Quick pain relief with White Flower

I’m no snowflake.

In fact, I pride myself on being a low-maintenance kind of girl, a koboy, in fact.

But sometimes, there are those aches and pains that stop me from having a happy and productive day.

Blame it on today’s busy and overwhelming pace of living, or, yes, my age, but lately, I can succumb to those twinges and sniffles that get in the way of what I have set out to do.

I guess I’m not as tough as I thought I was.

Well, some wise ladies have clued me in on their tried-and-tested home remedy: White Flower Embrocation.

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation

A nifty bottle of this liniment provides a quick dose of much-needed relief for those who get knocked-down by life’s little discomforts.

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation

Yes, being a legacy brand, White Flower has been around for quite a while. That’s just a testament to its efficacy.

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation

Just by performing three basic steps – ipatak (apply a few drops to the palms and rub together), langhapin (breathe in the soothing vapor) and ihagod (massage onto the aching area) – generations have benefited from its pain-fighting qualities against ailments such as:

Headaches. Don’t you just hate it when your head begins to throb when you get tired or stressed? There are times that call for you powering through your headache to deliver your work task or fulfill responsibilities at home. To give yourself some quick relief from these kinds of headaches, apply two to three drops onto your palm and gently rub your palms together, deeply inhale the vapor and massage the oil onto your temples in a circular motion. Be sure to avoid contact with your eyes!

Muscle Pain. My good intentions of having a more active lifestyle are being curtailed by those muscle aches from overexertion or tension. With the anti-inflammatory qualities of its lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, White Flower is the solution to pain caused by muscle swelling. To get your quick relief from muscle pain, apply two to three drops onto your palms or directly on the skin, then massage the oil into the sore area.

Colds. When my Vitamin C intake was not enough to stop the onset of the sniffles, I have no choice but to just ride it out. Fortunately, White Flower’s soothing and refreshing vapors can help ease the discomforts caused by sinusitis and nasal congestion. Place two to three drops on a handkerchief, then inhale the soothing vapors. My mom taught me to do suob (steam inhalation) for even faster relief: drop a bit of the oil into a basin of hot water, drape a towel over your head and inhale the steam. For a more comfortable sleep, apply a few drops on your pillow at bedtime. Not only will you have a more pleasant slumber, your pillow will also smell fresh and minty!

White Flower also provides relief from travel sickness and insect bites. Just remember the three-step action: ipatak, langhapin and ihagod!

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation

With a bottle of White Flower Embrocation in my bag, I can go back to being my usual tough and koboy self. After all, pain relief is just a few drops away.

White Flower Embrocation

White Flowet Embrocation

What’s your home remedy for pain relief?

To get your own stash of White Flower Embrocation, order now from Shopee or Lazada.

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation

White Flower Embrocation is a blend of six essential oils – peppermint, wintergreen, camphor, eucalyptus, menthol and lavender, all known for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is manufactured by Hoe Hin Pak Fah Yeow Mfg., Ltd. in Hong kong, and imported, packed and distributed by Jelma Philippines.

White Flower Embrocation

For more information on White Flower Embrocation, visit its website.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate this feature article.

Hassle-free party food from Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Restrictions from the quarantine that’s still in place in the metro precludes many of the celebrations and gatherings we used to enjoy.

Before the pandemic, people would get together to toast to birthdays, promotions and almost any reason under the sun.

Nowadays, many of us have to make do with Zoom parties or virtual meetups.

But unless you’re all partaking of the same delicious meal during your party, it just doesn’t feel the same, does it?

Well, a solution to this problem is actually just a few phone taps away!

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City is under one of the country’s biggest food concessionnaires servicing schools, hospitals and corporate offices for more than twenty years. To ease the kitchen woes of busy homemakers or virtual party organizers, it also offers cooked viands for delivery that are ready to heat, just in time to be enjoyed for any occasion.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

During my mother-in-law’s birthday, she treated her kids and their families to hearty meals from Kitchen City which included:

Laing with Crispy Pork Toppings (Php250/600g). The much-loved Bicolano dish made with shredded gabi leaves cooked in rich coconut milk spiced with siling labuyo, garlic, bagoong alamang and ginger, topped with crispy pork pieces.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Gising-gising (Php250/600g). A classic Kapampangan dish also known as ginataang sigarilyas wherein winged beans are chopped then cooked in coconut milk spiced with siling labuyo, onions, shrimp paste and garlic.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

KC Signature Hawaiian Baby Back Ribs (Php550/600g). A tangy and savory dish made with pork ribs, ketchup, pineapple juice and brown sugar.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Beef Morcon (Php425/600g). Filipino-style beef roll made with cheese, hotdogs, eggs and celery all rolled up in a thin slice of beef then braised in a rich tomato sauce.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

All three households celebrated MIL’s special day with these tasty dishes. All we had to do was heat up the dishes, serve and dig in!

Kitchen City Frozen Meals

Now you know, there’s no need to sweat it out in the kitchen to whip up tasty party fare. Just order from Kitchen City and let it take care of the rest.

Kitchen City Frozen Meals is located at Lot 86 Bagsakan Road corner Avocado Street, FTI Complex, Taguig City, Philippines. For orders, call +63 2 6924601, +63 977 4774990, +63 927 758764, +63 917 5150873, +63 923 7295767, +63 956 7811517 or +63 909 0917437. You may also course your order through its website or at goodfinds.ph.

Best Asian fusion dishes from Bistro Charlemagne

Ever since I had my first taste of Bistro Charlemagne‘s celebrated dishes during a foodie meetup held at its Ayala Feliz branch two years ago, the restaurant has occupied a special place in my heart.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Then, the flavors my fellow foodies and I tasted were at once familiar and novel to our palates. This is because this high-end restaurant offers to its clientele a fusion of Asian and European cuisines.

