Friday, March 15, 2013

Family Fridays: Pandesal Date

To maintain a healthy relationship with our better halves, it is important to spend quality alone time with them now and then.  J and I have been doing this ever since we had H.  We would steal a few minutes, usually after dinner, to walk and talk.  We talk about our dreams, goals and plans for the future.  When we only had H and a maid, we could do this almost every night. But since the addition of two more kids and being helperless, this was not feasible.  Some ideas for our "dates" were imperative both for our sanity.

We tried having a date night but since we did not have a helper, this was a no go! We also tried having "a date" after we have put the kids to bed but as we are sometimes, okay most of the time, the first ones to fall asleep, this was also a fail. Boo! The opportunity to have "dates" presented itself with the opening of a bakery a few blocks from our house.  Every morning, when J is home, we buy our pandesal together.  We found that this is the perfect date! Yay!  The two little ones are still asleep and H just got out of the shower and will be able to come to her sisters' side if the need arises.

The early morning air, the quietness of the neighborhood and the holding hands (yes, we still hold hands *winks*) are very conducive to our talks.  It also serves as our exercise.  Our pandesal dates help us connect with one another.

There isn't just enough time at night to talk about our day as after dinner clean up, bedtime prep and putting the kids to bed take precedence.  We hope to continue this as long as we have pandesal cravings.  Who can say no to freshly-baked pandesal after all, right?

The weekend is almost here and we would like to ask for your other date suggestions? What do you and your spouse do for quality alone time? I'd love to hear your suggestions.  Please do share.  In the meantime, happy weekend every one!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Travel Thursdays: El Puerto Marina Beach Resort and Vacation Club

All smiles at the entrance.

In 2011, we were offered membership to a relatively new concept (to us actually) of timesharing.  It was then that we were introduced to El Puerto Marina Beach Resort and Vacation Club. As we wanted to travel to different locales in the Philippines and hopefully, the world, we grabbed the chance to be part of this club.

Fast forward to 2013 when we were gifted with a mini-break vacation at the resort.  A mini-break is a 3-day, 2-night stay at their members only units.

 - The Accommodation
Members have the option of the studio unit, 1- or 2-bedroom unit.  We were asked to stay at the 1-bedroom unit since this was what we signed up for.  The 1-bedroom unit can accommodate four (4) adults and two (2) children.  Children aged 9 and above are considered adults, by the way.
Outside the unit at night.

At the terrace with sleepy F and bedhead G.

It came complete with a kitchen furnished with a refrigerator, induction stove, rice cooker, microwave, and a toaster.  It even had pots and pans.  Normally, guests are not allowed to bring in food but since we were members, and therefore, co-owners, we were exempted.
At the kitchen/dining room area. If you would look closely, a sponge was also included.

Bedroom with queen-sized bed
The unit was fully airconditioned.  The bedroom had a queen-sized bed, LCD TV, dresser and a wardrobe. An iron and ironing board were included also.  The living area had a daybed with pullout which the kids immediately claimed as their own.  It also had a LCD TV with cable. The dining room was set for four and had the type of furniture that I wanted (plus points!).  The bathroom had a shower with heater and the fixtures were top of the line.  I just wish that they had double sinks (peg for the future bathroom).  We were also given toiletries which were replenished everyday along with the bath towels.  The unit also had a patio where guests can lounge and breathe in the fresh air.  I just wished it had outdoor furniture, but inside the unit there were monoblock chairs you can take out.  J and little baby F, spent the afternoon here grilling.  J managed to somehow borrow a butaca chair which F promptly claimed.

Overall, the accommodations passed our little ones' standards.  H and G have an aversion to icky bathrooms and the resort passed with flying colors at that point.

