Thursday, June 26, 2008

30 Things I Miss From Home

In no particular order:
  1. Weekend dinners at mom + dad's house
  2. Monthly get-togethers with my AC friends
  3. Kanin Club's Crispy Dinuguan
  4. Sisig!
  5. LZM's Boneless Bangus
  6. Coffee at Starbucks Paseo with Dy
  7. Lunch + Shopping with Pat in Alabang or BF
  8. Onion Rings at Brother's Burger
  9. Tagaytay weather
  10. Baking in my mom's kitchen
  11. Kapihan with my friends from Highlands
  12. My monthly magazines - Yummy, Marie Claire + Good Housekeeping
  13. Hot pan de sal
  14. Conti's Mango Bravo
  15. Goldilocks Brazo de Mercedes
  16. Pan de Manila's Coco Jam
  17. Cheap manicure, pedicure + massage (below Php500)
  18. Taho!
  19. Spaghetti from Makati Supermarket
  20. Hap Chan
  21. Inihaw na liempo with suka
  22. Chicharong bulaklak
  23. Lechon manok
  24. Purefoods hotdog
  25. Lazy afternoons at my Lolo Pete's house, chatting with my Tita Papot
  26. Family get-togethers at Lolo Erning's house
  27. Dinner dates with my husband
  28. Razon's halo-halo
  29. Chinese lumpia at ATC foodcourt or South Supermarket
  30. Peanut/pinipig polvoron from House of Polvoron

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Form vs Function

Once again, I found myself in a situation where I had to choose between form and function. Remember my rubber shoes dilemma (previous post, Krisan's Fitness Program) where I had to choose between cute-rubber-shoes-at-regular-price and ok-na-rubber-shoes-at-40%-off? Same thing happened to me today when Richard bought me a cellphone at MBK.

Oops, FYI to my friends back home, my globe phone is now with my sister. Ang mahal kasi ng roaming plus, sayang naman yung monthly so I loaned it to Angel. I will not post my new number here, but I will send you sms or email soon!

Ok, back to my story...Richard's budget was THB5,000, but I thought it was too much so I set my own budget at THB2,000. I wanted a MotoRazr, but it was more than 2K. Lungkot! So we searched the entire floor, hoping that we can find a better deal on the Razr, pero wala talaga. So Richard said if that's the phone that I really want, then I can buy it. But I was hesitating, weighing my options. Hmmm...cute-over-the-budget cellphone, or pwede-na-within-the-budget phone? I mean, do I really need a nice, expensive phone? Si Richard lang naman ang tatawagan ko. I don't need hi-tech features either because I don't really get to use them. I just need a cellphone so I can call or text my husband when I'm meeting him at the mall or something. So I settled for the cheapest Nokia cellphone that the saleslady gave me and I have never been happier and more proud of my shopping find.
Meet my new Nokia 1650. I chose the red one because the black one looks like a toy! Hehe!
We got this for only THB1,700 -- at brand new siya, hindi second hand. It has fantastic features (which I won't be using anyway) like built-in FM radio, flashlight (how cool is that?) and a spreadsheet that can help you keep track of your daily expenses. Bastos, dba? Richard said this phone is so perfect for me. Who would think I would end up with a phone with such features?
We bought a prepaid SIM card for THB50, and load, so our total bill was only THB2,050. Ang saya!
Rates here in BKK are very cheap! Local calls are THB1 per minute. When you send sms to an international number, they charge you only THB7 per message. It's way cheaper than Globe where they charge you PHP20 per message! How cool is that?
Nothing beats a great bargain!

Another Update on Krisan's Fitness Program

I made it through the week! I completed five days of fat-burning (naks!) workout at the gym! Woohoo!!

No visible results yet, but I think my thighs are starting to shrink a little (or nag-iilusyon lang ako? Haha!), so I'm inspired to continue my fitness program.

Oh, and the best part? The Charles & Keith sale is still ongoing so I bought --ahem, rewarded myself with a new pair of sandals :)
Got this at 30% off! Yey!

No pain, no gain indeed!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Richard's Birthday

Richard took a day off from work so that he can spend the whole day with us, and I took it upon myself to make sure that he gets no less than royal treatment on his special day.

It was hard to prepare a birthday surprise with the "surprisee" around so we had to lock him up inside our bedroom.

The stage is set! Time to call in the birthday celebrant!

Happy birthday, daddy!

Yan and I searched the entire Central Mall for party hats, but we didn't find any, so I made one using balloons (I googled instructions on how to make a balloon hat).

For our intimate (kasi tatlo lang kami) dinner, I prepared...

Cream of Potato and Leek Soup

Bread to be dipped in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese.

Takaw ni Yan! She loves the bread and olive oil dip.

Pasta Amatriciana and Steak

Of course, no birthday celebration in the Valdez household will be complete without a birthday cake...

