Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Snow Ball Fight



When I feel really cold BRR in this time of the year, my kids look forward to building a snow man, creating a snow angel and doing the snow ball fight. Now they got this chance in the middle of a blizzard in New York City. They found a playmate in their Tito Irvin. Ang saya saya nila!!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Merry Christmas in New York amidst a blizzard



We were celebrating Christmas in New York City with Irvin and Faye when a blizzard came. We have been in Canada for 16 months but we haven't experienced such a snow storm. Still the kids enjoyed playing in the snow.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Child Dedication, Anniversary and Lito's Birthday Celebration

A Child Dedication is a ceremony in which believing parents, and sometimes entire families make a commitment before the Lord to submit a child to God's will and to raise that child according to God's word and God's ways.





Saturday, 11 December 2010

Happy Birthday Lito and Happy Anniversary AVP

video

Enjoy my gift to my husband for his birthday and our 11th wedding anniversary. I love you more today than yesterday music by Spiral Staircase. It's always fun to be looking back at our old pictures - makes me realize how blessed we have been all these years. Thank you Lord for everything.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics inspired Coins and other collection

I am a collector of many things usually from places we’ve been to like postcards, souvenir bells and ref magnets. I stopped collecting (except for the bells) because magnets leave marks on the ref and postcards are more appropriate to be mailed rather than kept. This year Canada hosted the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the government issued the 2010 Olympic games-inspired coins in different denomination. Lito’s officemate was collecting these coins and since she got an extra coin album from RBC, we became an accidental collector too. We just got the last coin and completed the collection. Like any collector, it feels good to see your collection organized and displayed in a nice way. Otherwise, you’re just collecting dirt. Here’s the coin collection:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Amazon Kindle E-Reader

I am a fan of technology. I’m amazed at how the new mobile phones look like and the features they offer. Although I can afford to buy one, I’m still holding on to my money (hoping that I’ll get it as a Christmas present hehe) because I am enjoying the Blackberry that I am using and also this new E-Reader that Lito bought in Kijiji. Unlike other E-readers, this one is so light, so thin and the pages look like paper. The backlighting is bright enough and there’s no reflection while browsing the pages of your favourite e-book. You can even adjust the font size depending on your preference. I wonder if others have that feature too. Battery life is longer too. Anyway, for a price of just over a hundred bucks, this gadget is a must for book lovers like me.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

What’s with washrooms anyway?

I remember all those nice lounge-like public washrooms in the Philippines because it’s rare to find clean and nice smelling “comfort” rooms there. I tell you, what’s normal there is totally the opposite of that word “comfort”. We used to go to hotels to attend corporate events and it really feels comfortable using the washrooms there. When Lito and I were still working in the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, we used to frequent the hotels in those areas and use the washrooms there. They are really neat, brightly-lit and with ample supplies of toilet paper, soap and paper towels. The mirrors are all over too. Lito’s favorite is Dusit Hotel Nikko and Intercon and mine is Shangri-la Edsa. The malls have decent but paid washrooms where you can have a private moment and comfortably sit in the bowl without pressure coming from the people lining up in each cubicle in the public ones. There are soaps, toilet paper, lotion and hand sanitizer to use after doing the deed. I liked the washrooms of Rustan’s, the paid washrooms of Shangri-la Mall, Ayala Malls both in Makati and Alabang Town Center. I remember my first experience with the automatic flush in the new Greenbelt malls (they set the trend) but I especially liked those bowl-like basins of Nuvo and CafĂ© Havana resto and bars in that area and in Eastwood too way back when the other posh malls like Podium, Powerplant and Bonifacio High street are still under construction. I can still remember the smell of these washrooms, it’s too nice I think the scent lingered with me for quite some time now.
Years passed and I was able to travel and experience using the public washrooms of other countries and airports even. When you think of your own, you will be ashamed. Ours doesn’t even have water or toilet paper to use. A friend of ours from the US who recently visited the Philippines took pictures of all the washrooms he had been to in Manila and in the provinces and I was not too thrilled to hear his stories. I wonder how the washrooms are there now.
I am now in Canada and the public washrooms here are better (but some doesn’t smell nice too). I just got from a lunch meeting in our favorite resto near our office and it was my first time to use the washroom at Moxie’s Grill @Attwell. I was so impressed that it prompted me to do this blog. It was so nice and comfortable you wouldn’t want to leave. It has a fireplace, TV, round lounge chairs with movable mirrors and spotlight you can use when retouching your make up. The lights and over-all interior tells you that you’re actually in a lounge and not in a washroom. I hope to be back there so I can take a picture and you will know how this washroom captured my heart.

