Archive for March, 2009

30
Mar
09

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’s KA : I WANT !

I’ve been to Las Vegas before & fell in love with it.
I’ve seen Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Paris & Venetian hotels;
was amazed with Luxor, Mirage, NY NY, Excalibur, Mandalay bay & Treasure Island…
I’ve slept in Stardust & MGM Grand
but never got a chance to see any show =(

LIFE IS SHORT. Aww!
I need to see this CIRQUE DU SOLEIL entitled “KA” at the MGM.
This one goes to my wish list…
If I ONLY have the bucks & the chance to fly to somewhere, next to PARIS
(God knows how desperately I want to be in the City of Lights &
take countless photos of the Eiffel Tower & breathe inside the Louvre
but that’s off topic for now),

I WANT TO BRING TINA & GABBY to MGM GRAND for us to watch Cirque du Soleil’s “KA”.

Show tickets at USD 150 exclusive of taxes & charges..
But hell, one can experience the most lavish, breathtaking, stylish show in the planet!

This is what I found in their website :

EMBARK ON AN ADVENTUROUS JOURNEY
YOU CAN SEE IT. YOU CAN EXPERIENCE IT. BUT, YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT!

The KÀ Universe
KÀ transcends place and time, with a theatrical landscape, scenic elements and costumes inspired by an array of diverse cultures.

Brought to life by 80 artists from around the world, KÀ is a gravity-defying production featuring a powerfully emotive soundtrack that enhances the innovative blend of acrobatic feats, Capoeira dance, puppetry, projections and martial arts.

And these are the photos enough for me to drool in awe!

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The scenes :
The PAGEANT
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The STORM
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The ARCHER’S DEN
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The WASH-UP ON THE SHORE
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The BLIZZARD
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The FOREST PEOPLE
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The SLAVE CAGE
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AFTERMATH
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The CAST…

img_characters_counselorson img_characters_chiefdaughter
img_characters_forest
img_characters_nursemaid img_characters_courtjester
img_characters_spear img_characters_mountain img_characters_twins img_characters_valets

Now, what are you waiting for?
click the button & be ready to be amaze with Cirque du Soleil’s KA…
Enjoy !

BRAVO !!!

Photos & Brief synopsis were sourced from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/
Video from youtube.com

29
Mar
09

GRAD RITES

I completely understand that more than the attire, what the diploma represent is most essential ofcourse, but it surely counts a lot if you’ll dress for the part.

This is the time of the year when we usually see youngsters in the streets mostly in smart casuals to formal attires, young men in their “ISPOOTING na ISPOOTING
(read : stylish) trying to be dapper in their own right & ladies who are mostly fully made up trying to walk comfortably in high heels for the event. These guys are commonly seen these days with caps & togas on way to their graduation.

This is the time of the year when I remember most my own graduation rites. I recall our ceremony from elementary was done inside a church in Marikina City for I am an alumnus of a catholic school. It was a requirement for us to wear white long sleeves & black pants (what’s with that attire? we all looked like waiters in a restaurant. Not that I discount being a waiter, hell no, it’s a decent job but talk about most of their uniforms…) Anyway, I finished elementary 9th place in my batch (applause, applause!).

Then I transferred school & went through high school. During the graduatio, we wore white togas & caps, inside it, again, we were asked to wear white long sleeves with a tie. I bought my silk abstract-painted tie in Koalition Zoo in Robinson’s Galleria (if you’re 30 something years old & a frequent goer of Galleria in those years, you know those shops that comprised Koalition Zoo).

Until now, I regret the fact that I did not wear something spruce & stylish during our college graduation. After finishing a premedical degree from FEU, my batchmates & I on March of 1997 found ourselves marching in the aisles of PICC wearing battle green togas & caps. Gee, everything could have been perfect if not for my jologs (read: pathetically cheap & corny) attire inside that dignified toga! I wore AGAIN, a white long sleeves which I only bought and haggled in one of the bargain stores in Greenhills. Most of my batchmates wore suits & ties, gowns & other formals. From then on, I told myself that I will not take for granted such occassions & would prepare appropriate attire worthy of the event.

I went to med school & after another 4 grueling years, I had to attend another graduation. It was a perfect time for me to fulfill a personal promise. So when my mom asked me where to buy my grad attire, I told her I found a place somewhere in Makati. We went to an outlet store of Italian clothes called Corso Marconi where sale items from stores like Linea Italia & Uomo are stocked. I chose a gray suit & pants, & bought a silk tie & shirt of the same shade from Marks & Spencer (that started my addiction to M&S ties & shirts). My shoes came from Traffic. But best of all, I am with my future wife during my medicine graduation. It was really worth the “porma”. lol.

Drs. Fatz, Coni, Me & my sister-in-law Bibs

Drs. Fatz, Coni, Me & my sister-in-law Bibs

My next graduation was held in a hospital. It was a year after I had my post-graduate medical internship program in Quirino Memorial Medical Center. My batchmates & I agreed to wear something BLUE. I wore Marks & Spencer blue shirt & silk tie.

QMMC Post Graduate Medical Internship Program Graduation 2001 -2002

QMMC Post Graduate Medical Internship Program Graduation 2001 -2002

Then comes the turning of the tide when my own son gets to march the aisle to graduate from his very first year in school. Since he’s a part of the dancing preschoolers to the tune of “I will follow Him” from the movie Sister Act, they were asked to wear (here we go again) white long sleeves & black tie for the presentation. After their performance, his mother brought him to somewhere private & change his attire to something special. With his mom’s meticulous attention to details combined with my not-so-pleasant graduation experiences, we decided to ask our costurera to prepare Gabby an oriental tunic for his ceremony. And there he was… A little Kung Fu kid besting all of his batchmates in the STYLE category, well, at least for us, lol. Actually, I envy kids nowadays – as early as preschool, they have graduation that comes with awarding of top honors of classes. Even though my son did not own a special award or something, he will forever be number ONE in our hearts. It’s enough for now he got 3rd place (beating 51 nursery pupils) in their Declamation contest last month. He still has years ahead of him.
Gabby’s nursery graduation was held at Henry Lee Irwin Theater inside Ateneo de Manila University last Friday. Allow me to share photos of that special event…

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Twinkle Toes Academy’s preschool grad rites started past 3PM & ended before 6.
We headed straight to TGIF Trinoma for dinner…
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Congratz Gabby & more graduations to come! Carry on, son!

28
Mar
09

WHERE SKY CITY TOWER IS

Summer time always brings back memories of our trip to
Auckland, New Zealand exactly 4 years ago.

I, Tina and our then 4-month old son Gabby arrived in the City of Sails 2 weeks after my parents flew there for a sponsored vacation by our relatives (who all transferred to Melbourne, Australia after living in Auckland, NZ for more than a decade). The main reason why we didn’t fly there together : I got Varicella (read: chickenpox). Yeah, right, I’m so late bloomer. I only got infected with that vesicle-causing virus at my 29th year. Luckily, those lesions errupted 4 days after my Oath taking as licensed physician then.
I remember vividly how I was received by my nieces there. The eldest daughter of my first cousin greeted me, “Hi, Spotty!” Ouch! After 2 weeks of healing, the scars on my face were still apparent but thank God I was not quarantined in any airport stop-overs we had.

My wife Tina & Gabby aboard Royal Brunei Airlines to Auckland, New Zealand

My wife Tina & Gabby aboard Royal Brunei Airlines to Auckland, New Zealand

We were advised by my cousin to get a flight to Auckland via Royal Brunei Airlines. By being obedient, we got a chance to stay over night in a hotel (included in the flight package) & toured Bendar Seri Begawan, the city capital of Brunei Darussalam the next day.

inside the Royal Regalia Museum, Bendar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

inside the Royal Regalia Museum, Bendar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam

the Sultan's chariot used in parades is in display at the Royal Regalia Museum

the Sultan's chariot used in parades is in display at the Royal Regalia Museum

Brunei was enticing! With all of its greens around the city, the abundance of gold in the mosques, & the calmness of the city at dawn, we were drawn to the experience.

Considered as one of the grandest monuments to Islam in the whole region, the magnificent Jame’ Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque is the brainchild of His Majesty the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah and Yang Dipertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

Jame' Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque

With our “sometimes-jologs- lifestyle”, who would have thought that we’d been to THE EMPIRE HOTEL in Brunei already, one of the grandest hotels in the globe. It was part of the half-day city tour that we availed from another hotel where we stayed during our 1st stop over.
(read : JOLOGS as defined in wikipilipinas as “pathetically cheap & corny sometimes equated to baduy, OUCH!!! definitely NOT us!, well, sometimes, lol)

main LOBBY of the EMPIRE HOTEL, Brunei

main LOBBY of the EMPIRE HOTEL, Brunei

inside EMPIRE HOTEL, BRUNEI

inside EMPIRE HOTEL, BRUNEI

From Manila, it took us more or less 3 hours to get to Brunei. We had an overnigt stay in Brunei Hotel & had half day city tour the next morning. At around 2PM, we were brought to the airport & boarded Royal Brunei airlines again to Auckland via Brisbane, Australia. It took us around 7 hours to land to Brisbane from Brunei for a 2 hour-stop over.

another airport stop-over : BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

another airport stop-over : BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Then after a brief aircraft transfer from Brisbane Airport, we flew another couple of hours to our main destination for our 7-week vacation : AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND.
We officially arrived in the City of Sails minutes past 3 in the morning.
I can still recall the less than 12 degrees celsius morning breeze we experienced on our first step to the land of the kiwis. We were fetched by our parents & relatives and few hours after, we hit the road for some sight seeing and toured the downtown like we didn’t have jet lags…

FIRST DAY: “walang sinayang na sandali-citytour!…”
translation : “As-if-there’s no tomorrow city tour!…”

the blooms at WINTER GARDEN PARK, Auckland, NZ

the blooms at WINTER GARDEN PARK, Auckland, NZ

forget the jet lag, hello wintergarden park!

forget the jet lag, hello wintergarden park!

