Today, I receive all God’s love for me. Today, I open myself to the unbounded, limitless, overflowing abundance of God’s Universe. Today, I open myself to your Blessings, healing and miracles.Today, I open myself to God’s Word so that I become more like Jesus Everyday. Today, I proclaim that I’m God’s Beloved, I’m God’s Servant, I’m God’s powerful champion, And because I am blessed, I will bless the world, In Jesus Name, Amen.

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RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain. A unique insight into the fragility of the extraordinary human brain. A true st...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ISRAEL: OFW Osang Wins X Factor Israel

ISRAEL: OFW Osang Wins X Factor Israel
Our kababayan (compatriot) Rose "Osang" Fostanes, a Filipina caregiver who works in Israel for 6 years after a 20-year stint in the Middle East, won the first ever "X Factor Israel" contest. 
Rose Fostanes puts a face to the thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Israel. As the first season winner of "X Factor Israel," Osang becomes a great inspiration to a whole lot of people who never thought that a dream could still come true at age 47.  I hope Osang, as she is fondly called by close friends, continues to be an inspiration to many, particularly OFWs. May she never change her humble ways.

She showed Israel and the world how a 47 year-old can still fulfill her dreams while striving hard abroad for her loved ones back home.

The finale of the show was shown live in Israel on January 14, 2014 (Tuesday). That's Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 1 o' clock in the morning in Manila.  

Rose "Osang" Fostanes sang the Frank Sinatra classic "My Way" with an orchestra. #myway
On behalf of Osang and the Filipino people, I would like to thank all the Israelis who voted for Osang. Thank you for not discriminating against her in your contest. #ProudFilipino #XfactorIsrael #myway

Here is Rose "Osang" Fostanes' winning performance:

My Way Performance of Osang

Osang also performed  Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" duet with her mentor Shiri Maimon :

Osang is part of the show's "Over 25s" category. Placing second is Eden Ben Zaken (Girls category), and third is Ori Shakiv (Boys category). She's one of the favorites to win the reality show's first season with performances regularly lauded by the show's judges. 

Sidelights: Her rendition of "My Way," with an orchestra as her backup, got a standing ovation from the judges: 
  • rock singer Rami Fortis
  • singer and composer Moshe Peretz
  • pop singer Ivri Lider
  • and Maimon ( Osang's mentor who was teary-eyed after her performance. Oh! I love Maimon! She's so sweet and good in singing too!)
Congratulations Osang! May you use your new found stature to help your OFW kababayan in Israel.

INSPIRATIONAL: Heartwarming Video

INSPIRATIONAL: Heartwarming Video

This video proves that there are still good people in this world. I cried when I saw this video. It reminded me once again that there are still wonderful people around.  For a while there, I thought there was none anymore.

Monday, January 13, 2014

KIMUKATSU: Yummy Japanese Dishes

KIMUKATSU: Yummy Japanese Dishes
kimukatsu (キムカツ) ebi mayo or prawn mayonnaise, Shangri-la, East Wing,Manila, Philippines,
Joining the Tonkatsu bandwagon in Manila is Kimukatsu (キムカツ).  The most famous pork cutlet restaurant in Japan with multiple locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Sendai, Korea, Hawaii and California, U.S.A, is now in the Philippines!  
decor, ambiance at kimukatsu (キムカツ), Shangri-la, East Wing,Manila, Philippines,
Since it is my first time to eat at Kimukatsu, I asked for assistance from one of the owners. He is very helpful in describing the menu and the types of katsu (short for katsuretsu, meaning cutlet) that they offer. All of them are very friendly so don't hesitate to ask for assistance if you're not familiar with the condiments and dishes that they offer.


Ebi Mayo or prawn mayonnaise (Php210.00 + 10% service charge) is a fantastic appetizer. Kimukatsu's version is very delicious. Their shrimp dish consists of 8 pcs. shrimp, peeled and deveined . Kimukatsu has one of the few shrimp dishes that I like. The shrimp is soft and tasty. It is not really healthy so people with high blood pressure must eat in moderation.

Verdict: 4 fingers

Koshikihari Rice
kimukatsu (キムカツ),white, rice, Shangri-la, East Wing,Manila, Philippines,
I love the restaurant's unique bamboo rice container. Its rice is special, not your normal cheap everyday rice The rice is freshly cooked. It comes unlimited when you order the set meal.

Verdict: 4 fingers

Miso Soup
kimukatsu (キムカツ),white miso soup, red miso soup, Shangri-la, East Wing,Manila, Philippines,
Unlike other Tonkatsu (pork cutlet) restaurant, Kimukatsu offers not one but two types of miso soup:
  • Red
  • White

The white miso soup is creamier and sweeter, which is just right for my palette. I don't like the red miso because of its spicier kick. Some of our companions prefer the red one though, so it all depends on your taste buds. Both has generous servings of sea kelp and diced soft tofu.

