LTO-LTFRB: Private Trucks NEED Yellow Plates

Monday, June 30, 2014

UPDATE:  August 9, 2014 - As of 10:53PM LTFRB Chairman Ginez made a Tweet that said that they are RECALLING THE PETITION OF EXEMPTIONS FOR PRIVATE OWNED TRUCKS.  This means THAT IT IS NO LONGER NEEDED!!

UPDATE:  August 16, 2014

Here's the ACTUAL Memo recalling the previous Memo

Please click the link below to see the actual TWEET!!



When I was told this - I was like, WHAT?!  Are you serious?

We have green and white plates simply because it is PRIVATE!  Yellow plates for private?  Are you kidding?  I remember when I was small that the distinguishing mark for a private vs a public vehicle is the color of their plate!

My dad told me a story that a truck of his friend got caught because it was not sporting a yellow plate.   Also they were caught because the goods inside their trucks were not their 'real' products according to the enforcer!  And you know how much the fine is?  P200,000.00 !!!  Yes - it was THAT much!! This alarmed me and made me really curious on the topic.  I began googling 'Private Trucks Yellow Plates' - but to no avail - there was no ONE news that talked about it.  There were forum topics but not one addressed to this one topic.  It was very vague to be honest.

This morning, I was presented an advisory in the newspaper entitled ADVISORY TO ALL TRUCKS-FOR-HIRE.  It was honestly very clear - but what struck me was the story that my dad told us last week.  So I did my own research and snooping - I called the hotline printed on the advisory, I got through and this was how the conversation went:

Me:  I'd like to inquire if PRIVATE trucks need to apply for the franchise
Agent:  Yes ma'am, they need to
Me:  Even if the truck is privately owned and private used for the company's delivery of its products?
Agent:  Yes, po
Me:  Eh nakalagay sa truck namin NOT FOR HIRE, and hindi naman namin pinaparenta
Agent:  Ma'am, ang nakalagay sa Memorandum Circular 2014-008 is ALL FREIGHT TRUCKS
Me:  Can you define what FRIEGHT TRUCKS mean?
Agent:  Lahat po ng sasakyan na may dalang kargamento
Me:  Sigurado ka?
Agent:  Yes, mam!

With this conversation with the agent - I was told to GET A FRANCHISE.  Honestly, I am NOT convinced.  So I called the office of the DOTC secretary - I spoke to a nice lady named Virgie.  I told her my concern and she was apologetic because she didn't know what the answer to my concern was - she then gave me the number of Usec. Lopez; that handles operations - that I look for Ms. Chona.  I then called Chona and she said that Usec. Lopez was out in a meeting - that she can't help me.  She then gave me another number, the number of Dir. Natividad who also handles operation.  I called that number and was able to speak to Maan.  She was really nice because she took my call.  I have to say - I am very much impressed with how Maan handled the call.  She took in all the details and was helpful in pointing me to the right direction.  She told me to call the LTFRB hotline because they were the ones who know better.  So I tried calling the numbers that she gave - unfortunately (as I had experienced before) the phone was just ringing and no one was answering.  (I can supply you with all the numbers, just shoot me an email!)

I then decided to TWEET the LTFRB_CHAIRMAN - to test if I would get a reply.  I checked on his last tweet and it was quite a while ago.  But I took my chances - malay mo diba?  I got shocked when I got a reply!  Hahaha..  And here is what we tweeted to one another, I'm sorry but this is what I captured.  I don't understand too why it's not organized.  Weird!

So that's how it went.  I'm sorry its a bit confusing - but I'm sure you get the gist of the conversation.  Twitter has this sort of ewan for chronological order of conversation that I don't understand.  Anyway - according to the LTFRB_CHAIRMAN twitter account - private vehicles DO NOT NEED to get the franchise/CPCs.

After calling and calling for almost an hour - I finally got on the phone with Warren.  I relayed to Warren my issue and he said that Maan was able to discuss it to him this morning.  Aba!  Efficient nga talaga si Maan!  He said that he understood my concern that PRIVATE trucks need not get the franchise license BUT according to his superior Ms. Lilian Coloma - we SHOULD JUST GET IT, JUST TO BE SAFE.  What?!  Just to be safe?  I then asked him - was it NEEDED or not replied with 'Ma'am apply nalang po kayo para hindi po kayo masita ng ibang entities'  What are those other entities?  There's the MMDA, PNP and etc.  Waaaaah!!  He also shared that the new price is ONLY for the LTO and LTFRB - as for the other entities, their current rates still remain!  Ano ba ito?!  Yes, that is what ran through my head the entire conversation.  There is no ONE entity that can be followed - its every man/entity for themselves!  Free for all!  Napakalaking WTF?!  Yes, this is OUR government, this is the Philippine Government!  He understood where I was coming from but based on his superior - that was the only thing he can recommend.  I had to put down the phone because the conversation was leading nowhere.

I called Maan to relay to her that I was able to get through and speak to Warren, but she wasn't around.  I spoke to Krisha and also told her the entire story.  I told her that if I were to choose, I would believe the tweet that I got from the LTFRB_CHAIRMAN because it says that private trucks need NOT get a franchise.  But I was doubtful of its veracity since most twitter accounts are handled by 'secretaries'.  I then told her to just relay to Maan what happened and that I asked for a call back.  I got a call right after, it was still Krisha and she told me that the twitter account of LTFRB_CHAIRMAN was really the chairman himself answering tweets!  I was dubious, but she said that Chairman Ginez is very active is social media - and that we has the one who replied to my tweets.  So I guess, I will quote Chairman Ginez on his tweet!  I hurriedly screen captured it - it might get deleted you know!!  Krisha told me to make a formal letter of clarification - so that they can relay to their bosses.  And so I sent one through email.  Let's see how long it takes to get a reply of some sort.

I have to say - I am most impressed with Maan and Krisha and how they handled the call and how well they conversed with me.  Their english is very good, they were warm and they understood what I was telling them.  I did not need to repeat myself.  For once, I got to speak to a government employee that has very good listening skills!  I am very happy with that.

So there, I am sharing with you my plight.  I think most private companies have this same question hovering over their heads for a while now.  Even if there is a 30-day suspension - we still need to be clarified on this matter because securing all those documents?  Gosh - they take time and have their corresponding fees too!  So, if we can save some dough and time - why not, diba?

