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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zark's Burger- TAFT

I went to DOLE NCR this morning to process my boss' permit and was contemplating on whether I'd buy a BK stunner for my lunch or settle for a carinderia meal somewhere in front of the Bureau of Immigration(my next stop)..I was about to ride an fx, looked up and saw their logo and I decided to give it a go..After all, I rarely say no to an opportunity to have an awesome burger! Here are my notes to my first (and definitely not my last visit) to their Taft branch:

The Place:
'Twas my first visit and I was going up, I was still on the steps of the stairs but the smell was already very strong and inviting. Probably because of the structure of the building, their space reminds you a lot of a computer shop, only instead of the game posters, their posters are taped all over the place.

As you walk in, you'll be reminded a lot of a burger joint or watering hole in American shows and movies that you see- counter on the left side, small cozy tables and a live NBA game on the TV in the corner.

The Menu:
I was given a menu and true enough, there were about a dozen burger variations- the upper half choices are more "conservative", slightly bigger than your fastfood burgers, with a few similarities and distinctions that tell them apart. The bottom half were for those who crave for more- including their jawbreaker- which from research, I have gained to be one of their best sellers and surely seems to live up to its name.

I went for the Classic American burger which costs 120- with BLT and their classic patty. Add 20 and you get fries and an iced tea as well.
My lunch for that day. Yumyum!

They have unique dessert offering such as the fried mars and fried snickers and though I was interested to try them, they were a bit pricey at 125.

The burger:
The size of the burger was good enough-as I said, slightly bigger than your fastfood burger but not too big. What I hate about these type of burgers is that it's almost impossible to have every ingredient in one bite-on one bite, I had a looooooooooooong stretch of bacon that took at least 3 minutes to chew(hihihihi) and on another, it was all ketchup, buns and lettuce. Nonetheless, I knew that each ingredient was fresh and meticulously picked..and I loved it

A closer look: there was so much more bacon in person... ^_^
The fries:
Not much to say, except that they were fresh and not your "fast food" french fries that are so freakin thin and taste the same after a few days. These babies were freshly peeled potatoes and by the quantity, I'd say they used two small potatoes for every order.

Notes:
I wish the place would look more like a burger place from the outside. Like I said, it looked like a computer shop rather than a burger joint.
I'm not sure if I didnt notice it or there really werent any, but I'd love for their menu to have shakes and the like, to complete that American burger joint vibe.

My work entails a lot of visits to DOLE NCR so I know for a fact that this was just the first of many visits to come. See u soon Zark's burgers!



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Because a Facebook status is not enough...

Tomorrow, Reese will go on his first swimming trip and I was about to post a Facebook status but from all the things I wanted to say, it was getting longer and longer so I decided to just blog...

I can't believe it's been 6 months since he came to our lives, 6 months since I first started comparing diaper prices and their absorbing power. Hubby and I(to fair, mostly hubby) have been waking up once or twice at night to attend to his needs for 6 months. We have been washing cloth diapers, feeding bottles, buying milk and water and taking care of a bouncing baby boy for six months. 

I remember how our life was before he came before I got pregnant. I remember the sound sleep(which I still get more than hubby), the milk teas I was able to afford, the climbs I was able to join, and my arms were not bound to carry a boy who gets kilig (at the thought of roaming around the house) when we step out of the bedroom. I remember not caring that much if traffic is bad because hubby would understand if I come home late, not caring if die before 50 because I know I lived a good life, not caring if we don't have savings because at least, we enjoyed the things we loved.

But now that Reese is here, we would always wake up once or twice at night when he needs a changin' or milk; I only drink milk tea whenever I have excess pocket money; I get left behind on climbs and miss out the jokes and the photo ops; I am digging deep in my soul my non-existent singing talent to lull a baby to sleep; I get pissed when traffic is bad because it means less time with Reese; I am learning to save (I'll get there someday, promise!), I am trying my best to eat less meat because I wanna be strong and able for Reese when he becomes a father.

So what I really wanted to say was.....my heart is swelling with love, pride, and joy that he is growing so well, that he is in our lives, that I became a mom.. and no amount of milk teas I missed and climbs I wasn't able to join would ever be better than having him. They simply fail by comparison.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tips for 9G Visa Processing in Bureau of Immigration Intramuros Office

Since November last year, it has been part of my tasks as an HR staff to process the 9g visa of our Korean Managers and I tell you this without sugar coating it: IT IS HELL. Two things I hate about this job is the travel time to and from the office and visa processing and I tell you, there are days when I question which I loathe more than the other. Knowing that many Foreign nationals process their visa on their own, here are some tips (based on one year of going to the Immigration office back and forth) with regard to processing.

This is how I feel like after a day in the Bureau of Immigration



1. GO THERE IN THE MORNING, BETWEEN 8-9 AM.
I say between 8am to 9am. Technically, the Bureau opens at 7am but I noticed that most of them arrive at 8am anyway, so why waste your energy getting up so early? However, the area transforms into a whole new level by 10am, since many people arrive after 9am, so to experience shorter lines and less irate immigration employees, be there from 8am to 9am.

2. DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIST THEY GIVE YOU AND BRING EVERYTHING YOU THINK IS NECESSARY
-When you check their website and other sites, there is a list of things that they will ask from you but believe me, that list is incomplete. First and foremost, it does not tell you that you have to put all your documents in a folder with a fastener and each fastener costs 5 pesos if you buy it from the folks who do photocopy near the cafeteria. Second, you should fill out an extra copy of the application form + a photocopy of your passport bio page, last day of arrival and visa stamp + i-card photocopy and fasten it to the left side of the folder for the processing of your i-card. They also ask for extra documents, especially those pertaining to tax, so bring all documents which you think are applicable.

3. DO NOT BELIEVE THE PROCESSING TIME THEY TELL YOU.
The actual processing time can actually be much shorter or much longer than what they say. 

*On one occasion, I passed a passport for visa implementation (or stamping) at 2:00pm and they asked me to come back at 5:00 the next day. So that would be a total of 11hours for stamping, which can be finished in an hour or two. The following day, I came back at 10am and passport was not yet ready. Luckily, when I came again at 11am, the passport was ready..which took them a total of 6 hours ONLY. YEY!!!!(NOTE A TON OF SARCASM)  

*On another occasion, I was waiting for a document to be transmitted to another department in the 3rd floor. It was 12:15 noon and the guy told me to expect the document to be there after 15 minutes and though they say they "dont" have lunch break, I "felt" he would go on a break anyway so I decided to take a lunch break as well and voila, when I took the elevator at 1:15, that guy in charge was in the elevator with me. A WOMAN'S INTUITION IS ALWAYS RIGHT(*wink)

*At some point, you are bound to go to window 14 where you will pass your documents for evaluation. They say they will that they will call you. They will- IF YOU ARE FOR COMPLIANCE-meaning there is is something lacking or missing in your application. If not, THEY WILL NOT CALL YOU. If you do not see your number in the small whiteboard, after a few hours, check the folders laid out near the window. You have to point to your folder and tell them which one is yours, and that's the time you can get your OPS.

4. PROCESS YOUR AEP FIRST
Your AEP or Alien Employment Permit should be valid at the time of the Visa application so before you process your 9g conversion or extension, process your AEP first. If it is a new AEP application, it will take about a month since you have to complete the requirements and wait for the publication in a newspaper but for renewal, it can be done in less than 10 working days.

5. Be Familiar with the Dollar Exchange Rate*(Updated as of December 30 2013)
I processed our operations managers' visa last September and two others just last week and surprise, surprise, the amount were different. Only then did I notice that the amount actually depends on the current exchange rate and probably due to the recent Haiyan catastrophe and many other things, the peso value is lower and thus, fees are higher.

GENERAL TIP:
Probably the only things exact in this agency are the things pertaining to money:
For sure, what you see in the list is the actual amount you should pay and second, the cashier does close at 5pm. Other than that, you cannot trust them to be accurate and precise and similar to customer service, the last person you talk to can say something completely different from the next person who does. So just to be sure, ask twice.

~I will update this list as I continue to process visas but for now, these are the tips I can share...Ciao!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Food Review: Angel's Pizza

As with previous instances, I hardly find time to write but when I do, I am usually on a roll and after my post on bridesmaid dresses, I decided to make this one as well.

I had the chance to buy their pizzas because for our son's monthly birthdays, we usually have mini-celebrations. I was so set on getting Yellow Cab Pizza but after finding out that Pepperoni Friday Promo was a one time thing only, I thought of Angel's Pizza as a cheaper alternative.

They actually have a wide menu but since I only bought pizzas, I'd rather focus on it for now. What I probably like most about them was that there were so many flavors to choose from! Most were just variations of one another but nonetheless, it was a good thing to know the taste would vary with slight differences.


I availed of the buy 1 take 1 family pizza for 550- making each 12" pizza 275 pesos, which wasnt bad at all. I got Angel's Medley and Chicken Parmigiana.


General Points:


* The place wasn't exactly enticing for dine-in and I think 90% of their customers actually order take out or pizza for delivery. Still, I appreciated the efforts to make waiting time bearable- the chairs were huge and magazines were available.


*Service was fast as promised! I almost raised an eyebrow when the crew told me that pizza would be ready in 12-15 minutes because there were at least 3 other groups of customers waiting aside from me, but as promised, the pizzas were ready even before I got back from buying cola from a nearby store.


