who mean the world to us!


Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

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