Foodiscovery | Honey Macapuno Bucayo



Who would have thought that even the Bucayo, a Philippine delicacy, evolve? 

By the shore of Laiya beach in Batangas, I found this Batangeno vendor selling this Honey Macapuno Bucayo early in the morning. From the usual Bucayo that I knew, which is sugared coconut strips, this one is made from macapuno.  They also added honey as sweetener and peanuts in it for a nutty taste. Packed in a box-type wrapper made from banana trunk, it brought authentic and vintage tickles in my palate.

This Philippine street food is perfect for dessert.




GLIMPSE | Estrellas De Mendoza Playa Resort in Laiya Ibabao, San Juan, Batangas



Rome's next destination revealed on this teaser post. Estrellas De Mendoza Playa Resort's bluer-than-blue-sky infinity swimming pool is its key attraction. The resort is located in Laiya Ibabao, San Juan, Batangas. 

Recipe | Sweet, Not Spicy Chicken Vienna Sausage




In my bid to eat real healthy food starting next month, I have to consume all the processed food I have in my grocery box before this month ends. Yes, I'm fighting obesity! ..and slowly carving my six-packs abs, LOL

I've been eating fried Libby's Vienna Sausage for my breakfast for three straight days and I'm kinda bored so I cooked it sweet this time like the spicy hotdog sauce minus the chili because I'm not a fan of hot, spicy food. Please feel free to eliminate the tomato, I just added it because I dont want it to go to waste.

Ingredients:

240g Libby's Chicken Vienna Sausage
1 tbsp Muscovado sugar
1 medium onion, sliced into half moon
1 pc tomato, sliced
1 tbsp cooking oil or vegetable oil
salt
pepper
1/4 cup water





Procedure

In a small saucepan, pour the vegetable oil and place on medium heat. When the oil is hot add onion and tomato. Sauté onion and tomato in oil until the tomato is starting to melt and onion has softened.

Add the Vienna Sausage and season with Muscovado sugar, salt and pepper. Add water, cover and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes.

Serve while its hot. This dish is very good with toast and eggs as part of breakfast or serve as snack.


Wild World | Into the Eagle's Eye




To go to a journey is not just about seeing stunning places, meeting new people, learning new ideas or fascinated about other people cultures. Moving to places, sometimes, are moments we come face to face with the wildlife of outdoors.

A domesticated White-bellied Sea Eagle, also known as the White-breasted Sea Eagle staring straight at Rome while he was taking photos of the Pagoda shocked him.  He instinctively raised his camera as self-preservation and took pictures after the initial shock. He gazed at the bird and tried to read the bird's thoughts through its eyes. Its fierce look was fearsome, there's an intellectually sharp vision hidden and an alert watchfulness. The huge bird can't take Rome's gaze,  it looked away. It was such an incredible and beautiful moment.



Turning Globe Reward Points into Figaro's Pasta Ala Carlo & Butterscotch Vanilla Latte



When its the middle of the month and I caught myself on a financial shortage because of excessive spending over the holiday sale everywhere, it's time to use all the freebies and coupons to sustain until the payday at least, LOL. At the time of personal financial crisis, I still can afford pasta and coffee from Figaro by turning in my Globe reward points into a gourmet meal. Who says that beggars don't have a choice? 

Oil based Pasta Ala Carlo costs Php 209.00. It's a little bit spicy with Filipino sweetness and well balance with olives, capers, tuna, tomatoes, and cheese. It is the best Pasta of Figaro, I would say. Try this with Butterscotch Vanilla Latte at Php120.00 and you'll forget that you are in the edge of bankrupcy, hahaha. There's a VAT of Php 32.25 for both, my total meal at Figaro branch in Shangri-la Mall last week was Php 361.25.

How to check your Globe Reward Points: Text BAL to 4438
How to use your Globe Reward Points as cash: Text Buy (merchant's phone number) (amount) and send to 4438

Note: Globe's reward points cannot be used if you have a past due or remaining balance.

