Friday, November 9, 2012

B1G8 retreat coming up!

Every year, we have this singles reatreat in church called the B1G retreat or "Be One with God" and well, it's really BIG with 1,000 participants every year. Everyone's invited even those not from CCF sooo, it's really  exciting to get to know a lot of people and then of course to know God too :)

Last year was my FIRST B1G retreat and I was welcomed with people who I now consider my truest and closest friends. I've been attending CCF FOR ALL MY LIFE but it was only during B1G that I got to get up close with people from my church and actually hang out with them even after the retreat.

Aside from the wonderful, amazing people that I've met, I finally was able to let go of a (for lack of a less excruciating word) heartbreak that happened that same year. During the retreat, we were given every morning to just relax, walk around the area, and pray alone. It was a wonderful feeling after just having a one-on-one with God and to release all my qualms and concerns to Him. (Indeed, 1 Peter 5:7-- Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you)

The messages were helpful too. Last year our theme was "Find Rest" and we focused on Matthew 11:28-30 where Jesus said, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The whole thing was just a relief-- a rest from the "hustle and bustle", and the juggling of family, friends, love, and career. Sometimes we get so busy and preoccupied that the best thing to do is to take a step back from it all before they swallow us.

After each message, we met in small groups (around 5-6 per group) where we discussed the messages and thought of ways to apply it. During the process, we shared ideas, personal stories, struggles, frustrations, dreams, wants, and so we had meaningful conversations to know ourselves and each other more. 

Then of course, the games! It was an Amazing Race type of game where groups competed for prizes. Everyone was so into winning that made it all better-- and funner!:)) But for those who didn't want to join the games, it was free time so others used the hotel facilities like the swimming pools, courts, etc.
Then our last night was about laughing, music, and dancing. The emcees were super funny and they asked for our participation from time to time. Everyone was just hyped! We slept around 3am! :))

So this year, I am very excited as B1G happens again on November 23-25, 2012 at Hotel Stotsenberg, Clark, Pampanga. The fee is P3,950 inclusive of  transportation, hotel lodging, retreat materials, buffet food, and FUN that's worth every cent. :) 

I encourage everyone to register to experience a weekend like no other! First timers are very welcome and much much appreciated!

Reg booths are found every Sunday at the CCF, 5/F and 4/F St. Francis Square (at the back of SM Megamall, Mega A) or you can register online at Registration closes on November 11 (Sunday) so I hope you can join us. :) 
Learn more!
Twitter: @BeOnewithGod
Facebook: B1G Ministry 

Check out also our video advertisements! :)
TVC 1TVC 2 | TVC 3

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vikings Buffet @ Mall Of Asia

I totally forgot to blog about our Vikings Buffet experience in Mall of Asia (MOA). Our whole Office Division ate their two weeks ago. The Vikings Buffet just offers so much variety that it was really a challenge for me to come up and organize all the details.

But I will try to recall everything.

It was a weekday and it was lunch time, so we got the P688. I don't know if food choices from our lunch buffet would differ from the dinner buffet. Anyway, the other Vikings Buffet prices in MOA are as follows:
We sat inside the "glass room" with a large TV that played a football game. First station that I saw from there was the sushi, soup, and dimsum bar.

I'm so glad they had my favorites: Chawanmushi (egg custard) and Hakaw (shrimp dumpling). I'm not a fan of sushi though during buffets because they fill up my stomach fast.

Then there are the "food on sticks" like kebab and our version of street food:

And they have lots of seafood choices like baked scallops, and fresh fish and shrimp that you could cook in a hot pot or ask the Vikings in-house cooks to have it grilled for you:

Then they also have the staples of the West like salad, bread, pasta, and pizza. The salad and bread have so many choices of what you could put in, like fruits, nuts, and all sorts of dressings or spread.
 The pasta and pizza have their own "stations" since the in-house cooks will prepare them for you on the spot. So you get to choose which ingredients to put or not to put.