After seeing the WINTER GARDEN PARK, we ate breakfast “pinoy style” with “baon” in our vans and headed straight to AUCKLAND MUSEUM for a quick grasp of the MAORI CULTURE…

as if we had adequate sleep...

as if we had adequate sleep...

inside a MARAE at the AUCKLAND MUSEUM

inside a MARAE at the AUCKLAND MUSEUM

With no clues whether they eat live people or whatever, we posed beside MAORIS inside the Auckland Museum. Their attitude towards tourists was warmer than the weather.

the natives of NZ : the MAORIS !  cool, eh?

the natives of NZ : the MAORIS ! cool, eh?

photo-op with a lady MAORI inside Auckland Museum

photo-op with a lady MAORI inside Auckland Museum

DOWNTOWN AUCKLAND …

QUEENS ROAD, Auckland, NZ

QUEENS ROAD, Auckland, NZ

kodak moments before crossing a street, lol

kodak moments before crossing a street, lol

near the FULLERS FERRY station

near the FULLERS FERRY station

HALF MOON BAY…

smile muna before boarding FULLERS FERRY

smile muna before boarding FULLERS FERRY

We tried going to downtown aboard the FULLERS FERRY from HALF MOON BAY..

crossing HALF MOON BAY to DOWNTOWN AUCKLAND IN STYLE!

crossing HALF MOON BAY to DOWNTOWN AUCKLAND IN STYLE!

Ofcourse we found time to give THANKS for blessings HE continuously showers us!

HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL, PARNELL, Auckland, NZ

HOLY TRINITY CATHEDRAL, PARNELL, Auckland, NZ

another view of the cathedral in PARNELL

another view of the cathedral in PARNELL

I honestly admit that like most people out there, I too, expected that NEW ZEALAND was only a country of cows and sheep but boy, I was all wrong!!! AUCKLAND is more urbanized than MAKATI City here, at par with Hong Kong and probably New York City. The very modern lifestyle in Auckland is due to the british influence of course.

MALLING was always a part of our Auckland experience. There was WESTFIELD MALL where we munched NZD 7 each per combo meal of chinese food and BOTANY MALL which was only a 5-minute bus ride from TE IRIRANGI Street, where we stayed for almost 2 months…

BOTANY MALL, Auckland, NZ

BOTANY MALL, Auckland, NZ

However, just like most provinces up north here in the Philippines, the night life in Auckland ends at around 5 in the afternoon. Yes, you read that right, every establishments including malls close an hour before 6PM. Thursdays were exception. Malls were open until 9PM latest.

Inspite of the urban lifestyle one can enjoy in Auckland, MOTHER NATURE was still at HER BEST!
We went to AUCKLAND BOTANICAL GARDEN one weekend where entrance fees were FREE!
At least we also experienced where Prime Minister Helen Clark put the taxpayers’ fees into use.

roses were bigger than we could imagine

roses were bigger than we could imagine

the stroller that rolled Gabby from Manila-Brunei-Brisbane-Auckland and back!

the stroller that rolled Gabby from Manila-Brunei-Brisbane-Auckland and back!

Gabby with those ducks and other feathered creatures at Auckland Botanical Park

Gabby with those ducks and other feathered creatures at Auckland Botanical Park

No, we haven't been to Japan yet, but this shot was taken also in Auckland Botanical Park

No, we haven't been to Japan yet, but this shot was taken also in Auckland Botanical Park

had some father-and-son bonding...

had some father-and-son bonding...

We boarded another ferry ride and went to WAIHEKE ISLAND, where vineyards and wineries served as tourist attractions. It was a whole day in the island, and we rode buses to explore it, but sadly we got lost! We just found ourselves enjoying pizza at an italian resto in the island before hitting the ferries again back to Auckland.

lost in WAIHEKE!

lost in WAIHEKE!

Our cousins also drove us to NORTHSHORE, a northern part of Auckland where ships and ferries dock from wherever. This shot was taken at PUPUKE LAKE
(yes, you read that right again! If you’re pinoy, you got what I mean)

coolest below 10 degrees celsius

coolest below 10 degrees celsius

si doc tambay sa northshore!

si doc tambay sa northshore!

We also enjoyed KELLY TARLTON’S OCEAN ADVENTURE
where we appreciated seacreatures from piranhas to stingrays and sharks to adorable penguins !!!

monster-fish piranhas at our backdrop

monster-fish piranhas at our backdrop

Kelly Tarlton's Ocean Park

Kelly Tarlton's Ocean Park

SEVEN WEEKS and we headed back to Manila
but never missed to take a shot of SKY CITY TOWER,
the landmark of the City of Sails….
We went to its lobby but did not go up to the main restaurant and viewing deck
at its top… At least we have reasons to go back some other time… SIGH…*-*

taken at Victoria Market, Downtown Auckland with SKY CITY TOWER at the background

taken at Victoria Market, Downtown Auckland with SKY CITY TOWER at the background

28
Mar
09

PRAY TO SUCCEED

It’s always overwhelming to receive positive feedbacks and comments from reviewees (of http://www.allgen.net) and students who already aced their exams. It doesn’t only show gratitude from them but mostly an affirmation that I/we have to continue what I/we do best – inspiring and motivating people to exert more to meet the demands of exam preparation & all other endeavors.

I always tell my reviewees that
“Even a champion like Manny Pacquiao ALWAYS TRAIN HARD before a fight.”
But whatever physical and mental efforts we put in our preparation for whatever,
still nothing beats DIVINE INTERVENTION.
AMEN to that!

For (Catholic) examinees out there, I am sharing an effective prayer I highly suggest you utter before you sit in any examination.
Say this as you prepare for your biggest fight…
try it, it works!

st_20joseph20cupertino3

Prayer to St. Joseph of Cupertino
for success in Examination

O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
Through Christ our Lord.

St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us. Amen.

O St. Joseph of Cupertino who by your prayer obtained from God to be asked at your examination, the only preposition you knew. Grant that I may like you succeed in the (name of exam: NCLEX).

In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked.
O St. Joseph of Cupertino pray for me
O Holy Ghost enlighten me
Our Lady of Good Studies pray for me
Sacred Head of Jesus, Seat of divine wisdom, enlighten me.

(Remember, when you succeed in the exams then you should thank St. Joseph of Cupertino in the Newspaper.)

Holy Spirit, you who makes me see every-thing and who shows me the way to reach my ideals, you who gives me the Divine gift to forgive and forget all that is done to me, and you who are in all the instincts of my life with me, I in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you, no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in their perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to God’s holy will, I ask from you….. etc. (your request).

Btw, His feast day also falls on my birthday : SEPT. 18.
God give you peace!

——————-
Saint Joseph of Cupertino
Provincial Center
P.O. Box 820
Arroyo Grande, CA 93421

Tel. (805) 473-2256
Fax. (805) 489-8303

27
Mar
09

GLOBAL ELECTION

docGelo’s BEYOND TOXICITY supports EARTH HOUR…
And you?

poster_a_thumbposter_h_thumbposter_l_thumbposter_m_thumb

VOTE EARTH
YOUR LIGHT SWITCH IS YOUR VOTE
This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm.

Sourced from : http://www.earthhour.org/about/

26
Mar
09

SUNSHINE ON MY PILLOW

I don’t know with you but here’s one for my wish list…
Eye so like this glo pillow!
Don’t you?
I think it’s edgy and innovative.

inuse
Natural waking process – The glo pillow uses light instead of sound to wake the user.

During my lunch break at work in Allgen Review Center today, I browsed some magazines from the shelf of the mini library and found an article about fascinating inventions of 2007. From an old page of Time magazine, I found this glo pillow, it caught my interest so I noted its website and am sharing it with you…

And I quote :
“The glo Pillow is an alternative to the traditional alarm clock. It was designed with teammate Eoin McNally in response to a brief to create a product which helps to combat the pressures of a “24 hour” lifestyle.

The pillow uses an LED fabric substrate below the surface to wake the user using light. This substrate also functions as a display, showing the time on the pillows surface using the grid of LEDs below.

40 minutes before the pre-set alarm time the pillow begins to glow and gently brings the user out of sleep. This natural waking process helps to set the circadian rhythm or “body clock” and results in more healthy sleep/wake patterns.”

Don’t you wish to wake up with “happy sunshine” from your pillow?

Sourced from: embryo.ie/glo/index.html

24
Mar
09

POWERVILLE

After our wonderful lunch at Pepper Lunch at the basement of Power Plant Mall in Rockwell Center, I and Tina brought Gabby to Powerville Fun Rides at the 4th level of the mall.

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AMAZING = NAKAMAMANGHA !
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POWER = KAPANGYARIHAN
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Gabby had so much fun in this kids’ colorful playplace. At one point, he couldn’t contained his happiness and had difficulty in choosing which ride should he try first.

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It was my first time to see a grand carousel without horses, lol.
Two Christmases ago, I had seen a carousel of sea creatures and it included a sea-horse.
But in Powerville, the carousel is composed of zoo animals.
How interesting =)

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Isn’t it peculiar to see the king of the jungle in a grand carousel?

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I asked Gabby to ride the tallest of them all…

The poles supporting the grand carousel were painted to resemble the tallest grass : bamboo…

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Nope, the mooing young bovine creature is not part of the zoo carousel

but Gabby did not miss it for the world…

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24
Mar
09

OOPS, WE ATE IT AGAIN!

Things are sweetest when we least expect it.
A couple of hours to lunch time today, my wife Tina asked me if it’s OK for us to go malling again since both of us were free from work and it’s kinda boring to just stay at home.
I suggested Powerplant mall in Rockwell after fetching Gabby from his school.
It was unplanned and I was too weak to resist so I easily gave in, lol.

What’s even nicer was when Tina asked me if I wanted to eat late lunch at Pepper Lunch.

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Wow, and we tried those Beef Pepper Rice for the 3rd time and got to flavor it with that honey brown sauce, which for me is to-die-for.
This lunch, it had to be DOUBLE BEEF pepper rice for me…(read: DOUBLE), lol.
It’s now official for us- it’s a favorite!

Pepper Lunch allows diners to complete the cooking by serving the ordered food in raw with butter at the center all in a very hot/sizzling plate (heated to 260′C). Once order is served, one should mix it, flip the food upside down to cook it just right. Then seasoned it with either garlic soy sauce or honey brown sauce or both…

double beef pepper rice :  more than meets the eye!

double beef pepper rice : more than meets the eye!

future chef Gabby putting on the honey brown sauce on my hot plate

future chef Gabby putting on the honey brown sauce on my hot plate

just the sight of it makes me hungry

just the sight of it makes me hungry

Three new things to our 3rd PL dining :
1. first time at PL Rockwell (1st 2 were at Shangri-la mall).
2. first to order sesame chicken salad.
3. first to order molten milk chocolate.

molten milk chocolate

molten milk chocolate

sesame chicken salad : shake, shake, shake!

sesame chicken salad : shake, shake, shake!

