Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thankful for the Blessings in 2009

With the coming of the new year, we look back to the things that we are thankful for. We are thankful for:
1. Our family and friends - without them we would not have achieved our personal and professional accomplishments, and with them, these achievements have become more meaningful.
2. Our students. Being both educators, Andy and I are rooted on the ground because of our students. In a way, they are our biggest fans and critics - how they perform in their exams, project, thought papers, class discussions, computations, research papers, among others, clearly tell us how we fared as their teachers.
3. Our people. No matter what one says, Filipinos are still worth fighting for, and if necessary, dying for. It may sound like a broken record, even a cliche but we have seen so much heroism among our people, and it makes our hearts bleed when politicians wantonly use "the people" to justify their own selfishness.

Last Dec. 30, 2009 we witnessed the fireworks display at the QC Memorial Circle. It was a 15 minute thrill for the kids. Let's welcome the new year with hope and do our part to make our country better. Happy New Year to all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Trees for the Planet

When you visit SM's The Block at North EDSA, Quezon City, you will see a display of Christmas Trees made from recycled materials. Recognizing the effects of man's actions on the environment and the impact of climate change on us, it is just fitting to increase public awareness on protecting the environment - thus these decorative trees are tributes to our planet. There is no need to cut a tree just to create you Christmas tree. You can use bottles, newspapers, old toys and electronic gadgets, waste materials like coconut husk, etc to create an innovative Christmas tree. What you need is a little imagination, artistic and creative skills, glitters and paint.. whola.. a Beautiful Tree for our Lord and for the Planet.

To the readers of "Living the Good Life for Less",

we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2010.

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feasting on Cold Cuts, Cheese and Sausages at Le Gourmet

I was introduced by a friend to Le Gourmet at Shop Wise - Harrison Plaza (back of De La Salle University, Manila). The eating place is right inside the Shop Wise Supermart, beside the bread section.

The place is an innovative mix of "turo-turo" (point to what you like) and sit-down meal. Costumers are asked to order the cold cut of choice (offered at Le Gourmet), sold at a minimum of 100 grams per order. And they do have a wide array of cold cuts - from the simple (and cheap) to the more exquisite (and pricey).

The bread, drinks, spreads, and other food items - which are available in the supermart - can be purchase alongside the cold cuts. - meaning, you can pay for these items at the cashier of Le Gourmet. If you wish, you can even order veggies and mayonnaise. The staff will heat the bread and slice the cold cuts for you, serve these in a platter, and voila you have an instant stomach-filling merienda (snacks)

I brought my family at Le Gourmet when we were in the vicinity of Harrison Plaza. We ordered 100 gms each of sweet ham, hungarian sausage, meat loaf and cheese, bread (breakfast rolls), three bottled drinks and 2 cups of brewed coffee. Five of us shared the meal (total cost about P300.00 or P60 per person). My son, Geof enjoyed the cold cuts so we ordered more for take-out. Apple plans to buy the sweet ham here for Christmas.

With this kind of service at Le Gourmet, you can taste different kinds of cold cuts and cheese - Hungarian, Austrian, German etc - without spending too much. By the way, you can also "make your own sandwich." The staff will prepare your sandwich, according to what you want to put inside, and you only pay for the exact amount of items you take.

At Le Gourmet, you can enjoy good quality cold cuts and bread at a very reasonable price. (Seating capacity is limited, though). I hope there are also Le Gourmet in other Shop Wise branches.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Celebrating Geof's BDay at Tempura

Geoffrey turned 10 yrs old last December 3, 2009. His original choice of resto - Amici (T. Morato Ave., QC) had no parking so we went to Thompson Square instead (also along T. Morato).

We went to Tempura Japanese Grill - Geof's choice, of course since it's his birthday. There were just too many choices in the menu and we were too lazy to choose, so we opted to try their promo called Kazoku (Family) Christmas Feast (there were sets A and B - we went for B). As it turns out, the package was a good deal.

The set is good for 4 persons at P899.00. It consists of Tori Chizu Maki, Tori Teriyaki, Tofu Steak, Tonkatsu, 4 Chahan (rice), 4 drinks and 4 coffee jelly. If the items in the set are ordered individually, the total would be P1200 (based on Andy's computation) - which means the promo set saves you P300.00.
The preparation of the food was to our liking. I particularly enjoyed the tofu steak - its fried tofu with toppings consisting of mushroom (thin slices of shiitake) sauteed in soy sauce, a bit of oyster sauce and mixed with bread-like crumbs (similar to the batter of tempura). The contrast of the blandness and softness of the tofu with the saltiness of the sauce was great. The other thing that caught my attention was the Tori Chizu Maki - a thin slice of chicken (tori) breast is rolled with nori (seaweed) and quickmelt cheese inside, prepared ala maki. It's then rolled on egg and breadcrumbs and fried. It's also Geof's new fave! The Tonkatsu and the Chicken teriyaki were also good, though not exceptional.

Even with the drinks - we were given choices, unlike in other establishments that forces you to have just one type of drink. Julia was happy with the Hi-C apple juice she had, and Andy was good with his coke. As for the chahan rice - I would have preferred a more sticky rice and not the "buhaghag" rice we Filipinos are so used too. The desert of coffee jelly with ice cream topped with chocolate was also excellent.

In all, we were happy with the food and the price. We were just a bit disappointed with the 'non-alertness' of the staff - it's hard to call their attention and they were not alert to look around if any of the costumers need something.

Verdict? We're satisfied; and their take of 'fusion' food made us curious enough to come back and taste the other items in their menu. The family set menu (B) is highly recommended.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In-Campus Relaxation at DLSU's Shalom Center

Teaching at De La Salle University under a trimestral system and four days a week class schedule is really tiring. Whenever I have a whole day class from morning until 9 PM, sometimes I need to find a place where I can take a short nap. It is impossible to sleep in the faculty room - there are many disturbances (students usually appear for consultation, colleagues come to you for a chat, etc...) and besides I might produce some snoring sound. So when DLSU-Manila opened the Shalom Center last October 2009, I discovered a hideaway for relaxation and sleeping. The Shalom Center is an in-campus relaxation and wellness facility for exclusive use of the faculty and staff. "The project is an integral component of the University’s wellness program for employees, which is aimed at helping them cope with work-related stress" (2401 DLSU Newsletter. The 300-square meter facility houses an air-conditioned lounge with comfortable sofa, a silent room, coffee area and media (tv/video) lounge. Every Thursday, you may get a reflexology massage for only P75.00.

Still this is far from the facilities provided by Google to its employees, but this is a start and a very welcome project. So whenever, I feel sleepy and need to energize, I visit the Shalom Center - a place where sleeping is the norm..... zzzZZZZZ!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You know you're in Japan when ...

                          For fun, I've listed some things that made a mark on me during my 2 months stay in Japan:

                          You know you're in Japan when ...

