Saturday, March 31, 2012

Galactic World at Marriott Manila: An Easter Celebration

Blast-off into an astronomical adventure where the whole family is set to see a glimpse of the galaxy. For the upcoming holiday break, why not whip up your own Marriott Manila experience with a bang and avail the Big Bang Stay package for only P10, 980 net. From April 1 to 10 for minimum stay of two nights, this offer includes two tickets to the Lost in Space Easter Party and Game Zoo credits at the Newport Mall. You’ve likely heard about Marriott’s world-renowned ultra plush beds and pillows, opulent bathrooms, sleek and chic nooks of the room. With few opportunities to enjoy longer breaks, now is the best time to treat the whole family in the midst of a packed and busy first quarter.
And on April 8, we greet the Easter Sunday celebration with two-hours of exploring the universe‘s most fantastic galactic goodies and activities. For only P500 (kid) and P1, 000 (adult) entrance fees, get to discover Marriott Manila’s phenomenal Easter party which has been packed and full for two years straight. Hunt for shooting stars and join the aliens for an afternoon of face painting, magic tricks, and games. Plus, there are also inflatables, acrobats and the most-awaited egg hunt that all kids are surely looking forward to. Aside from these, we pump up the thrill with an exciting line up of lip smacking snack sampling from Kroketten, the crunchy and healthy Danish potato balls with Pinoy twist. Aside from this, Jack and Jill are also giving away their most-loved products from chips to cookies! If the games and activities will make you feel dry, Fruit Magic has a thirst-quenching booth of fresh fruit juices. Plus it doesn’t end there. If you fancy heavy and filling afternoon snacks and finger food, the buffet station offers sensual varieties the whole family will surely drool over. This Easter, executive chef Meik Brammer sweeps off everyone’s feet with his long list of menu: ham and cheese finger sandwich, tuna sandwich in sesame bun, pop corns, fried chicken wings with barbeque sauce, vegetable fried rice with shredded egg, macaroni cheese, mini pizza, colorful cup cakes, cookies, fruits, and chocolate fountain with condiments. 

To enliven the galactic vibe, Enchanted Kingdom ’s Eldar and Princess with Chips Delight’s Smiley and Bugsy are ready with their dance numbers to make the little ones extra perky and entertained.
Since we understand that every good party never makes anyone leave empty handed, all participants will take home a gift loot packed with candies and snacks courtesy of Nestle Oishi, Jack and Jill products, Chips Delight, Yakult, Durukan lollipop, Hirsch chocolate, Robbie Rabit items, souvenir memo pad, star pen, pencil, and ID lace from Enchanted Kingdom. Baicapture will also keep the memories alive with their photo booth ready to take captured moment as a souvenir of the event.
While the entrance is affordable, the party brings the fun and delicious afternoon 5-star experience of Marriott Manila. From the service, program, and menu--no one will ever feel shortchanged.
For a more private Easter celebration, head to Marriott CafĂ© where an elaborate brunch buffet spread awaits at P2,  500 per head, with inclusive  one Lost in Space Easter party ticket. Explore the fourteen mouthwatering stations with more delightful gourmet additions from Cru Steakhouse, huge chocolate room, and martini section. With this and more, Marriott Manila is simply the perfect venue to revel on the Easter.
An inviting beacon set in the world-class casino entertainment complex of Resorts World Manila, Marriott Hotel Manila is the place to work and play. Ideally located in Newport City across Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, it is a convenient 15 minute drive from Makati Business District and Bonifacio Global City . Affording a splendid view of the adjoining 18-hole Villamor Golf Course, it boasts 342 exquisite guest accommodations that offers luxurious bedding, in-room safe, mini-bar, high-speed Internet, air conditioning, 40" full high definition LCDs with IPTV, videos on demand and jack pack plug-and-play system. The hotel features excellent dining options such as Marriott Cafe, Cru Steakhouse, Java+ and Lobby Lounge. Leisure facilities include Quan Spa, Health Club, Salon and Newport Mall. With a Grand Ballroom and several meeting rooms, Marriott Hotel Manila is also the ultimate destination for meetings and events, from weddings to gala dinner celebrations.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Are You a New Gen Mom?" asked Johnson and Johnson

I am a mom to four  highly  aggressive and  fun-loving kids.    With all of them going to school,  a business running at home,   a church Sunday-school to manage,  attending events,  blogging and not to mention a  romantic husband, I think I would qualify  to what  J & J  dubbed as  new generation of  mothers.  

