Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Race Review: 2016 Gatorade Run 1122

Last year, I conquered my farthest run with a distance of 11 kilometers from the usual 10k races I'd often join. This was during the first Gatorade 1122 Race, which offered 11k and 22k and was aptly scheduled on November 22.

I love the materials of the Adidas singlet and Finisher's shirt!
Unfortunately, the medium size was too big for Gab
so he had to wear my shirt from last year 
This 2016, my husband and I once more joined the run held last November 27 and were able to tag along our 21-year-old son who's also a barefoot runner like his dad. (Read Gab's own race review, here). We arrived at the Mall of Asia past 3AM but spent a lot of precious time finding a parking space no thanks to hundreds of other cars brought by the runners and the confusing rerouting around the race village. 

More than 6,700 runners participated in the second year of the Gatorade Run 1122. 
The titular run, fueled by the world’s number one sports drink and organized by Runrio
aimed to promote proper hydration in the country’s fast-growing and active running communities.
With only a few minutes left to spare, my husband had to suit up quickly and we only realized after the race that he had mistakenly pinned on our son's 11k race bib instead of the one for 22k. Still, he got to run in his category while Gab and I waited for our own gun start.

runners plucking their own finisher ribbons

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden: Biliran's Promised Land

Every successful venture is earned through determination and hard work. In Eastern Visayas, there used to be a place overgrown with cogon grass that now attracts visitors from all over the country. 

breathtaking view from the top of the hill
Canaan Hill Farms and Honey Garden started as a dream. Eduardo Espinazo, a fisherman married to homemaker Priscilla, raised nine children -- six boys and three girls. According to their eldest son, Sandro, they grew up trying to make ends meet. "We'd eat cassava for breakfast and lunch, and corn for dinner. My siblings and I would also walk five kilometers to and from school."

OA Bloggers with some of the Espinazo siblings
As the Espinazo children finished their studies one by one, the husband and wife were finally able to "breathe" from the heavy financial obligations of putting the kids through school. In 2011, the family bought six hectares of land in Caibiran, Biliran to finally help realize Eduardo's dream to become a farmer.

an indian mango tree laden with fruits

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wüsthof Launches Classic Line and Holds Knife Skills Class at Gourdo's

I learned to cook proper meals when I became a wife and mom more than 20 years ago. It's one of the ways I show my love for my family -- to provide them with delicious and nutritious meals that I enjoy making in the kitchen.

a good cook knows how important sharp knives are in the kitchen
One of my pet peeves though is having to use dull knives. Most times, trying to sharpen existing ones that were poorly made would just give us damaged blades. Some knives also break off from their handles. So, over the years, my husband and I kept buying various types of knives that could help us be more efficient in preparing and cooking meals. 

Imagine how glad I am to finally be able to attend a Knife Skills Class at Gourdo's where I learned so much about knives! The class featured Wüsthof knives, which are being manufactured in Solingen, Germany for over 200 years.

Chef Brando after demonstrating how to cut a whole chicken

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What to Prepare and Expect Before Getting a Mammogram

Earlier this month, I posted a giveaway for a free 3D Tomosynthesis Mammogram at Health Cube because I really wanted to encourage other women, especially those who NEED to undergo the procedure, to be proactive when it comes to our health.

I underwent the procedure myself because I don't want to take chances. I've learned years ago that when it comes to our wellbeing, it is better to get diagnosed early with whatever medical condition we have rather than find out about it too late and be needing intensive and more costly treatments. 

a bit nervous but ready for mammo
Prior to your mammogram appointment, here are reminders from Ms. Tes Mendoza of Health Cube Advanced Medical Imaging Unit:
  1. Do not apply deodorant, perfume, and/or powder on your underarm and near your breast
  2. Undergo the procedure 7 to 10 days AFTER the first day of menstruation to minimize discomfort
  3. If you underwent a previous mammogram/breast ultrasound before, please bring the results
  4. Wear a top with skirt or pants instead of a dress
mammo technicians' monitoring area

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

La Granja de Reyna: a Place for Planting and Reaping

Martina Reyna is an agricultural engineer by profession. She worked in government for four years before deciding to cultivate her in-laws' large plot of land in Tacloban City. According to her, La Granja de Reyna's original area was 15.8 hectares, the first property bought by her husband's parents in 1935 for P500 and a sack of rice. 

