Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bacon and Cheese Roll

Here's a really sinful treat I found online you can greet the new year with (heaven help you!): Bacon and Cheese Roll.

Island Cove Family Fun Package

In one word, it's what Pinoys would call SULIT. Worth it to avail for a family of four (two adults and two kids). But of course, even the Day trip should make anyone happy since Island Cove is very near Manila.

The Family Fun Package currently costs P4,500 and entitles you to:
~ Room Accommodation (and extra bed)
~ Food voucher worth P1,000 for use at any of the Island Cove restaurants
~ Thirty-minute ride at a horse-drawn carriage (at the Animal Island)
~ Printed Souvenir Photo with a Baby Croc (at Animal Island, Crocs and Monkeys area)
~ Free entrance to Animal Island and Oceana Water Park
~ Iced tea for four (if you're eating at Fishing Village, better avail this one here since the iced tea at the Oceana Water Park resto is more water than tea)
~ Canvas bags to be painted on at Animal Island
~ Free use of Hotel Pool and Jacuzzi
~ 30 minutes free at Island Songs KTV
~ Complimentary bottled water

You can choose to arrive at the check-in time of 2 PM or come earlier, collect your coupons at the reception desk and start swimming your hearts out at Oceana Water Park already. You can frolic there all day and just check-in to shower in your room, then head to Animal Island and Fishing Village (the sunset in those places are breathtaking!).

And you can actually ask for another set of coupons for the water park for the following day (so you can check out early and spend the entire day at the water park slides) or prefer to enjoy the hotel pool instead.

Our only miscalculations were:

1) The water park and pool waters aren't heated... and is too cold even for the average adult in December, so our 1-year old kid couldn't enjoy it for all its worth... even at the height of noon.

2) We took the tram to the Animal Island on the first day, but it's really a big area so if you have your own car, you might want to use it instead. But for those who have the time and do not mind walking, the many animals (ostrich, deer, boars and other birds) and view of the sea (lake?) should make the walk engaging.

the tram, which runs on electricity,
that shuttles guests around Island Cove


main pool with slides

kiddie pool area with slides and fountains

the kiosk

area around kiosk


Island Cafe

rooms are air-conditioned, with cable TV,
tub, soap/shampoo/bath/toothbrush, ref

each room has a terrace of sorts


they have many big tigers there, but I couldn't
work with the cages for good pictures

we were told Ostrich eggs taste
just like chicken eggs

we paid P70 to feed the croc...
(there are some 167 crocs there right now)

the baby croc used for the souvenir
photo opps

where you paint on the canvas bags

animals for petting are available
on Saturdays and Sundays

the mighty deers


dine over water and enjoy the sea breeze

make sure you order the pininyahang manok!
and their bagoong rice is also to die for!!!


they charge P100/person per hour, but
that's consummable to food and drinks

certainly, do not go without one of
their white choco brownies (P55 each)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Take Care of the Grease

The Holidays usually bring with it the most sinful of foods... the most buttery, the most greasy, the most creamy of concoctions. So how do we take care of the grease and get them off our dining ware and Kohler sinks?

Of course, you would need to use the right cleaner. And its really best not to let all the grease congeal on your cookware and plates (especially if some of the cooking fat was burned). You can boil plenty of water and prepare basins of hot water with some dishwashing liquid for your dishes and utensils and pots. Let them sit there while you enjoy your Christmas dinner or while everyone is winding down with some tea or coffee (and some piece of cake). They will be easier to wash later.

You can also soak a rag in vinegar and use this to wipe countertops and stovetops.

Just make sure you deal with the grease as soon as you can, not only because cleaning them off is easier that way, it will also keep pests off your kitchen counters.

Anniversary Gift Idea: Bride's Bouquet

Wondering how to best get your wife remembering the magic of your wedding day, when you made your vows to love and cherish each other forever, without necessarily spending so much on a renewal ceremony?

Then do what my husband did. He had my wedding bouquet re-created.

It need not be an exact copy even, so feel free to utilize the services of any Dangwa florist. And yes, you can just go to any florist (especially if the flowers in her bouquet are commonly used) but you can also opt to pre-order (maybe from your wedding florist too!) for easy pick-up or delivery. It can also be just a miniature version of the original bouquet (less expensive but just as sweet).

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quick Cheesy Potatoes

Just boil potatoes (you might want to cut real large ones in half though, to make sure the center cooks well), remove skin and them slice according to preference (we did ours in round slabs, some might prefer wedges).

Fry some bacon (or ham or sausage, whichever you have) for topping/garnishing. Use some of the fat left to heat up your favored cheese spread. Pour over cut potatoes.

Perfect Time to Buy Christmas Decor

The perfect time to buy wonderful Christmas decor dirt cheap is NOW, because Christmas is past and manufacturers and sellers alike are selling these products at really lower prices.

Just make sure to keep them well so you can use them next year. This way, you actually save money. That is, if you're one of those who really go all out with their Christmas decorations.

My husband's family loves shopping at Makro as well, for P10 trimmings that are cute and unique.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Pork Rambutan

Pork Rambutan is really just the same meat mixture used for lumpiang shanghai. Instead of wrapping it up, however, you shape it into meatballs and then roll it on crushed miswa (fine wheat noodle).

The basic ground pork recipe we used (we don't like stuff such as garlic and celery, hehe) follows:

1/2 kg ground pork
150 gms shrimp, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch pepper

Combine all ingredients above and refrigerate. When ready to cook, shape the mixture into balls (about 1-inch balls for easy cooking), dip in beaten egg then roll over crushed miswa before frying in low heat.

* For tastier pork, add a dash of Knorr Liquid seasoning
** You can also insert a cube of quick-melting cheese in the middle of each ball for a cheesy surprise
*** Exchange a third of the pork with ground beef or your favorite sausages (chopped/ground)

This is perfect for the media Noche feast as its round :)

Dealing with Holiday Late Nights

Chances are, you're like me, sniffling from the cold and exhaustion of late nights and too many reunions, get-togethers and prolonged discussions at the dinner table. Too bad not all of us possess a nespresso machine for some quick pick-me-up. Then again, Starbucks is like a neighborhood convenience store in the city so we need not be deprived.

But really, any hot cocoa, coffee or tea will do.

Or better yet, make sure the short sleep you do get is of good quality, deprived of interruptions like a too-loud cellphone alerting you to text messages from friends partying the night away.

Make sure you eat healthy. Lots of fruits and vegetables instead of more sugar and carbs. And drink plenty of water. You need to keep hydrated especially if you've been drinking tea or coffee.

Most of all, take a nap wherever you can. Fifteen minutes of nap will do you a world of good especially in the middle of the day (say, before you eat lunch, while waiting for the food delivery)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookie Christmas Tree

My BIL gifted his wife with a Wilton Cookie Tree Cutter Kit which comes not just with cutters/shapers but also recipes for the cookie dough and icing.

a little blurry since kids were about

who couldn't keep their hands off the tree

their mouths too :D

Can't find a Wilton Kit? You can just purchase your own different-sized cutters from any baking supplies store, use your favorite cookie recipe (because the recipe provided by Wilton's gave a new meaning to TOUGH COOKIE, eventhough it tasted good) and decorate your own way.

You can even use different-sized bottle covers as cutters. You also have the option to attempt to carve your own leaf designs around each circle of dough. And yes, you can even use gelatin (just make it really firm) for the tree.

For the icing, any recipe will do. Just use food coloring. No piping bags? Be creative with sandwich bags! And any itty bitty candy will do for decoration (my SIL used Nips, a local version of M & Ms).

This would make a really lovely Christmas centerpiece... and your kids will have fun decorating it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Candy Giveaways

At the corner of Tabora/Ylaya, mini candies are being sold in packs. The small ones cost P35 each. You can repackage these by putting them in mini plastic packets (I bought mine at Chocolate Lover but am sure they're also sold in Divisoria or Quiapo or other baking supplies shops).

The wonderful thing about these candies is that they're also differently-flavored according to color. So aside from being cute and definitely eye-catching, they're also very interesting candies. Of course, I cannot be sure if they're melamine-free (though, since you wouldn't exactly give candies to babies, am sure the kids or adults who ingest them will be alright).

I just put about a spoonful of these candies in the mini packets and stapled that (for the first batch, I actually put stickers on the plastic packets first). I believe I was able to make 26 packs from one P35/bag.

This is a cheap and cute something to include in loot bags or give away to kids (kids calling on your home and wishing you "Merry Christmas" perhaps?). And it isn't that sweet too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sales Jobs

Pondering jobs in sales as a career path?

The ability to relate well to others would be a very important trait to have, because you would have to deal with all kinds of personalities, in different types of moods. Being able to relate well would not only mean being able to establish rapport with somone, but also being able to communicate well with them, confidently answering their questions and engaging them to actually listen and be invested in your sales speeches.

Of course, a certain degree of intelligence is required. Some companies may even require a certain technical background (e.g. a medical background for med reps; an IT background for telephony services sellers, etc.). But even the mo9st succesful of sellers will tell you that a positive attitude is the most important trait to have.

The positive attitude will allow you to believe in the product you're selling. And the positive attitude will keep you motivated to consider every person/company a possible client. It will allow you to be brave and try, and try again after you've been rejected. It will keep you from feeling disheartened to give your best at every sale you attempt.

People often have this notion that charm gets people earning well in sales. But its really grit and the will to achieve results that get people in sales rich.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tales of Beedle the Bard: A Rave

I will admit, the fact that I am a Potterhead may have seriously prejudiced me about liking the book.

So yes, I really, really enjoyed it and think its brilliant. The stories are very engaging and witty (and dark, if truth be told). I found the "The Fountain of Fair Fortune" especially romantic and the "The Warlock's Hairy Heart" particularly disturbing. Then again, so were the Grimm's Fairy Tales.

"Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump" reminded me a little of The Emperor's New Clothes.

If JK will decide to publish all the stories she originally thought up, this will really be yet again a lucrative series for her. After all, at P550, the book IS expensive considering it only contained five stories. And am not sure if they will ever issue it in paperback form.

Still, considering how expensive kiddie storybooks generally are, its also actually not remarkable in that area. Baby Einstein books are much more ludicrously priced (then again, they're usually in thick cardboard).

I really think even kids who haven't faithfully followed the Harry Potter series will find the stories here funny, and parents alike can use these stories to teach values and moral lessons. And if you juxtapose the stories with other storybooks, they aren't as fantastic that kids wouldn't be able to grasp them.

I really salute JK. I cannot wait to be reading this and having talks about it with my son.


True to form, Harry Potter fans made sure that this book is the fastest selling title of 2008, selling 2.6 million copies in its first week and raking up a cool $8.5 million.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Soften Those Lips

If the wind chill is already rendering your lips chapped and dry, do something about it. Wearing lip balm, or creamy lipsticks and sunscreen may already go a long way. Avoiding lip-licking is also another. Also, make sure you keep fully hydrated. If the chapping is really bad, get a prescription for ointments and avoid the cold as much as you can.

But for everyday softening, you can do either of two things:

1) Every brushing, brush your lips as well to rid it of dried skin.

2) Once a week, smear petroleum jelly on your lips and leave it there for some 30 minutes or so. After that, with an old toothbrush, brush your lips

Remember, chapped lips CAN become infected so it's really important that they be addressed. Besides, you wouldn't want anyone to say you do not have the softest of lips, right? :)

No Shortcuts in Weight Loss

Sure, after the holidays, you can probabaly turn to Leptovox to rid yourself of the weight you gained over all the merrymaking. That's probably okay if you only gained around five pounds.

Still, since you most probably gained those pounds over time (starting with the BER months when people started serving more, and sweeter, food as Christmas comes nearer), you should also lose the weight gained over time. Weight loss pills should still be coupled with the right diet and exercise. And no drastic weight loss is ever beneficial. Your bones, for one thing, will become brittle. Plus, your skin is more likely to sag if the weight loss happened too fast.

So take your time and relish the journey it takes to get you to your ideal weight and size again. Plus, it's always easier that way, when you give your body the chance to adjust. You'd resent the diet and exercise less.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Gift of Literacy and Wonder

Lost on what to give your nieces and nephews for Christmas? Going insane on weighing the merits of a plushie over an electronic toy, and whether you should heed the "For ages 3+" guides on the boxes?

Why not give the gift of literacy and wonder instead? Give books. Personalized books may be specially-ordered ones, or just wrapped/scrapped nicely. Start on a series, and give one from it for each year till you finish it (there are many new classics now, like Harry Potter, Narnia, Series of Unfortunate Events, Amelia Bedelia, etc.)

If you can, give the book and a VCD/DVD copy of the movie (Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne has recently been made into a wonderful movie starring Brendan Fraser).

Sooner or later, the recipient is bound to pick up these gems and get lost in its stories. And books are the last gifts parents will be throwing or giving away.

Shop At Night

If you still haven't declared yourself as on recession mode, and if you've already got your Christmas bonus at last but cannot find the time to shop, be not worried because sellers have come to your rescue.

For instance, mall hours have already been extended even on weeknights. And since traffic is bad after office hours, you'd do well to while a few hours away shopping for gifts or new outfits instead. By the time you decide to get home, chances are, it will be easier getting a cab and traffic isn't as jammed anymore (except maybe on the last two to three days before Christmas).

You can also take advantage of the night market in Divisoria. Wares are being sold cheaper at night because sellers do not exactly pay for the stalls they put up at night. It will be easier to buy loot for those Christmas goodie bags you're preparing.

But if you're too tired at night, make do with Multiply and Ebay sellers instead. At least, it would just be a one-time meet-up thing for you.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Absolutely Yoneek - Pampanga Caterer

Absolutely Yoneek offers rentals, party planning and catering services to people from the North.

Contact Julita Liyett Dizon Tolentino
Km. 91 McArthur Highway
Mabiga, Mabalacat, Pampanga

Branch 1: Alden Bldg.
Rizal Ext. Cutcut
Angeles City
Tel No. (45) 626-1060
cell No. 0916-4595668

The flowers for my BIL's wedding were made by my SIL so am not sure about what they can offer in terms of setup. But the food was really, really great. We couldn't help bingeing on the ribs and their salad kept people coming back for more.

Few caterers will get raves from us... but they're definitely one of them. So if you're from Pampanga, let them cater your special occasion.

Maybe you can also contact them for food orders for parties.

setup at Paradise Ranch Leisure Park

No pics of the food though... so sorry we were famished and exhausted at that point already and it was already dark outside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Constantine Place - Pool Pics

The mini pool (last pic) is the kiddie wading pool. Jets of water can also be turned on along the side of the main pool for a fountain effect. But the pool water at Constantine Place is not heated so its not really good for infants or babies in late afternoons or at night.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Talk on the Challenge of Parenting Teens

got this in my e-mail

Title: Parent Talk 101 (The Challenges of parenting Teens)
Speaker: Clem Guillermo (Heart Line Counselor-DZAS 702, Director of
Back to the Bible Phil., Marriage Counselor)
When: January 17, 2009 (Saturday)
Where: Cinema 9 (SM North Edsa, Quezon City)
Morning Session: 9:00am to 12:00 noon
Afternoon Session: 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Ticket price: P150.00

Event Partners: Proclaim His Name Christian Fellowship, Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches(PCEC), 702 DZAS, Philippine Christian Book Store(PCBS), Back to the Bible

For more details, ticket reservations and inquiries, text Cristina at (63918)939-0171.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Binagoongan ala Mec

1 Kilo Pork Belly (Liempo) cubed (slightly bigger than menudo-sized cubes)
2 tsps. oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 onions, chopped
5 small tomatoes, chopped (or as many as you want)
1/2 cup shrimp paste (Bagoong)
3 tbsps vinegar
3 eggplants, sliced diagonally
1/2 cup coconut cream
1 big chili (the green one for sinigang, pointed end chopped off to release flavor)
salt and pepper to taste
1 sachet Maggi Magic Sarap

Cover liempo with water and season with some salt and pepper as well as the Maggi Magic Sarap in a pot. Let boil for at least 15 minutes or until pork is tender.

Saute garlic and onions in a separate pan until golden. Add the tomatoes until soft then add the shrimp paste. Add the chili and the cooked pork pieces with about 1/2 - 1 cup of the pork broth.

Simmer for some five minutes before seasoning with the vinegar and some more pepper (or more chilis!). When pork is fork-tender, add sliced eggplants and coconut cream. Bring to a boil and simmer until mixture thickens and eggplants are soft (about 10-15 minutes). Feel free to add more coconut cream or pork broth according to taste.

* if using powdered coconut cream, use the pork broth to dissolve the powder in for more flavor
** add half of a pork cube if you want more flavor
*** use spicy shrimp paste available in groceries if you really want it spicy

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Dapitan Arcade

Dapitan Arcade is located in at Kanlaon cor. Dapitan Sts. and is a haven for unique finds and discount furniture. Chandeliers made from rattan or capiz can be had for as cheap as P2,500 (the biggest one). Handmade paper in varying shades are also sold there as well as glittery matryoshka dolls (Russian nesting dolls).

Other ornaments that help beautify homes or come up with inspired celebrations can be found in the wrought iron products sold there. Iron frame stands sell for as cheap as P1,000 (including 4-5 wooden picture frames). Old-fashioned lamps can be bought for as cheap as P80.

There are also wicker baskets sold there, some even designed for kiddie rooms (and painted accordingly in baby blue or pink).

And of course, right now, every possible Christmas decor can also be found there, including different-sized and styled Santa Clauses.

Holiday Movie Marathon

Not sure what to do with your family this coming holiday season?

Delegate who'd be in charge of cooking the popcorn and the churros, or eat all the extra (or reject) baked goodies you're baking and selling while enjoying movie marathons with the entire family. Invite some cousins or friends over too, if you want. You can even turn it into a potluck thing.

Enjoy the home theater seating in your media room and pick themes. Like, for a certain night, its Star Wars. The next night, Harry Potter movies. And another night, all Home Alone movies. Or every Christmas movie you can think of. People can even bring their own movie along with the food and booze, so you can pick more generic themes (Disturbing Movies Night, Geek Movies Night, Chick Flick Movies Night, Julia Roberts Movies Night, Action Movies Night, etc.).

Am sure it would be a great bonding way... and will help you avoid crowds or spending too much eating out.

Goldilocks Bakeshp is currently offering Bailey's Cake. At P530 (I think) for the big one, you get the taste of Bailey's on the chocolate icing at the side of the cake (completely covered by the chocolate wedges in this picture) and lots of Chantilly cream.

The sponge cake itself isn't anything special but overall, the cake is at least not too sweet.

Is it worth the price? Maybe, since I don't know how much liqueur costs. But there are better-tasting cakes out there. Just add a little more to the cost and you can already order a cake by Alex Franco, one that would be filled with mangoes and mousse aside from cake and cream.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ira's Coco Macaroons

1/4 kilo dessicated coconut (high fat)
1 can sweetened condensed creamer
1/2 cup sugar
50 ml evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
100 gms grated cheese

Combine wet ingredients first in a bowl. Add all the remaining dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful into small corrugated paper cups. Make sure to mix the batter once in a while as you're filling the cups since the coconut tends to settle at the bottom.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes at 350 degree Fahnrenheit. Cool completely before serving.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shades as Gifts

Got a fashionista for a girlfriend or wife and don't know what would be an absolutely perfect gift for her?

Look to classic icons such as Audrey Hepburn and hit Ray-Ban stores for a pair of Wayfarer sunglasses. Choose a different (think funky or loud) color frame if you think she'd want something modern-ish or if she's the type who likes clothes and accessories to match.

This would be even more perfect if it will come with an itinerary, or a promissory note of sorts, for a beach vacation where such will come in handy.

(Image source: Google)
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