Thursday, September 14, 2017

Staycation Files : Seda Hotel Nuvali, Laguna

One thing that I love about living in the Philippines is how you have a lot of places to go to should you just want to take a quick breather away from the city. Take Metro Manila for example, you can either go North or South. For my family, we've always preferred the South and we would make the most of almost every 3 day weekend to head to our favorite weekend spot in Tagaytay.

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For the past decade though, we have noticed how Sta Rosa, Laguna particularly Nuvali has fast been developing. It started with several residential villages followed by three commercial establishments by the Ayala Group and recently, there's Seda Hotel, which is operated by the same group. In addition to that, they've also developed an ecozone where sports fanatic would head to for some wake-boarding action or if they just want to go boating.

Saturday, September 9, 2017 turns 10!

9 September 2007. I still remembered that afternoon so vividly. It was after chatting with my friend S who has been convincing me to go back to blogging after I hid my personal blog and moved to She told me that it's such a waste that my food reviews can only be seen by a handful of people (friends who are connected with me in Multiply) instead of opening it up to the whole wide world to see. She sure had some amazing convincing skills as I gave it some thought and there I was signing up for a new blog.

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First step -- think of a blog name. Oh great! I wasn't prepared for this. I didn't want anything too dramatic or emo. All I know,is that I want a blog where I can share my food adventures with Paul. No grand plan whatsoever. With the cursor blinking away, I typed my name "Fran..." then thought of just being cutesy-slash-funny "Frannywanny".  There you go. That was exactly how this blog name was born. I even got a tagline! For those who can still remember, it was "Flipflopping my way around town" The story behind this was simply due to my slight addiction to Havaianas flipflops which is part of my daily staple attire. That's simply it! Just like most blogs during that time, it simply served as a personal journal. A venue for us to pour our thoughts into. My photos during those days were just taken using whatever handphone I was using then. First it was a Nokia followed by that girly Sony Ericsson clamshell phone. It was only later on when I got my first ever iPhone and Paul got into photography where we pretty much avoided all the grainy shots. has been my personal solace for the past 10 years. All throughout my life's journey, I always felt like I have this place where I can share my thoughts, my happy adventures, the special milestones in my life and more. Here, I reveal the real ME. My honest opinions, my crazy side comments, my innermost thoughts. Throughout this decade, I never felt alone. I know that I got you, my readers, at the other side of the fence. Some may come and go but there are some I know who have been there through all these years. Every year, I say this and I'd gladly say it again -- Thank You.

To be honest, I really wanted to plan something grand to celebrate a decade of blogging. Early this year, I was already toying with the idea of either running a big giveaway or perhaps to give this blog a massive make-over or even doing both. However, time just flew by so fast and with the arrival of my twins coming real soon, I truly apologize as I wasn't able to prepare much but I hope that I will be able to end this year with a bang.

Meanwhile, let me share with you 10 of the Best Moments that I've had here at

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Franny Mommy : Go on with GOO.N Diapers

Week 30.

Today, my babies and I have officially hit the 30th mark and not long from now, I will soon be meeting them in person. I. Can't. Wait.! For now though, I just pray that they'll hang in there as long as they can in order for them to grow even more.

As we await the arrival of our twins, we've already started shopping for their basic necessities and it's just so funny to watch sales people asking us how come we're buying everything in twos. I'll never forget the day when Paul began hoarding pink and blue bottles and the sales lady couldn't help but ask me if we're expecting a girl or boy. Haha!

I got to admit though that as the BIG day comes nearer, there are nights when I'd feel extra anxious as hundreds of questions would run through my mind. Will I be a good Mommy? How will I take care of twins? Will they keep me up all day and night? Where should I start? I just try not to let all the anxiety consume me or I might go nuts. Admittedly, I feel Paul and I will just learn as we go and we are just so lucky to have our families around us. However, it doesn't hurt to be more prepared. Sleepless nights are one of the things that I'm bracing myself for and I am making myself ready for it. However, if there's a way for me to make sure that my twins get to sleep better at night, I'm definitely all for it.

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It's a good thing that Pan had A a year before my twins' arrival and so I've been relying on my sister and my brother in law E a lot who have been helpful in sharing first-hand, personal tips with us. One thing that I'll never forget is how they told us to choose our diapers well. A good quality diaper will mean less to zero leakage and it should have a good absorption rate too. My niece A is the kind of baby though who doesn't cry whenever she pees or poops which makes it a tad more challenging for them on her first few months to know whether it's time for a change or not.

Monday, September 4, 2017

What's for Dinner PH : Home Food Delivery

Here's the sad reality -- good help is hard to find here in Manila. Unlike probably 10 years ago when most of us would have the privilege to have long-staying helpers who would take our worries about running the household away. Today, I've been hearing friends and family constantly asking around for recommendations for helpers and more often than not, we're always faced with the dilemma of helpers staying for a few months and leaving right away. Given that, most smaller families would resort to not having helpers anymore.

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So how do we deal with preparing for our meals on a daily basis? Since I got back from the Lion City, my parents (who are down to just one helper), have been ordering food on a daily basis. We call it "tiap tsai" in Hokkien which, if I'm not mistaken, means food subscription in English. Apparently, there's a growing number of companies and individuals running this tiap tsai business and What's for Dinner is one of those. The drill is simple, wait for their weekly menu and decide which days you'd like to order from them. You have the option to adjust the quantity as the rate is on a per head basis. Place your order in advance (take note of their cut-off dates and time as this varies) and wait for them to deliver. Payment can be done upon delivery making it really hassle-free.

