Why Adobo wins the heart of one Dutch guy?

Yes, it’s still true!

The old adage “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” { De liefde van de man gaat door de maag} is a definite win-win way on how to win someone’s heart and appetite !

Well, I’m not generalizing but I can only speak for myself.My husband loved Adobo the first time he tasted it and from then on, He was a convert. He said he never misses the Dutch threats like  Frikandels, Bitterballen, or even Gehaktballen but He sure misses Adobo if we don’t have it for a straight 2 weeks!

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Serious Love-Affair with Chicken -Pork Adobo !

So why does one native Dutch guy go crazy over Adobo?

And what is Adobo by the way?

The answer is simple. Because Adobo is delicious and its tangy flavor is unique. Period.

But someone needs to taste it so they can have the experience. Every adobo dish has its own distinct flavor depending on how they have been prepared & cooking styles. It’s no secret anymore that Filipinos are scattered all over the world. In every continent there are Filipino Expats and for sure, Adobo, their cultural marker is tagged along with them. If there’s any dish that can never be taken away from Filipinos,its Adobo and of course, this dish can be better enjoyed with warm steamed rice. Adobo is considered as national dish of the Philippines so you can expect that in every household, Adobo is the star of the table for family lunches & dinners.It is made of very simple ingredients and pantry essentials .

Its typical to make chicken, pork and sometimes the combination of both. But there are many variations that veggies and seafood are cooked as well in Adobo-style.Its ingredients are pantry basics like soy sauce, white vinegar, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. the standard way to prepare it is by marinating the meat first overnight then cook it the following day. My childhood favorite is the Chicken Pork adobo that my Mother  cooked deliciously. She sometimes garnished it with pineapples, potatoes and string beans. Our house is filled with its aroma the moment it starts to simmer and we wait for anticipation until the meat becomes tender. It’s always a hearty meal when we have this dish.

My husband is actually a veeerryyy picky eater & I was really surprised that He loved it, and He grew fond of it. He said that the best way to enjoy it is by using his fingers because even the sauce, he devours.On the first year of our marriage I  tried many things for him. Some he liked, some he just don’t get why I am eating those.The same reason why I asked myself why Dutch loved Potatoes on a serious level !

When my parents-in law came by to visit after I gave birth to my daughter, I prepared chicken Adobo in one of our family dinner. I really love making this dish because it’s so easy and I can never go wrong with it as long as I have my favorite brand of soy sauce & vinegar and my spices. The moment it simmers, my mother-in-law immediately inhaled and says “Lekker “ ( or delicious) and the rest was history.

If you are curious and wanna try how to make this dish, Here I wanna share with you how to make it. It’s quite simple.The ingredients can be bought on any Asian store or aisle in any supermarket.

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There’s nothing more special than a home cooked meal  like this.

This Recipe is from my Mother. I learned it from her so I give her the whole credit to my cooking skills :

1 pound pork loin, butt or shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks (same if you would have chicken, choose your best parts like the breast, thighs & wings )

1 head garlic, cloves peeled, crushed

1/2 cup white vinegar ( my  brand is Silver Swan )

1/4 cup soy sauce (my brand is Silver Swan)

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable or corn oil

2-3 pcs Bay leaves

1. Place pork/ chicken, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce , bay leaves and pepper in a medium-size pot; let stand at room temperature 2 hours or better marinate overnight.Then  Cook slowly over low- heat in the same pot until pork is tender, about 30-45 minutes.

2. Heat oil in large skillet. Transfer pieces of garlic from the pot to the skillet; fry until brown. Add pork pieces to skillet; fry until brown. Drain. Add soy-vinegar broth to fried pork and garlic in skillet; simmer 10 minutes.Add salt if desired to suit your taste. You can garnish it with potatoes or pineapples  as desired.

3. Serve along with hot steamed white rice.

When you are in an interracial marriage, you took time to discover the things that could make your lives even closer ,just like for example cooking something for them. I am happy every time my husband devours Adobo as He is ecstatically glad when I devour Spekulaas, Gevuldekoek and Poffertjes.These Dutch threats that I fell in love from the first time I sunk my teeth on them. It really makes sense when you go an extra mile to put a smile into someone.

Do you have foreign dishes that you eventually got addicted to?Have you ever tried cooking your native dishes to your friends & love-ones?

 

What real Summer looks like in Coco Beach

What’s your summer looks like?

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Our room cottage overlooking the beach in Coco Beach.. Going primitive and yet very close to nature. In here, I don’t mind not having a Wi-Fi.. .

