Sunday, January 31, 2010

Coffee seminars at Starbucks

Ever wanted to know more about your favorite coffee? Like wine, coffee has different undertones, aromas, and food pairings. There is also a proper way of fully appreciating your coffee.

Starbucks PhilippinesIf you're a coffee lover like me, you might want to attend the FREE coffee seminars by Starbucks. A Coffee Master will walk you through the whole process of savoring your coffee. I actually learned how to drink and appreciate black coffee through one such seminar, because in the hands of an expert brewer pure coffee without any cream or sweetener is actually very good.

Click on the photo below for a closer look at the complete schedule of coffee seminars by Starbucks.

Starbucks coffee seminar schedule
Starbucks Coffee Seminars Q & A
  1. What are the coffee seminars at Starbucks? Who holds the coffee seminars and why?

    It is a series of advanced coffee tasting sessions of promotional and core coffees offered by Starbucks. Starbucks Coffee Masters facilitate the seminars engaging customers to learn more about their favorite Starbucks whole bean coffees.

  2. How often do you hold these coffee seminars?

  3. For the past 5 years, Starbucks has been hosting these coffee seminars which are held regularly at about 2 coffee seminars every three months in various pre-determined Starbucks cafés.

  4. Are Frappuccinos part of the coffee seminars? Why or why not?

  5. Not at the moment. Right now, we are focusing on coffee brewed in a coffee press, Coffee of the Day (drip), and espresso based beverages. This is the core of our business; however, we continuously sample featured blended beverage (Frappuccinos) in the stores.

  6. As a customer, what is the benefit to my attending the coffee seminars?

  7. You will be able to discover the subtle flavors of coffee and the story of the coffee from bean to the cup. Part of the discovery process includes tasting the best coffees from different parts of the world and ways to enjoy and appreciate the art of drinking coffee (4 steps of tasting coffee).

  8. Who should I get in touch with to ask about coffee seminars?

  9. Upcoming coffee seminars are posted in the stores. For more information, ask the store manager or Coffee Master in any Starbucks branch or you can email msanvictores@rustancoffee.ph.
I highly recommend attending a Starbucks coffee seminar at least once. Bring your friends along too! You learn so much plus it's fun and it's free. Everything to gain and nothing to lose, right? :D

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A decadent Valentines at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country Suites

I was invited by the good folks over at Discovery Suites last January 25, 2010 to an advanced preview of their special Valentines menu at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country Suites.

Restaurant Verbena at Discovery Country SuitesIt was my first time inside Discovery Country Suites. I was charmed by its quaint yet classy country inn look and feel. It's a small, intimate place with seven magnificent rooms. Very cool, breezy, and back-to-nature... with a wonderful view overlooking Taal. It's perfect for Valentines.

His and Hers Valentine menu from Chef David Pardo De Ayala at Restaurant VerbenaWe were there for Chef David Pardo de Ayala's Valentine offerings, and he delighted us with not one but two separate his and hers menus. Being female, I was served the For Her set. A mere glance at Chef David's courses is enough to send your tastebuds into the high heavens -- oysters, foie gras, US steak... mmmm! Basically, every single dish would have the same main ingredient in two versions, For Him and For Her. For example, first course: His Oysters (In Fricassee, Maitre D' Butter Chilled "Frizzante Bianco", Her Oysters (Crispy Fried, Caviar Remoulade, Chilled "Frizzante Rosso").

Complimentary bread basket at Restaurant VerbenaTo start us off, freshly baked bread with three different spreads was served. We were warned not to indulge too much though, as we had six courses to go.

Oysters and Foie Gras at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country SuitesThe first course arrived -- Her Oysters: Crispy Fried, Caviar Remoulade, Chilled "Frizzante" Rosso (pictured above left). I was awed by the presentation. Colorful flower petals punctuated what I felt was an otherwise simple deep fried and breaded oyster dish. The second course -- Her Foie Gras: Grapes, Almonds, Pedro Ximenez (pictured above right, +P495 to the set menu price) is actually optional, so yes even those who've sworn off foie gras can still have a pleasant Valentines meal here. The foie gras is very rich, buttery, and sinful. The peeled sweet yet slightly tart grapes complemented it perfectly.

