Monday, June 17, 2019

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, NTC!

As a Filipino citizen, I have availed of several government services through the years... be it securing of personal documents, or applying for a building permit, renewal of passports and licenses, filing of income taxes and many more. And I must admit, half of these services gave me the stress.  Either I got stressed out by the slow service of government personnel, or the long queue. And the most irritating of al my experiences, yung pinagpapasa-pasahan ka na hindi mo na alam kung sino ba talaga ang kakausapin!  Hindi ko nilalahat ang mga government agencies, but I swear, this happens.

But I woke up to this Monday morning, reading a positive news that happened to Sam Florentino, who took the Radio Operator Examination at the National Telecommunications Commission. His experience is worth sharing because it somehow brings back our trust to government offices, particularly the NTC. And this is his story:

Mr. Florentino attended an orientation that started promptly at 8am. He said, that everything was done in a very orderly manner. Two weeks after, he took the which also started promptly at 8am.   

After taking the exam, and it was time to get the result, he went back to the NTC main office to get the results. To his amazement, everything went on smoothly, numbers were given and all he had to do was just wait. The personnel were very efficient and courteous.

“sana lahat po ng government office ay ganito. For sure there is leadership behind this.”

Because he was happy with his experience with NTC, he reached the Civil Service Commission’s Contact Center ng Bayan to express his gratitude.
The letter of appreciation can be viewed below:

 




Mr. Florentino’s experience is just an example that there are government agencies that are trying their very best to serve the Filipino people.  And the National Telecommunications Commission is definitely one of them.  What the NTC did, is one big leap in providing quality service, that is expected of them.

What is commendable is NTC’s value for time. They followed schedule diligently. Imagine if all government offices will do this, there will be more to be accomplished.  And every single citizen that would experience this will walk out of the government offices, happy and empowered of the efficiency that they have experienced. In this light, we congratulate NTC for a job well done.

I also commend Mr. Florentino for sharing his experience. Social media is a powerful tool to inspire people. Sadly though, it is filled with negative stories that dampen the Filipino spirit. But if like Mr. Florentino, we also continue to share positive stories, especially with regards to services rendered by government offices and agencies, it will somehow bring back our trust in them. It could also inspire other agencies to follow what the NTC is doing.

I hope to read more inspiring stories like this for the rest of the week. Thank you for sharing your story Mr. Florentino and again, congratulations National Telecommunications Commission for a job well done.



Monday, June 10, 2019

CASA REYES BISTRO FILIPINO: HERITAGE FILIPINO RECIPES AT ITS BEST


I have always loved my nanay's home cooked dishes. Growing up in Malabon, I remember waking up to the smell of ox tripe Kare-kare with lots of veggies and home cooked (not bottled bagoong); Tinumis, Malabon's dinuguan which is more sour than salty and should have libro libro (ox tripe again) as its main ingredient;  and ginataang Alimasag with kangkong.  Lunch with these dishes will only mean one thing >> unli rice! for me :) 

Sadly, I failed to get the recipes of how my nanay cooked these dishes and many more, before she left us.  Been trying to do some research, asking Malabon folks for recipes. But I am not successful. Up to now, we can't seem to duplicate her Menudo. So I plan, in the future, to make a book or dedicate a blog to Malabon cuisine and special sauces, in my quest to find out the secret recipe to my mom's cooking.



A SENSE OF NOSTALGIA AT CASA REYES BISTRO FILIPINO


A few days ago, I was invited to Casa Reyes Bistro Filipino at the Upper Level, Promenade Greenhills. Don't get confused, there is another branch of this Filipino restaurant in Connecticut Arcade. Both branches are owned by Ms. Christine Dayco.



My first impression of the restaurant >> NOSTALGIC.





It was as if I time travelled and got transported to lola's provincial house. With wooden furniture and accents, accessories that will remind you of childhood days before gadgets and bits and pieces that will remind you of the simple life of the past.  There were also several repurposed pieces that showed ingenuity and Pinoy craftsmanship. You just know that the owner of this restaurant put in a lot of effort in making you feel Pinoy na Pinoy.




