Ang Kalatas

Once again, we had a wonderful gastronomical experience at the Grace Hotel as they brought the Philippines’ most famous dishes to Sydney.  For three weeks, Via Mare Chefs Rodito Dimatera, Benjamin Zabala and Leandro Templonuevo cooked up a feast for Sydneysiders to enjoy. True to its theme “Flavours of Philippines”, they made sure that each dish represented a part of the Filipino culture.


My Husband and I were privileged to experience the exquisite works of art of our Filipino Chefs when we dined in on a Friday night. San Miguel Beer and Coconut Juice were especially served to partner with our beloved dishes from the Philippines.

From the appetizers to desserts, everything was done by the chefs. We started with the Sinigang na Hiponthat warmed and fascinated us with it’s perfect tamarind sour taste and un-shelled shrimps ready for eating.

The salad section was abundant and one that truly wets the appetite: crispy Bagnet Salad with shrimp sauce, Green Mango Salad with Crab Meat, Salted Egg Salad, Lumpiang Sariwa and Chicken Galantina.

The hot dishes that did not disappoint as one had so many to choose from. The famous Pancit was a good partner to the freshly-baked Pandesal and Lumpiang Prito. The Chicken Adobo was more flavourful than ever because it was topped with Mozarella Cheese (Who would have thought? I will definitely do this when I cook my Adobo at home). The most tender and saucy Kalderata and perfectly grilled Pork Ribs were indulgent when paired with pillowy steamed rice. And the star of the buffet, Crispy Pork Belly, was everything crispy and crunchy. Sinful and yet worth the calories and cholesterol.

Laden with mouthwatering treats at the dessert section, we found Leche Flan, Maja Blanca, Cassava Balls and Palitaw. They also lined up the ingredients for making your own Halo-Halo which was a brilliant idea.

We arrived early at Grace Hotel and had a bit of a chat with all the chefs. It was wonderful to meet them and learn about their cooking experience in Sydney.  They talked about the dishes they cooked and how they prepared some of them. Most of their time was spent inside the kitchen as they were the only ones who cooked all the dishes but they gladly go out of the kitchen once in a while to say hello to customers.  I was mighty proud to hear how hardworking and how pleasant they are in spite being busy. 

Grace Hotel set up the perfect ambience for this event as their staff were accommodating, parallel to the Filipinos’ hospitality. While we enjoyed the food, we can hear OPM songs being played. For a few hours of enjoying good quality Filipino, it felt like we were home. 

The Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel is ongoing until 26 August. Please check http://www.gracehotel.com.au/ for details and reservations.

Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
Flavours of the Philippines at Grace Hotel
This foodie experience is sponsored by Grace Hotel for my “Ang Kalatas” article.
Belated Kung Hei Fat Choi to everyone!  As a belated New Year post, I would like to share with you my first article for Ang Kalatas entitled, “CREATE A CHARMED LIFE IN 2012“.  



Although we will say hello to month of February in two days (how time flies!), any day is a good day to create a charmed life.  So here are some tips I would like to share with you:

Everyday Living:
Start your day with a prayer, meditation or 10-minute silence. These activities guarantee a strong and centered spirit.
Never leave the house without making the bed. Tidy up the bed as soon as you wake up and it will surely give you a sense of accomplishment knowing that the first chore of the day is done.
When you wake up and look in the mirror, decide there and then that you are beautiful. Believe it and you will look it.
Never skip meals especially breakfast. It’s not worth having ulcers or any other internal bodily disorders just for the sake of looking sexy or skinny. Moderation to eating is always the key, not starvation to death.
Exercise! Physical activity assists in blood circulation and releases a neurotransmitter called Endorphins which aids in lowering the blood pressure and has been found useful in the fight against cancer.
Start the day with happy thoughts. If feeling a little flat or low or not-so-good, TRY, it will ease the gloominess somehow.
Write a journal with emphasis on two things: (1) Things I Learned Today and (2) Things I am Grateful for Today. When you have days when you feel depressed or sad, just read your past entries and it will surely make you realize that given unhappy circumstances, you are still blessed.
If feeling depressed or sad can’t be helped, just accept that there are days like these and you just have to go through them as gradually or as fast as you can. Give yourself some time to get things over with; however, it is not advisable to wallow for a long time.
Be friends with everyone you interact with—or at least be friendly (no need to be a snub). Everyone refers to people in your neighbourhood, the service staff of the restaurant you dine in, the attendant in the department store, etc.

Travel/Recreation/Leisure:
Travel once or twice a year, alone or with family or friends. Not only will you have a chance to relax but it will also give you the opportunity to re-connect with yourself (if alone) or your family or friends.
Learn something new. Attend pottery/art/photography/dance/coffee making classes—or whatever interests you. You may also want to learn a new language in preparation for your upcoming travel (e.g., a friend of mine enrolled himself to learn how to speak Spanish in preparation for his travel to Bolivia).
If you can’t travel, read travel books…this activity will help you enlarge your world.
You need not travel far in order to relax. Have a staycation! Spend a weekend at a nice hotel and just hang out the by the pool to de-stress. This will also be a good time to avail of the hotel’s spa services.

Maintaining Relationships:
The key is to spend time with family and friends and most importantly with you.
Have weekly or monthly dinners with friends.
Have weekly dates with your significant other.
Celebrate little milestones. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an expensive dining out experience. Little milestones can be celebrated by having pizza night or sushi night.
Be there for family, relatives and friends by attending their parties (take note: you should be invited of course)
Never ever leave a sour note with a loved one. End fights as soon as possible. Time is precious and it’s never wise to spend it angry with a loved one.
Tell your loved ones that you love or miss them. Even if action speaks louder than words, our loved ones would still appreciate it if they hear us say the words “I love you” or “I miss you.”
Let our loved ones know that we appreciate them. Always say “Thank you.”

Financial Aspect:
Save, save, save.
Live simply. Live within your means and always be practical when acquiring things you want.
Aside from putting some of your money to savings, you may also opt to set up funds like a Christmas Fund, Birthday/Anniversary Fund, Travel Fund, Emergency Fund, etc.
I hope these tips will help you become a better “YOU.” Remember to focus on the positive side of things and always treat challenges as an avenue for learning as that is the best way to living a life of charmed experiences.

Let’s all have a charmed life!
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Important Note:  All photos by Chris & Ibyang Sanchez, Copyright 2011.  Please don’t use our photographs without our permission.

For the past two years, shooting Vivid Sydney has been a winter event the Husband and I always look forward too.  We’ve made it an annual project of ours because we love seeing the city of Sydney come alive at night, it’s an excuse to go out on a winter’s night and we get to practice our skills in night photography.


This year, we spent two nights shooting Vivid Sydney.  Although we were disappointed with the images of the Lighting of the Sydney Opera Sails due to its VERY interactive images, we still enjoyed the vibe of the city up in lights.

On our first night of shooting, we went up to the Pylon Lookout so we can have a different angle of the Sydney Opera House and the city.  It was a bit difficult as we were on the Harbour Bridge and the ground was unstable due to cars and trains passing by.  Not to mention that it was more windy up on the bridge too.  But it was worth it.
Vivid Sydney 2011
 

Vivid Sydney 2011

We had a good walk up the stairs to the Pylon Lookout before 6:00PM (start of Vivid Sydney) so we hung out in one of the stairs for a bit and let ourselves be mesmerized by the view around us.  One of our friends told us, “Seeing Sydney so beautiful makes me feel lucky to be living here.”  And I couldn’t agree more.  The city of Sydney, with or without lights, is always a sight to behold.

Vivid Sydney 2011

We spent a good hour up on the Harbour Bridge and then went back down to shoot some light installations in Circular Quay and to watch the fun activities at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA).

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

We hung out at the Overseas Passenger Terminal with friends on the first night.  Amidst the disappointment, we tried to enjoy watching the Lighted Sails of the Opera House.

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

On the second night we took shots of the Vivid Sydney, it was just me and the Husband.

Vivid Sydney 2011

Two years ago, there weren’t as many people who came to see Vivid Sydney, but on its third year, Circular Quay on a Friday night was jampacked!  And there were more photographers lined up at Passengers Terminal this year too.

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

Once in a while, a bloke would approach my Husband and I and ask for a few tips in taking photos of the Lighted Sails. 

Vivid Sydney 2011

Here are some of the our favourite shots that night:

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

I especially wanted to see the Fire Dance this year.  It was our first time to see it and it didn’t disappoint. 

This was the crowd in Campbells Cove waiting for the Fire Dance to start. 

Vivid Sydney 2011

On the hour and for four minutes, giant 15-metre high flames danced in time to two different soundtracks.  Fire jets threw flames higher than a three-storey house and all the people watching were entertained.  Watching the Fire Dance was a great finale to a night of enjoying the Vivid Sydney.

Vivid Sydney 2011

Vivid Sydney 2011

My recent article for my column Life Down Under for Ang Kalatas is about my Vivid Sydney experience.  The article and photographs were produced in collaboration with my beloved Husband, Chris Sanchez, as we both worked hard in getting good photos from the event.  If you want to read my article, please click this link or click the photo below and it will lead you to the article.

Vivid Sydney 2011

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This month’s “Ang Kalatas” is out!
Ang Kalatas (Nov-Dec 2010 edition) 

For my “Life Down Under” column, I wrote about adjusting to married life while managing a home with no helpers.  Please check out my article entitled (click, click, click please!)  “The Challenge of Household Chores“.

Ang Kalatas (Nov-Dec 2010 edition)

To those who asked, “Ang Kalatas” is distributed to the following establishments every last Saturday of the month:

 Sari-Sari (Stanhope)
Chowking (Quakers Hill)
Magnolia’s Restaurant (Doonside)
Starlight Bakery (Doonside)
Lutong Pinoy (Rooty Hill)
Jaz My Waffles (Rooty Hill)
Melchrishel Bakery (Rooty Hill)
J&M Takeaway (Rooty Hill)
Calesa (Plumpton)
Good Luck Butcher (Blacktown)
Masagana (Glenwood)
Pabico (Mt. Druitt)
Sari-Sari Oriental Food Mart (Westfield Mt. Druitt)
Jenny’s Discount Store (Dean Park)

We also distribute to the following suburbs:Liverpool, Fairfield , Holroyd, Bankstown, Ryde, Auburn, Parramatta, and Penrith
 

We are currently in the process of looking for more places to distribute.  In the meantime, please visit our website


for the online version of Ang Kalatas.