*Some might say that the dough was too chewy but we liked it because it meant that the pizza was more filling- I could hardly eat my 3rd slice(I usually eat 4 or more for thick crust)


*The flavor of the pizza wasnt too overpowering. I think it's best for people who much on pizza non-stop especially while in front of the tv, because you can take a bite between scenes


Angel's Medley


Angel's Medley has beef, pepperoni, mushroon and mozzarella cheese. I liked it because the beef was well cooked unlike in particular variants I've tried in other stores before but the sauce was a bit too sour for me, tasted like tomato paste straight from the can.
from their website


Chicken Parmigiana

This one is actually not on their website yet, probably because it's new compared to the other pizzas. My family actually liked Angel's Medley more but being the weirdo that I am, I liked this one more. It has white sauce, barbecue chicken bell pepper and tomatoes. I liked that the white sauce was very subtle and yet you can still distinguish it from the usual marinara. I also liked that the chiken wasn't too sweet(which is why I don't like Yellow Cab's Barbecue Chicken Pizza).


credits to chinesenamatakaw- forgetfulness strikes again and I forgot where I saved my own shot


Final Points:

All in all, we'd definitely order again and probably try two of these- Angel's Aloha, Fancy Aloha, All Meat, Angel's Supreme or Cheesyburger

Website: http://www.angelspizza.com.ph


Till next time!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Printed Bridesmaids Dresses

I looked at my entries in the past six months and so far, I have- a number of posts related to motherhood, one or two about travelling and mountaineering and one completely off-the-route about Wally Bayola's sex scandal(where the heck did that come from???)
Such a mess! I know, I know, I know...But in true writer-wanna-be fashion, I wanna keep it that way because I want to write whatever comes to mind, whenever the though bubble comes along..So I now present to you, another 360 turn in topic as I go back to a wedding related topic: PRINTED BRIDESMAID DRESSES

I was inspired to write about this because I watched a same-day-edit video last sunday and it was the first time that I actually liked printed bridesmaid dresses.On our own wedding day, our bridesmaids had plain brown and blue dresses and the least we did to give the clothes a youthful vibe was to choose dresses that were short.

As I watched their video however, it was such a fresh sight to see prints instead of the usual flowy, family of chiffon and lace and satin and silk bridesmaid dresses.I realized it wouldn't always work but here are some snapshots that actually do(in my opinion)


The cut was really flattering to the women's bodies. Notice how the fabric hugs their bodies and therefore accentuating their curves
members of the entourage in the sde I was watching


The dresses must be in a color that you reeeeeeeeally like so that no matter what, it'll still be pleasing to your eyes. I think it works specifically well for darker colors because somehow the clothes look more formal
I'm a sucker for anything that's blue so this works for me :D
It can also be in a light color, especially if it's a neutral color, which complements the bride's white gown and makes them look so much closer to typical dresses

Or just go all out and break the rules- go for vibrant, buoyant prints that really stand out-which, I think, would work best for spring and summer weddings

At the end of the day, it all depends on the vibe that you want your wedding to have and whose to say if it's okay or not? It's your wedding, after all!

Until the next thought bubble!









Monday, October 14, 2013

Davao Diaries: Tips for a Samal Island Daytrip

I just received a very appreciative comment which made me feel very warm and nice about being a writer-wanna-be so I decided to break my writing hiatus. hehehehe

*This is one of many posts I'll write about our Davao trip. Mostly it'll just be side stories of what the place is all about and important stuff I wish somebody told me about Davao in general.

Samal Island is actually called IGACOS or the Island Garden City of Samal. However, given that the main entry point to this island is Davao and that most tourists who go to Davao go here anyway, it's a given that it's included in my blog entries. So here goes my tips from me to you, ala-countdown, of how you can maximize your time if you're just staying in SAMAL for less than a day.

Tip # 1: Be familiar with the modes of transportation available
In reaching and going around samal, you have three options: 
Option 1- ride a banca or roro and ride habal-habal in going around the island(recommended)
*I recommend this because both "lantsas" and "roros" leave the babak port every fifteen minutes therefore its not a big deal if you miss the previous trip. Second, going to SAMAL on just one day is for those who wish to see the tourist spots and not lounge on the beach all day and given that motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation in the island, it's your best bet
Our view inside the lantsa otw to Samal

Option 2-ride a banca directly to your resort( good option for those who wish to stay in the resort and just relax)
*The primary advantage of this is that you feel a more "personalized" service but then again, it can come with a hefty price tag
Option 3- rent a van from davao city( such a buzz kill in my opinion and much more expensive)
*The rental fee ranges from 2500-3000 depending on your contact but I found it weird because when we were aboard the Roro, those who had four wheel transportation did not get off the vehicles anymore. Yes, You read it correctly. If you rented a van, you will be inside the van(engine turned on of course), but imagine how weird that feels that you are INSIDE A VAN WHILE RIDING A SHIP. FREAKIN' WEIRDEST 15 MINS OF YOUR LIFE.

Tip # 2: Leave as early as possible to accommodate delays
Given that Davao is the largest city in the country, travel time within the city may take longer than you think. From our hotel, we paid 15 pesos each for our jeepney fare and by Manila standards, we thought it would take less than 30 minutes but it took us close to an hour to reach the Sasa wharf.

Tip #3 Be familiar with the ports
Samal can be reached in two points-via Sasa wharf and Sta Ana Wharf. However, "Sasa" in Davao city actually refers to a long stretch- a kilometer or so- that faces the sea and so if you tell the jeepney driver/conductor ( like we did) to drop us in Sasa, he gave us a confused look and asked a ton of question on where we would alight specifically. As for Babak and Sta. Ana Wharf, Babak Wharf Sta. Babak Wharf caters to those who wish to access the northern and mid parts whereas Sta Ana wharf caters to passengers who wish to go to places closer to the southern tip of the island.

