Archive for May, 2010

31
May
10

GABBY ASKED

“Daddy, gusto ko ng kalaro, kailan po ako magkakaroon ng kapatid ?”

When we’re blessed with Gabby almost 10 months after we got married (just so you know, he’s a honeymoon-baby),  I and Tina thought of having our second child after our first reaches the age of five.  Gabby is almost six in few months time and admittedly, we’re not ready yet to have his sibling/s.  There are a lot of things to do; we have a ton of hopes to accomplish and more importantly, we’re still enjoying Gabby.  God willing, if and when we welcome another addition to our family, we wanted to be more ready with everything if not, at least the basics. We wish to give the same attention, love and care to our future kid/s similar to what we’re providing Gabby.

I replied with a smile to our son and saw Tina smiling too. I told him he’ll have his little brother/s and/or little sister/s in God’s time.

We’re proud of our son. His innocent query implies he has healthy mind and body.

Now, it’s another story when he’d ask about the birds and the bees!

Like batteries, we have to be ever ready. :)

29
May
10

OUR WEEKEND MOVIE

This late afternoon Tina, Gabby and I watched The Prince of Persia : The Sands of Time top billed by Jake Gyllenhaal (pronounced as Yillin-hoo-la-hey) at Eastwood City Cinema.

I don’t have idea about its video game but the movie adaptation is incredibly stunning!  At least it defines what entertainment is all about. Fast-paced action scenes, amazing production summarized in a ‘never a dull moment movie’. I disregarded the criticisms it received; for one they said that it should have starred an actor with color denoting its title and all other not-so-good reviews it got over the web.  I don’t know about you, but what we saw was a breathtaking movie from beginning to end.

“You have everything a man could  ever want -LOVE, FAMILY, RESPECT…”

Tina uttered, “Ang ganda, ano?” (referring to the movie) countless times on our way home.

I’m glad I waited on queue to buy tickets for 35 minutes while Tina and Gabby was munching NYFD fries and having Big Chill fruit shake (they combined mango+watermelon, sarap!). The effort and even the  ticket price of PhP 191 each were all worth it! :)

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go watch it and kindly share your own views.

*UPDATE : After enjoying Prince of Persia last Saturday, this Monday afternoon, Tina and I gave in to Gabby’s request : to watch SHREK FOR EVER AFTER.

We watched it in TriNoma before we hit the grocery shelves of Landmark Supermarket. This third and final installment of the Shrek series had a lot of fun moments from that giant green ogre.  We had great laughs; amused with the characters and certainly liked the music as usual.

28
May
10

UNUSUAL PASYAL

Guess where I took my kid for a walk?

Even my wife, Tina had no word to explain what got into me when I decided to bring Gabby to this park on one weekend morning.  Perhaps, I wanted a breather between our usual routine of going to malls, coffee shops and restaurants or maybe I just wanted our son to experience a different space that may enhance his appreciation of things. Either way, we both enjoyed our 30 minutes in Paco Park, Manila.

It has been ages since my last visit to Paco Park. It was during those Holy Weeks back in the early 80s when we started to accompany my mom in her annual Visita Iglesia in 30 churches (Yes, you read it right–thirty churches including St. Pancratius Chapel inside Paco Park; probably it’s also the reason why I sort of memorized the sidestreets and main thoroughfares of Metro Manila).

Paco Park was initially a cemetery. So when I told Gabby that I’m bringing him to a park and a former burial ground, he was puzzled and just shrugged his shoulders.

The charm of this former cemetery lies on its architecture. It’s circular in shaped with thick hollow walls; old as history.

In 1912, burial or interment at the Paco Park ceased. It had been the burial ground for several generations and descendants of those who were buried in the park had the remains of their ancestors transferred. (Sourced via Wiki)

Walking through these walls reminded me that change is inevitable. The previously built cemetery for aristocratic Spanish families has been accessible for years now as a recreational garden for all and at present can be enjoyed for as cheap as FIVE PESOS ENTRANCE FEE.

There’s an area formerly dedicated to angels…

But the most famous Pinoy secretly interred after his execution at Bagumbayan in Paco Cemetery is no less than Dr. Jose P. Rizal.  Note that his initials at the cross was written in reverse to hide his remains’ identity.

Gabby asked me who RPJ is and I just simply replied he’s our National Hero. Although I got 1.50 in Philippine History and 1.25 in Rizal, the subject (1.0 being the highest) back in my pre-Med days in FEU, I cannot explain his works and life in few statements to my almost-6-year-old kid; I’ll let him discover who Rizal is as Gabby studies Philippine History when he grows up.

