My Cebuana Lhuillier Experience

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

02/27/2014 10:13PM UPDATE:  I received an email from Cebuana Lhuillier Cares.  Please see the screen shot at the bottom of the post.

I've been hearing a LOT about the Cebuana Lhuillier Pera Padala through my helpers.  They tell me that this mode of money transfer is very convenient for them.  All they need to do is to go to a Cebuana Center fill out a form and send the money.  Their relatives are able to claim the money sent through any branch provided that they give the control number and present a valid ID to which the pera padala was named for.  It was convenient because all you needed to do is give them the control number and voila, money can be claimed.

Yesterday, for the first time - I tried it.  And it was a weird and different experience.  I am so used to transacting in banks that I find the procedure quite tedious and unnecessary.  Here's what happened I experienced:

When I entered the Cebuana Lhuillier branch, I asked the man behind the counter (with a LOT of grills and glass) what I needed to do.  Since it was my first time, I was clueless here:

Didi:  Hello!  Mag keclaim ako ng padala (I know, I sounded weird - but I didn't know how to properly phrase it!  If I were in a bank, I would just say - that I would be withdrawing)
Man Behind the Counter (MBTC):  Guard! Bigyan mo si Ma'am ng form.  Fill up-an niyo lang
Didi:  (Looking at the form)  Ang alam ko lang is yung Control Number at Pangalan ko.  Apat kasi ang nagpadala, tig-isang form ba kada control number?
MBTC: Oho, isang form isang control number
Didi:  Mejo madami ata
MBTC:  Ganyan talaga ang procedure namin
I proceed to fill up, since I was told by my helpers that a mere giving of the control number would suffice, I just put my name and control number.  There in bold handwriting asked for the birthday, and cellphone number.  I honestly wondered why they needed the birthday and cell number, for what purpose!  But I still filled them up. After filling out four (4) forms, I had it to the MBTC.
MBTC:  Ma'am kailangan niyo po isulat ang pangalan na nagpadala sa inyo!  At tsaka Ma'am kung magkano ang pinadala sa inyo
Didi:  Eh, hindi ko na maalala kung kani-kanino yung mga control number at magkano ang ipinadala.  Hindi ba pwedeng name ko nalang?  Tutal sure naman ako na sa akin ipinangalan plus may Control number naman diba?
MBTC:  Para ho sigurado kami na tama po na sa inyo talaga yung padala.  Procedure lang po.
It was a good thing that I wrote down the names of the sender by chance (or was it my instinct kicking in?)

I hand it to the MBTC and I sit.  I waited for a good 10 minutes.  And then one of the men behind the counter exclaimed 'Ma'am!  Wala po kayong record dito, pa fill out po ng form. Guard! Bigyan mo si Ma'am!

I was thinking to myself - great, another form to be filled.  Was it this hard to claim your pera padala?  After filling it up, I hand it to the MBTC.  I again waited for another 10 minutes to be called and claim the money.

Another issue was that one of my control numbers was rejected.  It was rejected because of a misspell on my last name.  According to the sender, she wrote down my correct last name.  So, who is responsible for this?

Here are a few questions:
1)  Does one really need to fill out ALL the details?
2)  Why is the birthday and mobile number needed when its not in the printed form?
3)  Does one really need to have a record in order to claim the pera padala?  Why?  False Identities?
4)  Does one really need to be aware of the EXACT amount of money being sent?  I'm sure that whatever amount that is on the computer will be given to the receiver AS IS.  Even if we give a bogus amount of money - whatever it is on the computer will still be followed, right?
5)  I feel that the people behind the counter are a bit nosy.  There was a guy who as ahead of me and he was being berated by the two Men Behind The Counter (MBTC) they were pressuring him to get the loyalty card, and when he declined (thrice at that..) he was asked 'Kalahating Instik ka?  Bakit wala kang negosyo?  Lahat ng Instik may negosyo!'  How inappropriate right?  This is at the Cebuana Lhuillier Del Monte Roosevelt Branch.  A CCTV footage of that particular date and time can be retrieved and I can vouch for that..