Tip #4 Hire a habal in advance if you can
There are actually plenty of habals in the ports but it was quite annoying to be surrounded by 5-10 men or so offering their services. I would have given you the cellphone number of the habal we hired(which we got from pinoyadventurista) but he lost his cell while he was with us and when I checked after a few days, I couldnt contact him, meaning he wasnt able to get it back.

Tip #5- Allot a looooooooooot of time in Maxima Aqua Fun if you're a waterbaby.
I give this place 5 stars!!!!! Their name is very apt- it was really all about aqua fun! ^_^
The all-in rate for weekdays was 250, and with that, we were allowed to use the giant slide unlimited,kayak unlimited, the trampoline(it was under repair at that time) and the canopy walk. The giant slide wasnt as scary as I thought it would be but after the first time, I didnt do it again because one mouthful of salty seawater was enough. What we enjoyed a lot was snorkeling and the kayak! 
This wide area on the side of the giant slide serves as the snorkeling and kayak area


Tip #6-Skip the beach altogether (if it's okay with you)
I put this tip at the very last because I know I'd get a lot of raised eyebrows but lemme tell you why
*From the research I've done, it seems that Pearl Farm has the best shore line in Samal, and for its price and distance from the ports, it's not worth it for people on a daytrip to this island
*The sand in other areas of Samal ranges from gray to white and our habal drivers actually brought us to a resort with good sand but the water was very shallow, we decided to just go ahead to Maxima first and it was the best decision we did. If I may compare, the sand was actually close to the sand in other white sand beaches but if you've been to Boracay, Palawan, Calaguas, Hundred Islands and the likes, you're not missing much.

All in all, our day trip to Samal was very tiring but nonetheless awesome, so don't miss out if ever you're in Davao. Until the next thought bubble!
Beautiful Samal as we were aboard the Roro






Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thoughts on On Wally and Yosh scandal

To those who clicked this link to watch the video, sorry to disappoint you but I dont have it. As a married woman, the video was just very offensive and depressing on so many levels it triggered me to write about it.

It is depressing because Wally cheated on his wife, and for me, cheating is the worst form of cowardice. Cowardice because in its basic form, one cheats because there is something to gain from the new relationship and yet you refuse to let go of the longer relationship because it is your safety blanket, your fall back, or it is merely a circle of cowardice because you'd rather stay in both relationships because confrontation is much too daunting as compared to dangling two relationships.

It is depressing because Yosh cheated with a married man. No matter what her reasons or motives are, it is still cheating. No matter how much she enjoys their god-knows-how-often-of physical pleasure, she is doing it with a man that is not her rightful partner in whichever way you want to look at it.

It is offensive for the person who "leaked" it, because this video is not just about rumor mill- it is about a family that could possibly break apart, his children who would never be looked at in the same way, a marriage that has been tainted with adultery and their careers that could probably never be the same after this.

It is rude because of people like me because I am probably contributing even more to the buzz that this video is creating, all the more solidifying the negative effects it brought about.

And yet I am still posting this blog because as a wife I feel her pain already. It may not be it its fullest form, it may not be accurate, it may not be precise but I feel it. It is human nature to relate with others who are in one way or another, related to us, whether in happiness, sadness, anger or envy.. As proven by the interaction because of the billions of pesos taken by Napoles and her peers, we share the anger because that is our hard earned money that we could have used as our own but was taken unwillingly and yet we accept it as a way of life, as good citizens.

And so I am still writing this blog because wherever Riza Bayola is, I share her pain. I am praying for their marriage, that they will want to surpass this, that they will survive it, that the worst was over, and there will be more pictures that are similar to the one posted below.
Wally and his family. Credits to his site for this picture





Friday, August 16, 2013

5 things I learned about mountaineering

I was supposed to write this post in straight Tagalog for my post to have a patriotic vibe but I realized that I'd be a freaking hypocrite because I have never done that before so the most that I can do is do it in Tag-lish. Mali na kung mali, eh sa hindi swak kung purong Tagalog eh :P

Why write about it though, you might ask? I have been a mountaineer for five years so 5 is a pretty symbolic number right now. Technically, I started mountaineering in Feb 2013 but pregnancy hormones sucked all the mountaineering related creative juices and all I could think about at that time were cribs, mittens, diapers, labor milk and whatever pregnancy and motherhood related topic you can think of. Kagabi, para akong bida sa teleserye as I fried meatballs I wouldnt even eat- prepping for hubby's overnight climb this weekend(na hindi ako kasama) *sniff sniff, strokes of inspiration came by my brain that was getting fried together with the meatballs.hehehe

SA HINABA-HABA NG PASAKALYE KO, ANO NA BA NATUTUNAN KO SA LOOB NG LIMANG TAONG PAGIGING BUNDOKERA?

