Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Neutrogena Deep Clean Wave comes to the Philippines!

I'm really a very simple, low-maintenance kind of person. My skincare and beauty regimen is majorly comprised of cleansing, since I pretty much just wash my face every morning and slather on sunblock. I don't wear make-up everyday since it doesn't really go well with my day job, which is being part of my hubby's construction supply business.

Thus, when Neutrogena announced that they're introducing the new wave in facial cleansing, I couldn't be more excited!

Neutrogena Deep Clean Wave is unveiled in the Philippines!The Neutrogena Wave is a small, water-resistant gadget where you attach disposable foaming pads. Basically, you attach a pad to the Wave, hold it under running water, and then turn it on with a press of the button. Gently massage the Neutrogena Wave all over your face and voila -- you get the one of deepest and most thorough cleansing experiences possible in the comfort of your own home!

Neutrogena Wave Power Cleanser Starter KitI was so excited about the product that I decided to try it out the moment I got home. The Neutrogena Deep Clean Wave starter kit comes with the unit, a Duracell AA battery, and a set of 14 disposable cleansing pads. It retails for P575, which is at par with the US price of about US$12. Refills come in the form of thirty-day packs which sell for P400, so it's basically a little more than P13 per wash.

Using the Neutrogena Deep Clean WaveIt was so hot earlier this afternoon that when I got home, my face really felt all oily and sticky. It was the perfect time to give Neutrogena Wave a go. I just couldn't wait to scrub my face clean! I attached a disposable pad to the unit, ran some water over it and started scrubbing. There was this surprisingly tingly feeling as I massaged the Neutrogena Wave all over my face in circular motions. Some of the suds even went to my eye but like Johnson's Baby Shampoo, no more tears! It didn't sting at all.

I rinsed off the suds with water afterwards and pat my face dry with a towel. I felt incredibly refreshed, and the little bumps at the sides of my nose disappeared like magic. When I ran my fingers over them, there was just smooth skin.

The Neutrogena Deep Clean Wave is a great product to have around as an alternative to going to the spa or dermatologist for a facial. As a working mom, I don't always have the luxury of time to go off for professional treatments. The good news is, Neutrogena Wave works just as well for men!

The 30-second video below featuring Neutrogena Wave endorser Vanessa Hudgens demonstrates it best:



The Neutrogena Deep Clean Wave is available exclusively at Watson's and SM Department Stores.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gourdo's Pizza Promo -- 3 pizzas for only P499!

You read it right, Gourdo's is having a promo wherein you can order three freshly baked pizzas for only P499. They're not those super tiny yet pricey pizzas either, they're full-sized pies packing eight slices each. Prior to this, I wasn't even aware Gourdo's had a restaurant. All I knew was that they sold quality cookware and house stuff.

Margherita Pizza and Pizza Promo flyer at Gourdo'sSo off we went to check it out. We still couldn't quite believe that such a promo was in place so we reconfirmed with the server. Basically, you choose three of the four pizzas being offered for the promotion and then pay P499. The four pizzas included in the promo are: Margherita (P275, pictured above left), Neapolitan (P285, pictured below left), Vegetarian (P275, pictured below right), and Hawaiian (P305). There is a tiny little catch though -- you have to order three DIFFERENT pizzas.

Neapolitan Pizza and Vegetarian Pizza at Gourdo'sWe decided to go with the Margherita, Neapolitan, and Vegetarian pizzas -- which normally would've cost us P835. There were five of us in the group and a total of 24 pizza slices to share so it was all good. The Hawaiian Pizza seemed interesting since it was the most expensive one on the promo but a couple of people in the group disliked pineapples so we didn't get it.

Gourdo's did not disappoint. We could see the pizzas being baked in their wood-fire oven and wow, they were served really hot and fresh. Of all the variants we tried, we liked the Vegetarian Pizza best. It was topped with eggplant and zucchini slices, onions, and fresh tomato. The combination was astoundingly good and incredibly aromatic. Even my hubby who would normally steer clear of eggplant and zucchini was impressed. Margherita was okay, for the usual tomato-cheese-basil basic Italian pizza, it was great. Neapolitan is on the salty side since it's topped with anchovies, but still yummy nonetheless.

Nutella Gelato and Cherry Marble Swirl Gelato at Gourdo'sAfter gorging on the pizzas, we just couldn't leave without trying out Gourdo's gelato, which came in all sorts of flavors like Almond Roca, Nutella, Irish Cream, etc. Nutella is the undisputed bestseller but hubby and I decided to go the fruity route and ordered Cherry Marble Swirl to share instead. Gourdo's gelato is very rich, milky, and creamy, but it melts fast so it's best to eat it as soon as it gets to your table. The Gelato is a whopping P100 per serving, which is double the price of Caramia Gelateria's. One order is very small too. It's good to experience nonetheless.

Our group of five people spent a total of P200 each for everything we had that night -- authentic Italian pizzas and heavenly gelato. Not bad at all.

