Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cartooning for Kids Workshop

Robo Monkey Pixel Fighters has teamed up with Euphony Music Studio and St. Vincent Tutorial Center, both located in Makati City, to offer workshops for kids who are into Arts.

Click here for schedules and workshop pricing inquiries.

Toys for Babies

Wondering what toys to buy for your babies?

Maybe a Fisher Price catalogue can help.

Just ask for one when you're at Toy Kingdom or Toys R Us. You don't even have to strictly buy Fisher Price toys, especially if your budget doesn't allow it, but the catalogue contains helpful milestone information that can guide parents (and prospective gift-givers) on what toys will be appreciated by a baby at a certain stage.

The catalogue is free. And there are other brands which can offer the same stimulation/operate on the same developmental needs as the Fisher Price products.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dazo Hall - Map

Dazo Hall inside Philam Village has just recently gotten a facelift through new paint.

Anyway, for those holding their events their (wedding or birthday party) but don't know how to direct guests there, hope these helps :)


1) Take Las Pinas Exit
2) Turn right at the road immediately after Fernando’s (which is now part of Starmall). This will take you into Philam Village.
3) Another landmark for the road leading to Philam Village is the 2nd overpass (which is located between Caltex and Petron)

1) From South Expressway take Northgate /Filinvest Temporary Exit or Alabang Exit. If you took the temporary exit, going straight should take you to Alabang-Zapote Road. If you exit through Alabang Tollgate, turn on the first right to bring you to Alabang-Zapote Road.
2) From Alabang Zapote Road, take an estimated 25 – 35 minute drive towards the direction of Zapote. You’d be passing Alabang Town Center, SM SouthMall, Casimiro Village, Uniwide Las Pinas, and Las Pinas City Hall.
3) Turn left at the road immediately before Fernando’s (part of Starmall now) to take you to Philam Village
4) Another landmark for the road leading to Philam Village is the 5th overpass (which is located between Caltex and Petron)

1) Show your car pass/surrender an ID at the Guard House
2) Ask for directions going to the Philam Clubhouse
3) Dazo Hall/The clubhouse is located in Philam Village Park and can be found opposite Our Lady of Fatima Parish

1) Take a Bus with the sign board Moonwalk / BF Pilar.
2) Tell the Conductor that you would be getting off at “Fernando’s” (FYI: Fernando’s Supermarket is now part of Starmall)
3) Get off at Starmall (where you can also find an overpass, for added landmark)
4) Look for the Tricycle station at the back of the former Fernando’ Supermart (For reference the Tricycle station is opposite Mercury Drug).
5) Take a Tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to Philam Clubhouse.

1) From EDSA take a Bus with an Alabang signboard. (Buses going to Pacita or Calamba may be used if they will exit in Alabang).
2) In Alabang, ask for the Jeepney Terminal going to Zapote.
3) Ride a jeep with the Zapote or Baclaran Signboard and ask the driver to drop you off “Fernando’s” (FYI: Fernando’s Supermarket is now part of Starmall).
4) Note that the Jeepney ride would take around 35 – 45 minutes to your destination, so an alternative is to go down Pilar and ride an Aircon bus from there going to Fernando’s.
5) Get off at Starmall (where you can also find an overpass, for added landmark)
6) Look for the Tricycle station at the back of the former Fernando’ Supermart (For reference the Tricycle station is opposite Mercury Drug).
7) Take a Tricycle and ask the driver to bring you to Philam Clubhouse.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Paradiso Terrestre

I don't know why but nothing about Paradiso Terrestre amazed me when we attended a wedding reception there (at Casa Nenita). For being out-of-town, I expected sprawling grounds perfect for photo opps, at least.

The ballroom was grand enough, with the air-conditioning working really well. I believe it can accommodate up to 300 pax. Unfortunately for us, the wedding was that same Monday night that really rained so hard. We had the luck of being seated outside, where it flooded, and guests had to either wade through water or walk on chairs.

So, if holding an event there on rainy months, and using part of the outdoor area, at least you know it floods there. But the attendants of Paradiso are nothing but attentive. They were handy with umbrellas. And there is more than ample parking.

Am not sure if they have accredited caterers but I don't think so, since the wedding we attended was catered by a not so popular one (La Comida, and their food was just splendid!).

