So I was out to have a car wash one Saturday evening and I was with Sam, and saw that one of the cafes that ring a bell on our ears (Care Diem) was just around the vicinity. We decided to give it a try! A lot of people we know are raving about this cafe so why not?
The staff was very accommodating when we went in. She was presenting the things available in their menu as well as their best sellers. When I looked around as I was deciding on what to order, some people seemed to be quite comfy in the area, sitting around the edge couches and doing school work or just hanging out with friends. I wanted something fairly light that can be shared with Sam so after much deliberation we decided to have these (prices range from 150-300 pesos):
Fish and chips – much larger than how it looks like in the picture! The fish was crisp and freshly breaded, fries just right, and the sauce was delectable! There’s also a veggie side in case you feel queasy from too much fried-ness. This one is really good.
Seafood pasta – I honestly forgot the name! But it was good as it was garlicky, cheesy and had my favorite of all-seafood! I just love seafood on pasta or pizza or even just by themselves. It tasted fresh and the spaghetti was al dente and on point.
Chocolate lava cake – the plating of this one is super creative, cute and totally unexpected. It was themed like a mini-garden with small shovels as spoons. It was totally instagram-worthy. And also, the taste did not disappoint! The lava cake was perfectly warm, moist and chocolate-y, and the ice cream’s coolness was there to balance it out. I would honestly have this dessert again for second round if it weren’t for the calories. Haha!
I love everything we had in Carpe Diem and we will definitely be back! Thank you for the amazing gastronomic experience. We totally “siezed the day” 🙂
I remembered having seen Altrove Trattoria Pizza when we went to El Nido, Palawan last 2013. It was one of the popular restaurants over there and I was happy to see that this branch is very, very accessible to me! It was also nice to think that their ambiance is a bit similar to the one in El Nido. It was dim, chill, and relaxed. Here is a review about the restaurant.
Altrove Trattoria had that earthy, natural vibe with dim yellow lights and chill ambiance. Upon entering, you’re required to remove your shoes. It’s a barefoot restaurant. When we went there, there was a pianist playing some blues and other old pop song covers. There was a garden just in front of the restaurant, and it has a homey feel to it. The restaurant is very open with no airconditioning which is perfect for cool summer nights.
However, there were some guests commenting about the place being airconditioned in the future, which may be good for times that the restaurant needs to be opened at noon-time. Philippines is a tropical country so there might be instances where an open restaurant might be too hot. Overall it has a beautiful ambiance at night.
They serve the classic pizza flavors and I was excited to try out what kind of pizza it would taste like. We ordered mushroom pizza and margherita. We also got a shrimp salad with parmesan and seafood pasta. I love their pizza margherita! I wish though that they used a different mushroom for their mushroom pizza. The dough was chewy and very authentic, which I first notice when it comes to pizza. The cheese on the pizza was just right. Their seafood pasta was tomato-based and I always loved tomato-based pasta when it is leaning a bit on the sour and tangy side. The shrimp salad was good too.
Price ranges were fair, as we were satisfied with the sizes of our dishes and their corresponding value. I consider Altrove Trattoria as one of those medium to high-end type of Italian restaurants with competitive prices for the quality of the pizza they have.
The service was prompt and there were enough waiters and chefs to prepare our dishes at the right time. It would be better for us to have received all our dishes at the same time too, though. I especially loved the part where the restaurant had a pianist which added to the relaxing vibe of the restaurant.
It’s a good place to take your family for a sumptuous Italian dinner! I recommend visiting this place on a weeknight or a later weekend night to avoid too much crowds and to have a good parking space.
Altrove Trattoria is located along BF Homes Tropical Avenue.
Are you running out of activities to do with your kids if you’re a parent or with your students if you’re a teacher? Here is an interesting material that I was able to buy from Teacher Julie Rimando, one of my senior colleagues, and a fellow speech therapist.
What are these activity cards?