Most women nowadays epitomize  the New Generation of Moms today.    In this fast-paced, digital age, they are able to balance their work, personal time and advocacies, while making sure that family is always her top priority.  Efficiently managing   various responsibilities, relying on  support systems  from Lola to Yaya to help care for her family and utilizing technology to keep in constant touch with the stakeholders in her personal and professional life. One who  is always ahead of the game, knowing the latest news and trends and shares these experiences with her friends and family.

Learning to Love Cheese at Restaurant Verbena

Back in the days of bell bottoms, ironed hair, and harvest gold kitchen appliances, fondue parties were all the rage. The 1970s have returned with a vengeance, thanks to Deal Grocer,  and so, it would seem, has fondue. Gone are the simple communal pots in frighteningly drab earth tones—nowadays, fondue has gone gloriously high-tech, complete with LED heaters, fashionable finishes, and even funky shapes, such as one that looks like a Hershey’s Kiss.

But how did it all begin? The word fondue simply means “melted” in French and specifically refers, in the culinary sense, to melted cheese.   Here in the Philippines chocolate fondue are preferred over what  it originally was.  Fondue was originally created out of necessity by people living in remote villages in the Swiss Alps. With only local food sources to sustain them during harsh winters, they found that melting stale cheese rendered it not only edible, but delicious, and that even dried-out bread became quite good when dunked in this creamy concoction.
Many varieties of the Classic Swiss Fondue now exist, with each cuisine adding its own twist—special seasonings, regional cheeses, different cooking liquids. For example, the Fondue Savoyarde of the French Alps calls for Beaufort cheese and Savoyard white wine, while the traditional Fonduta of Italy’s Piedmont region employs a sweeter Fontina cheese and egg yolks. As for American Fondue, well, we’ve evolved beyond the days of melted Velveeta—we recommend using a good artisanal cheese and American-distilled cherry brandy.

During our weekend at Tagaytay, for my daughter's birthday, Bhogs and I luckily found time  all for ourselves for a  snack, after a light to medium dinner at Shakey's Tagaytay.    Armed with a Deal Grocer voucher on our left hand and  faith on our right, we snatched a fine moment  at  Restaurant Verbena of Discovery Suites.
Restaurant Verbena  is a dining destination with great ambiance, exceptional service and a strong sense of place.  It  is the showcase food outlet of  Discovery Country   Suites Tagaytay,  an idyllic 7-bedroom private vacation home that was converted into a luxurious Bed & Breakfast.   Chef David Pardo de Ayala has a continental culinary background but his creative incorporation of local ingredients is renowned and celebrates the rich harvest of Tagaytay.   Its inclusion in the internationally prestigious Miele Guide is a testament to the restaurant’s standing in the local dining scene. Also listed at  Asia Tatler's  finest restaurant guide.
As we waited for our  Cheese fondue and deciding whether to order more, though we can still smell pizza on our sleeves, we were served with a bread with three dips.  For a motley of taste, the three small bowls hold, a tomato based dip, for a tangy-oily yet rustic touch,  next carried the chicken vile butter with chives, next is something of a garlic dressing.
I don't know what really to expect,  I could not recall if I had a cheese fondue already,  but can dipping your  potato chips or garlic bread slices into microwave-melted cheddar count? 
Let me tell you, it  was nothing short of amazing! 
As promised by deal grocer, we were swept away by this romantic food-trip that is summer-perfect, with a classic Emmental Cheese fondue.  A traditional fondue at its finest, made with ementhaler, kirsch, and white wine.
 The big rectangular plate was filled with a gamut of dietary, fiber-filled delight,  cherry tomatoes, croutons, char-grilled shitake mushrooms, pan-fried potato cubes, and baby carrots.   A communal pot like this is so deserving to a group of 4 to six and paired with white wine would be an absolute table enticer.
 Here is a view just before the sun had set.  An overlooking view of the Taal Lake, the Discovery Suite's Garden and pool area, on the veranda seating area.
Hey, there's a lot more to this restaurant, do make it a point to check their menu out and stopover whenever you'll be in Tagaytay!