This is my issue:  Pera padala is money given to Cebuana Lhuillier, and in turn Cebuana Lhuillier will give the said money to the receiver.  I just find it really odd that a middleman is so strict in enforcing the padala and pay out.  They're even more strict compared to a bank!  It seems like sending and receiving goes through a lot of red tape.  Won't it be more convenient to shorten the process?  Because like me, I just claimed P400.00 and it took me almost 30 minutes to claim.  If you ask me, its not worth it, especially if the MBTC are moving oh so slowly.

Maybe that's the reason why my helpers now have opted to use SmartPadala compared to Cebuana Lhuillier and LBC.

But I guess the fact that you don't need to maintain an account with them and also that they have so many branches nationwide is why it is very attractive and practical to those sending money often.

Sigh.. LBC - Hari ng Padala is another story..

Here is the screen shot of Cebuana Lhuillier's reply to my post:

Cooking Quest: Oyster Cake

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oyster Cake is a favorite dish that I order in Coral Garden.  Its THE best Oyster Cake if you ask me.  Its crunchy and has a LOT of oysters.  So, last week, when I saw at Fisher Mall's supermarket that they were selling shucked oysters - I had an idea.
1)  Make my version of the XO Oyster by Tian Pao Wan
2)  Make an Oyster cake
3)  Bake them

On my first try - I cooked Oyster with Tausi because it was requested by my Panget.  It turned out okay.  On my next attempt - I tried the XO Oyster - and instead of it being crunchy, it came out makunat.  So on my third try - I wanted to do an oyster cake.  So I looked for a recipe online.  Looked and looked and wasn't satisfied.  All recipes I saw used an egg, and I didn't want an egg in my oyster cake.  I finally came across a recipe I liked a few days ago.  The problem was that - it asked for a particular starch - Tapioca Starch.  I started to look for it, but all my efforts were futile and so I settled for Potato starch.  And man, was I disappointed.

Since the first two attempts were just so-so, I wasn't expecting much on this third attempt.  Yesterday, while walking around Hi-Top Supermarket, I suddenly saw Tapioca starch!  I was so happy!  My dreams of making an oyster cake was soon becoming a reality.  So this afternoon, I went to Fisher Mall confident that I would find some more oysters.  Well - I was disappointed once again - oysters were all sold out.  Sigh..  Good thing, my mom called her suki in Dapitan.  This suki referred his neighboring stall - they cost P50.00 per plastic.

I am sorry, but I was too excited on the outcome that I ate the small piece that I prepared.  I had my helpers try it and they liked it.  It was a success on the first attempt!  WONDERFUL!  Good job, Didi (with matching pat on the back)  Haha!!

So here are the ingredients:
Oysters - shucked and cleaned
Bean Sprouts
Leeks or Chives (Chives are better!!)
Tapioca Starch
Salt & Pepper to taste
Scrambled Egg (optional)

Okay - since I just experimented what I did was just to throw everything in and mix it.  Mix together the cleaned oysters, bean sprouts, leeks, tapioca starch and salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.  Use a non-stick pan for easier handling, heat and when you see the smoke come out from the pan, pour the mixture.  Cook until golden brown and flip over.  You can cook it longer to make it more crispy but make sure you are using the correct heat setting so as not to burn the oyster cake.  You may add the scrambled egg when it cake is golden brown.  I honestly preferred it without the egg, but I guess the egg is an extender of some sort.

I'll be attempting to make another one tomorrow - wish me luck!!

BTW - I got the Tapioca Starch at Hi-Top Supermarket along Quezon Avenue, I'm sure you are all wondering about that.  Hehehe...

P.S.  When I made this oystercake - I didn't use particular measurements because it was on 'tancha' basis and trial and error.  What I suggest you do is that you try and cook a piece or two of oysters to test the taste and add on the salt and pepper to taste.  As for the Tapioca Starch, you can just add as you wish - I wanted it to be really sticky so I added more.

Made this during lunch time 02/25/2014
I used MORE cooking oil and I think it made a 
HUGE difference. 

GMA-7's Food from the Heart

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Let me be honest, when I was invited to this food event I had no expectations whatsoever.  Well, I guess there was one - that it was about food.  Hahaha!!  Kidding aside, I honestly had no clue what it was all about.   So when I got there, I was quite confused.  There were fellow bloggers and then there were artistas!  I instantly recognized Bettina Carlos and Chynna Ortaleza.

