It's a given. Parties and get-togethers usually leave us with leftovers to pack away after. For some, the leftovers stay uneaten for days in the refrigerator because they don't taste good as when they were freshly cooked. 

Pineapple Glazed Pork Chops
Electrolux's campaign called Do More With Less encourages everyone to avoid wastage of any kind, especially food. Last week, Chef Bruce Lim taught us, a group of foodies, how to cook Pineapple Glazed Pork Chops as well as Day After Chicken Lasagna that uses leftover lechon manok to create a very delicious dish.

Electrolux Kitchen Bloggers Class 
Encouraged by the many cooking techniques we learned, we were grouped into twos and attempted to whip up our own dishes based on the earlier cooking demonstration. 

Curly Carbs

I have my moments of sweet cravings and my palate knows what it wants. Sometimes, I indulge in chocolates, especially those with fruits and nuts. For many chocolate lovers, eating these sweet treats is more than just delighting one's sense of taste; it also includes the visual pleasure of admiring beautifully handmade chocolate before taking a bite and experiencing that rush of rich and intense flavors.

chocolates in different shapes, sizes, and colors
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, for one, is all about the experience. The shop originated in Durango, Colorado where the window display is filled with hand-dipped caramel apples, freshly made fudge, dipped strawberries, and larger-than-life chocolates. 

yummy caramel apples
It was in 1981 when founder Frank Crail moved his family from congested Southern California to set up a 53,000 square foot chocolate factory in Durango. That first store, located on the town's outskirts, has since expanded to hundreds of chocolate shops throughout the United States, Canada, Middle East and, now, Asia-Pacific

first Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in the Philippines

It happens -- finding oneself stranded somewhere without anywhere to sleep and ending up paying for a room offered at an atrocious price. That sucks! But, it's a reality that many regular travelers experience. 

our room at Red Planet Ortigas
This is why I was so excited to find out about HotelQuickly! It is a mobile hotel booking application that allows users to save time and money by booking your last-minute hotel … as the app name says ... quickly! One can choose among the best available 3 to 5 star hotels fast at hassle-free rates that are about 28% cheaper than other online hotel booking options.

countries covered by HQ
Go anywhere in the Asia Pacific region and find more than 11,000 hotels in 250+ destinations in countries like Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and, now, the Philippines.

more countries covered by HQ

One of the things in my wishlist since I started running again last year is to find a smartwatch with features that could help make realizing my fitness goals easier. I think I may have finally found it … 

Huawei watch with interchangeable straps
The Huawei Watch, which was first revealed during the Mobile World Congress last March, is finally in the Philippines! This beautiful timepiece, powered by Android Wear, represents the next evolutionary step for Huawei in terms of wearable technology.

Aside from the built-in heart rate monitor, which is a fitness enthusiast's coveted feature, the fully circular Huawei Watch boasts of a 1.4-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED display, scratch-proof sapphire crystal lens, cold-forged stainless steel frame, and 6-Axis motion sensors.

Charles Wu with Huawei ambassadors
Charles Wu, country manager of Huawei's consumer business group, shared that aside from being the first smartwatch in the brand's wearable family, the Huawei Watch is also first in the market to truly bridge the gap between fashion and technology.

"As part of our expanding line of premium wearable products, the Huawei Watch was designed and created to enhance and be part of the consumer's everyday lives," he described. "It is our response to consumers' requests who are looking for a smart watch that combines timeless design and truly usable features."

He added that their latest product is a continuation of their commitment to "Make It Possible" as they deliver a premium smartwatch that is technologically innovative, allowing users to coordinate with their smartphones whether it is Android or iOS.

Many of us find it easy and convenient to buy stuff online. And why not? We don't have to travel to the mall, squeeze in between crowds of shoppers especially during peak seasons, and have difficulty looking for items we need.

how to earn cashback
I've been buying online for years and have had books, shoes, even food, delivered right to our doorstep.  The payment methods are secure and I haven't encountered any major problems with the online stores I've come to trust. 