Basically I got these cards with a travel theme, which is fun and ideal when you’re out to go to a beach or any recreational place where you can do the following exercise poses. Each card has a specific pose or a picture that you can imitate by reading or listening to the verbal instructions.
For example, these poses can be copied by looking at the card and having a spacious area. It improves your child’s gross motor planning skills. Which makes them less clumsy and more physically organized. Also, being able have good motor planning skills (in gross, fine, and oral) improves your child’s speech skills, specially those with motor planning difficulties such as Apraxia. Apraxia is a speech motor issue that involves difficulty sequencing letter sounds to form actual words. This has nothing to do with the child’s ability to comprehend things in his or her environment, and is more of a motor difficulty. Copying movements or poses can help in improving your child’s motor skills.
Aside from copying poses, there are other activities that can be done such as sequencing, matching, identifying concepts, etc. These cards are also handy and durable, and can be used during travel. Fun, isn’t it?
Teacher Julie is a speech therapist and is currently a teacher in Yeasty Yogic Tribe, which offers fitness classes that focuses of special children. She also works with Teacher Roch, who is her co-teacher when handling classes in various schools and therapy centers.
If you’re interested about Yeasty Yogic Tribe, you may contact them or visit their Facebook page:
Do you know someone whom you have a hard time buying a gift? I can really relate to that. In special occasions I really have to think hard on what to give to Charles. He seems to buy everything on his own, and his taste for material things are quite different from mine. So while looking over ideas (aside from DIY scrapbooks and all of those crafty stuff that girls do), I suddenly thought of giving him a classy vacation in Acuatico Beach Resort.
Acuatico is a 3-hour drive away from Metro Manila. It’s one of the prime resorts, and I could probably say the best one in San Juan Laiya, Batangas. I decided to purchase him a day tour package which costs 2,700 per person. Yes, I admit it is quite pricey for just a day tour, but it was well worth it!
Here are the inclusions of the package:
Complimentary drinks and souvenir from Acuatico upon arrival
Buffet lunch at their Oceano Restaurant located at the 2nd floor
Free use of all pools, game room, beach front and kayak.
Free PM snack
Here are some notes:
Day tour time is 8am to 5pm, however you can request to extend your stay for a little bit.
Lunch time is 11-2pm.
Pm snack can be served at 3pm.
Kayak is free and unlimited use.
Here is a concise review of our day tour experience:
Acuatico’s resort facilities are superb! They have a breathtaking infinity pool that can be used for pictorials and other purposes. There’s a small pool on 2 corners and a larger pool towards the beach. There’s a mini-bar situated at the middle which adds to the novelty of the resort’s architecture. Looking over the resort’s facade, it’s modern but still in touch with nature. The Villas surrounding the pool look amazing as well.
Food in Acuatico is also pleasant. I love the Filipino dishes with a twist. We had some high quality bulalo, pancit, barbecue, seafood sweet and sour balls, russian salad, and many more to mention.
My favorite of all was their mango with sago and buko pandan! I’m not a sweet tooth in general but these Filipino desserts are really the best. The PM snack was really good too, we had a tuna clubhouse sandwich.
I love swimming in Acuatico’s pools! When we went there, the weather is a bit mixed. There was one moment that it was super sunny and another moment that it became overcast nearing a strong rain. During the afternoon, it appeared like it was about to rain so I was hesitant to swim as it might be too cold, surprisingly, the water in Acuatico is comfortably cool but not too cold.
You can swim while overlooking the beach front which was one of the best views in the resort. You can watch and be amused with the people doing water sports from afar. We tried swimming in the beach but the waves were too strong that time, so we opted to stay in the pool.
Overall I enjoyed my day trip in Acuatico resort. If you have a little bit of money to spend and one free day, give it a go!
