October 14, 2016

Stay Sweet but Less with Sugar Blend

Weeks ago, I received a package from unknown and I was surprised to open the box containing these items:

Sugar Blend

Sugar Blend is the newest product of Merisant Company, a global leader for table-top sweeteners. They are also the manufacturer of Equal, Canderel, and Pure Via.

From the press release:

Based on the 2016 Food Consumption Survey by the Food and NutritionResearch Institute of Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), sugar rank fifth I the top 20 most commonly consumed food products in Filipino Households. With this in mind and along with the conscious effort to deliver more value to consumers, MErisant has come up with a versatile and affordable sweetener product that can go a long way in terms od providing healthy sweetness to your everyday food and drinks.

The new Sugar Blend can be used for baking, cooking, and sweetening, but uses half amount compared to the sweetness of table sugar and even half with calories. It is made with sugar and a high-intensity sweetener called sucralose. For one tablespoon of Sugar Blend, it can give an equivalent sweetness of 2 tablespoons of table sugar.

Sugar Blend works well with all types of desserts as well as other everyday dishes where a sweetness is needed. It can be used to replace sugar in beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate and all kinds of juices and refreshments.

I can’t wait to try Sugar Blend in my baking activities.

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October 4, 2016

Spending Christmas in Baguio

September is about to end and did you know that it’s only 86 days to go before Christmas. Which means long vacation is here. Speaking of Christmas vacation, Baguio is one of the places most family choose to spend the holidays.

Baguio, also called as the "City of Pines", is the summer capital of the Philippines. Baguio is very popular especially in summer due its unusually cooler weather. But like what I have said, most people also choose Baguio to spend their Christmas vacation.

Going to Baguio is easy either by land or air. If you are from Luzon, you can reach the city via bus. If you are from Visayas and Mindanao regions, search for cheap flights to Manila at Traveloka, then ride a bus to Baguio.

Aside from its really cooler weather, and strawberry picking of course, there are other happenings and places in Baguio that you can visit this Christmas Season.

The Christmas Village

Experience white Christmas at Baguio's Christmas villages.

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Take photos, have fun and experience white Christmas with their artificial snow. There are programs every weekend to make your visit very memorable. Truly one of the most raved events of the season.

The Lantern Parade

Aside from Panagbenga festival, Baguio City is also known for the annual Lantern Parade that happens every first day of December. 

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This parade has became a crowd-drawing event when locals and tourists gather for the ceremonial lighting of city's giant Christmas tree. In this event also, the city launches its calendar of events for the whole festive month.

The Dinosaurs Island Baguio

Dinosaurs Island Baguio is the latest tourist spot in the summer capital. It's main attraction is the moving dinosaurs that's brought back to life using animatronics technology from Italy. 

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Dinosaurs Island is located inside the Baguio Ecopark along Marcos Highway near the viaduct and after the tunnel.

Christmas-themed Hotels

In Baguio, Hotels are decorated each year to attract visitors and guests. 

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Aside from the yearly theme, there are lots of activities too like game booths and live entertainments.

Night Market

Experience night life in Baguio with well lighted parks and the night market. 

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Baguio City is also said to be the Ukay-ukay capital of the Philippines. At the night market, you can buy different products from pre-loved or pre-owned items (ukay), souvenirs and food.

I can't wait to spend my first Christmas in Baguio and experience the festive of the season.

Have you already planned your vacation this holiday season?
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September 27, 2016

On Short Trip to Isabela and Rice Classification

Last week, I was sent by the management to conduct and audit to some of our raw material suppliers in Isabela and Munoz, Nueva Ecija.

I was excited since it will be the first time for me to visit Isabela.

Together with my colleague, we headed Nueva Ecija first as one of the lists in the suppliers. Since the said rice mill is in my hometown, I decided to drive and leave the car to my parent’s house. Afterward, we headed Isabela via bus.

We traveled for 8 hours with two stop-overs before reaching Cauayan, Isabela and had our stay at Ocho Rios Hotel. We had our dinner at the near carinderia. I heard that food in this place is inexpensive. And I have to agree, our dinner cost only 180 pesos for the two of us.

The following day, we have to do our work to audit several rice mills. There is information that I learned on this audit.

First, commercial rice sold in the market are all the same. If you heard of Dinorado, Sinandomeng, Jollibee and other name of rice differs only by the percentage of whole grain.

Second, brown rice is also of the same with commercial rice. This kind of rice is the product of the first step in rice milling – the dehulling. After the skin of paly has been removed, brown rice is the output. This is healthier since the bran is still intact which contributes fiber in the rice.

Third, to attain white rice, the grains passes three steps of a whitening procedure. It will then pass through a polishing step where water is sprayed to give a glossy finish to the grains.

Fourth, there are certain customers that like to have the rice came from at least 3-month old palay. This rice is best used for fried rice since it has. The younger the age of palay, the stickier the rice.

After the visiting the rice mills, we need to go back to Bulacan so we don’t have time for leisure. All I got is this picture while waiting for the bus in front of the Provincial Capitol Building.

We reached Nueva Ecija around 11pm. I just get the car and drive going back to Bulacan.

To fight sleepiness, I had to set the car in full volume. At that time, we were listening to a radio station where the DJs sing live accompanied by guitar. I guess that will be better if used drums are added to give more beat to the music.

Have you been to Isabela too?

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September 23, 2016

Things to Consider in Home Renovation

About two more years to go and we are finally done paying our small but home sweet home. Time flies so fast na parang kailan lang I was visiting the house weekly until we finally set there.

Our house 8 years ago.

After two years, Mommy and I plan to have a major renovation. We want to fix the room for Matthew, more space in the kitchen, another bathroom upstairs, a relaxing spot on the second floor, and many more. At ang nakakagulat, Matthew wanted to have a swimming pool!

Before having a house renovation, here are some factors that you need to consider in pursuing home renovation.

Though there are many things we wanted to change in our home, having a final design will guide the people who will do the renovation making the process smooth. Also, by having a design in advance will give you an estimated value for the materials and time frame.

Others consider consultation with a Feng Shui expert for good lucks. If the budget for this is not included, here are some basic tips that can be used as a guide: http://www.americanclassichomes.com/blog/feng-shui-for-american-homes/.

After having the desired design, next thing to put in consideration is the budget. Without considering the budget, a delay in finishing the project will be encountered.

Tip: If you are on a tight budget, doing DIYs can help a lot.

In my previous experiences, the best season for home renovation is during summer. The probability of encountering heavy rainfall is very rare making the process of drying on some areas like cement and adhesives faster. 

Furthermore, in case the project is not yet done especially in roofing, worrying about getting the entire house wet will be reduced.

Furniture and Fixtures
Choosing the right fixtures and furniture must be put into consideration too. After having the home design, searching for the right furniture must be made. 

If hiring an interior designer, a close communication with the renovation team is needed to determine what size and forms of the furniture will fit the new house.

Fire Safety

Also, it is very important to make our home fireproof. Because we don't want to go to waste all our hard earned investments right? Invest on the right fire extinguisher too. To know what's the right fire extinguisher to buy check out fire protection online.

There are still other considerations that are not yet mentioned above. Can you think of something?

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September 6, 2016

Basic Works at Home That Every Dad Should Learn

Having your own home is not as easy as you think of. There are many  things need to learn especially by dads like me. Simple or complicated tasks were taught to us in our primary school days just like I mentioned in my speech last year. Though you can hire someone to fix it but knowing how to do it will save you a lot.

Here are some things that every dad should know:

Simple replacement of busted lamps, reconnecting cut wires, changing electrical plugs, making your own extension wires are just some that I think every dad must know. This will save you much than asking help of the nearest electricians. Just be sure that you are connecting the right wires to the right way.

Most of the dads used to assign this task to moms but cooking is one of my passion and I am happy working in the kitchen. I used to wake up earlier to prepare for our breakfast and lunch.

Preparing the ingredients is the most time consuming part of cooking. Preparing all the ingredients at night and store it in the fridge is a way to save time para sa umaga, salang na lang. In less than an hour, you have already your breakfast and lunch ready.

Daddy A. planting dragon fruit cuttings

A home without greens is quite dull. Having pots of ornamental plants will give additional accent and making a fresher look at your own home. Having pots and plants does not end there, you need to know how to take care of it. This year, one of my targets is to have a plant box in front of our home which leads the next skill – masonry and carpentry.

By the way, as I was checking my lemon plants this morning, I saw couple of flowers starting to emerge. Seeing how your plants develop is a great achievement.

Masonry and Carpentry
Daddy A. does the drilling
I have a weakness in this part. As of now, I don’t have an idea on how to prepare concrete mix. Though there are some instructional videos on the net, doing it in actual is still different. Whenever Papa visited us, I used to ask him to make the masonry and carpentry works.

Leaks on a sink, lavatory or toilet bowl, drips in a faucet, changing shower knobs and fixing broken water pipes are the most common plumbing problems in every household. Looking for a plumber and someone to assist him is quite a problem for me who works full time.

This year, Mommy and I agreed to change the paint of our home. Though I can hire someone to do it, I don’t have enough time to supervise the workers. With this, I decided to have the task on my own. Though I can only do it during weekends, I know I can finish it naman kahit papano. All you need is to know the basic mixing of paint and how to apply and re-apply it on the part you need to paint.

Last holidays, Papa told me that having simple DIY tools at home like a drill, saw, pliers, hammer, vice grip, and crew drivers is all you need to complete the different tasks mentioned above.

Though I am not an expert in the above-mentioned skills, my knowledge of the basics is more than enough to fix simple things at home.

Before I forgot, I haven't included baby-sitting, laundry, crafting, and house cleaning in the list. But I think you may skip cleaning, and even save time, if there are industrial cleaning services uk available in your place.

How about you?

What other skills do you think every Dad at home should know?
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