Now, I have a new reason (and incentive) to shop more online! I've recently discovered Shopback, a website that lets shoppers earn back a portion of what we spend! Here's how it works:

Shopback partner stores

Heads up, movie buffs! HOOQ, Asia's largest video-on-demand service will be screening a selection of official Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entries on the app! It is the exclusive presenter for the 41st MMFF and its New Wave Category, a partnership geared towards promoting quality Philippine entertainment.

Get HOOQ'd on MMFF!
This is the first time in the film fest's 41-year history where selected films will be simultaneously available in theaters and online, exclusively through HOOQ. And since the films can be viewed via the HOOQ app, you can watch them wherever you are, anytime you want!

The MMFF New Wave category began in 2010 to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to showcase their entries and have a chance to take home prize money, which they could use to fund future projects. 

HOOQ presents makers of MMFF New Wave animation films

Today's modern Filipina constantly juggles a lot of responsibilities. Aside from taking care of our families, we also wear different hats for our jobs and other active roles outside our homes. All these activities may present difficulties and challenges at times, but they also make us feel much more fulfilled and doing something worthwhile.

China getting prepped up for a shoot
This month, 2nd Avenue is launching a new 30-minute lifestyle magazine show that focuses the spotlight on women whose passions are not limited to home, child-rearing, beauty, and passion. In Her Shoes steps into the varied lives of Filipino women and takes a peek into their distinct interests and cliques. Look forward to knowing more about varied archetypes of ladies ranging from bloggers and artsy types, to foodies and fitness buffs.

China Cojuangco-Gonzalez, a multi-faced woman herself, is hosting the show. "I'm a chef together with my husband Gino, and a mother to my beautiful daughter, Lucia. Naturally, I'm curious about what other women like us do as they go about their lives."

being mom - one of a Filipina's treasured roles

Our family loves pasta dishes. We can eat lunch or dinner with just pasta as our main dish. For many Filipinos, the classic baked mac is no longer considered a side dish. It can be enjoyed as a meal on its own because it already combines carbs with meat and sauce. 

perfect for sharing!
Greenwich has always delighted its customers' taste buds with its supremely savory pasta menu that includes the Lasagna Supreme, Creamy Carbonara, and Spaghetti Supreme. Now, a new name has been added to this delicious roster of pasta variants!

Greenwich's Very Cheesy Macaroni has noodles smothered in a delicious sauce made of delectable cheeses mixed with bacon and topped with pepperoni bits. I love how creamy it tastes without being too rich to draw out that "umay" feeling.

so cheesy!

Merriam-Webster defines integrity as "the quality of being honest and fair." That is something we sometimes fail to see in the Philippines especially when it comes to public service. Here, a lot of people are being shortchanged by the very individuals they believed would protect them and who they trusted enough to vote into government positions.

can you honestly say, "I am part of the solution"?
This past weekend, the Integrity Initiative held "I RUN for Integrity" at the CCP Complex. The event is envisioned to be another historical running event and a bold move of different sectors calling everyone to make integrity everyone’s business. 

I ran for integrity and I strive to be part of the solution!
In the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Integrity Run, over 12,000 runners participated, a meaningful show of force by advocates. This 2015, I Run for Integrity once more brought together government, business, youth, civil society, academe, church, and media in a symbolic gesture aiming to unite the participants towards the common goal of being part of the solution in fighting corruption.

gotta love roads without vehicles, just runners :)
I am personally glad to have been able to run with my husband in this event. The route was different from the usual ones we do when the starting line begins at the Mall of Asia. This time, we began from behind the Cultural Center of the Philippines, passing Sofitel on to the length of MOA's Seaside Drive towards Microtel covering the length of Coral Way then making a U-turn when we reached Macapagal Avenue. It was a novelty to also make a turn and run in front of the SMX Convention Center before heading back to CCP.

my favorite quote about integrity by a U.S. politician
More than from the refreshing change in route, I appreciated the significance of the run. I just hope that everybody who did join the event felt it, too. I also loved that the organizers had us recite the Integrity Pledge before we started running.  

