Where have all the lychees gone?

It’s been almost 1.5 years since I last had fresh lychees.
I bought these in Singapore last December 2011.

Australian lychees

They were so expensive. And perfect.

Australian lychees

Since then I’ve been searching for fresh lychees in Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore and have not found any.
I remember many years ago, Mich Dulce and I were in Hong Kong. She bought fresh lychees on the street and was savoring them in the hotel room. Now even in Hong Kong I can’t find lychees anymore.
Where have they all gone?

Health benefits of lychees:
• According to a Chinese book, the nature of the flesh of the lychee is warm and can help improve the blood.
• The Chinese believe lychee has the ability to relieve pain and shrink swollen glands.
• Studies conclude that lychee prevents the growth of cancer cells. Flavonoids found in the lychee fruit pulp were found to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells and appeared to be especially effective against breast cancer.
• Lychee is a rich source of Vitamin C and can benefit those suffering from colds, fever and sore throat.

Trip to Solaire, Part 1

Last week everyone was talking about the opening of Solaire Resort & Casino at Entertainment City along Manila Bay.
They say it’s Las Vegas in Manila. Because I missed the opening and media previews, I asked to be invited to a more intimate tour with Solaire’s marketing group.

Solaire Resort and Casino Manila

It took us more than an hour to get there from Pasig on a Friday night.
Upon arrival, I was imagining what it would be like if our international airport looked like this.

Solaire Resort and Casino Manila

Since it opened only last March 16th, I was quite surprised to see the place buzzing with activity, though some of the photos might not reflect that.
Our tour began with a dinner at Strip Steakhouse


We met Katrina Razon, lovely daughter of Chairman and CEO Enrique Razon, Jr.

Katrina Razon

My dinner consisted of the freshly baked bread from Solaire’s in-house bakery


Grilled Hokkaido scallops

Grilled Hokkaido scallops

and this 350-gram ribeye steak, which Jeroen helped me finish :)

Strip steak

All the head chefs in Solaire are imported, including baker, pastry chef, and many food items.

Strip chefs

After dinner we began the walking tour to burn some of the calories we ingested.
Yakumi Japanese restaurant was right next door.


We met Japanese chefs Norimasa Kasaka and Shinobu Endo.
Prior to working at Solaire, Mr. Kasaka (L) has prepared sushi for celebrities like Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Dolce and Gabbana, Michael Schumacher, Naomi Campbell, and Nicole Kidman.
The fact that Nicole Kidman came back for more and Naomi Campbell didn’t throw chopsticks at him, probably means his sushi is worth a try :)

Japanese chefs

Busy that night


I was quite interested on who would get to taste this giant Hokkaido crab (Hi Ana!)

Giant Hokkaido crab

At Finestra Italian fine dining restaurant, we met Executive Chef Salvatore de Vicentis (L) with Finestra manager Giulio Gongarini


It felt like walking into a dream—or a movie set


My first thought upon seeing this was: We’re not in Kansas anymore. Seriously it felt like I had traveled abroad.


Red Lantern, the Chinese restaurant next door, brought me back to earth

Solaire Resort & Casino Manial

with beautiful flowers flown in from the Netherlands

Flowers from the Netherlands

There’s the Lucky Noodle Bar

Lucky Noodle Bar

and the popular Fresh buffet restaurant


Very affordable compared to many buffet spreads in Manila

Fresh prices

Some of the offerings: cheese spread

Cheese spread

Seafood bar

Seafood spread

Dreamy desserts!

Dessert bar

Here’s Chef at work


Celebrity sighting: Liz Almoro and Victor Aliwalas

Liz Almoro and Victor Aliwalas

(To be continued)

How to organize: Multiple iPads and laptops

If you’re a multiple-gadget household like ours, you might feel frustrated trying to organize all your ipads and laptops.
You don’t want to pile them up together because they can fall or get scratched.

Apple products

I thought hard about how to fix this and found this wooden FANBY rack in IKEA.

How to organize

I hoarded a few of these and voila—my kids know where to find their iPad if they leave theirs lying around my room.
It’a space saver and it’s cheap!

How to organize

Here’s another gadget I love, which was a favorite Christmas gift last year—the XtremeMac Docking Station—for Apple products. You can choose from either three or five docking stations
Xtreme charger
Xtreme charger

I put this on my husband’s bedside table where he parks his iPhone.

Xtreme charger

Last Christmas, the families I gave these to really appreciated it.
To know more, go to http://www.xtrememac.com/

Kris quits showbiz?

Thanks to BBM and Twitter, we found out Kris Aquino was once again live on primetime TV—and crying—just as James Yap had predicted in PEP.ph:

“Nakita mo ba kung saan na ang mga ex ko ngayon? Wala nang mga career. Baka ganoon ang gawin ko sa’yo—isang iyak ko lang sa TV, maniniwala na sa akin yung mga tao.” — Kris Aquino’s alleged threat to James Yap

James’s side of the story is on Pep.ph. Good luck reading that as the site has been slow this entire day.
Watch her side of the story HERE.

As for me, I had some Twitter fun trying to find out how others felt.
These were the best tweets of the day, IMO.

Kris quits showbiz

Storified by Cecile van Straten· Thu, Mar 21 2013 09:40:57

Kris Aquino crying on TV! James Yap did say she was going to do that.Frances Amper Sales
Am I hearing this correctly that #Kris #Aquino is tendering her resignation from ABSCBN? At her interview w/ Ted Failon now.Karen Olivia Jimeno
Good news: Kris Aquino quits showbiz!!! Thank God!!! #silverliningChicco Rodriguez
Kris Aquino. The entire nation will miss you on TV. Each day will be incomplete w/out you on our screens. @krisaquino214Kailangan Ko’y Ikaw™
Kris Aquino to quit showbiz……and I invented Post Its.Ivy Lisa Mendoza
OK, wait. Is Kiram still alive? Just making sure while everything else important in this country is on hold for Kris Aquino’s family issues.Atty. Mahal
‘This is not about James vs Kris.This about an ordinary father who wants to see his own child,’ James Yap’s lawyer,Lorna Kapunan,on @dzIQ990Phil. Daily Inquirer
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Ongpauco, you could have had it worse. Count your blessings. Would you rather have Kris as your daughter?(NOT) Felipe Natanio
The more I think about it, bagay nga si Kris at Chiz.Carlos Conde
Years ago, when Kris Aquino uttered the words about Joey Marquez "I crushed his testicles, Korina" a star-turned-black hole has been born.The Glittery Glare
Once again, we are reminded that this is Kris Aquino’s world and we are all just living in it.Paige Occeñola

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