Monday, May 28, 2012

Wooden Toys and Gifts from Wheelchair-bound Craftsmen

Tahanang Walang Hagdanan has always been the institution for people that are generally wheelchair-bound and it's amazing how they have managed to come up with projects for these people that allows them to earn.

The products I like most are the wooden toys and educational wooden stuff that they sell. Think of different kinds of puzzles and stacking/building toys as well as counting toys. I am considering buying their construction boxes that look like tangram puzzles.

Anyway, next time you're thinking of what to give your kids, or as birthday gifts to relatives/friends' kids... do consider buying from Tahanang Walang Hagdanan instead.  Not only will you get something of prime quality, you also get to support the livelihood of these people and trade in the country.
They also sell novelty items, kitchen wares and other wood items (if you're looking for items that are very particular like wooden switch plate covers, maybe they can customize).

Check out the products here:

You may also contact them here:
Tahanang Walang Hagdanan
#175 Aida St., Marick Subd.,
Cainta, Rizal 1900

(632) 655-0055
(632) 655-0812

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cocoon Boutique Hotel: A Truly Green Hotel in Quezon City

Cocoon Boutique Hotel has just made Quezon City more luxurious and definitely greener. It is a wonderful idea really, to mix intimate, classy, globally-competitive and yet truly Filipino and use environmentally-friendly materials to build a getaway for the harried and the transient.

The location can't be beat as well. Located at Scout Tobias corner Scout Rallos (streets in this area of Quezon City were named after Boy Scouts who perished on their way to a World Jamboree back in 1963), the boutique hotel is just a few blocks away from the bustling entertainment and food scene that are Tomas Morato, Timog and Mother Ignacia.

Cocoon Boutique Hotel boasts of stylish 5-star amenities with a staff that were extensively trained. Apart from the design of the hotel that maximized natural ventilation and lighting, they also provide a venue for community-immersion for youth with disabilities.

And how is Cocoon Boutique Hotel green? Why, it uses harvested rainwater for toilet flushing, plant irrigation and general cleaning. The building used reclaimed wood and metal from demolished sites and uses 100% LED lighting.

And how is it Filipino? I guess you just have to enjoy the calado woodwork, antiques and paintings in the hotel.

Truly, luxurious cannot be more responsible.

Some of the things you may want to know about the intentional design that went into the hotel include:

It's hard to imagine that they used reclaimed wood for the lobby as well as used lighting fixtures. Notice the skylights for natural lighting.

The use of inverter-type air conditioners make sure that they are non-ozone damaging; notice paintings and woodwork to create an art wall to complement the luxuirous beddings

Water-saving faucets, dual piping for poable and grey water... as well as 100% organic bathroom amentiies (with toilettries made from plasticized cornstarch and packed using stone paper and soy ink).

Adult pool has 4 jets for hydro massage while the kiddie pool has a bubbler

Entertain, do business, party, celebrate, romance or relax in splendor because Cocoon Boutique Hotel offers a deck bar, coffeshop, ballroom, board room, business center, gift shop, Italian restaurant, tea and pastry shop, a salon, travel agency and aesthetic clinic.

For inquiries and reservations, please contact the Sales and Reservations Office: 

Telephone  632-998 3117    
Mobile Phone  0922- 810 4692    

Cocoon Boutique Hotel - where luxury is responsible :)
 61 Scout Tobias corner Scout Rallos Streets, Bgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City 1103, Philippines
Telephone  632- 9212706 to 08     Mobile Phone 0917- 5567893     TeleFax  632- 4137281  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Greenlife Soup

I bought this box (20 packets per box) of Greenlife soup during my Waldorf crash course from the brother of the formulator, Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan.

The beauty of this organic veggie soup is that it's just like any instant soup. The funny thing too is that it tastes like the usual instant noodles, without the salt and preservatives.

My husband, however, says that "it smells like fruit and tastes like chicken" :)

Anyway, it consists of eight power vegetables and is perfect for everyday use... or when you're travelling and feel you're not eating right. My son loves it with egg

The eight vegetables that were flash frozen and powderized in this one are:
cucurbita maxima - squash
moringa oleifera - malunggay
abelmoschus esculentus - okra
corchorus olitorius - saluyot
ipomoea batatas - sweet potato
capsicum frutescens - cayenne pepper
centella asiatica - takip kuhol (gotu kola)
spinacia oleracea - spinach

For distributors (you could apply to be one), you can check the Greenlife site:

Or their main distributor:

Greenlife also offers a veggie plus juice drink (love it too!), veggie coffee and syrup for kids.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pirose, Fashion and Nursing Scarf

Used for fashion, the Pirose scarf manufactured by Reno Rose allows for at least 13 looks, from a head scarf, neck scarf (multiple ways!), beach/pool poncho/coverup and something to pin corsages to in really formal occasions.

Used by moms, it can also serve as a nursing cover or a stroller cover for your baby.

I have been in love with the Pirose ever since I saw it on the net but I couldn't justify the price. I have also initiated contact with the manufacturer for possible exclusive distribution here, but I also have doubts as to my capacity as seller.

Anyway, good thing I found an Ebay seller selling it for like half-price so I was able to treat my sister and myself to one. Unfortunately, I ordered the smaller size and it feels a little off. I should have trusted my judgment that Reno was a petite ballerina and I'm not. Plus, I wanted to use it as breastfeeding cover.

That boo-boo aside, I still loved it when I wore it for the first time. My sis is also rocking hers... so I might just order more.

me, breastfeeding in the Mayo

my sis in the Juli (she's a lot thinner than I am but stands 5'8" or so)

During my e-mail exchange with the manufacturer, he suggested to start with the smaller size because he's heard feedback that it's harder to manage the excess fabric of the larger sizes. But if you're using it for nursing and you're around my height (5'4"), I suggest to really go for the larger size (size M or L in the fashion sizes, size 2 in the motherhood sizes).

It's also great to just tie on your bag and really easy to use to accessorize. Will post more pics when I use it in other ways :)

For more info and to see other designs available, just log onto :)  The site also has a video tutorial.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Victoria's Milling Company, Negros Occidental

Normally, a sugar mill and refinery will only be in your itinerary if you were part of a school field trip. But when in Bacolod, a visit to Victoria's Milling Company in Victorias City is a must. Yes, it is maybe over an hour away but you cannot be in the sugar capital of the country and not visit one of its oldest sugar mills.

trucks transporting sugar cane to the mills are massive

their load, amazing

sample of the housing provided to the employees by VMC which reminded me of UP campuses

the scent of the air here is that of brown sugar, and it's worth it just to breathe that kind of air... i'm telling you!

going to the Chapel of the Angry Christ, you have to pass by this weigh bridge

they used to be called Iron Dinosaurs, transporting sugar cane and milled sugar across the Negros region

To arrange official tours or for more information, just contact VMC:
VMC Factory Head OfficeVICMICO, Victorias City 6119
Negros Occidental, Philippines
Telefax No.: +63.34.399-3378

Friday, May 11, 2012

Merci Bakeshop, Great Pasalubong from Bacolod

On one hand, I declare that all baked goods in Bacolod are sweet, so I was really craving some savory breads when we were there. And no, it's not really a complaint because we did enjoy those breads.

Anyway, Merci Pasalubong is probably the equivalent of a 7-11 Bakeshop in Bacolod, in the sense that they're everywhere (but aren't open 24/7). And since my friend decided to welcome us there with Napoleones from Merci, then I assume that theirs is the best.

this branch was walking distance from Saltimboca

typical bakery fare

the big box of Napoleones costs P130 in the regular bakeshop and costs P145, I think, at the airport... it also expires in 3 days (7 if stored in the ref)

So, if you're ever in Bacolod and looking for something to bring the best of Bacolod to your family and friends, please make sure you visit a Merci Bakeshop and splurge on their baked goodies.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Iloilo Church Hopping

Iloilo and old churches certainly mix. And they do have some really magnificent ones, usually flanked by a big plaza, near a cemetery and the city hall... and surrounded by the homes of the aristocracy of old.

We started our church hopping in the town of San Joaquin, about two hours from Iloilo City, after our visit to Garin Farm. If you go here directly from the city, that will set you back P60 on a jeepney ride.

climb up to the belfry and see the bats

interior was quite plain and modern though

You have to walk for around 2 blocks from San Joaquin church to the road where jeepneys and buses pass. Ride a jeep (P15) going to Miagao and travel for some 15 minutes.

this church is imposing and massive in its majesty

the facade has all these carvings that will really make you pause and wonder how they were put there

choir practice for little ones

absolutely loved the intricate windows

Just ride another jeepney bound for Iloilo (P15) and travel for some 15 minutes again to get to Guimbal Church.

I found the church so-so

and it didn't look centuries old

but Guimbal plaza was nice (here's Rizal and the city hall)

and their playground and staidum looked new and well-kept

great plaza, no?

since we were there already, we decided to check out the Guimbal Moro watchtower

it was actually only about two stories high and made from big slabs of stone, and resorts already cover your view of the beach

this is the beach that you cannot see from the tower anymore

you go up and down the Moro tower this way

Ride another jeep bound for Iloilo to get to Tigbauan Church (P10) and enjoy the amount of work that went into its interior.

kinda looks ordinary from the outside

but when you get in, you will realize that every inch of the church was made from pieces of stone or tile

as in every inch!

all tiles

twas hard to pray here because I kept just looking at the images made from tiles

really loved everything about the inside of this church

plaza was not bad too

Going to Molo Church from Tigabauan will require most commuters to travel to the jeepney terminal at Mohon (P18) and then transfer to another one bound for Villa (Arevalo, P7.50). You can't miss this church anyway because it is also huge and the jeeps go around it.

This church, conceptualized in 1863 and built as a stone church in 1869 with a Gothic Renaissance design, is also known as a feminist church because of the statues of female saints inside.

female saints lead the way to the altar

sixteen images of female saints in all

There are other old churches in Iloilo (like the Jaro church) but we didn't have enough time to visit them anymore. Anyway, these old churches are really a testament to the province's faith and culture, history and economy and they're really a must-see, even if you're not Catholic.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Maintain Your Aircon, Lessen our Colds

Or allergies, for that matter.

I know that most people out there are probably like us who only gets their air conditioning units cleaned when it's already making weird noises or breaking down. But we have also learned that it's actually more trouble to wait because the performance of the appliance gets compromised when it's dirty. Plus, our health suffers too.

So, include the maintenance check up and cleaning in your household budget and yearly calendar, lest you end up suffering from a lot of allergic rhinitis episodes (that require medication!) and require a performance air filter just to get a good night's sleep. If you compute the cost, it will actually come out cheaper in the long run. Plus, a clean aircon unit also emits cooler air too.
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