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Monday, February 28, 2011

Enoe's First Haircut

In the Philippines, a baby's first haircut is a significant event. We normally don't cut our baby's hair 'til they turn one year old for various beliefs (read: warnings) by our parents and grandparents. Most of the time, we follow just to avoid any arguments. Of course, if it's no longer practical we should just ignore the superstitious beliefs (pamahiin).

For example, regarding babies’ haircuts, it is believed that the first haircut should be done by someone intelligent so he/she doesn't nip your child's ears, if you want your child to be intelligent too. I guess the one who 'invented' this belief doesn't want to rely on genes and hard work in order to excel in school.  Anyway, with or without superstitions, I really wouldn't trust someone stupid holding a potentially harmful object near my child.

Technically, this was not Enoe's first haircut as I have cut his hair twice already and his yaya once. He was born with a lot of hair and by the time he turned 4 months, we had to do a trim to avoid the hair from irritating his eyes and his very sensitive skin. So if we are to be strict with the pamahiin, I have succeeded because I was the first to cut his hair and I am intelligent. Hahaha!

So let's just say this is his FIRST haircut done a professional from the barbershop - and an expensive one at that. We had to take him to a kiddie salon so we are assured of a problem-free and quick haircut. True enough, we went to the right place. The Kids' Hair Salon at Robinson's Galleria has race car chairs for kids to sit on during the actual haircut. They also play movies to keep the tots busy during the trim.

Enoe's session went well at first; sure he was squirming and tried to hold the razor. After a few minutes, and perhaps because it seemed like a Broadway production number underway with Mommy, Daddy, Lolo, Lola, Ate Eone, and yaya watching and taking pictures - he started to cry. Good thing there was a lady assistant who started blowing bubbles to amuse him again.

I was happy with Enoe's haircut. I like the efficiency and confidence of the barber that I decided to enroll for membership (for a small fee). I reckon we'd be taking him there for his regular trim and we might as well get points from the visits.

My Enoe Turns 1

It was one of the most awaited occasions for The Hubby and I - the day our son turns a year old. It's a milestone for my little boy, and at the same time an accomplishment for us parents. It means we have survived a year of sleepless nights, dancing in the wee hours of dawn or driving around the village in our pajamas at 3am!

But more than reminiscing the sacrifices we've endured, we are celebrating the joy of having a child to love, to hold, and to cherish for the rest of our lives. Someone to make our home warmer, brighter and noisier!

Because we are thankful to the good Lord for blessing us with a healthy, handsome little boy, we decided to share the joyous event with the children of Tahanan ng Pagmamahal orphanage. I originally planned to take the kids at Enoe's birthday bash at Palladium but another group has already booked the kids on that weekend.

Anyway, Enoe's party at the orphanage was a simple sharing of food - the usual spaghetti, barbecue, hotdog on stick, fried chicken and cake. Simple as it was, it was a great experience for my children especially my little girl. I want her to appreciate how lucky she is to have Mommy and Daddy.

Then on the weekend after his actual natal day, we held a simple celebration at Palladium Clubhouse where our usual set of relatives and friends came to party with us.

As usual, the preparation part was done solely by me. In  a way it is good because I don't need to consult anyone before making any purchases. But the downside is I was tired to the bone as I had to assemble even the lootbags, create the balloon decors and pick up the cakes and cupcakes from the baker.

We hired clowns to entertain the kids by doing magic shows, bubble tricks and many more. It was fun watching kids and adults participate in the bubble show.

Happy Birthday dear Enoe! May you grow up to be God-fearing, loving and obedient boy. We love you to bits!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Food Galore: Soul Kitchen

The Hubby and I discovered this hole in the wall resto-bar by chance when we were looking for a place to dine after coming from a wake. It is said that whatever negative energy we got from funeral parlors, hospitals or cemetery need to be left behind somewhere. And so we strictly observe that after coming from the aforementioned places, we are not to go home straight and instead dine first at this resto called Soul Kitchen. I swear it's just coincidence and no pun intended. 

We instantly became regular patrons of Soul Kitchen. It's a convenient 5-minute drive from our house (could be shorter if not for the humps!) and they offer a short list of food which makes it easy for us to decide what to eat.

