Life thoughts: Thanksgiving

We may not celebrate Thanksgiving in the Philippines, but I think this is the best time to look back for the year that was, for what God has done to me, through me, my family and other people. My heart cannot contain all the joy that God had brought me this year, so here goes. I can just write the major things that happened this year. (I feel like I’m gonna repeat this on Christmas):

1. I was able to travel twice for free. Which is a dream I think for anyone.
2. I won a competition in Indonesia.
3. God took away my lolo last March, and I think that event made the family more solid, even though my mom’s still facing a lot of stress.
4. My lolo’s death catalyzed my creativity as I was able to write 5 major pieces this year that all made it to an international audience.
5. My ate got married. Still adjusting, though, but I’m really happy for her and her husband.
6. I have renewed passion to lead the church’s music ministry as every week I see to it there is something new.
7. Maybe last, for now, one of my greatest blessings this year is Ara. 🙂


Food blog: Calda Pizza

This year was the first time I have ever laid eyes upon a pizza bigger than my tires.  And it is also apparent that a lot of big-sized pizzas have been sprouting around town.

Yesterday, a friend of mine who passed the LET bought this big pizza for the gang–Calda Pizza. The funny thing is, it’s just a 5 minute walk from my house, and I don’t even know.

Nop, this particular piece did not come from Cebu, it was bought in Marikina. It’s 30 inches around 900php according to my friend.

There was no other way to manage this huge thing but to put it on top of a grand piano. Poor piano, good thing it was pretty damn old.

The pie itself is good. Thin crust, cheesy. I just thought that it needed more meat though. And I also thought that it was toooo thin, really. But, otherwise it was good. We managed to wrap up the whole thing. I got to have around 10 slices. (How dare me complain!) It’s good. And the price is almost standard with what the other pizza places around Manila are priced.

And I did tell you that it was too thin. There was no other way to eat it but to either roll it like a burrito, or have two slices and make a sandwich. CALDA PIZZA! At least I have somewhere to go nearby if I’m REALLY hungry, I can finish 36 inches of pizza!!

Food blog: Kazam Kebab House, Maginhawa, Teachers Village

Maginhawa in Teacher’s Village is one of the most underrated places for foodies that is slowly creeping into the limelight because of all the blogs, top 10s and stuff that appear on TV and all over the net now and then.

Just for that matter, Ara and I tried, out of the blue, this Persian resto which is beside Good Burger in Maginhawa–Kazam.

As because the nature of all restos along Maginhawa, or maybe the whole of Teacher’s Village is a family/small business, this resto has only about 5 staff. Amazing! (Of course not all of them are in this pic)

For the food, Ara and I ordered just a few, good enough to last the whole afternoon. She ordered Beef Kebab which is 75php. Pretty decent for a student. It looks and tastes good as well. Just enough for how much it costs. It actually looks somehow like longganisa with sinangag in this picture. But hey, its still good considering the price. What I can say about the flavor is, it has a lot of spices that distincts it far from ordinary Filipino barbeque and enough tang (lemon i think) that would distinguish it from the regular shawarmas we have from those booths in every mall in the metro. There is a 2-stick kebab for 135php which has another name that I forgot.

I ordered a chicken wrap for 60php. A chicken wrap is also known as chicken  shawarma in other places like the Try Mo Shawarma Co. Place in Lagro. Just to compare the two, the one in Lagro has more meat inside. If you’re looking for something that REALLY fills you up, the one in Lagro is the answer. Filipinos would say that it’s masarap just because of the abundance of meat inside. But if we are to talk about the taste itself, the chicken wrap in Kazam is a shocker. It has the same stuff, tomatoes, white onions, and cucumber, ofcourse with the shredded chicken meat, but men, this one tastes a lot better. The chicken meat has a sort of tang that I never tasted in the one in Lagro. It was really good!

Overall, this place is for students who want to go Persian, be secluded enough to the ones near UP, and still enjoy the flavors of Persian food. The price is student-friendly, so no worries! It’s good! I recommend that you try it, even the other restos beside it. hehe. That’s what I’m gonna do next.



Food blog: Kanin Club

Everyone I know who already ate in Kanin Club only have good things to say. I’ve been really wanting to eat here for a long time. So last Friday, Ara set up a dinner with her church friends with me in UP Technohub. They actually wanted to meet me in some way, so this was the best way.

The atmosphere is really nice–Filipino music playing, walls resembling windows from early Spanish-Filipino houses that are still existent in the provinces, just a casual dining atmosphere where friends and family can enjoy. And since it is a Friday night, the place was jam-packed–a good sign of good food!

