Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Colorful Palette of Food

This is what our family had for lunch today.

The staple white rice with steamed crabs, my own version of the ensalada (red eggs, eggplant,tomatoes,onions) and a Banana-Basil-Tarragon smoothie to beat the summer heat :)

Santi's transition from regular fruit shakes to green shakes is just fine. He doesn't seem to notice that mommy sneaked lotsa greens into his new shake because they are as yummy as the old fruit shakes!

What's on your table for today? :)

*If it were only up to me, I'd eat brown rice but I have my husband and son to please :P

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oil Pulling Therapy

Have you dared tried it? I've read up on this Ayurvedic practice long ago but the thought of gargling oil in my mouth did not sit right with me, let alone swallowing it. (This is why I never continued drinking VCO, I just couldn't swallow oil!) It turns out that you only swish the oil in your mouth and do not gargle at all.

Simplified instructions of this easy & cheap natural home remedy:
*Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
* Use one tablespoon of any edible oil, preferably cold pressed VCO, and rinse in your mouth for at least 20 minutes. Sip, suck & pull through the teeth slowly.
*Make sure not to swallow any of the oil because this has already been contaminated with your body's toxins which you should NOT consume.
*The oil will turn from clear to yellow to white. If your oil did not turn white in color, that only means you didn't do it long enough.
*Wash mouth thouroughly after

Daniw and other residents of Bahay Kalipay swear by it so I was curious enough to try it for myself. Last week, I bought a bottle of local Palawan VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) and started oil pulling everyday since. I only skipped those days I was in El Nido because I didn't want to bring the VCO bottle with me. Maybe if I continue doing this daily, I'll see results faster. For now, I can't really tell. But I'm sticking out with this because of all the health benefits listed below.

Dr. Karach lists these ailments which are alleviated by oil pulling:

* head-aches
* bronchitis
* tooth pain
* thrombosis
* eczema
* ulcers. (I do get some tummy pains so I'll watch out for this one!)
* diseases of stomach, intestines, heart, blood, kidney, liver, and lungs.
* cancer
* diseases of nerves
* paralysis
* prevents the growth of malignant tumors, cuts and heals them. (I've had surgery to remove a benign tumor before so I'm all for this benefit!)
* chronic sleeplessness

Now you might be wondering, HOW does it do that? Smart question, I've asked the same thing. After doing my research I found out that the tongue is mapped by organ-locations — that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ. It has an effect on our body's eliminatory system.

So, what do you think? Wanna give it a try? I'm continuing my oil swishing in the mornings while I check my emails for another 5 months before I give you a status report. By then, I expect to be in the pink of health!

photo credit: The Hindu Business Line

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

El Nido Escape

After a few weeks of living in Puerto Princesa, we finally took a much needed vacation to one of my dream destinations---El Nido! I finally can check this out of my MUST-see places before I die. We thought to ourselves, "We're already in Palawan, let's EXPLORE this magical island!" So, with the spirit of adventure, we reserved 2 slots in one of the public shuttles at P600 per pax for a one way trip. (Sonny 0920-5025797) They surely try to squeeze as many people there, up to 12-14 in a van! The 6-hour uncomfortable, bumpy

and dusty ride... certainly worth all the dust in your throat & lungs and all other body pains in the end!
Santi sets foot on El Nido beach

Because of the good reviews on Tripadvisor, we first stayed in Marina Garden Resort which is conveniently located nearby all the restaurants and stores in town.

They only had one deluxe room available at P2,250 per night with breakfast for 2. This was an aircon room but then we realized that electricity on El Nido shuts off daily from 6am to 2pm. So much for noontime mango shakes!

For the next days we stayed in Makulay Lodge which we discovered right at the next cove, maybe a 10-minute walk from the center. This place is far more peaceful & private, away from the noisy bars at night with less people on the beachfront. Another PLUS is that the few rooms they have are cheap. Non-aircon rooms starts at P800 but we got the 2nd level room at P1,200 per night. This had its own balcony with a nice view of Cadlao island. Their restaurant recently opened too, serving fresh seafood set meals for lunch & dinner. Makulay is owned and operated by Englishman Del and wife Rose with their son, Likha. They live 200 steps on top of the hill. You can tell this place built with pure love :)
We really liked the ambiance at this place and I'm sure to be back again soon, maybe rent their hillside villa next time (P3,000 per night good up to 5pax) with a more stunning view of Cadlao island and Bacuit Bay. Likha tells me that the full moon and sunsets are best seen during the months of April and May. about another trip then?
Since we are El Nido newbies, we opted to chose the 'Tour A' with Sea Slugs, the famous tour operator found at Sea Slugs Bar & Restaurant by the main beach. Our tour itinerary was Big & Small Lagoons, 7 Commandos Beach & Entalula Island. It costs P600 per head which includes lunch on the beach cooked by the boatmen. Menu: Grilled Chicken, Pork & Fish with vegetables & fruit. I loved our grilled lunch at Entalula beach & the fresh buko (coconut) at 7 Commandos. Montri and I didn't get to appreciate the lagoons much because we couldn't leave Santi on the boat alone. We took him with us in the water with much difficulty swimming with a toddler grabbing you for fear of drowning, hence no pictures from those spots with us :(

Santi, however, enjoyed the boat ride and the engine lulled him to sleep.

Of course, beach-side yoga make my trip complete!