For this visit, I ordered their Valentine special which is still on promo 'til end of February. It's called simply the Date Plate consisting of Penne Puttanesca and Chicken Kebab. It's supposed to be good for two. But knowing how good the food is, The Hubby opted to throw in his favorite Chicken Breast dish. I'm sorry I forgot the name of the dish in the menu, but with or without the proper labels, we know it will be good just like before.

For starters, we were served nachos with this quaint yellow colored dip which I assumed to be a simple mixture of cheese spread and all purpose cream. I thought to myself, 'no tomatoes, or whatsoever else? looks like the dish is bland'.

But after the first bite, I noticed a spicy hint in the mixture and the flavor cuts deeper after the second bite. Masarap pala. I looked at the valentine flier again and realized the dish' name - Nachos Quezo Diablo. Ha! Diablo = hot, hot, hot! But one wouldn't expect hell to be delicious, right?

We finished all the nachos like famished nomads even before we were served our drinks - a pair of Cherry Soda.

We waited for a good 20 minutes before our meals were served. We didn't mind waiting because being a frequent diner, we are looking forward to freshly cooked food each time. The resto-bar is breathed to life by a one-man team - Joaquin Chaves or Oax, who manages everything from kitchen (the one and only cook), to cashiering, to entertaining guests. Super hands on like any restaurant owner really should be.

Date plate - chicken breast (kebab) and pasta puttanesca

chicken breast fillet cooked with basis leaves and lots of herbs and spices.
this is the hubby's favorite

these strawberry topped pana cottas are just complimentary - the best desserts
are sometimes free!

Before The Hubby and I discovered Soul Kitchen, I didn't like Kimchi. Its pungent smell turns me off and I wouldn't even dare touch it, much more taste it. It was that fateful day when we went to Soul Kitchen that converted me to love kimchi - my order of Chicken Wings Adobado came with a small platito of what looked like coleslaw (in the dark). I instantly fell in love with it at first bite, so to speak. I later learned that their kimchi is homemade by Oax himself.

The best part of each dining experience is how at home the customers feel in the restaurant. By simply observing the diners, one can easily notice that a lot of them are returning patrons who both love the dishes and the people behind Soul Kitchen.

Soul Kitchen serves Italian-Mediterranean cuisine with a Filipino twist. It  is located at The GATE Arcade, Ortigas Avenue Extention, Taytay. Open from 4pm til 2am the following day. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Edwin!

We've been friends for 16 years - since college in fact, when we were still young and fresh. Hahaha! I would have posted here pictures from back then but I fear for dear life that I'd rather keep them private.

at his 30th bday

During that 16 years, our friendship evolved and our 'relationship' became complicated, all in a good way. We became mag-kinakapatid (Nanay, his mom, stood as godmother in my wedding), and then magkumare/pare when he stood as godfather to Eone.

one of the things we did together all as first timers

my partner in crime with my partner for life :)

We planned my wedding together - church-hunting, reception selection, food tasting, gown designs, invitations...I guess practically everything! He would go to the pre-nuptial counseling with me had I asked him to, for sure!

when we celebrated his bday in HK

We've crossed streets, rivers, towns and countries together. Kaladkarin sa lakaran maybe is the best term to describe. I remember calling him at 10 in the morning to ask if he wants to go to Pagsanjan Falls. He was barely awake but asked 'When? What time?'. 'Now na', I said. He agreed. By 11am we were at their doorstep picking him up. Most of our travels we were a trio - him, The Hubby and myself and never did we feel that three is a crowd thing.

If there's one person who can ruin my life by spilling my little secrets, it's Edwin. That's how comfortable and confident I was with him. In fact, apart from The Hubby, the only person I have shared a couple's room massage was him. We went to Nurture Spa in Tagaytay, booked spa services and without any qualms, took the couples room. We had to remind the masseuse, 'Ate, wag masyadong nakabuyangyang ha. Di kami magkaano-ano'. Hahahaha! I still laugh when I remember the scene.

feeling showbiz in Macau

16 years and going..