Originally, Gourdo's Pizza Promo was slated to end by July 31, 2009 but we were told that it has been extended indefinitely. Still, if you want to avail of it it's best to call first and make sure it's still ongoing. Thanks to Mark for the heads-up!

Gourdo's
The Fort Entertainment Complex, Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City, Metro Manila
845-1700

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Free evening tour of Manila Ocean Park from Skycable Fun Club!

Manila Ocean ParkIs your child a Skycable Fun Club member? If the answer is yes, call 631-0000 now and reserve your four (4) free tickets to an evening tour of Manila Ocean Park this Saturday from 6pm-9pm. Hurry, only the first 40 callers can avail of this activity!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our horrible Chowking Delivery experience...

When it comes to food delivery, I'm usually a very patient person. Over the years, Chowking has always taken the longest when it comes to delivery. Chowking's E. Rodriguez branch is the one that is assigned to our particular location, and they usually take a little over an hour to deliver whereas food we order from farther places get to us a lot faster.

Chowking DeliveryThis particular night, hubby and I had to take care of something for the whole day and so there wasn't time to cook anything. We decided to call Chowking Delivery and just have dinner brought to our door. I placed the call at 7:22pm. The telemarketer took my order and told me it would arrive in 45 minutes. Okay, I was cool with that.

A full 45 mins later, our children were already asking where the food was. I told them to hold on and I placed another call to follow-up. The woman who answered got my phone number and name, and told me that she would have the catering branch, which was Chowking E. Rodriguez, call me after 5-10 mins. I kept the line free and waited. Almost half an hour later, still no call. I dialled the delivery hotline and followed up again. Another person answered and told me the same thing, she would have the branch call us to update us on the status of our order.

Another 10 mins passed. Our children were really, really hungry by this time. I called again, for the third time. Another person took my name and number, and told me the same thing, she would have the branch manager call me. I was seething at this point and told her that she was the third person to tell me that. She apologized and said she would coordinate with the branch right away. Okay.

Damn, I went through this exact same cycle a grand total of SEVEN friggin' times and I still did not get an answer with regards to our order status. It was always the same drill, the person who answers would get my contact number and name and then tell me that they will advise the catering branch to give us a call. During the fifth time I asked for all of Chowking E. Rodriguez's phone numbers and the call center gave me three:
  1. 7231961 - I got a recorded message which said this number is out of service.
  2. 7277728 - I got a fax tone.
  3. 4161944 - I got a noisy place where a woman would answer "Wrong number!" and then promptly hang up on me.
After my seventh call, which was a bit past 9pm, my hubby told us to get dressed. In that last call, I told the telemarketer that I was going out to eat already so if ever the order comes they'll just have to take it back because we're not having it anymore. We just went out to eat. We told the guard that if a delivery from Chowking came to tell the guy that we could not wait anymore and therefore went out to eat.

Sure enough, when we came back, the guard told us the order came at about 9:35pm. Wow. More than two hours after I ordered it and no one would advise me of the order status prior. I went as far as to tell the telemarketer that what I ordered was dinner and not a midnight snack. She apologized and said they were not equipped to handle outgoing problems, that they could only take incoming calls. The best they could do was send a message to the branch concerned. One single phone call could have cleared things up, but up to the very last minute no one bothered to call and I had no idea what was happening to our order -- if it was even coming.

I don't know what went wrong in the system, but I'm sure as hell NEVER EVER calling for Chowking Delivery EVER again.

UPDATE #1: Chowking E. Rodriguez's store manager paid us a visit today, 28th of July 2009, to personally apologize for the incident. She said they only had one rider that night and she was not on duty. The rider got stranded somewhere and the manager on duty at the time did not bother to call the customers with pending orders for some reason or the other. She assured me they were taking steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening again in the future.

UPDATE #2: Chowking E. Rodriguez's store manager delivered a cake to our house today, 29th of July 2009.

UPDATE #3: The president of Chowking, Mr. Erwin Elechicon, personally apologized to me last March 18, 2010 during Chowking's Oh!some Orange Chicken Launch with Jericho Rosales. He assured me that they gave the matter their utmost attention and undertook steps to correct the problem.

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Public Enemies (Movie Review)

Public Enemies Movie Poster Leave it to Johnny Depp to make one sympathize with a bank robber and murderer.

In the film Public Enemies, Johnny Depp plays the role of John Dillinger, a dangerous criminal in the US during the 1930's. Christian Bale portrays FBI agent Melvin Purvis who is hell-bent on apprehending John Dillinger.

Public Enemies is not so much a cat-and-mouse type of detective movie. It focuses more on the life and times of John Dillinger -- how he conducts his heists, how he gets along with his cohorts, how he meets and treats his girlfriend... it's all very humanizing. Johnny Depp gives such a charismatic and likeable portrayal that the audience would be hard-pressed not to root for the guy even if he is armed, dangerous, and consequently labelled as Public Enemy #1.

My hubby and I actually felt sorry for Dillinger towards the end of the movie, but to let him get away with all the crimes he committed would just be so wrong... right? It doesn't help that Christian Bale's Melvin Purvis isn't exactly Mr. Congeniality himself. Marion Cottiliard also does a stellar job as Dillinger's girlfriend Billie Frechette. Although she's not drop-dead gorgeous, she just really looks and acts the part perfectly.

