Wednesday, June 11, 2014

START... Stop, START... Stop

This is exactly how this blog has been!

This blog has become a series of stop's and go's that have no definite ending. My last entry was in February 2013, when I actually seriously thought that because I have decided to go on extended maternity leave to take care of my firstborn, Evey, that I'd get plenty of chances and topics to blog about. Boy, was I wrong! The last year has been the toughest year of our lives in terms of physical burnout, sleeplessness, emotional exhaustion and everything that comes with taking care of a baby. The happiness, of course, was also immeasurable, but let's talk about that some other time.

Fast forward to June 2014, here I am again. Writing an entry where I will vow to be more consistent with my blogging. Truth is, I am not so tired tonight and I am feeling a bit anxious, so I just decided to put my thoughts down on this blog.

This type of night has been popping up quite a few times now over the past few months. I always get this desire to write and express myself through this platform; and once I revisit my blog, I feel a sense of longing to continue what I started so many years ago. I remember that I actually enjoy this.

Then I find myself actually again so tired in the evening, or distracted by so many other little things I need to do that blogging felt trivial or much like a chore. I also feel that there is nothing to talk about even if there are a million things running on my mind. But  guess the hesitancy mainly comes from doubting myself if what I have to say here actually means anything to anyone. So, I just end up sleeping.

But as I lay in bed waiting for sleep, I find myself composing sentences and paragraphs, openings and conclusions, arguments, sometimes even layout ideas! How I wish there is a device that can translate all my thoughts into entries here. I feel inspired. Then I realize and remind myself that this blog is really just for me--an outlet for my ideas, and a repository for my thoughts and memories.

Well... I guess tonight is a little bit different. I actually took the time to sit, write and click 'publish'. Can I keep it up this time? Let's see.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Evey in My Tummy

2012 was a great year for me and Momon. Most of the year was spent enjoying our first pregnancy with doctor's appointments, my growing belly, childbirth class and all the daily adventures brought about by being pregnant. To cap off the year, Evey arrived on December 30, 2012.

Come 2013, and it's now six weeks since Evey's arrival. Needless to say, Momon and I couldn't be happier. Being a new parent is definitely a challenge but, as we always hear, very much worth it. There's too much to share about being a new parent, but let's save that for another post.

I am also happy to report that I am now back to my pre-pregnancy weight--actually even four pounds lighter. I still have my pregnancy pouch, though. I hope to get back to my Turbo Fire workouts when I get the go signal from my OB. For now, breastfeeding and taking care of my lovely Evey is enough of a workout. :-)

Friday, February 01, 2013

I love my Homemade Citrus Enzyme!

While pregnant with Evey, Momon and I grew quite concerned with the synthetic cleaning materials we use at home. Around 4 months into the pregnancy, Momon banned me from doing most of the cleaning, not because I am physically incapable, but because he felt Mr. Muscle, Cif, Greenex and all other products were too harsh for me.

Fortunately, finding a substitute natural cleaner is so easy. Recipes for homemade cleaners are actually all over the internet, waiting to be discovered! I came across the product called homemade citrus enzyme cleaner. The original post I followed is from "The Happy Homemaker".

Momon and I have been using the citrus enzyme since September 2011 and are fully satisfied with it's cleaning powers. It's so easy to produce and we love how we are using simple fruit peels that we get for free from the neighborhood fruit stand. I have completed over 20 batches! We no longer buy synthetic cleaning products, translating to savings for our humble household budget.

Here's how you can make your own:


- 300 grams fruit peels
This can be dalandan, lemon, pomelo peels. We use pineapple peels because these are always available in the market. It also smells nicer once fermented.

- 100 grams sugar
Brown or white is fine.

- 1 liter water

- 1 teaspoon yeast

- 2-liter wide-mouth bottle
- strainer
- funnel


Left: Freshly mixed cleaner
Right: After two weeks of fermentation

  • Combine all the ingredients in a 2-liter wide-mouth bottle. Shake to mix thoroughly.
  • Leave the cap slightly open. 
  • Shake every once in a while. Remember to close the cap first.
  • Ferment for 2 weeks. 
  • Harvest by draining the liquid from the sludge. Use a funnel to store in your re-used PET bottles.

Harvested enzyme should be clear.

 We use the enzyme cleaner the following ways:
  • GENERAL CLEANER (1 part enzyme, 10 parts water) - for wiping of surfaces, no need to rinse
  • STAIN REMOVER (pure)
  • FLOOR CLEANER (1 part enzyme, 10 or 15 parts water) - for wiping of floors, no need to rinse
  • DISHWASHING LIQUID (pure, add squirts of dishwashing liquid for suds)
  • BATHROOM CLEANER (1 cup enzyme, 1/2 cup liquid cleaner, 5 cups water) - spray and leave on surfaces first before scrubbing
  • CLASS/MIRROR/STOVE CLEANER (1 part enzyme, 3 parts water) - great for those oily surfaces on your stove
  • SINK and DRAIN BLOCKAGE CLEARER - use blended sludge of enzyme and leave overnight

Some additions, optional:
  • 1 cup of white distilled vinger for every 1 liter enzyme for more cleaning power
  • 1 cup orange/lemon-infused vinegar for a nicer scent. To make this, simply put peels on vinegar and leave for 2 weeks.

Enjoy cleaning!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Our Bedroom

I believe that each one of us needs a bedroom that will serve as our sanctuary at the end of each day--a place to wash away our worries and spend quite hours with our loved ones. Here's ours.


The color scheme we chose for the bedroom was inspired by the yogurt shop, White Hat. 

We love how going upstairs to our loft always gives a feeling of calm and relaxation. Vincent said that this is the intended effect of using colors on different sections of a room without formal walls or partitions--a different feeling evoked by a simple change in color.

Almost all who visited our home say that the colors on the second floor have a calming and relaxing effect. One even commented that our bedroom, with all the lights, looked like a mall display. Kilig naman ako!

The bed frame, side table and mattress are from made to order by Mandaue Foam. 
We add color through our bed sheets. This one below is my favorite, obviously.


I got the embroidered side table covers from my trips to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
The picture frame is from Cebu and the lamp is from SM Home World.

There's Evey's 4D ultrasound photo. :-)

Across from the bed is my small office/dresser. Momon and I got this set (table, chair, foot rest and mirror) at a Japan surplus store along Quezon Avenue. It fit perfectly in our small loft.

 Momon and I love our bedroom. Hope you like it too.:-)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My Newest Addiction: PINTEREST

Oh... the things you find on the internet!
My latest addiction is PINTEREST.

Everything is so cute and nice. Inspiring and depressing all at the same time.

Source: via Gail on Pinterest


What to do... what to do...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Christmas 2011 Wishlist

Holiday season is here! So, here's my (again) no-holds-barred Christmas wishlist! 

I don't care that Momon and I are on this low-card diet. I want an ice cream maker.  


My baking tools and materials are back at my parents' house. Whatever, I just one a new set.


This is an upcoming decorating project. :-)



Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Journey with Children Book Launch

Finally after 6 months, "A Journey with Children (Living and Working in the Streets in the Philippines)" has been published! It was a privilege to be one of the authors of this coffee-table photobook, assisting Italian photographer Giacomo Pirozzi. The project was under UNICEF Philippines and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 

The launch was extra special and done with highest honor at the Malacanan Palace, with no less than President Benigno Aquino III present to accept the photobook from Lalaine Loreto, 11 years old, of Nayon ng Kabataan.

The launch coincided with the awarding ceremonies of the 2011 Presidential Award for Child-Friendly Municipalities and Cities, which is a regular affair every October to commemorate the Children's Month. UNICEF Country Representative Ms. Vanessa Tobin (leftmost) also received a plaque from DSWD for her unending commitment to help children in the Philippines.

It was so nice to see  some of the children who were featured in the photobook, and of course Giacomo, Mareen, Jonas, Tito Jess Far and all those who worked in the project. The Council for the Welfare of Children and its pool of young facilitators very wisely gathered the children one Saturday prior to the event and showed them the printed book. After seeing it, they drafted a response and a call to action for President Aquino, which was presented to the audience by Lalaine.

Needless to say, the event was also a reunion of so many different organizations working on the advocacy of children's rights. Here we are doing our best to be formal during the cocktails.

These are the young facilitators from CWC who served as ushers during the event. They are (left to right) Rafael Coste, Alexander Macatual, Shane Manopol and Carlo Jagnaan;  and with them are the very young looking (LOL) Ate Ros and Kuya Rex Dayao and Ate Andre Canilang. We all belong to different child-rights organizations who participated/organized in the Philippine National Children's Conference in 2009 and ASEAN Children's Forum in 2010.

And of course, I'm happy because Momon was there to support me. Pinabilib ko lang naman s'ya. Hahaha!

Here we are with the event host, 2010 Ms. Universe 4th runner-up Venus Raj. My goodness, she is a goddess! I'm such a fan, especially now that I know she has an interest in children's rights.

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador--and my super fave singer--Gary Valenciano was also at the event! I was tasked on the spot to introduce him to to all the children who were part of the book. Lucky I have good memory and I was able to remember all the children's names, ages and locations, and give a brief background about their story.

During the introductions, Joshua, who is 11, from Lingap Pangkabataan said, "Ate, kamukha n'ya yung nagsasayaw sa TV" (He looks like that man who dances on TV). I responded, "S'ya yun! (That's him!). 

And Gary said, "Ako yun, yung sa ASAP." (That's me, from ASAP.) Then he dance very discreetly on the spot.

Here I am with Giacomo. Congratulations Giacomo!
May you continue to inspire more people through the children's stories you capture in your photos.

Oh, what an honor to be part of the book. It was a wonderful journey with children.
Please visit to know more about the photobook.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

White Chocolate-Macadamia Cookies

Ask me what I miss the most while on the low-carb diet. It's not the rice, not the pasta, not so much the fruits or candy. What I miss the most is baking--the act of baking. 

Since I can not eat the sweet goodies and the sumptuous breads I used to bake on a regular basis, I have also put my baking projects on the side. Oh how I miss it, I can't begin to explain! So, just to reminisce a bit, I am sharing with you one of my favorite cookie recipes: White Chocolate Macadamia.

 Best served with milk!

This is my family's favorite among the cookies I make. The dough itself is not so sweet, but when you bite into the parts with the white chocolate, it creates the perfect blend of sweetness. The macadamia nuts are also my favorite and its texture and saltiness is a good contrast to the soft and chewy dough. 

Baking this recipe is not the easiest thing. The dough is huge (just look at the 2 blocks of butter below!), extra sticky and a bit heavy to handle. If you're not too careful during baking, it's also easy to pull out the cookies too early or too late and be left with a cookie that is either too soft or not as soft as you intend. Make sure to check it before pulling it out from the oven because the cookies may need a minute or two more or less than stated, sometimes depending on your oven temperature.

But don't worry about all these intricacies. You'll master them in no time. All the hard work will pay off once you receive comments, praises, smiles, hugs, tears, and all the superlatives that are inevitably on your way after sharing these cookies.

Here is the original website where you can get more excellent cookie recipes!  And without further ado, here is the recipe.

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie Recipe
Makes 60 cookies, using a 1 tablespoon scooper 
Divide the recipe in half if needed

  •     1 pound (2 cups) butter, room temperature
  •     1 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  •     1 cup granulated sugar
  •     3 large eggs, room temperature
  •     1 tablespoon vanilla
  •     4 1/4 cup all purpose white flour
  •     2 teaspoons baking soda
  •     1 teaspoon salt
  •     2 cups (12 ounce bag) white chocolate chips or chunks
  •     1 1/4 cup (4 ounces) macadamia nuts, roasted and chopped

  •     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  •     Line baking sheets with parchment paper. No need to grease.
  •     Measure flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and blend together. Set aside.
  •     In a large mixing bowl, preferably a heavy-duty mixer, and using the paddle or beater attachment, beat butter until creamy.

  •     Add brown sugar and beat again. Scrape down the bowl and add the granualted sugar. Beat until fluffy.
  •     Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  •     Add vanilla, beat and scrape again.
  •     On low speed, add flour mixture 2 cups at a time, and mix well.
  •     Mix in white chocolate and macadamia nuts. Mix only until blended.
  •     Using a cookie scoop, place dough on prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly to allow for spreading.
  •     Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Do NOT over bake these cookies. They continue to bake for a few minutes after they are removed from the oven.
  •     Transfer to cooling racks. Store in air tight container or plastic bag to stay soft and moist.


Saturday, October 08, 2011

Lisa Macuja's Swan Song Series

Last night, my mom, sister and I trooped to the Aliw Theater to catch the beginning of  Lisa Macuja's Swan Song Series. A "swan song series" is a ballet dancer's last performances of his/her signature ballets. Lisa, one of the Philippines' prima ballerina, is set to ease into retirement within the period of three years, with swan performances of Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote and Giselle. You can read more about it here.

Few people know that I was once a budding ballet dancer myself. I studied ballet from age five to 12, and with all modesty aside (which I have so little of), I was one of the top students of my class. I was just about to transition to point shoes when my teacher in JASMS left and I was forced to enroll in another ballet school where, I guess in hindsight, I was not able to adjust very well. It was also about this time that my interest and talent in playing volleyball blossomed and so I let go of dancing ballet. Although I don't regret any of this, I find myself smiling when I imagine what my life would have been if I continued on my ballet journey. We'll never know, I guess.

So, it goes without saying that, my interest in the art of ballet is deeply rooted in my heart. My mom also took us to see Maniya Barredo's (Philippine's first prima ballerina) final performance of Giselle. I also had the privilege of meeting Lisa Macuja when I was 10 or 11 after her performance of Darna at the CCP. So, when I heard about Lisa's swan song series, I vowed to catch every performance.

I'm not really in the mood nor do I have the ability to give a full review. But let me say this: Lisa Macuja is divine in her performance of the twin roles of White and Black Swan. She deserved every second the overly-extended curtain call at the end of the performance. If there was anything to start her swan song series with, she did it right by starting with Swan Lake. 

Her next performance is on October 21 and 22 for Romeo and Juliet.

Here is Lisa Macuja's own account of her Swan Lake experience throughout her career.
Very interesting read!
Goodbye, Swan Lake... Hello, Swan Song Series