Part of the restaurant's interior design, was the display of several photos of the family's matriarch -- from whom most of the recipes came from. 








Their artisanal pinoy gelatos are displayed in a cute sorbetero cart. Super cute.









CASA REYES BISTRO FILIPINO MUST-TRY DISHES 


Those who personally know Mrs.Wise, will know that I am a bit choosy when it comes to food. Maybe because I am very much partial to my nanay's style of cooking, and that when I dine out it will only be one of these three choices: Japanese, Mexican or Filipino.

But when I inspected the menu of Casa Reyes Bistro Filipino -- I had a big appetite slowly building up. A sense of excitement to have a sample of their dishes.  The selection are predominantly traditional Filipino dishes, which I heard were heritage recipes from Ms. Christine's family. She comes from a family of restaurateurs, and Mama Sita (the culinary icon and yes the woman behind the brand of sauces, marinades and more) is Ms. Christine's lola.

the flavor of this mechado brings back memories of
fiesta celebrations in Malabon, wherein mechado is a staple.
beef is VERY tender, melts in your mouth :)
Casa Reyes is well known for their barbecues, and this BBQ chops
is definitely one of the dishes that you must try, perfect
with Java Rice
this one is my FAVORITE!  the salty-smoky flavor of tinapa sits well wth
Kesong puti. How to eat: wrap the tinapa lumpia with lettuce
and put the mango salsa. I think I might have eaten 4 pieces hahaha! 
of course I expected the "sour" flavor of Malabon's dinuguan. But this
variety is more similar to my hubby's "Sinagan" (dinuguan in Tuguegarao).
The only difference is the crispy pork that goes with it.
Shrimp and Aligue sauce - perfect combination. 
the laing was not too spicy. the bagnet was crispy. I warn you...
if you order this, you might order a cup or two of rice. Delicious!
bagnet and pinakbet, two Ilocano staples. the rice enhanced the
flavor of the bagnet. But I kindda miss the veggies in the
pinakbet (I love veggies kasi)


Steak lovers alert!  the truffle butter is so creamy and buttery. the angus
rib eye melts in the mouth.
this dish reminds me of my nanay's Sarsiado recipe. I didn't
know that mango can be use for the sauce. Loved this
twist, and I will try it at home
the PERFECT dessert after eating those impressive Filipino dishes.
As you can see, this looks like an ordinary bibingka, with
salted egg. But when you dig in, OMG!  The cheesecake consistency
is a big surprise - soft, creamy, light and fluffy - but still having
that distinct bibingka taste. I swear, I think I can finish 5 of these in one sitting :) 
the perfect drink for authentic traditional Filipino food - buko! 



MRS.WISE VERDICT:

Wait... I am still recovering from the explosion of flavors in my mouth :)   I definitely gained weight from the gustatory experience. I sampled on everything. As in, every dish that were served. And that's not all, I finished two cups of gelatos - the mangga't suman and keso at pastillas. And I am not even a big fan of desserts :) 

Seriously, Casa Reyes Bistro Filipino is a worthwhile dining experience. The ambience puts you in the mood to celebrate your Filipino heritage - culture, tradition and culinary uniqueness. It is perfect for family celebrations - because you know you are served excellent food choices.  I also recommend this place - if you have balikbayan relatives and you want them to have a taste of Filipino dishes that they crave for years.  

Speaking of balikbayan relatives, Casa Reyes Bistro FIlipino can be the venue for your next family reunion/party. The ground floor can accommodate 35 people, and the second floor, 35 people too. 

They also have party platters that you can order.  





CASA REYES BISTRO FILIPINO.  OPERATING HOURS: 
MONDAY-THURS - 11am to 10pm
FRIDAY - 11am to 11pm
SATURDAY - 10am to 11pm
SUNDAY - 10am to 10pm














Saturday, June 8, 2019

CELEBRATING FILIPINA BEAUTY AT SM NORTH EDSA


I came from a generation of "walking dolls" (that creepily open and close their eyes) and later, my addiction with "game and watch".  It was when I had my daughter that I got introduced to Barbie. My daughter were given several Barbie dolls by relatives, and I remember buying her toddler stuffs with Barbie design.