We ordered enough food for 5. We started with this very delicious Sinigang na Salmon Belly. It was so good! Couldn’t get enough of the soup. And the fish?? This picture up here says it all. Since it is the belly part, there was fat on one side, and pure pink fish goodness for the rest of it. It was really good, I can have it all day!

This is what everyone is talking about. Everyone I know who ate in Kanin Club always told me to try their Crispy Dinuguan. I think instead of lamang loob, they had crispy skin or liempo in here. I don’t know since I really couldn’t analyze. The sauce is not a soup unlike the usual dinuguan our Lola makes. It’s stickier and it’s almost like paste. This is to die for! Just this one and plain rice could make a meal!

Kanin Club also boasts on its dessert twists. Leche flan topped with Macapuno, Turon w/ a lot of tsismis inside. (invented menu because of bad memory). The Leche flan is the simple leche flan just topped with macapuno. It should be shared because it may be too sweet for some. The turon is really good. It has ube halaya, macapuno, kaong, and some others inside. It’s like a halo-halo stuffed inside a turon. Otherwise, the turon should be what I should order again if I should come back with my family.

Filipino food with a twist–that’s Kanin Club. Perfect for the family and the barkada. I will surely go back here to try their specialty rice toppings next time!

Food blog: Ree ChiChie’s Cassava cake

There’s this cassava cake place where I always pass by whenever I come home after bringing Ara home. I’ve been always intrigued as to how it is. So, last Tuesday, since it is a holiday in Manila, (All Saints’ Day) my dad wanted to visit the remains of my lola, his mom in Fairview, Quezon City. We passed by this small store and tried it out.

It’s pretty cheap. It’s available in 2 sizes. The big one costs 210php. The small one, which is still a lot, costs 105php. It is available with 2 toppings: macapuno and langka. We bought the macapuno.

It is so good. I’ve eaten a lot of cassava cakes, mostly from Laguna, but I’ve never tasted anything like this. The macapuno on top is generous that it adds to the sweetness of the whole thing. It’s creamy, and because it was freshly cooked, it added to how good it was.

It was so good we bought another one coming home. It was in the fridge for 3 days but the macapuno on top never dried up unlike most cassava cakes I’ve tasted.

I would really want to buy it again, especially for Xmas or when I go to visit Ara’s house soon.

Food blog: Try Mo Shawarma Co.

Ara and her family used to live in Lagro in Quezon City a few years back. She introduced me to this wonderful Shawarma joint where everyone in the area seems to enjoy. It has no proper signage, just a small one, no nice seats, no air-conditioning, but people in the area, students, residents, know that this place should be a regular habit for them. And yes, the name of the joint is Try Mo Shawarma Co. which is located just at the arc after entering the boundary of Lagro, Quezon City.

When Ara and I was going here regularly before, there were just two meat varieties: chicken and beef. Now there’s pork. But I’d rather have the chicken shawarma since I am not a fan of beef, since it takes more time to digest. Chicken also is not always available in the usual shawarma places we see in the malls or even in UP and Philcoa. So, there goes chicken.

This place opens at 3pm and closes at 230am. It’s a place for night outs, parties, inuman and stuff. The prices are pretty cheap. For 65php you can enjoy chicken, beef or pork shawarma, which has generous amount of meat, plus cheese. There’s also something called sizzling shawarma, which is like a deconstructed shawarma in a sizzling plate, with shreds of pita bread. It’s good for sharing, and definitely best with rice.

We ordered chicken shawarma with cheese. Couldn’t taste the cheese that much though. But the chicken? Because there is generous amount of it, the flavor is so good. They also have 2 sauces to choose from: regular garlic sauce, and chili garlic sauce. So these 2 in the shawarma, HEAVEN! Even the veggies in the meal were not tipid. It’s really a MEAL not a snack. It’s heavy enough to get you going through a day.

So, if you have the chance, and you’re somewhere near Fairview, Novaliches, pass by here! You’ll love it!

Life thoughts: FEBIAS talk

Last Sunday, me and my parents talked in a Parenting Seminar in Febias which is a Bible College in Valenzuela City. Of course I didn’t talk about parenting, but I talked about how they brought me up, focusing on how our communication in the house made me what I am today.


We are so blessed to have parents like papa and mama. Personally, I thank God for them for how they brought us up–gwapo, confident, God-fearing.

I am the youngest of us three, bunso, malambing, makulit, magulo. But my parents had their ways of reaching out and communicating with the three of us. Si kuya na tahimik at malalim magisip ay tinatapatan nila papa and mama ng seryosong usapan na wala masyadong jokes, si ate na artsy, outgoing, at minsan sensitive ay iba din ang approach nila. Ako na ubod ng bait, at ubod ng gwapo ay, malamang, ibang iba.

When I was growing up, they taught me to be an achiever. I was taught to do everything with excellence. I was taught to be always number 1. So nung grade 1 ako, well hanggang grade 6, si mama lagi magrereview sakin pag may periodical exam. Hindi ko lang namemorize ang mga date kung kailan nag-landing si Magellan sa Pilipinas, hindi ko lang nalaman na mali ang tinuturo ng math teacher ko tungkol sa roman numerals, hindi lang ako top 1 from grade 1-6 dahil sa support nila kundi mabilis kong nalaman kung ano talaga ang gusto ko sa buhay.

Kaya nung highschool ako, at sobrang dami kong competition na nasalihan, sinuportahan nila ako sa lahat ng competition ko. When I was in 1st year, my first competition was the National Students Convention which was held in Marikina. Kahit na kakagaling lang sa hospital ni mama, they went to the competitions to watch me. 3rd year highschool naman in Baguio, they went naman to Baguio City to watch me. And my last national competition which was in Cebu, they also went there to watch and support me. Hindi lang musical competition ang sinalihan ko, may writing, may declamation, may photography din–kung kailan film pa ang ginagamit, at 400php ang isang roll ng film, well, they still supported me. I won first place in that. So when I went into college in UP, I know what I wanted. They supported all my interests. Unfortunately, music was what I love to do the most, kaya ngayon, isa po ako sa mga nagugutom na musikero sa Pilipinas. Hehe.

Sa college ibang level na. I excelled a lot as a composition major in the UP college of music.  University Scholar akong consistent, laging nag-aabroad for a conference or competition. At alam kong sabik din sila for any information galing sakin dahil nauuna pa mama ko magpost sa Facebook ng status tungkol sa mga magandang nangyayari sa kin. Hehe.

My most recent one was the Young Composers Competition of Southeast Asia in which I won the grand prize. Nung nag-skype kami after the awarding, si mama umiyak, ako hindi. Sinabi ko pa nga, ‘ma, please, ako magpopost!’ Hehe. And they were so proud of me. That makes me happy.

So going back to communication, I would just want to point out a few things based on my story.

1. Communication is not just what you say with your words, but what you say with your eyes, your facial expressions, your touch, your hug, your overall appearance, your eagerness, your kasabikan for a story, your time. There is more than just words.

2. Proper communication made me open up more to my parents, hearing their comments and suggestions, doing it, and achieving in life.

3. They respect who I am, not just me respecting what they want or how they want me to be. In that way, I respect them more.

4. My communication with them opened up my communication with God. They are my example of how and who God is.


My sister just got married last night (Saturday). I’m expected to be next. Pero paano ko itataguyod ang aking pamilya? Personnally, gusto ko ding palakihin ang mga anak ko in an environment the same way kung saan ako lumaki–it is an environment full of openness, full of love, full of sincerity, isang pamilyang may damdamin at di lang basta sumusunod sa rules ng isang librong nabasa mo sa National Bookstore, although baka makatulong, but how the Bible says it to be, and also how my magiging anak’s personality would be.

I would like to say again that communication makes a person open–open to criticism, open to change, open to sharing emotions and more. So for the parents here, please, please open the lines of communication to the children. Ask them how they are. Ask them about school. Kung in a relationship, ask them kung may pang-date. Tpos sabihin mo nalang na magtrabaho ka para sa pan-date mo. For the youth here, wag kayong mahiya. Magkwento, magsalita, umiyak, magtanong sa inyong mga magulang. Kung kaka-break mo lang sa girlfriend mo, sabihin mo. Kung after one week, may girlfriend na ulit, sabihin mo uli. Kung after one week, break nanaman, parents, batukan nyo na! Sa mga youth pa din, kung nagpapaturo nanay o tatay mo sa facebook o twitter, turuan mo. Pero wag masyado para di na madaming tanong. Tapos lagi niyong papaalala ung mga nakakalimutan nila. Kasi di na sila bumabata. Hindi sila pwedeng kabitan ng USB flash disk para madagdagan memory nila. Watch TV together. Watch movies together. Eat out together. Make unplanned vacations together. Ask them kung pano manligaw. Ask them pano magluto. Talk to them when your happy. Talk to them when your sad. Talk them about your future. Talk to them about God. But never talk to them about their insurance.  Hehe. Just keep the communication lines open!

Let me start and end my talk by saying that kaming magkakapatid are blessed to have papa and mama as our parents. So as I say goodbye and sing this song, always remember, the keyword is LOVE.

I sang a song of mine called Minsan and a beautiful song called Love Never Fails by Brandon Heath