Excited for the Palarong Pambansa 2013

Hello everyone. I am just trying to publish a post with photos completely from my phone.. I’m actually preparing and packing for my 3days stay in Dumaguete. I was invited to be one of the Blogger Partners of DepEd to cover and blog about the much awaited Palarong Pambansa 2013. Yes, it will be in Dumaguete and I am really excited!

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My 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

2012 was the first time I wrote about my resolutions and it’s actually a bit disappointing that I didn’t reach or accomplish even half of ’em. Haha! I wasn’t going to post my list this year but something made me change my mind. I’m just not sure what was it. Maybe I realized I can write anything on my blog since this is mine. I don’t really care to those non-believers. Ooops! I’ll try to do better this year.

1. Make exercise part of my lifestyle. Yes, it’s on top of my list this year. I have never made exercise a priority last year for some reasons that again, I’m not sure. Though, my hubby was kind enough to pay for my 1 year membership fee in FF, I rarely go there towards the end of 2012. I got lazy. Though, I also quit my job in 2012, I enjoyed being a Blogger getting invitations for food and restaurant reviews, product launches, etc., and when I get home, I’m, physically and emotionally tired.

I made plans for this year on how to free–up my schedule so that I could exercise. And yes, I got a new job already which I tend to keep and maintain longer than my previous jobs. I’m making a master plan. I am also considering running. Since most of my friends are into running already, I guess, there’s nothing wrong if I also try it. Good luck to me!

2. Travel and learn to explore new and different places. Mind you, I have not been out of the Philippines for the whole 2012. How’s that?! Tsk!

I also want to travel with Francis more. We’ve done a few and quick out of towns years back and it was so much fun. I blogged about some of them too!

3. Have more dinner or intimate get-together at home. I love having friends in our house when I was still single. But since I got married and we moved to a smaller apartment, it’s hard for us to accept guests and have a little party at home. Me and Francis is eyeing a better and bigger place for us this year. I will update you guys about this.

4. Have at least 7 hours of sleep everyday. This means less time on Facebook and syndication. Haha! Let’s see.

5. Drink more juices, less on coffee. I noticed my teeth are getting yellowish and I don’t like it. So, I’ma stay away to those liquids that’s making my teeth less white.

New year is all about getting another chance to do better. I like a bit of pressure in my life that’s why i think, making a new year’s resolution list works for me. Personally, I find being effortless overrated. To move forward takes effort sometimes, a lot of it. It also make me feel good to be able to achieve or reach that personal goal that I set.

Caffe Ti-amo: Italian Gelato and Coffee in Greenbelt 5

Meals are not complete without desserts. Specially for those who got a sweet tooth. After our good dinner, me and my husband decided to go straight home since we were really full. However, on our way to the exit of the mall, we noticed this cute and nice-looking place which was full of customers that time – Caffe Ti-amo.

Since the place was full of customers, we thought of giving it a try too. Though my husband was a bit hesitant because he’s really not into gelatos. But of course, I was able to convinced him. 🙂

So, we went inside and started checking their gelato display and their menu. I wanted to have coffee and my husband wants an ice cream. The several staff on duty were very friendly. Though, they look tired, still they’re just friendly to answer all my questions about their products. Haha! So, after paying in the counter, we got ourselves a table.

While waiting for our orders, I can’t stop looking around the place and was amazed of the decorations, the tables and the chairs. Even the walls were well-decorated.

And then after a few minutes, here’s comes our orders. 🙂

3 Scoops of Gelato: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Coffee | Php 99.00 | Rating: 5 out of 5

My husband got the 3 scoops of gelato. He liked it. Though, it’s not as creamy as ice cream, this one from caffe ti-amo is also good. He liked it that even less in creaminess, the goof flavor of chocolate is still there. 🙂

Affogato | Php 95.00 | Rating: 5 out of 5

And, I got the Affogato. Uhm.. I have to ask the staff on how to properly eat this. A black coffee and a scoop of vanilla-flavored gelato. I tasted the coffee, gosh, it was soo bitter. But when combined with the vanilla gelato, it was heaven! The feeling of somewhat cold and warm in my mouth was just awesome.