...and a birthday gift!

A new wallet! I was finally able to replace his old one. Yey!

Richard had two birthday cakes...

...the one that I ordered from S&P Bakery, a vanilla buttercream cake (the cakes here come in pounds - 1lb., 2lb., etc. The one that I got is 1lb.)...

...and a heart-shaped chocolate cake, from Oakwood. It also came with a birthday card. Nice!

Funny because I ordered the smallest cake from S&P thinking na sayang naman if we get the bigger one kasi tatlo lang naman kami. Then Oakwood sent us another one so we have no choice but to eat both cakes for the next couple of days. Haha! Sayang lang ang pagpunta ko sa gym!

Here's Richard showing off the card that Yan made for him. It says: "Happy Birthday Richard Love, Aly" She copied the birthday banner word for word and she didn't change Richard to daddy. Haha!

Gosh it was a long day! After bringing Yan to school, I dragged birthday boy to the gym with me so he can sweat out the Johnny Walker that he had last night. He kicked off his birthday celebration on Thursday night by having dinner with his officemates. In lieu of the poolside birthday party that I had originally planned for him, Richard opted to take the boys to a restaurant instead because I was having difficulty coordinating with the restaurant manager here (no thanks to the language barrier!).
From the gym, we went back to our apartment, he took a shower and fell asleep while watching tv. While my husband was sleeping, I was cooking in the kitchen. When I woke him up for lunch, there was a hot, steaming bowl of his favorite chicken tinola waiting for him. Then, we picked up Yan from school and passed by the mini mart to buy some last-minute ingredients for tonight's dinner.
It may have been a small party, but it was probably the most difficult one that I have ever pulled off, being the event organizer, party decorator, cook, photographer and cleaner all at the same time! But for me, nothing is more fulfilling than making my family happy and seeing the smile on my hasband's and daughter's face. I can cook the whole day, blow up balloons with a tiny hand pump (see picture below), and walk the entire mall in high heels in search of party decorations just to make sure that Richard gets no less than my best effort on his special day. I wish I had done a better job, but since we are new to this country, my resources were very limited. Gosh, times like these, I definitely miss divi and SM! Nandun na kasi lahat! Good thing we didn't push thru with the bigger party! I can just imagine how toxic that's going to be!
Here's the mini hand pump that I had to use for the balloons.
Before we went to sleep, my husband thanked me, gave me a hug and kissed me on the cheek. It was so sweet and in that instant, nawala lahat ng pagod ko.
To my dear husband, may you have more years and blessings to come, and may all your wishes come true.
Happy birthday, Sweetie!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Krisan's Fitness Program Update

It's the middle of the week and I am proud to say that I have been religiously going to the gym since Monday! No miss. As in. Woohoo!
This morning, I was tamad to go. It was raining when I woke up and the windows were all made me want to sink back in the goose down pillows, drown in the comforter and stay in bed all morning. How I wish, but I had to get my little girl ready for school and since I'm up already, might as well go to the gym. Plus, I also remember my support group from back home (my mom, my brother Jof and my cousin Erwin) encouraging me to go everyday and today is not a good day to let them down.
I'm not really a hardcore gym person. I try to make it fun and easy because once it becomes strenuous and painful for me, that would be the end of my fitness program. I had to mention that because this morning, while I was happily brisk walking (yes, walking not running!) on the treadmill to the tune of Jump by Madonna, the lady beside me was really going all out! She was running with matching incline pa! Yikes! That's complete torture! Sadista yung aleng yun! Ako nga naglalakad lang pero tagaktak na pawis ko kaya tama na yun.
I know that exercise is not enough to make me fit back into my old clothes soo, in my own little way, I'm making slight changes (notice how much I used various synonyms of small in the last sentence?) in my diet. First, I replaced some items with a healthier alternative. For example: for breakfast, I eat oatmeal instead of breakfast cereal. I also replaced my favorite Tim Tams (I am super addicted to the "world's most irresistable chocolate biscuit", that I used to buy it on a weekly basis!) with butter cookies -- okay, okay, before anybody would react, 100-calorie butter cookies is a lesser evil than the 1,000-calorie Tim Tams! To avoid more temptation, I've limited my mall trips in the past week because that's where all the ice cream, pretzels and yummy cakes are.
It may not seem much to others, but these baby steps are big leaps for me. In fact, I'm thinking of giving myself a reward if I make it through the week! Hmmm...a new pair of shoes perhaps? Better than a slice of cake because shoes do not have calories! I hope Charles & Keith is still having a sale by the end of the week!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Krisan's Fitness Program

As promised, here is an update on my so-called fitness program:

