Costa Coffee in Manila

Confession: I drink over two cups of coffee a day.



At least.

But sometimes, I end up having more. Those are the days that are full of meet ups with other parents and friends.

Those are the days that I am planning planning planning…and feeling super accomplished.

Those are the days that I start ordering DECAF, please.


But when it’s a destination meeting in Eastwood, and I would like to have a nice cup of coffee in what is known as LONDON’s Favourite Coffee Shop, the destination is Costa Coffee.

An institution that is more than 40 years old, the Costa brothers have been blending coffee and serving up their Mocha Italia in London and all over the world. Both Bruno and Sergio Costa had a passion for coffee as early as 1971. It was way back then, when they decided to bring their coffee to the heart of LONDON.


What impresses me about this coffee brand is that no matter where they source their coffee beans (responsibly) they are blended and roasted in the same place where they have been roasting since 1986. These beans are then shipped off to over 3,000 locations where trained baristas serve up your Mocha Italia from the expertly roasted espresso beans and combined with frothed milk, chocolate cream, or caramel sauce making each cup of crafted coffee completely personalized for you.


The Mocha Italia is still their signature drink…and their Coffee Master, Genarro Peliccia is the man behind the expertly crafted coffee with a chocolate twist. His tastebuds are so very important to the consistently blended Arabica and Robusta beans for this drink that it was once reported his tongue was insured for 10 million pounds.  (SAY WHAT?)

Check out some of the latte art at Costa Coffee - the dobule-decker bus, the telephone booth, and the Union Jack.

If you happen to be in EASTWOOD, and you would like a cup of coffee that is not only socially responsible to enjoy (Costa is part of the Rainforest Alliance ensuring that every coffee bean is grown responsibly and sustainably.) over a meeting with friends, be sure to check out the most popular Mocha Italia for a delicious treat.


I know I will…anyone want to meet up soon? 

Since their grand opening one month ago in Eastwood,  Costa has already opened their second branch in Ermita. 




Instagram: @CostaCoffeePH

Weekend Activities in Manila

August marks the beginning of BREASTFEEDING MONTH.

There are a ton of different activities spaced out all through out the month, but this weekend here in the south, SPIN will be furthering efforts to NORMALIZE breastfeeding in Alabang Town Center.


For more information please check out the urls to register on the poster.

This weekend will present more opportunities for Mommas who like to shop and who like to score some great deals.

If you would like to shop and save a little moolah in the process, you can also visit this collaborative Garage Sale by Newlyweds At Work:


And if you know anyone who is preggers-be sure to tell them about The Beeastfeeding Club’s Annual Baby Shower at The NEW Parenting Emporium!


Be sure to stop by The Common Room too! My friend Cai, of The Paper Chic Studio will be selling her wares there for those of you that like to get CRAFTY!!

You can check out The Common Room on Instagram @commonroomph or visit them at:

325 Dela Rosa Street, Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City

DSAPI will also be hosting our third Early Intervention Seminar of the year. 


We hold this seminar four times a year for parents, relatives, and care givers of children with Down Syndrome. 

It’s a great place to start when figuring out how to give your child the best start with Early Intervention and all the different options for therapies that benefit our children with Down Syndrome.

You can also visit the event page on Facebook by clicking here.
As the “Ber” (September, October, November, and December) month’s grow closer, activities and bazaars all over the metro will grow in number. If you are planning an activity and would like me to share it in my weekend activities post, please email your flier to

Have a great weekend!


Back to School with Huggies Dry Pants

And just like that we are back to our routine! 

Gelli's first day of school went smoothly after she settled in with Teacher Maricel.

Gelli’s first day of school went smoothly after she settled in with Teacher Maricel.

More than a month back and we are full swing into school. I feel like I still have to get my act together. Gelli didn’t submit her family picture yet for school, I still have forms I have to sign that are trickling in and the kids have already fallen into their routine of sleeping early and waking up JUST as early to get ready for school.

One of the many reasons why I love TLA is that they teach the kids through hands on activities. I think this is the first time Gelli ever made her own snack!

One of the many reasons why I love TLA is that they teach the kids through hands on activities. I think this is the first time Gelli ever made her own snack!

I’m scrambling every morning to make breakfast, to fill the kids’ bellies before they leave the house, and trying to pack interesting and nutritious lunches at the same time. I am finding my routine again in my own office, so that after I get everyone off to school, I find a little time to write creatively, and even catch up on some of my backlogged posts.

When I asked her about this activity, she said "EAT."

When I asked her about this activity, she said “EAT.”

I have always shared the many things that make my life easier as a multi tasking “Super Mom” in the hopes that reading about it might make life easier for some of you as you balance the many jobs and hats you wear as a momma. 