Scrapbooking (conventional and digital)

I was able to have my personal time off last Saturday after I dropped off the kids at AJ’s Party (Kyle’s best friend). I went to the mall to kill the time and I enjoyed browsing the scrapbooking materials which was on sale. I didn’t bother buying anything because I really didn’t have time to do it. I still have a stash of paper, albums and embellishments sitting there in our cabinets for some time now. I hope I’ll have that inspiration to do some scrapbooking again. I really have lots to do – our photos have accumulated and there were still lots to print.
And then, I also downloaded lots of digital scrapbooking kits and quick pages that I can use for my photobook projects. Up to the wee hours, I was searching for embellishments and themed kits that I can use in the invitation I’m working on. It is then that I realized that I’ve been missing a lot and my hands needed to scrap or make that digital collage. How I wish I can just start on anything so my efforts in downloading won’t be futile.
It’s almost the year end and my Artscow credits are going to be wasted if I won’t be able to use them. Anyway, I felt happy when I was able to finish the invitation for the children’s dedication scrapbook style.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

My Lex turned 2

The timing was perfect. The special edition DVD/Blue Ray Disney CARS with Diecast Mater and Lightning Mcqueen arrived today. Just in time for Lex 2nd birthday. It was his favorite toy and movie to watch. I think we already watched it a 1 million times. Anyway, my sons liked the movie. We used to watch a DVD copy and the Blu ray is really better. Of course, Lex enjoyed the diecast cars. I only let him played it for a while. Here’s his photo enjoying the cars (as seen in his eyes) under our huge blue and silver Christmas tree:

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Wall Art as gifts

I went to the mall today and I could hear christmas carols playing. I'm so excited to browse thru the stores to look for gifts to buy. Although I already know who am i giving gifts to, I haven't decided on anything yet. Nothing tickles my fancy either so I will do some online shopping for unique (and value-for-money) gifts.

Last week, I bought this item as gift to my sister-in-law and she was so happy with it. The delivery was fast too. I originally wanted this item but it was out of stock when I wanted to buy a wall art. I chanced upon this again last week and thought of giving it to my sister and brother in law for Christmas. It was perfect for their new house. The watercolor design looked like it was freshly painted and the 3 continuous frames in vivid colors match any room my sister in law wishes to display them. The value is too good to be true. It costs $100 per frame in other stores. I will buy this again for our own house.

You will see more of wall art from my favorite online store. They make great gifts this Christmas.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Bagoong and Pusit Recipes - time for smelly dishes

I woke up at 1 am to cook Pork Binagoongan (Pork sauteed in shrimp paste) because that's the only time the neighbors are sleeping. They will not bother to complain and report me to the superintendent. After 30 minutes, my dish is finished and the apartment smelled like shrimp paste LOL. For those who miss Filipino dishes, try to cook them at home even if the house smells - Langhap Sarap yun, YUMMY!

Here's some of the recipes of the smelly dishes I cooked:

Pork Binagoongan

Ingredients:

2 lbs Pork, cubed
1 tbsp Garlic, minced
5 tbsp vinegar
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped
1 pc chili (banana pepper, jalapeno, or long chili pepper), sliced *
1/2 cup shrimp paste (*no need for chili,I used Barrio Fiesta Sauteed Shrimp Paste, Spicy)
3-5 pcs dried bay leaves
1 tbsp whole pepper corn
24 ounces water
salt and pepper

Procedure:

1. In a pot, pour-in the water and bring to a boil
2. Put-in the pork, vinegar, and dried bay leaves and simmer for 35 minutes or until meat is tender
3. Remove the meat from the pot separating it from the liquid and other ingredients. set aside
4. In a separate pan, saute the garlic, onion, tomato
5. Add the shrimp paste and simmer for 5 minutes (more time is needed for raw shrimp paste)
6. Put the pork in and cook for 7 minutes. Be sure to mix all the ingredients well
7. Add the chili and simmer for 3 minutes
8. Add salt and pepper to taste
9. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Filipino Adobong Pusit or squid in adobo sauce, is cooked along with the ink, so it resembles the spanish calamares en su tinta, but with a tangier flavour, especially when fresh chillies are added.
Serves 2 to 3 persons
Preparation and Cooking time: 30 to 45 mins

Ingredients:
3/4 kilo Small sized Pusit (Squid)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 small bay leaf
1/4 tsp. pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp. cooking oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 pcs. Cayenne Chili sliced (optional)

Instructions:
1. Pull out head, tentacles, innards and transparent ribs from the body of the squid.
2. Cut off tentacles just above the eyes and discard innards and transparent ribs.
3. Wash and drain bodies and tentacles.
4. Combine salt, pepper, garlic, vinegar, water, sugar and bay leaf.
5. Marinate squids in this mixture for 1 hour. Drain. Save marinade
6. Saute onions in hot oil.
7. Add drained squids, saute until the juices evaporates (about 10-12 minutes).
8. Strain marinade, add to sauted squids.
9. Let simmer for about 15 minutes.
10. Serve Hot with Rice.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Trick or Treating in Etobicoke

My kids were looking forward to this day eversince they received lots of goodies last year in their first Halloween here in Canada. It's Lex first time to join and our first time in Etobicoke neighborhood.

