Tuesday, April 22

Selfie-ing with THE Alain Ducasse

As a self-proclaimed food-lover, I got so excited to attend a press conference on Ducasse Institute's Philippines launch at Enderun. Chef Alain Ducasse himself was there. It was my first time at Enderun Colleges in McKinley, and I love, love, love it so much. I am so happy that there is such a place in Manila. It was such a breathe of fresh air, an escape from the concrete jungle.

My cousin, who's the sous chef at Brasserie Ci├žou and a die hard fan of Chef Alain Ducasse, accompanied me. We sat on the second row. As the selfie capital of the world (haha), I just had to take a selfie with the chef.

At the launch of Ducasse Institute at Enderun, they introduced the Chef de Partie program. If you're interested, please read on.


Ducasse Institute Philippines at Enderun Colleges launches the first Chef de Partie program in the Philippines, the Diploma in Culinary Arts - Chef de Partie, for culinary graduates and aspiring professional chefs who want to advance in their career and acquire the skills expected of a Chef de Partie at top international establishments. Through comprehensive research across restaurants all over the world, the skill sets gained in this program match the precise needs of employers when hiring a Chef de Partie.

Participants of this program will get to train with world-class chef instructors of Ducasse Institute Philippines and learn the responsibilities of a Chef de Partie - from running one particular area of the professional kitchen at any given time, as well as assisting the sous-chef and head chef. Students will gain an excellent grounding for every specialty in the kitchen, such as cold kitchen preparation and advanced culinary techniques applied to different catering concepts. The curriculum also includes lessons on mise-en-place, health and safety protocols, nutrition fundamentals, team management, and operations management.

This intensive program matches the curriculum taught in Ducasse Education in France. With 75% hands-on and 25% theory classes, the teaching methodology focuses on rigorous hands-on practice in order to optimize skills acquisition. It lasts for six months and is divided into hands-on training and internship in a restaurant. Students have an option to have their internship abroad in one of Enderun’s 250 global industry partners.

Ducasse Education is dedicated to cultivating excellence in the practice of culinary and pastry arts, service, and hospitality around the world through accessible and internationally-oriented educational programs. Ducasse Education’s mission is to educate the next generation of top international culinary professionals with exceptional global standards, rigor, innovation, and creativity to meet industry needs for market-ready competencies.

Ducasse Education is available in the Philippines at Enderun Colleges, the home of the first Ducasse Institute outside of France, and its regional hub in Asia. The combination of Enderun's existing culinary faculty - already celebrated as one of Asia's most distinguished - with the Ducasse Education teaching methodologies promises to set new standards for culinary education in Asia. The collaboration also gives Enderun students the opportunity to earn an international certification from Ducasse Education in France.

The Diploma in Culinary Arts - Chef de Partie starts this June. For inquiries, please call Eveth Ella at 856 5000 local 505 or email enderunextension@enderuncolleges.com. Visit our website www.enderunextension.com to know more about this program.

Media Contact:
Valerie Almario
Marketing Executive, Enderun Colleges
(632) 856 5000 local 574

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Tuesday, April 15

Travel: Airplane Rides with a Toddler

We first travelled with Allie on a plane when she was just three months old. Look at those chubby cheeks and those folds!

It was easy breezy. Let me tell you why.
[1] We got to board the plane first. 
[2] We scored the seats with extra legroom up front with the bassinet access. Downside was we had nowhere else but on the luggage compartment above to put our carry-ons.
[3] She was such a darling on the plane. She slept the whole way across the ocean.

Her second airplane trip was when she was a year old. We went on an Alaskan cruise.

It was a bit tougher because the night before our flight to San Francisco, Allie had a high fever. It was a good thing that we packed all kinds of meds for emergencies, including paracetamol, so we were prepared. She still slept a lot on the plane but she threw up during the ride. At the hotel, she slept some more. I think she rested for a good 24 hours, and she was fine after that. Whew.

Her third airplane ride was a short one. It was a domestic flight to Boracay. She was two then, and you know how two-year olds are. They test your patience to infinity. She didn't want to buckle up so we had to force her. She cried and cried and cried. Terrible. But she slept halfway there, and didn't throw up (on the plane, that is). We had to ride this trike to get us to the hotel, and she threw up there. I guess uneventful travels don't exist in our trips.