What welcomed me were boxes of cupcakes, pastries and savory dishes.  In delight, I asked who made the goodies and was surprised to learn that these artistas made them - ALL!  Wow!  So one by one, Fel pointed to me who did what - and I must say, I admire these actresses for being able to bake that much goodies despite their busy schedule!

I sat down beside a handsome fellow.  My first thought was 'Uy! Gwapo ha..'  I initially thought he was a blogger, I was telling myself - 'such a handsome blogger naman!'  Then when we got to talking, I learned that he was Ben Alves.  It then occurred to me that he is a relative of Papa P! :)  hahaha..  Yes, I was so into Pinoy showbiz then.

Ryza Cenon (who looked super different by the way!) served us with a savory dish - which I really really liked.  Her lasagna was really good, it wasn't the usual lasagna for the Pinoy taste, I liked it because it was a bit sour, a good tomato sour.  I liked her mini pizza, plus her wings was also good! :)  It was so good that I had to bring home another serving!  Hahaha.. :)  By the way, she baked most of the goodies!  I was majorly amazed that she was able to make boxes and boxes of cupcakes!

Bettina's Samplers

Above are the samplers of Bettina's creations.  Her products are available in Moonleaf Tea shops and Rain Tree Blends along White Plains.  These were really good.  I brought home some and my Panget loved them all!  You may contact her for orders at 0917-861BITE(2483).

So this was why the event was called Food from the Heart - heart is puso in Tagalog.  I appreciated very much the effort of these actresses and I admire them for still having the time to create these magnificent goodies!  Despite them being busy - and having a full blown career, I failed to realize that they're normal people too!  They like and enjoy food, they bake goodies and share them too!

Ryza's Lasagna (my FAVORITE!)

Chynna's personalized tags!
I can't believe she wrote them all!!

Thank you GMA Network for this opportunity to sample the goodies and meet the celebrities behind them.  Ryza, your lasagna is my personal favorite! :)  Hahaha.. :)

Visit the star's IG accounts: 

Follow them on Twitter 

Photos by me and from GMA Network

My Tips when travelling with a Toddler

Monday, February 10, 2014

Honestly, when I still didn't have a kid - I thought it was such a bad a idea to travel with kids below 5years old.  For one, they won't remember anything right?  Two - the logistics!  Three - gosh, the packing!

But when we had Kailee - well, it was still sort of the same.  I hated the packing.  We only I think had one just one out of town trip and that was to Subic.  We packed so many things for her that we laughed and said that we packed the whole house!  To think that Subic was just nearby - and it has supermarkets and drugstores.  What were we thinking?  Well, I guess we thought, that it was better to be safe than sorry right?

Fast forward to when Kailee turned two.  My Panget and I were at the Travel Fair - and he decided that he wanted to bring Kailee along to Tokyo.  I argued otherwise but when he put his foot down and declared that he wanted to bring his kid along - I agreed (what could I do right?) - in one condition, that we bring Yaya with us.  I told Panget that I would die having to take care of a toddler and still pumping every so often, luckily - he agreed.  So there, we brought Yaya with us - and it was the most RELAXED trip ever!  Yaya was the one who packed everything for Kailee - I didn't need to worry about anything because she took care of it.  All I had to do was give her the luggage, and voila - she fills it up!  A few months after that trip, my Panget and I decided to bring Kailee to Hong Kong.  We said that it was the perfect place because we were already familiar with the city, plus I knew where the nursing rooms/baby changing rooms were because I was pumping a year prior, so I knew where to go and when.  So there.

But the thing was - we didn't have a Yaya in tow.  That meant - feeding, bathing, putting to sleep.  I was so sure that I was going to be tasked to do all of those - but I had to argue that I couldn't and woulnd't be able to do that.  So we divided the task - Panget would handle the bathing part.  The feeding part, we would take turns.  We even brought a carrier (Ergo Baby Carrier) along - just in case.  Our stroller doesn't recline, so we thought we'd be doomed.  During our first trip with Yaya, well - when Kailee was sleepy we would just go inside a mall and have yaya sit somewhere carrying Kailee while she was asleep - while my Panget and I roam the mall (Haha!!)  Since it was the first time without a yaya - I was so stressed and worried!