*Catches breath* So. Many. Photos. Anyway, there were also other "ready-to-eat" (meaning, you don't have to mix and match anymore) entrées so you could just get rice and then your choice of their great tasting ulams.

So now let us move on to my favorite part-- desserts! But since there are just too many photos of the desserts, I'll just post one photo then just describe the rest in words. Haha. #fail
GRABE! Their dessert bar is the best! They have halo-halo, chocolate and strawberry fondue, cakes, cupcakes, CHEESE CAKES, flavored jellies, unlimited ice cream and FROZEN YOGURT, different kinds of cereals, gummy stuff like sour tapes, gummy worms, gummy rings, crepe! oh my gosh! I have to post my crepe picture:

HAHA. Then we have unlimited beer too, fresh fruits, fruit shakes, varied juices, coffees, teas, and the Pinoy loved sago't gulaman and malalagkit desserts like bibingka, kutsinta, etc.

It's heaven, really. What I loved is that Vikings banked on having many and efficient in-house cooks and food preparers that makes your experience very customized for you and you alone. Each one would truly have a different experience. Staff is very nice and they always ask you your preferences or for comments.

The place is big but becomes cramped during peak hours. To enjoy all the food, come early for lunch or dinner to get a head start before the whole crowd comes in. Apparently then, WE were the CROWD. :))
Love you all to bits! Until next time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Barbara's @ Intramuros

Dining at Barbara's is a buffet experience unlike any other.

Well okay... their buffet had limited choices and I can't say that I liked all the dishes, but the place is lovely and the ambiance is romantic. Before spotting Barbara's you could already feel the "antique" vibe of Intramuros having brick roads and Spanish-themed buildings.
There's my blurry mom. We had a date. Fun. ♥

Going inside, we see dark, heavy, and elegant wood furniture all around. We were greeted with very, very, very (I had to say it 3 times to refer to the superlative) friendly, accommodating staff.

Inside Barbara's was festive and cheerful since they had a cultural dance show that showcases the talent of Barbara's staff in so many ways. Some were playing local instruments (like the rondallas and bandurrias) while others danced a lot of variations but of course I remember Tinikling and Pandanggo sa Ilaw.

The cultural show lasted for around 2 hours, then after that waiters would get people from the audience to dance the Tinikling with them. It was fun watching oblivious but "game-na-game" diners learning how to dance. Like I said, the waiters were very friendly. "Smiling waiters" would be an understatement. They were--- errr, bungingis. But in a good way. They're actually contagious. That's why we were all so happy. HAHA.

After audience interaction, the dancers sit on the floor where you can get your pictures taken with them. Still bungisngis after the tiring show.

And so that is why I loved this experience-- More on the service and presentation because if I'd only look at the food, a lot of buffet restaurants would surely defeat them. For P545/ person, they only had rice, pancit bihon, roasted chicken, lumpiang shanghai, fish fillet, beef pares, chicken adobo, vegetable salad, and some desserts. My favorites are the beef pares and fish fillet. Really tasty! Anyway, I also had hot cranberry  tea for P60. Refreshing!

So there. My mom and I stayed a bit longer than usual. Bonding. Yay! We were talking of coming back. And yes we will! Surely with foreigners next time! :))) Bet they will enjoy learning about the Filipino culture thru Barbara's music and dance. :)

FACT: Barbara's is owned by Ms. Barbara G. de los Santos the sister of Dick Gordon and the mother of JC de los Reyes (both presidential candidates last 2010 elections) :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Uncle Moe's Shawarma Hub @ City Golf

I first knew about Uncle Moe's Shawarma Hub when my church mates said that they have the best Shawarma in town at affordable prices. Over and over, I hear this Uncle Moe's from them, and so it's official-- it really is a crowd favorite. Might as well try it. :)

Uncle Moe's Shawarma Hub is located at City Golf, which is beside Ortigas Home Depot, which is beside Metrowalk.:)) You can only get to City Golf via private transportation or cab. Entrance is along Julia Vargas Avenue, where opening is a bit narrow (one that you might even miss) that leads to a small hill. 

