Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Saddest Day in my Life

These past few days have been . . . heart wrenching to say the least.  I haven't cried this much in my life.  I have been crying so much for the past two days that my eyes have run dry.  But then when I remember that I won't get to see and talk (no more hugs and kisses) to the first man I've loved, the tears just start coming again.

My dad passed away yesterday and it hurts. . . A LOT.  I wasn't ready to let him go.  He passed away just when we got back to LA last Thursday.  It hurts that I wasn't there when it happened.  I had to deal (still do) with so many feelings. . . denial, regrets, guilt.  There's a certain emptiness in my life right now.

So I will be taking a blogging break.. . . but I promise I'll be back.  

To honor my father, I've listed down some blog posts which I've written in the past about him.  He has left so many wonderful memories which makes writing his eulogy a little bit harder.

I hope that through these posts, you get to know a little bit about him. . . this man who taught me valuable lessons in life and who helped me to become the person that I am today.

I miss you Daddy (so bad). . . .I'll be home to see you for the last time.

I love you. . . you will forever live in my heart. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Summer Destination: Fontana Villas in Clark

I am writing this post from home. . . my first home!  Yes, we're back in Philippines for some vacation time!  I am very thankful to my loving husband who totally understands why I had to go back home (we just moved to LA last year) and see my family again.  We arrived a couple of weeks ago and we're leaving in a week! (I don't even want to think about it, I haven't looked at the calendar since we arrived, haha!)  There are just so many things we still want to do, places to go and people to meet up with!  *Sigh*

But I am soooo happy we're back and I want to share with you some of the things we've done these past few weeks starting with this post.

Growing up, one of the things my family loves to do is rent a place with a pool (because we  prefer a pool over a beach, haha) and spend the whole day swimming and eating!  

This summer, my sister thought of renting a Villa in Fontana Leisure Park which is located inside the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.  Though this place is just around 35 kilometers away from us, this is our first time to visit and use the park's facilities and stayed overnight.

The Fontana Leisure Park sits on a really HUGE property and has a casino, a hotel, a golf course, several pools (they even have a wave pool) --- all of which we haven't tried because we just stayed at the villa, haha!  There are function rooms and there is a convention hall too.  For accommodations, they have the hotel rooms, villas and townhouses to choose from.  (For more details about Fontana, please click on this link.)

My sister booked our 3-room villa through Asiatravel.  When we were checking in around 2pm, the villa wasn't ready!  But we were cool about it though we haven't eaten lunch at this time, haha!

This was the Villa that welcomed us . . . 

As you enter the villa, you would see the Living and Dining Room.

I love that this place was spacious and clean!

The brown door in the above photo is a storage room and beside that is a bathroom and another  room with a single bed (for the house angels or drivers).

The Villa also has a kitchen that comes with a ref, electric kettle and single electric stove.  Btw, there is NO microwave oven, cooking utensils and cutlery in this kitchen.  If you plan to do some cooking, I suggest you bring what you will need.  This wasn't really a problem for us because we just went to SM Clark (located in Clark too) and bought food, haha! 

Hallway leading to the three bedrooms (they all come with bathrooms)  . . . 

These photos were taken the day after so pardon for the mess, heehee.

This was our room.  The lounge chair was perfect for the Princess, we didn't need an extra bed.

I wasn't able to take a photo of the Master's Bedroom but this was its bathroom, it was the only one with a tub.

And the kids' favorite area!

Just perfect for a cook out right?! =)

I love the layout of the villa because it maximizes all the space and still gives everyone so much space to go around!

For large groups, this kind of villa is a good and comfortable place to stay . . . and partehhh! =) 

You may find mixed reviews for Fontana online.  In our experience, we enjoyed our stay in this particular villa.

Hope you're enjoying your summer vacation as much as we do!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Life with Toddlers: Of Princesses and Witches

"Mama, pls. tell me a story".  

Our little girl loves it when I tell her fairy tale stories!  But sometimes, I am just so tired from doing things the whole day (I am a stay-at-home mom) that I am so sleepy even before THEIR bedtime! Haha!  But I do try my best to tell her one and I start my storytelling pretty good.  Then my eyes get heavy and I find myself switching characters from other fairy tales!  Cinderella becomes the girl who has seven dwarfs as friends and Rapunzel becomes the beautiful princess who fell asleep because she pricked her fingers, haha!

The other day, I wanted to make up for my sleeping beauty times that when she asked me for a story, I was ready!  I was excited. . .I was full of life!

She wanted to hear about the story of Ariel, the Little Mermaid.

Me: Once upon a time. . . 

As I went on, I asked her to help me with the characters.

Me: "So Ariel went to the ship and saw a handsome boy whose name is. . . 

Princess: "Papa!" (How sweet!) 

Me: This boy also has a pet dog.  What's the name of his dog?

Princess: :"Cobo" (his little brother---why am I not surprised? haha)

Then I reached the part of the story where Ariel went to see a witch because she wants to have feet to be with the boy he loves.  She has watched this Disney cartoon a million times that I'm kind of sure that she knows the witch's name (Ursula).

Image from

Me:  What is the name of the sea witch?

Princess: YOU!!!!

Me: Jaw drops

And she repeated it a few more times as I went on with the story!  

And it doesn't stop there.  Because apparently, I was also the Evil Queen in Snow White's story and I was Maleficent too when we were talking about Sleeping Beauty.  Well, she said so.

Is this payback time?! Haha!

So I am Mama, the sea witch, the evil queen!

But you know what, I am one witch that she loves to hold hands with, that she wants to sleep with, one that she can't stay away from! =)

And in the future, when she grows up, I am sure she's going to say the same thing. . . I am a witch and she would actually MEAN IT!  

Our Version of Tortang Kapampangan

Growing up in Pampanga (a province located in the Northern part of Philippines), one of the home-cooked dishes that I love eating is Torta.  It is a dish made of ground pork cooked in calamansi (our local lemon) and soy sauce.  But when I moved to the city to work, I learned that "torta" to the city folks meant something that is like an omelette.  The ground pork recipe that they are familiar with is cooked in tomato sauce (which I would always see at our cafeteria).  I tried cooking this kind of dish before but I still prefer our Torta.

I am not a food history expert to claim that this is an original Kapampangan dish.  But I would like to call it Tortang Kapampangan because this is how we prepare our ground pork.  I also wrote "Our Version" because this is how we prepare it at our home.  I am sure that each Kapampangan household would have their own take on this recipe.

I like cooking this pork dish because it is an easy and fast recipe.  Plus it can be served in various ways.  When we have it at home, we eat it as it is on the first day.  On the second day, you would see it as a filling in an omelette and on the third day, it is used for Tortang Talong (talong means eggplant) as seen in the photo below.
Image from this site
And it is toddler-approved too!  (Woohoo!)

Hope you like it too!  Happy Cooking!  

1 lb of ground pork
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
Garlic, chopped
Onion, chopped
1 medium-sized Tomato, chopped
1 large Potato, Cubed (you can also add carrots and green peas if you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste

*Eggs - can be done 2 ways (please refer to the cooking directions below)

Cooking Directions:
1.Combine the lemon juice, soy sauce and ground pork and let it simmer until the meat is tender.  

2, Fry the potatoes and carrots and set it aside.

3. Saute the garlic, onion and tomatoes.  Mash the tomatoes as it softens.

3. Add the boiled meat and mix everything together. Add the potatoes (and carrots) and let them cook.  This may only a take a few minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Eggs - As I've mentioned, you can do it two ways.  You can beat one or two eggs and mix them with the meat (in medium heat).  OR you can just boil quail eggs and put it on top of the dish.

Mangan tana!  (Let's eat!)

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