Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet my Happy Foodie Family

If there is one thing that distinguishes nationalities from each other, I think it would be FOOD. Food reflects a lot about the culture and lifestyle of every country. In the case of my country, I could say that Food is everything here.Food is our best friend. Why and how? My family is just one living example. 

The love for food in our family was started by this person

She is my paternal grandma who was a cook by profession. My grandma never went to a culinary school but she was a well respected and trusted cook in our place. Relatives, family friends and our neighbors would always seek her assistance in cooking for their birthday parties and other celebrations. It's been a year since Grandma joined our creator, but her reputation of being a very accommodating and generous person never ceased. People would always recognize me and my cousins as the grandchildren of the "greatest cook."

In a typical Filipino family, food is always a part of any significant event in our lives. Food is present in birthdays, graduations, achievements, town fiestas to sad moments such as wakes and death anniversaries. Every milestone in our life is accompanied by friends, loved ones and great food.

Allow me to share with you some of our memorable family pictures with food.
This was my Grandma's last birthday cake. In the Philippines by the way, we address our grandmothers as Lola. The colorful cake would always remind me of the colorful and meaningful life she made.
Long lines! Though I really hate to fall in line and wait to get food, this was a normal scene in every Filipino family celebration.

A year after my Lola died, there is a Filipino Catholic tradition called padasal. Padasal is a prayer session that Filipino Catholics hold during death anniversaries. The prayer session is led by old Catholic women in the house of the deceased family member. After the prayer sessions, meals are served for the mandarasal (old women who led the prayers) and invited guests of the family.

 The mandarasal getting their meals after the prayer session.

Though the loss of my Lola affected us, one great man still keeps me and my cousins together and united
Meet my Lolo (grandpa). This picture was taken from his recent birthday celebration.

And how could we forget the food?

I will definitely look forward to more birthday celebrations with my Lolo. 

One of my aunties moved abroad and every time her family visits the Philippines, there's always a family celebration. We would always have this in her house.

When my Lola was still alive, we would have family reunions during the first day of the year and the Holy week. We would stay in her house the entire day while being served with the best meals.

And here is a picture of my happy foodie family!

I hope you all had a great weekend with your family! :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

I once had a promising business

I used to have an active small online business. Back in 2010, I was amazed over a friend of a Facebook contact who sells personalized notepads. I considered ordering a pad but the selling price drew me away. Each notepad costs Php 200 (around $ 4.50) and the shipping fees are not yet included. The shipping fee of the notepad is  Php 100 (around $2). All in all, I will be spending Php 300 for a 50 sheet notepad, which for me is too overpriced.

I badly wanted a personalized notepad and I know a lot of my friends would want to own one too. This idea prompted me to venture to the notepad business. I studied and canvassed the prices of the equipments and materials needed. Using some of my income from teaching, I bought a paper cutter, a ream of paper, resealable plastic, padding glue and a supply of ink. I had an idle printer at home and when all the materials I needed are present, Notepads Unlimited was born.

My first orders came from my reliable friends and their referrals. I was receiving an order every week. My business was just starting but I was already earning money. I managed to earn some shopping money from a business that is less than 2 months old. I was so happy and optimistic with my business. I even considered venturing to the production of personalized notebooks. I was able to recover my investment and I even have spare money to purchase the binding machine for the notebooks.

After summer, I went back to teaching and the task was overwhelming. An unforeseen need also made me utilized my kept earnings from the notepads. In the end, my online business gradually died. My plan was just to consider seasonal production. I planned to produce notepads during the Christmas season as gifts to friends. In this way, I could also save time, money and effort of thinking the best gift for my friends. Anyway, all of them loved my notepads. But the bulk of work and some concerns over my life and career prevented me to pursue my plans.

I neglected my online business. I was in the brink of closing my shop but I was surprised over the frequency of orders lately. I've been receiving inquires and a lot of orders over the past months. As much as I wanted to revive my business, my current schedule does not permit me to do so.

I don't want to totally shut down Notepads Unlimited even though that's what my current situation forces me to do. For now, I left my site existing and if there are inquiries, I leave them with the same response..... we are temporarily closed for operations. Until when? Everything remains unanswered.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who wants FREE books?

I have observed that some of my friends in the blogosphere love books. I myself is a huge fan of books and other places that house books. I love libraries and bookstores and I can spend my entire day confined in these places.

If you are a blogger, a book lover and want to receive free copies, you might consider becoming a member of this site.

Book Sneeze provides FREE copies of books for bloggers. They give free printed and e-copies of books in exchange for your blog review.

The only requirement of Book Sneeze is that you maintain an active blog. Submit your blog and after the review process, you are free to choose which book to take home. Approved members can avail of their first free book immediately. The faster you read, the more reviews submitted, the more free books you can take home.

To all my blog friends who love books and want to receive free copies, sign up now!

P.S. This is a non-sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What is it about kids?

