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

Mothers Who Brunch

I’d like you to meet Sabrina Go of Sinfully Sabrina. We have recently put together a series of cooking events for Mommas to introduce them to The Viking range of appliances.


From the uncanny way that we showed up to our first event together in matching colors, to the way that we can anticipate moves in the kitchen, Sabs and I are having a great time putting things and people that we love together. #MothersWhoBrunch

Lots of times, I get involved with projects and pour myself into these endeavors because I feel they make me a better person. In this case, being named the Viking Brand Ambassador has helped me in my motherhood and in raising my family because I can have more fun in the kitchen cooking up something good for when my children sit down at the table to eat.

Truth is, it’s inspiring to cook on such superior equipment. 

If y’all have visited my blog before, you know that I have always enjoyed being in the kitchen. My mother enjoys cooking and would often put together a sit down family style meal, (at the drop of a hat) for as many as fifty people in our home, while I was growing up. In fact, because my mom cooked such elaborate meals, I often found myself trying to come up with clever desserts to serve the family, after her sumptuous meals were devoured.


As an adult, I find comfort in being in the kitchen. I get excited over fresh ingredients from the local Saturday Markets, and I look forward to entertaining so I can try new recipes with friends.

I have friends who I like to cook with and other friends who I enjoy hosting pot lucks for, because it’s through the pot lucks that I can widen my recipe arsenal. Of course, out of all of these things, I enjoy getting in the kitchen with my family the most. 

So when Sabs and I got to talking about our love of cooking and entertaining, we came up with the idea to get some ladies in the Viking Kitchen Showroom to teach them something new, and introduce them to the range of professional appliances that I have been crushing on since I was a young girl.

The whole concept originally came out of the fact that we just wanted to get into the kitchen with some friends who might be considered “kitchen challenged.” 

Aside from bringing the ladies together to foster friendship and sisterhood, I wanted to share the ease with which meals can be prepared for our families on VIKING equipment.

So, Sabs and I planned a menu and asked some of our friends if they wanted to join us…

Some of these ladies are really good friends of ours. Some are new friends we have met through social media and by following one another,  we all got to convene in the kitchen. Once we started cooking it was as if we were friends from the start…

Here are the ladies behind this very first Mother’s Day Treat from Viking for #MothersWhoBrunch:

From L-R T-B:

From L-R T-B: Kat, Moi, Joey, Cecil, Patty, Patty Sabrina, Chrissy, Tina, Hazel, and Helene (Thanks Sabs for making this collage of all our mommas and momma to be!) 

We came. We cooked. We laughed. We bonded. I am inspired by these mommas because we can all bring different things to the “kitchen” table :-)

And this is what it looked like…


Getting in the kitchen.

Cooking up something good.

Learning something new…

And inspiring one another…

If you’re a momma then you know one of the things we like to do is share.

Remember: Sharing is Caring.

So, another thing we did was to ask all the mommas to contribute a recipe for BRUNCH that they love and prepare at home. Together, we put together this printable recipe booklet for you. You can see some of the recipes that we prepared in the slideshow up above. My favorite things to prepare from this booklet (and from my kitchen) are the pancakes and the quiche. My kids are familiar with both of these dishes because I serve them often in our home. 

If you try any of the recipes we have shared here :-) Be sure to post a pic and tag us on IG with #MothersWhoBrunch :-) We would love to see what you come up with!

Mothers Who Brunch Recipes

This super fantastic event would not have been possible without the full support of Viking. The folks over at Viking (like me) believe that the kitchen is indeed, the heart of every home, and they want to make sure that Mommas here the Philippines understand that Viking appliances are an investment worth making, not only for their homes but for the love of their families. I think this is why it was so easy to bring these mommas together, it was an event that would benefit the family…in the heart of the home…where momma’s can cook up some kitchen goodness…

Thanks to:

Recipe booklet designed and printed by:  IMAGEMAX DIGITAL PRINTING








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Meet Happy!

There is a new kid in town.

His name is Happy.

You should check him out at McDonald’s.

He’s the Happy Meal come to life through animation.

He loves it when families like us play together.

In fact, when you visit McDonald’s and you purchase a Happy Meal, he will bring fun, excitement, and laughter to your meal with your child.

