Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gastronomy by Joy's Pesto Recipe

I'm letting you in on a secret.

I don't use pine nuts on my pesto.

Yes!  I hope I have not defiled any cooking gods or broke culinary laws.  I'm just one frugal mommy who loves making pesto sauce and cooking with it, cause I can't deny my love for it and I have lured my family in the same way.

So, what's the big deal in omitting pine nuts?  Well, for one, it's expensive.  Back in the days when I never knew about using different nuts for the pesto recipe, it would cost me P 200 for a half cup of pine nuts and I have to keep it away my sight, else it wouldn't make it home.

Learning the Art of Gratitude

If I could offer you a pastry that would make you happier, healthier, more optimistic and more productive, and tell you that pastry creation (cake, cookie or what not) would cost nothing and will require only a few bite, would you be interested?

Let me put the question in a different manner.

If I have this pastry in my hand would you want some?

I know your answer would be a big YES! Unfortunately, I don't have a recipe for that pastry that will do these things. But each of us has something even better than a recipe for a pastry that will do all of those things and more.

It's gratitude.

Christmas is the best time to practice this, but it's not gonna hurt to practice this every time.

Monday, December 28, 2015

How I Look and Feel My Best This Holiday Season

Never ask a mom of two or even of four if she can still manage to be extremely pretty during the holidays, when all they could think of is how to survive the season with all the maddening errands, long lists of to-do's for Christmas and add to that the traffic.

Nevertheless, moms like me still need to put their best face forward cause this season is also about meeting old friends and families that we haven't seen throughout  the year, and some in years.  But with all the stress brought upon by the holiday rush, we all are wary about its effects and most of the time can be evident on our facial skin.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kale and Lemon Chicken

Talking about surviving Christmas 2015, I know you are all adazed about all the fuss for Christmas.  Have you thought of your menu already?  Here is a recipe adapted from Rasa Malaysia that would definitely bring more fun into your meal.  As usual, nothing beats a dish that you can prepare in a dash.  In as fast as 20 minutes, you can partake a healthy restaurant-feel chicken dish with your family and friends.  For more flavorful meat, you can marinate in advance before cooking.

Lemon Chicken Recipe

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A New and Exciting Way to Book a Hotel Room Online and on Smartphone

Have you ever experienced being stuck in a city not knowing whether you're going to have a good night sleep after either a good flight or the worst flight? Or how about having to waste all your time on a city pressed with a heavy traffic while longing to lie in a warm comfortable bed? Traveling indeed is undeniably exhilarating, but let's face it there are certain issues that also arises which may dampen all the fun.

Case in point, our family loves discovering new places and with it comes a number of fiascos along the road, one of which is not being able to manage hotel bookings accordingly.  As a mom who travels with kids, my top must-have on the list is  an "OC-clean" room.  Getting a good room for my family have been a constant hit and miss and often I would resort to booking at expensive hotels just not get disappointed.  I'm also a frugal mom, so, excuse me for being one, so a good deal, preferably discounted rooms comes on my list.

Those are for planned tours.  If you have been a regular follower (Oh hello there my relatives!) you may have noticed a couple of our spur of the moment getaway, that's why our family car's gas tank is always kept full.  Most of the problems we encounter happens at these kinds of trips.

Uprice: Where Rice Meals are Reinvented

Mall of Asia isn't my favorite mall, but it holds dear to my heart for it was where my love for dining out sparked.  Most of my first food reviews came from the vicinity, however, much to my dismay, I have never really blogged all the restaurants there.  It was what I had wished for even before I started out with this blog.

My husband and I share the interest in trying out new restos and coffee shops and now that my kids have grown and yep, grown in love as well to the same hobby - EATING, we couldn't help but be enslaved to the fact that restaurant hopping is above all fun and exciting.

BUT!  Well, there is always that "but", "however", "although", and many others, even with doing the one you love. We aren't that rich enough to go to each and every food establishments here in MOA or at any foodie venues and spend everyday trying out different dishes, it costs you know!

So, finding out a restaurant that not only throws spotlight on good food and is inexpensive, we give enough glorification.  Hail Uprice!

Uprice is a play on the word "uprise" which means to rise up, get up or to come into existence or prominence.  The owners had this idea of reinventing rice dishes or introduce rice into a different level.  They are, btw, all food-lovers, chefs and even food-educators who hailed from De La Salle Beniled.  Might I say they know their turf!

