Flying back in the midst of #GorioPH
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Among all my my phobias, the fear of flying is one I wish I didn’t have.
I have narrowed down my worst phobias to three:
1) Fear of flying
2) Fear of bathrooms/toilets
3) Fear of confrontation

I’m famous for #2 and I don’t want to discuss #3 right now. So this entry is about #1, fear of flying.
I was in Tokyo last week with the hubby just for a brief holiday. I needed it.
It was so hot I tell you. July in Tokyo is hot and rainy. But I’m happy to have met some really cool friends and shop a little bit.

Our flight going back was on Thursday night, 6 PM, from Narita.
On Wednesday night I was already concerned that there was a monsoon rain/typhoon named Gorio in Luzon, and that classes were cancelled. Needless to say I was very anxious that night.
I was able to pack our luggage (4.5 pieces) on autopilot before sleeping. I prayed a lot and monitored the weather over Twitter, making kulit my friends and followers to update me.
The following day my husband and I left the hotel at 12 noon and arrived at Narita at 2:30 PM.
I had three hours to kill before boarding at 5:30 PM.
I went shopping for an hour before meeting my husband at Japan Airlines’ Sakura Lounge.

JAL lounge

I simply love the JAL Lounge. I think it’s better than the Cathay Pacific Lounge in HK.
Design is much simpler. I want my living room to look like this.

JAL Lounge

We boarded at 5:30 PM. No flight delays. The typhoon was headed toward Taiwan in the north west. This was the path of Gorio. Note that we were flying home on July 27.

Gorio PH

Based on this map of Japan (green) and Philippines (orange), I figured we would feel turbulence around the Mariana trench in between the two countries.

Japan and Philippines

So I kept my eye on the flight tracker on the TV screen.
We were told in advance to keep our safety belts on due to expected turbulence. So I did just that and prayed a couple of rosaries with 1/2 Rivotril (tranquilizer).
I didn’t fall asleep but I was calm. I noticed that from 36,000 feet, our altitude went up to 38,000 feet. It was one of the smoothest flights I had ever taken. We only had a few seconds of turbulence before landing and that was that.

Japan Airlines flies a small plane between Narita and Manila and the Business Class may feel coffin-like, especially when you’re fully reclined. I can’t imagine how cramped Economy is. But the smoothness of what should have been a bumpy ride was worth it and that’s something I’ll always remember.
Thank you for bring us back safely to our kids.

Japan airlines business class

To help or to take a picture?
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That is the question.
In this day of social media, one can’t help but whip out a smart phone every time something out of the ordinary happens.
I’m in Tokyo for a short break with my hubby. I asked him to take me here during a recent spell of depression and he did.
I’m so happy to be here even for just a few days, even when it’s sweltering hot.

Something is wrong with my taste buds. I’ve had this cough for a month. My doctor said it seems to be an allergy. I take medicine at night, and now my taste buds are whacked. Food isn’t so delicious, I can’t even finish the last bite of anything.
Today, while my hubby met up with his Dutch friend Marco, I took a cab to Shake Shack Marunouchi for a solo lunch. It’s a good thing this is all I ordered.

Shake shack

My son is right. The burger does taste greasy. The Coke didn’t taste good and I wasn’t able to finish the last bite. I put my backpack on as I left the restaurant to go shopping. A few seconds later, I saw an old Caucasian man walk into the glass window.
He fell, and I saw blood.
My instinct was to go and talk to him.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
I walked him to a bench where he sat down holding his head.
Then two young foreigners (male and female Caucasians) approached him too, so there were three of us.

“You’re bleeding,” I told the old man.
“Am I?” he touched his head and his hand was covered in blood.
“It doesn’t look so good,” I said.
I saw white stuff under his skin. I don’t know if that was a skull??
I decided to run inside Shake Shack and look for the manager.
He came out, and OK, I’ll say it: he was guapo…. (sorry)

I told him a man had walked into their glass and was bleeding. I pointed to the glass window which had a mark.
“Do you know him?” the manager asked.
“No, I don’t.”
On my way out, another foreigner (white woman) handed me a cup of water for the old man.
The manager and I approached the lolo and I gave him the water.

There were food trucks parked around Marunouchi during this busy lunch break. One of the vendors offered me a variety pack of bandages. I heard one of the young foreigners say he was a medic, so I handed him to band aids.

I told the Japanese manager, “Where is the hospital?”
He said to the man, “Do you need an ambulance?”
The lolo said no.
Just then I heard the “medic” say, “I don’t think he even needs stitches.”
And I was thinking, are you kidding me? I’m not a doctor but he’s dripping so much blood…..

Just then another vendor went up to me and handed me a plastic bag with five wet wipes. But I was shaking… I seriously didn’t know what to do.
Then the other white foreigner (female) took a picture with her phone. I was thinking, why???

