Archive for July, 2009

30
Jul
09

MAINIT ANG ULO KO!

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Our four-year-and-9-month-old son, Gabby who’s in kindergarten, went home from school yesterday in wet uniform.  He voluntarily voided in his shorts because he feared his teacher might scold him.  My wife called me at work during my lunch break just to inform me of what happened.  For you, this might be petty but for parents like us, it’s not a big issue either but we won’t allow a chance to pass without correcting what needs to be corrected.  

As I reached home early evening, our son narrated to us that he felt the urgency to urinate during the time that they were asked to copy writings from the board on their noteboook.  Gabby told us, “Sabi ni teacher, pag madalas umihi, may lalabas na dugo sa ihi, kaya di na ako nagsabi ng, teacher may I pee?…”

I wasted no time in writing his teacher a letter regarding the matter….

Maam,  

May we request your consideration and assistance whenever our son, ________(Gabby) feels the urgency to void; kindly allow him to do so.  

As medical professionals and educators too, we certainly know that controlling micturition may result to possible infection and / or urinary incontinence.  As parents, we’d like to inform you that Gabby is still adjusting on the fact that we just weaned him from wearing of diapers a couple of weeks ago as his age calls for bladder training. 

We are bringing this to your attention because our son went home yesterday complaining that he voluntarily voided at his uniform because he feared you might scold him. According to him, you’re telling your preschool class that frequent urination will result to hematuria (blood in the urine) and this is far from being factual. 

We’ll appreciate your concern with immediate response and action regarding this matter. 

Thank You.  

Dr. & Mrs. Santos

As our household help brought our kid to his school this morning, I was told that one of Gabby’s girl classmates also peed in her skirt because of the same scenario.

To say that I and my wife (who’s a nurse-educator)  are also strict with our college nursing students is an understatement.  We value time, money spent on education and efforts so we’re not power-tripping on them but inculcating discipline in every sense of the word.  We may be rigid on rules, but we’re always honest and true to our students and we’re so democratic that we allow them to respond to the “call of nature”.  We’re very unlikely Gabby’s teacher.  We hope she will consider the consequences of her acts.

If this will be repeated, she’ll get what she deserves!

Sa lahat naman ng pagsasabihan ng tungkol sa maling medikal na aspeto ng pag-ihi, anak ko pa, anak ng pating naman ‘o! 

 

 

28
Jul
09

ABOUT LAST WEEKEND

IMG_2955Last Saturday, after a quick stop at my folks’ place in Pasig, I brought my family -Tina and Gabby to Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City.   Look how crisp the interiors of the Eastwood Mall is…2Other  than having those functional and stylish lounges, Eastwood Mall boasts of having mall butlers clad in black suits who’ll offer to carry your paper bags throughout the duration of your shopping.  Although we haven’t bought anything yet from our previous visits there LOL :D,  and still to try the cinemas (we commonly go to the Eastwood City cinemas – haven’t watched a movie yet at Eastwood Mall cinemas),  we usually go there for few reasons :  to get a load of Starbucks, for my preschooler son to enjoy Timezone and what else but  to CHOW! 

Perhaps, next to Glorietta & Greenbelt in Makati, Shangri la mall in Mandaluyong,  and Gateway and TriNoma in QC, this Eastwood Mall is becoming one our favorites.  Why not?  it isn’t as crowded as Isetann Recto (patawa lang po). :D

Before deciding where and what to eat, we asked Gabby to pose as I click the cam.  He knew he had so many photos taken already from this site from our previous visits hence the awkward smile…

   

From its exteriors, a row of upscale restaurants always appear so inviting however last weekend, Mr. Kurosawa won our votes.

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It’s one of the chain of restaurants that the local celebrity Marvin Agustin partly owns.  One similarity between John and Yoko in Greenbelt 5, SUMO SAM in Shangri la and Power Plant Malls, with Mr. Kurosawa besides being contemporary-Japanese in the menu,  is the interiors.  All of these food places have hip and edgy atmosphere having subdued lighting, the evident constant use of purplish hues, and lots of things in black  which I like.  The servers too, wear dark sexy short dresses in heeled shoes/boots;  and you won’t expect any kimonos and obi belts just like in traditional Japanese resto. 

I like the idea of glowing Japanese posters up in the ceiling…

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My wife and I noticed food is basically the same.  Their menus probably only differ in covers, but has less variations.  I don’t know about your palate, but IMO, one thing is sure - the food in those three spots are delicious if you welcome a fusion of taste between the East and the West,  however a bit reasonably pricey.

We  keep coming back to  SUMO SAM  once in a while because I personally like this dish that we’ve also tried ordering at John and Yoko, now tasted the plate in Mr. Kurosawa —> SEAFOOD OMELET RICE, PhP 228. 

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Tina and I both agreed that Mr. Kurosawa’s version of Seafood Omelet Rice is BETTER than Sumo Sam and John and Yoko. The Japanese rice is stickier; the taste yummier.  Common among the 3 restos : generous servings for this dish.

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The serving was too large for our appetite (honestly) that we have to asked the wait staff for us to have it as to-go.  OK, I admit we have huge appetite but far from being gluttons we failed to finish this favorite because we sampled another hit from Mr. Kurosawa…

The pizza that we enjoyed after the last bite is  called IWO JIMA, PhP 279 …

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It’s thin crust pizza which I like, and what made it uniquely savory from most pizzas we’ve tasted was the presence of sweetest mango cubes as one of its toppings.  Imagine the saltiness from cheese had married the sweetness of mango bits. It’s Euro-Japanese on a plate!   That  one last slice I had came from this good-for-three servings…

IMG_2971If my taste buds served me right, the mango and cheese combo in IWO JIMA pizza was also mixed with cubes of chicken teriyaki and sesame seeds.  It’s so flavorful enough for you to forget worries of daily living, lol :D IMG_2979Another must-try from the menus of either Sumo Sam, John and Yoko and Mr. Kurosawa, are  the 3 -colored-iced teas.. They’re in green (lime), red (calamansi), and my favorite – in blue (dalandan)…

They’re refillable until whatever volume you can handle at PhP 108.

Apparently, we liked our merienda last Saturday; look how my wife and our son smiled after being satiated…:D

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MR. KUROSAWA, G/F Eastwood Mall, Libis, Quezon City.

28
Jul
09

A CALL FOR PRAYER

UPDATED :  I posted this entry 4 days prior to her death.  Former President of the Philippines Corazon Aquino died of Cardiorespiratory Arrest secondary to Colon Cancer, Stage IV.   She peacefully joins our Lord at 3:18 AM,  o1 August 2009.  May her soul rest in God’s embrace. 

Filipinos all over the globe will forever remember your unparalleled contribution to our democracy and freedom. 

I was in my 3rd grade when one of the world’s peaceful revolutions happened in EDSA back in 1986.  I can still vividly recall the events how she was catapulted in power, mandated by the Filipino people as a result of longing for democracy.  Needless to say, I grew up with her governance. 

I do have my highest respect for Mrs. Aquino, not only as our former president who brought back FREEDOM in our country but as a person with deep FAITH beyond religion; a responsible woman who raised her kids despite of being a widow;  a lady who stood by her man in one principle,  and someone who stood up against a formidable dictatorship on behalf of the many.

Disregarding political issues, the more I admire her. She’s a woman of strength and humility. And now that she is battling with that dreaded condition, I don’t only sympathize with her in spirit but I emphatize as well.  As a man of Medicine, I understand the pain she’s bearing.  No one deserves to suffer that long and noxious.  It’s best to pray for miracles, but for now I honestly hope for alleviation of her physical pain.   

I am one with the many Filipinos and people across races who pray for her.  It’s the least that I can do in my own gratitude for what she has done to the Philippines and to us Pinoys.  May the good Lord bless her with His mercy.  And may her condition bring UNITY to all of us again.

26
Jul
09

FACEBOOK THAT BINDS

When I became a daddy tatay-doc to my son at the age of 28 about five years ago,  I never thought that one day, an on-line social network would be a source of wholesome fun and family bonding.   Now that almost everyone is into facebook (including the Pope, no less), our family is not an exception.  Initially, I was clueless about facebook, until my wife Tina and our 4-year-old son Gabby opened their individual accounts and introduced me to facebook applications that unobtrusively led to uncontrollable addiction!  We’re simply hooked especially to its applications – RESTAURANT CITY and FARM TOWN.  But we make sure that Gabby gets to play it only after his preschool homeworks and reviews are all done.  It serves as his reward whenever he performs well in his studies.

