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10 posts from April 2005

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April 30, 2005

Boracay's Mystique...


boat station 2
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

A Truly Magical Experience

I've been wanting to blog about Boracay but I'm afraid that I might not give justice to Bora's magical experience that awaits any tourist/vacationer. Each Boracay experience is truly unique and the island never fails to surprise or amuse you with its cuisines, parties, sceneries, chillout places, shopping, and people. I've been in Boracay 2 years plus (I can't remember exactly) and each visit has been an unforgettable awesome experience. There is a saying that "what happens in Boracay stays in Boracay" because people literally are transformed like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. I would like to give you a glimpse of what happens in Bora. Here are a few suggestions on how to make your boracay escape a truly memorable experience:

Related BORACAY Blog Posts:

Read more

April 23, 2005

Welcome to Pearl of the Pacific, Boracay Island!


welcome to Boracay
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

I arrived in Boracay alone today because I was the only person booked into the 9.45am flight via caticlan. Most of the passengers in our flight are from Glaxo Smith Klein. It was also the saddest Boracay look that I've seen in years. The water is green with "lumot", the clouds have a gloomy haze, and there are alot of boats that signals that Boracay is becoming too commercialized. I'll be spending the next 3 days for our teambuilding session here in the Pearl of the Pacific. Fortunately, the PLDT Weroam service in working in Boracay. Imagine an 80kbps connection via Smart's Edge service -- Simply Amazing. I'll try to minimize my blogging ang get a beach life. I'm just waiting for some of our colleagues who was in the next flight.

April 17, 2005

Amici de Don Bosco Ice Cream @ Waltermart Makati


Amici de Don Bosco
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

A breath of fresh air for gelato ice cream in Makati

I'm starting to hear a buzz about the gelato Don Bosco ice cream started by a Salesian entreprenuer in Waltermart Makati. So finally, after the Sunday Mass in Don Bosco we visited the place in the 2nd floor of WM Makati outside the supermarket. It is very affordable: P10 - small cone, P20- big cone, and P30- one scoop in a cup. You can take it out for P150 at a minimum and they put it in a styrofoam container. We tried hazelnut and Al rum (chocolate with rum). The hazelnut is a winner while the other one, I should say, don't try it. This reminds me to do taste tests first specially for non-regular flavors.

I'm sure to come back and try the other gelato flavor.

Antonsig_14

Moira Isabelle's Baptismal Celebration


Our ECE Barkada
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

It was a nice Sunday afternoon baptismal celebration in Super Bowl Jupiter. The reception for Moira Isabelle's baptism is very relaxed and homy. Finally, we were able to spend quality chit chat time with Xerxez,Joh-an & Sam, and Alrin,Lot & Moira which we did not have the time to do during Aidan's baptism. Also, the only lawyer in our ECE batch, Rogel Gatchalian was also there and we were able to congratulate him being part of the 31% who passed the Bar Exam among 5000+ examinees.

Welcome to the Christian Family, Moira Isabelle! We do hope that you grow with faith and fear of the Lord. God Bless you!

Antonsig_13

A disappointing choco buffet @ Manila Pen


chit chat with the chef
Originally uploaded by antondiaz.

Try it out for experience sake.

Yes, it was disappointing. Despite the warning of my wife's cousin, Pam about the disappointing reviews of Manila Pen's Choco Buffet, I still went ahead and ate last Saturday with Rache's barkada. Here are the highlights:

GOOD
(almost) killer chocolate. You should pace yourself from eating the chocolates or else you won't enjoy eating alot of it at one time. My suggestion is that you eat the good ones only: The pralines are good! The chocolate fondue is the highlight of the night. They use german Valrona chocolate for the fondue. Also you can try the Bizu type chocolate, pistaschio macaroons. You should end the meal with hot tea.

good cause chocolates. Do you know why the pralines are really good? All the chocolates are made in Manila Pen but with imported chocolate ingredients. However, the secret is that the pralines are a labor of love from the deaf/mute employees who creates them in the choco room of Manila Pen.

nobody can beat good company. Even if the food is disappointing, Manila Pen's lobby ambiance is a perfect setting for good conversion with good friends. Nobody can beat that!

BAD
Not worth it! We paid P470 net for the buffet which already included a citibank gold discount of 15%. With a disappointing chocolate souffle, assortment of chocolate cakes, poor choices of fondue dips (melon and orange?! why not use mango or grapes instead) I should only be paying P200 for this. To compensate, we got some pralines to go wrapped in manila pen's lobby tissue :)

Antonsig_12

April 15, 2005

Aidan's Baptismal Joyous Celebration!

Finally, I'm able to blog about the awesome baptism of Aidan last Sunday. Thank you to all our family and friends who attended Aidan's baptismal celebration either in Don Bosco or in Zhongnanhai. My wife and I were thrilled that at last, we were able to baptized Aidan into the Catholic faith and don't need to worry anymore. We were also thrilled that we were able to pull-off an awesome baptismal party in Zhongnanhai. Of course, my blog entry will not be complete without a personal review of the baptismal event and the lunch celebration in zhongnanhai. Special thanks to my brother Rommel for documenting the entire baptismal celebration!
>> More Pics: Aidan's Baptismal Celebration Photos (by Rommel Diaz)

the baptismAidan's Baptism Picture
Baptism @ Don Bosco Makati

Recommended

Reasonable baptism registration. The costs of having a baptism in Don Bosco is P250 for the first pair of principal sponsors and P50/addl sponsor. So we have a total of 10 sponsors which costs us P650 all in all. They would already provide the candle needed during the ceremony. By the way, you only need to register 2 weeks in advance during office hours of the parish office.

Organized baptism rites. I was always impressed with how organized the sacraments are administered in Don Bosco Makati (confessions conducted every mass, wedding ceremonies have a coordinator designated by the church). First, they would require the parents and the sponsor to attend a baptism seminar one hour before the baptism. Secondly, there are people who would assist through out the baptismal rites and give ques to the parents on what to do, where to sit, when to stand. Third, photos and video taking is well organized despite the number of babies baptized all at the same time (about 8 I think). Lastly, you can feel the solemnity of the baptism even if a deacon is the one who administers the baptism.

Baptism tips.

  1. You need to identify two (2) principal sponsor who would be present in the baptism ceremony. Ideally, no proxy is allowed.
  2. Baptism in Don Bosco is held at 11am. The seminar starts at 10am but they would require you to be there 9.30am. Ideally, you should attend the 8.30am sunday mass in Don Bosco. BTW, there is a 12.15pm mass after the baptism, so you must be quick in taking group pictures after the ceremony.
  3. In Don Bosco, you get your baptismal certificate right after the ceremony! So make sure the names of the ninong & ninangs are correct and all other information.
  4. All you need to bring during the baptism would be his baptismal dress, camera/video camera and a hand fan. They normally turn off the aircon during the actual baptismal rite.

What I regret about having baptism in Don Bosco?
My only regret is that they don't allow special baptism where you request for a certain priest you want to baptize you son. In Aidan's baptism, it was a deacon who baptized him and we were not able to invite him to the reception.

Baptismal Celebration @ Zhongnanhai Chinese Bistro, Greenbelt 2
A christian familyWelcome to zhongnanhaithe sumptous buffethagen daaz cake
Recommended It was an awesome lunch celebration @ Zhongnanhai and we were very happy! Here are the reasons why:

Excellent Chinese Food! Almost of all my chinese friends, my wife's chinese family and even our expat who comes from China, Kitty, loved the food! The food was buffet and we never ran out of food and chef Andy make sure that we have enough for the guests. I'm glad that we had time to do a food tasting a week before because on the actual day, we were not able to properly eat because we are entertaining our guests. Based on the feedback, our family and friends liked soo much the steamed polangchai, one way peking duck, steamed garoupa, spinach soup, rice balls/buchi dessert, haagen daaz chocolate baptismal cake and the german wild lover tea! We achieved our objective to make the food very memorable! Thank you Joy and the ZNH Staff!

lovely interiorslovely Sa-Kim

Excellent Party Ambiance. ZNH took care of decorating the place using blue and silver balloons. They even made an arc of balloons in the entrance which is very impressive. They made the tabletop menu with the picture of Aidan which is also consistent with the thank you cards with the same picture of Aidan and a free steamed polanchai/onion pancake/poached pear. They also have twisted balloons as centerpieces in the master table and buffet table which the kids enjoyed. The face painters were a hit with the kids. The only thing that we added was the photo frame gallery of Aidan in the entrance and the guest book which is a scrap book with Aidan's picture on every page. I really loved the setup and thank you to all our guests who appreciated it.

What I regret about having the reception in Zhongnanhai?
My only regret is that the place was small that some of our guest do not have tables and some are sharing a very small table for 2 but I could see 4 people using it. Also, I must admit that it was expensive (P600+/head). We were expecting a guest of only 100 people and we ended up having 120+ family and friends (according to ZNH it was 130+). Despite the fact that not all friends and family attended the affair. Given these learnings, Rache and I already are starting to plan an awesome Aidan's first bday and we agree on the following principles:
         1). Invite close family and friends (approx. 150)
         2). Memorable food, excellent theme, and unique party.
         3). Plan ahead, evalutate options, and negotiate costs.