Here's what I mean...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Beyond Nostalgic-feel at Reminisque Bistro

Sometime, a couple of weeks ago, I took a  trip down  memory  lane at this new bistro  in  Tomas Morato, but more than that, this establishment celebrates  the  fun,  nostalgic vibe of  the decades past with good food.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Real Living Style Talks

A series of panel discussions on design with industry experts was launched last December 12 by Real Living - The country's best-selling home magazine.  This was in partnership with Wilcon Depot and GMA News TV's Home Base.

The Philippines is home to some of the brightest stars in the world of interior design and architecture, all of whom are putting the country on the map in the design industry with their world-class furniture designs, global style, and great architectural structures. Real Living aims to celebrate the nation’s growing status as a design hub by launching its RL Style Talks program, a series of special panel discussions on the state of design in the Philippines.

This was the first of the RL Style Talks series which gathered  three industry experts to discuss Modern Filipino design and examine how the nation’s growing list of renowned architects, interior designers, and furniture makers are helping to revolutionize the Filipino design aesthetic in our present times. The panelists included interior and furniture designer and design educator Wilan Dayrit, designer Grace Moslares, and James Razo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Baskets and Blankets at The Grove by Rockwell + Precious Family Time

Because Sundays are for the ones you genuinely love and spending time listening to God's Words and having fun afterwards...Family picnics are part of it too!

One fine Sunday, much to my surprise, I was invited by Chef Michelle Adrillana of Flavors on Fire Catering at the Baskets and Blankets after being persistent and prayerful to get a slot over her IG post.

Burgoo's Unbelievable Party Treats

I don’t just feel the Christmas rush, I could actually taste it already!  While everybody is busy preparing gifts for their friends and loved ones, I’m preparing my Christmas menu and mind you, I’m having a hard time.  If you on the other hand wants to save the trouble, I would recommend Burgoo.

 We all know, this is the time of the year for the much-awaited reunions and Christmas parties! No time to prepare food for your parties? Burgoo offers unbelievable party treats you can have for dine-in or take out!

For orders and reservations you can call Burgoo at Tomas Morato (9277424), Rockwell (8981815), The Podium (6875565), Gateway Mall (9136112), SM Mall of Asia (5560091), Robinsons Galleria (6336256), The Block (4420115), SM Marikina (4771934), Fairview Terraces by Ayala (720-9513), SM Southmall (5192114), The District Imus (0915-8023070), and Starmall Prima in Taguig (632-1411).

Awesome party packages start at P250.00 which include House Salad, Chicken Parmesan with Rice Pilaf, Tomato-Basil Spaghetti with Garlic Bread, and a glass of your favorite Soda.  Likewise choose from Burgoo’s wide variety of appetizers to share, sandwich and burgers soups and salads, stone-baked pizzas, delicious pasta, mouth-watering chicken and chops, seafood sensations, premium steaks and ribs, and luscious desserts, to create your own party menu according to your budget.
Burgoo’s dishes are so big, so delicious, guaranteed!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Season Treats at Gumbo

“Falalalala lala lala!”

Joyously echoes on my head right now as everyone, including me anticipate a Spirit-filled season of merriment.  In that note, friends from Gumbo encourages everyone to bond and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones at their restaurants.  Savor best-selling dishes at Gumbo like Seafood or Chicken Gumbo, Seafood or Chicken Jambalaya, Cajun Fried Chicken, Fish & Chips, Barbecued Shrimps, New Orleans Delight Pizza, amidst charming and cozy ambiance.

If you admit not having a knack at preparing gorgeous feasts but would love to host dinner gatherings either at your home or at the office, fret not, Gumbo can do it for you.  You can now have these mouth-watering and sumptuous dishes for take-out and enjoy them at the comforts of your homes.  Moreover, Gumbo offers affordable party food packages as low as P250.00 per person perfect this Christmas season!

For reservation and inquiries please call Gumbo at SM Mall of Asia (5560238), The Block 442-0106, Mega Atrium (6353015), Robinsons Manila Midtown (5671820), Gateway Mall (440-4632), Robinsons Magnolia (7209632).

