In case you missed the first part of this birthday party story, read here.

Food Packages

She, the very accommodating branch party-in-charge gave us packages ranging from PhP 220.00 per head and above, but they are very flexible. We just have to hit the minimum consumable rate. So, the tipid mom side of Abi went through the menu and tried to compute different options. And then she remembered that we usually order the roasted group meal that comes with a whole roasted chicken, rice, side dish, muffins, and drinks that’s good for four people. And they agreed! This was such a steal, and we were confident that our guests will have a good fill.


My Neighbor Totoro is a Studio Ghibli film that Mark absolutely loves. Deciding that this will be the theme, we thought of having live plants and no plastic at the party. It was quite a challenging theme because Totoro merchandise are rare and expensive. The only option is to DIY.

Abi would like to state here that her talent is not much for arts and crafts and planting, what more the time it requires to do it, being a work-from-home-no-helper mom. Here, we turned to Shopee for paper decors (that we promised to reuse), and titas who have the prowess for keeping plants alive, and can cut in straight lines.

Apple Mint plant with Totoro

Since we didn’t opt for the party package, there will be no decorations and the place would look bare. So much for first birthdays. We’re grateful that the extra sets of hands have saved the day.

The arts and crafts titas
Paper umbrellas
Tita Nix’s labor of love for her nephew: planting the centerpieces.
The paper fans we ordered from Shopee

Also, Kenny Rogers usually serves party food in plastic containers but welcomed our request for no trash. They even ordered new sets of utensils for the party. Amazing!

Tip: team up with co-moms who will be throwing parties soon so you can maximize the decors you will buy.


It pays to have a designer husband. Mark created the invitation, and I am so proud of the activity mats he made from scratch! These added a personal touch to our theme. It included trivia about Atticus, connect the dots, puzzle, Sudoku, and a brain teaser to include both kids and adults in the fun. The math problem is up for debate.

The activity mat Mark designed from scratch.

Candy Buffet

Dessert tables can be pricey. Not to mention, will have many constraints because we can’t bring in products similar to what’s available in Kenny Rogers and Seattle’s Best Coffee menu. So we asked Jeanne, the lady behind Bakepertise and other friends to buy candies and set it up as a buffet. We also commissioned her to bake a few cupcakes for the kids. All of this will be a sweet closing to our little gathering.  

Candy and table decors by Bakepertise and Jenn Tibay.
Totoro cupcakes by Bakepertise


The cake was a work of art by Ella Tendero, also known as Darth Baker. Except for the candle, everything on this cake was edible. The soot spirits actually tasted good- like candy pops with crunchy coating.

Totoro cake by Darth Baker


We attribute much of our success in the party to our volunteers. Myles Capareda and Gillianne Roc were our wedding videographers, and they were happy to document Atticus’s first birthday.



If there was a handmade item in the party that’s truly ours, it was our giveaways. We brought our homemade chili garlic sauce in the picture in smaller servings (40 ml) for our guests. Also, the plant centerpieces are souvenirs.

Cute pero serioso

Party Time

We planned to come ahead and decorate at 12:00 pm since nobody was using the function room before us. Learning from our wedding, we knew we wouldn’t be able to eat at the party so we ate ahead. Our volunteers came in early as well to help out.

Party time in the invitation was 30 minutes early. Ironically, guests came hours ahead. We were not even halfway through decorating the place, so having them was an added pressure. It was great that a staff was assigned to us to help out in setting up.



We had a no-fuzz program. Just a heart-warming message by Pastor Rene, candle blowing, and eating time. Our only minor hiccup was that Atticus got a little cranky after the dedication because he was too sleepy.

We evaluated our experience after the party and we all agreed that we had a very good experience.The only notes we took to heart are:


The godparents

Plated Meals=Leftovers

We saw so much food waste while mingling with our guests. Others were even untouched. Lesson: Have food served buffet style so people can choose what food they like to eat.

Bring a sako bag

Gifts poured for Atticus! But since we forgot to bring our giant sako bag, we had to figure out how to bring our stuff home.

Prepare a playlist

Music ties up the theme. But the playlist we created on Spotify had lullabies which felt like a miss for the celebration so we decided not to play it. We didn’t like loud kiddie party music either so we asked the Kenny Rogers team if they have anything that’s chill. It’s great that one of the staff had good selections on his phone.

Guest Confirmation

We were advised to reserve for less than our number of guests because fall outs are inevitable. So we booked for only 100 pax and added  30 more later after the guests confirmed. What you book on the contract is the minimum guaranteed number, so your food orders can only increase.

Although there were 146 guests who confirmed, we didn’t increase our 130 orders. After the party, we still had to take home 11 packs of food. We realized that since it was very easy to order food, we should have applied the 25% fall out rule.

As we have learned on our wedding day, Filipinos aren’t keen in confirming so it’s safe to ask a couple of times.

Tip: “Maybe” is a no. No response is a no.



Our Takeaway

As for our Kenny Rogers experience, we only have praises. Everything went smoothly and customer service was impeccable. The staff assigned inside the function room was never out of sight, proactive, and quick to respond. Everything was sulit and were well prepared. Some guests commented that they were surprised the food was served right away, and that they were stuffed silly.


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