Monday, October 3, 2016

Beauty and the Best

To my Bestest friend Therese,

You know the first time we met was during our Freshmen orientation at the William Shaw Little Theatre. I was seated at the back not talking to anyone. Not because I was a snub but because I do not warm up easily to people.  I clearly remember that the program has already started when you arrived. You were asking where the Physics block were. And the first thing I noticed was your tiny, high pitched voice which sounded like a fork scratching the bottom of an aluminum cookware hahaha! I was irritable that day and hearing your voice was like poison to my ears! Hahaha sorry no offense. And then the one thing I was hoping for not to happen, happened. You poked me on my shoulder while asking me if I was from Physics 1 or 2. Eyes rolling I slowly turned to face you with the sweetest smile I could muster and said this is indeed Physics 1. Then you gave me your widest smile and sat down beside me. You had so many questions. I was early and you were late. A trait that is still true to us up to this day and age! 

Tiris, I am so thankful for having a friend like you. You are unlike any other! We've been through so much and yet our friendship has remained strong. We may not have been continually present in each others' lives for years and yet whenever we get together it is as if we saw each other only the day before. I think I would not have survived College without you nor would I have survived this life without your wisdom. I am glad, crazy as your life with Jack is, ๐Ÿ˜‚ that you are back! We can make more memories together now that you are here! It's true what you said... we can have so many friends in a lifetime but there will only be that one very special person you will want in so many more lifetimes! I love you my bestest friend! 

Happy Happy Birthday my Bestest friend! God love us both for giving us each other!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Debutante girl

18 years! Wow! It seems like only yesterday when I celebrated that myself. And now... before my very eyes, my own 18-year old! Look at you all grown up! And all I could say is WOW! I remember one day while watching TV more than 18 years ago, when a baby's face popped in my head from out of nowhere and I was surprised and confused all at the same time. So the next day I ran to a random OB-Gyne and found myself pregnant with you. I was scared but happy, and I was way past my 20' way past it. You were my first baby and I was asking myself if I can take the challenge... the new role that life has given me. But when I saw your heartbeat on the monitor while the doctor was taking an ultrasound; I knew that I will take on that role head on! But this is not about me... 

So today as you turn 18, I dare say take a stand! The same way you did when you kicked yourself out of my womb on your 8th month. You could not wait to see the world! Let that be you again! Have the kind of hunger to see what the world can offer you but more importantly take time to find out what you can give the world! 

Look back and help those who have helped you!

Take a stand! Do not wait for things to happen! Meet everyday with fervor, do everything with passion! And for everything that you want to happen in your life, make a stand!

I love this photo of you when you tried to stand and succeeded! 
I love you so much my pabebe girl! You are the first reason why I started to dream! Enjoy your day! Am glad you wore a skirt today, if only for ice cream hahaha! 

Roll those sleeves up and become your own success story!
Thank you for wearing a skirt today hahaha

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Transforming lives

Is it bad to be contented with what you currently have? With the job that you still struggle to go to every morning? The job that you hurriedly leave as soon as the clock hits 5pm? The job that only allows you to be with your family during your approved vacation leaves, Christmas holidays, weekends, and long holidays? The job that you think pays you well, but pay the President of the company more? Have you ever thought of your own struggles while the top honcho of your company can afford to be with their family on a cruise? or several trips abroad without having to worry about his own future? Have you ever thought about your kids when they are sick and you cannot even take good care of them because your boss would not allow you to go home since they are more worried about keeping BAU (Business as usual?) than letting your kids deter you from work?

No, it is not bad to be contented! In fact, you are lucky to be that! But let me ask you a question, if you were given a chance to transform yourself and therefore be able to transform the lives of the people around you in the process, would you do it? 

Monday, August 8, 2016

To the love of my life

To my loving husband,

Today I woke up next to you as we have been doing for the past years and it is something I will always cherish and look forward to for the rest of my life. We've had bad days but we also had the best ones!

We've gone through a lot of changes, made a lot of sacrifices and for me they are all worth it because I can see how our love for each other transformed our children and the people around us.

Your being a good son and kuya has made the kind of husband you are to me and the kind of father you are to our kids. Loving yet firm, caring yet principled.

Somehow daddy, you make me want to do more than I can. You've taught me that nothing is impossible as long as I put my heart and mind to it. Thank you for giving me room to grow, for supporting my endeavors. For cheering me up and cheering me on. You are my pillar of strength, my oasis, the love of my life, and half of my soul!