Caffe Ti-amo is the perfect place to satisfy your cravings for sweets if you’re on a tight budget. For couple who’s tired of the usual coffee shops out there, this is the place to hangout and have a very good chit-chat and relax for a while.

♥♥♥♥♥

Caffe Ti-amo

Location: G/F Greenbelt 5, Legaspi St. Ayala Center, Makati
Contact: (02) 501-3785

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Katsu Cafe in Katipunan Quezon City

The discovery of Katsu Cafe in Katipuan was all accidental. It was just because me and my friend were literally starving and we didn’t noticed that it was already way passed lunch time because of heavy traffic. So, instead of heading to the salon in where my friend got a schedule for a hair treatment, we went ahead and look for a place to eat. Luckily, just beside the building in where the salon is located, there’s this tiny, good looking place…

Katsu Cafe just opened a day before we were there. The place is relatively small – about 5 tables only and a very unique display of beverages on the wall. When we got there, the place is full of customers and one of their staff immediate approached us, apologized that we have to wait to be seated and then gave us chairs. So nice!

I love how the owners of Katsu Cafe used wood in the interiors. It created a very homey ambiance. And since the place is small, that idea of having the beverages displayed on the wall is just genius. 🙂

When we got our table, we were handed their menu. Its looks really nice since it’s still new and I think, they used a picture paper.

We were surprised that the menu are so affordable. They also got several choices, from Katsuretso Sets, Donburi, Curry Rice, Ala Carte, Fresh Coffee, Beer, Iced Tea and Soda. I think, this is already perfect for a simple lunch or dinner or for a group of friends on budget.

Too bad, we weren’t able to taste the other dishes in the menu as we won’t be able to finish them anyway. I wanted to try their fresh coffee and the curry rice. Haha! 🙂

While we were waiting for our orders, I just can’t stop taking pictures. The place is that nice!

And shortly after, the staff started placing the plates on our table. Here’s what we ordered:

Tonkatsu and Torikatsu Sets. Pork and Chicken cutlets buttered with their special Japanese breading and deep-fried to perfection. Paired with tonkatsu sauce. A bowl of miso soup and is also part of the set.

And take note: Unlimited Rice!

Tonkatsu Set | Php 195.00 | Rating: 5 out of 5

Katsu Set | Php 195.00 | Rating: 5 out of 5

Then we also ordered one of their dishes ala carte — Gyoza. I’m a die-hard gyoza fan and I just could not let that chance to have gyoza again and try them in this new place.

Gyoza (5 pcs) | Php 120.00 | Rating: 5 out of 5

We love our experience here. The food were really good. And before I forget, that salad in our katsu sets is just awesome. The sweetness and sourness just complimented each other.

I will definitely go back, soon!

  • Katsu Cafe Facebook Page
  • Email: katsucafe.ph@gmail.com
  • Location: 329i Katipunan Ave., cor B. Gonzales, Loyola Heights, 1108 Quezon City, Philippines (street beside Rustan’s)
  • Hours: Mondays – Sundays | 11am to 10pm
  • Parking: Yes
  • Payment Option: Cash only

Everything Nice: Baguio City’s Cake Shop and Cafe

A couple of months ago, me and my husband celebrated our second wedding anniversary in Baguio City. The rain was non-stop but it didn’t stop us from travelling all the way there. This is our much-awaited relaxation and vacation from the stress here in Manila. 🙂 Aside from the vacation, of course, we planned to splurge on trying out several restaurants in the area. Even before our travel date, we already have a list of restaurants to visit and try out.

Desserts will always have a spot in our tummies. No matter how full we are, the meal will never be complete without a dessert. And for me, desserts are on its best with coffee. On out first day of our vacation, we decided to head to Camp John Hay. We were so excited because this is the place in where different brand’s depot and imported goods are located. I will be posting our shopping spree on my next post. 😛

We got tired after shopping and carrying lots of shopping bags. And we checked the place for restaurants. Then we realized we are already inside Everything Nice Cake Shop and Coffee. Initially, we just wanted to have desserts and just take a break from walking and then just have a full meal in the dinner. But after checking their menu, they also have rice meals, appetizers, steaks, which changed our initial plan.

