Wednesday, July 1, 2020

SAVOR THE FOOD ONCE AGAIN AT CENTURY PARK HOTEL MANILA


The COVID-19 pandemic has put everything at a standstill, including being restricted to dining options such as cooking and eating at home, takeout or delivery.   With the government’s recent approval for restaurants to open for dine-in, the long wait for all Century Park Hotel patrons and diners will be over on July 1, 2020.

The food adventure continues with the reopening of the Atrium Lounge. Families and friends can share delightful moments once again in this award-winning dining outlet over their culinary favorites from the hotel’s Café in the Park and Tsukiji Restaurant.


Explore a wide selection of Filipino dishes and international cuisines. For your seafood cravings, try our Grilled Prawns, Pan-fried Salmon Fillet and Blue Marlin Supreme which will definitely reintroduce your palate to the sumptuous and luscious taste – the true mark of Century Park dining experience. Reuniting with your loved ones after several months of staying home will be more heartwarming and filling when spent with our savory platters of meat such as Grilled Lamb Chops, Sirloin Steak Café de Paris and Country Crispy Chicken, among others.


Have an oishi good time with our Japanese gustatory classics from the Century Tsukiji Restaurant. Make your own bento from our scrumptious menu of appetizers, rice meals, grilled and fried dishes. Our yummy special maki and other sushi selections will also satisfy your cravings.

Food gets all the better with the hotel’s elegant setup and homey atmosphere. While reveling in our culinary pleasures, behold the magnificent view of the Grand Staircase and fountain where you can also take some selfies or ‘groufies’.




The Atrium Lounge will be open daily from 9:00AM to 6:00PM.

Prior to reopening, Century Park Hotel ensured that all diners will get to enjoy dining-in again while maintaining peace of mind.  During the months of lockdown, every corner of the property was thoroughly disinfected, adhering to our commitment to keep our guests safe based on the World Health Organization’s standards.  The hotel is more than prepared to give you a gustatory treat that is both fancy and sanitary.  Health and safety protocols such as contact tracing, social distancing and wearing of masks will also be enforced.

The tables are all set for this much-awaited day. We cannot wait to serve your orders again and witness delightful moments take shape. Come and dine at Century Park Hotel!

















Thursday, June 18, 2020

MRS.WISE COVID19 STORY: A TALE OF TWO LOCKDOWNS AND THE STRUGGLES IN BETWEEN



To say that Covid19 disrupted my life is an understatement! It made a huge mess of all my plans, wreak havoc to my sanity, created chaos financially and I thought I cannot go back to my one and only refuge amidst uncertainties – my family.

It was in March 6 when I flew to Sydney. I remembered leaving the house very early, the sun wasn’t up yet. When On my way to my 10am flight, there was this feeling of extreme sadness. This was the first time that I will be away for a very long time, 54 days to be exact. And admittedly, I was very afraid of this virus spreading around, especially when I had to spend a 12-hour layover in Singapore (at that time had several hundreds of cases already) and then another 8 hour flight to Sydney.

You might ask why did I crazily pushed through with the trip despite the virus? One, I am by nature fatalistic. I got the round trip ticket for free (I won an online contest sponsored by Flyscoot). To my mind, the universe would not give me this opportunity if it was not meant to be? Two, hubby and I made a pact that starting 2020 we will start traveling, one country at a time. It was a conscious effort to shift and give importance to that one thing we are most passionate about – adventure!  This is supposed to be a milestone year for us, and adventure number one is that land down under! Three, in March before I left, there were only 3 confirmed cases. I did not expect that it will become a global pandemic! No… As a matter fact I still believed that the hubby can still follow me in Sydney one month after. But then I was wrong.  A serious health crisis was unfolding. Countries were closing boarders one after the other. And there I was, in Sydney, getting confused and longing to be home.


LOCKDOWN NUMBER 1: SYDNEY


Arrived n Sydney March 6, and yes after more than 24 hours of travel, the first thing I did was to take a bath. I was so praning of the virus that even there was a risk of me falling asleep in the shower (hey I have only 30 minutes of sleep since I left Manila), I let the water wash away the fear. The biggest fear was, transmitting the virus to my family and friends in Sydney. Every single day from March 6, this is all I can think of, that it took a lot of effort to immerse myself in the sceneries and just enjoy the places we explored. A tinge of guilt in the possibility that I could be a virus spreader and harm them all.

 




14 days after, what a relief that as far as symptoms are concerned, I don’t have any. And just as my anxiety was starting to dwindle down, Sydney announced their lockdown restrictions. Only essential travels were allowed. Even our planned Mt. Kosciuszko trip was cancelled, including Our Tasmania escapade. The bonggang lakwatsa has now become a lockdown misery. Days of supposedly touring around has now been downgraded to Netflix bingeing and 24-7 social media monitoring of what was happening in the Philippines.  Anxiety level slowly going up again, as I read news of a senator spreading a virus, VIPs getting priority testing, frontliners succumbing to the disease – heartbreaking news one after the other, when I am 3,763 miles away from my family. There is definitely a flattening of the curve - the curve of my excitement as a tourist has just plummeted down. 






It also didn’t help that I got exposed on how Sydney addressed the Covid19 emergency: senior citizens given 2 shopping hours in the morning, regulating things you can buy at the grocery to discourage panic buying, to reprimanding a council representative for violating lockdown protocols, all expense paid 14-day quarantine in hotels for returning Australians, and lastly – free Covid test for ALL, with or without symptoms, of which I availed for free even though I am not an Australian. I can’t help but compare the two countries as far as addressing the pandemic. Yes, we are not a first world country… We are not that rich, but I was deeply saddened by what’s happening in the Philippines.

I tried very hard to micro-manage through FB messenger.  I would regularly wake the husband daily at 10am (which was 8am Sydney time). We would discuss carefully how to do the bi-monthly market run. I would regularly ask if they had taken their vitamin C, or have they boiled the turmeric for their afternoon tea. I joined several viber groups in the village, so I can check up on supplies available for them. These things, with my "over-dosing" in vitamin C, lemon drink, sun bathing and warm water-salt gargling made me busy in Sydney.


Thankful that I had a strong family support while in Sydney.  I can’t imagine what lockdown life would be for me, if this happened lets say a year ago, when I was touring Osaka alone. My Sydney fambam made me feel at home by cooking Pinoy dishes every single day, and still going out for much needed exercise, and to smell the fresh air. 

To my mind, I have only but ONE GOAL – to stay healthy and to stay alive. So I can go back to my family, virus free.

By first week of April,  I felt depression creeping in. Due the extension of the ECQ, my husband’s flight was cancelled, my own trip back to Manila was also cancelled. My sadness, i expressed in social media.




I don’t know when will there be a flight back so I visited daily the websites of Cebu Pacific and PAL. According to CebuPacific website, next available flight will be on May. Due to financial constraints, I decided to wait for that flight, even though the PH consul has already informed me through an email that there will be a PAL sweeper flight scheduled for April 18. I decided to pass up on that sweeper flight, and 3 days after, CebuPacific May flights disappeared!  The next scheduled flight will be in June.  By June 6, my tourist visa will already expired. Time is running out and I had to make a decision. Grab the next sweeper flight or wait for the cheaper CebPac flight (as of June,  the next Sydney-Manila flight is on September).

I had a heart to heart talk with the husband. Because if he will make a decision, he would choose for me to stay in Sydney as long as I can , because he feels it is the safer country. I found this reasoning puzzling. When the husband finally said (exact words) “sige na mahal, uwi ka na. Masyado ka ng nalulungkot dyan” – I finally broke down. Cried buckets because I felt so relieved that I will be soon going home!

But preparing for the trip back was so STRESSFUL! To a certain point, I understood fully the husband’s apprehension why he wanted me to stay put in Sydney.

Protocols for returning tourists were unclear. Is there a mandatory 14-day quarantine? In a government facility or home quarantine? Where to secure a travel pass? I have sent lots of email and facebook inquiries on this, but no CLEAR protocol was given, and some government agencies did not care to reply.



MY FREE COVID TEST IN SYDNEY JUST A WEEK BEFORE MY FLIGHT


Because I have a clear goal – to finally go home. No one can stop me!  Despite the odds, I boarded that PAL sweeper  flight last April 29.




Flight was 2 hours delayed. I witnessed a heated argument between an Australian airport crew and a Filipino passenger regarding the transfer from terminal 1 to terminal 2. Sydney airport was like a ghost town, shops were closed. And I thought, what has happened to the world. During the entire 8hour flight, I wore a surgical mask on top of my n95. And yes, I had a hard time breathing. There were only 86 passengers so social distancing was practiced.

But the real ordeal happened when I touchdown terminal 2. It took us an hour before we were allowed to get off the plane. Another 2 hours of waiting, and papers to be signed.  Another hour for the rapid test and results. My result was negative (I knew it would be, because the swab test in Sydney was also negative).

At last!  After 4 hours, I was allowed to go out of the airport and finally go home!


LOCKDOWN NUMBER 2: QUEZON CITY

It was surreal to see how your country is battling the pandemic, when you are actually experiencing it on a daily basis, and not from what you see in social media.

The travel from NAIA to Quezon only took us 30minutes. And I remember seeing not more than5 vehicles in the entire travel. EDSA was a ghost town. There was no traffic, but It was eerie. The abandoned street was lifeless.

Since I arrived last April 29, I still have not set foot outside of our village. We do a monthly grocery run. We do weekly Kadiwa inside the village. The husband works at home. My eldest has still a few lessons to complete online. While my youngest is busy preparing for the his online graduation.










I achieved my goal. I am finally at home. But the anxiety still exists. Worry about survival and life in the coming months occupy my  thoughts.

For lockdown number 2 – a different mindset is needed.


THE BIG SHIFT

I don’t concentrate on big, longterm goals now.  I live for the day. To just be thankful for the things me and my family has been blessed with.  My husband has a stable job. I can also work from home. We did not have a hard time adjusting to this work from home scheme, and never felt trapped in the four walls of our house. The internet connection is stable – for work to be done and online classes to continue.  Despite exposing myself in all those travels I did, I remained Covid-free, and my entire family is healthy.


HOW TO PROTECT YOUR MENTAL WELL BEING 


We are in a war. We are fighting for the survival of life - physically and mentally. What has this Covid19 pandemic taught me so far:

 - Focus on helping other. The facebook post wherein I shared my travel experience generated a lot of engagements. There were around a hundred comments and PMs combined. I try to reply to their queries as detailed as I can be and share with them valuable information I know of. Just to ease their stress. Husband and I also decided not to charge our tenants for two months, as our way of helping them out.

I - Invest in passion projects.  Gardening is not new to me. I have maintained a small veggie garden for quite some time now. Life in quarantine has inspired me to level it up a notch. I have started a larger veggie patch across the street.  From an empty lot filled with talahib I now call it my farmville. I am also doing facebook videos to document my gardening adventure.

G - Gratitude. It is important to start and end your day with gratitude and prayer. To be thankful for health, love of family. For the blessing of food. 

H - Health is wealth. Exercise. Be active. I do a lot of stretching and breathing. Covid attacks the lungs, so I better strengthen it.  Walking and biking are also on my exercise list, although admittedly, I miss brisk walking in Sydney’s cool weather.

T - trash negative thoughts. I stopped focusing and obsessing on negative news. It is ok to be informed. But to dwell on it too much is unhealthy. I try to start the day with a healthy discussion with the husband over coffee, read some news midday, and read inspirational stories just before I sleep. Or watch comedy shows on the internet. To stimulate a good night sleep
  

This ride will end sooner or later, we really don’t know how long this will take, we all just have to hold on for dear life while putting your faith that the safety straps wont let you fly off.  

What makes this mom move forward? The HOPE that "whatever goes up, will eventually go down".  The curve will not stay up there forever.  One day it will go down. Life may be a little different in the future, but this mom chooses to fight and stay positive for her family!







*******************************************************************************************************************



This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance. 

Sunday, June 14, 2020

GOTOBOX: YOUR YUMMY COMPANION THIS RAINY SEASON


There is something about the rainy season that I love. 



The cool weather that is perfect for cuddles.  The constant sound of the downpour inspires the mind to reflect.   It is a time to relax, chill, read a book or perhaps listen to some of my favorite music. 

The rain also brings a lot of childhood memories. Of playing in the street in the middle of a torrential downpour.  Afterwards, a delicious meryenda will be served. Either tsamporado and tuyo or sopas at puto or lugaw with sumpia (fried lumpia)I grew up in Malabon, and these were the types of food that I truly enjoy.   

The rainy season has officially started, and we just experienced the country's 2nd tropical depression to date - Butchoy.  Its been raining for days, and while I am still on my self-imposed lockdown (I have not left the house since I arrived from Sydney last April 29) - I can't seem to shake off my cravings for childhood merienda.  Good thing, GOTOBOX delivers!

Ordering is very easy! 








You may also opt to place your orders via FoodPanda or wheretoeat Philippines:







Sharing with you this video, of the food delivery straight to our house!  

(video)


Hats off to GOTOBOX, for delivering the food in tip-top condition. The goto selections were separated from their toppings so it won't get soggy during the travel. The Silogs were delivered in environment-friendly boxes, and despite the travel, they retained the pretty presentation.

And now you ask -- how about the taste?  

For goto, we ordered Lakan, Babalu, Catriona and Bossing Vic!  They all taste good, which reminds me of that Lutong Bahay appeal, especially when the gotos came in with lots of sibuyas na mura, fried onion and garlic!  As an ox-tripe lover, I loved Catriona!  My son liked Bossing Vic because of the isaw, and the hubby was amazed with the  buttery-goodness of Babalu's bone marrow!




For the Silogs - runaway winners are the Hungsilog, Tapsilog and Longsilog! The Beef Pares was also yum!




 




So the next time you have that nagging craving for goto and silog, you know where to order:

For Marikina peeps, within 3km radius of Gotobox in Gil Fernando Ave. Ext.  Brgy. Sto. Nino - rejoice because it is FREE DELIVERY!

If you are not from Marikina, you can still avail of delivery, pick-up and takeout.

And good news, starting June 14 - GOTOBOX will open its doors to dine in customers. But of course, with precautionary social distancing involved. Coz hey, that's the new normal  now!


For more info, follow gotobox facebook and gotobox instagram