Category: Living

The Barn by Tipsy Pig

UP Town Center is fast becoming a food lover’s  favorite destination. A lot of really good restaurants have long been serving customers here, like Mama Lou’s, Cafe Shibuya, Mad Mark’s, Backyard Kitchen, Casa Verde, Dulcelin, Silantro, Genki Sushi, and a lot more.
One such establishment that recently opened is The Barn by Tipsy Pig. Originally located in Capital Commons in Pasig, they opened their door in Katipunan November last year. They mostly serve Filipino food, with some pizza and pasta in the mix. The Barn drafts their own beer, and it goes without saying that they serve good “pulutan” to go with that beer.

 

Signature Burger – very juicy and the meat is cooked just right

 

 

Not your typical kare-kare, this one is made with crispy fried liempo underneath the steamed vegetables 

 

 

 

My favorite – their version of pares made from premium beef, with garlic rice, of course!
Sebastian dip – spinach + crab meat + cheese = FTW
Nachos – pack a flavor and good enough for 4-5 persons
Sebastian’s salad – greens with candied walnuts and balsamic dressing, my kind of salad
Their signature dish, sisig tacos. So good one order is not enough
One of their house-brewed beer, Salted Caramel

 

 

 

Since it opened, The Barn by Tipsy Pig has been a regular hangout for us Katipunan moms, not only for the good food, but great ambiance and service.

 

Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

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Once upon a time (around 1991), I watched the original Disney version of Beauty and the Beast and fell in-love with the blonde prince who only shows himself in maybe the last 5 minutes of the movie. I loved it so much that I watched the Broadway version in New York in 2006. Suffice it to say, I am a fan. The story is a classic made richer by the beautiful songs.

So of course, I was one of the people who was excited to find out they were going to do a live action version of the movie. Finally, my family was able to watch it last Sunday at a block screening in support of the mentorship program of Differently Special Achievers Movement (https://www.facebook.com/SpecialAchievers). Before the movie, we headed to the art exhibit of these kids, entitled Enchanted,  An Art Exhibit of 18 Child-Artists with Disability. That in itself was already a magical experience, having seen the wonderful works of these kids, who thankfully, have the opportunity to have their voices heard through their art.

Moving to the movie itself, I have to say that the little princess in me was still every bit as excited as she was all those years ago. While a lot of things were taken from the original cartoon version, I thought the additional details made the re-telling much more interesting and gave a depth that was lacking in the first movie. (Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the movie yet, you should stop reading at this point.)

First, I liked that they explained that the prince wasn’t born cruel. He was made cruel by his haughty father. I also appreciated that they took the time to explain where Belle’s mom was. I had always just assumed that she died, but now I know why. It made their struggles more believable, seeing that they had to go through these experiences.

Second I thought that the idea that the whole village forgot about the castle and the prince was an inspired addition. After all, wouldn’t it be odd not to notice why your prince, nay, an entire castle, suddenly went missing? For me, it also symbolized that maybe, the villagers became cruel too, thus forgetting that they had this hidden gem.

Third, I really liked the beginning, with the prince all made up (makeup and heels–very French) so you couldn’t really see how he looked like. I was wide-eyed as I awaited his transformation. Squee! He is the cartoon-made flesh. Yup, so handsome!

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The true testament to how good the movie was? My little stoic daughter said she cried a little! She has never cried in any movie she has ever seen. EVER.

Yes, it is a story made for kids and for kids-at-heart. So if you fall into one of these categories, you will enjoy this movie a lot!

 

Dad Dear and the Big Bad Tech Monster

My dad is a septuagenarian. He turned seventy last year, and while at times I feel that my age is catching up with my parents, when he hit his 70’s, I realized that the age gap is greater than ever, our differences punctuated by technology. He says things like, “Maan (my pet name), kunin mo ang Facebook ko” (translation: “Please get my Facebook”). To which I reply, “San ko dadalhin?” (trans.: “Where do I bring it to?”). It’s my fault, really. I bought him the iPad that is causing him so much distress. He feels that every time someone messages him, he is required to message back (meaning, I would need to type and edit what he wants to say). He’s quite popular in his circles, being an educator for decades, and when he celebrates another birthday, a ton of people will most likely greet him. This guy might actually need a media manager! Another thing that changed for my dad is that he loves to have lots of pictures taken using his phone. He would then ask, “Paano ko makikita ito sa Facebook?” (How will I see this on Facebook?) To which I reply, “Upload mo” (upload it). Which results to him giving me a perplexed look. (Translation: I, or one of my siblings, should do something so that his friends could see his pics).

