Opinion: Online Car Registration

Monday, July 31, 2017

Car registration every year is a painful process.  It's quite redundant, but you'll need to do it because the law says that you need to do it.  I have personally handled the vehicle registration of our family so I know the process by heart.

Every year, the LTO asks us for a stencil of the cars.  So what I did was to make multiple stencils of all the cars (using the LTO forms) so that when the time came for that particular vehicle to be registered, I would simply pull it out from the file.  Things changed a few years ago, I honestly didn't understand it - but our driver told us that the LTO people are the ones who need to stencil the vehicles right before you register.  This he said entailed a different from AND another fee.  FINE - since we can't skip that process, then go ahead - right?  

For years we have had a *suki* smoke emission testing company that we go to that is nearby.  We go to that particular shop because they work very fast - and because we've developed a relationship with them through the years.  THEN things changed again a few years ago - there was a ruling that you NEED to have your smoke emission checked nearby the LTO office that you will register your vehicle.  This was such a hassle for us because the locations of the LTO office where register is a distance from one another.  Since transferring the LTO office where we register is another painful process, we decided to just maintain that LTO office and switch smoke belching companies.  

Imagine, we would be spending the WHOLE day in the LTO office just waiting for the documents.  We would go very early - to have the emission test done, then stencil (this will depend on the person doing the stencil-ing, if he was only one and there are about 25 vehicles inline - what time can he finish, right?) and then wait a long looooong time for the papers to get moving and to pay for the fee and finally getting the sticker (if there was any).  To me personally, it's such a waste of time - I mean, why not simple shorten the process, right?  But well, that's the bureucracy of the LTO.  The frontline staff is very unhappy with their work, there is not simple production line - that you need to go back and forth from the window that received the documents, from the cashier to the claiming of the stickers (if any).  When I observed this, I thought to myself - how disorganized!  I mean why put the cashier on another end and make people go back and forth to it?  It's really crazy, honestly.  I asked about it - and you know what I was told why the position of the cashier was on the end?  Well, it's because the cord of the machine (for the electric outlet) is SHORT!  I don't have words.  I really don't anymore.  So I just sighed and waited.  And when we were finally called - I was told, *NO sticker po* So we waited for nothing.  This is repeated a number of times a year.  And it is getting very frustrating.  

A few weeks ago, when I learned that there was a resolution made by Sen. JV Ejercito on making the vehicle registration online, I was delighted.  It was such a relief that law makers get to think of these things.  Imagine a mother, who play so many roles - when will she have time to register her vehicle?  She will need to to take a whole day leave from her work - that means she won't get a salary that say since she's absent.  How about the stay at home mom who prepares the food and picks up the kids from school?  Who will cook and pick up the kids?  It's really frustrating, I mean seriously - why can't these things become much easier for all of us?

There are still many questions and revisions that need to be done, but the path is there, the idea is there - we should start, even with just one step for progress to happen.  I am all for this movement, I am all for supporting this move.

I hope that with this, we can all move forward.  

We need this.

Our country needs it.

Let's do this not for us, but for the progress of our country.

New favorites at Angel's Kitchen!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I'm a huge HUGE fan of Angel's Kitchen.  There was a time that I would bring friends and family to Angel's Kitchen for meals when I was still single.  I miss those days.  Hahaha!!

What I love about Angel's Kitchen is that they serve good hearty food.  No pretense, just straightforward good comforting food.  There was a time that I missed AK's food because of its distance to me.  But I am very very happy and excited that since last year - I have frequented Angel's Kitchen more often because I bring Kailee to school.  Angel's Kitchen is my #1 choice when asked where to meet for breakfast.  As you know, I am a creature of habit when it comes to food.  I like having mostly the same thing over and over again.

A few months ago, Angel's Kitchen opened with its new interior AND new dishes!  I have not tried all of them yet, but so far - these two are becoming new favorites:

I like pancakes, I don't love them - but I enjoy them once in a while.  Just last week, I thought - why not deviate from my usual order - so I took the plunge and ordered their Good Morning Pancakes.