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We got to try to order two days worth of viands from What's for Dinner and I was impressed that our food came in these clean microwaveable plastic containers. It's really my pet peeve to receive oily and messy containers as it means I have to spend more time cleaning prior to reheating our food. With the ones that we got, I simply just transferred them to our plates and popped them in the oven as we wanted it extra warmer.

Here are some of the dishes that we got that week:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cipriano Sans Rival : 50 years of Cake Perfection

Not so long ago, I received a message from my former colleague K asking me if I'm game to try her Lolo (grandfather)'s sans rival. Of course, I don't say no to cake more so when it's sans rival! This is probably one of my favorite cakes as I just love anything nutty, nougat-y and the butter frosting totally beats regular cream frostings any day.

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What I just recently learned though is that this particular sans rival has a story that dates back to 50 years ago. Cipriano Sans Rival (Php. 850) is the recipe of K's grandfather and it's the kind that has been perfected over time. This is definitely not the mass-produced kind. Instead, K's grandfather has been making his sans rival for most of their family gatherings. Each layer carefully crafted, the frosting with its intricate fork design and that generous amount of nuts sprinkled on top to cover any flaws and at the same time works double time to complete your sans rival experience. Today, my friend K has perfected the same sans rival recipe after multiple rounds of trial and error. This is definitely one amazing family tradition worth continuing and I'm glad that the next generation will be able to enjoy this thanks to K.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Missing Crystal Jade Prestige at MBFC, Singapore

Oh wow! It's been close to 3 months since we bid goodbye to the Lion City! Time flies so fast...when you're busy! With that, I think I should write about one of the things that I miss the most about Singapore.

Crystal Jade.

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I know that this is pretty much a household name when it comes to Chinese dining with close to 20 outlets all over Singapore and even more overseas. I've had my first taste of Crystal Jade right here in Manila when my friend T brought me there to have her favorite Dan Dan La Mian. I was never a fan of spicy food but it was only Crystal Jade's version that I find to be really yummy. However, it was when I went to Singapore that I learned more about the brand. Did you know that Crystal Jade has several concepts under its wing? Let's see if I still remember them... there are the fine-dining ones such as Crystal Jade Prestige at MBFC, Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant which is like the flagship outlet in Takashimaya and Crystal Jade Golden Palace which I find to be the most hip and very Shanghai Tang looking one. Then, there are the casual dining outlets which we frequent a lot like Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao which specializes in... yes, la mian AND xiao long bao, there's Crystal Jade Kitchen for your steamboat dinners and short orders. Lastly, there's Crystal Jade Dining IN which only has one outlet at the moment in Vivo City which is somewhere in between casual and fine dining. It's perhaps the best place to go if you're dining with the family. Apart from all these, there's Crystal Jade MyBread where you get grab some baked pastries and cakes and Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken and BBQ where I just love their bibimbap and kimchi fried rice! Did I miss out on anything? I hope not.

Anyway, let me tell you about the last meal that Paul and I had at Crystal Jade Prestige. This is the concept that's closest to my heart as I was so lucky enough to be invited to their opening party and I have been frequenting this outlet quite a lot too. One thing that we love about Crystal Jade Prestige is its location. Overlooking the beautiful Marina Bay, you can definitely enjoy a nice weekend lunch here as the scenery outside relaxes you. During weeknights, it's also a good place to be as it's convenient located within the CBD area making it so accessible for all office workers. It also doesn't hurt that they make the yummiest Roasted Baby Suckling Pig Roll with Black Truffle Rice too.

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Our lunch began with our own baskets of Prestige Signature Dim Sum Platter. I got so excited when I saw this. Look how cute the dimsum creations were! This was also when we were still so addicted to Pokemon Go! and doesn't that fishy dim sum look like Magikarp to you? Anyway, this basket consists of four specially created dim sum namely prawn and carrot dumpling with black truffle, assorted mushroom dumpling, osmanthus dumpling with prawn and celery and lastly, water chestnut dumpling with olive and chinese parsley. Unlike in Manila where we dip every single dim sum item in a soy sauce-calamansi dipping sauce, one thing that I love about Crystal Jade Prestige's dim sum creations is that each piece is well-seasoned and dipping is definitely not required. If you must then just add a bit of chili if you want a bit more kick but personally, I just happily ate them as is.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#FrannyCooks with Grande Rice Bran Oil : Creamy Prawn Pesto with Organic Garlic Parsley Pasta

One thing that I miss the most about living in Singapore is the chance to cook on a regular basis. Somehow, I never considered cooking a chore as it's something that I look forward to doing most especially when I get to try a new recipe or experiment with whatever ingredients we have in the fridge.

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With all my kitchen utensils, pots and ingredients finally back from Singapore, I took the opportunity to do some cooking for the family. Recently also, I was invited to check out Grande Rice Bran Oil which is new in the market. I still remembered the first time Paul and I had to shop for our cooking oil and we were totally overwhelmed by all the varieties available. From the more popular olive oil to the more mass produced vegetable oil, I seriously had to whipped out my phone right at the middle of the grocery aisle to check which one is the healthier variant before making our choice. After all, there's no early age to be health-conscious after all most especially when we see older relatives suffering from heart diseases, hypertension and the like. With our twins on the way, Paul and I promised to keep ourselves healthy for as long as we can. 

So, when I was introduced to Grande Rice Bran Oil, we were told that it has a high smoke point making it a good choice for heavy frying, it has a neutral taste, it has zero cholesterol and it's trans-fat free and it's rich in antioxidants. Sounds interesting! 

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