Quarantine Cravings

It’s safe to say that everyone was caught off-guard with just how this new strain of virus have changed, and is continually changing, our way of life. I never imagine I’ll be experiencing a pandemic in my lifetime – albeit multiple scientists already predicting such a predicament for years now. The reality of it is just…nerve-wracking. Suddenly going out is dangerous and staying in has been one of the impositions that can save lives.

As bougie as it sounds, one of the biggest challenges I am facing this quarantine is not being able to dine out. As a work-from-home mom, my weekdays are predominantly spent juggling motherhood and freelance work. The only highlight of my week (when I don’t have travel plans) is when weekend comes around and I can finally go out and eat. That aspect of my life is gone, now and for the foreseeable future. I can’t even go out to do the grocery shopping myself (a relaxing endeavor for me as well) – since my husband is the only one with the quarantine pass. It’s been a disaster I tell you, to say the least. To top it all off, we’ve been living in the province for a year now where food deliveries are almost non-existent. There are days when cravings are just too strong and I end up missing Manila’s accessibility.

Looking at the bright side in all of these, at least this quarantine has put a reign on my unnecessary spending on food. LOL. I tried recreating some of my cravings just to get by..so in a way its been manageable. But there’s still a lot of stuff I want to try to recreate..glazed donuts, tonkotsu ramen, cake.. but unfortunately I can’t complete the ingredients list here in Tarlac. If only I can cross over Clark Pampanga where there’s a larger selection..but as you know that’s out of the equation during this quarantine period.

So for now I’m leaving you with images of the stuff I’ve managed to do the past few weeks of quarantining. My best work would probably be the gyoza because I even made the wrapper from scratch…and it tastes exactly like the ones from Ramen Nagi!

Ugh now I miss ramen.

*Sorry about the pathetic rant lol..I know other people have it worse. I promise we’ve been pretty strict with quarantine in our household because the least we can do to help our brave frontliners is to not add to the statistics. 🙂

Win’s 4th Birthday Celebration -Days 2, 3 and 4

I love just how accessible our hotel is to all types of HK transportation. The A21 Citifyler bus to and from HK International Airport stops right infront of our hotel (just get off at Prudential Life-Nathan Road, approximately the11th stop from the airport). MTR Jordan Exit C1 is right beside Shamrock hotel, so it’s easy for you to go anywhere in HK, while the China Star Ferry terminal that can take you to Macau is also just a 8-13 min walk.

If it wasn’t for that damn rain on the the 3rd and 4th day, everything would have been perfect. But as they say, you can’t have it all. LOL. We weren’t able to explore Macau that much because the rain was getting pretty bad, and our initial plan of maximizing those free hotel-casino shuttles didn’t push through because they don’t allow children to ride the shuttles.

I am now leaving you with the videos I made documenting our trip. No more time expounding detailsof this trip since I need to work double time now until next year. The cost of an international trip is no joke. Hahahahah.

 HK Disneyland:
 
 Tsim Sha Tsui:
Macau:

Win’s 4th Birthday Celebration -Day 1

I really got lucky with Win. Ever since she was a baby, I never really had serious problems with her – a healthy, attentive and good natured child who loves to laugh and learn. Although, I think she will be, scratch that – she is a smart-mouth. Haha. I have no right to complain on that one knowing she inherited it from me. :p
Some say that we going to another country at Win’s age is pointless since she will just forget about it when she gets older. What they fail to realize is that its not the recall that I’m after, but rather the bond the travel will create between Win and us – her parents. I also notice that she retains more information when she experiences it as compared to me just saying it to her. Not only that, travelling for me is a great way for me to teach Win about resiliency and adaptability. I once saw a quote: If experience is the best teacher, then travel is the best classroom. I wholeheartedly believe that.
So for her 4th birthday W and I decided to bring her to Hongkong! Our arrival flight was scheduled late in the afternoon, so that day I know we only have time to travel from hk airport to our hotel in the Tsim Sha Tsui area. However, I was originally expecting to arrive in our hotel around 730 pm, but the actual time was 9:30. You know why? Here’s why: QUEUES.
  1. HK immigration queue was long, line was moving, but it was still long.
  2. Win’s stroller took a long time to be released in the baggage carousel. We always travel light as a rule in order to avoid those usually long baggage queues. For this flight we have no baggages checked in but decided to bring a stroller since we know we’ll be doing a lot of walking here. However, people from Cebupac informed us that strollers were not allowed inside the cabin so they have to store it below.
  3. The queue in the octopus card ticketing booth was long.
  4. The 3G sim card we rented for this trip took a while to be configured correctly.

By the time we finish with all those long lines, we were so hungry we decided to just eat in Mcdonalds nside the aiport, which also had a line of its own. I think it was already 8:30 when we boarded the A21 bus that will take us to our hotel. That trip was comfortable, but it will still take us about an hour to Shamrock Hotel.

