Binagoongang Baboy (Pork Braised in Shrimp Paste)

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Ingredients

1/2 kilo pork, cubed
oil for frying
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 tablespoon onion, chopped
1/3 kilo very ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup bagoong (shrimp paste). We always use Barrio Fiesta Sweet Bagoong. Reduce the amount if your bagoong is too salty.
2 kalamansi (local lime)

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Mid-Year Organizing Resolutions

After 6 months of on-off spring cleaning, we are finally having our much awaited garage sale this weekend. I can’t wait to find new owners for our excess blessings. We are also visiting an orphanage next month. I hope the 13 kids with ages 2-10 will love Aki’s old toys. If you have preloved blankets, school bags, toys or anything you want to share, just drop me a note in the comment box. I’d be more than willing to meet up with you to get the items. Or maybe we can go to the orphanage together:) Do I sense a playdate? Paging my fellow playdate organizers Maggie and Sha

Anyhoo, today I’d like to share that I have implemented 3 systems to  manage the clutter and stress in our house. These are my mid-year OC resolutions which I may or may not continue. Haha

First, I tackled the bills bills bills. Don’t you just hate them? Because we didn’t have a filing system before, I had to deal with 2 paper bags full of  statements of account, some dating back to 2011.  I read somewhere that for bills, we just have to keep them for one year. I sorted the bills based on date. Those issued more than a year ago were burned. Sorry, Mother Nature. This will be the one and only time that  we will choose protection from identity theft over you. Promise. Next time, we maybe will buy a shredder.

Anyways, I sorted the bills per institution. I then sorted each pile chronologically. The idea is that every time we add a new bill to the pile, we have to get rid of the oldest bill which is at the bottom. Also, we put all the sorted bills in an open box beside our closet, where it can haunt us everyday.

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Then I tackled my overwhelming reading materials. Many times have I seen a recipe that calls for a special ingredient. Once I have that special ingredient, I will put in my pantry shelf where it will rest in peace until months after its expiration date when I rediscover it again. Or sometimes, I do get to use 5 tablespoons of hoisin sauce in that Chinese dish that I wanted to try but whatever happened to the rest of the bottle, I will never know.

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So here is what I did. I collected all the magazines and cookbooks that I want to read or reread.When I see a recipe that I want to try, I take a picture of it. After reading the magazine, I mark it with a black dot to remind me that I am done with that magazine. As for the pictures, they will be organized per type in a folder in my laptop with the help of an Excel file or Google document……. someday. Haha. Seriously, the file was not as easy as I thought. I use a camera to take pictures which means I need to transfer the picture from the SD card to the laptop. Then, I need to sort pictures into the recipe folders and update the file. If there are other things that you want to do, a special recipe file is the last thing you want. And based on experience, the more complicated a system is, the more likely that it will not be followed.  Hopefully, my new phone (Thanks, Globe!) which I should get anytime soon, comes with features that will help me organize pictures.

Lastly, it was my ever cluttered bags turn for an OC fix. I got this tip from Sieggy. I grouped the usual contents to two groups. The bigger pouch has my wallet, office ID, keys, eco bag, foldable fan, feminine pads and alcohol. The smaller leather pouch, which I got from The Soshal Network (Thank you TSN!), has my make up arsenal.Whenever I need to change bags, I just transfer my pouches. Why didn’t I think of this before???

 

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Manila Staycation VII: Manila Cathedral

We have come to the seventh and final installment of our Manila Hotel staycation series. Did you read the last 6 posts or did you just look at the pictures? I don’t know how travel bloggers do it. From choosing from the hundreds of pictures to looking for other synonyms for fun and beautiful, writing about getaways is a lot of hard work.

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel

Part III – Rizal Park

Part IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

Part V – National Museum

Part VI – Kalesa Ride and Kite-flying

 

Our last morning in Manila Hotel. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 

We woke up early to attend the 7AM mass at the newly renovated and reopened Manila Cathedral.  Know more about the cathedral’s history here. GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

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Aside from the details,  what I noticed immediately is that the church was not jam-packed with mass goers. There were a lot of people but I was expecting there would be more since the church is an important part of our history. Our theory is that since there is a number of nearby churches (Paco, Malate, San Agustin, Binondo and the one near MOA) , Catholics in the area are dispersed.

Moving on…

Most old churches feel gloomy inside but Manila Cathedral is different. It is very bright and maaliwalas inside.

 

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This reminded me of Emily. Continue reading

Manila Staycation Part VI: Kalesa Ride and Kite-flying

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel

Part III – Rizal Park

Part IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

Part V – National Museum

 

From the National Museum, we crossed the street and took a quick jeepney ride to Luneta. It was still hot hot hot at 4PM. After asking at least 5 strangers for leads, we finally found a stall that satisfied our craving for ice cold halo-halo.

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Akira, on this very hot afternoon, insisted in ordering  his favorite lugaw with egg. We enjoyed our turo-turo merienda under the shade of the beautiful fire trees.

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Finally, a few minutes before 5PM, the temperature was more tolerable. Time for the much awaited kalesa ride!

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Tip: There are a lot of kalesas around Luneta. Take the ones accredited by Department of Tourism. They are parked near the DOT building, near the fire trees, near the giant Lapu-lapu statue. They do not overcharge because DOT has a prescribed fixed rate which is 50 bucks per passenger. Plus, the kucheros are trained by the department. They will tell you about our history as they drive you to your destination. Say hello to our horse, Antonio and Rizal Park’s very own Arnel Pineda. Sorry, Kuya for forgetting your name.

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You can see in Aki’s excitement could not be contained. That is what Toy Story movie marathons do. He sat in front, sandwiched between Kuya Kuchero and his assistant. Thru out the trip, he kept shouting, “RUN LIKE THE WIND, AAN-TONIOOOO!

The DOT kucheros also offer Intramuros tours if you are interested. The fee is 2000, good for 4 pax.

Soon, we arrived at the Quirino Grandstand. We were so ready to fly a kite for the first time.

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Our attempt 2 years ago was a major major fail!

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Aki gave our kite the most creative name, Birdie Bird. Its nickname is Eagle Da Eagle.

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Manila Staycation Part V: National Museum

Part I – Planetarium
Part II – Manila Hotel
Part III – Rizal Park
Park IV – Morning @ Manila Hotel

 

If ever you will check in at the Manila Hotel, do inquire about their free shuttle service to guests going to nearby attraction.

We arrived at 2PM in National Museum. Lucky us, entrance is free for the whole month of May so we did not have to pay.

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Even though I don’t know how to appreciate paintings, I still enjoyed our museum tour. Mega thanks to this history buff.

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The most famous masterpiece is Juan Luna’s Spoliarium, the biggest painting on canvas in the country. Learn more about it here.

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What do you think?

 

As I was saying, I wish I know how to appreciate art.

I did take Art Appreciation in UP Diliman but only got to attend 2 classes. That was at the height of the Estrada (then president of the country, now mayor of Manila)  impeachment. My professor, who was an activist, was out most of the time.

 

I know  it when a window, a staircase or small details in the interiors are beautiful but when it comes to art especially modern or abstract painting, I am clueless.

Sometimes, I look at a painting and it is the frame that I can’t stop staring at. Hihi.

 

What I do like is history.  Continue reading

Manila Staycation Part IV: Saturday Morning at Manila Hotel

Ola!

Part I – Planetarium
Part II – Manila Hotel
Part III – Rizal Park

My husband’s idea of a relaxing getaway is lying in a comfortable bed in an airconditioned room watching cable TV the whole day. Are your husbands like this too? Did the love for being stationary also rubbed on you? For our getaways, I made sure we had a lot of time dedicated to being true to our lazy selves.

Because we are early risers, we were able to watch the sunrise from our room. This was sometime between 5 to 5:30AM. Serenely beautiful, right?

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We were engrossed watching the Graduates when the doorbell rang. Have you seen this movie?

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Snooky Serna, Ronnie Rickets, PJ Abellana, Cesar Montano, Maricel Soriano, Gina Alajar, Gabby Concepcion, Joel Torre and other actors that we still know today, played fresh graduates looking forward to starting their careers. The issues that they had in the movie are as relevant now as they were in the 1980’s.

Manila Hotel surprised us with a cake for Emily. I mentioned to the reservation officer weeks ago that aside from R&R, we’d also be celebrating our daughter’s 1st month in heaven. I just wanted to know where can I get balloons but the lady I spoke with said she will check if she can get a complimentary cake. Thank you, Manila Hotel! And yes, I spent a good part of that morning crying again.

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After the movie, we had our buffet breakfast at Cafe Ilang Ilang.

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I particularly love the smoked salmon and the assorted cheese. Sorry no pictures this time. I was too busy savoring each bite. By the way, have you tasted horseradish sauce? I mistook it for cream cheese and spread 2 spoonfuls in a piece of french bread. Oh. My. God!

Next order of the day was swimming!!!

As it was my first time to swim in a hotel, I was amazed that there is a special way for guests going to the pool. I have always wondered why I don’t see anyone dripping wet whenever we are in the lobby.

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Manila Staycation Part III: Rizal Park

Part I – Planetarium

Part II – Manila Hotel 

In my original plan, Aki and I were supposed to go to Luneta park by 4:30PM. By 5:15PM, Akoykoy was still asleep! We were out by 5:40ish.

 

What I love about Manila Hotel is that major attractions in the area are within walking distance. Luneta was just across the street. No Luneta trip is complete without paying homage to our national hero.

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It was high time that Aki learns about Gat Jose Rizal who happens to be our ka-baranggay in my dad’s hometown of Calamba. Who knows, we might be distant grandchildren our town’s pride. Aki wanted to know more about why the Spaniards killed Rizal and how they did it. I told him about the firing squad but it was a challenge to explain colonization, KKK and Rizal’s non-violent stand to a 4 year old.

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Sunset

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The reason why Aki forced himself to wake up was the promise of a trip to the playground. What I did not know is that the Children’s Playground is on the other block. So thankful that my semi-sleepy and semi-excited kid is not used to sitting on strollers. He walked all the way to the other end. Here’s what we saw on our way

Isn’t this the cutest police station?

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Huge Lapu-lapu statue and a photobomber

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I love this fire tree lined path

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Park activities for the month of May. I wish we have a park here in Paranaque

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By the time we got to the Children’s Playground, it was almost dark. Continue reading

Manila Staycation Part II: Manila Hotel

Part I – Planetarium

It was already past 11AM when we arrived at the Manila Hotel. Although check in is normally at 2PM, the very friendly receptionist informed me that we can check in as soon as there is an available room, free of charge. Yey!

Have you been to Manila Hotel? We so love it there. I feel sosyal yet at home whenever I am in the lobby.

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And these chandeliers are beyond gorgeous.

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I can’t stop taking pictures of them.

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Chandeliers and their reflection on the grand piano

Chandeliers and their reflection on the grand piano

While waiting for our room, Aki and I sampled the goodies available at the hotel bakeshop.

My cinnamon roll for only 75 bucks.

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Aki had cheesy and ube ensaymadas.

Finally, our room was ready. We officially checked in at 12:10PM.

Elevator lobby

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Welcome to Room 1608.

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Love love our bed. Not one, not 2, not 4 but 10 pillows, baby!

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Just looking at the picture of this bed makes me want to go to our bedroom, crank up the AC, lie on my imaginary 300 thread count cotton comforter and social climb in my sleep.

The bathroom.

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Aki’s favorite feature is the strategically located TV. My favorite is this retractable clothesline. Hehe.

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Manila Staycation Part I: Planetarium

If you have been reading this blog for a while now, you probably already know that Franco and I aren’t fond of travelling. Actually, I still somewhat like going to places but Franco’s stubbornness has rub on me. Convincing my husband to drive to Makati on a weekend, a mere 20 minute travel time from our house, entails a lot of negotiation, begging, seduction, and fake crankiness. Plus fun fun fun under the sun is so not us. We hate sweating and do not get the fun part in getting our skins roasted. So for our family getaway this year,  the beaches in Batangas and Quezon are out of the picture. For our first getaway 2 years ago, we went to UP Diliman, my alma mater. Last year, we were so lazy we did not even consider having a vacation. When I learned about BDO’s buy-one-get-one promo on their hotel partners, I did not think twice. I called Manila Hotel and booked a room for 2 days right away. Manila Hotel will always hold a special place in our hearts because that is where we had our wedding reception more than 5 years ago.   And I also love that  there are a lot of family-friendly attractions nearby.

 
Aki and I were at the hotel last Friday as early as 7:30AM. Franco had to work and caught up with us in the evening. Because I did not want to pay the early check-in fee, I left our bags at the lobby before heading to our first destination. Being the hotel semi-virgin that I am, I was pleasantly surprised when I was told that they will safekeep our bags for free.

So off to the Planetarium we went. Yup, this landmark still exists.

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Since the entrance was only 80 bucks for the 2 of us, I did not expect much.
And I was right to do so. The Planetarium obviously had not been getting a lot of funding lately. 😦

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