It was a good thing that I sat beside Lyn at a friend's wedding.  She gave me the BEST advice ever - the 'Bahala Na' attitude.  She said that when they first travelled with their daughter, they too were stressed on having their child eat on time, nap on time and eat as much.  But then they realized that it wasn't a vacation anymore - that stress was taking over.  So they shifted their attitude to the 'Bahala Na' attitude.  Bahala na if she won't eat as much - she will ask for food when she's hungy.  Bahala na if she doesn't finish her milk!  Bahala na what time she naps, Bahala na where she naps and how long she naps.  When they went with the 'Bahala Na' attitude - everything was smooth sailing.

So when we left, I also had that same idea in my head.  My Panget and I agreed to be on the same page with the Bahala Na thing.  And I tell you - it was the best decision ever.  But you know what - our kids, I think they mature when we're out of the country.  Because for the first time - Kailee ate by herself.  She was well behaved and followed our instructions.  She wasn't throwing tantrums (well, she normally doesn't) as I thought she would in a new environment.  She was so well behaved!  

Kailee ate when we ate, she slept on the carrier while we were walking on the streets, she would ask for milk when she liked and would tell me that she was hungry.  When she was sleepy she would tell me and I'd tell her to just sleep while on the carrier and she would!  She would also tell me if it was time to change her nappies.  She was well behaved!  So after that trip, my Panget and I realized that we could travel with Kailee, without a yaya.  And so we went, last month to Singapore.  And it was a success too!  Singapore is so child friendly!  I was amazed and impressed at the same time.  The only complaint I had was that - it was so freaking hot!  But that's Singapore, right?

So, here are a few tips I have for those traveling with toddlers:  
Don't stress!  Relax and enjoy the vacation - its a vacation, right?  Let your child have fun too!  Don't be too keen to follow an itinerary - enjoy and take your time.  Don't be strict on a time schedule too!  Just go with the flow..

What to bring in your carry on:
I suggest you bring a small trolley - easier to handler, maneuver and can be thrown around.
-  Medicines (allergy meds, LBM meds - erceflora!, hydrite salts, tempra, ibuprofen, band aid, bactroban)
-  Diapers (please bring at least 3 extra diapers, just in case!)
-  Clothes (I always bring 2 sets of extra clothes)
-  Jacket (for when she gets cold)
-  Entertainment (books, coloring books, drawing book, washable crayons, a toy or two)
-  Snacks (biscuits, bread, yogurt, chips)
-  Drinks (water and milk - in my case formula.  I pack my formula in those small ziplock containers so that they're easier to handle, and I wouldn't need to takal every night!  I also suggest a disposable system for the bottles - so extra nipples will come in handy)
-  Plastic bags (to store the soiled clothes and used diapers)
-  Ziplocks (I have this NEED to bring them anywhere I go.. ask my Panget!)
-  Eco bags - (just in case your trolley fails you, you have something to carry those things with!)

What you should bring with you:
-  Is it just me or do kids change clothes more that twice a day at times?  So for those incidents - well, better to prepare at least 2 outfits a day.  So for a 5 day trip, bring 10 sets of clothes.  Kids clothes are small and are not usually bulky - I always tell myself that its better to have extra clothes in the luggage!  I wouldn't want to handwash them when its kulang!
-  We always bring an extra pair, just in case the ones they have on - breaks!
-  I always bring extra - I wouldn't want to buy costly diapers abroad!
-  I always ask our pedia what i need to bring before we leave.  I pack the emergency meds in my bag/carry on and another complete set inside the luggage.
Milk & Bottles
-  Since I use formula - I pack them in #3 ziplock containers for easy storage.
-  I use the disposable system when abroad, no need to wash so many things!  Bring extra liners and nipples!!
-  I brought a box of Jacob's Hi-Calcium biscuits to Singapore and it was wiped out!  I bring this in the bag everyday just in case Kailee gets hungry all of a sudden.  We also bought a LOT of yogurt (in the local supermarkets) because she loved eating it.
-  Yes, please bring one!  It comes in handy.  During our trip to HK, we never got to use it.  But last month - it was a lifesaver!
Baby Carrier
-  Bring one just in case.  We used it everyday in HK.  It was so convenient, a bit heavy and needs a bit of getting used to BUT very userful.  We brought this with us to Singapore but never got to use it.  We have the ErgoBaby brand and I swear by it!

I think, that's about it!  Please do feel free to add more, I think I may have missed some things, but what the heck - I'll just add on to this list when I remember them!  Hahaha... (the effects of the anesthesia...)

So there you have it!!

Thank you for the inspiration for this post The Pinay Mom!! :)

Proud MOMents: Kailee's Letter A!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

I was looking after Connor when I heard Kailee say 'Mommy!  I draw an A!'

Kailee likes to write/doodle.  The first thing she was able to draw randomly was a spider.  Well, technically it wasn't a spider, but it looked closely like a spider.  An oval shaped thing with feet!  I was so proud of her when I saw that.

So, when I turned my attention to her, I was shocked, amazed and oozing with pride.

She did draw a letter A!

I exclaimed in delight and told her that I was so proud of her and that I was so happy!  She immediately ran to me and gave me a hug!  I was telling her how proud I was of her and that I was going to cry - she looked confused!  Hahaha..

I am so proud of her.  This is considering the fact that this was the first time she attempted to draw/write letters!  I was actually going to start teaching her to try and write in the next few weeks.  Well, she beat me to it!  Now, what do I teach her?  Letters?  Shapes?  Numbers?  Help!!

I made her draw the letter A a couple of times and she still did it!  Hahaha, so here's a video that I took.  I am so very proud of Kailee.

#BetterMe: Building Relationships with your Helpers

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ahh, the age old tale of helpers..
I've written my fair share of up and mostly down on this blog.

Can't live with them, can't live without them.

So when I was invited to another #BetterMe session with Coach Pia - I knew I had to attend.  I wanted to learn and have some insights. You see, I was beginning to doubt myself when it comes to my relationship with my helpers. I can't seem to find an all around helper that stays and is competent. I was beginning to think that, maybe it was me. But then again, how come my yayas have stayed with me.

Again, this session enlightened me so much. And these are what I took home: (they are in no particular order)

Consider the birth order of your helper
I honestly never thought about this.  I would not consider this important but it is quite a relevant matter. Coach Pia said that depending on the birth order - you would be able to gauge the capacity of your helper. Let's say for a first born, most often than not, they are the more reaponsible ones, they are more hardworking. And they can handle responsibilities and tasks better. Comparing the first born to the youngest in the family.  The youngest ones are usually pampered and spoiled. These ones are the baby if the family thus they are not given much or any of the responsibilities.  According to statistics (forgive us for the stereotype) but they have a tendency to slack off and not work as hard. The only outlier with being the youngest in the family is if he or she was an overachiever meaning they've graduated with honors or they're hardworkers.

Differentiate between willingness and ability
Coach Pia suggested that we measure the competence of our helpers via tests available to us in the bookstore.  These tests will gauge the capability of our helpers.  What does this test particularly do?  Well it gives us an idea on what the helper can and can't do.  If the helper can understand simple instructions or not.  We should get tests that are applicable to our helpers.  A note to be considered, do not get tests that are for the high school levels - as they may be too difficult for our helpers.  When we know of the result - we will then be able to measure their ability to work.  Can they do simple tasks?  Understand instructions and the likes.  After is 'test' we will then asses their willingness to learn and work.  These two go hand in hand because if there is ability, but there is no willingness - then there's no use.  If there is willingness but the ability is not, then you can gauge with the test it we can train and work from there.  If there is no willingness and no ability - then, don't even waste your time!  Hahaha...

Get rid of the Malasakit or Solicitude expectation
Is there an English word for malasakit?  Solicitude is the closest that I can come up with (Thanks to Google!) I've always assumed that everyone has malasakit.  I was wrong.  Coach Pia enlightened us that this rarely happens - why?  Simply because we are employers.  We are not relatives, not family, we do not have any blood relation whatsoever, so why have malasakit?  Even if we tell them to treat us like family, they really won't.  This for me was kind of hard to accept because I naturally treat my helpers like family.  I think it's high time for me to start changing and this may help my relationship with them.