Thankfully Win is not a difficult child to handle during trips like this. She fell asleep while we on the bus and woke up when we got to the hotel – asking if it was time for us to head to Disneyland lol. Here’s a video I made documenting our arrival in “Kongkong” (That’s how Win calls it).

Around the World in "PAUW"-ty Days

You got to admire the concept of Win’s school for this year’s UN Celebration. This is definitely not the usual “national costumes” parade that we came to expect every year. Like, seriously, Win and I had so much fun! Kudos to the teachers for all the effort and creativity that they put into this celebration.

I enjoyed doing this video as well, its a great way of sharing Win’s life to other people, especially to my family who are all over the world. I think Win liked Egypt the most since that’s where my sister is right now, lol. I can’t choose just one favorite – every country has something fun to offer!

 

Consistency

 I remember I was only 45 kilos before pregnancy, it was a time of my life wherein I was really into working out and eating right. My officemates have been saying just how stick thin I am then, but screw them. Haha. A year ago before that they were saying how chubby I was! I think 45 kilos is the right weight for me – I recall feeling good about myself -lean, mean and strong.

But as you know, pregnancy changes everything. Haha. Exclusively breastfeeding has been a tremendous help in controlling my weight.  I’ve been eating like an elephant day and night but was still able to maintain my weight between 50-55kg. However, I wasn’t aware that something was about to destroy this harmonious relationship: weaning. Win weaning from the breast means that the amount of food I’ve been consuming before will not work anymore. Haha. I haven’t been really careful – it was around  2016 when I have ballooned out of control. Well, in my defense: it wasthe same time when I was working late nights doing freelance work. I needed food to sustain me in the wee hours of the morning.

Came 2017, I’ve become so driven into shedding those pounds away – I started working out, running long distances, and I even took the time to prepare my meals for the week. My dedication paid off and I’ve seen amazing results in just 3 months:

But after my Boracay birthday trip last July, I started letting go again hehe. Sadly I think I’m back to where I was in 2016.  It’s just hard to get back into the game once you fell of the wagon! The high price of healthy food choices here in the PH is one reason. Do you know how much a single orange cost here?? Another reason is that balancing is just hard for a working mom like me. I was able to focus on working out earlier in the year because I’ve put freelancing in the backburner, but I just couldn’t afford not prioritizing it any longer. I started working late nights again and relying on food to keep me going. Aside from being heavy, I was again sickly, moody and just plain exhausted.

I knew I needed to do something about this weight dilemma (again, haha), but I was missing my motivation.

The motivation took shape in the form of my college friends. I think all of us were complaining just how heavy we are in general. Haha. Going through all those rants gave me an idea – why not use this collective frustration as motivation to actually take action?

Thus, our Biggest Loser challenge was born!

I WANT TO WIN THIS. BAD.

I have started preparing my meals and doing my workouts again. I know it will take a few more weeks for other people to see any significant weight loss, but in just one week of eating right and working out, I can already feel the difference. I feel more energized, more focused and definitely stronger than before.

I promise to be more consistent this time around. Wish me luck!

Majayjay Adventure

One of my parenting goals is to (safely) expose Win to as many places, experiences and people as possible. I think exposing my child and letting her experience things is one of the best ways to teach her about the world she lives in. Through that hopefully I can raise an empathic, knowledgeable and well-rounded person.

Win is also at an age wherein she is starting to question everything. You know in movies wherein kids are often portrayed as annoying since they ask “why” a million times? Haha. I don’t see it is annoying though. On the contrary, I find it quite delightful. It’s so wonderful just how curious a child can be! She actually asked me a few weeks ago why we can’t have a horse and a pig as a pet. Lol.

I’ve been planning to bring her to the zoo ever since that question. Fortunately, my mom who’s back in the PH for a few weeks planned for something similar – a day tour in Costales Nature Farms! Actually, the trip was planned more for my sister and his Italian hubby who’s also in the PH for a few weeks, but who am I pass up the opportunity, haha. I figured this is another memorable activity for Win so we joined.

I couldn’t recommend Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay enough! It is really a wonderful agri-tourism spot wherein you can try living the life of a farmer for a day or two. Win was able to harvest fruits, plant seedlings and feed farm animals. This city kid even tried fishing! Another tour bonus is the side trip to the freezing waters of Majayjay falls, which is also a big hit for Win. As a mom, you live for those moments wherein you see your kid so happy and excited – and this place didn’t disappoint. So if you are looking for an outdoor activity for your kid, check out the tours Costales has to offer.

This is not a paid post by the way, lol.

Breather

This is the last thing I should be doing right now.