As of August 8, 2014 - I have not heard from the LTFRB Chairman on anything.  I sent my letter through DOTC but I guess it has fell on deaf ears.  Anyways, I was listening to the radio and the MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino was the guest of DZMM's Pasada 630 - he mentioned that he has been in the talks with Chairman Ginez about the NOT-FOR-HIRE trucks.  He was explaining that small businesses - not engaging in a truck-for-hire scheme, should not be even asked to apply for an EXEMPTION - simply because they are engaged in another type of business!  Why should these businesses be hassled to submit their SEC papers, DTI papers and charged a fee for something that they are not engaged in.  He has a very good point - because he said - that this particular exemption is up for abuse!  Some companies may apply for this exemption (since its cheaper) than get a real francise!

Politics and miscommunication - hay!  Shouldn't they have stales about these things before releasing the implementation?  Who approved of such?  Sigh.. Dito talaga sa Pinas - hilahan pababa - at pataasan ng ihi.  Sheesh!

Didi Reviews: Konjac Sponge & Eczema

For a mom with two kids who both have eczema - I am most of the time desperate in finding a solution to ease my kids' skin conditions.  I would try ANYTHING just to ease their skin asthma, anything.  I've tried so many soaps, lotions, steroid creams and found not one thing that can be the ultimate solution.

Just recently, I've found lotions that helped manage my Kailee and Connor's skin asthma.  Around the same time months ago, I received a message from a friend, she said that she would send me some Konjac sponge to try on the kids.  I remember being told by the Pedia-Dermas not to use anything on the kids's skin while bathing.  No towel, no washcloth to rub on their skin - just use our hands and soap.  Wash cloths they say will make the skin dry and the friction of rubbing may cause rashes in the skin - so I never used anything on them.  But with this product, my friend Czen (and also Atchi Pao) told me that these sponges are safe for babies and kids - I was very willing to try it on the kids.  I was just crossing my fingers that nothing bad would come out of it!  

I am very happy to share to you that this Konjac Sponge has HELPED my kids' skin condition.  They've had less and less flare ups, their skins are softer and smoother.  Connor in particular has much much smoother skin on his back.  Kailee has less rough patches on her arms.  I attribute these improvements to the Konjac Sponge.  When I asked the Yayas to use the Konjac Sponge, I didn't tell them what it was for.  I just told them to use it on the kids when they took a bath and they did.  After a week, I already saw improvements - but I still did not mention anything to the yayas.  I wanted to wait for the Yayas to tell me their feedback.  Then a few days ago, Connor's Yaya told me that she thinks the sponge has helped soften the skin of both Kailee and Connor.  In her own words she said 'Ma'am sa tinging ko, nakatulong yung sponge na ipinagamit niyo, mas hindi na magaspang yung likod ni Connor at yung balat ni Kailee mas gumanda and lumambot'  (Ma'am, I think the sponge you gave us to use on the kids' bath helped.  Connor's rough skin is no more and Kailee's skin is better and softer)  It was only then that I told them that the sponge was really to help the skin asthma.  I didn't want to jinx the product to be honest - and I am very happy that it didn't!

So, how does the Konjac sponge work?  Well, the sponge balances the PH of the water before it touches the skin.  So when you rub it on your body - the water is already 'balanced'!  Yes, it's that simple, and I swear - I had no idea that the PH level of the water mattered - but it does, pala!  

I'm so happy to have found a more natural alternative to medicines and steroids!  If course, I still use lotions -but I use them less now.  I don't need to buy them in bulk!  This product saves me money too!  Seriously!  

I have finally found a regimen that works for both my kids.  This Konjac Sponge for they they're taking a bath and the other lotions that I featured recently TruKid Face and Body Lotion and Grandma El's Lotion.

Thank YOU Czen for sending me the Konjac Sponge.  I will surely buy from you next month!  Thank you for bringing in this products - it is really a gigantic help to me and most especially the kids!!

For those who are interested to try this product - Konjac Sponge, please visit the Facebook Page of The Updated Trends to see how you can purchase one.  I really hope that it gets to help your or your child's eczema.

Reality Check: My blood test result

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ahhhhhhh....  The quest of losing weight.  I have been dealing with this issue most of my life.  You see, I wasn't the 'thin' kid - I was the chubby cute one!  But cuteness has its expiration, and it expired when I was told by the famous Dr. Marcelino So that I was too fat.  Thus, my mom put me on a diet.  I remember just having to eat fish and vegetables.  My lunch box would only contain these two viands for a long while.  There was even a time when I refused to eat lunch because of the food I got!  But eventually, I guess I lost weight because I stopped getting fish and veggies for lunch at school.

I was labelled by my MIL as the rubber band type, according to her, I would be thin and then gain weight.  It was a cycle.  But I didn't mind the cycle.  It was more, the other people minded the cycle.  I think it was only in 2003 that I realized that eating was super enjoyable!  Hahaha.. Two years after, I documented food trips on my blog - this, this blog was born!

Through the years, I was thin-fat-thin-fat - it was really a cycle, but during that time - when I felt that I gained weight, I would be able to diet and exercise and lose the weight.  I then found Bikram Yoga which I really loved.  I got married and after a year or so - I got pregnant.  I gained SO much weight while I was pregnant with Kailee - and after, I had a hard time losing the weight because I was breastfeeding.  When I didn't eat - I wouldn't produce so much milk - thus I ate.  Before I knew it, I got pregnant again, with Connor - but at that time - I controlled what I ate - I gained 25lbs.  That was on top of the weight I gained while I was pregnant with Kailee.  I lost the 'added' pregnancy weight but all the excess weight I gained when I had Kailee - is still very present up to now.  I honestly don't mind that people tell me I'm fat simply because it is true!  I don't deny the fact that its - honest to goodness TRUE!  But you see, I don't ming being big.  I think the only issue I have is that - I don't have any more clothes!  I belong to the group that is too big for pre-pregnancy wear and too small for maternity wear.  I am in LIMBO - hahaha!  But seriously, I am happy with how I am.  I wish that I can be thinner - but come on!  I knew that if I didn't get my ass on the treadmill - nothing will happen.

One of the reasons that I never had the chance to diet or exercise was because I am still pumping breastmilk for Connor.  I'm sure there will be a lot of people who would say I am just making up excuses, but I don't care.  Each body is different and my body - I know it better than anyone.  I need to eat, to be able to produce milk.  And so I have been delaying the diet.  I'm sure for others, breastfeeding helped them lose weight - I think its the pregnancy weight that they lost.  But as I said - each body is different.  I envy those who lost weight with breastfeeding - as with me, sorry - I belong to the margin of error that didn't lose weight.