I was also able to introduce this resto to Hubby and the kids, and a family favorite came to be. Bistro Charlemagne became our go-to restaurant for family celebrations, including birthdays and get-togethers with visiting relatives.

It was forced to pause its operations during the enhanced community quarantine but re-opened in the second half of the year for delivery. It was just in time for my daughter #ExhibitA’s birthday, who has declared Bistro Charlemagne as her favorite restaurant so I had some her favorite dishes delivered to our home for her birthday lunch.

As community quarantine restrictions have lessened, Bistro Charlemagne has also re-opened for dine-in service but with safety protocols in place.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

I’m looking forward to dining in at Bistro Charlemagne soon. However, since my son #ExhibitB is below 18 years old and can’t enter malls, I decided to have our holiday lunch from Bistro Charlemagne delivered to our home for the whole family to enjoy.

Our family feast included:

Pares Rice (Php365). Slow-braised shredded beef shank with anise-sweet soy in fried rice topped with fried beef.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Japanese Beef Fried Rice (Php145). The fam’s favorite fried rice made with Japanese rice, ground beef, vegetables and egg.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Scallop Gratin (Php445). Baked bay scallops with garlic-chorizo cream sauce topped with cheese.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Golden 17 Chicken (Php375). Traditionally prepared soy chicken perfumed with an intricate blend of seventeen herbs and spices and served with yummy ginger sauce. Hubby discovered that its mild flavor is a perfect match with the Pares Rice.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Drunken Lengua in Brown Mushroom Sauce (Php445). Pan-seared ox tongue with mushrooms, asparagus and white wine. I’ve been raving about this dish for years now. It goes so well with the Japanese Fried Rice that these two dishes are my automatic orders.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Lengua in White Sauce (Php445). I decided to also introduce Bistro Charlemagne’s other lengua dish to the fam. Made with braised ox tongue with rich cream sauce and sautéed mushrooms. While this is an exceptional dish, the fam’s loyalty is still with our favorite Drunken Lengua.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

The fam’s holiday lunch was so special because we were able to taste our old favorites and discover new ones as well.

Hoping that things normalize soon so we can all dine in at Bistro Charlemagne soon.

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

Bistro Charlemagne Holiday Delivery

This Bistro Charlemagne branch is located at Fifth Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City, open daily from 10am to 8pm. Orders may also be called in via +63 956 4507704. Digital payments via BDO and GCash are accepted.

Other branches are located at:

  • Paranaque: Third Floor, Cinema Building, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Aseana Avenue, Entertainment City, Parañaque City
  • Laguna: Solenad 3, Ayala Malls Solenad, Nuvali, Don Jose, Santa Rosa, Laguna

Bistro Charlemagne also delivers via FoodPanda, GrabFood and Mangan.

Bistro Charlemagne Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

New to being a plantita? Keep these tips in mind

Are you a plantita yet?

During quarantine, it seems that people all started cultivating houseplants. This is hardly surprising because plants do contribute to beautifying a space by providing spots of color or unique touches to the area. Since most of us are spending practically all our time at home, we are seized with the urge to improve the visual appeal of our abode with the use of houseplants.

Plantita Tips

Aside from their aesthetic contributions to our homes, houseplants also help in maintaining our health.

Some houseplants have known medicinal benefits. Aloe vera, for example, has been used to treat burns and skin, while the root of the ginger plant is used to help with digestion and nausea.

Plantita Tips

Aside from these, houseplants also help in maintaining our mental well-being. They give off a calming vibe that eases our stresses. Plants help to bring the outdoors into the home by reminding us of nature and wide open spaces. Also, since plants give off oxygen while taking in carbon dioxide, they help in improving air quality in our home.

Plantita Tips

If you’re a newbie plantita (or plant-parent), you might want to keep these tips in mind to make sure you get to enjoy your plant-babies, and their health benefits, for a long time.

1) Have the basics on-hand.

Plants basically need three things to grow and thrive: soil, sunlight and water. The availability of these requirements in your home should determine which plants you will choose and what gardening method you will employ.

Plantita Tips

If you have a large outdoor space for a garden, for example, you have the leeway to opt for larger plants that need lots of sunlight and soil. If you live in a condo, on the other hand, a smaller potted plant that does not require constant sunlight might be more appropriate.

2. Check your lifestyle.

Some people may have lots of time to devote to gardening and can take on plants with exacting care requirements.

Plantita Tips

Other may not have time in abundance, plants that are low maintenance may be the order of the day.

Plantita Tips

Luckily, there are products now available that help make plant care a lot easier such as self-watering systems and misters.

You might also want to consider if you have family members or pets that you may not always be able to control around houseplants. Pets may dig the soil from potted plants or chew on leaves, making themselves sick. Meanwhile, small children might pull off flowers or knock down potted plants.

Bearing in mind how much time and effort you can devote to the care of your houseplants, as well as the other living things that share the space with them, choose the ones that suit your lifestyle best.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The plantita/plantito community in the country is growing and many of its members are more than happy to share best practices and useful advice to newbie plant owners. Search Facebook for groups on plants and gardening where you can post questions and ask for advice.

Your local plant nurseries are also good sources of information and equipment for plant care. Just ask the gardener about plant care tips.

You can also brush up on your plant care know-how by reading books or browsing plant care websites.

Being a plantita has its own unique rewards. Seeing your plant-baby grow and flourish will surely feel akin to a big accomplishment.

