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 http://claraole.com to inquire out how to be a KAC member too!

Formula Dolan Mall Tour Kicks Off at Trinoma

Last May 16, 2009, Ibuprofen Dolan launched the first Formula Dolan (FD) Racing Fever Mall Tour at the Ayala Trinoma Mall. I was glad to be invited because it gave me and my 10-year-old a chance to have a different kind of mother-and-son bonding time.

Kids were treated to an interactive gaming experience using the F1 mode of the Grand Turismo game on PS3. There were two big screens and four driver’s seats provided for the enthusiastic players. Needless to say, my son totally enjoyed himself pitting his driving skills with other young guests.

During the mall tour campaign, children from seven to thirteen years old can join once they purchase a Dolan promo pack. There will be elimination rounds and those who qualify will compete in the Grand Prix Finals to be held the same day. The overall winner will take home Hotwheels toys provided by sponsor Mattel.

While the kids were busy with the games, parents and other members of the media listened to a very enlightening talk by pediatrician Dr. Ray Manuel. He presented facts and figures on fever as well as discussed results of local and international studies on the efficacy of Ibuprofen as the faster fever medicine compared to Paracetamol. I came to have a better understanding of the many differences between the two.

Dolan’s current endorser, Ms. Karen Navarette-Anton, served as the emcee. She made history last July 2-8, 2007 when she won first place in the autocross-drifting race at the Varano race track in Italy. She was the first lady driver to finish first in any race event in the Marlboro Red Racing Competition since its worldwide launch in 2004. Ms. Karen, proven to be quick around the driving circuit, is also prompt in choosing Dolan whenever her precious boy Inigo has fever.

The audience was also treated to an impressive dance number by several World Vision sponsored children who were later joined by Dolan mascot Speedy. Pediatrica Inc. and Unilab have been partnering with this NGO for a few years now and have initiated programs to help send poor Filipino children to school. They have also invited doctors to help hold various medical missions in depressed communities in several parts of the country.

Dolan, the country’s leading Ibuprofen fever medicine, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. It has been proven effective for fast fever relief as it effectively reduces body temperature at a lower dosage than paracetamol.

Since it is both an analgesic and antipyretic, Ibuprofen further relieves mild to moderately severe pains as well as inflammation. According to a meta-analysis conducted by a group of Filipino doctors headed by pediatrician Dr. Felizardo Gatcheco, Ibuprofen is safe to be given to children when taken at the recommended dosage.

If you are looking for a different activity for your next mother-son bonding moment, keep your eyes and ears open for the following dates and locations of the succeeding FD Mall events.

*Big thanks to Ms. Loise Chavez of Groovecom for the invite and for providing some of the photos included in this post.

Panel Collective Exhibit at the UP Vargas Museum in Diliman, Q.C.

My son, who loves to draw, asked me to bring him to the Comics and Illustration Artists' Talk held yesterday in UP Diliman. He's an incoming high school senior and is aspiring to enter the College of Fine Arts next year.

Although it's a long way from our house in Alabang to UP Diliman, we decided to make the trip because I believe being with other artists will inspire and encourage my son more to pursue his artistic leanings. I was so glad we came. He said he learned a lot just by listening to Melvin Calingo, Joanah Tinio-Calingo, Jon Zamar and Michael David. He particularly enjoyed the actual demonstrations done in Adobe Photoshop about inking, coloring and other techniques.

We also viewed the different artworks displayed at the Edge Gallery. It was wonderful to be exposed the huge amounts of talent these Filipino artists have.

The exhibit features the group known by the same name, Panel Collective, composed of young and maverick comic book illustrators and cartoonists who have created a major portfolio in local and international comics. While their works are distinctive of each artist’s vision, these are connected by the visual narrative and sequential format comic illustration and cartooning has to offer. Featured artists include Melvin Calingo, Joanah Tinio-Calingo, Michael David, Gabriel Dela Cruz, Gilbert Monsanto, Jhomar Soriano, Elmer Damaso, Jerome Jacinto, JM Valenzuela, Keso, Chong Ardivilla, Albert Rodriguez, Syeri Baet-Zamar, Jon Zamar and Robi Villagracia (paragraph taken from the official press release).

Catch the second Artists’ Talk on June 26, 10:00 AM– 12:00 PM and hear them share their insights and experiences as comics and illustration artists.

Panel Collective will run until 28 June 2009. For more information, please contact the UP Vargas Museum at 928-1927 (direct line), 981-8500 local 4024 (UP trunkiline), 928-1925 (fax), 0929-8567909 (mobile), or send an e-mail to vargasmuseum@gmail.com. You may also visit the Museum’s official website at www.vargasmuseum.org.

Mothers of Disabled Children

The piece below was written by Erma Bombeck on May 11, 1980, almost three decades ago. It has remained a powerful encouragement to many mothers whose kids have special needs.

Happy Mothers' Day to all you wonderful moms out there, especially my kindred souls who were also chosen to take care of little angels in this world!

:) Ruth


Most women became mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit.

This year, nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes.

"Armstrong, Beth; son; patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Marjorie; daughter; patron saint, Cecilia. Finally he passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a handicapped child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a handicapped child a mother who does not know laughter?"

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has his own world. She has to make it live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you."

God smiles, "No matter. I can fix that. This one is perfect.

She has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps, "Selfishness?

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, there is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word. She will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When her child says 'Mama' for the first time, she will be present at a miracle and know it! When she describes a tree or a sunset to her blind child, she will see it as few people ever see my creations.

I will permit her to see clearly the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, prejudice - and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life."

"And what about her patron saint?" asks the angel.

God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."

10 Ways to Catch a Liar

Earlier today, I was searching for "home remedies for sore throat" as I have terribly swollen tonsils that have been irritating me since last night. I chose to read the article found at Webmd since it's a reputable site.

Then I noticed the hot topics listed on the side and got curious enough to click "10 Ways to Catch a Liar". Needless to say, the points discussed made me go, "Hmmmm ... I didn't know that!"

In case you want to read it too, here's the link: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/10-ways-catch-liar

A lot of people seldom look at the bottom of their plates to see what brand they carry. But I would bet that a big percentage of Filipino households have a set or two (or more) of Melawares dinnerware in their kitchen. Ours do!

Last May 3, this Pinggan ng Bayan dinnerware, which started as a small cottage industry in1979, celebrated its 30th year at the Bridgeway in SM Makati. The dynamic husband and wife team of David and Elsie Chua, founders of CDC Manufacturing Corporation, hosted the celebration along with their daughters Charmaine and Charlene.

CDC coined the name Melawares after it started producing its line of melamine-based products. Over the years, the company developed other brands and introduced them to different markets. Aside from Melawares, CDC also carries Bestware, Perfect Dining, and Urban Kitchen.

The anniversary bash was made more special as international singing star Charice Pempengco, the official product endorser, graced the event and performed the catchy Melawares theme song entitled Melawares: Gandang Pangmatagalan, Kalidad na Maaasahan. Amazingly, this song transpired from the creative and talented minds of CDC’s warehouse staff in Meycauayan, Bulacan. It was chosen from a company-wide competition that engaged employee participation from the company’s main office, factories and warehouses. The lyrics focused on the reliable quality of Melawares which is renowned here and abroad.

In fact, if you patronize fast food outlets such as Chowking, Jollibee, Sbarro, Goldilocks, Tokyo Tokyo, Kenny Roger’s, Greenwich, KFC, Max’s, and Shakey’s, you can say you have already dined using Melawares. The products are also being exported to other countries such as those in the Middle East and South America.

In partnership with SM Homeworld, CDC offers their loyal customers a chance to get a free set of 30 Years Melawares Collectible Edition dinnerware for every P2,000 single receipt worth of CDC products. This Mother’s Day promotion runs from May 3 to 17, 2009.

For the whole month of May, customers can also avail of 10% discount on all Melawares products as well as get a chance to win in the “Boracay Getaway with Melawares” promo.

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