Friendly Desserts :)

Brownies. Cakes. Cookies. Cupcakes. Macarons. The dessert list evolves and goes on, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll always love ’em all! Haha! I actually credit my love for sweets to my late mother who was so passionate about baking. In fact, our Christmas season equated to “fruitcake season,” and I grew up to the smell of freshly-baked whatnot all year round. What started as a passion, then turned into a business. In 2001, my mother eventually pursued opening an actual bakeshop just near our house. Unfortunately in 2003, we lost her to cancer. And as much as we wanted to, we couldn’t continue the business anymore. But that was THEN.

I still plan on resurrecting my mother’s bakeshop in honor of her. Someday, the world will once again be able to taste her pastries and sweet treats through her recipes that we, as a family, treasure.

But since I’m still in the process of acquiring baking (even cooking) skills (ahem!), I just made it a personal advocacy to support people I know who share the same passion as my Mama.

So in this entry, I’ve included three of my friends who found their passion for baking, and I hope you also get the chance to taste heaven through their creations! 🙂

Tiny’s Desserts

My friend Tiny (or Tinah as some call her) and I go all the way back to high school. Now, we’re workmates! Of course I’m talking about our day jobs (which is my dream job, btw! hehe!) because as I’ve mentioned earlier, I can’t bake nor cook to save my life! At least not yet! =))

Anyway, even before Tiny decided to make her passion an actual business, I was already lucky enough to sample some of her baked goodies.

From her eggcheflan (yes, it’s leche flan inside an egg shell!) to her brownie cupcakes, I know that I’ll order for some more!!! 😉

Moist Chocolate Brownies

Moist Chocolate Brownies

For more information on how to order from Tiny’s Desserts, click here.

Gracefully Sweet Blessings

Stock analyst by day, baker by night (or during the weekends). That’s my friend Grace.

I met Grace through my Light Group from #FeastMakati, and I’ve witnessed how her passion slowly turned into a business. She specializes in customized cakes, but I’m pretty sure she can bake anything! I can’t wait for what’s in store for her and her budding cake business!

THE Blueberry Cheesecake that Grace shared to our Light Group! #happytummy

THE Blueberry Cheesecake that Grace shared to our Light Group! #happytummy

For more information on how to order from Gracefully Sweet Blessings, click here.

True Riches Cupcakes

Ah, don’t let the name fool you. True Riches Cupcakes don’t just serve cupcakes, they serve anything and everything under the sun that can be baked! They can even provide desserts for parties and whatnot. And the interesting part? My friend and former officemate Cha (the owner) is actually a software developer by day! O diba?!

Aside from the cupcakes, I recommend you try TRC’s flavored Cookie Shots and French Macarons:

Cookie Shots

Cookie Shots

heart-shaped French Macarons

heart-shaped French Macarons

For more information on how to order from True Riches Cupcakes, click here.

And those are just three of the people I know who are using passion as fuel to their own successes. I’m sure you also know people who do the same. Let’s all support them together! 😀

Papal Visit 2015: How It Felt, Feels, and Will Forever Feel

Pope Francis finally arrived in the Philippines and as a Filipino Catholic, I can’t help but be in awe of everything. After all, the last Papal Visit in my country happened 20 years ago with John Paul II as Pope (now Saint John Paul the Great). I was only five years old back then, and I can’t even remember the exact details of that event. All I know was that my family and I tried to catch a glimpse of him at Taft Avenue in Manila. And we did (though from our vantage point, the Pope’s head was comparable to the size of a dot. Hehe!).

Fast forward to today, I suddenly found myself being one of my parish’s volunteers to act as a “human shield” when the Pope makes his way from the airport to his home at the Apostolic Nunciature — again, located in Taft Avenue.

At first, I was actually nervous about being a human shield. We were required to pass complete volunteer forms with pictures for background checking (not that I have anything to hide, but I realized security’s very strict that those with “records” weren’t allowed to volunteer anymore). The weekend before the Pope’s arrival date, we even had a briefing given by the archdiocese and the police. Of course it was all about what to expect, where we’re going to be assigned, and the things NOT to bring (which include umbrellas and opaque bags/backpacks), etc. Having said that, I was nervous because you know, I’m naturally an overthinker! Hahaha! So given the security measures being taken, thoughts of stampedes and whatnot entered my mind.

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one :) (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

posing beside the standee before seeing the real one 🙂 (and oh, only see-through bags allowed!)

But of course, my longing to see the Pope in the flesh was stronger than any of those doubts. 🙂 Our call time on January 15 (Thursday) was around 2PM, but we saw the Pope around 7PM. Yes, we waited for a little over five hours only to wave at the Pope for a second (literally!). But you know what? IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!!

