Famealy Matters


For generations, the family meal has been a sacred ritual in most Filipino households. Every family member either rushes home to be able to make it on time or set aside whatever they are doing and gravitate towards the dinner table. Sadly, as life becomes more and more difficult and demanding to adults and kids alike, that one sacred meal has taken a backseat…together with the morals and values of the young.
To address this pressing concern, the government through Presidential Proclamation 1895, officially declared 4th Monday of every September as National Famealy Day (Araw ng Pagkilala na ang Kainang Pamilya ay Mahalaga). So why the big fuss over dinner? Well, based on the recent study, “The Importance of Frequent Family Meals IV”, conducted by the Columbia University’s Center for Addiction and Abuse, family dinner plays a significant role to teens. 84% of teens prefer to have dinner with their parents. This study also proved that teens who have five to seven dinners per week with their family are more open to talk about what is going on in their lives than those who share less meals with their parents per week. And that teens who have frequent dinners with their parents are less likely to engage in destructive behavior such as smoking, drinking, drug addiction and pre-marital sex. With the things teens are openly exposed to nowadays and with the ease by which they can get access to a whole lot of products in the market without adult or parental knowledge, our direct involvement in our children’s lives can make a big difference. Sharing dinner with them is one venue where we can show that.
On the surface, sharing family dinner with your children may seem ordinary but if you look closely, you are actually imparting a lot more to them than hearty food. Your constant presence at the dinner table will give them that sense of security in knowing that at the end of the day, you are going to be there for them no matter what. It is also a good way to ensure that they get the proper nutrition and balanced diet that they need. It is a good opportunity for you to teach them social skills and manners too through example. Giving your children your time by sharing meals with them will strengthen your bond which can both be your saving grace if the going gets tough in their young life. It will leave positive effects on them which can result to better academic performance and less destructive behavior.
Sharing a meal though is not simply sitting down and eating with your children, them talking freely with you will not just happen also. For dinner with your children to become an effective tool for you to be able to reach out to your child or teen, you have to practice being an active listener. And being an active listener is all about lending an ear when your child shares a simple or delicate story or problem. It is oftentimes biting your tongue to stop yourself from interrupting or giving an impulsive retort, nag or criticism. Sometimes we parents focus more on what our ready reply will be than what our teen or child is saying. It can be that they would want us to just listen without forcing our own piece of unsolicited advice or opinion on them. It is best to leave the drama out of the dinner table, there’s always a perfect time and place for that. Asking questions or clarifying is one way also of making your child know that you are listening. We don’t have to take sides or be compelled to agree on everything he says, the important things is that they have our full attention.
To others, sharing a meal together is a big task. But it is possible with everyone’s commitment. Who wouldn’t want to engage in something where the benefits far outweighs the difficulties. You may not be investing in stocks that would eventually make you filthy rich or putting your money where it can grow in triples when you forego work just to make it to the dinner table on time. You are doing a whole lot more than that. You are forming a character strong enough to withstand all temptations and smart enough to decide what is best for him/her. You are forming child or teen who is well adjusted and secure enough in the love that she has, that she would want nothing but to be her best self. As a parent, that is where our real wealth lies.