Subjectively, PL is affordable considering the tender tasty juicy beef and other steaks they offer are sourced abroad according to other blogs. As for our lunch…

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PEPPER LUNCH IS LOVE =)

aren't they sweet?

aren't they sweet?

Pepper Lunch Rockwell
Power Plant Mall
Rockwell Center
Makati City
tel # (63-2) 895-6185

Pepper Lunch Shangri-la
Garden Court level
Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong City
tel # (63-2) 631-6410

24
Mar
09

SPOTTED

In TV, she appears to be a usual belter who can sing out her highest notes in the game show, the Singing Bee. I never expected she was so sweet in person. She’s slimmer too!

We spotted Frenchie Dy with her friends at the grocery in Landmark, Trinoma. And Tina asked our son Gabby to pose with the Star in a Million Champion for a photo-op and Frenchie gamely did it twice.

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She even asked Tina, “Ate, patingin…” and my wife candidly showed the digicam to her while I looked at them from another section. The photos were taken at the cold cuts area, Tina said Frenchie was looking for some bacon =)

Just like our usual grocery shopping, Gabby volunteered to push the cart for us. I helped him ofcourse.

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Care to bite USD 100 chocolates for less than PhP 21 each ?

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My son didn’t care if it’s sundown or we’re inside the grocery, he still wore his shades for fashion’s sake.

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We hit the counter earlier than Frenchie. And while walking from the cashier, we heard our son at the top of his voice saying, “Bye, Frenchie!” so we looked back and saw her smiling and shouted, “Bye, Gabby!”
It was so pleasant of Ms. Dy to remember my son’s name and yelled back nicely to bid goodbye.
And I just thought Frenchie is more than a good voice. You gained another fan, Ms. Dy!

23
Mar
09

PRINCIPLED NEGOTIATOR

ul709d

It’s weird because I haven’t been to that part of the world but I’m fascinated to anything in Europe – from places, things to whatever and ofcourse its culture and people.
I like Marks & Spencer the way I like Tony Blair.
Man, he is simply ICONIC !

blif1 If I am filthy rich, I could have attended his rare speaking engagement here today, 23 March 2009 in Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel Manila. But I was far from being one, lol. And there are more important things to settle financially than to avail of the least amount of ticket for Tony Blair’s Manila conference. Ticket prices range from PhP 1,120 to whopping PhP 25,000 ! But damn, it surely was one for the books. “Some guys have all the luck” and at this point, I’m not one of them; perhaps next timeline, lol.

I like his say on religion and I quote : “I hope and believe that stories of people not being allowed to express their Christianity are exceptional or the result of individual ludicrous decisions. My view is that people should be proud of their Christianity and able to express it as they wish.”

Born as Anthony Charles Lynton “Tony” Blair on 06 May 1953, he became United Kingdom’s prime minister from March 1997 to June of 2007. He is now a representative to the Middle East, representing the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and Russia.

22
Mar
09

BIG BOYS’ CLUB

Rovilson Fernandez, Eunice Olsen and Marc Nelson (photo sourced from AXN website.)

Rovilson Fernandez, Eunice Olsen and Marc Nelson (photo sourced from AXN website.)

The show started last 09 February and I already missed its first five episodes and probably will have to watch them on youtube or something. But as the cliche goes, “better late than never.” Just like being hooked to the AMAZING RACE and the AMAZING RACE ASIA, I think I’ll watch this show weekly from now on over AXN after catching their 6th episode replay this morning. This is about the DUKE, AXN’s men’s magazine show aired every Monday 8PM and with replays on Sundays 9AM also on AXN.

Their first six episodes are :
Episode 1 : Women, can we live without them?
Episode 2 : Metrosexuality
Episode 3 : Secret Fantasies
Episode 4 : The Age of Women in Power
Episode 5 : 30 is the new 20
Episode 6 : Can Money Buy Love?

Taking from their last episode, I think the show isn’t only entertaining but also informative. It showcases interesting features about lifestyle, travel and perhaps anything under the sun or making it specifically under the Asian sun.

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photo sourced from : http://www.lifestyleasia.com/images/theduke_hosts.jpg

I google AXN’s and other sites that featured the DUKE
And I quote : “The latest AXN original production is THE DUKE, a glossy men’s magazine talk show that will appeal to the modern sensibilities, tastes, upscale lifestyles and intellect of professionals and businessmen.

THE DUKE is set to make waves across Asia as it explores topics like politics, finance, sex, wellness, and also about the finer things in life in a smart, sophisticated and stylish manner. Featuring exclusive interviews with international celebrities and popular figures at vibrant destinations in Asia, THE DUKE will make men all over Asia sit up and get inspired to take charge of their lives.

THE DUKE is, as its name suggests, about men that stand a class above the rest. Our definition of ‘The Duke’ is a man very much in control of his life. For a true Duke, age and wealth are not determining factors in ensuring success but the desire, the drive and the dream are key to his accomplishment.

The guides for this tour-de-force are celebrity hosts, Marc Nelson and Rovilson Fernandez, formerly the pin-up boys of The Amazing Race Asia’s second season. Gaining major mileage and popularity around Asia from the Race, these alpha males are indisputably one of the boys with their charming and cheeky humour and hands on sports savvy, besides being smouldering, seasoned ladies’ men.

1_710409429l

Singapore personality Eunice Olsen bravely joins the alpha-male duo as the only female host on this men’s magazine show. The winner of Miss Singapore-Universe in 2000, Eunice is also the youngest Nominated Member of Parliament in Singapore and has hosted shows covering the arts and women’s issues. It’s without a doubt that she will add a delicious dimension with her intelligent and feminine perspectives!”

22
Mar
09

THE RN CONTRACT TRAP by Reeves & Elias

I am posting 2-part articles that I’ve read on Manila Bulletin and googled on the web about possibilities of Nurse’s deployment to US. My unsolicited opinion about this is for everyone concerned to be very CAREFUL and INTUITIVE before signing any contract with any agency/employers.
The old cliche applies : An ounce of prevention is more important than a pound of cure.
Now, read on and learn…

The RN Contract Trap
Posted on: 03/05/2009

http://www.rreeves.com/articles/immigration_en_10558.php

By Attorney Robert L. Reeves and Joseph I. Elias

For many foreign nurses (RNs) the chance to immigrate to the U.S. is the opportunity of a life time. For so many, immigrating to the U.S. is the reason they went to nursing school and took up the profession. Many others, such as marketing majors, physicians, computer engineers, etc. have switched professions to become nurses in order to immigrate to the U.S.

Immigrating as an RN is one of the fastest paths to a green card or permanent residency. This is because the U.S. Department of Labor has determined that there is an acute shortage of RNs across the entire U.S. The steps for sponsoring an RN were subsequently streamlined allowing RNs to immigrate faster than most other occupations.

The shortage spurred the growth and creation of hybrid industries such as nurse registries and temporary nursing staff companies. These types of companies assign nurses on a temporary basis with their client hospitals, medical facilities, and private homes. A nurse working for one of these companies for example, might find herself working at Hospital A for 2 days out of the week and Hospital B for 3 days. Then, a few months later, working 4 days for Hospital C. The RN goes wherever her employer has been contracted to provide services. She is not an employee of the hospital, but rather the registry company.

Because of the shortage, various RN employers (hospitals, agencies, RN staffing companies) heavily recruit for RNs overseas. Foreign RNs who wish to immigrate are delighted at the opportunity the recruiters offer and are often all too eager to sign up.

While this path may be one of the easiest ways to immigrate, it is not without its pitfalls. Employment-based sponsorship means the RN will be allowed to immigrate if the RN intends to work on a permanent basis for the petitioning employer. This is a critical condition of immigrating that carries consequences if not fulfilled.

During the typical recruitment process, the RNs are promised sponsorship in exchange for working for the employer. Contracts are prepared and representations are made regarding the nature of work, type of work, place of work, working conditions and wages. Many RNs are so eager to immigrate, they do not carefully read these contractual documents, ask serious questions regarding the terms and conditions, or have the contracts reviewed by their own attorney.

In the excitement of the prospect of immigrating to the U.S. many RNs are seduced with the notion that the dream job awaits them in the U.S. For some this is true, but for many, it has drastic consequences. The RNs gloss over the contracts and assume an attitude of, “I’ll deal with it later.”

The most common contractual clause that wreaks havoc on an immigrating RN’s life is the breach of contract damages clause. Most contracts typically require the RN to work for a specific number of years and failure to do so triggers the damages clause. The damages can range from $15,00 to $50,000 dollars!

Many RNs signing these contracts are unfamiliar with the litigious culture in the U.S. Some come to the U.S. and find the working conditions and salaries they were told they would receive are not the same as represented when first recruited. Some conditions are so unbearable. For example, being placed in graveyard shifts in hospitals far from home. Or, not being placed in any hospital and collecting no salary while the sponsor tries to obtain a new client for the RNs placement. Many of these RNs then leave their employers and this is when additional tragedy strikes.

The employer begins a campaign of harassment and may sue for breach of contract and obtains a judgment against the RN for the penalty amount. The judgment typically comes with a wage garnishment order. This means the RN’s new employer is required to pay a portion of the RN’s wages to the sponsor to cover the judgment. Because RNs are in a licensed occupation requiring a reporting of where they work, it is very simple for the sponsor to locate the RN and exact the judgment.

But, worse than a breach of contract is the possible immigration consequence. The RN has obtained permanent residency because she stated she intends to work on a permanent basis for her sponsor. By leaving or changing employers shortly after entering the U.S., she has now opened the door for the Immigration Service to revoke the green card! Some employers immediately notify the Immigration Service when an RN leaves exposing the RN to possible green card revocation and deportation.

For many others, the immigration consequence comes several years later when the RN is applying for U.S. citizenship. The Immigration Service reviews the basis of the green card and determines how long the RN worked for her sponsor. If it determines that the RN has only worked for a short period of time, it may begin revocation and deportation proceedings against both the RN and her family members who obtained green cards through her.

These tragic consequences can be avoided by careful review in the beginning. For many of those currently in the position, there is still immigration and contractual relief available. The U.S. Constitution prohibits slavery and indentured servitude and because in many cases the sponsoring employer breaches the contract, the employee is not liable for any damages. This core constitutional value is the basis for providing relief to those forced to leave their sponsors. This will be the subject of our second part of this article.

The RN Contract Trap Part II
Posted on: 03/19/2009

http://www.rreeves.com/articles/immigration_en_10560.php

By Attorneys Robert L. Reeves and Joseph I. Elias

This is the second of a two part article on RNs who immigrate to the U.S. and find themselves the subject of penalizing employment contracts. In the previous article we discussed the RNs immigrating to the U.S. with a hope and promise of a good job and a green card. But, sadly, upon arriving, they experience an entirely different picture than what was represented to them when recruited overseas.

