Thursday, August 25, 2016

DIY Pseudo-Italian Lunch: Leftover Pizza and Pasta de Sardine

Shakey's delivery was late last night. To compensate, they gave us a complimentary box of pizza. So we had some leftover for lunch. To go with this, we scoured our pantry for a spaghetti fare.

What we found:
Clara Ole Three Cheese Spaghetti Sauce
Montano Tomato Sardines in Corn Oil
Uncooked Spaghetti Noodles
Basil c/o our garden
Quickmelt cheese

What we did:
1. Boiled the noodles. Drained when al dente.
2. Minced the Garlic.
3. Chopped the onions.
4. Mashed the Sardines.
5. Sauteed the garlic and onions. Then the sardines.
6. Poured the spaghetti sauce. Dropped the basil. Simmered the sauce.
7. Arranged the noodles in a dish. Poured the sauce. Grated the cheese.

Voila! Pseudo-Italian lunch for a family of four.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

My Top 5 Reasons why Filipinos should visit the National Art Gallery (at the National Museum)

It was the first time that we went to the National Art Gallery of the National Musuem with my kids. I love the facade.  It was such a grand-looking place.  I think the first time I went with Ramir was when I was still in college, for a classwork we need to do.  Going here was like a breath of fresh air.  It was something new to our family, but we knew we would enjoy and learn a lot from. I have been to some art galleries in the US - the Musuem of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, the National Art Gallery in Washington, DC and De Young Museum in San Francisco, and the way ours was arranged now was something at par with those galleries.  Although of course, in terms of collections, ours wasn't as expansive, but I must say, we really have good ones.  Besides, the notable works of our country's national artists are here.  It really makes me feel proud. So here are my top 5 favorite collections at our very own National Art Gallery.

1. Sculptures of Jose Rizal
I only see them in books and I'm here face to face with the works of our national hero.  I am a fan of our renaissance man and his art pieces are representations of his creative facet. 

2. Sculptures of Guillermo Tolentino
His sculptures, to me, are the best.  His human forms are incomparable.  His iconic works like the Bonifacio Monument and the Oblation have brought the spotlight to his genius.

3. Paintings of Juan Luna
I can only swoon over his Spolarium.  His light and shadows are also wonderful.  His mastery of the medium has brought much pride to our country.

4. Paintings of Carlos Francisco
I can't comprehend how an individual can work on murals. But Botong's a muralist.  And I'm so impressed.  His four murals - The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines is proof of his great artistry.  I actually sat down in front of it and stared for at least five minutes.

5. Paintings of Fernando Amorsolo
His countryside paintings are the best countryside paintings I've ever seen.  I don't know what it is about the Amorsolos that gives you that peacefulness and laid back feel of the countryside.  The tones and richness of his colors are uniquely his.

There are many more collections and noteworthy pieces.  I also love the paintings of Vicente Manansala and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo. I think even if you are not an art enthusiast, you would enjoy all the beautiful art works that are displayed at the National Art Gallery. In my opinion,  museum visits should be something that every Filipino should do.  I think there should be a conscious effort on our part to impart the good heritage that we have and pass it on to the next generation.  Filipinos have amazing talents.  We might have conquered the world with music, but there's much more in our arts and culture that are also worthy of the spotlight.  To know more about them, the National Art Gallery of the National Museum is a good start.

1. Address: P. Burgos Drive, Rizal Park, Manila
2. The National Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Free admission on Sundays.

3. Entrance Fees: Museum of the Filipino People and National Art Gallery
(also includes visit to exhibits of the National Planetarium.)

Students - P50.00
Senior Citizen - P120.00
Adult - P150.00
4. For inquiries call:
Museum Education Division
Telefax #: 527 0278
Look for Lina/Tess


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On Teaching Our Children How To Save

When Rainie was Grade 2, I started giving her 10 pesos everyday as her baon. This was on top of her packed meals. I was thinking that by giving her 10 pesos I'm teaching her how to budget her money. But every time she would go home, I would inquire of her 10 pesos and she would account that her money has gone kaput because she bought, at least to me, a wide range of non-sensical food items - from gummy worms to gulaman to candies and ice cream. I was in a dilemma of not giving her anymore money and the need to teach her the lesson of financial management. Then a friend told me the wonderful idea of not giving her the money but recording it, it was a case of paper gain and paper loss. Everything was just on paper. Here's how we did it. I got a used notebook. And every day, I would record the date and write down 10 pesos beside it. I told Rainie that if she would need to spend on anything she would need to tell me. I would give her the money and deduct the amount from our record. This way I was able to monitor her expenses and she was able to track the money she has. I give her a 10 peso incentive for every week she didn't spend anything. This worked. For the two years we've been doing this, Rainie was able to save around 8,000 pesos yearly. I asked her to deposit this in the bank under her own account.

It was indeed a very good exercise. Rainie is now more cautious and conscious on budgeting and spending her money. Thanks to my friend Dang Baldonado for this brilliant idea. 

How about you? Do you have some budgeting ideas? Please do share on the comment section below.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Las Vegas for Free: Our Walking Family Tour

Las Vegas.  Sin City.  Probably one of the fanciest places we've ever been.  But who would have thought that we can spend three days roaming around without spending anything on sightseeing? Aside from food, our accommodation and a Cirque show, we didn't really spend a dime enjoying this nightlife-loving, casino-laden district in Nevada.  So how did we do it?  We walked and walked and walked.  Here are the top free places (in no particular order) to go to if you plan to take a shot and score big at the cheap thrills of Las Vegas.

1. M&M's World
You can walk around, have a photo op and watch their free 3D movie. The wide array of colors of M&Ms was something we haven't seen anywhere else.

2. Hershey's Chocolate World
They have chocolate sculptures, super-sized chocolate products, interactive games and a dispenser of Hershey's kisses in different flavors and foil colors.

3. The Volcano at the Mirage
This is where an erupting volcano is thrilling and beautiful at the same time.  Explosions and fireballs with a nice soundtrack set at this casino's front yard were enough to always capture a crowd.

4. Dancing Fountains at Bellagio
This was amazing.  Illuminated water danced to life in an 8-acre lake with the hotel's well-lit facade as a backdrop.

5. Circus Act at Circus! Circus!
Nothing really exemplary but  free circus stunts are still worth seeing for the kids.  

6. Fall of Atlantis at the Caesar's Palace
There's this giant installation on one of Caesar Palace's wings. And every now and then it becomes a stage for the Atlantis - a light and fire show that entertains guests with special effects and animatronic figures that retells the myth of Atlantis.

7. Conservatory and Botanical Gardens at Bellagio
They have these wonderful flower sculptures that are very nice backdrops for photo opportunities.

8. Aviary and Mini Zoo at the Flamingo
What can we expect in Flamingo? Well... flamingos, colored birds, fishes and turtles.  And they have a mini-waterfall too. 

9. Statue of Liberty in New York, New York
This was the closest we can get to the real one.

10. The Strip
One whole stretch of blinking lights, sightseeing and people watching. It's like watching the opening sequence of the widely popular crime drama CSI Las Vegas live.

We really had a great time here.  It felt like we can't ran out of things to do.  That goes for our kids too.  Here's wishing for your own fun Las Vegas experience!

P.S. All photos in this post are owned by the author. Please seek permission prior use. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top 5 Reasons for a Staycation with your Kids at Sofitel Hotel

It was Rainie's birthday.  And it's tradition.  We need to go somewhere and spend time together.  Since we don't have any out of town plans, we asked her to choose what we should do.  It's a birthday perk. They get to decide the things they want to do on their birthdays.  It was a toss between a water spa and Hotel Sofitel.  When Ramir showed them the website of Hotel Sofitel, Rainie was sold.  She decided it was Sofitel in a heartbeat.  It was just an overnight stay but we really enjoyed our stay.  Here are the top 5 reasons why.

1.  The Pool
It's bigger than any hotel swimming pools that I've visited here in Manila. It also has a waterfall.  And you can laze around as long as you like.  They also have lounge chairs to rest on when you get tired.  The kids had a grand time.


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