I was very surprised when I saw the sizes of the pancakes!  They were huge - well, if you compare them with the usual sizes served in restaurants.  They're also very cutely - ROUND!  Look at the roundness!!  The pancakes were light and fluffy, but mind you - it wasn't airy.  I first thought, why wasn't it served with the usual butter - but you know what, once you take a bite - it's all buttery goodness.  I LOVED IT!  I have a new favorite for breakfast!  And when I say favorite - well, it hasn't been a week since trying it - but I've had the pancakes twice already.  Diba??!!

They also have this new dish, a very hearty and comforting dish - the Beef Spareribs Sinigang with Mangoes.

I was so surprised that the kids liked this dish!  I tried it and knew why - the dish not very maasim but it was very rich and good.  The beef spareribs are soft and very tasty, the soup is just comfortingly, goooood.  I wish we can have unlimited refills of the soup!  Hahaha..  Yaya Belen was surprised and said that beef ribs pala can be used for sinigang.  This so very comforting that it reminds me of my mom's cooking - especially on a rainy day like today.  Argh!  I'm craving for this right now.  Waaaah!!  This is something you'd want to have when you want share a hearty meal with dear friends and loved ones.  Imagine sharing stories and bonding over this Beef Spareribs Sinigang with Mangoes.  Lovely, just lovely!

I just also recently discovered this White Puttanesca Sauce from Angel's Kitchen's Mi Casa.  I was blown over when I tried it.  Mind you, I didn't try it with pasta - I tried it as ulam with rice!  Hahaha..  I loved how the pieces of ingredients were chunky.  I will buy more of this because this will come in handy when I get lazy to cook!  Hahaha..

So there you have it!

Please do visit Angel's Kitchen soon.  I'm sure you'd enjoy the old time favorite and have new ones with their new dishes.

I hope to bump into you there!

Angel's Kitchen
Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel. (02) 744-1018

Oishi's Snacktacular on July 28 to July 30, 2017!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Each year, I look forward to Oishi's Snacktacular event.  It's so much fun and what best to enjoy an Oishi snack by having activities to do it with!

To share the love of the wonderful wonderful event, this year Oishi Snacktacular will be at the Festival Mall in Alabang!  It will be at the 2nd level Carousel Court in Festival Mall!  So to the loving peeps from the south - here's your chance to enjoy the festivities and one of a kind activities!

Join in the fun and have yourself a Snacktacular weekend next week!!


Oishi Snacktacular 2017

We’ve witnessed Panya, Hippy, Pilyo, Waifu and the rest of the Oishi Friends in their slightly dark but humorous mishap adventures in Oishi’s famous webcomic strip series. With the friends’ varying appearances and personalities inspired by Oishi snacks, who can resist these adorable characters? And now, see them come to life in this years Oishi Snacktacular 2017 at Festval Mall, Alabang this coming July 28-30. Meet and eat the yummiest gang as Oishi’s innovative and interactive booths make their comeback with a twist!

We all know that Make Your Own Snack allows us to be inventive by choosing and mixing your chips and flavors of choice. This year, you choose a dip (or two) that you want to try with your favorite Oishi snack! Ridges dipped in chocolate? Why not! How about your favorite Fishda dipped in cheese and honey mustard? Trust us, it’s worth trying!

 O-Twirl is also offering something new to Oishi’s soft served ice cream with another flavor for you to try! Choose between Oishi Choco Chug and Oishi’s newest tetra drink, Tea Matchi Matcha milk tea! Don’t forget to top it off with 2 Oishi toppings!

This year’s Cuckoo Blaster is double the fun because you get to pair up with your friend (or stranger) in matchy Cuckoo geared suits to catch as many balls you can. The more balls you catch as a team, the more Oishi drinks each player wins. Two Cuckoo Birds are better than one!

Crowd favorite Oishi Snack Catcher is back! Dive into an enormous pool of Oishi snacks and grab all the treats you can take with your own hands! And of course, the Snack Shack booth will be there where you can fill up your 2-foot Giant Pack with your favorite Oishi Snacks in 60 seconds.

Don’t miss your chance to try out all these with your favorite Team O members, Alex Gonzaga, Maine Mendoza, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo! Drop by Oishi Snacktacular, the most O,Wow event of 2017!

