5.28.2012

Last Two Minutes!



I can almost hear the basketball game announcer in my head as he announces the last two minutes.... Last two minutes before the Starbucks Happy Hour Promo officially ends. We arrived in a Starbucks Cafe at around 5:30pm and man was the line long! That was when we found out that the 50% off the Frappuccino promo which started last April officially ends today at exactly 6pm. Berto and I have an excuse, we didn't know that today's the last day. We just felt like drinking coffee. The other guys in line however were there for the promo. We overheard them talking, saying how they ran over from their offices just to beat the 6pm cut-off. Hmmm. That means they're working nearby, and they could've just gone earlier but no, they had to beat the deadline. Typical pinoy? You bet. I've been guilty of this 'last minute' trait too. Oh well.

At 6:10 the baristas burst into a countdown: 5..4..3..2..1! Promo is officially over ( they generously gave a 10 minute allowance for late-comers) Guess what? At around 6:20 two ladies came sauntering in, lazily placed their orders and were shocked to find out that promo is over. Um... 6:20pm ladies...check your watches... If you wanted your Frappuccino at half the price, you should've come earlier, before the buzzer sounded... Sorry no game overtime... Now pay up, full price.

5.26.2012

How to Cook Simple Yet Delicious Stir Fried Veggies

Operative word here is simple, since I get too flustered and nervous when I cook. After all, I have growling stomachs waiting for me and my dishes, I just get too pressured. Berto, on the other hand, loves to cook. He hails from a family of good cooks, plus he genuinely enjoys the whole process of planning the dish, buying and preparing the ingredients and finally slaving over the hot stove. A few years into the marriage, we have come to an unspoken agreement that he’d do the cooking while I do the eating…and the customary praising of his good culinary skills.

Earlier today though, out of the blue, I remembered that when Berto and I were first married I used to do all the cooking for him. Since he had no other choice but to consume my cooking or die of hunger, he often told me that my cooking was good. Yes, my Berto loves me so much that he would lie just to make his insecure wife happy! =)

So I decided to cook, for old time’s sake. I resolved to cook something healthy and simple…

Here is my recipe for Delicious Stir Fried Veggies!

By the way, here is my wonderful assistant helping me with my ingredients:


Ingredients:
Garlic and Onions
Togue (bean sprouts)
Carrots (strips)
Cabbage (strips)
Bell Pepper (strips)
*sometimes groceries sell sliced mixed veggies. Make sure to keep an eye out for spoiled parts. Clean carefully.
Pork Meat
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil
Salt, Sugar and Ground Pepper to taste

Instructions:
Clean vegetables thoroughly. Heat a non-stick pan and put in the sesame seeds. Shake the pan occasionally. Remove the seeds when they darken and become fragrant. Next, sauté the garlic and onion until onion becomes translucent. 


Put in the meat and stir until it changes color. Season with salt and pepper. Once meat is tender, the mix in the vegetables. 

Stir and add a generous amount of sesame seed oil. It makes the dish so fragrant! Season with sugar, pepper and salt according to your taste. 


Turn off the heat and serve in a bowl. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on the vegetables. This is both for presentation and for taste. Voila! All that took less than 30 minutes!


It was delicious! No lie there, haha after all, one has to love her own!  I am encouraged to give cooking one more try. Maybe next weekend! 

Give this simple stir fry dish a try and let me know how it goes!

5.25.2012

Our 11th Anniversary at Yakimix!

Berto and I celebrated our 11th anniversary by doing something we both love very much, EAT! We went to Yakimix in SM Masinag. We have seen this restaurant before when we’d go to that mall, but we never went in, we figured that once you’ve been to an eat-all-you-can buffet, you’ve seen them all. Believe me, we’ve had our share of buffet binges in our time. These love handles didn’t just appear out of nowhere.  For our anniversary however, we thought eating in Jollibee or KFC seems too simple, so we decided to give Yakimix a shot.