My daughter is most patient with him, connecting him to Youtube, messenger and Facebook whenever she can, but even her patience runs thin when he continues to badger her on things he had already been taught. And while I am mildly amused at his attempts to understand technology, it does get me thinking when I will hit my “technological learning barrier” (copyright Anj CP). You know, that ‘virtual wall’ where no new learning will want to penetrate my brain. I already see glimpses of it as I watch my daughter do her programming. Will I be my dad someday and simply not understand how the new world works? While I hope that I will not lose my willingness to learn, historically, it’s not looking good for me. My hope is that I will get a patient grandchild to help me grapple with technology. Karma, please be kind 🙏

Good Deeds and Life Lessons

Once upon a time, when we were college students, my group of friends organized a Christmas outreach in CRIBS, an orphanage for newborns and babies. It was a great experience for us, caring for the babies, singing to them, and even carrying some in our arms. Now, ehrm, about 17 years after, with most of us having had babies of our own, we repeated the experience, this time in Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres in Bustos, Bulacan. And we brought our babies along as well to share in the experience. 
While some orphanages fare better than others, with this one in particular looking very well-kept and managed, the format is that normally, the kids in the orphanage would have a short program, which begins with a prayer and then maybe a short introduction of the orphanage, plus a song or dance number. The kids of St. Martin did not disappoint, with a complete program of songs and dances. We, in turn, brought food to share and some games to play. In the end, everyone came home with a lighter heart, having been blessed with the experience of sharing.

But more than the good feeling that we brought home that day, I do hope that the experience taught my daughter a few things about life.

1. The most obvious takeaway is that she is a very lucky girl indeed because she is growing up with both parents who love her completely and unconditionally.

2. While these kids may lead very different lives, interacting with them on a firsthand basis shows that they also have a lot of similarities, i.e. they’re not so different after all.

3. Serving others, especially those who need help the most, is our responsibility because we have the means to help.

4. Trying new things, even though they are out of your comfort zone, makes you a more well-rounded individual.

5. Every little bit of help counts. Even the simple task of serving food, giving out straws, etc. is an act of love.    

And yes, every time we do an outreach, I do feel that it is a little bit unfair because I take away more than what I give. May the new year give us more opportunities to share!

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday.  As soon as December kicks in, I feel the urge to crank up my old school Ray Conniff Christmas album – which immediately takes me back to the early 80’s.  That was the time when my sisters and I would labor on our letters for Santa so our dad could “drop them off” at the post office.

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That was also the time when my dad hid our Christmas stocking up on the roof to make us believe Santa actually left it there in the rush to leave before we arrived home from midnight mass.  That was also the time we would run around the house with our mom chasing us while singing “Oh Tannenbaum”!

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Those were glorious years and I don’t tire of remembering them.  In those simple moments, we were truly blessed.

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On this season when we think of family the most, it’s hard to imagine how those without family make it through.  I often get too caught up with my own life and my own family that I forget to share the spirit of Christmas to those who need it the most – those who go through life without the love of family.

I felt deeply honored to have had an opportunity to share early Christmas with the lovely people of “Bahay at Yaman ni San Martin de Porres”, a residential compound in Bustos, Bulacan, committed to help street children, abandoned children, or victims of domestic abuse and child labor.  In their simple but beautiful home, built through generous donations, these children are able to feel the semblance of family with their caretakers and other children who endure the same plight.

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Seeing the children’s happy faces – as they sing and dance to popular tunes, play the parlor games we prepared, and enjoy the simple meal of fried chicken and pansit – takes me back to my childhood when all you need to be happy are some good tunes, silly games, and the people you love.

They say those who have so little often give the most.  Their joy was a great gift – and I have been blessed to experience it.

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Names and Faces

I have a confession to make…I’m not good at remembering names! When I’m introduced to someone, I try all the tricks…saying the name repeatedly or associating it with something. Sometimes, I just want to grab a pen and put a name tag on them but that would be rude, no? Add to that, that the current names I try to remember are in a different language 😜. 