I frequented many times the beaches of Puerto Galera, but this is my first time to set my foot in Coco Beach.Puerto Galera is one of the most diverse and abundant marine life in Philippines. Tucked away in a luscious greenery and beautiful landscape, this is indeed one of my tropical paradise.This exclusive private resort themed with Coconut materials and various cabanas,  huts and gazebos with quaint decor has a unique charm,  yet very Filipino ambiance.Coco beach is also famous for romantic beach weddings.

Coco Beach lies in the shores of Oriental Mindoro. If there’s any place that I would like to spend some peace and tranquility, then it must be in an island with just a few meters away from the beach.There is really something about the pristine clear waters against the powder sand that brought healing to my soul.When I am in the beach, there I feel pure Bliss.Although the beach is a bit rocky compared to Boracay or Palawan, still, the beach, the sunset and all of it is beautiful.

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As we arrived to the resort from our boat trip ,we were warmly greeted with welcome drinks of coconut juices & iced tea and  hand-made shell necklaces with matching music . You can really feel the warm hospitality. And as we gazed through the reception, I had a glimpse of this beautiful main pool with turquoise waters.It’s so enticing!

What I liked about this place is that its very private and yet it has all the amenities you need for a short or long stay in this island.

Coco beach has the lagoon-shaped main pool which is located at the center of the resort and only a few feet away from the beach.We swam & sunbathe and enjoyed lounging here. Guests can enjoy  all sorts of activities at the pool like pillow fights, pool volleyball, scuba and swimming lessons! Beside the main pool is the small Children’s Pool with a slide.

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As the ocean is never full of water, so is the heart never full of love.

We had our Boat trip the following day , we passed by through the neighborhood of the small village where the fisherman and their family are busy tidying up their fishing nets while their kids hopping aboard the fishing boats. That is the simple life.The childhood of these children revolves from playing in the boats and swimming in the sea. The place we were brought to snorkel and swim is our  in our very own island for a day. It’s so secluded.This is one of the spots were guests can explore the island, and do water sports as they wish. Unfortunately,the weather was not so good during this time and the waves are strong but it didn’t spoil our island hopping.One can never be bored here as they have so many activities line up to maximize your stay. You can explore the nearby water falls, trek, learn to scuba and so on.DSCN0364

I want to run the beach’s length, because it never ends… {Deborah Ager}

I feel nostalgic watching these boats coming by and leaving the shores of Coco Beach. Each one has bunch of tourists and all of them wearing the smile that I also wear. Each one has packed memories and wishing to stay longer to recreate some beautiful moments of staying close to the beach & nature.

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Luscious greens surrounding the whole resort

The whole resort is surrounded with so many different types of plants. Some even I haven’t seen in my entire life. This is the shot I took while I was climbing uphill and I just love how these greens blend with the native cottages. It’s like one wild forest.

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The Main Pool
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Silent Pool in Coco beach

While enjoying our drink, we just watch the time goes by, not a care in the world.This resort has a Spa, a Main swimming pool and one Silent Pool located on the upper location of the resort.My favorite pool is the Silent pool,It is more secluded and private which is a few uphill steps  on the top of the hill. It has a great view of the sea, a jacuzzi and a bar. It is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm. This pool is more exclusive and as the name suggests, they highly encourage you to keep silent.

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While being here, you can even learn soap-making! Coco beach offers workshop on how to make soap.The soap used in their rooms are 100% made by hand  with real virgin coco oil where in they were pressed themselves by the staffs. Beside the many variation of soaps, they have other products for sale at the Shopping Arcade which includes Shampoo, After-sun Lotion, Insect Repellent.Really interesting. This is such a great bring home gifts!

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The theme of this resort is all about Cocos Nucifera or simply the coconut!Everything is designed to complement each facility and its natural surroundings. All made of natural materials like wood and bamboo for that tropical feel and decorated with native artifacts, Coco Beach’s accommodation definitely gives the of being feeling at home while away from it all.

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One Hazy  dawn in the islands..

To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.                                                          {Jeanne Moreau}

 

I adore exploring Coco Beach, and wished I could stayed on longer. I wanted to go Dolphin-watching and learn to scuba dive. I wanted to go on a trek and visit Tamaraw Falls & Takuran Lagoon. I managed to take snaps of the plants that i liked. I even got a henna tattoo on my legs! This is one of the things I’d like to do in every beach trip, to get a souvenir henna. I designed this myself and just let the artist copy it. I stayed in one of the rooms in the hilltop so we have a spectacular view of the beach every morning. I just ordered breakfast to be brought to our cottage and we have an amazing morning gazing at the sea.

I hope to visit Coco Beach once again, when my daughter is old enough to go on an adventure trip with us there. I’m looking forward for more real Summers like this..

What’s your favorite Summer getaway? How well did you spent your time for solitude & relaxation?

