Fun, Fun, Night!

Yesterday was my High School's 80th Grand Alumni Homecoming Day. I wanted to go there early to catch up with my batch mates but time and heavy traffic were not on my side.

So I arrived in Los BaƱos at past 8 p.m. I met up with Belle, my HS best friend near the UPLB gate. We ate a quick snack at Chowking Vega first then proceeded to the new location of UP Rural High which was quite far from civilization :p We got there at around 9:30 p.m.

Had a blast chatting with old friends and seeing lots of familiar faces

Ate a late, late dinner of yummy salad with ripe mango and spare ribs
(prepared by my good friend Chef Jeff)
at Arla's Restaurant (in Brgy. Maahas) around midnight
where hubby was waiting for me

Arrived in Alabang past 1:30 am and bought
balut (for hubby) and penoy (can't stand to eat sisiw, ewww!) for me

Took a photo of the lovely ring I ordered from my young friend Gracy
( and which she sent via her mom
whom hubby met with during their own event at Arla

Around two weeks ago, I saw a post in Facebook about a Johnson's Body Care Giveaway. I registered and sent invites to some of my friends. This week, our free gifts started arriving at our doorsteps. Here's mine:

I love the scents! And the cute little bottles make them ideal to bring along without adding bulk and weight to a woman's already hefty handbag (Yeah, mine weighs a ton! Go figure!)

Anyways, the promo says Until Supplies Last. So to all the ladies who have just read this blog post, visit now ... as in NOW! :)

I was invited to an Intel-sponsored media event yesterday. Since I would be submitting a writeup of what I learned there to one of the publications I write for, I can't post about it here.

[Jan 6 edit: You can now read the full article entitled "Your PC and your technology personality" at this site.]

But let me just share some photos I took of the food we were served at Restaurant Cicou (pronounced see-sue) in Hotel Celeste located at San Lorenzo Drive cor. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road).

I regret not being able to take photos of the delicious salad and soup we were first served. I only remembered to take out my camera when the third course came. Was having too much fun chatting with fellow writers and the PR reps of Strategic Edge, Inc. :p

Everything was yummy! The French Chef featured at the hotel's website, Chef Cyrille, lived up to the writeup about him :)

Enjoy viewing his mouth-watering concoctions ...

Prawn with fried glass noodles (a.k.a. sotanghon, I think)

Wrapped pink fish (salmon?) fillet with guacamole dip
(My seat mate and I thought it was wasabi at first)

Beef dish with a tasty sauce

Chocolate volcano and a scoop of ice cream in between pink cookies

Needless to say, all those present were so full by the time we finished lunch. That six-course meal is something you'd want to treat a special someone to one of these days ... (Paging my husband! LOL)

*Special thanks to Paula, Jinny and Ada of Strategic Edge for the invite :)


I have just reserved and paid for a one-of-a-kind, handmade ring that was crafted by a young friend of mine. I am very much amazed at Gracy's talents and I'm sure you will be, too.

Check out her unique creations at You just might find something too that would also touch a chord in you, as it did in me :)

A Gift to our Children

I have always acknowledged God's sovereignty over the lives of my children. And I believe that one of the best gifts I can give my kids is to pray for their present and future lives.

Here's sharing something I wrote on Helium about How to Pray for Your Children:

Parenting can be the best and toughest job there is. It can bring parents joy as well as pain. Among our many roles as individuals, I believe that being a parent is the one that can make us feel a true success or an utter failure depending on how our children turn out as adults in the future.

Please click this link to read the rest ...

I hope you can find this short article useful in your parenting life too :)

A Fitting Tribute

Last November 15, a friend and mentor who was also like a father to myself and my husband was laid to rest. Tito Joe Lamigo will forever be remembered by us as a loving husband and father as well as a faithful servant of God.

While he was still alive, Tito Joe told his children how a plane flew over and showered their path with flowers at his own father's funeral. During his interment, his daughter Lem arranged for a plane to scatter roses and rose petals too while Tito Joe was being laid to rest.

Here's the video I was able to take of one of the plane's passes.

Lem used this footage in a video she made for her parents on their 38th wedding anniversary which was celebrated 12 days after Tito Joe passed away. Watch that beautiful video here and be inspired by a love that will not be broken, even by death.