Yesterday - my Panget and I had our bloodworks done.  I honestly hated it because I am super scared of needles.  I'm sure I'll get hirits that I already gave birth and all, that I should be able to handle the small needle prick.  I still can't.  I was heavily sedated when I gave birth via CS and I took so many pain killers - so it made childbirth a breeze!  So, yesterday afternoon - we got the results.  And my results were surprisingly bad alarming to my Panget.  He called me up and told me that my results were off the charts.  I was curious, so I asked for a copy - and now, I am sharing with you my results:

The results that I got, didn't surprise me at all, I expected it since I wasn't very particular with my diet.  I knew I had an issue with Uric Acid - I've had it for the past 10 years, but it was always on the border, it was never over the border.  As for my Triglycerides - it has been high since I got pregnant, my OB said it was okay.  My cholesterol - well, they've always been within range and never over the limit.  As for the Fasting Blood Glucose - this was the first time ever.  Am I considered a diabetic?

Seeing these results well - they made me realize that I NEED to change my diet, exercise and lose weight.  I don't think I have a choice.  It's my health that is on the line now.  And I am the only one to blame for this.  Maybe it's the age, but I admit - I don't watch what I eat.  I guess, I was oblivious to the fact that I SHOULD take care of my health.  I was over confident and this is the result.

I remember hearing on the radio that one should exercise at least 14 minutes a day.  I will do better, I will start walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes and then slowly make it longer.  I will also try to watch what I eat.

Please wish me luck on this journey of mine.  I would appreciate any suggestions and help to make this journey more pleasing.  I know I can do it - I know I have the discipline to watch what I eat - but the exercise - gosh, I HATE the sweaty feeling (thus, I always have a fan in my bag) I don't like to move around and about!  Hahaha...  So this is really going to be a tough journey.  Please pray for me and wish me luck!

Would anyone be able to help me out on what food I should avoid or eat more of?  I would appreciate them very much!!  Thanks in advance!! :)

I hope that on my next blood test, everything will be in the normal range.

Health is finally catching up on me!!


DIDI'scoveries: Netipot by Sinucleanse

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ever since I got pregnant with Kailee, I've had sever allergies.  And it never went away.  Everyday, I would sneeze and blow my nose.  My helpers think I have all year round colds - and I honestly thought it was too!  Until, I was diagnosed with allergies.  I would drink allergy medicines, but they will just be effective for a while.  I've accepted the fact that I would have this my whole life.

One of the things that has helped me get through my allergies is the constant cleaning and vacuuming of the common rooms in the house.  I would require my helper to vacuum the common areas twice a week at least.

And then I researched online, and found Netipot.  It seemed really strange to be honest, but then a lot of people swear by it.  I have friends who have told me that it has worked for them and their allergies were managed and some even say it cured their allergies.  I was very willing to try it out - but the problem was, it wasn't available here in Manila.  I posted a status message on FB asking if there were any netipost sold in Manila - and I got a number of answers.

So last Sunday, I was in Shangri-La Mall, I made sure to drop by True Value to see if there were any still left.  When I entered the store, I asked the staff - they told me to go the counter display.  I rushed to the cashier to ask and she told me that it was already out of stock.  I was sad, but then when I turned around, I saw it!  It was there, so I picked up one and saw that there were only 3 pieces left.  What's more wonderful was that it was at 50% off!  I was planning to buy in Amazon, but was really hesitant because of the time it will take to reach me.  I opted for this since it's already here and I would be able to use it immediately.

And last night, I used it.  It felt really weird at first.  I had to breathe through my mouth.  The feeling was so weird, to best describe it - it was the feeling of drowning.  Yes - it was how it felt the first time - the solution seemed like it moved up the sinus and down again to the other nostril.  What's great about it is that it irrigates the nasal passages.  So after pouring the saline solution, on both nostrils - it feels so clean!  Mucos-less and clear!  You can breathe normally!  Galing diba?

So there, I will be doing this for the next 30days as I have a packet of 30 pieces.  Let's hope that my allergies gets managed.  I am merely hoping to lessen the allergies and not eliminate it, but if it cures it - all the better, right?  Make sure to use boiled tap water or distilled water.  Make sure too, that it's lukewarm.

To all those who are interested, you may head to the nearest True Value, Handyman, and DIY store to try your luck in finding the Netipot!

I'll be doing updates on my Facebook Page, so if you would indulge me, please like my FB page and join me as I chronicle my Netipot journey to manage my allergies!


Monday, June 23, 2014

Kettle has been in my radar for a long time now.  Ever since seeing it on my IG feeds and posts of my fellow bloggers.  I became curious.  Unfortunately - I've never had the chance to try the restaurant.  It was always full whenever we go.  We were always more the 12th in line.  And since we're always with the kids - their tummies cannot wait.

Yesterday morning, my Panget decided to head to Shangri-La Mall.  While in the car, we were already discussing where to have lunch.  It was Panget who decided on Maple.  But I wanted to try my luck in a different restaurant.  So when we got to the mall at 11:15, the first thing I did was go to Maple - but they weren't accepting reservations - we weren't that hungry yet, so we thought of walking around the mall.  While window shopping - I told my Panget that I will try my luck at Kettle.  So I went up to Kettle and left my name and number - my name was 6th in line.  I met up with my Panget and told him that - he said that it was close to impossible.  So we strolled walked and looked around, as we always do.  After 30 minutes, we decided that we might seriously need to head on to Maple - because Mass in the main wing was ending - so for sure the influx of the lunch time crowd will be expected.  On our way down to Maple - we walked past Kettle.  The kids suddenly needed to go to the bathroom and my Panget went with them, I told him that I'd try my luck!  So, when I got to the podium - I asked what number we were - we were 4th in line.  But then the nice receptionist said that she just gave the bill to a table that can accommodate us - I was thrilled!

There I met Rosh (he was wearing a chef's garb) so I asked for his recommendations on the dishes.  The first thing he recommended was the Buttermilk Fried Chicken - it's THE best seller.  I knew I was going to order that, so I asked for others - and he graciously pointed to and explained the dishes one by one.

Within minutes, we were seated and these are what we got:

Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread

Whenever I see Clam Chowder on the menu, I almost always associate it with the Clam Chowder that I always order in Dan Ryan's - one that is on a bread bowl.  I have never seen a clam chowder here in Manila that serves in on a bread bowl .  So when I saw the description on the menu - I knew I had to order it. The chowder was very flavorful - but the bread was too soft for me.  Although the softness didn't make a difference in the taste, I poked a few holes in it while scraping the bread while scooping the soup.  But that's just a small thing.  I really liked it and so did Connor.  Kailee ate the bread bowl's cover and even shared it to the Yayas.  Hehehe... 

