Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Wrapping 2022 with Asian Food

Aloha Everyone,

Perennial question J.J. poses as we head out for lunch or dinner is, “What would you like to eat today?” My reply is also constant, “Something healthy.” 

Korean Kim Chee dishes, with the right selection can be tasty and healthy. We agreed on Bulgogi Brothers located at Greenbelt 3. As appetizers, we started with two trays of assorted Kim Chee dishes. For my main dish, my beef & vegetable Bimbap with egg was served in a large deep wooden container. We shared Korean fried tofu with sesame and garlic dressing on the side.

Joy came by with our New Year’s Eve treat. Her large food basket including my favorite Bulalo soup was much appreciated. Her visit was special for she had her son and his girlfriend accompanying her. We’ve met her son several times in the past including during their trip to Honolulu. However, this was our first time to meet his girlfriend.  Our introduction was totally unexpected, so I failed to take photos…

So here they are, our New Year’s Eve dinner is home cooked Filipino dishes by our friend Joy. Always thoughtful, fresh strawberries she brought will complement the dark chocolates that’s been cooling in our fridge.

Fireworks and firecrackers will start after sunset, and we were warned not to wander around the city. No such worries.  The two of us will be in bed before 8:00 pm ready to wake up before the sunrise to welcome the New Year.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 30, 2022

Shopping for Healthy Food

Aloha Everyone,

In search for freshly squeezed Green Juice, the two of us went to Market Place, a supermarket where we are able to find healthier food products.

We are familiar with El Corte Inglés from our stay in Spain. Simply labeled Detox is intriguing. The second container TÍPICO is labeled 100% broccoli with mixed fruit juice is a product of Del Monte. I am looking forward to having a chilled glass of juice tomorrow morning.

Finally, I found real popcorn!  This is even better than Skinny Pop or Australian popcorn. The brand, “Preferred Popcorn” is microwave natural popcorn grown and packaged in the USA. Small towns of Chapman, Nebraska and Palmyra, Indiana must be where corn is grown and packaged. We probably passed through these townships in our travel with Honu. The popcorn is zero trans-fat, non-GMO, Gluten free and whole grain. Indeed, this is a snack I can munch away :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Lunch with Mia & Marita

Aloha Everyone,

Mia is J.J.’s niece and Marita (JJ’s sister) is her godmother. Today we met them for lunch at a very popular restaurant called Wildflour Cafe & Bakery.

Mia, the youngest of our sons’ generation is a writer, filmmaker and currently lives in New Zealand. She is a very interesting individual, and her work depicts her complex personality.

Mis agreed to write her response to my 12 basic questions about her, her work and the documentary film which won an award at the 2022 Hawaii International Film Festival.

Until then, here are my Greek yogurt with granola, J.J.’s roasted chicken and Mia’s Filipino plate. :-)

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

New Requirements for Philippine Cellphone Owners

Aloha Everyone,

Effective December 27, 2022 until April 27, 2023, everyone who has a Philippine cellular phone must register their SIM card through a telecommunication company. This means your phone number and your identity will be controlled by the government.

A long line is beginning to form at retail telco stores to comply with this new regulation. As of now, there is no monetary cost associated with this registration. However, J.J. feels the government could require an annual fee as a way to impose new taxes.

The two of us are spared since our departure from the Philippines is prior to the April 27 deadline.

On a related topic, we paid less than US $80 for 1 1/2 months of telephone usage and WiFi access using a private router. There are challenges using this system but, in the USA, we are under contract and irregardless of if we are in the USA or traveling out of the country, we pay approximately $80 per month.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, December 26, 2022

Landmark Shopping & Lunch at Watami Restaurant

Aloha Everyone,

Overcast and breezy made it a very pleasant morning walk to Landmark. J.J. and I usually go to the supermarket using pedestrian bridge, then through various sections of the department store before taking 3 levels of escalators. The supermarket opens by 8:30 am while rest of the department store opens at 11:00 am.

We mainly purchased paper goods so while our shopping bags were bulky, the weight was relatively light.

Our lunch venue was Watami Restaurant located on the ground level of Greenbelt 2. The chef was accommodating and prepared my dishes per my request — without salt or sauce. This will be another restaurant for our repeat patronage.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 25, 2022

 Merry Merry Christmas!!!

To all our dear families and friends, sending you our thoughts and prayers on this Christmas Day 2022.

Wishing you that you are safe from the stormy weathers and if you are on the road, may your journey will be pleasant.

J.J. and I walked to Sto. Niño de Paz. Located less than 10 minutes from our condo. This modern, dome-shaped Catholic Church was full of worshippers many on their way to family gatherings.

The two of us joined JJ’s family for a cozy luncheon where the main dish was a large roast beef with sides of mashed potatoes, mixed greens, baked pasta and baked salmon. Desserts of Brazo de Mercedes, a traditional Filipino meringue with custard filling and fresh selections of persimmons, apples and Korean pears were all very excellent.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Homemade Fabulous Christmas Eve Treat

Aloha Everyone,

Joy came by to our condo with a huge basket full of homemade dish. Each dish is made with best ingredients and prepared with love. For J.J., she made tasty, nutritious adobong pusit (baby squids in its black ink) served on steamed white rice; arroz caldo (Filipino hot rice that resembles risotto). For me one of my absolute favorites, Bulalo soup made of beef shanks and bone marrow. Lots of leafy vegetables are added to make this a healthy, one-bowl meal!

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Excellent Spanish Paella

Aloha Everyone,

Paella is a single skillet or one pot rice dish mainly affiliated with the Andalucia region of Spain. Quality of rice and its preparation separates ho-hum versions from those that are outstanding.

Our friend Joy is a creative cook and excels in preparing international dishes. One of her businesses, catering for small private parties, takes her exploring around “hidden” treasures of Makati and we are the lucky beneficiaries.

Our lunch at Terry’s Bistro began with 4 selections of tapas. J.J.’s favorites were gambas and chireta. The three of us feasted on the house specialty of Paella. We last saw each other just 5 days ago, but there is always so much to share and learn. We picked up from our previous conversation on books, arts plus travel, always peppered with geopolitical issues and how to navigate this challenging, chaotic but wonderful world.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Good Luck & Prosperity Envelope

Aloha Everyone,

Following the Reyes Family tradition, J.J. and I prepared hongbao, the red colored envelopes. Our recipients are our condo’s concierge staff, doormen and security guards who help make our daily living here more comfortable.  

We were told that the importance of the hongbao is not the amount of cash that is placed but the recipients treasure the envelope. Red is good luck and prosperity in Chinese. It is also appropriate for Christmas.

As he hands out the envelope, he says, “pang pasko” roughly translated as “for Christmas”. Their faces light up and some clasped their hands in a prayer. Unexpected gifts are delightful for both the giver and for the one who receives.

Maligayang Pasko, Merry Christmas!

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Condo Unit Maintenance

Aloha Everyone,

For a scheduled quarterly inspection and servicing of our unit’s smoke detectors, a 3 men team showed up.

Another engineer then followed to check all the appliances in the unit as well as the fire extinguisher.  He also checked our unit’s “panic button” inconspicuously located within the unit.  Yes, the front desk confirmed that it works.  This emergency alert location is only known to the unit’s owner and her guests. 

This condo building, along with other two other buildings are managed by a professional management firm. No wonder monthly association fees are substantial.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Lunch with Our Friend, Joy

Aloha Everyone,

Joy showed us three “vanity” books she had recently completed. Joy’s involvement is to assist her clients in organizing, designing and possibly coming up with the title. The books are self-published, and the writer has them printed and, in most cases, give them away as Christmas gifts to friends, family and business associates.

L’entrecôte, located in Forbes Town Center in Bonifacio Global City, is a modern Swiss French restaurant. It was packed with a large group enjoying the Christmas spirit assisted by holiday drinks and cheers.

The three of us thoroughly enjoyed our choices of dishes followed by a complimentary dessert we shared.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, December 16, 2022

Afternoon at The Ayala Museum

Aloha Everyone,

The Ayala Museum has excellent exhibits of archaeological, ethnographic, historical, numismatic and ecclesiastical collections.

We were eager to revisit the museum after its two-year renovation. Entry fee to the museum was 350 pesos per person US$6.37. You are allowed to take photos unless photography of the displays is specifically prohibited.

One of the most impressive and educational features of the museum was the section of the 60 dioramas depicting the history of the Philippines. This is truly a monumental legacy of Fernando Zobel (1924-1984), one of my favorite Spanish-Filipino artist and scholar.

After spending 2 1/2 hours, I was reluctant to leave.

Aloha -- Cathi