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I have had the privilege to be one of the contributing writers who wrote the profiles of several inspiring Filipinos including Ms. Rosa Rosal, Ms. Miriam Quiambao, Mr. Johnny Sy (of House of Praise), Mr. Cecilio Pedro (of Lamoiyan), Mr. Joe Lamigo (of CRWRC), Ms. Karen Galarpe (former Smart Parenting Mag editor-in-chief), Atty. Alex Lacson (author of 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do to Help Our Country), Ptr. Peter Tanchi (of CCF), Atty. Liwayway Vinzons-Chato, and several others.

You may want to get your own copies and be encouraged by their stories :)

This coffee table book is now available at Philippine Bible Society Bookstores at United Nations Ave., Sta. Mesa and Cebu Biblehouse. Regular price is Php 1000.00, introductory price is 700.00 until december 15, 2009 only.

It is about the lives of men and women who believed in God and in His Word--how their lives have never been the same. They have become influential in their respective fields, touching lives and making things happen.

I went to Makati yesterday afternoon to collect a check from one of the publishing houses I write for. Before I proceeded to Mandaluyong where I would attend a writers' meeting, I passed by Glorietta and used the GCs a client gave me.

I ordered carrot cake and strawberry shake from Bo's Coffee and read a chapter or two of Anna Quindlen's Living Out Loud. T'was a welcome half hour for moi :)

Among the many NGOs out there, World Vision remains on top of my and my husband's list of trustworthy organizations. Thus, when Typhoon Ondoy hit and we were compelled to reach out in whatever way we can, we chose to course our help through WV. We even encouraged our two oldest kids to do their share by repacking relief goods when WV needed extra hands.

I reposted the call for volunteers as often as possible in my Facebook and Twitter accounts. I was happy to see several of my friends also reposting My WorldVision's status messages. Many of them (with their friends and families) also volunteered their time to the relief efforts these past four weeks.

Last Friday night, WV held its Volunteer Appreciation Night at Crossroads77 in Quezon City. It was a resounding success in the sense that kindred souls in strangers' bodies assembled in one venue to celebrate the Filipino spirit of bayanihan and the existence of boundless hope for a better country.

Miriam Quiambao and Boy Kulot (sorry! forgot your real name) hosted the event while various celebrities, music artists, and bands like True Faith, Akafellas, Gab Valenciano, Acel Van Ommen, Sam Concepcion, etc. freely gave their time to perform on stage.

Special commendation was rightfully given to the members of the Philippine Coast Guard headed by Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo (who was actually a former WV sponsored child) because they were the first volunteers to take action.

Here's recognizing too the staff of World Vision Philippines for bringing thousands of strangers -- with helping hands and hearts -- together.

*Kindly visit for more info on how you can continue to help. Also, please consider sponsoring a child today.

Celebrate Filipino ingenuity. Be amazed at the various products on display at SMX Mall of Asia and the World Trade Center in Roxas Boulevard.

F.A.M.E.'s 50th edition, which happens from Oct. 15-18 only, features cutting edge products from various industries all over the Philippines.

I walked along the aisles of SMX with my writer-friend Claire and literally feasted my eyes on wonderful creations that our kababayans made. It was one of the moments I felt so proud of being a Filipino.

My only regret was that I wasn't able to take photos of some of my most favorite displays as the booth owners declined. Understandably, their original creations might end up being copied and I know how that feels as we, writers, also sometimes find our original articles posted on various websites and blogs without our permission.

Nevertheless, I was very grateful that three booth owners graciously agreed to have their displays captured on camera. Take note that I only asked booth owners with some of the best displays and which really caught my attention. Too bad there were really other super, super beautiful pieces that I couldn't share with you. So do come and see them for yourselves! :)

Takara Arts & Craft (Thanks Ms. Thet A. Santos!)

They've got Christmas and Halloween covered :)

ALCOS International

I love butterflies!

Beautiful Christmas trees

Unknown Booth (My sincerest apologies to the owner, in all the excitement, I forgot to ask for your business card! If you happen to see this, kindly shoot me an email or leave a comment so I can properly give you credit.)

Snowmen and Christmas trees of various shapes and sizes

I only got to visit SMX today (so little time!) but I plan on dropping by at the World Trade Center (where the fashion and wellness displays are) either tomorrow or on Sunday, family schedule willing.

You have to know that Sunday, the last day, is the only day the general public can visit and buy items. The first three days are reserved for wholesale buyers and the press.

Don't miss out on this wonderful event. You might even find Halloween and Christmas decorations that are perfect for your home. I'm also sure that everything you'll see will also take your breath away. If you do miss out, watch out for next year's first event on April 2010.

Find out more about Manila F.A.M.E. International here:

I got this as a forwarded email. I love Anna Quindlen's writings because I learn a lot from her both as a mother and as a writer.

Please read this very insightful speech that includes a lot of great reminders applicable to us all.



This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.

"I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know.

Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk or your life on a bus or in a car or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is cold comfort on a winter's night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've received your test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume: I am a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my work stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my friends and them to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone and I meet them for lunch. I would be rotten, at best mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true.

You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are. So here's what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so very much about those things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon or found a lump in your breast?

Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze at the seaside, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water, or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a sweet with her thumb and first finger.

Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beer and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough.

It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids' eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby's ear. Read in the back yard with the sun on your face.

Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to be lived".

A Different Kind of Cooking Event

Last Tuesday, I was invited to an event presented by Italian kitchen appliance line Indesit and men’s lifestyle magazine UNO at the Monogram Experience Center in Serendra.

It was interesting to watch a cooking “throwdown” between Atticus King, UNO’s VP, and pretty tattoo artist Sarah Gaugler. They were coached respectively by chefs Rolando Laudico of Bistro Filipino and Eugene Raymundo of Five Cows and Limones Restaurants.

Hosting the event was UNO Editor-in-Chief RJ Ledesma who was as entertaining as always. (Iiiks, I just realized I haven't got a shot of him in any of the photos I took! Sorry, RJ.)

The contenders were given a surprise list of items, furnished by Monterey, which turned out to be the usual ingredients used to make the popular Filipino dish Adobo. Both teams were asked to come up with an adobo-with-a-twist dish each within one hour.

The panel of judges included Nancy Reyes Lumen, food stylist and EIC of Cook Magazine, Norman Reynoso of Fabriano S.p.A., the exclusive distributor of Ariston and Indesit, and Malyn Molina Account Director of EON, the PR firm that organized the event.

In true Iron Chef fashion, the contestants used premium electric freestanding cookers from Indesit described to boast four electric plates that heat up rapidly through the fast-heat function which, in turn, easily maintain the heat regardless of temperature, wind or air interference. A large oven capacity of 58L and a built-in oven light provided the flexibility and space needed for the high-speed showdown.

Indesit’s tagline, “We work, you play”, according to Norman Reynoso, is very much applicable to UNO’s readers as the appliances will appeal to guys who consider cooking an enjoyable pastime.

At the end of one hour, two very attractive dishes were presented to the spectators. We were all given a chance to try out each dish after the judges did. Both dishes were yummy but the one made by Atticus and Chef Laudico impressed me more. The mashed potato with crunchy fried wedges was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. The judges liked it too and pronounced it the winner.

Since the cooking was done spontaneously, there was no written recipe I could follow. But, avid cook that I am, I plan on inventing my own version within the next week or two and surprise the food aficionados in our house (who else but hubby and the boys? :p).

Norman, Malyn, Atticus, Sarah, Eugene, Nancy

For Indesit inquiries, contact the Ariston showroom at the 4th floor, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, EDSA, Mandaluyong (631-8282) or the Monogram Experience Center, 2nd Floor, Serendra, Fort Bonifacio (856-2518). For information on UNO magazine, check out

*Thanks again to Ana Gonzales of EON for the invite! :)

New Show at the SDC’s Digistar Planetarium

The Nido Fortified Science Discover Center at the Mall of Asia has a new planetarium feature called Dark Star. We watched the premier last Saturday and we learned some cool new things about space.

Before the show started, Dr. Armando Lee, a contributing editor of the Philippine Journal of Astronomy, talked about the different kinds of stars as well as other heavenly bodies. From him, I learned that a star’s life span is six trillion years. Our universe is merely fourteen billion years old and that our sun (which is actually a star, if you haven’t figured that out yet LOL) still has a long way to go.

Massive stars, however, have shorter life spans of about two to five billion years only. “Mass rules,” says Dr. Lee. “The bigger the star, the shorter its life.” He also shared with us that unlike normal perceptions that the color red signifies heat, this is not applicable when it comes to stars. Hot stars are bluish in color. They turn to yellow, then white, and finally, red as it cools.

Hubby and son beside the Dark Star poster

The show Dark Star is the story of a teenage girl named Subrah. She has been her father’s companion for the last three years in a dusty planet where he is studying the imminent end of a dying star nearby. When the star is finally about to explode and go into supernova mode, Subrah’s dad decided it was time to leave. Unexpectedly, father and daughter became separated.

I won’t reveal the rest of the story. Let’s me just say a lot of things happened which Subrah, and her robot Sweeps, must overcome by applying the scientific principles she has learned over the years but didn’t know could help her one day. Find out how she and her dad got reunited and how they were able to find the space portal that would finally lead them home to their own planet Bekenal.

The CGI effects were really great and the sounds, as always, were very clear inside the planetarium. I only wished the characters didn’t look too weird or too alien-like. But, that’s artistic freedom for you. After all, Bekenal must be very different from planet Earth.

You've Got to See This!

I was glad to have stumbled upon this exhibit by chance yesterday.

If you happen to be at the Mall of Asia anytime between today and the 23rd, check this out. Lots of great award-winning photos to tug at your heartstrings or simply amaze you.




Keyboard Makeover

I sometimes hate change when it comes to stuff that I am already used to. Take my computer keyboard. It's two years old and already has a lot of faded keys; most of the letters have become barely discernible to nonexistent.

Because I could type without looking at the keyboard, this doesn't bother me. But it's an issue for hubby and the kids. They've been wanting to buy a new keyboard but I was not ready to change my typing rhythm which I know would be affected if we get another keyboard because the key presses would feel different.

Frugal mom that I am, I had this bright idea a few months ago of filling in the missing letters with beige nail polish (because that's the only shade I have and we didn't have any correction fluid at the time) then covering it with clear polish so it would stick better. It worked for a while but, through constant use, the letters started disappearing again.

Imagine my delight at finding these stickers at CD-R King at P35.00 a set. There were only two design choices: High School Musical 3 or Winnie the Pooh (or was it Mickey Mouse?). I chose the first one thinking my kids might like it because they did watch the movies before. Boy, was I WRONG!

They first comments I got when they saw it was, "Ewww! Why did you buy that design Mom?!" When I told them I had no other choice, they (yes, all three of them who can speak) had the gall to berate me, "You should have bought the one with the cartoon character, whatever that is." Duh?

But, all's well that ends well, I kinda liked the finished product. The rest of the family can't do anything about it anymore. (Hey, it's MY computer and where I get my bread and butter!)

And you know, the slightly raised bumps on the top of the stickers feel good on my fingertips!

Another One?!

Student Fined $675K for Illegal Music Downloads

I still don't think excessive and unreasonable slapping of damages on a second person who downloaded music via a file-sharing program is the right step to take in combating music piracy.

Why don't they go after the creators of the file-sharing programs instead?

The sounds were deafening and heart-thumping as we rounded the corner towards Enchanted Kingdom’s back entrance last Saturday. “So that’s what karting sounds like!” I thought, suddenly fearful how my kids would fare later when they try driving a kart themselves for the first time.

We came to watch drivers of the Ready2Race (R2R) Team practice. Present were five out of the current 11 members. They all drove impressively fast and executed all turns perfectly. What’s amazing about these drivers is that their ages range from 10 to 16 years old. It is important to note that some of these young drivers have already won various karting titles and that they are all A-students in their individual schools!

I was impressed at their individual karts because not only were there stickers of various sponsors but also each driver’s name. The karts all look well-maintained and, by the sound of them on the track, are in great running condition.

When the young men were taking a break from practice, my companions and I were able to talk to them and some of their parents. Needless to say, the conversations turned out to be very interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised that sooner, rather than later, the Philippines will have its first Filipino Formula One (F1) Racer from this group. The boys were so engaging and full of positive self-assurance.

Jose Antonio “Juha” Turalba (15), who has been racing since he was nine, shared that he now finds video racing games corny. I could very well imagine that as this teen already has a long list of impressive awards in both the local and international championship karting scenes. He won the 2008 Asian Karting Open Championship (AKOC), bagged International Driver of the Year in the Philippines and placed 12th in the world at the Kartodromo de Coloane Circuit in Italy. His karting achievements (including a photo with F1 Racer Michael Schumacher!) and other interests are showcased in his very own website at

Juha’s dad, Toti Turalba, Chairman of R2R, acknowledged that anybody can get good in karting because driving is a skill “but there should be determination to do well. In this sport, you’ll lose more than you win … it builds character.” He also pronounced that Filipino drivers are now feared in Asia because we have the ideal body symmetry built for racing.

Chito Benito, R2R’s President, affirmed that it is worth every penny when he sees his son, Roby, and the other drivers grow and develop remarkably before their parents’ eyes. “What they learn on the tracks, the discipline and training, actually supports them in their growth in life, off the tracks.”

This is evident in Chito’s son Rafael “Roby” Benito (14), because this young man is a consistent A-student of De La Salle Zobel and is also a serious piano player. Roby’s karting achievements include being the champion of the KF3 class of the 2009 PAGCOR KF2-KF3 Series; the 1st Runner-up in the ROK Jr. Class 2007 and 2008 Shell Karting Series; 2nd Runner-up in the ROK Jr. Class 2008 AKOC; and back-to-back Champion in the Expert Class of the 2006 and 2007 Arthur Tuason Memorial Cup.

Another determined young man is Sung Joon “Daniel” Park (16), a Korean student of the Maria Montessori Foundation who just started karting this year and won runner-up awards in the Formula SL Novice Class 2009 Magnolia Super Karting Series. He is very much supported by his dad, David, who devotedly accompanies his son during practice and races.

Daniel related that he makes it a point to finish all his schoolwork before the weekend so that he can practice on Saturday and race on Sunday. “Practice starts very early and if I don’t do my schoolwork during weekdays, I won’t have the strength anymore to do them after practice.”

The same is true for the other four boys. All agree that school has to come first or else their parents won’t allow them to race. The boys also maintain that they have learned much in terms of being responsible and safe drivers.

Another member of the team is Christopher Joseph “CJ” Tsui (13) whose mom, Cynthia, is also giving her all out support, “as long as he gets A’s in school.” CJ, whose interests extend to golf, soccer, and basketball, has been keeping his part of the bargain.

Antonio Sebastian “Basti” Escalante (10), the youngest driver in the R2R Team, started karting just last year and yet has already raked in runner-up awards in the MiniROK Class 2009 Magnolia Super Karting Series and the Cadet 60cc Class 2008 Shell Super Karting Series. His admits that racing has a positive influence on his academics because he now learns more quickly in school. “It’s like driving, you have to be quick and precise, so I learn faster and a lot!”

The proud dads, Chito, Toti and David, all recognize that karting has given them precious bonding moments with their sons. “It has given me the opportunity to be involved in something we both enjoy doing,” says Toti who serves as Juha’s coach, mechanic and inspiration at the track. The R2R Team is currently the biggest in the local karting scene. They hold karting clinics every quarter and continue to recruit talented and aspiring drivers. They also hold cadet races annually to discover prodigies and bring new kids into the sport.

That afternoon, Chito let all the young guests try karting. Those who were too small rode with the R2R racers while the bigger ones got to experience driving by themselves. They rode the rental EK karts which, I was relieved to note, looked and sounded tamer than the champion’s karts.

Looking at how (seemingly) expertly my two sons took the tracks’ curves, I realized that I need not have worried. Being kids in their fast-paced generation, like their expert counterparts, they confidently took on the challenge and passed with flying colors. Nobody got hurt and every young person who got off each kart when the 10 minutes was up was wearing a big, big smile on his or her face.

Find out more about R2R and the rest of the team at or email You may also contact Chito Benito at 0917-8409598 or 0922-8409598 or Mariel Wong at 0922-8910278 to inquire about their products, services and karting clinics.

Google/Gmail Users Beware!

I just got an "official-looking" email this morning from (supposedly) Google. The address was customer verification (verifycustomercare400@gmail).

For someone who is not yet used to dealing with spam and phishing emails, he/she might fall for the trap and innocently send his/her Google password to the given addresses.

DON'T!!! Doing so would allow the hackers to get inside your email account and other Google services you signed up with like Blogger, Adsense, etc.

Pretty soon, your contacts might receive emails such as those circulating sent by hacked Yahoo accounts telling friends and family to "Please send money via Western Union because I have been robbed and stranded in so-and-so country."

Be very careful when you receive emails that ask for your passwords! Google will never ask for yours especially coming from a standard gmail address.


I would hate to see my friends or family members lured into this kind of dirty trick. See what the email looks like:


Sun Jul 19 7:30pm – 8:30pm
(Timezone: Hawaii Time)

Calendar: (my name)


This Email is from G mail Customer Care and we are sending it to every
G mail Email User Accounts Owner for safety. we are having congestion
due to the anonymous registration of G mail accounts so we are shutting
down some G mail accounts and your account was among those to be
deleted.We are sending you this email so that you can verify and
let us know if you still want to use this account.If you are still
interested please confirm your account by filling the space below.Your
User name,password,date of birth and your country information would be
needed to verify your account.
Due to the congestion in all G mail users and removal of all unused
G mail Accounts, G mail would be shutting down all unused
Accounts, You
will have to confirm your E-mail by filling out your Log in Information
below after clicking the reply button, or your account will be
suspended within 24 hours for security reasons.

* User name:

* Password:

* Date of Birth:

* Country Or Territory:

After following the instructions in the sheet, your account will not
be interrupted and will continue as normal. Thanks for your attention
to this request. We apologize for any inconveniences. Warning!!!
Account owner that refuses to update his/her account after two weeks
of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently send back your information to the two addresses for further verification to help your account not to be deleted and
More event details»
Will you attend?
Yes |Maybe |No

I have several friends who can’t go through the day without at least a cup of gourmet coffee from the expensive coffee shops they pass by every day. I couldn't help thinking how much money they would save in a year if they can make those kinds of concoctions at home.

And now they can! Last Thursday, I was invited to attend the product launch of Bialetti & Saeco at the GE Monogram Experience Center at Serendra. I was impressed at how easy it is to make one’s own gourmet coffee at home given the right coffee maker.

Mr. Norman Reynoso of Fabriano S.p.A., the official distributor of both Bialetti and Saeco, showed us the different types of Italian coffee makers they are offering to the Philippine market. He says the entry of these names assures the Filipino coffee aficionado of an attractive and durable piece that is a noteworthy investment in and out of the kitchen.

I see what he means. Although the Bialetti stovetop coffee makers initially looked pricey, I’m sure coffee lovers would be able to recoup their investment in a few short weeks given that a cup of gourmet coffee outside already costs P100+ each on average. Imagine having your coffee fix anytime you want at home!

The Moka Express, Bialetti’s staple product, comes in various styles to suit individual tastes – from the romantic to the minimalist to the playful. I like the cow printed Mukka Express best because of its cute design.

For offices or homes with lots of coffee lovers, there are the Saeco coffee machines that come in fully automatic and manual configurations. The designs are sleek and sophisticated. It’s a first for me to see an actual coffee machine that you can put whole coffee beans into. Saeco’s fully automatic version has its own grinder inside! Talk about having your coffee as fresh as you want it to be.

Now you can make delectable Italian coffee in the comfort of your own home via the remarkable quality and enchanting designs of Bialetti and Saeco. For more information, visit the GE Monogram Experience Center at the second floor in Serendra, Fort Bonifacio, or call 643-3456.

* Special thanks to Ms. Ana Gonzales of EON for the invite.

This is Ridiculous!

Illegal Downloads Cost Mother $1.92 million

Why go after people who use file sharing services and not the creators of those programs?!

The Nido Fortified Science Discovery Center (NFSDC) has a new 3D planetarium show called Ice Worlds. My son and I were invited to its advanced screening last Saturday. It was another great learning experience.

The documentary examines the ecosystems that live and thrive in the Earth's Arctic and Antartic regions and how their survival is connected with human beings' own survival. Outside the Earth, Ice Worlds also looks at how the existence of ice shapes the landscape and natural systems on other planets and moons in the solar system.

Be prepared to be amazed at the wonderful graphics and amazing footages taken in and out of our planet. Ice Worlds is narrated by Emily Watson, a two time Academy Award nominee and the star of The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep.

Afterwards, enjoy the many interactive galleries inside the SDC. Every time we go there, my son never tires of checking out the exhibits and playing in several of his favorite galleries. Bring the whole family and enjoy a one-of-a-kind-experience. I'd bet your kids would ask to come back there again and again as my own kids do :)

* Watch and win cool prizes like Timelife Premium Science books and subscriptions to Discovery Magazine! Promo Period is from June 23 to July 24. Grand draw is on July 25.

* Special thanks to Ria of SDC for the invite! :)

PETA vs. Obama over fly-killing: This is too much!

I'm all for protecting animals but I do hate bugs and I've had my share of swatting flies and mosquitoes especially if they bother or have a potential to harm my family.

When I read about the news about PETA's reaction to President Obama killing a fly during an interview shown TV, my mouth was hanging open by the time I finished reading. C'mon! That borders on the ridiculous!

Read the article and watch the actual video here:

You'll also find there a link to PETA's clarified position where they said the media has exaggerated their statement. My point is, if they didn't make a flammable comment in the first place, they would not be receiving a lot of flak about it now.

My two cents ...

I enjoy being a Clara Ole KAC (Kitchen Adventure Circle) member. There are lots of perks being one:

a) I get to attend events where I learn about lots of things other than cooking,
b) I get to meet new friends, and
c) I get to bring home freebies such as Clara Ole and other Sysu Marketing products that my family and I could try out at home.

In fact, we now have our own suking Sysu products that we regularly use: all the spaghetti sauce variants (Italian sauce for tuna, Mushroom sauce for ground beef, Sweet Style for children’s parties, etc.), Lee Kum Kee soy sauce (my adobo recipes have never been the same), the Asian salad dressing (promise, I can replicate my favorite KFC salad just by using this), the Barbecue marinade (my sons say my chicken wing recipe tastes like Don Henrico’s Buffalo Wings), and many more. No kidding, just visit our house and take a peek at my kitchen shelf to see: p

This year’s KAC gathering was held at the GE Monogram Experience Center in Serendra last May 23, 2009. We were treated to a yummy spread composed of several foods from the American, Chinese, Japanese and Mexican cuisines. I was impressed at the many types of delicious sauces and dips that can be made using Clara Ole and Sysu products.

The main event was the East vs. West cook-off between two well-known cooking experts. Chef Bruce Lim represented Asian cuisine. He is connected with Chef’s Table, a reservation-only restaurant and also co-hosts Tablescapes: Life on a Plate with Angel Aquino. Representing Western gastronomy was Chef Eugene Raymundo, Senior Chef Consultant of Limone Culinary Concepts and the managing partner and executive chef for Five Cows Restaurant and the Ice Cream Bar in Trinoma Mall.

Chef Bruce tackled dishes called: Clara Ole Clam Soup (with lambanog as ingredient!), Braised Chicken Legs (a saucy chicken dish with Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic) and Crispy Mango Sipa (mango with Clara Ole maple syrup and cinnamon wrapped in phyllo dough baked to crispy perfection, yum!).

Chef Eugene wowed us with Tex-Mex Prawn Shooter (which I didn’t get to taste, tsk!), Grilled Fruits and Mushroom Salad (with super yummy Clara Ole Ranch Dips n’ Dressing), Corn with Maple Butter (didn’t get to taste this either), Texan Back Baby Ribs (verrrry tasty!) and Grilled Mango-Cheesecake Parfait (one of the best desserts I tasted in a long, long time!).

Later, several KAC members were chosen to participate in another cook-off. I think they all had fun trying out all those ingredients at their disposal. I, too, always go happily ballistic in the kitchen whenever I could afford to buy all the ingredients I needed to make some very special dishes for my family.

RJ Ledesma (I still can’t forget about him as the little boy in the old Royal TV ad hahaha) hosted the event. He was very engaging and made everyone laugh every now and then with his funny comments.

Of course there were raffle prizes to be won (which I didn’t, as always ~ I’m so malas with raffles, I don’t know why!) and everybody was given a bag (or a basket, if you’re a member of the media) each filled with Sysu goodies to bring home.

My hubby, of course, immediately tried out the new Chipotle Tabasco in Smoked Red Jalapeno flavor during dinner that night while the kids clamored for a tub of ice cream so they can experiment with the Smucker’s Caramel Magic Shell. This is like those liquids used at fast food stores dribbled on ice cream cones and which harden when they come in contact with the ice cream. I’ve yet to buy ice cream though … maybe this weekend.

Anyway, if you also love to cook and are very adventurous with recipes, do check out to inquire out how to be a KAC member too!

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