 Ceasar Salad

Rosh recommended that we get the Kettle salad, unfortunately Cherish - our server said that they didn't have arugula at that time.  So my Panget decided on his favorite salad - Ceasar Salad.  I was happy with the salad, but my Panget said that it lacked dressing, so we asked for more and they graciously induldged us.  I liked the grated cheese on top.  I liked also the fact that they made the lettuce all bite sized.  No one was too big for the mouth! :)  

 Angus Roast Beef Hash

I ordered this one for myself because Rosh said it was good.  And I was happy that it was good!  It's not the best, but it's good enough.  I like roast beef and so I enjoyed this dish very much.  I got fries as a side dish for this - and I think that was a mistake.  I should have just stuck with the rice as side dish because it would be the better partner.  I would have enjoyed it more!

Corned Beef Hash

My Panget ordered this one and was very disappointed.  He found the hash pieces to be very tough.  Initially, when you take your first few bites - the taste was 'wow', but as you eat through the plate, you'd get sawa with the taste.  I have to agree with him on that.  Because halfway through, I had to exchange with my Panget so as to make him happy with his lunch!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This dish did not disappoint.  I initially thought that I might need to order two of these but was really surprised (good surprised) to see that the chicken parts were huge!  The skin was fried to a crisp, while the meat was so very juicy!  I saw that there were two sauces - one was gravy and the other looked syrupy - so I had to taste it, and it was honey-ish.  I wondered tuloy on the combination and gave it a try - and I was FLOORED!  I never knew that fried chicken can be given a kick in the flavor with a drop of the honey!!  Wow!  I told my helpers to try it and they loved it too!  Connor are his bite size pieces while Kailee ravaged the skins!  This is dish is really good!  This will definitely make me come back.  I love love fried chicken and this is one that I can have weekly.  No exaggeration, promise!!

One thing I can say about Kettle is that their SERVICE IS IMPECCABLE.  As my Panget mentioned to me -  the waiters were very helpful, confident and knowledgeable on the menu.  He said that you would feel the difference in the service because they move fast and are very efficient and accommodating - it seemed as if they were trained very well in the art of service.  They are very attentive and are all smiles - they're dressed very well too!  In my Panget's own words 'Iba yung ramdam ng service nila'  Also, since we were seated near the kitchen - Rosh, would show me the dishes he was going to serve other patrons.  It was really nice of him to be honest - because I'm sure if it was just another person, he or she would just go on their way and serve the food. They looked really good - presentation wise.  But I'm sure most of the food on the menu will not disappoint taste wise.

So there, to the staff of Kettle - especially Rosh, THANK YOU for your wonderful customer service and food creations.  Our lunch yesterday was extra special - amidst the chaos of the Sunday lunchtime crowd - you were able to attend to our needs perfectly!  Thank you for giving us the attention - we appreciated it very much!

See you soon!!

East Wing Shangri-La Mall

Didi's Baby Checklist

Saturday, June 21, 2014

When I got pregnant I was so asking every mommy friend of mine to give me a baby checklist.  Most friends were clueless - but some were very organized and sent me a list.  I've read all of them and I loved them so much.  They helped me!  So when I had a friend who asked me to give her a list, well - OC/Organized mode set it and I was typing like crazy.  I know if you read through the list, you'd say I'm very OA (Over Acting) with some of the things, but well - its MY list, so.... Let me be OA.  Indulge me please!

My friend Shen - you inspired me to share this list of mine.  Thank you!  See you soon with baby CC!!

Please keep in mind that this is only meant as a guide.  Your needs may be different than mine, so you can just take what you need and cross out what you don't.

In case you'd like a copy, shoot me an email with title BABY CHECKLIST PLEASE so I can send you the file.

Hope this was helpful!!

Giveaway: OWL Coffee

Friday, June 20, 2014

I'm sharing with you the loot that I won from Animetric's OWL Coffee giveaway!

Yes, I am very generous that way.  I like sharing what I get!  Don't you agree?

I want to share because I believe in the product.  Their products are really good!  Since receiving the prizes yesterday, I have tried each variant and I am so loving them!  I am not much of a coffee drinker, but these are really good considering they're instant.

One of the nicer things that I noticed and instantly liked - is that the packaging has a label that tells you what kind of coffee you are getting!  I don't mean the flavor (hazelnut, plain or original) but the INTENSITY of the coffee that you are getting!  There are STRENGTH, SWEETNESS & MILKINESS indicator on the pack so you'll know which variant will suit your taste!  I think that's a wonderful thing - because this sets them apart from the rest!  Consumers nowadays are very patient in reading labels and this will really be helpful to them with their purchase.

So to have a try of their products, just follow the Rafflecopter widget below.  It's really easy to join!

One request is - Please make sure that you can pick up the prize in QC!  I ask you guys to kindly not force me to ship the prizes to you, ha..

Love, Didi

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The search is on - For a Pre-School

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Time flies.

It seems like it was yesterday that I gave birth to Kailee.  I still remember every detail.  Sigh.  Fast forward to now - Kailee is now three - 3!  Can you believe it?  I can't!  But I need to - because obviously, she's really three years old!

For a while now, actually since last year - I have been asked the perennial question 'Does she attend Pre-School?'.  I want to know - is it recommended for a child at age 2 to attend pre-school?  Can you tell me why?  I want to know.  Because you see, I was 4years old when I attended pre-school, and it wasn't because it was I wanted to, but because my alma matter pegged the acceptance age for Kinder at 5years old, and so according to my mom - I needed to attend pre-school.  My twin brother on the otherhand went straight to Nursery (this is what they call Kinder in Xavier School) without going through pre-school.  So normally, with that set up, I would normally expect kids to attend pre-school at 4years old!  But I was wrong!  Nowadays - pre-schools accepts kids as young as 1.5years old!  Well, I do understand the logic - since most parents are working, they would rather send their kids to a preschool that let them stay home with the yayas - there's a point if you think of it that way.  But I am personally afraid that the child might feel burnt out since they started school really young.

For the past few days, some of my friends on Facebook with kids as young as 2 years old, have been posting pictures their kid's first day in school.  When I see those pictures - I feel to pressured to send my Kailee to school!  I am beginning to doubt myself and my decision of waiting - was I wrong to decide to send Kailee to pre-school next school year?  Am I too doting and too protective for Kailee?  Should I learn to let her go?  Sigh...

Okay, I will admit - one of the reasons why I refuse to send Kailee to early pre-school is that I am still in denial that she is growing up.  Yes.  There, I said it!  I feel that once I send her to pre-school, it's already admitting to myself that - she is not my baby anymore - that she is moving up in the world!  Another thing is that, I hear from so many of my friends that their child is sick every 2 weeks because they catch some virus in school.  I also read complaints on their statuses that being absent (since the child is sick) is making them miss classes - sayang daw the tuition they pay - and mind you, it costs an arm and a leg nowadays!