Happy Anniversary to us! May our tremendous love, respect, and happiness outlive us and pour over to the generation that will come from us. There is none other. For me, there is only you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Birthday Girl

We've had you since 2006. I remember asking a very good friend of mine to help me find someone who can take care of my kids while I am at work. I remember her giving me your details and me calling you up telling you that I will be purchasing your plane ticket for your flight from Iloilo to Manila. I remember how right after my graveyard shift at PLDT, how I had to go to the airport to pick you up. I also remember how coming home from work after your first day with us I found my notepad with scribblings of your thoughts. I wish I kept that piece of paper. It said something to this effect "ang lungkot dito, ang tahimik. parang di ko kakayanin. gusto ko na umuwi" (it's so sad here, it's so quiet, I don't think I can last long in this place. I want to go home) I remember feeling so forlorn knowing that you wanted to go back home after your first day. So we talked about it and I asked you to give it a chance, that my baby needs a patient and loving nanny as he was only 7 months old and I'd have to work nights and sleep in the morning. And so you relented but it was also because I found out that you were able to make a deal with a "tindera" who, at that time, was selling her 3311 Nokia phone at a store near our place. That's how "maabilidad" you were and continue to be up to this time. And now 10 years call our home yours too! 

We are sorry we had to leave you when we had to go to Saudi Arabia 6 years ago. We were at our saddest knowing that we will be apart for so many years. But that journey taught us all to be independent and be able to labor on our own. But most days during our time in that foreign land we would talk about you. Incessantly.

Now we are back and so are you as you choose to. Thank you for coming back into our lives Sheila. We know you have sacrificed a lot for our family most especially for yours. But this is a promise we have always held. We've got your back covered. Whatever happens, we've got your back! We may not be a perfect family... we bicker, we cry... but most times we love, we laugh, we all go out together. Walang iwanan! 

Today is a perfect time to celebrate everything you are to us! So let me take this time to greet you a happiest birthday! We cherish you, we continue to do so, and we will never stop loving you! It is our hope that you continue to be happy with us! It is our prayer that we would be able to help your family someday! We truly love you Sheila!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Why do we work hard?

That's a big question. And the answer may differ from one individual to another. But I bet most of the reasons would be "for the family." 

As fresh graduates we aim to land a job in a multinational company where we'd do our darnedest to establish our place in the corporate world. We work doubly hard because we've been eyeing for a particular position in the company. Of course most of us would like to be promoted. Generally, people are inclined to think that the way to happiness is to study hard, work harder, be promoted, and retire rich. Being employees our regular working hours is around 8 hours. We go to work, have our lunch, work again, have our merienda (snacks), work again till 5pm. or if you're "too lucky" you get to go overtime without extra pay. How boring can that be? On the other hand, some employees aim to be self employed and retire early from the corporate world to be their own boss. What motivates them to do this?! These people long for time to be with their loved ones. They are not contented with just being able to use their weekends. long weekends, vacation leaves, Christmas and other legal holidays to be with their spouse and kids. And yet, once the former employee becomes a business owner, they are still faced with the same problem ... time. Time to be with the family, time to do what they have always wanted to do. As employees we think that being our own boss would mean having more spare time for ourselves. But boy are we wrong! Having our own business entails us to spend more time on the phone talking to our clients, our suppliers, doing more leg work, making sure our service or the goods we deliver are up to par. Then we realize we are not our own boss, but we've become our own slave. 

If you feel that you are better where you are at or feel that you would not want to move an inch more from where you are standing, then that is happiness for you. But what about your other possibilities? Have you ever thought about it?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Soul on fire

If there is one thing that I learned from the workshop I attended over the weekend, it was to be FEARLESS and RELENTLESS in the pursuit of happiness. And what is happiness for me at this point? It is to be successful in what I am currently doing. Because I want to inspire as I have been inspired. I want to help build people's lives the way I am being taught to build mine. I used to think that the measure of my success would be to be able to wear a toque and finally be called a professional Chef.

But you know what? Every function I've attended only made me realize that I have so much more to unlearn and even more to re-learn. That there is so much more for me to share than just the food I cook for my clients. I don't even remember who I was a couple of months ago. When all I could ever think about is how to rebuild myself in the corporate world. Had I known that there was a huge difference between what I was trying to do before and what I am doing now, I would have done this earlier.

The road is indeed long and hard  but I will make sure I make it to the finish line. I will open myself to endless possibilities. And I will want you to all be part of this wonderful change. If you think you are fearless and want the possibilities I see, come and message me and I will help you be the best version of yourself!