For many, the working conditions are not as promised. They were told that they would be working at a specific hospital in a safe environment, only to find out that the position is in a different hospital, in unsafe neighborhoods, or even in completely different cities and states than promised. Others find that the “agency” or employer has no work for them. They wait several weeks or even several months without receiving a pay check or full time work hours. Many others find that the wages they are receiving are lower than the actual wage they were told they would receive when recruited. Others become virtual prisoners because they are told that they cannot leave their homes because they are on call 24/7 and will need to report to work at a moment’s notice. No set schedules force them to stay home, by the phone, waiting for the call to come into work. If the RN does not show up for work, she can be found in breach of contract.

These experiences are more typical of nurses recruited by staffing companies or nursing agencies. The staffing company may have had a contract with the hospital promised, but lost it prior to the RN’s arrival to the U.S. The staffing company then must try and find new clients to place its RNs.

RNs who find themselves in these predicaments can only tolerate this for a limited period of time. They are in a strange country with no friends or family and do not know what to do or what their rights are. They must borrow from friends, or life savings to survive. They have limited access to the outside world. Eventually they can tolerate no more and forge out on their own to look for more stable jobs and better living conditions.

This is when the employer’s harassment campaign may begin. The employer may even sue the RN for breach of contract and damages in the tens of thousands of dollars. The contract usually sets a state other than where the RN is living or working as the forum for disputes. The RN does not appear in court to defend her actions and the employer receives a default judgment. The employer then uses the judgment to garnish the wages of the RN who is very easy to track. Typically, an attorney in the city the RN is residing in is hired by the employer to obtain a local order to enforce the out of state judgment. The employer may also notify the Immigration Service that the RN has left employment and has not honored her requirement to work for the employer. Many employers also file, or threaten to file complaints, with the nursing board that the RN is a threat to her patients and that her license should be revoked. This can lead to revocations of licenses.

Any of these actions, if left unchecked carry very serious consequences. The RN’s credit rating can be ruined as a result of the judgment. Wages at new employers can be garnished which leaves an unpleasant taste in the new employer’s mouth. Segregating a portion of wages is an additional administrative burden most employers do not want to handle. Many RNs, after a few years of savings, try to buy homes and cannot because their credit has been ruined by the judgment.

Perhaps the harshest consequence is for those RNs who have their green cards stripped and find themselves in deportation proceedings by the Immigration Service. This is done because the RN was given a green card to work permanently for the employer. The Immigration Service interprets a resignation within a few months of immigrating to the U.S. as proof the RN never intended to work permanently for her employer. She therefore was not eligible for the green card to begin with and it must be revoked.

It is therefore of the utmost importance that RNs who find themselves in an unbearable situation to nip the employer’s action in the bud. The RN should not ignore the employer’s legal and immigration threats, but should address them head on at the outset.

Usually, an RN in this situation has her own cause of action against the employer for its breach of contract. The RN can sue for back wages and challenge out of state judgments. While many states find an employer has a right to recover the reasonable costs for replacing an RN, the large dollar amounts are viewed by many courts as prohibited and unconscionable penalties and liquidated damages. Unfounded complaints, or threats of complaints to licensing agencies, can also be grounds for defamation suits against the employer. Many courts may find the contracts one-sided and unconscionable that the entire contract is voided out.

Immediately challenging the employer also creates a record that can be used to prove to the Immigration Service that the RN had every intention of keeping her obligations to work permanently for the employer. The RN can show that her employer breached the contract and promises. Forcing her to remain working for the employer under these circumstances could be considered endorsing slavery or indentured servitude.

RNs who did not challenge the employer from the outset will have to work harder to demonstrate to the Immigration Service that they had the intent to work permanently. The challenge typically comes when an RN applies for citizenship. The Immigration Service will revisit the basis of the RNs green card and then determine if the RN met her obligation to her employer. The complaint filed by the sponsoring employer, no work history, or a short work history will be deemed by the Immigration Service as proof that the RN never intended to work for the employer. This will be the basis for revocation of the green card.

RNs in this situation must document the circumstances that forced them to leave. They must show why remaining with the employer would have been tantamount to slavery or indentured servitude. The U.S. Constitution prohibits slavery and indentured servitude and because in many cases the sponsoring employer breaches the contract, the employee is not liable for any damages. This core constitutional value is the basis for providing relief to those forced to leave their sponsors. RNs trapped in an unconscionable contract should seek immediate legal assistance in order to preserve their rights, their dignity, and their immigration future.

19
Mar
09

WE’RE IN HEAT!

No, my wife isn’t ovulating now, lol.
Neither one of us has fever.

I’m so glad with our dinner last night, well, not quite.

The HAPPY PART :
My wife Tina, our 4-year-old son Gabby & I got a chance to dine with my sister-in-law Doc Bibs and her hubby Nurse/Chef Jun with their baby Raphael. We seldom see each other, blame our busy schedules. It was recharging after a long day at work seeing a 14-month-old kid eating adult foods with a big appetite. =)

The NOT-SO-HAPPY PART :
I was disappointed with the buffet stations at HEAT, Edsa Shagri-la Hotel.
Most of my favorites were not included in the menu.
I know it’s bad to compare open-kitchen-dining in hotels since they all have something special to offer but I can’t help it. =( Last February we got to try Circles Events Cafe Buffet in Makati Shangri-la Hotel and only last Sunday we were delighted in Dusit Thani’s Family Sunday Brunch (see my previous posts) and last night’s dinner in Heat just didn’t top my list, sorry.

is it ON or OFF ?

is it ON or OFF ?

The CAST :
Gabby & I…

we had no choice but to smile for the cam =)

we had no choice but to smile for the cam =)

I & Tina…

the queen and I.

the queen and I.

my in-laws

my in-laws

The PLOT :

enough reason to try dining at HEAT

enough reason to try dining at HEAT

The HORS D’OEUVRE :

cold cuts, anyone?

cold cuts, anyone?

salad in waiting

salad in waiting

another shot

another shot

a closer look

a closer look

ANTIPASTI…

cheese, dips and lots of them

cheese, dips and lots of them

want some carbo-loading?

want some carbo-loading?

more of appetizers...

more of appetizers...

The JAPANESE STATION :
Although it looks good on photos, it actually lacked lots of things essential for it to be more interesting.
I asked the staff if there’s SUKIYAKI (read: 3 days ago I tasted the best Sukiyaki in Umu of Dusit Thani (refer to previous post) with the most tender beef & perfectly seasoned soup; there was none in Heat.
Next thing I looked for : TAMAGO ROLLS but for the second time I was unsuccessful.
Then I asked for TEPPANYAKI station and it didn’t surprise me to know that again there was none.
I was also craving for EBI & KANI TEMPURA but I only found MIXED TEMPURA which were mostly VEGGIES
at the ORIENTAL/CHINESE section where Peking Ducks are also served.

I asked the staffs at that station : “Sir, Do you have EBI and KANI TEMPURA?”
Two of them replied : “NAKAHALO NA PO DYAN

where in the pile of those MIXED TEMPURA are EBI & KANI ?

where in the pile of those MIXED TEMPURA are EBI & KANI ?

Paging the management of HEAT :
There’s always room for improvement and I think your resto has lots of potentials,
in all fairness.
You would’nt want be SECOND BEST
to either Circles of Makati Shangri-la,
Umu, Tosca, Benjarong & Basix of Dusit Thani or
to our yet-to-be-experienced : SOFITEL’S SPIRAL, right?

At anyhow, we enjoyed each other’s company.
For now, feast your eyes on what Heat has to offer :

turning japanese!

turning japanese!

jap station : take 2!

jap station : take 2!

where are the tamago rolls? grrr...!!!

where are the tamago rolls? grrr...!!!

will you dip them in wasabi?

will you dip them in wasabi?

My ANTITHESIS to HEAT’S JAPANESE SPREAD…

eyeLOVEthoseCHOPSTICKS!!!

eyeLOVEthoseCHOPSTICKS!!!

Tina had her share…

MINIMALISM

MINIMALISM

Near or part (?) of the japanese station are the seafoods.
Tina’s seafood plate :

there were different sauces to spice 'em up.

there were different sauces to spice 'em up.

That plate was mine :

SURF and TURF, baby!

SURF and TURF, baby!

Those yummies came from these…

seafood calling

seafood calling

can anyone identify the other seafood beside those crabs? it looks like mussels but are not.

can anyone identify the other seafood beside those crabs? it looks like mussels but are not.

more of iodine & calcium-rich seafoods...

more of iodine & calcium-rich seafoods...

The CARVING STATION :

bovine pleasures

bovine pleasures

bloody hell, it's medium rare! i prefer well-done.

bloody hell, it's medium rare! i prefer well-done.

CHINESE FOODS:

one of Beijing's famous dish : PEKING DUCK

one of Beijing's famous dish : PEKING DUCK

STEAMED DELIGHTS

STEAMED DELIGHTS

Tina’s oriental choices…

my wife's dimsum & dumplings, peking duck & corn & crab soup

my wife's dimsum & dumplings, peking duck & corn & crab soup

And my chinese food on a jap plate…wow, mali!

i intentionally did not match the colors of my chopsticks, aren't they an eye-candy?

i intentionally did not match the colors of my chopsticks, aren't they an eye-candy?

oriental dishes : i want!

oriental dishes : i want!

much needed break in betweet stations called for roughage

much needed break in betweet stations called for roughage

MOVING ON…
There was also a MEDITERRANEAN STATION
where curried beef, chicken etc were up for grabs but we resisted.

persian treats

persian treats

instead, Tina opted to try the lamb chops, grilled fish, shrimp & veggies…

this plate looks delish!

this plate looks delish!

while I went to queue at the NOODLE STATION…
The line was short and the people waiting were pleasant. =)
After the noodle-lady handed a bowl to me when I was the one next in line, I got to choose my noodle : from vermicelli, flat noodles, egg noodles etc.. then the add-ons from leafy veggies to chicken/pork/beef strips and ofcourse the soup-stock. I had a mixture of chicken broth and spicy shrimp with a little bit of everything and voila…

i had to say the noodle-lady was so efficient & friendly =)

i had to say the noodle-lady was so efficient & friendly =)

choices of veggies and noodles (there's the canister of colored chopsticks again!)

choices of veggies and noodles (there's the canister of colored chopsticks again!)