I think also that my criteria for a good preschool may be too much.  I'm listing them down - I'm sure they're OA but - what the hell, I'm sharing it anyways.  Hahaha!!  I hope you can help me out.  Bring me to my senses.  Argue with me that I am wrong.  HELP ME!!

I like that when I enter the place, the place is clean.  I mean really clean - no sign of dirt or things left for days.  I am very anal with this because I know that when a place is dirty - there are germs and what do germs do?  They cause people especially children to get sick!  I'm sure you'll ask why I'm so anal with cleanliness - well kids are very vulnerable.  Compared to us adults, their immune system is just building up!  They get sick more easily than we do, so naturally - to avoid getting sick, one must practice cleanliness.

Whenever I see blackened school walls and the owners/teachers do not mind it - it says something to of that particular school.  Toys that are not cleaned and have dirt marks.  Floors that look so old and unclean!  Old bathrooms that are not maintained - tiles that are broken and really old.  The list goes on.  I have told myself that maybe, it's just me - but excuse me.  In my old High School - everything was clean - I mean everything, and that made me appreciate it evenmore.  Are my standards too high when it comes to cleanliness?  I hope not!  But I feel they are and maarte lang ako.  So?!  hahaha!! Taray!

Even if I have the means to drive - I do not want to go too far.  I'm sorry, but I will not and do not want to subject myself to traffic stress everyday!  I have been hearing about this very good school all the way in White Plains - but even if its very good - my concern is - simply, traffic!  Imagine, if the class starts at 8am - what time do I need to leave the house?  What time does Kailee need to wake up?  She still needs to have breakfast right?  All in all - the travel time will entail +/- an hour.  And Kailee waking up and eating and dressing up - about another +/- an hour.  So that's 2 hours!  That means, we need to be awake at 6am and leave at 7am to be able to be make it on time for class!  Ayoko ng ganon.  Maybe when she gets to big school - I can consider driving a little father.

In my area - there are actually a LOT of pre-schools, but for the handful that I've check out - only one  has passed my standards.  Another great thing is that its super near me.  I think 5 minutes away!  Unfortunately, they are not open this school year - next school year is also in limbo - so there, my choices are limited.  I have yet to check out three schools in my area, cross your fingers for me

I don't mind that the preschool doesn't have a Chinese classes.  It's a plus, but it's not a must for me.  But for my Panget - it's a must.  So, that's another limitation that I need to consider.  There are a LOT of preschool in QC that has Chinese on their curriculum - but the question is, do I like those particular schools?  The answer is - I am not sure.  I cringe actually when you ask me that - its because the kaartehan in me will be very frank to answer you while the polite Didi in me would just give you a weird smile and not say anything.  These schools - mind you have produced really good kids but but but.... I don't know - I feel like I'm being too choosy, but the schools I've been to?  They don't grab me.  I am not drawn to them.  Is it strange for me to feel that way?

Then there's the Traditional VS Progressive system.  I am so very confused to be honest, so very very confused.  I grew up with the Traditional set up but some say that I should go the progressive way.  It makes things more complicated.  I think I need to sit down.

Another option I have is the home-school set up, but is there a homeschooling for pre-school?

There's one more criteria in my list, but I choose not to share it.  Writing it down Publishing it may cause me to overshare and I might be accused of being too sensitive.  Hahaha!  So for now, ito muna..

Please feel free to suggest or comment on this matter.  I'd love to know what your thoughts are.  Am I crazy or not?  Overacting?

Tell me what you think!

My FRIENDS Tribute

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I have loved this show ever since I first saw it on cable.  In a foreign channel to be exact, I think it was a Taiwan channel.  I remember that I was in 2nd year in HS when I first caught a glimpse of it, and by chance - I mentioned it to a classmate and it turns out, she knows about the show too!  Jill Krystle Chua - wherever you are in the world, know that I will forever be grateful for that conversation we had in the classroom about Friends!

To those who have been following me since I started, I'm sure you've read my posts pertaining to FRIENDS.  I think I have a handful of them.  It was through this show, that I met friends who had the same thoughts on Friends - that it was real.  We reference the show in real life.  I used to think that it was only my brother and I who did that, but as it turns out - many of us fans do that too!  Its really funny and cute when you think about it.  Hahaha!!  I know it's been years since they last aired BUT I still watch it when I have the chance.

This is still the best show for me, by far.  No show has come close.  EVER.  Hahaha!!  Benchmark!  Super love the gang.  Forever and ever.

For the past year BuzzFeed has been making these - most memorable quotes, episodes on Friends.  And I have been reading them non-stop.  Actually, anything FRIENDS related - I get baited every singe time.  So, I am planning to make a blog post tribute on my favorite show.  I will make an individual post on each the characters of Friends.  Stay tuned and tell me your thoughts!

You be the judge who is my most favorite!  Hahaha..

For the mean time, take this test on How Well You know "Friends"

Yaya Diaries: Guidelines for Yaya Interviews

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You can read more about my Yaya Diaries at THIS link.

I'm sharing with you guys the guidelines that I have made in interviewing yayas.  This is not a foolproof way, but just a guide.  When I was looking for a yaya, I didn't have this, I made this up to help out friends.  I thought that this is one way to pay it forward and help new moms.  I apologize for the Tag-Lish language.. Hihi..

I hope you get to use this or at least help you guys narrow out what you need to ask.  Remember that there are some yayas who interview very well, but can't perform.  It's really a trial and error if you ask me, so Good Luck!

If you have suggestions or added insights, please feel free to add them at the comment section!  

1.  Ilan taon ka na?  May asawa?  Ilan ang anak?  Nasan ang pamilya?
-  You must decide how old you want your yaya to be.  A young yaya may not know many things, but an old yaya might have a hard time with the sleepless nights.  Kami we had an age limit we put the bar at 40.  Feeling kasi naman kung older than 40 baka mahirapan na with the demands of the a newborn baby.
-  Ask for their age, then ask for the year they were born.  You'll see here if they're lying or not.  Interchange it a bit if you're not convinced.
-  Ask if they're married, what is the work/trabaho of the husband?  (Married yayas have baggage - meaning kapag nag-away minsan nadadala ang emotion sa trabaho)
-  Ask if they have kids - ask for the ages and where they are?  (Yaya's kids can also be considered as baggage - if the kid is sick, immediately aalis yan to take care of her kid if she lives in the Metro)
-  If the pamilya is in the province - at least may peace of mind ka na hindi siya aalis basta basta (kasi kelangan pa nila magtravel to go home)

B.  Gaano ka katagal sa huli mong amo?
-  If they say a few months, magtaka ka na.  Ask why they only stayed a few months?
-  If they say years - then ask why they left?  Nagkaron ba ng problem?  Why leave after all these years?
-  Ask if they took care of a newborn.  Ask how many new borns they've taken cared of and for how long.  (Pag sinabing nakapag-alaga ng mga niece and nephews - iba yon ha!  Haha)

C.  Ilan na ang naging amo mo?
-  You'll see with this question KUNG tumatagal ba siya sa work niya or hindi
-  If tumatagal - then you MIGHT have a keeper
-  If papalit-palit - then you might have a tempo yaya in the works, may reason yan kung bakit ganon siya.  Wala siyang staying power.
-  Ask for the names of her previous employers and their numbers (so you can verify diba?  no harm in calling them up to ask)  One of the most common reasons I hear recently is that 'Nag-Abroad na po ang amo ko' I think they are taught to answer that so that the have a clean slate.
-  Pansinin mo if the yaya badmouths her former employer - verify mo kung totoo.  

