28 August 2013


Let’s face it, we like taking pictures, whether of objects, animals, food, people, ourselves...which is most probably why sites like Pinterest and Instagram are so popular. Many people like to share their photos; the ones that we find strange, memorable, amusing, cute, beautiful...the list goes on. I’m one of those, although I admit that I’m no photography expert. I barely know how to adjust most of the settings in my camera. But still, I like to take pictures...and be in them too (although, that’s another story).

However, I don’t have an account in any social networking site. None at all. Well, unless you count this blog as one, and my husband's Facebook account that I sometimes use if I want to know what our friends are up to. And so far, I haven’t found the need to open an account elsewhere.

Which is why I decided to use this blog to share my photos as well. So you can expect to see posts of random pictures (edited with Photo Grid and Paper Artist, and all those other apps) that contain minimal or no texts from now, because as the saying goes “a picture speaks a thousand words,” and I’d rather the photos speak for themselves. Not all the time, though. Just whenever I capture things I would like to remember because I found them interesting...or whatever.

25 August 2013

cronuts at mellow yellow

Up until last week, Hubby and I had no idea what a cronut was or that it even existed. Fortunately, we received an invitation from our friends to dinner in Uptown Mirdiff so we got the chance to sink our teeth into the latest pastry craze.

Upon entering Mellow Yellow, my first impression of the café was “cozy.” It would be a great place to sneak away to for some quiet me-time with a good book, or somewhere to hang out at to chat with close friends. I especially liked that they had a shelf full of books and games that could be borrowed by the diners to enjoy.

So anyway, when we asked for a menu of the food, there wasn’t any. Instead, our server pointed out to us the realistic-looking models of their dishes that were displayed. Since we were the only diners in the café, we didn’t have to wait too long for our orders to be served. I had the Turkey Wrap, Pia had the Chicken Quinoa Salad, and Hubby and Eugz each had the Roasted Chicken (or was it Turkey?) in Focaccia Bread. They were ok; nothing outstanding, but not disappointing either. What amazed us were the vegetable sides. Looking at them, I thought they were a serving of Pinakbet which is a Filipino dish that’s made up of lots of vegetables. But to my surprise, they tasted like air-fried vegetables that were really crunchy…parang chichirya. They were pretty tasty and I actually finished mine off.

Finally it was dessert time and our cronuts were served. Hubby had the one that had a cinnamon glaze and mango cream filling, while the rest of us each had the one glazed with chocolate and coffee cream filling.

Okay, we’ve never tasted a cronut before so we didn’t have anything to compare them to, but they were really delicious!  A flaky pastry oozing with glazes and fillings that were just right, making us bite into our cronuts practically nonstop.  Yummmmy!  According to our server, what made theirs different than the ones by Chef Dominique Ansel (the genius behind the croissant-donut hybrid) was that they bake their cronuts while the original ones are fried. However, being the pioneers (or are they still the only ones?) in Dubai to sell cronuts, you can expect the price isn’t too cheap. Imagine, they cost Dhs10 each!

All in all, it was an enjoyable evening filled with great conversations with our good friends. Mellow Yellow is definitely a place I’d love to visit again, and you can be sure I’ll order their cronuts when I do.

Mellow Yellow
Uptown Mirdiff
Phone: 04-2591500

19 August 2013

kids for christ's got talent

As I mentioned here, the monthly activity for KFC last month was the Star Camp. Our members attended acting, singing, modelling or dancing workshops, and in the afternoon, they presented what they were taught on stage. The hall was decorated to look just like a talent show, and of course there were the 4 special guest judges we invited: Edward Divinagracia from Kidville, Rachel Selinel from TFC, Louie da Costa of Tag 91.1 and Jeff Price who is the founder of Children's Media Network.

First to present were the kids of the Modelling Workshop, where they each wore costumes of their favourite superheroes.
Iron Man and Superman
Next were the Acting kids where they acted out a scene over and over, but portrayed different emotions each time.
Caila was part of the Singing Workshop. The kids sang different versions of “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction, and our daughter sang and strummed her toy guitar with the rock group. Naturally, I was such a stage mother that day when I saw her on stage. She was so cute! Feel na feel nya ang pagiging rakista!

The last ones onstage were the kids of the Dancing Workshop who danced to the upbeat version of “Under the Sea” and were dressed in cute costumes to portray the different sea creatures. Three senior kids represented the main characters Ariel the Mermaid, Sebastian the Crab, and Flounder the Fish who was played by my nephew Gabe. It was my first time for me to see him dance, and I was surprised that he could dance pretty well.

Here’s a short clip of what happened that day.
And to make us even more proud, the activity was reported on Balitang Middle East over the weekend.
Kudos to all the kids, parent coordinators, and service team for a successful event!