Guiltless Pleasure

I love food. I grew up in a household surrounded by rich aroma of food. My childhood is all about coming home to a house filled with fantastic meals and treats. My mom took pleasure in preparing gastronomical feasts for the family. We were allowed to eat junk foods spiked with lots and lots of MSG, salt and transfat. My dad would often come home with chocolate goodies and yummy desserts. We were more or less given much freedom to decide on the kind of food we would want to eat especially when it comes to snacks. Healthy, balanced diet was not a top priority. As long as we are happily sated, whatever we like to eat was fine with my parents.
It was no wonder then that my dad’s diabetes eventually turned to worst. It was only when he was seriously struggling with this disease four years ago that we decided to make real drastic change in our lifestyle. But by then, it was already almost too late. My sister, who was 30 years old at that time, was diagnosed with diabetes and I started to experience problems with my health too. Blood tests showed that I have high levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterol. I was also suffering from vertigo and fatty liver. Random ultrasound test also showed a small cyst in my liver, to which succeeding ultrasound revealed has grown in size and has turned into a mass. Though CT Scan test proved that there was no cyst or mass at all, the stressful experience and scary thought that my liver was sick were enough to make me turn my life around. As we all know, liver is very important as it performs a wide variety of functions. It is considered as the chemical factory of our body. Everything that we take in are processed by the liver. That is why it is vital that it is always in perfect health condition.
It was on this note that I took proctive steps in making sure that my liver gets all the tender, loving, care that it needs. I really don’t want to end up with a damaged liver at such a young age. I learned that the most important step in taking care of the liver is adapting a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy food such as green vegetables and colorful produce that contain naturally occurring antioxidants that can help protect liver cells against diseases and chemical injury. Avoiding processed food and those high in sugar, unhealthy fats and food additives is a must too. I have to admit that it is quite hard to do that these days especially since these are the kind of food that are readily available in the supermarkets. Add to that the overwhelming presence of many food products that disguised themselves as healthy snack alternatives. But then if we don’t want to end up eating the ones that might do more harm in our body than good, we really have to be discerning with our food choices. It would greatly help to learn to read food labels to know which ones are fake and which ones are authentic healthy ones.
I chanced upon Soyami during one of our grocery shopping trips. I was attracted by well, its packaging at first and its catchy name. Upon reading the food label and after doing some research, I discovered that it is made from real soya. It has absolutely no MSG, is high in protein and calcium, and has absolutely 0 % transfat. As we all know, Soya has become an instant hit among health buffs for the many good benefits it can provide. It is known to reduce heart disease. It contains isoflavones, an anti-oxidant, which helps prevent breast-cancer. And here’s the best part, it is known to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Four servings of soya products each day may lower the levels of LDL (low density lipoprotein) in our body (a.ka. the bad cholesterol). Since it is a must that I keep my triglycerides, cholesterol and blood sugar within normal level, this is just the perfect kind of snack that I absolutely need.

Soyami Soya Chips comes in three flavors: Original, Pizza and White Cheddar. I have simple taste so I usually go for the Original Flavor, while my husband and daughter, who are both adventurous when it comes to food, like the Pizza flavor. My mom though, recently have taken a liking to the White Cheddar flavor. You see, eating is indeed a family affair for us. But then now, we are a lot more wiser, it has become a healthy affair for us too.

Original Flavor

Pizza Flavor

White Cheddar Flavor

All the Soyami Chip flavors taste so good you wouldn’t even realize that it is made from soya. Since it does not have MSG, it doesn’t leave that strong salty, tangy taste that usually gives us the “umay” feeling after several consumption. But the best thing about it for me is that eveytime I snack on it, I wouldn’t have to worry about it doing serious harm to my liver. I wouldn’t have to worry about my triglycerides or my blood sugar shooting up because I can snack on it anytime since it is 100% healthy. I can definitely indulge in my simple pleasure of snacking on chips without the guilt with Soyami. It is indeed the healthier choice to snacking. Soyami Soya Chips definitely tops my list of guiltless pleasure.
For more of Soyami Soya Chips products visit the following sites : Soyami in facebook, Soyami in Twitter, and Soyami website.

The Perfect Shapewear

I am one of those women who is not blessed with a flat stomach. In fact, I have always been mistaken for being pregnant. Before, it annoys me everytime people would come up to me to ask if I am indeed pregnant but then eventually, I got so used to it that now, it just amuses me no end. A few perfectly styled pieces help me draw attention away from my big tummy. But then sad to say, most of the time (especially when I am wearing gowns and semi-casual dresses), it has been an epic fail. Thus began my hot pursuit of the perfect corset girdle slimming tank that would hide a bit my big bag of tummy.
The slimming tanks that I purchased and tried before proved to be uncomfortable that I usually end up not using them for fear that they would crush the vital organs in my tummy. But then, I chanced upon Jockey’s line of Women’s Shapewears during one of my window shopping trips at Filinvest Mall. I was impressed and completely won over by these ah-mazing pieces of genius.:)

These Shapewears are made of breathable fabric so they don’t feel constricting when worn even if they fit snugly. The Shapewear sorts of expands as it gives you a slimming fit. It has smooth edges too so it doesn’t show when you are wearing one under your tight dress or gown unlike the others which tend to bunch up.
Prizes of these ranges from 1,200-1400. Lucky for me, I was able to use the 1,000 GCs that I won from their recent facebook promo. I was able snag one of these by adding only 300 pesos. So I guess it was meant to be mine.:)

Yay!