Know more about Acuatico through their website and FB page:
Hello to my readers! I have a big announcement! Somebody put a ring on it! Haha! I am finally engaged. As most of my friends know the story, I won’t go into too much details of how it happened because proposals happen in different ways and what is important is the love and commitment that the engaged couple have for each other. So instead of focusing too much on the details of my proposal, I would like to dedicate this post to the faithful lady in waiting, or in other words the single ladies who might come across what I wrote.
My relationship with Charles is truly a work of God. I can attest to this because of so many differences in our circumstances. He lives in the states, I live in the Philippines. We have no mutual friends. He speaks English, and understands very minimal Tagalog, and Tagalog is my native language. He hates onions and I love onion rings. Haha! But I guess when God works, He weaves everything together to make us meet the right person at the right time. I wouldn’t say that I sat around and suddenly Charles popped into my life out of nowhere. Having faith, as well as acting on my faith led me to have an encounter with him. I could, however, say that God gave a beautiful blessing, though undeserved.
So to the lady in waiting, to the hopeful single woman who is in anticipation of her very own God’s best, I dedicate this post by reminding them of the four P’s that I am encourage them to do in this season of their lives.
A few months back before I met Charles, December 2014 to be exact, my friend Yna from church encouraged me to make a husband list to pray for every day. So I made this list on a paper and prayed for my husband, claiming that he is just out there, somewhere and God was preparing him too. I prayed with a bold heart because it was my desire to be married and have a family. At the end, I wanted God to know that His will is above all, but I was honest with Him and I laid down my desires. I prayed that when this happens, it will be something that will bring glory to Him. James 4:2-3 says:
“2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Sometimes all we have to do is ask. And ask it with a pure heart.
It is my great joy that the list is still in my purse, and I praise God because He allowed me to find somebody who scored a perfect ten, without a doubt! I am thankful to God every day for meeting my husband to be.
I will be honest, I read a several books about how to have faith, and how to act on being single. Ladies, it is not enough that we pray but don’t have faith. If we have faith, we should also back it up with our actions. What stuck to my mind about books I have read is the story of Ruth and Boaz. When Ruth planned to be with her mother-in-law Naomi, she was uncertain of what lies ahead but she was prepared. She was ready to glean the fields for her and Naomi. When she met Boaz, she prepared by dressing herself and looking her best as well.
When we prepare, we prepare in all aspects of our lives. We do not let a single thing become left behind. We prepare physically and emotionally, we take care of our appearances, eat the right food, include fitness in our lifestyle, we check our hearts for unwanted baggage.
Mostly, we prepare our spirit. We equip ourselves with the Word. We study the Bible and we apply the Bible. We surround ourselves with people who do the same. We devote ourselves in ministering others. We don’t serve in the main motive to scout for a man, but we do it because of our love and obedience to God. And in doing so the preparation to make us godly women comes with it.
So to the lady in waiting, I encourage you to always prepare. Like the Parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) who prepared extra oil for the arrival of the bridegroom, we are to prepare not only for our future husbands but also our conduct should be in preparation for Christ’s return.
As women, our role is not to pursue men. But our role is to allow ourselves to be found. How can we do that? When we let ourselves be seen, and be approached in places where we can develop friendships with godly men, then we are positioning ourselves to be found. When Ruth was gleaning the fields, Boaz noticed her from afar. He saw her determination and found out about her story and love for Naomi. That made him admire her and he eventually had an interaction with Ruth later on. If Ruth just hid in the comforts of the home, even if she prepared herself, she wouldn’t have been seen by Boaz.
I met Charles in an unconventional way, but I believe that being positioned had something to do with how I met him. He was able to talk to me when he was still studying (Masters of Divinity) in Liberty University and they were knowing about big churches in Southeast Asia, particularly about the Philippines. He saw a picture of me with my Victory Group in Facebook and that’s how he was able to interact with me. If it weren’t for those connections, being associated and positioned, and of course God’s hand into our story, then I wouldn’t have met him.