A dark and rather depressing film, it's another one of those Johnny Depp features that make you think for a time well after the credits have finished rolling.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Belle De Jour Rendezvous: Fashionista Recessionista Survivor!

Belle De Jour held its second rendezvous for the year entitled Fashionista Recessionista Survivor this July 25, 2009 at The Ramp in Glorietta. It was a day of fun, learning, and enlightenment for sixty BDJ girls.

Belle De Jour Rendezvous: Fashionista Recessionista Survivor with Frances Amper-SalesThere were three speakers for the event: Frances Amper-Sales of OK! Magazine (pictured above, right), Jennifer Madrid of Unilever, and freelance stylist Dona Cuna-Pita.

OK! Magazine Editor-in-Chief Frances Amper-Sales spoke about blogging and earning money online. She recommended several advertising networks and pay-to-blog sites. She also gave some pointers with regards to setting up an online store. You can access Frances' blog at http://www.topazhorizon.com.

Jennifer Madrid of Unilever and freelance stylist Dona Cuna-PitaNext up was Selecta Foods' Brand Manager Jennifer "Jean" Madrid (pictured above, left). Jean gave a very inspirational talk about creating your own unique value at work. Basically, she advised us that these days, it's no longer enough to be the best. You have to be different and be able to distinguish yourself from everyone else. To sum it up, you will have to find something that you can be the best at and own it.

The last speaker was freelance stylist Dona Cuna-Pita (pictured above, right). Dona gave tips on how to look good on a tight budget. She suggested DIY clothing, swap meets with friends, and learning when to scrimp and splurge. She was very frank and funny -- she had us in stitches for most part of her talk. She has a column in the Y Style section of the Philippine Star every Friday.

Me, Czaroma, and Ria at the Belle De Jour RendezvousIn true BDJ fashion, raffle prizes were given away after every segment. It's funny how my seatmates and I (that's me, Czaroma, and Ria up there) won the same Azta Urban Salon GCs from the raffle consecutively! In a BDJ event, it's not a question of IF you will win in the raffle -- it's WHAT you will win because there are always raffle prizes for every single attendee. You also get prizes for asking and answering questions during the event. I bagged a Face Shop eye shadow, Clawdaddy Restaurant GC, and a Watsons gift pack just for asking and answering questions! A simple merienda was provided with Bizu sponsoring our dessert.

Loot from the BDJ Rendezvous!Aside from all the wonderful prizes, loot bags containing goodies from Jellybean, Garnier, Iora, Havaianas, and Flojos were distributed after the event. I also got an Ace Water Spa GC for being one of the early birds. I just love Belle De Jour events! With every BDJ Rendezvous I feel a little bit smarter, a little bit more enlightened, and I always gain a few more friends. Here's looking forward to the next one... :D

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Cyma Restaurant at Eastwood Mall

Greek cuisine holds a certain allure for me since I don't have it all that often. In fact, Cyma Estiatorio is just about the only place that comes to mind when we feel like having Greek food.

We had the pleasure of visiting Cyma's latest branch at the new Eastwood City Mall for dinner some days ago. Just like its other branches, Cyma Estiatorio Eastwood City was packed full of people. Fortunately, our friend made reservations beforehand. It's virtually impossible to walk in at Cyma.

Cyma Restaurant Eastwood CityTo start the evening off, we ordered Cyma's signature appetizer Saganaki, or Flaming Cheese. We opted for the Cyma Original variant (P200, pictured above left) which is comprised mostly of mozzarella cheese. Serving the Saganaki is an art for the Cyma servers. They bring it to your table in all its flaming glory and shout "Opa!", which is a Greek exclamation that's akin to "Hooray!". Saganaki is love. Gooey, chewy, and oh-so-cheesy. It's served with toasted, buttered, and herbed bread too. You simply can't eat at Cyma without ordering this signature appetizer.

Since there were several of us in the group we also had Fried Zucchini and Eggplant (P230, pictured above right) and Kalamarakia (P300, pictured below). I'm not really a fan of zucchini but Cyma slices the zucchini and eggplant then serves them tempura-style, with a siding of Tzatziki -- a creamy Greek dressing made of cucumbers and yogurt. It's nothing short of delicious, even my hubby who has an aversion to eggplants had some. Kalamarakia is just as the name suggests -- Calamari -- breaded and deep-fried squid, also served with Tzatziki.

Kalamarakia at Cyma Restaurant
Cyma Restaurant Eastwood CityFor me, a trip to Cyma is not complete without a order of my favorite salad, Roka Salata (P330 for a solo serving, pictured above left). I swear, I can live on Roka Salata alone. I love the combination of mixed greens, candied walnuts, sundried tomatoes, and shaved parmesan. The Greek Vinaigrette dressing also gives me a good feeling because it's very tangy, flavorful, and light. I always feel sinful whenever I have those heavy cream-based dressings. I chose the Seafood Swordfish Souvlakia Souvlaki (Greek Shish-Kabobs, P395, pictured above right) for my main dish that night -- two sticks of thick and juicy swordfish chunks grilled and skewered with fresh vegetables. All Souvlakia Souvlaki variants are served with a big Pita and yogurt garlic sauce.