a view from the top of La Granja's hill
Many years later, as neighboring owners started selling their lands, the Reyna property expanded into 51 hectares with one hectare donated for senior citizens. Tina started developing La Granja and registered it with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1994. It is now home to 13 varieties of fruit trees, 5000 coconut trees, high-value crops used as salad ingredients, and several kinds of livestock. 

one of the lettuce plots
The farm harvests around P2,000 worth of lettuce in a day and supplies these to Chowking and Ocho, a local restaurant in the city. It also produces a continuous supply of organic fertilizer totaling 500 bags per week, ready for delivery. 

a beautiful torch flower growing at the entrance of a hut

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Filipino Artist KC Nevada: Merging Passions and Changing Lives

A very chosen few are gifted with the talent for art and it is heartwarming to know when someone with that gift uses it not only for personal expression but, more so, for making a difference.

Korina Carla “KC” Nevada became aware of her innate artistic abilities when she learned ballet as a very young girl. Her natural gravitation into theater arts helped KC understand herself better as well as how to interpret the world around her. Painting became the springboard from which her style of passion-based art evolved. 

Born and raised in Baguio City, KC took her first painting lessons at age eight under local renowned artist, Ted Caia. This began her understanding of the technique, balance, and harmony in painting.

a beautiful painting of trees

Friday, November 18, 2016

Countless Lessons Filipinos Should Learn from OMRO (Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso)

Sometime last year, a group of farmers from Region 8 met during an Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) seminar on Organic Agriculture Internal Control Systems (ICS). Mike Pedroso recalled talking with his fellow farmers during the five-day seminar where they all agreed that the 'high' they get from those kinds of trainings usually last for about two weeks before it wanes … and only returns when the next training happens.

OMRO entrusts these planting materials to poor farmers
who need a push in the right direction
"So we decided to organize ourselves so we can help other farmers beyond the government's reach," shared Mike. Thus, Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso (OMRO) or Organic Farmers of Region 8 was born, composed of members coming from the six provinces of Eastern Visayas.

Recently, our group of Organic Agriculture Bloggers met several OMRO members in Mike Pedroso Farms located in Calbayog, Samar. There, we were invited to join their tree growing activity (read all about it here) and were inspired by each of their stories on how they struggled to develop their farms, found success through hard work, and are now helping other farmers.

Jun Paredes, OMRO President, believes that small things
can lead to success if utilized properly
OMRO President Jun Paredes affirmed how important it is for them to be able to share what they've learned in the course of improving their own farms. "Knowledge cannot be stolen. No rich man could ever steal what is in your mind and in your heart."

This noble transfer of learnings and materials is their basis for creating the KITS Journey, which they partnered with the Lakbay Alay (sort of like a sacrificial travel) project. These initiatives entail OMRO members to leave their farms for a few days to visit far-flung areas so they can unselfishly share Knowledge, Inputs, Technology, and Services to farmers who need them.

organic produce are healthy, safe, and chemical-free food

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Mike Pedroso Farms: An Armchair Farmer's Journey to Developing an Integrated Diversified Organic Farm

Nestled at the foot of a hill in Carayman, Calbayog in Samar, Eastern Visayas is an integrated diversified organic farm that started as a dream. Back in 1986, Engr. Mike Pedroso was still working in the corporate world when he became, what he called, an "armchair farmer." 

Engr. Mike Pedroso carrying two bags of pandesal for our breakfast 😋
"I was a subscriber of an agriculture magazine for two years. Reading them was how my love for farming developed," he recalled. In 1994, Mike had an accident that left him immobile for 21 days and had him underwent physical rehabilitation for four months. He spent this time making plans to go into farming someday.