Then , there are times when I can’t distinguish sibling names ‘coz they look so much alike! There’s this set of six brothers in our highschool with all their names starting with the letter K. I cannot remember which one is which! But, I guess other people say the same with us five sisters 😬😂–we all look alike! (We do not!)

There’s this time I thought the Enchanted actress also starred in the Shopaholic movie. You know what I’m talking about?


This! They look the same, right? Apparently, they’re not one and the same person! Amy Adams and Isla Fisher. I can’t even remember which played what role….I had to Google–Isla was in Shopaholic and Now You See Me while Amy Adams bursts into songs in Enchanted.

There are these three actors I have to think hard before I could tell which movies they were in:


I’m sure *you* recognize then instantly (coz you’re not as +%>|+* as I am 😒)


The Baldwin brothers. I won’t even attempt to caption the photo I got from the interwebs (coz I can’t without cheating!)


How about these two? Bill Murray and Jim Belushi. 


When I asked DrG about my “condition”, he said he gets confused with these two (Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley). But, it’s acceptable, right? Because they were cast for this very reason in Star Wars. Knightley was Queen Amidala’s double.


Then there’s this! Do you recognize her? That’s just one person. I really could not tell 😬

Tell me I’m not alone! 

Maybe we should all just go around with name tags, no? Hahaha!

I WANNA BE A SUPERMOM

I have a household issue that has been bugging me for several months now.

You see, our four househelps are going on a vacation, all at the same time, come December 17.  Why are they leaving all at the same time, you may ask.  Well, because they’re all related to each other.  A big no-no, I know. But that time I hired them, I was heavily pregnant with my third, and that was my only option. I assumed that they would all have to leave for vacations at the same time (I was right), but that they would have a bit of malasakit to leave kahit two lang behind to help me out (wrong, wrong, wrong).  They did it last summer, and they’ll do it again this Christmas.  They go on vacay, while I go insane.

BUT, I have a back up plan.  Plan B is to ask my mom to send over someone from her household to, you know, save her daughter from insanity. Like how we did it last summer, when she sent two.  But one had to go home immediately because, uh.. she needed to make sure my mom’s dogs are doing well.  So she upped and left, and left me with a newbie. Let’s save that story for a different post.

What is plan A?

Plan A is for me to savor this (house)helpless time with the kids – to enjoy every second of the chaos and the mess, to bond with them over nonstop Sofia the First marathons or Full House episodes, and to answer their never ending questions about life and religion and who is the more loveable child. And I plan to do this – alone.

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Look at her.  Doesn’t she look dazed and confused? Probably how I will look like in about three weeks. Yes, I will be cleaning our house in a Sofia the First costume.  

Can you see it happening? I can!

And I’m terrified.

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And I don’t know what is going on and why my logical reasoning isn’t working.  But this is the plan I’m leaning towards.  A big part of me wants to maybe prove to myself that I can do this – I’m a SUPERMOM.  The other part is in denial.  When I try to bring it down to reality, it feeds me with visions of myself cooking dinner while my eldest plays with the baby,and the middle one quietly engrossed with some artwork or book. With a catchy Christmas song going on at the background. For two weeks. This is the same part that thought the ates will have malasakit for me and leave two behind.  Medyo slow ang learning curve ko eh. 

So, wish me luck! And keep me sane by sharing your horror stories of your househelp issues. Just so I’d feel better that I went with plan A instead of the convenient plan B.

 

 

 

 

 

Hair Horror Story

Let me tell you story that happened not so long ago. A year ago, to be exact. Now I can finally write about it. Who would have thought that something as trivial as hair could cause me so much stress.

I’ll begin my story by giving a background on my hair habits. I’m not much of a hair person. I rarely go to the salon to have my hair done, 3-4 times a year, tops. And I would only go it it’s nearing a special occasion, like my birthday or Christmas, or going on a trip, or my sons’ graduation. To be honest, I get bored sitting in a salon while others milled around me.

The last hair appointment I had prior to this last disaster was March 2015 in time for my son’s high school graduation. It helped too that the salon, which we shall call T & G, had an ongoing 20% discount on colors and treatment. That session went well, and I liked how my haircut and color turned out. I’ve beenn having my hair dyed ombré since 2012 because it’s pretty much low-maintenance, I don’t need to dye my roots every so often.

Then in October 2015, the same salon had another promo, 15% off for color. And I thought, just in time for Christmas and our annual family holiday. So I booked an appointment at a T & G salon near our place in Quezon City. It was a different branch from where I had my last appointment. Even with the discount, it was not cheap, so I expected good service. It’s a given that immediately after a haircut and color, one has exceptionally beautiful looking hair. It’s the days after that, that counts. Less than a week after, I chanced upon a three-way mirror and I noticed that one side of my hair was lighter that the other side. I had my son take pictures of the back of my head. Sure enough, the left side of my hair was lighter than the right.

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I immediately booked an appointment with the salon and came back the following week. When I told them the problem, the color technician said it was just the gloss – like the dye they apply all over the hair after the ombré. So they dyed my hair a second time. Still, I keep noticing something is still not right. A week after, I went back to the salon to have my hair treatment, which I paid for. After the treatment, I said to the technician, I think there’s still something wrong with my hair. I asked them to take a picture. And this is what came out.

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The left side versus the right. I will leave it up to you to decide. And then the next day when I shampooed my hair…

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This! My hair looked like a walis tambo! It was frizzy all over. My hair was so over-processed it looked like it was fried. You know, like that fried pasta appetizer they serve at Torch. Arghhh!!! It was so infuriating, knowing you spend a not insignificant amount of cash and you get this. Of course I called them up and told them about my problem. In fairness to them, when they saw the state if my tresses, they offered to color it again, and added a keratin treatment. But I had to wait a couple of weeks since it was recently colored, twice. So everyday, for the next couple of weeks, I would take a shower, look in the mirror, comb my hair and be really, really pissed. I had to tie my hair all the time, lest I looked like a witch, with a broom for my hair. I did not really think it would be that stressful, but it was.

So I came back to the salon for the corrective color and the keratin treatment. Here’s a side by side photo of my hair before that ill-advised salon appointment, and after.

I hated my hair. Seriously.  This hair experience was truly traumatizing. I was afraid to go to the salon again.

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Then in May, right before my birthday, I decided to treat myself and have my hair done again. This time at Juro Salon in BGC. I used to have my hair done at that salon when they were located in QC. I’ve been hearing great things about them and I decided to bite the bullet.

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Do you see my before photo? I didn’t realize it was still that bad even after several months until Jude took a photo. The bottom, obviously is my after photo. With me are Jude and Rose Hipolito, owners of Juro Salon Exclusif. But we all know that the true test of a good haircut is second and third day hair, right?

Tadaaa! My hair the next day. I felt so light and happy after, truly. It felt so liberating that I wouldn’t have to add my hair problems (though trivial) to other concerns that I have.

So. What’s my take-away from this? Don’t trust your hair to just anybody. And when you’re not happy with a service, let them know and ask them nicely to do something about it. And now I know what it means when we say hair is our crowning glory.

Hooked on J-dramas

Under the pretense of learning Nihongo, i have been binging on J-dramas. I thought it’d be fun to have a Japanese counterpart to Odessa’s Hook on Hallyu post.

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Itazura Mischievous Kiss Love in Tokyo 1&2

The series is about a persistent girl, Kotoko (acts a lot like Yaya Dub), who declares her love for Naoki Irie. After a series of unfortunate events, (ehem spoiler alert) she ends up marrying him. Naoki is supposed to portray a cool handsome genius who is a bit aloof and unfeeling, almost condescendingly so. Acting wise, he played the aloofness part pretty well which left me wondering why Kotoko was so in love with him. The handsome part, errrr, I’m probably not the target market (aka too old for this na?!). The actor was also in another series “Rich Man, Poor Woman” and he played a fun, loud student .

Season two felt like it was an extended series of unfortunate events meant to milk the popularity of the show. I read that this show has a Korean, Taiwanese and Thai version plus an anime so it’s  really popular. But, I wont be watching those–ehem, trying to learn Japanese you know!! Oh, this isn’t the first Japanese one! A 1990s version   exists and the original Naoki and Kotoko did a cameo in some hospital scenes of the new one.

Kotoko, my dear Kotoko, you crazy! She’s so optimistic yet so hopeless at the same time! I feel the same way about the shopaholic movie/book–eye-rolls all throughout yet I can’t seem to stop watching.

One surprising part of the second season was how they incorporated transgender acceptance! It wasn’t necessary in the story but they put it in anyway.

I think Naoki’s mom in the series deserves a mention. She’s manipulative but funny, cheerful and a super supportive mom in law to the spaced out sometimes annoying Kotoko.

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Hapimari

This series is about a woman who got fired because she threw water at this rude customer but, ended up getting a wedding proposal from him then actually agreeing to marry him. Gasp! Watch why! I noticed though that a lot of smart, well-off, successful women in the jdramas throw themselves at unavailable married men. They even ask the wife for the man! :/ Makes me wonder if it’s  the norm in Japan.

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Bambino

Matsumoto Jun cooks for an Italian restaurant in Fukuaka. His boss gives him an opportunity to work in Tokyo for the summer while school is out. He proceeds to be an arrogant a-hole who thought he knew everything about being a chef. He doesn’t. Drama ensues. He learned hard lessons. Pasta dishes weren’t extraordinary though.

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Hana Yori Dango 1&2

This actually set off the j-drama binging. I’ve watched the Taiwanese version of this a lifetime ago and realized I should watch the Nihongo version. The story revolves around a poor girl studying in an elite school run by F4 with Jun Matsumoto (again! he’s quite popular!) as the leader. Bullying is rampant in the school, even the teachers were afraid of F4. Essentially this series is a love story with love triangles, unrequited love, poor vs rich issues, and stereotypical angle about an evil future-MIL.

This series was based on a manga of the same title, adapted in Chinese, Japanese and Korean television. Widely popular in Asia.

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Sukina Hito Ga Iru Koto

Most series would have Tokyo as the main location but this series showcased Enoshima -which is about an hour away from Tokyo. Summer in the seaside, baking for a popular restaurant, and three goodlooking boys make for a good summer vacation, right? I think so, too!

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Patisserie Coin de Rue

A movie about another patissier who goes to Tokyo to bring back her love Umi. She went to Coin de Rue but apparently the guy worked there for just two days. With no where to go, she decided to ask the owner of Coin de Rue if she could work for the bakery. Her interview cake was a bomb and she was told to go back home. Insisting she wanted to learn, the chef relented and took her in. A short and sweet story of a baker’s life.

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Rich Man, Poor Woman

A story about an eccentric genius in the techworld and a new graduate looking for a job. The genius guy cannot remember names and faces and the gal has super memory so richman hires poor woman. This series reminded me of Steve Jobs– booted out of his own company, his supposed harshness,  and his eye for design. Entertaining series!

What’s interesting is Japan rolled out the same tech (unifying record system) last year. I wonder if the core group underwent the same drama :/

After watching the shows, I think my vocabulary did improve a little bit…but just a little bit. The plan is to watch the episodes again without the subtitles and at least partially understand what’s being said. There’s probably a better, faster, more efficient way to learn but this is more entertaining, yes? Yes.

We are 1 Year Old!!!

As I was posting my last blog entry, I went through our main page and realized that Sarisaristories.wordpress.com is officially a year old!  How fast time flies!

I celebrate not only our blog – a pet project by my Viber group of friends from university – but the endurance of our friendship as well.  I celebrate the advances in technology which has, as abstract as it may seem, really touched my life and made an impact on my relationships.

Who would have thought that the creation of our Viber group would give me an outlet to reconnect with my old friends and share our life’s daily struggles and victories like we never left school?  What’s better this time around though, is that these people have grown to become strong career women, super-moms and dads, smart entrepreneurs, talented writers and artists, and basically much better versions of our 18/19 year old selves.  I can count on these intelligent folk to have something interesting to say about things as mundane as household help or as exciting as Philippine politics!  We don’t think alike but that’s what makes us more interesting!

I consider myself extremely lucky to still have these people in my life.  I am reminded of a TED Talk by Robert Waldinger who is a Director of the longest study on happiness out of Harvard University.  One of the key takeaways of that study is that the people who are more socially connected to family, friends, and community, are happier, physically healthier, and live longer.  He concluded that the good life is built with good relationships.

Sharing with you some of moments of our last get-together…Cheers to the Good Life!

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