I'm all beached-out & burnt now. How was your weekend? ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Santi Learns to Read

Is it really reading? Or has my little boy memorized his favorite books? Does it start there? Memorization to actual comprehension? Whatever it is. I am happy to hear him read out aloud together with me before naptime & bedtime each day :)

Because of Max and his private boat (main character of book above), Santi has a sudden new interest in the boats we see docked on the beach.
Here's another book he knows by heart. This book below was just a hand-me-down by my little cousins from New Jersey. Much appreciated Tito Robert, thank you!

I am so glad to have shipped that heavy box of books here. A shipment of balikbayan box costs P750 each from Manila to Palawan. It really is worth every peso because I haven't seen any book stores here (even in the city) and yes, we don't have television. So, my son relies on nature and books for learning, which I totally prefer :)

Read up! Here's a link about reading & language development another one here.

To other moms - don't you love it when you read to them with their utmost attention until they sleep? ;)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Good Morning, Puerto

Good Morning, Puerto. We always wake up at an ungodly hour before the sun rises, sometimes even earlier. Perhaps our body clocks have adjusted to the local beat. Might as well use this time to log on the net since Smartbro only seems to work decently in the wee hours of the morning.

So, Montri and I have our morning coffee or tea at our room's balcony where we listen to the chirping birds...
And watch for squirrels scurrying about!
It's amazing what this place has to offer nature junkies. They call Puerto Princesa, 'A City in a Forest" after all.

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you have a good week ahead :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life in Puerto

And so we have moved to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

It’s been more than a week since my last post - I'm sorry for the silence, readers. Blame it on the transition period. It's quite taxing physically, mentally & emotionally to uproot and immerse yourself in an entirely new place. So please, bear with me :)

On our first few days, we dedicated our time to cleaning our new home. We are renting a two-storey house duplex with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths within the city for a song. I know it sounds grand, and it actually is for provincial living considering the 2 balconies and so much nature surrounding the house, but it will depend on your standards. I know that my own parents will find it very....well, backwards. They'll probably balk at the fact that we don't have any air-conditioning or television! They'll be visiting this summer so I am to expect their qualms about the heat!

Shall I mention that we found a local househelp who turned out to have kleptomaniac tendencies :P But I really do not want to dwell on this insane story for now.

Montri has started work in the Green Tech Eco Center. They sell Eco-friendly electric vehicles and will soon carry INDIGObaby natural bath & body products and other green items. I have also started regular Vinyasa Yoga classes at Bahay Kalipay, an inner dance commune and retreat space. The residents here are purely on a raw food diet. This is several notches higher than my semi-vegetarian fare. It's aspiring to learn new ways of preparing healthier meals from my 'more evolved' friends over there. During my free time, I take Shiatsu lessons from a Swiss BK guest in transit. I give her free yoga lessons & she teaches me Shiatsu massage. You can call it fair trade of energy exchange :)

Food here is cheap. You can buy a kilo of mangoes for as low as P30 to P50 and buko (coconut) at P8 per piece. The other day I bought star apples from the locals who pick them from trees near our lot. They charged me P15 for 15 pieces. Montri is amazed that a kilo of small sized galunggong (mackerel) is only P30. I bought squid at P35 for ½ kilo. So, we feast on fruits, vegetables and seafood. I have yet to register for Aloha Home's Happy Box -P400 per box of fresh organic produce each week.

Santi has adjusted beautifully. He loves fresh fruit shakes, swimming at the beach, the green plants & trees, collecting shells from our backyard and just all this space for roaming free (& naked!). None of this is possible if we stayed in our box-like condo in Manila.

Now, I toss this question back to you, readers. Would you dare trade your city life for the simple life, like us? :)

Monday, March 01, 2010

Go with the FLOW

Join the 2nd FLOW: SurfYogaSamba Weekend this Summer!
April 9-11, 2010
San Juan Surf Resort, La Union
click photo to enlarge
Get the chance to learn Vinyasa yoga, commune with nature, ride quality waves, dance to the beat of the drums and nourish yourself with wholesome food. Take a breather from your everyday lives and create a space where you can feel the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

The FLOW Surf.Yoga.Samba Weekend Retreat aims to unify the body mind and soul. We offer each guest an experience of a lifetime. Practicing yoga will develop focus, strength and flexibility. Surfing will develop your confidence, stamina and ocean awareness. Dancing and creating music enhances sense of well-being and build social skills. The whole retreat is complemented with healthy food to help nourish this unique journey to self-discovery.

--- FLOW Surf.Yoga.Samba Weekend Retreat Package ---
P7,500 per person
P6,000 early bird rate (Register and pay on or before March 9, 2010)

Package Inclusions:
2 Vinyasa Yoga sessions by Monica Eleazar-Manzano
2 Surfing lessons with Luke Landrigan of The Billabong San Juan Surf School
2 Samba lessons and Brazilian batuccada samba drumming lead by Toni Bernardo,
drum director of Escola de Samba de Manila
Roundtrip private van transfers from Manila-La Union, La Union-Manila
3 Days and 2 Nights aircon accommodation at San Juan Surf Resort
Healthy meals and snacks
Flow Shirts
Tote Bag with freebies from our sponsors

Flow is presented by Belo Essentials
In partnership with Rudy Girl.
Major sponsors: Havaianas, Stokedinc
Minor sponsors: Twinkle, Dharma, Brown Belly, Moringana
Media Sponsors: Sports R Us, A&F, UR105.9,

For more details contact us at or visit our site

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