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Z Hostel: Beyond Back-packing in Makati

A hostel is considered a budget-oriented stay venue typically with shared-room ("dormitory") accommodation that accepts individual to group of travelers (mostly backpackers) for short-term stays. It also meant to provide common areas and communal facilities.  It something backpackers and budget travelers had gotten used to and with that made traveling experience more candid yet social. According to a solo backpacker I know, communal facilities have opened up horizons for them to meet new friends from different nations and sparked more interests in exploring different cultures and places.

One of which stood best among the rest in Makati, it's Z Hostel. Located in Poblacion, it's near Rockwell, Makati Ave. and the Makati red light, where the fun is.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I've been a regular reader of Cook Magazine and over the years it had truly inspired me to keep more busy in the kitchen.  I also get a few tricks up my sleeves with blogging through it's articles and with features on new restos, it got my radar active and the car running.

How then can I say no to an invite coming form the lovely people behind Cook Magazine, specially if it's part of Christmas celebration. Thanks to them, I was able to mingle with media and blogger friends together with PR personnel and Marketing staff of some brands that I love, had a wonderful feast and went home with goodies from their sponsors and partners.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Z Hostel Cafe and Bar

For many backpackers and budget travelers, finding the right accommodation is key for a great travel experience.  Southeast Asia has a splendid lists of hostels and guesthouses that had made traveling with ease more of a delight than an adventure.  Our country boasts of some great ones too.  In Makati, TripAdvisor has garnered a lot of reviews from it's registered users from this hostel seated right smack where Makati fun and nightlife is, all you need is to look for the letter Z.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How I Met Don Papa

Here's the thing, I never get to have myself acquainted with alcohol when I was still single, not even a trip to a bar nor  disco.  Not until I reached my thirties.  But don't get me wrong, I still have that adventurous spirit hidden somewhere inside me and now I can't deny my amorous relationship with wines.  Dare challenge me with a food and beverage that I haven't tried yet and I'll be up to that challenge.

So, when I got an invite form YMV about a Don Papa Rum event, I was instantly challenged.  As long as I'm not expected to drink the whole bottle or a dozen of different concoctions then I'm okay.  

The experience was way even better as it was my first time to come to a hidden bar.  It was hilarious and bizarre at the same time, as Joy Mendiola (ocassionsofjoy.com) and I walked our way to RCBC Corporate Plaza from SM Aura Premier.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

SKYBEENZ Operates Widely in Manila and Across Asia

It was a night of new discoveries and cultural immersion as Taiwanese convened at one of Marriott Manila Hotel's ballroom for the SKYBEENZ' appreciation tour.  Approximately 300 Taiwanese and Skybeenz executives were warmly welcomed last November 26, 2015, with stellar hotel accommodations at the Resorts World Manila's vicinity and a spectacular Asian-inspired dinner coupled with a first-class Filipino entertainment.

SKYBEENZ Executive officers
A huge Asian company, SKYBEENZ, with Manila as its Headquarters, is committed to become one of the premier entertainment financial solutions in Asia. The company is bound to actively extend their business territories across Asia while strengthening it's operation in Manila and pursuing a steady growth.  SKYBEENZ also seeks to develop their regional market as they aim to become the premier entertainment resource integration group.  

As they continue to search for more appropriate acquisition opportunities in Asia, the five VIP branches stand to be their business stronghold - SKYClub, SKYGame, SKYShop, SKYTravel and SKYMoney.  

SKYClub offers the exclusive services to SKYBEENZ Group of VIP, VIP and entertainment and casinos-related membership services to members everywhere.  With Best Armor Group providing the service.

SKYTravel provides travel planning services for VIPs.  Bottom line is that they want their VIP clients enjoy  every vacation and SKYBEENZ fills it with happy memories.  Thus, travel schedule is regularly updated so that clients can have the coolest entertainment activities.  In this, they strongly uphold the tenet which is service first.

SKYGame provides online gaming services for VIP clients.  With the dozens of different gambling games in SKYGame, clients can play for fun while enjoying exciting gambling without time and space limitations.  

SKYShop provides boutique shopping services for VIP clients.  With the wide range of boutique items like any other online store, they let clients enjoy boutique shopping without leaving their comfort zones.

Lastly, SKYMoney is SKYBEENZ' industry which provides network financial services for their VIPs.  Being the largest financial network, withdrawing virtual currencies, depositing, money transfer services are just some of their business handles.  In the future, SKYMoney will operate loan services to their VIP clients giving them opportunity to have capital turnovers.