18 August 2013

bulong ni mama

Three years ago, during our vacation in the Philippines, our friends from Dubai who also happened to be vacationing at the same time spent the night at our home in Parañaque. That time, two of them (husband and wife) had been praying for a baby because months earlier, the wife had a laparoscopy due to an ectopic pregnancy. So, Mama joked that she would whisper to the wife’s tummy so that she would get pregnant soon...and amazingly, within a few weeks, the couple found out they were going to be parents soon!  Ann gave birth in February 2011.

When our family went to the Philippines for another vacation in 2011, my SFC baby who had left Dubai the year before visited me at home so that we could catch up. Ever since I knew her back in Dubai, her lovelife was always complicated and full of problems. So when Mama happened to listen in to our conversation and I mentioned to my SFC baby about Mama’s effective “bulong” to our friend last year, she asked Mama to do the same. But what she requested was for the perfect man to come into her life and that she would get married within 3 years. And, wouldn’t you know it...the wedding I attended last May was the result of that whisper.

On the 29th of July (just last month), we attended the birthday party of our friends’ daughter (not the one that Mama whispered for in 2010, though). While we were chatting with another of our couple friends, the wife was carrying (or playing with) Sophie and she wistfully mentioned that she would like to have a baby soon. Since Mama happened to be nearby, I told our friend about the two success stories of Mama’s powerful whispers and asked Mama to do the same. As you can probably guess, our friend is pregnant...she just found out today! Isn’t that great news?!

Honestly, I couldn’t believe it at first. When Dencio and Ann told us the good news, I thought it was a miraculous coincidence. Then when Gracie told me she was getting married and I remembered Mama’s whisper 2 years ago, I thought it was another funny coincidence. But this afternoon when I found out Pia’s condition, I couldn’t believe this was just another coincidence. There must really be some power in Mama’s voice when she whispers those words of hope and longing for those who asked. But when you come to think of it, this is just a perfect example of the effect and power of positive words, having faith, and simply believing.

12 August 2013

beautiful words to hear from your child

During my childhood, even though we knew we loved each other, my parents and siblings and I rarely said “I love you” unless we were ending long distance phone calls or we were saying goodbyes at the airport. Hubby’s childhood was pretty much the same. It was as if saying those three words without any reason and just because you wanted to was too...cheesy and baduy (sorry, I can’t think of any other better words right now).

So when we started our own family, Hubby and I made it a point to say “I love you” at least once a day. When we say it to our kids, we accompany these words with kisses and tight hugs that last for a few seconds. As Caila grew, so did her tolerance with kissing become shorter. If we would ask her for a kiss, she would either offer her cheek or kiss us but then wipe her mouth right away. However, she liked hugs. And when I would tell her “I love you, Caila (or Anak),” she would automatically reply “I love you, Mommy.” She never initiated saying those words, but this changed about a month ago.

One day while she was playing with her toys and I was sitting on the sofa watching television, Caila suddenly came up to me, gave me a kiss and hug, and said “I love you, Mommy” to which I replied “I love you, Anak.” Immediately after that, she went back playing. I was stunned and initially thought that she wanted something. But when she didn’t say or do anything that implied what I had suspected earlier, I felt so happy. The next day, she was eating something and I was carrying Sophie when again she said “I love you, Mommy.” And that evening while she and her daddy were watching TV, she said “I love you, Daddy.” Since then, she tells us this every single day. Ang sarap talaga pakinggan from your child! And whenever she can, she embraces her baby sister and tells her “I love you, Sophie.” Sobrang nakakataba ng puso every time I see this!

Another instance happened last night when we went to the nearby supermarket to buy a few things. While she was pulling the trolley-basket and Hubby was looking for breadcrumbs (I had gone to another aisle to look for another item), Caila suddenly said “I love you, Daddy.” There was a lady standing nearby who overheard this, and told her companion “Ang sweet naman! Sana sinasabihan din ako ng ganyan ng anak ko.

It’s moments like these that make me so proud and so thankful that Hubby and I are raising our daughters to be loving. Parang it affirms that in spite of our faults, we're doing a good job as parents.  I hope and pray Sophie will also be like this and they’ll never get tired of giving us hugs and kisses and saying those words to us.

11 August 2013

different body temperature readings

Whenever any of us in the family doesn’t feel well, we automatically take out our digital thermometer to check the temperature. Several months ago when Caila was sick, the doctor prescribed a suppository to use if her temperature went above 37.5 degrees. When she became sick again early last week and her temperature was 37.9 degrees, we immediately gave her that suppository. Her fever left the next day, but returned on Tuesday evening. So we gave her a suppository again. Finally, we decided to take her to the hospital on Wednesday night, and that’s when we found out that we were wrong in measuring her temperature and giving her the medicine.

Apparently, when the doctor prescribed the suppository previously, it was based on the temperature if it was taken from her mouth. However, when we use the thermometer, we measure through the ears. And there is a difference in the readings if taken from the mouth, ear, armpit and rectum. Haaaay!!! Good thing the doctor explained this to us and gave us this small piece of paper for our reference.
With a bottle of Panadol syrup which the doctor prescribed and that paper, we left the hospital that night more informed and assured that Caila’s fever would go away soon.

our eid friday

 A day of ET bonding, yummy food, and a sudden road trip to Outlet Mall to try out Nyco.
super sarap Filipino brunch
baskin robbins treat in celebration of nyco
thank you, Mabini's!
blue bubblegum sprite and the smurfs

06 August 2013

mama's birthday at icho restaurant

I know this is long overdue, but well, it's better late than never.

We may not have had dinner at any of the Burjs on the 14th of April, but we still celebrated Mama’s birthday with an elegant meal at no less than the Icho Restaurant of Radisson Royal Hotel. It was only a few days before her birthday that I was complaining and worried that we wouldn’t be able to give Mama the classy celebration that she deserves because of the lack of funds, but amazingly, everything worked out...not just fine, but great. Here’s how...

While looking for something in our drawer of documents at home, I found some Yours Sincerely $ Banknotes. That’s when I suggested to Hubby that we have dinner at one of the Carlson Rezidor hotels and use those to pay the bill. So on Sunday morning, I checked the options and finally chose Icho at Radisson Royal where I reserved a table for that same evening and told the lady who answered that we would be using our YS$ banknotes. I sent an SMS to my sister to tell her of our plans and she said she would see us there later.

We arrived at the 49th floor of the hotel a few minutes after 7:30pm and were directed to a table that had a fantastic panoramic view of Sheikh Zayed Road. It was absolutely beautiful!

After oohing and ahhing over the lights and buildings that we could see outside, we finally settled in our chairs and looked over the menu. It took us a while to decide because everything sounded delicious, but finally we ordered Rice, Musou Sushi Platter, Roasted Lamb Chops in Smoked Pot, Sukiyaki with Udon Noodles, and Tori Tatsuta-age. For the drinks, we just ordered mocktails and juices.

Before making the reservation earlier, I checked the internet for reviews of the restaurant; however, there were mostly bad reviews by the public. I finally asked one of our Japanese managers (after all, he’s Japanese so he should know if the food was good) and fortunately, he couldn’t stop gushing about how absolutely delicious and very good the food was. And actually, he was right. It really was delicious! The rice was perfectly white and slightly sticky so it was easy to eat them using chopsticks, the platter had a wide variety of big sushi portions, every single lamb chop was juicy and tender, the sukiyaki with the wagyu sirloin and udon noodles was sweet and delectable, and the tori tatsuta-age (which was chicken) was equally juicy and scrumptious. Everything was soooo yummy!

Unfortunately, because we had ordered so much (or maybe because the servings huge), we were too full to order any dessert.

As for the service, we were taken cared of very well. The waitress was really helpful when we were ordering, assisting us in cooking the sukiyaki and telling us what the raw egg in the bowl was used for (to dip the cooked wagyu sirloin in after getting it from the sukiyaki...for added flavour). After enjoying our meal, we took photos of Mama and the bouquet of flowers my sister had brought for her. Naturally, it took a while to get decent pictures because we kept making jokes and laughing at how Mama looked like she was being interviewed in a showbiz talk show...and she either wouldn’t keep still or would make funny faces.

Finally, we asked for the bill, and to our surprise, there wasn’t any! Apparently, my sister knows one of the managers at the hotel, and when she (my sister) told her (the manager) that I had made a reservation and it was Mama’s birthday, the manager arranged to make our dinner complementary. We thought that we would at least have to pay the bill for the drinks, but the waitress said the complementary dinner included everything. How cool was that?! Since we didn’t have to pay for anything, we made sure that we gave a nice tip instead.

The dim light in the restaurant which made it difficult to take nice pictures was the only negative thing of that night. But all in all, the evening was perfect: the amazing view, the delicious dinner, the excellent service, the elegant restaurant and hotel, dinner with the complete (Dubai-based) family...and of course, the bill that we didn’t have to settle.

the happy birthday celebrant

05 August 2013

oceana beach club

Our entire family got the chance to try the Oceana Beach Club on The Palm Jumeirah in June. Well, not exactly the entire family because Hubby couldn’t join us due to a prior commitment so it was only us girls (Mama, Ate Ning, me, Caila and Sophie) plus Gabe. We arrived at around 1:30pm and left just before 6pm. What did we do for four and a half hours? Swim, eat, and enjoy the views while relaxing on the lounge chairs…over and over again.  Ahh...this is the life!
what Caila called the "Cow Car"
the skyline of the Dubai Marina
floating in the clear blue waters
enjoying the lazy river
tired and hungry, so she took a quick break
the big chicken burger
nuggets and fries
three flavours of ice-cream
delicious lemonade
in front of ms liberty =)
another view of the Marina skyline
my sister, Mama, and me

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