Happy Info Sheet

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the McDo Kiddie Crew and all the wonderful lessons that the kids learn when they sign up to become a member. Then The Magic School Bus books were included in Happy Meals just a couple of weeks ago…and now Happy joins the ranks of the mascots that we have already known and loved for years, providing more opportunities for families to bond.

I see a pattern here…and I like it.

Bucketfeet in Alabang Town Center

I found a new pair of kicks.

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They are super cute and super casual. Perfect for running errands, paired with shorts or jeans or even a denim skirt.  

Aren’t they cute?

The store is located just behind Starbucks near Cortes de las Palmas.

The store is located just behind Starbucks near Cortes de las Palmas.

When I popped into the store to see if there was anything that I would like, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t realize that there was more to this brand than just churning out cute designs. They believe in the art and the artists who design their kicks.

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The pair I chose comes from a particular artist who seems to have one of the more popular designs. DJ Lu is from Colombia and has pineappleades in a variety of different colors.

But there were other designs I liked while I was browsing the store.

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While I do enjoy the artistic feel to all of the shoes by Bucketfeet, I also feel like I have to choose something to wear that fits my personality and is practical as well. I like these simply because they are black and white and floral.

Like this one by Laura Dro who happens to be from Florida.

IMG_4080 copyWhen I was browsing, I found that I not only connected with the artist through their designs, but also where they were from.

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Jason Atienza is Filipino but he’s from NY…hence why I had to include his design in this post :-) hehehehe. (I’m a Native New Yorker…)

And I love how each pair of shoes comes with a little something about the artist. The connection is made. And you get to know them.

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Which leads me to their mission…which is really quite simple.

To connect people through ART.

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And I do believe that  they are doing just that.

Shorts Gourmet Dinner with Chef Fara

I have written about Shorts before and how I hide them in the pantry when the kids aren’t looking. (I’m only half joking about that.)

Shorts Gourmet has a variety of different flavors. I think I found my new favorite, though.

Shorts Gourmet has a variety of different flavors. I think I found my new favorite, though.

Shorbs are perfect for special occasions, celebrations, holidays like Mother’s Day and Easter, and great for dressing up a dessert table without having to order anything. I even think they are a great hostess gift when you are invited to someone’s home for dinner. They are classy, easy to find, and have great packaging.

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Recently, Mannix, the (super)man behind SHORTS Gourmet, invited me along with some of his other friends to a dinner in his home to celebrate new friendships (and old), good food, and new beginnings. Mannix commissioned his friend, Chef Fara to put together a lovely six course tasting dinner for all of us and boy was I glad that I could make it!

Hello Little Yellow Hummingbird.

Hello Little Yellow Hummingbird.

I love it when I am invited into people’s homes and I can see just how relaxed they are, how they choose to decorate their sacred space, and when I am invited for a meal, I love seeing how they set their table. Setting the table for any meal is like prepping the stage before the show. I really do appreciate the details.  

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Mannix’s table was set elegantly, but kept simple at the same time, with white roses and candles. It was the perfect back drop to the international flavors that would grace our plates when Chef Fara’s international dishes were set out for us to enjoy. I learned through our casual conversation that Mannix put the floral arrangement all together by himself, AND that he also has a beautiful voice. 

Chef Fara and Mannix had met when they were both doing other things. Through the course of their friendship, Fara had gone on to study culinary here in the Philippines but left Manila to work in such prestigious restaurants as Le Petit Maison in Dubai, and he came back to Manila to join the pioneer team of Nobu. Because he felt that yet another change was necessary, he left Nobu only recently, and is still deciding on what his next venture will be. I think with what I was able to sample of Chef Fara’s cooking, I am sure I will be hearing of something soon…

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Laksa Soup from Singapore: Garnished with quail egg, fried shallots, garic bits, shrimp, clam, coconut strings, toasted peanut, spring onion, and mint

The coconut strings were a nice touch to this hearty soup that is rich in flavor. I really do enjoy noodle soup. Soup in general for me is comforting, so this was a nice start to the meal. Plus, I enjoyed all the different textures that Chef Fara played with here.

