Blood drive

Joined a good cause today, and donated blood to the Red Cross. The bloodletting is part of the office’s anniversary celebration. This is actually my first time because I got rejected once because I just had oral surgery several months prior, and they said I still retain some anesthesia in my system.

They took some 450 ml. of blood. I was actually okay after resting, and even gone down and dutifully ate the food they provided and drank more liquids than usual. However, after an hour or so, I felt kind of lightheaded. Not dizzy as I was expecting but more like my head has been detached from the rest of my body. lol. I had to let go of a meeting because I just can’t. Rested a bit more and felt better after a couple of hours. But I would like to do this again sometime. Donating blood is actually healthy as you get to replace your blood cells, at the same time you’re helping save lives.

Katsuyasu Restaurant

Yesterday, the folks celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary. Wow! We hope to reach that far, too.

The husband and I went home early to take them out to dinner. There’s a relatively new place in town about five minutes away from home that we have been dying to check out. It’s a Japanese restaurant called Katsuyasu, and if you know us, we’re major Japanese food fans. Last New Year’s Eve, when we brought a maki platter at a different restaurant, the owner kind of, without naming names, badmouthed nearby Japanese restaurants by saying that the new ones are only copying hers, and hers is the only authentic one around. So that piqued our curiosity even more.

So what better time to try it out than this anniversary celebration?

Since it was a weekday, the place was practically deserted. When we arrived, there was only one other table filled. I liked the modern feel of the whole place–it was airy and bright. I hope they can sustain this in the long run. Also, the staff were very courteous and nice despite very ugly reviews earlier on. Good job that the management decided to do something about this. The comments were kinda glaring, and if I had read those before we came, might not have tried it at all.

It was like ramen since we all had ramen except for mama who had yakisoba. And because ramen runs through my blood and is in the top 5 things-I’m-glad-were-invented, I am elated that the kids are beginning to like it as much too! Yay! Aside from ramen, we had our regular favorite salmon sashimi, kani salad and California roll. Price was great, too, because the servings were larger than usual.

Brasserie on 3

We sneaked a quick anniversary celebration at the spanking Brasserie on 3 at the Conrad Hotel. We actually got lost inside the hotel, and we were looking for new row of restaurants that make up the S Maison mall, but ended up here. We were quite happy as it was located in the more obscure part of the hotel, it was a weekday, and the place was practically deserted save for guests who were checked in. The ambience was just perfect and intimate to celebrate another notch in our forever ๐Ÿ™‚

They offer buffet-style food, and there was ample selection of cuisine, although the quantity is not as expansive as the more well-known buffet restaurants. It was enough for me though. It wasn’t too pricey for a hotel restaurant, but the service was impeccable. It was the thing that stood out for me. The waiters and servers were very friendly, courteous and attentive.

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie

In the Philippines, Christmas season, including the spillover days after New Year, is all about food. If I had been a diet fanatic or health buff, I would have committed suicide. lol. Kidding aside, since it is a time for various family gatherings and celebrations left and right (yeah because we have branches on all sides of the family, circle of friends, colleagues, etc.).

Tuan Tuan Chinese Brasserie is one of the restaurants we binged on this holiday. And we sort of celebrated in advance Ma and Dad’s 45th anniversary. I would say that the Chinese Hongkong style comfort food they is…comforting. Hehe. I had noodles of course. Noodles make the world go round for me.

Cantonese Seafood Pan Fried Noodles
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Laksa
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Baked almond fish fillet with pesto sauce
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Chao Chou Style Dried Fish and Minced Pork Soup
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Sonya’s Garden

So the last part of our anniversary celebration in January ended up at lunch at Sonya’s Garden. I haven’t been back here since I became bridesmaid to one of my closest friends at work back in 2008. That’s quite a long time. I am very impressed that it hasn’t changed at all, and has remained a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. Two thumbs up for fresh air, fresh food, fresh everything. The little girl had fun snapping photos of flowers, plants and insects.

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We partook of unlimited fresh garden salad with toppings of fruits, herbs, nuts, pasta with two kinds of sauces, bread with different dippings and spreads, ratatouille, and mushrooms. The meal goes with unlimited servings of freshly-squeezed refreshing dalandan juice. And to cap your meal, a slice of chocolate cake and hot tarragon tea are the key.

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Happy tummies!

If we had more time, I’d probably get complete spa treatments the establishment is also known for. It also boasts of a panaderia, where they serve fresh baked bread everyday, a souvenir shop that sells organically produced beauty and treatment products, as well as a nursery for plants grown in its own garden.

Out of town anniversary

Hooray for another family milestone! We’re officially six years and counting, five of them official. And to celebrate, we decided to go out of town this time. Since we do not have a big budget to consume, the logical choice is Tagaytay City because it is just a little more than an hour’s drive from our place. Also, it gives you a sense of being away “from it all” because it has a totally relaxed, cool vibe as opposed to Manila. It has a year-round cool climate making it the quick getaway place, especially for those who do not have a lot of time to spare but want to escape the city.

We got ourselves a room at the Taal Vista Hotel, one of the oldest and classiest hotels in the city. There are a lot of new boutique hotels that have sprouted in the famous hangout in the last few years. They all seem inviting but I still found it best to have full service that hotels offer. Our room was a bit old but furnishings are still okay. Baby immediately found her place in the king-sized bed.

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Since we just drove around lunchtime in time for check in at 2:00 p.m., we had lunch first at Leslie’s at the Sky Ranch. By the way, we just walked from the hotel as the complex was just next door. We feasted on inihaw na tawilis, hubby’s favorite, and bulalo.

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Sky Ranch is another relatively new project of SM holdings. The theme park is quite new, and is home to the tallest ferris wheel in the Philippines. the Sky Eye. It has a variety of rides for kids and adults alike, a sizable area for horseback riding, restaurants, and other food stalls.

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The little has been insisting to ride a real horse even before we left the house. So happy she got her wish.

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And played and rode to her heart’s desires.

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Here she is while waiting for me to get dinner, which we had at our room. By the way, the Kenny Rogers restaurant there sucks big time. Took us more than thirty minutes to get our food.

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Winding down after an afternoon of fun.

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The hotel also boasts a sumptuous breakfast buffet ranging from healthy choices to tasty but cholesterol-full food. Guess who chose which. harhar.

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Mama and Lolo also followed and spent some time with us. We all wanted to go to church together but it was early for the three of us (hubby, Mischa and I) so we settled for mass held in the hotel premises (good thing they have these!).

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She happily ran around the wide expanse of grass. A good respite from always sitting around the house or in school. The only thing she wasn’t able to do was swim in the hotel pool. Unfortunately, it was brrrr-ery cold during our stay. We promised her we’ll come back a second time.

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After checking out, we drove a little further still to Sonya’s Garden in Alfonso for lunch. Will tell you more about it in my next post.

I wish we could always do this, steal time and hide from the world. So good to be with just family and nature. Thank you Lord God for giving us another year together, and looking forward to the next big things You will give our way.

God bless our home

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Thank you Lord for sending Fr. Boyet our way so he can bless our home. We are now complete and it is up to us to make this dwelling a vessel of your goodness and love.

We are also so grateful for the presence of family and friends who shared this special moment with us. While I got dog tired at the end of the day because I had to get up at dawn to cook for the early visitors who arrived before the caterer did, then I had to play host, my heart simply swelled for the overflowing affection given to our family. I missed some friends and family who weren’t able to come for one reason or another but there’s always next time. We have a lifetime to be with them.

Oh, and we celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, too!