Integrity Starts with I!
Joining the run was a great reminder that if we are hoping for a better future for our country, it should sink in that we all have to be part of the solution and not add to the problems. Like the run's finisher shirt says, "Integrity starts with I." And with another national elections happening a few months away, I pray that Filipinos will let honesty and their consciences dictate their actions -- not for just themselves but for everybody's sake. 

During the Christmas season, it is a typical scene in malls to see people having photos taken with Santa Claus. However, this past weekend, at lot of shoppers at the SM Mall of Asia took selfies with a group of male models in red and white outfits. 

Charles Wu (middle) with the Hotspot Hotties
Instead of gifts, the handsome men gave out free WiFi connections and invited mall goers to join them at the Cyberzone event center. There, Huawei Device Philippines held a mini fashion show featuring the #HotspotHotties to launch its latest line of pocket WiFi devices. 

Charles Wu, country manager of Huawei’s consumer business group, explained that the #HuaweiHotspotHotties characterize the sleek and elegant design of their new WiFi devices that are guaranteed to make heads turn for a second look. “But, more than just its refined and stunning appearance, Huawei’s new connectivity devices also deliver fast, uninterrupted 3G and LTE connectivity wherever you go.”

The event aimed to educate internet users of the advantages of the devices'  features as well as let them experience for themselves why they should opt for Huawei when shopping for a pocket WiFi.

Charles Wu and a model showing the new pocket WiFis

In the past year, Calyxta has become women's on- and off-line authority source for aspirational yet attainable beauty. The beauty portal's name came from the Greek word, Kallisto, meaning "she that is most beautiful." It is said to perfectly represent the brand's vision, which is to be and be seen as one who passionately enhances beauty inside and out.

a pampering day for the ladies
Calyxta works as an e-commerce platform and likewise gathers "beauty involvers" ranging from professionals to consumers who share their knowledge and passion for anything about beauty. This December, the online shopping portal celebrated its first anniversary by treating media friends and partners to a Beauty Fair at the pool side of Makati Diamond Residences last December 3.

hair products available at Calyxta
There, we were treated to several beauty pampering sessions, cocktails, and beats from Pioneer Philippines and "Singles of Manila" DJs Jess Milner, T-MAC, and Quark Henares. Many of us who attended availed of services offered by Maybelline, Toni&Guy, Browhaus, Strip, Ciate London, My Amazing Blow Dry Secret, and Enza Nail Spa. We also had our caricatures done by Pete Rich.

hair pampering session at the Toni&Guy booth

Christmas is, hands down, the Season of Giving. I am sure many of us like to give gifts as much as we love receiving them. For many foodies, the gift of something to eat is always appreciated. And  anything sweet seem to make any gift even more special!

what is your favorite Hattendo flavor? :)
This past summer, I got to try Hattendo for the first time during TOMS' One Day Without Shoes event. The brand makes Japanese cream buns with different fillings and I found it really good. The bread is soft and the filling's sweetness tastes just right. 

Hattendo was introduced in the Philippines as Japan's coolest omiyage (edible souvenir) and is so popular in Hiroshima, people line up outside its store in Mihara early in the morning just to get first pick of the cream buns. The Mihara store, which serves about 500 buns, gets always sold out before noon.  

This Christmas, consider gift giving the Furoshiki way. This ancient Japanese tradition is a method of wrapping gifts and carrying items such as bento boxes, bottles, or even books, using only a piece of cloth.

get your Hattendo Japanese cream buns wrapped in Furoshiki!
If you're looking for something unique to give your loved ones this holiday season, drop by a Hattendo store and have several cream buns wrapped in Furoshiki. There are different cloth designs to choose from such as floral prints, plaid, and polka dots. For orders and reservation, please contact 0922.8886828 or 0922.8818828. For bulk orders or events, contact Ms. Amy Santos at 0943.8261123.