Finally, he decided to leave the corporate jungle in 1999 and began cultivating his piece of land by walking a kilometer each day carrying five seedlings to plant. "It was only then that I realized the magnitude of challenges our farmers face and why many of them remain poor," he confided, lamenting that farm-to-market roads are not being given priority by the government. Instead, the infrastructure budgets mostly go to the continuous repairs and improvements of highways and main thoroughfares.   

new life growing on a jackfruit tree branch

Monday, November 14, 2016

5 Tips for Newbie Runners From Someone Who Used to Be One

If you’ve been saying you want to start leading a more active lifestyle and you think running might work for you as a good form of exercise, this post is for you! ☺ 

I was a reluctant runner in the past, you know. But once I decided that I needed to do this for wellness and my children’s sakes, I never had regrets that I shouldn’t have started running in the first place.

a shot from one of our practice runs
I’m writing this post to encourage friends and new acquaintances to pursue running because it’s one of the cheapest forms of exercise (unless you register in actual races) that do not require a gym membership. Here’s sharing five things I did as a newbie runner more than two years ago:

1. Identify the reasons why you want to run. Here are mine:
  • to keep myself as fit as possible so I don’t easily get tired; I no longer go huffing and puffing when I climb long flights of stairs and I am now very confident to walk long distances (think middle of the Skyway to Magallanes or Ayala – I’ve done that!) when I get stuck in heavy traffic for more than an hour or two
  • to maintain my current body size because I don’t want to spend for a whole new wardrobe if I get bigger
  • most importantly, to stay healthy so I would be around longer for my children, especially since my third son has special needs
Keeping your goals in mind will always motivate you to keep on pushing yourself to suit up and run.

pain, train, push, sweat, fuel, and finish!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Beyond the Box Introduces the iPhone 7 via a Midnight Launch

Late in the evening of November 10, a throng of Apple fans lined up for the Midnight Launch of the iPhone 7 at Beyond the Box, Resorts World Manila

a most-anticipated event
sizes of retina HD display: 4.7 inches (iPhone 7) and 5.5 inches (iPhone Plus)
Aptly named after what many consider a lucky number, which signifies 'completeness' and 'perfection,' the latest iPhone model is finally made available through the country's foremost Apple Premium Reseller.

Apple fans lined up for the midnight launch
After the countdown led by Tim Yap at the strike of 12, the midnight of November 11, 2016 proved  once more just how sought after the iPhone 7 really is as evidenced by the iPhone's history of sold out launch dates. 

the iPhone 7 in rose gold
prices: P37,990 (32gb), P43,990 (128gb), and P49,990 (256gb)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Security Bank Turns Spotlight on Real People, Real Clients Thru BetterBanking Stories

Security Bank Corporation is celebrating its 65th founding anniversary and part of this milestone is the BetterBanking Stories campaign that shares the triumphs and struggles of real bank clients who all have a good relationship with Security Bank.

Dr. Vicki Belo
The BetterBanking Stories kicked off with a set of TV Commercials featuring Security Bank's relationship with three of its famous clients Dr. Vicki Belo, Erwan Heusaff, and Janine Gutierrez. However, the stories do not end with these celebrities. Security Bank likewise brought attention to its other clients who found success in their own fields through the bank's promise of Better Banking

Erwann Heusaff
Patricia Tan, First Vice President and Retail Marketing Division Head of Security Bank, notes how surprised they were by the positive feedback from their clients and general viewers on the TVCs. "That resulted in the decision to magnify our purview and share the BetterBanking Stories of other customers."

Janine Gutierrez

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Enjoy Delicious Chap Chae at Home with McCormick's Noodle and Seasoning Mix

Foodies who love Korean cuisine probably have chap chae in their list of favorite dishes. It's one of mine and very seldom does my family eat in Korean restaurants without ordering one. Now, we can satisfy cravings for this noodle dish at home with McCormick's Chap Chae Noodle and Seasoning Mix!

a dish that's very easy to cook!
Following the recipe and preparing the ingredients are actually very easy! The delightful thing is, the end product really tastes like authentic chap chae. I've already tried cooking it twice (the second time using two packs because one is not enough to satisfy my boys) and, as a chap chae fan, I am honestly very happy with the results.

what's inside the pack

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Nuvali's Camp N: Offering Enjoyable Bike Activities for Both Newbies and Pros

One year after I attempted learning how to bike (read the funny story with a twist, here), I remain a newbie who still feels apprehensive about falling. I know it's also my fault for not finding enough time to practice so I do look forward to moments when I could try (and try) again until I feel confident enough to really ride a bicycle on my own. 

still a beginner but getting there … hopefully 😉
Two weekends ago, my hubby and I joined the launch of Nuvali's Camp N Incubator and Bike Hub for beginners and intermediate riders. In partnership with Specialized Philippines, Camp N also offers bike tours around the 2,290-hectare Nuvali landscape passing through the bird sanctuary trails and dirt roads.

