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What's Binondo To You?

What comes to mind when you hear of Binondo?  Chinatown, Calesa, Tikoy, Divisoria, bargain items, food tripping.  Yes, food tripping! There are lots of restaurants around Binondo for all food lovers: conservative, conventional, or adventurous ones, you wouldn’t be disappointed.  We’ve been to Binondo countless of times.  That’s where we park — near the Binondo Church, or the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz — whenever we go to Divisoria.  We’d rather walk  going to 168 Mall than brave the traffic and park inside the mall.  The downside is when we have lots of purchases, we have to walk all the way back, so there was one instance when we were really tired, we took a pedicab and had to shell out Php60 just to reach our parking area.  Binondo and Divisoria for us are  synonymous to business opportunities.  That’s where we buy our reams of paper for our notepads, water bottles,  boxes for our cakes and cupcakes, various raw materials and equipments for our two online businesses, Homespun from the Heart and Artsy Cakes and Cupcakes.

Our recent favorite restaurant whenever we go to Binondo is the Sincerity Cafe and Restaurant. Our first visit there was so heartwarming.  Why?  Because of the plate.  I really had to take photo of the plate.  It brought back childhood memories because I remember having the exact same color and design when I was a child.  What’s their specialty?  The fried chicken!  I really love their fried chicken. For me, the chicken is enough, no need to check on their menu, although they have varied options.  But today, when we went to Binondo to purchase some additional toys (a.ka. equipment) for our business,  we tried their Oyster Cake.  It was good, really good. The serving was big, which, I think is good enough for 3 to 4 persons.  The price is very reasonable, the place is clean and the service is good.

It was almost 7:00pm when we finished our transaction in the nearby shop.  Too bad because the Eng bee Tin was already closed.  I wanted to buy Tikoy.  I always crave for Tikoy whenever we go to Binondo.  For me, Binondo is also synonymous to Tikoy.  Oh well, next time… there is always a next time.


A Milo Swimming Certificate, Finally!

It’s never too late for Faye.  Every year, every summer, we always try to convince her to attend formal swimming lessons, but she kept on saying she didn’t need it because she knows how to swim already (very basic, courtesy of her Tito Edmund), although I know that her primary reason was, she didn’t want to be exposed to too much heat.  There was even one summer when we tried to look for a covered pool but we couldn’t find any that was within our vicinity, so more summer vacations have passed and she still didn’t have her formal swimming lessons.  But since her Dad and I really want her to be a good swimmer just like her kuya and ate, we never stopped encouraging her  to attend swimming lessons, and this year, she finally relented, although the “art of convincing” was made weeks before the official summer vacation started.  I had to do it in a subtle way, dropping hints every now and then, until finally she agreed to do it this year.  She would have wanted to start the lessons before our Coron trip because she said it might boost her confidence during boat rides,  but the dates will make her miss some of the lessons, so she just took the last schedule for the summer, which started right after we got back from our vacation.  The host resort was the Kalugdan Resort near our place and her ate Izah kindly agreed to accompany her which was good because she also able to practice and do some laps during the latter part of Faye’s sessions.  The place was good for swimming lessons because they have a 25-meter pool, but since it was the first time that their resort was utilized for summer lessons, some rules were still not in place and they were not that flexible in terms of scheduling and rates, and the parents/guardians were not even given a proper waiting area and we even had to move several times just to accommodate their other guests.

Faye’s basic lessons helped her a lot since she didn’t have difficulty following the instructions of her coach. She was always asked to be the first one to demonstrate to the other students.  The supposed to be ten days 1 hour per day lessons were squeezed into 5 days 2 hours per day.  During the handing out of the certificates, we were so proud and happy because Faye was able to do the butterfly stroke and the coach even said that she has a potential to be a very good swimmer.

Because of this nice experience, I think for the next summer vacation, we wouldn’t have a hard time convincing her to join the Advanced Swimming Lessons.



Family Fun on a Budget

You can have fun with your family without breaking the bank.  Kids can easily adjust to almost anything, so, you wouldn’t have to worry about it.  Here are some tips to consider:
Find a cheap spot.  This can be anything, like a trip to the beach which charges a minimal fee.  You can bring your own food and drinks.  Spending the whole morning till lunch at the beach for only $5 and gasoline is sure a cheap way to have fun with the whole family.
Trade in the skillet for the grill.  Make a conscious effort to cut down on beef and pork, and have more fish and vegetable dishes. Also, plan more grilled food, which lessens the use of cooking gas and oil, and makes for healthier eating in the process.

Dine out.  You don’t have to go to a restaurant to eat out. You can set up a table and chairs in the garden for dinner under the stars. It will be  a real treat for everyone.

Enjoy the outdoors.  You can go to a vacant lot to play ball or badminton for free. Or you can go family biking in a park.  

Premium on storytelling time.  Revive the tradition of storytelling – it doesn’t cost much and it enriches young minds. In addition to reading fairy tales and children’s books, you can also share true stories of yourself, your partner, the kids’ grandparents, and other close relatives.

Time for a long-overdue massage

The last time we had a massage was when we went to Davao last August.  Yes, that was 3 months ago!   Though we rarely do this on a regular basis, like we are supposed to do, aching muscles, shoulder pain, and back pain, tell us that this is a long overdue treat.  No, we didn’t go to Boracay just to have this much-needed massage.  The spa was just a few minutes drive from our place, and it offers special packages for members.  After about one hour and a half, we went home feeling relaxed and de-stressed.  I really think we should do this more often.

The Warm Bodies Movie Will Warm Your Heart

When you’re on “house arrest” a.k.a. sick leave, how would you spend your days?  Aside from sitting in front of the computer, surfing the Net, or reading ebooks on your cellphone,  I’m sure watching DVDs would also be on top of your list.  You’ve guessed it right! These are exactly the things that I’m doing right now.

I’m sure some of you have heard or watched the movie Warm Bodies.  It was introduced to me by my kids (who else?), they’ve watched it already 2 weeks ago, and they’ve been telling me that it was a nice movie and they’ve given me a little bit of summary so I already knew its plot even before I watched it.  Yesterday, I watched it with Izah (who has no class because of the “Manila Day Holiday”).   The lead characters of the movie are Nicholas Hoult, as R and Teresa Palmer, as Julie.

It’s not your typical scary, gory, zombie movies.  Well, it has some gory scenes, but you will look past them once you get the message of the movie.  R (just R because he couldn’t remember his human name anymore), is a very unusual zombie.  He longs for interaction, for connection with his fellow zombies.  But then, he realizes also that since they’re technically dead, there couldn’t be any interaction possible.  He lives in an abandoned airport, inside a dilapidated airplane.  One day, when they were looking for some food, that is, some humans, they encountered some young volunteers who were tasked to look for medicine supplies.  After killing and eating some of the humans, he saved one of them, named Julie and brought her back to his home/airplane.   Of course, the movie has some unrealistic scenes like when they eat the brains of a human, they get to see the memories of that person, which is what happened when R killed and ate the brains of Julie’s boyfriend.  But again, you just need to look beyond that and just enjoy the movie.

As R and Julie spent time together, R slowly felt the change in him.  He was slowly returning into becoming a human again.  His interaction with a human being slowly made his heart beat again, slowly warmed his body, slowly changed his posture (which was his complaint before as zombie). He also started speaking more clearly, without stutter.  The other zombie, M, who was R’s bestfriend, also noticed and felt the difference, and eventually, all the other zombies as well. Julie told his Dad, who was the leader of the human survivors in a nearby village that the zombies/corpses were slowly returning into humans, but he didn’t believe his daughter at first.  It was only when R was shot and was bleeding that he believed that R was alive.   The zombies were then rescued and they slowly assimilate into human society, where they were showered with love, since R and Julie have proven that love is the cure to the zombie virus that almost killed the entire humanity.  The last scene showed R as a fully transformed, fully alive human, and Julie, watching the destruction of the wall surrounding the city which marked the end of the apocalypse.