So my church mates Kerbie, Joel, and then I went there on a Friday night.

When we arrived-- it was FULL. A lot of them were drinking. Oh yeah, Uncle Moe's serves beers too. We had to wait around 30 minutes before we were seated down. While waiting for the menu, I took a photo of Kerbie's phone (cute!) besides the apparently UNLIMITED shawarma and hot sauce. Now I get even more excited!
Then we ordered...
Chicken Kebab with Pita Bread (P135)
Beef Shawarma (P110)
Beef Kebab with Buttered Rice (P150)
So yes, it's very affordable. Their most expensive dish is around P198 (Moroccan Fish Fillet).

Well anyway, their food and their sauce are real good!!! :) I bet the Avengers would love them! Can I please post one last picture then? :))))

Friday, August 31, 2012

Raintree Teaspresso Blends @ Katipunan Avenue

My all-time favorite milk-tea spot is in Raintree Katipunan (near Pan de Manila). My office was then located a few meters away from Raintree so my colleagues and I would sneak out during busy hours to get a cup of this yummy stress buster. Now that I work in Makati, I rarely pass thru the area and I really miss the cozy and homy, perfect tambay spot (with free fast wi-fi!!!!).

I don't have photos of the place or even their milk teas. Last night I was decided to do only one thing:

Taste their French Macarons.

And *gasps* sooooo yummyyyy!

It was soft and chewy, not so sweet, and relatively cheaper than French Baker (P40) and Bizu (P45). They sell each Macaron for P30 and they have lots of flavors to choose from like Irish Early Grey, Red Velvet, Mint Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Passion Fruit, Chocolate, Espresso, Nutella, Raintree, Pistachio, Cashew, etc.

I bought a box of 6 for P180. My two favorites are the Red Velvet and Salted Caramel. Perfect!

For the milk tea, I really love their Raintree Special Tea (it's color orange!) and Creme Brulee :) These two won't go wrong plus you get large just for P100.

Check out more photos of Raintree from Saab Magalona here.Apparently, her college best friend owns the place. :) Lucky her!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Russian Cookie House @ The Podium

Last, last week, my good friend Fei invited me to have dinner at The Podium (Ortigas Center). It was so nice of her to treat me. We ate at UCC (which was super expensive but really, really yummy) then had dessert at the Russian Cookie House which she was an Online Marketing Consultant of.

Fei said that the cookies are oh-so-perfect with tea so we bought cold teas for P95 each. There were a lot of flavors to choose from-- all unique and healthy. I got the "Diet Green Tea with Ginseng" and if Diet tasted that good always then it should never be a problem.

Then for the cookies, we just bought a whole box that already had varied flavors. Our box contained:
Linzer Schnitte or Torte (Austrian pastry flavored with cinnamon and clove, topped with sour cherry jam)

White and Black Almond Cookies (Coated with chocolate and topped with almonds)

Black Russians (Chocolate cookie covered with bittersweet chocolate with walnut center and choco sprinkles outside)

Pistachio Cookies (Butter cookies topped with bittersweet chocolate and chopped pistachios)

The whole box (with 12 pieces) cost around P220, which is worth the price because the presentation of the cookies and the packaging were already nice and sosyal. The following day I bought another box to give as a gift. Well for the taste, I didn't like them at first but it became really delightful when I ate it while sipping tea. Fei said that the cookies went also great with coffee. There's something about the cookie texture that makes it go well with both beverages. Plus, I love the fact that it doesn't make me guilty after munching them all. :)
Great tea + Cookies = Perfect tea party/ tea bonding :))

Check out their full list of cookies here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


During high school, we had a list of books to choose from every year that we could make a report on. Glad I chose "The Gift of Acabar" by Og Mandino because ever since then it has been my favorite.