The St. Pancratius Chapel inside Paco Park is one of the favorite wedding venues of most Pinoy couples. I think it depends on one’s perception of the place; either you feel creepy about it or be lured to its uniquely amazing aura.  Every Friday afternoon, there’s always a free concert held titled Paco Park Presents.

As our half-hour stroll in this park came to a close, it was then Gabby became more fascinated and at ease with it. He ran and jumped around the lifeless fountain; he sat and assumed his favorite yoga-like pose; and probably began to absorb a little sense of the place.

Gabby requested if he can have his favorite drink. So guess where we ended up our morning?  We went to the nearest mall, Robinson’s Place Manila and he savored a grande of chocolate frappuccino.

The odd weekend became usual again in a blink sip. :)

Have you been to Paco Park? What do you think of the place?

26
May
10

WAWA

Dear Gabby,

Sometimes I wanted a quick escape from hassles of daily living in a nearby province where fresh air and tranquility are common.

I envy your Lolo Ben, Tito Mac &  Ninong Melton and 2 of their friends for what they did last Sunday.  While we’re lazy spending the first day of the week at home, they went to Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal, the province formerly known as Montalban.  It’s the town that comes after San Mateo, Rizal, Marikina  and Quezon Cities.  Your Tito Mac is generous to share his photos taken from their trip.

The provincial welcome sign has the dam’s replica on top…

No, they didn’t go there via four-wheeled vehicle but by bikes. You know how your 60-year-old Lolo Ben is still very groovy as he continuously joins cycling events like Tour of the Fireflies with your uncles..Look how he’s geared to the form that day! Japorms ang tatay ko, ano? :)

While your Tito Mac was in his usual cheerful self…

It’s amazing they’ve reached the place after long hours of bicycling…Your Tito Mac and Ninong Melton’s second time to be there; and first for Daddy or your Lolo Ben…

The scenes at Wawa Dam are simply inviting …

Rock-filled stream…

lush greens…

crystal waters…

They went to market to buy something to grill…

At the area near the stream, they parked their bikes.

Then they grilled these…

and had a fun picnic…

I can just imagine how relaxing the atmosphere in that part of Rizal…

perfect spot to doze off…

beside a river that runs through it...

Kiapo or water cabbages (where the name of Quiapo, Manila was rooted) are also abundant.  Nice!

I think this is the must-see-spot in Wawa Dam : the two great rocks where Bernardo Carpio , being of great strength, was believed to be trapped.  When you study Philippine folklores in years to come, you’ll learn that  some say he is keeping the mountains from crashing into each other (similar to the Greek titan Atlas holding up the sky), and some versions say he is trapped and trying to break free. When Bernardo Carpio shrugs his shoulder, an earthquake occurs.  (Sourced via Wiki).

The merging of those streams underneath those legendary mountains is just awesome!  Who knows we might find time and go there someday too.

For now, enjoy your bike; you’ll have your own adventures when you grow up! :)

I love you, anak!

:) Tatay-doc

——————————————————————-<@

*photos except Gabby’s were taken by my brother, Mac. :) Thanks, Mac!

23
May
10

BECOMING MORE SENSIBLE OF CHOCOLATES

How long has it been since you last enjoyed your favorite chocolate?

Although we have varied preferences, my family and I do not deny the fact that we all LOVE CHOCOLATES; who doesn’t?  Either fruity, nutty or just plain, for as long as it’s DARK–bitter and mildly sweet, my day’s fine!  While Tina and Gabby want their chocolates better with nothing. We’ve been eating, munching, drinking chocolates but haven’t taken any effort in appreciating its origin, the required processes before it becomes a candy bar, a syrup, a divine ingredient in cakes, pastries, ice cream, fondue and whatnot  until we attended HEAVENLY CHOCOLATES’ Chocolate Appreciation 101.

I’ve been invited to this monthly chocoholics’ FREE workshop by fellow blogger and the chocovangelist herself, Ms. Marga (a.k.a. Midge) of  SybDive several times since early part of this year but it was only yesterday that I got to bring Tina and Gabby to this fun but comprehensive event.

Tina who came from her work, met Gabby and I in a fast food along Tomas Morato at around 4PM where we had our early light dinner. Then we came to Heavenly Chocolates several minutes before the  6PM workshop (poster above with 7PM schedule was an erratum).