With other offices in China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia, they were able to go global by furnishing one-stop sales of goods and services on internet.  Boasting with global advantages and a legal license in the Philippines, the company's investment projects involve traditional physical industry, land development, tourism, VIP member services, online entertainment, gaming services and personal projects for VIP clients.

 They welcome anyone interested to join if anyone wants to raise funds in the world and increase sales performance.  SKYBEENZ can offer a variety of activities for membership raising funds, electricity suppliers and solutions for payment.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

City Savor Holiday Foodie Festival

No one will ever get tired of indulging in good food especially intertwined with good company and a pulsating ambiance.  This holiday month isn't an exception, in fact, more foodies look forward to an event where food is the highlight.
This December is made even more special, better yet, make that extra special with CITY SAVOR: A Holiday Food Crawl Like No Other coming your way this December 5, 12, and 19!

The love for food partnered with the merrymaking spirit of the Season is what inspired Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) to host City Savor in its premium residential developments, namely The Sapphire Bloc in Ortigas (December 5), Signa Designer Residences in Makati (December 12), and The Trion Towers in Bonifacio Global City (December 19).The event will be held from 10:00AM to 9:00PM for each schedule. 
I'm definitely up for this and I'm already excited, after the Valero EAT ST., RLC's first food fair at Signa Designer Residences, I know foodies will have a blast.
Just some of the purveyors to watch for!

City Savor’s list of food establishments will vary slightly per schedule. The participating concessionaires include ChocoATBP, Mac & Jar, Baguettini, Global Beer Exchange, Cannoli & Co., Caramba, Snack Box, Bayani Brew, Saddam’s Shawarma, Buccino’s Ice Cream Experiments, Eenie Minni Cupcakes & Cookies, The Juice Stand, Wagger, Sabao, Bait’s, Crisp on 28th, Pink Panda, Pipino Vegetarian, Hillside Café & Juice Bar, Habitual Coffee, Liquido Maestro, Boom’s Cold Brew Coffee, Standford Shaw, Pedro Brewcrafters, Bald Baker, Jertie’s Kitchen, Cucina Cuenca, Comer Y Comic, Traydor Hot Sauce, Schmidt’s Gourmet Hotdogs, Boneless Bob, Jimmy D’s, and Snow Shack among others. 

The vibrant locations of RLC’s master-planned developments make the City Savor event even more special for the Yuletide Season, being nestled in foodie districts that people frequent for night outs and events. 

The Sapphire Bloc
For one, The Sapphire Bloc at the Ortigas CBD gives residents and urbanites a taste of the authentic city lifestyle. The Art Deco-style development is also known for its very own lifestyle hub with artisan restaurants like the Moonshine Public Urban Bar (PUB), The Stockpile, Cable Car, Sobremesa and the Starbucks Reserve, to name a few. 
Trion Towers
The Trion Towers, on the other hand, alters the BGC skyline with its state-of-the-art, tri-axial architectural design. Its location puts it near the Fort Strip, Bonifacio High Street, Market! Market!, Serendra and other countless dining and commercial centres scattered all over the CBD. 

Signa Designer Residences
For the Signa Designer Residences in Makati, high life is savored at the upscale gastronomic locale of the Salcedo Village. Its resto strip comprises of Mothership F&B brands namely Sabao, Baits and Sprout, as well as a Starbucks Reserve. 
It won’t be a complete holiday feast celebration without entertainment and giveaways!  Residents of the RLC developments and guests will be serenaded by performers like Keiko Necesario (Dec. 5 at The Sapphire Bloc & Dec. 19 at The Trion Towers), Toni B (Dec. 5 at The Sapphire Bloc), Evee Simon (Dec. 12 at Signa Designer Residences), Pasta Groove (Dec. 12 at Signa Designer Residences & Dec. 19 at The Trion Towers), and Hoochie Coochie Mikkie (Dec. 12 at Signa Designer Residences & Dec. 19 at The Trion Towers). Visit the events for prizes and surprises too!

The weekends of Decembers mean get-togethers for us Filipinos, and RLC along with the event’s partners are all about offering venues that bring together awesome food and entertainment all in one place. CITY SAVOR will redefine what holiday feasting is all about.

Robinsons Land Corporation in partnership with Ampersand Collective and McCormick Philippines will hold the City Savor: A Holiday Food Crawl Like No Other on Dec. 5 at the Sapphire Bloc in Ortigas City, Dec. 12 at the Signa Designer Residences in Makati and Dec. 19 at The Trion Towers at the Bonifacio Global City. The event will be held from 10:00AM to 9:00PM for each schedule. Special thanks to sponsors Zomato and Marketa.ph, and media partners Juice.ph, WhenInManila.com, ClickTheCity.com, AktivShow, PYE.ph, and 1 Digimedia Audiovisuals Inc.

Be Pampered Throughout 2016 for Free at Peppermint Kid Salon and Spa Boutique

Time and again, many have either smirked on the idea of the importance of blogs in their businesses or have welcomed the thought of it but has not fully taken it to good use.  Well, I guess they have gotten stuck to the era where internet is only a futuristic theme in a movie.  However, many, countless at that, have rested comfortably with blogging as part of their marketing strategy.  I may sound a little biased since I have been blogging for more than five years now, and it makes my day every time a business owner, mostly restaurant owners, would come back to me and thank me for the mileage that have added to the sales and marketing of their brand or product. 

One of which is Peppermint Kids Salon and Spa Boutique.  Charry Flora, their General Manager have acquainted herself with some bloggers who have written something for them.  Having such a business that's out in the web does help in spreading the news about what you're offering and how the writer or blogger have experienced it himself or herself.  She had been very appreciative of the blogs that have featured and reviewed Peppermint Kids Salon and Spa Boutique.  So, as a way of saying thank you, the company have set up an exciting contest for any bloggers who wants to write about them. 

You've read it right...A gorgeous amount of Php 50,000 or Php 20,000 or P 10,000 worth of services for the three winners with their chosen companion.

Three bloggers will be picked after their blogs have been evaluated, where in the first price of course is a whopping P50K, second best will receive P20K and the third will have P10K.  All are Gift Vouchers which can avail any services of their choice and can be used the whole year and can be shared to a companion- a son, a daughter, a parent or a BFF.  

Could it be you?!

If you want to achieve a year with a beautiful you, no messy hair, clean and polished nails, scheduled spa-dates and revitalized weeks, then this is your chance.

Oblivious?  Read my blog on how I celebrated with other bloggers this blog's third year anniversary below...

To get a shot on any of the three prices, I'm sharing with you the contest details.

1. The contest is open to all bloggers, no niche in particular, with active blogs that have been updated within the past one year.
2. Create a blog entry describing your experience at Peppermint Kids Salon and Spa Boutique.  It may be in a story-telling form of either yours or a kid/s you brought to the salon for service.
3. You must share at least one particular service you or your kid/s companion/s had availed.
4. You must share the current promo the salon has.
5. Blog entries must be supported by proper photo/s (photo/s has to be originally yours)
6. Your blogs must be shared in your social media accounts, thus your profile must be set to public.
7. Make sure to tag Peppermint Kid Salon and Spa Boutique in Facebook


8. Make sure to use the hashtag #PeppermintKidSalonAndSpaBlogs

Contest Duration: All blog entries must be published on December 2 up to  January 31, 2016

Announcement of winners: Winners will be announced on Feb. 1, 2015 via the Facebook page of Peppermint Kids Salon and Spa Boutique

Blogs will be evaluated and judged in the following criteria:

1. Creativity – how you find the service and the facility and how well you were able to tell your story in a way that you encourage  your readers matters.
2. Engagement – more likes and comments in your blog entry will have better chance of winning
3. Uniqueness – you can pin up a poem, a comic strip or even a Vlog
4. Content – you must share at least one particular service you or your kid/s companion/s had availed, and the current promo the salon has.


5. Page Plugin – The Facebook Social Media “Page Plugin” should be included in the blog entry (refer to Annex “A” for the guidelines to using the Social Media Page Plugin). (Option only, may be opt out in your blog but considered as a plus factor.


We uphold credibility hence, grabbing of someone else’s  photos  is a no-no!  (We are okay with watermarked photos.)

Terms and conditions:

Once the blog is posted, Peppermint Salon requests  that you keep your blog entry for at least a year so they can also cross-share your blog in the social media sites.

For the winners, when using the Gift Certificate, they must call us for appointment to ensure that you are properly accommodated.


Please abide strictly by the rule of “no appointment, no service”.

Saturdays and Sundays are “high traffic” days. There could be quite a queue before you or your kids are serviced.  It is best to arrive early during weekends for your appointments or to schedule your appointment on a weekday.