But I'm not so sure that she liked the hot dog, because when I asked her about it, she said "Yucky." Hooray for new words!

But I’m not so sure that she liked the hot dog, because when I asked her about it, she said “Yucky.” Hooray for new words!

Today I want to share why Huggies Dry Pants make my life easier in sending Gelli to preschool. She has begun to express the desire to use the toilet but still hasn’t decided yet to actually sit long enough to “do her business.” As with most things when it comes to Gelli, I don’t rush her. I follow her lead, and I watch closely for all the milestones I can. 

Three things that make me happy:  Correspondence from Gelli's loving teachers, an empty snack box, and a sassy owl.

Three things that make me happy: Correspondence from Gelli’s loving teachers, an empty snack box, and a sassy owl.

Most of Gelli’s classmates her age are of course already potty trained. They can express themselves verbally, and have the control to use the toilet when they need to relieve themselves. Gelli hasn’t figured that all out yet. So, I send her to school in Huggies Dry Pants for a number of different reasons.

We already had our first field trip to our classmate's house!

We already had our first field trip to our classmate’s house!

The obvious, is of course, is that I don’t have to worry about her having an accident in school because she is too busy playing to stand up and alert her teacher that she might have to go. School time is also about PLAY time and since the preschool I have chosen, is a preschool which teaches through PLAY, I know that while she is building confidence in herself, fostering friendships with her classmates, and learning about the world she lives in, she is slowly reaching her goals that we have set for her together. In this case I am confident that her development will not be hampered by the fact that she hasn’t mastered potty training yet.

Of course, Gelli had to touch each and every single thing in Tita Gladys' living room.  (SORRY Tita G :-)

Of course, Gelli had to touch each and every single thing in Tita Gladys’ living room. (SORRY Tita G :-)

Aside from that, the garterized waistband makes Gelli feel like it’s a one step closer to wearing her big girl panties. She doesn’t have to lay down to be changed when she’s wet. We simply have her step out of her Dry Pants, wash her up, and dress her up again. This also makes it easier for the helper in her classroom to change her if she needs. When I change her at home this way, even if she has already soiled her Dry Pants, I still ask her to sit on the potty. I feel like if she begins to associate all of these things together, when she finally figures out that she has to tell us BEFORE she needs to go, it will be easier. 

Gelli may not have figured out exactly when she should be telling us that she needs to go to the bathroom, but we are getting there.

Gelli may not have figured out exactly when she should be telling us that she needs to go to the bathroom, but we are getting there. Allowing her to sit on someone else’s sofa is not a concern when she’s wearing a diaper I can trust not to leak.

If she does need to be changed where I need to clean her thoroughly, it’s also just as easy for her to lay down and for me to tear the garterized waist band on the sides. It makes it easier to clean her up this way when she has not been able to tell me that she had to poop.

Of course, in true Gellibean form, I cannot force her to use the toilet. I try my best to give her the consistent cues that I know she needs for her to develop her understanding the use of the toilet. 

So while she is playing….

IMG_7629 copy

And during circle time….

IMG_7027 copy

And even during snack time…

IMG_7653 copy

I’m not worried that if she gives word a little late, that she made “poop,” (poop meaning either pee or poo) because of the constant protection of Huggies.

There are lots of things that make my life easier as my little girl grows up. Whether it’s something that furthers her learning, or helps me pack nutritious and fun meals for her lunchbox, or even Huggies Dry Pants which I know I can trust not to leak while we master potty training skills, these are products a mom like me depends on, to keep the house running smoothly and the “Bean” well taken cared for.  


The New Baby Magazine

When Gia was much younger, I enjoyed reading the many parenting magazines made available by subscription to me back home, in New York. These magazines were delivered to my doorstep, and I would take the time to sit with a cup of tea and read from cover to cover the articles that inspired me in my parenting.

Sixteen years into my parenting adventure and three more kids later, I have taken many different turns in learning how to become a better mother. Sometimes, my inspiration comes from the moms I have met through my kids’ school, other times, it comes from the SoMoms and mommy bloggers I am introduced to through my endeavors for my own blog, still other times, I pick up the occasional magazine to flip through when I have a quiet moment to myself. As a mom who is a self proclaimed, student of life, I know that I can pick up tips, tricks, and other useful information in many places, and for this I am thankful.

The recent revamp of Baby Magazine can also be a source of inspiration for mommas like me, because of its simplicity. Baby Editor in Chief, Juana Manahan-Yupangco shared that she believes the new look and feel of the magazine offers mommas a peaceful read. “It’s a magazine that is calming with a simple layout and articles that can stand the test of time.”

After leafing through the July-August HEALTH Issue, I would most definitely agree. In this issue, I found the articles on Filipino Superfoods, house plants, and the many benefits of chia seeds both helpful, interesting, and timeless. 

