Thursday, June 26, 2008

Zamboanga Restaurant

Zamboanga Restaurant is located in Adriatico, Manila and offers seafood and native dishes and cultural performances nightly. If you would also check their website, they also offer competive wedding, baptismal and birthday packages. Theirs even start cheaper than what Ibarra's offers.

For an authentic Zamboangan dining experience, make sure you sample their crab delicacies, especially the Curacha (cockroach-looking crab).

Give the Gift of Unlimited Photo Upload

I know, there are a lot of sites offering free photo uploads. Multiply, Photobucket, Pbase, Picasa, Flickr, Webshots, etc. You can even use the 1024 mb Blogger gives you per blog account.

But... free accounts sometimes take time to load. Or they require you to resize pictures, which can be a hassle if you don't have a software that will allow you to mass resize at will. But what happens if your hard disk crashes and all your uploaded and salvageable pictures have already been resized and reduced, resolution-wise?

So may I suggest a thoughtful gift then, in the form of a paid account for unlimited uploads. I opted to upload our pics at The yearly fees is negligible really and won't cost as much as Festina watches. Plus, if you were referred by a user already, the fees get discounted. So in case you've looked around already and also want to subscribe to Smugmug, allow me to save you $5 by entering my e-mail address (delisyus at gmail dot com) at the 'Referred By' field on the signup form.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bin There

If you're like me who owns multiple gadgets, (with chargers to go with them) chances are, your work station is also a mess of wires and cables.

The answer to keeping your work spaces clean (or manageable, at least) is using bins or separate trays. Stackable ones that are properly labeled or see-through ones will go a long way in helping you locate your stuff without having to always disentangle your MP3 players from your cellphone chargers and ID lace.

Bins also do wonders for closets and pantries. Dividers inside them, or smaller trays, will also help some more. Even shoes can be kept in bins and still be accessible for use. And of course, children's toys would do well to have bins all their own, unless you want to keep slipping and stumbling on them.

So head to your nearest Home Depot or Ikea shopping center and choose bins that will not only keep you organized, but will also accessorize your home with color. There are so many designs to choose from and you can even personalize some of them.

Eat Out, (Weight) Gain More

It's a sad fact. Eating out results in eating more, or if not more, certainly more salted or sugared fare.

I realized this yet again after having around two to three chocolate cream chip drink from Starbucks weekly last May. It was really the only deviation from homecooked meals because we seldom really eat or go out. We get the drinks while travelling to and from my in-laws.

So, although I don't need to take Orovo detox pills just yet, I did gain ten pounds in a month just because of all the caramel drizzle and extra whipped cream I stuffed myself with.

Fastfood fare is no better. Remember that video of McDonalds fries not getting any mold even after ten weeks? That's the sodium content talking! Plus, when you eat out, you often get to buying extra side dishes and desserts or getting second helpings. Want to know just how many calories your burger has? Check Burger King, they have this huge poster stating just how many calories their Whopper packs.

Because it's a fundamental law of cooking, the saltier or the fatter it is, the tastier it gets. That's how restaurants keep their patrons coming...

So if you suddenly gained weight, consider how many times you ate out this month. It could be the reason why your pants won't fit you anymore.

Coin-tainers as Giveaways

At my son's baptism, we gave away mugs with his picture and cheap pens on carabs. In the mugs, I put printed notes explaining the name choice for my son which I also connected with prosperity. So the notes ended with an invitation for all guests receiving the mug to use it as a coin-tainer.

So, whether for your wedding, a birthday or christening... even a company event or school exhibit, consider giving away things that can be used as coin-tainers. Mugs with pictures, sayings or logos will do just fine. Fancy dishes or small trays or cute bowls will also do. These will also hold pens or paper clips or other small things aside from loose change.

And if helping avoid litter isn't what you're aiming for, but actual saving, you can give piggy banks as well. Or, you can give away small clay pots and invite your friends/guests to save their coins in it, as leprechauns are wont to do with their pots of gold at the end of rainbows.

Cute gift idea eh?

Buying Rings?

Buying rings and don't really want to pay for the brand and the fancy stall? Then head to Binondo instead for the diamond rings your heart is longing for... or that precious gem you want to put on your beloved's finger.

Come prepared though. Do your research first on reputable suppliers. Ask for recommendations. Know your diamond. Don't be swept off by the cheap rates some stalls will offer. And consider the ring prices in terms of the ring quality... how many grams of gold were used? How is the appearance? Can you have it checked in other shops to corroborate quality? What is their policy on returns? What do they do if the customer feels his specifications weren't followed?

And of course, make sure you keep your receipt.

Sales and Wits

Just recently, I found myself caught between throngs of people and their grocery carts when SM Manila offered a One-Time Sale for their SM Advantage Members.

Members could buy FIVE Buy 1, Take 1 items and TEN Value Bags (with freebies). Naturally, people got swept by the opportunity to buy things at the price of one. So they loaded their carts with the Buy 1, Take 1 items being brought out of storage eventhough these weren't exactly in their grocery list.

It is so easy to lose your wits and immediately think you're getting a good deal because of offers like that. Try to exercise some control and think the items over. Do you really use that particular product? Could you really use the freebie? Will these items expire anytime soon? And are the items even good for you?

Save your money for the necessities and good buys. Keep your wits with you when shopping.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Careful with Ingredients

Branded morsels, chocolate drops and what-nots can be expensive. So woe to someone who loves a super chunky chocolate chip cookie right?