So with these tips in your plantita arsenal, you can face your plant ownership journey head on and enjoy the happiness it brings.

This post contains affiliate links.

Photos of plant nursery taken at D’Flora’s Garden along Katipunan Road, White Plains Subdivision, Quezon City.

What’s on HBO GO this January

Here are some great shows for your New Year streaming playlist! HBO GO opens the year with the hottest premieres from movie blockbusters to fresh installments of award-winning series that you can watch on-demand wherever you are and whenever you want. Check them out:

Tora-San, Wish You Were Here
Premieres Friday, 1 January at 10pm

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

Fifty years after Kiyoshi Atsumi’s wandering salesman first appeared on the big screen, the beloved long-running Tora-san film series comes to a close in this 50th and final instalment, exploring the lives of the ones he left behind. Hidetaka Yoshioka reprises his role as Tora-san’s nephew, Mitsuo.

1917
Premieres Saturday, 2 January

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

At the height of the First World War, two young British soldiers, Schofield and Blake, are given a seemingly impossible mission. In a race against time, they must cross enemy territory and deliver a message that will stop a deadly attack on hundreds of soldiers – Blake’s own brother among them. Directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, this World War I epic stars Oscar winner Colin Firth, Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, Golden Globe winner Richard Madden and Golden Globe nominee Andrew Scott.

The Rook
Premieres Monday, 4 January
New episode premieres every subsequent Monday

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

This series tells the story of Myfanwy Thomas, a woman who wakes up in the rain beside London’s Millennium Bridge with no memory of who she is and no explanation for the circle of dead bodies splayed out around her. When she discovers that she’s a high ranking official in Britain’s last secret service for people with paranormal abilities, she’ll have to navigate the dangerous and complex world of the agency to uncover who wiped her memory – and why. Stars Emma Greenwell, Golden Globe nominee Joely Richardson and Olivia Munn.

Tiger
Premieres Monday, 11 January at 10am
Part two premieres at the same time the following Monday.

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

An HBO two-part documentary offering a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods. The series paints an intimate picture of the prodigy whose dedication and obsession with the game of golf not only took his fame and success to new heights, but also down a dark, spiraling road that eventually led to a legendary sports comeback, culminated by his victory at the 2019 Masters.

C.B. Strike: Lethal White
Premieres Thursday, 21 January at 10am
New episode premieres every Thursday

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger return in the brand-new second season of C.B. Strike, based on the best-selling crime novels written by Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Euphoria: F*ck Anyone Who’s Not A Seablob
Premieres Monday, 25 January at 10am

Jan 2021 on HBO GO

In the second of two special episodes of the Emmy® winning HBO drama series Euphoria, we follow Jules (played by Hunter Schafer) over the Christmas holiday as she reflects on the year. Schafer also serves as co-executive producer on this episode, which she co-wrote with Euphoria creator Sam Levinson.

HBO Original Series as well as live channels are also available for streaming to SKYcable subscribers on HBO GO for as low as Php99/month. To subscribe, call your local SKY office or fill up this form.

Show details and images provided by HBO in a recent press release.

Disclosure: I work for SKY and part of my job is promoting its products and services, especially the content it provides to its subscribers. I consider being able to share my love for TV shows and movies and the experience of watching and talking about them with like-minded people some of the biggest perks of my job.

Recipe: Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Just like that: 2020 is no more and we’re off to welcome a brand new year!

Guess what: I embraced 2021 with a new recipe for baked salmon for the fam’s Media Noche feast.

This past Christmas Eve, as I’ve done for several past Christmas Eves, I whipped up my tried-and-tested Cheesy Baked Salmon for our Noche Buena feast. It’s certainly a family favorite and even my friends have been trying it out for their own holiday feasts.

However, I opted to do something different for the fam’s Media Noche feast. This time around, at Hubby’s suggestion, I decided to go a ease up a bit on the cheese but go heavy on the butter. And the result is awesome.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

So here it is: check out my recipe for Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 salmon fillet (600 grams or more)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 thin slices of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • French beans and carrot strips, blanched and lightly stir-fried in butter

Procedure:

Thaw salmon and pat dry.

Rub half of the minced garlic over the fillets. Pour three-fourths of the lemon juice over the salmon, then set the fillet aside for ten minutes to allow the salmon to marinate.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C (375 deg F).

Arrange the lemon slices at the bottom of an aluminum baking pan.

Remove the salmon from the marinade, scraping off excess garlic, and place the fillets skin-side down on a on top of the lemon slices. Set aside.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and place it in the microwave for one minute to melt the butter.

Whisk in the remaining one-fourth of the lemon juice, the honey and the remaining half of the minced garlic into the melted butter.

Season the fillets with salt (I used Himalayan sea salt from Goodness MNL for its health benefits but ordinary table salt will do) and freshly ground black pepper.

Spoon three-fourths of the butter mixture onto the salmon fillets and reserve the rest of the remaining mixture.

Cover the salmon with a sheet of aluminum foil then seal the fillets by crimping the ends together with the pan to produce an air-tight cover for the fillets.

Place the baking pan in the oven and allow the salmon to bake for 17 minutes.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Take out the baking sheet from the oven and remove the top cover. Spoon the remaining butter mixture over the salmon pieces then allow the salmon to broil for five to ten minutes until the salmon fillets turn golden.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Serve with the buttered French beans and carrot sticks.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

I’m glad to note that this dish has my Hubby and kiddos’ seal of approval in terms of taste and texture. Hubby even prefers it to the Cheesy Baked Salmon.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

My compromise is to go for the Cheesy Baked Salmon for Noche Buena as its richness will be well-suited for it being the central dish. For Media Noche, wherein it will be one of many dishes atop a traditionally overflowing table, the simpler buttery version will be more appropriate.