Pre-Halloween
Last Friday, both Miggy and Kyle had their Halloween parade in their respective schools. The funny thing was while they were putting on their costumes, Lex wanted to put on his costume as well even if it's not yet Halloween. He wore a Winnie the Pooh and while they were on the way to Kyle's school, the road workers called Winnie the Pooh and he waved his hands.


A cold Halloween night
We started trick or treating a few minutes before 7:00 pm. It was cold outside and I made sure the kids wore fleece jacket beneath their costumes. Miggy, the Dracula and Kyle, the Police Officer went from house-to-house. Their loot bags were almost half-full after one block. We saw lots of Halloween-themed or decorated houses but there's this one house who stood out. It looked like we were in a set of a scary movie, complete with props and spotlights. There's even a live mummy who moved while I took a photo of Lito and the kids. While going round the corner, a hanging head just appeared above us and Lex got scared. I was not able to pose with the gorgeous witches who are giving away the candies but I had a good time watching them, as if looking at the stars of Practical Magic. We enjoyed this activity and called it a night when the kids loot bags were full. The kids were all smiles when they were comparing all the goodies they received. It was fun!







Lex' first time
At first, Lex was just sitting in his stroller, but no one's giving him any goody so Lito and I took turns in bringing him near the door with the kids. He looked adorable in his costume, he received nice remarks from people giving the treats and from other kids as well. Later on, he wanted to walk and knock on the door or ring the bell by himself. I can't believe that as young as 23 months, he is showing signs of wanting to be independent.


Friday, 22 October 2010

27 to 30 years of friendship and counting

Our high school batch is celebrating the Silver Jubilee this year (Rizal High School Batch 85). Yup, I’m that matured, looks can be deceiving you know, hahaha. My high school life was a colorful one. You can even compare it to the episodes of 90210, Dawson’s Creek or Gossip Girl. Thanks to my friends who have shared with me the joys (and pains) of being a teenager. We have a clique of 12 fun-loving, with eyes for details (to critique unusual classmates), smart and well-liked girls. Our laughter echoes in Masanga -the place we used to hang out. It’s a secret nook surrounded by gardens where students from pilot sections, other ’popular kids’, high school sweethearts eat and spend time. The words ‘laugh out loud’ are already familiar to our group even before they became a buzz word in chat. They say “Birds of the same feather flock together” and I say that what we all have in common aside from having the same haircut is our both being B & B (and another B). Beauty and Brains don’t go together for some but not for our group. Body is the other B though I didn’t have that :). Attending parties, having a cool bf and balancing them with school activities is a tough act. Our group did it effortlessly and with the demands of Rizal High School, who can top that?
After 27 years and for some of us even earlier, we are still the BBB of our batch. Yes, none of us have the same waistline as our age LOL. We have a group in Facebook and our private conversations there were just like the old times. Only this time we are not in our favorite nook but in different parts of the world, reminiscing and still doing the LOLs. Each one enjoying the prime of our lives, sometimes we still comment on our batchmates and share our excitement in our trip planning. I really hope our Calgary reunion will push through when one of us gets married (again for the nth time hahaha) next year.
I feel blessed to have shared and still share with these girls the gift of friendship. Like always, we will be on each other’s side through thick or thin. May God continue to bless us with the 3 Bs and more Bs (not babies though but blessings) now and forever.

RAJGILC members are (L-R) Irminia Cansino, Cherrie Juanillo, Lalaine Leonardo, Ma. Glenda Valdellion, Ma. Joy Dela Cueva, Armenia Ecobin, Ma. Cristina Tiangco, Cherry Roldan, Carlyn Ordonez, Catherine Cruz (not in photo - Jacqueline Salonga, Cynthia Tiangco)

Friday, 15 October 2010

No need to subscribe to cable to enjoy Digital TV

We recently purchased an LCD TV – a 40-inch Sony Bravia (with bundled Sony Blu-Ray player) which was on sale – we’re only shopping if there’s a sale LOL. Prior to this purchase, we used to enjoy a 27-inch Sony TV we got from the old apartment and an HDTV Antenna to capture all the kids shows and channels where we just watch sports, news, CSI and Glee. We now use this antenna in the new LCD TV and we get digital high definition (HD) TV channels as if subscribing to Rogers or Bell Cable. We can capture all the Toronto HD channels like Global, CTV, CTS, CityTV, Sun, Omni 1 & 2, CBC, CHCH. I also discovered that we can watch FOX and another US channel featuring Hollywood movies for free. The shows that we regularly watch plus sports and news are in clear, crisp, digital format. I can watch more of the series I have neglected for the past year. So Grey’s Anatomy, Smallville, House, Gossip Girl are back on my list to watch and also new favorites like No Ordinary Family, Three and a half Men, The Good Wife and NCIS. My kids enjoy the wide screen but most of all we enjoy the savings we get. You too can. Just purchase an HDTV Antenna which costs around CDN$15-20 and use coaxial cable to connect to your LCD TV and voila, feast on digital madness.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Thanksgiving and chicken (not turkey)

I cannot let this week passed without saying anything about Thanksgiving. Canada is celebrating Thanksgiving every second Monday of October. This time of the year is the end of the harvests and time to give thanks. Thanksgiving is not just a holiday but an opportunity to reflect and thank God who provided all the blessings we received. My family is blessed to have come here to Canada to enjoy the life He gave us. We are forever thankful for continuously working in our lives.