Last but not the least, is patience. The Bible talks a lot about waiting on the Lord:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
“Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25
If we desire for something good, we wait for it patiently. That’s why you are called lady in waiting! We wait in hope. If we trust in God’s timing then we wait in faith that God will deliver. Sometimes we wait as if we’re not seeing anything, but God is working silently ahead of us. Sometimes we are focused too much on what we don’t have that we fail to see what He is already working on.
Do not give your heart to a man who is unequally yoked in the faith, or someone whose personality gives you unrest and lack of peace from the Holy Spirit. Listen to what God is telling you. It is better to be patient than to settle and fall into regret.
This post has been in my queue for quite a while, and since I am back from my vacation, I finally had time to sit down and blog about one of my new favorite spa place! Oriental Coco Spa is situated in BF Homes Aguirre Ave. They offer oiled massage, nail spas, body and foot scrubs, and all other pampering needs at reasonable prices. Here is a concise review about the Oriental Coco Spa.
Ambiance is very important for spa establishments. When we went inside to reception area to check out the prices for their treatments, it’s very clean and cozy. They had this expensive-looking massage chairs, couches and benches which are around the reception area and can sit around 10 people comfortably. They also had pictures of some celebrities who went to the spa already.
SERVICES AND PRICES
What sets it quite apart from other spa places is their wide array of massage oil scents. There’s lavender, Moroccan, green tea, eucalyptus among many other oils. I find all the prices reasonable compared to other spas in our area as well, which range from 300-700 pesos per treatment. As you can see from the list, they also have a variety of treatments and you can choose from various type of massages, scrubs, nail care, etc.
Upon the beginning of the treatment, they bring out this nice-looking wooden tub for foot cleansing. They will hand your your slippers and lead you to your massage room. Each room in Oriental Coco Spa can accommodate around 2-3 people with separating curtains. Better if you’re with your friends or family. Another good facility that they have is their lockers inside the room and the baskets where you can put your clothes and valuables during treatment.
The massage was overall calm and relaxing, with the therapist confirming with you the pressure of your choice (light, medium, hard). So you can be sure that there’s no muscle pain afterwards. They also have a towel cleansing after the treatment (because some spa don’t have that!), and ginger tea afterwards (ginger tea is my favorite too).
They have a promo where you can collect stamps in a card to earn a free massage or other treatment. You can also purchase their gift cards for your friends and family.
I enjoyed this place and I have been here several times already during stressed-out seasons. Let me know if you tried Oriental Coco Spa as well and your experience.
Test Kitchen Caffe: Desserts and Meals with a New Twist
Test Kitchen Caffe in BF Homes: I love trying out new things in BF Homes, but this time, it isn’t somewhere in Aguirre but in a more quaint and less crowded area which is Tropical Avenue. I have been hearing good feedback from netizens over this restaurant I visited a few months back.
Test Kitchen Caffe is has a modern ambiance with some rustic details and is easy to the eyes. When I went there, it’s also well-ventilated and clean. I however noticed that there was not much people over here during prime time which is dinner time. It’s in a less crowded area which is a plus point for parking and service accommodation for us.
Most food prices range from 100-300 pesos which is fairly affordable for a chef-owned cafe. Usually cafes owned by chefs are pricey and might reach 300-500 pesos. Here is what I ordered with my friend:
What is Liempochon? It’s a slab of pork belly or liempo cooked with a crisp skin but it isn’t as oily and greasy compared to other lechon! Hence the term liempochon. It’s stuffed with lemongrass, ginger and all other spices. It also came with a minced tomato salad on the side. It’s very appetizing and the freshness of the spices complemented the tastiness of the liempochon. For me, it’s a really good combination! It would also be better to add more flavor within the meat, because I really like the salty and tasty flavor of Cebu lechon.
The name got me curious because the Gambas is usually a food served as an appetizer. The gambas recipe I like are those with lots of garlic and chili flakes instead of the tomato sauce. I am happy that when the gambas was served, it was the kind I liked! And the special twist is that it’s with a pasta. I loved it! It’s one of the best pasta variations I was able to taste. It’s flavorful, garlicky, spicy and has lots of shrimps!