The lolo was holding his phone and blood was on his phone. I asked him if he was alone. He said his wife was at the hotel.
I said, where is your hotel?
I offered to walk him to his hotel, but the young foreigners told me the man needed to sit down for a while. He seemed disoriented. So kawawa I tell you.
I figured the medic and his companion would take care of him, so I left.

Shake Shack Marunouchi

There were so many angels in Marunouchi today.
There were three angels that offered water, bandages, and wet wipes, and there were strangers who offered help and concern. What I noticed was it was mostly white people (except me) who were quick to help. I’m guessing because the lolo was white and the Japanese people would be lost in translation.

One thing I learned about myself today: when faced with a situation whether to help or take a picture, I chose the former.
I don’t know where lolo is now. I feel like crying thinking about it. I hope he got stitched up and is resting well with his wife.
From now on, lolo should never walk alone.

I am done studying (and why Viber parent groups make me feel inadequate)
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“Tapos na po ako mag-aral,” a respected magazine editor famously said when talking about parents doing their kids’ homework.
Both she and I have three sons enrolled in the same school.
I can honestly say the editor is intelligent and accomplished. I myself didn’t do well in school. I was a mediocre student, but I don’t think I did badly as an adult. I am still a work in progress. However, I don’t want to study again.

I have two college degrees—one from Assumption and one from The New School for Social Research. I have three sons. Two of them started as honor students—now is a different story.
My youngest son, however, is struggling to pass his subjects.
I try to help my kids in school when it is necessary, such as completing an intricate Chinese lantern that only one who went to art school could possibly accomplish (read: a Chinese lantern that only a pattern maker of Viktor & Rolf could understand!! How can my 7th grade son without an art background do this on his own?? It took me three tries to finish it!)

Red lantern I made
My son’s school project

Viktor and Rolf
Viktor & Rolf gown

While my two sons pass all their subjects without really trying, my youngest son is harder to teach. He has a short concentration span. I blame YouTube and Pewdiepie. How I wish my son had never held an iPad.
I am much older compared with the parents of my youngest son’s classmates (read: I have less energy!!) My body gets tired at 6 PM and I am simply too exhausted to helicopter parent.
I feel so pressured and inadequate whenever I see the devotion of younger parents in our Viber group, how sincerely concerned they are about their sons’ homework etc.

I grew up without a tutor. I was simply left to my own devices when I was in school. A couple of times maybe the yaya helped me with math or an art project. But my parents didn’t do my homework or school projects. That’s why now I don’t think I have to do it for my kids. Sure, I’m ready to do the costumes and the art stuff. Other than that, tapos na ako mag-aral.

When I get home, I just really want to lie down and relax. I also pity my kids who wake up at 5:30 or 6 AM and come home between 4 PM to 8 PM. Sometimes they just want to play basketball and sometimes they just want to lie down and look at their phones. I really don’t blame them.

How I wish life, school, parenting weren’t so difficult.
That said, may I repost once again a clip from Michael Moore’s documentary why Finnish school rank highest in the world. Cause maybe we’re doing it wrong!

Don’t be afraid to fry with Grande rice bran healthy oil
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Fried food doesn’t bother me, but it bothers my husband a lot. My husband Jeroen (a chef) wants to airfry everything or panfry with olive oil. The kids don’t care so much. Ben loves tonkatsu and Chris loves his nuggets.
But for those who care about fried stuff, you’ll be glad to know there’s a new product in the market.
Last week we were invited to a cooking demo introducing Grande Rice Bran Oil.
I was happy to see Chef Miko Aspiras who led the demo at The Cookery in BGC.
I really admire Chef Miko Aspiras. I think he’s a madman at desserts. You just have to see his Instagram to find out why.

Chef Miko Aspiras

Chef Miko prepared a three-course meal, starting with Sesame Tuna Aburi Tataki Salad.
We helped with the simple procedures, such as searing the tuna using Grande Rice Bran Oil.

Grande rice bran oil

We also assisted in making mayonnaise using Grande Rice Bran Oil.
Chef torches the tuna with homemade mayo

Grande rice bran oil cooking event

Et voila!

Grande rice bran oil

Next Chef Miko made “Pork and Beans.”
Slices of pre-marinated porchetta were deep-fried in Grande rice bran oil and served with a side of panfried beans, chorizo and potatoes.

Grande rice bran oil cooking event
Grande rice bran oil cooking event

For dessert, he made Pili doughnuts with homemade cheese ice cream.
This was my favorite dish!
Chef brought dough balls

Grande rice bran oil

Deep-fried them

Grande rice bran oil

I kind of like this unfinished color

Grande rice bran oil

Topped with edible flora, cinnamon and powdered blueberry. This was so good!!