In Restaurant City (RC), a player is given the basic requirements in a food place : a couple of tables and chairs, a stove and a set of menu - one starter, a main dish and one dessert.  As diners come and eat at your virtual restaurant, you earn coins that are needed in feeding your wait staff and cooks; coins are also useful in acquiring additional decors and other essentials of a  restaurant. Upgrades and innovation can be done not only to your menu as recipes are completed by trading an ingredient with your facebook buddies but also modification to your restaurant’s  interiors and exteriors is also exciting  thing to do.  In short,  everyone can be a restaurateur and a foodie at RC which my son, wife and I want !!! :D

Since our son Gabby, at his young age, already professed his dream of becoming an iron chef one day, enjoying RC at Fb is a pleasurable means of motivation and inspiring him more to pursue his aspiration. I think with Gabby having fun with his virtual restaurant and as we gradually exposed him to actual grand buffets in few hotels, and in various restaurants and fastfood hopping, we’re sure he’ll soon develop his own appreciation of food and everything about it, and most nice things that life can offer. :D

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This was my virtual restaurant’s former exteriors.  I named it Chef Docgelo’s;  it’s an upscale carinderia, lol, with a viking’s roof before.  It took me a week before I got bored with it so I had it renovated by means of several ‘left-clicks’ at the mouse and transformed it into an all-glass food place…

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But I still maintain the same interiors…

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I put two ponds (made of water-tiles) surrounded by plants and awards in between a walkway to the main mess hall.

Look how diners are satisfied and satiated with the dishes I serve, lol…

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It was Tina who first discovered RC and introduced it to me and Gabby.  Below is her restaurant’s present exteriors with a roof of a submarine that she bought with her virtual coins for 9,000 I guess.

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 Cool, isn’t it?  Now the interiors of my wife’s food place called TINA-PIE-yan, looks like this…

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I know you’ll find our son’s restaurant the grandest cutest! I can’t blame you. :D

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Because we have 2 laptops and 2 broadband connections -one with a cable and a prepaid broadband access, we can play fb’s applications all together simultaneously.  This idea of using internet as a source of family bonding had won my entry 3rd place in one of the local bloggers I follow, Anton Diaz’s Our Awesome Planet Digital Daddy Contest (see previous post below). 

As we improve our restaurants, we maintain healthy fun competition.  Actually, we help each other by trading ingredients to further our menus.

And did I already tell you we’re also in Farm Town?  Here’s the little hacienda I maintain…

I had several plants and trees that bear fruits and crops. I have to catch up with my colleagues and friends with FT. 

Do you also enjoy facebook applications ?  

Please excuse me as I update my Farm Town and Restaurant City…

23
Jul
09

FOOD PORN PROMO

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It was like all the constellations of stars and the galaxy of planets in the entire universe conspired that our overdue plan to dine at SPIRAL in SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA MANILA  finally pushed through last Tuesday.

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It was another gastronomic experience; a real feast to the sense!

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Anorexia was never in my vocabulary but  food enthusiasm!  I am just grateful that I am married to a nurse who thinks and eats the same wavelength as I do.  :) And thank Heavens we’re blessed with a son who at his young age, already developed the appreciation for good food (He wants to become an iron chef someday).   My wife Tina, our four-year old-son Gabby and I have been to some of Manila’s remarkable open-kitchen-buffets in hotels and a mall  (click each item to view my previous posts)… 

1. CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA HOTEL

2. DUSIT THANI’S  FAMILY SUNDAY BRUNCH

3. HEAT at EDSA SHANGRI LA HOTEL

4. DAD’s ULTIMATE BUFFET inludes SAISAKI and KAMAYAN

It’s hard to compare one with the other because all of them are a delight to the senses.  I know that to spend more than usual these days is considered vulgar for the fact there’s global economic crisis, but life is damn too short to let these beautiful chances pass.  We’re just fortunate to experience these beyond words (gluttonous grin) :D   Going to open-kitchen-buffets in hotels has been a little scary for me, because it’s habit-forming, lol.  But can you blame me?  

I first learned about Sofitel’s SPRIAL Mad Mondays and Thrifty Tuesdays  50% discount promo from one of the blogs I follow.  And it was really a perfect timing to EAT, CELEBRATE and BE MERRY for one of our colleagues will depart to Riyadh next week to work as a medical practitioner; so it was like a despedida for her but on a dutch treat, (read : KKB / kanya-kanyang bayad, lol).

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promo ad photo sourced from chuvaness.

Sofitel’s SPIRAL + 50% discount + family & friends =EUPHORIC BLISS!

Tina made the reservation for 5 adults and one kid (our son/their godson) exactly 7 days prior to our dinner date.  We met our friends and at around 4:30PM, we’re at Sofitel lobby already. Since we’re an hour and a half early before the buffet opens, we took Gabby at the pool side and had a stroll to while away time (scroll down to view former post below).

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My wife reserved the best spot in Spiral – the Chinese section!  Since it was still unpacked with hungry stomachs,  I took time to roam and click my point-and-shoot cam  (note to self: I should save for a DSLR).  Below is the immediate view where we’re seated. Looks like Iron-Chef Kitchen-come-alive! (another note to self : Why didn’t I think of becoming a chef?  Life isn’t over yet)  :D

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Here’s my first plate…

8I spared the salads and grabbed some Oriental stuffs — steamed and fried dimsums and peking duck were really appetizing.  The wrappers of steamed dimsums were just perfect! It wasn’t too mushy.  Hakao or shrimp dumplings had generous fillings….I love those plump shrimps!  There were also those yummy chives or kuchay a.k.a. vegetable dumplings…Spiral’s siomai is also a must-try. Sarap!   …Here are Peking duck and some other Chinese roasts…

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Tina had some cheese, cold cuts and those delicious super-thin-crust pizza. I swear those pizza slices are to-die-for! I may have tasted only a piece but I surely know my palate. :) If there’s one reason to go back to Spiral, definitely it’s there pizza!11

After few laughs and bites, I had my second plate : California maki, Philadelphia rolls, tuna and salmon sashimi, and some crustaceans…

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I was disappointed with the spreads where I got this plate. There were FEW choices of SUSHI. The New Zealand mussels tasted bland. (Read : I hate to compare but in CIRCLES EVENTS CAFE at MAKATI SHANGRI LA HOTEL, their mussels rock!!! ).  I like it flavorful with some herbs and spices, instead of just a squeeze of lemon.  And trust me, we’ve been to Auckland, New Zealand for seven week-vacation before, mussels there really are the biggest!  Despite my discontentment, my wife still sampled Spiral’s seafoods to taste it herself…

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 Here are the spread of those shellfish and sashimi…

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Commercial muna :   While people across ages and colors begin to fill Spiral, guess who we spotted ?  There were few celebrities like Ali Alejandro (son of Hadji) and tables adjacent to us had a local basketball superstar Marlou Aquino who was towering at 6 feet 9 inches might, and seated behind him was Buddy Zabala, a band member of a legend in Pinoy Pop music what else but E-heads!  My wife was too shy to ask them a photo-op with Gabby and neither I have the nerves to do it, so I just took this photo while our son Gabby was busy with his desserts without disturbing anyone.

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Moving on… Let’s turn more into Japanese with these sake display and some tempura…

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If you have read some of my previous posts, you probably know now that one of my favorites is SUKIYAKI… And Spiral’s does not disappoint.  It has the marbled tender beef slices, delicately thick glass noodles, warm delicious broth, some veggies and tofu, ahhh…just writing about it makes me drool… :D

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Our son likes KANI (crab) TEMPURA so much, but there was none; there was only EBI (shrimp)…

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I like Spiral’s version of Ebi tempura, I guess my wife agrees as well. The batter was thin, wasn’t too oily. 

This was my surf and turf plate…24With some cold cuts and Chinese roasts, I had spoonful of paella with tiger prawn and sausages and 2 thin slices of roast beef.  I like paella while my wife doesn’t favor it.  Spiral’s paella’s also good as their roast beef;  however the mushroom sauce of the beef was less buttery.   

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All of us were almost satiated but no one resisted the sweet treats…

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My sis-in-law, doc bibs had this plate… A crepe of mixed berries served with a scoop of berry-flavored ice cream, and a slice of cheesecake with tropical fruit toppings.  I failed to taste the crepe but she told me that she didn’t like the berries-with-chocoalte drizzle medley .. “To each his own.”