Having planned to have a Niagara weekend holiday or an apple picking adventure, we later decided to stay at home and like the tradition enjoy a roasted Turkey, oops Chicken pala. Here’s the recipe of the Roasted Chicken I prepared for Thanksgiving. Enjoy it with chilled potato and salmon salad.

Roasted chicken with garlic and rosemary
The following ingredients are good for one chicken weighing a kilo or less. Double, triple or quadruple the ingredients if marinating more than one chicken.
4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp. of salt
as much ground pepper as you like
2 tbsps. of fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp. dried)

Pierce the thickest parts of the chicken with a fork.

Place the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Add the chicken to the bowl, rubbing the marinade into the meat. Scoop some into the chicken’s cavity. Place the chicken with the marinade in a resealable bag and keep in the fridge for at least 24 hours, turning the chicken every few hours or so.
Place in a roaster (you have to use a rack to allow the fat to drip off) and roast uncovered in the oven at 170oC for 45 to 55 minutes.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Colors of Fall @James Gardens

This week was a long weekend but since our plans of going to Niagara or an apple farm didn’t push through, we managed to watch the fall colors in another way. A walk in the park is always a good alternative especially when the weather is good and the kids are in a good mood to stroll. James Gardens is accessible thru Toronto Transit thru Royal York or Jane station. After walking a few blocks from the bus station, we reached Edinburgh Avenue where the entrance of the garden is. At first, we were kinda disappointed because we thought that the park is only a small one. The area we went to had a few picnic tables and there was not much trees but only grassy ground where the kids ran around.
But we were wrong after all. After eating lunch, we headed towards the main garden. Lito discovered a bike trail and we just followed it to get to the middle of the park. We enjoyed the great view, the rushing waters of Humber River on the left and the trees in different colors of Autumn on our right. We passed by manicured gardens, bike - stroller trails, bridges and more picnic tables under huge willow trees. Later, we took the hiking trail to go through the forest and we were amazed at the tall trees hovering over us, in different colors. Enjoy this video Lito took. I was busy texting my friend, describing how beautiful it was to see the fall colors from the inside that I forgot about my son who went down his stroller on his own hahaha.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

My firstborn is Future Aces student of the month

I was surprised to hear the good news yesterday and when Lito and I went to their school this morning, I still couldn't believe that finally my child is getting his rewards. I was relieved to hear that here in Canada, there is no ranking. The school system is only after meeting or exceeding the standards set by the Province. My Aloysius never got the chance to be number 1 in the Philippines. I was glad to find out that even though the school is following the District Boards standards, it still gives recognition like this and it really motivated my son. Who wouldn't? Aloysius is so happy to receive the Future Ace Student of the month in their class.

The Future Aces philosophy is based on the belief that positive attention contributes to and reinforces a person's self-esteem. Future Aces focuses on the positive rather than the negative, by recognizing and encouraging attitudes and actions that are desirable and constructive. Founder Herb Carnegie says that "being a Future Ace means being a good person with feeling in your heart."

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Reading to kids

I'm so excited. My almost 2-year old Lex is starting to read on his own, browsing the pages and pointing to pictures. I love reading to my kids especially now that Kyle and Miggy are going to school. My 3rd child doesn't want to be left behind. Our reading time is right before going to sleep. Our new king-size bed is enough for the 2 younger kids to squeeze in between us. I guess we need nightstands to put our nightlamps for our reading sessions. With 2 nightstands at the sides of our bed, we have the option to keep one light turned off if the other kid is already sleeping. I wonder which one to choose to match our bedroom theme because there are a lot of styles to choose from.

Monday, 20 September 2010

50 Most Engaged Workplaces in Canada

I’m so proud and happy. My employer belongs to the I Love Rewards 50 Most Engaged Workplaces for 2010. The awards criteria include the most desirable traits an employee might look for in a company. Here are the 8 elements:
1. LEADERSHIP
2. COMMUNICATION
3. CULTURE
4. REWARDS AND RECOGNITION
5. PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL GROWTH
6. ACCOUNTABILITY AND PERFORMANCE
7. VISION AND VALUES
8. CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Although I haven’t seen and felt all of these personally, the communication part is true. I’m doing the company newsletter in the interim now and it’s a challenging work. Having to meet with the management team and get to know all the relevant information and presenting them in a way that will be easy to comprehend by the plant employees. I just realized how I really wanted to become a writer. I hope we can finally release them today so I can move on and start the next issue. Anyway, I just want to share how fulfilling my career has turned out so far. Thank God!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Kyle's first day of school as JK


Thinking it was going to be a hard time for him (separation anxiety), I took the day off from work on Kyle's first day as Junior Kindergarten at Eatonville School. But it didn't turn out as I expected. Gone are the first day blues for my second born. I thought it's like our first time in the Spring Program - Jump and Play where he wanted me to stay near because he cries when I'm out of his sight. I thought I would be staying in the school during his class and he would always look for me. On our way there, I saw a worried face in him then we passed by an area where there are little children lining up. We passed by them because I wanted to take a picture of him in front of the school. When we returned and asked where Achilles class is, his name cannot be found. Not as Achilles though but he was listed as Kyle. After finding out who the teacher is (they talked for a while) - she was a pretty lady, I think Kyle already felt comfortable with her. While waiting for the bell or signal for them to go inside, I stood beside him in the line. I was surprised because he said, "Mommy, you're the only mom here" "You can leave me now" I was dumbfounded! My little boy is no longer that clingy baby. hahaha. I'm glad he'll be independent as his elder brother is now. My other student who is in Grade 4 now and enjoying his French class in another school at Briarcrest. The fun part is, I get to learn his French too.

Aloysius with Lex

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Mattresses 101

We had a hand-me-down bed and since Lex peed there a lot of times, we decided to let go of it and left it in the old apartment. Now I'm on the search for a perfect bed for Lito and I. While browsing for brands, I realized that the mattress alone is very expensive so I had to make a good research before shelling out that cash.

First, it helps to know the different types of mattresses that are available. There are three main types of mattresses; innerspring, air and memory foam types.

Inner spring mattresses are a common choice. The inner spring mattress uses coils inside the mattress to support the body while sleeping. The thickness of the coil determines the firmness and support of the mattress; the thicker the coil the firmer the mattress.

The basic construction of air mattresses consists of chambers within the mattress that hold air. The chambers are made out of latex with cotton exteriors.

Then there are also memory foam mattresses. I remember we used to have this kind of mattress in the Phils, URATEX brand lived up to our expectation. They conform to your body and are touted to be hypoallergenic. They come in a wide variety of types and prices.

I prefer Inner Spring mattresses so I will dwell on the different types of Coils used in this kind of bed. Amazing, there are different kinds of them and each type is what makes a good mattress.

Bonnell coil, and is found in lesser-quality mattresses. Its hourglass shape was directly adapted from buggy seat springs in the 1800's.

Marshall coils are of a much higher caliber. Each individual coil has its own fabric covering and is commonly made of tempered steel; in some cases the coils are pre-compressed. This pre-compression technology is what allows for tension adjustment on opposite sides of the bed; couples typically enjoy this feature.

The Simmons mattress company uses Marshall coils to achieve their goal of long-term customer service; they've been known for quality and caring, but consumers report that their mattresses are often a little on the firm side.

The Simmons Beautyrest series famously offers Marshall coils in their Baran models, which is one of the best mattresses based on consumer reviews; their California king-sized mattresses go as low as $659 on Amazon. Consumers note its firmness, which can be a pro or con depending on your individual needs.

Offset coils are also a higher-quality design, built on a series of hinges that move and shift to conform to your body's shape. This gives you perfect support for every curve and joint. Another benefit of the offset coil is its strength and durability, which mean that a mattress with this coil technology will last a long time without slacking up on the incredible body support.

Sealy is one of the most successful brands when it comes to offset coils. The Sealy Posturepedic is the best mattress series of this type and even elite models seldom cost more than $1500 for a queen or king size. Every Posturepedic mattress scores high in mattress reviews for its incredible comfort, with minor drawbacks such as difficulty finding sheets to fit the mattress's large size.

The last common coil is known as the continuous coil or the Mira-coil. As the name "continuous coil" might suggest, each individual coil is one long piece that runs from the head to foot of the mattress in a series of rows. Serta mattresses are famous worldwide for using this type of coil. While this does make it somewhat noisier than the typical innerspring mattress, it also gives unparalleled firmness to the bed and provides great support for back and neck pain sufferers.

I just hope we also find good price for any of these type of mattress. This is for mattress alone, no box and headboard yet. I can already see Lito's eyebrows meeting again LOL!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Letter of Apology in behalf of Filipinos

I got this from email - thanks to Faye.

"A letter from a teenage Filipino to the WHOLE WORLD"

I would like to share this patriotic letter from a young man Reigno Jose Dilao. He is a teenager, a student, and a Filipino who has a big heart for his country.

As you are reading this letter, I bet that you have seen/heard about what happened earlier in our country.

Tourists were hostages of a policeman here, Rolando Mendoza. After a few hours of the horrible crime, some of the victims were dead including the hostage-taker.

I wrote this letter not just to apologize but also to let everyone know that we Filipinos are not all like Mendoza. We are loving and good-hearted people.

For so many years, our country has been standing tall and surpassing every dilemma; be it small or big. Years ago (back when I wasn't born yet), you have watched us fight for what we think is right. We fought for the democracy of our nation.. The EDSA revolution. But that's just one out of many.

Second. We Filipinos have been serving other countries for our families and we treat you as our own as well. With all due respect, I thank you all for giving us the trust through the years. For helping us to become what we are now.

The Philippines is more than just a group of islands. We are a nation of strong and remarkable people. A country of beauty and love known to be hospitable and well-valued. I humbly apologize for what happened tonight. No one in this world would want something like that to happen for life should be valued.

I politely ask the attention of the world. Please do not judge and mistreat us just because of what happened tonight. I have been searching the net and found terrible things. Hong Kong advices to avoid travels here, China and HK bans Filipinos and that Philippines is the worst place to go.

I can't blame you for what you have decided but I hope that you could understand. Our country is now in a sea of problems. And I know for sure that we helped you in a way or another. Let peace and understanding reign this time.

I know that this letter will just be trash but I wish that you would understand. On behalf of the Philippine population.. WE ARE SORRY.

As a song puts it...

And I believe that in my life I will see an end to hopelessness,
giving-up and suffering. And we all stand together this one time then no
one will get left behind. Stand up for life. STAND UP FOR LOVE

Sincerely yours,

Reigno Jose Dilao
Catbalogan City, Samar

(End of Letter)

To Reigno, you are a young hero of the Philippines. I commend you for
writing this letter of trying to uplift the morale of the Philippines,
after this tragic incident. Kudos to you. You are indeed an idol to many
young Filipinos like you, and should also be an inspiration to many
Filipinos.

Monday, 23 August 2010

I Love you forever

I love this book and I'm so glad to find the you tube video with the book being read by Mr. Robert Munschi himself. I don't have the book to read to my children but I use this link to let them hear and see the book on the internet. My kids love it but I can only carry and rock Lex before he goes to sleep. Sometimes Kyle requests me to open this link whenever he feels to be pampered like a baby. I hope you like it to as much as I do (and my children too) Happy reading and listening!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Craving for Cassava Cake

I saw in an Asian store flyer that the frozen grated cassava is on sale. It was an opportunity to make that Cassava Cake I've been craving for. Here's the recipe i followed from my churchmate, it's so easy to make, I can do it again and again.

Cassava Cake

You will need:

2 packs frozen grated cassava, thawed
2 eggs, beaten
1 can evaporated milk
1 can condensed milk
4 tbsp butter
1 bottle macapuno strings
grated cheese

Procedure:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400'C
2. Combine all ingredients.
3. Pour in a baking pan.
4. Put grated cheese on top.
5. Bake for 30 minutes or until top turns golden brown.

Serve while hot and enjoy.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

On Moving and Change of Address

We will be moving to a new apartment by the end of this month. We got lots of things to pack and thanks to our friends who provided the boxes that we can use for our knick-knacks. Some also have pledged to help us move. I didn’t realize that aside from organizing and packing our stuff, contacting truck rentals and movers, we need to inform everyone concerned about our moving and new address.

We received billing and bank statements regularly. There are also subscription to reading materials and freebies. Most importantly, we received information regarding our tax incentives and latest updates from the Canada Revenue Agency and other government agencies thru the mail. I wish there was a one-step way inform them of our change of address. I stumble upon the US Postal Service and discovered they offer free service for people that are moving anywhere in the US. You just have to give them the old and new address then all the mails will be automatically delivered to the new place. The site also provides a checklist to help you remember all the people, utility companies, government agencies and financial institutions that you need to inform of your new address. I could use that list after we have done all the packing.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Nawies in Toronto

W@W and N@W - I have been a member of this egroup for a long time, since the day I planned my wedding (1st gen W@wie circa 1999) until now that my kids are growing. I have made friends with brides to be, new wives and new moms from all over the world. Even if we don't see each other and just exchange tales over email, chat and plurk, I feel a sense of belonging and bonding with these women. I love them all. Thanks to Benz and John for putting up this egroup. We all learn from each other's ideas, problems, rants and supplier ratings (yes, we all love parties!) We also love to shop especially those on Sale! I have met some of them back in 2005 and I'm glad I have found another N@wie here in Canada - Issa. I was surprised to find out that Issa and Faye used to share w@w moments while preparing for their wedding. They both got married in October 2005. We finally met last Sunday after sharing tips on migrating and moving to a new country. How I wish we could be neighbors in the future because our kids bonded as soon as they share toys and play WII. I know this is only the start of our real friendship (not only online) and God has a reason why they brought us together here. Issa, Nico and Miguel - Here's to online friendship and beyond, Cheers!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Miss Clearance

I admit I'm a shopaholic. Sometimes I just want to go to a store, browse thru the racks and check out the items. It started when I was stressed in the office or domestic and I found myself going to the shopping mall to unwind. You wouldn't believe that it gives me a different kind of high just hearing the sound of hangers and the cash registers LOL. It came to a point that I needed to hold on to my cash and cards but I didn't give up on shopping. Actually, it paved the way for me to discover the one part of the store that I've been ignoring but is worth browsing too - the clearance racks. I also learned about the ukay-ukay or second hand stores from the internet and bought items there like winter jackets before going to the US last 2008.

Now that I am here in Canada even if I have my own job and can purchase from my pocket, I maintained that frugality in shopping. Lito and I were not into signature brands (although I found out that the vintage stores here in Canada carry lots of cheap branded items) and are not picky when it comes to buying pre-loved items. We got our Joovy Caboose, Evenflo highchair and some branded toys like Little Tikes, Playskool, Fisher Price etc. for the kids from garage sales and second-hand baby stores.

I went to Goodwill->pre-loved items store last Friday where I found nice home decor items - IKEA frames for a dollar each and decorative mirror for our new apartment. I just hope these items are still there when I go back on Friday because it's additional 50% off on all items. My BFF Joy also told me about Value Village, also a pre-loved items store along Lawrence Avenue. This store is very nice you wouldn't think it's a used items store. The items are organized per category, per size and color. I liked the furnitures and I also found nice but big toys for the kids - kids bike for 10 dollars, a little tikes plastic bike for Lex worth 7 dollars. It will be hard for me to bring them home and besides, we'll be moving. Maybe next time. Here's the one toy I wouldn't pass up, when I saw it I already felt it's perfect for my Lex - an IKEA brand abacus toy, almost new and the price tag is wallet friendly (see the tag?) You know, a shopaholic like me never comes out the store empty handed hahaha.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

My first Taste of the Danforth

It was an accidental stroll around Toronto today. I just hopped on Randy and Gina's car to get the boxes from my friend on Queen Street and I found myself having my personal time off. We went to Woodbine area, grabbed my favorite French Vanilla at Tim Horton's and feed the seagulls by the beach. It was a relaxing sight especially when we went to the rocky areas, the sound of the waves soothes. I wish I had my family with me but it's also good to have a personal time to be recharged.

Before we head home, Randy reminded Gina to buy Gyros for their dinner at the Greektown - Danforth and I found myself joining her and lining up for the grilled quail and gyros. This annual event is frequently visited and most popular among the street food events in Toronto. The atmosphere is like a town fiesta but with all the food lined up on the street. The smell of grilled food entices me and I can't wait to bring to my palate my first taste of Danforth. Of course, the highlight here is not only to taste Greek and Mediterreanean food but also to purchase it in a low price. Imagine, Souvlakis for only CDN$5. My loot is the grilled quail which my boys finished thinking it was chicken and the 2 gyros were filling, Lito and I didn't have any other food for dinner. Truly, it was a new discovery and an event that will be looked forward to in the coming years.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Canada East Tour Day Three – Back to Montreal, 1000 islands cruise

It was a total of 7 hours for the trip going back. We headed early morning to Montreal, the first 2.5 hours, Lex behaved because he was busy watching CARS in our portable DVD player, but then the battery ran out so he was cranky before we reached our destination. After lunch, another 3 hours, we headed towards Ontario to Ivy Lea, this is where we will ride a ferry for the 1000 islands cruise. Lex slept before we arrived Ivy Lea and I was carrying him during the cruise. It was an hour cruise and we enjoyed the islands within the Canada waters and those from the US border. I noticed that both of these countries are patriotic, I wonder why in the Philippines, it is only on Independence Day that you can see our flags and only in strategic areas and not everywhere.





The cruise was our opportunity to rest, the cool winds and breathtaking views make us relax and reflect. What a nice trip! It was also a good time to bond and fellowship with one another. The trip would not have turned enjoyable if it weren’t for our churchmates who comforted and played with Lex when he was crying on the bus, and also looking after our other children while walking in the streets of Montreal and Quebec Cities where there are lots of tourists and chances of them getting lost is great. We’re thankful.
Our last stop was at the Big Apple Pie store then 2 more hours we arrived in Toronto. We arrived at home at thirty past nine, all tired and weary but happy and acquired more knowledge about Canada.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Canada East Tour Day Two – Montreal Olympic Park / Quebec City

After breakfast, we headed to La Basilica Notre Dame - a very spectacular church structure, a neogothic building dating from 1829, this is where Celion Dion got married in 1994. I liked Montreal Metropolis where Notre Dame is located. Thrice the size of Toronto’s Metropolis, I learned that many businesses held their offices and headquarters here before when Montreal was still the nation’s capital. But when there was uprising and political attacks were imminent, these businesses moved to another location (mostly in Toronto) and most of them transferred when the Capital became Ottawa. I also learned that the location of the province of Quebec which is surrounded by rivers was a threat to nation’s security that’s why the government chose another location.

Next stop - Montreal Olympic Park. This park was built for the 1976 Summer Olympics when Montreal was the host. There was this unique leaning tower on top of the stadium - 175-metre (574 ft) tower – the tallest inclined structure in the world, an attraction which could’ve been a hit when it was finished prior to the opening of the games but it was only after 1987 that the tower was finished. The Olympic Stadium with the Tower now finished looked liked a UFO from afar. Maybe it was really designed like that because Montreal Olympic Park was also called futuristic Olympic park. The view of Montreal from the observatory was spectacular. My kids enjoyed the ride going to the top via a funicular-type elevator.

Move over Montreal, make a way for Quebec City. I got excited on our way to Quebec City because I keep on hearing from the tour guide that the old Quebec City is the Europe in Canada. When we arrived, I was not disappointed. I saw a castle and the court yard reminded me of the many movies I saw that were taken in France. The old Quebec City has the quaint charm that is irresistible. The roads were made of cobblestones and the village overlooking the river is lovely. Like the streets of France, it is lined with patio restaurants, a violinist playing in the corner, artists painting, actors and jugglers performing and lots of tourists roaming around. The tiny shops with interesting merchandise and souvenir items abound and the atmosphere is eclectic. Even the French language added to the authenticity of being in France. I really like it here. I found myself saying bon jour and merci, hahaha.




Still smells like the same LUSH stores in Manila





Chateau Frontenac

What I didn’t like in this part of the trip was pushing Lex stroller on the rough and sloping roads but it was rewarded by his behaved manner when we were roaming around. I guess he too was mesmerized by the place. Good thing, on the wayback, there was an elevator/cable car we used to have another view of the city. BTW, I saw a store that sells Russian/Beaver Hats. Aloysius and I enjoyed trying them on only to find out that they cost a lot. Our day concluded with dinner at McDonald’s and upon checking in at Clarion Hotel for the night.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Post-Birthday Treat-Canada East Tour Day One

Long weekends here are mostly spent in trips and our family had an enjoyable trip to the eastern part of Canada on the Simcoe-Civic Holiday. Some members of our Church (Servants of Christ Ministries – Toronto) went with us for the 3-day bus tour to Kingston-Ottawa-Montreal-Quebec-1000 islands last weekend. My kids (except for Lex who was cranky in the long bus ride) were cooperative and excited they woke up as early as 4:30 to prepare for the long day ahead.

Our group availed the Taipan Tours package and the meeting place was at Spadina. We took the TTC to get there. We got good seats near the front so that we could hear the Tour Guide very well (although some of the words were challenging because of her accent) and learned a lot about Canada and the places we’ve been to.


First stop – Kingston. This is an old city and used to be the Capital of Canada in the old days. We passed by prison and hanging tower where they used to hang criminals, Queen’s University, and the downtown where architectural structures were amazing. We saw the oldest hotel in town and still open to public. The town center has market stalls selling fresh goodies from fruits, maple syrups, honey and other souvenir items. We enjoyed posing in front of the Capitol and in the marina.



Next stop is Ottawa/Parliament Hill. I remember during the orientation we had before coming here to Canada, the Canadian speaker suggested that every immigrant must make an effort to visit the nation’s capital and see the Parliament hill. This is where all the laws, decrees and decisions are made for the welfare of every resident of Canada. For a moment there, I thought I felt patriotic but the scorching heat and the little time we had to roam around the city didn’t make up for an opportunity to reflect and think of my new country. Anyway, there’s still a chance for us to come back here, I’ll just save that moment when I come up close and personal with Canada’s capital. Loved the Parliament Building!


Next stop – City of Gatineau / Civilization Museum. I loved this Museum, well I keep saying that each time I come out of a museum and learned a lot from a place. My Aloysius appreciated it more because he already knew some of those we saw from his History class. He was telling me who that person is, what is that thing for? etc. I now know who the Pioneers, the Loyalists and the Aboriginals were. I also learned about Upper and Lower Canada and why it was separated at that time (and until now? Hahaha). We loved the view of the river from this place and the back of Parliament building which can still be seen from here. The summer sun and the cool breeze added to the perfect afternoon on the riverside while waiting for our bus.






Bye Ontario, Hello Quebec province! A few hours later we arrived in Montreal, we went to St. Joseph Oratory /Basilica – the second highest church in the world. I was telling Lito that this is where the Smallville season ender scene was taken – because I remember the altar where Clark Kent was lying down to be sacrificed because the secret about him was exposed to Lex Luthor. There, we learned about a certain Brother Andrew who was gifted with healing powers and healed those with clutches – the clutches were donated to the church and were displayed on the walls of the church as proof of the many people he healed and how he helped in building this church or was the church built in his memory, huh I got confused there. Anyway, we had a nice view of the city because the church is sitting on a mountain.

By 7:00 pm, we checked in our hotel – Ruby Foo’s and some of our companions enjoyed the dip in the pool. Our friend, Jho De Gracia-Ochoco from SGS visited us and we had a chit chat for an hour. We hope to be back here when Tita Jo arrives for more Montreal discoveries. Hit the sack early for another day.