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Just for my Mommy

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My mommy, Estela

Happy memories my mother gave me….

apr1971dSitting on Santa’s lap when I was 2,  and I had a worried look on my face, yet you thought that was cute enough for a photo

Riding  at the back of bicycles driven by Tin when I was 1 year old

Sailing in MV Missouri and vomiting at the deck when I was  5 and you managed to take a photo of me smiling afterwards

Donning  pigtails since I had hair ,  being called  curly, and Tin , Bhomie  and I  walking around in sandos and underwear, tinkering with dad’s radios on those sunny days at Iran

dec73udornWalking through those snowy roads in Iran,  all wrapped up in a thick blue jacket  and a bonnet,  posing for photos under the snow.

Pulling Mike’s pants down when he was a baby and I was 4,   while you snapped a photo of my proud moment

Getting dolled up , Tin and I,  for   weddings  here and there – green dresses with flowery head dresses,  white dresses donned with flowers on the waist, pink dresses with flowers in our baskets and ribbons on our hats

udornGetting cramped inside dad’s old, black Mercedes Benz – with Dada Ama , titos and titas and everyone else who could still possibly fit in

Wearing Charlie’s Angels shirts and  knowing that I was without a doubt, Farrah Fawcett

Customizing   an  angel costume for me from Paete for  my   school play at Angelicum , while the children laughed  at my funny looking wings,  but you encouraged me to wear it with pride

Scan10005Playing games with Dada Ama  at Marang, and the prize always went to his obvious favorite…Mike

Those   triple birthday celebrations on January 9’s with daddy and Dada Ama, dad carrying a beer, me carrying a doll and most of the gifts, and  Dada Ama wearing his big warm smile

Wearing  matching pants and shirts with my sister, and I thinking then that  it was absolutely cool

ferminweddingEating fried bananas at 3 pm, as I watched Lovingly Yours Helen on TV at the Marang apartment , and we all end up eating those delicious treats with sugar on the side

Dancing at the Foundation Day field demos at Angelicum , wearing  traditional Filipino wear, bakya and saya, Bhomie with his farmer costume and Tintin with her baro’t saya, while you watched us from the shade wearing those big sunglasses and that pink blouse.

Scan10011Burning my white veil while looking around for you at my first communion.

Wearing those sailor-inspired blouses   and jeans, Tin and I,  when I was 10,  Mike wearing Playboy t-shirts and tight shorts, and Bhomie those corduroy jeans, and  we posed in front of the 1970 Mercedes Benz for a photo … and we thought then that  it was fashionable.

Swimming in Villa Trinidad, with  a bunch of strangers, and I get itchy skin ….but we did that every year with a variety  of public pools.. yikes!

Dirty ice cream days with cousins at Marang , and clean ice cream days at Paete with Dada Onor

Scan10168Those Marang Sundays where we walked to mass at St Joseph, and we afterwards headed to Ali Mall for some lunch at the food court and some grocery shopping, which we carried to a jeep back to Marang.

Those weekends at Sunnyside Heights when I was around 10  …and  Bhomie, Tin , Mike and I  played in that unfinished house, took wacky photographs at the stairs and behind the posts, and had lunches on the floor

Scan10058Christmases and New Years at Marang- kutsinta , leche flan, inihaw , Tita Gigi’s  empanadas and awesome spaghetti,  Tita Ayin’s puddings, and those never-absent brownies from Goldilocks

Hauling soil from the backyard to the front yard in Sunnyside —back breaking work that ended in awesome meriendas of cold orange juice

That Christmas at Sunnyside in the 1980’s when we saved money by making a Christmas tree using strings tied to a pole- the same time everyone else in the country made clothes hangers from umbrellas, new soaps from old, recycled paper — all  learned from Tina Monzon Palma’s ubiquitous Tipid Tips

Scan10007Mama’s and Papa’s golden wedding anniversary vows where we happily celebrated with the entire Munoz clan, daddy wearing a cool blue suit and looking  absolutely dapper

That day we celebrated Mike’s Basketball MVP trophy at Sunnyside with brownies from Goldilocks and hopia from Quiapo, and juice in that corn shaped pitcher

Conversations with Tita Ayin and Tita Lilian and everybody else on that round table at Marang on Christmas eve, over pancit and Goldilocks rolls- our favorites back in the day

Scan10002Mandatory photos with siblings lined up at the sofa at Sunnyside , at the big door  or outside at the garden..over and over again…