Kids never fail to bring out my emotions. They make me either extremely happy or sad. For the lack of blog post, I am posting these videos that never fail to make me happy



Be sure to empty your bladder before watching this


And recently, this Filipino twin invaded the world



I've been so stressed over the past weeks. Work, career and life related concerns are bothering me. Hopefully, I will be able to overcome everything. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tempting and Sweet Monday


It's Monday morning here in the workplace, the most difficult part of the week. ;-)  While I am having my morning break, allow me to post something that never fails to make me happy... FOOOOOD!

Just to perk me up on the first day of the week, I compiled these tempting pictures and might as well tempt everyone, hahaha!

The theme of my collage is sweets. I collaged my favorite sweets and desserts starting of with Double Expresso Cookies, Mocha Frappucino, Butterfinger, Cookies and Cream Kisses, Reese's Cookies, Mocha Sans Rival Cake, Banoffee Pie, Cupcakes with Frosted Icing, and Oreo Cake.

Have a sweet and tempting Monday everyone! :)

P.S. I will be doing another food post next Monday. I hope you can join me too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend in the World of Butterflies

It's been two months since my classes started and I must say I'm still adjusting to my new schedule. I used to teach after my 8am to 5pm office work. But for this semester, I am given early morning classes. My classes start at 7am from Monday to Thursday. After class, my day in the office starts at 8:30 am. I wake up at 4:30 am and devote more than an hour for travel. Over the past weeks, every work day has been so tiring. Aside from the work, a lot of things about my life and career has been bothering me. I hope and pray that in God's time, everything will turn out well. 

Call me selfish and lazy but I really look forward to every weekend. Weekend for me means rest, longer hours of sleep and temporarily forgetting all those worries and concerns at work. This makes me remember how I disliked weekends back when I was still a student. I was bored being confined in our quiet home. Ironically, when I started working I would always long for the weekends and all I just wanted was a quiet home to rest.

Aside from staying home, I once in a while enjoy going out with my close friends and family. Malling and dinners with them are simply the best. This weekend I managed to go out with my family. We attended the 60th birthday of my father's cousin, which was housed in a beautiful garden.

World of Butterflies
The name of the garden is World of Butterflies. The place used to be a butterfly garden but after some time, they converted the place to a venue for birthdays, weddings and other events.

The cemented floors of the garden was engraved with this

The celebration started as soon as the sun was out and this somehow brought disadvantage for my pictures. Anyway, here are some pictures from the event

My relatives
The fountain area
Not something breathtaking but my niece, Alexia enjoyed this
 with my cousin, Dimple

and me? I am the official family photographer ;-)

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Midweek Dream

In the middle of a tiring work week,

I wish I could relax over a comfortable seat


or lay down in bed


while enjoying the view

having a silent walk


 and ending the day with this

When could I have another quiet, tranquil and relaxing vacay?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Small things bring big happiness

Last Sunday I have to force myself to work. It wasn't easy considering it was a weekend and my system is conditioned to rest. But for the longest time, I have to finish a much needed research paper by Friday. And as of today, I still can't say mission accomplished :-(

I usually spend my Sundays at home with my parents. Waking up late, sumptuous lunch, sleepy afternoon, a nice movie and dinner together, that's how I quietly spend Sundays. You may find it boring but I appreciate the silent atmosphere at home because it gives me a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Several years ago, a public school was constructed at the back of our home. I have nothing against the school. We in fact appreciated school among other businesses because it has after all good intentions. What we fail to realize is that the presence of the school will figuratively and literally take away our quiet Sunday afternoons.

Every Sunday, a group of choir is regularly practicing in one of the classrooms. I'm not criticizing their voices but to hear them repeatedly singing the same songs and vocalizing exercises somehow exhausts our hears.We never complained though. My family instead conditioned ourselves that we'll get used to everything.

But last Sunday, I can't anymore handle things. Though it was music that I hear, I get distracted and unfocussed on my work. I don't want to waste another Sunday so I decided to find a better place. I packed my netbook and with a struggling wallet, I went to the lone Starbucks in my hometown.

I ordered my favorite Frappucino, glazed doughnut and Kettle Chips. For Php 285 (around $7), I was hoping to regain my concentration to write. Before I started using my netbook, I was surprised when the security guard approached me. He courteously offered to attach a cable lock to my netbook.

Photo from Paolo Lorenzana
My netbook became secured. I can leave my table without worrying for my valuable machine. If the management of Starbucks is reading this, I would like to say that your supplementary service is highly appreciated. I love companies who are customer responsive. Companies who combine product development and customer welfare are seldom these days. Thank you Starbucks. And to the security guard who offered this assistance, thank you for being so customer attentive and responsive.

Small and simple service like this brings me happiness.

In another topic, I recently discovered this novel, admirable and lovable blog.

The idea of Toy Society is to gather toy makers from different countries. The members are encouraged to make toys and distribute them to total strangers. According to the site, the endeavor was started by a local crafter named, Bianca from Australia in June 2008.

The blog advocates the practice of "toy drop." After making a toy, members are encouraged to drop or leave them in places where strangers, possibly children, could have them.