Their website isn't that helpful either. Hehe. And yes, the lack of pics is because of what I said earlier, I found nothing about the place worth taking pictures of.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Manila Ocean Park - venue for Photo Opps

Couples intending to wed are now paying prime pesos for pre-nuptial pictures, travelling to fancy locations like Sonya's Garden, or morbid ones (like a cemetery), or out-of-town (like Nayong Filipino) just to have those beautifully-shot pictures to put on AVPs and guest sheets.

It's also becoming a trend that couples get the services of a photographer to act as paparazzi to their dates. Even families have these, aside from photo opps of adorable kids.

Well, that's another thing Manila Ocean Park is good for. From the steps into the complex, the nearby Manila Bay, the multitude of restos in the area, as well as some choice areas in the Oceanarium itself (maybe even at the play area), all are good spots for Kodak moments. I'm guessing you just have to pay for the photographer's way as well... and yes, he'd have to mind the use of flash (but a really good one would know how to make use of available light).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park is Philippines' first Oceanarium. The complex where its at is littered with so many restaurants already (North Park, Mrs. Fields, Ozeano, Starbucks, etc) that it's also a great area to go to for dining. For those who do not want to spend as much, you can always just buy from food stalls outside (waffles, popcorn, etc). No entrance fee required up to that point too.

Operating hours is 10 am-9 pm every weekday and 9 am-9 pm every weekend. I've heard it can get pretty crowded there but am not sure if that was only when it was newly-opened. We went into the Oceanarium after 5 pm though so that could also be a factor to the manageable crowd we were with.

At P400 per person (P350 for kids, free for kids 2 feet and below), with Manila-residents allowed a 10% discount (but you have to present an ID for each one to be discounted), it is steep for even the middle-class. But at that rate and considering everything you will get to see inside, it is actually worth it.

The tent outside the Oceanarium (where the restos are) is air-conditioned and most of the Oceanarium is too. Just be careful to hold onto your tykes for the dark parts of the park, where you can easily lose them, or they might get into accidents.

Flash isn't allowed in picture taking (but yes, some still don't follow... poor fishes). Basically, that affects animals and may affect their mating rituals, among other things.

the tent outside the Oceanarium as viewed from North Park resto

the crocodiles receiving a lot of coins thrown by wish-makers (tsk, tsk)

choco chip starfish that you're allowed to touch
but not remove from the water

touch screen instructional for those who want
more information on corals and fishes


giant spider crab, which requires very cold water so its window
gets misted/frosted

hello Nemo (clown fish)

fugly stone fish

rays that you can eat

creepy eels 'standing'

one of the bigger aquariums

they always seem to be smiling, don't they :)

while this shark ray reminds you of ghosts

the walkway where people choose to stay for eons of time
because of the great picture opportunities

science/activity area

the tanks at the upper level, where you can also
hang out for some sea breeze

or foot spa (at P120 per 20 minutes, the fish 'biting'
at you supposedly is therapeutic)

CR is nice, with super sensors for flushing that
may surprise you (as it did me) when you're not yet finished

Ozeano restaurant offers buffet at P600. Riding in glass-bottomed boats is also offered at the upper level for P150/pax. Stencil art can be enjoyed by your kids for P20 ea.

Of course, there is a gift shop too for overpriced souvenirs. You can also get a 3D something-something of you and a chosen background for P400.

Am just not sure if some of the areas which they used for a Bridal Expo (see below) can also be rented for parties aside from the sanctum behind the sharks, which can easily accommodate between 60-80 guests comfortably. Exclusive catering by The Manila Catering Services, however.

Like what I said, for the ticket price, it is actually worth it. But maybe you might want to bring kids who will really appreciate the aquariums. Then again, babies (less than a year old) enter free anyway and the ticket prices are sure to increase after they've added to the complex.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wanted: Junior Sales Associate

Adarna House, Inc. is in immediate need of a Junior Sales Associate. Applicants must be male, aged no more than 35, have graduated college, and with good communication and interpersonal skills. Interested parties are asked to e-mail their résumé to Richard Pescador, HR Coordinator, at richard@adarna.com.ph.

Casinos at Christmas

Online slots, anyone?

Let's face it, the Holidays is the time when people are rolling in money. Or at least, are most willing to spend on anything and everything. It's the time for bonuses and incentives and year-end perks and money gifts.

One of the many ways people can get entertained is immersing themselves in the cheery world of slot machines in casinos. I remember, food is always good in casinos and they usually have performing bands to entertain the hangers-on. At least, that's the way it is at Casino Filipino at the Hyatt Hotel.

But if you don't want to dress up and bother yourself going out, but have enough disposable cash from unexpected bonuses, then you can just do online slots from the comforts of your own home. or you can purchase your own slot machine and play with the whole family or your friends, again, right at your own home.

On a related note, in case your job is procuring slot machines for your company, know that the internet can help you where to get the best deals that is suited to your specific needs. Pachislo slot machines are supposedly cheaper (as they're from Japan), boasts of LCD-type screens, and are more compact.

One Helpful Blog to Another

Practical Tips and More is celebrating its 100th post with a raffle that's open to Philippine bloggers only.

I think it has a similar format to this one, where tips, tricks, recommendations and suggestions are blogged about that hopefully, others will find helpful and practical. Anyway, if you have the time, do check it out and join!

Dinosaur Exhibition at Robinson's Place Manila

Great for picture moments with your curious kids and the young (or geek) at heart. It's at the Pedro Gil/Midtown Wing (near Starbucks). They charge P25/person and will be thee till September 28.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Credit Card Help

New to the ways of doing business or paying using your credit card? Thinking of applying for your first, or another one? Already have one but it leaves much to be desired? Thinking of dropping your other cards and maintaining just one or two?

Well, there's help for you in the form of a new credit card blog at Smartcreditchoices.com. Now you have a one-stop site to check that will guide you to making the most out of your credit cards, managing them, establishing good credit, maybe even bailing you out of bad credit. Check whatever credit card comparisons the site has (especially on charges and hidden fees).

Maximize your credit cards without getting maxed out! :)

Body Shop's Cocoa Body Butter

I'm not sure if this is true of all body butters, or of all of Body Shop's body butters, or all cocoa body butter regardless of brand... but Body Shop's Cocoa Body Butter really moisturizes and softens skin.

I first used it when I was pregnant and loved its scent and the feel of my skin. I still had stretch marks (which no lotion can really prevent) but I had smooth, soft skin overall.

I stopped using it after giving birth... but had enough money to take advantage of a recent Body Shop Sale. I tell you, in as little as seven days, you would feel the difference! It's a little expensive but absolutely worth the price for its efficacy.

And I did say something about how wonderful its scent is right? t's very spreadable too... which other body butters aren't.

What of Sagging Tummies?

Sagging tummies are the bane of a mother's life post-partum. And if you had a CS delivery, you are hampered medically from doing the crunches that are the surest, non-surgical way of dealing with them.

But the truth is, breastfeeding, diet and exercise all help women get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. Going back to pre-pregnancy figures is a totally different thing. Some Moms who developed hips and tummies and breasts may never lose these anymore, but they don't have to look dumpy/frumpy at all either. If the three mentioned fail to make a Mom feeling good about her figure, then there are supplements and surgeries that she might want to consider.

Of course, those who are considering the use of fat burners are advised to go read whatever Lipovox review they can find first before taking them. Moms should mind any supplement they take, especially if they're still breastfeeding, as this might get passed onto their milk, or affect their supply.

Christmas Gift to Yourself

Maybe, like the rest os us mere mortals, you're checking out the latest bags, shoes and gadgets and wondering what to give yourself as a Christmas treat this coming December (and bonus time).

May I make an unusual suggestion?

How about giving yourself a term life insurance instead? Or a pension plan? Or a retirement plan? Or to appeal to the morbid, how about funeral/funeral services plan?

Granted that AIG must have brought worries to your door and insurance plans are the last thing you're really considering on using your money for, but these types of pre-need plans are still good investments, so long as you invest on reputable companies. And they're really good long-term investments for yourself, are sure to give you a more wonderful feeling than the latest cellphone model that's out in the market, and will also afford you some peace of mind.

Just read the fine print and do your research... invest on yourself!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Keep Rashes Away

The only thing you need to really do to keep rashes away from your baby's diaper area is to wash his bum every nappy change and dry it well before putting a fresh nappy on. No powder necessary, it will save you on costs for wipes, and isn't really the hassle you think it might be. Oh just water will do so no need for soap (I only ever used soap wen he pooped).

Take advantage of sinks in bathrooms, regardless of whether you're at home or at the mall. I actually think it's much harder to wipe a wriggling baby clean than to wash him.

Another tip would be to have a set of cloth diapers or towel to dry your baby's bum with, so these wouldn't be used to wash/bathe him or to wipe his spit ups with.

This worked for my baby and works for other Moms I know who do the same!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chocolate Truffles

3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 pkg (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
12 oz Semi-Sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. coffee-flavored liqueur
1 tbsp. range-flavored liqueur
1 tbsp. almond-flavored liqueur
ground nuts, powdered suga, unsweetened cocoa

ADD 3 cups powdered sugargadually to cream cheese, beating with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add melted chocolate. Mix well.

DIVIDE mixture into thirds. Add different flavor liqueur to each third; mix well. Refrigerate seveal hours.

SHAPE mixture into 1-inch balls. oll in nuts, sugar or cocoa. Refrigerate.

Makes about 5 dozen.

* use 1 tsp. very strong coffee in place of coffee liqueur
* 3-4 drops of almond/orange extracts may be susbstitued for the liqueur


Just between Buendia and Vito Cruz is a major road that is Cartimar. They might have changed the street name already, I don't know, but am sure it is still the pet haven it's always been.

Every pet your child might want can be found there. Every food and supplement pets need are also sold there, from dog vitamins to horse supplements. They even sell these in the largest sacks and the biggest of containers.

Want to cheer someone up? Gold fish in a bowl is always a nice gift. Want to endear yourself more to your beloved? A cute, pure-bred puppy ought to do the trick.

But what if you're allergic to pets, can Cartimar still interest you?

The answer is YES, if you're a fan of sporting stuff and shoes, both original and imitations. I once considered buying Merell trek shoes from there... but I was annoyed that the salesladies couldn't tell me if the shoe I liked had Vibram soles. But I digress.

Of course, if you really own horses, you might also want to utilize your network of friends in the racing circuit/breeding circle on how best to take care of your steeds.

Beauty Preparation for the Big Day

At least six months before your intended wedding day, you should already start with your beauty treatments and preparation.

Want better pictures? Attend to your pores through microdermabrasion. Start getting acne treatments so you'd have peeled and healed already by the time your make-up artist has to air-brush makeup on you. Get facials regularly. Start using those whitening products. But if you're hoping to lighten your skin using glutathione supplements, you should start much earlier because they say you only really begin to lighten after six months of continued use. Still, others say oral glutathione also helps rid of minor blemishes and acne.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. If you have the money, invest on body butter for deep moisturizing. If you have the vigilance, exfoliate by using salt scrubs weekly. Or get a body scrub at least once a month.

Avoid the sun and drink plenty of water (not sugared beverages). And get enough rest and sleep. Of course, the right diet facilitates a rosy glow, so make sure you eat more fruits and vegetables and less junk and fast food. And yes, exercise always helps.

One other thing... smile! Frowning a lot takes away from a pretty face any day.

Christmas Shopping in Divi

Christmas Shopping in Divisoria can not only be done already, given that curtain and tablecloth fabrics with Christmas trees are even being sold in the steets and every Christmas trimming and hanging and lighting abound, but it's also best done asap.

As in this September, before the Christmas rush makes the streets and aisles unmanageable and hard to navigate, and prices have already soared.

Gadget-freaks need not fret that there might not be anything for them, because stalls for cellphones and ipods and imitation-gadgets can be found in the middle of all those clothes and gift items and decor.

And if you're still not in on it, Wednesday is the best time to go there because it's least cluttered by shoppers on this day, some being at Baclaran instead.

Quick Sweet-Chili Shrimps

1/2 kilo of medium-sized shrimps (the ones that, when cooked, are around 1 1/2 inch in size)
chopped onions
half bottle of Del Monte Sweet Chili sauce

*optional: water, chili powder

Heat oil and saute chopped onions. Add the shrimps and cook until the shrimps have all turned to red. Add the sweet-chili sauce and cook in low fire.

If you don't want a thick sauce, add some water.

If you want it more spicy, add a dash or two of chili powder. Mix well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dress Up Your Kids' Textbooks

Take a leaf from Mommy Laya and dress up your kids' textbooks using your printer at home.

All you need is your printer (which you probably already use to print pictures anyway), some paper, and some Photoshop skills. You can even personalize the book covers of books you're giving away as gifts!

I remember before, the vogue thing was to use perfume ads in magazines to cover up textbooks. Now at least your kids can have their own digiscrapped pictures covering theirs, which wouldn't appear tacky at all :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Casa Linda - Puerto Princesa

Palawan, in general, is a haven of affordable inns and hotels, one of which is Casa Linda Inn.

It is conveniently located in the city, close to the port and airport, the Puerto Princesa cathedral, the market, and two of Pto. Princesa's famous restaurants. It is actually walking distance from Kinabuch's (where you can order tamilok, the mangrove worm delicacy) and Kahlui's but is tucked in a quiet street so you literally get transported to a quiet, garden and bamboo place.

You can contact them for room reservations and tour packages at casalind @ mozcom.com or call (048) 433 - 2606. They can also arrange massage services for you, just inquire at the desk. The staff is unbelievably friendly and accommodating and their tour affiliates are professionals.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spicy Chicken Nuggets

1 kilo chicken breast fillet, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1-2 cubes chicken bouillon cube

Sour Cream & Garlic Dipping Sauce
1 container of Sour Cream
1 1/2 tbsp of Garlic Powder
1 tsp. salt

(feel free to add more chili if you want it more spicy, or reduce other spices, or remove chili powder and just double the cumin powder)

Crush and rub the chicken bouillon cube onto the chicken pieces. Mix all the dry ingredients and rub onto the chicken pieces. Let marinate for about an hour or 2.

Heat up a pan with oil for deep frying. Dip the chicken pieces into
the beaten eggs, and then roll the chicken pieces in graham crackers
until they're covered entirely, then fry until deep brown.

For the dip, Mix everything and refrigerate.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies (ala Mrs. Fields)

Category: Baking
Servings: 3.5 dozen

loved this in Bataan... so long as you pre-heat the oven before preparing the ingredients, baking time is reduced to around 10 minutes (check the cookies if they look dry in a good way already)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F
In medium bowl , combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet (grease with some butter and sprinkle with flour), 2 inches apart. Bake around 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool surface with a spatula.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cathedral Windows

- got this recipe from Ate Ene, who has already passed away, and I think, after her, am the only one who can give the recipe justice... and this tastes better than the one sold at Goldilock's

* 1 box Alsa unflavored gelatin (red)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Sprite

** 1 box Alsa unflavored gelatin (green)
1/4 cup sugar
3-5 pcs. Pandan leaves
2 cups water (to boil the leaves in, and about 1 1/2 cup to mold the gelatin in)

*** 1 box Alsa unflavored gelatin (orange)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice

Creamy gelatin:
4 packets of Knox unflavored gelatin
2 cans Nestle Cream (383 gms/can) or 6 Tetra Packs of Nestle Cream
1 can Condensed Milk (the 1-cup size)
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

(feel free to just use flavored gelatins, but fruit/tangy flavored ones work best with the creamy/milky gelatin; colorful gelatin fillings also look nicer... I have also fallen into the habit of not adding sugar to the Alsa anymore since the creamy part is sweet anyway)

* Dissolve sugar and unflavored gelatin in Sprite on a pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Mold. Cut into cubes later.

** Boil the pandan leaves in water until flavor has set in. Remove leaves and add the sugar and unflavored gelatin, stirring constantly. Bring to a
boil and mold. Cube later.

*** Dissolve gelatin and sugar in pineapple juice. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Mold and cube later.

Combine Nestle Cream and Condensed Milk in a bowl. Add vanilla. Mix really well.

In a cup, pour the contents of the Knox envelopes. Add SOME boiling water, ENOUGH to dissolve the gelatin. When everything's dissolved, pour the Knox gelatin into the milk-and-cream batter. Mix well. Add in the cubed flavored gelatin. Mix again and then mold for 8 hours in the fridge.

Workshops at the Manila Book Fair

September 13-15
SMX Function Rooms
The PBBY offers the following workshops at SMX during the Manila International Book Fair:

· A Thumbnail History of Children's Literature in the Philippines
A lecture to be delivered by Prof. Lina Diaz de Rivera
9-12 noon, September 13, Meeting Room 8, SMX

· 25 Ways to Entice Children with Stories
A workshop on storytelling; Facilitator: Manolo Silayan
1-4 pm, September 13, Meeting Room 8, SMX

· Library Magic
- 25 Steps to Building a Mobile Library
- 25 Ways to Survive and Thrive: Managing Change in Libraries
- Setting Up Children's Libraries
Facilitators: Nina-Lim Yuson, Zarah Gagatiga, PLAI
9-5 pm, September 13, Meeting Room 9, SMX

· Tong Tong Tong: Tinig, Tunog, at Talino ng Tulang Pambata
Facilitators: Michael Coroza & Nanoy Rafael of LIRA
9-12 noon, September 14, Meeting Room 9, SMX

· Creative Effective Visuals for Children's Books
Facilitator: Totet de Jesus
1-4 pm, September 14, Meeting Room 9, SMX

· Reading, Responding and Reviewing
A workshop on reviewing children's literature;
Facilitator: Neni Sta.Romana-Cruz
1-4 pm, September 15, Meeting Room 9, SMX

Each workshop has a fee of six hundred pesos (Php 600.00), except for Library Magic which costs one thousand pesos (Php 1000.00). For inquiries or registration, please send an e-mail to pbby.ncbd@gmail.com or call 3723548 local 122. Also visit www.pbby.org.ph.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More on Applying for Passports

I have already blogged about getting a passport in Manila. However, I feel I should also expound on my experience when it was released.

The good news is that it wouldn't require lining up also, but it can give the impression of chaotic when you get to the releasing area. There are many windows there labelled with letters (supposedly for your surnames). I didn't see any posted notice anywhere about dropping my receipt at a box by the windows, except on the box by the windows (and I swear you can easily miss it). Anyway, that's what you have to do, drop your receipt in a box (windows A-D share the same box) and a clerk will just get the receipt from there and start looking for your passport.

Oh, and nowhere in their site nor the receipt they issue can you find an advisory that you need an authorization letter to get passports for somebody else. I know that's sort of standard procedure but since I can apply for my husband and kid's birth certificates, I assumed that their passports will be released to me too without needing an ID and authorization letter.

See, in a small sign by the windows, they say that no authorization letter and ID, no release... plus, only the parent who signed for the passport of a minor can get that minor's passport (unless he authorizes someone else too). Something that should have been clearly stated in their application forms as well, I think.

Anyway, good for me though, my husband's and son's passports were released to me even without an authorization letter. The clerk just used the passports as reference to verify the legitimacy of my person (it helped that I was also getting my passport).

Oh and the letters per window didn't help much. A clerk from Window C released ours, when our surname starts with A.


Others are raving about using Teleserv but people should note that they get their passports later with Teleserv or an agency than if they apply for one/renew theirs personally. Plus, they still have to go to DFA anyway and that would take around 30 minutes still when on a good day, you can have yours processed at just only a little longer than that at a cheaper price.

Car Insurance and Maintenance Fund

Cars are luxury items. They're a necessity now and really go a long way in making things convenient for us, but the fact that their value starts dropping after you buy them while also requiring much in terms of gas, registration, insurance and maintenance.

But you really have to allot funds for these. You may get better deals if you conduct some sort of car insurance comparison first before getting one, but always make sure to read the fine print. Do not just be attracted by cheaper rates nor a lot of freebies (which you may not even need).

And make sure you tuck away a monthly allowance for the maintenance and insurance fees. Doing this monthly is actually easier on the pocket than having to come up with cash at the last minute. Monitor oil and brake fuel change schedules and tire replacements. Don't make the mistake of trying to scrimp on maintenance because it just might make your vehicle into a death trap. Driving around with ragged tires and problematic clutches not just endanger you or anyone in your family driving the car, you also endanger other innocent people on the road with you.

Working at the Port Area

If you're working at the port area, or frequenting it, chances are, you've had your share of truck hassles and near-misses, maybe even accidents.

It's part of the port scenario, trucks going to and fro, loading and unloading cargo from ships and barges. In Manila, trucks are only allowed to haunt our roads at certain times because they can create such traffic the whole day if allowed to be on the roadwhenever they please. And we shouldn't really let their presence stress us so, after all, they deliver the goods and facilitate trade which fuels the economy.

Still, it would do you good to know the hours when they're around so you can plan your schedule and avoid them. Or at least, consider their presence on the road when setting up back to back appointments in and out of your office.

If you're working in the port area, or any area where you have to deal with cargo trucks, you also might want to check what your company offers in terms of insuance benfits for any truck-related accidents and injuries. Are they paying some truck accident lawyer a retainer's fee just for these instances? If not, convince colleagues or your union to push for measures to cover such possibilities. In the South Harbor alone, I know of three different circumstances wherein a container fell off a truck, and that's three major accidents too many.

And really, don't mess with truck drivers. Don't drive too close to them and be on the alert when you're driving alongside one.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wooden Toys as Gifts and Giveaways

Already shopping for Christmas gifts for your nieces and nephews? Looking for educational toys as prizes or giveaways for your child's birthday party?

Then consider giving away wooden toys that are educational and proven safe to play with. Samples include the following (forgive the poor cropping, I just lifted them from the pdf file):

feel free to e-mail irene_abara@yahoo.com or contact Irene for orders at 0917-2455976.

Enjoying Spirits

Want to sample different wines and spirits but not sure how to go about it? Maybe you can check for local listings of wine clubs in your area. Not only do these wine clubs offer opportunities for hanging out (be it for sports, wine tasting or even dating) for fellow wine lovers, but there muct also be a wine of the month club which you can systematically follow and use as guide on which wines to try, where you can get them, etc.

In fact, they may already send you the wine monthly and you can just try it at home, then meet up with fellow members to rant or rave about the wine of the month.

Just remember not to drink and drive though. And that too much champagne can make you do silly things (think of Lily Allen and her hosting boo-boos).

Maximize your Laptop Memory

Most yuppies now own laptops. But we don't always have the money to buy more memory or invest in external hard drives. But what can you do to maximize your laptop memory?

Well, you can try doing any of the following:

1) Defrag. It reorganizes the contents of your hard disk so that pieces of each file can be stored close together and contiguously, creating larger regions of free space for future files.

2) Back-up old, no longer used or relevant files into CDs, zip disks or other hard drives.

3) Clean up your files. Once in a while, check your files for things you can already relegate to the recycle bin, such as downloaded movies and videos from forwarded e-mails. You've had your fun with them anyway so let your memory breathe.

4) Configure your virtual memory to have a larger value than the default so you can also use some of your hard disk aside from your RAM. Allows for faster computing.

Natural Light Is More Flattering

When it comes to great pictures, the use of natural light is the most flattering of all. Indoor lighting sometimes affects the skin tone of subjects. So, couples getting married who wish to maximize the amount they paid for their photographers through pre-nuptial shots or before/after ceremony pics should be well advised to consider photo opps using natural light when it's most flattering, which is between 6-9 AM and 4-6 PM.

Natural light can also heighten the drama inside the church as late afternoon rays cast their reddish spell on the stained glass windows.

Even photo outings with your family and of your kids would benefit from natural light. Haven't you wondered why sunset pictures are such beauties?

Corn and Potato Soup

Corn Kernels
Potatoes (grated)
Onions (lots)
Some butter
Evap Milk
Pepper and salt to taste

* carrots optional

Basically, you sautee onions and GRATED potatoes (use the big-holed graters, you wouldn't want it to be as fine as grated cheese, but this is way better than diced potatoes, i swear) on butter. When they're half-cooked, you just pour in evap milk, corn kernels (if from a can, use the water they were in too), add more water, season with some pepper and salt to taste, simmer... and there you go..

It's creamy, it's healthy, it's filling. And it's best when piping hot...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Malunggay Magic

Malunggay (Moringa) has long been established as truly helpful in increasing milk supply for breastfeeding Moms. I have already posted a blog entry on Natalac vs. Prolacta before and I found another seller: Sun Angel, which also sells moringa in tea form (which confuses me as teas are diuretic and discouraged for breastfeeding Moms), powder form and capsule form.

Do check out the recipes posted in their multiply site. Apparently, they are finding more innovative ways to incorporate it in our daily diet.

I actually used it as my daily vitamin for a time (haven't replenished my supply yet) for all its vitamins and minerals. Plus, there's this weight loss and body cleansing thing that's going on that starts you flushing your toxins out by taking lots of moringa supplements. So I guess, i've made some headway already, eh?


related link: Moringa oleifera: cure for 300 ailments

No-Bake Cheesecake

1 pack of crushed graham (honey flavored or chocolate)
half-bar butter, melted
honey (optional)
confectioner's sugar (optional)
shaved white chocolate (optional)
crushed nuts (walnuts, cashew, almonds, etc... optional)

2 bars of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of milk (evap or fresh)
1 tetra pack Nestle Cream
1/2 cup sugar
a teaspoon of vanilla
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatine
shaved white chocolate (optional)

Combine crushed graham, butter and honey (and nuts) to make the pie crust. Line a pan/bowl with the crust, pat well and even. . Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until crust has set. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and chocolate shavings.

On a blender, combine cream cheese, sugar, milk, whipped cream and vanilla. Blend until frothy.

Pour Knox gelatin in a cup and stir a little hot water in to completely dissolve the gelatin. Mix into the cream cheese mix. Blend well.

Pour mixture onto the pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Top with blueberry/strawberry filling (Compton's) or preferred jam.

* feel free to add more butter to crushed grahams if you like
* feel free to use more or less Knox depending on how firm you want your cheesecake to be

Saturday, September 06, 2008


2 tbsp. cooking oil
1 tbsp. chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped onions
100g ground pork (or more if you want it chunkier)
2 cups chopped baguio beans (chop smaller than green pea-size)
1 8g.Maggi Magic sarap
1 tbsp. patis or to taste
1 142ml. carnation coco evap
1 chili (the green one you use for sinigang, finely chopped)
shrimps (optional)

1. Heat oil, saute garlic and onions until limp. Add ground pork and cook for 1 minute or until pork turns white in color.
2. Stir in baguio beans. Season with Maggi Magic sarap and patis.
3. Pour in Carnation Coco evap and add chili. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and serve hot.

* You can replace baguio beans with kangkong stalks and leaves, about 4 cups (but kangkong gets all limp after a while so separate stalks from leaves and add the leaves last)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Asian Geo - Photography Contest

Asian Geographic Magazine Online is holding a contest. The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers alike who have taken amazing shots that depict Asia's land, culture and its people.

Categories include The Land, Humanity, Wild Places and Man's Imprint. Prizes include Canon EOS 5D, tripod, jacket and hydration packs. Deadline of entries is September 30, 2008 and top photographs will be exhibited in December 2008.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Egg Sandwich Spread

6 hard-boiled eggs
around 1-2 cups mayo (depending on how much mayo you like, and whether you'll be adding extras to it; I prefer Kraft Mayo or Miracle Whip for a perfectly creamy, tangy taste)
salt and pepper to taste
finely-chopped ham (optional)
grated cheese (optional)

With a fork, mash hardboiled eggs. Add the mayo and other ingredients, season according to your preference.

Depending on how much you spread, this recipe can almost provide for an entire loaf of bread.

Some also add some grated/chopped onion to it for some zing.

Beddings For Your Crib

Some people might think a crib bedding is just another way to depict a nursery's theme. Well, before it had any aesthetic value, it actually had a practical value. Crib beddings help protect your baby while inside the crib.

Infants, of course, will not be rolling around much yet. But when they do start rolling (some as early as four months), beddings around the crib will prevent them from banging heads and shins on the hard crib wood.

Yes, you can use pillows... but they pose a suffocation hazard for babies. Crib beddings, which you tie and secure to your crib, won't be accidentally smothering your child as he sleeps.

So when buying a crib, consider investing on crib beddings too. Choose those with washable, cleanable, allergen-free properties.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Mind Your Titles

Hoping a blog entry to generate more traffic for your blog? Just one word can spell a difference of thousands in search engines when you title your entries. So if it's a prime post you're typing up, take the trouble to check your intended title and its various variations first in your search engine of choice. Which generates less competition? Less competition would mean your entry is more likely to come up at the top, you know.

Same wonderful principle if you want to capture niche searches. You can search Google Trends too for inputs as to which topics are regularly searched but are not generating enough material in the web.

And always remember, few ever really search for complete sentences and using correct grammar. Usually, we just type phrases first. So, although you need not title your posts using phrases, you still might want to keep it simple.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wedding Expo in Manila: Venue for Research

If you are engaged in the following businesses:
~ catering
~ jewelry
~ couture
~ desserts, cakes, baked goodies
~ events planning
~ flowers
~ stationery, printing
~ entertaiment, band, music
~ banking, credit, finance, insurance
~ real estate
~ travel & hospitality
~ photography/videography

Then you should really consider going, or sending representation/researcher, to the Wedding Expo happening this September 6-7 at the PICC Forum, CCP Complex. This is wear I saw an album where the bride wore UGG boots so it's really a great venue to see the trends in what people like, dig or spend on. Knowing that will help you expand your business, add more personal touch to it, come up with new gimmicks to attract more buyers or even strike up new partnerships.

Plus, the entrepreneur in you may come up with a more creative and efficient way to provide the same services, at a cheaper price too!

So pre-register now and see you there!

More on Nayong Filipino

I have to correct my initial post on Nayong Filipino in Clark, Pampanga.

They do allow receptions there but the chapels are not authorized yet for the Blessed Sacaraments (so maybe you can have a non-denomintaional one, or a Christian one and just use the chapels as backdrops for photo opps).


And it seems there is going to be a Nayong Filipino - Manila again... signs have already sprouted past the Blue Wave Mall/MOA area (that strip going to Uniwide Coastal). But I think it's still a good five years before anyone can hope to hold weddings there.
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