Cramping up on the big bed in Sunnyside, watching TV until bedtime, posing for a mispositioned automatic camera, waking up the next day, running to your bedroom again — 4 kids cramped as the night before…

Late night runs to Burger Machine at the corner of Batasan Road, to get our fix of Sans Rival and their delicious burgers

Those endless photos in front of the Christmas tree

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Our days in London after Zoe was born, and our summer  vacation in New Jersey

My beautiful wedding with Rommel

These are the best memories of my life, and you shared them all with me, mommy

I remember, how you were with me on every single happy memory , and how relieved I am that you are still around today…

…and how as a kid, as today, you always made me feel that I am the most beautiful girl in the room, like you do for your grand daughters….

IMG_6775Thank you dearly , mommy ,  for the happy memories, from me and my children..

I look forward to having more with you…I love you mommy…Happy Mother’s Day.

 

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Here are those awesome Cesar Millan Meet and Greet photos with my daughters Zoe and Zia. Thank you very much to MMI!

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IMG_8090My daughters, Zoe’s ( 15 )and Zia’s (10) hard work paid off when they won a pair of tickets to Cesar Millan Live in Manila today, August 29, 2014 at the Eastwood Central Plaza.  They had joined Music Management International‘s photo and video contests , and it was the video “Why I love Moca” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-2sulM7giM)  that got them the prize.

MMI was generous enough to grant prizes to the only three videos that joined and we are so grateful for this. Thank you, MMI! Thanks too to all who voted for us!

 

We met the other  lovely winners at the tent beside McDonald’s, behind the stage. They were a lovely bunch, all simple people with a fondness for dogs that is overwhelming.

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What was special about the prize was the Meet and Greet with Cesar Millan, which only lasted a few precious seconds for each of us,but left me in awe the entire night, much like that next-day feeling after prom night.

Yep, I was like a giggly teenager when I entered Cesar Millan’s tent, shook his hand and posed in front of the cameras. He asked me how I was and all I could say was “fine”. I couldn’t even look at him straight in the eyes, and I scampered out of the tent like a teenage girl would after a boy asks her out on a first date.

 

The other side of the curtain

The other side of the curtain

Well, since we only had two tickets between the three of us, I opted to wait outside until the show ended, satisfied with what little I was able to see  through the dark curtains that separated the ticketed audience with the mere onlookers that stood outside.

This is all we could really see

This is all we could really see . What’s “unfair” about that?

It was working well for all of us , until security started asking people to move back , because it was “unfair ” to those who paid, but I beg to disagree because: 1)  everybody in Eastwood is passing through the Eastwood Central Plaza, and 2) there was hardly anything to see through those black curtains 3) people are outside because they could not afford to go inside!

The tickets are really pricey, ranging from P6000 to P8000, thus I would assume that the show targeted  the class A ,B and maybe the upper C markets.  I was wondering why this was so when Cesar Millan’s venues for other countries in his tour are much bigger, and the prices were more affordable. I could only surmise that maybe organizers assumed that only rich people would be interested in  or have even heard about Cesar Millan , whose show is featured in the National Geographic Channel . Thus, the reason for holding the event at Eastwood, which is not only associated with moneyed individuals and families, but is also known to be pet-friendly.  However, as I waited outside for the show to end, a lot of dog owners expressed shock at the high ticket prices. Perhaps the organizers were wrong to assume that the general C crowd are not as interested in dogs nor with Cesar Millan. A bigger venue could have made it more affordable for most.

This could have been an opportunity to teach more people about our loyal pets, and to challenge the global  misconception that Filipinos are merely dog eaters rather than dog lovers. In fact, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service GAIN report of 2013,  only six percent of households in the Philippines  own cats while 35% own dogs. 35%—that’s more than a third of Filipino households!

They claim that  “the Philippines is the largest export market in Southeast Asia and the 10th largest in the world for pet foods.” Among the reasons cited for this growing market is “animal welfare initiatives, urbanization, and the rise in smaller unit households, popularity of pedigree pets, and a  growing awareness of proper pet care” .

Kabang, the hero dog at Cesar Millan's show

Kabang, the hero dog at Cesar Millan’s show

Yes, we love our dogs, and they love us back. Case in point is  Kabang, the hero dog who , in 2013 , lost half her face trying to save the lives of two children- her masters. She had received donations from over 40 countries in support of her surgery, and  came home  to a hero’s welcome in her home city, Zamboanga City . She was a big star tonight , too!

Well, to go back to the event itself – my daughters loved it , and thought it was worth all the hard work we put into it.  Personally, I am in awe of  Cesar Millan. If only men can communicate with each other in the same way he can communicate with dogs, then what a wonderful world this would be!

Hey! There's Chris Tiu for Pet One..

Hey! There’s Chris Tiu for Pet One..

 

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photoMy kids have never seen a stage play before so I thought that bringing them to one of Dulaang UP’s productions  would be a good starter.  ” Adarna “, an 18th century epic about a magical bird and the three princes from the Kingdom of Berbania,  was the perfect  opportunity, specially for my two teenagers.

“Adarna ” is Dulaang UP’s first offering for its 38th theater season.  It was adapted for stage by Vlad Gonzales  and directed by Jose Estrella. Staged at the Wilfrido M. Guerrero Theater at UP Diliman, it runs  from July to August 2013.

I had high expectations, being that I had seen DUP plays when I was  a student at  UP two decades back and had been impressed at their productions.   However, my experience today was a letdown.

We arrived at around 2:20 pm for the 3 pm performance  because the seats were a on a first come first served basis. Since we were a party of 7,  five of whom were kids, it was important that we got there early. We were told that  the line starts at  2:40 pm. So people wandered around on that hot Saturday afternoon while an an unofficial line  formed in front of the theater.

At 2:45 pm, we were asked to wait more.   Finally, we were told to form two lines , one at each corridor,  and were told to wait for a signal from the usherette to enter.  About 10 minutes later,   people who were not in line started entering, in small groups .  With five  sweating kids in tow, and a husband who was not too happy, I  marched to the usher and asked what the heck was happening. “They are guests” , she told me. Ticked at her response,  I suggested that maybe she would like to line up with the rest of us to know how uncomfortable it truly was.

Dismayed at the seemingly lack of respect for the paying public, we decided to proceed, with the entire corridor of sweaty theater goers  behind us . The  usherette  took our tickets, but had no idea what was going on as she was busy chatting with someone. How unprofessional indeed.

I immediately noticed how much the theater changed since I was last there.   As part of the UP Repertory Company some 20 years ago, I frequented Guerrero theater and did so with a proud feeling — one of privilege and awe.   Sadly,  that magic is gone and  I felt  pity that it seemed to have been neglected in some way.

IMG_1644… And then there were those monoblocks.   I understand that it was  full seating but it was a bad idea anyway, not only because  it is uncomfortable, but also because of safety reasons.  Imagine what could happen in case an emergency occurs inside the theater (fire, earthquake, etc. ) and people have to scramble out the door through that very small space between the aisles , through  those monoblocks? Smirk all you want, but it is your responsibility, DUP, to ensure the safety of your viewers during your performances.

Five minutes into the play, just when I thought I could finally relax  ,  groups of people entered the theater,  proceeded to the middle rows, causing disturbance among the viewers. This is a big NO NO, and the ushers should not have allowed it. No excuses.

In the middle of all this brouhaha, I found some consolation in the beautiful poetic script, the cast’s amazing  singing voices and their relentless energy. I  specially like the stage chemistry between the three brothers, Pedro, Diego and Juan, and the comical scenes at least at the beginning.

As with most UP productions, budget is always a constraint. The production tried to make up for it through simple shadow lighting ,  basic black costumes and paper based sets.  I  found the props and costumes a little too shabby, though. It would have helped to iron those pants and shirts, buff those black shoes, and maybe powder the actors’ noses once in a while.

The music was a redeeming factor , successfully weaving together the beginning , middle and the end, and providing the mood necessary to transition from scene to scene.  The shadow lighting effects were simple but effective, literally bringing the forest and ocean settings  to light.     However, the lighting seemed lacking  in some scenes, particularly those that involved the 7 ladies that represented the  Adarna, some whose faces were covered in darkness .

While I understand why doubles were needed in some scenes  ,  I am boggled why such was employed in a major portion of the play.  It  seemed to me as if the cast was neither capable nor willing to take on the entirety of the performance without a substitute.

The mood started out quite positive and  engaging.  The audience , including my kids, were laughing at the comedic scenes and dances.  As the play progressed, little by little, the mood became serious, and the laughter was all gone.  It seemed to have lost its audience, and their  empathy towards the characters, after all the tiring quests and draining fight scenes.

At the end of the play, I had forgotten that the play was supposed to be about the Adarna.   Don Juan became the main  focus, booting the poor bird out of center stage.

Oh well, the kids loved it. Overall, it was satisfactory.  Just a little bit more  professionalism wouldn’t hurt, though.

Curtains.

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It’s been a couple of months since we had our (early) dinner at Wooden Spoon.  Although a bit delayed, I felt that that unforgettable Wooden Spoon dining experience last October still deserved a little write-up.

It was word of mouth and a few thumbs up from some close friends that brought us to Wooden Spoon at Katipunan Road , QC last October after my daughters’ recitals at UP College of Music.

Personally, I wanted to see what Chef Sandy Daza has up his sleeves these days.  You see, we were acquainted in the 1990’s when I was Brand Manager of Lee Kum Kee , which sponsored his show, Cooking it Up with Sandy Daza. At some point, I even found myself cooking with him on a few episodes at his home in Magallanes.

It was a time when chefs and cooking shows were not as common as today  on television,  and sponsorships were hard to come by.  SySu International, where I had worked, and whose brands included McCormick, Clara Ole, Kellogg’s, Kikkoman  and Lee Kum Kee, appreciated the potential of cooking shows early in the game.  My company’s involvement  with Chef Sandy Daza led to an unforgettable encounter with the distinguished chef.

IMG_2139These days, chefs do not have it as tough. Considered  celebrities on mainstream media, sponsors and opportunities are plenty.  Chef Sandy Daza, being one of the veteran chefs who  paved the way for the  culinary industry’s success on mainstream media, deserves a huge credit.

Reading Wooden Spoon’s menu is like reading  a diary of the good chef’s culinary conquests. Each dish  offered on the menu speaks of the chef’s personal experience—and it kinda draws you in.

IMG_2123The appetizers included Lumpiang Sotanghon, Crab Pancit  and Wansoy  Shrimp Nugget.

We ordered the latter two. The crab pancit was excellent. It was a combination of scrambled eggs, crab flakes and light crispy noodles.  It was all that my 4 year old daughter had that afternoon.

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The pork dishes include Bicol express, Adobo Flakes, Tostadong Adobo, Binagoongan, Lechon Kawali, Dinakdakan and Dinakdak na Lechon. Beef Dishes include KareKare, Kaldereta, and Beef Stew.

Among the chicken dishes, we ordered  Baked Chicken, Lemon Grass Chicken and Wooden Spoon Crispy  Chicken.

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We also had Squid with Chili and Mushroom and Shrimp Pampango. The Squid with Chili dish was a traditional dish, that one might also find in Chinese restaurants. The sauce is so good that I had more of it with rice after all the squid was gone.

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My personal favorite was the  Stuffed Pechay , inspired by the chef’s imagination, which had pechay stuffed with tinapa, and spicy coconut sauce. It’s another “lick the plate ’til all the sauce is gone”  kind of dish. Haha, I hope you don’t think I actually did!Photo 3

The Fiesta Rice  made me feel like my mom was personally cooking in   the kitchen. It seemed  meticulously prepared. It had Chinese chorizo, red eggs, and tinapa. I could eat it with nothing else.

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For dessert, we had pandan crepe and sago cake.

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Wooden Spoon serves students and families in the Diliman area. Thus , it is reasonably priced. Our party of seven spent around P1,800, an average of  P257 per person.

It is the heart and talent of veteran Chef Sandy Daza that one experiences at Wooden Spoon. Just like its chef, it  has humble beginnings, but  is destined to carve a strong name in the  industry.

It’s all thumbs up, for Wooden Spoon……and my kids are harsh critics….

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We went to the Comfoods warehouse at  Mandaluyong on October 9, 2012. We came from Quezon City and  travelled by car via Libis. From Libis, we turned right at Lanuza Street then proceeded to Shaw Blvd. From Shaw, turn left at Caltex at Pioneer St. Then turn right at Ethan Allen and HMR  office. Go straight then turn left at Pine Street. Ask for  the Comfoods warehouse. (I did not see any sign ) You can park inside.

I am posting this for those who are interested in buying cookies from the warehouse. Good luck!

Comfoods location ( from Google Maps)

Here are some photos from our trip.

Chocolate Chips cookies

Ginger Snaps

Butter cookies

Butter Crunch and Jolly

Choco Mallows

My kids

This board lists the available cookies

Price list

The rules