This was the result of my select-all-that-apply-ingredients-to-my-noodles :

my own D-I-Y hot soup : not bad!

my own D-I-Y hot soup : not bad!

AND NOW, PRESENTING…
HEAT’S OWN VERSION OF
“SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THESE…”

sweet treats

sweet treats

The selection of desserts was a sight to behold. However, in my own opinion, the tastes were not that impressive as they look like. Some were bland and most have the same gustatory stimuli…

they're wow for the sight but not for my taste buds, sorry

they're wow for the sight but not for my taste buds, sorry

more than meets the eye? err, taste buds?

more than meets the eye? err, taste buds?

But I found mango pastries/tarts delicious…

i admit i liked those yellow ones...

i admit i liked those yellow ones...

My sweet tooth called for these…

i tasted 'em all !  =)

i tasted 'em all ! =)

Never to miss the two chocolate fountains…

do you prefer it white ?

do you prefer it white ?

or do you like it dark ?

or do you like it dark ?

Tina only had few of them…

few were chosen

few were chosen

want some churros or creme brulee perhaps?

want some churros or creme brulee perhaps?

I was looking for MUSCOVADO or at least the usual brown or white sugar to couple my bibingka but again there was none! Sayang!

bibingka   a.k.a. rice cakes

bibingka a.k.a. rice cakes

my bibingka tasted odd without sugar (muscovado) =(

my bibingka tasted odd without sugar (muscovado) =(

Halo-halo station for those up with “heat”…

summer won't be complete without these

summer won't be complete without these

There was no teppanyaki station at the japanese section but the teppan was seen for frying ice cream…

fried ice cream

fried ice cream

A wooden canister of TAHO was near the churros and creme brulee station…

doc bibs tried some taho...=)

doc bibs tried some taho...=)

peculiar combination : taho & churros =)

peculiar combination : taho & churros =)

Gabby's sweeter than those treats =)

Gabby's sweeter than those treats =)

Nevertheless, that dinner was memorable only because we had fun eating together

one for the books

one for the books

but I still do wish that there would be great improvements in HEAT.
There should always be value-for-money!
Oh, I forgot, we ordered HEAT ICED TEA JAR
unknowingly (because we did not ask and did not check the menu)
for a whopping price of PhP600 !
We paid PhP 1,210 per pax plus service charge PhP 544
plus VAT 12% PhP 652.80
plus L.tax Food PhP 53.24
plus L.Tax Bev PhP 18
These made me insomniac that night!
tsk tsk tsk =(
It’s very unlikely with other HOTELS that offer OPEN-KITCHEN DINING BUFFET
on a NETT CHARGE! (Dusit Thani’s Sunday Brunch offers buffet inclusive of drinks : iced cold green teas, lemon grass juice, 2 kinds of wines plus freebies for kids).

What was good with HEAT : Buffet comes with FREE COFFEE / HOT TEA.
Kids below 5 (?) also eat for free.

FYI HEAT stands for HEALTHY EATING AMAZING TASTE.
was it really amazing?
ugh, c’mom!

HEAT
Edsa Shangri-La, Manila
1 Garden Way, Ortigas Center
Mandaluyong 1650, Metro Manila

16
Mar
09

DUSIT THANI’S BRUNCH : A FEAST FOR FAMILIES

Foreword : There’s a huge gap between gluttony and food enthusiasm.
It’s best to treat oneself to anything that is never a daily routine.

It was like an amazing race to four awesome buffet stations.
I am still into it until this post.
It was such an experience.

After dining at Circles Events Cafe buffet at Shangri-la Makati last February, this morning we headed to Makati to try the much talked about Family Sunday Brunch Buffet at Dusit Thani Hotel.

My 4-year-old son Gabby at the lobby of Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati

My 4-year-old son Gabby at the lobby of Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati

Tina & I miss Dusit Hotel. Our wedding reception was held there when it was still Dusit Hotel Nikko five years ago; we had it in its two of three grand ballrooms along with our more or less 200 guests. And so when I introduced Tina to the lunch buffet that the newly renovated Dusit offers every Sunday, she also became excited to go back and see changes that transformed Dusit Hotel Nikko into Dusit Thani now. We hopped blogs to blogs to read feedbacks and comments of diners who already tried it, we viewed photos taken from the four participating high-end restos before we push through with our gastronomic want.

These are the four participating restaurants in the Dusit Thani Family Sunday Brunch…

dusit

The cost of this digestive feast of epic proprotion is PhP 1450 nett inclusive of access to Umu, a japanese restaurant, Basix a Continental-Asian resto, Benjarong – thai and Tosca – Italian. Children 5 years old and below get to eat for FREE. And kids above 6 years of age get to have 50% discount. What makes it different from other EAT-ALL-YOU-WANT and OPEN-KITCHEN hotel dining is that in Dusit, it’s also DRINK-ALL-YOU-CAN complete with not only teas, juices but also wines!!! How good can it get? Plus, kids once fed and full already can be left SAFELY by enjoying parents at Dusit’s KID’S ZONE where they can watch cartoons, have face painting, coloring activities, play-dough and other arty crafts. The brunch buffet starts at 11:30AM until 3PM, enough for you to go through the four buffet stations either using the grand spiral staircase or the lift going from the lobby to the mezzanine where the other two restos (Benjarong and Tosca) are located. These things are well-thought of by the management, I guess, to cater to the Filipino Family bonding moments.

After paying at the cashier near the entrance to the lobby, the diners get to have these wristbands as passes to the four participating restos.

All for the glory of digestive feast and family bonding.

All for the glory of digestive feast and family bonding.

Directions to the restos are provided to diners by these road signs… clever huh!

question is : Where would you go first ?

question is : Where would you go first ?

Since we google the web first for info about this dining extravaganza, we decided to make UMU, the japanese restaurant as our dining “base” and had a table for three reserved under my name the night before our brunch.

follow our leader : To UMU !

follow our leader : To UMU !

I so like the interiors of UMU. In fact I was speechless when we entered it until we were guided to our table. It’s far different from the usual japanese-oriental restos. There are japanese caligraphies written on black tablets glued on the walls. The upholsteries of seats are in bright colors to blend with UMU’s cozy atmosphere overlooking Dusit’s jap garden.

UMU's fine oriental interiors

UMU

Here’s a closer look at those really cool jap wooden panels…isn’t it a beauty?

can someone translate?

can someone translate?

Tina, Gabby and I were seated in a table across this japanese roll station…

care for some maki and sushi? i want !

care for some maki and sushi? i want !

FOODIES : like father like son

FOODIES : like father like son

my lovely wife Tina to whom I share my life & my food enthusiasm.

my lovely wife Tina to whom I share my life & my food enthusiasm.

First plates of the first couple of this blog :

Tina's plate of some grilled tuna & skewers with jap rice

Tina

what's cooking here for doc gelo?

what

I started with jap soup : SUKIYAKI = yummy!

I started with jap soup : SUKIYAKI = yummy!

Gabby started with desserts immediately, why not?

Gabby started with desserts immediately, why not?

Those sweet treats came from this station :

sweets for sweet

sweets for sweet

Waiters at Umu offered glasses of iced cold green teas for reshrements before I and Gabby walked few steps from our table to Umu’s TEPPANYAKI station.

manong, puro seafoods pls! =)

manong, puro seafoods pls! =)

After choosing few pieces of tiger prawns, salmon, lapu-lapu and mung bean sprouts, i transferred my plate to the chef on the teppan.

TEPPAN = flat iron grill

TEPPAN = flat iron grill

my teppanyaki, sigh.

my teppanyaki, sigh.

Tina's teppanyaki plate. more veggies, plus beef & seafoods!

Tina

Other japanese yummies in Umu :

tamago rolls, shrimp cakes,tofu steak, kani sticks, mashed potato.

tamago rolls, shrimp cakes,tofu steak, kani sticks, mashed potato.

ebi tempura : a bit salty for us.

ebi tempura : a bit salty for us.

Then we asked the waiter at Umu to reserve the table for us and promised to come back from other stations after 15 minutes. As we went out of Umu, we found several things happening at the lobby. We made Gabby pose beside a pretty woman dressed in Thai playing good music with her Khim. We also saw 2 staffs geared in carnival attires : a man standing on stilts and a woman doing some balloon arts.

the beautiful lady dressed in thai was playing the string instrument, KHIM

the beautiful lady dressed in thai was playing the string instrument, KHIM

Gabby is tall for a four-year-old kid but his height is no best than this man's.

Gabby is tall for a four-year-old kid but his height is no best than this man

photo-op with the balloon maker

photo-op with the balloon maker

2nd pit stop : Benjarong, Dusit Thani's thai restaurant

2nd pit stop : Benjarong, Dusit Thani

Benjarong is at the mezzanine floor of Dusit Thani. One can take the grand spiral staircase or just the lift. The buffet spread of Bejarong is at the mezzanine lobby. I got myself some Thai delicacies and a glass of iced cold LEMONGRASS JUICE which I like!

the entrance to Benjarong

the entrance to Benjarong

inside Benjarong

inside Benjarong

We’re saving some more stomach-space for food from the other stations so we passed on the Pad Thai and curries and Thai soups but there are lots of them than you can imagine. A few more steps and cocktail tables and we saw Tosca, the Italian resto.

follow the leader to the next pit stop.

follow the leader to the next pit stop.

At Tosca, the very first buffet spread you’ll see has these sweet desserts…

resistance is futile!

resistance is futile!

A closer look at one of those : a cheesecake with dark chocolate…

never to miss this cheesecake.

never to miss this cheesecake.

Tina admired the taste of those little white cups with fruit toppings for what’s inside : FLAN.

one shot is not enough

one shot is not enough

chocolate mud pie topped with vanilla ice cream from Tosca

chocolate mud pie topped with vanilla ice cream from Tosca

want some cold cuts or bread?

want some cold cuts or bread?

freshly baked pizza as you request at the lobby of Tosca

freshly baked pizza as you request at the lobby of Tosca

Italian food goes well ofcourse with wine. Best about this, it's included in the Family Sunday Brunch. that's a big WOW!

Italian food goes well ofcourse with wine. Best about this, it

a little bit of everything : Mimosa and RasVery wines and flan from Tosca, a mocha sweet treat and rice-based pudding and a glass of lemongrass juice from Benjarong.

a little bit of everything : Mimosa and RasVery wines and flan from Tosca, a mocha sweet treat and rice-based pudding and a glass of lemongrass juice from Benjarong.

certainly not the least : Basix !

certainly not the least : Basix !

