Letters that make my day… CHILDREN INTERNATIONAL (Sponsor a Child)

Back in 2013, Bok asked me what I want to do when we grow older and what will make me happy during those times.  I clearly remember that day when he asked me that question, we were driving with the kids and when we do long drives, Bok and I enjoy talking about life, our families, our goals, plans and dreams.

I remember thinking deeply and asking myself, what will make me happy specially when I get older, after we raise our own children.  Only one thing came to mind… CHILDREN.  In 2014, I discovered Children International.  Together with my girls, we scoured profiles of needy children and finally picked Ariana and Arjon.  Ariana is a girl from Legazpi, Philippines and she is the same age as Jade (my eldest daughter) and because we don’t have a son in the family and we lost our little boy when I had a miscarriage in 2010, we decided to pick Arjon, a 5-year-old boy from the Philippines.

We’ve been sponsoring these two beautiful children for more than a year now; and to us, this journey is just beginning and we enjoy every moment and opportunity that we are able to help these children live better lives through our sponsorship with the help of Children International.

How does it feel to sponsor?  It’s PRICELESS.  No burden, no worries, no pressure, no second thoughts.

We love hearing back from Arjon and Ariana after we write them.  It keeps our relationship going as we learn about each other’s lives.  Funny thing, both of them don’t know that we are a Filipino-Chinese-American family.  We’ve been writing them in English and I never mentioned to them that we speak the language they speak.  We do this because we want to surprise them.  This coming December (2015), in coordination with Children International, we will be meeting these children face to face.  We will visit their homes, school and community in Legazpi, Philippines.  It’s going to be a trip of a lifetime.

Thanks to Children International for this great program, thanks to their great staff both from the U.S. and all around the world.

Thanks to Ariana and Arjon for these letters that always make my day.  See you soon!

 

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Balikbayan Filipino Street Food at Centris Weekend Market

2014 was the year I feasted my eyes with local Filipino food at the Centris Weekend Market in Quezon City, Manila.  This is a place where my sister would go every early Sunday morning to get her produce and ready-cooked Filipino food for a simple weekend treat.

It was a super humid day but I forgot about my sweaty nape and back, just by staring at all the local delicacies and fresh Filipino vegetable varieties.

Without a doubt, I had to have my Taho (soybean pudding with brown sugar syrup and sago pearls), my cheese and ube (yam) flavored Sorbetes (local Pinoy “dirty” street ice cream — it’s NOT dirty, it’s just the way Filipinos got used to calling it), my coffee Barako (fresh local Batangas coffee) and my Lumpiang Sariwa/Ubod (Vegetable egg rolls from the heart of Banana palms wrapped in crepe, served with sweet sauce infused with fresh minced garlic and ground roasted peanuts).

This is a must-see, a must-visit and a must-experience place to go to for all the Balikbayans going to Quezon City.

 

Mamang Sorbetero. Order your ice cream on a cup, a cake cone or a bun!! Yes, a BUN!

 

Arurusip (seaweed) and Manila Clams

 

Local Roasted Cashew nuts
Wild Pig and Deer Tapas (Dried or Cured Meat)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar-apple
Sugar-Apple or Atis in Filipino… Childhood memories eating this for snack.
Variety of Dried & Smoked Fish
Ready to eat deep fried snack varieties (Fish, Pork belly, Ukoy, etc)
Heart-attack in a tray (Deep fried Pork skin and fat)
Exotic roasted Calf
My favorite Filipino Pork Barbecue in a Stick!! A must eat for everyone.
Fried here, fried there, fried everywhere!!! Time to eat! Great with Spicy vinegar dipping sauce.

Smokey grilled fish

 

Daddy’s Filipino Pork and Chicken Adobo

Daddy Jun's Special Adobo
Daddy Jun’s Special Adobo

When I miss my Dad, I always think of Adobo.  Pork and Chicken Adobo is a classic Filipino hearty meal served with steaming white rice and some fresh ripe mangoes on the side.  My Dad used to make the BEST Adobo and he cooks it with precision and love.  He even cooks adobo using other ingredients like squid, local vegetable greens, pork hocks and more.

I like to make adobo because it stores well in the fridge.  Since it is cooked with a good quality vinegar, it lasts longer in the fridge than other meat recipes.

I remember when I was little and we had a school field trip for Girl Scouts, my Dad would cook adobo so I can pack it for our lunch. We did not have insulated lunch bags before 🙂  and keeping my rice and adobo in a Tupperware lunchbox was enough to keep my lunch fresh and ready for eating.

There are many recipes online on how to make this.  My recipe was handed down to me by my Dad so to me, it is a very special recipe dear to my heart and unfortunately, I am not willing to share 😛

I may not be the best Adobo cook but still, each time I follow the step-by-step instructions my Dad taught me, it reminds me of the good happy days as I watch him do his tricks in our small kitchen.

I know maybe you’re thinking, then why am a blogging about Adobo??? Because I want to share my photos 🙂

Okay, here’s a link I found on how to cook Adobo.

I miss you Daddy! This is for you!

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Dad and Mom’s Altar


mom’s altar

Originally uploaded by doyd74

  

 

Took this photo last Christmas day (2009) at my parent-in-law’s home in San Juan Manila. We stayed there for a couple of days and it was always refreshing to offer a prayer and visit their prayer room. 

Since the beginning of my marriage, I have learned a lot of simple Buddha teachings from my mother-in-law and it has provide my heart with more space to love others, not just myself and my family.