Asses what your Need is and Want and differentiate them
This was the biggest challenge for me because everything was a 'want' for me.  I want my house to be clean everyday - all day!  I know its impossible and I've accepted that fact already.  So what I did was make a list of the things needed to be cleaned a) everyday b) every two days c) once a week and d) once a month.  But still this list wasn't followed.  I made it a point to lessen the things to do everyday (I had to assess what was important), two (2) bathrooms, one (1) bedroom, one (1) kitchen and one (1) dining area.  STILL it wasn't followed.  I had a hard time grasping why it can't be done when in fact, my mom's helper and all the previous helpers were able to do it in half a day!  And then I realized - that she moved ever so slowly.  It was like she was loving in slow motion.  What my 'wants' were not her 'need' and since it was upon her discretion - gah, she's the one deciding what can and can't be done.

Give it three (3) years to asses the relationship
I personally would like to treat them like family.  There are few who would reciprocate the gesture but most often than not, they don't give a rats ass about us.  To them, we are merely their bosses who pay for their salary.  So the assumption that 'we are family' well - it needs to be nurtured.  According to Coach Pia - the timeline to be able to consider them as family (and eventually helping them out) is three (3) years.  That long - why?  Because in that length of time - you will see if the helper is trustworthy and their real attitude.  After that three year mark, you can start considering helping them long term.  Coach Pia told us an inspiring story about her and her Yaya.  It was so very inspiring!  Her parents helped her Yaya out - and its rewards were more than double for her family.  Yaya is now a UK citizen, Yayas kids are all employed and are earning very well.  What is most rewarding is that - Yaya hasn't forgotten about Coach Pia and her kids.  Yaya would always send Coach Pia gifts.  Imagine that!  Yaya sending gifts to Coach Pia!  Doesn't that warm the heart?

So, there - I learned so many things.  It gave me insights and additional knowledge.  There were some points that I never considered that I should have considered.  I remember Coach Pia telling us that she has this rule - that she won't hire anyone below the age of thirty (30) - why?  Simply because she doesn't like to rear another child!  Because a 30 year old - is more mature, would have experience and just needs to be guided as opposed to be taught.  Coach Pia says this is the most ideal age, but then again - I can argue that I have hired helper over 30 and they're still incompetent.  I guess, swertehan lang talaga when it comes to house help.

My mom has told me that in her lifetime, she's only had 4 helpers.  One when she got married, another when we were born, another when we were in our schooling years and the current one when we just graduated high school.  I guess she's lucky that way.  As for me - gosh, I think I've changed all around help more than 10 times since I got married last 2009!  My mom would always tell me that helpers then and now are different.  During her time, they were loyal and would work hard, nowadays she noticed that there is no loyalty and these helpers, with the first sign of hardship, would immediately want out!

Thanks to the #SoMoms for inviting me to this #BetterMe session.  Thank you also for Marca Pina Queso de Bola and Arix Tonkita for sponsoring this session at Gustare Kitchen.

Giveaway Alert: BagsGo Reusable Bags!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Last year, I won two of these bags at Tita K's giveaway on Live Love Lolz.  I fell in love with them as soon as I got them.  The two bags that I got I brought with me to Tokyo (May 2013), one I gave to a friend together with her pasalubong, and she loved it!  She even texted me back to compliment on the bag, she said it was so roomy, lightweight and different from other eco bags because it folds flat. The other one I used everyday in Tokyo, and I was so proud lugging it around!  I remember reading on the flyer of the bag that the material is actually the same material used in parachutes!  Cool right?

Naturally when we got back, I was uneasy of having just one (1) piece, so I trotted to True Value Trinoma (because I was told that they carried these babies) unfortunately, the stocks haven't arrived yet.  But I knew I had to have one, luckily we went to Shangri-La Mall the next day and the True Value there had it, so I bought two more.  I placed on in the kid's bags and another in the car.  And we have been happy users ever since!

My first gray BagsGo Reusable bag has been with me to ALL my travels.  The bag has been to Tokyo, Hong Kong and most recently to Singapore.  I bring it everywhere because its so light and it folds flat so easily.  I can just put it in my bag and wouldn't notice the weight.  It was so useful during our Singapore trip because it was where I put all of Kailee's things!  It was our unofficial diaper bag - we just hung it on the stroller and voila!  Problem solved - no more extra diaper bag!!

