December 31, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

A Prosperous and Blessed New Year ... from our family to yours ...!!!

December 30, 2010

Just Chillin' Out

We are set to welcome 2011 in the cold City of Pines! 

For the second straight year, our family trooped to Baguio to spend the holidays. Whereas we stayed from the 28th to the 30th last year, our schedule this year only permitted us to leave work yesterday, December 29. On our way, we decided to take a detour to visit and say a quick prayer of thanks at the Church of Our Lady of Manaog in Pangasinan.

Our Lady of Manaog

The drive was pleasant and relaxed all throughout the trip. We reached Baguio at around 1pm. HB and I took a nap and while we did, our girls got busy and hammed it up in front of the camera. With a tripod, they took shots as they roamed around the condo unit as well the clubhouse of Ridgewood Residences in Camp 7 in Kennon Road, which is our haven in this city.  

street kids, anyone?

After napping, we went to SM to purchase our supplies for the duration of our stay. We headed back to the condo shortly after we finished.

Earlier this afternoon, we headed out to PEZA and Camp John Hay to check out the export overruns. Disappointed with the wares, we drove to Burnham Park where HB and I watched some locals playing football.

wacky-ing it up inside the car

And to celebrate our wedding anniversary, we had dinner at the original Solibao Restaurant in Burnham Park. As HB and I found the Sinigang na Bagnet to be perfect for the cool clime during our last trip here in July, we ordered it once again for our girls to try.

our second take of Sinigang na Bagnet

This time, we partnered it with inihaw na pusit which was grilled to perfection as the squid meat remained soft and tasty. 

inihaw na pusit (grilled squid) served in an old-style Filipino pan

After dinner, we drove back to the condo for more bonding time. The fire place was set up and the girls roasted hot dogs.

my girls and their roasted hot dogs

Nothing tourist-y for us, just pure chillin' out ... we slept to our bodies' content, we ate when we felt like it, we watched dvd's, we sang videoke, and we drank spirits by the fire as our girls munched on roasted marshmallows and hot dogs. It is a perfect time for us and I sure hope there would be more in the next year to come.

December 27, 2010

Christmas in Our Home

On Christmas Eve, my girly girls can hardly wait for the clock to strike 12 so they could open their gifts. For the two younger girls, their much awaited gift is that from Santa. Yes, my girls still believe in Santa Claus and they wrote down their wish list as early as October. Even though their classmates told them that Santa was a myth, my girly girls have stuck to their belief so we all continue with the tradition.

And in line with tradition, our usual norm is to have dinner and drinks with HB's clan and go home at about 11 to finish our own preparations. By midnight, we all kiss and hug one another and we gather around our dining table for a quick prayer led by HB, greet Jesus a Happy Birthday and warm our tummies with our noche buena. Only then do we allow our girls to open their gifts. 

Amidst their excitement and shrieks of happiness, we are quite thankful for the wonderful blessings that continue to come our way. We've got such a small home but we are proud to say that it is filled with so much joy, laughter and chatter of our precious girly girls. Love truly abounds at Christmas.

December 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Princess Fiona!

The stress level has gone own dramatically ... all the Christmas gifts are wrapped and most were given out during the kid's school parties and our office parties ... the gifts for my side of the family were given out earlier while we are due to have dinner with HB's family in a while. And if I may say so, our party for my youngest daughter, Fiona, went well and was a hit with her close friends. I am so grateful for the parents of her classmates who took the time to bring their daughters to celebrate with us. I am quite thankful too for my brothers and sisters in-law who all exerted efforts to brave the traffic to party with us. We were deeply honored with their presence and it all made Fiona's day special.

To my princess Fiona, happy birthday sweet sweet child and may all your wishes come true! We love you so so much!!!

November 15, 2010

Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help

The Baclaran Redemptorist Church

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine

Last Wednesday, November 10, HB and I completed our 9th Novena at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at the Baclaran Redemptorist Church. For 9 straight weeks, we made time and sought solace and intercession. 

Doing the trip itself was no easy task. As we live all the way in Quezon City, it was a 1 1/2 hour trek to Baclaran. We tried EDSA and C5 to see which road had less traffic. We found C5 to be more convenient for us, provided we left the house at 7:20 a.m. so that the mad rush from Xavierville going to Ateneo and Miriam Schools were finished. We traversed C5 all the way to the McKinley Hills and passed by the Fort Bonifacio Road which led all the way up to the Airport Road  and turned right on Roxas Boulevard.

Parking was also a major challenge for us. For the first three weeks, we managed to park inside the church grounds. On the succeeding weeks, we tried our luck and parked on the interior road parallel to Roxas Boulevard which required extreme patience. There were times when I almost gave up because I had my work hours to think about, but HB was determined so we persevered. There were a couple of times when we "befriended" an old parking attendant just so he would favor us and give us a slot. But at one time too, the only "slot" available was at a gutter fronting Roxas Boulevard. Thank goodness, HB's car had a trusty suspension and we made it.

The devotion to the novena itself taught us a lot, as the prayers were quite humbling. In addition, there was something very comforting to be amongst people from all walks of life as we all sang the hymns and recited the prayers. It must be true that there is power in the number of people who pray unanimously.

the altar

Through it all, our patience and perseverance was tested. And we learned quite much in those trials because we never gave up. In all those weeks, HB and I learned so much ... about life and about each other. Our devotion proved that we both needed one another to strengthen each other. 

On our 8th week, in the midst of reciting the prayers, I looked up and glanced at my husband and thought that my prayers have been answered for he is my miracle. And I felt that we have come a long way since. 


November 13, 2010

Good Eats in Cebu - Part 3 - Royal Krua Thai Restaurant

On our second night, HB and I purposely veered away from Filipino food and tried the Royal Krua Thai Restaurant located at the Banilad Town Center.

Royal Krua Thai Restaurant in Banilad Town Center, Cebu

We ordered the Royal Sampler which consisted of breaded fish fillet, fried chicken pandan, Thai spring rolls, and fried beef in sesame seeds and it was served with three different sauces ...

Royal Sampler, Php 220

... and paired it with their crab fried rice ...

crab fried rice

... which was enough to nourish this happy couple below:

HB and I

Good Eats in Cebu - Part 2 - Abuhan Restaurant

For lunch on our second day, we went to Abuhan Dos Restaurant which is touted to serve the best pochero in Cebu.

Abuhan Dos Restaurant on F. Ramos Street in Cebu City

The following photos are shots of Abuhan Dos' menu to give you an idea of the restaurant's various offerings:

We did not think twice and ordered the dish which made this restaurant famous.

Beef Pochero, Medium Php 304

This was just the medium size order and HB and I had much difficulty finishing it. To say that it was sinfully delightful is an understatement. HB and I exercised self control in eating the bone marrow and each of us just took small portions. (pa-healthy kuno ;) ) The broth was very tasteful and it instantly warmed our tummies. In addition, the meat was very tender and easy to take off from the bone. 

And while Cebu's pochero is actually what Manilenos and Batanguenos call bulalo, we had no regrets in taking time to sample the Cebuano version of this classic Filipino comfort food.

November 12, 2010

Good Eats in Cebu - Part 1 - Hukad sa Golden Cowrie Restaurant

On our first night in Cebu, HB and I dined in one of Cebu's finest homegrown restaurant - Hukad sa Golden Cowrie which was located at the Terraces of the Ayala Center Cebu.

Menu board in front of the restaurant

interior dining area

exterior dining area

We chose to sit outside because we wanted to enjoy the view of the Ayala Center gardens.

overlooking the gardens of Ayala Center Cebu

For starters, we ordered the baked scallops

Baked Scallops, Php 123
and it was absolutely divine. As I popped the first scallop meat in my mouth, I felt my eyes open wide as I tasted the lemon butter and garlic and I felt the cheese melt. It was really delicious and baked to perfection. I easily understood why this dish is one of the restaurant's best seller.

Our next dish was a boo-boo of sorts. We ordered atchara (pickled unripe papaya) as a side dish and were surprised to be given this huge serving:

Atchara, Php 29
We couldn't help but laugh at ourselves and exclaimed that for less than 30 bucks, we did not order the  content of a whole bottle.

Our main course was the grilled baby back ribs.

Grilled Back Ribs Regular, Php 209
The meat was tender and succulent and it easily came off the bones. This was just the regular sized back ribs and it proved enough for a couple of not-so-heavy eaters.

We were curious when we saw that they served "blue crab" which was known locally in Cebu as lambay. For 110 bucks, we figured it was worth a try. We chose to have the crab grilled (the other option was steamed) and it was served with lemon butter sauce. 

Blue Crab (Lambay), Php 110
Though the crab was small in size, it was meaty and had plenty of the orange-colored deposits (which we Filipinos call taba or fat) beneath its shell.

Rice was served by a roving waitress who scooped it with a ladle from a wooden bucket to our plates. The restaurant's name, Hukad, was actually derived from this gesture. In addition, diners could ask repeatedly for more and eat all the rice they wanted. 

The service was good and efficient and we barely had trouble communicating with the purely Cebuano staff. Even when all our orders were served on our table, our waiter came up to us several times and asked us if there was anything else we wanted or needed.

It is no wonder then that the local Cebuanos take pride in recommending Hukad sa Golden Cowrie Restaurant. The affordable prices and quality of food make the dining experience memorable and worth coming back to.


Hukad sa Golden Cowrie Restaurant
The Terraces, Ayala Center Cebu
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Telephone Number:  417.1301

Golden Cowrie Native Restaurant
Salinas Drive, Lahug
Cebu City
Telephone Numbers: 233.4670 ; 233.4243

Lower Ground Level, SM City Cebu
Telephone Number: 231.8530

Level 1, Robinson's Cybergate
Fuente, Cebu City
Telephone Number: 236.5740

Mactan Marina Mall
Lapu-lapu City, Cebu
Telephone Number: 238.1206

Rosario Strip, Limketkai Center
Cagayan de Oro City

November 8, 2010

Food Outlets at the NAIA Terminal 3

Travel Date: November 4, 2010

Cebu Pacific Check-in Counters at the NAIA Terminal 3

After checking in our luggages, HB and I decided to grab a quick bite at the NAIA Terminal 3 before our flight. We went up to the mezzanine level and checked out the different food stalls:

Yellow Cab Pizza

our country's top food chain: Jollibee

Dimsum and Dumplings

Raku - Japanese Ramen

Grand Kitchen

Le Amoretto Cafe and Bar

Mini Stop for supplies, groceries and other stuff

Mister Donut


Inside the departure area for domestic flights, there were more food shops to give travelers various choices.

Let's Chow and Chipstead



Mrs. Field's Cafe - coffee and a selection of their sweet treats


There were still other food stalls all the way to the end but we had to rush as it was time to board the plane. Will update this post when I get the next chance to roam inside the terminal.

Related Post:
New Shops at the NAIA Terminal 3

October 27, 2010

Remembering Bacolod's Fine Scallops

In my previous trips to Bacolod, I fell in love with the scallops which we devoured upon the recommendation of my 'in-laws'. Since then, I constantly craved for it and would search for that particular kind in the markets back here in Manila.

Last Saturday, I chanced upon those same scallops sold in Farmer's Market and they were at PhP 350 a kilo! But my mouth already watered from the memory of its taste and I asked HB if he could duplicate the way it was cooked in Pala-pala in Bacolod.

Scallops in Buttered Lemon Sauce from Hyksos Tulahan in Bacolod 

Here is HB's version:

HB's version of the Buttered Lemon Scallops

Hmmmm ... not quite the exact way it was cooked but nonetheless I savored every morsel. HB needs one more batch to get it right ... or perhaps, it's time to go back to Bacolod?

October 26, 2010

The Boracay Sands Hotel

The Boracay Sands Hotel was our haven in the paradise island of Boracay. Located at Station 3, it was a good distance away from the crowd and bright lights of the island's hub that is D'Mall (or Station 2 for that matter). Travelers who long for a bit of respite from any semblance of cityscape would love the quiet spot of the Boracay Sands which is but a few steps away from the beach.

The Boracay Sands Hotel at Staion 3

The hotel boasts of a Mediterranean theme, with arches greeting guests from the entrance to the whole courtyard, the center of which was an indoor pool.

indoor pool

indoor pool at night

When we were ushered to our room, I appreciated this nice touch:

a sea shell on our room number

Our room was tastefully furnished, with mostly shades of brown in a variety of textures. I felt instantly enveloped in the warmth exuded by the finishings.

DeLuxe Room

The bathroom was nice and modern.

toilet and bath

In the course of our stay, the hotel staff were gracious and never failed to greet the guests. They were also accommodating and were well trained to please the mostly Korean tourists. Somehow, I felt proud of  the Filipino brand of hospitality.

With amenities that could give the five-star hotels a run for their money, coupled with warm and friendly staff, the Boracay Sands Hotel is one simple but luxurious hotel and guests would truly emerge as recharged and relaxed. We will definitely be back!


Boracay Sands Hotel
Station 3, Sitio Manggayad
Manoc-manoc, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan
Telephone numbers: (+63 36) 288 4966 to 67