Stuffed Squid

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more about “Stuffed Squid “, posted with vodpod
STUFFED SQUID IS ONE OF MY HUSBAND’S FAVORITE DISH.  WE USED TO EAT THIS AT A SMALL OUTDOOR CHINESE RESTAURANT IN AN AREA AT QUEZON CITY, MANILA ALSO KNOWN AS DELTA.  FUNNY I JUST ASKED MY HUSBAND NOW AND HE STILL REMEMBERS THE NAME OF THAT PLACE, “ONGPIN’S DELIGHT.”  I WONDER IF IT’S STILL IN BUSINESS TO DATE.
WE USED TO EAT THERE DURING OUR LUNCH BREAK FROM OUR WORK AT WEST AVENUE.  THIS WAS AT MY FIRST JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE, AND THE PLACE WHERE MY HUSBAND AND I FIRST MET 🙂  ANYWAY, THIS IS MY VERSION OF THE STUFFED SQUID:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 MEDIUM TO LARGE SIZE SQUID (DEPENDING ON HOW BIG YOU WANT IT)
  • BUNCH OF GREEN ONIONS
  • FLOUR
  • EGG
  • COLD WATER
CLEAN THE SQUID.  REMOVE EVERYTHING INSIDE.  FOLD THE GREEN ONIONS IN HALF AND PUSH THEM INTO
THE SQUID.  MAKE A TEMPURA BATTER WITH FLOUR, ONE EGG AND COLD WATER.  DO NOT OVER MIX THE BATTER.
DIP THE ENTIRE STUFFED SQUID AND FRY IN OLIVE OIL ON MEDIUM HEAT.  MAKE SURE ALL SIDES ARE WELL DONE
BEFORE SERVING.  SLICE THE COOKED SQUID AND TOP WITH YOUR FAVORITE SAUCE.  NOTE THAT I DO NOT PUT ANY SALT BECAUSE I ALREADY PUT SOY SAUCE INTO MY CLASSIC BROWN SAUCE COOKED WITH CRISPY FRIED GARLIC, WATER, SOY SAUCE, SALT AND PEPPER, SPLENDA (OR SUGAR) AND CORNSTARCH WITH WATER TO THICKEN THE SAUCE.
THIS RECIPE IS VERY EASY TO MAKE AND REFRESHING TO EAT.

Philippine Tamarind Pork Soup (“American Sinigang”)


Philippine tamarind pork soup.
Originally uploaded by doyd74

Today, I want to share this all-time family favorite dish. Sinigang (as how we call it in Filipino) is a Philippine soup characterized by it’s sour flavor. To me it is somehow similar to Thai’s tom yam soup.

All the children in our family, both father and mother-side loves this soup. If we want the kids to eat a lot for dinner or lunch, just cook Sinigang 🙂

Here’s how to make it:

1 pound of Pork (short ribs, neckbone, belly, shoulder or even tenderloin)
1 large Tomato
1 medium Daikon (you can use Korean daikon too)
1 bunch or pack of Spinach
4-5 pieces of Taro corms (Gabi)
1 pack of Sinigang mix (can be purchased at a local Chinese/Filipino supermarket)
1 teaspoon of Fish Sauce

Cut/chop the pork into large bite sizes. Wash it well.
Boil 8-10 cups of water. Upon boiling, add the pork. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Remove all the pork scum or brown bubbles that forms on top of the soup making sure nothing’s left.

Add the tomatoes, sinigang mix and gabi. Reduce the fire to medium and cover the pot. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Once the pork is tender, add the daikon and fish sauce. When daikon is cooked according to how you want it to be, you may add the spinach and simmer for another minute or two.

I call this my American Sinigang because I make it using the ingredients we have here in America. Originally, when I was small, my Dad would use pork neckbones and he would simmer it until the soup really tastes so good. Then he added water spinach (“kang-kong”) or yardlong beans/chinese string beans (“sitaw”), sometimes even eggplants and okra.

Most Filipinos like to cook Sinigang with a piece of green finger pepper. Here in the US, I use Korean green chili or anaheim peppers to enhance the taste while adding a little kick of spice to the soup.

Sinigang… a best-loved dish from my kitchen. Try it!!

Friday Sickness is “Waiting” for you!

I am featuring my nephew’s high school band called FRIDAY SICKNESS. They started this band by themselves and once in a while, my nephew share some news about their new songs, their gigs and their videos. I totally support them for being so musical because I am a lover of music myself. I may not be able to understand the type of songs they write because of generation gap but this particular song I posted sounded very inspiring to me.

If you would like to know more about Friday Sickness, you can visit their Fan Page on Facebook.

The following are the band members:

Vocalist – Angelo Suni (he’s my nephew)
Rhythm Guitarist -Proibel Asi
Lead Guitarist – Jason Paala
Bassist – Cedrick Albuen
Drummer – Mark Vidses Pagaduan

If you like their song, feel free to leave a comment and that will help their band gain more attention online.  Watch out for more songs in the future!

BOKRACAY

 

My husband and I were very fortunate to see the island again.  It’s been almost 11 years ago since we’ve been there.  It changed a lot in terms of infrastructure but the people, the spirit of traditional Filipino tropical island hospitality and simplicity and the beauty and wonder of the island still remains.

Bok and I waited for sunset on our second night on the island. We watched the sail boats pass by the horizon as the sun mirrors across the ocean.  At that same moment, I felt happy.  Happy to see that I am with the same person whom I saw this same sunset years ago.

How time flies.  I am happy I have captured this backdrop of Boracay and with Bok as my main subject, it made this my favorite shot during our vacation back home.