"The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts. Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good food which are physical and spiritual, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others."
The last time I thought of Easter, this song just popped into my stream. Entitled Forever Reign sung by the peeps from Hillsong United.
You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin
You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting
Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms.
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign
For me this summarizes how I see the Lord Jesus, encompassing all glory, who else have given himself up just for the love of a Father, the love for sinners, the love especial for you and me. You see, Easter for me is God proving that He is the answer, not even suffering and death on the calvary can show that. He has risen from death, from the death which was brought upon by our short-comings, faults and failures and missing the mark. Out of this most precious event sprung forth life that comes from the Eternal giver, rich in love rich in all that we ever need.
However, Easter is made joyous for kids with activities devised to give, to share joy and embrace hope symbolic in finding eggs during Easter.
Every year have been exciting for my girls as they get to scram across a room-full of eggs glamoured-up making the event just precious to them. And we have Century Park Hotel to thank for this wonderful mommy-daughter time at Easter.
Easter moments were made even more precious at Century Park Hotel as children together with their companions enjoyed the Easter event at the Grand Ballroom last Sunday, April 5, 2015 entitled “Precious Moments @ Century Park Hotel Easterland”.
The celebration was supported by Trolli, Galinco (Egg Bites, Smiley’s Cookies, Chips Delight Chocolate Chip Cookies, & Chips Delight Chocolate Chip Brittle Brownie), Fun Ranch, Asia Brewery (Pascual Creamy Delight Yogurt, Vitamilk, Sunkist & Summit Mineral Water), Oishi (Choco Chug, Wafu sticks and Shoops), Leslie’s Cheezy Corn Crunch, Happee Toothpaste, Lemon Square Whatta Tops, Lotte Koala’s March, Toy Kingdom, Mentos, Yakult, J.Co Donuts and Coffee, Foremost Farms, Aficionado Perfumes, Enchanted Kingdom, Manila Ocean Park, Miramar Confectionary, URC (Mini Chocolate Pretzel, Choco Knots, Magic Jr., Fun-O Sandwich), Rebisco (Choco Mucho Minis, Chubby, Chunkie Cookie Cream Pie, Jiggels Jelly Juice, Lipps Pop Stix & Vita Cubes), HBW School Supplies, Ricoa (Big Top Chocolate candies and Fibisco Chocolate Chip Cookies), SM Store Harrison Plaza, our media partner, the Manila and our major partner, “Precious Moments”.
Among the highlights of the day were the favorite Easter activities such as the enchanting magic show, face painting, interactive kiddie games, coloring contest, mascot dance, bubble show and puppet show. The most anticipated egg hunting activity was held in a separate venue to accommodate droves of attendees. Winners in each game were awarded stubs which they used to claim their surprise prizes from our participating sponsors.
All the children who attended the Easter event went home with smiles of contentment in their innocent faces because no one went home empty-handed since all the attendees received loots bags courtesy of our generous sponsors.
Look how happy these girls are with their eggs.
My niece Jaeda and my daughter, Danica
Blogger moms and kids with Erik, Assist. PR Manager and his assistant.
Fellow foodies, let's all be merry as Megaworld Lifestyle mall brings us another this weekend.
This April 18 to 19, guests can enjoy a spectacular array of regional delicacies, games and cultural performances at Eastwood City’s Savor the Flavors Food Festival. Happening at the Eastwood Mall Open Park, mall-goers can discover the soul of Filipino cuisine through different indigenous and contemporary Filipino dishes that will be served hot and fresh to all partakers.
Savor the Flavors is part of the Department of Tourism's Flavors of the Philippines festivals, which complements the Madrid Fusion Manila event.
Food lovers can delight themselves with the wide variety of regional goods available for consumption at this two-day event. They will get to enjoy special empanada from Ilocos Empanada, Manang Joy and Victoria Empanada; hopia and home-cooked Filipino meals from Mrs. Po, and many more! Classic Filipino snacks and appetizers like the balut, itlog na maalat and flavored taho will also be served at the festival.