We were the only customers that day since it’s a weekday and its raining so hard. I noticed the place was kinda dark, asked the staff and I was told that they were on a scheduled brownout during that day. i also noticed a woman who was busy with her laptop, I’m guessing she’s the owner or at least the manager on duty during that time. I just wondered why she didn’t even come to us and at least explain about the scheduled brownout. She didn’t event bother to check us out considering we were the ONLY customer that time. 😦

Thinking that we got no choice anymore but to continue checking out their menu, we got ourselves a table near their glass window. The menu seems to be super simple. Something an ordinary household can serve to their family at home. Here’s their menu: 

For appetizer, we ordered fish and chips. Like I said, nothing special with this dish. So so. 

Fish and Chips | Classic breaded fish fillet strips served with potato chips and tartar sauce | Php195.00
Rating: 3 out of 5

Since we got a not really good vibes with the place, me and my husband decided to be on the safe side. We ordered the most familiar dish to us. 

Pork spareribs for me. As you can see on the photo caption, it was supposed to be served with buttered corn and carrots. But the plate was just plain white. However, I must say that the spareribs is delicious. Tender enough for me. The sauce is also good for me. 

Pork Spareribs | Slowly simmered pork ribs in American style barbeque sauce ’til tender. Served with buttered corn, carrots and Balatinao mix rice. | Php195.00
Rating: 4 out of 5

Porkloin barbecue for my husband. This should be served with grilled tomatoes according to their menu. Again, the plate is just plain white. The sweet chili dip was nowhere to be seen on our table. 😦 The barbecue is just the normal ones. Nothing special. Not bad, not good. 

Pokloin Barbeque | Porkloin marinated in Filipino barbeque sauce. Served with grilled tomatoes, our very own sweet chili dip and garlic Balatinao mix rice. | Php175
Rating 3 out of 5

If you’re wondering about that reddish rice on our plate, they call it Balatinao rice. Its a sticky rice most popular in Cordillera region. We thought, this would be another disappointment to me and my husband, however, surprisingly, it was good, taste good. 

Then we had desserts, of course. We got the chocolate mud cake and the creme brulee. The chocolate mud cake was so good that my husband really loved it. However for the creme brulee, it was two thumbs down for me. The sweet on top which was supposedly melted brown sugar was still brown sugar. It feels like I was eating the brulee topped with brown sugar. 😦

Our experience with Everything Nice is not good but also not bad. Though, there were some things that me and my husband didn’t like, we thought, we would’ve tried other restaurant instead. Our experience didn’t get justice to the name Everything Nice. 😦

My own ratings:

Service: 3 out of 5
Price: 4 out of 5
Place: 3 out of 5
Ambiance: 3 out of 5
Cleanliness: 3 out of 5
Taste: 3 out of 5

Everything Nice : The Cake Shop and Cafe

Location: Mile-Hi Center, Camp John Hay, Baguio City 2600, Benguet, Philippines

BuCor : In The Middle of Rolito Go’s Fiasco

I can honestly say that I don’t know Rolito Go’s story. Yes, I’ve heard the news before about him but I didn’t pay much attention. For me, it’s like he was just another criminal in the metro. And just recently, he is again in the headlines. Out of curiosity, I did some research about him. 

From Inquirer News: It was 1991 when Rolito Go got directly involved in the most sensational road rage. Where he just got off from a fight with her girlfriend and while driving in an opposite direction in a one way street somewhere in San Juan area, he incidentally bumped to a teenager’s car who was on his way to buy pizza. Go got out of his car and shot the teenager in the head. He went missing and finally got himself surrendered on the 6th day. The next day, the teenager died. 

I was surprised when I read this. The memories which I saw from the news came back to me. Oh yes! I remember now. After sentenced for 40 years in prison, he is, again, on top of the news now. Just recently, it was said that Go was kidnapped from the minimum security compound of the Bilibid Prison then abandoned in Batangas. Oh gosh! How could that be? Really? That’s the questions I got in my mind. It is also said that Go tried to escape and that he was not kidnapped. Another question is, why would Go do that? When he is about to be freed next year? And if he really escaped, why would he return to the authorities?? Hmm… 

Then, I remember my experience when I visited the Bilibid Prison a few months ago. It is indeed the most if not one of the most controversial agencies in the country. However, being there for several times, I was able to witnessed the hardworks of the bureau to execute the much-needed reforms. 

Managing the Bureau of Corrections is not easy. But Director Gaudencio Pangilinan was able to do it. The phrase is not an expression of exasperation; it is rather a discovery of a fact. It is not a wailing cry of desperation; but rather a confirmation of something never before accepted as a reality.

And why is it not easy to manage an agency despite all the rules, powers and authorities in its command arsenal? It is in the overall picture of its environment. Unlike plants, unlike animals, unlike any other governmental concern, managing the most dangerous sector of society – the so-called insular prisoners projects so much stress to the point that nothing is correct in the scale of administering fairly their community. It is neither hot nor cold; neither here nor there; neither good nor bad; neither proper nor improper. Either an officer is exceptionally a genius person or abnormally intelligent to justify the right way in managing the affairs of prison administration.

The Bureau of Corrections is one such agency one finds at the cross roads of a scandal.

If there is no news that could grab public attention, one can find something in prison worth jolting the hell out of stability. For sure there are numerous instances in the prison community that is worth a moment’s notice. If the mood is something that would require empathy for the down trodden, there are alleged cases to be slapped on prison officials. If the prevailing sentiment is against the offenders, there are incidents that could be divulged against prison denizens. In both instances, the prison administrator’s neck is usually on the line. This is where sensationalism comes, that is where the news item becomes a regular highlighted feature, something that sells the newsprint, something that is projected on television, something one follows up on radio. And the Bureau of Corrections, whether it is in its star to be exposed or not, is always there are as an exciting filling material.

Any administrator worth his salt would find this stark reality as soon as he gets into ground work. NO amount of work ethics can drive the prison community— officers included, into the tailspin of real committed work. Resistance is etched in every corner of the prison camp. Tradition is almost embossed in the granite walls of the community. To reform is like calling to arms as in war. Yet changes must be done. Several prison administrations have dedicated itself in the past only to be waylaid by indifference later. Result: the prison service remained static, recluse and worst, a benchmark for incompetence. And there lies the challenge. Change must occur, innovation must start somewhere. Corrections must regain its real meaning.

The process is not a walk in the park. It is, to borrow today’s lingo, complicated. Change demands sacrifice. While not all improvements result in change, all changes result in improvement. And the prison service is still undecided to fulfill change notwithstanding the enforcement of leadership. Attitude remains the biggest challenge and it must turn into a crusading spirit. It must be guided tour for real change, a clear direction to be reached.

And the first step is having a good grasp of where to go. That explains the significance of the BuCor roadmap. It has to be adopted, embraced, and totally appreciated from the heart.

As an ordinary citizen: 

I completely agree with Director Gaudencio Pangilinan. His vision and his mission for BuCor is extra-ordinary. However with this fiasco, he opted to go on voluntary indefinite leave while the investigation for Rolito Go’s case is ongoing. I am not losing hope. Let’s face it, we cannot please everybody. Soon, after all the ongoing investigations, the truth will come out.

 

 

 

An Eye Opener: The Truth About The New Bilibid Prison

Last Friday, June 8, 2012, a very self-enlightenment and a very rare event was held in Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). It was supposedly a simple Media Visit to its facilities, provide learrnings about the BuCor’s mandate on Safekeeping and Restoration of the National Prisoners. Led by BuCor Director Retired Military General Gaudencio Pangilinan. This ongoing program allows and provides the prisoners the rightful and accordingly treatment as a human being despite of their offenses.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor or BC) ; Kawanihan ng Koreksyon (in Filipino) is an agency of the Department of Justice which is charged with the custody and rehabilitation of national offenders, who have been sentenced to three years of imprisonment or more. The agency has its headquarters in the New Bilibid Prison Reservation in Muntinlupa City.