#OishiOWow #OishiSnacktacular

Hello 2017 Pilipinas Starbucks Card!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Well, hello there handsome!

Lookie, lookie - it's the 2017 Edition of the Pilipinas Starbucks Card!

This 2017 Edition as Starbucks Card is available starting July 25, 2017 (Tuesday) so save the date and head on to your favorite Starbucks store to get one.

WAIT!  There's more - load up this exclusive Starbucks card of at least P1,500.00 from July 28 to 30, 2017 and you'll receive a complimentary hand crafted beverage in Venti!  Double WOW, right?

Cooking with Grande Rice Bran Oil!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One thing is for sure.  That food definitely tastes better - fried.  Well, this is a sure thing for me as I loooooooove fried food.  But not all cooking oils are created equal.  Some are good, some are better than the others and some are just plain bad.

In our drive to search for the healthiest type of oil - the people behind Grandiose Marketing has found us an alternative - Grande Rice Bran Oil.  But what is Rice Bran Oil?  Why haven't we heard of it as much as the most famous Olive Oil?  Well, it's the East's olive oil!

Personally, during the intimate product launch - I was impressed to because Rice Bran Oil does not leave any aftertaste in the food.  Rice Bran Oil even enhances the taste of the dishes prepared by the very cute Chef Miko Aspiras.  Chef Miko Aspiras prepared three (3) dishes for us that day - one appetizer, one main course, and a dessert.

During the cooking demo, I was half expecting to - you know *to come out of the event smelling oily* since it was an open kitchen.  But guess what - I didn't, we all didn't!  Isn't that magical?  It is.  

The next morning, I told Yaya Belen to start using the Grande Rice Bran Oil for all the cooking at home.  She immediately put it to the test by making me my favorite - french fries.  The kids loved it, I did too!  The french fries looked cleaner and neater - something that amazed Yaya Belen. 

One thing I really really dislike is the smell of fish being fried.  I can't explain why, but I really really don't like it.  I especially hate it when I can smell it inside our bedroom.  I have always always told the helpers that if they will be frying fish - to make sure that all the doors are closed and all the exhaust fans to be open, so as to avoid the smell traveling and staying inside the house.  One day, on my way out of the house, I noticed that Yaya Belen was frying something.  At the corney of my eye, I saw - fish?  I wasn't sure - I even did a double take - and it was!  I was so surprised to see that she was deep frying bangus!  I then asked her, what cooking oil she used, she replied that it was the Grande Rice Bran Oil - and you know what - there was NO FISHY SMELL!  I was very impressed, very very impressed! The house did not reek of any fish smell throughout the day, as any brand would.

Tried the Grande Rice Bran Oil in cooking my Clam pasta.  Tasted wonderful and clean!

Try it to believe.  The 1Liter costs P185.00 and the 2Liters costs P365.00 - definitely cheaper than Olive Oil - and without the aftertaste!

 Click this link to know more about Grande Rice Bran Oil.

DIDIscoveries: House of Bao PH's Jian Bao

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Jian Baos.

Honestly, I didn't know what they were.  It was only when I googled it, did I realize that locally, it's called Fried Siopao.  Jian baos are cousins of the more known XLB (Xiao Long Baos), the difference is that jian baos are *breadier*, well that's according to www.seriouseats.com

Now that I have an idea on what it is, I have some sort of expectation on it. Well, for most baos - I have these standards that need to be met.  I like them aromatic.  I like the ratio of the filling and bao bun to be just right.  I like the bao bun to be tasty, and quite a few more. Ang arte ko, diba?  But seriously - I have a lot of things to consider when it comes to baos s.

You will say, *ang daming arte naman ni Didi*!  Well, true - because I've come across so many baos, that most of the time they are just pretending to be baos.  Hahaha!!  If you know what I mean.  Like for example, the toasted siopao - I have NEVER come across one with the right ratio of filling and bun, it's always the bun is more - I feel like I was duped!  So when it comes to baos - well, I have reservations.

So when a friend of mine, Slao sent some Jian Bao from House of Bao PH my way.  I knew that if that bao passed her standards, it would surely pass mine.  I was quite excited really, and when I received them - I immediately did my mental *checklist*

Criteria #1 - Aroma/Scent of the bao
We belong to the group of the *Langhap Sarap*.  With just the aroma of food, you can immediately say it's good.  With House of Bao PH's jian bao - it was that.  It smelled soooo wonderful (read more below).  It smelled very Asian-ish, and you'd know by the scent it's definitely Chinese food.  But seriously with the aroma, you'd be hooked in and left curious.


Criteria #2 - The look of the bao
It was wrapped in small plastic, making sure that you can immediately try it without the mess.  Well, thought of - right?  CHECK.  When I opened the plastic - I saw black sesame seeds!  Well, that's a first and I loooooove black sesame.  CHECK.  The size was a bit small (my first impression), but then I realized - cousin nga ng XLB - so it can't be big, CHECK.  The bun looked really nice, I can imagine the effort put into how it was made in that way, CHECK.  Easy on the eyes.

CHECK (sss)

Criteria #3  The amount of filling and bao bun
I get so pikon when I see that the filling is very little compared to the bun.  I really do.  So When I cut into this jian bao - I was impressed on how generous the filling was to the amount of bao bun.  I know that some do cost cutting - limit the amount of filling versus the amount of bread.  But it really beats the purpose, right?  I mean why even call it a bao (or siopao) when the meat is just a measly bit!  Most of the time, we just throw out the excess bun (if there is no filling felt), I confess, I do that most of the time, but with this House of Bao PH jian bao, nothing I mean NOTHING gets thrown out.


Criteria #4 The first bite into the bao
I have this thing that I try and guess which side/part of the bao to bite into first.  Let me tell you, it's a tough decision. This is because we all want to taste that filling right away.  So when I bit into another bao (not the one I cut for the filling and bao bun ratio) I was so happy to bite into the right amount of filling AND bao bun.  It's not all filling and not all bao bun.  It was a good mixture of both!  I really hate it when, I'll say it in Tagalog *hinanahabol mo yung kagat mo for the bun and the filling*  With this bao, every bite - you get the right amount of both filling and bao bun.


Criteria #5 The crisp on the bite
It's not the crisp of the bun, but the crunch of when you bite into the filling.  The filling, is for sure mostly meat - but I have tried really really good baos in other countries that have this *crisp/crunch* in them.  When I bit into this bao, I knew it was a winner because I bit into something crisp.  That was the clincher for me.


The jian baos of House of Bao PH passed all my criteria.  It was aromatic (when I picked up my order, it was pure torture in the car!  Connor was even saying how yummy the car smelled!  Hahaha.. It was intoxicating that I couldn't stop myself from having a piece while driving - I had to control not to finish them!)  I really looooved that when I bite into the baos, there's filling and there's the bun!  I don't think there was an instance where I was left with excess of filling or bun.  Wala akong hinahabol na kagat, it was perfect.  This made me realize that the size (when I first thought it was small) was actually just right.  The size I think was made to make you want to eat another bao (and another), and when you do - it's not super filling that you'd want to stop, it will not make you feel guilty for having more than one.  It would actually make you want to have more and more!  Don't ask me na how many baos I can have in one go.  Hahaha!!  Then there's the crisp/crunch into the bite.  I looooved it so much!  I was telling my mom that what got me was the crunch bite into the filling, since I haven't tasted any that had that *bite* here in Manila, EVER.

I reached out to Darren right after trying his jian baos and ordered some because I wanted to share the joy of this really yummy bao with family and friends.  Hahaha!  I shared it with my brother, who incidentally is friends with Darren's older brother.  They have a history with food you know, they were the pioneers of Belgian Fries and Slammin (my forever favorite is Slammin's John Candy).  I was told that Darren went to Taiwan to master the art of making jian bao.  Darren shared that he was in Taiwan for another mission actually and found this instead.  I must say, THANK YOU Darren for these baos.  I swear, they're life changing - feeling ko it's all I want to eat all day!  Hahaha...

Try this guys, TRY IT and for sure my criteria will be yours too once you've tasted House of Bao PH's jian baos.  It's really really good.  Don't take my word for it, have some and try it.


Get in touch with Darren on the House of Bao PH's Instagram.  He'll reply right away for sure!

*Videos are from House of Bao PH's IG account.