Though I am not a skilled toy maker, I love the idea of The Toy Society. It's making someone you never know happy. It also fosters generosity and appreciation over simple things and I believe that we need something like this today. We should be reminded that at the end of day, life is simple and simple things are more than enough to make us happy.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chucks and Cupcakes beat stress

Today is Friday, yipee! And what's the best day that comes with Friday... payday! How I wish everyday would be a payday Friday, I'm sure it would make everyone happy. More shopping, food and more sales for the stores. The happiness just spreads on a payday Friday. ;-)

This week has been exhausting because of the preliminary examination of my students. Though I'm given a week of rest from teaching, the paperwork doubles on examination weeks. I have to check 80+ examination papers and prepare a summary of my students' deficiencies. I do this additional task because I want to practice transparency in my classes. I open my class records to ensure that all their scores are encoded accurately. In addition, I also want to give my students an idea of how much effort they need to exert to pass my subject. So as you can see, the real job of a teacher doesn't only evolve on providing instruction. A lot of people don't realize that the job of a teacher extends to maintaining organized records, monitoring students' performance and later on motivating them to study harder. (Harder for the students and hardest for the teachers too.)

So much talk about my work, I hope I didn't bore all of you. ;-) I wanted to give myself a break so I engaged in my usual stress busting activity.. shopping! I promised myself not to shop until December.. but sorry I just can't. Perhaps if all shopping malls around me are tore down to pieces then I might stop. hahaha! This week I caused these damaging pieces of happiness to my wallet

My first ever Chuck Taylor!
I've been wanting to own an immortal Chuck Taylor. After sleepless nights, I finally have this classic piece. This will perfectly pair my jeans and button down blouses.

Bag from Heartstrings
I saw this bag from a fellow train passenger on the way home. It was love at first sight. ;-) I searched two shopping malls and I found this at my favorite, SM Marikina. I felt the bag was meant for me because it was on sale. Hurray! I got this for less than $9.  The bag is made of water repellant cloth, perfect for the current rainy reason.

I don't know what is happening to my hormones and brain cells who are responsible for my appetite. For this week, I got addicted to this


What's inside the box?

These are
Cupcakes!
Oh weight gain!

Have a sweet and relaxing weekend to everyone! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He showed me that there's greatness in silence

Today marks the 63rd birthday of the greatest man I've ever met.



If only technology came early for us, I would have done the same thing for you. I would write the things I can't say and share every significant milestone in my life with you. I guess, we are only persons in the family who have been negatively perceived because of our silence. We don't talk much because we don't want to become contributors to our chaotic environment. You never gave me advices and words of encouragement, but I realized that a lot of the values and principles I have in life came from you. You gave me the best parenting approach, living by example. Your entire life was a showcase of patience, selflessness, humility, hardwork, respect for elders and silence in mind and heart.

You never read me books. We never talked that much, but you gave me the best learnings about life. I can't even think of a way to honor and gratify you. My entire life and humbled achievements will always be a tribute to all the love and sacrifices you have endured.

Your will be always be the greatest man of few words. But your silence overflows with principles, values, love and greatness.

Happy Birthday Daddy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Food for the Body and Soul

I realized that I'm just making my first post for the month of July. It's almost the middle of the month and I haven't blog anything yet. :-( Pardon the lack of update because I am back to teaching. Classes in the Philippines start in June and end in March. So while most of my blogfriends in the US are savoring their summer vacation, it's back to business here in the Philippines. I have been preoccupied with office work, teaching, and that one major decision I have been contemplating.

I wanted to give myself a break so yesterday, I visited a unique restaurant that is walking distance from my workplace. I tagged my colleague and friend, Abigail to break our monotonous schedule.

This is Ristorante delle Mitre
Ristorante delle Mitre
The Italian name literally translates to Restaurant of the Mitre. Mitre is the hat that bishops wear during liturgical celebrations. The restaurant was named as such because it is being owned and operated by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Though the restaurant belongs to the Roman Catholic group, the diners are not limited to Catholic devotees. After all the Holy Scripture tells us that everyone is welcomed in the house of the Lord.

The interiors of the restaurant is filled with memorabilia and other representations that relate to the Bishops and the Roman Catholic Church.
Mitres
Different mitres are displayed inside the restaurant.

There's a typical Catholic altar.

The placemat they use shows pictures of past bishops in the Philippines.

And this is what I highly appreciated about the restaurant
They provide employment opportunities to our brothers and sisters who have hearing disabilities.

Here are more pictures






Can you see the lighted part of the ceiling? The bright area possesses this painting



And here's what I ordered

Rice and Calamares


Mango Crepe
For those who are curious with their menu
Ristorante delle Mitre Menu


and my favorite.. cakes and desserts
Although to be honest, I find their cakes too expensive at Php 128 to Php 148 per slice. The slices are also relatively smaller, as compared to other restaurants.
Let me leave you with a picture full of sweetness! ;-)

Have a great weekend to everyone!

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