Cravings for kakanin and native sweets will definitely be satisfied from various selections that will be offered. Guests can choose among cakes, bars, and leche flan from Piper’s Fan and MedChef; rice cakes and tarts from Medie’s Kakanin, Bing’s Kakanin and Amira’s Buco Tart Haus; Puto Biñan and sapin sapin from Armi’s Native Delicacies, Puto Calasiao and Ilocos bibingka from Pinay De Cena; healthy ice pops from Picole; toasted pastillas from Taste & See, and a whole lot more. Coco Vida and Aloha Drinks will also be there to quench thirsts with their coconut and native juice drinks.
Pulutan Pavilion and Live Roasting Pig
Servings of Filipino pulutan specialties will also be made available by local chefs at the Pulutan Pavilion. Guests can take their picks from assorted sisig from Concoctions; lechon belly from Chef Rene; sausages from Big J; grilled seafood from Tuna Town and Aloha Grill; grilled staples from Larisa’s Grill, Ferdie’s Grill and Mamay’s Grill; longganisa from Juan Longganisa; Cebu chicharon from Maexel and many more!
And what’s a festival without lechon? Foodies can get their lechon fix and fill their bellies to the brim from the live roasting pit!
Food Jeepneys, Pinoy Palaro and more
Guests can relive the inner kid in them and enjoy the Pabitin, Palayok, and other festival games lined up during the day. There will also be workshops and cooking demonstrations by famed local chefs during the two-day event from which they will be able to explore unique local and indigenous ingredients & dishes.
As an added treat, a number of colorful Higantes will be on display for great photo opportunities. Also, festival goers will get to witness as some of the finalists from the Resorts World Manila’s Pinoy Ultimate Jeepney Art Competition will be transformed into food jeepneys to serve Filipino favorite comfort foods!
To complete the festival, guests can catch performances from Banda Kawayan on April 18 & 19, 5:00pm; UP Singing Ambassadors on April 18, 7:00pm; and The Philippine Madrigal Singers on April 19, 7:00pm. Plus, live folk dance and music by cultural dancers from Angono, Rizal will accompany our foodies for a more enriching culinary feast. Guests are invited to share their Savor the Flavors experiences with the hashtags #SavortheFlavors and #EastwoodBestSummerEver.
I'm overly excited for the coming days as the country officially closes event details on the first ever Madrid Fusion Manila 2015. We all know that Philippines and Spain share a deep and colorful history and what better way to celebrate these two cultures than through their vibrant and intertwined culinary traditions. It's going to be a big celebration of the two countries’ 300 years’ worth of shared connection through food in one global event.
It's a heck of a month-long event where the world’s top chefs showcase culinary innovations and cutting-edge techniques, ingredients and recipes taking food and dining to the next level. Be ready to see the “future of food,” if you are truly a foodie by heart, this is the place to be in.
With this, SM will be the one to host this historic affair and welcomes Madrid Fusion as it comes to Asia for the first time and puts Manila at the heart of culinary interest worldwide. I'm now marking my calendar on April 24 to 26 and will definitely be first in line at the SMX Convention Center. Good thing I just live in Pasay! Thanks SM for coming near me.
What a privilege, as it highlights the Philippines as an haute cuisine destination in Asia. And a Welcome Night at the scenic SM By the Bay for the official delegates are sure to put everyone in a good mood during the first day of the congress on April 24 where this time, it’s all about the best of Philippine food, art, and culture.
“SM is proud to be the venue of the historic Madrid Fusion Manila. We believe that one of the Philippines’ best-kept secrets is our rich culinary heritage,” expressed Steven Tan, SM Supermalls senior vice-president. “We also want to bring the excitement of Madrid Fusion, particularly Spain’s strong influence in our food and culture, to our mall-goers by taking these culinary festivities to our malls.” To help create national awareness for this cultural milestone, the official Madrid Fusion Manila 2015 TV commercial is being aired in all SM Cinemas nationwide.