I’ve been dealing with piled up,neglected freelance work ever since I got back from my vacation. On top of that – this week was my daughter’s first week at preschool. And as if those two are not enough, my daughter’s a bit under the weather, I think she’s about to develop a cold most probably because of preschool stress and germs. I’m guessing this will be a sleepless night for me as well. Can you just imagine just how stressful  all of those are? So against all rational actions and decisions, I am choosing to answer some interesting questions I found on the internet. I seriously just need a breather, and as you know, I was never really a rational person. Haha.

1. What would you do if you were invisible for a day?
The power of invisibility was actually my preferred super power when I was a kid. LOL. I always imagined I’d spend that time inside a mall trying out clothes and stuff. But now, I don’t think I’ll have any use for such power. I may have to pass on this one if ever I get the chance.

2. Who would you like to live like for a day?
A world traveller, definitely – hopping on a plane and going to a country I’ve never been before.

3. If you could time travel, where would you go?
Most probably the time I gave birth to my daughter. I was under anesthesia that time so unfortunately I was not myself when I delivered her. Hahah. I recall the doctor telling me she wasn’t crying when she got out of my womb. I’m dying to see that for myself.

4. What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Anything chunky and chocolatey.

5. Would you rather live for a week in the past or the future?
This is tough. I do like to reminisce a lot, but I would also like to get a glimpse of my daughter’s future. Ok, ok.  I’m going with the future. Maybe seeing the future can help me do preventive measures in the present. Haha.

6. What’s your favorite holiday?
4th of July, for obvious reasons.

7. If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I originally thought I can live by ramen alone, but my daughter got so obsessed with it that we ended up dining at Ramen Nagi atleast once a month. I swear – just the smell of ramen is enough to make me barf. So now that it’s out of the list –  I’ll go with coconut juice, banana and raw cacao nibs.

8. What’s one choice you really regret?
It’s the time when I chose not to go to a funeral. She was a close friend back then, but we had a falling out. Someone reached out to me to tell me that her mom passed away and if I could take the time to visit her. I didn’t came. That is probably the only thing that I regret in my past.

9. What’s your favorite book?
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

10. Do you ever talk to yourself? When and what do you say?
I talk to myself when I’m designing something – it helps me judge my own work. I would usually repeat instructions the way I’ve understood it and ask myself if I followed it, or comment on some design element. Haha.

That’s it. Good night, scratch that, I’m sure I’m in for a bad night. Damn you, germs and preschool stress!

30 Ain’t So Bad

I remember my birthday last year I was feeling a bit down, thinking that I was getting older but haven’t really done something exciting for a while. I promised myself I’ll come up with something a bit more special on my next birthday. I figured I’m about to exit the calendar so might as well go out with a bang.

Boracay was my top option since its child-friendly and there are a lot of restaurants where I can hold my “special” birthday dinner. My freelance work has also been lucrative so it was also a chance for me to book a more luxurious hotel for us three. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened to my “Cheers to 30 years” celebration:

Accommodations
I chose Henann Lagoon Resort in Station 2 for the first 2 nights, then we moved to Henann Prime Resort in Station 1 on our 3rd.

Henann Lagoon Resort is located along Boracay’s main road. It wasn’t a front beach property – maybe about a 5-minute walk – but it wasn’t an issue at all. It’s sister company, Henann Regency, is located at the front beach so all other Henann properties can hang out there (as long as you have the Henann towel). You don’t even have to walk to Lagoon to Regency and vice versa since you can just request for their golf cart service to pick you up to and fro. Easy breezy.

We decided to move to Henann Prime Resort on our last day just so we can experience Station 1. In all honesty I prefer Station 2 simply because all the fast food chains and typical restaurants are there – which means it was easier for us to buy food for Win.  As you know, preschoolers have a very limited palate – they would rather have chicken joy or Tender Juicy hotdogs than that costly hotel food.  I also noticed Henann Regency’s front beach is also bigger than that of Henann Prime. Well technically no one “owns” the front beach haha, but you still get that kind of exclusivity since hotels indirectly imply ownership of the space through their beach lounge seats.

In terms of design and layout, rooms in both Henann properties look the same. Prime’s a bit more luxurious, though. Or maybe because we booked a Premiere room there as opposed to Lagoon’s Deluxe. If you pay more, you can book rooms on the ground  floor that has a door leading straight to the impressive pool. I didn’t splurged THAT much, haha. We were OK with staying on the second floor for both properties.

Henann Lagoon’s Deluxe room

Henann Prime’s Premier room
Henann Lagoon
One side of Henann Prime’s pool

Activities
Travelling with Win has changed the way I travelled. Before it was OK for me to rough it out a bit, but now that I have a child in tow I try to make everything as comfortable and laid back as possible. I leave ample time so Win can rest, eat and take afternoon naps. This Boracay trip is no exception. I think we just spend majority of the time just by the beach or by the pool. Well, that’s what you’re supposed to do in Boracay anyway, right?

Henann Lagoon

On the second day, we rented a boat to explore Puka Beach, go snorkeling, and try cliff diving. I’m happy I’ve been able to do the 3 meter high cliff dive, but that’s it. Haha.  Don’t expect me to try the 5m or 10m jump. I chose to wear a life vest in fear of not being able to swim up once I hit the water. Once is enough, at least I can say I did it. 🙂

 
A post shared by Antonette Cheng (@chengantonette) on

This trip was also a great way for me to show off the result of my “Fit at 30” program. Haha.

 

Such awkward face for all three photos, I know I know. I guess I’m no model material. Hahah.

All in all I’d have to say my 30th birthday was quite memorable. Bragging aside, I can honestly say that I’m truly blessed at this stage of my life. I have a beautiful and healthy family, we can afford luxuries and travels from time to time, I have freelance work that I enjoy and compensate well, and I have friends, albeit few, that I get to chat and hang out. My only wish would be, if possible, is for everything to stay as perfect as this moment. Please, God?

 

Pound by Todd English at SM Megamall

I’ve been getting sick a lot lately.

Just last month I got corneal ulcer in my left eye. This entailed almost a month-long treatment and checkups with the opthalmologist..and a lifetime maintenance of opthalmic gel. And just before this weekend, lo and behold – I got food poisoned. Hahaha.

I initially thought the nausea was just because of the Uber driver’s  careless way of driving, but I figured it was something much more serious when the vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramping began. I was already suffering from food poisoning symptoms when I met up with my college friends at Pound, and I actually barfed any little food that I consumed there (that’s P600+ down the drain, haha). But in fairness – even if I had no appetite and was just tasting stuff here and there, I still find their food items quite delicious.  Hopefully I can go back so I can give a better review.

One thing’s for sure, food presentation’s A+. Oh, and the whole look of the place is so posh as well!

Good Ol’ Fries (P90), # Truffle Fries (P160), Parmesan Fries (P100)

T.E. Crispy Chicken Sliders (P195)

Pound Pomodoro (P250)

#Backyard Cheeseburger (P280)

 T.E. Sliders (P155)
Todd English Poutine (P180)

#ToddsChoice  – their secret menu

T.E Sundae

That’s it. Haha. I have nothing more to say about this since the food poisoning robbed me of what could have been an exquisite gastronomic experience.

Silantro Fil-Mex Cantina, UP Town Center

I’ve seen a lot of restaurants open, some of them grandiosely,  only to close in a span of few months here in Katipunan. There’s just too many competition and if you’re not offering something really good and worth the money, then don’t expect your restaurant to survive. It’s a dog eats dog world out here…well I think same goes for other food hotspots in the Metro.

I was already living in this part of town when the first strip of UP Town Center opened up, I remember it was just one building then – somewhat like Technohub – Imagine my happiness when the main mall building opened up behind that..then the other annexes followed through (all of this happened in about 4 years).  I’ve seen a lot of restaurants come and go here as well. There are also a lot of restaurants that were so in demand at the beginning, only to lose steam afterwards.

One restaurant that surprisingly isn’t losing steam is Silantro. Ever since I always wondered why there were a lot of people lining up to eat there. We did tried to dine once, but we missed our name being called so we lost our spot. We even tried going there at dead hours, like 10am or 2pm, but the long line is still there! Are the other branches like this as well?

Yesterday we finally strengthened our resolve and line up patiently. I told my husband not to leave his spot anymore, haha. I was surprised when he texted me that he was already inside (Win and I were buying something). When we came up I was even more so surprised when the food was already there.  Talk about fast service!

It was my husband who ordered, so as you can see majority are beef items. LOL. I left him one time in the grocery and when I came back all of our raw meat items are beef. That’s just who he is.

Beef Nachos P180 
Silantro’s Burrito P180

I think this is the Macho Lucha Steak P460

Silantro’s Pork Ribs P310

Servings huge and I think their pricing is fair as well. Food’s really, really good – considering that I ate a snack before so I wasn’t too hungry that time. It’s no wonder why this place is still a hit. I would definitely come back to this place even if you need to wait a bit to be seated. Totally worth it! Maybe the only down side is that there’s just too many people, I feel like I just can’t wind down and relax – especially when I see there’s a lot of people waiting to be sitted outside. Guilt, perhaps? LOL.

I hope Win grows out of her Jollibee burger steak and Ramen Nagi butao obsession soon- as of now that’s all she wants to eat whenever she’s in UP Town so she missed out on Silantro. That’s her while waiting for us to finish so we can go to Jollibee. Ain’t she the cutest thing?!