Antonsig_11

April 03, 2005

Maong's Happy Birthday Bash!

We always have fun hanging out with my wife's barkada from ICA and Maong's birthday celebration was no exception.We enjoyed the spring deer Peking Duck! This is a signature meal served on Maong's birthday if the party is done at home.Rache particularly like the Kani Salad, and Tuna Tomato Pasta. There were alot of fun kwentos, authentic korean poses, and yummy desserts (Carmine's Sansrival)

I've taken a few snapshots of the wonderful dinner --> Maong's Birthday Bash!

Happy Happy Birthday Maong!

Antonsig_10





Food Tasting @ Zhongnanhai


Chef Alan Chan Chung
Originally uploaded by Where is Anton?.

Finally we decided to hold Aidan's Baptism reception in Zhongnanhai. We wanted to have a modern chinese cuisine and it was love at first taste. Last Saturday, we had one taste tests for all the food that is about to be serve on Sunday, April 10. I should say that we were not disappointed with the quality of food.

Zhongnanhai Chinese Bistro, Greenbelt 2

Recommended

1. No MSG! The restaurant prides itself with good quality chinese food without using any MSG. The Appetizer & Dimsum was very tasty. Our appetizer and dimsum menu consists of:

  • Barbeque Pork Combination
  • Fried Beancurd with Spicy Salt
  • Steam Polanchai with Shrimp
  • Onion Pancake
  • Michael's Crispy Raddish Roll-over
  • Taro Puff
  • Braised Spinach with Seafood Soup

I like the fried beancurd (tokwa) when dipped in vinegar and specified during the first serving where it is still very crunchy. I was also surprised with the Raddish Roll-over which tastes very good and one of the best sellers in Zhong. Also, worth to mention is the steam Polanchai with Shrimp and the Braised Spinach with Seafood Soup. At this point, we felt that we ate one whole meal already and we have not yet started with the main course.

Food Tasting @ ZhongnanhaiAppetizers & Dimsum

2. Alot better than chinese fastfood. Although, some of the main course dishes are similar to other chinese restaurant in description (i.e. sweet & sour pork), the taste is alot different. In tagalog, hindi nakakasuya -- You should taste it for yourself. The winner for me is the steam garoupa fillet, Braised prawns in Pumpkin Sauce, and the Braised seasonal vegatables with century egg. Although the yang chow rice, and braised efu noodles tasted ordinary.

The main course menu consists of:

  • Steam Garoupa Fillet with Onion leek & soy sauce
  • Braised prawns with pumpkin sauce
  • Crispy Fried Chicken
  • Sweet & Sour Pork
  • Panfried beef with Oyster Sauce ---> Changed to Honey Pepper Beef
  • Braised Seasonal vegetable with salt & century egg
  • Braised efu noodels with crabmeat
  • Yang Chow Fried Rice
  • 1 way Peking Duck

Yang Chaw Fried Rice with Chili SauceImage(703)Braised Seasonal Vegetables with salt & Century EggDesserts

3. The best ice tea and hot tea! The ice tea is brewed tea with orange juice while the hot teas are imported from China. This is a definitely must try to accompany the excellent cuisine.

4. Delicious Steamd Glutinous Rice Balls. I would say that this is a signature dessert and I've only tasted this glutinous rice balls stuffed with egg custard here in Zhong. The other desserts are ordinary which include:

  • Steamed glutinous rice balls stuffed with egg custard
  • Hot taro with sago
  • Almond Jelly
  • Mango Sago
  • Buchi

5. Complete party package. We are glad that together with the excellent food, Joy (manager in Zhong) gave us additional items to complete the party package to have a hassle free event which include:

  • Buffet Menu table top
  • Balloon Decoration
  • Face Painter
  • Balloon Twisting
  • Complimentary Baptismal Cake
  • 30pcs Thank you Cards.

Net, we are excited and can't wait to serve our baptismal guest the excellent Zhongnanhai food. Thank you Zhongnanhai for hosting Aidan's baptism on April 10!

Antonsig_9



MORE INFO:

Zhongnanhai Chinese Bistro is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 2 in between Kai and Gloria Maris (formerly 12 restaurant).

PS. Send me an email if you have questions on the contract costs.