What’s in store for the buffet diners at Basix :

appetizers from Basix

appetizers from Basix

for seafood lover : a sight you can't resist

for seafood lover : a sight you can

Tina missed out to take photo of the baked Lapu-lapu that was also offered at the carving station of Basix

roast beef, anyone?

roast beef, anyone?

Can’t have enough of desserts? Here’s more :

sweets from Basix

sweets from Basix

Tina opted to try hot sweet crepe. Her choice : Blueberry, Strawberry & Mangoes.

want some crepes?

want some crepes?

After cooking for few minutes, we’re back in our table at Umu to enjoy the food we got from Basix.

mallows & grapes dipped in chocolate fountain, cheesecake and berries & mangoes crepe

mallows & grapes dipped in chocolate fountain, cheesecake and berries & mangoes crepe

my plate from Basix : Singaporean Chili crab, Seafood curry, Carbonara, Ham & Potato salad

my plate from Basix : Singaporean Chili crab, Seafood curry, Carbonara, Ham & Potato salad

more smiles for the cam, taken at Umu.

more smiles for the cam, taken at Umu.

Gabby was so excited to play at Kid Zone. So we endorsed him there while we headed for few more food hunting… While at the Mezzanine and enjoying Tosca and/or Benjarong, one can see how the little ones are doing at the Kid Zone where parents like us can leave their children to play, watch cartoons, have some face painting, do some art crafts like do-it-yourself colorful sand art in a bottle and photo frame to bring home as giveaways. What more can you ask for? The kids can be left safely under supervision of trained staff after the parent(s) signed info/instruction sheet. It was so professional of the staff to call me on my mobile 2x after i missed the first to inform me to fetch Gabby by 2:30PM.

kids are guaranteed safe in Dusit Thani's Kid Zone

kids are guaranteed safe in Dusit Thani

My wife Tina & our son Gabby with the carnival people of Dusit Thani

My wife Tina & our son Gabby with the carnival people of Dusit Thani

We left before 3PM and I must say it was an overwhelming experience to revisit Dusit Thani with such gastronomic pleasure.
Two thumbs up for it!
Sigh.

DUSIT THANI MANILA
Ayala Center, Makati City

eyeREALLYloveDusit =)
already missing UMU now…

16
Mar
09

SWEET SURPRISE

GRATIS is the process of providing goods or services without monetary compensation. It is often referred to in English as “free of charge”. It is commonly acknowledged that there are costs associated with everything, hence the term “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”; however, it is often practical for companies, producers, and service providers to provide certain things free of charge as part of a larger business model or pricing strategy. -from Wikipedia.

When we got home from Makati yesterday, I found a package sent via LBC in my table and it contained these….

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These were sent as a surprise gratis of my wife’s aunt after I gave her some prescriptions. She did it the second time now. Her gesture is already beyond appreciation for a little effort, I’m so flattered. How figuratively and literally SWEET!

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How can you resist :
CADBURY’S ROSES,
TERRY’S ALL MILK CHOCOLATES and
HAWAIIAN HOST’S MACADAMIA NUTS ?

and BTW, all these came from London, UK where my wife’s aunt is based.

15
Mar
09

ALIVE, ALIVE!

We thanked the Lord this Sunday morning at the Chapel of Sto. Nino Paz in Greenbelt, Ayala Center, Makati.
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Then few steps from the chapel is Greenbelt 5 Fashion Walk where the exhibit of photographer Mark Nicdao called Alive was held. Although it looked like that his photo show is over, but since it’s still there, we still got the chance to see it.
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Those black & white photos of local celebrities in more than 6 feet each were really amazing. Some photos really deserved a second or even a third look.

Phoemela Baranda is effortlessly sexy…
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Sarah Geronimo is blooming muse of her generation.
I can even hear her gorgeous voice echoes from her photo…
It’s simply surreal…
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My wife Tina was struck with Jake Cuenca’s photo.
His scar on his upper lip was clearly apparent, perhaps the photographer wanted to capture everything without pretentions…
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Ms. Tessa Prieto-Valdes in her element. Flamboyant but natural in her photo…
I like her when she said in one of her inteviews that she also goes to Baclaran & Divisoria for shopping..
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Regine Velasquez looks like a true goddess in her photo.
Aint no music note high enough for a venus-looking diva like Regine…
While Enchong Dee proves he’s in true athletic form as swimming is his second skin.
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KC Concepcion’s photos beside Jericho’s. Their photos exude emotions.
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Goma’s photo beside Regine’s…
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And my son Gabby was instructed by Tina to goof around Sarah G.’s photo as if he’s trying to win or at least kiss her. We wish!
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I confess that beside being a violinist or a chef, a lens-man’s work like that of Mark Nicdao is also one of my frustrations. If only I had not went through studying human life & diseases, I would have an Alive-like exhibit as well.
Dream on!
Everything happens for a reason.
Sigh.
At least I’m happy with what I’m doing. Really.

STRENGTH. BALANCE. PASSION according to Mr. Nicdao’s one man show will keep us all ALIVE.
Sign out!

14
Mar
09

SATURDAY FUN

I had a LOOOOOOOOONG Saturday with Ity (a.k.a my lovely wife Tina) & our son Gabby but it was again a whole lot of FUN… and LUCK!

The first of our agenda was to eat at Pepper Lunch in Shangri-la mall. Since my comment card to those awesome sizzling meals that we had before was chosen as one of those lucky ones last month, I received a text message early last week that I am entitled to a FREE Pepper Rice Meal on my next visit.

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Traffic was heavy on a late Saturday morning but nevertheless, we made it in whole piece to the mall & immediately hit the basement for another Do-It-Yourself dining experience. Before entering the fastfood, Ity already picked what she’ll order from the poster outside while I spotted the top man of PL himself, no less than Jeroen Van Straten. He doesn’t know me but he commented to my first post about PL. I just knew him from reading other blogs & ofcourse googling his wife’s chuvaness blog.

I was asked by the staff at the cashier to sign their list of lucky diners as I claimed my Beef Pepper Rice meal. After which, I ordered Ity’s preference. It was so sweet I only paid for Ity’s meal and I had mine FREE!
Honesty begets LUCK!

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Ity had COMBO CUT STEAK & HAMBURGER
(Php 280 if A La Carte, & PhP 355 with rice & drink)…
Look at how it’s served hot & fresh!
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A bit of mixing and “cooking” and voila, deliciously tender meal!
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The staff gave Gabby a balloon & a giveaway mobile accessory…
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My son had to pose with my lovely wife before eating…
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A couple of weeks ago I ate CHICKEN PEPPER RICE & liked it. But I just wanted to try other meal every new visit.
This was my PL plate : BEEF PEPPER RICE
(available at PhP 198 A La Carte, & PhP 235 if with coke).
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Here’s how it looked like after mixing & “cooking” it with the yummy honey brown sauce…
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Completely GONE AFTER THREE MINUTES !
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We agreed that we’ll definitely have future visits to Pepper Lunch soon.
Can’t wait.

PEPPER LUNCH Shangri-la Mall
Garden Court level, Mandaluyong.
(63-2) 631 6410

PEPPER LUNCH Rockwell
Power Plant Mall,
Rockwell Center, Makati City
(63-2) 895 6185

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Next thing we did was to walk to Megatrade Hall in Megamall to attend the 2nd day of the Nurse Expo as my colleagues in Allgen the Intelligent Review participated in the talks to attendees and had a booth complete with raffles & giveaways for valued nurses.

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This was the booth Allgen had where nurses trooped to inquire about how we make them NCLEX-RN & IELTS passers.
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Allgen people showed videos proving that we’re not only NCLEX-RN and IELTS review center but we do out-reach programs within our community such as medical mission and feeding programs enough to attest that we highly believe and support the potentials of Filipino nurses.
da

ALLGEN THE INTELLIGENT REVIEW
5/F TM Kalaw Center Building,
667 TM Kalaw Avenue, Manila
(63-2) 567-2749
+63918-4688222

http://www.allgen.net

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Then we strolled along Megamall, did some window shopping and few hours after, we decided to eat again. This time after sizzling japanese food for lunch, we had Hawaiian barbeque and rice (again!) for merienda. We had it at OHANA…

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I had HAWAIIAN CHICKEN and PORK BBQ COMBO (PhP 149),
MANGO and BANANA SMOOTHIES (PhP 65)
Exta HAWAIIAN RICE (PhP 22)
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Taste was not bad, but I just thought that Hawaiian BBQ was not that different from the usual grilled meat that we’ve been eating here. Never been to that part of US yet so I cannot distinguish authenticity =)

OHANA HAWAIIAN BBQ
2/F Bldg A, SM Megamall,
Mandaluyong

************************

Then right next to OHANA Hawaaian BBQ is KIDDY’S ART TOWN. It was already past 6PM but my son has still the energy and enthusiasm to do art works in this little kiosk for children.

First step: Select the design that the kiddy artist would like to color…
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Gabby chose the sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea :
SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!
We were provided with a small tray with RUBBER COLORED PAINTS in squeezable tubes, some pieces of cotton buds, tissues & small sticks that were used to wipe colors beyond the outline. The chosen design was put in an aluminum plate.
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Look how SPONGEBOB acquired his colors from his artists….
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All we had to pay for the entire art work activity was the design that cost PhP 180, inclusive of everything. Kiddy’s art town even provides apron to little painters…
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And since the COLORED PAINTS used were RUBBER, a minute of heating in an ordinary microwave will complete the entire process…
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Presenting the final art work…
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We ended the day by sipping a dose of caffeine at Starbucks Coffee in the Atrium of Megamall. BTW, I was also given a stub 2 weeks ago at Starbucks Trinoma which automatically came out of the cashier register as I turned to be that day’s lucky coffee drinker entitled to have a free tall cup of any blend next visit after I did customer’s survey on-line. So my iced caramel macchiato yesterday was availed for FREE.
SOME GOOD THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE!!!

Having fun activities with family need not to be expensive; more importantly is to enjoy making memories.
Till our next family bonding! Thanks!

12
Mar
09

SIGNS

love

mood : irritatingly sweet!

I confess that beyond my furious “image” in the academe & my sometimes-jolly-most-of-the-time-on-serious-mode in review center, & my OC-OC mode with my family & friends (read : borderline Obsessive-Compulsive but not quite), believe it or not, I’M HOPELESS ROMANTIC. I always say to my wife that I am her greatest blessing, lol. Now with that you might think I’m also conceited; well I say being boastful is far from being factual, lol. No, really ask my wife & she’ll tell you I’m really SWEET, lol.