When we entered this resto, we were quite impressed with its interiors. It was very elegant, you’d think it was a fine dining restaurant. This restaurant boasts of Japanese, Cantonese and Korean fares. You might want to plan before you go because you wouldn’t want to find it closed. Lunch is served from 11:00am to 2:30pm everyday, while dinner starts from 5:30pm to 10:30pm. Lunch buffet costs P499 on weekdays and P580 on weekends. For children below four feet, they can get in at a lower P380 per head. Bottomless drinks cost an additional P65. We were there early so we didn’t have any trouble getting a booth, but I  hear people need to wait for some time before they can get seated. Rest assured though that the wait is surely worth it.


Berto is the official cook in our family and inside Yakimix is no different.  He happily went off loading our plates with seafoods and meats of various kinds. I went off to the Japanese table and loaded on different kinds of maki and sushi. I never would’ve imagined there would be so many kinds! Berto got us some beef sukiyaki too. It was delicious! We started cooking while snacking on some maki. It’s true what they said, the grills are smokeless! They have some sort of fan that sucked in the smoke away from the diners.

 

           





By the way, for those who do not have the interest or patience to cook, there are cooked dishes for you guys too like tempura, mussels and broccoli & cheese. 

Don’t forget to leave room for dessert, you can eat all you can too! We just had ice cream, my stomach just couldn’t accommodate anything heavier!


Berto and Kwala verdict: We loved the great variety of food choices, there are so many! Food were tasty and the grill was non-stick so no need to use cubes and cubes of butter. Staff are courteous and helpful. While we were there, someone was celebrating her birthday and the staff came out complete with tamborines singing the birthday song. It was all good fun except not a single one of them was smiling! Tsk tsk! Seems they just wanted to get it over with.  I really loved the smokeless grill! You can have a heavy lunch here and go back to work not smelling like a kitchen crew! 

We had a great time there, it is a good place to bring your family for some good old bonding over food and laughter. 

Visit YakiMIX at:

Greenbelt 3
3/F Greenbelt 3, Makati City (Besides Red Box)
(02) 998-8039 / 475-5153 to 54
Open everyday from 11:00am ~ 2:00pm and 5:30pm ~ 11:00pm           
                          
Tomas Morato
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
{02) 332-8073 / 393-9100
Open everyday from 11:00am ~ 2:00pm and 6:00pm ~ 11:00pm         
                                                                 
SM Mall of Asia
G/F SM Mall of Asia, Entertainment Mall
(02) 836-1535 to 37         
                                                                                                                                 
SM City Masinag
G/F, SM City Masinag, Marcos Highway, Brgy. Mayamot, Antipolo City, Rizal
(02) 781-4182             
                                                                                                                                     
Trinoma Mall
4/F Trinoma Mall, EDSA cor. North Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila
(02) 861-1718                                                                                                              

The Podium
5/F, The Podium, 18 ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
(02) 634-0302

Diosdado Macapagal
BC25, Hobbies of Asia, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City
(02) 387-8120    

5.24.2012

Why We Were Away...And Stuff That Happened While We Were Gone

Well, actually we weren't . We've been here as always and I have been trying to post stuff here on our blog but our internet connection just won't cooperate. It's so frustrating! Yoohoo, PLDT DSL, something has got to be done, not only was our blogging life interrupted, our photography business too. We had a hard time posting photobooth pictures in online album; clients were getting impatient. Thankfully once we explained our situation, they were very understanding. We're lucky to have such nice clients.

What's new with us? Several things actually. Berto had a new opportunity open up for him. We are always grateful for windows opening :) Early this year, he left the corporate world to concentrate on our business. Now, he gets to do something else on the side. Additional income is always welcome in our family.

We also enrolled our little girl. This June, she is back to school as a kinder 2 pupil instead of a Prep student. Apparently, under the new K plus 12 education system, this is the effect on pre-school students. Tuition fees are expensive! Plus books plus school supplies! This year we really have to get her a new set of PE uniform. She has gotten too big for the old one, it is practically screaming for a replacement! I hope our princess enjoys school this year, we had some problems with bullies last year...

I spent the whole day yesterday stuck in a seminar. The great thing is that I was a seminar about writing. It's nice to go through some grammar rules that I've already forgotten. I got to meet this really nice girl from Ateneo who has been working for only two years, and she kept on harping about how she loved work and how she's competitive... I don't think I've ever felt that way. For me, work was just work. Here I am, working for almost 15 years, and I just can't wait for it to be over. I envy her. With that attitude, she'll go a long way, plus she's happy. What's success without fulfillment and happiness?

That was how our week went. How was yours?

5.17.2012

Tips on SEO Optimization for Blogs


Earlier today, my officemate J asked me all about blogs and how her blog can have a better chance of being found by search engines. Now I can not claim to be an expert, that would be farthest from the truth seeing that my blogs are pretty mediocre when it comes to page ranks, but I did share with her some things I have learned though the years of blogging.
  • Update blogs regularly. 2 to 3 times a week is the optimal schedule, better if you can make it daily. But make sure your posts has substance.
  • Write well, use correct grammar and spelling. Better to write in English. Blogs have a global reach, readers (and Google) might not understand your local tongue.
  • Pick a niche. It is always better if your blogs have a central topic/s. What do you like to write about? Some choose fashion and beauty products while others review techie gadgets. In our case, it's food, movies and travel. =)
  • Use keywords wisely. Always use at least one keyword in the title. Be careful not to overload your post with keywords though, Google hates this and you might be reprimanded with a lower page rank or worse, you can be banned! (this happened to one of my blogs) The higher the page rank, the better chances of showing up near the top spot on search engine results.
  • Include links to relevant sites. 
  • Comment on other blogs that are similar to your blog. Interact with other readers. Don't forget to leave a link back to your blog. This is a sort of invitation to other bloggers to come and visit your blog. More visitors, more commenters, the more chances of being loved by Google.
Right now, I have a page rank of one. Before, one of my blogs reached a PR of 3, however I failed to update it regularly and posts became keyword and ads laden that google noticed and demoted my rank to 0! Worse, it got banned for years. Google just refused to rank it! Thankfully, I fixed the problem by deleting the erring posts and posting relevant blog entries regularly. Finally, Google forgave me by bestowing upon my site a page rank of  1 after being snubbed for years and years! By the way, Google ranks the sites regularly -monthly I think, to keep bloggers on their toes, writing quality posts, steering clear from keyword overload.

Here's to hoping J launches her blog soon so I can link her up and leave comments on her posts. One can never have too many friends here in cyberspace! =)

5.13.2012

4th Genix Heat 'Em Up Car Show

Berto has always loved cars. His love affair with cars dates back in high school and first years in college when he first got his own car, a white Volkswagen we aptly named Buggy. I remember during our courtship days when he would pass by our place but would be too shy/intimidated by my parents to ring the door bell, he’d just pass by our street and I would know he was there just by the distinct sound Buggy made. I remember we attended our High School Dance in that car, but we had a driver back then because he was not yet old enough to drive on his own.

Berto makes sure we go to as many car shows as we can, although I can’t really appreciate them. I feel that once you’ve been to one crowded, eardrum-popping, chest-thumping, light-blinding, miniskirts galore car show, you’ve seen them all. Hubby doesn’t agree. He wants to go through rows and rows of vehicles which are all the same to me… but no, he would correct/lecture me saying this one has a different hood treatment, those have different headlights, these have bad-ass mags while these have sound systems that can blow down the little pigs’ house down. Ok…ok… whatever makes the hubby happy makes me happy so I gamely go to these shows with him.

 

Just this weekend, after doing some errands, we passed by the 4th Genix Carshow entitled Heat ‘Em Up. It ran from May 11-13 at the Carpark Level 4 of SM City Masinag. I didn’t even know that mall had a place for shows like these, sadly though there was no airconditioning and even the large industrial fans scattered around the venue couldn’t cool the place. Berto didn’t mind at all. There were various showcased rides pimped out to the nines, don’t ask me what brands and makes, I’m not a very observant person, and vehicles with four wheels all look alike to me. Berto was happy to note that the new Honda was on display but didn’t stay long at the Honda area because something already caught his eye, vintage Volkswagens. I guess you really can’t get over your first love. =) Here he is happily inspecting them.



Here’s one vehicle my friend A would love, she simply adores LV stuff! Haha! Too tacky for my taste though.


We didn’t stay that long because as I mentioned, the show really did heat us up, literally. I didn’t like the idea of being baked alive so after a few minutes, we left. Besides, there were not that many cars either, unlike the shows in Megamall or World Trade but it was enough to make the husband satisfy his car show craving. I guess we’ll be back again next year.


5.08.2012

Goto King and Queen



Berto and I have been craving for Goto for weeks now. It all started when we were on the way home, we noticed that there is a certain strip along Lamuan Street in Marikina where there were many stores selling goto. We started calling that strip "the goto lane". Then I had a brilliant idea, why not sample each and every gotohan along that lane and blog about the experience. Since eating was involved, Berto was on board! The more we talked about it, the more excited we got at trying all the the goto, tokwa't baboy etc.! There was a minor hitch in our plan, I wanted to eat goto as breakfast, and he wanted to eat it as a midnight snack. (I know, such a HUGE problem. haha). Since Berto is the official driver in this team, I couldn't go anywhere without him. That makes him winner by default I guess, so midnight snack it is.  So one night, we finally went out and bought goto, with extra laman please (that cost us additional P10 per order but so worth it!) It was so goooood. Berto added calamansi and that made the dish all the more delicious! Ok ok... I concede. Goto is yummy as a midnight snack! One store down, many more to go! 

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5.07.2012

High Blood!

Yes, this was Berto's blood pressure reading last Saturday. Imagine my panic! This is his all time high (as he proudly posted on his FB wall. Grrr!) He has been complaining of terrible headaches the past few days and we thought he was just coming down with a cold. I was just sick and the little one caught it too, we just thought it was his turn. After drinking the necessary cold medication, he still felt no relief. That's when I nagged him into taking his blood pressure reading. We purchased this Omron Blood Pressure Monitor more than 6 years ago, when we were advised by his doctor to monitor his blood pressure everyday. Being the obedient patient that he is, he only does it when he is not feeling good, otherwise the monitor just gathers dust in our cabinet. 

Last Saturday, after getting this reading, we rushed to the nearest drug store to buy Catapres, put it under his tongue and waited for it to dissolve. After a few minutes, we checked his blood pressure again and thankfully it was a slightly lower. He took another dose of Catapres and this brought his blood pressure lower, still far from normal, but lower. Berto said he felt the pressure ease from his head. Whew! 

I just wish hubby would listen to me when I remind him to watch what he eats and to get enough rest and exercise. Good thing he's now switched jobs and has gotten away from the former job's uber stressful environment. The past days he's been a good patient again, drinking his maintenance drugs for hypertension, staying away from fatty and salty foods... Here's to hoping this good behavior lasts...

5.05.2012

Amazing Avengers!

We wanted to avoid the crowd on the first day of showing so we watched the Avengers on the third day it was shown here in the Philippines. I read nothing but great review from those who already watched so both Berto and I were really excited to see it. I was a bit worried though since my expectations were high but I have to say, the movie delivered! It was good though that we saw the movie with a crowd that got the sense of humor of the movie, they laughed and reacted during times that they should. When we saw the movie a second time, (yeah we did, it was that good!) we were with a more "masa" crowd and the jokes and quips just flew over their heads, as in no reaction. That was when I proved that it was more fun to watch a movie with a reactive crowd. It had more effect, it seems suspenseful scenes are more suspenseful and funny ones are funnier. =)

Back to my story, both Berto and I loved the movie. I fell in love in Chris Hemsworth (Thor) all over again. Every character with their own conflicts and problems where highlighted... and they shone. When they were pitted against each other, the fight scenes were incredible!

As expected, there was a "surprise" scene after the credits rolled. I am no comics expert so I had no idea who the guy was, though he suspiciously looked like Hell Boy. I asked a cousin who's an expert and I promptly got a short  background about the mysterious figure. Aaahhh! It would surely make for an interesting Avengers 2.

Guess who welcomed us when the movie was over? The Avengers themselves! What a treat!


I wouldn't miss a photo op with Thor and Hawkeye. Sadly, I was taller than the Pinoy Thor so I had to bend my knees a bit...


Berto chose to have his picture taken with the macho Iron Man, impressive with actual lights on his palms, chest and eyes. The kid in Berto was just so elated... see him with his goofy grin? =)


I noticed a super hero in the crowd who was a bit out of place though... haha!


What? Watch Avengers for a third time??? Oh...why not? =)

5.04.2012

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa City

Last year, Berto and I celebrated our 10th year anniversary. We went on a Batangas trip visiting places, eating local fares.  Our first stop was Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Lipa City. This is the cite of Marian apparitions in 1948. A nun, Teresita Castillo saw a veiled lady in pure white, with a golden rosary on her hand, standing on what looked like clouds by the Carmel Monastery gardens. On September 14, 1948, the  first shower of rose petals occurred.


Locals call the church simply Carmel. The Monastery of our Lady of Mt. Carmel or lately the Monastery of Mary Mediatrix of all grace is a quiet spiritual refuge in the middle of Lipa City.



This simple staircase marked with flowers leads to the veranda overlooking the garden where the apparitions occurred. We were there on a weekday, so we were the only visitors early in the morning. The  veranda was really quiet and solemn. From there we got a view of the site where Mama Mary appeared. They now have a beautiful statue of the Lady to mark the site.

 

After saying our prayers, we went to the church's gift shop where we bought books and other religious items to take home with us.


Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church 

P. Torres Street, Poblacion, Lipa City, Batangas 
(043) 756-2234 

Mass Schedule: Mon-Fri: 6am | Sat: 6am, 7am, 11am, 4pm | Sun: 6am, 7:30am, 11am, 4pm

How to Get to Mt. Carmel Church Lipa City



If you're taking public transport from Manila:
Board any bus bound for Batangas via Tanauan, NOT via Calabarzon in Pasay City. Get off at the Lipa Cathedral. You may ask around for directions, Mt. Carmel Church is walking distance away.

If you're driving:
From Makati, head towards SLEX and exit at Silangan (Batangas Lucena). Drive ahead until you reach StarTollway. Enter StarToll by turning right and exit at Bulihan, turn left after the toll gate. Drive until you see a fork in the road with Welcome to Lipa City sign. Choose the left side and continue driving until you reach the Lipa Cathedral. Drive past the cathedral and turn left when you see the Mister Donut store. You'll find the Mr. Carmel Church soon enough. I have to stress it is always best to travel with a map.

We always carry a map when we go on road trips and I am the official Berto and Kwala map reader a.k.a official directions-asker when we're lost hahaha...  =).


5.01.2012

Titanic 3D 2012

Weeks ago, Berto asked me to watch the Titanic 3D with him. I though he was kidding. We already watched that movie when it was first shown in 1997. Of course we were still boyfriend and girlfriend back then. I was just out of college and was on my first year working with the bank. I remember the Titanic fever hit us pretty hard back then. Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On constantly played on the radio and everyone’s PC wallpaper were variations of clips from the movie. Someone would randomly blurt out lines from the movie. Girls swooned at the mention of Jack/Leo’s name.

Anyway, Berto and I went and watched theTitanic in 3D. We even watched it in the same movie house we watched it in last 1997. As if James Cameron’s movie didn’t fare well enough the first time, it was re-released this year to commemorate the Titanic disaster’s 100th anniversary.

I thought I’d be so bored watching Titanic again. I thought I was over the story of young love with disastrous ending. Boy, was I wrong. Watching Jack and Rose on the big screen again, I grinned like a teenage girl and sniffled like a toddler (sometimes at the same time) at various parts of the movie.

I guess they had to show the movie in 3D just for the sake of differentiating it from the first release. Honestly, I didn’t really notice a big improvement, though I was impressed to note that Cameron’s cgi and movie effects 15 years ago is still acceptable, maybe even at par with today’s effects.

I’m glad Berto and I watched this movie again. We fell in love with the immortal story of Jack and Rose all over again… this time in 3D.
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