Friday, July 22, 2016


I call this dish Chapchae but others refer to it as Japchae while there are some who calls it Chapchee... however, it's spelled or referred to it still is one of my favorite Korean dishes and remains one of the frequently ordered dish on my menu. I'd like to think that I was able to translate this dish into the tastebuds of my Filipino clients. But more often than not, I prefer to think that I put a lot of love into preparing this dish.

To those who are wanting to make this dish, I share with you the recipe. Most especially to Arra O. who recently requested for me to post the said recipe. The dish is so versatile you can use other vegetables of your choice.

For this recipe I also used cucumbers

์žก์ฑ„ Korean Glass Noodles

Ingredients needed are as follows:

This is the only brand I use.

170 grams Korean glass noodles (dangmyeon)***
2 cloves garlic minced well
1 small sweet onion
2 scallions (spring onions/green onions)
1 small carrot
110 grams lean beef (sirloin or rib eye)
1 can shiitake mushrooms (optional)
170 grams fresh spinach
vegetable or peanut oil for stir frying
salt and pepper
3-4 cups chicken or beef stock

***Soak glass noodles in purified water for about 30 mins to an hour

For the sauce:

2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds
Egg for garnishing - beaten and cooked over low heat, cut into strips (optional)

How to do it:

1. Cut the beef into thin 2-inch long strips and mix with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Cut the stems off the mushrooms, and slice into 1/4-inch thin strips. Season with 1 tablespoon of the sauce.

2. Cut the carrot into match sticks. Thinly slice the onion. Cut the scallions into similar lengths.

3. Blanch the spinach in boiling water only until wilted. Drain quickly and dip in cold water. Squeeze out excess water, cut into about 2 inches in length. Season with just enough salt and pepper. But in my case I don't.

4. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well until the sugar is dissolved.

5. Saute in vegetable of peanut oil garlic and onions, tip in the beef and mix until a bit brown.

6. Pour in chicken stock or beef stock and tip in noodles. Simmer in low heat.

7. Pour in combined sauce. Simmer for about 5 mins. 

8. Tip in the vegetables cover and let cook for another 15 mins or until glass noodles becomes transparent or easy to the bite.

9. Remove from heat and pour sesame oil. Mix noodles. 

10. Transfer noodles into a serving dish and top with egg and chopped scallions. Serve hot!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Star for all Season(ings)

This is what a highschool friend of mine called me one time during a get together in her place. It sprouted from a joke when I told her if I can sideline as an actress, Of course it was all in jest when I said that! And then she called me Star for all seasonings and that stuck. Some of you may have noticed how long I've been absent from blogging again. Well, not too long really! I've been busy with my food business because since I joined Good Meal Hunting I've had my hands full, apart from my other project that takes most of my time. 

Once again I would like to thank Good Meal Hunting for the exposure! Even I surprised myself during the interview. I thought I had to bring out a lot of my lost english vocabulary from my "baul" (antique trunk) and even imagined my nose bleeding at the end of the interview from all the questions that would be asked from me by Mr. RJ Ledesma. 

To those who might be interested hahaha (as if)... The show, Bright Ideas, which would feature other Kitchen Merchants like me, would air on August 11, 2016 at 9PM at the Bloomberg channel. I know I made a slip on one of the questions asked. I won't tell you which one hahaha you'd have to watch if you want to find out! hahaha

I prepared Beef Caldereta and Crapple salad roll for this particular video shoot.

Beef Caldereta

Crapple Salad roll

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Race to Freedom!

captured from the ceiling of the dela Rosa elevated walkway in Makati City

While walking I looked up and saw this obra on the ceiling. It reminded me of who I am, who I am with, and where I want to be. I say I will walk, then I will run... and eventually I will fly too!

I will not waste my time on mindless things but I will make sure that my loved ones will have a future to look forward to.

Someday I want them to say "Mommy took that race and won!"

Just do it!

This struck me and I believe that there is an iota of truth to it... thinking again. it's a whole new world of truth!

"Stop blaming your circumstances and take responsibility for your loved ones"

When will you start if not now? When will you ever have time? If you keep telling yourself that, then there is no real progress. Courage starts when you tell yourself that there is no better time than TODAY!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

1...2...3... Action

I've never thought of myself as someone good in socializing. In fact, in all the years that I've brought my kids to school I've been unsuccesful in building my network with co-parents. Believe it or not (though am sure most of my friends would vehemently disagree), I am a little more of an introvert than an extrovert. I am NOT the type of person who will go out of my way to get to know you. It takes a lot of warming up before I am able to open up. So when Warangkana Gear Fajardo, CEO and Founder of Good Meal Hunting told me that there will be a video shoot of Viaรฑa's to be scheduled soon, I was already imagining all sorts of scenario that may happen during the actual interview.