1.Lahat masarap sa bundok

You can either be a victim of this or benefit from it. Andami kong natikmang pagkain na ang sarap sarap sa bundok tapos nung kinain ko ulit sa "baba"(AKA normal circumstances within 10km radius of my beloved original recipe KFC) amfanget na ng lasa. Paninirang puri man sa kanila pero ang pinakamalala up-to-date, San Marino Tuna Embotido na pagkasarap sarap ng kainin ko sa campsite ng Mt. Gulugod Baboy pero nakakayamot ng kainin ko sa bahay namen.

mapanlinlang!!!!!!!!!!


2.Lagi kang may nakakalimutan

Pag sinuswerte ka, pwedeng wet wipes lang yan or ung extra trail food mo. Pero kung minamalas-malas ka, pwedeng ung undies mo o jacket mo sa Pulag climb mo ng December. Nung Tarak climb namin nakalimutan ko pala ang bigas kaya ayun, surprise surprise, gutuman nung lunch namin ng day 2. Buti nalang ung team lead namin may bigas pa from his previous climb, tawid gutom din.

circa 2009, Tarak Ridge, Bataan
busog pa kami sa kanin kaya happy faces pa ^_^ 


3. It's always your first time

To quote Gideon Lasco, you never climb the same mountain twice. Being with different people, climbing at a different time of the day and climbing at a different season, iba-iba talaga. I have been to Mt. Batulao 4 times- first in 2008, again in 2009, in 2010 and in 2011 pero iba ibang experiences talaga. I still plan on coming back because I'd still find it just as fulfilling as the first time around.

Unica Hija Batulao climb in 2009
Ze hubby and I nung chummy chummy magjowa palang kame, both also in Batulao


4.Twice a mountaineer, always a mountaineer

Not once, but twice. Nothing can prepare you for your first climb and you can either jump for joy or swear you'd never do it again. For me ang marker nun eh one year-if within the year you have another climb, aakyat at aakyat kana in the future pero kung hindi, ibig sabihin may bagay kang hindi nagustuhan sa pagbubundok- pwedeng ung gastos pwedeng yung mga nakasama mo o pwedeng yung obvious na obvious na dahilan na hindi lahat ng tao trip pahirapan ang sarili nilang maglakad ng ilang oras para lang uminom sa taas. hehehehe

L-R: Pico de Loro 2008, talikod keme keme pa ang peg ko
Pico de Loro January 2010(aha, nakapagsummit nako!) pose
Pico de Loro Oct 2010- Lasheng na lasheng sa The bar at Lambanog kaya parang tumira ng shabu sa picture
 5.Walang kadala dala!

But to rebuff the previous numbers, kapag mountaineer kana, wala nang atrasan yan. Kahit 2 oras lang tulog mo, akyat pa din. Kahit ung nanay mo sinasabutahe na gamit mo( "Ay hindi ko nakita yung tent mo, baka naitapon na ni (insert yaya's name) kasi akala di kailangan"), kahit halos gumapang kana nung huling socials dahil sa kalasingan, excited kanang umakyat ulit. Madalas sa socials palang ng huling climb pinaplano nyo na yung next climb, ganun kayo kaexcited.
clockwise: Anawangin/Mt Pundaquit, Mt Pulag, Mt. Timbak and Osmena Peak, significant climbs to date
Siguro may iba pa pero para sa akin yan ang mga pinakamatimbang. And how ironic that I decided to write this when I havent set foot on a mountain for seven months. Or maybe it is not ironic since I miss hiking a lot and as they say, absence makes the heart go fonder. Di bale, 3 months na ang bebe boy ko and sometime soon, I'll climb another mountain with him, his first of many hiking trips to come.

Ta-tuh!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Binyag/Baptism Supplier Review: 2kh foodhouse

Peso Power: 150/pax for 4 dishes(1 pork, 1 fish, 1 chicken, 1 veggie) + rice, dessert, bottomless iced tea
use of buffet table, cake table, chafing dishes, utensils, plates and glasses
*tables and chairs not included
Website: https://www.facebook.com/2KHFoodHouse
http://twokhfoodhouse.wix.com/2khcateringservices

Rating: 4/5

Side Kwento:
I wanted to get a caterer pero sobrang limited lang naman ang budget namin kasi we have a huge guest list of 100(mostly my relatives). Prior to coming across 2kh, I almost accepted na magluluto nalang kami but after hours of scrolling across ads in sulit.com.ph, nakita ko sila. Thank God, hindi na kami namalengke, naghiwa, nagluto at naghugas ng pinggan.hahahaa. Nakakatuwa pa kasi they're literally in the next neighborhood kaya ang dali lang ng meet up

Review:
Chicken with mushroom: For me, this dish was a cross between Chicken Pastel and Potato Salad- mas maliit kasi sa Pastel ung hiwa nya and aside from the mushroom, it was creamy and had bite size potatoes. I liked it because it was creamy, milky and created a nice balance with the other dishes.

Pork Teriyaki: It was okay though it was not exceptional for me. Lagi kasi kami nagluluto nito and we like it very sticky- ung matagal nakasalang sa pan tapos halos manikit na kaya malagkit talaga. Nonetheless, their Teriyaki was very tender which was good.