D.  Ano ang sakop ng trabaho mo?
-  Yaya SHOULD take care of the baby, bathe, feed, clean, put to sleep, play and interact with baby.  Yaya should also launder clothes of the baby, clean the room and the bathroom.  Anything baby related should be tasked to the yaya.
-  Some yayas say that they don't do laundry or clean the room.  I don't think this is right - as if naman 24/7 naka-tutok siya kay baby!
-  Regarding the laundry - they CAN argue that they can't leave the baby - you can counter with 'pwede ka naman maglaba sa bathroom ni baby at bumaba nalang para magsampay (tinuro yan ng yaya ko sa akin!  Hahaha)
-  She also should share some responsibilities around the house like wash her dishes and her clothes too!
-  Most yayas now have a cellphone attached to their hips.  Tell her that when she's taking care of the baby - WALANG CELLPHONE.  My first yaya was grabe while Kailee was crying NAKIKIPAGUSAP PA SA CELLPHONE!! Grrr....

E.  Magkano ang sweldo na inaasahan mo? 
-  Running rate daw is 7K and above BUT for me its highway robbery - UNLESS super duper galing siya.  Super Yaya in other words
-  You can start at 5k to 6K and tell her na you can increase naman based on her performance
-  Determine if you'll give her SSS, Phil Health and Pag-ibig (I personally give them this - ever since 2011)  This is a REQUIREMENT already so you really need to comply
-  DO NOT ASK kung ilang day off gusto nila. SOP is 1 day off a month lang.  Some kasi have 2 days off na balikan, may iba na 1 day off na overnight.  Pag overnight kasi - paano si baby diba?  Ask your relatives and friends on their thoughts on days off.  With my yaya - I give her 2 days off na balikan (she has to be back by 6pm the latest), hindi naman niya inaabuso and minsan ayaw pa niya mag day off kasi gastos daw.  According to the KB Law, KBs are allowed 1-24hrs day off weekly.  What I do is since the minimum is only 2,500.00 I tell her I'd give her more IF 1's a month lang day off niya..  Haggle nalang?
-  Lay the cards if you're willing to give advances/vale, I don't kasi eh..  

There are other factors that I learned that I needed to know - I realized this when I was on a Coach Pia session with the #SoMoms.  Here's a link to my learning with the Coach Pia session on Building Relationships with your Househelp.

Good Luck fellow Mommies!!

P.S.  For all my Yayas/Helpers I require them to have the following:
a)  Picture (if they don't have one - I have them go to the nearest Kodak place to get one. I usually ask them to have a 2x2 and 1x1 picture)
b)  I also ask them to fill up a bio-data/application form
c)  Xerox of their birth certificate which after 2 months, I require them to have an NSO copy (for SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig) If the yaya doesn't have this - I don't get them.

Vanilla Mint Spa

Monday, June 16, 2014

I'm a very loyal nail spa client.  Proof?  I was a very regular client of CANS (California Nail and Spa) in Greenhills.  I was their loyal client for I think 7 years?  It has been that long, I was so sad that they closed down.  When they did - I followed my 'favorite' manicurista, a new smaller nail place opened right beside CANS and it was called Nuvo Nails.  I live in Quezon City YET I frequented Nuvo Nails, until my manicurista resigned.  After that - I got her to do home service for me.  I really really loved her because she was very gentle, magaan ang kamay, clean and very meticulous.  Unfortunately, her time management was not.  For I think a year or two, she would always cancel last minute or even just don't show up.  I forgave her all the time, but then I gave her a piece of my mind, I told her that if I made an appointment, I wanted it followed - if she couldn't make it, it would be nice if she told me earlier not on the exact hour.  I usually tell her to come to my place at 10am, but she would text at 10am that she won't be able to make it.  Hassle diba?  But then after that text - well, she ignored me.  I was hurt to be honest, but what can I do right?  Move on.  So since that happened, I have been looking for a nail place that was nearby and that reasonable rates.  I found one along Timog Avenue.  The rates were really cheap - but the problem was - they didn't have a phone, so you'd need to walk in by chance - and the aircon was not cold enough for the place.  I went there for a couple of months, until my friend Kath told me to try her new discovered place near Tomas Morato.  And when I did, I stayed at that place - until a couple of months ago when I tried Vanilla Mint.

I saw Vanilla Mint from my friend Pao's IG feed.  I was excited to try it out since it was nearer to my place - and it was new!  So when it opened, I decided to visit it just to check the place out.  When I entered, I was impressed because the place was huge!  The place I frequented before Vanilla Mint was so small that people were bumping each other on the way in and out.  And I also saw the person who used to do my nails at the cheap nail spa in Timog - so that meant, I knew her style (and I liked it).  So I told them that I'd visit the following week.  And I did, and the rest was as they say it - history!

I think I started going to them on the month that they opened, and I have been a regular customer ever since.  I really liked that the place is clean, spacious, visually inviting and I super loved that one could actually taste the smell of Vanilla Mint!  Their rates are very competitive, and comparing them with the previous place that I went to - they're actually a bit cheaper.  Location wise, its very accessible.  There are also available parking spaces which is a must for me.

I apologize that I have not shared this earlier - but you see, when I come in, I tell myself that I would take pictures, but sessions have relaxed me so much that I forget to take pictures!  This was the only picture that I was able to take - on my way out yesterday afternoon.

I haven't been able to try their massages but two of my friends who did, said that it was good!  I've tried having my eyebrows fixed by threading and I was really satisfied.  They also have waxing services and more.  They even have sparty packages for adults and kids!

So there - Vanilla Mint.  My happy place!  I really really love it there.  I also love that their couches are so inviting and comfortable.  The staff are very nice too!  They're very accommodating, smiley and courteous!