Restaurant Verbena - Tagaytay
Discovery Country Suites
300 Calamba Road,
San Jose Tagaytay City

Contact numbers:
+63 46 413 4567 (Tagaytay)
+63 02 529 8172

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Suriviving Tagaytay Over a Boutique Hotel

So much for a weekend in Tagaytay.  
Being easily  traversed to,  Tagaytay isn't remote to us anymore, we celebrated family occasions and just about any special celebrations.   An hour or less will get you at the ridge from Manila, without traffic and with a usual stop-over for steamed  corn on the cob (Mais puti is my favorite).
My youngest daughter, Danica had her dedication at Max's, we had our first celebration of wedding anniversary  year's ago at Gerry's Grill and back then we would have picnics at The Picnic Grove or the Tagaytay Highlands  on  Holy Weeks or New Years.   I'm sure you also a have a story somewhere in your vast memory about a special occasion here also, a wedding perhaps?
This time my daughter, Danielle-not-Daniel (spinned-off from Psuedonymous Bosch novels) and the whole family celebrated her birthday here.   She doesn't like having parties and all.   She loves lazying around over a good movie and an intimidatingly-funny novel, so thinking about this is easy.
Thank God for the internet and for hotel deals website, for hotel reviews and blogs, we get to check first where to stay and get good values.
Upon searching for hotel promos on the net, we found Lee Boutique Hotel with deals at   Getting the deal is a breeze with an efficient credit card.   But before I bought the deal, I called the official LEE Boutique Hotel numbers to validate the information.   When purchasing a hotel room on the internet, you need to downsize your search and make it specific.   Reading their policies made my purchasing power even greater.   I have read that adults are considered to be having an age above 17.  So if your kids are below seventeen, they are still considered as a child.    Is that just me, have I read that wrong or what?  
Too make this rant short I purchased an Executive Room.   When I do this I don't consider my two little ones on the purchase, meaning I searched for  a room for four adults and this was referred to me.   I have four kids, two of them are bigger than me already and are in their teens, so we consider them as adults already.   The executive room, being the lowest priced room fit for us, was what I thought could be most suitable, so I got it.

Here are the downside though.
When I payed it, the tax and service charges which are  not in the promo, got it to almost P 5K.   When it was only P3,200.   Well for some that may be cheap already.After the payment was confirmed, I got an email and an SMS confirming my payment and booking.   Only to find out that the Executive Room only has one Queen-sized bed or  an option to change it to two twin sized bed.   Also,  the room only accommodates 2 adults and 2 kids.   Now, that can't be, so I hailed myself to talk to the admin but wasn't able to have the luxury.
A weekend with my kids could be expensive, and in Tagaytay.
We couldn't take having this vacation to be ruined, not even our budget.
So as we get there, the personnel talked us into getting a supreme room, one that is separate and will have two other adults separated from our group

 Tsk, tsk, thinking quickly, my husband thought of getting another hotel for the two of us, one that's cheap.   Bracing myself for the disappointment,  I had the kids checked in and settled and explaining why we could stay with them this time.  
Another fear came to me, what if in the middle of the night, my Dana suffers form hypoglycemia?    Driven also by the thought if I could settle in the room we might get.
But I have to do away with those negative thoughts and think of other ways for all of us, and I prayed.

 As you may have noticed my kids dealt with the situation bravely and gladly.   They loved the room's homey feel and having a 35 inch LED TV on the room made it a nest for them, that's something I can't have in our bedroom.   Since it's new, the AC runs perfectly.   A mini bar will welcome you as you enter a narrow alley leading to the whole room.   On it is a mini-refrigerator,  an electric tea pot  and ready tea and coffee sachets and  cups for two.    The beds are comfortably firm with "pillow-top mattresses."   It has two enormous pillows each the kind that doesn't give you asthma,  in white covers, with a square throw pillow, with the cover that matches the wall decor a top the beds' headrests.  
Clean and unstained sheets are always on my lookout for a truly comfortable hotel,  and not too much ado on the walls, that might keep us up or have our eyes busy.    When I see a hotel room, it has to be a place where I could quickly doze off and completely sleep throughout the night.  And I think that was achieved by my kids, that is.
The lights are controlled so us just to help you go around without bumping in to something,   One good point of a boutique hotel by the way is the theme that is incorporated to the rooms.  In some hotels, they would have a design of a Victorian era, or say a garden theme with lavanders or cherry blossoms.  Come to think of it, this is not too shabby as compared to Victoria Court's themed rooms (which priced more considering you only stay for  predicted hours. 
A cozy sofa to warm you if your over-stuffed on the bed and a coffee table on the other side made the room more appealing.   Lastly, if you need to have some fresh and cool Tagaytay air, a veranda is another space for you.  Too bad no view of the famous Taal Lake and Taal Volcano can be spotted, unless you take the room upstairs, our room was situated on the ground floor.
You may probably be asking where my husband and I had our sleep.   Surprisingly, another hotel sits beside Lee Boutique.  A quaint,  simple bed and breakfast hotel which is cheaper than the other.    And the price is right.    But of course don't expect the luxury you get from Lee or some boutique hotels or uprising expensive B and Bs.  Since we were to explore Tagaytay more and just sleep to regenerate, this suffices.  Have I mentioned they also have a pool and jacuzzi and a spectacular view of the lake.
I didn't get to take a photo of our room, but, I was able to sleep,  the bed is wide and comfortably soft with two pillows.  The rooms have their own bathroom, with hot water shower.  It smelled nice and clean but you can tell that it's an old property.   Well usually hotels,resorts and restaurants too used to be private properties typically called rest houses.
 So accommodations are straightened out,  now time to celebrate.   We had our dinner at Shakey's at the Robinsons Mall beside Mountain Ridge Hotel.   A few years or months more, another mall and hotel will be erected and more restaurants and amusement centers will gain its audience in Tagaytay.   
After our dinner, to our amazement, the staff of Shakey's gathered up and sang Happy birthday to me and Danielle.   They also gave us a cup each of sundae with candles to blow.   Hard to find establishments with these kind of personal touch form the staff!  So glad we had my daughter's  birthday dinner there!  Thanks and kudos to you guys, you made us so special.

Here, Danielle blows up her candled ice cream.   This is not  her birthday yet actually, the day after this was the real day.  
Everyone seemed to love what we had at the joint, incomparable contentment and joy!
After this we made a quick stroll on the mall, where a weekend bazaar was situated at the courtyard, a good place to get pasalubong and in our case a snack for the kids while watching TV at the hotel.
Bhogs and I however, made it just in time at Verbena Restaurant at the Discovery Suites for our time without the kids for a late cheese fondue.   A soothing and invigorating one and a half hours massage for us both at Banahaw massage and Spa then  followed after.    The massage, evasive enough to relax our tired brawns for only P 350 each, for a non-member service.   
A simple continental breakfast for two are included in the hotel charge and here is a photo of Danielle's plate
Our check out time the following day was at 12 noon, so we took off without any trouble and head down south to Paseo de Sta. Rosa to bring kids to Ryuma Restaurant and do some Koi feeding at the Solenade at Nuvali.
If  you are dubious about how much we have splurged on a weekend as such, let me give you a rough computation:
Accomodation:   Lee Boutique:  less than P5, 000 (Charged to CC) **
                          Aroma                           P 1800 including breakfast
                          Shakey's (free/with GC, just some of the perks of being a blogger)
                          breakfast for the kiddos P 300
                          snacks                           P 100
                          gasoline                         P 1500
                          Birthday lunch at Ryuma P 1500 (desserts were free) and kids took home toys given 
                          Total:  roughly P5 000 ++
Time with kids:   PRICELESS
Fun and enjoyment with the family: PRICELESS
Possibilities on how everything turns out to be:  LIMITLESS, the best however  are the ones where you can soar above any circumstances, proving that there will always be answers to any difficulties as long as you maintain a positive and faithful disposition.
So much to see in  Tagaytay, here are photos which we took during the travel...Will try to do more review of new places to see, and experience.

A Party in Honor of Marriott Manila's New General Manager

“I realized that great leaders are those who value teamwork and worth of his people while he takes time to hone his expertise.” I’m glad that this company instills this kind of culture so I am confident that Marriott Manila associates are not just anyone else. Staffs are service-oriented, food and beverage offerings continue to become more exciting, and guests simply realize that there’s more to experience at Marriott Manila. I am confident that our property will soar higher and better this year."    These are words from  Scott Sibley.
The new  General Manager of  Marriott Manila Hotel, who is not new to hotel services.  A veteran in the industry who have been with  Marriott Guam Resort and Spa for six years, and have had positions at Marriott USA, Canada, UAE, South Korea.
Now he is ready to take on a new league, this time with Filipinos.   This bring about so much excitement and honor in his behalf, being married to a Filipina and have worked with Filipinos in Guam,  Philippine culture is not a new thing for him, in fact, according to him, he found love here in our country, that is, the people, the culture and the feel of a tropical country.
The event was a blast,  a treasure of food abound...

As you can see, Marriott has bigger fish to fry, literally.    One can get bloated or stay healthy at this event, with tuna, big yellow fin tunas, fresh and sliced as sashimi and served on sushis.   Where on the other side a table full of fish crackers and deep fried and crunched fillet of fish were laid out.

 Not so far is the table  for  make-your-own soup  spot... with all kinds of vegetables, meat,  seafood and soup bases await the guests to warm up their palates.

If you think that's a hella of a party, wait till you see what were all over the joined ballrooms of Marriott.   Heavenly  and artsy  desserts of chocolate concoctions to French Macarons.
Don't be surprised these is a chocolate painting.   Which is being sold and I guess can be eaten, hmmm, now you need to call Marriott for more info on this.  They used to have the Chocolate Room at Marriott Cafe, let me get back to you on that.
At a far, you would not tell that this is something that can be eaten.  As it blended in with the hotels chic ambiance,  you would thought it is part of the decor.  The tree was made out of chocolates, the macarons being the foliage and the blossoms are chocolates too.   I've been to a lot of Marriott's events, and this is one of those that I always look forward to.
With all these I was entertained already.  But boy, Marriott  does know their business pretty well, when comes to entertaining.   The stage was abright  and  magically it had everyone paused eating for a moment, as Resorts World Entertainers glammed-up to sing and dance for everyone.

What a night, for more information about Marriott Hotel Manila,  check their website  link and add them up at Facebook

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Train up Your Kids to be Good Chefs This Summer

Ever wondering how you can get your hands off from the kitchen and have your kids this time play role role as  a baker?   Moderne Culinaire Academy sets the stage up for your little ones to your teenagers.  
They will be handled by the three dynamic directors of the said culinary school and will be treated like they're pros with much care and caution of course.
Summer can be fun for them,  even while they are not under the sun  but  learning,  and what best way to lead them is giving them the opportunity  to  be food-lovers with more respect to the  science and arts of  baking and cooking.   So do away with  sun-burns and  prickly heat  and have them capped and donned white  as a cavalier or  a princess off  to  baker's  wonderland.

Log on to to get more  info or 
call them at     02 6229656
                      02 8438071
                      0917 7002665

Joey Pepperoni on a Jinxed Day

On  a  night full of surprises,  a dinner can be just the thing to ease a  surprise that's not meant to be.   Do you happen to have experienced  being jinxed at  or meeting a jinx.    According to  A person or thing that is believed to bring bad luck or  a  condition or period of bad luck that appears to have been caused by a specific person or thing, is a jinx.
In a Christian mind set, this doesn't really exist or shouldn't exist.  Things happen for a reason, so I believe.   But I couldn't think of any why we have to stay  outside  a condo after having our  nephew's  motorbike ran out of gas as we were about to go home for dinner.    Coming from an event would be always mean having your  tummy filled,  but this time  I decided not to eat a lot.

I guess one question  merely sunk into my mind, why oh why, did he forget to refill gas, and why on that dark forsaken place.  

