Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Nugget: The Thing with Being Busy... that it should never be made as an excuse.

Have a lovely midweek, lovelies. :)

Monday, May 12, 2014

The One About Balik Bukid 5

How did having fun and being entertained drastically move from plain, holistic, and organic (like tumbang preso using slippers and an empty sardines can and making bubbles using gumamela flowers) to lazy, one-dimensional, patience-reducing technology such as Playstations and smartphone app games?  Toys of today are colourful, yes, but made of plastic.  I love fabric and wooden toys.  They are, yes, organic and natural.  In all my years of teaching preschool, people have made the assumption that I probably owned a lot of toys.  But because of the way toys today are made, I sadly admit I do not.  Plastic just does not do it for me.  That is why I make my own teaching materials as much as I can help it.  Anyway, just last week, during play time, I watched my students engage in a delightful game of Chinese garter.  My co-teacher and I watched with delight and listened as they chanted “10, 20, 30, 40...” and wondered how they learned to play the game.  Wouldn’t it be nice if kids today took a break from their game consoles and engaged in real play?

That is why Balik Bukid could not have happened at a better time.  When one is used to the city rush, there is nothing like going back to the basics and breathing fresh air, wearing a hat not because it’s fashionable but for protection, feeding rabbits, playing in tire swings, rowing a boat in small lake, patting a pony and riding a horse, playing mud races, laying a blanket on the ground and having a picnic, and eating organically grown produce.  Pure holistic fun.

I wrote about my first Balik Bukid here.  Two years and four Balik Bukid Fairs later, my mom, dad, and I, along with my cousins and newest niece, trooped back to the farm to witness it all over again on its fifth run! 

Balik Bukid is located at Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate in Laguna.  It’s so close to Manila and yet it feels like a world away.  Shopping and dining options abound along with get-down-and-dirty entertainment options such as a mud race, horse and carabao rides, sprinkler playgrounds, obstacle courses, arts and crafts, and a Waldorf play pen.  My mom and I breathed in fresh air despite the sweltering heat as we strolled around the farm which was peppered with inspirational quotes painted on wooden tablets.

Watching the play pen for kids was heartwarming.  My late baby brother was a Waldorf student. 

That doll's hammock!

Check out the lovely birdcage chandelier in the Pavilion.

Outdoor eating area

A lot of the items sold in the bazaar were homegrown products, handmade lovelies, and organic items.  Lovely children’s dresses and women’s apparels, bags, home sprays and bug sprays, wooden serving platters, shoes, leather goods, and – my favourite – handmade toys!  I was so excited and enamored by them that I forgot to take pictures.  What I did take home with me, though, was two tubs of Happy Bubbles and a bubblemaker fashioned from two sticks and cheesecloth to make giant bubbles with!  Can’t wait to let my students play with them during outdoor play!  Real play, y’all!

One will never feel guilty about devouring the food offered in the fair because they were all healthy and organic.  My mom and I shared a brick-oven Margerita pizza and fresh apple juice.  I also took home a box of Bocaditos from Baked by Anita.  The Wild Mushroom with Gruyere &Truffle Oil and Spinach with Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts varieties were wonderful company when I had dinner that night.


How fun was all that?  I was born and bred in the city but my husband, my family, and my friends know that I will always be a provincial lass at heart.  I like the conveniences city life provides but it can never give the joy farm living gives.  And even though Balik Bukid happens only twice a year, it’s nice to know that there is such a pleasant and peaceful haven to go to to make my provincial heart sing.

P.S.  If you want to see more Balik Bukid pics from other people, check out Instagram using #balikbukid.  I swear, I’m missing it all the more because of other people’s happy pictures!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The One About the Chinese Cooking Class

Hon-some and I love Chinese cuisine.  On days that permit us to do so, we love waking up early in the morning and driving to Binondo to have breakfast.  There, we would have more than our fill of authentic Chinese fare. In fact, our trips to Hong Kong almost always highlight the food, not the scenery nor the crazy shopping.

Sadly, Chinese cooking is my Achilles' heel.  Even after many attempts, I never get it authentically right.  Sure, my Yang Chow fried rice is good enough...but it’s not authentic.  For some reason, online recipes I have found have yielded lackluster results.

Fortunately, 25 Mushrooms Kitchen came to the rescue!  25 Mushrooms Kitchen initially offered their cooking classes to household helpers to improve their cooking repertoire, much to the happiness of the employers who have graciously enrolled them in a class or two...or more.  Happily, they also accommodate non-household helpers like newlyweds or anyone who’s itching to perfect a particular recipe or cuisine.  Their lineup of classes have always piqued my cooking diva interest but when they opened a Chinese Dimsum and Dumpling class, I knew I had to enroll.  Right.  Away.

So right away I went!  About seven recipes were taught via demonstrations and – if you volunteer – hands-on experience.  The instructors were very generous in sharing what they knew about dimsum and dumplings – precise ingredients and where to get them, exact measurements, recommended brands of specific ingredients that yield the best dimsum.

In one day, I had my fill of the following Chinese fare...


Lo Ma Gai or Machang (sans the wrapping)

Radish Cake

Shrimp Chong Fan

Beancurd Roll

Seafood Cabbage Roll

At one point, I got tired from taking pictures and just wanted to munch away but we also made buchi and steamed spareribs.

I super enjoyed my cooking class and felt that the P1,100 that I invested for learning that day was well-spent!  Will write a blog post again once I make that trek to the Chinese grocery and churn out lovely dimsum beauties of my own!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The One About the Felt Sandwich

“Man does not live by bread alone…”

 He also needs a delicious panoply of sandwich implements…

A slice of Swiss cheese

A thriving leaf of lettuce

Juicy slices of a bright red tomato

And a savory serving of bologna (or ham or bacon or cold cuts…)

Happy crafting!