-The Beach

Ah, the beach, the part that H loves being part mermaid. Hehe.  The sand at Pangasinan was pretty much the  same in consistency with that of Boracay's although not white.  This was the consistency that we wanted as this did not cling to your feet or into the "nether" regions of your anatomy. Hehe.  H, being part mermaid, plunged right into sea.  Thankfully, the sea was calm that early morning.  There were huts where the beach bums or "marinaters" (as J likes to call me and G) could stay and just enjoy the breeze.  The sea was calm enough for mid-February and this was the perfect opportunity for baby F to be introduced to the water.  I think that we have another mermaid at our hands. She was not scared unlike "marinaters" G and me. Teehee!
Soon-to-be mermaid, baby F
Baby F with the "marinaters" and off in the distance, our other mermaid.

Baby F being introduced to the water by J and G

After the beach, the children still did not have enough of the water and went to the pool.  The pool area had an adult's pool and a smaller sized jacuzzi.  The adult's pool was deep so I asked the kids to just stay at the jacuzzi.  G, being a marinater, as usual stayed by the side of the pool.

-The Service

The service and staff were very accommodating and polite (plus in my books. *winks*).  When we asked for room cleaning, not one but three staff members came and so we did not have to wait long for them to be done.  The towel and toiletries were replenished.  They even offered to change the beddings but as we were just going to stay for one more night, we declined.  The cleaning was done in about 10 minutes and it was not haphazarly done as evidenced by the clean bathroom.  Moms with small children know what a nightmare the bathroom is after their use.  When J asked for help in grilling, the same staff members came to help.  They would have grilled the fish if J had not wanted to do the grilling himself.

- The Food

Being club members, we were allowed to bring and cook our own food and therefore, not able to sample the food.

All in all, our stay at the resort was a pleasant affair.  In fact, the unit is our peg for when we build our forever home. We all can't wait to come back.  Now that the temperature is rising and summer almost upon us, why don't you try El Puerto Marina Beach Resort in Pangasinan?  Believe me, the long drive is totally worth it.

For booking and reservations:
Don Martin Domingo Street, Pangapisan North
Lingayen, Pangasinan, Philippines
Phone: +632 856-4600/ +632 775-6789
Mobile: +63939 540-0251/ +63917 867-3906
Fax: +6375 542-2285

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wellness Wednesdays: Colorectal Cancer

If you have been reading my posts about our father, you would know that my father has Stage 2 colorectal cancer and as this is Wellness Wednesday, I would like to blog about colorectal cancer.  This is a familial or hereditary disease meaning, if an immediate family member has/had it, you can have it too so it is better to be prepared by learning more about this disease.  March is also Colon and Rectal Cancer Awareness Month.

As is always the case healthwise, prevention is cure.  According to the Philippine Cancer Society Website,

"Colorectal Cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the Philippines and the number steadily increases because less focus is given to this cancer as compared to that of Lung and Breast Cancer."

According to Wikipedia, colorectal cancer is a cancer from uncontrolled growth of cells in the colon (large instestines) or rectum (end of the colon) or appendix. For the causes, signs and symptoms, prevention and detection of the disease, please refer to the Philippine Cancer Society Website's FAQs portion.
In our father's case, he had a two-month bout of diarrhea which was diagnosed first as amoebiasis.  His diarrhea took a long course as he was afraid to seek medical attention as he is scared of needles.  Yes, I know, I am a doctor and I should have urged him to seek a check-up.  But if you know,our father, he is very kind but the most stubborn person I know so asking him to have a check-up was definitely a battle in itself. We finally convinced him to have a check up and as I said earlier, he was diagnosed to have amoebiasis.  Being male and in his 70's, his doctor wanted him to have a colonoscopy as a screening procedure two weeks after his diarrhea was cured.  A few days after he was diagnosed with amoebiasis, he was not his usual jolly self and was not eating well if at all despite our mother's urging. My mother was concerned and he was admitted to the hospital for rehydration.  The doctor then wanted him to undergo colonoscopy a week after.  In the colonoscopy, a mass near the anal verge was found and thought to be malignant, he was advised resection of the mass.  My siblings and I then decided to seek a second opinion.  We looked for a colorectal surgeon and luckily, found Dr. Manuel Franciso Roxas. Dr. Roxas admitted our father to undergo further workup. Our father then underwent blood tests and a CT so that his colonoscopy will not be repeated. He then underwent a colonoscopy and after chemoradiotherapy, if the tumor size is decreased will undergo a second surgery for resection and then chemotherapy again.  Hopefully, he will not undergo chemotherapy IV but only the oral kind.
Our father's side of the family has a strong family history of colorectal cancer.  Our grandfather and uncle both died from this disease and we think that this is the cause of our father's cancer as family history is also a risk factor.  He is not obese or a smoker but he does love meat and that could be a contributing factor also.
As an update, he is currently undergoing chemo and radiation therapy. This will last for 28 days. We hope that you will pray for his immediate recovery.

Philippine Cancer Society Website

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tabletalk Tuesdays: North Park Noodle House

Back in 2008 when we were still living at Bonifacio Heights, H and I would pass by North Park Noodle House two times a week on our way to her Kumon classes and we wanted to eat there. We never had the chance to do so then because we thought it was an expensive restaurant which served only noodles and knowing J, he would never hear of it.  Fast forward to 2013 when we went to SM Hypermarket in Antipolo and we were greeted with the North Park Noodle House on the second floor. Luckily, J ate there once with his mistahs and I joked that he we should eat there as I always wanted to eat there. Lo and behold, he agreed. I was just sad that H was not able to join us. But don't worry H, we will do so after your dismissal from your new school. Shhh! Hehehe.

The decor was somewhat confusing as I did not know whether it was a Japanese or Chinese restaurant. There was nothing new about the setup. I just got a hint when we were presented with the menu which was actually the placemat also. They had no high chair so I had to hold F the whole time while we were eating, not to mention that I was terribly hungry (PG levels ang peg). This is also the reason that we did not have  pictures of the food that we ordered and I'll just be borrowing from their website. You just try balancing an infant trying to grab the placemat and utensils while trying to take pictures. No go! My being a part-time octupus was no match for a wriggling infant!

What we ordered. Being a noodle house, J ordered the Nanking Beef Noodle Soup in light size.  Customers have the option to try out different noodles with their order (Hongkong, empress, wheat, etc). I'm sorry I was not able to get all the names of the noodle choices. J asked me to try this once it arrived and I was blown away by the soup alone. The soup alone really tasted like beef. I also thought that since it was beef and had tendons, it was going to be very difficult to eat with just one hand (moms, you know what I mean) but no, the beef tore apart with the slightest pull of the spoon. The three hours of stewing was worth it. It was that good that we ordered another one. It would have been more practical if we ordered the regular size and divided it between J and myself but since we were new to the resto, we did not think about it. Next time, though.

We also ordered the Yang Chow fried rice. Being Chinese food lovers, we never fail to order this when we dine at a Chinese resto. We were told that this was good for three persons and they were right! It was the size of a small bowl!  It had a distinctive spicy flavor which was just right for my taste. I never did like spicy food. *winks*

Last on our order list was the steamed rice with double pork ribs.  This was also very tender as I was just eating with one hand and the steamed rice was exactly the right consistency. My mother, who is very picky with her rice, would approve.

All in all, order went around to Php 585 which was worth every centavo of it. We would surely come back here as it was a very pleasant dining experience. I recommend for you to try this resto next time you pass by it. Don't wait for five years like I did. Hehe.

Blog Organization

The OC in me has struck again. Have you seen the new page already? Well, it explains why I had a blog organization. As an OC-type of person, I had to do some decluttering and what better way than with my blog. I was about to do some decluttering with my closet but seeing the unfolded shirts scared me not to mention that it was too hot nowadays. Arte levels lang naman ako, in short, ayaw ko pawisan. Hehehe. Hopefully, I get to post daily and keep you up to date on the happenings in and around our raw house. Stay tuned!