Here is a chapter  that continues to inspire me until today:


Turn away from the crowd and its fruitful pursuit of fame and gold. Never look back as you close your door to the sorry tumult of greed and ambition.  Wipe away your tears of failure and misfortune.  Lay aside your heavy load and rest until your heart is still.  Be at peace.  Already, it is later than you think, for your earthly life, at best, is only the blink of an eye between two eternities.  Be unafraid.  Nothing here can harm you except yourself.  Do that which you dread and cherish those victories with pride.  Concentrate your energy.  To be everywhere is to be nowhere.  Be jealous of your time, since it is your greatest treasure.  Reconsider your goals.  Before you set your heart too much on anything, examine how happy they are who already possess what you desire.  Love your family and count your blessings.  Reflect on how eagerly they would be sought if you did not have them.  Put aside your impossible dreams and complete the task at hand no matter how distasteful.  All great achievements come from working and waiting.  Be patient.  God's delays are never God's denials.  Hold on.  Hold fast.  Know that your paymaster is always near.  What you sow, good or evil, that you will reap.  Never blame your condition on others.  You are what you are through your choice alone.  Learn to live with honest poverty, if you must, and turn to more important matters than transporting gold to your grave.  Never meet trouble halfway.  Anxiety is the rust of life; when you add tomorrow's burdens to today's their weight becomes unbearable.  Avoid the mourner's bench and give thanks, instead, for your defeats. You would not receive them if you did not need them.  Always learn from others.  He who teaches himself has a fool for a master.  Be careful.  Do not overload your conscience.  Conduct your life as if it were spent in an arena filled with tattlers.  Avoid boasting.  If you see anything in you that puffs you with pride look closer and you will find more than enough to make you humble.  Be wise.  Realize that all men are not created equal, for there is no equality in nature, yet no man was ever born whose work was not born with him.  Work everyday as if it were your first, yet tenderly treat the lives you touch as if they will all end at midnight.  Love everyone, even those who deny you, for hate is a luxury you cannot afford.  Seek out those in need.  Learn that he who delivers in one hand will always gather with two.  Be of good cheer.  Above all, remember that very little is needed to make a happy life.  Look up.  Reach out.  Cling simply to God and journey quietly on your pathway to forever with charity and smile.  When you depart it will be said by all that your legacy was a better world than the one you found.

Easy Brazo de Mercedes

We have this family friend who makes the best Brazo de Mercedes. I only tasted it once as a kid and I never forgot it. During the recent monsoon rains, we evacuated at their house and so we made one for fun. :) I never thought that it would be so easy!

8 small eggs or 7 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
1 can of Condensed Milk
1/4 of the biggest butter (we used Dari Creme Classic)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla (optional) -- we didn't add vanilla but I bet it'll be yummier with this
2 Parchment Paper/Wax Paper

-Separate egg white from yolk

-Mix the egg yolks, condensed milk, and butter using a double boiler (i.e., there's boiling water beneath the pot since you can't cook the mixture directly on fire)
-Don't stop stirring until the mixture becomes thick (you'll know it's ready when you scoop the mixture and it slowly falls from the spoon)

-After cooking the yellow filling, whip your egg whites and cream of tartar
-Add sugar gradually
-Add vanilla

-Prepare the cookie sheet by spreading small amounts of butter and then lining it with wax or parchment paper
-Spread the white mixture (meringue) on your cookie sheet
-Use oven or toaster to heat the top until it becomes golden brown (it's better to just hold it because if you leave the meringue inside the oven, the whole thing might get burned)
-When you get the desired "cook" of the meringue, flip it over so that you can spread the yellow filling next
-Spread the yellow filling (don't put it on the middle or too much on the side)
-Roll the meringue carefully
-Sprinkle sugar (granulated or confectioners sugar) on top
-Place inside ref first to cool before eating
P.S. We didn't use all the eggs so this little one right here got all angry at us :)) (Egg drawing by Angela)

Thanks again to the Robles family! :) This is such an easy dessert to make!

