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Thursday, September 24, 2015


It’s my birthday in 6 days! Waaahh! I will be turning 32.  You know what? I still feel like 22.  Nothing has changed  except that I am now stouter (haha) and yes, wiser.  But, on second thought, I realized that  in ten years, so much has changed.  I am now a wife. I am now a mother.   I am now a civil servant.  What else? I have surpassed failures. I have made genuine friendships.  I have nurtured old friendships.   I have become a better daughter (weh) and sister and aunt.   

I have always looked forward to my birthday. I grew up in a family where birthdays are special days.  My mom would always make me feel special on my birthday. Hindi uso sa amin ang birthday party noon kasi we couldn’t afford it.  Ang ginagawa ni Mama, she would cook and pack spaghetti  and would let me deliver the packed spaghetti to my aunts and uncles.  It was like an it’s-my-birthday reminder. And it worked. Pag-uwi ko, ang dami ko nang  pera. Haha.  Actually, it is a family tradition.  My cousins did  it.  My younger cousins are still doing it.  We also had this “birthday immunity.” Hindi pinapagalitan. Hindi inaaway. Hindi pinapahugas ng pinggan.  Special talaga.  
(Why do I feel like crying while typing this?)

When I moved to Manila and got married, my birthday has become an ordinary day…an ordinary working day.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always felt happy and grateful on the day of my birthday.  Hindi nga lang special.  Perhaps because I’m used to the way I celebrate my birthday back in Naga. Perhaps because I’m used to my parents’ sweetness.  Perhaps because I married a “not so sweet” man who prefers to give me shopping money than to buy gifts for me. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it. I do. I really do. And in fairness to my husband, he also tries to be sweet.  He is sweet in his own special way.   Siguro OA lang talaga expectation kaya palagi akong nasusurprise.   “Surprise! Walang Surprise!”  Haha. 

Still, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he’s really sweet and he just don’t know how to show it.  So, for his benefit, I am posting stuff that may he may “utilize” to show his sweetness. Lol.

1. Convection Oven
photo from

 2.  Food Steamer (any brand will do)

photo from

3. H&M Rug
photo from H&M website

4.  Overnight stay at Summit Magnolia Hotel. (I read positive feedbacks about this hotel.)

photo from

Thanks for reading my kababawan!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Baby C's COC Themed First Birthday Party

Baby C just turned 1 last September 11.  Indeed, time flies so fast.  Our darling girl is now a toddler! She’s becoming more malikot err curious. Ang dami niya na ding tricks. Haha. And she continues to amaze us every day.  She continues to make us so happy.  She continues to be the reason why I am sometimes late to work or why I sometimes do “undertime”.  She’s so adorable that leaving her is an everyday struggle.  I wish our office would provide a day care center  as part of its Gender Awareness Development program.   It can be done, right?

To celebrate the gift  that the Guy up there has given us, we threw a party at my parents’ house in  Naga City. It was a simple party. It was just family, it was intimate  but,  I cannot say that it was a  “small party”.  My husband and I belong to a big and tight-knit  family kaya pamilya pa lang, barangay na. Haha.   As my sister-in-law said, “Expect for 100 (or more) guests or do not host a party at all.”   She’s so right. 

As planned, the theme was Clash of Clans.

dessert bar

I prepared 25 loot bags and 25 prizes for the games.

My niece arranging the graham balls she made

The program was held at our garahe.

The party coordinators/stylists

Because of my desire to feed and entertain 100 (more or less) guests with a limited budget, I DIYd everything, from planning to execution, of course with the help of my kapamilya.  Mag clown lang ata ang hindi ko ginawa. Haha.     It was tiring  but it was exciting and fun.  Uulitin ko pa ba? Hindi na siguro.  Hahaha. 

All in all, I spent 15k (more or less). I was not able to do an exact accounting  but the details below will somehow make you believe that I pulled off a Birthday Party at 15k (more or less).

Food Served
5 kgs. Filipino Style Spaghetti
1 kg Pesto Pasta
2 kgs hotdog on stick
15 kgs fried chicken
3 kgs lumpia shanghai
5 kgs. Chicken hamonado (gift)
2 gallons ice cream (gift)
50 pieces cupcakes (gift from my SIL)
3 chiffon cakes
Juice and Softdrinks
Birthday Cake (gift from my SIL) - Carla's Cake (09256722752)

I think I spent P8,000  on food. 

Entertainment  - Ms. Helen's Party Favors (09193241630)
Clown – P1500
Face Paint – P1500
Tables and Chairs – P1000
Lootbags/Candies/Decoration – P3000 (more or less)
Labor – Labor of Love
My daughter threw a tantrum during the party. I think she was overwhelmed, and the clown and the noise frightened her.   Yes. She definitely did not enjoy the party.  It’s okay. In the first place, the party was not for her to enjoy. Haha. Sino ba sa atin ang naenjoy ang ating 1st birthday?  However, I am hoping that when she grows up and looks at her birthday pictures, she would see her parents’ joy  and it’s all because of her.   

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Not So Authentic Bicol Express

I am from  the land of the Oragons (The oldies consider this word vulgar.  So, I never use it at home.)  I am a Bicolana, NagueƱa specifically.  I transferred to Metro Manila in 2010 and until now, I am still not used to big city living.   If I only had a choice, I would want to live in Naga for the rest of my life. I would want to raise Baby C  there.  Without being regionalistic, I believe Naga City is such a great place to live in.  It’s a place where you can find “balance”.   It’s still not polluted.   You  can still find trees and  vast agricultural land.  The traffic is not that heavy.  The cost of living is not that high. Case in point, pedicab fare  there is only P5.   Naga City is also not “so probinsya”.  May SM kaya doon. Lol.   Hotels and banks are everywhere.  And if you’re a party spirited animal, I assure you that  boredom will never set in.  And yes, the food is just soooo good.   Oh well, taste  is relative.  However, if you dig spicy food or any food with gata, you’ll definitely concur.   It is in Bicol where Bicol Express came from (as what the name of the dish suggests lol).  Honestly, I was a bit surprised when I found out that Bicol Express is considered as a main dish here in Manila.  In Bicol, it’s only a side dish or pampagana.   Bicol Express Manila Style looks different too. 

  So, how would you know if the Bicol Express is authentic? 
1.        It’s HOT!  FREAKING HOT.  If it’s not sooooo  hot and spicy, it’s not Bicol Express.
2.       It doesn’t have a sauce.  The only liquid you should see is  the oil rendered by the gata and pork fat. 
3.       It has more chillies and shrimp paste than pork. Karne ang sahog, not the other way around. 

Last night, I tried to cook this famous dish. I wanted it to be our ulam, not just a pampagana, so, I added more pork.  Here’s the recipe.

½ kilo pork, menudo cut
2 cups uncooked  bagoong alamang (washed and drained)
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Ginger, julienned
15 pieces siling pansigang, sliced
5 siling labuyo, sliced
1 coconut (coconut milk and coconut cream)
Patis, as needed

1.       Saute the garlic and ginger until fragrant.  Then add the onion until translucent.
2.       Add the pork. Cook until the pork turns light.
3.       Add the bagoong. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
4.       Pour in the coconut milk (second extract).  Let it simmer until it evaporates and the dish  becomes a little bit dry.
5.       Pour  in the coconut cream (1st extract or kakang gata) and bring it to a boil.  Let it simmer.  Put fish sauce, if necessary. 

6.       Add the chillies (both siling haba and siling labuyo).
7.       Put a dash of sugar.
8.       Let it simmer until the gata renders coconut oil.  
9.       Serve with steamed rice and enjoy!