Fish Fillet with Tartar Sauce: I was pleased with this one kasi malalaki ung fillets, almost the size of a patty, I was expecting them to be bite size kasi, parang fingers lang. The tartar sauce was also good, not too rich though mejo malapot.

Buttered Vegetables: Nothing much to say though for me, mejo kulang sa butter but the vegetables were cooked well- hindi nasobrahan sa luto pero hindi rin naman hilaw.

Coffee Jelly: This was a hit among many guests especially with the kids. I think they found the idea of coffee jelly very rebellious while my sister who has tried coffee jelly before said she liked it because it tasted better than another version she sampled before.

Pros:
1. Sobrang Mura
ito talaga yung deciding factor why we booked them. Imagine, we could have fed 100 people with just 15,000 pesos whereas most suppliers charge 300-500 for the same menu.

2. The serving was fair
There were last minute fallouts so we estimated that only about 80 guests(90 tops) came. Naturally, there were left overs and with managed servings, it can actually feed 10-15 people.

3. The presentation was okay
I set my expectations low kasi we had no prior experience of their service and sobrang mura lang naman. Sabi ko, basta okay yung food, okay nako. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised with the iced tea tower, kala ko jug lang gagamitin nila for serving. hehe. I also liked it that they served the coffee jelly in shot glasses, feel na feel tuloi ng mga bata na umiinom sila ng alak. It was also a bonus that they had spotlight for the food kasi shempre dagdag effect din ^_^

Our picture of the actual setup. Notice the coffee jelly in the far corner. Spaghetti are our own(not included in the package)
4. Accommodating staff
Mababait waiters nila and professional. At 2:30, nobody was getting food anymore but since the contract said service time was until 3pm, hindi pa sila nagpack up and I was the one who told them they can pack up. Our ice was stocked in a different place pero when guests requested ice for the beer, they were generous even though hindi na dapat un included sa kanila. We also added some of our food and they washed some of our dishes.

Cons:

1. Tables and Chairs are not included- this is a disadvantage if you want a real hassle free preparation because of course, you'll be talking to more suppliers but for us, it was an advantage kasi sa bahay ung party. Caterers normally prepare 1:1 for food and chairs meaning 1 chair is rented for every meal that you book. The disadvantage with that is you pay for all chairs even though you dont need them all. In our case, we had existing monobloc chairs and since sa bahay ung handaan, we assumed people will move around and need less chairs. We only rented 30 chairs and 4 small tables for 490 which means we only paid 4.9 pesos per guest for the chairs and tables, kaya 155 lang total budget namin per pax

2. They were a bit confused with their things
When we talked to Mrs. Marquez(shocks, tama ba?), she mentioned that we can request additional equipment at no extra cost. Come baptism day, wala ung table na nirequest namin. Luckily, their place is near so nakabalik agad for the cake table.

Also, before they left, one of the waiters approached me to ask about plates- kulang daw kasi ng dalawa. Initially, we couldnt find the plates. When they've left already, we found one plate(not two) , three shot glasses and two drinking glasses. We were just puzzled why they didnt look for the shot glasses and the drinking glasses.

Final Verdict:
We'd book them again for simple gatherings especially birthdays, when you just to celebrate and not worry about the food. They're also highly recommended for intimate office/company functions when you have ready tables and chairs.    

Until the next review!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Cakes by Cianelli: Binyag/Baptism Cake Supplier

Peso power: 1,000 2 layer all edible cake with petal icing design


bottom cake: 9" diameter Chocolate cake with Vanilla Buttercream, chocolate chips, and chocolate sauce 

top cake is 7" diameter Vanilla Chiffon with cream custard filling

*DISCLAIMER: This is a pretty lengthy post.. pasensha na... ^_^


Good points in dealing with the supplier:
It was easy talking to her and I found that the cake was a good deal for its price. Personalized Cakes at the mall cost double. Also, she lives within the area so getting the cake was hassle free for both of us.She was prompt in answering queries plus she was on time on the agreed upon pick up time.

Side kwento about The cake:

We stored it at room temperature because 
1. Viands occupied our fridge space and there just wasnt enough space for a two layer cake
2. We were going to display it at room temperature the next day so I wanted to know if it would hold up until the celebration is over


The cake before I added personal touches, photo taken by the supplier


I added cut outs para personalized pa din ung cake ng anak ko kahit hindi sya fondant :D

Chocolate Cake: I liked that it was super moist at sobrang sarap nya, but in a sad way. I wanted to eat more pero one regular slice was enough, mejo nalungkot ako na hindi nako makaulit.hehehe

Super moist...The icing has been ruined but it was due to the fact na ilang beses na sya naglakbay sa ibat ibang mesa ^_^


Vanilla Chiffon: I wasnt sure if it was meant to be that way o dahil the next day pa namin kinain pero I could taste the custard in the cake itself which I liked kasi kapit ung lasa. It wasnt the ordinary chiffon na nakakahirin at kailangan eh may katabi kang baso ng tubig, which was a good point dahil moist sya.


The Vanilla Chiffon was the top cake and note that the icing was still presentable after 26 hours, though slightly melted upon closer inspection


The Icing: I am no expert in the subject of icings but I think this cake's icing is buttercream. I loved that the petal design was done very well and even my sister who is very OC and a cake savant was satisfied. I was also impressed that even though the cake was stored at room temperature, hindi sya bumigay during the party. Of course, it looked different dahil nga natutunaw na pero ung integrity ng design, na-maintain. We actually ate the cake 26 hours after it was delivered so more than one day na sya nun. But even when it was melted at the time na kainin namin, it still tasted okay and hindi "fluid" ung lasa.

I wonder if would have tasted better if we ate it on the day of delivery. i dont like butter very much kasi ^_^


Final verdict: We would definite order again in the future! :) Please do visit her page 
https://www.facebook.com/CakesByCianelli?fref=ts

Side Kwento why we booked this supplier: 
Ordering from her was kinda a last minute decision because I actually had three "failed" suppliers before I contacted Cianelli.

Failed supplier 1: A supplier from Navotas I'd rather not name
I actually had a voucher from groupon/beeconomic for a 6" fondant cake + 20 individually wrapped cupcakes with tags pero naloka ako sa supplier. I asked if nagdedeliver sila sa fairview, hindi daw so I said sige, for meet up nalang sa Trinoma as indicated in the voucher. Pagkasabi ko nun, she said na may delivery fee na 300 sa trinoma(which was not indicated in the deal) but I agreed kasi Navotas pa sila galing. I said the date when we need the cake and sabi nya she'll check her schedule kasi from what she remembers, fully booked na ung date and she'll send me a text message. She never did so I just cancelled the deal.

Failed Supplier 2: Brownies Unlimited
They sell round and heart shaped fudge cakes for only 175 so I thought it would be a cute idea to put two cakes on top of one another with their cupcakes. To test if my idea worked, I pre-ordered them in time for Reese's 2nd month para matest ko. Come the day for pick up, only the cupcakes were ready. Ang sabi sakin, wala daw ung cakes kasi "seasonal" daw yun. I wanted to curse right there and then. What is the point of ordering kung seasonal din naman pala? They shouldnt have taken my order kung nakadepend din pala sa kanila yung availability. It was a good thing that I was only going to test it, kung hindi walang cake sa binyag ng anak ko.

Failed Supplier 3: Another cake maker
-This one didnt do anything actually, we exchanged a few messages pero hindi ko lang nafeel na at ease ako sa kanya.hahaha. Ang arte lang.


Buti nalang talaga I came across her page kung hindi, nauwi kami sa Goldilocks.hahaha. Until the next thought bubble!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Post Partum Depression aka Baliw-baliwan after manganak

I never thought I'd have Post Partum Depression for one simple reason: Reese was, is, and always will be the greatest blessing that God has given us as a couple. Before getting pregnant, I actually feared that I might never bear a child. My weight then was borderline obese and there were months when my period would skip- when there's too much stress or a major change that happened. My OB actually asked me to lose weight to increase my chances of getting pregnant and after five months, Reese came into our lives.

Even while it was happening, it was hard to admit that I was depressed. However, when it came to a point when I refused to talk to my husband and I cried every time I got up to feed Reese at night, I had to admit that I needed help, or at the very least, needed to let somebody know before it got out of control.Basically, there were three categories that caused my depression: Taking Care of Reese, My Husband, and My Support Group

1. Taking Care of Reese
One of the hardest The hardest thing about taking care of Reese was getting up despite the fact that I was so sleepy. Before pregnancy, my body wanted at least 7 hours of sleep and so if I sleep for less than 6 hours, I consider myself puyat. In the final stretch of my pregnancy, however, sleep was very elusive and of course, it did not improve after giving birth because I had to take care of a growing baby. There were days when I was so groggy that I'd stare at his milk for seconds as if I am unsure what to do. Also, my cs incision still hurt up until 7 weeks after I gave birth and there were days when I wished somebody would take my place, where there is a magical place where we can leave kids ala package counter if we wish to since I was also recovering from the operation.


Somebody turns very very red when milk gets delayed. :P
2. My Husband
Though others may deny it, marriage involves a love and hate relationship and in those times when I was feeling down, it was more so than ever. I felt like my husband was going into extremes- there were days when I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs because I felt like he had no idea what I was going through and there were days when he was overprotective (and he didnt need to) and annoying. In the first few weeks, I was the only one who got up at night and I was angry and hurt emotionally. I felt like it wasnt fair since we are both parents and it was even harder for me since I just went through the operation. I also feared that the same set up would continue once I work again and I thought it was unacceptable- I work just as hard and we should share the workload and hardship of getting up at night. My self esteem was also at an all time low- I was never slim and since a few pounds added up to my already heavy body, I feared that he'll be unfaithful and I suspected everybody and I mean everybody- from our son's yaya to other people we know to random people I see on his Facebook account.

3. My Support Group
Let's define my support group as my family, my relatives, in-laws, my friends and acquaintances who interact with me after becoming a mom. To wrap it up, I felt like each person was a nosy, know-it-all, annoying, insensitive person who didnt understand what I was going through. I felt like they asked too many questions that I wasnt willing to answer. However, there were also instances when I felt like they were being insensitive and should give me more credit for what I went through. I felt like they gave too much advice- some of which I agreed with and some which I didnt. I felt like they were judging me for my choices as a mother.  