                          • You see commuters sleeping on train - whether they are sitting or standing!
                          • All train lines are color coded (Rule of thumb: follow the arrow and follow the color, you won't get lost - had been proven effective many many times!!).
                          • During autumn, one in every five females wear boots.
                          • Middle high school girls wear veeery short skirts - and that's their uniform!
                          • People wont establish eye-contact with you while walking (when they do, chances are they are not Japanese but Filipinos!).
                          • No matter the time, shops (and taxis) always have change for a 10,000 yen bill.
                          • All taxis have GPS.
                          • All trains use the same "voice" in their PA system (high-pitched female voice).
                          • There are so many luxury cars, and the most expensive and fancy looking among them are driven by middle-aged men.
                          • People work like slaves during the week, and party like kings during weekends.
                          • Stationary commuters stay on the left-side of the escalator, leaving the right-side open for those in a hurry (in Kyoto, however, stationary commuters stay on the escalator's right-side).
                          • People are very helpful. Even if they can't speak English, they will communicate with you using sign-language.
                          • Everyone has PASMO (or SUICA) train card.
                          • You see moms-on-bike with groceries in front, and the kid strapped at the back (or the other way around).
                          • You see so many 100 yen shops!

                          Monday, November 16, 2009

                          20/60: My Survival Cooking Dishes

                          20+1/60. Twenty main recipes in sixty days. This is how I summarize my survival cooking experience when I managed our household cooking chores during the two months that Apple was in Tokyo. I asked Geof how he rates the main dishes displayed in this slide show of my survival cooking dishes. Most of them were rated "5" except for the giniling and paksiw - rated "4" and the other dishes that he does not eat - ampalaya and chopsuey - he is not fond of vegetables and the pusit meat but he loves the sauce. Ofcourse aside from these 20 main dishes, there were others which required simple frying or heating of some ready-to-eat food like tocino, longganiza, hot dog, chicken nuggets, dried fish, pork chop, spare ribs, instant noodles and the fried dalagang bukid fish (Geof's favorite fish).

                          Fried Chicken ala Max's and chopsuey
                          I planned to cook other dishes like kilawin kapampangan and sinigang na hipon but was not able to cook them - I was busy lately. Over-all, the experience was very rewarding - imagine with these dishes I can set up a small carinderia .. or may be I will just play "Cafe World" and create my virutual restaurant at Facebook.

                          Read my other blogs on survival cooking.

                          Tuesday, November 3, 2009

                          Bargain Shopping in Tokyo

                          The legend is true: everything is expensive in Tokyo. That is, if you don't know where to look. Being in Tokyo for more than 6 weeks now, I've discovered some places where you can find not- so-expensive items.

                          1. Musashi-Koyama: The shopping area covers the whole street. Available are food stalls, shoes, house items, beauty products, Kimono shops, dried fish.

                          How to go there: From Meguro station (see Nambuko/green line station N-01 or Mita/Royal blue line station I-01), take the Meguro line going to the direction of Ookayama. Musashi Koyama is just 2 stations away from Meguro station.

                          2. Sugamo: This is an old-people's gathering area. The street market is only available 3 times a month - in every date where you find the number 4 (i.e. every 4th, 14th, and 24th of the month). The stalls, of course, are there the whole year round, with products the same as in the Musashi-koyama shopping street. But the street-vendors that sprout during the "number-4" days of the month sell food items that are not available in the regular stalls - vegetables, fruits, pickled veggies, sweetened fruits, street food, powdered (dried) snake and turtle, and other cooking ingredients that I have no idea about.

                          How to go there: Take the Mita/Royal blue line (station I-15) or the JR Yamanote line (station Sugamo).

                          3. Okachimachi: The items you'll find here are are the same as Sugamo and Mushashi-Koyama except that here there are fresh meat items, mostly sea produce (different kinds of fish, crabs, octopus)

                          How to go there: Take the Oedo/ Pink line (station E-09), or the Ginza/ Orange line (station G-15) or Hibiya/ Gray line (station H-16), or the JR Yamanote line (station Okachimachi). The street-shopping area is actually just below the JR Yamanote train.

                          4. Ueno: One station away from Okachimachi is Ueno. In fact, the shopping street of Okachimachi and Ueno are connected so most of the items in both areas are the same. But it was in Ueno that I found a shop run by an old couple, and sells souvenirs that are reflective of the Japanese colors, images, and textures.

                          How to go there: Take the Ginza/ Orange line (station G-16), or Hibiya/ Gray line (station H-17) or the JR Yamanote line (station Keisei-Ueno).

                          5. Asakusa: This is also known as the Old Edo (Tokyo). The shopping area is the street that leads to the Asakusa shrine. So the idea is to shop before or after visiting the shrine. Most of the items that are found here are souvenir items, sweets, and street food.

                          How to go there: Take the Ginza/ Orange line (station G-19) or Asakusa/ Red Orange line (station A-18).

                          Asakusa Shrine

                          As mentioned, most of the items available in these areas are very similar with each other -and the good thing is the prices of the same-type-items are also standard, save of course for some.

                          The trick, therefore, is to find the needle in the hay stalk. There are some shops that stand out in these places, but one must be prepared to engage in the routine I call "walk and check, walk and check."

                          Happy shopping!

                          Sunday, November 1, 2009

                          Geof's Lego DC-3 Plane

                          Geoffrey is now creating airplanes with his Lego blocks. First, he requested me to print a picture of a DC-3 plane. He used the picture to create his DC-3 plane shown below.

                          "This is my plane, a lego DC-3. It seats 7, including the pilot and copilot. : ). It has 2 engines, a bathroom, a bar for drinks, a highly detailed cockpit. It took me 2 days to build this plane. hop ya like it!! (was ment to be misspelled) B-) - Geof Oreta

                          Tuesday, October 27, 2009

                          Takoyaki balls, upended: Bakudan!

                          Takoyaki balls are among our favorite street food. Andy has in fact made a self-imposed mission of finding the best takoyaki-balls in Manila. Read the blog on Pinoy Takoyaki.

                          Staying in Roppongi and Azabu-juban area in Tokyo, I searched high and low for takoyaki but to no avail. It was in Musashi-koyama that I had a first glimpse of my much sought takoyaki balls.

                          (The picture here, however, is taken at Hibiya Park, during the "Global Festa" of non-profit organizations)

                          Takoyaki balls are served 6 pcs per order, at 500 yen. Uncooked, you'll see a liquid concoction being poured in the metal pan with several half-moon indention. The cook then puts finely chopped greens and meat flakes, and octopus pieces in the middle. Then, while the liquid cooks, s/he will masterfully move the half-liquid-half-solid into a round ball using a pair of chopsticks. Just watching the takoyaki-master is a treat in itself.

                          When I shared my takoyaki balls to my friends, they all agreed it was good (except for one who begged to disagree). But I had my fill of takoyaki, with large pieces of octopus meat inside and savory brown sauce topped with meat flakes. Yummy, really.

                          While strolling one day at Okachimachi (one station away from Akihabara), I bumped into these two ladies, preparing something very similar to takoyaki balls, but way much bigger. This is called "bakudan." The base and the ingredients are the same as takoyaki, but with added quail egg and sausage. It also goes with the same brown sauce and meat flakes as topping (although they offer more variety in toppings, e.g. with added mayonnaise, and other toppings that unfortunately I wasn't able to take note of).

                          One piece of bakudan costs Y315, a little more pricey than takoyaki. The quail egg and sausage added a variety of flavor, but for me, I'd still go for the simpler takoyaki.

                          Mmmm, that being said, let me venture out and search for a takoyaki stand here in Asakusa.

                          Note: I finally discovered the Takoyaki ball stall in Roppongi!!

                          Friday, October 23, 2009

                          Survival Cooking Challenges

                          Wow. Cooking really is very challenging. Sometimes you have to make do with the available ingredients. Sometimes you just have to decide on how to cook a dish based on images from your memory of a favorite dish. Cooking is sometimes a "trial and error" activity. I don't remember cooking shrimp rebosado or meat balls sarciado or pork giniling BUT these are the kids' favorites. So I ventured to cook these dishes. For the shrimp rebosado, Apple give me online tips on how to prepare the batter and sauce. Cooking the giniling is not difficult since I remember from memory the colorful ingredients of carrots and potatoes. As for the meatballs, Vangie and I just made our own mix of pork, onions, carrots and flour. Then I prepared the sarciado sauce of garlic, onion, tomatoes and tomato sauce. Geof and I love fried "dalagang bukid" fish. To add a little variation to it, I prepared the sweet and sour escabeche sauce of ginger, onions and bell pepper - this was a first for me. I also prepared dishes with vegetables so the kids will learn to eat the greens. But I need to add some incentives like quail eggs in the chopsuey or more pieces of potatoes in the pork nilaga.
                          Happy cooking to all the dads!

                          Monday, October 5, 2009

                          Sushi and Sashimi Galore!

                          Just a note - it might be prudent to eat saltwater raw seafood rather than freshwater seafood since freshwater fish may contain parasites, which is not true for saltwater creatures.

                          My first introduction to sashimi was in 1987 (sashimi is the general term for raw seafood).

                          The late Bro. Ceci Hojilla, FSC (bless him) was craving for sashimi and asked me to accompany him. We went to Harrison Plaza(HP) in Vito Cruz, Manila, just behind De La Salle University (when HP was still new and classy). There we were, Bro. Ceci giving me strict instructions on how to eat - using chopsticks and putting tiny wasabi (read: very dangerous green paste!) on the fish. I followed his orders meticulously - I have to put the entire fish slice in my mouth - no biting! So I did -- and just imagine how my taste buds curse the light out of me - I froze with the rawness of the fish and the unexplainable taste of wasabi! In my panic, I took a considerable amount of wasabi and put it in my mouth. Uhum, since we were in an open-area eatery (where people simply buy food from stalls and eat them in designated high-tables - no chairs), I mustered all my will power not to make a scene. But boy, oh boy, I was crying my wits out with that wasabi!

                          I stayed away from sashimi for a looong time after that. I can't remember anymore when I got enough courage to try it again. But when I did, I was totally hooked.

                          Now, as a fanatic of sashimi, sushi, and all kinds of maki, naturally I am feasting while in Japan. The best part of eating them is -- they don't make you fat! I mean, you probably need to eat a ton before you gain weight. In the picture you'll see my usual order of 8 pcs sushi with temaki (nori-wrapped cone-shaped rice with pickled vegetable in the middle) and tamagoyaki (i think this is what the egg omelette is called) on the side. It is served with a small bowl of cold udon, and hot green tea. This lunch set costs Y820 which is already reasonable. Alternatively, one can also order a chirashizushi or a bowl of rice topped with different kinds of sushi. I've tried this too, and it's also good (it also goes with the usual cold udon and green tea, and cost the same).
                          Gosh, I sound really good, like an expert!!! Here's to more sushi and sashimi while in Japan - VIVA Japan! ... opps, I mean BANZAI!

                          Saturday, October 3, 2009

                          Cheap Thrills in Tokyo: Stroll at the Emperor's Palace

                          One of the cheap thrills I really enjoy while in Tokyo is walking. The place where I am staying is called Roppongi - it's really a very commercial, very cosmopolitan place (esp. at night). Government offices are also concentrated in this area.

                          But Roppongi is also near the Imperial Palace - by subway train, it only takes 5 stops. But I like walking, so my friends and I walked - 45 mins to an hour - to reach the Palace.

                          Some historical facts: In 1456, Dokan Ota build his palace in a mud flat, where an old fort once stood, at the age of 24. The castle was finished in 1457, the generally accepted Tokyo's birthdate. Fast forward to one hundred years - in 1590, Hideyoshi, the de-facto ruler of Japan, assigned Ieyasu Tokugawa, his second in command, to administer Edo (Tokyo). It was Tokugawa who constructed the Palace, 'bringing the massive stones for the thick walls by ship from distant Hyogo..."(Seward, 1971)

                          The Palace garden is a huge open area that serves as a respite to the crowded and densely populated Tokyo. Foreigners and locals are all over the place - jogging, resting, having a picnic, taking pictures. It is really a cacophony of people, yet somehow, by some invisible logic, all appear to be in a 'picture perfect' frame. I personally enjoy watching people doing their thing, while I craft "stories" in my mind on what their action means - just like my favorite one here - what do you think he's doing? Seems to me he really needs to release some .... gas :-)

                          Friday, October 2, 2009

                          Survival Cooking - Fusion Dishes?

                          The second part of my survival cooking tips is about dishes with a twist. Apple calls them "fusion" dishes. When I posted the photo of my beef steak as beef steak tagalog, I was surprised by the comments of FB friends including my wife on why my beef steak has potatoes. Maybe beef steak tagalog has no potatoes. But I remember eating beef steak with potatoes and I love it. So that's what I cooked for my children. And I know that Geof and Julia love potatoes. I first fry the potatoes before mixing it with the chicken which was marinated overnight and the sauce. To avoid confusion with the "tagalog" version, let me just call my recipe as just "beef steak with potatoes".

                          I love Max's style fried chicken. Its' crispy and tasty especially when eaten with ketchup and worcestershire sauce. So when I found the recipe in the pinoy food blog, I tried the recipe and was successful in coming up with almost the same as the original Max's style fried chicken. FB friends asked for the recipe and I just sent them the link to pinoy food blog. The last time we ate at Max's, I didn't order their chicken because I already know their secret.

                          Another recipe that I really miss is the recipe which I will just call as "pork vegetable soup". My cousin, Ate Dina, cooked this recipe one day when we had lunch at their house. I told her I missed eating this soup. According to her, it is an original recipe from Sta. Rita, Pampanga and she doesn't know the recipe's name. Knowing the basic ingredients of the soup - pork, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes - I ventured cooking it. The preparation is very simple. You simply saute' the pork with the garlic, onion and tomatoes and then add the water, potatoes and cabbage. Add salt, pepper and pork broth for the taste.

                          The final dish in the photo is the pork and chicken adobo. I usually cook adobo by mixing the pork and chicken with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, salt and black pepper together and boil. But this time, I asked Apple to send me her adobo recipe by email which I really love. Her instructions to me: first to tender the pork in water, salt, black pepper and laurel leaves . Then add the chicken and liver. When all the meat ingredients are tender, ONLY then that you add the vinegar (this is a very important advice from her mom). Add a half cube of pork or chicken broth(optional). You may add a little soy sauce for taste and color. Then, in a separate pan, fry crushed garlic until brown and then saute the adobo meat without the sauce. Add the sauce and boiled eggs and simmer.

                          Happy cooking!

                          Sunday, September 27, 2009

                          Survival Cooking with Tomato Sauce

                          Now that my wife, Apple is not around to cook for us - she's in Tokyo for two months until Nov. 14, 2009 - I have to use my survival cooking techniques which I applied in Japan when I was studying at Nagoya for five years. I learned the basics of cooking from one of our house cooks, Tits when I was a first year college student. The most important task in basic cooking is how to saute' or "gisa" the garlic or ginger and onions. The next thing to remember is knowing which ingredients to put in the proper order - the meat comes first, followed by potatoes and/or carrots, then the vegetables. The seasonings - salt, pepper, soy sauce, sugar or whatever - are done for the taste. We never use "vetsin" or MSG! If you know these basic cooking tips, then the rest will be easy. Food recipes can serve as a guide only in your cooking.
                          Tomato sauce is a very useful ingredient in cooking many Filipino recipes. Shown in the photos are some of the tomato sauce-based recipes I cooked for the kids - chicken afritada, beef ampalaya, bangus sarciado and pork menudo. What distinguishes these recipes from each other are some of the ingredients and seasoning. The afritada has the red bell pepper strips, the sarciado has onion and tomatoes only while the menudo has assorted meat ingredients like liver, hotdog and potatoes. Of course, the beef amplaya has the bitter taste which the kids don't like yet.
                          When you cook, you must be organized. I prepare all the ingredients - chopped onions, potatoes, carrots, etc - before starting the fire. Cooking is a very relaxing and an exhilarating activity. It also enhances your creativity and resourcefulness - sometimes you have to invent your own recipe with the available ingredients in your refrigerator. My son, Geof, is starting to appreciate cooking - he's now a member of the Ateneo Grade School's Bleu Chefs. Happy Cooking to all Dads!

                          Saturday, September 19, 2009

                          My Favorite Fastfood Steak

                          Whenever I drop by EDSA Shangrila Mall, I make it a point to eat at the food court. Here is where I can only find the House of Mini's Steaks. Their steaks are not the thin and cheap type of other foodcourt grilled stalls. Mini's steaks are heavy, juicy and thick - grilled based on your choice - "rare", "medium" or "well done" and accompanied with potaoes and vegetables and mushroom soup. You can choose rice or bread with the set menu. I usually choose the bread since the meat itself will make your tummy full and heavy - digesting the meat will take more than 24 hours. Better drink tea after to speed up the digestion. The price? -ranges from P120 - P200 - it's cheap compared to the first class steak house. I remember eating in an Aussie steak resto and we went home disappointed because their steak was too dry - not our type. At Mini's, I always feel satisfied of the food and the price and I always look forward to eating there again.

                          Friday, September 11, 2009

                          Fish Foot Massage

                          During my short stay at Bangkok, my colleagues and I dropped by for night shopping at the Suan-Lum Night Bazaar at Lumphini. I know Bangkok is well known for the various types of massages - the traditional thai massage, foot, body, oil, herbal massages, etc. But this one is different - the fish foot massage!
                          You soak your feet in the water filled with small fishes who eat the dead skin cells. We did not try it but we enjoyed watching as the fishes nibble on the costumer's feet - "yaks, ang kunat", says fishy number 1. "Booh, ang baho", says fishy number 2. For only 150 Baht for 15 minutes, you feed the fish and you have a clean feet.

                          Saturday, August 29, 2009

                          Panciteria Lido

                          One of our favorite Chinese restaurants along West Ave., QC is the Panciteria Lido. Lido boasts of a pancit recipe that dates back to the Commonwealth period. Uh-hum, we just had to try that. It's called 'chami' but it's really like a pancit lomi minus the soup. It's delicious .... taste like ... pancit, what else :-) Not really eathshakingly delicious, but better than most of the pancits we've tasted.

                          And since Andy and I are both tofu lovers, we can't resist the mapo tofu. But the mapo tofu we're accustomed to is the spicy type - Lido's version is bland to our taste. (We had to mix the mapo tofu with soy sauce and chili sauce to get the taste we're looking for).

                          The fish fillet in soy sauce is Geof's favorite (as expected). To be fair, it was soft and tasty. The sauce is salty and sweet - very similar to the taste of oyster sauce, but I guess the leeks is what creates the distinct taste.

                          The resto also boast of the pork/chicken asado that we have yet to taste. And also the kuapao accompanied with pork.

                          For dessert, we tried the mango-like cake that really looks yummy in the menu-picture. To my dismay, it was just a refrigerator cake that I ususaly prepare at home.

                          But in all, Lido remains one of our fave Chinese resto this side of town.

                          Panciteria Lido is located at the Westlife Arcade, West Ave., QC. Food price is between P150 - P300.

                          Tuesday, August 25, 2009

                          Geof's Food Humor

                          Our son, Geoffrey loves to read the humor sections like Laughter the Best Medicine, All in a Day's Work, etc. of the Reader's Digest. So Sometimes, he invents his own funny and corny jokes. Here are two of his original jokes which are related to food.

                          Joke No. 1. Along Katipunan Ave. infront of Ateneo and Mirriam, you will observe vendors selling Japanese corn. Probably Geof was reminded by the Japanese corn being sold near his school, so one day he asked us a witty question.

                          Geof: Mommy, do you know what the Japanese corn said to the American corn when they met one sunny day?
                          Mommy: Hmmmm. What?
                          Geof: Cornichiwa!
                          Joke No. 2: Geof' and his little sister, Julia love eating Nestle's Koko Krunch. They eat them like chips and sometimes mixed with milk. One morning, during breakfast, Geof suddenly asked a question.

                          Geof: Mommy, do you know who killed Koko Krunch?
                          Mommy: Hmmmm.... the hunters? ???
                          Geof: Nope!
                          Mommy: Hmmm. Who?
                          Geof: The CEREAL Killer!

                          The photo shows Julia in shades. She loves Koko Krunch cereals. I guess she is the Cereal Killer. And the babies? - they looked so cute and innocent. How would you suspect that they killed Koko Krunch? This is a mission for Cerelac Holmes. (This one's mine)

                          Monday, August 10, 2009

                          A Taste of Singapore

                          I was intrigued by the comment of Anthony Bourdain when, as a judge in Top Chef, he declared to the contestant who prepared a dish in the "quickfire" challenge (that is, food prepared in either 15 or 30 mins), "I am very serious with my Laksa." I had to look it up: what is a "laksa?"

