Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Loboc river- BOHOL

When presented with a long weekend holiday, what do people of this country do? They go to the beach!!!
Living in an island country has a lot of benefits. I honestly can say I haven't travelled around every part of this country and visited all the possible areas we can visit. (we have 7100 islands you know)

So, when the government announced a 4 day weekend, me and my friend planned a quick trip for our families (talk about itchy feet!). It was hard to book the other more popular destinations as the flights were booked quite fast. We finally decided on BOHOL. It is an area on the lower part of the Philippines- namely located in the group of Visayan islands. The main city is Tagbilaran (you take a 1 hour domestic flight from Manila) but we were housed on the Panglao island (where most of the resorts are located)-- it is a quick bridge ride away from the airport. There is a more remote island also called Balicasag- (where you need to take a boat)
view from the plane..

The first day of the trip, we arrived mid afternoon and decided to check in to our house rental (owned by a friend) Aside from touring a local church, we decided to go on the LOBOC RIVER NIGHT CRUISE that night. The area where the river cruise was located was very well maintained. It also had WIFI access (yes, really). They had souvenir shops and a local cafe.  (wow, this country is getting somewhere)

view from the dock. courtesy of my friend

As with all night cruises, they had dinner included and some form of entertainment. The dinner was buffet style with some local seafood. The dinner was ok but I guess there were a lot of people coming to the river cruise and the food ran out. (we were early and got our share first) One thing to remember though when travelling at night on a river is to bring INSECT REPELLENT. My friends were great fodder for the mosquitos. (hahahaha). There was also a "soloist" on the boat. (he was actually not that good and sang with a distinctive local accent)

fried crablet.. very tasty!
I was really impressed  the way the local government provided lighting throughout the river so you can see a little of the surroundings as the boat travelled. Near the end, there is  a dock where the locals set up a show. They play the guitars and the others dance. It is set up like a cultural show and you can get down and take pictures with them. At the end of the show, you can opt to drop donations for the community on the provided "drop box".

everyone had a guitar

the kids danced really good

this guy really went into the dancing!

the man with the biggest guitar I have ever seen

I don't have nice pictures of the river as It was too dark to take any good ones. However, I am looking forward to writing about our adventures the following day... where we got to see most of the sights in BOHOL. Here is a good video someone else took of the DAYTIME loboc river cruise

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gone to the dogs and fishes!!!

I have gone to fish spa's before... namely one in Singapore. see HERE for previous post. I only recently discovered they already have them in Manila. Fish spa's are getting popular all over Asia and it finally landed here.

The fish spa are actually small  fishes (or sometimes big fishes) "eating" your dead skin away. They say it has health benefits. (who knows it it is really true) ....If it is your first time, this could turn out to be ticklish.

After participating in our fun run (5k and 21k), we headed out to TIENDESITA'S in pasig with the kids to have our dogs groomed. Beside our regular grooming shop, I noticed a newly opened spa. (this was very unusual because the area where it was located was all PET shops. So the girl handed me a brochure.... DR. fish spa.! and they said they have a promo (since they were newly opened)

The kids wanted to try it too-- so we left the dogs with the groomers (called ANIMALS AND THINGS --they have the same owner and are beside each other) and had lunch. Coming back, the dogs were still having their hair cut so we availed of the services. The fish spa costs 320 pesos ($7)- for  30 mins with free coffee or hot choco and 400 pesos ($9-) for 30 mins with 20 min foot massage. --- the foot massage part was great because after running, you really need a nice foot massage.

The said the fish in the fish spa are imported from Turkey -- the species of fish are very special.  The spa told me they are selling the fish too (they can set up the tank and the fish in your home so you can have a fish spa every day!!!)

The interiors were very CHIC. the chairs were colored purple and silver gray. The ceiling was raised and it added to the ambiance of the place. The glass walls also made it look a lot bigger.