Jockey has been always been a leader when it comes to providing stylishly comfortable lines of Men and Women’s underwear and sports apparel. For the complete line of their products and to join their upcoming promos, visit their Facebook page here Jockey Philippines.

Potatoes with Love (A Simple Potato Salad Recipe)

I love food but I hate cooking. The only time my family trust me in front of the stove is when I am tasked to heat something or when I tell them that I will whip up their favorite Baked Spaghetti, the one and only dish I can decently cook. So I am no kitchen queen but then aside from my Baked Spaghetti (which I don’t really bake, mind you! whahaha), I also have another one up my tattered chef’s sleeve. My (in)famous Potato Salad. A lot of people say that my potato salad is one of the best they’ve ever tasted which is funny because it has absolutely no fancy ingredients. The ones that I use in my Potato Salad are stuffs that you can easily buy in the sari-sari store and palengke. No exotic herbs or spices.
This is how my potato salad looks like:

My Po-ta-to Salad. Fierce!

And here’s a quick guide on how to do it:
1. Boil potatoes. Add a dash of salt. (I trust that you will know when to stop dumping salt in your water. You most probably are smart enough to know when enough is enough.hehe).
2. Boil chicken meat separately. Add a dash of salt. (Again I trust you to know when enough is enough when it comes to salt. Don’t get carried away)
3. When the potatoes are ready (Prick it with a fork. When it is medium soft, then it is ready. When it breaks when you prick it, my gawd! You overboiled it), drain water and let the potatoes cool. Cut them into small cubes.
4. Drain water from the chicken boil (I am sure you’ll know when it is cooked already.heehee). Let it cool and then tear chicken meat into little strips (Don’t forget to wash your hands first)
5. Mix the chickens strips and potatoes in a bowl. Add some pickles (you can buy the minced pickles in bottles)
6. Add salt. Mix all the ingredients well. (Don’t just look at it and wonder if the salt or pickles that you put are just enough. Taste it! Adjust the taste by adding some salt or pickles if need be)
7. Add Lady’s Choice Mayonnaise. (Trust me this recipe will not work well with any other mayonnaise. It has to be Lady’s Choice (yeah righ?!). haha.
8. Mix well. Do some taste test. Again, add a little more salt, or pickles, or mayonnaise until you are satisfied with the taste.
7. Let it chill for a while before serving.
See, it is that simple and easy. It is nothing fancy but I can assure you, it tastes just perfect.
If there’s one thing I learn from my mom when it comes to cooking (she’s the dalai lama of our kitchen by the way), it is this: It is not so much the fancy stuffs that you use in your recipe that would make people fall in love with your cooking but the loving attention you give to each dish that you prepare knowing that it would not only give the one who will eat it a full stomach but happy, warm memories of the dish too. Happy, warm memories that will stay with him long before the food is gone.
Any dish, however simple or fancy you’ve prepared it, as long as it is sprinkled with a lot of love and seasoned with thoughtful attention, is a sure sure winner!:)

Daang Hari Road Under Construction! Finally!

I hope my eyes did not fail me. I saw a Komatsu Bulldozer and Backhoe actually working on evening out the part where I believe the missing piece of the Daang Hari road is to be constructed.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Yup, that’s right. Good news to the people living in the South and passing by this “road less travelled” not. No more horrendous bottle-neck traffic along TS Cruz which often greets weary travelers during rush hour. Hopefully, no more knee-deep flood that can paralyze traffic after a freak rainfall too because according to the sign posted it is supposed to be “Construction of the Daang Hari road and Improvement of the Drainage System” along Seaside area.
I have been passing by this road for years now and I must say this is definitely a piece of good, good news. Something to look forward to in 2012. For the longest time, traffic, poor condition of the makeshift road and flooding have been the perennial concerns of the people traveling on this route. It is not clear why the construction of this small portion of the road has been put off for years. One issue that keeps on surfacing though is the question of jurisdiction and rights over the land. But then, it looks like everything has been settled already for work is definitely in progress for the much awaited missing piece of the highway puzzle.
I guess the next big question now is, how long will this construction take? My only answer is stay tuned.

