Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Motorcycle Lane

     I've never learned how to ride a motorcyle. If my memory serves me right, I have only ridden a motorcycle four times and that was during my AdDlaw Summer Internship somewhere in Calinan, around twelve years ago. The only way we could get to our foster family's house is through habal-habal. It was an experience I will never forget. 

That's me at the back. (Farthest from the left.)
Photo taken by Atty. Mon Salas, the third passenger
of the motorcyle I am riding on.
         As I mentioned here, I am not particularly fond of motorcycles. Having been a driver on the road since I was 18 years old, I have long been irked by the way motorcycle drivers behave on the road. Iba talaga ! They have a crazy different set of "rules" - all of which boils down to going where they fit. MyGas !

       It was good to hear that in Metro Manila, the MMDA has designated motorcyle lanes along Commonwealth Avenue and Macapagal Highway beginning last October 19, 2011. It is set to designate motorcycle lanes along EDSA by next year. 

      Incidentally, I just came from a short vacation in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam where 1 million motorcycles ply the streets daily. Crossing the streets of Saigon (District 1) along the Ben Tanh Market rotunda, I was praying for my dear life like crazy. The motorcycles were everywhere and they don't stop on corners or before pedestrian lanes. Our tour guide later told us that the rule of thumb when crossing the street is to just move forward without stopping, the motorcyle drivers would just drive to avoid you. My Gulay!

You can see the helmets all the way to the back. Ang dami.
(Picture from

Wala silang takot sa ulan. 
Dire-diretso lang sila sa corners.
         I hope the Davao City Council would replicate MMDA's efforts and designate motorcycle lanes in the thoroughfares of this City. It would be beneficial to the motorcycle drivers, four-wheel vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Wish ko lang! 

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Photo from

      I learned how to ride a bike when I was 8 years old and in Grade 3. My sisters and I shared a kiddie bmx. There must be a picture of that bike in our photo albums and I will update this blog when I find one. My sister Tetet learned earlier than I did but our youngest Kang never learned how to ride a bike. 

Kang in High School learned to In-line Skate.
But she doesn't know how to bike. 

    Now in her late 20's, she is learning how to ride the bicycle and has engaged her teen friends in Bukidnon to help her.

Kang works for Environmental Science for Social Change in Bukidnon.

    She has shared this to her Facebook friends and one former teacher advised her to not look at the pedal and keep her eyes on the view ahead.

    The advice brought back memories of when I was learning how to bike. When I was 8 and struggling to keep my balance, I had the view of the majestic Mt. Apo to keep my eyes on.

That was my view. Ganda !
(Picture taken by Kang.)
A better picture of The View from
      I've said it before but lemme say it again  .... I so love Davao City. I feel so lucky to have grown up in this place. Learning how to bike, I have Mt. Apo, the country's tallest peak, telling me to keep my balance and move forward, one pedal push at a time.

Good Luck Sisteroo. Pagdali.
Baka maunahan ka ni Aliq. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011


     I usually don't fool around food that my husband grew up eating because these are his comfort food. Today, i decided to risk it and innovate a little.

     I cooked bakas as I was taught by the husband. Cut the bakas in pieces and slow cook  in palapa, a little water, turmeric and lots of salt. As I was waiting, I threw in a few baby pototoes. When the potatoes were almost cooked, I decided to be bold and took a few pieces and seared it in all sides. Plated it and served it for lunch.

Seared Bakas with Baby Potatoes

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seafood Island

     Five years ago, we decided to become halal-conscious consumers. And i don't just refer to our food consumption. We poured hours on research, through the web or window-shopping, carefully choosing the products which suited our requirements and our needs. 

    We don't claim to consume only halal-certified products for there are categories where none have the required certification. In such cases, we became meticulous label-readers, carefully examining the ingredients/components to check if any of the raw materials is not permissible by our faith. 

     Becoming halal-conscious consumers was not easy but twas doable. Becoming halal-conscious diners is more of the trouble. 

    We love eating out but we are yet to find a restaurant in this city that has been certified halal by the Office of Muslim Affairs. Thus, when we eat out we examine the menu very carefully. We drill waiters on ingredients, preparation and kitchen practices. More than once, we asked if we could take a peek at their cooking area. Most restaurants have been very accommodating and honest. But this routine could be quite a chore. As a result, we are regulars on our usual restaurant choices ... those we have "investigated" and have trusted. And we hardly order anything grilled. Better safe than sorry. 

    We were invited by my in-laws for Eid'l Fitri dinner at Blackbeard's Seafood Island Northshore Grill. And I can say, that this restaurant is one of my best discoveries this year. 