Their services are for both people and dogs. They currently aren't servicing dogs (they are waiting for their permit) but for people, the services range from manicure, pedicure, paraffin hands and feet, acrylic nails, nail art, nail decals, and even air brushed nails. (the groomers are on the other side so you can have the dogs groomed there too)

my son relaxing in one of the chairs.

I don't use acrylic nails so I asked what the other services where- like UV gel, and solar nail... they told me its done for the acrylic nails. some are semipermanent color and some are services for attaching the acrylic nail. (wow.)

The brands they carry are OPI, CHINA GLAZE and ORLY. All very high end brands. These are just some samples of their nail art

I was told this is a full service spa. They have scrubs, whole body massage and even waxing. (I asked why there was stomach waxing listed.... they told me some people have a lot of hair.... even in their stomachs!!! REALLY??)-- they even have cheek waxing.... (for women???)

The room for the full body massage
We were seated on very high padded chairs for the fish spa, below us were the individual fish tanks where you lower you feet. Each person gets his own fish tank (there are currently 3 tanks) so you don't share your tank with anyone else. (except my husband since we were 4 people and he had to share with my daughter). In singapore, the tanks were like pools and you share with other people you don't know. so, in a sense these were better since you don't know where the feet of other people have been.

One interesting note was when I was doing the fish spa, I noticed a catalogue for hair color. I took it and it was actually a catalogue for hair color for DOGS.  They even have "before" and "after" photos of the dogs. It was like in a salon... revive graying hair! (some dogs' hair were dull with aging) and they made them blacker.... ahahahaha.... (I was contemplating dyeing my chowchow to look like a panda... )

they also manicure dogs. here is the color catalogue for color paws

I really like the concept of this spa. You can have a relaxing spa day with your family while waiting for your dogs to get pampered too. OR you can do the spa together. (I don't think colored nails will suit my chow chows though)

For those who like to pamper their dogs AND themselves... here is the perfect spa for you!

If you like to try-- they spa is called ME AND MY CUDDLE SPA-- tiendesitas pet village, pasig. tel: 470-9667, 0918-9173949

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First week- the result

Today marks one week of my South beach diet. In total, I only lost 2 pounds. (as compared to my friend, who lost 8 the first week)

It is pretty hard to stick to this diet and I commend anyone who can do 1 week straight. The problem for me  was that my daughter had a party last saturday (weekends are killer~!!!) It was hard to be polite and NOT eat. At the start of the party, the mom of the birthday celebrant kept on asking what I wanted to eat. I answered with a standard-- Oh, anything will be fine....  a few minutes later, pasta with seafood, clams came in, and then some pizza, plus unlimited iced tea. (i was sipping water) I kept up a conversation with the other moms so they would not notice that I was not eating. I also put some pcs of lettuce on my plate and started munching on that.... the problem was, when you thought the food was over, they still came. UUGGHHHHH.

So, I guess SATURDAY was my cheat day. (yes , yes, I succumbed and ate some of the pasta.. which on second thought, never tasted sooooo goooood!!!!)

The first three days of the diet, I was losing 1 lb a day (total 3 lbs). Maybe that was just my body adjusting to the no carb fare. On the 4th-5th day, I lost nothing (and even came back up 1.5 lbs) - This was when I cheated.... It was saturday and me and my husband had a movie date. I ate 1 hotdog with bun.

Thinking about it though, 2lbs is a heathy weight loss. I also started doing the treadmill this week. (thinking maybe it will help me lose some more) I will go on with another week of this and see how it goes. I can't continue on this indefinitely because I will go out of the country soon and it will be just too depressing to NOT taste anything while I am there.

Another thing I noticed was this diet teaches you portion control and proper food choices. I now have a pretty good idea on how much I should consume per meal. Honestly though, the meal they give is like grazing my stomach. You feel you ate but not enough to feel full (you know, it just grazed your stomach... hahahahaha)

MInd over matter..... mind over matter....

If my husband doesn't mind..... it won't matter...!!! But really, any health program is for my OWN health. I want to be as healthy and fabulous as my own mother. (who still ballroom dances 3x a week and is much much slimmer than I am....! She can fit on the jeans of my niece!)

Here's to another week -- !

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

GOING SOUTH- First Day blues

In the past few weeks, I have :

1. discovered that I am NOT built to be a runner. ~ I don't have the patience to pound the pavement for hours on end. The most I can do is maybe an hour (10k), more than that and I am bored out of my wits. I also can't sustain a decent training schedule.

2. gone through several dozens of eggs, several blocks of butter and several pounds of  flour to sustain my now growing fascination with cooking and making people say "ummmm!!!!"

3. realized I need to start to lose some weight (oh man!) ~ and has now enrolled in a south beach diet meal program. (uh!)

Yes, I know, any weight loss program would entail having to diet AND excercise. So let's go to the diet first. I saw the meal delivered to me yesterday *for today's meal-- I honestly wanted to wail!! if not for the thought that I need this to jumpstart my weight loss, I would have given up. My friend's husband tried the south beach diet last week and has lost 14 lbs. (in a week!). That's a pretty big number. So, hopefully, I would be one of those that have a positive reaction to this.

so I enrolled in the program of THE SEXY CHEF. By the name and the proprietors alone, I was inspired to make a go of it.

Anyhows, the first day I got my food, I wanted to cry... ! It had specific food you had to eat for breakfast, a midmorning snack, lunch a midafternoon snack and dinner.

It sounded a lot... but the portions were tiny.

I think my body was reacting to this sudden change because I was feeling miserable. I need my coffee!! (I was thinking coffee was forbidden).

Here was my lunch:
The food was actually ok. It was good... I don't really eat zucchini but the way they cooked it with the eggplant in  the ratatouille was very tasty. I liked the food (but there was just so little of it.... hahaha)

By 2 pm, I gave in an had coffee (black- no sugar or any cream)... aaaahhhh... relief. That coffee just gave me a boost for the whole afternoon.

I kept complaining like mad to my friend... am I really going to survive a week of this?? waaaahhhh!!! I was thinking ~~~ is having to fit into my clothes better than my happiness??? (yeah, DRAMA queen)~ I think it's the moody hormonal results of carb deprivation.....

weighing myself the following day, I lost 1lb. (yes!).. I am now on the second day and I saw the list of allowed foods on the program. (black coffee is allowed--- hurray!). The second day of the program was better than the first. I think the shock of seeing the food went to my head. ( there is something wrong with the concept of a food blogger going on a diet ). I still cook though, (just taste a tinnie bit of what I cook) and still blog. Body adjusting to the diet. Hopefully, will survive the rest of the week. Stay Tuned.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I just realized.....

Having a food blog takes TIME!  it isn't just the cooking. Well, for the most part, I really do a lot of cooking, testing recipes and such.

I also learned a lot about CONTENT. its not just posting something... it's also putting out good pictures and making sure the reader enjoys the post. You also have to make sure the recipe works. I have tested a lot of recipes and some did not make it to the blog. (oh well..)

Cooking+ taking pictures  really makes you ambidextrous. I have also invested in some nice plates. (you don't want to take pictures of the food lying on yukky plates.. hahahaha)

So, if I have not been posting in this blog lately, I'm probably busy toiling away in the kitchen or busy posting about it here

I haven't been out much. (tied to the kitchen and all..) but I really do enjoy what I am doing, now that I have a nice kitchen to putter around in.

It's monsoon season and it's been raining cats and dogs constantly. The weather just makes you want to stay in and lay in bed. (sigh) Cold weather just revs me up to cook something. (The cookbooks that have been lying around for years have now been put to use)

and if you know me, I love buying books and quirky items.

So, this is one of the things that caught my eye during one trip to the kitchen department of a mall.

I honestly expected this to MOO when the timer was done.... hahahaha... it just rang.

Is it a cookie jar? or a olive jar? hmm.... maybe a container for sugar. It just got me so confused! hahahaha

There's a holiday coming up and we might go to the best rockin' beach here. I'll blog about it so stay tuned!


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