I found this lovely short film on youtube that’s worth my twelve minutes of viewing time. Actually it’s a short film about COMMUNICATION but the main topic is none other than LOVE!!!
It’s direction is done by Patrick Hughes for Publicis Mojo and @RadicalMedia.

If you’re in love, or someone who believes in love, and has twelve minutes and twelve seconds to spare, c’mmon click the mouse & play this video, you’ll LOVE IT as I do. Director Patrick Hughes is real genius. This one is pure SWEETNESS, lol.

Comments are so welcome!

11
Mar
09

CHEERS for TINA!

This one’s for the books :
I am with her all through out the process. I know what she’d been through; all her little & big sacrifices just to ace those exams. Actually, I’m honored to be one of her instructors during her review (applause, applause, lol). Her efforts yielded success. Finally, she’s now one step ahead & almost done with the requirements.

We received it yesterday delivered no less by UPS from Philadelphia.

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My wife is now US Visa Screen Certified by ICHP/International Commission on Health Professions, a division of CGFNS / Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools. By being certified, she already met all the requirements of becoming a REGISTERED NURSE to USA and can now be petitioned by an employer who can deploy her to an American Hospital. It has been a tedious process from the beginning but what is important is she’s aiming for her goals and for that I’m very supportive of.

Anyone who claims that going through nursing or any medical profession is easy must be schizophrenic. No one can be certain about saving someonelse’s life or providing safety to the needy still lacks assurance. Most will tell you that the usual thing they’ll do is to do their best but everything is still in God’s will. True! The same goes with the process of registration to US. It may be difficult to jumpstart, some may face failure but heck, if you know where you’re heading & inspired & MOTIVATED & PREPARED to do it,
then somehow it’ll be easy (& FUN!).

I guess it’s probably God’s will that all of these things are happening now. There are natural signs that are really so apparent that even the constellations of stars are falling into right places, lol.
No, seriously, I’m happy that Tina’s efforts are beginning to be rewarded & recognized by the High Heavens. That my wife’s dreams & goals are beginning to become tangible. And we will be forever grateful to those people (you know who you are!) and to our families, who helped her & continuously extending support in any best way possible. May the good Lord bless us all always.

FYI, these things would’ve not been partly possible if not for
Allgen the Intelligent Review.
So for NURSES out there who would like to take the same path that my wife has trailed, try experiencing what Allgen has to offer… http://www.allgen.net

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11
Mar
09

FIVE MOOS

It was only last Monday (after the TGI Fridays Kiddie League Membership Kick Off Party) that we got a chance to try FIVE COWS in Trinoma. We heard about the ice cream cakes they offer which made me miss more the Magnolia Ice Cream House along Aurora Blvd Extension in Quezon City during my wonder years. Other than Magnolia Ice Cream cakes, I still remember my preference to banana split with barquillos, which until now is a hit combination specially during summer. I’m not so sure if the old Magnolia Ice Cream House is still on operations, but I guess not. Nonetheless, there are other stores now like FIVE COWS that offer similar treats to food enthusiasts like us.

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We were already full after munching at TGIF but were too weak to resist the temptation of FIVE COWS so we just let go with the flow. As we sat in the middle of the resto, we saw Gabby’s eyes glued at the glass fridge where ice cream cakes were on display.
He immediately spotted a slice of ice cream cake called Rocky Almond Slice, PhP 160.

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I asked Tina to make her order for us to try a variety of tasteful sweets…the menu alone is really a feast to sight.

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Aside from Rocky Almond Ice Cream Cake, we also enjoyed a couple of ice cream flavors like Bubble Gum Blast, PhP110 and Mocha Mud Pie PhP135 in huge servings all gone in 10 minutes!

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There’s a lot more in the menu to try on our next visit to Five Cows. Definitely we’ll try FLAMING ALASKA soon. You’ll know what it is when you visit the resto ice cream bar & what makes it intriguing & mouth-watering…

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FIVE COWS
Trinoma Mall, 4th level
Space #4019
Tel# 901-3748 / 901-3948

10
Mar
09

HEAVENLY SWEET

I know it’s evil to binge on something sweet particularly at 12MN, but resistance is really futile if you have these two great treats from up north : strawberries & ube jam.

My parents came home from a much-needed vacation in Baguio and witnessed the annual flower festival called Panagbenga. We were also there last year & enjoyed four-days, three-nights at RP’s summer capital. But this year they went without kids & grandchildren but nevertheless they didn’t forget to bring home goodies as pasalubong

strawberries personally handpicked by the buyers (my folks) from the fields were brought in baskets…

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I must say that a must-buy from Baguio City is always a bottle of Ube jam from Good Shepherd Convent, homemade by the nuns themselves. Its consistency & sweetness are just right, not too much, only enough to satisfy the taste buds. Simply delicious! You can’t stop scooping it once you tried it on loaf bread or just as is.

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By purchasing Ube jam from Good Shepherd, the buyer gets to help the convent in sending students to college. How sweeter can it get?

10
Mar
09

KICK-OFF PARTY

As we took our lunch at T.G.I. Fridays, Trinoma a few weeks back, we were asked if we’d like to enlist Gabby to their Kiddie League Membership. Tina & I agreed for the rewards are great!

A membership fee of PhP500 entitles the kiddie leaguer to the following :
1. Free kiddie meal & drink every visit for one year.
2. Free birthday package good for thirty (30) kids with
PhP1,000 accumulated receipts within a month after card issuance.
3. Valid at TGIF Trinoma only.
4. Kick off party with freebies.

Then last Thursday, I received a text message informing us of the details of the TGIF Kiddie League membership kick-off party. We were more excited than Gabby to attend the event even it’s scheduled on a Monday. Good for Gabby that the party was at 3-6pm a few hours after his school. We know that such activity will give him a chance to mingle & meet other kids.

The staff was just preparing for the event when we arrived there earlier than expected.

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We were given stubs to claim freebies at the party. Those stubs were for the free meals for the kiddie member & parent (yes, in singular form, but that’s OK, we just had to order something else to satisfy our cravings). There were also stubs for face painting, photo op with TGIF backdrop & photo op – memory charms. Giveaways also included a cocktail tumbler for the member that has a lemonade & fried fries & hotdog all in one, it’s called KERRIMO. The tumbler has oriental caligraphy (can’t decipher if it was japanese or chinese) but the brand name KERRIMO was only a sticker so I assumed it was only a local party distributor. It looks like this ….

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We ordered Ceasar’s salad PhP 352 plus i requested for extra bacon bits PhP 55…

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We also had Chicken Fingers with honey mustard dip PhP 263…

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There was photo-op with TGIF backdrop…

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And the photos were made into what they called memory charms …

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Gabby also enjoyed being face-painted but it wasn’t as nicely done compared to his other face painting from other kiddie parties.

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When the hostess-magician in a spiderwoman costume called Gabby and asked him to say the magic word, “abracadabra!” for her act, my son was too cute too say it instead he yelled, “rah rah rah!” which brought all the kids and parents into a big laugh!

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Exclusively given to Kiddie League Members : Personalized tumble & stuffed toy…

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Everybody went home that late afternoon with smiles & anticipation for our next TGIF Trinoma visit.

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T.G.I. Friday’s Trinoma Bistro Americano Corp.,
Space 4009 Level M4, Trinoma, North Avenue corner EDSA,
Pag-asa, Quezon City.
Tel # 943-2163.

07
Mar
09

HIPPEST KIOSK

We found a cool kiosk in Trinoma mall in Quezon City that personalizes anything from T-shirts, mags, letter pads, pins, mugs, coasters, mouse pads, invites, & magnets & keychains, call & gift cards.
It’s called It’s Personal! by Pamela Breece.

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Tina & I had our calling cards done by this kiosk & we like it a lot! It’s hip & cute. It’s not the usual stiff & formal, old-fashioned info-cards. It’s priced at P95 per set of 20 pieces. I had three sets & she had one. We had our family icons printed on all of those call cards – it has Tina-Gabby-Gelo icons. The maximum icons per set are four; in excess, an extra fee of P30 per icon will be charged.
The process is simple since everything is coded in the computer :
1. Select a HEAD DESIGN (male or female).
2. Select a BODY DESIGN (male or female). We picked the one wearing scrubs to represent our profession. Both are in green scrubs suits with stethoscope around the necks with different colored footwears. cool!
3. Select an ACCESSORY(ies) / extra icon(s) -optional.
4. The staff will fill out the form & after an hour, voila, the personalized cute “something” is done.

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IT’S PERSONAL!
Trinoma Mall, Quezon City
its.personal@ymail.com
tel # (63-2) 572-3809

07
Mar
09

MALE STYLE ICONS

His Royal Highness Prince Charles was named as the World’s Best Dressed Man by Esquire, putting US president Barack Obama only 4th on the list. According to the article, the likes of David Beckham & Justin Timberlake were also considered but they preferred “men who dress like grown-ups”.
Enough said.

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I’m far from being a fashion critic but surely know how to spot what’s hot & probably not. I like Obama’s usual dress code, very relax and laid back. He carries it well too but during the inauguration, his pants seemed shouting for a much needed alteration…

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I’m very particular on ties & how ties are tied. I mean unless something calls for casual dressing, I think neck ties should be properly chosen and tied. (FYI, I so like affordable silk neck ties of Marks & Spencer, Tie line/Merger & have a collection of them. I stick to the basic solid colors & striped & conservative. My knees are weak in sight of neck ties!).

These past few months, I’ve been looking at some local celebrities’ mode of dressing. Being seen on TV or print gives them a kick to dress up appropriately without being an eye-sore. It annoys me to see someone on TV with poorly chosen neck tie & appreciates someone who can carry this accessory effortless.

With due respect to Esquire’s picks Prince Charles & President Obama, here’s my OWN LOCAL list…

I like ABS-CBN & DZMM broadcasters Ted Failon & Henry Omaga-Diaz. Their styles are just simple, classic, safe & proper. They should give their co-anchor in TV Patrol World & colleague Julius Babao a seminar on how to choose a nice neck tie & how to wear it proudly.

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Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila president & United Opposition speaker Atty. Adel Tamano appears to be very particular on being seen well publicly. Similar with Senator Ping Lacson’s style choice. His hair is always kempt, his suits & ties carefuly chosen at all times. Disregarding politics & social issues, these two also made it to my list…

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I’d also like to single out Erik Santos among the young ones who keeps a dress code worthy of citation.