Last Saturday, while packing for Kailee's swimming lessons.  I noticed that the handle of the bag where it was stitched was torn.  Must be all the abuse it was subjected to during all the travels and what nots.  I felt really bad because I knew I needed to retire the bag or repair it.  So, to make myself feel better - I bought two new ones while we were at Robinson's Magnolia.  Haha!!

I can't tell you enough how useful this bag is.  I've literally put pillows, jackets, blankets, food items like canned goods, milk, tissues in it wherever I went.  I love it so much that I have one in my bag everyday - just in case. 

To share my love for these babies, BagsGo Reusable bags is sponsoring a giveaway!  Yes, you read that right - a  GIVEAWAY!! :)  BagsGo Reusable bags is giving away two (2) bags to five (5) winners!  :)  Joining is VERY easy - just follow the Rafflecopter box below.  Make sure to read the terms and conditions!

Thank you BagsGo Reusable Bags for caring for the environment!  And for thinking of us - making them fold flat and making them lightweight for us to bring everywhere anytime!

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Ramen Nagi aka Butao Ramen Manila

Monday, February 03, 2014

FINALLY got to try Ramen Nagi aka Butao Ramen (Manila) in SM Aura last Friday! :)  I have been really excited to try this place since it opened late last year.  Everyone who has tried it in Hong Kong has been raving about it and it got me curious.

Most everyone I know who have tried this place (abroad) has been telling me to head on to Aura when the mall opens so that we won't need to wait that long to get seated.  Well, as luck would have it, we got there at 11:30am and luckily, since we were six, we immediately got a table.  Just a note, I found it really funny and odd that some patrons REFUSE to share a table.  There were two groups ahead of us and both refused to share a table with others.  They wanted a 'private' table thus, they needed to wait.  I admire the management of Ramen Nagi for insisting that patrons in 2s or 3s share a table, makes it more practical.  You're not there for the ambiance anyway - you're there for the food.  I like that the management is firm on the sharing a table policy!  Good job management!

I didn't want to take pictures outside the restaurant, and so I took one inside.
Of course it has to show my Connor!  Hahaha...

So we were seated immediately and were given the papers to fill out our order.  I got the Butao King for my kids and the yayas, I ordered the Green King while my Panget got the Black King.  Initially, it was me that was supposed to order the Black King, but then I convinced my Panget to try it, he says that he won't order the Green King - and I was intrigued by it.  So I told him that I'd get the Green King instead so that he can order the Black King.

Our orders arrived within 10 minutes.  Introducing:  the Green King, the Butao King and the Black King!

Green King
look how green it is! :)

 Butao King
the most basic ramen of all!

Black King
the blackest badass of a ramen!


They were all good!  I loved my Green King very much - it was different.  It was a well thought of and I was surprised at how the taste of basil and parmesan cheese were incorporated perfectly in a tonkotsu (pork) broth!  I definitely will order this again and get all extremes (except for the spice).  I enjoyed how different it was!

As for my Panget's Black King - it was also good and different!  The broth was really rich and black.  My Panget had to add condiments to make the taste more flavorful to his tastebuds and it worked!  He though that it was a bit too oily.  I think he means that the broth was quite heavy/thick.

The Butao King was the most basic and simplest ramen of all.  The Yayas were all so happy with the noodled, soup and they were amazed on the oh so soft pork belly.  I can see it on their faces that they were both satisfied with the dish!  Kailee and Connor kept on eating the noodles and loving the broth too!  Too bad though that they don't have a kid's serving for the ramens.

Ramen Nagi offers a wonderful change to the basic ramen.  Alternative flavors that were all well thought of.  I hope that the ramen gods are happy about this!  Hahaha... or are they shaking their heads in disagreement?

The flavors are not something your will want to go back to every week to have your fill.  I still prefer Hokkaido Santouka (because of their set meals!) and Hanamaruken Ramen for the classic Tonkotsu ramen.  But if you get bored and want to try something different - then head on to Ramen Nagi, but please make sure to order the Green King or the Black King - as these are the house specials.  They also have the Limited King - which changes flavors monthly.   I also highly suggest that you give in when asked to share a table with strangers - for a change, you know! :)

For the record - we still have a favorite - and that is Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo!


Ramen Nagi
SM Aura