I must admit, I grew up with a not-so-positive impression about our prisoners and the Bureau of Corrections itself. Before I decided t join my blogger friends to visit this place, I got a lot of hesitations and what-ifs in mind. I’m a bit nervous while were on our way there.

This is also why I am excited to visit this place. BuCor has already implemented its programs on Reformation and Restorative Justice for our prisoners.

  • Healthcare Program
  • Education and Skills Development
  • Livelihood and Livelihood Training
  • Moral and Spiritual Enlightenment
  • Sports and Recreation Progam
  • Behavioural Modification
Along with several volunteer groups, the six imperatives of the reformation program are being successfully executed and provided to all prisoners. Some prisoners are also empowered and make them feel important by being given their respective tasks to lead and provide good examples to the other prisoners.

BuCor Director: Gaudencio Pangilinan

“We want to embark to the Filipino people’s minds that our prisoners must be seen and treated as people, as a human being.” Pangilinan said.

The implementation of the reformation programs for the prisoners has been accepted and being supported by several volunteer groups and even receiving support from other government agencies around the metro. This is expected to provide self-esteem upbringing of the prisoners, not feel that they’re not accepted by the nation and being rejected of the opportunity to be corrected and be transformed for the better.

Currently, prisoners got a lot of self-empowerment activities which helps them improve their skills and knowledge while inside the corrections. Livelihood trainings are also provided to them. I personally witnessed the peace in their eyes while they do their paintings, wood carvings and other activities.

Their end-products are being sold and were part of several exhibits in the Philippines. The money will be theirs as part of their livelihood.

“These are just one part of the programs we are implementing for our prisoners for their safekeeping and transformation, and ensure that they will feel accepted and that they have a role to take part in the nation,” Pangilinan said.

What about those who had already served their sentence in the prison and are ready to face the outside world again? The livelihood trainings and educational assistance is helping them to live a new life outside and get a job. While inside the correction, those who are already working for the bureau, they are given minimum wage aside from the government benefits like SSS, Pag-Ibig and Philhealth which they can use and avail outside. Nice! 🙂

It was really nice to have be with the inmates and have some chitchats with them. I felt the happiness in them when they saw us there. Some of them were busy playing bastketball and badminton. Some of them were smiling and just watching up go around the facilities. They also prepared a little salo-salo for us while the well-known bands serenade us with their original compositions. The mini-concert was led by the BuCor’s own BTV3 channel. This group is also composed of several inmates. They are in-charge of the programs within the facility along with the events management team of the Bureau. The Bahala na Gang Band gracefully entertained us with their raggae and original compositions.

E-Dalaw program is also being provided to the prisoners. This program allows them to be able to see and talk to their love ones who are located in different country or some far provinces and are not capable of going to see them personally. Prisoners are allowed and given 10-20mins everyday to chat or video call using Skype with their loved ones. 🙂

Meanwhile, BuCor  unveiled several short and long term measures to solve the problem of being over crowding of prisoners in the corrections.

Here are some of the pain-points of Bureau of Corrections:

  • Over crowding (106%)
  • Reformation issues
  • Recidivism (25%)
  • Personnel development
  • Drug problems at the facility

In 2011, 4,738 were admitted in the corrections. 25% of admissions are re-offenders and 20%  of re-offenders are back as drug offenders.

To address these issues, a budget is also being requested to provide better and renovated facilities to prevent over crowding. Pangilinan said the government will continue to enhance the programs infrastrature of he country’s several locations for the safekeeping of the prisoners.

The rehabilitation of the correction’s facilities is also in-progress. “The structural work, together with the reformative programs for the prisoners along with the personnel development will be achieved and hopefully completed over a timely manner,” Pangilinan said.

These steps to improved will be a great help for our prisoners. I am glad I was able to witnessed the combined efforts of our government led by Director Gaudencio Pangilinan and the prisoners. 🙂