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

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*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.

17
May
10

WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” ~Denis Waitley

Last week, I was referred to help out a medical representative to conduct a free clinic in Mercury Drug, Lagro, Quezon City.  Despite the fact that I only received an honorarium and the site was literally far from my place, I was thankful and eager to attend because I know it’s always great to reach out.  And so from 1PM to almost 6 in the evening, majority of my patients were in their geriatric years; only few were in their 30s, 40s.  Most of their conditions were Hypertension and/or Diabetes.  We offered free consultation with blood pressure monitoring and Random Blood Sugar (RBS) testing.

I saw my late maternal Lolo and Lola in almost all faces of  patients I’ve seen that afternoon. They’ve fought the same conditions and peacefully died from its complications.  Until this day, there are moments that I miss them.  They raised all of us, their apos, while my dad was away as an OCW and my mom has always been busy working.   As I conduct that free clinic, I could only wish that I have given more time to my Lolo and Lola then.  I also hope that my son, Gabby will continue his good relationships with his grandparents–both my parents and my in-laws.

All patients that I’ve seen were grateful and left our table with wide smiles.  An 80+ year-old lady even kept on wishing us, “God bless you!” countless times until she bid us goodbye.  That for me was one of the most priceless moments I’ve experienced;  a happy one.

I came home that day with a free Jollibee Meal, tired but smiling eyes and stories to share to Tina and Gabby.

Some people say it’s always a choice to be happy. At times when my days are gloomy, I just look at Gabby, listen to his stories about cartoons or simply see him smile and everything seems to be alright.

What’s your take on happiness?  Are you always happy?  What makes you happy ?

14
May
10

BATANG BIBO

We let Gabby enjoy his vacation from preschool by watching cartoon marathons and by playing his Happy Meal toys,  PSP and Plants vs Zombies. :) While he’s into his fun moments, I unearthed a photo file and found something to ponder.

Tina and I are proud parents of a kid who dreams of becoming an Iron-Chef someday but shows raw talent in public speaking.

At age 4, he surprisingly delivered the 2-stanza poem,  For My Country :

Gabby has been consistent winner in Declamation Contests in his school for 2 consecutive years.  He won 3rd place out of 50+ Nursery students last year and ranked 4th out of 50+ Kindergarten pupils this year.

Last February, he recited a 5-stanza poem, Planting Rice :

Tina and I are amazed how Gabby conquers stage fright. It seems he doesn’t fear a huge group of audience at a young age. He’s also very much talkative interactive with his classmates when in school.

If you must know, other than being healthcare professionals, we’re also humble college educators but admittedly, both of us, who have so much more to learn, didn’t acquire teaching skills and the art of public speaking overnight.  As for Gabby, he shows the talent as early as now.

He’s also into academic awards :

Like most parents, we don’t want to dictate the future of our child.  He’ll be what he wanted to be.  He can be a rockstar, a restaurateur, an athlete, an artista or somebody with a decent job for as long as it’s far from politics; it’s OK with us. :)

I don’t know but probably because of the recent National Election, I’m having paranoid thoughts that his young  talent in rhetoric would lead into public seat someday.   *afraid*

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According to Buddha, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become”.

Have you ever thought about becoming what you are now?

-I never did.

13
May
10

CAFE BOLA

From the interiors…

to the tables…

everything in Cafe Bola is simple, delicious and refreshing…

Iced Tea has a taste of freshly brewed tea with a nice kick of lemony-pandan flavor.

Have you ever munched on TARO CHIPS after dipping it on garlic mayo?

Their CHICKEN LOLLIBALLS with PINK MAYONNAISE are well-marinated if not, tastefully seasoned…

Other than the fact the branch we tried was in the vicinity of Araneta Coliseum where Basketball games are frequently held, I’m guessing that the resto is called Cafe Bola because of those incredibly delicious meatballs on their pasta.

SPAGHETTI with MEATBALLS, Bolognese Style…

Desserts like MINI BOLA FLAN are just too pleasant for the palate…Gabby finished 2 1/2 servings on this plate! It was that good!

Our nagkahiyaan moment… :)

I’ve read from somewhere that the famous restaurateur, Margarita Fores who also put up CIBO which is one of our family favorites, and Pepato in Greenbelt which we have yet to experience, also owns and manages Cafe Bola.  And one can easily tell the positive contrasts between her restaurants. Cibo offers great Italian favorites with awesome presentation while Cafe Bola combines Italian, Mexican and Pinoy cuisines that are reasonably priced.

The entire set we had (above photos) was on the promo rate of only PhP 700+.

Service is quick, food servers are courteous and friendly; ambiance is relaxed and food choices needless to say, are satisfyingly yummy.

On our future visit, we’ll try their Adobo Flakes with Kesong Puti and perhaps other dishes on their menu that gives a new twists in Pinoy taste.

I only see her on magazine and broadsheet spreads and read features about her on blogs and haven’t personally met, Ms. Gaita Fores yet; but her dedication to her work as a restaurateur and florist among other hats she wears, is indeed an inspiration for people like us who aspire to put up a food place someday. :)

Now, excuse me as I daydream of  having our own restaurant too, with Chef Gabby leading the kitchen crew. :)

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Cafe Bola, Araneta Coliseum Arcade, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.

10
May
10

PROUD WITH DIRTY FINGER

Dear Gabby,

Today is a historic day for all Pinoys for we’re given a chance to observe suffrage using PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines. You’ve been hearing these stuffs from local news on TV, right?  You even uttered such acronym first before I knew what it means, haha!

Since I am registered with your lolo and uncles in Pasig City, and your mom, Tina is a voter of Quezon City, I left the house this morning while you’re still sleeping to be early in the polling place. Excited is an understatement to describe how I felt to vote via this very expensive automated election. It’s the first time to be done in our country, anak! Like your mom and the rest of the voting public, I am eager to know how efficient those machines are and how organize the flow of everything in voting places.

I arrived in our house in Pasig around 7AM to meet your Lolo Ben, then off we went to Manggahan Elementary School.  My excitement diminished when we found out that the school was still closed at 7:20AM when in fact voting should have started exactly at 7.  Look at the scenario a while ago…

Then several minutes after, the gates of the school finally opened…

Thank God there was no stampede!

Our polling precinct was at the fourth floor of this school; imagine the effort of those geriatric population including your Lolo Ben with this disorganized election.

When we reached fourth floor, someone distributed numbered cards from 1 to 100; I got # 76, your Lolo Ben had 60+… He and other senior citizens were asked to vote first; irregardless of their numbers.  There was a holding room beside the precinct but it lacked someone who should govern the public who waited more than several hours…

I nearly went ballistic with the lack of system; more than 2 hours of waiting without a required queue was so unbearable and unexpected!

Because I am prepared of who to vote and how to shade my ballot, it only took me less than 5 minutes inside the voting room.  My experience with PCOS machine was effortless, however don’t we all deserve discipline, systematic, smooth and honest election?  Every inch of the process still screams IMPROVEMENT!

By the way, I did a little good deed this morning before I left the gates of that school. I noticed a young lady about the age of mid-20s who became nearly unconscious and was being carried by her mom. I pulled a chair, positioned her comfortably and asked her mom if her daughter was pregnant. I got a negative answer and next things I did were to request the mom to buy her anything sweet–juice or softdrink while I checked her daughter’s pulse.  I suspect hypoglycemia, if not electrolyte imbalance. Some people with radios were calling for an ambulance to no immediate avail; luckily for the patient, she suddenly became alert again after sipping soda.  A kind lady who were also helping out offered her sandwich. I left them when I knew that the patient was already OK.  Things like these are inevitable when it’s too crowded and authorities aren’t ready with people-support like paramedics who should be stationed nearby.

This is the day, Gabby, that I am proud of my “DIRTY FINGER”….This one’s for you, anak!

You will have to wait for 3 more terms or 12 years before you cast your own.

Love,

Tatay-doc :D

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Kind readers,  how’s your own experience ?

08
May
10

DAD & SON IN THE KITCHEN FOR MOM’S DAY

When my 5-year-old son, Gabby asked me a few days back of what to give to his mom, Tina, as our present for Mother’s Day, I never thought of any tangible things in box wrapped with ribbons but our 

                                                       LOVE and TIME (read : precious and readily available!).

I certainly know my wife appreciates FOOD rather than receiving a bunch of colorful blooms and mushy greeting cards;  so there was no doubt that preparing a home-cooked dish for her by the two important men in her life (ehem, that’s me and Gabby) will definitely win her thumbs-up, hugs and kisses. :)

Gabby, who dreams of becoming a chef at his early age was so excited to do the part with me. You can just imagine how eager he was when we went to the grocery the first time without his mom, to buy the stuffs that we need.  Then when we hit the kitchen while his mom was away, he had his widest smile to assist me in cooking one of our family’s favorites with a twist.

The three of us have been keeping our love affair with tilapia. :D  It’s one of our must-buy food items in our almost weekly supermarket shopping.  So when I found out that Yummy magazine May 2010 issue has a tilapia-recipe that isn’t difficult to follow, I and Gabby knew that Tina will really appreciate it.

                                                       CRISPY TILAPIA TROPICALE 

The ingredients -

For the pineapple sweet-sour sauce :

  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, syrup included
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon banana ketsup
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons julienned carrots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons juliened red bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
  • 3 pieces tilapia (about 825 grams), filleted and sliced into strips
  • salt and pepper
  • oil for deep frying
  • leeks, sliced into strips for garnish

Procedure -

1. Make the pineapple sweet-sour sauce :

Combine crushed pineapple, water, sugar, banana ketchup, soy sauce, salt and vinegar. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.  Add carrots and red bell pepper and cook until slightly soft, about 1 minute.  Add dissolved cornstarch and continue to cook until sauce is thick. Set aside.

2. Season tilapia strips with salt and pepper. Deep-fry a few pieces at a time until cripsy and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

3. Arrange tilapia strips on a serving plate. Pour sauce on top and garnish with sliced leeks.  

And voila….

 

I’m not usually in front of the stove but with this simple but delicous recipe, I wouldn’t mind cooking for my wife and kid on a daily basis!  I’ll just keep a Yummy Magazine beside me for no-fuss-tasteful dishes.  

Gabby volunteered to combine and stir the ingredients for the pineapple sweet-sour sauce in a bowl and enjoyed coating the fish strips with cornstarch using our small stainless thongs.

I bonded with my kid while cooking this dish and made our weekend dinner extra special for Tina. And did she like it? Absolutely not! –She didn’t like it a bit but LOVE IT ENTIRELY, of course!  Without being biased, it was indeed one hearty meal.

According to Yummy magazine, this super-saver recipe serves 3 to 4 people; prep time : 5 minutes; cooking time 15 to 20 minutes;  Total cost PhP 111.50 / PhP 28 per serving; based on market prices as of press time.

Thank you, Yummy magazine for that easy-to-follow, delicious recipe! 

Affordable. Quick and Easy-to-do. Family-friendly recipes. What more could you ask for? Go grab yourself a copy of Yummy Magazine and unleash the chef and the foodie in you! :D

 

Visit their website at www.YUMMY.PH and follow Yummy on twitter at  Yummyph and Yummy on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/yummymagazine. :D Thanks!

08
May
10

AT ANG NAGWAGI AY SI…

Before we honor moms tomorrow and cast our sacred votes on Monday as dutiful Filipinos, allow me to celebrate my blog anniversary today…

Believe me, I hate Math, but I honestly appreciate these numbers…

  • >100,000  hits on my wordpress blog stat counter.
  • 500  posts
  • 4,573 comments
  • 1 of the 8 nominees  finalists in 2009 Philippine Blog Awards under Family and Living Category

(sana this year ulit!) :D

  • 3 years of blogging about FAMILY, FOOD and FUN!

My warmest  THANK YOU to the following readers and blogger-friends who took time to join my little blog anniversary contest . I am ecstatic with YOUR  ANSWERS !  Maraming Salamat po!  (the order was based on the date of their participation).

  1. HalfCrazy  of  An Ardent Cosmic Journey
  2. Ewok1993  of   Frankly My Dear
  3. Sheng   of  Anything Goes
  4. Josh / Shattershards of  Organized Chaos
  5. KG  of  Ang Bahay ni Kumareng Grace
  6. Dyanie  of  Princess Dyanie
  7. Marian / Upto6only of  Upto6only.com
  8. Joe Ann Agan of  Stories & Photographs / My Frame of Life
  9. Jeanny of  Startin’ A New Life
  10. Chyng  of  No Spam, No Virus, No Kiddin’ !
  11. Cza  of  Little Miss Wanderlust
  12. Rico of  Buhay Bahay-Bahayan (Mga Kwento Ni Mister)
  13. Dennis of  The Nomadic Pinoy
  14. Midge  of  Sybaritic Diversions
  15. Ann  of  Chic & Cheaps
  16. Dashashash  of  Pieces of A Wunderkind’s Mind
  17. Dyosa / B’ley  of  Blogalag 
  18. Reena of  Reena’s Thoughts
  19. Bing  of  Warmstone  (chose not to join but thank you for taking time to answer).

Other than those names and blogs mentioned above,  I’d also like to express my gratitude to the following bloggers and readers who have been tirelessly leaving comments on my posts not once, not twice but more that I lost count, LOL!  Salamat!  All of your comments never fail to inspire and amuse me.

  1. Annevdns (Anne, you’re my very first commenter when I started putting tags on my posts last year)
  2. Aubrey
  3. BertN,
  4. Carla
  5. Cher
  6. Dennis Villegas,
  7. Doc RJ,
  8. Dong Ho / Dom ,
  9. Ebie
  10. eRLyn
  11. Fine Life Folk / Karl,
  12. Ingrid,
  13. Iya
  14. January / Elna,
  15. JP,
  16. Lainee
  17. Mari
  18. Meg Jones
  19. Mel
  20. Mrs Lavendula / Doc Mitzi,
  21. Nance
  22. Rob,
  23. Romel ,
  24. Sardonyx /Missy,
  25. Sidney Snoeck,
  26. Subterfuge
  27. Tutubi ,
  28. u8mypinkcookies,
  29. Witsandnuts
  30. Z / The Babaylan / Doc Z
  31. and those 19 contest participants, THANK YOU!

*Please let me know if I missed to include your name/blog if you’ve been one of my frequent commenters. Maraming Salamat po!  

I had fun going through all the entries but choosing the winner wasn’t easy. ALL  ANSWERS  are truly unique and fascinating!  But like other contests, there’s always one on top.  Because I value your comments, you know that there are NO losers here; however, there’s only one who can own those Tokyo chopsticks.  And with this, I’d like to share the winner’s answers :

1. Usual family bonding is done on weekends, and they start with a hearty breakfast for the kids, some household chores done together, and in the extra time, we put banig sa sala, and play whatever card games we think of, mostly UNO Wild Cards, Uno Stack-O, Master Mind. Pag bored na, we get to insert some DVDs over the player and start tiring our eyes. Of course may meryenda, we are super mababaw ang ligaya so ok na kami sa nilagang saging, nilagang mais, buttered loaf breads, or at times may konting spaghetti or pancit canton being the family’s favorite. And we share the same interest naman kasi ng mga kids – BOOKS, so we crowd in a room and I read to my two kiddos.

2. If given the chance to eat my last favorite meal, it will be sweet and sour shrimps, crabs and pakbet. They are my super love. Ipagpapalit ko tong tatlong to sa kahit ano, wag lang sa pamilya ko. (LOL)

3.The best ang blog na to because it speaks of family, it tells experiences of a doc juggling a family and a life very much worth living. The food, the trips, the daily experiences, not to mention the no-holds barred rants about resto(s) and their kapalpakan. It also features whatever good is worth blogging. And what I love most in this blog is that, the love for family comes first. Gabby and Tina, congratulations for having Doc Gelo! And doc, happy blogoversary!

SHENG of  Anything Goes from General Santos City, Congratulations! (applause! applause!)

Once again, THANK YOU VERY MUCH to everyone who visits and reads this blog!  Expect more interesting posts about FAMILY, FOOD and FUN in the coming years.  God bless us all! :)

05
May
10

AFTERNOON COMFORT FOODS

Banana cue,  Turon…

Camote cue,   Maruyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…….

Two teenage girls who are siblings, carry huge plastic-covered bilao, walk on streets and sell these very Pinoy comfort foods in our neighborhood.   I can’t help but admire their early exposure and dedication to work  just to support their studies and perhaps their family too.  Tina and I always remind Gabby how blessed he is and for him to be always grateful for big and small blessings.    

Whenever we hear their long shouts of  the names of those caramelized and gooey native delicacies even on a Sunday afternoon, we often feel obliged to buy and savor these sweet skewered treats.  

Prices range from PhP 7 -12;  not bad for a Turon (not in the photo) even cooked with strips of Jackfruit.  Yum! :D 

Banana cue, Camote cue and Carioca for merienda…

Our simple pleasures are made of these. :)

———————————-<@

Know more of our favorite merienda –> HERE

02
May
10

FOODIES’ WALK AT BGC WITH IVAN MAN DY

One doesn’t need any motivation to join a FREE food tour in Serendra, Bonifacio High Street and the Fort Strip with Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks. The event, which is a part of BGC (Bonifacio Global City) Passion Fest 2010 doesn’t happen on a daily basis at those upscale restaurants and bars so when I found out about it, I didn’t waste a minute and pre-registered on-line a week prior to the event and off I went to its second-day food tripping (the first was held April 24, 2010 that featured Cupcakes by Sonja, Zao, TGI Fridays, Pasto, Yoh-Gurt-Froz and The Establishment).

May 01, 2010, Saturday –It was indeed a glorious day! The sun was up and my excitement was high. I think I was the earliest foodie to show up at the Concierge booth of  Bonifacio High Street at half hour past 10AM to claim my slot for the event!  The 4-hour gastronomic tour started at around 2PM in Serendra.  I am amazed at how the culinary walking guru, Ivan Man Dy gets to know his participants on a first-name basis (with full recall of my blog posts from Tokyo!) and be inspiring effortlessly.

“Food nurtures creativity” he said. With that statement, I know we’re all in for an entire afternoon of nothing but wholesome fun!

Our first stop was CUPCAKES by SONJA.  My family and I have tried Sonja’s Cupcakes  before;  my palate has been familiar of what this hole-in-the-wall and quaint food place offers. 

RED VELVET VIXEN -Traditional Southern cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and cream cheese icing (certain percentage of sales goes to Red Cross); 

MELT-IN-YOUR-MOUTH FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE – Dense Valrhona flourless chocolate with rich velvety texture dissolved in your mouth with pure sublime flavor.

VANILLA SUNSHINE -A classic and fluffy cupcake topped with either vanilla or chocolate buttercream.

CHOCOLATE OVERLOAD -Rich, moist Valrhona chocolate cupcake filled with creamy ganache and topped with velvety chocolate cream.

CHOCO CREAM PIE – Rich, luscious Belgian chocolate cream in Orea crust and topped with mouthful of whipped cream and sprinkled with Oreo bits.

A breath away from Sonja’s Cupcakes is MISS DESSERTS that also offers deliciously divine sweet treats.

ALMOND EXPRESSO CHEESECAKE -Almonds compliment the creamy with just the right coffee and caramel taste.

ULTIMATE BROWNIES -Rich chocolate brownies with a generous amount of walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips then drizzled with just a touch of caramel on top to make it the ultimate brownie.

BUTTER CAKE – Melt-in-your-mouth butter cake that’s good on it’s way or slightly warmed with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

I only sampled a couple of those bite-sized goodies from Sonja’s and Miss Desserts and saved room for more!  I told you before, it’s not a problem for my appetite if sweets come first. *grinning*

Our second stop in this foodie wonderland was a Hawaiian-themed restaurant, POLU KAI GRILL. 

“Inspired by the tropical island beach living, POLU KAI GRILL has made a mark for serving the best of Pacific Rim Cuisine. Generous slabs of ribs and the sweet freshness of seafood are best enjoyed in the laid back luau interiors of the restaurant.”

What we sampled :  SPAM MUSUBI -Hawaii’s favorite snack! Spam sushi with Teriyaki glaze;  SURF and TURF -Grilled Prawn and Sausage Skewers; FISH & FISH -Juicy, golden fried Cream Dory with Tartar Sauce;  PINEAPPLE SHAKE -Fresh Pineapple Shake served in a pineapple fruit cup (but the resto ran out of piña cups so mine was in a glass; nonetheless refreshing and refillable!)

My attempt at plating those POLU KAI yummies :

Every dish was fine! The Cream Dory with Tartar sauce is more than a reason to visit Polu Kai again and again.

We had that required group photo shots every after restaurant stop which I wish to copy and post here;  credit the photographer when they upload it somewhere.

Ivan and the organizers made sure that foodies can burn calories by walking about 2 to 10 minutes from one food place to another. From Polu Kai, we left Serendra and crossed the lane to Bonifacio High Street to head to our third digestive feast : ITALIANNI’S.

Italianni’s is also a common favorite. As you may know, it’s Italian in taste but definitely American in servings.  I shared table with fellow young bloggers, Cher and Alex  whom I’ve been with in other blogger’s event.  We sampled CLASSICO PIZZA, SHRIMP MUSHROOM LINGUINI, DALANDAN JUICE and that herbed FOCACCIA BREAD.

One thing that’s remarkable with Italianni’s, other than the great foods they serve or at least with our experience with it, is the restaurant crew’s commendable service. A manager hopped from table to table to make sure everything’s being enjoyed at its very best.