 

 

Bangui Windmills in Ilocos

 

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Another highlight of my Backpacking series is the visit to Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, the Northern part of the Philippines. With only a backpack and full spirit, I explored the Ilocandia region with my friend  hopping from Pagudpod ,Laoag, then finally head to Vigan.One thing that is so fascinating about this trip is how the location are close to each other that you can literally explore it within 3 days!

It was early summer and yet the heat was already intense. This region is also known for its sunny and hot temps. I have always been curious how does a windmill look like, I know for a fact that they are big , at least from what I have seen from the photos in internet, but I did not expect that Its  gigantic as these. It takes 11 average adults to hug its body together! A visit to the Windmills Farm is indeed an exhilarating and yet wonderful! These Wind Turbine system stretches a whole length of 9 km along the shores of Bangui Bay. There are 20 of them-70 meters (230ft)V82 1.65 MW  high Vestas Wind Systems,all lined up along the shoreline…standing proud, beautiful & powerful against the strong winds facing from South China Sea.

One can never miss its extremely enormous blades waving in the sky.  They are tall, white,and silhouetted against the blue sky and sea and green mountains. I remember my astonishment when I first saw these giants stood firmly like giant electric blades protecting the Ilocandia shoreline. I have seen some windmills on our recent trip to Germany but seeing the Bangui windmills up close is totally different experience. The Bangui Wind Farm was quite a sight to behold. The trivalent sea as backdrop  adds to the nostalgic charm of this place. No wonder tourists flocked on this region constantly.

In Europe, people are tired of seeing windmills because they see them everywhere. It’s so common sight out there. Nobody bothers seeing them as if they are invisible. But in Philippines,  they talk about (them) with so much pride. It becomes a bucket list for every traveler to see them.Such national pride.

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 This region is most prone to power shortages because Ilocos Norte is situated at the end of the power grid line coming from Bauang, La Union, another province away from Ilocos.

Based on the findings on the study conducted, it concluded that there are various areas in the Philippines that are amenable for wind power and that include Bangui and Burgos. Thus, this leads to the establishment of wind farm project. A Danish power firm, the NorthWind Power Development Corporation had supplied the power wind turbines which is similar to what has been in Denmark.

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Expect to be harnessed with strong winds when you visit this place. Your face would literally feel like there’s a hairdryer and electric fan in front of you for hours. This place is surrounded with low,dusty dunes, with a quaint sea views.Its a perfect place to feast your eyes with something that is not so common in other urban areas. Just like here in Kuwait, if you like to take a look at different and interesting power lines & electrical towers, you just need to have a drive along the desert.There’s a bunch of power lines with herds of camels in the background.

Remember, these windmills are not for decorative purposes for the town of Bangui.They actually provide as much as 40 percent of the power needed by the entire province of Ilocos Norte, which has a population of 600,000. So that’s an iconic one.

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One interesting fact I have learned from these windmills is that it came from worldwide effort & partnership. Bangui’s windmills are an indicator of how small the world has become. The towers were assembled in Vietnam, the rotors in the United Kingdom, the nacelles — the part that holds the blades — in Denmark. Local workers constructed the bases. The first in the Philippines & all throughout South East Asia.

If you wanna marvel on these windmills, this place can easily be reached through :

By Air Laoag International Airport serves as the main gateway to Ilocos Norte. Laoag is just a 45-minute flight from Manila; 55 minutes from Kaoshiung; 80 minutes from Guangzhou, Hongkong and Taipe; 2.5 hours from Shanghai.

By Land Various bus lines serve the Manila-Laoag route for an 8 hour drive. Ilocos Norte is just 477 kilometers north of Manila. 4 hours from Baguio.

If you wanna know more of the beauty of the North of Philippines, you can read more on my Ilocandia Backpacking adventures .

Safe travels!

For someone we called ” Mother”

Motherhood : All love begins and ends there….

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I long for my mother's bread,
My Mother's coffee
Her touch
Childhood memories grow up in me
Day after day
I must be worth in my life...
A One and Only Mother
Hundreds of stars in the pretty sky,
Hundreds of shells on the shore together,
Hundreds of birds that go singing by,
Hundreds of lambs in the sunny weather.
Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the world-wide over... 

This is excerpt from Mahmoud Darwish in his  1964 panegyric to his mother, A Palestinian poet and a short poem that I can accentuate how I view Motherhood ever since I become a mother.

It’s Mother’s day this month and it’s just timely that we look back with thanksgiving & gratitude from whence we came.There is so much poetry about Motherhood but it cannot really immortalize the actual feeling you have when you become one yourself. I wouldn’t even knew the deep essence of Mothers Day before, but now that I become a mother, I understand and have great respect for all Mothers around the world.

When I was about to give birth to my daughter  Natalie, I was in the hospital for almost 3 days being induced for labor. Now for someone who doesn’t know what Induction of Labor   means, it is literally the process of forcing you to go on labor through various medical interventions. I tell you, It’s  nerve-wrecking, exhausting, pain-filled time  of my life and yet it was also the most wonderful time knowing I would finally meet my child. I could recall all the time I just lie down in pain between contractions and  I thought a lot about my Mother. I was alone there and all I could think of is wishing She was just beside me.She gave birth for 6 humans, all natural at home and without any medical interventions.How on earth did she do that?

Are mothers superheroes in disguise?

She is one amazing, strong, resilient person that I ever known in my life. For the past year, I have found out so many surprises in Motherhood that I asked myself; Why did no one ever told me about this? let alone my own Mother?

Here’s some surprises to name a few :

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Before I was a Mother –
Definition of “Real Sleep “. I slept as late as I wanted and never worried about how late I got into bed. I lounge in the bed during weekends until my back aches from sleeping and oftentimes I would dozed off & had naps in the afternoon after watching some movies. Since I gave birth to Natalie, If there’s anything that I really missed, it is : Sleep.

I thought I knew what “Tired “meant before I had a baby. I once heard my mother said her back hurts..now I see myself uttering these words to my husband.Now I knew why.

Before I was a Mother –

I would see babies as cute, cuddly, but bothersome. Why are they  crying so loud? and makes so many messes. I would never know ( or want to know) as much about another human being’s poop and pee schedule as I did in those early years.It becomes an obsession in checking too much, too little, and loads of graphic considerations that I wouldn’t dream of discussing in public now.It is a clichè ,but true that many of the baby “essentials” that magazines & celebrities promotes for new Mums are just bunch of waste of money! The walker? Only after 2 weeks of use, she was already climbing out and she is dangling when I saw her. A total waste.

Before I was a Mother –
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn’t want to put it down. I never felt my heart-break into a million pieces when I couldn’t stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mother. How many times I just lie beside my daughter and just kissed her. Many times. When she sleeps, I found myself randomly poking her just to check if she was breathing–Insane but true. My mother never told me about this,but I am sure, She did the same.

Before I was a Mother –
I didn’t know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn’t know that something so small could make me feel so important.The love & hate relationship that Me & my daughter have when she is soooo clingy. She literally live in between my legs.She likes it there, dangling, swinging around wherever I go. The space between my skinny legs fits perfectly with her small cuddly frame.

Before I was a Mother –
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache,the physical pain & numb arms. The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much before I was a Mother. Why on earth my mother never told me about her struggles raising 6 children, without maid, without any hired help, even without an iPad to entertain the crazy toddlers?

Before I was a Mother –
I had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spit on – Chewed on, or Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.How did I managed to not bother about make up & fancy clothes when you have a baby pulling out your sleeves? I have gone out with a pants with cookie stains and I don’t see any problem with that. I don’t even wanna wear white right now because I know there will be shoeprints there within seconds, and bling- bling? I can’t afford for a necklace & dangling earrings to be pulled out painless!  I could spent countless hours in a mall but I was too busy buying baby stuff and little clothes.This is the new retail therapy for me. My mother would absolutely agree.
Before I was a Mother –
I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give the vaccination shots. I was there in every appointment & Doctor’s visits. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.Motherhood have taught me to become prepared to go to very strange and random lengths just to appease my crying child. Did I mentioned that I broke my iPhone screen 3 times already just to get into that Bob the Train nursery rhymes the minute she start to squirm?

Before I was a Mother I had no idea that Motherhood would be the hardest , the most tiring,the most rewarding, the most precious gift in my life.Now I knew why my Mother never told me these surprises..She wanted me to discover & experience these all by myself. All through out this journey, I got to know more of her, I got to know her “world “when the time that I never fully understand her. I got to know her completely, more than I could ever write about her.And guess what, even if I had known early all of the above,I wouldn’t swap a second of it for anything in the world!

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The first years really go fast. Before I knew it, she climbs up into the table by herself within seconds, throws all her toys with one hand in seconds.Before I knew it, it will be her first day in school.These fleeting moments can never be replaced.Remember the first tooth, the first step, the first time you can have her hair into ponytail? The time she said “Mama”…They are truly precious.

For someone we called “Mothers” …They are precious.

 

How does this post made you feel? Do you feel special that you are a mother?

When was the last time you called your mother just to say Hello?

I want to wish a Happy Special Mothers Day to all my lovely, strong mothers & women that I knew. Great respect to all of you. X

 

Sacrifice