Verdict: 4 fingers

Cabbage Salad
Kurogoma, Black Sesame Seeds, Cabbage, sliced cabbage
Unlimited sliced fresh cabbage. For me, its the finest cabbage salad ever. Best with Kimukatsu goma (sesame) dressing and the kimukatsu salad dressing (shoyu paste soy-vinegar).


Verdict: 4 fingers

Kurogoma or Black Sesame Seeds
Kurogoma, Black Sesame Seeds, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
A tonkatsu (pork cutlet) meal will never be complete without the traditional sesame seeds grinding ritual to go with their sauce. Kimukatsu's black sesame seeds are imported from Japan that's why they are limited to only one serving per person.  Black sesame seeds, especially after being toasted, are fragrant and nutty and wholly addictive. Kurogoma or Black Sesame Seeds are also used to promote healthy bowels and in Chinese medicine, they are used to promote healthy kidneys and liver. They also contain phytosterol which apparently helps to reduce cholesterol.
Tonkatsu Sauce or pork cutlet sauce with black sesame seeds, soy-vinegar, condiments, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
Kimukatsu offers two Katsu sauces:
  1. Tonkatsu sauce (the strong) which is in the black sauce pot; and  
  2. Ponzu sauce (the mild) is in the white sauce pot. 
I decided to experiment by mixing both sauces to my tonkatsu. The first sauce on the right is the preferred sauce of Filipino customers because it is sweeter, while the one in the middle is vinegar with grounded black sesame. 

Some people prefer a few dash of the pink Himalayan salt at the right corner.

Tonkatsu or pork cutlet
Tonkatsu or pork cutlet, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
Kimukatsu's tonkatsu is very unique! I was so amazed looking at those paper thin pork cutlets. Unlike the classic tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) that are cut into to one thick piece, Kimukatsu's pork loin is thinly sliced. Twenty five (25) layers of paper thin meaty goodness are painstakingly crafted, stacked and rolled to made one regular size tonkatsu. So yummy and flavorful! In Japan, according to my friend, this type of multi-layered tonkatsu is called a "mille-feuille katsu."  Sounds French to me than Japanese. He he he.
Tonkatsu or pork cutlet, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
 Kimukatsu's tonkatsu filings come in 7 flavors:
  • Cheese
  • Garlic
  • Kurokosho (black pepper)
  • Negi shio (salt marinated green onion)
  • Umeshiso (sour plum with Japanese basil)
  • Yuzu kosho (Yuzu with pepper)
  • plain tonkatsu
Tonkatsu or pork cutlet, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
Kimukatsu's tonkatsu is not oily unlike other tonkatsu. It is very crispy on the outside and tender juicy in the inside. We are very lucky here in the Philippines because Kimukatsu's tonkatsu costs an arm and leg in Japan while it only costs Php380 per order here in the Philippines, with unlimited Japanese rice, freshly sliced cabbage, complimentary appetizers of Tsukemono (pickled vegetables), mayonnaise, sauce and even unlimited hot tea. I can say that this is a perfect deal. You could even order by the set if you have a companion with you. A family of seven or eight could order the 7 flavors for only Php2,400 Vat inclusive just add 10% service charge though.

Light and fluffy, yet extremely juicy and flavorful, it is the softest tonkatsu you'll sink your teeth in. 

Verdict: 4 fingers 

Kuro Goma Purin or Black Sesame Pudding (黒ごまプリン)

Tonkatsu or pork cutlet, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines

Kimukatsu's version is divine! I have a penchant for sweets.  I love Kimukatsu's black sesame pudding.  It is the best among all the desserts that I had tried in Kimukatsu Php110 plus 10% service charge.

Verdict: 5 fingers 

Japanese Panna Cotta
Japanese Panna Cotta, Kimukatsu, Manila, ShangriLa, New Wing
Japanese Panna Cotta Php110.  Served cold. This creamy goodness is the Japanese version of Panna Cotta ( which by the way literally means cooked cream in Italian ) It is a rich-tasting, absolutely divine dessert. This luscious soft Japanese panna cotta is a perfect accompaniment to your Tonkatsu meal at Kimukatsu.

Verdict: 4 fingers

Green Tea Ice Cream with Mochi 
Macha, Ice Cream, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines
Macha Parfait Two scoops of green tea ice cream with one tablespoon red bean paste, 2 pcs. of mochi. Green tea has a very refreshing green grass aroma. It helps cut the smell of fish and grease in our dinner. The green tea used in Green Tea Ice Cream is called Matcha in Japanese. Matcha is in powdered form, and so it has a much more concentrated flavor than green tea leaves. It is forbidden to be mixed with green tea made with regular tea bag. Matcha is also a drink that is used in the tea ceremony in Japan, but you don’t drink it as much as brewed green tea.