I FINALLY SAW THE POPE IN PERSON! And just a few inches away at that! I was so speechless, I wasn’t even able to say Viva Il Papa... naging woohoo nalang! :)) And to top it all off, kudos to the crowd for being well behaved. When the Pope made its way to where we were, it’s like everyone was glued to where they were standing and all they could do was shout their welcoming cheers. 😀

our parish's volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

our parish’s volunteers, on the way to Roxas Boulevard-Quirino

worth the wait :)

worth the wait 🙂

That’s just the FIRST DAY. As of this writing, the Pope is still in my country spreading his message of “mercy and compassion” to ALL people — rich or poor, Filipino or not, Catholic or otherwise.

I know that for some, they’ve been lucky enough to go to the Vatican and see the Pope closer (case in point: my two older sisters!). But even they agree with me that nothing compares to seeing the Pope in our home country, where we can all feel the power and unity of the Filipino faith. It really is both a blessing and a privilege.

As you can see, I wasn’t able to take any pictures or videos of the Pope while he was in front of me. How could I? I was a “human shield” and my hands and arms were looped around the arms and hands of the people to my left and right. Hashtags #hawakkamay at #kapitbisig. Haha. All I’m left with now is that awe-inspiring memory, which I know can’t be “deleted” easily.

So yeah, I was in awe. I am still in awe. And I know that I’ll forever be in awe of this historic religious event in my country.

And despite the number of people criticizing the Catholic faith, I’ll strive to continue to defend (and strengthen) my faith and promote what it means to “be like Jesus every day.” Sure, we’re all humans. No person’s perfect. So whatever our religions are, let’s just strive to learn from our mistakes and be better every single day. Aside from that, give LOVE (and not just on Chistmas day! Hehe!). But if you can’t give love, at least give RESPECT. I respect my brothers and sisters from other religions. So please, also respect me when I say that I AM PROUD TO BE CATHOLIC.

For I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. 😉

How about you? What can you say about the Papal Visit 2015?
Sound off in the comments section below!

Staycation Destinations

The heat we’ve been experiencing these days is truly undeniable and suddenly, all we can think about is it’s already summer! Like seriously, has it really been three months since the last time I heard “Jingle Bells” and marveled at colorful, twinkling lights? Oh well. Time flies sooo fast, indeed. And apparently, this post is three months overdue too! Hahaha!

It’s a good thing though that whether it’s Christmas, summer, or just about any holiday you can think of, these hotels in the metro definitely define what a “staycation” ought to be. 😉

FAIRMONT MAKATI

My family and I spent Christmas 2012 at Fairmont Makati — the newest addition to the number of properties the hotel chain owns around the world, located in the middle of the country’s business and shopping district: Makati (duh!). =))

Of course the Fairmont brand is already known for its world-class customer service but aside from that, the hotel also boasts of its “Pillow Menu” wherein guests can opt to request for additional pillows that are made of different materials, as well as give different sleep benefits — free of charge. I think that’s a signature of the hotel chain because the “Pillow Menu” was also one of the things I enjoyed when we stayed at Fairmont Singapore a few years back.

Anyway, the other things I loved about Fairmont Makati were their Willow Stream Spa, Fairmont Gold Lounge, and of course, Cafe Macaron! I swear, I’m a French Macaron addict and only three brands have passed my “taste” so far: TWG, Chez Karine, and Cafe Macaron. So trust me when I say that the ones served at Fairmont Makati’s Cafe Macaron are a must-try! Wahahahaha! 😀

fairmont 1

fairmont 2

fairmont 3

French Macarons at Cafe Macaron!!!

French Macarons at Cafe Macaron!!!

LIKE and SHARE Fairmont Makati’s Facebook page HERE.

RAFFLES MAKATI

And then just a tumbling away from Fairmont (you know what I mean!) is Raffles Makati. 🙂 Actually, this is both a residential area and a luxury hotel. Most of the floors are allotted to the former (so those are off-limits unless you know someone who owns a unit), and just a few floors for the latter. But of course, the hotel experience Raffles Makati gives also makes you feel like a unit owner — even their suites (yes, there are no “rooms”) are designed as if you’re staying in your own personal space… even for just a couple of days!

raffles 1

LIKE and SHARE Raffles Makati’s Facebook page HERE.

SEDA BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY (BGC)

If our Christmas was spent in Makati, our New Year 2013 was celebrated at Bonifacio Global City — at Seda Hotel to be exact!

Before you even wonder why name a hotel “Seda,” well it’s actually the Filipino equivalent of “silk.” And according to the management, silk is “a lustrous yet strong fabric that perfectly represents our commitment to providing a seamless accommodation experience.” At least now you know! 😛

Located in the middle of Bonifacio High Street, Market! Market!, and Serendra (just imagine what a perfect location this is!), the BGC branch is only one of the Seda Hotels located all over the country; the others are in Cagayan de Oro (Centrio), Davao (Abreeza), and Laguna (Nuvali) — although this one’s still under construction.

seda 1

seda 2

LIKE and SHARE Seda Hotels’ Facebook page HERE.

♥♥♥

So the next time you plan to take a staycation, remember these three words: Fairmont. Raffles. Seda.

Now off you go and may you all have a blast this summer (or any staycation-worthy event for that matter!).

xoxo,
Mika