Thursday, November 29, 2012

All About Baking

I thought I already posted about them. What was formerly known as Chocolate Lovers at the corner of Kitanglad Street and Quezon Avenue in Quezon City is now under new management. I believe they just changed management last August.

The price range is generally the same, with more choices for candies and cupcake liners and an ambience that is brighter and lighter (because it was a little dark there before). They also brought in new products like mixers, edible paper, cookie cutters, molds
what I mean by lighter (more lights, haha)
a lot of the same products we patronized, just repackaged
good they're selling butter there now too
we bought this and it tasted just like the colorful candies like the one below
... which are really perfect for loot bags (and i'm hoping these are safe compared to the ones you can buy in Divi)
and these are the cupcake/muffin liners

Because of the upcoming Holidays, they may be out of stock of some items as some patrons might be panic buying the whole lot... OR they will have a surplus of just about everything, having anticipated that. There may also be slight price increases.

2 Kitanlad Corner Quezon Avenue, QC
Tel No: 359-1153 / 741-7487 / 731-2404
Find them on Facebook... just search for "All About Baking"

Summertime Designs Offers Free Digiscrapping Kits

And when I wrote "digiscrapping kits", I meant a lot of them. Summer has also been really considerate by providing a link list at the right side of her blog. What's more, she has also been so kind as to raise money and blog about some people who have had unfortunate things happen to them.

This Mom is really the sweetest! And her kits... all really lovely too!

Make sure to leave her a lot of love when you do download her kits. Just go to for awesome templates made by a really caring, generous Mom.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mommy Mundo Christmas Bazaar 2012

As if we really need more reasons to shop and empty our pockets out... but anyway...

Mommy Mundo is holding its Christmas Bazaar at the Rockwell Tent this coming weekend, Nov 24-25, 2012.

It may not be the place to look for marshall haze 40 guitar for your little achiever, but there are enough wooden toys from WonderWorld Toys, or really pretty dresses by Dizzy Dress, and even prettier bows from Celestina & Co.

Looking for cheaper breast pumps? Babymama is the booth to visit.

What about pregnancy and maternity clothes that are fab and comfy? Then, proceed to Mama.Baby.Love's booth and look through slings and cloth diapers while you're at it.

Download and print this map and have the vendors sign it when you visit their booths. When you complete at least 20 signatures, just submit the form at the exit, and get a chance to win wonderful prizes (Baby 1st Stroller, Mommy Matters nursingwear, Havaianas flipflops, and more:) at the Mommy Mundo Bazaar raffle draw!

For a list of exhibitors and other things one can expect at the expo, click here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sta. Elena Fun Farm

I really wish I had known of this place earlier. But anyway, this post will be an offshoot of our Balik Bukid trip last weekend.

The Fun Farm is located inside the Sta. Elena Properties in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. This was where the Balik Bukid Country Fair was held and I will now post something about what you can expect when you visit:
obstacle course/maze made of bamboo and a truck... and yes, all that space
rope setups like these to challenge kids on their balance and grip
the sandbox area is housed and kids can freely (and safely)  play in the swing, play with the sand or hang from all those ropes
these little girls did a lot of climbing there :)
and the sandbox house is really great for avoiding the midday heat
tire swings by the duck pond
lots of inspirational banners like this one
duck pond and fishing area
toddlers can get into trouble following the ducks around, haha, for they might end up going in the pond too
the opportunity to fish, and have someone thread in the worm bait through the hook :D (you have to throw back the fish caught though)
for the brave... a rope bridge across the manmade lake where people go boating
farm animals like pigs, cows, horses, sheep, etc
animal feeding areas for rabbits and guinea pigs
horses you can ride on
and a leisurely carabao cart ride
don't you love this wash area?
and there's a turkey coop too (I didn't get to visit the Pigeon House)
part of the adult obstacle course area
and yes, the kiddos can really wash all the sand, sweat and grime away before you end your visit

There is a bike trail and you can bring your own bike. You can also freely bring in your own food because they encourage picnics and communion with nature. Each guest has to pay P300 though and need to  make an appointment to make sure the place isn't reserved for an event on the day of the planned outing.

The place is really well-maintained and clean (as nature goes) but expect bugs (mosquitoes, ants and other insects) so feel free to let your child enjoy the fresh air, the sound of birds (and their own laughter) and the freedom to move.

You can course inquiries and reservations through the following:
Holy Carabao -
0918 8886588/0920 9131349

Sta. Elena -
02 886 8686/Mobile 0920 949 8260

Fun Farm Bookings -

St. James the Great Bazaar 2012

I have actually never been, but I have heard of great finds and even greater food to be had at the St. James the Great Bazaar. What's more, my SIL has been selling clothes and food there for several years now.

The biggest bazaar for people living in the South will be held at the Cuenca Community Center and St. James Parking Lot this November 30, December 1 and 2... from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Don't be surprised if you see a lot of imported goods (you might find spenco shoes or Korean magic scarves as well as fab boots)  because sellers in this bazaar really source out their wares the entire year.

My SIL will be selling smocked dresses for little girls.

Expect wares from all over the country too, as well as delicacies. Bring fans and your own water though (unless you want to cease shopping just to buy water) if you're coming during the day, because the crowd will be merciless in their hunt for great finds and good bargains. Bring cash (of course) and eco bags too, so that you don't have to worry about having to carry things around.

If you can, collude with friends and family living in the area to just drop you off there and pick you up... or at least let you park your car in their garage.

Enjoy Christmas shopping and know that the proceeds of this event all go to the Church.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Balik Bukid Country Fair - November 2012

Warning... this will be a rave :)

Well.. the Sta. Elena Fun Farm proved to be a heaven for little kids to roam around in and just really enjoy nature and stretch their bodies. So, I will focus on the country fair instead.

We didn't get to really check each stall because we were there for the kids to play. not really to shop. But there was enough array of goods for everyone in the family. Beauty products and toiletries, food (pastries, ice cream on sticks, meals, pizza, etc), accessories (bags, necklaces, etc), furniture (wooden, antiques), art, toys, games, clothes... it's a bazaar that won't really overwhelm and most (if not all) are healthy and organic (Hecky's lechon isn't really healthy but they use organic pigs!).

The price range for the food was between affordable (like the inasal chicken and barbecue I bought) to expensive (P100/bottle of iced tea or dalandan juice!).

Registration went well... we each got blue bracelets crocheted from plastic strips
loved this pesto pizza from Pizza Morena
they have their own brick oven at the pavilion
seller of Waldorf dolls
seller of Waldorf wooden toys
when was the last time you saw horses made from newspapers??? :)  This cost P500 for a small one though so, I'm guessing the paints they use are plant-based
notebooks and boxes, anyone?
woven bags perhaps?
produce fresly picked from Holy Carabao farm (the neighbor of Fun Farm)
I didn't go near this shop because they were selling Advent wreathes,,, haha, and I might buy one
aren't these bunnies super cute???
some of the food booths at the dining area
the seller of this antique was a Lasallian hubs knows
these were his other wares
yup, there was dancing too
and storytelling by the Acacia Waldorf teachers (they also offered craft activities for parents and kids)
and games... sack race, coco shell stilts, jumping rope, dodge ball
the wash area is just beside this, and the bike trail (where you can borrow bikes or bring your own, not really for big bikes and motorcycle helmets though)
The usual entrance to the Fun Farm is P300 for all activities but Balik Bukid charged P350 for those (I guess, to cover the cost of the extra manpower in all stations). However, if you just want the festive air and to shop, you can get in for free.
I love that they insisted on people bringing their own eco bags and cleaning as they go. I love that it wasn't so loud, there were so many activities and it didn't feel crowded (despite the large number of families that went). Starbucks was there too :) And lots of celebs. And a photobooth :)
Ultimately, it's a relaxing trip to the farm without having to worry about bringing in your own food (but you can, and can even borrow picnic mats from them) or not having anything to do while the kids played. And personally, I prefer this to the usual bazaars that happen in the city.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Chapel of the Cartwheels and Gaston Ancestral Home at Hacienda Rosalia

Unfortunately, my phone got broken so my notes about the hacienda (and ancestral home) and Gaston family are no more. And yes, this post is half a year late.

Anyway, my friend basically drafted our Bacolod itinerary for us. We hired a cab for the whole day when we went to visit sights in the Negros countryside because we had kids with us, so this post will be pretty useless on how to get to these places. But anyway, if ever you're in Bacolod and going to Manapla (famous for its puto, yes), make sure you visit the...

This quaint chapel can be found at Hacienda Sta. Rosalia. The first foundation for the chapel was laid in 1967 at the site of the former home of the current owner's great-grandparents. We were lucky to be given a leaflet about the Chapel and in it,  Father Guillermo Ma. Gaston (the current owner and former Bacolod bishop) wrote of the chapel:

"We have endeavored to make the construction itself, a sensible witness to our Filipino Christian faith. Herev, every stone, every piece of wood, every native material used in the construction is made to show its natural beauty, symbolizing in visual panorama the eternal truths of Christianity expressed in the language of a Filipino."

Everything about the chapel has meaning...

from the salakot (wide-brimmed hat) shape giving the circular shape that has no beginning and end
the cement floor mized with blue sand to symbolize imperfections of this world
 to to the sliding doors on the left and right (for the Old and New Testament) (by the way, all cartwheels used here were used... as a tribute to the work being done in the sugarcane plantations)
The chapel isn't grand by any definition... but it seemed to us a perfect place for reflection and gratitude. And it was really very beautiful. I believe Father Gaston still celebrates Mass there every Sunday (but I am not sure and cannot refer you to where you can check).

Now... adjacent to this chapel is the more famous landmark in this area of Manapla. This ancestral home is now the home of Msgr. Gaston. If I am not mistaken, he is a grandchild of the famousYves Leopold Gaston, Father of the Sugar Industry in the country, and one of the 12 children of Victor Gaston (who raised his 12 kids in what is now Balay Negrense).

Anyway, this house is famous back in the 80's because of the Oro, Plata, Mata movie... a masterpiece film by  Peque Gallaga. Since then, it has provided a backdrop for other films (since some of the Gaston descendants have married into showbiz). Only, because it is still home to Msgr. GG, there are still many restrictions when filming here and it is not really open to the public. It is only truly open to family, when the Gastons have their reunion (which happens every 4 years, I think... again, sorry, I lost my notes).
For a fee, lovers can be wed at the Chapel of the Cartwheels and brought to these grounds by a carabao-driven cart to have their reception here (last time I asked, a reception here would cost P25,000).
the garden is really well-tended here... absolutely loved this arbor
people interested to go inside can write the Msgr for permission... my hubby and I were permitted to take a peek inside (because there were only 2 of us and it was raining heavily) by the trusted PIC (person-in-charge... because he didn't seem to just be a caretaker). Out of respect for the priest's privacy though, we did not take pictures inside of the many family heirloom that are in his keeping.
view of the Chapel from the 3rd floor of the house

The ancestral home is just surrounded by space and well-tended gardens so it's really a great place for pictorials and events. Msgr. GG also allows for visitors to pre-arrange a lunch  in his home (he may even SOMETIMES cook and play host!) through his nephew, Chef Jomi of CafĂ© Uma and Trattoria Uma. Check out this link if you want to enjoy a hacienda lunch tour.

I would also like to note that Msgr. GG is involved in a lot of livelihood programs and sponsors the education of some children. It just goes to show that somewhere in his privileged upbringing, he must really have been taught Christian values which makes him a very well-loved personality in this part of Visayas.

(note: I apologize to Mr. Peque Gallaga because I have unwittingly declared him dead already in my original post when I attached the word "late" to his name.)
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