Some items we liked were not in the menu, but the staff was quick to suggest other good options too. I can see the cakes inside a fridge and some cookies too, but since there are limited choices when we arrived, we just preferred to have desserts on a different place. I didn’t use to be a coffee lover when I visited so it was a pity that I was not able to order their signature drip coffee. The staff were attentive to us, they also gave us soy sauce dip when we requested for it.
This is for foodies who want to try new specialty dishes made by chefs. The two dishes we ordered were a product of their ingenuity and passion for food! If you’re heading south, this restaurant is a good break from all your usual go-tos.
I have a new favorite go-to place for dessert! I am currently digging Cafe Seol Hwa in BF Homes Paranaque or otherwise known as The Bingsu in Commerce Center Alabang.
Little Background on Bingsu
What exactly is Bingsu? Bingsu is a Korean dessert made of shaved frozen milk or with other flavors and toppings. I really like Bingsu because unlike ice cream, it isn’t made of cream, sugars and fats. It’s mostly made of milk that has a very smooth texture. I was wondering what kind of machine the cafe uses since it’s very different from the Filipino halo-halo.
In Cafe Seol Hwa, there are several flavors to choose from. So far, I have tried Brownie, Strawberry and Red Bean and they all taste great! It’s light, less guilt-inducing and can be shared with a partner, small group of friends or your family. It’s big and filled with toppings that complement each other. As I got a brownie flavored bingsu, we got a chocolate ice cream. For strawberries and red bean, there’s an actual fruit/bean as a toping and all around the layers. There are also various savory dishes such as Dok Bok Gi which are rice cakes in a hot sauce.
I love Cafe Seol Hwa and The Bingsu ambiance. Cafe Seol Hwa interiors are made of natural materials such as wood and is light. All around you can see how Korean culture is imprinted in the Cafe as there were K-pop videos playing in their TV as well as other Korean souvenirs.
Service in Cafe Seol Hwa is good! To avoid long lines, they give you a number and your order will be served. The portions are big and can even be good for 2 people for the small size and 4 people for the big size. The only problem I had was I am looking forward to eating Green tea Bingsu. The problem is it was never available during the time we’re looking for it. Oh well. I hope that in the future the Green tea Bingsu will be available all the time as well as the other flavors.
I really love Bingsu and Cafe Seol Hwa is a winner for me. It is definitely a must try!
Costa Pacifica: Comfort and Class at the Heart of Baler
It’s my second time in Baler, Aurora and this time, I had the privilege to celebrate one of my cousin’s wedding, Julienne. I was with my dad and siblings and as guests, we were able to have an accommodation in one of the best resorts in Baler, Costa Pacifica.
Baler has been a recent rave for yuppie travelers because of the surf-inviting waves offered by the beaches in the area. I know many of my friends who frequent Baler as it is easy to travel here (one bus ride away from Cubao, Quezon City) and of course, for the love of surfing.
Costa Pacifica is one of the good resorts that are located at Baler’s beach front. Here is a short and concise review about the resort.
I love the ambiance of Costa Pacifica. Upon arrival, you can observe that it’s really a high-end resort. The lobby is wide with modern interiors made with natural materials. You can also view the resort’s pool upon walking around the lobby, which is such a pleasant view. It’s generally clean, cool and spacious. You can sit on the big chairs with the pool and beach as a view.
We were given a family room. It’s very nice and spacious with clean and comfy pillows and sheets.
There’s a glass door leading to a small balcony as well, which also has a view of the pool and the beach. However, I observed that our bathroom had some dirt left on it, probably overlooked by the maintenance. The good thing about their maintenance is that they are quick to respond with these small mess-ups. I didn’t bother to inquire about the small dirt as it was almost negligible. I also liked how the beds were placed and the fact that I can use my gadgets while charging and lying down.