Even the feature on Fig, which is the restaurant where we were all introduced to the new look and feel of Baby, is in line with this new direction of Baby by being 90% organic, and sourcing local ingredients for many of the innovative dishes they serve.


Checking out the new look of @babymagazineph today!

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on

Pick up your own copy of Baby Magazine at Fully Booked, National Bookstore, and Power Books in Manila and follow Baby on Instagram.

The BF Saturday Market

I have four kids. 

Early mornings are part of the job description.

If I have to wake up early on a Saturday morning, I like to make the most of my morning by visiting the markets near by. Luckily, here in the south, we are blessed with two markets which I can enjoy with the whole family. (if they are up as early as Nino and I are.)

Truth: Nino and I can make anything a date as long as it’s just the two of us. Sometimes, our dates are for a simple lunch, others it’s stealing away to the market while the kids are still sleeping. And still other times, we enjoy the time away in the evening with the possibility of a little adult interaction with our friends as well.


This past Saturday, a friend of mine invited me to check out The BF Saturday Market with her. I’m familiar with the area and I’m usually there on Saturdays to begin with because I visit my suki fruit vendor with my list of fruits needed for the week. There is something to be said in the relationship that exists between fruit vendor and customer, and after buying lots of fruit in lots of different places, I have learned to make the time on the weekend to visit Diday if my schedule permits.


Gia was awake pretty early this weekend and without a volleyball game to rush off to, and she wanted to accompany us as we planned to explore Elizalde Park with my friend Claire. Claire had been inviting me to the market for some time now, boasting of the fresh seafood and other items that are hand picked, for this quaint market that offers so much possibility.


Melissa of @GeorgetownKitchen offers USDA Prime Beef slow roasted served with potatoes and mixed vegetables. You can check them out on Facebook too, under Georgetown Food Concepts.

Nino and Gia zeroed in on their breakfast as soon as we arrived, while I walked around with Claire exploring all the different types of vendors and what they had to offer Saturday Market lovers like myself.


I will definitely be going back for this one. I enjoy Vietnamese food and would like to even explore learning how to prepare it in my own home as well.

The market is easy to find and parking is ample. Right near the entrance you will find fresh seafood that comes from Roxas City in Capiz. It’s nice to have the option to buy fresh food that you can prepare at home, as well as the option to buy ready made food in case you don’t feel like cooking. 


This vendor sells sausages by the pack that you can take home and throw on the grill, OR you can order a sandwich to eat at one of the tables set up in the park for visitors to sit and enjoy the music while eating breakfast. Sandwiches are from Php120-130.

Secret: When I don’t feel like cooking, we will visit the market, buy breakfast and either eat it there, or take it home and eat with the kids. I do the same with the food vendors we find in the bazaars near our house. Most of the time I don’t go to the bazaars here in Cuenca for the shopping…I go for the food.


There were lots of dishes and delicacies ready made. You can take these rice meals out, or sit and eat a leisurely brunch under the shade of the sprawling trees.

And The NEW BF Saturday Market has lots of choices for both. Check out this photo stream of what we found and indulged in this past Saturday.


Fruit shakes are available for those who like to have “lighter” breakfasts.

One thing I enjoy about visiting the Saturday Markets that are around Metro Manila, is the different people you will meet. It’s interesting to find out the stories behind each of the vendors. When you visit the different markets often enough, you will get to know the sellers and they in turn will remember you when you come back…that’s part of the draw for me…it’s the neighborhood feel that I love.

Falaco Tacos are all made by hand. Gilbert hand rolls all the taco shells, and has embraced a new take on one of my old favorites. (We love TACO Tuesday in my house.) I enjoyed both his Beef and Chicken Cheesy Tacos. His tacos are a steal at Php120/for two.


This dessert taco is filled with a secret pear compote. I think I even tasted coconut.


@MomCanBake has a variety of cookies and baked empanadas. She even has cheesecake jars with super cute packaging.


This is the perfect example of what I mean when I say, “When I don’t feel like cooking…” Picking up a take out container of Eggplant Lasagna would make for an easy lunch at home for the kids. All I would have to do would be to reheat and serve.


Kale is one of the Super Foods that everyone is going crazy over now. Gelli loves it when I toss it in olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper, and then throw it in the air fryer for our own home made Kale Chips.


Things that make my life easier? Ready made dips and sauces for when I don’t feel like putting too much together as well. I have a few favorites like these, and cute packaging helps as well :-)


SPREAD by Chef Joaquin Antonio Migallos has a variety of sweet and savory jars ranging from Php210-320. I think I find the Bacon Bourbon Jam most interesting. I will try that one next time.


I tried Boom’s Cold Brew during The Block Party a few weeks back with my friend Mayo. I loved it and I was looking forward to trying another flavor this time around.