Hattendo cream buns are exclusively imported and distributed by C3 Premium Partnerships, Inc. For more details, inquiries, updates, and promos, like Hattendo Philippines on Facebook and follow @hattendophilippines on Instagram and @hattendo_ph on Twitter. You may also email and visit

I think one of the most awaited entries in this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) would have to be My Bebe Love. Aside from it starring two well-known personalities in the local movie industry, Vic Sotto and Ai-Ai Delas Alas, the movie also features the phenomenal love team of Alden Richards and Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza.

Alden and Direk Joey
I was at the first half of the blogcon for My Bebe Love at Annabel's in Quezon City where Direk Joey and Alden gamely answered questions from bloggers. When asked what makes this movie different from his other past movies, Direk Joey readily replied, "One is that we are packaging a completely different Vic Sotto. This is not an Enteng Vic Sotto but a sophisticated, handsome, gentleman, rich, tasteful Vic Sotto who he really is."

"Secondly, this is the chance for Ai-Ai to reclaim the throne that people say was taken away from her as the Comedy Queen. Thirdly, [Aldub is] not just a love team, they’re a social phenomenon and that, prangkahan na tayo ha, wala akong inaasahang nominations sa Urian, wala akong inaasahang halikan ako ng mga critics, ang inaasam ko lang ay paligayahin ang napakaraming tao ng hindi iniinsulto ang kanilang katalinuhan." That last sentence earned him a lot of cheers.

Real courtship on the way?

Alden, on the other hand, said to expect a different set of jokes than the ones they use on air when they do the kalye-serye on TV. He also added, "Kami ni Maine, whatever we have now, we enjoy the most out of it. Kumbaga, there’s no pressure. Kaya we’re happy working with each other." 

At the moment, "We’re very close. Nakakatuwa. Since 'di ako nakarating sa Walk of Fame ceremony, kinuha n'ya yung award for me. Napakadaling kausap. A very raw, selfless, simple girl na madaling abutin." What's their current status? "Getting to know each other pa rin. It’s just been a month since Tamang Panahon and we only see each other through kalye-serye. And after that, we don’t have a chance to talk. Nagkikita lang kami sa shoots so there's a lot to know pa," he illustrated.

Alden candidly answering questions

The Filipino word, "serye", means "series" in English. For Chef Alvin Reyes Lim, Serye is also an anagram of "Reyes," his great-grandmother's last name, Engracia Cruz Reyes, founder of the Aristocrat Restaurant. His grandmother, on the other hand, is Teresita Reyes, better known as Mama Sita, founder of another popular food brand, whose daughter was also named Engracia, Chef Alvin's mother.

Chef Alvin (left) among avid foodies
photo credit: Nana Nadal
Thus, "Serye also means succession and it is a continuation of what we learned from our families. At the same time, it can also refer to progression and cycle which represents how we like to find ways of doing things better and how we make it a point to keep up with the times," he illustrated when we met him recently. 

Moreover, "Serye is a representation of generations of cooking (and eating) tradition infused with my personal culinary learnings and experiences." Chef Alvin patterned Serye after French bistro cafes, which he frequented when he went to Lyon, France to study French cuisine and culture. "Bistros [there] served everyday French comfort food in a nice, cozy set up and I thought we could do that for Filipino food as well."

Pomelo Salad

Cherry Mobile once more showed its appreciation to trade and media partners via a Christmas party that was recently held at Blue Leaf Filipinas. (You can read about last year's Captain's Ball, here.) The Mardi Gras-themed event featured several of Cherry's brand ambassadors who rendered performances to entertain the guests.

festive setting
The dynamic love team of James Reid and Nadine Lustre, Janella SalvadorMichael V., Kim Chiu, and Anne Curtis did song and dance numbers to the delight of the crowd. Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno also graced the event.

Kim Chiu looking pretty in a jumpsuit
JaDine and Kim, along with special guest, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, moreover assisted Cherry Mobile executives in giving awards to some of their best dealers for 2015. The brand also generously raffled off some awesome prizes for its trade partners.