Cyma Restaurant Eastwood CityThe star of the night was definitely the Arni Sto Fourno Me Patates (Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb, P3000, pictured above left) which was served on a big platter. One order is good for at least 5-6 people. I don't really like lamb because it has a certain odor that bothers me but I just had to try this P3000 dish. The good news is, Arni Sto Fourno Me Patates didn't have any aftersmell or aftertaste. It was very tender yet lean, and definitely a big hit with our group. For dessert we decided to go with their new Keyk Mi Banana (P220, pictured above right), which is banana cake drizzled with brandy syrup and served with fresh bananas, roasted walnuts, caramel, and vanilla ice cream. It was good but hard to have a lot of since it's really sweet. Keyk Mi Banana isn't in Cyma's menu, it was simply written on a small chalkboard on the wall as one of their latest offerings.

All in all I thought we had a lovely dinner at Cyma. Sure, it was kind of crowded and noisy but the food and service were very good. It's best to dine here in a group so you can try out a variety of Greek dishes and share the costs.


CYMA Estiatorio
Level 2, New Eastwood City Mall
Libis, Quezon City
709-1955
http://www.cymarestaurants.com


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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Free Timezone games from Nestlé Chuckie!

If your child loves drinking Nestle Chuckie, make sure you get the Chuckie's All-Out Birthday Blowout 6-pack. You get a free 6-pack tag which entitles you to free blue or yellow swiper games at Timezone, plus you can redeem it for a limited edition Chuckie birthday Timezone card.

Free Timezone games from Nestle Chuckie!Scouting for special deals is actually something I always do whenever I go grocery shopping. I keep an eye out for promos, and extras. Sometimes I'd see the same products being sold side-by-side, some of them would have freebies attached while some would not have anything. Since those with extras are sold at the same price as those without, then it's better for us moms to get them right?

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hannah Montana The Movie (Movie Review)

Hannah Montana the Movie poster My 4-year old daughter is a really die-hard Hannah Montana fan. When we watched Hannah's Best of Both Worlds 3D Concert at D-Cinema in SM North Edsa last year, she sat transfixed the whole time -- eyes wide and unmoving. It was pretty much the same when we watched Hannah Montana The Movie at the Power Plant Cinema.

Hannah Montana The Movie follows the life and times of Miley Stewart (Miley Cyrus), a teenager leading a double life being the girl-next-door Miley one moment and singing sensation Hannah Montana the next. Some have said that this is going to be the final conclusion of the TV series, but it really doesn't seem so.

In the film, Hannah becomes overwhelmed with her superstar status and starts fussing about petty things, much to the dismay of her father and manager Robbie Ray Stewart (Billy Ray Cyrus). To keep his daughter from losing sight of the more important things in life, Robbie Ray drags her off to their hometown in Tenessee, a farming community which is a far cry from the city life that Miley/Hannah has gotten accustomed to.

The plot is fairly simple. Miley/Hannah is ultimately put in a position where she has to choose who she's going to be. Is it really possible to keep on living a double life forever? Even I couldn't guess how the movie was going to end.

Hannah Montana The Movie is straightforward, entertaining, and a real treat for the family. Don't expect any life-changing moments though. This is the type of film that you take at face value. I felt it was able to illustrate the main dilemma of Miley's life and character effectively. There are also several catchy new songs that Hannah fans will surely love. I especially liked "The Climb", a song that Miley Cyrus herself wrote for the film. The ending was on the unrealistic side but hey... this is a Disney movie after all. Even my hubby thought it was pretty good, and that's saying a lot.

Life's a climb, but the view is great. -- Trevor, from Hannah Montana The Movie

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stackers Burger Cafe Eastwood City Review

Feel like having a midnight snack? Then Stackers Burger Cafe in Eastwood City is the place for you!

Stackers Burger Cafe Eastwood CityOpen 24/7, Stackers Burger Cafe is an ideal snack spot right after catching the last full show at the Eastwood Cinemas. Stackers' offerings include salads, chicken nuggets, and of course, their specialty -- 100% Australian beef burgers! If you're on the adventurous side, or just really really hungry, dare to try Stackers' Extra Massive triple patty burger (P285, pictured above left on the menu). I have to admit, just looking at the photo of The Extra Massive scared me. For appetizers, hubby ordered Chicken Nuggets (P115, pictured above right) -- five pieces of chicken nuggets served with real potato fries and flavorful barbecue sauce. The nuggets were crispy and the sauce was great but overall nothing out of the ordinary.

Stackers Burger Cafe Eastwood CityBoth of us ended up ordering Stackers' Jack Burger (P225, pictured above left), which is basically a quarter pounder (take note that all of Stackers' burgers are in fact quarter pounders) topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, mushrooms, bacon strips, and tangy ranch dressing. The Jack Burger was indeed bigger than a regular-sized burger in terms of diameter. Not only was it big in size, it was also big in taste. I loved the combination of the cheese, bacon, mushrooms, onions, and ranch dressing. Surprisingly though, the patty wasn't too thick. I was expecting something thicker from a quarter pounder. If you add P60 to any burger order, you get a serving of fries and a 12 oz. softdrink.

A meal at Stackers Burger Cafe can set you back a minimum of P150+ per person. Admittedly, the Jack Burger was one of the more expensive burgers on the menu. You can get a Stack Burger for P95 then just add P60 for fries and a drink.


Stackers Burger Cafe
Located along Orchard Road (across New Eastwood Mall)
Eastwood City
391-0500


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Eastwood City Mall's Ultra 7 Cinema

There's a relatively new film-viewing experience in store for movie buffs, and that is Eastwood City Mall's Ultra 7 Cinema.

Eastwood City Mall's Ultra 7 CinemaEastwood's Ultra 7 Cinema opened last February 2009. It is located on the 4th level of the new Eastwood City Mall.

Eastwood Ultra 7 Cinema entranceEastwood's Ultra 7 Cinema entrance alone is enough to inspire awe. The ultra modern trimmings and the flashing lights of the main doorway exuded this Star Trek-esque feel. It's as if you're getting ready to be transported to another world.

Eastwood Ultra 7 Cinema loungeUpon entry, guests can relax at the lounge area as they wait for showtime. It's actually very much like a bar -- all that's missing is a bartender with some cocktails.

Eastwood's Ultra 7 CinemaEastwood's Ultra 7 Cinema can seat a maximum of sixty (60) people. It features spacious, lushly upholstered, and fully reclining twin seats. The chairs are so comfortable that you'll surely want lean far back, put your feet up, and make yourself at home as you watch the movie. We were fortunate to have been invited to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which is a 153-minute extravaganza. Aside from being the movie to watch right now, the length let us enjoy the luxurious Ultra 7 Cinema seats a lot longer.

Eastwood's Ultra 7 CinemaAside from the incredible seats, the Ultra 7 Cinema also boasts of crystal clear visuals and crisp Dolby Digital sounds. There is also a butler service -- all you have to do is raise your hand in order to avail of the unlimited popcorn and drinks. I settled for a large bucket of cheese popcorn and a bottle of distilled water, as I'm not really a soda person. You can order as many buckets of popcorn and as many drinks as you want for the duration of the film. Restrooms are located within the theater so you don't have to go outside if you need to go.

According to Eastwood City's Ms. Tinay Magtira, the theater was named Ultra 7 Cinema because it is technically Eastwood City's seventh movie theater.

Tickets are available for P400 each, all-in. Ticket purchase and viewing is on a first-come, first-served basis. Ultra 7 Cinema does not accept reservations at this time. The Ultra 7 Cinema can also be rented for special events and blocked screenings.

If you are catching a flick at Eastwood's Ultra 7 Cinema, I would suggest picking out a long movie like Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince so you can maximize the experience.

For movie schedules, log on to http://www.eastwoodcity.com/zen-eastwood-cinema.php

For further inquiries, call the Eastwood Mall Concierge at 709-1893.

Special thanks to Ms. Tinay Magtira for inviting us. :)

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Nama Sakana Japanese Restaurant & Ramen House

*This establishment is now CLOSED.*

I love Japanese food. In fact, I think I love just about everything Japanese. Japan is hands down my favorite vacation destination out of all the countries I've visited, and I find myself going back there time and again.

Nama Sakana Japanese Restaurant & Ramen House is the latest Japanese restaurant I've sampled. It recently unveiled its new menu and bar area called the Nama Grill & Bar, which is located at the second floor of the venue.

Edamame and Green Salad with Seared Tuna at Nama SakanaFor starters, we were served Edamame (P100, pictured above left), which are boiled green beans seasoned with salt. I was pretty surprised since most local Japanese restaurants don't start you off with Edamame, in fact only a few offer it on the menu at all. The last time I had Edamame was way back in 2008 at Bistro Ka in California. Anyhow, you're supposed to extract and eat only the beans from inside the pods. I like Edamame, for me it's a lot better than munching on peanuts in Chinese restaurants. Green Salad with Seared Tuna (P230, pictured above right), which is Nama Sakana's best-selling salad, followed our Edamame. It consisted of mixed fresh vegetables and lightly seared tuna slices drizzled with Nama Sakana's zesty onion dressing.

House Special Sushi and New Style Salmon Sashimi at Nama SakanaThe House Special Sushi (P280, pictured above left) and New Style Salmon Sashimi (P320, pictured above right) were both very exceptional appetizers. The House Special Sushi had a wide variety of fillings -- hamachi, avocado, tuna, and shrimp among others. New Style Salmon Sashimi, as the name suggests, is raw salmon. What makes it different is the fact that it is served with a zesty onion dressing (similar to what was used in the Green Salad with Seared Tuna) and a tomato tempura in the center. Very tasty indeed! It certainly succeeded in whetting our appetites for more Nama Sakana dishes.

Beef Tobanyaki and Black Cod Gindara with Sweet Miso at Nama SakanaFor the main courses, we had Beef Tobanyaki (P800, pictured above left) and Black Cod Gindara with Sweet Miso (P680, pictured above right). The Beef Tobanyaki consisted of grilled beef, three different kinds of mushrooms, broccoli, and asparagus. It was served on a hot plate, again in their special sauce which tasted a lot like the Green Salad and Salmon Sashimi dressing. I wasn't too impressed with this dish. The beef's doneness bordered on rare, it actually reminded me of carpaccio except that the slices were thicker. I don't mind carpaccio because it is very thinly sliced and easy to eat. This wasn't so for Beef Tobanyaki. I just don't fancy eating chunks of bloody raw beef that's kind of hard to chew. The serving is kind of small for a P800 dish too. Meanwhile, the Black Cod Gindara with Sweet Miso was absolutely perfect. The fish was melt-in-your-mouth soft, juicy, and flavorful.

Japanese Cheesecake and Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies at Nama SakanaFor dessert, we had Japanese Cheesecake (P130, pictured above left) and Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies (P130, pictured above right). The Japanese Cheesecake had a light chiffon-like texture and a mild citrusy taste. It was okay, but it won't really leave you hankering for more. The Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip is another story. This gigantic freshly baked chewy chocolate chip cookie topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry is easily one of the best desserts to hit the restaurant scene. Albeit it's not very Japanese, it's nothing short of heavenly and satisfying. Given the size, it's worth every cent of P130 and it's good for sharing.

If you want to try something other than the usual Japanese fare at the usual Japanese restaurants like Kimpura or Sugi, you may want to pay Nama Sakana a visit.

Special thanks to Mr. Nacy Nocom for inviting us.

Nama Sakana Japanese Restaurant & Ramen House
Fox Square Bldg.
53 Connecticutt St., Northeast Greenhills, San Juan City
726-7266

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Free Slurpee at 7-Eleven -- today only!

7-Eleven's SlurpeeThis just in...

Saw an ad on The Philippine Star today that starting 7am of July 15, 2009, a free 148ml Slurpee will be given to the first 400 customers of 7-Eleven's 400 branches.

This is to celebrate 7-Eleven's phenomenal 400 branches in the Philippines! Grab yours at the nearest 7-Eleven branch now! The promo just kicked off less than an hour ago at the time of this posting...

UPDATE: It's one Slurpee per transaction, by transaction meaning any item you buy at 7-Eleven. You can actually just buy a pack of Skyflakes and still get your Slurpee.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Eating and shopping Japanese at Choto Stop!

Well before Saizen in Robinsons Galleria opened, there was already this quaint little Japanese grocery called Manila Seikyo Co-op right at the Mile Long Bldg. Everything was sold for P50 at the start... which then escalated to P65 with inflation and forex changes. Manila Seikyo Co-op closed some time ago, only to re-open under a new name at a new location along Pasong Tamo (now known as Chino Roces Ave.). Manila Seikyo Co-op is now Choto Stop, a Japanese grocery and eatery (there wasn't a dining area before) right outside Little Tokyo.

Katsu Curry Rice and Hamburg Steak Bento at Choto StopThe menu is simple and straightforward. You have a choice between rice sets and bentos. Rice sets typically cost around P180 per order, while bentos cost P220. My hubby usually orders the Katsu-Curry Rice Set (P180, pictured above left), which is sliced breaded porkchop topped with Japanese curry on rice. It is served with a small bowl of side salad and miso soup. When I'm hungry I'd order the Hamburg Steak Bento (P220, pictured above right). You get a complete meal with a generous serving of Japanese rice, pickled vegetables, a thick juicy all-beef burger patty, a fried dumpling, a small frankfurter, and some macaroni salad. It's really delicious and filling, well worth every cent of your P220.

Takoyaki from Hana at Choto StopSince the Japanese establishments in the Little Tokyo area are all in good terms, you can even order Takoyaki, Cream Anmitsu, and other Japanese treats which are not offered at Choto Stop from the neighboring restaurant Hana. Choto Stop has Hana menus on hand so all you have to do is tell them what food item you want and their staff will take care of getting it from Hana. We ordered some Takoyaki (P100 for 6 pieces, pictured above) from Hana, since Hana is just about the only local place I know which serves up authentic Takoyaki much like the ones we love eating in Osaka.

Muscat-flavored Fanta Soda and Curry Rice from Choto StopOur kids love Choto Stop's Curry Rice (P180, pictured above right) so much that they can each finish one whole order by themselves. They'd also walk over to the grocery area and pretty much just grab some drinks and desserts for P75 each. My son Ken loves muscat-flavored Fanta. Choto Stop's grocery section offers Japanese food and beverage items for P75 each. Everything is P75 (except for some bigger and bulkier items like sacks of Japanese rice) at Choto Stop. Unlike Saizen, most of the items on sale are edible -- chips, candies, noodles, sauces, drinks, spices, chocolates, ice cream etc. There are even meat, vegetables, and fruit at the frozen section.

Lotte Vanilla-Ramune Ice Cream at Choto StopWe love having Japanese ice cream for dessert after a sumptuous meal at Choto Stop. The last time we were there, we tried Lotte's vanilla-Ramune flavored ice cream. Rich, milky, and creamy vanilla ice cream with swirls of Ramune sherbet. For the uninitiated, Ramune is a classic Japanese sweet lemon-lime softdrink. It was very cool and refreshing, perfect for that hot Sunday noon.

*Choto is the Japanese word for "wait".

Choto Stop
2277 Chino Roces Ave., San Lorenzo Village, Makati City
759-5560

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight Lotion

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight LotionIf there's one thing I never ever leave the house without it's sunblock. It's not even make-up, because unlike most women my age I can actually live without wearing make-up.

The sun is my enemy. I don't even like hanging out in beaches. I hate getting tanned or exposing myself to the sun's excruciatingly hot rays. Last year when we won a trip to Boracay from Star World, I brought enough sunblock to last us a month and we were there for only three days. I'd re-apply whenever we went for a swim, whenever I perspired, and just whenever I felt the need to.

I've used a lot of sunscreen brands for my face and body -- everything from Coppertone, Banana Boat, Murad, Clinique, Shu Uemura, and yes, Neutrogena. While sunblock is a daily necessity for me, I don't like the thick mask-y feeling some brands would leave on my face.

I got the chance to try out Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight Lotion SPF 50+ recently, and I was pleasantly surprised at how light it felt on my face. It is easily absorbed, and in mere seconds it was as if I didn't apply anything at all. Its fragrance is also very mild, so it's not distracting. I imagine Neutrogena Ultra Sheer would serve as the perfect make-up base because it evens out the moisture level of your skin. After washing my face I would sometimes get a few dry patches, but applying this afterwards eliminates those. It lets make-up go on a lot smoother. I also love its thin, waterlight texture. It's not pasty at all so application is a breeze. It's really an ideal daily facial sunscreen.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight Lotion SPF 50+ retails for P460.00. It is available in leading department stores, beauty and personal care stores, and supermarkets nationwide.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Moleskine contest winner announcement!

Avalon.ph Bloghopping Moleskine Giveaways 2009I would like to thank everyone who joined Animetric's World's Bloghopping Moleskine Giveaway. The contest is now closed and I would like to take this opportunity to announce the next leg of the contest at http://www.noelperlas.com.

Since there were so many contest entries, the names of the contestants with the ten best replies were entered in an electronic raffle via random.org:

Random.org raffle resultsCongratulations to Elyoo for winning the Moleskine Large Ruled Notebook worth US$15.95 from Animetric's World and Avalon.ph!

For those who didn't win, don't despair! Head on over to http://www.noelperlas.com for another chance at a Moleskine Giveaway!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

You're the 1, Goldilocks!

Whenever the name Goldilocks pops up, festive occasions and a truckload of memories always come to mind. I attribute this to my mom, who by default, would always buy our birthday cakes and baon for school from Goldilocks through the years.

My 3rd birthday party with a Sesame Street Goldilocks cakeThe photograph above was taken during my 3rd birthday back in 1977. I still remember the big Sesame Street-themed cake my mom ordered from Goldilocks -- yup, that's me and mom up there. Many years later, well after my parents had separated and my mom migrated to the United States, she remains a loyal patron of Goldilocks. She's always stopping by the Goldilocks branch in the San Fernando Valley area to get a halo-halo, or some mamon and ensaymada... I guess you could say that Goldilocks goodies are her comfort food, providing her with a little slice of home across the miles. Whenever she comes to Manila for a vacation, she'd hoard boxes and boxes of Goldilocks polvoron to bring over to the States. She says it's her officemates' favorite pasalubong.

Kenshin's 4th birthday party with a Goldilocks Spongebob cakeIt's funny how the wheel of life turns. Eventually I was married and had children of my own. When the time came for my son's first school birthday party back in 2005, I asked him what cake he wanted. He was 3 years old then, the same age I was when I had my first Goldilocks birthday cake. He told me he wanted a Spongebob cake. I wanted his first school party to be a memorable one and so I was deadset in getting him exactly what he requested. Guess which bakeshop had the Spongebob cake? It was Goldilocks! As you can see from his party pictures above, the cake was a big hit with his classmates. The children were awed by the perfectly rendered Spongebob cake topper, the bright colors, and the ornate seashell background. There were oohs and aahs as I removed the box cover and proceeded with the candle-blowing. It was an unforgettable party indeed. Looking at the party photos still brings smiles to our lips well after four years had already passed.

Kenshin and Keirra with Goldilocks' DIY cakeSome time ago Goldilocks came up with DIY (Do-It-Yourself) cakes. By this time, I had a daughter who was, yes, you guessed it -- 3 years old! We got this plain round Goldilocks mocha chiffon cake and a set of decorating materials -- colored gels, sugar flowers, candy sprinkles, chocolate pieces... it was a unique activity which I felt would help unleash my kids' creativity. I let them have free reign on the cake design, with the condition that they would not fight and take turns with it. It felt good to see them working and playing together happily. They had a great time with the DIY cake which we sliced up and ate afterwards. Time really flies when you're having fun. Just like the countless birthdays and celebrations, this would forever be part of my treasure trove of memories.

Keirra decorates her Goldilocks mamonLooking at my children now, I can see them growing up so fast. I'm always trying my very best to raise them well. We are all here in this world for a very short time, and in that brief period I want them to be able to experience as much as they can and to be truly happy. Perhaps this is also how my mom felt when she was raising my sister and I.

You're the 1 Goldilocks, because like a true and timeless friend, you're someone I can always count on to be there for us in every generation. From my mom, to myself, to my children, you will always be that special one who makes our lives happier.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Win P500,000 in 7-Eleven's BigBite Match!

7-Eleven BigBite Match LaunchLeading convenience store chain 7-Eleven launches BigBite Match, its first ever BigBite Hotdog-Eating Challenge in the Philippines. From June 26 to August 15, 2009, Filipinos everywhere can go to the nearest 7-Eleven store and grab a BigBite Match Combo (5 Jumbo Hotdog Sandwiches and any variant of the 946ml Big Gulp for P150) to consume in the store for the Qualifying Round.

7-Eleven's BigBite Hot DogsAfter the Qualifying Rounds in the stores, all contestants will be ranked from the lowest to the highest time record. The Top 20 with the fastest time will qualify in the Semi-Finals match to be held on August 22, 2009. The top 20 will then be narrowed down to the last 7 semi-finalists who will compete in the Final Match on August 29, 2009 at the TriNoma Activity Center.

The Top 3 winning Finalists with the most number of totally consumed BigBite Hotdog sandwiches will win the following prizes, tax-free:

1st Place: P 500,000
2nd Place: P 150,000
3rd Place: P 75,000

Tom 'Goose' Gilbert at the 7-Eleven Bigbite Match LaunchTo show us how it's supposed to be done, international competitive eating champion Tom "Goose" Gilbert gave a live demonstration at the launch event. Tom is currently the world record holder in chicken wings eating and has several other titles under his belt. He consumed ten 7-Eleven BigBite Hotdog sandwiches in a little over 3 minutes, wowing the media with his eating prowess.

One can employ a variety of strategies in competitive hotdog-eating. Some separate the meat from the bun, while some would gobble them all altogether. Some would go as far as to dip the whole sandwich in the drink to soften it and make it go down faster. "Different strokes for different folks," event host Paolo Abrera remarked.

Just like Tom, you too can go into competitive eating with 7-Eleven's Bigbite Match Hotdog Eating Challenge. For the complete mechanics, log on to http://eatingmachinesphilippines.com

Oh, and women shouldn't be discouraged from joining 7-Eleven's BigBite Match because one of the best competitive eaters in the world happens to be a svelte 105-pound woman named Sonya Thomas. Sonya holds 29 world competitive eating titles under her belt.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Digital 3D Cinema at TriNoma!

TriNoma launches TriNoma 3D Digital CinemaTriNoma unveiled its Digital 3D Cinema with a special screening of Ice Age 3 last July 2, 2009. Created by Dolby ®, the Digital 3D Cinema makes movies literally jump out of the screen and come to life before your eyes.

Trinoma Digital 3D CinemaTriNoma's Cinema 4 was recently upgraded into the Digital 3D Cinema. With its state-of-the-art Digital 3D Cinema technology, brilliant visuals and incredibly crisp sounds encompass the moviegoer to provide a whole new level of film-viewing. As part of the audience, you feel more involved with the film, being able to share in the sensations that the characters onscreen experience.

Trinoma Cinema 4TriNoma's Digital 3D Cinema is set up in such a way that wherever in the theater you sit, you will experience the same multi-sensory bliss. I was seated at the side area during the special screening of Ice Age 3 but I didn't feel as if I lost out on anything. The sound and visuals were just perfect. I haven't tried sitting on the luxury recliners pictured above but I was very happy with the seats on the lower area. They were quite spacious for one person, firm, and comfortable. Even my 4-year old didn't have a hard time staying in her seat. It's normally difficult for her to stay put since she is not heavy enough to keep cinema seats down, but such was not the case for TriNoma's Digital 3D Cinema seats -- so this theater is really perfect for families who want to catch a good movie together.

I was also impressed with the 3D glasses TriNoma provided. They were very sturdy, high-quality glasses that fit nicely. Of course, you mustn't forget to return them after the movie. :)

Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs ticketKids will surely be awed with the fantastic 3D visuals and the realistic theater sounds. My children definitely had one of the best movie experiences of their lives during the Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs' special screening.

Tickets for TriNoma's Digital 3D Cinema are pegged at P300 per person. For tickets, visit http://www.sureseats.com

TriNoma Mall
4th Level EDSA cor. North Ave., Quezon City
901-3694

Special thanks to Geiser Maclang for the invitation. :)

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