After some thoughts,  Bhogs  and I decided to wait for help, his parents.  So after hailing  a cab to bring us to a gasoline station, we stopped at McKinley Ave.  and went to Joey Pepperoni Pizzerria.

This is our first try to the said ristorante or pizzeria.  Well, we love Italian cuisine, and that's an excuse.   Yes, this blog has many firsts,  though I'm not embarrassed without bragging.
Just want to share this not so unusual dinner which was the night before my birthday,  which I had a pair of gold earrings from him.
We tried two pizzas, which is a promo they have,  the Two of a Kind, only P199 for two pizza selection.  And here are what I chose.
 The Beef and Bacon Cheese Melt, was the first to arrive.  Surprisingly, it was delightful.  For an 8-inch pizza this is heavy, and I did leave one slice to take home.  The sauce was right to my taste,  stuck to the bread without being soggy.   The melted cheddar cheese gave it the right saltiness.  Though I could somehow taste bacon, there weren't that many slices on it.  Aside from the slightly spiced ground beef, mushrooms were also present.   From a rating of 1 to 10, ten being the highest, I'd give this a six only. 
Next is the Garlic Ghamberi.  Ghamberi is Italian for shrimp, so expect it to be a bit bland.  The mozzarella cheese are not spread evenly on the whole pizza, so if my kids were with us, they'd probably leave the sides uneaten.    The crust is tough, and hard to chew and is not that appealing to the palate.   It is simply tasteless.
A poor rating of  4 out of ten could just be given.   How could they make that stand out?  There are those who look for shrimps on pizza or pasta, I guess if they had put vertical half-sliced shrimps and enough cheese on the side it would look more appetizing, like what it had looked like in the menu's picture.
And for Bhogs is the Maiale con Riso.   It is a slab of nicely grilled pork  with a sweet and spicy barbeque sauce.  The tempting, mouth-watering picture above is what I've been describing.   I never had a bite, sadly, but by the look on his plate after I've eaten a number of slices of the two pizzas, I think he liked it or was he just that hungry? 
I didn't bother to ask, he was so busy talking to his mother at the phone, for they got lost looking for us at Bonifacio Global City.   So off we went...ready for the big day ahead, more surprise without the jinx this time,  always trusting the Lord for whatever would come my way...

ARTS: Contrast Combination

As a first to a series of my art-appreciation blogs,  Contrast Combination  have enhanced  my  pleasure of  just looking at  a  craft or an art work and  my perceptive on how an art is made.   Though I was not able to meet the artists, I can simply say that nature had  played a big part on them. 
Contrast Combination feaures works in various media raunch of interests and operations.   From wood and bamboo to film and digital media.  Limited resources were used by the artists, to bring about essence, elegance and expressive forms.
Showcased on the gallery is each artists' fervent concern to the environment,  and how  they can play a great deal in the society.   In the picture above,  Bryan Maclelland exhibits his Barn Bike.   It is a fully functioning bicycle made out of bamboo.  By far, bamboo is a material that have been proved to be  functional and responsive to contemporary lifestyle.  

Ondoyan, the name of the woodcraft,  is  by Jenny Cortez from assorted Philippine hardwood.  
Together with Rock Camus, they are sculptors who uses retrieved and recycled wood in their works.  Cortez carves and constructs works inspired by natural forms.
Camus on the other hand, maximizes wood-working skills to use smaller pieces of wood which serves as a functional works of art.
Consider the picture below, by mixing carved wooden pieces he was able to form a beautiful large, heavy mirror. 

By combining discrete modules of forms he refers to "entities" to create vertical sculptures into functional objects.

Also, with the launching of Contrast Combination in Arts at BGC, 180 Cinema was  introduced.   Vinci Roxas, Diego Buenaflor, and Rock Camus spearheaded the presentation of the various filmmakers featured in the 180 Microcinema Festival, where all films are 180 seconds long.  Each short film in its rawness, portrays the film-maker's resilience and prowess in harnessing three minutes of the time.  This also welcomes poor countries to get involved in such project as it is not too costly to produce such film and only internet connection and a a big heart  telling stories in the most bizarre way for  is needed.

  Check out this website to check out the entries.   We also have Philippine entries so make sure to watch them online and make your vote.