Monthly Archives

December 2006

Bicol, Family

Thousand Bears for Bicol Project Successful

Thousand Bears for Bicol Project (Bonakid Aidan not included)

I’m sure most of you were skeptical (like me) when I posted Cathy’s Thousand Bears Project for Bicol. But there is something in me that made me post that article on Thousand Bears Project. This is a great psychological help for the trauma that the kids experienced during typhoon Reming. I was following the development via her blog Midlife Mysteries, and I was amazed that she reached 1,000 bears last Dec. 17, Sunday. I was touched also when Cathy wrote in his blog post, A Thousand Bears and More!!:

“In a text message from Col. Mike Asperin, who had just returned from Albay I found my affirmation. Last Wednesday, Col. Asperin brought with him the 500 bear pillows that were donated by KFC earlier this week. ” I’m now in Manila. Got you tons of pictures for the teddy bear giveaways. I gave one to a child who embraced it and uttered words I could not understand. The lola who was accompanying the child was so overjoyed because it was the first time her apo spoke since they lost their family. It was a heart-rending scene and I cried so hard… the bears are helping the kids cope. None of them would let go of the teddy bears!” The tears just flowed after I read his message. It was then that I realized then how a little gesture could make such a huge impact on the life of a child. I thank the Lord for the inspiration of TBB. Truly, when HE plants a dream in your heart, He will see it through, all the way.”

I was soo busy these past few days and still been battling with my cough sickness until today. But I’m glad I was able to finally send our family of bears to Cathy yesterday after my visit to the doctor. The first batch of the bears have been shipped out already (see Bears, bears! By land, sea and air!) and I’m not sure if my bears made it to the batch last night or this morning. Anyway, the Bears project will continue with a second mission: Bearhugs for Bicol that has been set for February. So keep the bears coming and send them to Cathy.

HE indeed works in mysterious ways 🙂

Related Posts:
A Thousand Bears for Bicol and Red Cross



The Secrets of Tagaytay

I’m getting a lot of questions from family, friends and readers on tips on how to enjoy their vacation either in Tagaytay, Pagudpud or Boracay after Christmas. I decided to create squidoo lens and articles based on this so that we can help them have an awesome vacation. A Lens is a set of handpicked, organized content about a single topic; a collection of modules pointing to content on a single topic; a page, a single page, that highlights one person’s personal view of the web — not the whole web, just one tiny part of it. Btw, I’m also still sick and resting at home to recover from fatigue so I have a time to write these articles in between my sleeping time.

The Secrets of Tagaytay (

Since this is the first time I’m doing this, I need a favor from you.
1. Can you please RATE the lens if you love it and if it is very relevant and helpful for you?
2. In Secret #6, I need your help to VOTE for the Top 10 Awesome Restaurants in Tagaytay. Please click on the Up Arrow to cast your VOTE. Only one vote per IP address.
3. Please ADD your own secrets and comments on the lens.

Thanks a lot!!



HotelReservations.Com [Review Me]

I registered for to do some paid reviews for different sites on the net relating to the overall theme of my site. I got my first review me request about

“We would like you to review this site and talk about diifrent offerings we have like hotels, motels, resorts, vacations rentals etc. Also review our pricing and talk about how compitative our rates are with great discounts we offer on world wide destinations. we really need extended review and want to creat the BUZZ about this great web site. We would like u to call our hotel booking agent and try to book a hotel reservations and review how he handles your call. Try your best to write about it and do not forget to book it with us when u travel next time. Minimum 300 Words.”

First of all, I was turned off by the request given the number of grammatical errors and the use of short cut. This so-called great website is looking more like an unprofessional site just based on the request. But still, I gave it a chance and looked specifically on the booking options for the Philippines.

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Delize Sansrival… but still in Search for the Ultimate Sansrival

My wife loves Sansrival alot! Ever since I was courting her, I already knew that Sansrival is the way to her heart. We haven’t tried Delize’s Sansrival and finally we had a chance to taste the Pistachio sansrival version of Jill Sandique known as the Sansrival Queen.

According to Lori’s definition:

“sansrival (sans-ree-VAL) or sans rival – with or without the space in between. Obviously meaning “without rival,” a sans rival is layers of crisp meringue filled and covered with buttercream. Cashews are the traditional choice, but I’ve seen macadamia sans rivals, and this one here is the pistachio version.”