Thank you Lea and Achi Pao's brother for opening this place!!

Vanilla Mint Spa

  • Ground Floor, Rosemont Building, Panay Avenue
  • 1103 Quezon City, Philippines
  • Tel.  0927 831 8686

Yaya Diaries: Yaya Ritchie

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A month before my SIL gave birth, she found a yaya.  Since she didn't need her yet - she lent her to me to be 'trained'.  And so I interviewed Yaya Ritchie when she got to my house.  I always interview to scare, haha!  Bad, right?  But I do that so that my helpers know that I am firm.  I've always believed too that interviews are only for show.  I wanted to see her in action and at the back of my mind, I was expecting the worse.

That night, I told her to watch over Connor.  Connor was 5 months old then and he was gaining very little weight.  I was very worried because if you compare him with Kailee - Connor was so far behind.  During her first day - I was already impressed.  She knew what she needed to do, plus she knew how to handle a breastfed baby!  She was such a breath of fresh air, she was very helpful in every way, I mean in EVERY way.

She was quiet, and not chatty.  She seldom uses her cellphone.  She's simple and down to earth.  Very respectful of the things that I wanted done.  She was very helpful, may kusa.  She was also not picky when it comes to food (unlike Yaya D).  I learned that she was a domestic helper for 2 years in Hong Kong.  She told us that when you are a DH in Hong Kong, you literally did everything.  Clean the house, do the groceries, take care of the baby and literally EVERYTHING.  But the pay, according to her was big - so she sacrificed.  She was very much interested to go back again since the pay was big - thus she can save more.  I told myself that at the rate my SIL was paying her for, I wouldn't mind paying the same amount if she was employed with me.  She was very efficient, I swear - she was the perfect yaya.  She was very clean with herself, the baby and the room.  She was organized and well prepared.  She knew how to suction out snot with a bulb suction.  She knew how to nebulize, she was alert, attentive and listens very well to instruction.  I am all praises, but seriously - she is really really THAT good!  She was supposed to be trained under me - but I will tell you what I told my SIL - Yaya Ritchie didn't need to be trained.  I knew from seeing her work that she knew what to do.  A few days with me, I gave my SIL a thumbs up, I told her that her baby will be in good hands.  Ganon ako ka-impressed.  Her good qualities as a yaya didn't end there.  She knew she also had to get along with my other helpers - and she did.  No conflicts in the one month she was with me.  She's also great with nursery rhymes!  Hahaha.. It was from her that I learned the song 'Five Little Monkeys' - she introduced me to Mother Goose club in Youtube!  Hahaha...  I really super liked her!!

A month later, my SIL gave birth and I had to return her.  It was sad but at least I knew that my new nephew would be in good hands.  We saw Yaya Ritchie regularly for 3 months, we would visit them and she would visit us (my nephew in tow of course!)  When she would stay in the house with my nephew, she felt very at home and comfortable.  I'm sure it's very obvious that I was very fond of her - mabait eh!

After a few months, I learned from my SIL that Yaya Ritchie had told her that she wanted to leave.  Apparently, Yaya Ritchie and my SIL's house help were not getting along.  I had to ask why, so I spoke to Yaya Ritchie, she relayed to me that she was threatened, that her life was threatened by the house helper and she was so afraid for her life.  She was crying when she told me, she was really really scared.  It came to a point, that Yaya Ritchie and the house help had to be separated.  I volunteered my home for Yaya Ritchie to stay at - for the time being that she didn't find a job yet.  I told her that I would pay for a portion of her salary since she will be somehow watching over Connor.  But it never happened.  Last I heard was that she went home to the province, Yaya D. told us.  I even texted her that I would help her find work.  Imagine ha, that was how much I really really liked her.

A few months later, I saw in this FB group that someone was going to hire her.  This girl messaged me, lets call her M and I replied.  I told M what a gem Yaya Ritchie was.  I was all praises, and she was actually baffled because Yaya Ritchie stayed with me for only a month, yet I was all praises.  What I told her was really simple - it was that Yaya Ritchie took care of Connor very well.  She was really nice, good with infants, honest, reliable and efficient.  So M took her in.  But it didn't work out, Yaya Ritchie only stayed with her for 2 weeks.  Yaya Ritchie's reason for leaving was that an aunt of her was sick and she needed to help this aunt.  This was a valid reason - because while she was with me, I knew of this aunt she was helping.  I evern accompanied Yaya Ritchie to a bank so she can withdraw some money from her ATM account.  Mind you, Yaya Ritchie has some money saved up.  And its not just 4 digits, more like 5 digits worth!  I was impressed, ha!  I've never met a yaya/helper who had money saved up!

So anyway,  M, out of trust - gave Yaya Ritchie a part of her month's salary in advance.  (This was all relayed to my by M through FB chat - so it's documented)  M said it was her 'help' to Yaya Ritchie and she accepted.  She just told Yaya Ritchie to come back when everything was settled.  But after two weeks or so, Yaya Ritchie told her that she wasn't coming back.  A few weeks later, she got a text from Yaya Ritchie saying that Yaya Ritchie found employment in Hong Kong.  When M told me this, I apologized because it was through my recommendations that M took Yaya Ritchie in, but M was very understanding - she knew the risks and was thankful.  M and I would chat here and there, asking how each other was.

A few weeks ago, I got an FB message from M.

 I asked how she knew and that if Yaya Ritchie texted her, below are her replies:

I was shocked and floored!  I mean, when M told me Yaya Ritchie left for Hong Kong, I thought to myself - kahit gaano ka bait ang Yaya, they're all the same talaga - they just needed the money.  But when I got this message for M.  OH MY GOSH, I couldn't believe it.  I mean, I was really happy because Yaya Ritchie did something NO OTHER HELPER WILL EVER EVER DO!!  And that is to pay back their advances to their employers!  Imagine, she is already in Hong Kong yet she still remembered her obligation.  I was seriously thinking that it was goodbye P5,000.00 of M!  But I guess not!  It was really a miracle, seriously - don't you think so?

What does that say about Yaya Ritchie?  It says so much about her character.

So Yaya Ritchie, wherever you are in Hong Kong, GOD BLESS YOU!

We miss you Yaya Chi!!  Connor is a little boy na!  I miss you whenever I think about you!!  I wish to bump into you when I'm in Hong Kong!  I'm sure I'd give you a very tight hug and praise you infront of your employers!  You should see Kailee, she's a lovely little girl, you would be proud of her too!

This is the only picture I have of Yaya Ritchie and its with Connor pa.

There is still hope pala for these helpers.  It's not all bad I guess, but its so hard for us to trust since we feel that most every helper that came into our lives were bad.  I wish there were more people like Yaya Ritchie.  Mabuhay Ka, Yaya Ritchie!