Ceviche of Smoked Salmon from Spain: Avocado, shallot, shichimi, sesame seed, lime juice, truffle oil, on a bed of iceberg chiffonade

Ceviche of Smoked Salmon from Spain: Avocado, shallot, shichimi, sesame seed, lime juice, truffle oil, on a bed of iceberg chiffonade

When this dish was served, Tedrick and I were talking across the table after this course. And at the same time, Mannix was asking us if we would like some more of this light and lovely treat. I was half listening and answering Tedrick at the same time while still paying attention to Mannix. So, when I answered Tedrick with a sure and confident “Yes.” to his question, Mannix thought I was saying “YES.” to more smoked salmon…

That was a good thing! Because before I knew it Chef brought out some more of these lovely treats. The hint of truffle oil made me want just a little more…(Secret: I could have had a third.)

Cappelacci from Italy: Filled with ricotta, smoked mozzarella, and basil served with fresh tomato sauce and garnished with basil tops.

Cappelacci from Italy: Filled with ricotta, smoked mozzarella, and basil served with fresh tomato sauce and garnished with basil tops.

These were like yummy tortellinis on steroids. Big and cheesy, and done just the right way. Al dente. I didn’t even realize the tomato sauce was fresh until my friend Tin pointed it out.

Beef Fajitas: Cajun pulled beef briskey with carmelized red onion, roasted peppers, semi dried tomato, guacamole, pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce

Beef Fajitas: Cajun pulled beef briskey with carmelized red onion, roasted peppers, semi dried tomato, guacamole, pico de gallo, and chipotle sauce

 I enjoyed the little bit of spice in each bite.

Roasted Pork Ribs: Rubbed with recado rojo on a bed of quinoa, apricot blacked cherry tomato, cucumber cubes and mint salad

Roasted Pork Ribs: Rubbed with recado rojo on a bed of quinoa, apricot blacked cherry tomato, cucumber cubes and mint salad

Boneless ribs done right. After this course we got to chatting as well, and we realized that Chef Fara, much like Mannix is a “Jack of all trades,” knowing how to do more than just prepare wonderful internationally inspired tasting menus because some of us remarked at the serving pieces our food was coming out of the kitchen on. What I didn’t realize is that the serving pieces on which our food was so elegantly served were actually tiles. Who knew?

Chelo Morgh: Roasted whole chicken with saffron rice garnished with orange zest, barberry, almond, pistachio and a side of tabouleh.

Chelo Morgh: Roasted whole chicken with saffron rice garnished with orange zest, barberry, almond, pistachio and a side of tabouleh.

Tedrick shared this was the best chicken he ever had. I for one, was super surprised because Chef was quite worried that the chicken might be dry. We were a little late to start dinner and Chef was concerned that it might leave the chicken over done and dry. It was not dry at all, in fact, much like Tedrick said, I think it was quite delicious. I really enjoyed the orange zest on the rice, it’s not something I would ever think of adding to my rice but it gave the entire dish a light and fruity feel so that I didn’t feel like it was the 6th dish of a six course meal. 

I was definitely starting to feel a bit full after this course, but I knew that there were SHORTS for dessert, so I saved a little space.

AND…Mannix surprised us with a new flavor! 

Introducing, the newest addition to the SHORTS array of flavors...MANGO

Introducing, the newest addition to the SHORTS array of flavors…MANGO. These Mango Shorts are served with Vanila Ice Cream and a Mango Coulis

For those of you who know Shorts, you’ll notice right away that the shape of these Shorts is just a bit different. These shortbread mango filled treats truly have to be hand rolled because of their delicate filling. I loved how the mango filling was just a tad chewy.

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Dark Choco Mist Shorts are served with a berry compote and creme anglaise.

What Mannix wanted to impress upon us, is that the possibility for Shorts is more than what we realize. Finishing a six course tasting menu with Shorts as the main attraction on the dessert platter is another way to enjoy these rich buttery treats, making SHORTS even more versatile than I previously thought.

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Thank you Chef. I enjoyed the wonderful dinner you put together, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again really soon!

If you would like to know more about how to have Chef Fara Pakdamanian create a meal for you in the comfort of your own home you can email him or you can text and call him 0915-889-9393.

Visit :

For orders and inquiries:


Shorts Gourmet is also available at select Rustan’s Supermarkets. (Rockwell, San Antonio, Century Mall, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Alabang, P. Guevara, and Katipunan.



Diego’s Challenge Island Birthday Party

I love planning my kids’ birthday parties. I love finding new ways to celebrate each of my children that fit their personalities and their interests.

Diego is my athletic boy who is always on the go. He’s a fierce competitor and he is strong willed. He can move his body in a way that is graceful, athletic, and powerful. I like watching him compete (except when someone is trying to hurt him, like in taekwondo) because I can see his heart burst from his chest when he has prevailed. 

I remember this one time that his Tita Dee was here visiting from NY. And at that time, Diego was into running and track because of the grass roots program  at his school. He had enrolled in track and field with one of his other friends and he was always telling me that he wanted to beat this one guy because he knew in his heart that he could…even if this guy was a bit older and a lot bigger. 

Through conversation he learned that his Tita Dee was a cross country runner when she was in high school. She competed at the varsity level and still enjoys running  and yoga as a form of exercise. Because he just learned this (and truth be told I think he thought Tita Dee was still a teenager and he could compete with her) he challenged her to a race. This couldn’t be just any race…it had to be on the track, at his school, with a proper start and finish…

His competitive side definitely came out…even if it meant that he was challenging his Tita to a 100 meter dash.

The other side of Diego is that he is very creative. He sees things and wants to replicate them. Sometimes, he replicates them by building things out of paper and scotch tape. Sometimes, he builds them with Legos, and sometimes he uses old boxes, spray paint and duct tape. 

CI Complete Logo

So, this is why the perfect birthday celebration for my son this year was Challenge Island. I first learned about Challenge Island when I went to the press launch for Engineering for Kids. Engineering for Kids was brought here to Manila by the SMILE group and they have an affinity for all things education. (so naturally, I have an affinity for them.) 

Truth: When I brought Diego to the launch, he asked me two questions. 

1. “Mom, can you enroll me in this?”

2. “Mom, can we have my birthday party like this?”

Of course, I said yes to both.

Both Engineering for Kids and Challenge Island integrate STEM education, learning, and FUN.


The teachers and staff of the Challenge Island team were helpful in explaining and setting up for the party.

The teachers and staff of the Challenge Island team were helpful in explaining and setting up for the party.

As a teacher, I know the value in the lightbulb moments, the importance of trial and error, and the excitement that comes from using your imagination to solve a problem/challenge that you are faced with. It’s even more exciting when you solve that problem with the help of your friends/teammates. 

The Challenge Island Staff was super easy to coordinate with. While I had an idea in my head of what to expect, I wasn’t totally sure, so I asked a lot of questions. (LIKE A LOT) I was coordinating with Luna of the SMILE group and we discussed what kind of activities the kids would be participating in and what I should ask each guest to prepare. 


The stage is set and the torches are ready to be lit!

Confession: I was totally unprepared for this party. I have been so busy having fun and planning events with my blogger friends that I really had not time put together a really well thought out loot bag for the party. In fact, when my friend Fannie asked if I needed any help, I pounced on the opportunity to ask her to help me make t-shirts for Diego’s guests.

Thank you Fannie for looking after Diego's guests by having these souvenir tshirts made! They were perfect!

Thank you Fannie for looking after Diego’s guests by having these souvenir tshirts made! They were perfect!

From my conversations with Luna, I understood that the kids would need to be grouped into teams. I had a tentative team list in my head, and then I estimated the sizes of the shirts to be made for each team color. Fannie and I coordinated the team colors with sizing, names of kids, and the logo that Challenge Island provided for me, so that we could have t-shirts made for each guest, so the t-shirts would serve as the give away and loot bag all in one. 

Fannie’s sis Arlene is also a good friend of ours. She is a photographer, and a good one at that. I have often asked her for advice, and together-we are also trying to come up with a smart phone photography workshop for people who would like to learn how to shoot better photos with their phone. Arlene was able to ask her friend Gilbert to cover the birthday party so that we would have awesome photos of this super memorable celebration.

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All that was left for me to prepare for the festivities was make sure we had cake and candles for Diego to blow. I wanted something simple. I didn’t want to go over my budget, but I wanted to enjoy the cake as well. Anna and Raymond of Pink Wasabi came up with a very simple cake incorporating the logo what I had sent them. They altered the logo just a bit so that it would be seamless in its greeting for Diego. It came out perfect, AND I was happy we had leftovers afterwards. Anna also gifted Diego’s friends some yummy red velvet and chocolate cake pops for them to take home as well.

This party was different for Diego than parties I have thrown him in the past. I have always gone a bit overboard with my DIY parties in the past because I end up sending the kids home with a ton of goodies and loot bags filled to the brim. This party was different because I really wanted the focus of the party to be the experience and CHALLENGE of Challenge Island. 

Luna said that I didn’t even have to have t-shirts made, because they provide all the teams with bandanas, but that if I did have time to make some tees, it would be a nice touch. She was correct of course.

It was raining about 2 hours before the in DOWNPOUR. Adrian from Palms was reassuring me that it would stop before our festivities started...and sure did. AMEN!

It was raining about 2 hours before the party…as in DOWNPOUR. Adrian from Palms was reassuring me that it would stop before our festivities started…and sure enough…it did. AMEN!

For the venue of this awesome party, I was afraid of rain. I was thinking that one of the parks inside the village would be all I needed to make things super fun for this celebration, but then I realized I would have to pack picnic snacks for every guest, with very limited time. It was an easy decision to make to move the venue to Palms Country Club because I knew I was short on time, energy, and man power.

One thing I have realized (albeit in maybe a painful way prior to this birthday party) is that sometimes I can’t always manage my DIY projects. This was one of those cases where I needed to make it easy on myself so that my son could have a good time and not have a stressed out momma during the party. 

Dealing with Palms is always so easy. Because our guest list was only about 20 kids I was able to coordinate with ease about the menu, the outdoor venue of The Pool Bar and I focused on everything that Diego liked…right down to the choices of food. He requested, pizza, french fries and chicken. I added lasagna and carbonara to the menus so that the meal would be a little more filling for everyone who attended.

Rules are simple.

Rules are simple.

Our Challenge Island Celebration started with everyone breaking up into the teams that I had chosen for them. I was mindful to put at least one older kid (or momma) on each team to help manage the kids. Each of the four teams also had a “teacher” but the kids decided between themselves who could fill the position of “leader.”

After each team selected a leader, the leader would light their Team Torch to begin the games!

After each team selected a leader, the leader would light their Team Torch to begin the games!

They learned each team chant, and some even altered the chant/cheer to fit what they liked. Each team lit there Team Torch and made way for the next team to introduce themselves, their chant, and their style of competing.

Green Team Chant was basically....ME chanting....hahahahahaha....

Green Team Chant was basically….ME chanting….hahahahahaha….

After each team lit their torch, was introduced and performed their chant, we were set off on our own to a little healthy competition.

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The first task at hand for all the teams was landing “copters” on our target. We would fold our paper into copters to land within a designated space, but not without staying behind a designated line. It wasn’t easy! You had to make sure that your copters were folded properly, AND figure out a way to toss them in the air taking into account the wind and any other factors that would affect the landing. Teachers kept score and of course there was a winner declared after this first round of competition. 


Gelli enjoyed the chanting part of our party. She flittered from team to team to see what everyone was doing.

Gelli enjoyed the chanting part of our party. She flittered from team to team to see what everyone was doing.

What were the strategies to take note of in this activity?

  • Participants were handed the paper copters with directions on how to cut and fold each copter.
  • If paper copter was not folded correctly, it wouldn’t fly the right way.
  • Copters had to be thrown from behind the line and could only be collected after ALL the copters were already released.
  • Some of the teams decided to fold ALL their copters and others only folded one per team player. This could hinder the number of landed copters if not done the right way.
  • Participants also had to take into consideration the flow and direction of the wind! 

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After landing our copters, we moved on to building catapults. This was something my son was looking forward to, because he really enjoyed himself during this activity when we went to the launch.


Each team had to build their own catapults from popsicle sticks, rubber bands, large binder clips and a plastic spoon. Every team member had their own catapult, and every team member had to contribute in making the ammunition from clay. We were timed for assembly and testing, so we had to build the best catapult we could, make our ammunition, and get in some practice shots before we were told it was time to compete.


The lid to our treasure chest of supplies became our target. We had to get as many clay balls as we could into our target. The number of balls would be added to the number of copter landings we had earlier. 

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The kids had to figure out how the weight of each projectile would affect their chances of getting it into the target. This was definitely the more difficult activity and it made it even more challenging because we were timed.


What were the strategies to take note of in this activity? 

  • Participants had to build a strong catapult with the materials given. We were guided but not spoon fed. Kids had to figure out for themselves how many times to wrap the rubber bands to get the right amount of resistance.
  • Participants were given a weighted amount of clay. It was up to them to observe differences in practice shots if clay ball was heavier and bigger or smaller. Which would work more effectively?
  • The biggest challenge was not only staying behind the line where the kids were supposed to shoot their catapults from, but it was also in the fact that once a clay ball was shot-it could NOT be picked up again…so each try was effort lost if you didn’t make it into the lid of your treasure chest.
Team work is a must for this activity. The Purple Jeffs definitely carved out their OWN name for themselves...but they had fun doing it too!

Team work is a must for this activity. The Purple Jeffs definitely carved out their OWN name for themselves…but they had fun doing it too!

After both activities were finished, and the scores were tallied, all the teachers added up the scores from our Copter Challenge and our Catapult Challenge. The team with the most points would be crowned Challenge Island Champions.


GOOD JOB Team Blue for bringing it home!

GOOD JOB Team Blue for bringing it home!


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Ok…aside from teamwork, cooperation, and good clean fun, there are a plethora of skills that reinforced for the kids while they are participating in these challenges. (Sorry…this is teacher talk now :-)

The kids will reinforce their understanding to Identify the problem, brainstorm a solution, build, test, improve, retest, and share the results of each challenge. The kids learn to think critically, they use their imagination and creativity, while reinforcing social skills and thinking outside the box. 


L-R: Teachers Lalie, Maggie, Lei, Tat, and Kim all helped make Diego’s 10th Birthday Celebration something he will remember forever. 

Even the motto:  OUTTHINK, OUTSMART, OUTPLAY screams the fun that the kids will have when attending an activity like this. 

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Thank you Jenny, Luna, Cecille, and of course Icel from The Smile Group for making Diego’s birthday celebration so easy and stress free.


A Challenge Island Birthday Party to celebrate his double digits was exactly what this teacher momma had in mind for this year’s festivities. It was fun. It was exciting. It was playful and educational. And for Diego…it was memorable. As a momma, I know, that it’s all about the memories.

If you would like to know more about Challenge Island for your corporate, family, school, and birthday celebrations, please look for Tonette Solano of the Smile Group




Grace Home

Grace Baja is the lady behind The Spoiled Mummy.  

She is a multi-tasking self proclaimed Super Mom who has an eye for taste and beautiful things. She enjoys traveling, cooking, entertaining and I’m happy to share that she has recently launched her first line of Grace Home.  


Her new Home Line will be launched with three parts.  She has carefully formulated the yummiest of scents in her new candle. Combining the essential oils of Rose, Talc, and Basil, in a hand poured Beeswax candle that surely evokes a sense of luxury. It’s clean, feminine, and has a touch of that “baby smell” which all of us mothers would love to bottle.    

In an intimate brunch for her blogger friends, Grace shared with us the thought and process of creating her home line. She shared the reasons behind choosing the scents, the packaging, the colors, and what she wants the consumer to feel when they use her products in their home.

From walking into a room that smells fresh, but is not overpowering, to being able to lightly spritz her home sprays even on their clothing, and using the marble coaster that comes atop each candle as either a snuffer or a coaster, she was sure to detail the reasons why her deluxe home products speak volumes of her personality.

I have often said that the art of hand written notes and letters is dying in a day and age when people prefer to send texts and emails over taking the time to put pen to paper. Grace believes there is an importance in hand written notes as well, and she does something about it by creating stationery on high quality paper with a gold stamp which not only looks and feels classy, but comes beautifully packaged. IMG_4444 copy      

The third facet to her new business venture will change over time as Grace travels. She has often been commissioned by good friends and family to purchase hard to find items when in foreign countries. She delights in “hoarding” these beautiful items that are for the home and even for the dinner table. More often then not, she shared that she ends up giving away these treasured finds as pasalubong. 

Simple yet beautiful additions to the home that are colorful as well as functional can be found in the treasure trove of items she was able to bring home from Turkey.

Simple yet beautiful additions to the home that are colorful as well as functional can be found in the treasure trove of items she was able to bring home from Turkey.

Even the frosted glass bottle with simple gold lettering for her home spray was a detail that she wanted to be sure her products have.

Even the frosted glass bottle with simple gold lettering for her home spray was a detail that she wanted to be sure her products have.

Turkish tea cups and saucers will be showcased in her trunk show this coming, Saturday.

Turkish tea cups and saucers will be showcased in her trunk show this coming, Saturday.

This weekend, she will host her first ever trunk show at Shangrila Makati in the Isabela Foyer. She will be displaying items she recently purchased on her extended trip to Turkey, as well as debut her luxury candles, room spray, and stationery.


Thank you Grace for having us. I thoroughly enjoyed brunch in your home, and hearing all about your new passion project.

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L-R: Marilen, Cat, Rhiza, Martine, Cat, Grace, moi, and Sabrina


Y’all know how much I love my home studio, Bikram Yoga Alabang, right?

Well, in case you’re new to visit, I’ll just share a couple of things I love about this studio which is a stone’s throw from my home. I have always said it’s important to find a studio that is close to your house because it makes it easier to stay committed to your practice and your growth as an individual. Even if I haven’t been back to the studio in quite some time, I still claim ownership to it as MY home studio, simply because I feel at home when I practice there.

Bikram Yoga Alabang has a sense of community which I didn’t find in the other studios that I visited around the metro. Don’t get me wrong, they were all professional, and many have great teachers to boot, but still…something was missing for me.

I have always been someone who likes to dabble in the different types of yoga and yoga workshops based on how I’m feeling, so I still continue to explore and experience classes with different teachers, but I also find it just as wonderful that after exploring studios from Greenhills, to Makati, and later in Fort that I am able to enjoy a studio so close to my home.

And who doesn’t like coming home?

Take note though, BYA is going thru some changes. 

This BYA evolution will offer new and old students alike, the opportunity to explore health and wellness with a variety of different classes. Bikram Yoga Alabang was #made toEVOLVE, and in this case, the changes that will take place will enable students to enjoy the benefits of a Vinyasa, Hot Vinyasa Flow, Absolute Hot Yoga, and of course revisit their core Bikram classes that they are all used to. 


And I can’t think of any greater way to kick off this evolution other than offering their first ever Vinyasa Workshop with Pio Pinto Baquiran. Together with Yoga Tribe and Pio, Evolve will offer the Evolve workshop on June 27th and June 28th, later this month.

Day 2 - Participants trying out camel pose

Pio offered Transform, A similar Vinyasa workshop, in Surya just last month.

A little bit about Pio

In 2006, Pio was awarded the honor of Most Outstanding Yoga Teacher of the year. Known as the pioneer of Vinyasa yoga here in this country, he has trained under the Iyengar style of yoga and under the Sivananda style of yoga where he was mentored by Charu Chandra Prabhu, himself. All in all, Pio has been practicing Bhakti yoga for 32 years. Many even call him the “teacher to the teachers here in Manila.”

Day 2 - Participants in fish pose


What to expect from Evolve A Vinyasa 101 Workshop

Participants can expect quite a few things from the workshop that Pio will be offering in partnership with Evolve. With experienced teachers, Joy Andres and Donna Francisco flanking his facilitating, one can expect demonstrations as well as assistance in achieving some of the more challenging poses. Refining and strengthening your understanding of the vinyasa poses will come naturally and safely with this team of teachers.

Day 1 - Kassy with straps in chaturanga dandasana

Straps, blocks, and partners can help with alignment.

This two day workshop will begin at 9 am and end at 3pm on both Saturday and Sunday. Pio will be introducing the foundations of Vinyasa Yoga and offer insight for students to understand and improve their Asana practice. 

Day 1 - Pio with Donna assisting in strapping participants for baddha konasana

Using props during class enables students to deepen their practice.

Both days will be inclusive of an opening prayer, meditation, live kirtan music, energetic flows and even partner stretches. There is a focus on Pranayama, which we all know is essential not just in our yoga practice, but also in our lives. (It’s part of the reason we always tell our kids “Breathe” when they are injured, or crying, or upset.)

Day 2 - Pio setting the intention for the day


If you enroll in this two day workshop, you will experience strengthening, balancing, and opening poses. Pio is not afraid to use props in class, and encourages growth and friendship by facilitating partner poses as well.

Day 1 - Kassy with partner assist in crow

Partner poses allow participants to get to know one another.

From backbends to inversions, Pio is consistent with his methodology by focusing on the proper form an alignment for poses by breaking each pose down in an easy to understand way that helps the student correct his or her own mistakes. As with any teacher student relationship, it is important to lead your students to a point where they can come to a conclusion on their own rather than being spoon fed their answers or expecting to be handed some form of enlightenment. 

Day 1 - Bea Valdes in crow pose

On Day one, participants were challenged with arm strengthening poses.

Students of all abilities are welcome to join the workshop. In fact, it’s really great way to explore Vinyasa, and figure out if it is the kind of yoga that is right for you. I have always said that there is a type of yoga out there for everyone. You don’t have to be flexible to start. You just have to be willing.

Are you willing?

Day 2 - Bea Valdes in Iron Cross headstand

Bea Valdes demonstrates an Iron Cross Headstand at the end of the second day.


If you would like to know more about the workshop or take advantage of the EARLY BIRD PRICING, be sure to register by June 11th. Check out Yoga Tribe on Facebook and Instagram. You can also email or call 0917-834-0325.

You can download the form to reserve your spot by visiting the event page on Facebook.

Be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions too. I always find them really helpful. 

FAQ Sheet for Bikram Yoga Alabang

Evolve will also be offering more workshops and classes with other well known yoginis. Be on the look out for a special Vinyasa class with Chi Malasarte and an upcoming workshop with yoga champion, Esak Garcia. If you would like to learn more about these upcoming events you can call 02-846-5496 or text 0927-9169909.


Zenutrients and Argan Skin Salve-a-tion

I’ve seen the Zenutrients kiosks in many of the malls that I frequent. I’ve always been curious because many of my friends online have posted finds, testimonials, and they check in when they visit the store all they way in Kapitolyo.

My problem is, I don’t enjoy going all the way to Kapitolyo…

Lucky for me I can find Zen Nutrients here in the south.

Zenutrients has been creating completely ORGANIC products since 2008. They formulate all of their beauty products with locally sourced and all natural  ingredients to treat all hair and skin and beauty issues.

I was able to pick up this little tub of Argan Skin Salve-a-tion at the SM BF kiosk right near the Vikings Restaurant.  I have used it already on a little skin irritation that I had on my elbow and it worked magically, and smelled delicious. 

Argan Product Solo


My friend Karrots suggests that you put it in the refrigerator. It is a salve but can also be affected by the heat, especially if left in a sunny and warm spot.  My other friend Jane, learned this the hard way when she shared that she left hers next to her bed. It’s been so hot lately, that when she opened her tub it had liquified and she lost so much of her Argan magic because she didn’t realize it and spilled it everywhere. I made sure to take note of these two friends of mine so that I don’t make the same mistake that Jane made. Plus…I think if it’s a little cool…it might feel even more refreshing and magical on my skin.

I have been using the Gugo strengthening and thickening shampoo and conditioner for awhile, but now after enjoying the healing properties of this salve, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t switch to the ARGAN shampoo and conditioner for a little while. I’m pretty sure it will smell just as lovely because it also has chamomile extracts.

Here are some of the healing properties of Argan Oil:

  • It’s good for dry skin.
  • It can regulate oily skin.
  • Can protect skin from allergens.
  • Helps alleviate symptoms of acne.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties that help with eczema and psoriasis.
  • Helps repair damaged hair by moisturizing and prevents split ends.
  • Restores hair shine and keeps scalp healthy and nourished
  • Restores nail shine and keeps nails strong and healthy.

 For more healing properties about Argan oil, check out this link.

So-here is a little ditty…

The folks over at Zenutrients are running a little contest.


HERE’S HOW YOU ENTER to win treats and goodies:

  • Just visit any Zenutrients branch
  • Try out the wonders of Argan Skin Salve-ation for FREE with the 4D experience
  • Instantly, enjoy 10% off on your total purchase
  • Post a photo of your 4D experience on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter
  • Tag 5 of your friends + Zenutrients
  • Get an instant gift!
  • If any of your tagged friends go to any booth, they will get 10% off instantly just by showing your post in which you tagged them

 Don’t forget to tag Zenutrients and use the proper hashtags to get surprises!

#zenutrients, #arganskinsalveation
, #4Dchallenge
, #dontpanicuseorganic

FB: Zenutrientsofficial

IG/Twitter: Zenutrients