Anyway, the video shoot of my actual cooking demo and interview was done last Thursday here at my humble abode. I prepared 2 dishes, Chapchae (Sauteed Korean Glass noodles) and Barbecued Pork slab. Since I was pressed for time to buy pork ribs, I just used the one that I already have at home. The group who worked with me were all young girls; fresh graduates of Ateneo de Manila University. A very vibrant group of young ladies! 

After the cooking demo,  photo and video shoot, we did the interview next. I had to prepare for it. I know I am not really that good in answering extemporaneously. But I guess my experience in Saudi Arabia helped a lot in this area. Back there when my husband went to work and the children are in school, I would talk to myself ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ .. well sometimes to the walls of our home., all things considered. I would even jokingly tell my husband that even the walls talk back in Arabic, so that any kind of communication is futile! ๐Ÿ˜‚ hahaha Anyway, the interview went well, but it was as if I was suddenly on fire. I would like to think that I was able to answer the questions to the best of my abilities. But most of all I hope they could do something about my chubby face on cam hahahaha

Friday, July 8, 2016

Popping it up with Good Meal Hunting

My marinating, prepping up, and eventual cooking of the dishes that I was bringing to the pop up kitchen organized by Good Meal Hunting went through without a hitch. Thanks to my ever reliable nanny Sheila and my youngest son, everything went on smoothly except that we forgot the parsley that I was supposed to use for plating. My husband knows how much I abhor driving through Edsa as I expected traffic to be horrible. But thanks to the phone app called HERE (which by the way is an app developed by Nokia and is still useful even without internet service), I was able to breeze through the trip via C5. 

As soon as we arrived we prepared everything on the table.  For the life of me, I wanted to knock myself on the forehead for not checking out Pinterest. I wanted my first pop up to look rustic or picnic like even but this is the best I came up with, with the limited time I had to come up with other ideas. 

The dishes I prepared for this event? I did Slow cooked Pork Belly with 2 kinds of gravy - Creamy mushroom and Apple raisin. It was served as a complete meal, with macaroni salad to complement the dish. I also prepared Chili Tuna Pasta, Coco Custard cups, and Oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips.

Slow cooked Pork Belly set meal 

All in all I had fun, am sure our nanny Sheila and my youngest son Alloy enjoyed themselves too! We almost burned the rice though as I just noticed. that part of my warmer was missing so, that the bottom of my warmer was directly in contact with the can of wax that I used. It was my first and I am ever so grateful for Good Meal Hunting for giving me this kind of opportunity and exposure!

Awakened... a super late post

July 1, 2016

Having slept early I woke up at a little past 3am and remembered that I had to marinate the pork slabs in preparation for the event this coming Monday. I won't say tbat yet here as I want it to be a surprise! ๐Ÿ˜ So, I hastily rose from bed and went straight to the kitchen to clean the pork slabs, rub it with my secret ๐Ÿ˜Š spices and do the marinade. I thought of putting it on slow cooker as there were 3 more slabs to prepare. Well what turned out to be a short trip to the kitchen brought me into action when I saw the piling laundry by our washing machine. Of course my OC-ness won, and I just had to finish doing the laundry too!

Interestingly enough, I suddenly thought of Fawaz broasted chicken! hahaha I wish Fawaz would put up a franchise here in the Philippines soon! #musingsofanearlyriser

Friday, July 1, 2016

Perfect timing

Yesterday I excitedly told my husband the result of a business meeting I attended to earlier that afternoon. I was struck by what he told me after sharing with him the good news. He said "See Mom? Remember that time when you were frustrated about not being able to find work, I told you that things happen for a reason, in God's perfect time - right?  Well, this is God's answer to you! "

Indeed, it was! For every failure there is a reason and we should not stop just because of a single hiccup. We must move on... we move forward! We look for better opportunities not just wait for it! Nothing comes from just waiting for the right time or the right circumstance. For every big plans, we have a bigger God!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Nanny McShei(la)

On our way home from the grocery, nonchalantly I asked my youngest son if I've forgotten to buy something that her nanny Sheila requested me to buy. Suddenly we both faced each other, eyes wide with fright; we said at the same time ... "Hala! How will we explain that to Ate Sheila?!!!" Then we both started laughing. It was really funny how our longtime nanny affects us this way. Even my husband would agree. He used to complain about having to finish up his glass of water. But try telling him, "drink that or face nanny Sheila's wrath!" and he would drink up without a fight!