Monday, August 13, 2012

... is where my heart is

Last week, Metro Manila was struck by super rains that caused floods everywhere even in places that were never hit before. But being one of the most hard hit areas during Typhoon Ondoy last 2009 (we live in Provident Village!) eyes were on us if we would be AGAIN submerged in roof-high floods.

After the storm, people kept asking me if whether we would transfer to another house. Truth is, it never crossed my mind because our home is where my heart is. During summers, our house would serve as a resting place for me after a tiring day. It's accessible, it's quiet, peaceful, with small parks and convenient stores here and there, also with wide roads where my younger siblings can play. I've lived there all my life and I can't make myself hate it if once in a while our place gets flooded.

Then of course more than the house, God is where my heart is. <3 I say that I love God, but I have to say that I can also trust in Him. At the end of the day, worrying gets me nowhere. Then I realize that I can't do anything about future floods or other calamities and disasters. Well sure I can transfer, but wherever God wants to strike, He will strike, and whatever He wants to spare, He will spare. During the storm, I kept praying that God spare our house from another tragic Ondoy. When we learned that the water level inside our house only reached chest-high, we were sooo happy :)))) At least this time, the floods subsided faster, we had electricity the next day, there was not much mud inside, and we were able to save a lot of our things.

Five days after the flood, our house looks a bit gloomy, we're all tired from cleaning the never-ending mess the flood left, we have to sleep on the floor using thin mattresses because our beds are still wet, then if we needed something we had to look for them in piles and piles of other things.

But soon it will past, things will get back to normal. Now I can only pray that God gives us strength and extra patience (Yes, I am crankier than usual which I am trying to avoid) so that soon, soon, soon, we could fully move-on....

...And get ready for the next storms coming! :)))

My younger sister

Wash, wash, wash
Santa didn't reach Christmas :(

Everything's rusted

Even this robot's all muddy and gloomy

Spot me spotting these antiques

Trash at the Marikina Riverbanks

Monday, July 30, 2012

Palawan: Tours

It was a Wednesday and dad brought us 4 (me, my mom, and 2 siblings) to NAIA Terminal 3 early in the morning. Things went smooth without problems or delays. We totally forgot that liquids aren't allowed on board. We attempted to check them in but it would cost us P200+ per container so we just gave them away to a janitress. We only paid the P200 terminal fee per person.

Flight was only an hour long. So when we reached Palawan we headed on immediately for a city tour that costs P600/head as a package. But I read DIY blogs and it saved us a lot, though we weren't able to go to the Cathedral, Plaza Cuartel, and Baywalk.


Rented a trike (may seat 4-5 people) for P500 but you can still haggle up to P400. Good thing about doing your own city tour is that you control the time and the places you want to go to.

Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center a.k.a. Crocodile Farm
First stop is the Crocodile Farm  where you get to see live crocodiles and other cool animals like the bearcat. Tours are held every 30 minutes (except lunch break).
This a great way to experience nature and of course know about it because there are various informational posters everywhere. What I enjoyed most is getting to hold a bearcat for P20. Fluffy and heavy! And since we're not that too strict on time, we waited until everybody left and so we were able to have the bearcat all to ourselves! :) Don't forget to try their crocodile's meat sisig while you're here!

Baker's Hill
Time for lunch so we headed to Baker's Hill! The place was beautiful and clean, designed by lovely flora. I love their crinkles and hopia! For me, their hopia is better than those in Chinatown-- I prefer it more than Holland, Poland, and Eng Bee Tin.