Now, this was my sampler… isn’t it drool-worthy  gorgeous?  30

I like that pinkish dessert at the back of my platter; it’s called Sugarfree Raspberry Panacotta – simply sublime. 

It’s never disturbing to grab a bite at each sweets because most of them were sugar-free even tasted sugarless for real!  And what’s best with desserts of Spiral, they’re in tiny bite-sized servings so it allows you to consume more and more and taste more and more… lol :D 

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This was Tina’s plate. That small pumpkin-shaped dessert was from the Chinese section; it’s made of glutinous rice somewhat like kakanin to us Pinoys. 

There were mostly cheesecakes which I like best.  But as I was looking for some variety they somewhat tasted similar. :(

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Gabby munched on these delectable treats on the left, while the photo on the right shows Sprial chocolate fondue – as if one is not enough! you have the options of dipping fruits and mallows at  melted white or usual chocolate! Two thumbs up according to our son. :)  

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We didn’t end the nice dinner without photo-op with doc shiny who will leave the country for FAR better earnings.

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Note to doc shiny :  Good luck shine, bilangin mo na ang mga buhangin sa Riyadh, lol… Don’t forget to buy us Saudi Gold and more of it! Papicture ka din sa kamelyo, lol :)

Doctors All : my dates last Tuesday…

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With all of those delectable desserts and whatnot, nothing beats the sweetest smiles of my family.

LOVE KO ‘TO…. :)

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Till our next food adventure;  happy eating ! 

Burp :)

SOFITEL PHILIPPINE PLAZA SPIRAL, CCP Complex, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City / (63-2) 832-6988.

For Mad Mondays, Thrifty Tuesdays promo that runs until July 27-28, we spent PhP 1122 nett per pax. My son ate for FREE as per usual local hotel buffet ruling for kids age less than 5. :) Kids rule!!!

23
Jul
09

WHERE’S THE MEETING?

It was only last week when I learned from a friend through SMS that one of our classmates in med school is about to leave for Riyadh next week to work as a medical practictioner. Both of them are not just our  friends of 12 years and counting but happen to be our son’s godparents too.  Although we seldom rarely see them because of our schedules, we usually keep in touch via the wonders of cell phones and e-mails.

After my wife and I decided to meet up with our 2 friends, I also texted my sister-in-law who’s also our classmate in med school and their barkada actually, to join us in the “despedida”  on a dutch treat, (read : KKB a.k.a. kanya-kanyang bayad, lol) :)

Of course, we brought our son Gabby to the meeting place for him to see his ninangs claim his overdue-gifts for all the occasions that they’ve intentionally missed.  And Gabby wasn’t disappointed because he received a huge Transformer action figure and a deadly weapon water gun to his delight. :) 

It was around 4:30 PM last Tuesday when we reached this place…

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No kids, this isn’t FARM TOWN of facebook, lol. :D

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Upon seeing the totally renovated pool side of this hotel in Pasay City after so many years that I haven’t been there, I suddenly remembered something… NO, not that alleged Piolo Pascual-Sam Milby-holding hands by the pool-tsismis  lol :D but fun memories of my childhood years flashed vividly.

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My mom used to bring us here for a weekend stay whenever my dad had his short days off from work. My dad used to work in Riyadh too, and the other key cities in K.S.A., Kuwait and U.A.E. for 17 years as a supermaket manager (read : bagong bayani, lol).

During those times, we usually checked in hotels in Manila to as far as Crowne Peak in Subic, and Venus hotel (my mom’s favorite because of cheap rates and accessibility) in Baguio City.

But this hotel is exceptionally grand…

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However, since the pool side is at Manila Bay area, the only unfavorable thing was the unpleasant  sea breeze that’s  salty fishy to the senses (paging Manila Bay authorities, you may want to further your clean up program!).  Nevertheless, this luxurious hotel was upgraded to its finest!  One of its major advantages is freely given to anyone who becomes a guest in any of their 609 rooms and suites – that’s the spectacular view of the most beautiful sunset in the world.  Manila Bay sunset is still breathtaking. :)

It was nice that we had taken a stroll while waiting for my sister-in-law who was caught in traffic on way to the venue.  I felt good remiscing a part of my growing up years now that I am a parent too.  I am more grateful to my parents on how they’ve tried their best raising us as kids.  With these occasional hotel hopping and few travels abroad and in some provinces here, all four of us boys had an early appreciation of good things that life can offer. I just wish I can also do it to my own family.  It’s so nice to share wonderful childhood memories to my own kid. :)

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No, we didn’t get a room to check in this time but we went there to meet up with our friends to enjoy the feast at the hotel’s buffet that I will feature next.

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Now that you have an idea of the venue of our get-together, swing by again soon as I post the feast we had for dinner last Tuesday.  :)

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20
Jul
09

A WINNER NONETHELESS

Blogging has been part of my quintessential social life.  It’s one of the coolest benefits that the world wide web has offered.  You don’t have any idea how smiley I am whenever you (yes, you!) drop comments on my posts.   And reading someone’s posts is not only informative but entertaining as well, that has been a party of my daily routine to while away time especially after a day’s work.

One of the blogs I follow is Anton Diaz’ s  OUR AWESOME PLANET.  Do I need to explain why? :)  His widely read site is all about my interests -  food and dining, traveling and the thing that I like best – enjoying life with family.  I only started reading his posts early this year and it became a habit.  I usually comment on his entries whenever the topic catches my interest.

Last weekend, he’s one of the speakers of this EXPO DAD event at Rockwell, Makati which I failed to attend.  A week prior to his talk, he conducted a blog contest to help him elaborate on his topic for the event.  Anton asked his readers to voluntarily answer a question and the 3 entries with best answers win prizes.  The question was “How are you creatively using the internet to help you in raising your kids?”  

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My simple entry revolved on how we use internet particularly facebook-ing as a source of our family bonding.  My 4-year-old son has an account in facebook and uses one of its applications specifically Restaurant City where he becomes a chef and a restaurateur who finds ingredients and updates menu every now and then. Gabby enjoys it so much and it enriches and motivates his early-childhood dream of becoming a “Wolfgang Puck” or “Mario Batali or Anthony Bourdain” someday. —–> This was the synopsis of my short answer that won me 3RD PRIZE ! (applause, applause!) :) 

And to quote OAP , PRIZES INCLUDE:

1st Prize: Overnight accommodation in a One-bedrrom suite for 2 people in Astoria Plaza inclusive of breakfast buffet (worth P5,279++) valid until Nov 2009.  Astoria Plaza is located along J. Escriva Drive, Pasig City

2nd Prize: Regular Lunch or Dinner Buffet for 2 people at Cafe Astoria (worth P1,318++ ) valid until Nov 2009

Nevermind the first two top prizes, because my wife and I have been invited by Astoria Plaza staff few months ago for a FREE DINNER (which was nothing special to be honest) via a mobile call but the ‘catch’ was the fact that we’re invited to attend a promotional talk with the sales agents of that condo-hotel, or whatever they call their establishment  for 2 HOURS!!! convincing us to sign and purchase a room to be paid on monthly basis etc. etc… How’s that for a modus operandi?  Going back to the topic…God is really BEST because He knows I am more interested with the 3rd prize which I won…

The 3RD prize was GYMBOREE  Annual membership Gift Certificate (worth P1,800) valid until May 10, 2010

To quote  again OAP :  On top of the top 3 prizes, I’m giving away one (1) complimentary seat to one Maven Secrets Hands-on Workshop of your choice for all the quality answers that I can use for my presentation in Expo Dad. You can choose from any of these Maven Hands-ON workshops:

August 8, Saturday: Photoblogging Workshop: The Art and Science of Story 
Telling through photos (Fee: $99 or P5,000.00) 

August 15, Saturday: Mastering the Google Adsense Game and Advertising 
through Blogs (Fee: $99 or P5,000.00) 

September 5, Saturday: Professional Blogging Workshop: Writing Timeless and 
Viral Articles Online and WordPress 101 (Fee: $99 or P5,000.00)

August 22, Saturday: Mastering Pay Per Click Marketing through Google 
Adwords (Fee: $99 or P5,000.00) 

According to the blog post, winner will be announce July 16, Thursday.

As I religiously follow my favorite sites including his,  I am NOT SURE if I missed out as his postings the names of winners in the COMMENT thread on his OAP site in his entry with title Digital Daddy Blog Contest.   Also, one of the rules in his contest was to CLAIM the PRIZE/S  ONLY during the expo.  In short, I failed to know that I am one of the 3 winners (out of 13  or so, submitted entries) and my prize was already forfeited for failing to claim it personally last Saturday at the expo’s venue.

I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, neither blaming myself  for, the lack of better term, petty negligence on my part (???) to miss out the posting of the names of the blog contest winners.  Actually, I’m posting this because despite the fact that I cannot claim my prize anymore, (I could have join them in that photoblogging workshop next month!) I am still glad because the blogger I follow have chosen my simple entry to his contest as one of the 3 winners and perhaps I can say that I have humbly contributed an idea to his talk last weekend.  It’s really a pleasure. :)  

 

20
Jul
09

FOOD BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES

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TAPSILOG - a popular all-day-meal for most Pinoys but usually served at breakfast consisting of dried or cured beef or tapa, fried garlic rice or sinangag and fried egg or pritong itlog – hence its name; commonly garnished with atsara or pickled green papaya.  It’s suggested to be dipped in vinegar with chili for that added spice.  

This became a staple food once during my medical clerkship rotations back in 2000 to 2001.  And eating it again after almost a decade from the same food joint was indeed nostalgic for me. 

As one of the lowest in the hierarchy of medical staff  then, I was tasked not once but several times in different hospitals to list down the orders of the medical team on duty, order it through phone call every single meal time within the 24-sometimes-36-hour-duty-duration after deciding where to call for a  delivery.  Usually, the chief resident if not his or her subordinates decides on where and what to eat.  I’m not sure if it was still part of the medical training but nonetheless, that experience whatever you call it, taught me somehow that ‘patience is really a virtue’ and the importance of flexibility in dealing with various people and most essentially, the value of practicality when need arises.  

You can just imagine that eating again in this locally established food joint that now reached the Link in Ayala Center, Makati was sort of a blast-from-the-past for me.   When my wife Tina told me that she wanted to try for the very first time this popular combo-meal, it felt like my clerkship days were just yesterday.

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And since I became so familiar with the sweet and spicy taste of TAPA QUEEN, I ordered it last weekend and Tina opted for TAPA KING which has the original flavor.  Each cost PhP 125 now.  

Our son Gabby tried to finish his bowl of champorado but failed to do so.  When I tasted it myself, I honestly thought its simplest recipe needs improvement.  You can never fool kids with taste or anything; they’re just so honest. 

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The taste of TAPSILOG from TAPA KING has been the same through the years.  What I liked most about foods from  TAPA KING include the tenderness of the beef and that very Pinoy sense in every plate.  

TAPA KING, the Link, Ayala Center, Makati City / tel # (63-2) 816-7520/816-7533.

19
Jul
09

GELATONE’S GELATO

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I don’t know about you but regardless of the weather, ice cream is always one of my comfort foods. :)

Half hour before we went to Greenbelt Cinema 3 to watch Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince yesterday (scroll down below for the post),  our son Gabby was begging  us requesting for ice cream.  My wife Tina and I, as usual, were too weak to resist, we immediately gave in to his want. 

Our immediate choice was to try Cold Rock Ice Creamery (from Australia) located at level 3 of Greenbelt 3 and  it could have been our first time there.  But when Tina  was about to enter, I saw a posting at  its glass doors prohibiting cameras inside.   Why Cold Rock?  Don’t you want free advertisement without frills on my blog?  Well, whatever your reason for such regulation I wouldn’t care less, and it  wasn’t our lost but yours…:)   One establishment’s loss is another’s gain…Cest la vie!

So we had to go a level down the escalator and settle for an incomparable ice cold treat BETTER THAN ORDINARY ICE CREAM - what else but gelato from GELATONE! 

It wasn’t our first time to try Gelatone but it took us a while to go back.  We already tasted some flavors of this Italian frozen dessert  (called gelato)  a couple of years back with our friends of more than 16 years who then were back in Manila for vacation. Gelatone since then, serves cold yummy treats but their small dining place is warm and perfect for small conversations between friends and families

Even though I didn’t notice any apparent change in its interiors,  it remained simple and comfy all these years. 

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Fair service + best gelato  = more than enough reason to keep coming back to Gelatone!

Customers have  options in Gelatone -  Order gelato outside on a cup or cone and off you go, or to have it as dine-in, just choose the flavor from the frozen glass stall outside and a wait-staff will bring it to your table.   If the order is for dine-in, a choco-stick will be served with the scoops on cups, but if it’s  a dine-in gelato on a cone, the cone is also served with the cup. Get it? Of course, LOL.   BTW, they also serve pasta and some sandwiches.

The hardest part in Gelatone : selecting from the wide array of flavors of gelato!  Looks like everything is a must-try!

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Don’t get me wrong because I still LOVE regular ICE CREAM even YOGURT too.  I can’t imagine a world without them :(  For a kid-at-heart but a huge  man-at-stomach like me, these desserts mean HAPPINESS!  I am not bias with any of them however I’ve learned long before that gelato has less air than ordinary ice cream, making it more compact so what you’ll get is more of its delectable goodness compared with regular ice cream; it’s just all in the process of making this yummy dessert.

We tried these flavors for dine-in yesterday….

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Gabby had his scoop of  BUBBLE GUM….

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Our son enjoyed this flavor he even licked drank its last drop!  On the opposite table where we were seated inside Gelatone, a kid with his European-looking mom, was also savoring the same flavor.  Does it really has that appeal on kids?  It tasted like, well, Bazooka-bubble gum the way it should be.  At least the bliss that it brings to our own kid is priceless.

I ordered a scoop of this gelato of HAZEL NUT with DARK CHOCOLATE called BACIO NERO.  Pangalan pa lang ng flavor, ang sarap na!  Excuse me, I’m drooling as I post this, I need to wipe my keyboard, LOL.

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I like chocolates so much that I wouldn’t pass an opportunity to enjoy it.  There was no regret in ordering this, it’s a superb palatal stimulus but I was happier to taste Tina’s choice…

6FRUTTI di BOSCO  or MIXED BERRIES SORBET was a winner among the 3 scoops we had.  It can deliciously clean your palate.  I love the berry-flavor that’s neither sour nor sweet; it was just heavenly, lol. :)

Each scoop of gelatone costs PhP 100 inclusive of VAT if ordered in cups and + 10% service charge for dine-in.

These are proofs of how my family happily spent our thirty minutes before we headed to Hogwarts yesterday :)

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GELATONE, Level 2, Greenbelt 3,  Ayala Center, Makati City.

19
Jul
09

OUR SATURDAY MOVIE DATE

After almost two days of rains here in the Metro brought about a typhoon that hit Central and Northern Luzon, Mr. SUN shone again in the blue skies. Although there were still little downpour in between, important thing  was we were able to enjoy the weekend and had family FUN time again.

My wife Tina with our 4-year-old-son Gabby and I arrived at Greenbelt 3 in Makati yesterday around half hour past 1 PM.  We headed straight to the Greenbelt cinemas and bought these ….

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I’m not reading its book, so I cannot compare the 6th movie version with the novel of J.K. Rowling.  I am a kid-at-heart so you can’t blame me if I state that I like Harry Potter series and its latest offering, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  I am just thankful that my wife is also into following the events in Hogwarts School of Wizardry where the main characters meet. 

It was a revelation on our part that Gabby isn’t ready yet for such movie genre.  Although we’ve brought him to so many cinemas and watched movies several times already, and not to forget that this latest HP movie is rated as GP,  he got bored after 20 minutes of the film.  Why?  It was a bit talkie compared to the five prequels, but this one has more humor which is great.  Less of the actions, but was able to explain the secrets behind the Dark Lord Voldemort.  And since years have passed after the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was shown, the main characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione all grew up physically and eventually, hormones were ranging left and right!    

Now, here’s the summary and some photos that are remarkable about this sequel of HP.   

 

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SYNOPSIS :   Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort’s defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane’s chocolates! And then there’s Hermione, simmering with jealously but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again. ( SOURCE )

(Center) RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

(Center) RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Ron Weasley, wearing the scarlett and gold colors of Gryffindor, is suited up for a game of Quidditch.

 

RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures fantasy adventure Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

RUPERT GRINT as Ron Weasley in Warner Bros. Pictures fantasy adventure Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Jim Broadbent as Professor Horace Slughorn and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Warner Bros. Pictures' fantasy "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Michael Gambon as Professor Albus Dumbledore and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

I enjoyed it myself.  Were you able to watched it too?  What’s your view?

16
Jul
09

ANOTHER FIRST INDULGENCE

Last Sunday, my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I went to TriNoma mall in Quezon City to have our almost-weekly grocery shopping.  But before pushing those two grocery carts shelf after shelf, we enjoyed our lunch at this small but very charming cafe.

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One thing that I and my family share and enjoy so much is our own passion towards eating good food.   It doesn’t need to be pricey although I personally developed the preference to that flavorful and appetizing dishes;  it must be  deliciously stimulating not only to the palate but to the senses too.  I guess my wife was severely infected.  :)  I am also bias with good plating and nice presentation of food combined with fair ambiance.  And surprisingly, all of these we found in CAFE MARY GRACE  in TriNoma. 

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It was our first time to dine in this quaint food place and it was far from being unpleasant. I like the homey atmosphere and that very inviting interiors. With the use of well-polished wood furnitures and interesting tables with notes and wonderful comments from diners written in different stationaries and some in colorful cards adorn the glass table tops.  One may easily notice that no table is alike in CAFE MARY GRACE  because of this well-thought-of concept.

3Tina and I were delighted that our preschooler son, Gabby was beginning to feed himself with adult food.  He’s still picky on solid food and usually prefers chicken from Mcdonald’s.   But last Sunday, he asked for two dishes – a soup and a dessert.  So we ordered SEAFOOD CHOWDER, PhP 137 for him…  

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While I had my own plate of  SPICY LEMON SCAMPI,  PhP 268.80.   I  like it,  sarap,  but I certainly wish that they have a BIGGER SERVING to satisfy my HUGE APPETITE.   Nonetheless, it was really worth a try! :)

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SPICY LEMON  SCAMPI is made of fresh pan-seared shrimps atop linguini  noodles in a sauce made  of lemon juice, chili flakes, minced garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

I found this pasta so delicious that I can probably eat it everyday.  LOL  :)  It’s not irritatingly spicy and has the ingredients that I like best – SHRIMPS!!!   My plate was wiped off in a few minutes. :)

6Each plate of pasta and starters like salad (which we’ll try on our next visit) and soup comes with toasted bread.  Unfortunately, Tina had preference to her order, and disliked mine.  She had this CLASSIC CARBONARA PASTA, PhP 202.68.

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CLASSIC CARBONARA is a creamy pasta with mushroom and lots of bacon bits. 

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For our drinks, we tried Cafe Mary Grace’s home-made iced teas.  Tina had her glass of PEPPERMINT and FRUITS, PhP 75 and I had RASPBERRY ICED TEA, same price.  

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These tall glasses of iced teas were refreshingly bubbly that made me want to  try their other concoctions – SANGRIA and HIBISCUS soon.

On the list of desserts, Gabby singled out MANGO BENE so we ordered it, but few minutes after, the waiter came to our table, apologetic that he admittedly did not inform us that they ran out of that cake.  Sayang, it looked gorgeous on its picture at the menu.  I appreciated though, the courtesy of the wait staff.  So Gabby settled with his second choice – a slice of CHOCOLATE CAKE, PhP 80. 

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It was perhaps a blessing in disguise that we’ve tasted Cafe Mary Grace’s version of the usual favorite chocolate cake.  It has the right amount of sweetness, with caramel filling and that richly thick chocolate fudgy icing that would make you crave for more.   

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These moments are priceless…

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My family’s showing PDA (public display of affection) @ Cafe Mary Grace…

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Cafe Mary Grace, TriNoma Mall in front of National Bookstore, North Avenue cor EDSA, Quezon City.

14
Jul
09

WHEN SIZE MATTERS

 

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This isn’t  an ordinary pizza,  it’s enormous !!! 

It’s our first time to try JUGNO’s  MONSTER PIZZA . With its humongous size of 20 inches and a choice of  2 to 4  flavors,  it does not disappoint. :)

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Whenever we go home to my parents’ place where my 3 brothers also reside, we commonly see empty boxes of this pizza after several times that they had deliveries without us (envious)… :(   So I just copied the contact info on my mobile and it was only last weekend that we’ve tried it.  My wife Tina made the call for the delivery, and was told to expect that monstrous pizza at our door approximately an hour and a half from the time she ordered. Nonetheless, with our  gluttonous hungry stomachs, we agreed.  Surprisingly, the pizza was delivered after forty minutes.  The rider was courteous I gave him a hefty tip.

We had four flavors  and requested for 16 slices (you can also have it at 8 or 42 slices perfect for parties). 

We had CHEEZ MUSHROOM…

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A quarter of the entire pizza was BACON…

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Another quarter was MEXICAN AMIGO…

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And JUGNO’S MONSTER SPECIAL…

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It even came with 3 different types of dips – salsa, sour creme and the other one was foreign to my palate. The pizza was already flavorful with or without those dips…

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What’s my favorite among the 4 flavors we sampled ? I tried them all and I can’t single out what’s better than the other. :) 

The price of that 20 inch-monstrous pizza was only PhP 519.  Since our domestic goddess household help went for a day off, we were only 3 last Saturday – my wife Tina, our son Gabby who finished a slice and a half and me.  We put the leftovers at the fridge and had it as breakfast the next day. :)  

So if you’re within the Metro, you may want to try Jugno’s Monster Pizza too…

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 What was your merienda last weekend?

13
Jul
09

PINOY ART & LRT

If there’s one thing that I am grateful of our national government, that’s the provision of Light Railway Transit Line Two, that connects Santolan, Pasig City and Recto, Avenida in Manila in less than 25 minutes or so.  I am one with the riding public.  

I was happy this Monday afternoon, not only because my family and I enjoyed the 72nd anniversary promo of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at Gateway Mall (see post below), but I was in great awe when I went down the escalator of Araneta Center Cubao station as my son and I reached Gateway Mall via LRT ,  because we saw an exhibit of paintings at the station itself, right before the entrance to the mall. 

The art works were about PINOY LIFE in LRT.  And I so like the idea of putting together upcoming great Filipino artists in a contest-exhibit about the public train I ride on most days of the week. 

I take LRT (line two) rides from Quezon City to Recto going to my work in Manila in less than 20 minutes.  I only give 15 minute-allowance for waiting for the train to shuttle me to Manila and the same cycle I observe from Manila and back.

I’d like to show you how talented Pinoys are with these wonderful works of art about OUR LIVES inside the train.

I will appreciate comments whether or not you agree with me that these paintings are to be proud of.  Thanks :)

I’m just apologetic to the participating artists for not noting their names and the titles of their masterpieces for we were in a rush;  I took these photos in a blink.

Texting and mobile use inside LRT….

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I thought this painting is so cool…astig ‘no?

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I’m not in favor of those LRT trains decorated vandalized with poster-stickers that boast of  the goodness of her governance in the Pinoy economy, c’mmon give me break, get real! or better get a life madame!  I want this blog to be apolitical but moments like these, I get hypertensive, LOL.  These thoughts are delusional! … But I like how it was depicted in this painting… irony? satire?  :Pc

This one shows social equality, that LRT is a public means of transpo for ‘all walks’ of life.  d

Sadly, courtesy and chivalry are two inapparent practices inside LRT….   f

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This purse contains some bills and of course that LRT automated ticket… h

Just like the artist who painted this, I also wonder how our great ancestors would have used this transpo during their era if LRT trains have existed decades ago… Or care to wear those Filipiniana costumes inside those trains especially during RUSH HOURS?  LOL :Di

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Thoughts of our National Hero about the topic… j

I like this abstract or pop-artish  interpretation of life inside that train… vivid, vibrant colors can be equated to our different views, opinions about life, and our lives per se. l

A maritime student courting a student nurse from FEU…

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Train to MASAGANANG  BUKAS —-> where to?s

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13
Jul
09

SMILEY AFTERNOON

Won’t you smile if you’re offered a FREE original glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut at the counter as you pay for your order and upon reaching your table, a barista offers you FREE FLOWING brewed coffee?  :)   We just have that nice experience an hour ago at Krispy Kreme, Gateway Mall, Quezon City where we live one-LRT-station away.  And since it’s a Monday despite the promo, we were lucky to find a seat inside KK.   Ang saya!  

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I don’t know about you but I am one of those people who enjoy discounts and freebies.  I found out from my usual blog hopping last week that Krispy Kreme is celebrating 6 DOZEN YEARS of baking sweetest doughnuts around the globe… 72 years of business is really something, so as KK shows their simple gratitude to their loyal patrons, it was noted that there will be surprises on this date (13July’09) in most branches (if not all) of KK as they celebrate their birthday.

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I brought our four-year-old preschooler son  Gabby to Gateway Mall and met my wife as she came from her work.  We had our afternoon snack at KK and ordered an Original Glazed doughnut for Tina, Lemon Cheesecake and a bottle of Sola Iced Tea for Gabby and Chocolate Glazed Sprinkles for me. :)  As I pay at the cashier, the barista asked me to sign a sheet of paper and offered a FREE Original Glazed Doughnut.  And as I bring my tray to our table,  another barista followed me to offer cups of brewed coffee. I asked her as if  I’m clueless, “Is it ‘on-the-house’ ?” , she replied with a smile, “Yes, sir, kasi po birthday ng KK!”.    I and my wife,  being coffee-drinkers  addicts were happiest :P   We requested for extra sachets of cream and sugar, and another refill, the same friendly barista was just glad to serve us with such.  Nice :)

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While Tina and I were busy clicking our cam to our doughnuts and to our son,  the same barista came to our table and asked if she can also take a photo of Gabby. Of course we’re soooo delighted.

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Happy 72nd anniversary Krispy Kreme! May you bake more doughnuts for another six dozen years and beyond!

12
Jul
09

LITTLE TOKYO (PART TWO)

2This is the last of two-part-series of our Little Tokyo experience on a late Friday afternoon. 

If you’ve read my first entry below about these quaint Japanese restaurants ran by authentic Japanese chefs along Chino Roces (formerly Pasong Tamo) and Amorsolo Streets in Makati City, you have known that we first chowed down at Hana where we munched on Takoyaki  or octopus dumplings, Sukiyaki plate and our son Gabby enjoyed his flavored shaved ice Ramune.   This next post about Little Tokyo will show you our first experience of eating okonomiyaki at Kagura, the next-door-restaurant to Hana.  

 

 

 

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This is Kagura, one of the small restaurants inside Little Tokyo.  It was so apparent that the owner of this Japanese nook is a baseball fanatic for he/she incorporated all things about the sports in the interiors of Kagura; from miniature baseball bats, to baseball balls, even the boob tube near one end of the door was showing Japanese baseball game. 

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This is one of the three partitioned tables in Kagura where diners can sit comfortably with crossed legs or just let legs and feet dangle at the hole under the table once seated and enjoy the yummies.  But my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I opted to sit in the counter opposite this tables in front of those two chefs at the teppan (flat iron grill plate).  No worries because there was unobtrusive smoke out of the cooking process; diners won’t smell the same as the food they ordered.

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Kagura’s specialty is mainly OKONOMIYAKI or Japanese pancakes or some call it Japanese pizza that is cooked in front of the customer upon order.   In front of the teppan grill are tiny baseball player figures that made Gabby so preoccupied at looking at them while Tina and I were busy learning how to cook Okonomiyaki.

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We had one order of EGG & SHRIMP OKONOMIYAKI  (I forgot the price, but it’s less than PhP 300 because I paid PhP 320 for the bill including a can of regular Coke).   The other Okonomiyaki being fried on the photo above was for another diner, a Japanese ex-pat who ordered his pancake with noodles. One thing is sure at Little Tokyo according to the blogs I’ve read about it,  it’s usually packed by mostly Japanese nationals so one can be sure that those restaurants inside the compound are authentic in serving good food (although some may agree that most in their menu are a bit pricey, because I’ve stated on my previous post, diners pay not only for the food but the ambiance as well). 

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake coined from the words   okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked” (as in yakitori and yakisoba); I got that info from this source.  The batter was mixed with chopped veggies mainly cabbage strips and some shrimps, or you can have other seafoods such as squid rings and even bacon strips and noodles to be included as ingredients of your okonomiyaki- whichever way you want it cooked.

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Because we’re a bit satiated from eating Takoyaki, Sukiyaki plate that was served with rice from Hana, but can’t afford to miss the chance of trying to eat okonomiyaki as well,  we just ordered one egg and shrimp pancake but I personally asked for additional topping of  FISH FLAKES for additional PhP 35.  That makes Okonomiyaki different from Italian pizza which is usually topped by cheese…Our okonomiyaki was topped with mayonnaise drizzle, green nori (seaweed) powder and fish flakes before it was served on an iron pan.  

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I would say that I liked the first time experience of eating Okonomiyaki but I don’t think I can eat it on a daily basis. It was surprising to see the Japanese national next to where Gabby was seated to finished munching his order in a blink!  I like the way it was prepared, with seafood and egg on the batter and some veggies of course, it’s  a whole meal in one to be precise. But it would take probably a real Japanese blood to supply the stomach to have it as a favorite dish.  Nonetheless, I would order it again given the chance to be there (again) but as I’ve stated, not on an everyday basis.

The other things that caught our eyes inside Kagura were these interesting stuffs – bottles of Japanese wines, liquor and even SMB’s Cerveza Negra (which I heard from my wife’s soon-to-be US-Immigration lawyer’s talk from a seminar we attended that it was one of the ‘hard-to-find’ stuffs in the US that may be a prospect for some business minded people to import it from the PI).

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Should I recommend Little Tokyo to you? Absolutely! If you’re into Japanese food and would like to enjoy authentic Japanese dishes at small restaurants tucked inside a compound owned by Japanese chef, it’s worth the experience.

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Despite the traffic, and the hassle going to and out of it, I’m glad I’ve been to Little Tokyo! :P

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Kagura @ Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces St., Makati City, tel # (63-2) 894-3856.

11
Jul
09

LITTLE TOKYO (PART ONE)

Yesterday, I successfully convinced my wife, Tina with our four-year-old son, Gabby, to come with me and experience a quaint area that I wanted to visit ever since I’ve read about it from random blogs. Since we all are self-proclaimed foodies, there was no effort on my part to be so compelling that the little compound of  small restaurants owned by Japanese chefs is really a must-see and a must-try.  

At half hour past 3 in the afternoon, Gabby and I went to Gateway Mall to meet Tina from work. After she arrived, we didn’t waste a minute and headed straight to Makati City.  The place was along Chino Roces, formerly Pasong Tamo and near Amorsolo Street. It has two entrances – one facing Plaza Fair/Makati Cinema Square (yes, they are still on operation, business must have been good, LOL !) and the other gate was at the other side of the street I failed to recall.  I was so happy that we went here…  

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On way there, my son curiously asked me if we need to fly airplane to reach Little Tokyo. :)   For people like us who haven’t been to Japan, this place is a nice find until one day that we get to tour and experience the ‘real thing’.  

My heart rate became slightly rapid when I saw the flame red torii  or  that traditional Japanese gate.  Needless to say, I was unobtrusively excited.  Even Gabby was eager to be there because it was totally different from our usual Glorietta-Greenbelt-Landmark-Glorietta-SM-routine that we usually do when we’re in Makati. 

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Little Tokyo in Makati is adjacent to so many Japanese restaurants, a spa and two exclusively Japanese groceries.  As soon as we walked through it, I was never surprised to see the small compound with a welcoming beautiful zen garden and an ambiance that brought us a slice of a city in the Land of the Rising Sun.

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It was a fresh experience to dine where ambiance is not only authentic but impressive.   

6

There are seats and tables for al fresco dining from each restaurant.  But we preferred to eat inside and cross our legs in front of a Japanese table.  

7  8

We tried two restaurants.  Yes, we dined there yesterday afternoon not once but twice :)  Our first stop was HANA

9

Hana was the first resto at Little Tokyo that greeted us.  The waitresses clad in white blouses and black pants were courteous, even offered us the small VIP room at the end of the small Jap nook without an extra charge.  The small room had a flat screen TV on the wall, air condition unit, an exhaust fan, a table good for less than 10 people I guess and so I tried crossing my legs and sat on this…

10I like the print of this throw pillow or whatever they call it in Japan.  

Now, here are the yummies we ordered….

11  12

Gabby was the first one to received his order.  It was RAMUNE, PhP 60.  It’s flavored finely shaved ice that reminded me of snow cone :)  It’s available in melon, peach, lemon, orange, strawberry, grape flavors and you may opt to add milk to it but our little boy wanted it plain. Gabby had his Ramune as the same color with his shirt and mind you, it was not wasabi flavor  :D  but bubble gum; it’s OK and wasn’t irritatingly sweet.  Gabby was happy with Ramune.  

13SUKIYAKI PLATE, PhP 250 

I’ve tasted the best Sukiyaki, IMO, from Umu -the Japanese restaurant in DUSIT THANI HOTEL’s FAMILY SUNDAY BRUNCH that we’ve tried few months ago but Hana’s SUKIYAKI PLATE was not disappointing. It was only unique from the usual Japanese soup served with the beef stock already mixed with ingredients all in one bowl.  Hana’s version was deliciously different having it on a dish instead of a  bowl, with all other common ingredients – thinly sliced beef ,  2 generous cubes of tofu, mushroom, and was topped with nori strips (sushi wrapper cut into pieces).    The beef slices were so tender, and the tofu was so delicious it actually tasted soya milk! (I know tofu is the sieved particle of soya milk but Hana’s tofu in its Sukiyaki has the softest consistency somewhat like a soft delectable gelatin).  The dish came with the sukiyaki broth in a separate bowl and a small bowl of rice that Tina and I shared. (We we’re saving space at our stomachs for other Jap goodies from the adjacent must-try resto :D). 

15  14 

Another first in our Japanese dining experience at Little Tokyo was eating TAKOYAKI or octopus dumplings.

16

Based on my blog hopping weeks before we went there, Hana is noted for their TAKOYAKI so we didn’t pass the chance to try it ourselves. Takoyaki costs PhP 100 per plate of six, served 30 minutes upon order.  It’s cooked at an iron Takoyaki pan or pancake puffs pan by a Japanese chef  just outside Hana’s door.

17  18

It’s soft outside with mushier consistency inside. Each ball of  Takoyaki has a tiny piece of octopus and its filling has gingery taste but far from overpowering. It was sprinkled with mayonnaise and Takoyaki sauce.  It was fresh to my palate but wasn’t unpleasant.

Hana and the other restos in Little Tokyo share public toilets within their compound.  The toilet for males was screaming for much-needed renovation but it was clean inside.  Service in Hana was fair;  the staff were courteous and attentive, but most food on the menu was a bit pricey.  And this is a general observation between Hana and Kagura (the two restos there that we sampled).  To be logical about it, diners are not only paying for the food but the ambiance and authenticity of the place.  It may not be a high-end Japanese dining place, but rest assure that it’s far from the Jap food in malls and fast foods that lack that Little Tokyo experience.     

HANA is at Little Tokyo 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City.   

My next post will be about our first experience of eating OKONOMIYAKI or Japanese pancake from KAGURA, also at Little Tokyo (the next door resto to Hana).  :)  

19  

(singing mode…) I’m turning Japanese,  I really think so…

—————-> to be continued :)

08
Jul
09

IN THE NAME OF PURPLE

I accompanied my wife Tina to NBI in Carriedo, Manila to claim her clearance this morning.  And since we’re already few steps away from Ongpin Street in Binondo, we decided to take our lunch at some chinese eatery that we have never tried yet. 

OK, to be honest- as early as last night, I was really excited to go with her because I know we’ll drop by Ongpin (gluttonous grin, he he he).  In fact, I even found time to surf the net and google some restaurants in Binondo area to find a best place to eat Chinese yummies.  I have drooled at some blogs that featured delectable dimsums and other Oriental dishes. 

But we end up with a rice and noodle house that for unknown reason, I didn’t find in my search engine (or I never thought of searching).  As we walked through the Manila Chinatown, Tina and I looked left and right to so many authentic Chinese restaurants but admittedly, it was her who suggested to try Mr. Ube as we passed its sidewalk from Sta. Cruz Church to Binondo. 

IMG_2537

So without any expectations but great lunch, I walked in with her to the small but so pleasant Chinese rice and noodle house called Mr. Ube.   It is also owned by Mr. Gerry Chua, the maker of my favorite hopia or mung bean what else but  ENG BEE TIN!   As far as I know, it was Mr. Chua who first introduced hopia ube in Manila.

Because of the restaurant’s name, the interiors of Mr. Ube is of course made of purple cushioned seats that came in good contrast with the yellow painted walls. It also has glass walls that created an illusion of space. 

Service was good.  Prices were more than reasonable. The range of the prices of noodles and soups and rice toppings are from PhP 90 to PhP 110.  Side dishes of some dimsums and other oriental treats range from PhP 45 to PhP 85.  Beverages cost from PhP 25 to less than PhP 50.  How affordable was that ?

So we ordered…

2

MAKI MI, PhP 110.    This was Tina’s choice.  Sarap!  The noodles were tasty, the meat slices were tender, its soup was thick and served hot.  The bowl was huge enough to be shared by a couple.

What’s best with Mr. Ube’s dishes besides its affordable prices is the fact that they claim they use all natural ingredients, without MSG (although some local features stated there’s no harm in using MSG, but probably if excessive) and they use their own noodles made from scratch using Japanese technology.  Yes, Japanese technology was used to prepare Chinese dishes!

The next photos include the free stock and the sweet and sour sauce to the plate I had…

IMG_2545IMG_2552

my delicious lunch today was…

IMG_2550

LECHON MACAU, PhP 110.   It’s one of the rice toppings in Mr. Ube and I liked it. It was crispy and crunchy and flavorful.  The taste was deliciously different from the few lechon macau that I’ve tasted from other Chinese restaurants. Plus again, the price was so budget-friendly.

And what’s a visit to Mr. Ube without trying to taste not tha hopia ube but  one of its steamed dumplings – SIOPAO!

IMG_2554

No, this purple bun didn’t have ube filling but ground pork and salted egg.  Although I also eat  asado siopao, we usually favor BOLA-BOLA SIOPAO. 

IMG_2556

It was a good choice to have our lunch in Mr. Ube.  I know now another place in Binondo where my stomach will be content.

IMG_2543

05
Jul
09

DESSERTS & MORE

What a better way to celebrate weekend is to have a restful day and to give in to one’s craving…

Since he woke up early Saturday morning, Gabby repeatedly asked for a cake until he had his piece this late afternoon when we trooped to one of the restaurants along Tomas Morato in Quezon City.  How can we say NO to our only son’s request when he became so studious the past week in his preschool.  Besides, my wife and I were also too weak to resist (I always say that, LOL…it’s true anyway).

1

This wasn’t Gabby’s but my choice.  It’s called LOW-FAT FRUIT MEDLEY (PhP 135), lovely, isn’t it?  Tropical fruits mixed in light and creamy cheesecake mixture topped with slices of fresh fruits in season – thin slices of kiwi, grapes, and mango made into petals. Appetizing to the senses, made me crave for more. :D

2

My wife Tina shared generously ofcourse, her dessert – one of the premium cakes called BERRY TEMPTATION (PhP 135). It’s a strawberry cheesecake layered with raspberry swirled cheesecake, it was really tempting indeed. :D 

3

Now this is CHOCO DOME CAKE (PhP 160), Gabby’s own slice.  Actually, he had hard time choosing his cake from the wide variety at the counter but the friendly smiley lady-wait staff  named Val  suggested for us to try this Choco Dome Cake which is one of their delicious cakes (a bit pricey than the others) included in their Selections menu.

We availed of their sampler (PhP395)- choice of three cakes for a plate cheaper than per slice. 

4

It’s been a while since we last dined at Cheesecake, etc.  We’ve tried their branches in Greenbelt 3, Eastwood City, and in Greenhills but it was our first time this afternoon at their cozy restaurant in Tomas Morato.   The staff were just great; they rendered service with a smile which is one of the satisfying-factors that I always want whenever I order from a fastfood, a restaurant, or a carinderia, LOL. :P  It’s always satiating when the wait staff are smiley and the area clean. 

Gabby loved the slice of Choco Dome Cake.  He enjoyed it so much that he didn’t even bother to taste his parents’ cakes.  Tina and I were happy to see Gabby eating real food. He’s still choosy when it comes to solid food, just like most of his age of  would-be five, who usually still prefer milk, we’re trying hard to introduce to him some adult meals.  

5  7

Spoiling the sweet tooth once in a while isn’t bad, right?  :D   Other than cakes which we had as desserts of  course, we were first busy enjoying these plates ….