On the wall : Chocolate Facts–

The Aztec Emperor Montezuma drank nothing but chocolates -50 pitchers prepared for him each day (Just so you know, chocolate wasn’t sweet those days but SPICY!).

Cocoa beans were used as Aztec currency :  10 beans for a wife and a hundred beans for a good slave (no typo error here, just facts!).

Only Aztec kings and members of his court could drink chocolate. It was a drink for royalty.

It was Gabby who was really excited to sample one of Heavenly Chocolates’ yummies –cakes! So he went to the display bar and pointed to his mom his choice.  The staff commented, “Marunong syang pumili!”

FRENCH DARK, PhP 100 per slice.

One of the most delicious chocolate cakes we’ve tasted; heavenly is an understatement! Price is reasonable and it surprisingly comes in a generous slice; bigger than usual servings in most coffee and cake shops. Thumbs up for this cake; next time we crave for this delectable treat, we want a whole!

After Marga met us briefly, she ushered us to THE LOUNGE, Heavenly Chocolates’ newest offering–a party space for intimate gatherings, with cool and casual interiors that can be booked for PhP 3000 consumable (that’s lot of cakes, drinks and more!) for 3 hours, FREE CORKAGE FEE so anyone can bring in potluck foods and drinks; the room upstairs has wide flat screen TV fit for videoke or Magic Sing moments,  also with comfy couches, seats and tables, good for 20-25 people. It serves as CHOCOLATE APPRECIATION 101 venue.

The workshop started as Marga handed the attendees dried lavender. She instructed us to rub those tiny petals in between palms, then bring it closer to our noses to sniff and inhale.  And in a blink, soothing aroma kicked in; everyone instantly became relaxed and in the right mood for the event.

The early attendees, including Tina, Gabby and I were lucky to sample GHANA AOX, a chocolate serving with nuts and raisins; the fusion of its flavor and textures was nice.

As the interesting lecture-workshop on chocolate history, trivia, differences between some chocolates we like, countries that produce and consume chocolates, manufacturing processes were relayed (it was our first time to see on slides those huge amazing refining and conching (uninterrupted stirring) equipments–from the old windmill-powered machines to the ones chocolate factories used these days), FREE TASTINGS of Heavenly Chocolates’ goodies came one after the other. It was indeed engaging!

SUMAN+MANGO SYRUP paired with SINGLE-ORIGIN DAVAO chocolate drink :

We learned that SINGLE-ORIGIN in chocolate terms means its beans were grown in one particular area or region. And this locally produced chocolate drink doesn’t disappoint. Sarap! Its taste is comparable to a chocolate tablea used in chocolate porridge. It perfectly compliments the suman with mango syrup.

SAO TOME :

“An island republic in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa, that is a prime growing area for the Amelonado subspecies of high quality Forastero. São Tomé cacao can be bitter with flavors of pure cocoa, sharp red fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla. It is a good base for blended chocolate.”  Sourced via The Nibble.

SAO TOME jas thick consistency with smoky taste and richer aroma.

GANACHE which is actually an accidental discovery when a chef’s assistant poured cream into a chocolate mixture was also introduced.  The velvety smooth combination of cream and chocolate can be dipped in chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder to make a TRUFFLE.

SACHI NAMA (left) was served; Tina liked it so much and  TRUFFLE (right) with a light hint of rum was made on the spot by Marga:

Yum! :) And look how Gabby involved himself as the only kiddie participant amidst chocoholics :

We’re so glad we finally attended Heavenly Chocolates’ Chocolate Appreciation 101. It was truly more than a well-delivered live lecture and a fun workshop but a pleasant interactive event for everyone interested to be  more appreciative of what we usually enjoy.

I was told that topics vary per month, so if you want to experience this FREE chocolate workshop and tastings or simply want to savor Heavenly Chocolates goodies, you may call them at (63-2) 6662208; they’re located at  127 Roces Avenue (near Tomas Morato), Quezon City. Click the map on the right to enlarge.

You may also ‘like’ and give thumbs up to Heavenly Chocolates via their facebook account and get loads of updates.

Special thanks to Ms. Marga and Mr. Benjie for making us more sensible of chocolates! :) The experience was indeed glorious!


21
May
10

TOY IN A BOX & RESPONSIBLE FEEDING

Like most kids of his age, Gabby fancies McDonald’s Happy Meals and the toys that come with it.

Meet his new found friends :

Brogan, Shrek and the Little Wooden Puppet of Shrek Forever After collection.

I don’t remember owning a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy until my college days when I started enjoying my cheeseburger meal with those cute dogs from 101 Dalmatian collectibles. These toys that come in every box of meal make fast food dining more pleasurable to kids and kid at hearts.

Sure, these funky toys come with foods that are  high in calories and often excess in saturated fats and salt that if taken abundantly might just lead to obesity.–Don’t ask me now about calorie counter but the rule of thumb that I observe is ‘everything should be in moderation’. Parents, of course, should always take responsible steps in feeding their kids.

Gabby’s favorite Happy Meal is crunchy chicken-McDo with rice + he loads it with at least 2 servings of buttery gravy. Yum!  Seriously, I think it would not hurt if  he enjoys his meal that comes with his preferred toy once in a while particularly when we balance it by providing him healthy food choices at home.

Just so you know, Gabby appreciates some veggies; he even liked them earlier than I did when I was his age.  He eats Guinisang Monggo, sayote in Chicken Tinola, potatoes and carrots in Menudo and other veggies without force and coercion, hehehe! :)  So it’s a simple pleasure for him whenever his wish of having a toy+Happy Meal is granted.

While these McDonald’s  Happy Meal  toys are the current source of joy of our kid, his smiles and giggles remain our simple bliss. :)

19
May
10

KING BEE AND THINGS LESS PRICEY

In this day and age, observance of frugality and prudence is absolutely important or at least for our family.  Stretching our domestic budget has always been an effort between my wife and I; we cut on other expenses but we don’t compromise food.  We always prioritize Gabby’s fortified powdered milk, his chocolate drink, multivitamins, sometimes his favorite cereals too. We don’t dine out as frequent as before and if we do, we choose affordable and family-friendly food places. We always try to seek value-for-money.

There were 2 new things we experienced last Sunday.   First was attending mass at 6 in the evening; we always hear mid-morning masses except last week.  Both Tina and I had to do household chores in the morning and stuffs she had to finish for work,  so we opted to skip our routine and decided to go to Christ the King Church in E. Rodriguez  Avenue, Quezon City at dusk.  Then after the Mass, it was also our first time to eat at KING BEE Chinese Food.

We’ve been seeing its newly opened branch right across that church for some time now but haven’t tried it until last Sunday.  I’ve already heard raves about King Bee from my dad who already tried their Antipolo Branch with my aunts and uncles early this year.  Tina and I thought it was like another Chinese fast food but we only knew that it is not when we’re already inside ordering our dinner.

When the waiter handed us the menu, we found out that prices are within reached; and because entrees come in sizes- S, M, & L, it’s even more reasonable than other long-established Chinese restaurants that we frequent.  Plus it’s nice that they still offer Opening Promo of 20% off on all of their dimsums at 8 in the evening.  We came almost an hour before 8 but the staff told us that we can already avail of the discount.

Look at how we maximized our PhP 547 (net, inclusive of tax) with dimsums, seafood fried noodle dish and a glass of sago and black gulaman.

In a glimpse :  DIMSUMS that we savored :)

In toto :

SEA KING ROLL…

I’m lost for words to express how delightful this dimsum is!

PORK SIOMAI…tasteful!

HAKAO…it’s a must whenever we dine Chinese!

Gabby liked the shrimp dumpling or hakao. He just loved forking those plump and juicy shrimps! Delicious! Certainly, a personal favorite! :)

ASADO SIOPAO…

The buns are the softest! Its filling has unique taste compared to usual Asado siopao. Yummy!

What’s dimsum and dumplings without chili + soy + calamansi ?

Usual Chinese resto freebie :  house tea…aids in digestion, of course and saves you on ordering beverages :)

SEASONAL SEAFOOD  FRIED NOODLES…

We only had the small order (you can opt for medium or large) but surprisingly came with generous ingredients!

mix it up, and voila!

Gabby enjoyed a glass of SAGO & BLACK GULAMAN…

Can you blame me if I fell in love and will forever love these killer smiles?  Love ko ‘to :

Thank you Lord for all the blessingsbig and small! :)

Tina and I agreed that King Bee Chinese Food is authentic in taste; affordable in price; quick and polite in service with casual ambiance. It’s like eating in Manila Chinatown without the hassles of traffic! We’ll definitely try their other dishes on our future visits.

For menu, price, branches and other details of King Bee, click –> THIS.




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