So we ate lunch-- Palabok (P100 I think?), Tapa (P120), and Carbonara (P105). The carbonara is sulit because it was cheap yet creamy and yummy. We also tried their famous tamilok (woodworm). Tastes like oysters but still gross. :| The ambiance of the restaurant was refreshing (yay for alfresco dining). You could eat inside although it's a bit dark; outside if you like your feet on soft, green grass; or at the 2nd floor if you want to wind blowing on your face.

Mitra's Ranch

This is quite near Baker's Hill and entrance is free. There's not much to do, but to admire the panoramic view of Palawan and its bays. There are horses, trampolines, and a zip line, for a price.

Butterfly Garden
Butterfly garden is a small garden filled with various flora and butterflies that are free to pollinate around. Enjoyed the part where we got to hold scorpions, stick insects, and beetles! :))
Soooo... Instead of paying P600/head, that's P2400 for 4, we only paid:

I also consulted blogs about DIY Honda Bay tours because the package costs P1,300/person or P5,200 for the 4 of us! :o  We contacted our trike driver yesterday to drive us to Honda Bay for P600. We left early around 8:00a.m. When we arrived, there are booths where you can rent a boat for P1300 (for 6 people). Since we're 4, we accommodated 2 more, which we became friends with later on! They were so nice! Didn't feel like they were strangers. Since we shared the whole trip, we mostly did all our activities with them, and we enjoyed. :)

Luli Island
First, we passed by Luli Island, but we didn't stay for long since it was a high tide and we couldn't see the shore. We didn't want to spend P50/person on entrance fee. The name Luli, by the way, is short for Lulubog-Lilitaw and you can see or not see the shore depending on the tides.

The guy was calling us to join them. Seems that he's enjoying diving.
Pambato Island
This was my favorite because of the super clear water. My siblings got to snorkel for P100, complete with guide. But even if I didn't snorkel I still saw some fishies swimming. That was cool.

Starfish Island
Then we headed to a small island with many starfish called--- starfish island! :)) This was the most serene, relaxing island we went to since there weren't too many people here.

In the middle of our enjoyment though, the sky turned gray and it rained so hard! We couldn't see a thing and we were advised to stay here for the meantime before heading to the last stop. While waiting, might as well enjoy the waves.

Honda Bay Island
The last stop was the most commercialized island of all-- Pandan Island (which had many Pandan trees). The island was huge and divided into areas like the massage area, grilling area, activity area (large space for beach sports!), restobar, and they even have a community church.

Since the weather kept changing, our photos kept changing too. Sometimes the sand would look brownish, then when the sun rose it became white. Same with the waters. The colors kept changing too. But all in all, the place was beautiful.

We rented a hut and well, we asked for a discount so instead of paying P300, we only paid P200! :)

Around 4 p.m., we headed home. We texted our trike driver and we met him up at the port. Instead of paying P1,300 per person or P5,200 for 4, we only spent...
In case you missed my blog entry here, we weren't able to go to the Underground River ((UR) tour since it was cancelled due to strong winds plus 5 fishermen went missing. My mom got really sad so we suggested that we go to the Sabang Beach Port (where you take off going to the UR) in case the coastguards would allow us to continue on.

But before reaching Sabang, we tried the Ugong Rock, which was super fun! We climbed the insides of a mountain and at least we were able to see stalactites and stalagmites too. The tour was educational with excellent tour guides plus there a lots of fun activities inside like spelunking. Then we tried the Zip Line, the fastest in the Philippines! It was soooo high, really got scared during take-off :|

Finally, we reached Sabang Port. It looked like a ghost town since there were no tours-- no people. The waves were, as expected, strong and huge. We stayed for around 2 hours, enjoying the peacefulness of the area. We shall miss then when we return to Manila.

Since we weren't able to avail of the UR tour at P1,500 each, we got our P6,000 back and just used them all up here:

And so that ended our trip. The following day we flew back to Manila and I was excited and preoccupied with thoughts of our next trip, hopefully not in the Philippines anymore. It was a long time since the family got to travel together and I realized that it was a great experience for all of us. :)