Cooking Quest: Arroz Caldo ala Didi's mom

Friday, June 13, 2014

I have been wanting to cook Arroz Caldo for years, but was too scared to do so.  I honestly had no idea how to cook lugaw/congee.  I just know that a shortcut would be to put uncooked rice in a small container, put water and freeze it.  The frozen uncooked rice makes it easier for the rice to get mashed/durog when it cooks.

So I asked my mom how she makes her yummy Arroz Caldo.  She told me that it was very very easy.  I honestly didn't believe her - because I knew that cooking lugaw/congee took a lot of time.  She told me - 'Cook the lugaw/congee first, and then saute your onions, put your chicken and when its cooked, pour the chicken and onions in the lugaw/congee and that's it'  It's really easy, she said and I was honestly doubting her.

I was also looking for a certain ingredient to put into the Arroz Caldo.  I asked on Twitter and my friend Sheila said its called Kasubha - it may be called Saffron here in Manila, but it isn't the real one.  So I tried looking for it - and my search was futile.  All of the supermarkets that I went to - there was no one who knew what it was nor what it looked like.  When I told them it was saffron, they pointed me to dried herb section - but it was too expensive.

I then decided just to push through and attempt to make one.  I was really craving for one because it was raining hard the past few days.

I followed my mom's instructions - and this is what I made.

I know it doesn't look much (walang presentation) - but it tasted pretty good if you ask me.  You just need to season here and there to adjust to your taste.  I found it really I'd like to share with your my recipe.

ONIONS -  chopped (you can chop it anyway you want, I like my onions with a bite, so I chopped them big enough to bite)

CHICKEN - I won't tell you how much chicken to use, it will depend on you.  There is also no preference on the with bones or boneless, or which parts to use.  Use whatever chicken parts that you prefer.

UNCOOKED RICE/BIGAS - 1/4 cup for every adult eating (this is just an estimate) put in a container, pour water over it until it's totally soaked and freeze.  This frozen concoction will make cooking lugaw/congee a breeze!

SALT & PEPPER - to season the chicken before you cook it and also to season the cooked arroz caldo

CHICKEN CUBE/CHICKEN POWDER/MAGIC SARAP - Whatever suits your fancy, some like chicken cubes, others - granules, others, MSG.  So I will not dictate - you may use whatever it is that you want.

What to do:
1)  Cook the lugaw/congee - place the frozen uncooked rice in a pan and let it cook slowly.  While it melts, add water.  This will depend on how thick you want the lugaw/congee will be
2)  Season the chicken with salt and pepper
3)  Saute your onions until fragrant (or transparent)
4)  Pour the chicken onto the sauteed onions and cook until done
5)  Once cooked - you may pour the chicken mixture into the lugaw/congee
6)  Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil
7)  Season to taste, you may add patis, salt and etc.

That's it folks!  Easy lang, right?
Hope you enjoy and like my my mom's recipe!

Its super perfect for the rainy season..


Gino's Brick Oven Pizza

Thursday, June 12, 2014

In all honesty - two of my favorite food in the world!  Pizza and doughnuts, and yes they're housed in the same spot along Katipunan in Quezon City.

I knew of Cello's doughnuts from way back in 2006 - I was gifted by my friend Kim a box of their assorted mini doughnuts for Christmas.  I especially loved the cheese doughnut - I think it was called ensaymada doughnut before.  As for Gino's Brick Oven Pizza, I've been hearing about it from my friend Kath and Fran, but I never got the chance to try it.

Early this year, I learned that my good friends Brian and his wife invested into the company.  I was very excited because I love pizzas and doughnuts!  Here's a preview of what we ordered:

When I posted this on my IG, I got a LOT of reactions!
Brian says that their Burata run out fast!  As in really really fast! 
So come in early to be able to order this!
I loved the texture and taste of this simple yet very flavorful appetizer, I think I can munch down one whole order by myself!  hahaha... 

Balsamic Onions Mushroom & Blue Cheese
Who would have thought that caramelized balsamic onions will work as a pizza topping?
Well, I didn't!  Hahaha...  The sweetness of the caramelized balsamic onions, the strange but good taste of the blue cheese and the mushroom, these toppings blended well together and it was delicious! 

Sausage (homemade), Mushroom and Egg
This was the most different pizza that I have ever encountered!
A runny sunny side up egg on top of a pizza?
What would that taste like?  Well - it tasted very very good!

 Classic Carbonara
Who doesn't love Carbonara?  My Kailee loved it to bits!  And so did we!

 Salted Egg Pasta
I loved the combination of this - the flavor plus the chewy pasta!
But it might be too rich for others.
I say 'Bring it on!'

 Lemon Mushroom Pasta
For those who appreciate a hint of citrus-y in their pasta, this dish is for you!
I was honestly surprised that the flavors worked well together.  I don't know if it was just me, but I am starting to appreciate  hints of lemon here and there in my food!  This is really good too!

 Bianca Verde Pizza
This is one of my favorites!  A simple yet very flavorful pizza.  
I think I like my pizzas simple and clean (looking and tasting)
We ordered this last because we were still hungy!

 Crack Pie
This one passed the standards of my Panget's sweet tooth!
And man, was it addicting!!

We enjoyed our meal very much and I think I enjoyed it the most since I love pizzas!  I liked the fact that their pizza doughs and pasta noodles are homemade and fresh.  I would have loved to order more, but my companions were already full.  I would definitely go back to try the other dishes that they have.  They also have this Spicy Honey concoction - I initially, rebuffed it, but when I tried it (poured on the pizza) it brought on so many unexplained flavors in very bite.  I wanted to put more and more, but I had to control myself as I didn't want to look all sweaty in front of friends!  Hahaha..  They sell this concoction, by the way!

What I liked the most about Gino's Brick Oven Pizza is the simplicity of the menu.  They didn't go overboard and created something so bizarre to impress its diners, instead they played with what was available, combined toppings here and there and what they created was deadly appetizing and packed so much punch in every bite of the pizza and pasta.  The menu is honest and straightforward - no pretense and usage of highfalutin or fancy foreign words for their dishes.  Its simple and that I think is why I like them more.  The food speaks for itself.

So to Brian and his partners - Congratulations!!  Here's to more branches all over the metro!!

Do come early as seating is limited and for big groups, I suggest you call in ahead to reserve. 

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza - Quezon City
Katipunan Avenue
(landmark is - Gino's is right above Mercury Drugstore)

Gino's Brick Oven Pizza - Makati
G/F Finman Bldg. Bautista cor. Tordesillas St.,
Salcedo Village, Makati