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Baked Salmon in Lemon Butter Sauce

Try this recipe and let me know how it goes!

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

My sparks of hope and joy for 2021

“A spark is a little thing, yet it may kindle the world.” – Martin Farquhar Tupper

2020 may have been characterized by one catastrophe after another, but those of us who made it through are now faced with the promise of better days ahead.

As we leave the disaster of a year that is 2020 behind, we bring with us the lessons thar we learned and the little things that got us through our darkest days to bolster us into the new year.

Here are the sparks of hope and joy that will continue to kindle in me the strength and courage as I continue to forge ahead.

Love of family

The quarantine which arose from the pandemic physically cut us off from almost everyone except our immediate family. Instead of catching up every evening on how each other’s day went at work or in school, we now spend the entire day together at home.

With the increase in time that I spent together with my family, I was able to discover new things about them: how Hubby polished up his cooking skills to be able to serve me the dishes that I’ve been craving for but can’t have because restaurants are closed, how my daughter #ExhibitA took the time to tutor her brother because I was too tired to do so, or how my son #ExhibitB did his best to adjust to learning from home despite his development issues.

I’m looking forward to discovering more to love about my family in the new year.

Constancy of friendship

Before the pandemic, busy work schedules and various responsibilities have already precluded frequent meetups with friends.

During the pandemic, the restrictions on mobility and the need for physical distancing made getting together with friends near impossible.

That doesn’t mean, however, that true pals will let those get in the way of friendship. There were those who were quick to send messages of concern and encouragement when my mother company was shut down, or those who immediately checked up on me and my family during the typhoons because they know I live in a flood-prone area. There were also friends sent tasty dishes and care packages to brighten my day.

These friendships bolster my confidence in facing the days ahead.

Innate goodness of people

With all the travails that 2020 brought, we Pinoys really went out of our way to help each other out. From contributing to #TulongTulongSaTaal and #PantawidNgPagibig, we helped to make vital supplies and essentials available to those who needed them most.

Abundance of blessings

Through all the dark times we’ve faced this year, there are slivers of sunshine that bring us moments of happiness and hope.

While the new work from home setup required quite a lot of adjustments for me and my coworkers, we were still able to function and be productive away from our office. The blended learning setup for my son enabled me to be more involved in his education, something that was very difficult when I worked in the office.

I was also gladdened to learn that many of my friends became entrepreneurs, providing products and services that became important because of the pandemic.

These are small blessings that when added up made life in 2020 bearable, and some moments even enjoyable.

As I leave the past behind, I carry these sparks of hope and joy into 2021.

I hope you keep your own sparks close to your heart and I wish you a better and happier new year.

Sponge Cola releases “Siguro Nga,” a song inspired by K-drama series, Start-Up

Sponge Cola is no stranger to writing music inspired by their love for cinema and pop culture. In fact, the four-piece alternative rock outfit named their debut full-length album, Palabas to acknowledge the compelling impact of shows—be it a theatrical play, a dramatic film, or an episode in a television series—in making us understand our own lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of people whose contributions to humanity deserve to be celebrated at all cost.

With this creative pursuit comes a tribute to the blockbuster K-drama series, Start-Up, which is currently heaping praises all around the world for its gripping story on young entrepreneurs aspiring to make it big in the competitive world of Korean high-tech industry. Sponge Cola released “Siguro Nga” as a song born out of vocalist and guitarist Yael Yuzon’s love for Han Ji-Pyeong, a prominent character whose unconventional upbringing and misfortunes in life enabled him to become a principled, self-made man with a tough exterior and unbeknownst to everyone—a tender heart.

“Immediately after the shock of episode 9, I literally picked up a guitar and began writing the song,” Yuzon shares in a statement. “I didn’t know how the story was going to unfold, but at that point, I felt like it wasn’t going to work out for Han Ji Pyeong’s character. And while heartbreak wouldn’t ravage him, it leaves him with an undulating kind of pain.”

“Siguro Nga” builds on this nuanced character study of a man realizing that he’s lost the love of his life, after spending a great deal of time living a lie to protect the person he’s pining for, from emotional harm and trauma. It’s a soaring acoustic number that is propelled by a genuine reverence for empathy and romantic yearning, but never quite reaches a climatic run arrangements-wise, as it ends on a miserable note, with the subject of the song stuck in a rut, hoping to relive his past to undo his mistakes.

According to Yuzon, the song arrived in the middle of recording phase for their forthcoming album to be released next year. “The process was a bit more theatrical than what we’re accustomed to,” he admits. “As a singer, I had to be in character, which made the recording process a bit grueling.” In order to capture the very essence of the song, Yuzon had to experience some of Han Ji Pyeong’s crucial scenes in the series, including having to bask in the rain for minutes and reliving the memories of standing next to a corn dog stall. “I also had to face someone looking at me with ‘those eyes’ while pretending to be fine. Couple that with the idea of multiple takes, it was tiring but ultimately fulfilling.”

Armo Armovit, the band’s lead guitarist explains how the arrangements for “Siguro Nga” came to play. “Like most of our songs from the previous albums, we started by recording a very basic acoustic guitar as a foundation. Yael himself played the rhythm to make it consistent with how he initially wrote the song and his melody. Everything else on top of that are layers of sound to decorate and enhance the song’s emotional content.” Bassist Gosh Dilay adds, “We tried some experimentation in terms of overall sound– but we reserved a version specifically for future live performances of the song.”