We were also given vouchers for eat all you can breakfast. The food is really superb! I especially loved the breakfast pizza and longganisa. In fact, I liked everything I ate! Something that also made me happy is the suman de Baler. It has a unique twist to it, it’s made of sticky rice but has a brown color to it. I was thinking it must be the coco jam? It has a unique and yummy taste to it, you wouldn’t even need extra syrup or sugar.
The service crew and concierge of Costs Pacifica were kind and professional. They were also very helpful and answered every need and question that we had. For example, my dad and brother needed to have their polos ironed. They were able to attend to this request over a short time. The ladies over the concierge were also attentive to our inquiries.
Ideal for Events, Couples and Families
Overall, Costa Pacifica is a beautiful resort at the heart of Baler. It’s ideal for events because just like my cousin’s wedding, it’s picture perfect! For a garden wedding there are beautiful pine trees, and a white concrete fence overlooking the sea, the beautiful sky and the mountains.
It has a romantic ambiance especially at night for couples. There are lots of yellow lights over the place in the pool area especially at night. It is also ideal for families because the pool is kid-friendly.
Rooms and Prices
Here are the rooms, capacity and prices for the resort.
Price ranges from 8000 to 20,000 pesos. It’s a really high-end resort and if you have budget for a classy accommodation and love to surf, it’s a good deal. Costa Pacifica is overall a good resort! It was really a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Down Syndrome Awareness: My Learnings as a Speech Therapist
Throughout my almost 4 years of practice as a Speech-Language pathologist, I have always worked with children with Down Syndrome. Some might call it a coincidence, but I would say that it is no accident that I am “Teacher Geline” to five of these beautiful girls. Because of that, Down Syndrome awareness is close to my heart and I have always thought deeply and experienced each and every student’s character and strength.
My students have always fascinated me with how they are uniquely different and yet strikingly similar from each other and with other children as well. Even as a teacher, I learned that I am also a student. Each and every one of them has taught me a lesson not just about who they are, but who we are as people who have different roles towards each other.
Here are some of the things I have discovered being a therapist to my five amazing girls.
(Pictures posted with permission)
1. They have the bubbliest of all personalities!
With them, no activity is a bore. They will always find a way to cheer up people with their playfulness, their singing or just their laughter. They will laugh with you even with the simplest of things. They get excited about their favorite toy, book or show. Their enthusiasm is genuine as the smiles on their faces.
2. They like to do things for you.
They always like to include you with what they are doing. When they are playing dolls, they like to brush my hair or paint my nails. When it’s time for cooking set, they like to pretend that they are feeding me. They always want to do little things for others. With them, you’ll never be an outcast because they always like you to be a part of their daily activities.
3. They have special talents!
Whether it’s singing, dancing, or even swimming, they always have something up in their sleeve to show! I can think of many children I know that are excelling on the things that they love doing. They show deep interest with their hobby of choice and are passionate about it.
4. They are very sociable!
They always love to greet everybody and say hi! They are walking sunshines in their own right. They won’t wait for you to do the first move, they will approach you and talk or play with you first. Their smiles and laughter are infectious and they show no partiality–they don’t judge with looks or status in life. They will always try their best to be your friend.
5. They always love to laugh and smile.
I learned something about my students. It never hurts to smile and laugh a little bit more. To be a bit more positive. Sometimes we get jaded about life and our routines that we forget to be a little less serious and just take a break from all the anxiety. It never hurts to look at the little things and smile or laugh about them. Our outlook can change the way we cope with our lives.
I hope this post tries to shed a light on misconceptions about Down Syndrome. When I look at my students, I don’t see a disability. I see their potentials and I see their small and big victories. Not just in the area of communication, but their progress as well. I get to be a witness of genuine and sacrificial love of families toward each other. It’s what’s making my work a fulfilling one, and although I will say it’s not always easy being a speech therapist, my students and their families are worth it.