I really enjoyed the Barako Mexican and actually felt like a little bit of a rebel drinking straight from the bottle so early in the morning. If one didn’t know any better, they might think I’m drinking a beer, because of the bottle. hehehehe…


Growing up-I would enjoy smoked fish with tomatoes and rice with my mom and sister. We didn’t necessarily always eat it for breakfast but it’s one of those simple foods that remind me of my mother’s kitchen table and bonding moments with my younger sister. 


 I was able to take home some of the fish already fried because Nino doesn’t like the smell of the fried fish in the house. I just had to pay an additional Php30 per half kilo. 


Someone was very happy to have ice cream and cookies for breakfast. How can I say no, to that face?


What I found interesting is how the Saturday Market team interviews potential vendors. They taste everything that will be sold. They offer constructive criticism on some of the dishes, and often suggest to the vendors a baseline for pricing. Mike, Rosanne, and Joey are all conscious of making sure that vendors are not in direct competition with one another so the products each vendor sells are slightly different from one another and their menu offerings are honed to keep things focused.


Maple Glazed Bacon Topped Brioche Donuts. Php300/dozen

Muncheria was going through the process of introducing their dishes to the team. I hope they pass the test and we will see them in the market soon!


For 100 bucks you can get a half hour massage. This makes coming to the market with the wife even easier for the men…What do you think?


Joey’s wife, Mylene sells her beaded and wireworks accessories and jewelry…both for the table and for you to wear. Cute stuff. Will go back for some earrings that I saw, which were light so they won’t weigh your ears down.


My friends and I all drink Turmeric Tea. The benefits are pretty amazing and it has a ton of healing properties. This takes the “bite” out of the tea by adding local flavors of Pandan, Lemon Grass, and Calamansi for only Php 50/a bottle.


I’m not really a fan of Takoyaki-but that goes back to my texture issues…I think this is something my kids would love. The park is so big and open that I imagine taking the kids to the park to play while Nino and I sit and talk. Then I can see the kids coming back and forth to our table when they need to grab something to eat.

When I sat with Joey, Rosanne, and Mike, I realized how much of an affinity they have for the south. (just like me) I can appreciate the thought that goes into putting together this weekly event that offers the community more than a place to just come and do some shopping. From the music, to the vendors who come and sell their goods, they think about the experience and possibly even the memories that can be made as a family. 

Offering solid business advice to many of these home cooks, and suggested price points for the finicky southern crowd ensures success not just for the suppliers but also for the market as a whole. They care about the area and the people who live in it, envisioning The New BF Saturday Market as part of the Saturday morning routine of nearby residents. 

And I know I can speak for many of the Mommas out there when I say that “Routine is Good.” 

Routine is very Good.

Check out The BF Saturday Market from 7am to 2pm every week, and on Facebook and Instagram for more information.

DLSZ Best Buddies

I have a confession. I have been having a hard time keeping up with some of my posts here for the blog. I felt like I hit a little bit of a rut and I lost my mojo. It started when I had this conversation with another blogger friend. We were talking about how easy it is to get lost and uninspired if you fall into a pattern of accepting sponsored posts. She was sharing the experience of another blogger who was trying to take a break all together from writing so that she could find the joy in blogging again.

And the conversation caused me to pause. 


Ready to start recruiting! @bestbuddiesmanila @bestbuddies #bestbuddies #DLSZisSAFE #DLSZ #DLSZBestBuddies

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on

You see I started blogging to share parts of myself here with all of you. Things that work for me. Things that make me happy. Things that make the world a better place. I started writing to share the joys of parenting, healthy living, and cooking straight from my own kitchen. 

I started blogging to further inclusion and to share that parenting a child with Down Syndrome can be a beautiful journey. 

I wanted to share the real life challenges of balancing my motherhood in a positive way so that if there was ever a chance that I could help just one parent with SHARING “my story,” then my job would be done.

IMG_8566 copy

Through our leadership training last year, our students from DLSZ connected with other students and learned more about the Best Buddies Mission.

Because Sharing is Caring.


Well, today, I was invited to visit The New Saturday Market in BF by a friend of mine and while I was shopping, eating, chatting, and learning more about this new market I received some pretty wonderful news.


Best Buddies Andie and Nicholl during our DLSZ Best Buddies Amazing Race. This was an amazing day full of teamwork for all Buddies involved.

Back Story:  One of my students, who is a member of our DLSZ Best Buddies Chapter, was given a scholarship to attend the annual Best Buddies Leadership Conference in Bloomington, Indiana. Not only is Andie pretty amazing in school and as a young lady, she is an active member of our chapter and a leader in most everything she does.