                          To my delight, Laksa is among the specialty dish prepared in a new restaurant in Timog called Nasi Lemak. The resto is owned by a Malaysian married to a Filipina. A restaurateur for many years in Malaysia (according to him), he decided to put up the resto in Manila because he noticed that most of our food have artificial flavorings. He wanted to offer an alternative resto that serves authentic Singaporean food without the additives.

                          We have visited this resto twice, and have not been dissappointed. The signature appetizer, Kueh Pai Ti (Prawns, root vegetables. Chinese lumpia in a crispy shell. ) is similar to a fried dumpling, but tastes a lot better. The satay pork and chicken are also very tasty, and I love the sauce! The rotti (which is like a pita bread but has the consistency of a croissant) is soft and chewy, and really goes well with the peanut sauce.

                          And of course, my new fave, the Laksa! Now I know why Anthony Bourdain is serious about his Laksa! It is a soupy concoction of coconut milk, lemon grass, tiger shrimps, basil leaves, togue, squid balls, and topped with egg slices. The taste is a little similar to Thai's tom yang but milder. Because it is not too spicy and has a tinge of sweetness, you feel like you can't get enough while eating it. Yum!!

                          Nasi Lemak, located at the Thompson's Square (corner T. Morato and A. Roces Ave., QC), prides itself of authentic Singaporean food without MSG.
                          UPDATES: Nasi Lemak has moved to Robinson's Galleria, Ortigas Center.

                          Wednesday, August 5, 2009

                          A Tribute to Cory

                          We pay tribute to our beloved president, Corazon "Cory" Aquino. We support her advocacies of promoting people empowerment, peace and human rights. We admire her moral leadership and her sincere service to the people.

                          We paid our final respects to our great leader and mother of the nation during the wake and funeral procession. Here are images of our tribute to Tita Cory.

                          Paalam at Maraming Salamat.

                          Ituloy ang Laban ni CORY!

                          Friday, July 31, 2009

                          An Encounter with ASIMO at Tokyo's Odaiba

                          Tokyo has a lot of attractions aside from Disneyland and Akihabara Electric Town. During my one-month stay in 2006, I visited Odaiba, a newly developed amusement attraction along Tokyo Bay. One of the sites I visited was the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation or Miraikan. Miraikan is a museum of cutting-edge science and technology in the 21st century. Here, I watched working models of the megalev train - a train which doesn't touch the rails because of magnets. I enjoyed the soccer game of the AIBO robot dogs. I had a photo inside a revolutionary electric car with eight wheels – the Advanced Electric Vehicle KAZ. Designed which has a maximum speed of 311 kph, a total energy efficiency which is approximately 1.7 times greater than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles and emits only 1/3 the CO2 of conventional vehicles. I watched a 3D movie inside the Digital Planetarium. There are equipment and gadgets on display which you can touch and operate. Kids will enjoy and learn working with the models. The most enjoyable part of my visit is the show by ASIMO, the humanoid robot developed by Honda. ASIMO has evolved from a primitive model to a very agile one. He walks, runs, waves and even dances the flamenco.

                          Odaiba has more attractions. Its central part called the Palette Town holds the Mega Web (a large-scale multi-media car amusement canter), Venus Fort (a European style shopping town), Aqua City, the 100 m diameter Odaiba Ferris Wheel, the largest in the world, Tokyo City show case and more. To go to Odaiba, take the Yurikamome line which uses the Rainbow Bridge and offers spectacular views of the harbor and the Tokyo waterfront area. You may also take a cruise from Tokyo to the Odaiba Seaside Park. It is possible to cross the Rainbow Bridge on foot. The walk across takes about 30 minutes and offers nice views of the waterfront area.

                          Thursday, July 23, 2009

                          Japanese Food Trivia

                          (Click the photo to start the quiz.)
                          I created a trivia quiz about popular Japanese dishes using MyStudiyo. Try this quiz and see how well you know Japanese food. Try to learn the names of the featured dishes so that next time when you visit a Japanese restaurant here or when you're in Japan, you will know what to order.

                          Saturday, July 18, 2009

                          Pinoy Takoyaki

                          I am not a takoyaki fan but I eat takoyaki. When I was in Japan, I remember eating takoyaki with my friends whenever we go to Osu kannon temple in Nagoya. I tasted also the Gindako takoyaki near the train station at Musahikoyama in Tokyo. After watching one episode of Kuitan 2, where the detective tasted the takoyaki of the different shops in Osaka to solve a mystery, my craving to eat takoyaki was ignited.

                          So I went around Manila and Quezon City searching for the Pinoy takoyaki. In this food trip, I tasted takoyaki by Gabuki, Musashi, Samurai, Ton Ton Tei and Kuya Chito’s. I remember eating my first pinoy takoyaki from Samurai more than ten years ago. It was good then. But now the balls shrunk and the “kulangot” size octopus seems to have vanished. The Pinoy takoyaki now consists more of the batter, vegetables and alternatives to octopus such as processed crab meat or squid. A new name replacing “takoyaki” should be invented for the Pinoy version with no octopus since “Tako” means octopus in Japanese. Other alternatives to octupus that the Pinoy should try are shrimp, scallops, mussels or even diced squid balls.

                          In my takoyaki tasting adventure, I became addicted to Kuya Chito’s Takuyaki at the LRT2 Recto Station. I think this is a Pinoy version of Takoyaki. Observed that they call it "Takuyaki" not Takoyaki.

                          Kuya Chito’s version of takoyaki are balls made with shredded vegetable fillings (I noticed some noodle fillings also) and no octopus. The baked takoyaki is drizzled with mayo, topped with chicken, fish, pork (or beef?) flakes and spicy (which I always choose) or sweet and sour sauce. Wow! The takoyaki was crispy outside and the vegetables also inside were crunchy. The spicy sauce mixed with mayo makes you eat more. One serving is not enough after eating Kuya Chito's Takuyaki unlike the other pinoy versions (Gabuki, Musashi and Samurai) - Nakakaumay because of the sauce. It's the sauce and the pork (or beef?) shavings that make Kuya Chito's unique from the others. Three balls cost P24.00. If you prefer the authentic Japanese taste and sauce, Kuya Chito’s is not for you, but in my case, I love the taste of the crispy balls with the spicy sauce. My only negative observation about Kuya Chito’s is the way they cook their takoyaki is a bit messy (the vegetables scatter on the hot plate) because they use tongs instead of a pointed stick or metal (watch the video below on how takoyaki is prepared in Japan - very systematic. After watching this video, I'm sure you'll crave to eat one).

                          Sunday, July 12, 2009

                          KEBAB-aridad too!

                          King's Kebab. You wonder if the name of the place connotes kebabs fit for Kings, or the place is owned by a guy named 'King'?
                          One Sunday, craving for another kebab, we troop to this place along Katipunan Ave (near Banapple). Just as we did during our 'Kebab-baridad' resto-tour (see earlier blog entry), we ordered the usual - kebab (chicken and beef), hummus, keema, pita bread, and yogurt shake. (A friend actually suggested this place, along with the suggestion of trying their ox-brain - we were not as adventurous that night though, since the kids are with us - they might gross out with the idea of eating a brain :-)

                          As always, I was excited with the hummus. To my surprise it was very tasty, just like my favorite hummus offered at Grilled Tomato. It has a nice, fine texture and was not swimming in olive oil. I think I finished all of the hummus to myself, with Andy just getting a bite or two. But Andy and Geof, who are not humus fans, also enjoyed the dish.

                          The kebab and keema, too, passed our strandards. The kebabs are soft and juicy, and marinated just right. The keema, too, was cooked the way it was supposed to - i.e. ground beef sauteed and simmered 'til soft with tomato to get that "redness" and distinct taste.

                          The basmati rice is not expensive, but instead of cooked with butter, it simply has butter on top of the hot rice. No complaints here, but there's still no substitue for the authentic preparation - short cuts like butter toppings will obviously fail in comparison.

                          In all, we were happy with this find. The price is right, too. Andy rates it as the "KIng of Kebabs." The only challenge is the parking - the front of their place can only accomodate 2 cars.

                          TAJ - An Indian Resto at Tagaytay

                          A good friend sent this review. We haven't been to the place she described here, but knowing how much she loovvveesss good food as we do, I have no doubt that the resto deserves a visit.

                          "Jonny and I went to Tagaytay - to give a seminar for Principals under ACED (Ateneo Center for Education Development). For lunch we left the place and ate at Taj - an artsy Indian restaurant located in Alfonso, Tagaytay. We rode along the same route going to Calatagan and went passed Sonya's Garden.

                          First, the ambience- it is artsy. There are rooms, and look quite nice. However, two rooms do not have windows!. One inviting room, the Master's Bedroom with an Indian name has everything including wifi, also a balcony. At 5,500 Php it is cheap. The place , we feel may render itself as a drinking place at night - therefore not family-friendly.

                          Second, the food: quite good! Jonny and I love Indian food and this resto approximated the Singaporean-Indian taste that we are familiar with. We ordered vegetarian food - Paratha with Curry and Aloo with chutney. I was served with two pieces of roti Paratha and a bowl of yellow (not red) curry. Agoo is like the Paratha (they look the same to me) but with vegetarian filling). I mixed the chutney with the curry and it tasted good!!
                          Price: Easy!

                          Next week, we will go back to the same place (to facilitate in the same seminar) and try out their Mutton Biryani and maybe their chicken masala too."

                          Guest Reviewer: Alma Maria O. Salvador

                          Friday, July 3, 2009

                          A Heartwarming (Free) Japanese Film at Eiga Sai'09

                          One of the cheap thrills Andy and I enjoy doing is to go on date for free (actually, Andy enjoys these dates - watching a free and rare movie at a first class movie house is indeed a treat). So it's no surprise to see us every year in the free viewing of Japanese movies during the Japanese Film Festival (Eiga Sai). Eiga Sai 2009 opened at Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City last July 2. The following night, we were among the long queue of eager-beavers waiting our first taste of 'free movie.'
                          Showing that night was Kamome Shokudo or Kamome Diner (Seagull Diner). The movie is about a strong-willed and compassionate Japanese woman who opened a diner in - of all places - Finland. Her diner specializes in making Japanese rice balls because, according to her, it is Japanese soul food.

                          Finland is one of the coldest places I have been to. Like the other Nordic countries, it is perennially clear - it only gets dark around 11 to 12 mn, and becomes clears again at about 4 am. You'll hardly see people on the street (when I was there, I only saw very fat but very cute cats roaming around!) . Their food preparation is also simple (definitely not as fancy as the French's). Thus, the country and the people struck me as being laid-back and uncomplicated.

                          So, opening a diner offering Japanese food in a quiet neighborhood in Finland looks a little odd. But the oddness of the situation is actually the main appeal of the movie.

                          Sachi, the main character would, day in and day out stay in her diner, cleaning and hoping for customers to come. Unfortunately, she was like a fish in a bowl, watched by passers-by with interest. The comments of the 3 women-'regular' watchers of Sachi actually confirms what my Hungarian friend (Laszo) told me - that Europeans have a hard time in determining the age of Asian-looking people. The 3 women in the movie calls Sachi 'girl-woman'. My take on Sachie's age in the movie is somewhere in the early 40's - she exudes confidence, compassion, and sensitivity that seem to be (deeply) rooted from her life experience.

                          The events took a turn when Tommy, a Finnish young adult who is fascinated with Japanese culture and anime came to the diner and asked for the lyrics of the anime show Gatchaman. Midori was next to enter the picture. Midori is a Japanese woman (also in her 40's) who decided to go to Finland because that's where her finger landed on the map (ala pin the donkey). She's obvioulsy lost and found anchor from the steadiness of Sachi. Next came Masako, a woman in her 50's who got attracted to the air-string olympics (i.e. playing the guitar ala phantomime) held in Finland. Coming out of 20 years of caring for her ill parents, Masako is also lost when her parents died.

                          The two Japanese women - Midori and Masako - ended up helping in the diner - not because they need income (they were not paid by Sachi for obvious reasons - she has no customer!) The two, however, were simply grateful for Sachi in allowing them to help in the diner. The irony is - what brought customers in the diner was not Japanese food (that actually came later). It was the coffee and cinnamon rolls that Sachi baked for her and Midori. And just like in any other things, a "first time" is always necessary to break the barrier. Once the shields are down, it becomes easier to have a repeat until it becomes a force of habit. Customers, thus, began coming regularly, trying out things 'new' to them (It was wonderful to watch Japanese dishes like tonkatsu, karaage, grilled salmon and onigiri or rice balls being cooked and served in the diner) and liking it.

                          The dynamics and friendship of the three very different women established the depth and substance of the script. The interplay of cultures - Finns and Japanese - adds texture to the story. And the unifying theme - food - made the film light and feel-good that viewers actually gave the film a round of applause when the credits came out. Watch a preview of the movie.

                          More films are scheduled to be shown. (Click here for the screeening schedule of Eiga Sai '09). The festival runs from July 2-12, 2009 at Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong City, Aug. 14-20, 2009 at the UP Film Institute, QC. The festival will also be held at Davao City, Cebu City and Baguio City.

                          Thursday, July 2, 2009

                          Thrilling the World

                          I just watched the video of the more the 1,500 inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), Cebu, Philippines practicing Michael Jackson's Thriller. Very entertaining (except for the lead actor or actress being chased by the zombie prisoners). This video was uploaded on Feb 2008 more than a year before MJ passed away. Indeed, MJ has thrilled the world with his music and his life, but the world was also thrilled by the choreographed performance of CPDRC inmates.

                          Thursday, June 18, 2009


                          Recently, we've jumped into the kebab-shawarma bandwagon and did some rounds trying out the best and most promising eateries that offer these dishes. Not that we're newbies - afterall, everyone whose in their 30's and 40's have all witnessed the shawarma-nization of Manila in the 90's. It was more like we're "ROF" (rekindling-old-flames) with these dishes.
                          First stop was Mister Kabab along West Avenue. If you frequently pass West Ave, it's hard not to notice this huge place swarmed by (mostly young adult) customers. We've tried their kebab, shawarma, keema, yogurt shake, and of course, their pita bread. The taste and the price are just right, but not really exceptional. Thier keema did not pass Andy's standards because their keema looks like a kebab. So it is a bit surprising to witness the 'phenomenon' of swarming clients (it's actually hard to get a seat) in this resto. We had two attempts of going there but we were disappointed with the long queue so we have to eat at a nearby resto Earsao.

                          Second stop was Grilled Tomato ( near Orthopedic hospital, Banawe St. QC ). We wanted dinner that was not too heavy so we ordered keema, beef kebab with rice, hummus, Lamb, pita breads and its crispy version (can't remember the name) and ice cold beers (yes, in our universe, this is light dinner :-) I fell in love with their hummus dip! It was flavorful and blends very nicely with the pita bread (both the soft and the crispy kind). The kebab and keema taste good, too, but in my opinion, were overshadowed by my fascination with their hummus. And the price? A runaway!!
                          Next stop was the Shawarma Snack Center along Salas St (Pedro Gil area, Malate) near the new Hyatt Casino and Hotel. They offer ala carte dishes as well as the turu-turo (literally, point your finger to the dish) style. We've tried, on two occassions, the following dishes: chicken curry, beef and chicken kebab, keema, lamb stew, hummus, lentil soup, basmati rice and yogurt shake. They all taste authentic! My only comments are their chicken kebab is dry and their hummus is bland in taste. While all the other dishes are reasonable, the basmati rice and lamb are quite pricey especially if one considers the ambiance of the place (half carinderia, half restaurant). But in fairness, all their waitresses speak english (a necessity since a number of their customers look foreign).

                          Fourth, we've tried another Kebab resto- Persian Kebab (?), the smaller kebab joint along West Ave near Mushroom Burger and Ersao. We ordered the usual - keema, chicken and beef kebab, hummus, pita breads, yogurt. The taste of their food is comparable to Mister Kabab, as well as the price. Their hummus, however, is a disappointment. (I still vote for the hummus of Grilled Tomato, hands-down.) AND, the biggest let-down for me about this resto were the waitresses. The waitresses need to improve on their people and PR skills. The waitress who attended to us kept on sniffing (singhot ng singhot!!), I was on the verge of telling her to pleeeasse get a tissue and blow her nose! But when I was about to, I saw how frail her body was and how oblivious she was as regards my O.C.ness. I had to control myself from embarassing her (but I made sure that she didn't touch our food!!).

                          Number five kebab joint we've tried was a newly opened Al Fahkr's kebab house along Maginhawa St. at Teachers' Village, QC (in front of Holy Family School). This joint was a total-total-total disaster. We are usually forgiving of restos in their soft openings, but this resto needs to put their house in order, otherwise it will loose its customers. Our orders were very simple - kebab, keema, pita bread, and yogurt shake. The keema came first, but we had to wait for about 5 mins more before the 1st pita bread came. Then another 10 mins for the kebab to come. And another 10 mins for the other pita bread to come. And it took another 10 mins for the 3rd pita bread to come. The food is already cold when the pita breads arrived. There were 4 people attending to customers in the small joint (that has about 8-9 tables). At the time we were there, there were 6 tables occupied including ours. The problem is that all these 4 resto-attendants were all over the place. The one in charge of grilling the pita is also serving costumers, getting orders, and getting payments from tables! The other attendee/ waiter went upstairs and never returned. The other guy who was grilling the kebabs relaxes when there's nothing else to grill. Meantime, customers were upset since their food were not coming. They obviously don't have teamwork. Worst, their price is not commensurate with their servings - imagine a single beef kebab that measures about 2.5 to 3 inches costs P50 pesos. Men, that's small!!

                          Finally, the Khas Food House at UP Diliman (beside the swimming pool and near the UP Chapel) is the last to cap our kebab-round. The resto offers authentic Persian food, and is open from morning til midnight! The menu offers meat (all halal) and vegetarian dishes. Apart for the medditerannean roster of dishes, they also have 'traditional' types for those weak at heart and afraid to taste new dishes (e.g. pancit canton, sauteed veggies). Of course we had to try the 'usuals' - kebab, keema, pita, yogurt shake, hummus. Except for the hummus that still falls short from my standard (Grilled Tomato's), every dish here are tingling our palates in exactly the right places. Best thing? The price is very reasonable.

                          Conclusion: Grilled Tomato and Khas Food House are my faves in terms of good taste and value for money! SSC is a runner up. Mister Kabab is ok but too crowded.

                          (Just to set the records straight - our tour of kebab-restos happened over a period of months.)

                          Did we get tired in tasting kebabs and keemas and pita breads .... hell, no! In fact, I can't wait to do round 2! Que barbaridad, I love Kebabs!!

                          Sunday, June 14, 2009

                          Geof's Lego River & Ferry Boats

                          In our recent blog post, Geoffrey created his own Lego cruise ship. This time he created his own design of a river boat and a ferry boat. It took him three days to build the river boat. He first started with the paddle wheel and then he built the three story boat afterwards. It was really awesome to see him build his own boat without any sketches. What is amazing is his designs usually have symmetry - in colors and the size of the blocks. Before starting with a Lego project, he derives inspiration from images and videos from the internet usually YouTube. Then he builds his Lego creations from memory or imagination.

                          Geof also created a Ferry Boat which he named the MS Voyager. You will also see his car creations. Watch the video below.

                          Friday, June 12, 2009

                          Jay-J's: More than Inasal

                          We didn't pay much attention to this eatery before since we thought it was just another "inasal" house. When they opened a branch near our place, we decided to check it out.

                          To our surprise, Jay-J's Inasal offers more than inasal - in its menu, you'll find some traditional Filipino dishes prepared with a twist, like the "two-way adobo" that combines the crispy adobo flakes with the traditional adobo (complete with all the garlicky-sauce); or an "all veggie kare-kare." Most of the dish, however, are traditional preparations.

                          The dishes are done extremely well. Thus far, we've tried batchoy, crispy lechon kawali, crispy hito, laing, and of course the chicken inasal - and they all taste really good. Their green mango shake and ripe mango shake are also thick and rich. They also have the "ice-tea tower" that serves 5 to 6 people. We are very satisfied with the taste as well as the price. Recommendation: Must-try!!

                          Tuesday, June 9, 2009

                          Geof's Lego Cruise Ship - The R.M.S. Romania

                          Using the different Lego blocks that were collected through the years, Geoffrey created cruise ships using Lego blocks. We posted earlier his first Lego ship but Geof made some revisions. So here is the revised version of his Lego ship which he named R.M.S. Romania. Geof describes his ship below:

                          "I had a few attemps to make a Lego cruise ship and I finally made it. I named it the R.M.S. Romania. The ship has 6 rooms, a deck cafe, swimming pool, a tanning station,a bathroom,a shower room and 4 life boats with a total capacity of 14 Lego people. It also has a detailed bridge and a cinema. You can see that this is 2nd class."

                          You can view the other creations using Lego (and also Megbloks) of Geoffrey and Julia in a earlier blog post. Give your kids Lego or MegaBloks - your kids will develop their patience, creativity and imagination.

                          Sunday, June 7, 2009

                          Things to Know and Do - Influenza A(H1N1) Virus

                          Living the Good Life means staying Healthy especially now when the Influenza A(H1N1) virus is affecting the health of many people. A primer about things to know and things to do regarding the Influenza A (H1N1) virus can be obtained from the United Nations Staff Pandemic Portal. Here are some basic information you will learn from the primer:

                          • They spread through infected droplets from breathing passages.
                          • Droplets are expelled by talking, spitting, coughing, sneezing.
                          • The droplets spread about 1 meter (3 feet) from the infected person, either directly to other people or indirectly through hands and other surfaces.
                          • The viruses can live for several hours on hard surfaces, or on cloth and paper.
                          • If healthy people touch infected hands, doorknobs, keyboards, telephones, etc., they can infect themselves by touching mouths, noses or eyes.
                          • Sometimes the viruses can spread through the air.
                          • An infected person is most likely to spread the virus when he or she has fever and a cough.
                          • It is possible that an infected person will spread the virus a day before showing signs of illness.

                          HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU HAVE INFLUENZA? COLD OR FLU?
                          Learn the differences between influenza symptoms and those of a common cold. According to the primer, unlike the common cold, you get headaches and high fever, feel body aches, extreme exhuastion, fatigue and weakness in an influenza A(H1N1) flu.
                          Seasonal Influenza:
                          • Fever
                          • Headache
                          • Aching muscles
                          • Exhaustion and feeling weak
                          • Loss of appetite
                          • Sore throat
                          • Runny or stuffy nose
                          • Dry cough
                          Pandemic Influenza:
                          While the first symptoms of pandemic influenza might be similar to seasonal flu symptoms, how the symptoms develop will depend on the nature of the specific virus. It is likely that most people will recover without needing medical attention, but the following symptoms may help you decide if you need to seek medical help:
                          • Shortness of breath while resting or doing very little work
                          • Persistent fever for 4 or 5 days
                          • Painful or difficult breathing
                          • Coughing up a lot of phlegm or bloody sputum
                          • Wheezing
                          • You are feeling better and then you develop a new fever or worsening cough with sputum
                          • You feel very drowsy and others have difficulty waking you up or note you seem confused or disorientated

                          First and most important: wash your hands. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus and avoid close contact with people who are sick.

                          Saturday, May 30, 2009

                          Burritos at Cocina Juan

                          Another food find (actually a tip given by our niece, Dang) along Maginhawa St., Teacher's Village, Quezon City is Cocina Juan. Cocina Juan serves Mexican food. Its specialty is the Burrito which is served in various ways - rice, chili con carne, corn and viand (pork, beef, chicken) wrapped in soft flour tortilla or the viand and the wrapper served separately or deep fried burritos called chimichangas. They also serve quesadillia, rice meals, salad and tacos. They deliver (Tel. No. 4343911).

                          Monday, May 25, 2009

                          A Night Cap of Coffee Wine

                          Last night, our UP AISC barkada and family had a night cap of coffee ... not hot coffee but chilled coffee wine. You read it right - COFFEE WINE. The wine was a hit, Arthur who now resides in London continuedly gulped the wine like water. So as Vic, Sammy and the ladies. I pulled out a one-fourth full Novelino sweet wine for them to compare. Ofcourse, they taste differently but they all agree that the coffee wine is delicious, sweet and easy to drink (walang sabit) and better than the more expensive ones. The full bottle of Winers coffee wine was consumed first than the 1/4 full Novelino wine. Since my friends have to drive after our reunion, they were asking if by drinking coffee wine, will they be kept awake while driving at night, or will they feel sleepy or drunk because of the alcohol." Hmmmm ... ????

                          We brought the coffee wine from Baguio City's Tam-awan Village. The wine has about 7.5% alcohol and one bottle costs P150.00. According to the label, the wine was organically fermented from coffee Arabica and the main ingredients are coffee, water and sugar. It is manufactured by Winers.

                          Actually, there are other flavors of the Winer's products. At Tam-awan Village, we had a taste of the four flavors - the coffee wine which is sweet, the Yakun which has a strong taste like a combination of gin and brandy, the Bugnay (Wild Berry) which has a similar taste as Novelino sweet wine and the rice wine. You can see in the photo that each flavor has its unique color. Depending on your taste, you will definitely like one of the flavors. I am not sure if these wine products are available in Manila. So I suggest that when you visit Baguio, don't forget to bring home a pasalubong of Winers.

                          Saturday, May 23, 2009

                          Easter Weaving Room

                          Do you want to see how the fabric used to make this beautiful and colorful outfits were made? Then visit the Easter Weaving Room at Baguio City.

                          Watch this video and witness for yourself the traditional process of cloth weaving as practiced by the women of Mountain Province. You will see the wide-range of hand-woven products such as tablemats, wall hangings, bed linens, clothings, ethnic and ikat textiles, religious garments, bags, wallets, purses, Christmas articles, footwears, area rugs, hats, etc.

                          Tuesday, May 19, 2009

                          Star City's DINO Island atbp

                          We visited Star City last May 16, 2009 because Geof was so insistent to see Snow World. We were disappointed, though, because Snow World is just one big freezer with temperature of about 15 degrees C. On display are very pathetic ice carvings - "you can 't appreciate them much because it's too cold inside", Geof remarked. After Geof tried sliding on ice, we left since Julia was almost freezing and Geof continuedly coughed. We were inside for about ten minutes only.

                          Dino Island, on the otherhand, was an interesting and excting experience. It is a very informative attraction where kids and adults will learn about the prehistoric creatures. On display are dinosaur skeletons, fossils and dinosaurs moving through Japanese robotic technology. As you view the dinosaurs, you can also watch a video to get detailed information about them such as "do you know that a Stegosaurus is the dumbest dinosaur because it's brain is too small, only the size of a walnut," "Dino" is the term for a baby T-Rex," "The T-rex is 40 ft long but its arms are only 3 ft long." At the Dino Island Museum, you will see fossils and dinosaur eggs. For a fee of P160 (P100 Dino Isalnd + P60 Star City), you will experience an amazing adventure as your travel back in time.

                          Watch the Dino Island video up to the end and you will discover that there are living dinosaurs among us. He he he!