List of their services

So, if you're a blogger and have visited the salon, why don't you share us your wonderful spa-like experience and get yourself a chance in winning.

If you haven't tried them, now's the opportunity to do it, and make sure to tag along your kids and give them something they could keep in their precious memory bank, and Peppermint Kids Salon and Spa Boutique will guarantee that, with all smiles.


Address: Unit B-07 Basement 1, SM Aura Premier
               McKinley Parkway cor. 26th St., BGC, Tguig
Contact Details:  553-3597
Mobile No. (0939) 925-1480
Website: http://www.peppermintsalon.com
Facebook: peppermintsalonsmaura
Email: sales@peppermintsalon.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dr. Lucio Tan Leads Lighting of Century Park Hotel’s Christmas Tree

The merry season is so unstoppable and who would?  It's that time where colors blasts, lights twinkle more than the stars and families come together and celebrate.  And Century Park Hotel, the family-friendly hotel, joins in and made the joyous season more welcoming as they officially welcomed the yuletide season with the lighting of its lofty 20-feet-tall Christmas tree last November 25, 2015 at the newly-renovated Atrium Lounge.

On hand during the ceremony were (from left) Mrs. Carmen Tan, wife of Dr. Tan, Dr. Lucio Tan and daughter Ms. Irene Tan-Luy.

This year’s theme is “Rebirth, Rekindle and Rejoice”.  Guests were not only visually treated with an elegant Christmas tree but were also serenaded by no less than the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra.

Event sponsors are Compaňero Light Brandy and Asia Brewery, Inc., who provided Colt 45, Tanduay Ice Zero, Brew Kettle, Red Oak, Nestea Iced Tea and Sunkist drink. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Second Helping of Madrid Fusion Manila


The incoming year, 2016 is said to be The Year of Again, bringing with it reruns of much awaited foodie events that either highlighted our very own Filipino cuisine or have introduced new tastes and flavors for the Filipino palate.  After being a witness to last year’s Madrid Fusion Manila, I knew, there will be a second helping.  So to my fellow food-lovers who missed this year’s MFM, make sure not to miss it again.  However, for those were able to savor and participate, let’s all be glad and gather together as we welcome back MFM.

Madird Fusion Manila (MFM), the Philippines’ hosting of one of the world’s leading international gastronomy gatherings, will have its second run on 7-9 April 2016 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. MFM is he first and only Asian edition of Madrid Fusion, which is celebrated annually in Spain since 2003.

It has brought together in one roof elite chefs and experts from the culinary fied to discuss trends, evolution of tastes and new food habits.  More than 400 leading chefs from the five continents have partaken as presenters and have performed live culinary demonstrations and out of the box presentations on revolutionary techniques.

Through the efforts of Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the country had marveled as it debuted last April 24 to 26, 2016 as part of the Visit Philippines  Year 2015.  Check out my experience at the link below...

Vignettes from The Madrid Fusion Manila 2015


Yesterday at the Ballroom 1 of Crimson Hotel Filinvest City, Alabang, Sec. Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. and Minister Jaime Garcia-Legaz met again for the signing of the MOU between the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and the ICEX Espana Exportacion e inversiones
(public export promotion agency belonging to the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Kingdom of Spain).

The theme of MFM 2016 will be The Manila Galleon: East Meets West, in celebation of the 450th anniversary of the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade that linked Asia with the western world.  The confirmed chef presenters for 2016 are:



These chefs are distinguished restaurant owners, and have garnered either Michelin Star awards or with restaurants included in world's best restaurants. 

To each chef's profile kindly click here.


MFM 2016 will once again have three simultaneous events: the International Gastronomy Congress, Trade Exhibit and Flavors of the Philippines.  The speakers introduced above and other distinguished Asian and Filipino chefs will demonstrate modern and avante-garde techniques at the congress.

In 2015, MFM hada total of 22 countries and 88 exhibiting companies participating in 175 exhibit booths.    A huge number of 6000 trade visitors and 1381 Congress participants were able to record this year's MFM.

With the long and credible relationship between Spain and Philippines, and not withholding the fact that many dishes have found its roots from Spain, MFM was able to establish a culinary education between both races with lots of fun included.