Classic Confections


If there’s one part of the meal that I always look forward to, it’s dessert. Good thing there’s so many dessert places around right now whose main agenda is to hand us our small (or our big) slice of (sigh!) hApPiNeSS.
My patch of heaven here on Earth is this small dessert place at Greenbelt 5 called Classic Confections.  Eversince our friend Eimee introduced us to this place, I simply just have to give in to my cravings of their sweet desserts a little more than “once in a while.” I love how this cafe has a bright and cheery atmosphere, it looks inviting even from the outside. I also like how small and cozy it is, just perfect for a small get together of friends or for an intimate afternoon date with a loved one. I simply adore their cake display counter. My eyes widen in delight everytime I go over their wide selection of cakes. They all tastes delicious, not overly sweet, just the way I want my desserts to be. The Tiramisu and Cheesecake particularly top my list. Prices are reasonably worth it too.:)
If you happen to be at Greenbelt 5, do check out their yummy treats, they’ll surely make you drool.:)

Cafe Breton

I had a super fun dinner at Burgoo, Podium last Friday night with my good old college friends. The conversation and company were so good that nobody wanted the night to end just yet. So we headed to nearby Cafe Breton to continue our own little party there. We intially planned on having only coffee after the pizza pasta we had for dinner but after seeing the delectable assortment of crepes on the menu, we decided to order one each for ourselves. Our friend Sally though was was still hungry after battling it out at EDSA (traffic was as usual horrendous there) and so she ordered an additional burger.
When the burger arrived, we took one look at it and started digging in faster than my friend Sally’s yes. It definitely tastes as yummy as it smells and look.:)

Cafe Breton burger

The crepes are just ah-mazing too. Here are some of those little monsters:)



What can I say, Cafe Breton’s crepes’ are purrr-fect! I had a full tummy and full heart that night.
Good food + good company = utter happiness.:)

Healthy Deals

Internet definitely changed the way we do things. It opened us to a world that we thought could not possibly exist before. It not only changed the way we communicate to people and sustain relationships but also the way we do business.
Last year saw the rise of different group buying sites that claim to sell the best deals in the market from food, gadgets, travel to personal services. Your head will spin with the speed to which these group buying sites sprung up like mushrooms after the rain. While most of them seem to offer the exact same things, there are a few who definitely stand out. These are the ones that have clearly defined purpose in their deal offerings and not just offer a smorgasbord of products/services.
One such site is Healthy Deals Philippines. So What’s a Healthy Deal?. If you are one who gives ultimate priority to your health, then this is the perfect group buying site for you. They not only offer the hottest deals in health and wellness in the market but a whole lot of health and wellness tips in their website as well that can help you stay in tip-top shape. Currently they have a Clinical Massage Deal Offering from Wellness in Life that is too good to pass up. Head over to their site and check it out yourself and while you’re at it, join their “What’s a Healthy Deal?” Bloggers Raffle Contest also for a chance to win an Apple IPAD 2.:)

Teaching to Love the Philippines Through Travel

I love teaching and travelling because both activities enrich you in a way that you would always emerge from every experience a changed person. My favorite topic of discussion in class has always been “Landforms and Water Forms in the Philippines.” Yes, I am a Social Studies teacher. You could say that I am passionate about sharing the beautiful wonders of the Philippines with my grade two students. I love how they would become eager to see more of the Philippines after wrapping up this lesson. I enjoy exciting them with my travel stories and pictures especially of my top three favorite local destinations:
1. Palawan
I love the beach and Palawan has a lot of them, the most beautiful ones too. I also admire how the locals put so much effort in the preservation and conservation of the environment and wildlife there. Something that I am always proud to share to my students in the hope that they would also do the same.

Honda Bay, Palawan

2. Badian Island, Cebu

I love snorkeling and Badian Island’s Coral Garden gave me my best snorkeling experience. It left me in awe of the wonderful underwater treasures that can be found underneath its water. I am glad that some of my students have taken a liking to snorkeling as well.
Coral Garden (Badian island), Cebu

3. Tagaytay
It is for me the perfect weekend get away. It has everything you need for a good time—quaint shops/restaurants, great view and cool weather (plus it is just a mere two-hour drive from Manila). An ideal place for parents to bring their children to for some family bonding.
Tagaytay, Cavite

I always believed that for children to appreciate the country, they must see it with their very own eyes. It is only when they get the feel of a certain place that they would learn to love it. So bring your children around and join Sago in his many travel escapades and adventures. Let’s Go Sago!
This serves as my official entry to Let’s Go Sago! 3rd Anniversary contest. Share your travel experience or your dream destinations / Philippine tourist spots and get that free Boracay accommodation for two in one of the islands’ best and more!