Minestrone soup at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country SuitesThe third course -- Her Demi-Tasse: Minestrone, Basil Ricotta, Parmesan "Fricco" (pictured above) is quite easily, the best soup I've ever had in my life. Chef David used organic chicken, which is "like the Ferrari of chickens," he laughingly described to us. I loved the clean-tasting yet flavorful soup stock, and that wafer-like bowl you see on top of the macaroni and veggies is actually parmesan cheese. Needless to say I finished every drop. :D

Barramundi at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country SuitesThe fourth course -- Her Barramundi: Roasted Bell Peppers, Chorizo Pamplona, Potatoes + Herbs (pictured above), had a spicy kick to it. I liked everything except for the Barramundi itself. I can't fault the dish, I just don't like the taste of Barramundi no matter how it's cooked. :p

US Steak and Prawns at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country SuitesThe fifth and main course -- US Steak "Solomillo + Gambas" Marinated Spanish Style Tomato Condiment, "Paella" Risotto (pictured above) was absolutely delicious. The steak had just the right doneness so it was very tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor. The cherry tomatoes were very sweet, a fitting condiment to the steak. I didn't even bother with steak sauce, this dish is perfect as is.

Chocolate Marquise and Panna Cotta at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country SuitesThe sixth and final course -- Her Chocolate Marquise: Baby Black Pepper "Panna Cotta", Balsamic Strawberries, Basil (pictured above) was divine. I wouldn't trade it in for the His version which has bananas and caramel instead of strawberries and Panna Cotta. The strawberries' sweetness and flavor were really brought out by the drizzling of balsamic vinegar. The Chocolate Marquise is rich and decadent yet at the same time light -- it's a marvel how Chef David made it.

"There are at least two aphrodisiacs in every course," says Chef David. "So be careful where you go afterwards ladies," he warned us jokingly. "This Valentines also marks the 6th anniversary of Discovery Suites. We've always done For Him and For Her because it's a lot more fun for everyone -- the chefs, the guests...". Of course, this doesn't mean that if you're a woman you can't order For Him. There aren't any rules, it's really up to the diner which menu he/she will choose.

Chef David's Valentine menu will be available at Restaurant Verbena in Discovery Country Suites from February 12 - 14, 2010 for both lunch and dinner. It is priced at P1500+ per set, P2000+ if inclusive of wine pairings.

Restaurant Verbena at Discovery Country Suites
300 Calamba Road, San Jose, Tagaytay City
(046)413-4567 or 683-8383 (Manila reservations)

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Love your skin this Valentines with Neutrogena Wave!

This Valentine's, show your skin some love with your very own Neutrogena Wave Starter Kit!

Neutrogena Wave Deep Clean Starter Kit with refill packFrom January 28, 2010 to February 24, 2010, you get 50% off Neutrogena Wave refill packs with every purchase of a Neutrogena Wave Starter Kit. Neutrogena Wave refill packs are normally priced at P400, and this gives you 30 foaming pads. You can get the refill packs for P200 each if you purchase a starter kit within this promotional period.

Using the Neutrogena Deep Clean WavePersonally I love what the Neutrogena Wave does for my skin. Every time my face feels sticky, greasy, or badly in need of a facial I just grab the power cleanser and run it all over. The result is always smooth and clean skin that looks so radiant even without make-up. It's really one of the best beauty products I've ever used. You can check out my full review HERE. :)

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

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Barre3 = Yoga + Pilates + a Ballet Barre

The grace of ballet, the wisdom of yoga, and the strength of pilates all rolled into one 60-minute workout? My curiosity was piqued.

I have some background in Bikram Yoga, having used it to lose 10 lbs. in six weeks in time for my sister's wedding a couple of years ago. When I read Barre3's description, I was pretty confident I could handle it.

Tanya Tan and Darcy Harding at the Barre3 studio in The Spa FortAbout a dozen bloggers took the Barre3 challenge last Monday night. Barre3 Managing Director Tanya Tan briefed us about the workout and introduced our mentor for the night -- Barre3 master trainer Darcy Harding, who came all the way from Portland, Oregon to help establish Barre3 in Manila. I was certain I was in for a one-of-a-kind fitness experience.

By 7pm we were all instructed to enter the studio and to each take a ball, a strap, and a pair of dumbbells. I opted for the lightest pair which weighed 2 lbs -- and boy I glad I did because you won't believe how heavy they feel when you're making tiny upward arm movements while keeping your entire body in the proper Barre3 posture!

Barre3 at The Spa FortIn Barre3, you do a lot of breathing, stretching, and balancing. It is actually a mix of yoga and pilates which you do with a ballet barre. The movements are small and controlled, and you are urged to concentrate on finding strength from your core. It's all about tucking your tummy in and keeping your back in the correct posture. Even with light air-conditioning and the absence of dynamic moves like jumping jacks I was sweating waterfalls.

Barre3 with Darcy Harding at The Spa FortFor Barre3, all you need are light workout clothes you can freely move around in and a pair of socks. Socks with rubber stick-ons at the bottom are recommended but ordinary socks will do. Balls, straps, dumbbells, and mats are provided by the studio.

According to Darcy, you need to be able to reach the ballet barre in order to workout so there is a bit of a height requirement. "People as old as 70 years old practice Barre3 in Portland," shares Darcy. I asked her if children can do Barre3. "Although in theory Barre3 can be practiced by anyone who can reach the barre, it needs a certain maturity and discipline since you need to focus on your core. In that aspect, kids may not be able to get much out of it," she says.

The next day, I felt muscles that I didn't know existed. My entire body felt worked out. It was a good feeling.

A single Barre3 session costs P700, but a monthly unlimited membership is priced at P5,500 -- about the same price as a month of yoga or pilates. At the moment, Barre3 is only available at The Spa Fort and The Spa Alabang, but Barre3 studios in Rockwell and Eastwood City will be opening soon.

All first timers can avail of a free trial Barre3 class, just call the following numbers for inquiries, schedules, and reservations:

The Spa Alabang
836-3184 / 850-3490 / 850-6836

The Spa Wellness at The Fort
403-5994 / 856-5858


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Online selling goes to a whole new level with Smilds

I was fortunate enough to be one of the fifty bloggers invited to the Smilds Connect event last January 19, 2010 at Hotel Intercontinental.

Smilds passport and boarding passI was surprised as I was handed a Smilds passport and boarding pass upon my arrival. My seat and table number were indicated there.

Smilds passportI was impressed by the props, really. We were advised to have dinner first while waiting for the rest of the guests and I engaged in some chit-chat with my table mates.

Smilds online media launchThe program started around 8pm. Up to that point, I didn't really have a clear idea of what Smilds was. The Smilds management briefed us for the next couple of hours and as it turns out, Smilds is a complete online store solution for internet sellers.

To put it plainly, let's say you get the Smilds Lite Pack worth P25,000. You get the following:
  • a Smilds web store
  • Payment Gateway (you can accept Mastercard, Visa, G-cash, Smart Money, etc)
  • Logistics System (Smilds is currently tied up with LBC and DHL for deliveries)
  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system
  • Upsell / Bundle Sell / Cross Sell features (you can sell items of other Smilds merchants)
  • Training Courses
  • Free System Upgrades for 6 months
  • Product Listing (you can list and sell 25 products with the Lite Pack)
Animetric's Smilds Store
After a lengthy presentation and system demonstration, Smilds announced that they were giving all the bloggers in the room a Smilds Lite Pack for free. Above is a screencap of my Smilds store at http://animetric.smilds.com. It's still empty but I do plan to give it a test run with some products in the coming days. While P25,000 may seem a bit steep, it's actually a whole lot cheaper than going out there and building a retail outlet. There are no monthly fees to boot, just a 5.5% transaction fee on every sale you make and your store is open 24/7 for business.

Aside from the Smilds Lite Pack, there are higher level packages which carry more features and are able to accomodate listings of up to 10,000 different products. I'll post about my actual Smilds online store experience soon. :)

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

The 15-minute fresh look inspired by Minute Maid!

I woke up with semi bad hair today. I had a massage at The Spa last night and the therapist slathered a whole lot of oil on her hands and decided to massage it all over my head and hair. My hair was flat and greasy, plus I had a couple of zits as a result of PMS. On top of that we had a kiddie party to go to before lunch. Woe is me...

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidI figured, this morning was a good time as any to finally go through with my entry for that contest over at Beautynomics. I had to look bright and fresh and happy and well... what better way to achieve it than to take some cues from that bottle of Minute Maid Pulp Orange I had in the fridge? Images of wearing a bright bandanna carrying a basket of oranges popped into my head. Now how was I going to go about this? I rounded off some make-up with bright coral and peachy hues...

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidFirst rule of freshness: Clear flawless skin. I wasn't getting that without any help, thanks to PMS. After washing my face with Shu Uemura Foaming Cleansing Water (F2), I immediately reached for my BeneFit it stick -- a pencil concealer that matched my skin tone perfectly. I used it to hide my pimples and my dark undereye circles. I sleep late, and that's the price I have to pay.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidSecond rule of freshness: Tidy well-groomed brows. I can't be fresh if I have thick bushes above my eyes. Now is the time to grab a pair of tweezers and pluck those tiny stray hairs.

Third rule of freshness: Shine-free and protected skin. I apply some Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Complete UV Waterlight Lotion all over my face. The SPF 50+ will protect my face from the sun's damaging rays... plus, it makes a good make-up base! I pat on some Shu Uemura Face Powder Sheer in Colorless for a fresh and matte finish.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidFourth rule of freshness: Brighten up those eyes! When you say fresh, do you envision dull, drab, and lifeless eyes? Of course not! Using Origins Fill In The Blanks in 03 for Brunettes, I fill in my brows with brown color and use the opposite end of the pencil to brush and blend. Then I keep my brows in place with Origins Brow Fix. After that I apply Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow in P Yellow 335 with an eye shadow blender brush from The Body Shop. I apply it all over my eyelid for a wash of bright color.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidAfter applying eye shadow, I proceed to line my upper eyelid with Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil in 09 Metallic Khaki. My make-up idol Barbi Chan once said that the quickest way to open up your eyes is not by applying heaps of mascara -- it's eyeliner! When you're in a hurry, this really is the fastest and most effective way to define your eyes.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidFifth rule of freshness: Natural looking lips. It's hard to feel fresh when your lips feel like they weigh a ton underneath all the thick lipstick. Using Estee Lauder Lip Defining Pencil in 07 Tawny, I trace the outline of my lips and fill in with color... it was sort of like working on a page off a coloring book really.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute MaidAfter pencilling in, I dabbed some Estee Lauder Pure Colour Crystal Lipstick in 341 Tiramisu on top for a bit more color and shine.

Animetric's fresh look inspired by Minute Maid...and voila! My Minute Maid-inspired fresh look in 15 minutes flat. No pinks and blues... just warm, bright, and happy golden tones that's as fresh as a bottle of Minute Maid Pulpy Orange Mango Drink.

For me, fresh is natural. Fresh is bright. Fresh is feeling good all over -- just like the freshly squeezed natural goodness of Minute Maid juices. I won't tell you to sleep early, drink lots of water, etc etc to get that fresh look (although if you want lasting results and freshness from within you really should try and live healthy). This is all about getting fresh now, no matter how sleepy, dehydrated, or hormonal you are (just like I was) through the magic of make-up. If I can do it in 15 minutes, so can you!

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Friday, January 22, 2010

The delinquent Cradle Magazine by October Eighty Publications

My love-hate relationship (more on hate now really) with Cradle Magazine started the summer of 2008. I heeded a call for contributors for an up and coming baby magazine.

Cradle Magazine by October Eighty PublicationsI got some writing assignments for the maiden issue (see photo above left), and was promised P2,000 per article. At that time I was coordinating with their acting editor-in-chief, Deni Rose Afinidad. Deni resigned before the magazine was ever published, and her position was taken over by Loida Yu. Loida apologized for the chaos that ensued right after Deni seemingly abandoned the project -- I say seemingly because this is the impression I got from our correspondences... the fact of the matter is I do not know what happened between Deni and October Eighty Publications. And so we resumed where we left off.

Eventually, Cradle Magazine got published in December 2008. Two articles which I wrote were included. I followed up payment, I got evasive responses that it's still being processed yadda yadda... then suddenly Loida Yu emailed me and told me she was resigning from her post. I would now be coordinating with her replacement, whoever that was going to be.

By March 2009 I was livid. I blogged about their non-payment on my Multiply site as a warning to fellow moms who wanted to contribute to Cradle Magazine. I have a pretty large mommy network in Multiply, most of who are very much into magazines like this one. It wasn't long before I got a response from the management. They invited me to meet up in person and promised payment for my articles. However, they asked me to take down my blog about their non-payment because "every time we google Cradle Magazine it's your blog that comes up," I was told. Delete it I did, because I didn't know any better.

I met up with them at Texas Roadhouse in Ortigas. We talked over some food, and they gave me a sealed envelope which contained an apology letter and payment. They explained that they were having financial and administrative problems with the magazine. Silly and trusting me did not open the envelope to check the contents, I took their word for it. When I got home, I found only P2,000 in the envelope. Payment for one article.

I texted and emailed them right after that only one article was paid for. After some more apologies they got my bank details and said they would deposit the rest. I waited and waited. I didn't hear from them again.

Fast forward to summer of 2009. I got an email from a certain Vania Edralin who introduced herself as the editor of Cradle Magazine. She told me they were going to publish another article of mine (I submitted three articles). She also said that they would surely pay me P2,000 for it. I told her I still haven't been paid for one article from the December 2008 issue and she simply said that she just took over so she has no knowledge of past transactions.

My third article was published in their second issue, which came out in October 2009. They didn't even have the decency to let me know that they published it already, I just found out from friends who bought the magazine.

I emailed Vania Edralin, she told me the norm was that they would pay one month after publication. I was fine with that since that is the industry norm. I write for ABS-CBN Publishing, Summit Media, and on a few rare occasions The Philippine Star so I know that one month after publication is normal. She told me to follow-up after a month, which I did, then she told me to follow-up again the next month. I asked for a contributor's copy of the magazine, she refused to give me one. Really, it's the LEAST they can do since they still owe me P4,000.

Well guess what, it's now January 2010. Still nothing.

This time I am NOT taking this blog down even if Cradle Magazine pays me in full. Potential contributors have a right to know what they're getting into. Come to think of it if it boils down to they'll pay me on the condition that I take this down, thanks but no thanks.

With this, I steadfastly REFUSE to support any project October Eighty Publications has any involvement in.

Kita-kita na lang tayo uli sa Google.

Update as of Jan. 26, 2010: I received a call from the new owner-to-be of October Eighty Publications this morning. He read about my unpleasant history with Cradle Magazine and apologized for everything that had transpired. He got my office address and promptly sent over the P4k that they owe me, plus he told me he was not going to ask me to take down this blog post.

Update as of Mar. 18, 2010: I found out that the person who was supposed to buy out October Eighty Publications (he was the one who paid me what O80 owed) backed out and decided to establish his own company -- Baron Media Corp.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Dash of Fun at Eastwood City!

We spent a lazy afternoon at Eastwood City last Sunday and discovered this unique store just outside the new Eastwood City Mall.

Dash of Fun at Eastwood CityDash, or Dash of Fun, is more than just a store selling various games, educational toys, and kids' clothing... it's a place you can actually hang out at and play around some.

Playing Jenga at Dash of Fun at Eastwood CityYou can take the games and toys for a test drive right at the store. There's a play area with tables and chairs where you can do so. There's also a Yoh-gurt Froz stand so you can have a healthy treat while you're at it.

Playing Bop It at Dash of Fun at Eastwood CityThe staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, taking time out to set up and demonstrate the game that my kids wanted to try out.

Scrabble games at Dash of Fun at Eastwood CityDash carries a lot of unique games, like these various incarnations of Scrabble. They also have a lot of educational toys and games that I don't usually see in other toy stores.

Disney Jeans at Dash of Fun
Disney Jeans at Dash of Fun
Dash carries Disney Jeans kids apparel too. At a glance, you'd probably think that these clothes surely cost a fortune, but surprisingly shirt prices start at P500+ a piece while actual denim pants cost a little over P1k. The clothes are of high quality too -- the shirts are made of soft and light cotton while the denim material is just right, not too thick and not too thin. I liked the designs.

Check it out if you find yourself in Eastwood City! :D

Dash of Fun
Unit 1880-3 Eastwood 1880 Building,
Eastwood City Cyberpark, Quezon City
901-8517

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Cheap Chinese eats at Le Ching Tea House

Le Ching Tea House is a popular haunt among Graceans like me. Eating at Le Ching Tea House brings back fond memories of escaping from school, sometimes cutting classes, and going out for lunch. We were not allowed to go out of the school vicinity for lunch, hence the escaping part.

Chili garlic oil at Le Ching Tea HouseThese days, when my hubby and I are in a rush and within the area during lunch hours, we'd usually make a quick stop at Le Ching Tea House. They not only provide cheap and satisfying Chinese food, they serve the best chili-garlic oil in town too.

Asado Cheongfan at Le Ching Tea House
Le Ching Tea House has no ambiance whatsoever. The place is kind of dim and run-down. You don't come here for anything else but the food. A visit of mine is never complete without ordering Asado Cheongfan (P80 for 3 pieces, pictured above right). It's so yummy especially when dipped in a combination of calamansi and chili-garlic oil.

Spareribs Rice at Le Ching Tea HouseSpareribs Rice (around P120, pictured above) is my hubby's all-time favorite at Le Ching Tea House. Soft spareribs cooked with black beans or tausi tops a bowl of freshly steamed white rice.

Lo Tofu at Le Ching Tea HouseLo Tofu (P70, pictured above) is another must-try. It's the perfect side dish to balance your meal if you're having rice toppings which are mostly meat-based.

Cookies and house tea at Le Ching Tea House
Free cookies at Le Ching Tea HousePssst... here's a little secret. If you're hankering for some sweets after a hearty meal, there are these crumbly, brown monggo-filled pastries are simply referred to as "cookies" at Le Ching Tea House in Banawe (see photos above). They are served for free along with the house tea. They go so well together. They wouldn't sell you the cookies even if you offered to pay for them. They give these to patrons who dine at Le Ching so long as supplies last. They get deliveries every morning from their commissary... so if you want a taste, better pay Le Ching a visit from morning to early afternoon.

Le Ching Tea House
888 Banawe St. cor. Del Monte Ave., Quezon City
711-7906

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Snack time at Bubble Tea?

Tapioca drinks like Zagu, Quickly, and Easy Way were a big craze here in Manila once upon a time. You'd find them in every mall and almost every street corner. These days, finding a nice cold glass of flavored tea with big nice and chewy tapioca balls is not quite as easy as it used to be.

Bubble Tea at SM MegamallBubble Tea is a full-fledged café type Japanese eatery specializing in tea-based tapioca drinks. They serve sandwiches, pasta, rice toppings, and a variety of desserts. Hubby, the kids, and I were there well after dinner so we just wanted some refreshments. Hubby ordered Taro Milk Shake (P120, pictured above right) while my son opted for Strawberry Milk Shake (P130, also pictured above right).

Royal Milk Tea and Tokyo Side Treats at Bubble Tea
I chose Royal Milk Tea (P70, pictured above left) since I wanted something that's not too sweet. We also decided to try their Tokyo Treats -- Chicken Tori Fry (P60), Squid Ika Fry (P65), and Seafood Korokke (P60) to go with our drinks. Fried bite-size morsels of chicken, squid, and seafood potato balls placed in little paper bags -- very cute (pictured above right).

Bubble Tea's tapioca are smaller than say... Zagu's, which was kind of disappointing since I like the big and chewy ones. Despite ordering the Royal Milk Tea, I was not spared from the sweetness and had a hard time finishing it. I much prefer Feng Wei Wee's pearl milk tea. I don't know what happened, when Bubble Tea first opened I loved their Royal Milk Tea because it wasn't overly sweet. Maybe they adjusted it for the Filipino sweet tooth? Hubby and kids loved their milkshakes though.

Seafood Korokke at Bubble TeaWe had all three Tokyo Treats -- Chicken Tori Fry, Squid Ika Fry, and Seafood Korokke. As you can see from the pale Seafood Korokke above with a few brushes of sauce, they not only look bland they taste bland too. Maybe they should add some dips like wasabi mayo or tonkatsu sauce? Or season it a little with some nori (seaweed) powder? You can actually get the Tokyo Treat of your choice if you add P45 to your drink order.

Three drinks + three Tokyo Treats can easily cost you P500. I suggest you skip it altogether if you want a more satisfying snack.

Bubble Tea
Lower Ground Floor SM Megamall Bldg. A
Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila
638-7479

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pampers Yoga Stretchycise at Gymboree

January 12, 2010 -- Pampers Yoga Stretchycise was launched at Gymboree in Manila Polo Club.

Pampers Yoga Stretchycise Launch at GymboreePampers Yoga Stretchycise is a new playtime routine that combines yoga moves with stretching which helps encourage the development of baby's mind and body. The exercises are nowhere near the types of yoga we do in the gym or studio. The movements are very simple and perfectly suited for babies and toddlers. You can be sure it's safe to do since it was developed through a collaboration between Pampers, Gymboree Play & Music, and the Mother and Child Nurses Association of the Philippines (MCNAP).

Pampers Brand Manager Chad Sotelo at the Pampers Yoga Stretchycise Launch"Since Pampers' mission has always been to help parents nurture their children's development, we are very happy to have partnered with Gymboree Play & Music since they are the global leader when it comes to creating programs that help boost early childhood development," said Pampers Brand Manager, Chad Sotelo.

Pampers ActiveBaby Diaper
Pampers Stages ActiveBaby Diaper complements the Pampers Yoga Stretchycise routine. Its balloon stretch tape lets you to put it on snugly while allowing baby to to bend, turn, crawl, and explore all he wants.

How I wish I could have been a part of something like this when my children were younger. They are now far beyond the diaper age. My mom would send over tons of Pampers Stages diapers from the US back then, when all we had here in the Philippines were Pampers Comfort and Pampers Baby Dry which I had some problems with. Not that I'm complaining now, P&G has always had first rate customer service and they actually picked up the problematic diapers from our house back then and replaced every single one, even throwing in some extras.

For every Pampers purchase worth P800, you can register at http://www.pampers.ph/en_PH/yogababy and avail of a special bonus class from Gymboree from January 15 to February 15, 2010.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

A bite of The Big Apple Pizza Co.

Hubby, the kids, and I decided to try out The Big Apple Pizza Co. in Makati last Saturday night. Hubby got a taste of their humongous pizza last December when a friend had one delivered and he had been raving about it since.

The Big Apple Pizza Co. in MakatiIt was very relaxed for a Saturday night, aside from us there were only two other groups in the restaurant. Delivery was abuzz with orders though, as I could see boxes and boxes of pizzas coming out of the kitchen.

A huge pizza at The Big Apple Pizza Co.Since their pizzas are gigantic, you can have two flavors together in one pizza. We went for their bestseller White Cheese (P75 per slice, P600 whole) and their chef's choice Big Apple Special (P98 per slice, P784 whole).

Big Apple Special at The Big Apple Pizza Co.White Cheese is topped with ricotta cheese, fresh garlic, and mozzarella while Big Apple Special (pictured above) is packed with Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni, mushroom, red and green bell peppers, onions, fresh garlic, black olives, fresh tomatoes, and pesto. Hubby and I thought the White Cheese pizza tasted dead and was nakakaumay but it was well-received by our kids. Meanwhile, Big Apple Special was delicious. The veggies were very fresh, and the meats had just the right flavor -- not salty nor overly seasoned.

Potato Au Gratin and Fried Chicken at The Big Apple Pizza Co.Aside from pizza, you can order stuff like Fried Chicken (P415 for 6 pieces, pictured above right), pasta, strombolli (stuffed dough served with Pomodoro Sauce), and extras like Potato Au Gratin (P105, pictured above right). The Potato Au Gratin is wonderful, thin layers of potatoes with cheese baked in garlic cream. The Fried Chicken is exceptionally crunchy and cooked thoroughly, which is a plus in my book. I hate undercooked chicken, the type with rubbery meat and traces of blood on the bones.

Buffalo Wings at The Big Apple Pizza Co.There's also the Buffalo Wings (P252 for 6 pieces, pictured above). The Buffalo Wings are huge, just like the pizza. They're fully coated with a sweet and spicy sauce yet they retain that good old fried chicken crunch. Yum!

The Big Apple Pizza Co. has an even better deal for delivery -- a big bottle of free Pepsi and no delivery charge!

The Big Apple Pizza Co.
G/F Allegro Center
2284 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati City
757-8888

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