Nadine Lustre, James Reid, and VM Isko Moreno assists in presenting special awards

We often drink coffee at home and sometimes try to recreate the mixes that we buy in coffee shops. However, getting the perfect combinations, as well as the foam on top, is near to impossible unless there’s an efficient coffee machine that can make them.

my first cafe mocha creation :)
Finally, we have one! The convenient and easy to use NESCAFE RED MUG Machine allows anyone to create a wide range of delicious and pretty cups of coffee. The first time I tried it, I was so amazed at the layers of color that appeared inside the clear mug that came with the box.

The NESCAFE RED MUG Machine, developed in Switzerland by Nestle coffee machine experts, features a coffee chamber with a unique cyclone that brings out NESCAFE CLASSIC coffee aroma and flavor. It also has a jet technology, inspired by the barista steam jets seen in coffee shops, that creates foam easily.

perfect combinations

Filipino food has been featured worldwide time and again. And why not? We have some of the most flavorful dishes one can find on this planet. Numerous people from different countries have already testified how much they enjoyed eating food prepared in the Philippines, including those found along sidewalks.

tasty Pinoy street food 
Pinoy street food has definitely captured the palates of both locals and foreign visitors and SM Hypermarket recognizes that. Last year, I wrote about the Pinoy Best Street Food 2014 Grand Finals and it's amazing how fast time passed because the 2015 edition has also just been concluded! 

the 10 finalists
Some of the country's most talented street food cooks once more competed this year for a chance to win a life-changing prize. Ten finalists recently gathered in SM City Sucat to have Kusina Master Chef Boy Logro and his fellow judges choose who will get his/her own food stall at SM Hypermarket rent-free for one year. The grand winner was also awarded P100,000 worth of prizes including large food packs, ingredients, cooking equipment, and more courtesy of SM Hypermarket's Food Service Center, the home of big packs and big savings, plus other hotel, restaurant, and catering needs.

Chef Boy and his fellow judges

For many of us, glass is simply something we use for drinking, for a clearer vision, and for seeing out of a window or car windshield. In 1975, architect Ramon Orlina innovatively painted on 25 pieces of glass panels and had a sold out exhibition at the Gallery at Hyatt on Roxas Boulevard.

Ramon Orlina in the Reflections Gallery
In 1976, he pioneered the use of glass as an artistic medium of expression in sculpture. A visionary, Orlina saw beyond the humble origin of industrial glass, and went on to hone a unique craft that made his name synonymous with glass sculpture in the Philippines. Since then, he has had extensive exhibitions in the country and in other parts of the world.

the award-winning Silvery Moon
In 1999, Orlina first used optical glass for his entry in the Toyamura Sculpture Biennale in Japan where “Silvery Moon” was declared winner of the Mr. F. Prize. In celebration of his 40th year as an artist, Orlina is unveiling 23 pieces of recent sculptures carved out entirely of clear optical glass as opposed to his signature green glass and the other hues in crystal glass he is known for such as amber, azure, lavender, and pink.

(from left) Radiant Streams, Startling Definitions, Sensuous Curves

I can no longer remember where I first saw an Orlina glass sculpture several years ago but I was fascinated since then and became an avid admirer of his works of art. So it was with delight and excitement that I accepted an invitation to visit the Museo Orlina last weekend.

with Mr. Ramon and Mrs. Lay Ann Orlina 
Ramon Orlina graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Sto. Tomas in 1965. After working as a licensed architect for 10 years, he ventured into the field of Fine Arts in July 1975 and started work on industrial glass.

the museum with a beautiful view and wonderful natural lighting
Now, 40 years and many awards later, he is known for a significant body of works, many of which can be enjoyed by art enthusiasts at his private art museum located in Tagaytay City.

the very ornate and awesome Pintado 07
one in a series that consists of female torsos
ornamented with tattoo designs such as those found
in a number of ethnic groups in the country
Pamaypay ng Maynila

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