#TeamFloresca at Camp N
With spaces for team building, Camp N features thrill-based and skill-based facilities designed to test one's physical limits, mental abilities, character, and values. Of course, I signed up as a beginner and joined other newbies in perfecting the fine art of balancing on two wheels. I think I already forgot what little biking skills I acquired last year! 

Camp N's orientation hut and ticket booth

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Satisfy Food Cravings at Taal Vista Hotel's New Veranda Restaurant

Tagaytay remains one of the nicest travel destinations that is accessible by car or bus and is near Metro Manila. For those who are looking for accommodations for overnight or several days' stay, I'd recommended Taal Vista Hotel (read my review, here) because it has a great location and very nice facilities.

dine on this beautiful table setup with your loved ones!
The last time my family and I were in Tagaytay, Cafe Veranda was being renovated so we didn't get to dine there. A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I finally did and it was very enjoyable to have lunch overlooking the panoramic view of the Taal Lake and Volcano.

foodies with Taal Vista's excellent chefs
I love the look of the new Veranda Restaurant. The colors of the sofas and chairs are cool on the eyes. They're very comfy, too! Plus, it's great having all those huge glass walls that let in natural light and provide guests with the stunning vista outside. 

cheese and Japanese food stations

Coffee 101 with Robinsons Supermarket and Silca Coffee Roasting Company

One of the misconceptions a lot of coffee lovers have is that one can only get a great cup of coffee from commercial coffee shops. That's not true. In fact, there's now a growing appreciation for home brews and this does not only mean coffee prepared at home but also an increasing love for locally sourced coffee. 

discover a new appreciation for coffee, today!
In support of this movement, Robinsons Supermarket recently partnered with Silca Coffee, a roasting company based in Silang, Cavite and held a coffee appreciation class at Robinsons Supermarket Ermita. There, I learned a lot more about the beverage I have grown very fond of.

some of Silca Coffee's products
Michael Asuncion, the son of Silca Coffee founder Enrile Asuncion, explained to us how much work it entails to process coffee starting from picking beans from the tree until they are dried, milled, sorted, roasted, and brewed until the aromatic beverage ends being served in a cup. 

ripening coffee cherries

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Revisiting Costales Natures Farms Where My Organic Agriculture Journey Began

As a girl growing up in Laguna, I never really thought back then about the healthy food being served on our table. I just knew that many of the vegetables, even the rice, we eat came from my grandparents' or a relative's farm or garden. It was simply natural to be regularly consuming homegrown brown rice, red bananas, and other fruits like lanzones, rambutan, and guyabano plucked from trees surrounding our house. 

a glimpse at life in the province
Even eating native chicken and eggs laid by them were not out of the ordinary. We'd cook tinola using green papaya and dahon ng sili from neighbors or buy cooked viand from our friendly neighborhood maglalako who knows how to whip up the most tasteful local dishes. 

harvesting lettuce with a deep appreciation for organic farming 
It wasn't until 2012 when I got to fully appreciate the many benefits of organic and natural farming. I credit the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) for introducing me to Sir Ronald Costales who owned a fully integrated organic farm in Majayjay, Laguna.    

this sign about agriculture and tourism says it all

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Rediscover Beeffalo by Hotrocks in Marikina: New Look, Consistently Great Food!

It doesn't feel that long ago when hubby and I first discovered a great dining place in Marikina located at the end of a very long road that seemed to go nowhere. But, like a light at the end of a tunnel, there it was, Beeffalo by Hotrocks at the farthest corner of Gil Fernando Avenue!

my third visit to Beeffalo Marikina
with fellow foodies and Sir Louie (2nd from right)
Now that I think about it, I couldn't believe it has already been two years since we first set foot inside this charming place filled with decor that would pique anyone's curiosity. Since then, Beeffalo has become a favorite place for many who are looking for hearty meals to share with their loved ones. Available there are some of the most tasty ribs, steaks, pizzas, wings, and other everyday American comfort food that warm the soul. 

the must-try Margherita Pizza
Recently, Beeffalo Marikina underwent a refurbishing to showcase a more streamlined look but which still retains its unique charm that comes from the rustic interiors and evoke a refreshing sense of randomness and simplicity.

these little touches make the place feel more homey