So today I raise my glass (of coke),

To the sweetest, most thoughtful friend I know and have
To the one whose name comes first in my mind when I'm in distress
To the one who picked me up in the middle of nowhere when I had an accident
To Eone's ninong and Enoe's tito,
To my confidant, critic and fashion consultant
To my dearest best friend for life, Happy Birthday!

I love you more than I love my lotions and makeup! I promise we'd still be friends 'til we're both toothless and gray-haired (and fabulous for sure).

Have a great birthday. XOXO

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mangga, Mangga Hinog Ka Na Ba?

When I was working in a hotel handling guests satisfaction, the common comment or request from guests is for our restaurants to serve mango. Foreign visitors claim and acknowledge that the Philippines has the best tasting mangoes in the world.

I am sure they are referring to ripe mango. But what about green, unripe ones? Foreigners do not fancy this but locals do. There is a mango tree at our backyard (vacant lot) and during summer (the mango season) the fruits were so abundant we can have mango feast everyday.

The other day, my colleague came in with a plastic of green mango. She offered to share but I sensed she's enjoying munching on the crunchy fruit so much maybe one whole fruit was just enough for her. Then the following day as I was walking towards Shangri la Mall, I saw this woman along the sidewalk selling unripe mangoes.

Too tempting. I asked her how much. She said Php20 each. Hmmm. Quite expensive, I told myself. That's already half a kilo in the wet market. But then I reckon part of that amount goes peeling, slicing, the rock salt (pink! more on this below..), and packaging plastic.

The most popular seasoning in the world is salt. We put salt to various food to add or enhance flavor. But vendors nowadays have become creative. The seasoning is now being seasoned! 

Meet salt spiced up with chopped red chilis...

So here's how I enjoyed my unripe or green mango:

Dip it or sprinkle with salt (or the chili salt concoction). Yum! The salty-spicy taste fights off the sourness of the mango.

The other way is to dip the mango in sauteed shrimp paste or bagoong. Heaven! It's hard to describe the taste - a mixture of sweet, salty and sour all dancing in my taste the pungent smell of bagoong adds a nice tune to this number.

Hay sarap! Want one?

Goodbye Brad

Our Dear Brad,

(I know you can't read but maybe there is someone in the Dog Heaven who can. This is our farewell message to you.)

There were so many objections from family and friends when we got you. You have the worst reputation in the entire pet dog universe and we were warned sternly against taking you home. But we fell in love with you when we saw you. You looked so fragile and sweet.

Over the years, you gained strength and your body developed pogi muscles. You became a hunk! Well somewhat a dirty hunk because your saliva slips out of your huge mouth after exercising and there was a time you scratched yourself too much your hair started falling off. Other than that, you were a handsome dog.

So you became The Hubby's trophy dog, whose misadventures and misdemeanors were proudly told during get-togethers and beer drinking sessions. Guests in our home wouldn't leave without us showing you off and we enjoyed watching our friends' reactions when they see you.

Being a fighting-type pitbull, you were massive (macho) and fearsome to strangers. They were particularly afraid of your jaws, which are set to lock as soon as they bite on something. Yet when we look at you, we feel more delight than fear - honestly, that thick jaw and mouth of yours look like you were grinning.

As for me, you were my birthday gift but I never called you mine, isn't that strange?...more sad than strange.

Brad, thank you for almost seven years of protecting our home and our family. We will keep your memories in our hearts.

Goodbye. We will miss you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cincuenta Pesos

I keep forgetting to 'claim' from Darling Sister the newly issued notes from Bangko Sentral. They are being issued to the public on a staggered basis and as scheduled, Php50 came out in January.

Finally, she went to our house and I was able to sweetly extract from her two crisp cincuenta pesos bills.

Here it is:

The back showcases Taal Volcano, the smallest volcano in the world, sitting at the heart of Taal Lake. The Giant Trevally (locally called Maliputo), known to thrive in the fresh waters of Taal Lake is also featured.

Note that even in the Php50 bill, the scientific name of the fish is still wrongly written as it is not in  binomial nomenclature format.

May I just mention that like Manuel Quezon in vente pesos, Pres. Sergio Osmeña looked so different in the new money. If not for the hairline, I could almost see Andres Bonifacio instead.