Baking supplies shops also store generic chocolate chips... but do beware that baking is more like installing a house's foundation. You can't remedy it as easily as when you're just cooking.

And using different brands will yield different results.

We made the mistake of overloading our choco chip cookie batter with generic choco chips. Sure, we got the sweetness overload we were shooting for but the choco chips also had too much butter/fats in them that resulted in a super soft bath of choco chip cookies. They all melted and got incorporated in the batter, like chocolate swirls in dough. The effect would have been more appreciated in cakes, and certainly not on cookies that are cookie-thin and cake-crumbly.

Using chopped generic chocolate blocks was actually better, albeit time-consuming.

Lesson learned... stick to the recipe. Once confident, experiment with only a portion of the batter where necessary. That way, you don't ruin the whole batch.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Cheaper Diapers?

One of the expenses parents really feel bad about is disposable diapers. Basically, it's really buying trash, or waste. But of course, not everyone is up to the challenge anymore of using cloth ones.

So, if your baby isn't very sensitive and you want to cut down on costs but still want to stick to your favored brand, what can you do?

Well, you can try the following:

Mom Massage's Dial-a-Diaper

Multiply seller

Seller 1 at Sulit

Seller 2 at Sulit

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ocean Water and Skin

One thing i've noticed is that salt water seems to be a great acne treatment for me. And I seem to have inherited the more persistent type of acne, one that has stayed even after I was through with adolescence.

I've just really observed that after a trip to the beach, I enjoy a week or two of clearer skin. Which led me wondering on whether I should bottle some of the salt water for use at home.

Weirdly enough, some actually do that!

Googling this however, I've gathered that it could be a combination of sun and sea water actually that is helping my skin to clear. The sea water has some sort of antibacterial properties (which is why, when you have minor wounds, elders encourage you to go swimming as the sea water helps speed up the healing process) but some exposure to the sun also stimulates the healing. And of course, everything in moderation, as ultraviolet rays can also damage our skin.

Still, it's one more reason to love the beach!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Breastfeed to lose Weight

Weight loss after pregnancy often seems an insurmountable task to achieve. But it is actually very possible. Just the late nights alone after the delivery of the baby (and amniotic fluid, and elimination of lochia) easily result in a ten-to-twenty pound loss.

And then there's breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding burns a lot of calories per day. Provided you don't binge on really sinful food, breastfeeding should help you lose all the pregnancy weight you put on (and maybe even some more) within two months. If you throw in lots of healthy eating there, lots of water, and some sort of exercise too apart from the late-night dancing to put the baby to sleep, you just might be surprised at how quickly you get back to wearing your old clothes.

Even celebrities attest to how much breastfeeding helped them get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. After the weight was off, all they just had to do was tone. Don't believe me? Google Heidi Klum!

Surely this is a great incentive to give more of that liquid gold to your child?

Go for Cruises

Say you and your intended are discussing what to do for your honeymoon, or rather, where to go.

You want to shop, he wants to relax on the beach. You want to check out old Churches and flea markets, he wants to try extreme sports. You want to immerse yourself in different cultures, he wants to sample differently-cooked seafood. You want a massage, he wants to party!

Plus, you both have a limited budget. And limited vacation time.

What to do? Hmmm.

You can consider cruises instead. Usually, cruise ships will take you to a different city/port of call everyday so you literally don't run out of things to see and do and will be able to manage trying different things in one go. It can also be one of the cheapest ways to visit many countries in just one vacation.

You even have the option of just getting cheaper accommodations on-board and splurging on shopping and dining in the places you'd visit, or getting a fine room to sleep in to ensure a comfortable night's rest after a busy day of sightseeing.

Work with the cruise line you're going with, however, to ensure that you get there on time for its departure, and that there'd be minimal unwanted surprises. Maybe they can furnish maps for each port of call, or at least a travelogue brochure.

Got Money to Invest?

My BIL has tipped us that commercial real estate is booming in Pampanga. He works for their late uncle's (now cousin's) company, First Worldwide, which basically maintains golf courses (so yeah, they had Fontana and Mimosa as clients).

Korean-owned companies have been investing a lot in Pampanga. Even call centers are sprouting like crazy over there. Villages and townhouses are also selling like hotcakes. Add to this the opening of the third major highway going to Baguio expected to be operational by 2009, and you really have a bustling economy separate from Manila.

So if you have some money you can use to invest, look to Pampanga for possibilities. I imagine properties there appreciating much in the next five years just from all the foreign investments.

Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino

Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino is a popular destination for out-of-towners wanting to unwind and get away from the buzz and hassle of the city. It's located inside Clark, Pampanga, some two-three hours away from Manila.

People stay in villas (one-, two-, three-bedroom ones) with a driver's room and separate CR/shower, a living room, a dining area, a kitchen equipped with a ref and a stove. All faucets offer hot water and there is some patio furniture at the back to extend the living area. Air-conditioning is centralized.

When I was still working, I'd find myself at Fontana at least once a year as it was a favorite venue for our Conferences. Mainly because a lot of the managers we support are members, plus, they love golf. The conference rooms are adequate and carpeted rooms. I never liked the food they serve though. Back then, everything tasted like buttered vegetables. But their breakfast buffet was okay. And do note that they could have improved where this is concerned.

I have only recently enjoyed their pool though. Entrance is P100 if you're a guest (I think it's P300 if you're not). Apart from not being allowed to bring in your own food, and in terms of water fun, i'd say their water park is a blast! They have a wave generator but it only generates waves at specific times of the day, and only for some thirty minutes.

The slides are superbly fun!

So if you're not really up for a beach trip, Fontana sure can entertain!

Oh, and they also made the resort Korean-friendly by simplifying the street names and putting up signs and stuff with Korean translations.

Baking Supplies

Wondering where to get baking supplies to start your own business or just spice up the desserts you're making? Consider these four:

Chocolate Lover
Main: 45 P. Tuazon St. cor. C. Benitez St., Cubao, QC
Tel. No: (632) 411-7474; 724-5752

Branch: #2 Kitanlad St., Quezon Avenue (just near the Rotonda)
Tel No: (632) 732-8576

For US and Canadian residents, see


Chefs’ Nook
220 Pilar St., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.
(02) 724-5812
Open Monday-Saturday, 9am-5:30pm.

(source : Dessert Comes First)


Sweet Craft Baking and Confectionery Supplies
Visit us at 373 Boni Avenue, Mandaluyong City
(In front of Rizal Technological University, a minute's ride from Boni MRT Station and EDSA!)
Telephone: (+632)5321595 Telefax: (+632)5326289


Ingrid's Sweet Haven
#363 Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue cor.
Liwayway Street, Barangay Caniogan, Pasig City 1606
TELEFAX: (632) 641-2561

I believe these shops also sell contaiers for your goodies, but cardboard boxes for your cakes and cookies are all still cheaper if you buy those in bulk in Divisoria. My MIL stocks up on these for her apple pies and bow tarts, and now, for cookies as well.

Travel on a Budget

The key to travelling on a budget is planning ahead.

First, decide on a destination or activity. Then do your research. Which place is nearer? Which would require more travelling time? Which offers more amenities? Which offers more activities for everyone going on the trip with you? Which offers complimentary breakfasts or tickets to local parks/shows? Are there guided tours you can join?

Come up with your itinerary months ahead. You get the cheapest fares and best cruise deals when you book ahead of time, mainly because that's already assured income for the airline or cruise line. Consider travelling during the non-peak season too (say, Boracay is absolutely filled to bursting with people during the summer, so go on the leaner months. It's also quieter then and you can have more of the white sand to enjoy).

If you're after the experience and not really the accommodations, consider just getting a day tour of a resort instead of actually staying there. Plus, staying in transient homes may just give you a better feel of the local flavor.

Lastly, consider using the rewards points or miles collected in your credit card or Flyer card. It might just land you on Business class seats you normally wouldn't be able to afford.

Monday, June 16, 2008

looking for a photo studio?

check this out:

Photo Studio For Rent (Calamba City Area)
Price: P400/hr

My studio is now open for those of you in need to shoot models or product shots.

Its just a small space, big enough for small portrait/product sessions. It has a restroom, pantry and dressing space with lifesize mirror, and is air conditioned.

You can use the following lighting equipment:

3 units Jinbei Delicacy 180/ws
1 (unit) Falcon Eyes MF45 Studio Strobe (45w)
4 light stands
1 octagonal softbox
1 rectangular softbox
1 honeycomb grid
2 silver umbrellas
1 large circular 5-in-1 reflector
1 medium circular 5-in-1 reflector
Portrait backgrounds:muslin blue, muslin brown, plain royal blue, plain white, plain white
Desktop backgrounds (for product shots): Savage Background sheets (24x31") - black, gray, white, blue, green
Table for product shots
Free use of PC with internet connection for uploading and burning purposes.

Rental fee is only P400/hour - with free 30 minutes for ingress and egress. Bookings and reservations should be done at least 2 weeks prior to desired schedule.

You can also visit my studio first for an occular inspection, download the MAP

For more info my contact details are below.


Nix Taytay

Nikko Taytay Photography
140 National Road, Mayapa, Calamba City, Laguna
Studio Tel. No. 049.8341295
Mobile No. 0928.3682678

This is absolutely great for those with DSLRs wanting to take pictures of their tots but don't really want to shell out, or be limited, by shops like The Picture Company.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Save The Boxes

Nope. This isn't about being green and recycling.

I'm referring to the boxes your cellphone units come with. Save them. Including everything inside them, especially if you aren't using them.


See, in cases when you want to trade in your older unit for a new one, units that have boxes fetch a slightly higher price.

And yes, the older your phone is, the lower it's trade-in and resale value becomes, so saving those boxes will count for something.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Spoiler Alert?

The movie was very entertaining, with some really choice parts that will get you laughing like a hyena. I mostly laughed at Po eating the peaches from the Sacred Tree and washing his armpits from the Sacred Lake (sorry, am not bothering to google what they were really called).

But... it didn't really offer anything new. I'd prefer Nacho Libre over it anytime. Or Shrek. Or Finding Nemo. Or Ice Age. Or Monsters, Inc.

I'd also even prefer those movies from a decade ago of little Shaolin kids, with the fat boy mistaken to be the next Dalai Lama just because he went after the Dalai's beads (which he thought were food).

So yeah, I liked it but I wouldn't have missed anything if I didn't watch it.

The Problem with Some Resorts...

... like Fontana, in Pampanga, for example, is that there are some things they prohibit you from bringing in. Like extra beddings for the others sharing the villa with you. Or food (snacks and drinks) in their pool. You need not leave your beer pong tables behind, but you also cannot bring in your own beer. I guess you can sit on them to go down the water slide instead... or as a raft of sorts in the resort's 'river'.

You cannot even use resort-issued towels at their pool area, you'd have to deposit it at the Entrance if you can't leave it in your car or villa.

To think that they're already charging you some P200-300 I think (P100 for members or those endorsed by members) just to go in the pool area!

I can rant further but I won't. But do consider yourself warned.

Coupons Save You Money

It's one of the Pinoys' bad habits. We seldom collect and use coupons when it can actually save us a lot of big money.

There was a program I saw before (Oprah, I think) where a Mom was being interviewed on how she gets to shop for clothes for her kids and still get to save money.

She said the secret to her savings include buying house brands for some items, buying off-season, buying at surplus shops, and checking first at the mall's reception desk for a book of coupons which she can use. She literally saves hundreds of dollars this way.

So, let's say you'd be requiring a lot of printed brochures and business cards for your company (or the company you're working for). A good move would be to get your hands on some Vista Print coupons and maybe have enough savings for company stationery and shirts.

Consider Glass for Class

Say you're decorating, renovating, improving, revamping or reinventing your home. Consider glass for class, especially when complemented by proper lighting.

You don't have to invest on glass walls everywhere. It can be just a perfectly chosen crystal here and there. Say, like a unique glass bowl or ashtray, or an intricate vase as centerpiece.

Punch through portions of your wall for some stained glass windows. Install a glass sink or put candles in frosted glasses. Serve party food on glass pedestals. Frame your door with wrought iron on glass. Your options are endless and your home will be more illuminated.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Avoid Allergies

One of the better buys you can probably make is investing in vacuum cleaners, be they hand-held devices or truly heavy-duty ones.

Hand-held ones are great for using in the car, some nooks and crannies you can't really reach or dust away completely. The heavy duty ones are great if you have carpets in your home. They help get to the dirt and facilitate removal of allergens (dust and molds).

It would also help if you air your entire home once in a while. Let it breathe. And regularly clean your place, wiping counters and surfaces and dusting rags and mats completely. You don't have to be Martha Stewart clean at home and your work areas need not be gleaming from cleanliness all the time but it sure pays to keep them clean and dust-free.

If there are kids at home, and plushies in the form of stuffed or soft toys abound, clean them using wipes drenched in ethyl alcohol.

Tap Your Blogging Network

My Berk friends, who are set to meet and have a grand tour of several States this autumn, are scouring the internet for ways to maximize their Outer Banks visit.

Thank heavens that almost anything now can be googled. But I must be using the wrong keywords too because I was meaning to direct my friends to that site where bloggers all over the world open their own homes to fellow bloggers who may be visiting their country. This not only builds stronger friendships, this also saves travelling bloggers a lot of money. So my friends would really do well to check that site out.

If you're planning to go abroad, now's a good time as any to also get in touch with a blogger from that country. At best, you just might be offered free accommodations. At worst, you can immediately get information about places and sights, by asking the blogger or just by reading his posts. If you're lucky, you even get pictures to entice you or turn you away!

Your blog network is also good for other things, like party planning (even wedding planning!), research and idea resource. Don't know where to bring your date? Check other people's blogs! Don't know what to cook for dinner tonight? Check blogs! Not sure if you're breastfeeding right or digiscrapping right, or taking pictures right? Check blogs!

It would help though if you've already haunted a certain blog for a while, so you'd also be somehow sure that the bloggers tastes aren't weird. :)

The Secret to Choco Chip Goodness...

... says Nigella Lawson, is the amount of chocolate chips you add to your batter. She admits to using two packs of morsels/chocolate chips when she bakes her chocolate cookies and defends the indulgence by saying that "she doesn't put a price on alleviating human suffering".

I'm sure nobody will contest that!

But if you're not really willing to spend so much on chocolate chips/morsels/drops... my sister-in-law swears that it's the cocoa you use for the batter that really spells the difference. You can use any morsel brand you want, or even replace them with sprinkles, nuts or fruit, but if the cocoa you used isn't a trusted brand, the cookies will fall short.

We mostly use Hershey's cocoa for our baking requirements.

Father's Day Gift Ideas

Let's make fathers happy by giving them gifts they will really enjoy! Consider the following...

for gadget-freaks and techie Dads:
Toy/hobby laptops in the form of Asus eee PC or Astone UMPC. An iPod, iTouch or iPhone. A DSLR. A lomo cam. A Mac. External Hard Drives (for sure, a MyBook 1 TB harddrive will make anyone happy). Bluetooth headphones. New speakers. If you can afford it, a plasma TV. If not, an LCD monitor.

for the fashion-forward Pop:
Branded outfits. New jeans. New matching belt and wallet. New buzz (haircut) with matching facial and massage. IWC watches. Cuff links. Jewelry. New socks. New boxers with your kids' favorite cartoon if you can find them.

for geeky fathers:
A telescope. First Edition magazines in mint condition. Action figures from his childhood. DVDs of geeky movies or TV programs. Encyclopedia collection in book or dvd format. Discovery Channel episodesin DVD. A new computer or TV. A hard-to-find book. A collection of childhood TV programs, or comic strip characters.

for the outdoorsy/athletic handyman of the house:
Genuine Swiss Army Knife. New phone with GPS or pedometer. Treadmill. Gym membership or Cardio Striptease classes (which should be fun). Dancing lessons with you. New trek shoes. New running shoes. New tennis or badminton rackets. Sweat bands. Tickets to his favorite game. New tools for the car. Special step ladders. Gift certificates to the home improvement section. Camping gear. Swim gear.

for the earthbound homebody:
Books. CDs. DVDs. Food. Kitchen appliance. Gardening tools.

for the easy-to-please love of your life:
A collage of family pictures. A DIY photoslide uploaded in Youtube. Or better yet, a video of you (or the kids) singing and dancing your greetings uploaded in Youtube. His favorite homecooked meals. Massage. A lot of loving-loving. A letter. A poem. A "good morning" with a kiss and a smile.

Insurance FYI

When I was paying my life insurance premiums several months ago, I thought to check if all my payments were being reflected and how many more years i'd have to be paying them.

I was shocked to find that I have to pay for two extra years.

Yes, life insurance rates can get affected by inflation and other factors the insurer uses to project payments and dividends. The amount you can collect after the terms have been met (say, when you retire, get disabled or heaven forbid die) also affect if your premium payments will be adjusted or not. This is why it is always good to check once in a while, so you can also adjust your finances accordingly. Most insurance companies have this in writing (read the really fine print) because they are a business after all, and not doing so might drive them bankrupt.

Pyjama Party with a Twist

Here's an idea for a pyjama party, or bridal shower party even.

Get a suite. Order the food (or take a leaf after me and my MyGer friends before, we had our suitors and boyfriends sponsor the food and booze... and suite, hehe). Make sure you have the best party music in your mp3 players and iPods. Make sure at least one of you takes decent pictures. Make sure your camera has batteries and memeory cards. And make everybody show up in sexy costumes!!!

Nobody need not order a naughty nurse's uniform online. You can make it a DIY thing or maybe even turn it into a contest. The most resourceful one will get a prize (like a whole bottle of Tequila Rose to her name). For sure, it would be fun strutting your stuff and posing like crazy with girlfriends who will hoot appreciatively all the way.

Just do not post/upload the incriminating pictures on the net afterwards.

Travel Tip: Get a Travel Kit

A travel kit for all your travel supplies (from toiletries to snacks as well as locks, adaptors, chargers, etc) saves you a lot of time in preparing for a journey. Travel supplies also include accessible holders for important documents and IDs.

This saves you from forgetting something on your list because these things never leave your kit and will always be handy wherever you go. Of course, once in a while, you have to make sure that your flashlight bulb and batteries are ready for use otherwise they would require some changing.

When buying or finding yourself a kit for these essentials, consider what goes together, which can come in individual packs, which can be left behind depending on your destination, which can accomodate the things you really need, no more, no less (because a loose bag might make you think you don't really need anything there and before you know it, you've just left behind your aspirator or something). And always leave these things inside your luggage, preferably in one kit (or for packing purposes, in containers at least).

You can choose to get a complete and matching set and just tag them properly, or you can use color-coded/design-coded containers (like a billfold in shocking pink which you can easily spot in a jumble).

For an added incentive, having an established travel kit will ive you more time to plan your wardrobe or revisit your itinerary.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Secret to Guinataang Alimango

Guinataang Alimango (Crabs in Coconut Milk) is best served with squash and string beans. And of course, the season's freshest crabs (which are particularly cheap right now at P250/kilo).

The secret to getting the most out of the coco milk is to add the squash last. Let the crabs really cook in the coco milk for awhile, so that the flavor will seep into every inch of the crab, and the crab's juices and flavor will also return to the broth.

I know most people will probably say that you do add the veggies last (especially the string beans which cook really fast). I guess what i'm saying is to let the crabs cook in the coconut milk real good first before adding the squash, which, though it adds flavor to the dish, also takes away the flavor of the coco milk from the crab/the crab from the coco milk.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Travel Photography Workshop

Got this from the FPPF ygroups:

The first FPPF travel photography workshop will be held on June 28, July 5 and July 12.

The first day will be at the FEMII office where the participants will learn what gadgets to bring on the shoot, review of the basics, a short lecture on the "Art of Seeing".

The trip to Laguna will be on July 5, whole day trip.

The last session on July 12 will be presentation of the participants shoot, selection of photos for exhibit and commentary on the shoot.

The workshop will be conducted by George Cabig and Aldwin Aspillera (taking the place of Bobot Meru who is leaving for the US). Aldwin is a magazine editorial photographer of Phil Tattler, Mega Magazine and has gone to different travel destinations here and abroad. He is a graduate of Dela Salle University ComArts major in Photography. George Cabig is known for his outstanding travel photos published in Mabuhay and other glossy magazines in the country today.

The trip is good for 20 participants only. Please call 5247576 or 5280371 to register. Fee is 5,000.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Buy Gold Now

In the Philippines, this is one of the best times to buy gold, say, for your wedding rings. Also the best time to buy other jewelry pieces as prices tend to dip since people are saving/spending on enrolment fees for their kids instead. More people are likely to sell/pawn their pieces during this time.

Gold prices start going down around March-April until September, then it gets back up around October again as people start getting their Christmas bonuses, thirteenth month pays and other incentives. Plus, jewelries are common gifts around the Holidays till February, for Valentines.

If you're living abroad, ask your local jewellers if the trend is the same. So if you're about to wed, you'd know when to buy your rings and other gold accessories.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Maximize Your Phones

Don't just buy the latest model, especially if you really don't need the extra features it offers.

But if you love listening to music, get a model with great sounds. Make sure to read reviews because even 'higher' models are not necessarily better.

If you're a blogger who loves documenting things, get a phone that's high on resolution.

If an exercise buff, get something with a pedometer.

If you love travelling or are into outdoor sports like climbing or cycling, get something with GPS.

If working on the go, get a PDA phone.

This way, you minimize the gadgets you do have to always have with you, not to mention the kind of memory and accessories you'll invest in. It would also be one less charger to find.

What if you want all those things in one phone? I think that's possible and there may be already something like it in existence, but do remember that if you insist on everything, something's got to give. PDA phones are slightly bulkier, for example, and won't really be handy for the outdoorsy type.

Lighting Issue

Having natural light streaming into your home is generally good. Not only does it save you on artificial lighting costs, it's also actually good for your well-being. Sunlight helps people from getting depressed, you see.

But what if you don't want the sunlight intruding harshly into your room? What if you don't want to be woken up by its blaring heat on a Saturday morning? And how do you protect your floor and furniture from its rays?

Putting up some well-chosen curtains ought to do the trick. Curtains can minimize the harshness but still let muted light through. Plus, drapes are our friends when we live somewhere where neighbors can easily hear or see us from their own homes.

Just make sure to wash/change those drapes regularly.

Back Up Those Files

It's so easy nowadays, to have all our important info handy at the click of a mouse. Not just those, really, but all our files are so easily accessed now too, easy to find, and sort of easy to store what with bigger and bigger hard disks coming with our PCs.

But am sure we have all lost files one way or another too. Horror stories of hacked computers and PCs crashing, or our phones stolen or lost... even blog bugs make us lose precious posts. How to protect yourse;f from this?

No other way really but to back-up your files regularly. There are two ways you can go about this.

First, you can upload your files in the internet, whether in .zip or .rar files. We usually bemoan lost pictures the most so uploading those is really important.

Second is to buy memory, extra memory... whether they come in forms of zip drives, internal or external hard disks or many memory cards accessed through card readers.

Backing up files will seem like a chore, initially, but once you've made a habit of doing so, it's really easy. After all, files may be copied as you blog and chat and upload more photos. Do it regularly, like every first week of the month, or every week. Just put all new files in a separate folder or invest on a program that literally scours your computer for new/updated files.

This way, you need not worry so much about grieving over lost files.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tuna Sandwich Spread

I don't know about others but I used to think that preparing food requires a lot, even sandwiches. It's only been recently that I realized how easy some recipes are.

Take for example tuna sandwich spread. Basically, you just mix the ingredients and season to taste. But for those who are as intimidated as I was, here's how to make one:

2 cans Century Tuna chunks in Water
3 big spoonfuls of Kraft Mayo
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of crushed pickles (or more, depending on your preference)

Drain water from tuna chunks. Mix with other ingredients. Season to taste. Add onions (chopped or grated) for some zing. Serve with lettuce or cucumber slices if you have them.

Home Loans

It's one of the typical American's dream, to have his own home. I'm not sure if that dream is as great for us Filipinos though, but am pretty sure those who already have families of their own would love living somewhere they know they will never be kicked out off.

But how do you go securing your own home?

Good thing for us, there is Pag-Ibig, there are banks and even some big-time companies are offering home loans to their employees. All you really have to do is do your research first.

The research will start in your own family. What are your needs? How many bedrooms will you require? Will a small kitchen do? Will you require a small office space or a music room? I guess this is also why marriage counselors often encourage families to start buying their homes when they've already finished having all the children. This way, you can more correctly project your family's requirements and will save you costs by letting you avoid major renovations and expansion costs.

And then there's your real estate opportunities and limitations, as well as the financing options available to you. Americans have sites like that can help them in finding mortgage loans at cheapest possible rates. Banking institutions and insurance companies also offer seminars on these matters. Even housing and real estate companies also have similar meetings (or Open House parties) where you can ask all your questions, compare prices/coverage, etc.

Make sure you verify if there will be additional or hidden charges when you do your maths. Some loaning facility might offer the lowest interests initially but will also charge you for other fees, or would be the easiest to penalize.

Doing your research will be exhausting and time-consuming. It may even require some cost, just going on ocular inspections or consulting experts. But it would be a worthwile investment as it would later on translate into a good investment you can live with.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Lighting at Home

Most middle-income Filipino families, and of course, the poorer sort, would already be happy with long fluorescents to light up their homes.

But those who can afford to also enjoy aesthetics should know that it's light that really spells the difference in how inviting and beautiful and cozy and usable a room or workspace will be.

Architects, interior designers and even Feng Shui experts all consider light, how to get natural light flowing throughout the house, and how to make sure that use of a room is maximized.

Lighting at home, whether you use Maxim lighting or DIY stuff you fashioned from pails, lamp shades and bulbs, will serve several purposes: to accent/emphasize, to beautify and to illuminate.

Accent lighting will be those placed beside windows, spotlights, lighting around mirrors, etc.

Samples of lights that decorate or beautify are chandeliers.

And of course, we all use light to do our tasks (say lighting on kitchen counters or over study tables).

Dimmer switches and halogen lights are becoming vogue now too, because it helps in creating a certain mood (and also saves energy when you do not really need that much light in a room).

So yes, if you're building your own home, consider lighting. It can turn even the blandest of furnishings into something warm and appealing, if you just know what to do.

Bike Rider Dreams

Thinking of becoming a biker but not sure if it's really for you (or you're really for it)?

Maybe you can borrow a friend's bike for awhile. But if they have already invested in every nut and bolt in their bikes, they might not be so keen about giving you an opportunity to crash their rides. So what to do?

Well, you can consider buying brand-new but cheaper brands or secondhand ones. Used Harleys may not always come as cheap as you'd want them to but they'd still be Harleys. This way, you need not invest so much, you are spared from cringing over every scratch and dent you get, and can literally concentrate on just riding.

After all, riding a bike does not just require skills, it also requires the right attitude and smarts. Plus, you also have to invest on other things, like a really good helmet and riding jackets.

After learning the ropes, that's when you decide whether motorcycles will be a passion, something you will invest in the long-term. And that's when you save up for new bikes, maybe even get a customized one for yourself.

Hold Onto the Cash

In cases of hospital confinements, that is.

And provided that we're not talking disastrous, super unwanted emergencies here.

Say, we're talking of some routine surgery, like a tonsillectomy. Or confinement to deliver a baby. Hold onto your cash, especially if you're not yet sure how much the bill will be and if you intend to pay part of your bill using a credit card.


Because doctors expect their professional fees to be paid in cash. Some would allow that their PFs be paid with the hospital bill at the cashier but most doctors would rather you pay them directly. Something to do with the PFs getting delayed.

Learn from our mistake. We paid the deposit in cash and come discharge time, we had to scramble to come up with more for the PFs. We should have just charged the deposit to our credit card. Blasted ATMs had withdrawal limits and charges for inter-bank withdrawals. And although we had planned to let the credit card cover most of the cost anyway, it was still very troublesome to have to come up with such a huge amount of cash when you're already ripping to be discharged. We had to dip into our savings to pay off the cash loan immediately, instead of just paying off the lot as credit card loan on a staggered basis.

For a More Glowing Skin

... get pregnant!

I swear, even I was shocked about how well it resolved my acne.

Or you can use breastmilk, freshly pumped, as moisturizer on your own face. It's sort of a natural acne treatment because it contains antibodies as well as other nutrients.

Some, however, respond to honey... or oatmeal...

It's really a matter of finding the right natural remedy for you, especially if you don't really have bad acne.

Even regular exercise and enough sleep can minimize the ravages on our skin. Exercise flushes the toxins out and sleep repairs what's broken. Hydrating helps too, so not only does drinking more than the recommended eight glasses of water help in losing the unwanted pounds, it also helps in keeping our faces clear.

And yes, living on lots of fruits and veggies and avoiding fatty foods is always a win-win situation to be in.

So when breakouts threaten to ruin your day, do a brain dance first and check if there's something you didn't do (eat and sleep right) or can do (eat and sleep right!). There are a lot of natural ways to address everyday hassles so long as we think long-term and aren't impatient.

Do not apply toothpaste on zits though, for they only make the marks darker.

Payday Loans

Payday loans were invented for a special reason: to help tide someone over. Companies are aware of the commercial demands on people these days, not to mention the high cost of living (especially when you are used to a certain lifestyle) and the many emergencies (or opportunities) that can drive someone into a tight spot wherein even credit might not help.

After all, not all landlords accept cards or cheques. Neither does the corner grocery. And especially not cab drivers.

Ho do these loans work?

Basically, you apply for one online. It is usually very easy and you can expect to get the money within day of applying for the loan. But you have to remember that the cash loans online you made ARE payday loans. The companies that loaned you the amount expect to be paid on your pay day, when you get your salary/wages.

If you don't pay up, your loan will gain interest in pretty much the same way (I am just not sure if at also the same rate) you do when you use a credit card. So it is really wise to apply for a payday loan for something really important, and wiser still to pay it as soon as you are able.

Payday loans are not thought up to further get you in debt, or enable people to live well beyond their means some more. It was intituted to help people in a temporary fix, or give a new lease on a purchasing life for people who have bad credit histories they really want to leave in the past.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Travel The World

Say you're not really that into planning your itinerary yet, but intend to go travelling sometime soon, what is something you can do that will help your travel plans but is really entertaining and enticing as well?

Watch Discovery Travel and Living Channel, of course! The many shows they have serve as travel guides to the most famous, the most exotic, the most adventurous and challenging and gastronomic places in the world. I especially love Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain as hosts. Whoever the writers are of their shows, I really thank them for the hours and hours of escape they give their viewers.

I can't think of more informative shows that literally get you making all these mental notes about the place they're featuring. Plus, it also gets me googling for more information. So if you're feeling lost about where to go and what to do, let this channel nudge you in the right direction.

Lose Weight

The most tangible advantage of being a healthy weight is the fact that you see it, feel it, and you don't have as many issues dressing up.

The most important benefit, however, of being a healthy weight is that it literally reduces all the risks for all illnesses. This not only saves money (from medication, lab tests, doctor's fees, absences and confinements) and heartache (just dealing with our own mortality, or our loved ones', can be exhausting), it also allows us to really enjoy life.

But a healthy weight seldom comes cheap or easily. Sometimes, you have to pay more for healthier options. Diet pills like Orovo, gym memberships, running shoes, a personal trainer, all will require some cost. And regular exercise can get boring, even if it is cardio striptease and belly dancing.

Still, constant vigilance with what you eat and do are the only things that will really result in a weight loss you can count on that will not result in madness. And the best time to start is NOW, not on Monday, or after a party or the Holidays.

Regular exercise can literally 'cure' your diabetes because it can reduce the dosage or frequency of your maintenance drugs. Regular exercise also helps with fertility. Regular exercise also saves you from depression.

So yes, your weight just may be the reason why you're unhappy.

White Bird for Bridal Showers

White Bird is a gay bar located along Roxas Blvd., past the Redemptorist Church and Seaside Market.

Best friends and maids-of-honor throwing a bridal shower party have two options: hire the machos (White Bird guys) and get them to perform in a private suite somewhere or just go there with your friends. Going there with friends is, of course, the cheaper alternative. Plus, it offers you the opportunity to people watch and get a better feel of just what the culture is like in such places (or the politics among the machos and their patrons).

Last time I went there, they charge P300 each for entrance.

Try to also time your visit to their 'events', a monthly thing they hold in time with paydays, the best of which happens in December, when they also crown the Mr. White Bird of that year. Basically, if you when there's an event, there will be more guys to drool at and performances to watch.

What did I mean by people watch? Actually, a nice surprise White Bird offers is the fact that a lot of Koreans go there, even men, and not because they're matrons or dirty old men. White Bird actually attracts the young, hip crowd too and Koreans seem to like just hanging out there. Thus, the machos usually channel anime through their hairstyles and make-up (yes, they do put on make-up).

And it's not risque all the way all night. The club also offers stand-up comedy and boy dance groups. And the best buttered chicken I have ever tasted in my life. I swear, it is a must try!

One other thing I like about the place is the presence of masseurs. So you can oggle hunky, chunky men and get massaged too. It's really your call how much you give these masseurs, but I can assure you that the massage they give is not just some token touching and pressing here and there. They really trained and you will get relaxed.

Of course, I must also say that their comfort rooms leave much to be desired, but the bowls can be flushed and there's running water to wash hands with... which really are the most important things.

So if you're considering throwing a bridal shower, you might want to call Hazel (or ask them who you can talk to) at (632) 855-2622. Just make sure you include some of the details I posted here (and others which may be helpful) with your bridal shower invitations so attendees will be forewarned... and forearmed.

One other thing, as a courtesy to the machos, picture-taking of the machos isn't allowed. They won't ask for your phones with cameras but if you're really itching for a picture, ask the staff first.

Oh, and if you 'table' a macho, his drink will cost times four the usual price. Just so you know. Hope this helps.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rose Bowl - Baguio

It's a very typical Chinese restaurant in the Burnham Park area with big dining tables with lazy Susans. It's quite expensive too, catering best to visiting big families who do not want to do without authentic Chinese cuisine.

Their fares are delicious, but really slightly too expensively priced to be worth it. The staff are warm, the service is prompt. The ambience is typical Binondo. In short, I doubt they offer anything new that you cannot have here in Manila. But of course, fresh produce from Baguio should be making their dishes better-tasting.

considering a plasma TV?

Well, if you got the money for one, why not right?

But do make sure to consider where the plasma mount will go to give you the best viewing experience once the plasma TV is installed. Consider lighting, since having the TV against the light will make watching TV a hassle during the day. Plus, you might want to turn off some when you're watching your favorite show or movie without necessarily havig to bruise your shins in the dark as you get your popcorn or soda.

Consider human traffic as well. It wouldn't do to have people passing in front of your TV often, or to have kids always underfoot and nearby.

Consider acoustics too. Unless you're also investing on soundproofing and other sound systems, thin walls do not really make for a great viewing experience since the noise are likely to bounce off walls and maybe wake up people you really haven't invited to the TV time.

Am sure, no matter the size and set-up of the home, there is always one nook there where a plasma TV will fit wonderfully. It might require some furniture being rearranged though.

Natalac vs Prolacta

Natalac by Intermed costs around P8/pc at Mercury Drug. Initial prescription is two capsules daily when you're still building up your milk supply.

Pro-lacta by AlterMed costs P6.50 per capsule. Initial prescription is three times daily, after which you can reduce the 'dosage'.

What Moms may have overlooked though is the fact that Natalac capsules only contain 250 mg. of malunggay (moringga) goodness while Pro-lacta contains 350 mg. So in the long run, Pro-lacta is the value-for-money buy, especially if you're only taking one a day already.

Both are food supplements and will not guarantee breastfeeding success though. Direct, regular feeding will. Still, if you can afford them, these supplements do help increase milk supply. I have actually started treating them as MY daily supplement since they're a good source of Beta Carotene and several Vitamins and Minerals.

Signing up for an UPOU E-mail Account

Just in case there are other UPOU newbies like me who are finding it weird not being able to land on the correct page where we're supposed to sign up for our learner e-mail accounts. Yes, just typing the url porvided in the sheet of paper in our Academic Catalogues isn't enough, no matter how correctly you typed everything.

But googling "google apps upou signup" will land you on the correct page. And no, searching for "upou email signup" won't get you there.

Feel free to also just click on the following link: upou student signup

Make sure you save your account information on a notepad or e-mail account since it may not be saved in your browser or computer memory. You will need the info to create your Moodle account. And be prepared, it will be another gmail account (offering 6 gig of space) so if you already have one (in my case I have two), prepare to be confused. Or to remember to check your other accounts if you have your usual gmail info saved and automatically logged in your PC.
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