On the second MFM, the organizers aim to gather a larger crowd of foreign culinary experts and delegates.  Tourism Secretary for DOT, Ramon Jimenez Jr, envisioned the Philippines to be the center of culinary excellence in the region as MFM stands as one of the highlight of the celebration of Visit the Philippines Again (VPA) 2016.

For information on International Gastronomy Congress, e-mail congress@madridfusionmanila.com, call 893-7973 or visit www.madridfusionmanila.com.

For information on the Trade exhibit, call 929-7993,929-7963 or exhibits@madridfusionmanila.com.

For information on the Flavors of the Philippines Festival, email flavorsofthephilippines1@gmail.com. or call 832-5401.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

TBMN's Snow: The Art of Pastry-making Contest

It's always fascinating to learn about new products especially if it's about a baking ingredient.  There are thousands upon thousands of products being introduced but you never know which works suitably for your baking products.  I'm saying this in behalf of my cohort bakers.

Thus, when I got to be introduced to TBMN's Snow Non-Dairy Whipping Cream, I became stirred and I can't wait how it differs from the usual products I'm accustomed to. Snow is now listed under a roster of leading brands in this industry and has continuously top the Philippines Market.  It has been gradually rising in the field of usage, demand and classification in today’s local pastry and dessert industry.  I guess that explains why there are more stocks of Snow at Chocolate Lovers when I last visited one of their branch.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Teaching My Kids About Sacrifices at Hulugan Falls, Luisiana, Laguna

Sacrifice, what does it mean to you? 

It may mean differently to everyone, but for moms, giving up regular sleep, beauty regiments, going out with friends to attend to the needs of the family are just forms of sacrifices.  Many successful people saw sacrifice as the key to their successes.  So, why not teach it to my kids, firsthand, before they even gain the understanding after a failure or a hurt?

As parents we can instill many things to our kids as they are growing up.  Wouldn't you want your kids thanking you in the future after earning their first million or after getting their college diploma?
I definitely would, my kids mean the world to me and I want them to be successful in all they endeavor with.

Since definitions are the bedrock of clear thinking, let me start by proposing a definition of sacrifice. Sacrifice is simply giving up something or giving something, but for the sake of a more valuable cause. 

To teach this to my kids I had brought them with us to see the hidden waterfalls in Luisiana, Laguna. Well, ok, this was incidental, I know this could be quite risky for my daughters, aged 10, 11 and 17 years old, but I never realized that we will all learn in the process, the hard and tiring way...but it was all worth it.

First of the many sacrifices we had to endure was leaving our dogs behind while we're off seeking adventure.  Next to that is having to drive from 7 in the morning (fleeing away from Manila traffic coz of #APECtado) up to 12 in the afternoon, from Pasay to Luisiana, Laguna.

Luisiana is the municipality next to Pagsanjan and Cavinti.  It sits atop the Sierra Madre mountain and the drive is slightly likened to the way to Baguio.  An uphill drive after a quick stopover at the beautiful municipality of Pagsanjan will take you to Cavinti.  You don't need to go to the town proper of Luisiana, the road along Cavinti will reveal a poster which leads to the jump off of the Hulugan Falls, We almost drove passed by it, you won't miss the big poster if your sight is on the right side of the road.

We then took a right turn at the bend and stopped by a group of people and we asked about the Hulugan falls.  A lady told us that we need to be accompanied by a local tour guide, and that we need to stop and park at the Barangay Captain's residence for registration and briefing.

The tour guide was already waiting on that shed and we were asked if it is ok for the tour guide to ride with us to the last stop.  After receiving our tour guide, Mang Tonying Sarmento, we asked about how long have they been receiving tourists in their area.

According to Mang Tonying, Hulugan Falls has just been reveled to the public just about two months ago.  Though the people who lives nearby new about it for a long time, they don't really let others know about it.  For one, the trek down isn't developed yet so it's dangerous and a bit long.  Another thing is that they don't want it to be destroyed by the visitors.

Reaching the house of the current Barangay Captain, we parked in front and had lunch at their waiting shed and garden.  The lady was also accommodating and upon seeing my two girls, she felt slightly worried and asked if Mang Tonying would be able to carry one of them.  It maybe some sort of joke or something, but I assured the lady taking care of the registration that my girls could handle the trek and we will take care of them.

Registration is first and foremost important, and you only need to pay P10 each.  The minimum fee for the tour guide is P 100, though you can pay them more as you will realize that they'd be a huge help, we payed our guide  P500.