Agree or disagree?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Oh My Danggit

A lot of people do not believe that I am most happy feasting on simple authentic Filipino foods. I can live a life devoid of steak, lamp chops, veal or turkey and still be happy. But scrap out tuyo, fried egg and tortang talong from my menu and I'd be miserable.

Having said that I love simple pinoy meals, weekend breakfast at home is something I look forward to as it is the time when I trully enjoy eating. We normally have fried rice, fried tuyo, sunny-side up eggs, hotdogs and sometimes Spam.

But there are times when breakfast on weekends turn from great to fantastic! That is when we get to have danggit straight from Cebu where it is made to perfection.

Danggit is a local term for dried rabbitfish. It it best served deep fried with sliced tomatoes, spicy vinegar, eggs and garlic rice.

In the old days, dried fish is said to be a poor man's meal. Today, dried fish (tuyo, danggit, squid, dilis) is so expensive that it's impossible for those living under the poverty line to buy them. A kilo of this delicacy costs Php900 (that's over 4 times the price of pork) in supermarkets but I got mine for half the price when my colleague went to Cebu last week.

I can almost imagine its aroma while it fries to crispy-yumminess.  I bet my neighbors can smell my kitchen from two blocks away. Too bad for them, haha. I'm looking forward to many fantastic weekend breakfast or until my danggits last.

I Rode, I Shopped, I Conquered

With Enoe's birthday barely 2 weeks away, I had to schedule my shopping trip to Divisoria which I have been putting off since Mommy, my ever reliable companion in bargain hunting, was out there in Hong Kong and Macau scratching her itchy feet.

It's a long trip from Taytay to Divi and normally I'd drive to QC to park at my parents' house and then commute to Divi. Afterall, it's just one jeepney ride away from Retiro.

I don't know what got into me but I decided to take another route this trip. I told Mommy I'd instead take the MRT from Santolan and I'll meet her at Recto Station. From there we can take a jeep going to Tutuban which is just about 10 minutes, traffic notwithstanding.

It's been almost 2 years since I last took the MRT (when I had to do a housecall for an ex-colleague who went AWOL) and I have no idea how much would be the fare. Actually, it's just my second time to ride the MRT Santolan-Recto line (MRT-2 Purple Line) - the first time I couldn't even remember when and why. All I know was I was with The Hubby. Where was our car then?

photo from

Upon arrival at Santolan, I was welcomed by seven ticket vending machines but silly me doesn't have coins so I had to go the ticket booth. I hope I didn't look too much of an idiot searching for it. The fare from end to end is just Php15.  Makes me wonder why there are a lot of protest against MRT price hike. Our MRT fare is the cheapest I know among the many countries I've been to.

Anyway, I was pretty amused by the whole MRT riding thing that I must have been grinning like Mr. Bean while waiting for the train. Santolan is a depot station so I wasn't worried about not getting any seat although I was prepared to bump and push my way into one. Hehehe. Soon enough the door of the train opened and everyone rushed in. Before I could even blink, all seats have been taken.

photo is linked back to it's source:

The train ride itself was uneventful. The train was new, spacious, airconditioned and clean. There were not too many riders, ergo less thrill seekers, crazy heads and stinky passengers. I didn't smell any armpits or unwashed hair, thank you very much. Before I knew it, we were pulling over at Recto station and everyone, including myself, got off.      

So I met Mom, took a jeep to Tutuban and walked to 168 and New Divisoria Mall along rows after rows of vendors selling all stuff imaginable. I was tempted many times to start purchasing fruits, cute pouches, toys, even vegetables!

If you're looking for party materials like prizes for games, loot bags, balloons, and other gift items, Divisoria Mall is the place to go. I was able to buy everything I need for Enoe's birthday at half the price from SM. Shoppers can haggle too, and in the haggling arena my Mommy is the topnotcher. I sometimes grimace when Mom cuts the price half or even lower. I did whisper to her once or twice to let the seller earn a little, hahaha!