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As I know it, 2 things are not sold in any boutiques & those are breeding & style.

06
Mar
09

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST

Grief came this afternoon to those who know Francis Magalona personally & for people who admire his craft as we heard the news of his death. He died at the age of 44 with leukemia, AML / Acute Myelogenous Leukemia to be specific but never lost hope as he battled with his condition without definitive treatment.

Sad as I google his multiply site, I read his blog that he wrote a couple of days prior to his 4th cycle of chemotherapy at the Medical City. I learned that he was supposed to undergo PBSCT / Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation this month.

This unpleasant news brought me to my senses that life is indeed short. That we have to take & battle whatever crossroads we are taking. That we should never lose hope for everything. Even if the endpoint is definite…

God rests his soul.

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FYI, AML or Acute Myelogenous leukemia is a type of leukemia in which the patient’s blood cells specifically red blood cells or erythrocytes, white blood cells or leukocytes, and platelets or thrombocyte are all proliferated in the circulation however futile & cannot perform their functions because they are in immature or underdeveloped forms. Hence the patient is most prone to bleeding, anemia, respiratory & other systemic complications.

04
Mar
09

FLIP FLOPS FLOPPED

It’s on the news that some of Havaianas for kids are pulled out from the market because of its toxic content. They found out that some of those flip flops contained lead which is hazardous and can cause poisoning that leads to anemia. Why are these outrageously expensive slippers contained poison? Something is wrong here! It makes me skeptical to buy a new pair soon.

FYI, Lead attaches to red blood cells once in the circulation & exerts toxicity LEADing to anemia. Several decades ago, it was an active component of paints. Anything with it is considered hazardous & is banned or withdrawn from the market. Toddlers who are in their oral stage of development are most at risk to develop lead poisoning when they accidentally ingested chipped-off paints or anything with lead.

Summer is now in Manila & most of us are heading to the shores soon. And ofcourse other than SPF 15, a pair of slippers is an essential to hit the beach. Surely, the sales of havaianas may be affected with this news especially for parents who are always on-guard with the safety of their kids. Sad. But probably we have to settle for those styles which are lead-free. But how do we know? Can anyone explain? Anyhow, my tsinelas at home is still comfy & I’m NOT eating it anyway so I’m lead-free, lol…

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03
Mar
09

ROCK A BYE BABY

My son Gabby came home this morning from Twinkle Toes Academy with a memo. No, it’s not about misdemeanor, he’s so young & too good for any deliquent acts; it was only a simple notice informing parents of the date of their graduation from Nursery, its venue : Henry Lee Irwin Theater, Ateneo de Manila University. It also has a reply slip to fill-out with message(s) of parents for their child that will appear on the graduates’ yearbook. Yes, you read it right : Nowadays, as early as preschool, pupils get to keep memories of their wonder years. I’m expecting the video of the event will be recorded & sold on DVDs. These facts remind me of our youth when we didn’t have any mobile phones & digicams & ofocurse the world wide web then.

It’s fun to be a kid and to always be child-like. But it’s happier to raise one…

I strongly agree with the lyrics of the song that my generation grew up with…

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be…

Don’t you?

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Because I was googling something on the web, I asked Tina to do the “fill-in-the-blank”-chore for me, or for us. She aptly wrote : “Daddy & Mommy are very happy and proud to have you as a son. May you grow as a smart, prudent, responsible & God-fearing child. You bring us so much joy & love with your sweet smile & hugs”. There’s also a blank space on the reply slip to write about our son’s ambition. So we asked Gabby what he’d like to be someday. 2 words were uttered : CHEF & GOLFER.
Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be… I said, “Good choices, son”.

Here are his graduation photos…The face of the next Wolfgang Puck & Tiger Woods, lol….

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And see how this four-year-old graduating Nursery student grew fast from this photo (taken at his 1st bday party)…

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David Cook sang these words but it’s true, “You’ll always be my baby!”
We’ll always love you, Gabby!

02
Mar
09

IMPORTANT NOTICE

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I found this forwarded email in my Inbox today, thought it’s worth my time unlike the other nonsense messages & chain letters, so I would like to share it with you. Be blessed!

IMPORTANT NOTICE FROM THE MANUFACTURER OF OUR HUMAN BODY :

The Maker of all human beings will be recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to a serious defect in the central component of the heart.
This is due to malfunctioning in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units.

This defect has been technically termed
“Subsequential Internal Non-Morality, ” commonly known as S.I.N., as it is primarily expressed.

Some other symptoms include:
1. Loss of direction
2. Foul vocal emissions
3. Amnesia of origin
4. Lack of peace
5. Selfish or violent behavior
6. Depression or convulsion in the mental component
7. Fearfulness
8. Rebellion

The Manufacturer, who is neither liable nor at fault for this defect, is providing factory-authorized repair and service free of charge to correct this SIN defect.

The Repair Technician, Our Jesus Christ, has most generously offered to bear the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. There is no additional fee required.

The number to call for repair in all areas is: P.R.A.Y.E.R.
Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN through REPENTANCE procedure.

Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair Technician, Our Lord Jesus, into the heart component.

No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Our Lord Jesus Christ will replace it with:
1. Love
2. Joy
3. Peace
4. Patience
5. Kindness
6. Goodness
7. Faithfulness
8. Gentleness
9. Self-control

N.B: Please consult the operating manual, the B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) for further details on the use of these fixes.

WARNING:
Continuing to operate the human being unit without correction voids any manufacturer warranties, exposing the unit to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded.

DANGER:
The human being units not responding to this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect will not be permitted to enter Heaven so as to prevent contamination of that facility.

Thank you for your attention!

Your FATHER in Heaven.

P.S: Please assist where possible by notifying others of this important recall notice, and you may contact the Father any time by “Kneemail”.

01
Mar
09

AFTER THE WIN

The morning after Gabby’s win from his declamation contest, Tina, Gabby & I went Eastwood City, Serendra & Bonifacio High Street just to have another weekend of family bonding.

We went to Something Fishy in Eastwood to avail of their buffet breakfast. It wasn’t our first time to dine there but after today, I’m not sure if it’ll be our last.

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I & Tina are very picky on food taste & service. Both of us are very particular on courtesy and smiles from waiters & resto staff. It makes dining a better experience if all of the crew is as pleasant as the food they serve. The service crew & staff of Something Fishy Grill & Bar did not offer a smile or welcoming gestures except for their security guard who also serves as their door man. IMO, the food on the buffet table of Something fishy was not that impressive. It’s just too plain for me & ordinary or something like “you-only-get-your-money’s-worth” kind of thing. It’s perhaps one of the cheapest eat-all-you-want-breakfast at PhP 114 per pax, exclusive of drinks, inclusive of charges, offered from 12MN till 10AM. We gave it a second shot after our rush buffet breakfast there a couple of weeks ago thinking that there might be changes on the menu list or at least a little improvement. We were disappointed because we were wishful thinkers hoping there would be new addition to their buffet menu list, but there was none. There was NO corn cereals, bacon, ham, fresh fruits, fish fillet, longanisa, tocino, pan de sal & other Pinoy breakfast favorites. Although I admit there are many food choices offered at their breakfast buffet, the taste is just mediocre for me. The fried eggs contained NO salt at all or at least there should have been a salt & pepper at the tables, the daing na bangus was less salty as well, the beef tapa was too oily, the palabok (or was it pancit malabon) was too bland. The price is ofcourse affordable but it should not discount the taste or the food quality. I believe there is always room for improvement & I just wish this establishment will consider doing this.

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Moving on from a not-so-impressive dining experience, we walked around Eastwood City & made Gabby pose for some photos before goint to Serendra…

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Then at around 7:30AM we were in Boni High Street already. Since most of the shops there open at 11AM, we took a stroll, read the Sunday broadsheets (FYI, I read Manila Bulletin, PDI, Phil. Star every Sunday AM), did some people-watching, just enjoyed the morning….

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Tina took this photo while I was scanning the papers & Gabby was busy with his gameboy…

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care for some green telephones? these tubes conduct sounds from end to end…

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The fountain that looks like something from outer space. I so like it. Neat and edgy !

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Bonifacio High Street also has these unusual but creative & playful stuffs, something for kids and the kids at heart…

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Wish we have puppy(ies) to walk here. We both wanted a PUG, but aren’t sure if we can maintain it.

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EYESOLOVETHISBANNER!!!

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If God wills it one day, Tina & I with our kid(s) will have our own place in Tagaytay or wherever, definitely we’ll find a space for this trellis…

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We found a store that sells toys, mostly collectible items & I just love these YODA icon and bubble heads…

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These are sold in this store…

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Our bonding is not complete without getting a dose of caffeine from wherelse but Starbucks Coffee…

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We allowed Gabby to stroll alone, even tested him of what he’ll do when we leave him. We left him walking ahead of us in Serendra & we hid from him. When he found out that we’re out of sight, he quickly ran back towards where we were. What a reflex from a 4-year-old kid. Tina & I were glad to see he did not cry nor panic given the situation.

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This is one of Ramon Orlina’s glass sculpture masterpieces which serves as a fountain & Serendra’s public attraction…

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We tried CUPCAKES by Sonja in Serendra for the first time & liked it !!! The place, though small, is attractive with retro interiors in pastel colors. The cupcakes are good as they look. But again there were no smiles or kind gestures from the staff. I feel sorry for them because they’re not as pleasant as their work place & work gears…

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Tina had the PEPPERMINT PATTY cupcake, PhP 68 (the one with pink whip, the base was tasty but the cream whip was too sweet), Gabby had the VANILLA SUNSHINE cupcake, PhP 55 (the one with a powder blue whip), & I had the PISTACHIO BERRIES & CREAM, PhP 85 (the one with white whip & green cupcake with thin slices of strawberries in between); we all agreed it’s the BEST among the 3, so yummy, flavorful & not to sweet… I did not expect cupcakes can be this yummy!

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The fridge of Cupcakes by Sonja is so hip in its light blue color…

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They bake their cupcakes just before store’s opening and flavor it with these sweet treats…

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And just before going home, we went to a public toilet in Serendra right across where Cupcakes is located & Tina can’t resist but to document how Ayala management keeps everything at its best. Even restrooms are posh, similar to toilets of premium hotels, fully airconditioned, clean, well-maintained with supplies of tissues & liquid soap with sensors, even had a landscaping of some greens at the center…

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All in all, we ended the 2nd month of the year grateful to the Lord for everything & we’re happy & hopeful to start the month of March. =)




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