Which brings me to my next point... How did I overcome 'em all? All the craziness, paranoia and negative emotions?

1. I had to accept what I was going through and that I needed to discuss it with someone-either my husband or my mom. 
One Friday afternoon, I finally burst into tears after not talking to my husband all day. I think he never fully understood what I felt and just said "Huwag kana kasi masyado mag-isip" but just letting it all out was enough to make me feel loads better. Since then, he also shared the task of getting up at night and though he still leaves up the task of changing dirty nappies to me, it was loads better than having to do everything by myself.


2. I had to remind myself that it was still the hormones talking
All the craziness of pregnancy- higher blood pressure, extreme swelling, being too emotionally sensitive and unstable didnt subside until the 4th week after I gave birth. I gave birth on the 38th week so technically it was two weeks after my due date that my body started to realize that the hormones- and all the craziness that came with it should go away. I literally felt loads lighter emotionally when it happened and it was amazing.
I feel loads lighter after coming to terms with myself. Motherhood is fun!

3. I had to be kinder to myself.
Honestly, half most of the things that brought me stress post partum were caused by my paranoia and over thinking. I had to remember that though I had to take care of Reese, I had needs of my own that I needed to address. I had to remember that the people around me only had the best intentions in whatever they said. I had to remember that my husband married me because he loved me and it would take more than a few extra pounds and a cs scar to change his mind.
Eight Years and Twenty Pounds Later since we became a couple, We're happy parents to a chubby baby boy ('',)



Lastly, taking loads of pictures of Reese was fun...and made spending time with him extra special.It felt like if I blinked, he'd grow a full centimeter and I'd miss it. :D
Hard to believe that these are pictures of the same boy
Left: Reese at 2 weeks and Right: Reese at 10 weeks
Until the next thought bubble comes to life. Tah-tuh!


Friday, July 26, 2013

My baby's first smile and a world of other parenting firsts

This morning is special not only because it marks the start of Reese's 11th week but also because he smiled at me for the first time. It wasn't the "fake" smile that we've captured so many times and uploaded on facebook- nope, this was a genuine smile, a social smile if you want to be technical, a reciprocation of the action after receiving one.

It was my first week back to work and so even though I was drowning from exhaustion, I savored every second when I woke up to change his diapers. I talked to him in my usual, typical, way-too-sweet-I-hope-I-dont-sound-like-this-when-I-talk-to-my-boss voice and smiled continuously and there it was, he smiled back at me. I couldn't stop myself and I cried. He looked at me in a puzzled sort of way, wondering if he was also supposed to copy the bizarre act of smiling and crying.
Back in the day when putting his bib wasnt much of a chore- kitang kita pa ung leeg nya ^_^

I am not even sure if this is really first social smile, but somehow I didnt care. His smile opened a whole of new emotions for me. I realized that for the next "firsts", it doesnt matter if it was the actual first, because what matters is that, it was the first time for the two of us. We would have a world of firsts, in the same way that I realized that Reese would have a world of firsts and not all of them would be with me. We would go to Jollibee and Mcdonalds for his first tastes of burger, fries and spaghetti(wow, talk about healthy food choices) in the same way that his father would teach him to ride a bike for the first time. I'd let him pick a toy for the first time, in the same way that he would run to his grandparents for the first time to look for allies because he didnt get his way with us. Hopefully, I'd be there on the first time that he crawls, stands up and walks, in the same way that other people in his life would be there for him on other instances. What matters is that I am there when he needs me, and that I'll be there to share that first moment that was meant to be for the two of us.
My darling on his first month :)

And yet somehow, it  made sense as well for me to miss some of these moments. For every school program that I miss, it means that he would get to share it with his father or grandparents who would take my place and spend it with him. For every toy that we, as parents refuse to buy, means that a loving lolo or lola would get to spoil their grandson. For every morning when I oversleep means that his titos and titas get to take care of him and spend time with him. For every afternoon nap that I fail to impose means that Reese would discover what really happens at two o'clock in the afternoon when he's asked to sleep inside.

That might have gotten you confused, but I guess parenting indeed, if not the most, is one of the most confusing things that ever occurred. It makes you work harder, only to spend a great deal of your income on a person other than yourself. It makes you wish that you can experience pain instead of the other, so as to spare your child from whatever is causing that pain. It makes you nurture your child with all that you can give, all that you have and all that you know, only to wish that later in life, that same person will be ready to live on his or her own.

quite happy after feeding...note however, that the neck is nowhere to be found at 7weeks :)
I'm not sure if I'd still feel the same tomorrow. How I feel now might change after a few hours of sleep or once little baby boy becomes cranky again. One thing's for sure though, this will only be one of many posts as I go through this exhilarating, exciting, fun, challenging and sometimes confusing thing called parenthood.

P.S.
Sorry, crazy emotional mama hormones kicked in so I wasnt able to capture the infamous smile but I'll surely do and upload a pic in the weeks to come :D
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