Set to captivate Manila with their culinary virtuoso are Spain and Asia’s legendary chefs Andoni Luis Aduriz, Elena Arzak, Quique Dacosta, Ramón Freixa, Francis Paniego, Paco Roncero, Mario Sandoval, Paco Torreblanca, André Chiang, and Alvin Leung. Presenting the Philippines’ own diverse and imaginative epicurean traditions are chefs Fernando Aracama, Margarita Forés, J Gamboa, José Luis “Chele" Gonzalez, Pepe Lopez, Rob Pengson, Bruce Ricketts, Myrna Dizon, Claude Tayag, and Juan Carlos de Terry. Taking centerstage at the congress will be this exciting encounter between Spain’s legendary Michelin-starred chefs and the Philippines’ very own culinary stars. A trade exhibition will focus on the finest Spanish and Filipino products from Spanish wines and cheeses, to the Philippines’ world-class exports such as rice, cacao, coffee, mango, coconut, and liquors.
Enjoy a month-long cultural and gastronomic feast and discover why the Philippines is a center of culinary excellence in Asia. Satisfy your cravings at the Tapas Festival, gourmet meals by celebrity chefs in restaurants, gastronomy-related cultural events, food tours and tastings, roving food trucks, bar crawls, and more. Celebrate food as the country’s restaurants, hotels, bars, malls and weekend markets feature their own line of succulent offerings. SM plays a good part in this occasion as they've lined up activities for this said event:
Gourmet weekend market
A feast of everything delectably Filipino-Spanish shall delight foodies at the Gourmet Weekend Market from April 24 to 26 at SM Mall of Asia. A premium selection of cheese, tapas, wine, ingredients, local finds and special bundles shall be made available in partnership with SM Markets (SM Supermarket and Hypermarket).
Spanish food specials
New food concepts that reflect culinary innovation and technique will be available only this April at select SM Mall of Asia restaurants where special dishes with Spanish influence or cooked with the finest local produce, ingredients and flavors are sure to bring out your inner foodie. Savory goodness awaits mall-goers of SM Aura Premier which shall host its own Spanish-themed fiesta with music, dancing, food and drinks on April 26 at the Sky Park lawn. While on April 24 to 26, irresistible dining deals await all food lovers at SM Megamall’s flagship and first-in-the-country dining destinations and the newly-opened Mega Food Hall.
For the complete schedule of events at SM malls, visit SM Supermalls on Facebook or @smsupermalls on Instagram. For more information on how to register for Madrid Fusion Manila 2015, visit www.madridfusionmanila.com.
Visiting NY's hole in the wall cafes, particularly in Brooklyn, is one thing I would certainly add in my long-listed bucket list. Cozy cafes and restos reflecting the old-school look complete with red brick walls co-mixed with contemporary furnishings and, ahh, with glorious food in the foreground.
Though one thing's for sure, it may cost me a lot to pursue such a foodie/wanderlust's whim.
But will you believe me if I tell you that I have lit upon this venue which can be found in the fringe of Tomas Morato? A two-year old building called Pos Building is a home for foodie gems yet to be unearthed. Walls all sheathed with red bricks and flanked with bars, cafes and restaurants that serve a miscellany of cuisines.
One space stood up for me though, from a number of food purveyors in the building-it's Flavours by Chef Fham. People getting off the third floor hardly notice the cafe bar which stands to be just as you get off the elevator. I felt really bad for those people not giving them a try, for Chef Fham's creations are like contemporary masterpieces that not everyone gets to indulge with.
Although, one's initial reaction to brick walls may be “cold,” behind those walls are kitchen's made warm by the cooks who passionately meet your needs for good comforting food, like that of Flavours. Also, don't get intimidated by the rustic Brooklyn (NY) vibe, Flavours is as casual as can be dining place where you can chat with Chef Fham herself after she delivers your food from the menu.
A couple of nights ago was a fare share of palatable blessings with notable food reviewers, Gerry of Dude for Food and the couple Jill and Oliver of The Food Scout.
Let me indulge your screens with the food that we tried.
For our starter, we had a bowl of Tomato Soup.
Tomato Soup (P 150)
I suppose it's up to the eater whether this soup is a close-enough facsimile of the original dish which American homes would consume on cold days, though I can guarantee that you won't regret getting a bowl because it's delicious. You can really taste the freshness of the tomato as real tomatoes and it sure is better than the commercial ones which contains - you know, some amount of lead.
