Holiday Gift: Have a Havaianas

My goal when I received my 13th month pay was supposedly put it all in my savings account rather than treating myself with material things I've listed throughout the year - and I did! But in all honesty, I'm a little bit envious with all the new gadgets, clothes, shoes and bling blings running around the office so I bought a pair of havaianas as a holiday gift to myself. My purchase was not for luxury because its purpose is to replace my blue one, which was bought 2 years ago and is nearing its expiration. It is now again, a classic example of ruined, exhausted, injured and destructed Havaianas, lol!

Authentic Havaianas, from my experiences would last for 2 years regardless of excessive use. My very first Havs, a limited edition Cartonistas lasted for about two years until the paint turned off. Same as my black, bubble gum, and the recent. So I went to the largest Havaianas store in the country in Bonifacio High Street to check out their new edition. There are different styles and colors. Some, like my first havs are painted. I loved the framed artwork in the flip flops but I don't wanna go back to painted havs because the colors could easily paved away. So I chose this simple green pair. How about you, what's your holiday gift to yourself?

Good Edible Gifts by Sentro 1771

Sinigang na Corned Beef

2 days before Christmas and you aren't done yet with your holiday shopping? Geez! you probably wont be able to prepare your love ones with your Noche Buena dishes. Here's an idea from Sentro 1771 of worry free Noche Buena for you and let you just be concerned about things that matter most: fun, feast, and festivity!

Home of above the average modern Filipino foods,  Sentro 1771 is launching for the first time its Party to Go menu with  size options for six to ten persons. From appetizer to dessert, executive chef Vicky Rose Pacheco ensures that whatever is your choice, every food never falls flat and has all the necessary luster that are big in size, brimming with flavors, but easy on the pocket. Here are some of the party favorite items which shouldn’t be missing on top of your list if the goal is serving a classy selection of modern Filipino food. 

 Kusinero Pasta

If thinking of having a pasta that will tickle the palate for the holiday, serve something deliciously unusual like the kusinero pasta (P1099 and P1900). Al dente spaghetti, tuyo flakes in garlic oil with bell pepper and parsley, the taste never overwhelms while the recipe is packed with flavors—guaranteed a crowd’s favorite!

Rich red sauce in fiery spices, this is another delish dish that will delight your meat- lover guests: lamb caldereta (P1450 and P2400), a more sophisticated version of the stew that you know with lamb as the main star in this hearty creation. And what’s more to love? Everyone can eat with ease as executive chef Vicky ensures that her version doesn’t have the slightest gamey taste from start to finish.

 Lamb Caldereta

Slow and sensually cooked, kare kare (P1, 300 and P3, 250) is another exotic, certified Filipino dish that marks a celebration when served on the table. If entertaining balikbayan guests, there’s no doubt that this is one of those items they’ve been craving all year round--from the peanut-based sauce, ox tail, ox feet, tripe, and vegetables—it’s the only kind of Filipino stew that counts for Christmas.

Garlicky beef and pork adobo (P1599 and P2710) is another certified Filipino dish cooked the Sentro way, with tenderized meats that fall off the bones. Ladened with toasted garlic and annatto seeds in a tasty soy sauce and vinegar, there’s nothing more that you’ll like than plain white rice.

If you think that galunggong (round scad or GG) is nothing but a poor man’s fish, think again. At Sentro, this lowly fish was given a brand new reputation with rated GG (P650 and P1070) filleted, canola-fried, and then dressed in olive oil with toasted bits of garlic, it’s  certainly one of the most highly-acclaimed seafood dishes off all time by Sentro.

 Rated GG

Having Sentro 1771 for your party not only makes you feel proud about Filipino food, it also reminds you how to luxuriate over a meal. You’ll be glad to know too that the menu are not only extensive, they are wonderfully executed with portions more than ample. All you have to do is take your pick from the variety of choices, enjoy the comfort of heavenly cooked dishes with a modern Filipino flair and find yourself enjoying the party worry-free.

Sentro 1771 in Greenbelt 3 is open from 11am to 11pm (Monday to Sunday) while Serendra is from 7am to 10:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday) / 7am to 11:00pm (Friday to Saturday). For inquiries and reservations, call Sentro Greenbelt 3 (02) 757 3941 or Sentro Serendra (02) 856 0581.

No Fuss Centerpiece Idea: Turkey to Fly at Marriott Manila

Happy holidays, everyone!

So, in the midst of all the rush, have you decided what would be the perfect centerpiece on your holiday tables? Let me guess, of all the reunions, last minute shopping, and lined-up parties, you can't find time anymore to make centerpieces for the upcoming noche buena and media noche, or worse, you haven't planned yet what would be your holiday dishes on the coming occasions.

You better not cry and better not pout, coz' I'm telling you how are we going to celebrate a fuss-free yuletide season. Read: You and me will leave the time-consuming kitchen job to Marriott Manila's executive chef Meik Brammer. He will be preparing a perfectly roasted turkey for us that can satisfy a family of ten. There’s nothing petite about this hunk of meat, from the good bones that give it stature to the perfectly marbled flesh and skin in the steer laden with giblet gravy. For only P7, 500 net let's bring home this package that can satisfy our family and guests, absolutely fuss-free! This classic centerpiece includes accompaniments -  from the freshest lettuce salad with Italian dressing, potato salad, buttered mashed potato, sautéed green bean bacon, and baked pumpkin. Place these on white tableware and voilà, you have a perfect holiday set-up that you and your family will definitely enjoy.

While these fixins already provide the robust flavors, the two loaves of fresh-from-the-oven corn bread is an equally marvelous pair--no one at the table will miss it with the turkey for sure! Since its executive chef Meik Brammer’s great hope that this package leaves anyone happier, save room for some apple and pumpkin pies. Oven baked and stuffed nothing but the goodness of all-natural fillings, its gentle sweetness and homemade charm make them a perfect foil for the Christmas feast.

Please call to order and allow 48 hours before pick up at the Java+. To know more about Marriott Manila festive season offerings, call 988-9980.

2013 Planner Battle: Starbucks Versus Seattle's Best

Oh yeah, I have plenty of plans next year that one planner cannot cover it all, lol. So,  these planners from Starbucks and Seattle's Best would definitely be filled-in my yearlong desires and fantasies. Actually, I owned just two, the white from Starbucks and blue from Seattle's Best. The green one was loaned from my officemate, Ryan, for the photoshoot.

My cousin Peachy gave her Seattle's Best Planner to me because she got one from Starbucks. But I liked the Starbucks planner the first time I saw it so I decided to collect stickers as early as November. I finally claimed my Starbucks Planner last week and darn, I love it! If you doesn't have a planner yet and thinking what to get, this post will definitely help you decide.

Starbucks planner in a box or Seattle's Best planner in a bag? Lets bring them out of their cases and check out what's the best 2013 planner between the two. Opps apologies for the coffee stain. Both planners are in leather covers: Starbucks with hard leather cover and Seattle's Best with soft leather cover. Choose what suits you.

On a small steel on its lock, you could ingrave your name and phone number on Seattle's Best planner. You might lost it in the future but you have a chance to get it back. What I liked was Starbucks' magnet lock, with that innovative design, it is very convenient to open and close so whenever I have an idea I could easily write it down before the idea pave away. I  have to admit: I have a bad memory (could be a sign of aging), so I had to chose the convenience.

Seattle's Best planner was bound in rings. Turning pages is quite difficult when I was checking it out and pages could easily lose out from the ring binds if the binds were not locked in properly. Starbucks planner however, was bound like a book and it was kinda hard to write if its new because the pages were "attached" to each other. Both planner covers are reusable though.

Freebies!!! Freebies!!! Internet people would definitely choose Seattle's Best freebies with its 24 hours free WiFi connection plus more. Starbucks has thirteen “kindness cards” with different Starbucks treats and may be redeemed at any Starbucks store during a specified period in 2013.

My personnal choice is Starbucks' planner not just because it comes with a cool magnetic bookmark but I think it's more durable.

Bizu Patisserie’s ‘Nutcracker’ Christmas Collection Offers Fabulous Holiday Centerpiecies and Hassle Free Gifts


This holiday season, Bizu Patisserie borrows inspiration from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite as it transforms itself into the magical Land of the Sweets. Each branch is festooned with toy soldiers, dolls, candles, flowers and even the Sugarplum Fairy and her Cavalier.Just like in the beloved masterpiece, Bizu abounds with sweet creations both wonderful and unique.


Rouge is a French gateaux of raspberry mousse cake with a crème brûlée surprise. Noël Dark Chocolate Fruitcake is a Valrhona  chocolate pecan and dark cherry cake with pate-a-glacier and the Noël Fruit and Carrot Cake is a fruit and walnut cake with browned butter cream cheese.  

Noël Dark Chocolate Fruitcake

Noël Fruit and Carrot Cake

Gaspard is a Christmas chocolate ornament ball on top of a classic financier cake. Inside, when cracked, is a medley of flavors – hazelnut praline mousse with passion fruit and orange cremeux. 


Bizu creates its very own Panettone, the classic sweet Italian Christmas bread with candied orange peels, plump raisins and red cherries. Colomba Petit, is another classic Italian bread with candied orange peels soaked in orange liquer.


There is a snowman shaped Macaron de Paris with a new and intriguing flavor called Speculoos. The macaron is filled with ginger butter creme ganache.

Macaron de Paris Pyramid

Deck your holiday table with show-stopping centerpieces. Melchor Croquembouche is a white and dark Belgian chocolate-covered cream puff tower while the Macaron de Paris Pyramid is a structural art-piece to hold 40 pieces of your favorite Macaron flavors.  

In a rush and need a hassle free Christmas? Let Bizu do the cooking! Browse through their Party Tray Menu as they serve a wide variety of exciting canapés to tasty terrines, fresh organic salads and tempting entrées. Take your pick from Bizu’s moist Yuletide Pork Crown Roast with apples, chestnut and sausages stuffing, Melt-in-your-mouth 10-Hour Roast US Beef Belly and a plump, golden brown Turkey served with pan gravy, cranberry sauce and chestnut stuffing.

Let Bizu, once again, make this Christmas an occasion to remember!

Check out Bizu Patisserie’s newest branch in One Rockwell Tower, Rockwell Drive Makati City (478-7755). Other Bizu branches are located in Greenbelt 2 Parkside (757-2498), Greenhills Promenade (724-2498), Alabang Town Center (809-2498) and St. Luke’s BGC (789-7700). You can also email or check out Bizu Website or Facebook Fanpage and Twitter: @BizuPh

Glimpsed: Batis Aramin

Framed in green vegetation is Batis Aramin, classified as Special Interest Resort by the Department of Tourism. I'll bring you there on my next post.

Three Cadeaux of Joie De Vivre Exclusively at Bizu Patisserie

Félicitations - Bizu Patisserie at One Rockwell

This early, let's open Bizu's first cadeau (gift) this holiday season: The memorable luxury and class of French cuisine retailed by Bizu Patisserie is now open at the ground floor of the prestigious One Rockwell Tower at Rockwell Center. The Rockwell branch which officially opened last week has a radiant atmosphere that would surely brings diners back again and again. Ideal for an intimate evening á deux, the restaurant also features a charming private dining room named after the patron saint of Paris "Chamber Saint Germain" perfect for a private meeting, family reunion and small gathering.

Bravo - Bizu's 2012 Christmas Collection

Deuxième Cadeau (second gift) is all about Bizu's 2012 Christmas Collection featuring Bizu favorites and limited edition product offerings available only this Holiday season. Inspired by The Nutcracker Ballet, this year's Christmas Collection is called "Land of Sweets: Bizu christmas Collection 2012". From savory holiday traditions to sweet and luxurious French gateaux, the entire collection is indeed a taste of joie de vivre (joy of living).

Noel Fruit Cake, Panettone, Speculoos, Tuile, Bizu's Gaspard, Bizu's melchor Croquembouche and of Bizus famous roasts for Christmas dinner and parties such as 10-Hour Roast Beef, Yuletide Crown Roast of Pork, Whole Roast Turkey, and 24-Hour Cote de Boeuf can be viewed on print and online catalogs to help us with our selection. Select here: Bizu Christmas Catalog and Facebook and place an order through their concierge.

Réjouir - 2013 Macaron de Paris Collection

Troisième don ( third gift ) is three additional flavors of Bizu's bestselling Macaron de Paris: Rose Lychee, Hazelnut with Truffle, and Dark Chocolate will be added on their already beautiful and luscious macarons collection. Bizu is also preparing for Bizu Macaron Day in 2013 and that is something we could look forward to next year.

Pardon my French but with these three great cadeaux from Bizu I wish y'all a very joyeuses fêtes ( joyous celebrations ) !

International Release: 4-Way Stretch Diamond Dobby from Quicksilver

Dear gift giver, forget the ties, my holiday wishlist is another pair of  4-Way Stretch Diamond Dobby from Quicksilver in preparation for the next season. My travel buddies and I listed numerous whereabouts next summer and majority would be on the beach. It would be cool if I recieve one from you. TIA!

I found this board shorts last summer in Glorietta and wore it during our luxury getaway in Santorinin-inspired island of Bellaroca. With no interest in the label "4-Way Stretch Diamond Dobby", the abstact colors of blue, pink and black captured my attention when I bought it. I never knew then that the 4-Way Stretch Diamond Dobby is a fabric technology developed and created by the brand for 30 years.

A 4-Way Stretch Diamond Dobby short like this one is water-repellent 4-way stretch fabric made of 88 percent polyester and 12 percent spandex with double-up closure that offers a secure or relaxed fit on me. It dries twice faster than the average boardshorts material. Each short has a flexible leg and seamless design. I am impressed and happy with its cut, colors and comfort.

Joyeux Noel from Bizu Patisserie in Rockwell One

This is a guest post written by Trixie Carmona.

What a festive evening it was! My friend brought me as his plus-one on this Bizu Patisserie launching night at Rockwell One. Bizu is known for its delicious and beautiful creations such as cakes and desserts. I must admit I wasn’t big on desserts so I tugged along only for the free stuff. So when we arrived at the venue, which by the way is so cozy and colorful, I started to feel excited of what awaits us. Everyone was so accommodating and friendly. We started with a glass of red wine while waiting for the other guests to arrive. A moment later, a parade of beautiful appetizers and desserts came flowing on our table. Everything I tasted was so damn delicious! They were not just desserts but a work of art as well. I just went gaga and ate everything they served, and there so many varieties.

They let us sample their 2013 Macarons Collection and this is something that I look forward to try again next year. They will be adding Rose Lychee, Hazelnut with Truffle, and Dark Chocolate on their already beautiful and luscious macarons collection...oh, they were all divine, a gift sent from heaven. It’s just amazing how they can come up with these wonderful creations. From then on, I became a convert. I am now a ‘dessert person’. 

Let's Banapple Once More

Lasagna Roll-Ups, Php 180

Too much have been blogged about Banapple's spread of pies and chessecakes as well as good food and refreshments. My above excellent experience was posted last year as entry to my Ayala Triangle Project. Since then, it became one of my comfort food and from time to time cravings. 

Prior to my birthday last May, I was craving to taste Herbed Chicken Rolls with Basil Cream Sauce once again so I invited my friends from Palawan Josh and Carlo to join me to celebrate a pre-birthday with a mouthful of highly pleasing but affordable dishes at their branch in Ayala Triangle Gardens.

Bannaple's House Salad Php 120.00

I came in first at the quaint and charming but crowded restaurant around 7 PM. The line was not that long like the first time I 've been here but there was no vacant table. The crew, sensitive of the situation, immediately gave me a reservation number. Josh and Carlo was running late because it was rush hour so I decided to munch on  Bannaple's House Salad while browsing through the menu. The large serving was made of fresh and crunchy Romaine lettuce with corn, cucumber and bell pepper bits, crumbled banana chips, honey peanuts, and shredded mozzarella drizzled with balsamic-Caesar dressing. What a  fresh start to a bountiful dinner.

Banapple Beef and Sausage Stew, Php 195.00

My forever late friends texted me that they will be an hour late and I'm not going to wait for them forever while the aroma in the restaurant was killing me softly. From their entrees, I decided to try something new, I ordered Banapple Beef and Sausage Stew iNstead of Herbed Chicken Rolls with Basil Cream Sauce. Just right in time, when my meal was served, my friends came in. From their look, they've been to the rush hour battle that they don't normally experience in the countryside and were extremely hungry so we avoided the pleasantries and I let them chose their meal.

Pan-Fried Porkloin with Herb Mushroom Gravy, Php 180.00

Not long enough of waiting, Lasagna Roll-Ups filled Josh's cravings for cheesy lasagna. The buttery, meaty and cheesy lasagna is highly recommended. Its rolled-up, al dente lasagna wide strips is filled in with Parmesan cheese and herbed cream and then smothered with classic tomato meat sauce and mozzarella cheese. If you needed a lasagna fix, Im sure, you will be satisfied in every spoonful of it.

Bacon Fried Chicken Steaks with Milk'shroom Gravy, Php 175.00 

Carl chose Pan-Fried Porkloin with Herb Mushroom made of juicy pork loin steak seasoned with special herbs, pan-fried in olive oil, and smothered in a thick mushroom and herb gravy; served with glazed carrots. The beef was tender and the thick sauce was tasteful.

We also ordered Bacon Fried Chicken Steaks with Milk'shroom Gravy made of crisp chicken fillets smothered in creamy milk and mushroom gravy and then topped with yummy bacon pieces this dish is served with corn relish and their signature fried herb rice.

Banoffee Pie, Slice Php 95.00

We had Banoffee Pie, Warm Shoofly Pecan Pie and Dark Chocolate Tiramisu Cheesecake to end a wonderful dinner. Banoffee Pie, the store's bestseller never failed my expectation. The joy it brought to my senses is love. 

Warm Shoofly Pecan Pie, Slice Php 110.00

The beautiful and deliscious Warm Shoofly Pecan Pie is a must try. Its two different tastes were blended wonderfully And was a real treat. Dark Chocolate Tiramisu Cheesecake however was an intense dessert. 

All dishes are good. My dining experience in Banapple  is always delightful. I must admit, like you,  I fall in love with Banapple's potion of garlicky, creamy, oily and cheesy dishes served in style and generous amount but reasonble price.

Dark Chocolate Tiramisu Cheesecake, Slice Php 110.00

Chef Marvin Agustin is the Man of a-KNORr

A confession I gotta tell to y'all: I am Knorr baby. 

Just like Chef Marvin Agustin who was inspired by his mom serving dishes with Knorr seasoning and mixes, my mom raised me to every Sunday Sinigang made in Knorr Sinigang Mix too and this is one thing I dont wanna trade in to these days that others called "granules" days (insert tripple question marks here). 

Yes, there are things that I dont want to change and that is the taste of my home cooked meals with Knorr - thats why I was so excited last week when I was invited to attend a blogger's event with Knorr.

We were serenaded by the talented Kanta Pilipinas finalists while waiting for Chef Marvin done with the dishes he personally cooked just for us. The 24 finalist were awesome! Here is another set of promising and talented Filipino that will rule the world of fame on the first quarter of 2013.

It's rare to taste home cooked food since I moved here in Manila because my tatstebuds were used to fastfood already. The moment I tasted the dishes prepared by theYoung Entrepreneur of the Year slash  restaurateur-chef-actor Marvin Agustin brought back the memories of my home in Palawan. Marvin made me missed my mom when he renewed the taste of goodness of dishes highlighted by the Knorr products. 

I tried Sinigang sa Miso, Menudo, and Ginataang Gulay. Ginataang gulay mix is something brand new to me and I was surprised how Knorr developed products almost tasted like the real real "gata" (coconut milk). Apart from Knorr Recipes on their website, this is something that I'd like to try and introduce to my mom back home.

Another highligh of the event is Chef Marvin Agustin's renewal of contract as Knorr celebrity chef endorser. 

Bloggers had a chance to do an interview with the celebrity chef. The actor shared some of his humble beginnings on how he became a successful restaurateur. “The kitchen has bonded me and my mom in unexpected ways, and I am thankful that Knorr has given me this chance to share a part of myself to every mother in the country. Together with Knorr, we will provide modern-day Filipino families with dishes that respond to their needs, while making their cooking experience fulfilling, pleasurable and enriching”, he said.