“Siguro Nga” was recorded at Love One Another studios, and was mixed and mastered by Joey Santos. Armovit, who praised Santos for doing an excellent job in designing sounds and layering them to tell a story, was very much happy with the final product. “His familiarity with a wide range of music, and ability to create the appropriate textures for the song was a very welcome and refreshing addition to the production process. Everything you hear that isn’t the usual drums, bass, vocals, and guitar are all him.”

Sponge Cola’s “Siguro Nga” is out now on all digital platforms worldwide via Sony Music Philippines.

Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma and others featured in The Manila Hotel’s 2021 Countdown with a Cause

Artists like Lea Salonga, Kuh Ledesma, world-renowned soprano Rachelle Gerodias, Korean baritone Byeong-In Park, Richard Reynoso, UP Concert Chorus, and others join The Manila Hotel in a virtual countdown event to mark the coming of the New Year.

In keeping with the long-standing annual tradition that has been in place since pre-war times, The Manila Hotel will still hold a New Year Countdown this year albeit in a different space. Due to the restriction on gatherings, this year’s welcome to the New Year will be done virtually via a Zoom viewing. with amazing raffle prizes to be given away.

Guests and customers of The Manila Hotel can join the Zoom party on December 31 from 10pm to watch artists share messages of love and hope through songs, words of encouragement from the hotel’s president Atty Joey Lina, and a chance to win the amazing prizes at stake. To join, anyone with a purchase from the hotel is eligible to a raffle ticket for every P3,500 in a single receipt. This includes dining bills from Café Ilang-Ilang, the Lobby Lounge, Roma Salon, and even The Manila Hotel’s signature grill restaurant Cowrie Grill in Greenhills; purchases from The Delicatessen, Lobby Shop, and Christmas corner; room bookings for FIT guests; promo purchases; and even Take Out from the regular or the festive menu. Promo period is from Dec 17 to 31, 2020, with cut-off at 10pm on the last day.

The Grand Prize is an overnight stay at the world-famous MacArthur Suite, worth P500,000 (not convertible to cash). A lavish room in the historic Manila Hotel where war hero General Douglas MacArthur stayed, the stately room has received many illustrious guests over the years, including kings and queens, world leaders, and heads of state. Renovated and modernized, the suite can be booked for special occasions like private dinners and parties, and a luxurious overnight dwelling. The rest of the prizes are suite room and dining vouchers, Prestige memberships, and many others.

The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to many events this year so an online gathering such as this also gives The Manila Hotel a platform to continue its service to Filipinos that it began in March with the Mabuhay Meals Food Drive for Frontliners; and its partnership with groups like the Rotary Club of Makati Central and others to donate food and PPEs to government-run hospitals like PGH and the Manila Medical Center, among others.

With this event, the hotel is making all its valued guests partners in an endeavor that has no extra cost to them or separate purchase needed. Part of the proceeds of guest purchases eligible in the 2021 Countdown with a Cause and the raffle will be pooled together to brighten the holidays of displaced workers in the city of Manila affected by the pandemic through a partnership with Manila Bulletin’s Bag of Hope.  

For more information on The Manila Hotel’s 2021 Countdown with a Cause, you may call 85270011 or 09989501912. Info and raffle mechanics are also posted on the Manila Hotel’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Cheers to new beginnings at Sakura Hanami, Maginhawa

At last, we have come to the end of 2020 and we are all looking forward to new beginnings in the coming year.

Did you know that the sakura-cha (cherry blossom tea) symbolizes new beginnings? Because of this, it is a popular drink during weddings and other celebrations in Japan.

Sakura Hanami

Since cherry blossoms can only be harvested once a year, the Japanese began pickling them in salt and ume plum vinegar. This allowed them to enjoy the distinct sakura flavor throughout the year.

Sakura Hanami

At Maginhawa QC tea shop Sakura Hanami, tea lovers can bask in the presence of these cheery cherry blossoms.

Sakura Hanami

Here, they can also enjoy a Traditional Cherry Blossom Tea (Php195). With this clear and pink-hued drink with a floral aftertaste (made by steeping pickled cherry blossoms which seemingly blooms in hot water), sweetened with rich golden honey, tea-tahs like me and my foodie friends can sit together, reminisce about past great times and look forward to fun adventures ahead of us.

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

For those who want to cool down with a tasty beverage, they can check out Sakura Hanami’s signature flavors in XL cups.

Sakura Hanami

Lava Pearl Latte (Php180). Sakura Hanami’s flagship drink featuring the smooth and silky combination milk, coffee and lava syrup infused with black sugar.

Sakura Hanami

Peach Paradise (Php195). Refreshing green tea with a sweet fruity taste and real peach slices, topped with chia seeds.

Sakura Hanami

Cookie Butter Milk Tea (Php250). For the dessert lovers out there, this concoction of flavorful tea, creamy milk and cookie butter may sate your sweet cravings.

Sakura Hanami

You can enjoy these extra-large drinks by yourself or better yet, share them with friends!

Sakura Hanami

If you want to take the Sakura Hanami experience home with you, get yourself a DIY cup or two such as a Choco Overload Milk Tea (Php79) or a Hokkaido Caramel Milk Tea (Php79). To craft your your refreshing cup of milk tea, just steep the black tea leaves in hot water for ten minutes, take out the leaves, pour in the flavorings, stir and you’re done!

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami

Sakura Hanami brings that refreshing feeling of spring to lea lovers anytime of the year. We know that we can always surround ourselves with the cheeriness pf cherry blossoms anytime, helping us welcome our new beginnings.

Sakura Hanami

I had a lovely time with my fellow tea-tahs Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com, Nix of IEatAndIWander.com, Anj of AnjColumna.com and Chryz of Chryzpontaneous. Thanks to Midz of GastronomidaPH.com for extending the invitation!