The meringue was very good and crisp to the bite which is the secret to this sansrival. Although, I still do not like the rich butter cream that is screaming calories as you take a bite. I ended up eating the sansrival by removing the butter scream (as always) and my wife was scolding me because I was wasting the pistachio bits. The box says Delize proudly uses Magnolia full and rich cream which translates to fattening and full of calories.

It is very expensive at P800 and you need to know somebody who can get you a 10% discount to make this more bearable. Also, I need to warn you that the Sunrise Drive near Santolan is SUPER DUPER traffic at this time of the year (or is it all year round?) so good luck if you want to order from Delize. Overall, it was OK and it tasted like most Sansrival out there but with an excellent merinque layers.

I was uninspired in taking a shot of Jill Sandique Delize’s Sansrival. My wife was not impressed at all and I’m still in the look out for the Best Sansrival in Manila. I heard that the Sta. Rita Sansrival is the best and I can’t wait until I taste that.

So for now, I guess Delize Sansrival continues to be the Queen of Sansrival. At least. I got to try it. I do hope that I can find the King of Sansrival soon. I’m sure that you have tried this already since this has been around for so long so let me know what you think. Or maybe, you would know of someone who would be the King of Sansrival in Manila ?

Jill Sandique of Dèlize
33 Sunrise Drive, Cubao, Quezon City
721-7022 (ask for Lea, Mimi, or Vangie)
Allow a minimum of 2-3 days for your order(s).

Related Post:
For your Valentine: The best sans rival in the world by Lori


Awesome Festivals

Krispy Kreme MegaMall Opening

I’m over the Krispy Kreme hype and in fact, so far I haven’t been to the Krispy Kreme branch in the Fort. I just wanted to post this for those people who still want to line up in the Megamall opening. Remember the Philippine record is 24 hours for lining up to get a FREE one year supply. Megamall will be tricky since it opens at 10am. Also, you should avoid megamall this coming Friday! Here is the press release:


Here’s another chance to grab the prize!

Krispy Kreme, America’s most loved doughnut, opens in Megamall!

On Thursday, December 21, the second Krispy Kreme store opens, at SM Megamall Building B Upper Ground Floor .

Opening day at a Krispy Kreme store is a fun event and we’d love to have you come by, join in the festivities and experience a Hot Original Glazed fresh off the line

Here are reasons why you families, friends, barkadas, school and church organizations, and everybody should line up before the doors open on December 21 at 10 a.m.

You will be among the first to experience the hot doughnut phenomenon and sample Hot Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut.

The first customer to ring the cash register will win a FREE ONE YEAR SUPPLY of Original Glazed doughnut, one dozen per week!

Free limited edition Krispy Kreme original t-shirt for the first 300 customers!

Lots of raffle prizes – SIX MONTHS free doughnuts, THREE MONTHS free doughnuts, and ONE MONTH free doughnuts, for the 2nd up to the 300th customers!

The HOT Light is ON at Megamall on December 21.
See you there!


Frozen Brazo by Ange

Of course, all good things like Camara’s Frozen Brazo need to have competition. We need competition so that we get the best value for our money. I discovered Ange’s Frozen Brazo which is exactly the same as the Camara’s version except for its size 7×11 versus the 9×9 size of Camara. It costs P500 too but it has more ice cream. BTW, the ice cream in the frozen brazo is not Cheese but French Vanilla or Mantecado to be exact. The graham crust is just a little bit sweeter while the egg white topping is a little bit firmer vs. a softer egg white of the Camara version. In terms of packaging, Ange’s version comes in a plastic tray while the Camara one has a plastic tray put inside a christmas box.

Overall, it taste exactly the same. I have the pleasure of testing it side by side and I can’t really tell the difference. Given the competition, I’m sure that these Frozen Brazo will improve over time. Btw, I’m sure Camara would have tons of order by now, so at least you have another option where to get this Frozen Brazo delight.

Frozen Brazo — Sweet Life by Ange

75 Amorsolo Street San Lorenzo Village Makati.
+63917 8238198

Driving Directions
BTW, both of them are based in San Lorenzo but Ange is a lot easier to find. Just enter the Amorsolo gate of San Lorenzo Village which is near the Don Bosco Church. Upon entering, just go straight along Amorsolo and find house number 75.



Giant Lantern Festival – Awesome Lantern Competition, Only in the Philippines!

First of all, Merry Christmas and advanced Happy New Year to all of you!

One of the reasons I love the Philippines is because of its awesome Festivals like the 76th Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando Pampanga last night. I’m a newbie to this festival which is locally known as Ligligan Parul. We were glad that Ivan Henares hosted us and even gave us free guest passes in the reserved seating section. “Ivan is a travel freak, frustrated historian and heritage activist. A member of the Board of Trustees of the Heritage Conservation Society, he is a feisty advocate for the preservation of Philippine architectural heritage” (-quote from his Ivan about Town blog). Aside from this, Ivan has a very popular post about Pampanga’s pride. Three years ago, he was the chairman of this Giant Lantern Festival in 2003 so he was able to gave us all the juicy details about this festival. If you haven’t seen this, this is one of those moments where you will be proud of the Filipino’s creativity and hard work.

There were 12 giant lanterns during this year’s festival which makes this the biggest festival so far in terms of participation. It was held at the back parking lot of SM Pampanga. All the giant lanterns were lined up in front of two tents where the different celebrity and prominent judges were seated. There is no entrance fee to watch these giant lanterns but the place is too small for 100,000 people that it is literally a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. The giant lantern competition usually starts at 8pm+ until 11pm to complete all the three rounds of competition. The different barangays are competing for barangay pride and there is no cash prize.

It is advisable to already be in SM Pampanga at around 3-4pm so that you can find a parking space in the parking lot nearest the exit. This is an important strategy that Ivan shared with us, make sure to park in the parking space in front of Watsons, also near the Toll gate and near the exit of SM Pampanga. Otherwise, due to the large crowd, you can wait for an hour just to get out of SM Pampanga after the competition is finished at around 12mn. Once parked, you can go around SM Pampanga and you should definitely try the P109 Eat-all-you-can Pampanga Merienda Buffet from Party Land in the Entertainment area. After eating your heart out, you should start finding your way to the venue at around 6pm to reserve your seat or spot.

These lanterns are 18 feet in diameter and it just gets bigger and bigger each year, last year was 16 feet. Each segment in the lantern usually have white japanese or paper cover having 3-4 bulbs behind it with different colors. It is like the Red-Green-Blue (RGB) configuration in our computer monitors. Of course, each lantern has its own unique design and creative purpose. Just imagine how complicated it is to create these giant lanterns and coordinating the switching of the colors. During the competition, the lanterns need to dance and showcase its lights to the tune of the Christmas songs.

Related Posts:
Ligligan Parul and more from Pampanga from Ivan. He even has the 5 minute video of the third round of the competition where all the lanterns are dancing posted in youtube! You should watch that show to give you a first hand experience of the Giant Lantern Show.

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Frozen Brazo de Mercedes

During Marketmanila’s EB where everyone brought desserts, the Best Dessert during that night was this Frozen Brazo de Mercedes by the Camara Family. I’m loving them now and this is definitely a winning dessert if you bring this in any potluck Christmas party. This frozen brazo is one of the best desserts I have tasted in 2006!

It is a frozen cake with 4 layers composed of Egg White on Top, Yummy Yema Filling, thick layer of Cheese Ice Cream and Sugary Graham Crackers as the base. I’m addicted to it and when I brought this cake during the Flickr Philippines Christmas Party, it was wiped out in a few minutes. But I made sure that we have one frozen brazo all to ourselves at home. My wife is loving it at the moment.

It is a little bit messy when it melts so you should pick it up just right before any Christmas Party that you would attend to. Another messy but sure win dessert like the

Penny Brown Smackers I previously get to taste and take home. I’m sure this frozen brazo is still a secret for most people so this is the right time to try this one!

It is only P500 for a 9 by 9 inch box!
To place your orders call the Camara Residence at (632) 813-3477.
Her new address is 1243 Acacia St., Dasmarinas St., Makati, MM and the new number is (02)843-8086

Driving Directions:
They are located in San Lorenzo Village. You should enter the Makati Avenue gate and turn on the first left at Juan Luna Street. Then turn on the first right at Estella street. Finally, turn on the first left which would be Zipper street. Camara’s residence is located at 5 Zipper St.

They are getting a lot of orders recently so make sure to order 2 days or more in advance. Better call now or be sorry =)

Related Posts:
Icebox Brazo de Mercedes by Wysgal
Frozen Brazo by Ange


The Artist Chef Experience

So how was the artist chef experience? I can describe it as romantic, delicious and heavy.

For those people who are adventurous and likes different kind of dining experience, you should try Joan Manalang who brands herself as the Artist Chef. She is an art director for a local advertising company and she still finds time to paint. She loves to cook and concoct different dishes which became the menu line up for her Artist Chef business. She has been cooking since her childhood days. She will only get better over time after going into formal culinary studies in the future.

The Artist Chef is located in a studio condo unit in Makati. It is quite small, but cozy place. If you are the claustrophobic type, I don’t suggest that you try this because you might be uneasy throughout the entire experience. That is one of the reason why you won’t be finding Aidan in any of the pictures. This set-up is romantic one in a sense that this is an exclusive date with your own personal chef for the night. The motif is all white so you would have white roses (by the way, the I heart you was shaped by my wife), white table, white cutlery, and white plates. You can talk to Joan beforehand if you would want a different setup or you have a personal vision on how the place should look like.

Beforehand, Joan will provide you a list of meals she offers and from there you would choose the dishes you would like to have. Or maybe you can request a dish you would like to be served. I’m sure Joan would be able to do something about it. The meals we had were generous and deliciously home cooked. She made sure that the food is cooked once you finish the dish so expect a slight delay but the idea here is to just enjoy each other’s company while you wait for the food to be served. The kitchen is separated only by a roman shade so you can peek how the food is being prepared. Don’t worry about Joan eavesdropping on your conversation because she will be busy cooking your food. Also, you will here a romantic jazz music playing to add to the clutter sounds of the dishes and sizzling sound of the food being cooked.

At some point, it would be inevitable that you’ll find yourself asking Joan a lot of questions about her art, her passions, and of course, about her food discoveries. You will be able to get to know her better through this experience and she definitely loves meeting people. She is just starting out with this business and we are the third couple that she hosted. She has a lovely, warm and down-to-earth personality.

Just to be transparent and objective about the entire experience, I felt that the place is cramped. Don’t be surprise to find a computer, a TV, and a sofa bed as part of the ambiance. It would be a lot better if there was a better condo venue or maybe a roof top setting with live violin serenading the couple. Since it is a condo setting and living in a condo myself, there were friendly creatures walking around so say hi when you see them. Lastly, most of the food although delicious, were heavy. She cooks most of them with butter which as you all know makes the food flavorful BUT you would feel 2 lbs heavier after finishing the entire meal.

Overall, it was a quite unique experience for P1,500 for two persons (only). My wife felt that it was on the high side, but I think it is worth it for all her effort. It could be better justified if there are more healthy food options in the menu 🙂 No butter cooking please.

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The Holy Bread of Padre Pio?

It is interesting that this was a fake Holy Bread of Padre Pio after further investigation but it was quite interesting to check out how good the bread is 🙂 I decided to keep this post to serve as a public service to all those families who might get this Hemin bread circulating in Manila. Here is the excerpt on the Padre Pio Bread instructions:


This is called the Hemin Bread. It is the bread of Padre Pio and it comes from the Vatican. It brings blessings to every family who eats it. According to the instructions, on the 10th day, you must give it to other good people. Here is the entire recipe and complete instructions for making this Hemin Bread. I’m sure one of these days, this blessed bread will come your way.


Once you receive the dough, put it in a large glass bowl. It must be covered with either wax paper or plastic wrap and put it on the table/ counter at room temperature. Do not put in the fridge.

On the FIRST and SECOND DAY: DO NOT TOUCH THE DOUGH. It must adapt and absorb to its surroundings and take in the atmosphere. This is what makes each batch so unique from family to family.




On the TENTH DAY: ADD TO THE DOUGH 1 CUP OF MILK, 2 CUPS OF FLOUR AND 1 CUP OF SUGAR. MIX WELL WITH WOODEN SPOON. When mixed well, separate the dough in four (4) equal portions. You give away three (3) of these portions to three (3) different people.

You keep the fourth portion of the dough. YOU MUST ADD 1/4 CUP SUGAR, 3 EGGS, 1/2 CUP OIL and 2 TEASPOONS BAKING POWDER. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Grease a loaf pan. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.


We are on our 9th day and we plan to bake our bread soon. We’ll let you know how our Hemin bread tastes like. Let me know if you have also tried this hemin bread already even though it is fake 🙂 It is interesting to know where this Hemin Bread chain originated.


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