     The restaurant is not halal-certified but it had the balls to declare to their diners that they are halal-sensitive. The said fact is printed on the cover of their Menu. 

    They have a wide range of selection of non-pork and pork dishes. Look at that six-page menu.   When we interrogated asked the waiter about our usual questions, we were told that the preparation and cooking area for non-pork and pork dishes are distinctly separate. When we appeared skeptical, the waiter intimated that their executive chef is a Moslem. Na-periodan kami.

    Their food is good too. For Eid'l Fitri dinner, our generous hosts ordered a feast for us. My favorite is their Shrimp Laing and their Garlic Jumbangus (or something like that). The food is so good that my husband and I brought my family and his other sister to dinner to the same place the night after. My husband even ordered something off the menu and they accommodated him. We ordered grilled fish ... with peace of mind.  Great!

     View their facebook page here. I did and clicked "Like". 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


     The hotel is now called Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao. But for me and those who grew up in this city, we refer to it by its old name, Insular Hotel. 

View from the Front. From their Website.

     In the Waterfront Hotels website, Insular Hotel is described as every guest’s gateway to the diverse, colorful and rich cultural heritage of Davao City.

Local artwork prominently displayed in the lobby (Photo from their website)
     I spent some time in the hotel today and I am reminded why this is my favorite hotel in Davao City. It's perfect for relaxing and the stay within the hotel grounds can be a complete vacation in itself. The hotel is like one big garden.

The Hotel from the Back.
View from the Back where their huge grounds/garden is located.
I love their mini-gardens.
No shortage of foliage here.
There are plants even in this obscure ramp. 
Beautiful pink flowers in the middle of the pathway. Love. 
Green everywhere.

      They have plant sculptures too. Making a mental note to take my sons here soon. They would love these sculptures and they will go crazy running around the place.

      They have the iconic circular pool. As it is Kadayawan season and the hotel has plenty of guests, the pool area is quite full. I only took one picture because I got dyahe. 

      While the pool was inviting because twas quite hot. Why swim in the pool when the hotel has a beach in its "backyard" and Island Garden City of Samal is only five minutes away by motorboat? Love it !

     Some might argue that the hotel is quite old. Perhaps. But that just adds character to the place. Rest assured that the hotel is well maintained. I find it interesting because it has incorporated a lot of Mindanaoan culture into its design.

I'd like to think that this used to be part of some ship centuries ago. 
Clever use of the local weave ... Tinalak.
Indigenous Patterns etched in Brass
A Closer Look
Indigenous Patterns Carved in Wood

Their special decoration for Kadayawan placed in the hotel lobby. 

The Philippine Eagle
Perched Atop Durian and Adorned By the Waling-Waling
      The only thing that is in the negative about this hotel is that I am not crazy about their food. While their black forest cake this time left my companions raving about its taste, generally their food is not to my liking. But my friends were kind enough to pack some for me for Iftar. 

Thanks from the bottom of my empty stomach.
 I leave you with this picture from their garden. Davao is and will always be LOVE.


Happy Kadayawan To All !

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Z is for Zebra

Photo from African Safari Pictures
      Ever since I have named my second son Zayeed, I have become fascinated with zebras and everything that starts with the letter "Z".  I have also been drawn to zebra prints whose black and white stripes I found out goes pretty well with my favorite color ... hot pink.

      When I saw this mini-van (aka multicab van) in the mall parking lot, I just had to illegally park to take a few pictures. 

Good thing my camera was out of my bag and within reach. 
Isn't it cute ? Even Aliq was amazed at what he called "The Zebra Car".
I wish I took better pictures but the guard was signaling me to move my car along.

Now, here is my own little ZEEbra.

Good night folks. Time for me to get some Zzzzzzzz. 

Friday, August 12, 2011


     I have been hiding this toy Zee got for his birthday because I am tamad to learn how to assemble the thing. But Aliq climbed (all by himself, without any of the adults noticing) to our second floor and found my hiding place. So, I was forced to learn how to assemble it. But I couldn't figure out how to use this :

     Aliq : Mommy, how do you use this long thing ?
     Me : I don't know. 
     Aliq : Why don't you know Mommy ? You must know how to play with this. 
     Me : Look at the box. Boys are playing with this toy. Is Mommy a boy ?
     Aliq : No. You're a girl. 
     ---- End of Conversation ---- 

So until their father wakes up, the boys are just playing with the spinway
 as a sort-of ramp for their little toy cars. 

Enjoy naman sila. 

Another Saturday in our household.