8

I liked my sandwich. It’s called  HAM IT UP! (PhP 165).  It has toasted wheat bread with lettuce, tomatoes and onions, with mayo-mustard spread in two generous slices of forest ham.  It has this tasty sidings of egg salad that reminded me of what my late maternal grandmother used to prepare as my baon and merienda during those school days before. It’s done with chopped boiled eggs mixed in mayonaise, spiced with pepper, sugar and salt.  I don’t know about you but it’s one of my favorite palaman or sandwich spreads in the entire planet. :D   I swear I’ll make this egg salad again as my sandwich spread for my baon to work.

9  10

Tina opted to have the MELTS (PhP 95).  It’s a plate of two slices of toasted wheat bread with pizza sauce and quickmelt cheesy toppings.  Sarap!  Also served with egg salad on lettuce.

11

Other than the many cheesecakes and sandwiches Cheesecake, etc has, they also serve soups and salad, rice meals that include Beef Stroganoff (PhP 185), Boneless Bangus (PhP 185), Chicken Pork Adobo (PhP 175), Pork Sisig with Egg (PhP 165) and Chicken Ala King (PhP 165).  A wide variety of Pasta also are a must-try from their menu, among which are Seafood Pasta (PhP 195), Aligue Pasta (PhP 195) – a must-try next time we dine! and a lot more…

IMG_2523610IMG_2500

By the time I asked for the bill, Val gave me a promo card that entitles me to avail of a free cup of brewed coffee plus  a 5% discount on my next visit. How good was that? :D

IMG_2512IMG_2525IMG_2526IMG_2527

:D CHEESECAKE, ETC. / Tomas Morato, Quezon City / Tel # (63-2) 929-0725.

03
Jul
09

I WAS ON STAGE!

Last Tuesday, the unthinkable happened!  For the very first time, I’ve proven myself that I can also do what Willie Revillame, Edu Manzano and Cesar Montano are doing on their respective TV shows — hosting,  LOL!  I’m far from being a master showman, hehehe,  but I didn’t know what got into me that I didn’t think twice when I was offered by the  E4 Events Management  about a couple of weeks ago to be the moderator of this huge event…

nursetalk 

“Nurse Talk is an information campaign seminar that came about with the realization of a private group of the need to further educate the fast growing nursing industry in pursuing their aspirations of working overseas”  – those were the few lines I first mentioned in my spiels when I officially opened the seminar for the nurses. 

My wife noticed that I wasn’t tense the night before the event neither I am anticipating hassles nor technical problems ofcourse, but I was just relaxed and unmindful.  Until I heard the National Anthem played and my name introduced, hala!  it was nerve-wracking!!!  Thank Heavens I managed to somehow pull it through. 

By mere looking at the venue where movies like Transformers become big hits, there were no reasons for any failure.  I asked my wife Tina to absent herself from her work to accompany me and serve as my official loving assistant for the entire event. And without hesitation, she agreed and eagerly took some personal photos. Below are pictures of the entrance to SM Manila Cinema 9 with tarpaulin standees from the event’s sponsors and the  venue itself that was beginning to be filled up with audience.

12

We hurdled traffic in Manila from Quezon City as my call time was 8 in the morning and the event was scheduled to start at 10 AM.  However, long queues were seen only few minutes after mall opening, so we have to wait for several minutes for the venue to be filled.  Nonetheless, it was packed by nurses of varied generations who eagerly listened to our distinguished speakers. 

The first two speakers were Mr. Ryan Jeffrey Cruz, USRN and Mr. Duston Barto of NEAC / Nurse Exam Application Center.  Ryan shared his reasons why he chose nursing above all professions and some insights on nursing informatics while Mr. Barto offered professional assistance thru their office with regards to foreign nursing exam application processes that they facilitate hassle-free.  Unfortunately, Tina didn’t capture their moments on stage in our cam.

The third speaker came from ALLGEN Review Center  (applause, applause!)  who was none other than Mr. Alex Imperial, one of my colleagues in Allgen who’s a USRN in Vermont, USA, a registered nurse locally, and an experienced faculty and review instructor handling Pharmacology and Medical-Surgical Nursing lectures.  He gave an impressive talk about NCLEX-RN preparation…

3

    4   5

We had an hour break for lunch and as the afternoon session resumed, we all enjoyed the talk about nursing situations in the US conducted by one of our distinguished guests, Dr. Rusty Francisco, who among his many accolades, had been so fortunate like the many, to work and train in the US but among the few who returned back to the Philippines to share what he learned from his unparalleled experience.  He had his natural humor that gave the audience laughs in between his comprehensive discussion.  His talk was followed by people who are behind the offices of training and conducting exam called IELTS or International English Language Testing System which is one of the requirements for a registration license abroad.   Speakers for IELTS include Mr. Michael Brown of American English Skills Development Center and Ms. Bangcaya of British Council (photos unavailable).    

Also present in the event was one of the top officers of HCCA, Mr. Gilinsky.  HCCA is a legit and one of the biggest agencies that deploys nurses and other professionals not only to the US but worldwide.  Below are photos of Ms. Siozon of IDP for IELTS and Mr. Gilinsky for HCCA. 

6   7

The highlight of the info drive was bringing in to the stage from Anaheim, California US Atty Gali Koren who spoke about legal issues and requirements that should be met before one can be deployed to the US and work as a licensed professional.  Her talk was direct that emphasized on the essential matters that captivated the audience’s interest.

US Atty Gali Koren

I thanked her on stage for that rare chance she generously gave to us. 

To perk up the event, we had several raffles in between and gave away premium items from participating speakers and sponsors. Among the prizes included discount and scholarship grants to review programs and some training and other freebies. 

And there I was, introducing the speakers and doing the wowowee-thingy …. 

ig

                   docgelo     NT1     IMG_2491

After the event, a bunch of former college students approached me for photo-op (L)… And I also smiled for the cam with the staff of Allgen Review center (R)

nurse talk with former saci students  IMG_2487

It was a long day for all of us and although we’re mostly dead tired after going home, receiving comments that the attendees appreciated the event is good enough affirmation that our humble efforts were really worth it.

 

——————–

special thanks to my wife Tina who took most of these blurry photos :D   and to one of my former student Migs who also took a couple of shots.

02
Jul
09

PINOY LAUGHS

Babala:  Bawal ang seryoso!

I had good laughs when I viewed this album from a Filipino group account in facebook which was reposted by one of my fb buddies.  The one who compiled this Funny signs album allows sharing it to friends so I am disseminating some of those laughs to you.  I bet you’ll enjoy it too, LOL.

post1  Oo nga naman! Sayang ang buns.

Ayan, naglaglag na po! 

post2

Wow, pare, bo-malabs!  Ano ba talaga, kuya ?

post3     post 4  I’m afraid to dine here!

post13

Apparently, they need professional help!

post5

Baloooooooooooooooooot….

post6   

post 7   How about a custom made teeth with built-in camera?

Perhaps the sign below was made specifically for dogs …

 post 9  Sandali  lang.

   post10  Definitely not for diabetics!

Widding ba kamo,  dung?  post11

Just making sure it’s clearly understood….

post12

  Malfaction, Marvin ?

Pinag-isipang mabuti ang rehistro ng mga pangalan…

post 15 

I like the humor of this church…

o

I didn’t get this!  Adik ang nagsulat, LOL… l

And here’s a proof that our government too, is ridiculous has humor…

4220_91039587889_84541107889_2405722_7358898_n

01
Jul
09

COFFEE BREAK

I am biased with Starbucks Coffee. I like their Frappuccinos, twice-blended please- from Java chip, Mocha, White Choco Mocha, Dark Mocha and I love their Caramel Macchiato, iced or hot for as long as it’s venti, it’ll surely make my day.  But I always welcome the chance to get that caffeine dose from other coffee shops (except for two where my wife and I developed the aversion of going to their shops after a couple of unpleasant experiences). 

Since my wife introduced me to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf  few years ago, I also like some of their blends and their cakes and pastries.  However, we find their coffee a bit pricey compared to Starbucks’ or it’s just really me who is so partial to my favorite, LOL.  Nonetheless, resistance is futile when we really crave for CBTL.

IMG_23722

How can you say no to that delectable multi-layered chocolate cheese cake ? IMG_2370IMG_2377

That melt-in-your-mouth slice of cheese cake was gone in few seconds! LOL.




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