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!