Verdict: 4 fingers

Black sesame ice cream or kurogoma aisukurimu
 kurogoma aisukurimu, Kuro Goma Purin or Black Sesame Pudding (黒ごまプリン), Black Sesame Seed, Ice Cream, Kimukatsu, Shangri-la, Manila, Philippines  
Black sesame ice cream or kurogoma aisukurimu.  

Kurogoma is believed to have health benefits that is why this ice cream became very popular in Japan for a while. It is said to be loaded with minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus,copper, iron and calcium. This is the first time I've ever tried an ice cream with Black sesame flavor. My initial impression is that it was strange because of the texture of the partially ground sesame seeds, but I loved the taste. It has a sweet, roasted and earthy flavor to it. It was unlike anything that I’ve ever tasted before. I just hope they could reduce the amount of sugar though.

Verdict: 4 fingers

kimukatsu (キムカツ),decor, Shangri-la, East Wing,Manila, Philippines,

The service is good. The staff is friendly and accommodating. I just don't like it though when they shouted "Irasshaimase"  in chorus at the top of their voices on my ear when I passed by. They actually remind me of Cyma's enthusiastic chorus of "Opa." Lol.

With their delicious dishes, Kimukatsu gets my highest recommendation. I couldn't wait to go back. 
Kimukatsu Japanese Restaurant
Level 5 Shangri-la Plaza East Wing Shaw Boulevard corner
EDSA, Mandaluyong City
Open from 10:00am to 10:00pm

Thursday, January 9, 2014

QUIAPO: Black Nazarene Feast

QUIAPO: Black Nazarene Feast

Quiapo Church is home to Black Nazarene, a much-venerated statue of Jesus Christ which many Filipinos believe has miraculous attributes.

Faith and action come hand and hand. It may be chaotic but no one could stop the devotees of the Black Nazarene from attending its feast day celebration. 12 million devotees are expected to flock to Quiapo Church and around its streets today.

The annual procession always draws a huge number of devotees who believe that the image has performed many miracles. Msgr. Ignacio, rector and parish priest of Quiapo Church, advised pregnant women, small children, the elderly, and the disabled “not to attend the procession or to distance themselves from the crowd for safety reasons.”
Year after year, Filipinos coming from different provinces and abroad, together with curious foreigners, join the traditional procession. If you want to join the celebration today, expect a sea of devotees carrying the statue of Poong Itim na Nazareno (Black Nazarene) around the streets of Manila, especially in the Quiapo area.

Photos by Collin Yap

Friday, January 3, 2014

Philippine Holidays for 2014

Philippine Holidays for 2014 
For those who are planning their vacation for 2014, here is the list of holidays for 2014.

2014 Regular Holiday List:

New Year’s Day (WEDNESDAY) – January 1
Araw ng Kagitingan (WEDNESDAY) – April 9
Maundy Thursday (THURSDAY) – April 17
Good Friday (FRIDAY) – April 18
Labor Day (THURSDAY) – May 1
Philippine Independence Day (THURSDAY) – June 12
Eid’l Fit’r and Eidul Adha – TO BE ANNOUNCED
National Heroes Day (Last MONDAY of August) - August 25
Bonifacio Day (SUNDAY) – November 30
Christmas Day (THURSDAY) – December 25
Rizal Day ( TUESDAY) – December 30

2014 Special (Non-Working) Holiday List:

Chinese New Year / Spring Festival 2014 (Friday) – January 31
Black Saturday (SATURDAY) – April 19
Ninoy Aquino Day (THURSDAY) – August 21
All Saint’s Day (SATURDAY) – November 1

2014 Additional Special (Non Working) Holidays:

Day Before Christmas (WEDNESDAY) – December 24
Additional Christmas Holiday day after Christmas (FRIDAY) – December 26
Last Day of the Year (WEDNESDAY) – December 31

Special Holiday (for all schools in all levels):

EDSA People Power Revolution ( TUESDAY) – February 25

Happy New Year everyone! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 2, 2014



Cheers! Happy New Year 2014 everyone!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

JAR OF HAPPINESS: 2014 Project

JAR OF HAPPINESS: 2014 Project
Starting today, January 1, 2014, I decided to push through with my long time overdue project. 

My project is my own jar of happiness. Each day, I'll try to write down all the blessings I received for the day so that whenever I feel depressed I can open my jar of happiness.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013





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