Our most recent trip lived up to that expectation. The ride had two stopovers, one in Japan and another in Detroit. She threw up, yes. Twice pa. Poor baby. The first time I had to wash her pants in the plane lavatory so that her pants won't smell. We almost made it to Detroit when she threw up (on me pa!) while waiting for the door to open. Poor baby and poor mommy. I had to wash and wipe my clothes in the plane lavatory before leaving the plane, and change my daughter's clothes too.

I really need tips (besides giving anti-histamine) on how to help prevent kids from throwing up in the plane. Seriously.

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Tuesday, April 1

The Ants Go Marching One By One

And then there were ants -- on the floor, on the walls, on the counter. Have you ever had this problem? They're not swarming or anything. Just random ants going around. They say it's because of the weather change. Well, it doesn't matter; I never liked ants in my house. My daughter is allergic to their bites and that makes it worse.

Image by QFamily via Creative Commons
They even ransack some snacks in the pantry. One tip my aunt taught me was to put sweet snacks on a cake stand and place that on a plate with water. The ants will never be able to cross that lake. Genius right? Well, yeah but I only have one cake stand and tons of sweet snacks. Hahaha.

So, I've asked people and scoured everywhere how to get rid of ants naturally, and here's a list of kid-safe and pet-safe home remedies of ridding your house of these pesky little things.

Baking Soda + Powdered Sugar

Mix one part baking soda and one part powdered sugar on a saucer, and place it in areas where the ants are. Powdered sugar attracts; baking soda kills. Ants have acid in their system that reacts with the baking soda and yeah, kaboom. I tried this and ants were gone in about a couple of hours. But you have to change the supply every so often because of the humidity.

Essential Oils 

Using water sprays with a few drops of essential oil (peppermint or cinnamon) on any possible entry points around the house will not only deter ants from going through but it will leave our house smelling so good.


All you got to do is place a plate of cornmeal in places where the ants are entering your home and they'll be gone in about 3 days.

These are just the top three I felt safest and would work. Well, if all else fails, you can always call pest control.

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Sunday, March 30

Body: Better Yoga at ECHOyoga Shala

Yoga has become very popular choice of fitness now more than ever. Sometimes, I feel it has this very commercial connotation to it already as tons of yoga places seem to have sprouted everywhere overnight. Even fitness gyms now have yoga sessions in their schedules.

My first experience in yoga was not that effective probably due to self-teaching and I used to do it with my husband using a fitness video that was too vigorous. My second was sadly one that I vowed never to do again because I got sick. But when Janice invited me to attend a beginner's session at ECHOyoga Shala, I decided to give it a final shot. I said to myself I might as well start at the very basic.

ECHOyoga is the wellness side of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle, the green retail store. ECHO means Empowerment Care Health and Oneness. Jeannie Javelosa, co-owner of ECHOstore, has been teaching yoga for close to 15 years, and with her co-teacher Marilen Elizalde, launched ECHOyoga five years back, offering weekly and corporate classes. Today, the two certified yoga teachers bring their passion for wholistic living through yoga in a new space called ECHOyoga Shala, located in Kalayaan Avenue, behind Rockwell in Makati.

The ECHOyoga Shala itself is what I thought yoga was all about -- pure, simple and open. 

Along with several mommy bloggers, I experienced the Gentle Flow session with Ms. Jeannie Javelosa, who has the calmest and most relaxing voice I tell you. It made me block out the noise coming from outside the shala. I almost fell asleep as we did the corpse pose. Hahaha. I came out feeling refreshed, strengthened and relaxed after the Gentle Flow session. 

We all sweated it out too. Muscles that I didn't know existed were stretched. My body felt sore the day after -- in a good kind of way.

Yoga has always been my grounding that brings me to my center, especially with my life as a busy mother, homemaker and wife. Through teaching yoga, I expand my awareness and can share this beautiful practice with many.” -- Marilen Elizalde

“Launching ECHOyoga Shala in a new space is for me a natural extension and addition to support ECHOstore’s philosophy of a sustainable lifestyle. Yoga is my disciplined practice that wholistically connects the Body, Mind and Spirit.” -- Jeannie Javelosa

The one thing that Jeannie told us that stuck to me was to practice yoga in life away from the mat, and that there is no line between them. 

That certainly hit home because living in a concrete jungle called Metro Manila is no easy feat. Every day we get bombarded with nasty traffic and terrible surroundings that stress us out to the max. We need time to relax our mind and body too. I had lost my interest in yoga before, but I now know that this is the kind of yoga that fits me, and I will certainly do it again. 

Thank you so much ECHOyoga Shala for having us. I'm pretty sure we'll be back. 


About the New ECHOyoga Shala

ECHOyoga Shala opens its new space with the objective to offer a wholistic approach to a sustainable lifestyle, strengthen community collaborations and bring a deeper understanding of yoga practice. It is open daily, from 6:30 am to 8:30 pm with five daily classes, weekend schedules and workshops plus a daily early morning Self Practice space.

Yoga in all its varied expressions will be offered to beginners, intermediate and advanced students classes like Gentle Flow, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga Vinyasa and Power Yoga. ECHOyoga Shala’s thrust to go beyond just the physical practice of yoga as exercise includes sessions on Meditation, Breath Control (Pranayama) for distressing, and even “Off the Mat” community talks are led by certified and trained yoga teachers, with international experiences. Other offerings include counseling and life coaching sessions, and body-energy work therapies.

If yoga is to be embraced for a sustainable lifestyle, ECHOyoga Shala’s classes, sessions, workshop, community talks are sequenced and offered to guide the students in their yoga practice and discipline to develop a strong healthy Body, a steady focused Mind, a compassionate Heart. The ultimate goal is the development of a personal Self-Practice and tools that can be used for a deeper appreciation of life.

The Values: ECHO
Empowerment, Care, Health, Oneness

ECHOyoga takes the lead in bringing practitioners of yoga together in a community space to share practice and experience their lives through yoga. “Shala” is a sanskrit word that means “house”. ECHO means Empowerment Care Health and Oneness. Through one space, ECHOyoga hopes to further bring these core values forward through strengthening community collaborations and bringing a deeper understanding of yoga practice towards living a more sustainable lifestyle.

Kids Yoga (ages 6-10 years old) May 6 – 29
A fun way to spend summer afternoons of May /Tuesday & Thursdays, 3 – 4 pm
Package fee of Php 4,000
Early bird rate of Php 3,800 if signed in on or before April 15
Drop in rate: Php 500 per class
Eight sessions that will help kids ages 6-10 years old
* breathe - tune in a focus
* have fun - be creative and playful with friends
* balance - feel posed, composed and alive
* stand - become stable, strong and grounded
* forward bend - reach release and flex
* back bend - be supple, open and trustful
* partner - have fun working together
* time in - unwind, rest and revive
To be led by Teacher Marilen Elizalde: Marilen is first a mom with three children, then was a Middle School teacher and is now, a certified Yoga Instructor. Allow Marilen to transform an hour into a session of insight, loving action, playful stretches and spontaneous heartfelt joy.

Package of Eight Classes being prepared for May

AWAKENING SUBTLE ENERGY BODIES (Friday Nights) –Package of Eight Classes being prepared for April and May
* Pranayama and Meditation
* Sound and Meditation
* Chakra Cleansing Meditation
* Manifesting through the Chakras
* Yin Rhythms and Meditation

 Here's how to get there:

 *All photos courtesy of ECHOyoga Shala
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Sunday, March 23

SM Kids' Fashion Summer Clothes

Manila's cold spell started last November. Well, when I say cold spell, it just means high 70s. I think this weather is perfect. Dry, cool and a bit windy. I know though that summer is just around the corner, peeking through once in a while. Every parent who has a toddler knows how often we have to get bigger sized clothes for our tots. They grow up so quickly. Like Allie for example -- I just bought her this shirt a couple of months ago; she used it a couple of times and now, it won't even fit her head.

What's a mom gotta do? Buy more clothes.

I've always been a fan of SM Kids' Fashion. Their stuff is unbelievably affordable, comfy and stylish. I chanced upon getting a sneak preview of their latest brands and styles at Shine Bakery in SM Aura , and I am so excited to start shopping for Allie (one of the perks of having a daughter is I get to dress her up!).

Their lineup of kids' brands now include Nautica, Elle and Maui & Sons.

If I get to pick my favorite set from the bunch, it has to be the gingham summer dresses. I think I'm buying a ton for Allie. I hope they have sizes for her. So cute no?

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