I'm particularly happy that I was able to buy the paper loot bags I want. Before trooping to Divi, I was a bit worried I wouldn't find any Toy Story themed item but Divisoria didn't disappoint me. Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the rest of the crew are everywhere! I even got a Buzz Lightyear piñata without sweat (okay, a little because Divi Mall's basement is not airconditioned).

Anyway, here are my purchases. Guess how much I paid for all these?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Green Valentines

Haribon Foundation made loving earth on Valentine's Day possible by bringing it directly to people's doorsteps. I am glad they went to The Hubby's workplace to solicit support for their tree planting program this coming June 2011.

Most of all, I find it very sweet and thoughtful of The Hubby to purchase a tree for our children. He said he wants to get more but he thought he may as well teach them the value of sharing by giving both Eone and Enoe only 1 tree. It means they are to take care of it together.

It's a great idea to campaign for support for tree planting on Valentines Day. After all, how can we all love if we're all doomed by Mother Nature, right?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kids Playing Adults

When I was growing up I've heard so much about montessori learning, especially during the time when Miss Saigon superstar Lea Salonga graduated from OB Montessori with flying colors. I didn't know much about montessori system then, and in my mind, it's a school for the elite.

When I became a mom, I started planning for Eone's education. After doing some research on various education methods, it was a choice between montessori and progressive school as both recognize that the learning curve for each child is different. I was particularly attracted by the montessori's concepts of freedom for self-directed learning and learning through experience. This made me decide to enrol Eone in a montessori.

Last school year went by swiftly. It didn't take long for us to realize that we made a good decision in sending her to Morning Dew Montessori. Our daughter, despite only being 2 years old or almost 3, showed significant improvement in her behavior especially around other children in as little as 2 weeks.

Aside from academic development, what I really like best at Morning Dew are the various activities they hold for the children, particularly for the pre schoolers. Mondays to Thursdays are for academic learning while Friday is dedicated for practical learning like cooking, yoga, social graces among others. It was through these Friday sessions where Eone, then barely 3 years old, learned to button up her clothes, tie shoelaces, eat with fork and knife, and set the table to name a few.

So when I received the notice (invitation) that the Pre School Department are having a Tea Party, I got excited. I was certain it will be another fun-filled yet unforgettable experience for my little girl.

The theme was vintage and the kids were asked to wear mommy or daddy's clothes. I couldn't find anything in my closet that could be 'adjusted' for Eone to wear. Since internet is mommy's best friend, I searched for samples of vintage dresses just to get an idea of what type of dress to buy. Luckily, Eone was gifted by Ninong Jeff last Christmas with a vintage-looking (more like retro) dress. Problem solved!

It's not compulsory for parents to come to the party as it is just another school day. Still, since I personally want to observe my daughter in school, I chose to visit. I found out when I was at the school that the activity is to teach the pre schoolers through experience table manners and proper etiquette. I can't help but be amazed by the teachers creativity.

I am a product of private school education from grade school 'til college but could not recall being taught these stuff, at least not formally like how they do it at the montessori. Cool stuff, right?

The teachers prepared for the activity very well, and did a great job in making the experience as real as possible. The children didn't think they were playing.

The table was setup up complete with silver utensils and cloth table napkins and the 'menu' was planned carefully. It was a tea party so tea flowed aplenty!

The children played adults for that day. The parents and other observers were not allowed inside the classroom during the lesson proper in order for the kids to concentrate. We were allowed inside when they are about to dance waltz.

Yes, dancing waltz was even taught. And I must say it was the highlight of the event. I can't imagine I'd be watching my child dance waltz this early - she's just 4 years old!

The activity concluded with a chocolate fountain treat. This time they were back to being children again...well, almost as they were given breakable dessert bowls and were reminded to be careful.

Well, chocolate is the best reminder that they are children no matter what. With the chocolate fountain, marshmallows and fruit dippings, no one could act like adults anymore. In a matter of seconds their faces were smeared with chocolate and they were licking their little fingers.

So much for playing adults. It's fun for a day but nothing beats being as careless as a child. What matters is what they learned from this activity and I hope my little girl will be able to apply it outside school. I'm excited for her although I secretly hope she will delay dancing waltz 'til she's 18.
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