And here she is with her mom, on stage, along with Grant Javier from Unilab Foundation, accepting the FIRST EVER AWARD to be given to an INTERNATIONAL Promoter’s Chapter with NONE OTHER than Anthony Kennedy Shriver, himself. 

Photo Credit: Best Buddies Manila Facebook Page

Anthony Kennedy Shriver, his son Joey, and Kara Keena from Alex and Ani, awarding Andie, Bubbles, and Grant the award for Outstanding Promoter Chapter. This is the first time that an International chapter was awarded this prestigious honor. Photo Credit: Best Buddies Manila Facebook Page


We had an incredible time training the students from different schools to learn how to be a buddy and a better friend.

During our Local Leadership Training, DLSZ came in full force to represent our school.

For those of you who may not know and understand what we have accomplished for the 2014/2015  school year as a chapter, you can take a look at two of our activities that were organized with the help of parents, the administration, and the advisors of our club.

It took a little while for the kids to warm up to each other but once they got moving...all was well.

DLSZ  Best Buddies Bingo was an amazing way to kick off our year as a promoters chapter.

Read more about DLSZ Best Buddies Bingo.


Ultimate team work for our buddies during our Amazing Race. Photo Credit: Anj Onrubia 

Read more about DLSZ Best Buddies Amazing Race.

You can also read about the other events that Best Buddies Manila has put together like Best Buddies Namaste Yoga Event, and our launch in BGC.

But the reason why I write? Today? I write today TO SAY THANK YOU.

Thank you Anj Onrubia for bringing Best Buddies to Manila. Thank you for inviting me into the organization and thank you for allowing me to explore the different ways I can help promote inclusion in our community.

(From L-R) David, Dan, Neva, Dianna, Anj, and myself. Dianna came from the US to train the staff for the Best Buddies Manila chapter.

(From L-R) David, Dan, Neva, Dianna, Anj, and myself. Dianna came from the US to train the staff for the Best Buddies Manila chapter.

Thank you to Brother Bernie for welcoming me and Anj Onrubia to your office that fateful day when we pitched our idea of starting a Best Buddies Club in DLSZ.

Thank you to Sir Jess, and Ms. Vangie for introducing us to the team of guidance counselors and inviting us to launch your SAFE program with the ENTIRE high school student body taking the “End the R Word” pledge.

Thank you Ms. Marianne, Ms

Thank you for all your support. DLSZ Best Buddies is a successful chapter because of all of you!

Thank you to Ms. Mau and Ms. Juay and our team made up of Ms. Sheryll, Ms. Raquel, Ms. Marianne, Ms. Stephanie, Ms. Nikki, and Ms. Mira for pulling off our planned activities without a hitch. Your dedication and service to furthering inclusion makes the world a better place for my Gellibean.

And for this, I will be forever grateful.

THANK YOU to all of our sponsors in all of our activities! We can not provide the experiences for our kids and adults with IDD without your help. It’s because of you that we are able to put our plans into action. From venues, to services, and food, all of these things are appreciated and vital to the success of bringing our buddies together.

Brother Bernie was so receptive to bringing Best Buddies to DLSZ. He had quite a few ideas that we would all like to see realized.

Brother Bernie was so receptive to bringing Best Buddies to DLSZ. He had quite a few ideas that we would all like to see realized.



For our Namaste Yoga Event: Yoga + and Juju EATS

10492572_289919357854616_5108973728807712562_n (1)

For our SAFE LAUNCH and End the R Word pledge: K-Snaps for event coverage


Thank you to our very supportive parents who made establishing a chapter in Zobel even easier with your help. Thank you Lolet for connecting us with International Movement Academy!

For our DLSZ BEST BUDDIES Bingo Event: Pink Wasabi and Pastry Armoire, Acacia Hotel, The Mind Museum, and MRL Lightworkz Photography

Thank you Mike and Millie from Lightworkz Photography for covering our event and always being so generous with your time and expertise.

Thank you Mike and Millie from Lightworkz Photography for covering our event and always being so generous with your time and expertise.

For our DLSZ BEST BUDDIES Amazing Race: Gatorade, Jack & Jill, Planet Sports, and MRL Lightworkz Photography

Ms. Chie Lugtu from ZAIDE is very special to us in DLSZ. She has generously sponsored food and drinks for ALL of our activities we have had on our campus and we are extremely grateful for her love and support.

We kicked off our new school year just this past Thursday with new member recruitment.

We kicked off our new school year just this past Thursday with new member recruitment.

Thank you to each and every person who has helped us achieve this wonderful honor for our chapter. It’s with all your help that we are making the world a better place through one friendship at a time.

Isn’t this such a wonderful way to kick off the start to a new school year?

I just know that this year is going to be amazing!!!

Mothers Who Brunch: Cook. Snap. Eat. Chat.

