July 18, 2011

Simple Joys on Sunday Afternoons

Our Sunday afternoons are usually spent in the vicinity of Katipunan Avenue and at the Ateneo grounds. For several years now, Sunday  afternoons are "sacred" for HB as he plays football with the Blue Guards team. This is his prime "me" time where he gets to play his favorite sport and engage in male camaraderie. 

When we tag along with him, us girls enjoy each other differently and it is a time filled with bonding moments. 

We usually spend our time browsing and shopping for storybooks, activity books, school supplies and other knick knacks inside the National Bookstore. I've always joked that my girls are literally "laking National" as they freely roamed the aisles since they were all young. We have never gone inside the bookstore without any purchase and their happy faces makes it all worth our while.

And then we're off for some snacks at a fast food joint in the area. 

On some occasions, we set up a "picnic" on the field. 

Even with just chips and juice, my girls are delighted.

When they tire of sitting down on the mat, they are free to wander (where I could still see them of course) on the grounds. They just go and ham it all up on cam.

They take turns to climb up the goal post.

They also alternately and patiently take each other's jump shots.

There was a time when HB taught them to fly a kite.

Lately, our Sunday trips include our dog, Neil. He enjoys the field as much as my girls do.

They really are all so mababaw ang kaligayahan this way, and I love that it doesn't take much to please them. Quality time with my girls is simply any time spent with them any how and any way.  We need not spend much to enjoy ourselves. And I cannot help but thank God for these simply joys!

July 16, 2011

Family Dining: Gumbo Restaurant

Our Visit: July 3, 2011

Prior to the second leg of the Azkals vs. Sri Lanka World Cup Pre-Qualifying Game last Sunday, our brood trooped to Robinson's Place Ermita. We had lunch at Gumbo and we chose it primarily because the restaurant's theme is quite similar to our family's favorite, Burgoo Restaurant. (I have feeling that both restaurants are owned by the same company but I just can't confirm that yet.)

Gumbo touts itself to espouse the New Orleans theme, relaxed and laid back. The interiors are in keeping with the colors of the Mardi Gras, a world renowned street parade and party in New Orlean's French Quarter. Green, yellow and purple are the predominant colors of the interior. And in keeping with the New Orleans theme, Cajun and Creole cuisine prevail. 

Our girls were kept busy with crayons and coloring mats
while we waited for our food.

HB ordered a set meal fit for our brood. Valued at PhP 799, the set consisted of appetizers, a choice of a Cajun or Creole dish and a main entree. In deference to our kids' taste buds, he requested to lessen the hot spice in the dishes.

Buffalo Chicken Wings,
served with celery and carrot sticks and Blue Cheese Dip

Seafood Jambalaya.
Topped with clams, mussels, squid, shrimps, and sausage,
it is a one-pot rice meal in itself.

Grilled Pork Chops
with Cajun spiced long grain rice and corn kernels. 

We also had Baked Artichoke Formaggio, an appetizer of baked garlic bread chips with artichoke dip. I'm now kicking myself as I failed to take a picture as we loved the bread chips and the dip so much. 

The service was good and fast. The staff were well trained, had pleasant demeanor and eager to please the patrons. They made sure that we were glad with our order and I especially liked that the waitress assigned to us offered to take our picture.

Our happy brood.

As evidenced by our smiles,  it was a pleasant meal experience for us. We're sure that we will be back to try their other dishes to further broaden the taste palate of our girls. 

Gumbo Restaurant Branches:

Robinson's Place Manila
3/L Midtown Wing
Robinson's Place Ermita, Manila
(02) 567.1820, (02) 567.1925

The Block
2/L The Block Building
SM North Edsa, Quezon City
(02) 442.0106 , (02) 442.0158

Mega Atrium
2/L Mega Atrium Building
SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong City
(02) 635.3015, (02) 635.9571

Gateway Mall
2/L Gateway Mall
Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
(02) 440.4632

Mall of Asia
2/L Entertainment Mall
SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City
(02) 556.0238, (02) 556.0239


Photo Op: Microtel Mall of Asia

True to their vision of "the same great hotel everywhere you go," the Microtel Inns and Suites chain of hotels prides itself with its offering of budget-friendly and no-frills accommodations. 

Microtel Philippines' 9th and largest hotel is the one found inside the Mall of Asia Complex, and I got the chance last Tuesday, July 12, to have a peek inside.

This is the largest Microtel property with 150 rooms and is actually the first in Manila. Its close proximity to the airport and the mall are most ideal for business travelers and tourists. In addition, the SMX Convention Center is but a few steps away from the doors of the hotel. 

We met with the very affable General Manager, Mr. Robbie Gonzales, whom we've known for several years from Microtel's other properties in North Luzon. He proudly showed us the DeLuxe Premiere Room and it is indeed the typical Microtel room with the same lay out and furnishings, including their renowned chiropractic bed.

The bay window seat is a standard in all the Microtel hotels. For this room, you can literally view the bay by the bay window (pun intended... I just couldn't help it, lol.) 

I have heard good raves about the hotel's restaurant in the ground floor. Unfortunately, we weren't able to sample a taste of their food as we were pressed for time. We'll definitely be back for a more leisurely time and prepare our taste buds for a good sampling of the restaurant's extensive menu. (Next week, perhaps?)

For more information, please click here to view the website of Microtel Mall of Asia.

July 12, 2011

Amber's Pancit Malabon

I have known Amber since about five years ago. Our office is about 15 minutes away from their original branch in Makati City. Birthday blow outs of office colleagues and myself won't be complete without a call for delivery of their best selling Pancit Malabon. Their other best sellers are their pork barbecue and pichi-pichi.

Last night, to celebrate our yaya's birthday and to show our appreciation for her, we ordered take-out food from Amber's branch in Tomas Morato in Quezon City.

Order sizes of the Pancit Malabon vary depending on the number of servings per person. The smallest bilao is recommended to feed about 5 people while the largest bilao is good for 25 people. But I must say that their portions are on the generous side. Price range is reasonable and affordable, starting at PhP 300 to PhP 800.

Pancit Malabon good for 5, Php 300

The Pancit Malabon is actually rice noodles with shrimp sauce which is orange in color. It is quite similar to another noodle dish, the pancit palabok. What distinguishes the pancit malabon from the pancit palabok is that the noodles of the latter are thicker in diameter. Both dishes are usually topped with slices of shrimp, boiled egg and chinese cabbage. (reference: http://panlasangpinoy.com)

Amber's Pancit Malabon is generously topped with shrimp and egg slices.

We also got lumpiang shanghai (spring roll usually filled with ground pork), which, incidentally, is my favorite party food.

Lumpiang Shanghai, PhP 8 per piece

And for dessert, we got pichi pichi, a sticky and gelatinous dessert made of cassava and sugar. While others prefer the cheese toppings on the pichi pichi, I personally favor the good old niyog (grated coconut).

Pichi pichi with fresh coconut, PhP 4 per piece

Celebrations need not be costly, thanks to the considerably affordable prices, generous portions and relatively good quality of Amber's offerings. To view Amber's menu and list of branches, click here.

July 3, 2011

Great catch! @Neil38Etheridge on Twitpic

Great catch! @Neil38Etheridge on Twitpic

Woot! Woot! With my trusty point and shoot cam, I took this shot and was deliriously happy with the outcome! We braved rain and sun and stood witness to the Philippine Azkal's definitive win over Sri Lanka in the second leg of the World Cup Qualifier Game. We all stood proud because #WeBelieve!

July 2, 2011

Photoblog: Happiness Is ... Boracay

The following photos were taken during our trip to Boracay last May. Words are excerpts from the song, "Happiness" from You Are A Good Man Charlie Brown.

Happiness is finding a pencil rainbow

knowing a secret

telling the time texting away

Happiness is learning to whistle

tying your shoe getting to the top for the very first time ...

Happiness is playing the drum in your own school band catching the sun in your palm of hand,

and happiness is walking hand in hand ...

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream,

pizza with sausage,

climbing a tree ...

Happiness is five different crayons loving cousins,

catching a firefly dance,

setting him being carefree ...

happiness is being alone every now and then,

and happiness is coming home again ...

Happiness is morning

and evening,


and night time too ...

For happiness is anyone

and anything at all

That's loved by you.

Happiness is having a sister,

sharing a sandwich playing in the sand,

getting along ...

Happiness is singing dancing together when day is through

and happiness is those who sing dance with you ...

Happiness is morning

and evening


and night time too

For happiness is anyone

and anything at all

That's loved by you!