President Aquino’s Inaugural Cake

As I was covering the post oathtaking of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III at Malacanang Palace, I entered a room leading to the venue of our media briefing when something caught my eye. There before me was a beautiful, fondant cake shaped like Malacanang Palace itself.

It turns out the cake was the masterpiece of Penk Ching and Shen Ratilla of Pastry Bin. I was lucky to bump into Penk, the master cakemaker herself, to get some initial cake details.

She was busy overseeing the moving of the cake so I got more details on the cake itself the following day. Here are some interesting trivia on the cake from Penk herself (as well as some other info I gathered from press articles):



Tikoy Takes a New Shape in 2010

Chinese New Year is always celebrated by the Chinese on the 7th day of the 7th month according to the Lunar Calendar. This year, 2010, that day falls on still another big event – Valentine’s Day.

To celebrate the New Year, Chinese families usually buy glutinous rice cake (locally called tikoy) to give out to friends, family and colleagues.

Tikoy in the Philippines has truly evolved. When I was small, all we had was the usual white tikoy.

What used to be just plain white tikoy evolved into a brown version some years ago as more people preferred to eat brown sugar over white.

Then a few years ago, we began to see flavors that can only be found in the Philippines as these use locally found ingredients. Yup, you can’t find these in places like Hong Kong!


Oodles of Pasta at Goodles!

I am a pasta lover. No doubt about it. And I love every opportunity to try out a new pasta place.

So when blogger friend Fran posted a sign-up notice for this new pasta place, Goodles, in Robinsons Galleria that her friend had just put up, I quickly signed up. It helped, of course, that I live close by. I also got to bring my girl C1 with me.

Sharlene Tan is the proprietress of Goodles. Shar explained the concept of Goodles to the bloggers present. It is simple, really – provide delicious, gourmet pasta choices ‘to go’. Now why hasn’t anyone thought of that before?

Before Goodles, one would need to find a casual or fine dining pasta restaurant with a sit-down ambience. Then one would wait about 20 minutes after placing an order for it to be served. Prices of such dishes would also be in the P200 to P400 range per plate.

Goodles is not a brick-and-mortar type of pasta restaurant. Instead, it is located near the fountain area, in an open space, with simple tables and chairs for those who choose to sit down to eat while also offering the order-and-go style for those who wish to take the food out or who want to take something other than popcorn and chips into the moviehouse.

We got to try all the dishes they served up but my personal favorite that night was the Grape Carbonara. No kidding, they put grape halves in with the carbonara. Shar said that carbonara, which oftentimes comes out too creamy and rich, is complemented by the taste of the grapes which tempers the richness of the carbonara sauce. I must say that she was absolutely right. The grapes went very well with the carbonara!

C1 had the Seven Layer Lasagna. That was very good too. I dug into the layers upon layers of the chunky meat sauce topped with lots and lots of mozzarella cheese.

The Salsa Rossa Shrimp is good for those who can stand it a bit spicy hot. This is a creamy tomato sauce with white shrimps and sweet basil topped with fresh mozzarella bits. Chili is added for that hot ooomph!

All the bloggers who went that night were one in saying that the Goodles menu was truly value for money. Know why? None of their prices hit P200. Great pasta at a great price. That is the real deal!

We all vowed to come back again and again. Next time, I’m bringing my girl C2 who is a definite pasta lover like me.

Goodles is located at the 4/F of Robinsons Galleria (near Movieworld and in front of Pizza Hut).

Taste Korean Food Festival (Nov. 19-23, 2009)

In the 80s I had the chance to live in South Korea for 5 months due to work. An assistant and I did computer audit work for an oil company and a multinational bank. I fell in love with Bibimpap, a complete meal in itself consisting of ground beef and various vegetables, together with a fried egg as rice toppings together with a special Korean hot sauce. Coming back to Manila, one of the first things I did was to try to find a Korean restaurant. I could not find any at all.

Fast forward to today in 2009. Look everywhere and you see Korean culture around us. There are so many Koreans in different parts of the country studying English, engaging in business, and many other activities. Korean restaurants, Korean hair stylists, Korean groceries abound everywhere. It seems that the Koreans have been able to integrate in some way with the Filipinos.

Last Friday, I came across a Korean food festival at the Atrium of Shang Plaza. The Korean culture through its food is available for everyone to see and taste test till Monday, Nov. 23.

I was able to interview Mr. Park Hyun Mo, the Co-Chairman of the 60th Anniversary of Korea-Philippines Diplomatic Relationship who gave this background of the festival.

Here are pictures I took at the festival. Go visit the festival this weekend and get a chance to taste real Korean food.

Get Fit and Designer-Fitted with Nestle Fitnesse

Over a year ago, I discovered Nestle Fitnesse cereal. It went well with my being a yoga practitioner as it was light enough for me to munch on even before a yoga class without that heaviness that goes with eating. Yet, it provided the energy and fiber that I needed. It was a healthy snack that I always had around the house. In fact, while many take their cereal with milk, I took mine straight out of the box. It was something I could just continue snacking on.

When I took on a consultancy project, I found myself staying late in the office. Again, Nestle Fitnesse cereal was my constant companion. I had a resealable container in one drawer always filled with the cereal. I especially liked the variety that had fruit in it.

See? Here is my current supply of Nestle Fitnesse & Fruit!

Now, guess what! Nestle Fitnesse is offering a challenge to all of you to get into the FASHION AND FITNESS mode.

If you’re wondering what the “14 DAYS” is on the lower right of the box, that’s exactly how long one of my favorite snacks is giving you and up to 8 of your friends to lose some pounds and win an entire designer’s wardrobe. And I don’t mean just any kind of wardrobe. Handpicked by the country’s top editors, the shortlisted wardrobe is a dream come true for a fashionista. “For the prizes in NESTLE FITNESSE’s 14 Days to Show off Your Shape, we found out what some of the country’s most stylish people want to have in their closets,” shares Myra Garcia, Consumer Marketing Manager, Nestle Fitnesse . “And in doing so, we were able to shortlist what’s arguably the most coveted designer wardrobe to hit Manila.”

Start your way to a fit life and get rewarded with a set of clothes that will make you look good in a new body.

Take a look at 3 of the 8 designer items up for grabs by the winners:






Are you tempted already by these luscious clothes? I am!

The rules are simple and fun, actually. Here are the mechanics:

14 Days to Fitness and Fashion

So what do you have to do to get a crack at Manila’s most coveted designer wardrobe?

Simply form a team of 2-8 members, and using Nestle Fitnesse’s 14-day meal plan, everyone in the team has to lose at least 2 pounds in 2 weeks. “No, 2 pounds is not that daunting, it only needs a few diet tweaks,” quips Myra Garcia. She explains that participants only need to replace breakfast and one of the main meals – either lunch or dinner–for 2 weeks.  She adds that to exercise as well as eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and low-fat, carbohydrate rich foods is the best way to complement the 14-day regimen.

And as part of the challenge, participants also need to chronicle their 14-day regimen via an online “fitness diary” accessed at <> . The Top 10 most popular FITNESSE 14-day diaries will make it into finals.

The Nestle Fitnesse 14 Days to Show off Your Shape will kick off on November 14, Saturday, 9am, with the voting period lasting from November 15 to December 3, 2009.  And as adjudged by Manila’s top style icons the winners will be announced on December 10, 2009 in a special fashion show.

“People who’ll join this challenge will have nothing to lose but pounds,” jests Myra Garcia.   “Not only do they win the fashionista closet of their dreams, but they walk away with health tips, tweaks and tricks during their 14-day challenge and continue on living a healthier, fitter and a more runway-ready lifestyle.”

For more information about Nestle Fitnesse’s 14 Days to Show off Your Shape, please log on to <> .

My White Confession

I have a confession to make.

I am not that much of a cake eater.

If you gave me a choice between ice cream and a slice of chiffon cake, I would choose the ice cream. Every time. Oh yes, I loved cheesecakes and chocolate mousse, the desserts that are more melt-in-your-mouth type rather than the spongy, cakey ones.

When Red Ribbon hosted the mommy bloggers one afternoon in order to introduce their new, surprise ‘White’ cake, I went to the event more out of curiosity over the kind of cake that was going to be launched. The weather that afternoon was not very cooperative as it rained cats and dogs just as I was on my way to the Libis branch. There was a time when I thought of just turning back as I did not want to risk getting caught in a flood just to try a cake.

It was an intimate affair as only mommies and a few kids were present. There was the usual round of introductions and opening remarks as well as a sneak preview of the cake which turned out to be the White Forest Cake.

I actually felt excited listening to the presentation as they described what the White Forest Cake was made of. For one, it was all covered in white chocolate shavings. Mmmmm… Then the piece de resistance was… oh my, long-stemmed maraschino cherries. LOTS of them, sitting right on top of the white chocolate shavings. I was not disappointed when they brought out the actual cake. Unlike many photos where the advertised picture is sometimes far off from the real thing, the White Forest Cake looked exactly like it did on the tarp inside the room.

We all started clicking away with our cameras taking shots from every angle. What else does a blogger do but take lots of pictures, right?

But here’s the part that really surprised me. When I was finally given a slice of the cake to sample, I was actually looking forward to taking that first bite. No, I was not disappointed. There were cherry bits folded into the chiffon cake together with cream filling, the chiffon was very light (cloud-like) and unlike a lot of cakes that are too sweet for my taste, this one was JUST RIGHT!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

When the event ended, I was one of those left behind at the branch because the car was still fetching my children. That was a blessing in disguise because Red Ribbon’s branch head offered me still another slice of White Forest Cake. Yes, by this time I no longer minded eating another serving!

Red Ribbon also gifted us all with our very own White Forest Cake so I was really excited to have the kids try it as I knew that if I loved it, they were sure to do so too.

If there is one gauge of a cake’s success, I would say it is the length of time it takes to consume. I had another meeting that evening so the cake was sent home ahead for the children to have for dessert. I was lucky I still had the chance to eat a slice the next day because with my 4 kids and a nephew at home, the White Forest Cake was gone within 24 hours. Now you know why I have no family pictures with the cake…

Luckily, October is the month when 3 of my family members have birthdays. Maybe that’s a great excuse to go get another White Forest Cake from Red Ribbon. 🙂

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