Mothers Who Brunch came about when Sabrina Go and I started planning a little get together with our friends who wanted to learn more about cooking. Ultimately, we just wanted an excuse to get together in the Viking Kitchen, and it proved to be the inspiration to a plethora of wonderful ideas for the first gathering. It’s very clear that Sabs and I have similar tastes and cooking styles in the kitchen. I even noticed during our second event that we even had the same kind of slate cheeseboard.

It’s uncanny how many similarities we have once we start paying attention.


This new series of events has become such a joy to put together. We love gathering women. We love cooking with friends. AND We love posting about it on social media, particularly Instagram. This is where the inspiration to our second gathering of Mothers in the Viking Range Showroom came from.

Mothers Who Brunch: Cook. Snap. Eat. Chat.

We wanted to prepare brunch together. Cook.

We wanted to learn to take better photos of the food we prepare, for Instagram. Snap.

We wanted to enjoy our brunch. Eat.

AND We love the conversation exchanged amongst like minded mommas. Chat. 

Now y’all know I have always loved brunch…and I have always loved getting together with the ladies. Back home, I would find pretty much any excuse to get the girls together so that we could chit chat, eat, and LAUGH. Once we all had kids, we would still get together to do these things, the only difference was the kids running around and stopping to eat what we would prepare only to go back to playing with their friends again, while the parents sat around the table enjoying each others’ company as well.


As I have gotten older, I realize that each of the women who come to my table has much to offer me. I love the exchange. The SHARING of experiences. And we all know that whenever you get some women together…they start talking…and when they start talking…they start sharing.  Sharing is Caring.


In the interest of sharing, we asked the mothers who joined us to share one tip that works in the kitchen for them.

Here is what we learned from one another:

Did you know that you can make self rising flour all by yourself by consulting Mr. Google? Sometimes, it’s hard to find ingredients here, and when I cannot-I always turn to the internet for help. So during one of my searches, I realized that to make self rising flour all I had to do was combine 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Tina shared that you can make your own quinoa flour if you or your child is on a gluten free, wheat free diet.

Cat confessed that she throws a whole head of garlic in her stewed adobo because afterwards she loves to squeeze the soft garlicky goodness on top of her rice. (OH MY. I can imagine that now.)

Nicole advised us that the best way to spend time in the kitchen is in a relaxed way. Friends and family do not want to see a harassed cook! So sit back, relax, and have a glass of wine while you are cooking! It sets the mood and tone of your kitchen, doesn’t it? Mia taught us that if you would like to bake banana bread and you do not have over ripe bananas ready to mash-you can roast them in the oven until the skins are black and then mash away! Joey’s helpful tip was to make sure you don’t bake all your cookie dough at once. Instead, make sure you scoop out your desired cookie sizes, and then refrigerate or EVEN freeze your dough so that you can make fresh baked cookies ANY time you want! Another tip she divulged which I do sometimes, is to cook your veggies when you bring them home. They won’t be as quick to go bad sitting in the vegetable crisper this way. That means NO waste! Hooray for NO waste!

Michelle’s hint to keeping herbs fresh is by storing them in the refrigerator cut and in  clean glass of water. (THIS IS BRILLIANT.)

Cai shared that having the right appliances in the kitchen help make her life easier with no help in the house. She can throw dinner in the crockpot in the morning without having to worry. (I do this too.)

And Sabs gave a very helpful hint for those mommas who want to stop their pot of pasta water from boiling over and making yet another mess they would have to clean up afterwards. Simply put a wooden spoon across the pot so that the pot won’t boil over. 


And so, for this recent gathering of women in the Viking Kitchen Showroom, we were all happy to learn even more tips and tricks from Hazel Dizon and Ezra Antonio on ways to improve our food shots and our Instagram feeds. Many of the moms present, enjoy cooking and sharing what they make for their families on social media, so this mini tutorial was something that Sabs and I thought they would enjoy, just as much as we would.


We really wanted to make this event super special for the Mommas who would be joining us. We planned the menu and decided that Prime Rib would be a fabulous dish to serve them…after all, when we are talking about brunch, the possibilities are endless, right?


Prime Rib in my house is done by my husband. This is why we asked him if he wouldn’t mind sharing his recipe and the techniques involved to the PERFECT Rib Roast, and he happily agreed. Even when he was explaining to the girls who joined us, how we loved entertaining and have people at our home back in NY, he reminded me of just how it was back then.


Nino said that he has never had an easier time roasting his famous prime rib than he did with the automatic probe/thermometer built into this series five electric wall oven. Hooray for technology making food preparation even easier!

He would take on the big roasts, the barbecue, the ham, and the MEAT. 

I would handle side dishes, pasta, and dessert. Together, we would tag team in the kitchen, hang out with our family and friends, and enjoy good food and good conversation.