Rome Recipe | Paksiw na Bangus ( Milkfish Stewed in Vinegar )

 


When I craved Paksiw na Bangus last weekend, I thought of reinventing the classic Filipino dish by adding more color and flavor into it. Well, apart from the fact that the "paksiw" that I knew tasted the same for decades, I'd like to contribute to the Filipino dish evolution. 

My taste buds are weird but this dish turned out good, really good that your kids will love it. I added carrots to substitute to the sweetness of onion and butter instead of oil. I don't like ginger in my paksiw so I put in more garlic to eliminate the "langsa" (fishy smell).

When you think Paksiw na Bangus is boring and unappealing, try this and you'll think again.





Ingredients:

1 kg Milkfish, cleaned and scaled, cut in about 5 slices
1 medium bitter melon (ampalaya), sliced
1 medium carrot, sliced
180ml (3/4 cup) Datu Puti Vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 large green chilies, halves
1 tbsp salt
2 head garlic, slightly pressed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
56 grams classic Magnolia Dari Creme






Preparation and Cooking Procedures:

1. Clean the Milkfish by removing the scales, fish's gall bladder and gills. Do not remove the intestines and liver. Using a scissor or knife, cut the fins and tails. Rinse and cut diagonally into 5 pieces. Pat dry.

2. In a casserole place the carrots, bitter melon, garlic, and chilies. 

3. Arrange the sliced milk fish on top of the veggies add the butter and sprinkle with salt and peppercorn. Pour vinegar and water into the casserole, cover and bring to a boil for 5 to 8 minutes. 

4. Stew gently for another 8 to ten minutes. Remove from heat and serve with garlic or fried rice. Enjoy!



Perfectly Grilled Medium Well Pork Chop



We all know how simple it is to grill pork chops but every time I put pork chops under the grill, they turn out tough and stringy. So, on this post I'm going to share some tips and more suitable way on how to cook a perfectly grilled, medium well, pork chop.

Juicy and tender, thats what I liked about Austin's pork chop when we had a team-building at Villa Clara last summer. Using an estimated amount of the below ingredients, he marinated the pork chops overnight. Marinating it would help the meat become more tender and flavorful. 

Pork Chops
Minched Garlic 
Salt
Pepper
Soy Sauce
Kalamansi Juice (including zest)
Brown Sugar

The real deal though is not about the ingredients he used. Its all about the charcoal's temperature before laying the meat on the grill. The temperature on the surface level of charcoal should be even from 155-170ºF. Another important tip is to continously rotate the meat so it wont burn. 

To check for doneness, it should have a hint of pink in the very middle of the meat. The surface should be dark brown with good charring on the top and bottom.




When People are the Tourist Attraction | Balance



This photo was taken when Rome went back to his hometown in Palawan.

Aling Inday is still an expert in balancing her bilao (circular basket) on her head, selling different kakanins all throughout Barangay New Guinlo from early in the morning until late afternoon. Nothing has changed over the years apart from her face that noticebly aged, the familiar taste of the kakanins brought back childhood memories to him.

Applause to this hard-working woman!

Pagoda | Nuestra Señora del Pillar's Malampaya Sound Fluvial Procession



New Guinlo, Taytay, Palawan - Rome was here on the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar and he can attest to everything on this blog post. Although it was a gloomy day and the Malampaya Sound's brackish water was angry, citizens of Barangay New Guinlo held on to their tradition. Popularly known in the Philippines as Pagoda, it is a fluvial parade bearing the image of Our Lady of the Pillar onto the waters of Malampaya Sound to commemorate their patron saint's day.

Our Lady of the Pillar or Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Spanish is the name given to the Blessed Virgin Mary for her miraculous appearance in Zaragoza, Spain at the time of the emergence of Christianity.





In contrast to their tradition in the past fluvial parades, in which there's decorated barge and colorful small boats, only one fishing boat and few devout people joined the parade. 

"Maybe because of the strong weather condition and not because of the declining faith", Rome lied and convinced himself. 

Although the sky was dark and the majestic Mount Capoas didn't appear, the silhouette of the nearby mountains add further beauty to Our Lady of the Pillar's fluvial procession.  




As Rome watched the boat slowly float away, he remembered the parades he witnessed years ago, when hundreds of his kababaryos gathered in glee, when everything stops with no shops open and the whole community turns out with band and choir to celebrate and commemmorate the day of Our lady of the Pillar, grateful for abundant harvest from the rich fishing ground. 

Ahh, those years were long gone simultaneous to the drastic decline of livelihood opportunities to the once dubbed, "Fishbowl of the Philippines", Rome said to himself. 

He cant help but feel emotional. He blamed the government and the current situation of graft and corruption involving the empty Malampaya Fund which coincidently named after the fishing ground. He silently prayed for its quick resolution.




Malampaya Sound embraced by picturesque mountains play a huge role in New Guinlonians life. More than any other, the people's faith in his community plays a strong role in its deeply-ingrained religious tradition. He was positively surprised by his kababaryos. They are a little bit rough, straightforward but are nice, ready to help and cheerful.

"How utterly lovely to see the faithful keeping such a beautiful tradition alive", Rome exclaimed when the boat was slowly vanishing from his sight. 



Kakanin | More Food from Home



Aling Inday's delectable kakanins (dainties) are some of the foods I grew up with in my beloved Barangay - New Guinlo, located in the Municipality of Taytay, Palawan. When I had a chance to go back home last October, I didn't let the opportunity pass of tasting it again.




Nothing has changed over the years, aside from her face that noticebly aged. Aling Inday is still an expert in balancing her bilao (circular basket) on her head, peddling different kakanins all throughout our community from early in the morning until late afternoon. The  quality and smell of her Kutsinta, Kalamay Ube, Biko , etc taste exactly the same the last time I remember tasting it. It brought childhood memories to me. 

Aling Inday as we call her is a very hard-working woman that deserve culinary respect. 



Halloween Themes | Plants Versus Zombies, Witch, and Zombie Apocalypse



If there's an award for Best in Halloween ideas and theme, my cousin, Anney of Blog ni Ako should get it!

The party planner and stylist at heart Anney, take every Halloween seriously. It is one of the most important festivities in our family. From last year's Witch Themed Halloween Party, we dolled up as "pretty scary" witches alongside with our nieces. 




Everyone wore black and a witch hat. The kids were styled by Anney with cute little witch Halloween costumes. No messy make up needed, just a mole on your face or perhaps a witch nose, this kind of Halloween costume for the family or for a team is very easy. Unbelievable as it may seem, our Halloween party food were all witch themed too. 





For this year's theme, we chose Zombie Apocalypse. Removing the Halloween glamour was not a good idea for Gabby, my youngest niece. She refused to had her face made-up even after Anney promised all things in heaven and earth, LOL. Feeling scared, Gabby started crying when Anney began to fix her zombie make up. We told her that Anney's removing it already where in fact, she's actually putting black eye shadow  under Gabby's eyes. Deceived, Gabby had no idea during the entire party that she looked like us, zombies! (insert zombie sound here).




We just used water-based glue, tissue paper, pressed powder and fake blood for our DIY, bloody-faced zombie make-up. Of course, the Halloween food should complement with our theme.




Last night at the world-class, undisclose office I work in, we celebrated Halloween 2013 wearing Plants versus Zombies inspired costumes. All girls and girls at heart were plants while guys played zombies. Made your own costume - the materials we used are available at the convenience of the nearest National Book Store and stuff from home. We had fun dancing as zombies to the sound of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and bagged the best Halloween theme.

Happy Halloween!  Boooo!!!!!!