This Sakura Hanami branch is located at 168 Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, open daily from 12 noon to 9.30pm. It recently re-opened for safe dining with protocols in place for the New Normal such as the mandatory use of face masks and face shields inside the premises, provision of hand sanitizers and contact tracing.

Other Sakura Hanami branches in the metro are located at:

  • 1021 P. Ocampo Corner Arellano Street, Malate, Manila
  • Second Floor, Fusebox Food Park, 1254 Asturias Street, Sampaloc, Manila

Sakura Hanami also delivers via GrabFood and FoodPanda.

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I was invited to sample Sakura Hanami’s offerings.  Beverage items mentioned here (except for the DIY milk tea cups) were served for us to taste the fare to facilitate our honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Sakura Hanami Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other milk tea joints:

DIY Black Burger Kit from 390 Degrees

Earlier this year, I had my first taste of the novel black burger when I dined with my fellow bloggers at 390 Degrees.

390 Degrees, Entertainment City

Black has always been at the top of my list of favorite colors (as is apparent in my wardrobe) but seldom do I see and fancy it on food.

390 Degrees’ black burger is an exception, though. Not only is this creation so beautifully presented, the flavors and textures from the black bun, beef patty, sauces and veggies all meld together into one irresistible burger.

I wish I could have shared this unique burger experience with the fam (who are all burger connoisseurs in their own right), but, alas, the resto is situated on the other far end of the metro and is quite distant from our home.

To make matters worse, the pandemic struck and the resulting quarantine imposed restrictions on inter-city mobility and dining out.

Still, I held out hope that I can get another taste of 390 Degrees’ black burger as well as share the experience with the fam.

And wouldn’t you know it: my prayers were answered and, earlier this month, 390 Degrees launched its DIY Black Burger Kit.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

For just Php850, you can have a box containing four quarter pound Wagyu beef patties, 4 black charcoal infused buns, 390 Degrees’ in-house tomato sauce and signature mustard sauce. (Note: if you will not cook the burgers immediately, store the buns and patties in the freezer and the sauces in the chiller.)

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

Preparing your 390 Degrees black burgers is super easy:

  1. Thaw the buns and patties prior to cooking.
  2. Season each side of the patties with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. (Truth be told: I forgot to season the burger patties before I cooked them and they were already flavorful so I think you can further temper the seasoning or skip this step altogether.
  3. Place the patties in an oiled hot grill or pan and cook for a minute and a half in medium high heat. Flip and do the same on the other side until the patties are medium well done. Set patties aside to allow them to rest.
  4. Slice the buns and place in a preheated grill or pan and toast for one minute in low heat.
  5. To assemble a burger, spread the tomato sauce on the one half of the bun and the mustard sauce on the other half of the bun.
  6. Place any veggies (such as lettuce, tomato or onions) you want to add to your burger on the bottom bun, place the patty on top of the veggies, then add other toppings. Cover with the top bun.

The best thing about 390 Degrees’ DIY Burger Kit is that you can customize your burgers to suit your cravings. So I made four different types of burgers for myself and the fam by adding different toppings:

A cheese slice to make a Black Cheeseburger for Hubby.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

Toasted Fiesta Ham for a Black Christmas Burger for my daughter #ExhibitA.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

Crispy Bacon for a Black Bacon Burger for my son #ExhibitB.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

A sunny-side-up egg for a Black Breakfast Burger for me.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

Each burger is definitely a thing of beauty, worthy of immortalizing in my IG feed. Plus, the Wagyu patties are so juicy, tender and flavorful (Yoy should have smelled them as they cook! The aroma was simply mouthwatering!) The black buns are not just pretty but are also fluffy and serve as great frame for the patties.

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

How about making and posting your own IG-worthy black burger creation using the DIY Burger Kit for a chance to win a Php10,000 gift certificate from 390 Degrees?

390 Degrees DIY Black Burger Kit

Simply purchase a DIY Black Burger Kit and post a pic of your creation on Instagram (tag @390degrees.resto and use the hashtag #390burgerkitchallenge). Be sure to keep your receipt or a pic of DIY black burger kit if you received it as a gift. Deadline for posting is January 31, 2021.

390 Degrees is located at Ground Floor, Sequoia Hotel Manila, Aseana City Business Park, Entertainment City, Parañaque City. It recently re-opened for dine-in from 10am to 10pm daily. It also offers ready-to-cook frozen meals and its DIY Burger Kit for takeout or delivery via GrabFood and FoodPanda.

390 Degrees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Regency era romance series “Bridgerton” based on Julia Quinn novels premieres today on Netflix

From Shondaland and Creator Chris Van Dusen, Bridgerton follows Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest daughter of the powerful Bridgerton family as she makes her debut onto Regency London’s competitive marriage market. Hoping to follow in her parent’s footsteps and find a match sparked by true love, Daphne’s prospects initially seem to be unrivaled. But as her older brother begins to rule out her potential suitors, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown casts aspersions on Daphne. Enter the highly desirable and rebellious Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), committed bachelor and the catch of the season for the debutantes’ mamas. Despite proclaiming that they want nothing the other has to offer, their attraction is undeniable and sparks fly as they find themselves engaged in an increasing battle of wits while navigating society’s expectations for their future.

Bridgerton is a romantic, scandalous, and quick-witted series that celebrates the timelessness of enduring friendships, families finding their way, and the search for a love that conquers all.

This is the first project among many of writer-producer Chris Van Dusen with streaming service Netflix. Together with Shonda Rimes and Betsy Beers through Shondaland, Van Dusen adapted, show-ran and executive produced the series.

This smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.

“I couldn’t be more excited about being a part of the creative powerhouse that is Shondaland at Netflix,” said Van Dusen. “Bringing these irresistible books by Julia Quinn to the screen, with the fearless and talented team of storytellers I’ve been so fortunate to have worked alongside for so long, is a dream come true. I am grateful to have a home at Netflix, whose commitment to innovative, groundbreaking storytelling is unmatched.”

The series also stars Golda Rosheuvel, Jonathan Bailey, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Nicola Coughlan, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Ruth Gemmell, Adjoa Andoh, Polly Walker, Ben Miller, Bessie Carter and Harriet Cains and Julie Andrews as the voice of Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton premieres today on Netflix.

Want to lose yourself in the Regency world of the Bridgertons? Check out the best-selling novels by Julia Quinn that inspired the series.

Image and series details courtesy of Netflix.

This post contains affiliate links.

Check out my blog posts about other Netflix shows.

Get a free palabok platter with your Mang Inasal family size chicken order

Stressed over what to have for Noche Buena?

Not to worry, Mang Inasal’s got your back with its Take-out and Delivery Blowout.

If you missed this promo when it was first offered last November, you’ll definitely be happy to know it’s back just in time to save us from our Noche Buena woes.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

As a treat for its customers, Mang Inasal is treating customers who order a Family Size Large Paa or Pecho Family Size for takeout or delivery with a complimentary family size platter of Mang Inasal Pancit Palabok. These servings are good for four people, definitely enough to satisfy my hungry fam.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal helped make the Ilonggo dish chicken inasal more accessible and popular in the metro. In this dish, chicken pieces are marinated in calamansi, pepper, vinegar and annato, then grilled over hot coals while being basted with the flavorful marinade until the chicken becomes smokey, juicy and tender. I tend to favor the paa (chicken leg and thigh) over the pecho (chicken breast) as I find this part juicier and more flavorful but other people find the pecho more to their taste. Chicken inasal is best enjoyed with garlic ricr, toyomansi and doused in a lot of chicken oil.

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal’s Pancit Palabok, on the other hand, is made of thin rice noodles in a thick golden sauce topped with chopped spring onions, slices of hard-boiled egg, bits of chicharon (pork rind), pork slices and flakes of tinapa (smoked fish).

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

With my recent order of Mang Inasal Family Size Large Paa, I also received the Pancit Palabok Platter, all for only Php396!

Mang Inasal Chicken + Palabok Platter

This offer is available until December 28 only so don’t let it pass you by!

To allow more people to enjoy this amazing deal, customers can only avail of three orders of Mang Inasal Family Size Large Chicken Platters per transaction.

For delivery, course your orders via GrabFood, FoodPanda or LalaFood.

For takeout, visit your nearest Mang Inasal branch or send a message via Facebook.

Mang Inasal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Bold takes on Pinoy dishes at Soleras, Banawe

Banawe is known as the go-to place for car parts and Chinese food. This newly opened Filipino restaurant is setting out to change all that.

If you ever thought that Pinoy food lack imagination and pizzaz, you are in for quite an eye-opener at Soleras.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Situated at the ground floor of hardware and construction store BuildPlus in Banawe, Soleras provides shoppers and walk-in diners another welcome dining option within the premises (the other one is the steak and pizza restaurant Megawatt). Similar to its sister restaurant, it takes its name from the solar panels that serve as its tables and provides a casual vibe among its diners as well as a convenient location within the store.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

In line with the New Normal, Soleras operates with safety protocols already in place, such as:

  • Requirement for face masks and face shields for all customers
  • Mandatory temperature check
  • Contact tracing (either via paper forms or via a QR code for an online form for greater convenience and less contact)
  • Positioning of diners one seat apart for physical distancing

What really sets Soleras apart from other Filipino restos is its fresh and bold take on classic Pinoy dishes, tweaking ingredients or presentation in ways that produce “awesome-thentic” and “gastronomically exotic-citing” viands that will excite discriminating tastebuds and sate hungry tummies, all while not breaking the bank.

Soleras, Banawe

The stars aligned and my luck held because I was able to sample them together with my fellow food bloggers – Anj of AnjColumna.com, Jen of SandUnderMyFeet.com, Nix of IEatAndIWander.com and Chryz of Chryzpontaneous.

Soleras, Banawe

Together, this intrepid group of titas feasted on Soleras’ signature dishes such as:

Espesyal na Bulalong Lugaw (Php280). Lugaw (glutinous rice porridge) has long been a Filipino comfort food, especially during chilly or rainy days. Flavored with garlic and ginger and accompanied by bits of meat, hardboiled quail eggs and chopped scallions, this offshoot of the Chinese congee is best served hot, all the better to warm our tummies during cold days. Soleras kicks the awesomeness level of this dish up a notch with the addition of bulalo (beef shanks with bone marrow), making the dish extra special indeed.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Keso Dinakdakan (Php290). Dinakdakan is an Ilocano delicacy similar to the Kapampangan sisig. Our ancestors up north are not wont to waste any food item so they grilled and finely chopped “unwanted” pig parts such as cheeks, ears, liver and tongue, then tossed them in a tangy dressing together with minced ginger, onions and chili peppers. Soleras added tiny cheese cubes to the mix which lends more richness to the dish.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Angus Pares (Php145). I was late in joining the Beef Pares Appreciation Society, having only developed a liking for this dish last year, but I sure am making up for lost time. Beef Pares is so named due to the pairing of slow-braised beef stew with sinangag (garlic fried rice). I go crazy over spoonfuls tender bits of beef and melt-in-your-mouth tendon and garlic rice. The people behind Soleras – bless them! – improved on perfection by using Angus beef in their version of this dish, including a decadent roasted bone marrow, and made the dish available to pares lovers like me for only Php145! Woah!