I guess that’s why, Sabs and I feel so passionate about how we have been able to put these little events together where we get to hang out with other Mommas. It’s all about making it good, and right, and FUN in the kitchen, which is the heart of our homes, and with some of these other ladies as well.


Make no mistake. We love food. We love to have a healthy relationship with food, and this is why we share our recipes with all of you without hesitation. 


Me, Cai, Tina and her daughter, Joey, Sabs, Cat, Nicole, Mia, and Michelle

Check out this photo stream of the ladies who joined us, the food we prepared, the VIKING equipment we prepared it on, and the photo styling tips and techniques that we picked up along the way.


 Hosting a smart phone photography workshop in the Viking Kitchen is easy to do when you also have really pretty food, like this SHORB from Shorts Gourmet.


Being able to photograph colorful macarons makes for playful subjects…yes… I’m talking about food as though it is playful! hehehe…


 Having Viking equipment to prepare delicious dishes with quality ingredients makes for beautiful celebrations of sharing and breaking bread together. 


 Even more so when you are with like minded women. 


 Hazel and Ezra together with Lady and Steph from Boqueria Lifestyle Market made it very easy for our participants to find inspiration in different layouts for each of our different dishes.


Lady and Steph were ready with baskets of props for each set up. We had tables organized with products from our sponsors so the girls could snap, edit, and post directly to Instagram. It was well organized, colorful, and fun.

But really, what we enjoy the most was getting in the kitchen with the ladies, and even our daughters.


Sabrina and I would run upstairs and shoot some photos, then run downstairs to prepare the next dish or check on the food still waiting to be served. 


 And all the while, our blogger friends were able to shoot their own photos and learn from our experts.


 When Nino finally served up his Roasted Garlic Capped Wagyu Prime Rib, it made for a beautiful plate and a full tummy. I’m pretty sure the girls enjoyed this different take on brunch.


Chatting, learning from one another, and enjoying each other’s company is also part of this series of events. It’s the interaction between the ladies, as well as the relaxed vibe that allows us to explore the Viking Kitchen together through the food prepared and the meal we can indulge in. 


Part of what makes these gatherings so special are the way our sponsors spoil our mommas. Thank you to all of our sponsors who helped make MWB Part Deux extra special. 


 I love that I can share these things with my daughter…I imagine her a better version of me in the kitchen and in life…she’s brilliant, beautiful, talented and so compassionate. #LUCKYTOHAVEHER 

Even when we were shooting…there was this exchange of energy that I was so grateful for. It was more than fun and exciting, I felt as if it was the beginning of some new friendships too! 


 Thanks Jay for this fun shot!!! It’s the perfect example of how everything came together…


The day was made more fun with raffle prizes from sponsors as well.

Mothers Who Brunch Part Deux Recipe Cards

As always, our Mothers Who Brunch events are made even more fun by the sponsors who believe in cooking, eating, and sharing these experiences with other women.

Thank you most of all to VIKING RANGE in Westgate, Alabang for helping us share the beauty of cooking and preparing meals on superior equipment. If you are in the market for new appliances for the heart of your home, please visit our showroom. We have designers that you can work with to make your kitchen wishes a reality. I for one, cannot wait to put plans into action and build mine. Visit our website: or call to schedule your visit to the showroom:  02-828-1363 / 0917-997-9879

Shorts Gourmet



Tel:  +63-917-878-8818

GLAD Kitchen



Lemons and Greens



Viber: +63-917-389-1980

The Flour Girl



Telephone: +63917 5436350

Fotogra Books




Kate Adajar from Slice of K




Hydration Nation



All the photos in this post were shot by our photographer, Jay Santos, unless otherwise indicated.

Styling by Boqueria Lifestyle Market

Finding Your Center

So, I noticed something.

Actually, my husband pointed it out to me. 


I’ve not been so good at being present lately. And I must confess, it’s starting to bother me…

I have gotten overwhelmed, bogged down, and feeling way too busy. 

Busy can be a really good thing….or it can be a really bad thing.

I have been late to answer emails, things have been falling through the cracks, I am double booking appointments and even lunch dates with friends. I have even been late to some of these said appointments. (GASP! I hate it when people are late and don’t respect my time.)

Ok…so why do I write about this sudden business of being busy? 

Because now I know, it’s time to start reconsidering things that I cannot take on…

It’s time to start refocusing and finding my center again.

I also find that because of this major shift in my energy and my scatterbrainedness…it’s also difficult to organize my thoughts…and that makes it difficult to write…

Some of the things I thought of doing were:

  • disconnecting for a few hours a day from social media
  • journaling
  • hanging with some girlfriends to get recharged
  • getting creative in the kitchen
  • connecting with my kiddos without electronics
  • spending some one on one time with Nino
  • start sifting and sorting for the move ahead
  • community service
  • getting back on the mat in my home studio, EVOLVE

I think that part of the reason why I may be so unsettled is because there are some big changes around the corner for my family and I may even be a little apprehensive about all the work that moving will entail.

When you are getting lost in the fray, what do you do to come back to center? 



The Healing Properties of Music

I’m a bit emo today. 

Been looking at photos and thinking of friends and family who have gone on before me. Not in a completely sad and depressing way, but in the way one thinks back to fond memories that bring a smile to your face.

I’m grateful, but just a tad melancholy and maybe even missing the days where life was a little bit simpler and days were a little bit lighter. 

Missing Auntie Anne, and Dale and my dear Nana. All very strong women who taught me more about life than I realized at the time. 

And can I tell you what makes me feel a little bit better?

Listening to this song. 

Dole Morning Glory Muffins x DOLE Giveaway

I try to keep what I give the kids in the lunchbox somewhat healthy for the kids. There are times when there are a LOT of sweets in the house. And then there are times where I’m very strict with what the kids eat. I suppose it’s up to me to be a little bit more consistent with our healthy eating habits, and for this I know I am doing better. 


Morning Glory Muffins going in the oven now for the lunchboxes tomorrow! #Doleph #dolechefmom #funcooking #healthy #lunchboxideas

A photo posted by Michelle Aventajado (@mommanmanila) on

Ultimately, I know that if it’s easy to put together, I can manage it on a regular basis. It’s kinda like my yoga practice. I choose to practice in a yoga studio that’s close to my home…and even with it being so close in proximity AND me loving on the studio owner, I still find it difficult to be consistent because having kids just means you gotta be ready for the curve balls of parenting and balancing schedules.  IMG_5722 copy School functions, meetings, and activities don’t always allow for a consistent yoga practice for me, BUT once the kids are all in school, it’s easy for me to buckle down, whip up some easy baked goods in the kitchen and keep them in an airtight container for the kids’ lunch boxes for the week. IMG_5731 copy I researched a few recipes and came up with this one which I adapted from The Kitchen Treaty. After baking them I realized they definitely needed something a little more and by this, I mean CRUNCH. So, I added almonds or walnuts to the recipe I’m writing here, knowing that it will be nicer when you bite with a little crunch into these Dole Morning Glory Muffins.

Dole Morning Glory Muffins
Yields 24
A hearty tropical muffin with carrots, pineapple, mango, coconut and almonds
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 2 c. all purpose flour
  2. 1 c. rolled oats
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  8. 1 c. almond coconut milk
  9. 3/4 c. ripe pureed mango
  10. 3/4 c. muscovado
  11. 1/3 c. softened butter
  12. 1 egg
  13. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  14. 1 1/2 c. shredded carrots
  15. 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
  16. 1/2 c. Dole Pineapple tidbits chopped and drained
  17. 1 c. chopped almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease cupcake pan or use cupcake wrappers.
  2. In a large bowl whisk all dry ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the large bowl of dry ingredients and slowly mix in the wet ingredients being careful not to over mix. Mix until incorporated.
  5. After these two bowls are mixed then add in the carrots, the coconut and the pineapple options.
  6. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full and sprinkle a little of the extra coconut on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until muffin tops spring back when poked and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 5-10 minutes and remove from pan.
  9. Serve warm with butter.
  1. Muffins freeze well. So if you think that you aren't going to be able to finish the entire batch, freeze half and defrost or toast in a toaster oven to warm up.
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty
Momma 'N Manila

 Now, the folks over at Dole want to give away FOUR huge baskets of product to FOUR LUCKY READERS.  Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 7.46.41 AM  

Each DOLE-licious gift basket contains:

1 can Pineapple Tidbits

1 can Pineapple Chunks

1 pack Tomato Sauce

1 pack Sweet Style Butter & Cream Spaghetti Sauce

2 cans Pineapple Juice

2 cans Tropical Fruit Cocktail

1 Pot Holder

1 Microfiber Kitchen Towel


And all you have to do to enter to win is:

1. Like Dole on Facebook.

2. Follow Dole on Instagram.

3. Like Momma ‘N Manila on Facebook.

 4. Follow @mommanmanila on Instagram.

 5. Post a photo on either IG or FB with the following hashtags #dolechefmom #funcooking. The photo can be a dish you created in your kitchen or you having fun in the kitchen preparing a dish. BE SURE TO TAG @mommanmanila and set the post to public so I can see it.

 6. Contest will run from July 1-14.

 7. Winners will be picked and emailed immediately. Winners must respond within 1 week to email with current address and contact information. If the winner does not respond within one week, a new winner will be drawn.

8. DOLE will deliver baskets to each winner. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway