Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Glorified Mosquito Coil

Now you can light katol (mosquito coil) and not be afraid of them being trampled on by your hyper active kids or by yourself. These decorative ceramic bowl is actually a katol stand with cover artistically perforated to let out the coil scent.. You can leave it in different corners and be rid of dengue fears especially in open lanai's/spaces where you love to have breakfast or do some reading open to the blue cloudless skies, trees and chirping of birds..


This centerpiece looked elegant on our table and super easy to do. (We were also trying to avoid buying flowers which come very expensive these holidays). We put blue candles inside three big sized stemmed glasses (different shapes) and some gold beads in them. We set the glasses on a shiny white cloth with 3 small boxes underneath to serve as risers for the glass (for volume) and around it some silver balls and silver and blue ribbons. Voila!!


Our Christmas dinner -Saffron, Couscous & Apricot Turkey with Summer Vegetable Salad. The turkey took 3 days of preparation, day 1 was cleaning , marination and stuffing. Day 2 was cooking for about 3 hours (til done) Day 3 , which was Christmas day, was reheating and garnishing.. Chiraz was served with the turkey, it was a fine treat. We had a toast wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a good year ahead. Dessert was this lovely Christmas log, and Royce chocolates (thanks to Ginger) with brewed coffee.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


LOVE TO SHOW YOU THESE PICTURES.. AYALA AVENUE BEYOND RECOGNITION hahaha. Took them on December 25, truly one of Christmas Holidays blessings!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.

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Monday, December 22, 2008


Have you ever been to the Saturday (Salcedo) & Sunday (Legaspi ) markets in Makati? I was in one yesterday (Sunday) and wow! it was very refreshing paseo. I knew I'd find fresh produce, freshly cooked food and some usual market staples.. But boy! they had much more than usual, there were delightful surprises I found..

For one, I'm sure you'd love to have these ethnic food keepers . Some are rectangular, some round and they come in several colors and designs. They really spruce up any dish you put in them especially in those Sunday family gatherings.. I just love them. It came from Indonesia but i found them in Thailand and Kuala Lumpur too. They are precious finds..
There are many other finds, but be prepared to say NO!! to impulse buying. I suggest you go there to look around and then plan your purchases well.. And dont forget to try the Indian food too, and the French.. and oh yes! the japanese pancakes hahaha..

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bowl cleaner tool

Have you ever window shopped for toilet bowls, tubs and toilet furnishings??Just please tell me if i've I gotten weird because Im beginning to appreciate plus points and benefits of every bowl and wash basins and tubs!! Really you've got to see the new creations/designs.. they've become sleek, polished.. i'm sure this will be of interest to those of you who are installing or building your new nests. How do you maintain these beautiful and expensive investments immaculate and free from scratch..

This bowl mop is what I recommend and anything that comes close to it, please avoid buying the nylon brush (exed drawing..pardon my lack of artistic prowess!!) weaved around a round wire as this can scratch your ceramic tiles when the nylon brush wears off. This toilet bowl mop has been designed to clean without scratching the bowl surface. It's almost as soft as your facial sponge so it provides gentle cleaning action. It also has a handle for hygienic cleaning. It's durable and comes with a dipper, a bit pricey tho but it's worth it.

Kasambahay Christmas Party

I attended the kasambahay party yesterday in one of my clients' residence. The party organizer was our security guard Benjie whowhile eating, emceeing, singing and dancing (he's good at this!) and participating in the games would also run to pick up the phone and attend to the gate hahaha.. We had a feast meal cooked by the best cook of Tomas st--Delia. The kasambahays came wearing their best, after finishing the morning tasks that is..

Benjie prepared a program with an opening invocation and inspirational speech, then 5 sets of parlor games..
Gift giving then followed, wow! look at those big boxes! you'd love to come home with such gifts.

After the party the drivers have to get back to work to deliver more gifts, staff had to clean up.. But with huge smiles on their faces, we did enjoy ourselves, it was great bonding for the entire staff. Til next year..

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


i just came from a retreat (much needed one after all the running around). It's a kinda pre Christmas preparation as well as good year-ender activity and I'm glad i found time to retreat and reflect. Well, before I give you a homily, I actually wanted to post how great a place Tagaytay Conference Center, TCC, is.

This is the very regal chapel which exudes all the solemnity and peace and holiness of a house of God. Every detail is well taken care of and super clean. I took this photo from the loft so you don't see the pews for the faithful. It has great black and white marble stone floors, The base of the altar is Onyx and contains the relic of St. Josemaria Escriva, Founder of Opus Dei. The ante Oratory has a small pocket garden with a water feature and confessionals where you can seek help from the spiritual director. And it contains a select and good number of spiritual reading books. The peace and solemnity of the Oratory helps in meditation. The seats are comfy enough even if you want to spend a long time in there tho not comfy enough to put you to sleep hahaha.. The scenes depicted on the altarpiece are taken from the Passion of Christ.

This is TCC lobby, very elegant. The sound of water from the fountain is a soothing background music which helps one to relax. The other photos shows the various hallways and corners of TCC.
i took a photo of this corner table to show you at his elegant box which actually contains repair/suggestion/ guest feedback slips. All rooms have names after the different major provinces of the Philippines, and even the laundry, cleaning closets and toilets (fish image) have room names. It really helps not to get lost if its your first time in TCC. My room's name was Samal in the region of Davao.

These small details everywhere are what really caught my attention. Its not a very luxurious place, but its very well frunished, simple yet good taste and done so well. My next post will show you some more areas of TCC..


The rooms are well appointed, simple but comfortable and clean. And would you believe I never saw nor heard the housekeeping team!! They must have a great housekeeping plan to get this big facility going in tip top condition. After the morning activity, lo and behold, my bed is made, bathroom is clean and fresh smelling and dry!!, trash is empty. You'll find two wooden native basket on top of the toilet bowl which serve as container for spare toilet tissue roll and some paper bags to contain feminine hygiene items for disposal... got that? 

Below you can see the different hallways and corners, very native and elegant. As in every corner of the place, you'll be surprised with small details. I learned that most of these furniture and furnishings were donations of old and wearied items from many people and were magically restored by DEINAR, owned and managed by managing director and prestigious Interior decorator Fina Navarro. DEINAR is located at Deinar Inc., 11 Hilltop Street, Horseshoe Village, Quezon City. Tel: (632) 705-1186. DEINAR also did the interiors of the TCC Oratory.

Bathroom/all purpose cleanser

Thanks Vina, you gave me an idea to talk about my magic scrub. Easy Scrub is a mild abrasive tub and tile cream cleanser with mint fragrance. Product literature tells you Easy Scrub is excellent for removing stubborn spots, soap scum build-up, scuffs, grease, rubber marks & numerous other tough cleansing jobs. In lay mum's term it cleans those white stains that coat your bathroom tiles and tub, your stainless fixtures and rust stains in your toilet bowl- these stains are water minerals deposits plus soap deposits due to daily use. Bleach and detergents and even branded cleansers wont take this away. Mineral stain is removed with acidic cleaner but since acidic cleaners may not be so safe for health and hands, Ecolab offers Easy Scrub which combines the abrasive ingredients with a mild acid component to make cleaning and scrubbing effective yet safe for your hands (Note: it may still cause skin irritations depending on exposure!! I suggest use of hand gloves when doing tough jobs).

When removing tough stains, apply small amounts of pure (don't dilute) easy scrub to a soft sponge (never use green or black scrubbing pad on wash basins, toilet bowls or glass shower enclosures as it may scratch finish). Don't apply easy scrub directly onto surface as it may cause white spots. Use gentle but constant scrubbing motion until sponge slides smoothly on surface. Clean one small area at a time. Rinse and dry surface. For maintenance, you may dilute easy scrub for daily use.

I have tried using easy scrub to restore stainless steel fixtures, plastic (mono block chairs), removing scratches/smudges on painted walls (homes with nice white/solid colored painted concrete walls), even gloss painted wooden surface, stained laminated surface. and my great secret.. i clean my white car with it to remove weather stains and keep it white. BUT>>>> this will have to be done with great care.. You'll agree with me that wash your car shops can't remove this color dullness unless you pay for car detailing service. Easy Scrub does it.. i do it once a month. and Steve Jobs might not agree with me, but i remove stubborn smudges on my white macbook with it HAHAHA.. tho GREAT CARE NEEDED.. meaning, very small amount, very delicate microfiber cloth, and extra gentle unidirectional motion on stained area. (Not on screen okay?)

And power cables, electric fans, window glass, - any non-porous surface. When in doubt, try a small amount in a inconspicuous area first. Let me know how it works for you..

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Foot bridge to go to Tita Adel's farm..

Her mango grove....

I love these Gazebos...

Flowers, fruit trees and foliage...

Gosh.. a farm to die for! 23 hectares of mango orchard and still growing. And guys, it all started out as a hobby, Tita Adel Batac was shown this wild parcel of land and fell in love with it. She wasnt an agriculturist but she had a vision!!

Make the story short, she bought the land inspite of hubby's resistance , studied some Agronomy subjects (one condition, no exam sir!), she tilled the land and lo.. She is exporting mangoes to Japan. Tita Adel is such a fun person, so young looking, bubbly. She sang, danced, laughed and entertained us.. and prepared a wonderful meal, what else can u ask for.

Her place is heaven.. i like the gazebos, she has four of them. Lots of flowers and foliage. She lends her place to a University for some Agricultural experiments. This is a farm i like, i can stay here forever -just connect me to a wifi..

Organizing your bedroom - work in progress

I entitled this a work in progress because i am still in the stage of convincing owners of these rooms (real names are withheld since they might kill me) to let me help them organize their stuff. But putting order in your own space and maintaining it is a daily work in progress.. Many of us jampack our very limited time with accomplishing work that we forget to include a little time each day to put order in our stuff. After a days work, we throw our bags and files and mails and shopping bags in any free space of our room so these pictures look damn familiar right?...uh ohhh...

We keep files of our teaching stint decades ago just in case we want to get back to that noble profession or we teach that same subject again.. and files of that unfinished thesis that we hope to find time to integrate data we've gathered and finish off that MBA.. and handouts from several seminars and folders of receipts we have or havent recorded..

lo and behold... folders file up under the table, over any free space in every man created shelvings

i've proven this, given a space, a shelf, a drawer , even a storage room and i bet you, i give you a week to about two months.. matter will occupy that space.. every single space.. Agree?

Familiar scenes ? i hope not.. but these are mild.. i have seen worse and i am sure i havent seen the worst yet. How do we avoid these? how do we put order and maintain it?
Many people have offered solutions, you can read them in magazines and web sites offering step by step effective organizing tips.. I dont want to add to that, but i can tell you.. there is no hopeless case UNLESS YOU DONT WANT TO...

No time? You can get some professional help to do it with you. I know it takes time to do this which you do not have. One room like this can take a day to sort and organize. Professional organizers have the experience (they would know best attack strategy) and COURAGE (YES!!) for these monumental tasks. I say courage because in all the organizing projects I did, convincing the household staff to get it started TODAY was met with every imaginable excuse..But once you get it started, everyone gets bitten by that organizing bug..

No space? I am a miracle worker with regards to space..Just simply sorting and categorizing and putting order, you will free up 1/2 of space in that same room!! Thats guaranteed.. Shelvings (to multiply space), transparent plastic boxes(to organize), pentel pen&paper(to label), and ladder,rags& trash bag are a must!

One more thing.. BE READY TO GET DIRTY!!