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Pancit Sampler (Php185 for small | Php499 for medium | Php699 for large). The pancit is another example of how we Pinoys took a Chinese influence (noodles in this instance) and made it our own. Soleras updates the usual sauteed noodles with meat bits and veggies by adding the distinct flavors of known Filipino dishes such as Sisig, Bicol Express and Pares.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Pritong Itik (Php225 for small | Php345 for medium | Php450 for large). Instead of the usual fried chicken, Soleras instead serves crispy fried itik (native duck). The bird is first simmered in water with salt, ginger and other aromatics, then properly dried before deep-frying until golden brown.

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras, Banawe

Ginumis (Php185). For dessert, we had an Ilonggo version of the halo-halo (shaved ice dessert) made with sago pearls, gulaman (cubed gelatin), pinipig (toasted pounded rice), coconut milk and sugar syrup.

Soleras, Banawe

Gulaman (Php85). Our drinks were the classic samalamig (sweet chilled coolers) made with sago pearls and gulaman topped with shaved ice and flavored with muscovado sugar and pandan leaves.

Soleras, Banawe

Thanks to our Soleras sojourn, my friends and I were able to rediscover our appreciation for Pinoy food. Thanks to Midz of GastronomidaPH.com for extending the invitation!

Soleras, Banawe

Why don’t you take a break from your usual ulam, head on to Soleras and get a fresh perspective on Filipino cuisine?

Soleras, Banawe

Soleras is located at 686 Banawe Street, Barangay Siena, Quezon City (beside Megawatt Pizza & Steak), open daily from 10am to 10pm. For reservations and inquiries, call +63 917 1827583 or send a message on Facebook. Soleras also delivers via Grabfood (together with Megawatt).

Disclosure: Together with fellow food bloggers, I was invited to sample Solera’s offerings.  All the food items mentioned here were served for us to taste the fare to facilitate our honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Soleras Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Filipino restaurants:

Three reasons to make superfood part of your life

Goodness MNL makes healthy eating more accessible with its carefully curated goodness boxes.

With a new year just around the corner, we usually take this time time to reflect on the year just past. And, boy, is there quite a lot to reflect about this year!

If, like me, you have allowed your inner foodie free rein this year with no exercise to counterbalance the intake of food, then you might be thinking of living a healthier lifestyle from the new year onwards.

Goodness MNL

Food will undoubtedly comprise a large part of your new lifestyle, and not just what you restrict yourself from gorging on, but, more importantly, what you choose to nourish yourself. It is important to keep in mind that while you shy away from food that do not significantly benefit your well-being, you should ensure that you consume more of those that do such as superfood.

Goodness MNL

If you haven’t been consciously incorporating superfood in your diet, now is the best time to do so. Here are three reasons why:

1) Superfood are highly nutritious.

Being whole or unprocessed ingredients, superfood are known for having high nutrient density which help in keeping you healthy and in warding off diseases.

Chia seeds, for example, are rich in fiber and energy, have anti-oxidant properties and help in maintaining heart health.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Himalayan salt, on the other hand, is also rich in energy, helps promote brain health and manage the effects of aging.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

If you’re looking for food with lots of protein, fiber and omega 3 nutrients, golden flax seeds are among your best bets.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Meanwhile, if you want something to help with your digestion and heart health, you might want to check out sunflower seeds, which are also great sources for Vitamin E and magnesium.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Cacao nibs, on the other hand, can help in improving your mood, have antioxidant properties and are good sources of fiber, iron and magnesium.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

2) Superfood can easily be integrated in your favorite dishes.

I used to think that healthy food is bland or tasteless but -surprise! surprise! – superfood happen to be among those things that are not just good for you but tastes good, too!

Himalayan salt can help in flavoring your grilled steaks and other savory dishes.

Goodness MNL

Chia seeds, golden flax seeds and sunflower seeds, on the other hand, can be blended into your favorite juices, smoothies and mocktails.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Lastly, cacao nibs can be enjoyed on their own – I munch on them as I watch my favorite stand up comedy shows on Netflix – or be added to dessert recipes.

Goodness MNL

3) Superfood are now more readily available.

Ready to test the waters of going into superfood? Not to worry!

You can try five different types of superfood by getting a box set from Goodness MNL. Choose five from the nine superfood types available – organic chia seeds, organic golden flax seeds, organic sweet basil seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Himalayan fine salt, Himalayan rock salt, organic cocosugar, organic adlai grits and cocosugar cacao nibs – and have them delivered to you in a beautifully curated box.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL

Already into healthy eating and want to encourage your friends to do the same? Goodness MNL box sets are also great as Christmas gifts or giveaways so your friends can join you on your healthy eating journey.

Goodness MNL

You can get a box set for Php400, the box contains five 40ml test tube bottles or for Php330 containing five 30ml test tube bottles.

Goodness MNL

Both variants include your choice of five superfood, a wooden teaspoon, recipe and info sheet, ribbons and Christmas tag

To order, just message Goodness MNL on Facebook or Instagram with instructions on how you want your box set customized. Payments via BDO or GCash are accepted.

Goodness MNL

Goodness MNL delivers within Metro Manila and nearby provinces. Shipping fee will be shouldered by the buyer.

So be on your way towards a healthier lifestyle by eating healthy and by getting goodness in a box from Goodness MNL!

Goodness MNL

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to facilitate this feature article.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business: