Monday, September 28, 2015

Prayer for Our Children

Sharing with all of you this beautiful prayer for our children. Every time I read it, feeling ko bumabait ako. Thanks to Architect Ana Ling, for sharing this with me. Because of this, I am reminded to be more patient and to practice at being a better parent, heehee.

I don't know the title of the prayer book, but I was told by Oliver Dexter Sy of Quirks Marketing that it is available at St. Paul Bookstore. I'll let you know when I find it! ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

SMART Infinity Brings Les Misérables to Manila + A Trifecta of Treats

"Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye!"

Actually, I'm going to look you in the eye and tell it to you straight, SMART Infinity is bringing Les Misérables to Manila, this March 2016! 

Cameron Mackintosh's acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schonberg's legendary musical finally lands here, and SMART Infinity users are offered FIRST DIBS to ticket purchasing and a 10% discount, from September 29 to October 29, 2015.

Non-Infinity users still have a chance to enjoy privileges of course, just subscribe to Plan 5000 or Plan 8000 and you get two (2) VIP Orchestra tickets, a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and your choice of PAL Mabuhay Miles/Purple Card/Switch gift cards plus a free download of the entire soundtrack of Les Misérables via Spinnr. This offer is also available when members opt for the latest Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

A theatrical showcase, fancy phones and shopping/travel - if that doesn't make an Infinity subscriber special, I don't know what else will.

According to Julie Carceller, Head of SMART Infinity, "SMART Infinity has always been about the unique lifestyle it provides befitting the most discerning clientele. In a nutshell, it's all about the eloquence and grandeur of the world of privileges it brings along with the best and latest handheld devices."

She's talking about the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and the Samsung Note 5 of course.

"The latest Samsung devices, the S6 Edge Plus and the Note 5 have arrived in style via SMART Infinity. We want our subscribers to know that we are pairing the latest devices with options that address your chosen passion." offered James Chi, marketing manager of SMART Infinity.

And speaking of passion, Julie Carceller invited National Artist, the master of Philippine contemporary art no less, Bencab onstage to demonstrate how art and technology can merge seamlessly in true SMART Infinity style. Seeing him onstage, drawing Sabel, a recurring character in his body of work, was breathtaking. I was in awe the entire time and couldn't peel my eyes off the screen.

Completing the trifecta of unparalleled perks available to SMART Infinity subscribers is TRAVEL. 

The SMART Infinity travel tradition allows its members uninterrupted connectivity and data usage while enjoying travel perks, such as getting as much as Php46,000 worth of PAL Mabuhay Miles for  Plan 5000 and Plan 8000. 

These miles can be used for travel to PAL destinations such as Singapore, Japan, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Melbourne, San Francisco, LA or London OR for upgrades to business class. 

Miles are transferable too. Plus, more good news! By December 1, Philippine Airlines will be flying to Cairns, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand from Manila.

*For Plan 5000 and Plan 8000 get the the Note 5 or Edge+ for free plus SSI Purple Gift Cards/Switch Gift Cards/PAL Mabuhay Miles. Note that Plan 8000 gets both the Note 5 or Edge+ for free.

Visit the SMART Infinity website to see the latest plans, exclusive experiences and perks available to subscribers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cibo Cooking at Home

How? Enroll at Cibo, Buon Compleanno by Casa Artusi of course!

When Chris Yam Daez told me about the class, and then Kris de Guzman shared the poster with me and our friend Jen too, I took it as a sign to, well, sign up for a class. We love dining at Cibo and the thought of being able to cook the same dishes at home? Winner!

Class photo! Well, just with my front row seatmates heehee

Kris and I excitedly went together,  and Chris came early to save us seats. We sat at the table right in front of this big wheel of parmagiano reggiano.

Behind which was Gaita Fores of Cibo herself.

OMG, even before the class started, we were already so thrilled, just being there.

First things first. Here are some of the reasons why Cibo makes the yummiest pastas in town:

They use the juiciest ripe tomatoes to make stewed tomatoes from scratch

The pesto is made by hand using a mortar and pestle. Food processor pesto on the left, hand mortared pesto on the right.

No palengke rock salt here, even the salt is Italian at Cibo

Don't get me started on the butter. I can lick this whole can clean. So creamy with just the right hint of saltiness, I can slather this on warm crusty bread and never leave the table.

Our class was from 2 pm to 5:30 pm and in that span of time, I learned about the history of Casa Artusi, the ingredients used at Cibo and Grace Park and where to buy them (mostly from Bacchus), how to make stewed tomatoes and sauteed mushrooms, the benefits of pasta water, how to reconstitute pasta, and of course, how to cook five of Cibo's best selling pasta dishes:

Penne al Telefono

Farfalle alla Genovese

Rigatoni all'Alfonso

Spaghettini alla Pescatora

Lingiuine alla Ghiotta 

Let me tell you, none of the food hacks recipes online have gotten close to how these are made. But they are all so deceptively simple, you'd be surprised at how easy they are to make. 

Bottomline is, you just need to use the best, and freshest ingredients. I'll share with you the recipe for Penne al Telefono, but won't share the recipes for the rest because well, I'd rather you go and sign up for a Casa Artusi class instead to get the full experience! ;) 

Cibo Penne al Telefono

750 ml cooking cream
2 tablespoons butter
340 grams penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
120 grams stewed tomatoes
30 grams mozzarella cheese, cubed
freshly ground nutmeg
chili flakes
20 grams white cheese/kesong puti
fresh basil leaves
salt, to taste
grated Parmesan cheese, to finish
extra virgin olive oil, to finish
bread, to serve

Preparation: In a pan, pour whipping cream and add butter. Stir until sauce thickens. Add the stewed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add the cheeses and pasta. Toss. Tear fresh basil leaves and add to the pan, along with nutmeg and chili flakes. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to plate. Top with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with bread.

Here's a Bonus! Gaita's tomato salad recipe: Cut up tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and top off with basil leaves. Quick and easy, you can just imagine how simple the pasta recipes are, taking off from here.

I've tried cooking the Penne al Telefono and Linguini alla Ghiotta for Dada and the kids at home, and both were certified hits, I am so excited to have them try the rest. 

The class is Php4,500 per session, but it's time and money well-spent. At the very least, I can say I am Gaita Fores and Casa Artusi certified! Heehee.
Chris, Kris and I with Gaita Fores, proudly brandishing our certificates!

That said, you ought to know the next class is on September 26, at Ascott BGC. To reserve a slot, email or text/call  Marga at +63 905 445 9643. 

Stay peeled to the Casa Artusi Facebook Page to learn more of their activities. I hope they teach us how to make the Cibo potato chips next time.

For more on Casa Artusi in the Philippines, visit and Like the Casa Artusi Philippines Facebook Page

To reserve a slot for the September 26 class at Ascott BGC, email or text/call  Marga at +63 905 445 9643.

Friday, September 18, 2015

5 Tips for Holiday Shopping + Mango Kids Fall Fashion

Berry loves dressing up and shopping for clothes, that's not a secret.

Xavi enjoys dressing up too, in fact, he chooses his own clothes for school now. One thing I've realized though, it's not a good idea to dress up preschoolers when they've just woken up from a nap. Case in point, this:

Berry and Xavi are dressed head to toe in Mango Kids

Heehee! There's no denying though that even with Xavi's sungit face, they both look so chic! That said, with September drawing to a close, we've got to face the inevitable. Holiday shopping!

Here are some tips I've learned when shopping for kids clothes for the holidays.

1. Buy separates

While that long sleeved dress looks so adorable, sometimes it may not be worth spending on. It may be too warm, too itchy, or just plain uncomfortable. I've learned it makes better sense to just buy a dress, and a cardigan separately. The cardigan may also be matched with a top and jeans or other dresses, so there's more bang for your buck!

sparkly silver cardigan, tulle dress and pink flats, all from Mango Kids

2. Know what your child likes. 

In Berry's case, tutu inspired dresses are always a winner.  If your daughter is a girly girl like mine, she can never have too many tulle dresses. Sometimes I try to buy according to my taste, but in the end, she would hardly wear it, if at all. That's money down the drain. I've realized I am better off just letting her choose for herself, or choosing something based on what she'd like, even if I have to reign in my desire to control. Heehee. 

Berry can wear this Mango dress with tights, ballet shoes, a tiara, fairy wings and a wand, and it's an instant Halloween costume!

Now boys are easy to shop for. Maybe just get clothes in colors they like, and make sure the fabric and construction can take the rough and tumble of being worn by active little guys.

3. Buy what's practical.

Even if the dress has been merchandised to be worn with pink shoes, I would buy shoes she can wear outside of special occasions. Hence, choosing black flats instead of the ballerina pink ones. This pair of black ballerinas may be worn with all her other dresses, with shorts and trousers, and may even be worn to school. Win-win.

This pair has subtly sparkly elastics so it's not just any old pair of boring black flats. Better yet, they're comfy too

4. Buy a size bigger.

When in doubt, always buy a size bigger. It's easier to knot the straps, temporarily shorten hem lengths or stuff a shoe with extra insoles, or wear it with thicker socks than buy something that will only be worn twice or thrice and then outgrown.

Mango Kids blue suede booties for boys

5. Buy quality.

Many parents think it's not worth spending on children's clothes. I believe in spending on quality. My kids may not have a lot of clothes, but they are all made well, and built to last, such as these ones from Mango Kids. Enough to be passed on not just to younger siblings, but to much younger cousins as well.

That said, don't discount hand-me-downs! I don't think kids are kawawa if they have to wear hand me downs. I gladly accept my friends' kids' clothes, and I pass on pre-loved clothes to family and friends. It's a happy cycle! 

To see more of MANGO Kids Fall fashion, follow @mangokids on Instagram, or better yet, visit MANGO Kids in Glorietta 2, Mall of Asia, SM BF Paranaque, Trinoma, Ayala Cebu and the newly opened store in Eastwood.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

H&M Holiday 2015

the H&M showroom gets cozy for the Holidays

Oh gosh, it's that time of year again. Who's ready for the holidays? I know I'm not!

Although admittedly, it's hard to get Scrooge-y when you're faced with warm Gingerbread Man cookies and a DIY ornament corner by Craft Manila.

Add to that, Holiday decorating suggestions from H&M.

Last year, I had a wishlist of items I wanted to get from the H&M Holiday Collection, and I was able to buy them all save for one. This year gets scarier because just look at how much more options there are now. You can actually go by theme: classic red, rustic silver or sophisticated gold.

Then again, the living room vignette at the H&M showroom managed to combine all three themes together into a look that's festive and yet clean.

So who says you can't mix and match, especially when you can afford to get them all because H&M Home is so affordable. Some of the items from the Home Holiday collection are out  now, but the rest should be trickling into H&M Home stores soon.

Don't forget to check out the Autumn/Winter 2015 Collection for kids and the A/W 2015 Studio Collection as well. They're perfect for Holiday dressing!

H&M Home is available at SM Makati and Robinsons Magnolia.

P.S. Watch out for H&M Cebu, opening very soon!

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Fact or Myth? Oral Health Care Trivia with Colgate

Did you know that when brushing teeth, we should angle toothbrush bristles along the gumline at 45° for optimal reach?

make sure to brush for two minutes, read this and watch this video on how to brush properly

It might be interesting for you to know too that while we all think candies and sweets are the enemy, this is a MYTH.

Its actually the acids produced by bacteria in our mouth that causes cavities. That said, any carbohydrates we eat can start that process. This includes sugar, rice, potatoes, bread, fruits and vegetables. Yes, and that's a FACT.

Ok, here's one more! Did you know the ideal length of dental floss is 20 inches?

It should be long enough to use a fresh section for each tooth. Ideally, it should be waxed because to help remove plaque and debris stuck between teeth and below the gum-line, polish tooth surface and control bad breath. So, wag tipirin!

See, I made a visual pa, so you won't forget!

So here I was thinking I knew everything I should be doing to take care of my kids' teeth (especially after that episode with Berry) but Colgate's Oral Care Quiz-off at Seda BGC shattered my confidence. Haha.

The afternoon was a treasure trove of information for us moms, and that afternoon of myth busting, sorting out misconceptions, and a refresher on useful trivia about kids’ oral care reminded me there is still much to remember!

Glowie Robillo, Digital Marketing and Public Relations Manager of Colgate-Palmolive Philippines, asked the most common but confusing questions about oral health

Are you ready for more? Take this quiz, and see how well versed you are in oral care. Answers at the bottom.

Colgate’s resident dentists, Dr. Bong David, Dr. Louie Quiambao and Dr. Noel Luna, as well as the BSBF/Public Health/Professional Oral Care Digital Manager, Diomar Escat where there to bust myths and answer all our questions about proper oral health care

1. True or False. It is best to rinse with a non-alcohol based mouthwash immediately after brushing.

2. True or False. The acidity of your food or drink must be considered before brushing your teeth.

3. The incidence of cavities among Filipino children is:
  • a. 3 out 10 
  • b. 5 out of 10 
  • c. 7 out of 10 
  • d. 9 out of 10
4. There are ____ types of bacteria species living in the oral cavity:
  • a. 500-650 
  • b. 600-750 
  • c. 700-850 
  • d. over a thousand
5. True or False. Mouthwash takes care of the spaces inside the mouth that your toothbrush cannot reach.

6. True or False. Tooth stains are only caused by external factors

Diomar Escat of Colgate shares that the two most common oral healthcare problems in the country are dental caries and periodontal disease. These may be avoided by teaching kids who are entering school age proper oral health care and instiling a positive oral health behavior

Answer Key:

1. FALSE. Fluoride in toothpaste will be washed away after gargling with mouthwash or even water for that matter. Just spit out toothpaste, no need to rinse! Also, it is better to rinse with mouthwash before brushing to soften plaque and loosen particles in between teeth.

2. TRUE. Because of the acidic nature of the food we eat or beverage we drink, the outermost portion of the tooth becomes porous. Immediate brushing can cause enamel abrasions, exposing the dentin causing tooth sensitivity.

3. 9 out of 10 grade 1 public school kids have cavities. If you read this blog, you'd know that by now. Heehee.

4. 500 to 650 types of bacteria live in the oral cavity - one of the main reasons for bad breath. Most people only host between 34-72 different varieties. Most are harmless, some even protect our teeth and gums, some are known as probiotics which are good bacteria that aid digestion. This is why it is better to use non-alcohol based mouthwash, because we don't want to kill good bacteria.

5. TRUE. Mouthwash takes care of the spaces inside the mouth that toothbrush cannot reach. Mouthwash with fluoride will help reduce cavities and periodontal disease.

6. FALSE. There are two types of tooth stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of the teeth. These are cased by dark-colored food, coffee, tea, wine, tobacco, and wear tear. Minor ones can be removed with brushing and prophylaxis. Stubborn ones may require bleaching.  Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals like tetracycline and excessive ingestion of fluoride.

So. How well did you score?

Whether you got a perfect score, or need to literally brush up on your oral health care knowledge, here are a couple more tips for you, most of which I've also shared here and here:

- Retain the milk teeth as much as possible. It serves as a guide to erupting permanent teeth to prevent misalignment of permanent teeth
- Bring your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. Bring your child to your own dentist appointments so that he becomes familiar with the surroundings. This helps alleviate their fear of the dentist and the dental chair
- Baby teeth can get cavities that spread to other teeth if left untreated
- Once you get a cavity filled, the decay spot is removed. If you take care of teeth, decay that was filled will most likely stay clear
- Children under the age of 2 should use a smear of fluoride toothpaste. Those aged 2 to 5 years old should use a pea-sized amount
- Aspirin placed next to a tooth does NOT help a toothache. You need to swallow it to ease pain. Aspirin is acidic and could burn gum tissue and cause abscess if placed next to a tooth. 
- Orthodontic treatment can begin as early as 6 or 7 years old. At this age, certain conditions such as crowding, cross bites and protruding front teeth are easier to address.

Colgate has made it their mission to keep parents abreast about the importance of proper oral health for them and the rest of the family. Visit the Oral Health Center, for more information on Colgate products and Tips on proper Oral Care.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Ladurée Manila!

Yes, for real. Last week, Ladurée opened at 8 Rockwell, that new building between One Rockwell and the Ateneo Law School.

I went with my friends Kath, Maymay and Didi right after the Maarte Fair. (Special thanks to Kath and Tito Jappy, Kath's uncle, who allowed us to join in on the fun during Friends and Family day. Heehee.) It was perfect timing too, because Berry brought home a merit award from school, and I managed to reward her with a box of her favorite macarons. Yay!

Whenever we travel, Donya Beriray makes it a point to pick up a box of French macarons, so it really is the sort of treat she only gets to enjoy rarely. Lagot ako when she finds out that Ladurée is finally here. She'd want me to take her to the store.

It's so pretty. So much bigger than Ladurée in Singapore and Hong Kong. Filled with everything one would expect at Ladurée.

There are the macaron towers which you may pre-order as well as other sweet treats and teas:

macarons, sweets and teas

Teas or thé are sold individually

or as an assortment of three

Gift items:

a pop-up book

key chains

shopping totes (these retail for about Php1700 for the large one, less for the smaller one)

more totes and candles as well as room scents

Plus a whole host of other items like jellies, jams and caramel spreads, as well as chocolates and all sorts of no-fail hostess gifts.

All my friends have been asking me what price points are like, so here goes:

A macaron retails for Php150 a piece. If you order it in a soft box, then it comes out to Php150 a piece. So, a box of 12 is Php1,800.

It comes out more expensive when you order it with a gift box, but it gets cheaper as you order more. I bought a box of 6 for Berry and I paid Php1,200 (Php200/pc) for it. A box of 18 is Php2,860 (about Php159/pc). A box of 24 is Php3,790 (about Php158/pc).

Price wise, pricing isn't too far off from HK and SG. I can't remember how much it is exactly, but if my memory serves me well, it's about SGD4 (Php132) a piece in Singapore and HKD26 (Php158) in Hong Kong. 

Yes, it's mahal. But at least we don't have to travel or rely on pasalubong, or the kindness of family and friends to pick up a box of Ladurée macarons for us when they travel back home!

About Ladurée:

It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a miller from the southwest of France, founded a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale. In 1871, a fire in the bakery opened the opportunity to transform it into a pastry shop. The decoration of the pastry shop was entrusted to Jules Cheret, a famous turn-of-the-century painter and poster artist. 

The Ladurée macaron was introduced middle of the 20th century with Pierre Desfontaines, who first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a delicious ganache filling. The recipe has not changed since, and it is said that 15,000 of these macarons are sold everyday.

Today, Ladurée has gone beyond its signature macarons to offer chocolates, teas, gift items, and a beauty line as well.
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