To mark the 121st celebration of Philippine Independence, there will be an exhibit that will celebrate Pinoy fashion and freedom -- FILIPINA BEAUTY WITH BARBIE!  In this exhibit you will witness what the iconic doll Barbie would look like in a Filipino-designed ensemble.







Here are some interesting reasons why you mommies, together with your kids, should check out SM North Edsa's The Block Pinoy Barbie exhibit:



1.  It is a fashion experience like no other. Witness an exhibit of Barbie dolls dressed in mixed contemporary high-fashion and streetwear inspired by the country's rich culture, tradition and heritage.

2. Filipino fashion designers in action. Be amazed by a collection of exclusive designs made by the country's most sought-after filipino fashion designers -- Rajo Laurel, Mark Tumang, John Herrera, Anthony Ramirez and Martin Bautista among others.


3. A handiwork of expert Filipino doll artists. The Barbie collection will be "dolled up" using the skills and craftmanship of remarkable doll artists -- Alvin Dave Ocampo, Christoper Flores, Eric Benito, Arvy Labrador, Marc Vandro and Precious Juliet Mirafuentes.

4. A design competition on contemporary couture. In collaboration with the promising talents of Fashion Institute of the Philippines, Institute of Creative Entrepreneurship Fashion Arts Design and Fashion Designers Alliance the exhibit will showcase Barbie doll outfits made of indigenous and recyclable materials. 

IBONG ADARNA - LEILANI KATE YALUNG

ANG MULING PAGTUKLAS - LEVENSON RODRIGUEZ X OZ GO

GININTUANG SISA - ESTIEN QUIJANO


5. There's a Catriona Gray and Pia Wurtzbach inspired Barbie. If you are a big fan of the Miss Universe, you wouldn't let this chance to pass to see Miss Universe gowns on cute Barbie dolls.






Catch the exhibit that will run until June 13, at the SM North Edsa the Block.  Happy Independence Day everyone!!!








Thursday, June 6, 2019

GREAT EATS AT THE 2ND EDITION OF CALLE BISTRO FOOD CRAWL


Dear mommies... have you ever been subjected to this question "Anong ulam"?   

Honestly, my husband and I have been asked this question a gazillion times already by our two teens. Two reasons: first, they've gotten tired of our family's lunch and dinner menu... which tend to repeat every single week hehehe.... and second, they crave going out, having lunch or dinner at a new restaurant.

So how do we combat food boredom? We simply eat out, let's say twice a month. Eating out is our family's way to reward ourselves for little things that we accomplish; It is also a way to bond; most importantly, it is really fun discovering new eateries and sample on new dishes with the entire family.


EXCITED FOR CALLE BISTRO:  


Just 5 minutes from where we live - is Calle Bistro, a lifestyle strip along Commonwealth Avenue  We literally saw how the rows of eateries were constructed. Every single day, that we see signages being put up, we will get extra excited.

The reason for our excitement? Hey, now we don't have to travel far to discover great tasting food. If at times, we feel lazy to cook lunch or dinner, we can easily order a take out or dine out. It even comes to a point that I will just text my teens, to just pick up dinner on their way home from school. So convenient! 


FOOD CRAWL AT CALLE BISTRO:


Late last year, it held its first-ever ‘Food Crawl’ where guests were treated to a “full” day of food, music, and fun festivities. Everyone had a delightful time visiting the restaurants as they got a bite at some of the mouth-watering selections that include best-selling appetizers, classic meal favorites, popular desserts and signature beverages. 

At that time, among the restaurants in Calle Bistro are the following: Sisig Society, JTs Manukan, ELM’s Kapihan and Winery, Adobo Connection, IMA Kitchen, Gerry’s Grill and Restaurant, PUB Express, Hap Chan, Macao Imperial Tea, Cook the Bread, After Twelve, among others. Today, Calle Bistro includes Tim Hortons Samgyeopmasarap, Knicker+Bockers and Teriyaki Boy.

    

And this time, Mrs.Wise was also included as one of the bloggers to experience Calle Bistro's 2nd Food Crawl!



APPETIZER AT SISIG SOCIETY
SISIG NACHOS

TUSOK TUSOK PLATTER (assorted platter of dynamite,
chicken skin, bacon crackling, kikiam)


APPETIZER AT KNICKER + BOCKERS
Inspired by the eclectic NY vibe, built in the Asian melting pot of Singapore.
owner Mr. Philip Matibag, first opened in Singapore and soon, he is also interested in opening franchise opportunities. Experience artisan, handcrafted, top-anything-you-want pizza at Knicker + Bockers














LUNCH AT ADOBO CONNECTION 
Who doesn't love adobo? But aside from delicious adobo creations, Adobo
Connection is home to mouth watering Pinoy dishes
BEEF SINIGANG, MY NEXT TAKE OUT ORDER :)


CRISPY KARE KARE



LUNCH AT JTs MANUKAN 
When it comes to "inihaw" JT's never fails to satisfy my cravings.

Pinoy comfort food at its finest  :)

KANSI
BATCHOY




LUNCH AT IMA KITCHEN
Ever since Calle Bistro opened, I have been a frequent visitor of Ima Kitchen.
I simply enjoy their flavorful dishes - saktong sakto sa panlasang Pinoy. My fave -
Chicharong Bulaklak with Aligue -- so sinful and tasty :)
But the dishes they served for the food crawl were all equally delicious!
SINIGANG NA BAKA SA UBE AT PAKWAN

PANSIT PUTI. Don't be fooled by its "bland" color,
because it is super flavorful
SIZZLING PORK SISIG
TORTANG TALONG AT ITLOG MAALAT ENSALADA
(Another favorite of mine)
BANANA RUM TURON




LUNCH AT PUB EXPRESS
Recommended for students because of their budget meals
BABY BACK RIBS
CREAMY KAWALI
SPIC SISIG


LUNCH AT SAMGYEOPMASARAP
The name speaks for itself: MASARAP!  The meats are simply marinated, nothing fancy.
The unli Korean BBQ experience is heightened with the 6 kinds of side dishes,
to which my favorite is the sweet-spicy dilis.  Highly recommended for
value for money and superb service








THE SWEET SPICY DILIS IS THE BEST FOR ME.
I CAN GO ON EATING FOR HOURS, AS LONG
THE DILIS IS PRESENT :)



 



TIM HORTONS
And to cap Calle Bistro's day-long food crawl, we sampled on Tim Hortons' Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Beef Steak and Iced Coffee
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH WITH BEEF STEAK +
SIGNATURE ICED COFFEE




WHY MRS.WISE LOVES CALLE BISTRO?

It offers a variety of culinary options -- that are budget friendly.  The prices at Adobo Connection, Sisig Society and JT's Manukan are affordable even for my teens (hey, their allowance is not that big).  Me and my husband can make our early morning stroll and have breakfast at Tim Hortons... or spend Friday evenings just chillin' at Knicker + Bockers and have a few drinks as well.  Early this year we celebrated my son's moving up dinner at Ima's... and plans to celebrate important occasions at Samgyeopmasarap (because the teens love unli Korean barbecue).

So "Northeners" unite (parang Game of Thrones lang ang peg) -- and check out the "great eats" at Calle Bistro.  Of course the "Southeners" are very much welcome to experience it too.  Calle Bistro is proving that the food establishments in the north are worth checking (thanks to the popularity of Maginhawa, UP Town Center, quaint little eateries at Don Antonio, at syempre, all the restaurants in the gigantic malls of QC! 



CHECK OUT MRS.WISE FOOD CRAWL EXPERIENCE BELOW :)