Grande rice bran oil cooking event

We spoke with Glenn Kelly Tan, whose company brought Grande Rice Bran Oil to the Philippines from Vietnam. He told us what makes the product different from olive oil:
“Rice bran oil is the only oil that’s rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Phytosterols and Oryzanol, which help improve cholesterol levels. Rice bran oil can help improve conditions such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.”
It benefits the cardiovascular and immune systems. Grande Rice Bran Oil is physically refined, which makes it purer, thus improving health-boosting effects.

Grande rice bran oil cooking event
Glenn Kelly Tan with event host Vince Velasco

Grande Rice Bran Oil can be used for sautéing, searing and deep frying.
The oil’s high smoke point is at 240 to 254 degrees centigrade so you can use it for deep frying and sautéing without the food taste being affected. Because Grande Rice Bran Oil has a neutral taste, it can be used in marinades and for salad dressings.

Grande rice bran oil

Doctors and nutritionists recommend oils that have an equal proportion if saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Rice bran oil has an almost balanced fatty acid composition that is close to this ratio. Rice bran oil is rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and free of trans-fats.

The American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommend rice bran oil as the best choice for improving cholesterol levels.

Grande Rice Bran Oil has certifications that it has passed international standards. These include certifications such as Halal Food by Halal Food Agency and HACCP Food Safety Management issued by British Standard Institution (BSI) in Vietnam.

Grande Rice Bran Oil is available at select Rustan’s Marketplace branches and supermarkets nationwide. For more information, go to or Facebook.

Grande Rice Bran Oil is imported and distributed by Grandiose Marketing Inc., the exclusive importer of various agricultural products. The company also provides services in connection with the production of rice products.

A taste of Japanese at the Shang
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Shangri-la Plaza marks the 61st anniversary of Filipino-Japanese Friendship Month with a film festival, exhibits, and activities that highlight what makes Japan so fascinating to Filipinos.

Everything Japanese at Shang

The Eiga Sai Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary with a line up of award-winning Japanese films of different genres at Shang Cineplex Cinema 2. The festival, which has been held at Shangri-la Plaza for the past 18 years, still continues to draw the crowds to this day.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to the opening night to view the award-winning film, Her Love Boils Bathwater, along with its film director Ryota Nakano, who was at the Shang Cinema during the screening.

For more information, go to

Yuujuo: A Japanese Cultural Exhibit at Level 3 of the Main Wing showcases the colorful heritage of Japan with colorful artifacts and beautiful kimonos from the personal collection of Mr. Archie Belardo.

Everything Japanese at Shang

If you love nature, go to the Suiseki Exhibit of the Natural Stone Society of the Philippines at the Grand Atrium from July 17-26.
Suiseki is the art of stone appreciation and the exhibit will highlight different collections of Japanese stones that reflect objects of nature interspersed with specially cultivated bonsai pieces.
The atrium is also the venue for workshops like the History of Suiseki: Identifying Good Suiseki by Tonette Gedang on July 22 at 2pm and Base Making for Suiseki by Sonny Armamento on July 23 at 2pm.


The Kyosendo (fan painting) Workshop by the Saturday Group of Artists will be held on July 15, 4 PM at the East Atrium.
On July 16, check out the Bento Making Workshop by Bento by Kat and Kimono Ken at 3pm at the East Atrium.
For photography enthusiasts, there’s the Japanese Food Photography Workshop by Mark Floro, in partnership with Canon, Sumosam and Akira, at 4 PM at the Grand Atrium.
On July 22, Watami restaurant is holding a Sashimi Cutting Demo at 5 PM.
The workshops are free.

On July 15, the UP Tugma Koto Players will treat shoppers to a special performance featuring the koto, Japan’s national musical instrument, at the East Wing.

The Everything Japanese Lifestyle Fair will be held on July 14-23 at Level 1 of the Main Wing. The fair will highlight products from The Bakeshop by EDSA Shangri-La Manila, Bonsai Shop, Daiso, Lollipuffs, Matsuri! Matsuri! The Kimono Shop, MUJI, National Bookstore, Owndays, Paul Frank, Powerbooks, Q Power Station, Suiseki Stones and Toys R’ Us, as well as other select exhibitors.
Expect to see a range of Japanese goods, from food and household items to arts and crafts materials.


The mall decor, done by Beth Amat of Incandescent, also provides perfect photo opportunities.

Everything Japanese at Shang
Everything Japanese at Shang
Everything Japanese at Shang
Everything Japanese at Shang

The Japanese restaurants at the Shang also have special Japanese set menus until July 29.
At Pepper Lunch, the Egasai Combo Meals (all at Php 320 each) include:
Combo Meal 1: Beef Pepper Rice + 16oz Iced Tea + Kani Shake! Shake! Salad
Combo Meal 2: Chicken Pepper Rice + 16oz Iced Tea + Kani Shake! Shake! Salad
Combo Meal 3: Garlic Beef Pepper Rice + Matcha Ice Cream + Miso Soup.

For inquiries, call 370-2597/98 or visit
To know more, @shangrilaplazaofficial on Instagram.