Yesterday, I took the first step by buying myself a new pair of running shoes -- take note, I didn't just say rubber shoes. I said running shoes. Naks! I sound so athletic just saying that! The only pair of rubber shoes that I own, which I bought last year for our Mexican Olympics-themed Christmas Party, is no good because I got blisters when I used them. Hence, I bought a new one. At World Sports. On sale (told ya, anything the world sale on it is enough to give me a cardiac workout). It wasn't easy to buy nice rubber shoes -- okay, it was difficult only because the items on sale were not my type. Well, I did like one but they didn't have my size. Aargh! The ones that caught my eye are on regular price. Tsk...tsk...Cute rubber shoes on regular price or pwede-na-rubber shoes at 40% off? Hirap magdecide! But since I'm not yet a gym pro (nor do I intend to be), I decided to buy the one on sale. Besides, I don't think anybody looks fabulous when covered with sweat, even with cute rubber shoes! Plus, when I went to the gym last week, there were only two people around and I don't think they care what kind of shoes you're wearing. Basta, ang importante pumayat ako! Hehe!
Meet my new Reebok running shoes :)
Para naman daw ganahan ako, my dear husband bought me a new ipod shuffle and three new pairs of pants that I can use for the gym. Isn't he a darling? He said my new stuff should motivate me to go to the gym more often. That's his way of saying, wala na akong excuse for not going to the gym or, I will feel guilty if I don't go kasi sayang lang yung mga binili nya. Haha!
Well, he will be happy to know that I spent an hour in the gym this morning on three machines! Woohoo!! Looks like I'm off to a great start! Yey!

Father's Day + Our First Movie in BKK

We celebrated Father's Day with mass in the morning and the rest of the afternoon at Central World. It was simple, and yet very special because it was the first time that we watched a movie here in BKK (more on that as we go along).

Getting ready for church.

The church was having a fundraising event yesterday morning. They were selling pre-loved books in exchange for a donation that will help send two kids to the World Youth Day in Australia. It was a nice treat (not to mention great bargain) for Richard because he absolutely loves books so we picked up a couple.

From the church, we headed to Central World and ate at Pepper Lunch.

Richard had the Salmon Pepper Rice Set.

I had the Hitokuchi Cut Steak Set.

Yan had the Hamburger Steak (minus the fried egg) Set.

The food at Pepper Lunch was good. The beef was tender and the portions are just right for the price. Yan liked her hamburger steak. Our tab was only THB600, but if you want to try the imported beef items, expect the bill to go up.

After lunch, it was time to watch Kung Fu Panda so we went to the cinemas on the 7th floor. Watching a movie in BKK is not cheap, but the cinemas are nice so ok na rin. Oh, and the restrooms are huge! Like 20 stalls huge so there are zero lines after the movie when everyone decides to take a bathroom break all at the same time! In my book, that is so worth my money. There are different kinds of cinemas that you can choose from, and the more comfortable the seats are, the more expensive they are. They have World Class (or was it first class?) with individual lazyboy seats at THB700 per person. They also have another kind with beanbags (THB300 per person) and day beds (THB1200 for one that's good for four persons). The seats look really comfy and sigurado masarap talaga manood ng movie dun kasi para kang nasa bahay. Kaso, baka makatulog ka naman sayang lang bayad mo. Hehe! We only went to the regular cinema with the individual seats for THB160 each. The more expensive tickets come with free drinks and popcorn (may class kasi), but with the regular cinema, KKB (no class kasi). Rates are also higher on weekends, but the ones that I wrote here are Sunday rates.

Alyannah still with Kung Fu Panda fever.

Kung Fu Panda is highly recommended! Super nakakatawa for both kids and adults -- heck, any movie with Jack Black in it is sure to be hilarious!

As we went around the mall, we bumped into the Toys "R" Us giraffe who was giving away chocolate bars to the kids.

Pati ang daddy nagpa-picture.

Before going home, we dropped by Auntie Anne's for our favorite snack -- Snow Sticks and lemonade!

It was a great Father's Day for us. Richard did not ask for any gift; all he wanted was for us to be together (as if naman naghihiwalay kami eh kami lang naman tatlo ang laging magkasama!). Being together and having fun as a family makes any activity, no matter how simple, very special. As Master Oogway said in the movie: "Yesterday is the past. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called present." In our case, there is no better gift that you can give to your loved ones than your...presence. Hehe!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day is just around the corner -- although here in Thailand it's not until 05 December, the King's birthday -- so here's a shout out to all the daddies we know.


My dad -- A true family man, he made sure that his children get the best in everything. He never spoiled us, but he didn't deprive us of anything. My dad is the ultimate handyman -- there's nothing in the house that he cannot fix! My dad is crazy about my mom. They're always together and he doesn't go anywhere without her. He's also funny; my sister Angel and I are his biggest fans and we laugh like crazy at his jokes. He's the idol of my brothers and they want nothing in this world but to be like him. Alyannah adores my dad and she always wants to be beside her lolo. Dad, you're the best! I love you!

My father-in-law, daddy Roman -- He's a very patient man (something that Richard inherited from you), and he's very handy around the house. We hope to be able to visit you in La Union when we get back.

My lolo Pete -- Ever the doting grandfather, he never runs out of nice things to say to his grandchildren. He has a way of making you feel good about yourself. You can make something as trivial as a tuna sandwich and he will tell you that it's the best tuna sandwich in the world. Now that we are bigger, we try to give only the best to our lolo Pete and it's not even half of what he truly deserves for being a great lolo.

My lolo Erning -- He is the most generous person that I know. He always helps people who are in need, and that is why he has been blessed with so much. He gives so much to his family (really generous gifts) and yet he doesn't ask much in return. A simple thank you is enough to put a smile on his face. He loves being with his grandchildren (he has 16 apos + wives + husbands of his apos + their children), that's why family get-togethers turn into fun parties.

My titos -- tito Bobby, tito Toto, tito Danny and tito Eric.

Richard's titos -- tito Dingdong, tito Art, tito Pablito. tito Robert L., tito Ruben L., tito Lito V., tito Teewee V. and tito Jimmy,

Our Ninongs -- ninong Richard (my best-cousin Chi's dad), ninong Dazan, ninong Wowie and ninong Florentino F.

My cousin Chig -- you are doing a wonderful job with Gab and Moe.
Richard's cousin -- Popong and Kuya Boy.

Our kumpares -- Gerald and Tony.

Richard's officemates in TMP -- Sir Alex, Sir Bong, Sir Bobby, Mike, Den-den, Gani, Wendell, Al, Arnold, Lex, Ding, Gabby and Abdul.

Richard's officemates in Japan -- Koko, Mustafa, Zulnurain and Huang.

Richard's officemates in Thailand -- Surasak, Wuttipong, Ampol, Detchart, Low and Morgan.

Richard's friends -- Aldrin Candelaria, Epie Arawan, Nilo Tabamo, Rod Cruz, Lexbee Nones, Ricky Carlos, Wes Santos, Ton-ton Almazar, Ambo Ambrosio, Allison Cruz, Mark So and Ricky Alvarez


My sister and I promised ourselves that we will only marry someone who has our dad's traits because we admire the way he brought us up and how much he loved our mom. I'm proud to say that I married someone who has the same qualities as my dad, and for that, I know that there's nothing more to ask because I know I'm in good hands.

My husband works hard for our family, he spoils me and Yan like crazy. After a long day at work, he makes it a point to spend time with Yan, teach her how to read or watch over her while she brushes her teeth. Even when he's tired and dying to go to sleep, he never sleeps without our nightly kwentuhans. He shares his passion for books with Alyannah and that is one of the best lessons that he has taught her.

He is very generous not only to his family, but to my family as well. He is the most optimistic person that I know. He also has a solution for everything -- he will only take a short pause to think and he comes up with most brilliant ideas.

He always makes sure that Yan and I are living comfortably. He has always treated me like a queen, and Yan like a princess. That's why Sweetie, this father's day, you deserve to be treated like a king. We love you!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Heart Pizza!

Aly and I had a sudden craving for pizza today. It all started when we were watching old episodes of Desperate Housewives on tv this afternoon. There was one scene wherein Bree's daughter, Danielle, was crying because of her boyfriend. To make her daughter feel better, Bree offered to order pizza. Aly and I got inggit so we decided to order pizza for dinner as well. Hehe! Gaya gaya.

Our new discovery was The Pizza Company. You can order from their website which is soo cool because it eliminates the hassle of having to talk to them on the phone. Ordering on the phone is a total hassle because you can't understand them, and they can't understand you either! There was a time when I was craving Japanese food so I ordered from Oishi and I was on the phone for 15 minutes! I was starting to feel frustrated halfway through our conversation that I was tempted to cancel my order -- which I hope I did because the food was disappointing!

Anyway, back to The Pizza Company. I just logged on to their website,, registered for an account, then I started ordering. The whole process took me around five minutes. When you click finish, they will send you a confirmation email, and your pizza will be delivered in 30 minutes. Isn't that cool?! Their website is very easy to navigate and it's written in english (heaven-sent talaga!) They also have an option there where you can do advance ordering. All you need to do is set the date when you want your pizza to be delivered.
Our pizza is here!
Mukhang nang gigigil si Aly sa pizza. Haha!
Yum, yum, yum!
Aly the pizza monster!
We ordered Hawaiian Pizza with cheesy crust.
Pizza Pack... includes condiments like ketchup (?) and chili powder, plus table napkin. No hot sauce here.
See the cheese oozing from the crust?
The pizza was good; not too oily and the crust was just right -- but I still like thin crust better so next time we'll try that. They did not scrimp on the toppings too. This pizza is medium size and it cost THB380 baht. I love the pizza and I love the convenience of ordering online. There will definitely be a second time :)