They have a store there where you can buy resfreshment and some things you might need after the trek.

We took a quick lunch and fixed the things we will need to bring.  Let me advise you to bring less, if you need to bring something, just bring a towel, bottled water and put it in a backpack so that you have free hands to balance and grab on to some branches and twigs as you scale the hillside.  Make sure that your cell phones and cameras have waterproof casing or bags to hid it in.

Just a couple of steps before going down the slope, you will see and meet friendly locals selling some stuff nearby.

So you don't really need to bring any snacks on the waterfalls. Picnic must be a no-no to prevent pilfering the place.  However, we brought a couple of chocolate bars for the girls, who might need to boost their energy and for my diabetic daughter.

Since it rained the night before our trip, we expected for the path to be muddy. So, if you're antsy about muds and soil, this isn't for you.  My girls are, but I told them they don't have a choice, it's how it is living in this kind of condition.  Also, don't wear your favorite or most expensive rubber shoes or you might die having it buried in the mud.  But make sure you wear your most comfortable, outdoor shoes that is held up with strings.

My girls kept on saying sorry about having their soles all muddy, for they knew it's going to be hard to clean them up. I just kept on reassuring them that it was fine and the muddy trek will all be worth it.

We were told that the trek is around 45 minute to an hour.

Along the path, you will also come across locals riding on a horse or carabao. My kids were so anxious to know more about life here in the hills.

After 30 minutes of walking up and down hillsides, we reached this low-lying river.

We were told that we are already near so, it stopped for a bit to clean our feet and shoes, so far my kids don't have scratches yet and no one slid on the mud.  Above is my daughter Danielle with her special friend, Kim.

My husband (the one wearing a hat) supporting our kids as they cross the river.  Mang Tonying was so helpful, as he was the one always holding on to our girls as we took care of ourselves.

No this isn't the falls yet, it's just part of the river that we crossed over...

Another 30 minutes of walking, climbing, sliding down on muddy grounds, holding on to dear life as you prevent getting mud all over and this beheld us.

Approximately 200 meters away from the waterfalls, you can already see it's majestic beauty.  Even way beyond that point of sight, you can hear it's powerful yet majestic gush.

As my kids and the group that was before us, scrambled their way to experience the falls, we got held up by it's beauty and we just had to take a shot from a far.

My girls and Kim, were ahead of us about 200 m, as they were so excited to be in the water.  Can you notice how the others and my kids were having a hard time crossing huge boulders?

At this day tour, my two girls are the only kids who did the trek.  I would not recommend bringing kids that needed to be carried, however, if the trek isn't that muddy, I guess it would be ok.  Probably, summer is the best time to bring your kids.

The path to the waterfalls isn't easy, it was hard for me and my husband so the challenge was really something to my kids.  I'm just glad they were up to it. I'm proud to say that I didn't hear any complains throughout the trek. 

We were also thankful of Mang Tonying, our tour guide for taking care of us.

When they finally reached Hulugan Falls, they all chorused, "it is so beautiful, all the walk, going up and down, plunging in the mud, sliding, it's all worth it."

I couldn't agree more.

After the refreshing dip and marveling at the view of both the falls and the surrounding, we headed up again and the trek up was even more challenging as you need to leap from huge muddy steps.  We took a different route, which is said to be shorter but harder.  The tour guide was a bit hesitant to have us in that path, but he made sure we will all be safe.

After reaching the top ground, it was a relief, but we needed to do at least a 20 minute walk to where we were parked.  

It was when I asked my girls about how the tour was.  My Dana, who is a juvenile Diabetic, thanked me, but she said "Mommy, this day was full of sacrifices!"  She then went on and said "I sacrificed a lot to be in this place, like I sacrificed Aldub's #kalye serye, playing my game, reading my current novel and lounging in my bed for this." 

And of course the trek itself was a big sacrifice in itself as getting there may mean risks and danger, body pains, and some other misfortune.  Although, I didn't think it that way, for I know this experience will bring a fresh inspiration, a fresh perspective to what life in the rural areas is, a fresh insight to what could be the outcome of a certain decision.

After all, I did ask them if they want to go to the beach or see a spectacular waterfalls, and they all agreed on the latter.  

So, did you think I succeeded in my goal of educating them about sacrifice?

Let me end with this short video.

For other waterfalls suggestions, check out my links below: