My Little Junior MasterChef

Troy has developed a love for cooking ever since his misono-table experience at Kimpura last year.  My sister bought him a cooking set (against the will of his grandfather) and he likes to play chef and loves the idea of taking orders and serving food.

Recently, one of our favorite bonding activities at home is cooking. Last Monday, Troy and I prepared our first 'baby' pizza and i think it turned out pretty good.

Ingredients for 4 yummy mini pizzas

Tomato Paste
Mozzarella Cheese
Whole-wheat tortilla wrappers

Here are the brands that we used

Step 1: Spread the tomato paste on the tortilla wrapper

Step 2: Place the sliced hotdogs over the tomato sauce

Step 3: Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top

Step 4: Now your pizzas are ready for baking. Pre-heat your oven to 50 degrees Fahrenheit  and bake for 10 minutes.

And we're done!

All that cooking made me thirsty!

We had another cooking stint a few weeks ago but i wasn't able to take pictures of the finish product.  It was getting late and people were getting hungry.

Here are pictures of us cooking our version of fish fingers :)

What do i put in my egg mixture, mommy?

Now let's dip the sliced fish into the egg mixture

Happy Cooking, Everyone!


5 more minutes, please???

Even though my 2 kids have their own rooms, my husband and i still prefer that they sleep with us at night. My son has his own make-shift toddler bed (we used the Scatola sofa bed designed by Rajo Laurel for Uratex) that we placed beside our bed, and my daughter sleeps in her crib on the other side of the room.

My son adores her baby sister. He would always wake up very early in the morning, go to the crib and check whether his sister is already awake. If she is, he'd immediately wake me up and ask me to carry her to our bed. If she isn't, then he'd find a way to wake her up.

They would spend around 15 minutes playing while my husband and i will spend the entire time watching them. Troy would either choose a movie on my phone or teach his sister how to play a new app on the iPhone. Dawn would attentively listen to her brother even though am pretty sure she doesn't understand any of the instructions he is teaching her.

I remember when i was younger and would always request for 5 minutes more when i am being awakened to go to school. Now as i look at my two precious children playing by themselves early in the morning, my mind is requesting the same thing before i start to get ready for work.

My heart swells with gratitude each and every day I see them.

I will be forever grateful for each and every moment I spend with them. They are God’s wonderful blessings to us and living testimonies of God’s faithfulness and love.


Stork Studio

Thank you, Sofia, for the lovely pictures you took of our family. You captured the moments beautifully.


Forrest House

During our recent trip to Baguio, our first stop was the Forrest House restaurant. I have been there once before and had good warm memories of the place. I remember the fire place, the inviting couch, and the mixed smell of coffee and pine trees. Makes you think of Christmas.

On top of the cozy ambience, what i appreciated most were the great service and little touches that came with our food. They have a wide variety of soups served in bread bowls.  Check out the nice messages that came with our soups!

They are known to have one of the best coffees in town.  But since i am not a big coffee drinker, i ordered the hot chocolate mint instead. It was okay. I guess any hot drink would fit nicely in the cold Baguio weather.

Some of our friends were celebrating their wedding anniversary and the restaurant celebrated with us by serving this nicely made-up dessert on the house.  It actually tastes as good as it looks.

Check them out when you get the chance to visit Baguio. I assure you it's not going to disappoint.
Map taken from the Forrest House website

Forrest House is located at 16 Loakan Road, Baguio City.  

We'll see you again, Forrest House!


To Baguio & back...

Last week I was invited to share my testimony at the Philippine Bible Theological Seminary (PBTS) in Baguio. I talked about our experience with Tyler and how God has been very faithful to our family. You can read about our journey through my old blog entries starting here.  I have shared my testimony in Davao and other churches in Manila before but I still get very emotional each time I talk about what we went through. 

Whenever I am asked to share my testimony, I try my best to accept all invites. I believe that Tyler was given to us in order for us to be able to share God’s love and faithfulness amidst difficult times with other people.

Pastor Garvic and PBTS, thanks for giving me that privilege to share our experience with all of you.

We were also blessed with very supportive friends who went up to Baguio with us. It was so much fun to travel with you guys!

Tyler baby, it’s an honor to be your mom. You are so loved!


Where were you on 9/11?

My husband and I became a couple on September 11 in 2000. A year after, when we were celebrating our first anniversary, terrorists attacked the United States. I remember being in a Karaoke place in Malate with my cousins and bible study group when my aunt called to say we have to go home immediately. She said the World Trade Center has been bombed. Our immediate thought was ‘the World Trade Center near Roxas Boulevard? Oh no, we have to go home fast before traffic starts to build up’. On our way home, we got another call from my aunt saying we need to pray for our uncle in the US since they cannot contact him. That’s when we realized that she was not referring to the World Trade in Manila but the twin towers in New York. That was where my uncle worked.

I remember getting home and seeing my parents glued to the TV. We watched the planes hit the twin towers on the news in disbelief as we constantly tried to contact my uncle. We finally got to speak with him after what seemed like a long time.

My uncle was telling us about his experience that day. He was already in the office when they heard a loud crashing sound. They were then asked to evacuate the building immediately. He did not know what was happening and did not realize the gravity of the situation. My uncle went out of the building and just stayed there to wait for further instructions. After a while, they were given clearance to go back to the office. My uncle and his friends decided to go get some ice cream first. A few minutes after, their building collapsed. He said he still did not know what was happening but started going with the crowd rushing outside of the area. He only found out about what really happened when he reached home and saw the news.

I remember an email that was sent around during that time and I’d like to share a portion of it with you.

·         As you might know, the head of a company survived because his son started kindergarten.
·         Another fellow was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts.
·         One woman was late because her alarm did not go off in time.
·         One was late because of being stuck on the NJ Turnpike because of a car accident.
·         One of them missed his bus.
·         One spilled food on her clothes and had to take time to change.
·         One went back to answer the telephone.
·         One had a child that dawdled and did not get ready as soon as he should have.
·         One couldn't get a taxi.
·         One had a blister on his foot and stopped at a drugstore to buy a Band-Aid.  

Now when i am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone and all the little things that annoy me, i think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

This is not to say that God was not watching over those people whose lives ended on 9/11. God’s will is perfect…and though we cannot understand his plans, we should just trust His heart. He knows what is best.

For those of us who have lived through difficult times and witnessed God’s love and power,  do not forget what God has done for us.

Joshua 4:20-22: And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, "In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' Tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground'"


Mustela: Rash, Rash Go Away!

When Dawn was about 4 to 5 months old, we noticed that her tummy had dry red patches below the navel area. We thought she was allergic to her disposable diapers so we switched to the conventional cloth diaper during the day.  It did not get better. After a few days, we noticed red patches on the creases of her elbows. It started with little red bumps/blisters then soon became flat and red.
After some research and consultation with our pedia, this is what we found:
Eczema (also called atopic dermatitis), a skin rash that often appears in the first year of life. Eczema usually shows up on a baby's forehead, cheeks, and scalp, but it can spread to the arms, legs, chest, or other parts of the body.  Your baby's rash might look like dry, thickened, scaly skin, or it might be made up of tiny red bumps that can blister, ooze, or become infected if scratched. 
I've heard some stories of friends with babies who experienced severe eczema and it's really very concerning.  This is why it's best to begin treatment at the first sign of atopic tendencies.

Here are skin-care tips from Babycenter:
  • Try to keep your baby's skin from becoming too dry. Talk with the doctor about how often to bathe her. Many experts now believe that daily bathing can be helpful for babies with eczema. Just don't make the water too warm, because very warm water dries out the skin faster than lukewarm water.
  • Use a mild soap, and wash and shampoo your baby at the end of her bath so she isn't sitting in soapy water. As soon as you get your baby out of the tub, pat skin dry (don't rub). Then promptly apply a liberal amount of moisturizer or emollient — an ointment, cream, or lotion that "seals in" the body's own moisture.
  • Allow skin to breathe (and not become overheated) by dressing your baby in smooth natural fabrics, like cotton. Avoid wool and other scratchy materials, which can irritate very sensitive skin.
  • Switch to mild, fragrance-free soaps and shampoos, or those made for sensitive skin. Use mild, fragrance-free detergent for washing clothes and bedding. Avoid fabric softeners.
  • Rapid changes in temperature can make eczema worse, so try not to let your baby get too hot and then cool quickly, or vice versa.
  • Help your baby avoid scratching. She may try to get relief by scratching with her hands or by rubbing her face against the sheet when she sleeps. But scratching and rubbing can further irritate or inflame her skin and make matters much worse.
  • Use the softest sheets possible in her crib, and keep your baby's nails short. Put her to bed with cotton mittens or socks on her hands, if she'll tolerate them.
  • During a flare-up, you can try applying cool compresses to the area several times a day, followed by a moisturizer.
With Dawn, we tried using Mustela Stelatopia Emolient Cream. After less than a week, i noticed that her rashes have all cleared up! I was amazed at how fast the product worked.  I specifically chose this product over other brands because it is free of artificial colourings, fragrances, parabens, and alcohol.  I used it on Dawn's whole body and not just on areas with red patches.  

Dawn does not have rashes anymore but i still use the cream everyday to make sure it doesn't come back. If i am feeling a little brave, i might try to switch to the regular Mustela lotion once the Stelatopia cream runs out. Mustela is now available in the Philippines so no need to order online and send through your friendly courier. Just visit their outlets in Trinoma (1st Level) and Robinson’s Manila (1st Level Midtown Wing). It's also available in all Rustans Department stores and Pure Beauty in Serendra.

For inquiries, you may contact:


Dawn's First Meal

It seems like yesterday when i blogged about Troy's first meal here.  Such a cliche but it must be said - HOW TIME FLIES! I can't believe it's been half a year and our little girl is already taking in solid food.  Dawn had her first taste last August 23, a day after she turned 6 months. She was very easy to feed and was excitedly waiting for the next spoonful. She was even trying to hold the spoon and feed herself when you're not fast enough. Check out 2nd picture above.

For those of you who know my kids, I'm sure you'd agree that Troy has a very healthy appetite. A lot of people have asked me what vitamins i give him or how we feed him to make him enjoy food so much. Truth is, there's really no formula.

We did not actually give Troy any vitamins until he was almost a year old. With Dawn, we just started vitamins this week since she's smaller in size than Troy was at her age.

For both our kids, we used Earth Best's Whole Grain Rice Cereal for their first meals. I like that it's organic and has no chemicals in it. It's available in all Healthy Options stores.

Dawn's first meal experience went pretty well. She was able to finish a tablespoon worth of cereal mixed with breast milk for her first feeding. She looked like she enjoyed eating as much as we enjoyed feeding her.

Meanwhile, look at the little surprise that popped out of the highchair's box!



I have been a breastfeeding advocate ever since i got pregnant the first time. I breastfed Tyler for 2+ months which is practically his entire lifetime. With Troy, i was able to breastfeed him for a year and 8 months. Dawn is now 6 months old and I'm planning to breastfeed her for at least 2 years.

A lot of moms have said that they had to stop breastfeeding because they went back to work. That shouldn't be the case.  It takes a lot of commitment to be able to breastfeed exclusively but the benefits far outweigh all the sleepless nights. 

When Troy was 4 months old, i had to fly to New York for a business trip. I was determined not to let him try any formula milk so i diligently expressed milk in the office and in between his nightly feedings. I was in New York only a few days because I had to fly to Singapore the week after for another business trip. That was followed a another business trip to Australia a month after.

In between my trips, I had to restock the frozen milk supply in time for the next trip out. It was tiring but i wouldn't have it any other way.

With Dawn, I am a bit wiser. I started stocking milk as soon as we came home from the hospital. It didn't matter that i didn't have any pending business trips yet, I wanted to make sure she will get enough in case i had to fly out. We already have a stock full of milk now and I have also been helping some friends by donating milk to them. I will have some trips scheduled in the next few months but I am not as concerned anymore.

Bottom line is that it's possible to go back to the corporate world and still be exclusively breastfeeding. You can even take numerous business trips so long as you'd be diligent in expressing and stocking your milk supply.

Here are what worked for me:
  • Remember supply and demand. The more you express milk or feed your baby, the more your body will produce milk.
  • Drink lots of liquid. It doesn't even have to be soup as most people say. Just carry around a big bottle of water and drink whenever you can.
  • Eat well. You need the energy to produce milk. Don't worry! Expressing milk is like doing cardio exercises.
  • Relax when you're feeding your baby or expressing milk. Stress inhibits milk letdown and would make you assume you don't have milk anymore.
  • Pray! Pray! Pray! God is our source!
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"


Hotel H2O

Last June 6, my parents and 2 sisters went to Palawan for a vacation. Since we only came from Boracay the week before, our pediatrician did not recommend that Dawn travel again so soon. She was only 3 months old then.

So our little family of 4 decided to have our own mini vacation within the Metro. We booked ourselves at the Hotel H2O of the Manila Ocean Park. I got a really good deal at Ensogo for the Aqua Room. The room normally costs anywhere between P7,500 to P11,500 depending on when you go but we only got it for P4,550. YEY!

The 2 kids were very well behaved during our car ride to the hotel. They sat in their own car seats and held hands all throughout the trip. My heart swelled with joy looking at them. I could have already concluded it was a 'successful' family vacation right there and then.  

I brought Dawn with me to check-in while Dens and Troy parked the car. There is a pretty long walk from the drop-off point of the Manila Ocean Park to the hotel. The hotel staff said they are now working on making a covered walkway so that their guests will not get wet in case it rains. I think that's a wonderful idea. 

The hotel lobby was at the 3rd floor. Maybe i just was not expecting too much given the size of the hotel but i was very impressed with the lobby.  It was more beautiful than i imagined. 
Checking-in was easy. I just showed them our Ensogo voucher and they immediately offered to send someone to help Dens get our things from the car. I said that wasn't necessary since we only had 1 small luggage. Yes, 1 small bag for all four of us. I really try to pack light during all our trips

The hotel was really nicely designed. Even their hallways were well thought-out. It had bubble-themed carpets and white glass walls.  The lighting was really nice too.

The Aqua Room was the highlight of the hotel. It was a very small room with an excellent 'view' of the sea. The aquarium went through and through down the hallway so you'd get different kinds of fish every minute. They were literally passing by our room. Troy was so excited the first time he saw the huge aquarium. The aquarium also had electronic roll-up shades in case you need to sleep and don't want the glaring light from the tank.  

The hotel closes the light inside the aquarium from 9pm to 6am everyday. For some reason, all the fish seem to also go to 'sleep' when the lights go out. Most of them just stayed within our view and did not move the entire time. It was a very interesting observation.

After a few hours in our room, we decided to do some 'touristy' stuff and check out the other amenities. We wanted to let Troy try the fish spa where you immerse your feet in a pond full of fish doctors. They're supposed to bite off dead skin cells and leave your feet fresh and clean. We went to the Ocean Park's public fish spa area but there were just too many people and i decided against it. I thought i didn't want to let Troy dip his feet in other people's dead skin cells (shiver! love, i know what you're thinking: OA naman!).  Anyway, the guard told us that the hotel had its own private fish spa. It turns out that it was inside the hotel's actual SPA. They had fish spa for each locker room. We told them we wanted to all be in the same area so they agreed to let us use the one inside the ladies' locker room since there were no other guests that time. Troy just wanted to watch and was too scared to dip his feet when he saw the number of fish doctors in the pool. He finally agreed to dip his toes but immediately pulled up when the fish started biting. We stayed there for about 15 mins.  The people at the spa were so gracious and decided not to charge us anything! Double YEY - our private fish spa experience for free

After our fish spa experience, Troy and Dens took a dip in the pool while Dawn and i did a little shopping inside the park. The pool was okay. Nothing fancy. It was pretty small the view wasn't too spectacular. 

After swimming, we went to watch the musical fountain show. It was comparable to Sentosa's laser show in Singapore. Not bad for Philippine standards, i must say. Troy enjoyed it very much. Dawn was attentively watching too. We also got it at a great price of only P99 per head. It normally retails for P300. Do check out promotional websites as they normally have ongoing special rates during non-peak seasons. 

After the show, we had dinner at the Pancake House inside the park. There are other food establishments to choose from so you don't need to go out. I felt like we were in a cruise the whole time.

The next morning, we headed to the Oceanarium with the 2 kids. It's not as big as those abroad but the amount of sharks and stingray can compete internationally. There was a good number of exotic fish to see.

We only stayed overnight but it felt like we were there longer. I guess it's because of the number of activities we got to do during our stay. I highly recommend it for a weekend getaway within the city. No need to drive far to have a good family bonding time together. 


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