What sets this one apart from other tomato soups out there is the use of chickpeas (garbanzos) instead of using carrots. Not only it does the thickening trick to the soup base, it also balances the acidity from the tomatoes. Also, the classic uses sour cream, Chef Fham uses creme fraiche. Creme fraiche is basically a mixture of heavy cream and buttermilk, so it doesn't make it sour rather a hint of milkiness and creaminess.
Comforting is more than apt for it.
Top It Fries! (P 160)
As the name implies, Flavours did really topped it off. Hand-cut potatoes fried to a crisp, indulged with with pork strips, pepper gravy, cheese sauce and chilies. This is their version of the Canadian Poutine.
The pork toppings were actually prepared ala Salpicao. It has the right garlicky flavor and the hint of cheese everytime you take a bite of everything. Like poutine, it's meant to be eaten altogether having a mix of tastes in one bite. So, I guess we can say that this is a mash of Canadian and Spanish cooking, and quite a brilliant one.
Baked Bangus (P 230)
The idea of a baked bangus belly smothered in melted cheese sounded very intriguing, more so being served with a cup of rice, grilled veggies and pickled mushrooms. Now, if there is a dish more beguiling than that, please do introduce me to that dish. But before you do, let me introduce my newest tasty discovery, something I want to cook myself at home and have my family try. Flavours' Bangus Belly is a huge slice of boneless bangus belly topped with cheese and parsley. The layered fish adorns the oven and as the cheese melts it clings right into the fish' crevices.
Before I finish describing the whole plate, can I just say how much I love cheese and boneless bangus belly! These always goes to my grocery list every time. So it's not anymore a question how I can easily love this dish. What's more is that it's made more healthy, with the addition of grilled onions and tomatoes, and wait, this time you're not going to have a serving of atchara with your fish. Would you like to try something uniquely new? How about pickled mushroom? I bet that's something you wish you could try. I love how the vinegar works with the button mushroom, without making it overly done (meant, making it too soft or soggy). All these tied up so well with plain rice, surprisingly.
Ben's Egg and Longanisa (P 210)
Part of the all-day breakfast offering is a rendition of Eggs Benedict, only it deemed the use of ham or bacon, instead she used her Mom's recipe of Longaniza. This brings me to note that all their meat preserves are made in their own kitchen, from the longaniza, sausages, bacon to the corned beef. Also, I want to stress out, all their dishes are made from scratch, no short cuts and definitely no flavour additives. So what you get are healthy dishes bursting with natural good taste and richness.
Whether it's a hearty brunch or a filling lunch or dinner, Flavours can sure whip up something for what ever you might be craving for.
Mom's Mechado (P 250)
Chef Fham have proven to be inventive enough, seeing the menu and trying out some of them. However, what can a skilled chef like her not do? I guess nothing. To prove that, she included classic dishes like the Fish and Chips and everyone's fiesta favorite, Mom's Mechado.
You can really get a hint of how her mom's influence was in her cooking. Maybe, it's one of her favored comfort dish growing up, or may have been always the star of their celebration table.
Made by stewing meat in a tangy tomato sauce with potatoes and carrots, their beef mechado serve with plain rice is making diners come back. The slow cooking method makes it irresistibly flavorful and the meat so tender and soft to the bite.
Kebab Burger (P 210)
We all were so amused of hybrid food creations, which exploded like a bomb last year. Some of the craziest inventions are croughnuts or cronuts (croissant and doughnuts), brookie (brownie and cookie) and ramen burgers. Though the trend kinda dwindled a little, people are still expectant of what's to come out next. Thus, here it is - Kebab Burger.
It's when you use the grilled beef (un-skewered, of course) with garlic mayo sauce, clad it with slices of cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce as a filling for a half-sliced bun. Walah!
It's one of Chef's husband's fave, though admittingly, he likes everything his wife makes in the kitchen. The aioli makes it taste like an authentic Mediterranean dish. According to them, they learned the sauce from a friend of Chef's father in Saudi Arabia.
Sausage Ragu Pasta (P 195)
Another classic-with-a-twist is the linguine with sausage ragu. This classic Italian meat sauce is dandied up with their home-made sausage. Though I wasn't too crazy about it, it did catch my fancy for true Italian sauce, loaded with chunky veggies, including tomatoes and with the perfect sauce viscosity that's clingy to the pasta and not runny. Also, the Parmesan cheese randomly interspersed does not only make it Instagramable, it balances with the tanginess of the sauce.
Mint Nutella Honey Toast (P 150)
Nothing beats a good home-cooked inspired meal. But ending it sweetly can make it dreamy. Flavours have lined up different versions of the Japanese-inspired Honey Toasts. Unlike their counterpart, theirs are made more buttery and egg-y, though,without the greasy mouth-feel. This is another of their selling point, the brioche, the kind of bread used for this decadence of a dessert.
The three of us hastily took shots at every angle of the Mint Nutella Honey. Coz' it's that drop-dead gorgeous look of the plate only foodies, food-photographers can comprehend. We made sure that capturing it would only take each of us a matter of seconds, so we can still get to eat the mint ice cream without sogging-out the brioche. But it didn't matter to us anymore. As the ice cream melted into the dark chocolate ganache and Nutella mixture, the bread remained crunchy on the outside and still airy on the inside. Oh and I can't get over with the act of dipping the fork-bits of the brioche to the chocolate mix, with the added crunch from the nuts, it's just insanely delish. I can't wait to try other versions such as the Vanilla Almond, Choco Banana, White Peanut Butter, Banoffie and PB & J. Uhh! I can't wait to flood my IG with them.
If you happen to be in Tomas Morato, do drop by and be listed amongst those who testify the quality andFlavour-ful goodness of every dishes that were lovingly prepared by Chef Fham Sarmiento. This is actually Antz and Chef Fham's baby, so, I too can attest that you can have a gourmet-type of meal any time of the day without burning a whole in your pocket.
There are times that I could sing and dance along with Pharell Willliams' Happy song.
It's lyrics and tunes actually echos in my head right now,
It might seem crazy what I'm about to say
Sunshine she's here, you can take a break
I'm a - hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air like I don't care, baby, by the way
Because I'm happy...
Come along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy...
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy...
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy...
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do
Here Pharell is using the imagery of Sunshine ( light and darkness) to represent good cheer and gloom. Dark and stormy weather is depressing, while bright sunshine lifts the spirit, right? When you're depressed the soul feels weighty and heavy but it's the exact opposite when your happy. You feel light, the spirits soar with the winds like a hot air balloon.
But sometimes, we tend to see our hopes laced with skepticism. Then the inevitable question goes, "What if we just see a rerun of the past? And then, a cringe of sigh...
This you should remember, for the sake of happiness, God's grace is ladled out on daily basis, think of today first and how you can go above and beyond your personal struggles. God knows all about it, so just count on Him and His faithfulness no matter what life brings.
I've been a witness to that you see. On days I can't sing along to the song Happy, I go back to the mighty awesome things God had laid out for me, like this three-day "Sabang, Palawan adventour" provided by Sheridan Resort and Spa. If you are planning, planning, planning, let this list make you just go there and get a doze of adventure yourself, bask in the beauty of nature. let loose, let God!
Here are the things you can do in Sabang, Palawan,
1. Take an early morning stroll along the shore.
2. Have your #BOOTD (beach outfit of the day) at the beach.
Sheridan have provided a couple of these "kawayan-made" day
beds where you can play cards, read books or just lazy around.
3. Capture every beach moments, like these kids on a swing.
Boats are favorite subject of travel photographers,
so why not join the bandwagon and feel like a pro for a day.
4. Swing high, swing low.
5. Explore the Sabang jungle on cool ATV rides!
Or ride on an 8 x 8 ATV that goes to the end of the beach or to the mangroves.
6. Make some reflections, well, can be taken literally.
Check out my friend Charmie's reflection on the clear pool water of Sheridan
7. When the waves aren't strong, do some kayaking, or hire a paddle boat.
8. Play with the kids on the sand and make sand castles or something...
9. Have a snack at Sheridan's Wet N' Dry Pool Bar, while dipping in the pool.
10. Have an acoustic dinner at the al fresco buffet prepared by Sheridan.
11. Visit the Underground River.
Make sure to bring cameras that work in dark areas. I'm using my Samsung Galaxy K Zoom here.