Several steps from Italianni’s is our fourth delightful pit stop : 

THE STOCK MARKET and ICE CREAM BAR.

My very first dining experience at The Stock Market was truly one for the books; I was invited to judge last year’s Century Tuna’s Bloggers Cook-Off where my family, Tina and Gabby got to joined in the fun. 

STOCK MARKET FRESH HARVEST SALAD with PINEAPPLE VINAIGRETTE.

Fibrous fruits and crisp veggies don’t fail.

Tasting NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER and FORK-TENDER SHORT RIBS with sauteed BEANS & CORN RISOTTO :

What I like best with The Stock Market and Ice Cream Bar is its efforts in innovating dishes from natively grown produce that surely reaches table as fresh as you can imagine.

ICE CREAM BAR inside The Stock Market offered refreshing flavors out of several Pinoy favorites :

Three young male interns who are currently doing their Summer stint with the said restaurant served every table with these four samples to share :  SUMAN at MANGGA flavored ice cream, CHAMPORADO and RASPBERRY flavored ice cream, SAGO and MANGO SORBET and FROZEN YOGURT.  Ahh, what a way to spend merienda!

I particularly liked the Suman at Mangga flavored ice cream! I swear it has the lightest mango flavor in ice cream that I’ve tasted and the hint of suman served as a great compliment! Plus it was plated with one of the best-tasting suman+muscovado sugar which according to the owner, is made and supplied by a community in Batangas.

Second to the last food trip stop was TRIO located at The Fort Strip.

“Integrating the concept of a modern Italian bistro, pizzeria and wine bar, TRIO RESTAURANT specializes in classic Italian entrees, authentic thin crust pizza, homemade pastas, and freshly made desserts.”

CAPRICCIOSA PIZZA -Salami, smoked ham, tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, basil, mozzarella and egg.

I’m giving my 2-thumbs-up for Trio’s  CAPRICCIOSA PIZZA! If you want your pizza thin crust with simple toppings, this one is a must-try!

Other interesting dishes from Trio are :

TENDERLOIN and PORTOBELLO RISOTTO–Pan-seared tenderloin on a bed of portobello risotto drizzled with truffle oil and

CANNELLONI –Oven baked cannelloni with beef and spinach stuffing topped béchamel crème sauce and parmesan.

Our final food trip destination was fitting for Saturday chill out. 

We had a few drinks at AMBER ULTRA LOUNGE where the ceiling and lights are sleek and funky and the music is surprisingly ear-friendly.

Care for a CHOCOLATE MARTINI ?  It’s a Russian Standard with nutty liqueur and cacao with real CHOCNUT for garnish.

Does STRAWBERRY MOJITO appeal to you?  Muddled mint and strawberries make this one an instant favorite from Amber…

If you must know, I’m not alcoholic. My wife and I rarely drink.  But I’m definitely not a a party-pooper and would not pass the chance of trying these bottomless shots from Amber; remember it ain’t FREE on ordinary days!

Of the 3 drinks we’ve tried from Amber, I like this the most –COCO LYCHEE SMASH.  It’s a stylish Asian delight, Coconut Vodka with muddled lychees, lychee liqueur and its juice.  It’s the lightest in my taste.

Did I already tell you that we’ve tasted spicy BONELESS BUFFALO WINGS too?

Needless to say, it was one of my gastronomic adventures to remember! :D

Special THANKS to Mr. Ivan Man Dy for being a gracious host, fascinating food tour guide and a very inspiring person.  Sa uulitin po!  Thank you also to Bonifacio Global City for organizing this PASSION FEST 2010.

Here are photos courtesy of my bloggers’ event buddy,  Cher (Thanks, Cher!)

————————————–<@

  • CUPCAKES by Sonja, I C 03 Serendra Piazza, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 915-2936 /856-0308.
  •  MISS DESSERTS, I C 04 Serendra Piazza, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-1429.
  • POLU KAI, G/F Shops at Serendra, BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-0355 / 901-1841.
  • ITALIANNI’S, Quadrant Bldg 5 1E14 BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 856-4094.
  • THE STOCK MARKET, Bonifacio High Street, Tel No. (63-2) 856-6301.
  • TRIO, 2/F Fort Pointe Bldg.,BGC, Taguig, Tel No. (63-2) 884-1601.
  • AMBER ULTRA LOUNGE, Unit F, Fort Entertainment Complex, Tel No. (63-2) 887-6838.



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