HARVESTING THE BEST OF THE BEST

 HARVESTING THE BEST OF THE BEST
New year is a time to turn a new leaf – a bright new leaf.
This year’s Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards, the annual showcase of the best
published agriculture stories and photos as well as broadcast reports, is now
open for entries from Filipino journalists residing in the Philippines.
The Bright
Leaf Awards are given to the most outstanding and relevant agriculture stories in
print, radio, and television.  It will
also honor the most compelling photos that capture the essence of Tobacco
farming and the agriculture industry.
Didet
Danguilan, project head of the Bright Leaf Awards, is encouraging all
professional Filipino journalists residing in the Philippines to join the
competition as their way of sharing the successes of farmers through their
stories—in whatever medium—to the public.
“Their
stories need to be seen, heard and appreciated. The Bright Leaf Agriculture
Journalism Awards is the best way to achieve that,” she said.
The
categories for the Bright Leaf Awards are:
  • Agriculture Story
    of the Year
  • Agriculture Photo
    of the Year
  • Tobacco Story of
    the Year
  • Tobacco Photo of
    the Year
  • Best Television
    Program or Segment
  • Best Radio Program
    or Segment
  • Best National News
    Story
  • Best Regional News
    Story
  • Best National
    Feature Story
  • Best Regional
    Feature Story and
  • The Oriental Leaf
    Award.  This special award is given
    to those who have won a Bright Leaf Award in any category for five
    consecutive years.  The Oriental
    Leaf Awardees become part of an elite group of individuals that comprise
    the Bright Leaf Hall of Fame.
“We
want to highlight the stories that enlighten and inspire our countrymen.  This is even more important now because of
the recent typhoons and earthquakes that have greatly impacted the agriculture
industry.”  Ms. Danguilan added, “This is
one way to provide some light in what was a very dark time for the Filipino
farmer.”
The
competition aims to collect a larger crop of entries than any other year by
actively reaching out to tri-media practitioners from more agricultural
provinces to invite them to submit their articles and photos.
Participation
in The Bright Leaf Awards is free of charge. Entries should be published, aired
or broadcast locally between Sept. 1 2013 and August 31, 2014. Contestants can
submit as many stories in any of the categories but no story can be entered into
more than one category.
Entries
may be in English or any of the Philippine regional dialects.  For entries that are not in English,
participants are required to provide an English translation.
For entry forms and more information, please visit www.thebrightleafawards.com or contact
the official Bright Leaf secretariat at (02) 697-8110, (0915) 5508301 or (0918) 4130797 or email
secretariat@thebrightleafawards.com.

ANTIPOLO: Floating Jesus Christ

ANTIPOLO: Floating Jesus Christ

I got an eerie feeling the first time I laid my eyes on the floating Jesus Christ statue inside the chapel of Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo City, Philippines.

Jesus Christ was depicted as someone that is full of shingles like wound all over his body. He was bald. The statue made me think. I know that it is the artist interpretation of Jesus Christ, but I prefer to paint Jesus Christ smiling at me than seeing him dying on the cross.

Pinto Art Museum is located at Silangan Gardens No. 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grandheights, Antipolo City, Rizal. Telephone number is 02-6971015. Entrance fee is P150 for adults, P120 for senior citizens, and P75 for students with IDs. Prenup-shoot fee is P3,000 (upper garden), P5,000 (upper and lower garden), P10,000 (upper and lower gardens and new museum wing). For more information, email them at pintoartmuseum@yahoo.com.

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post. I just want to share to the whole world how beautiful my country is.

AMY WEBB: How to find Mr. Right

AMY WEBB: How to find Mr. Right

I am one of those women with a very high standard in a man. That’s why I could totally relate to Amy Webb when she talked out peer pressure, family pressure and finding Mr. Right.
Amy Webb is a woman who had high standards when it comes to men, and that’s why she remained single for a long time. Then, she tried and joined online dating sites to find his Prince Charming. I have not tried this yet, but my friend did.
Amy had no luck. The guys she liked didn’t reply back, while those who got attracted to her profile were not her type.
Her grandma, mom and sis said to her that she’s just being too picky.
So she changed her strategy… and succeeded.
This TED Talk video will show you in less than 18 minutes her amazing story on how she found true love on the internet.

MRT 3: Extends Operating Hours

MRT 3: Extends Operating Hours

Good news to all the MRT-3  Riding public! To better serve you ( thecommuting public), the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) will extend its operating hours starting yesterday.. 
Yes, peeps! Beginning February 24, 2014,  from the current usual operating hours that commence beginning 5:30 a.m. to 22:30 p.m., the MRT-3 now runs from 04:30 in the morning at North Avenue Station and starting 05:00 in the morning at the Taft Avenue Statio.
The Department of Transportation and Communication will later decide whether to make the longer schedule permanent.

NEW PHILHEALTH CONTRIBUTION TABLE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2014

NEW PHILHEALTH CONTRIBUTION TABLE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2014

Memorandum Circular 027-2013 dated September 30, 2013 amend the PhilHealth contributions of individuals, overseas workers, and the employed sector. 

The change in the contributions took effect last January 1, 2014. Business sectors including all other concerned are hereby notified to comply with the new rates of PhilHealth Contribution.


Excerpts from MC 027-2013

  1. The premium rate shall be at 2.5%
  2. Salary bracket shall still be used
  3. Salary bracket floor shall start at Php 8,000.00
  4. Salary Bracket ceiling shall be pegged at Php 35,000.00


Salary Bracket Salary Range Salary Base Total Monthly Premium Employee Share Employer Share
*Employee share represents half of the total monthly premium while the other half is shouldered by the employer.
1 8,999.99 and below 8,000.00 200.00 100.00 100.00
2 9,000.00 – 9,999.99 9,000.00 225.00 112.50 112.50
3 10,000.00 – 10,999.99 10,000.00 250.00 125.00 125.00
4 11,000.00 – 11,999.99 11,000.00 275.00 137.50 137.50
5 12,000.00 – 12,999.99 12,000.00 300.00 150.00 150.00
6 13,000.00 – 13,999.99 13,000.00 325.00 162.50 162.50
7 14,000.00 – 14,999.99 14,000.00 350.00 175.00 175.00
8 15,000.00 – 15,999.99 15,000.00 375.00 187.50 187.50
9 16,000.00 – 16,999.99 16,000.00 400.00 200.00 200.00
10 17,000.00 – 17,999.99 17,000.00 425.00 212.50 212.50
11 18,000.00 – 18,999.99 18,000.00 450.00 225.00 225.00
12 19,000.00 – 19,999.99 19,000.00 475.00 237.50 237.50
13 20,000.00 – 20,999.99 20,000.00 500.00 250.00 250.00
14 21,000.00 – 21,999.99 21,000.00 525.00 262.50 262.50
15 22,000.00 – 22,999.99 22,000.00 550.00 275.00 275.00
16 23,000.00 – 23,999.99 23,000.00 575.00 287.50 287.50
17 24,000.00 – 24,999.99 24,000.00 600.00 300.00 300.00
18 25,000.00 – 25,999.99 25,000.00 625.00 312.50 312.50
19 26,000.00 – 26,999.99 26,000.00 650.00 325.00 325.00
20 27,000.00 – 27,999.99 27,000.00 675.00 337.50 337.50
21 28,000.00 – 28,999.99 28,000.00 700.00 350.00 350.00
22 29,000.00 – 29,999.99 29,000.00 725.00 362.50 362.50
23 30,000.00 – 30,999.99 30,000.00 750.00 375.00 375.00
24 31,000.00 – 31,999.99 31,000.00 775.00 387.50 387.50
25 32,000.00 – 32,999.99 32,000.00 800.00 400.00 400.00
26 33,000.00 – 33,999.99 33,000.00 825.00 412.50 412.50
27 34,000.00 – 34,999.99 34,000.00 850.00 425.00 425.00
28 35,000.00 and up 35,000.00 875.00 437.50 437.50

CENTURY TUNA: Unveils Superbods Super Challenge Website

CENTURY TUNA: Unveils Superbods Super Challenge Website

Anne Curtis has a super body, that is why she’s the perfect endorser of Century Tuna Superbod. And because Anne is unkabogable. Century Tuna launched a new website that features daily diet and workout plan designed to show that everybody can be a Superbod like Anne Curtis.

Now that summer is just around the corner, it is once again time to get that perfect body — toned and fit. Admit it, evrerybody wants to flaunt that super body that is why summer is the much-awaited season of Filipinos.

To help everyone get started on the road to fitness, Century Tuna has unveiled the My Road to Superbods website (http://www.centurytuna.ph/superbodschallenge), an online portal featuring a daily diet and workout plan, put together by two of the country’s most trusted and most popular fitness experts. 

Developed for loyal consumers of Century Tuna, the website was created to guide everyone on the road to their personal transformation as Superbods. 

“We all know that Century Tuna Superbods is one of the most awaited summer events in the country and this year, we’re making it even more exciting by enjoining our consumers to be part of the Superbods experience,” said Greg Banzon, General Manager of Century Pacific Food Inc.

He adds, “This year’s Century Tuna Superbods is all about Transformation. We believe that this event will become more meaningful if we can help transform our loyal consumers into Superbods themselves. With the My Road to Superbods website, we’re making it possible for them to work on becoming fit and healthy. It’s a huge effort for us – we’ve tapped two of the country’s most trusted fitness experts to put this website together – but it’s something worth doing as part of our commitment to promoting health and fitness among Filipinos.”

The website will have two main components – the Century Tuna Superbods Meal Plan by top dietitian Nadine Tengco, and the Century Tuna Superbods Workout Plan by Coach Jim Saret.

Nadine is a US-certified fitness nutritionist who designed the Detox-in-a-Bottle. Initially developed in 2009 for her celebrity clients, the program became hugely popular. The soups and juices had since been standardized and are now being prepared by her partners and distributors.

Meanwhile, Coach Jim is the founder and training director of APEX (Athletic Performance Enhancement) Sports Training. A former National Athlete, he completed his Master’s Degree in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training at Brigham Young University in the United States. While in the US, he worked with elite olympic athletes, professional athletes, world-class sports science/sports medicine specialists and training centers.

On the Meal Plan page, Nadine will share recipes – some of which include Century Tuna products – that everyone can follow. Delicious and healthy, Century Tuna contains Omega 3, which helps burn body fat, shrink abdominal fat cells and stop certain genes that trigger inflammation on belly fat, in addition to promoting a healthy heart.

On the Workout Plan page, Coach Jim Saret will upload his 6-week workout challenge schedule, which combines aerobic, cardiovascular, weight training, and stretching exercises, among others.

The launch of the My Road to Superbods website is a run-up to the Century Tuna Superbods Super Challenge, the hottest and most awaited summer event in the Philippines. It will be held on April 25-27, 2014 in the country’s ultimate beach destination, Boracay.

For this competition, Century Tuna gathers males and females between 18 to 35 years old with a fit and healthy body and passion for healthy lifestyle. Celebrities also flock to the event, which promises fun activities, parties, freebies and treats for beach lovers

CHEZ KARINE: Opens Branch at SM Megamall D

CHEZ KARINE: Opens Branch at SM Megamall

Neapolitan

CHEZ KARINE (pronounced as shey-karin) is French for “At Karen’s Place”. 

Upon the invitation of Ms. Aya, my blogger friends and I decided to try the newly opened Chez Karine Megamall branch on the first day of the wooden horse. Chez Karine’s newest branch is conveniently located at the upper ground floor of SM Megamall Building D. Yes, that’s the newly opened section in front of SM Megamall Bldg. B which they labeled as Mega Fashion Hall. Chez Karine Bakery officially opened its door last January 28, 2014. 

There we met the owner of the place, Pastry Chef Karen Yang-Tiang,  the daughter of the Filipino-Chinese tycoon Mr. George Yang. What’s interesting about Chef Karen, other than her family background, is her journey to her current career. Unlike other people who did not discover their real passion in life until they die, Chef Karen, a Stanford graduate found hers. Chef Karen has worked with computer systems for years before she discovered her passion for pastries and baking.


What she did first is to study with the La Corden Bleu in Paris to acquire a Diplome de Pattisserie (pastry diploma). Afterwards, she had a stint with the Marriot Hotel at Champ Elysées as an assistant to the pastry chef, followed by another internship, but this time around, with the famous Pierre Hermé Paris! Omg! She worked in Pierre Hermé’s boutique in Rue Bonaparte as well as in his commissary in Rue Vaugirard. Chef Karen was mainly involved with the making of macarons, a typical French favorite.


Not someone who rest on her laurels, she continued to improve her craft, concentrating mainly on pastries. Chef Karen had even ventured into a catering business when she was in San Francisco.  Eventually, she came back to Manila and decided to put up a shop in BGC in order for her to share her creations.

Love at First Bite

Please note that  four of us shared each cake so it is really bitin. Ha ha ha! Each cake and macarons are super duper yummy! Yes, you can take my word for it. 

Neapolitan 

Layers of rich chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake, layered with homemade strawberry jam. The color is so dainty! The Napoleon is a pastry made of many layers of puff pastry with filling alternating the layers. It can be eaten as a dessert, or even as a decadent meal.

As a French pastry it is called mille-feuilles, or thousand leaves, and it is usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves – most often raspberry jam. The topping may be simply powdered sugar, or a layer of fondant, often with strings of chocolate drawn into a chevron design.

In Italy, where the pastry is thought to have originated in Naples, it is called mille foglie (again, thousand leaves), and contains a similar layering like the mille-feuilles of cream, pastry cream, and fruit preserves.

A traditional napoleon is filled with plain pastry cream but if desired you may add a thin layer of fruit preserves such as seedless raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves to the filling.

The Neapolitan Cake has layers of rich chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cake, layered with homemade strawberry jam. The flavours really work so well together. I personally find it really unique and quite appealing, if not striking, once sliced.

I’m always secretly (or not so secretly) excited and eager to slice it and see what it looks like inside–particularly with it’s a multi-colored appearance. 

Strawberry Shortcake


Delicious strawberry flavored cake that is neither too sweet nor creamy. Saktong sakto lang ang tamis.  For me, Chef Karen perfected the exact science of cake making.

Classic Chocolate Cake


It only took one bite for me to be a Chez Karine convert! I love how their chocolate cake melt on my tongue. It is not too sweet. That’s why I love it!

Cotton Soft Cheesecake. 

This cake earned my respect for Chef Karen. Sakto sa lasa. It doesn’t overwhelm. It taste just right.

Macarons

#‎chezkarine‬ #megamall #chezkarine #megafashionhall

‘Macaron’ and ‘Macaroons’ are entirely different. Macaron is a dome-shaped biscuit with a shell often made with egg whites and filled with chewy ganache filling, whereas a Macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut.

Macarons are best eaten within one week. 

I got to try the salted caramel flavor of macaron. One word: Bitin! Joke! It is perfect! Chef Karen’s version is not too sweet unlike the macarons I’ve tried in the past. It has adequate filling that soothes the senses.  No wonder, Chez Karine landed the number one spot at spot dot ph top ten macarons in Metro Manila.

Macaron shells don’t have much of a flavor since they’re all made from the same ingredients: but the rest of the flavor greatly relies on the filling. Gladly enough, Chez Karine got the flavor just about right.

Vanilla Royal Pudding

And the last but not the least was their panna cotta packed in a small and nifty glass bottles custom-made in Taiwan.

I got to taste the Vanilla Royal Pudding.  The texture was very smooth, creamy and light to the taste. It is absolutely fresh and delicious.

Hot Chocolate with marshmallows.


I love how “sakto” the flavor is! Not so sweet. The marshmallows melt on your mouth.


Ambiance:

Chez Karine bakery has a minimalist theme. 

The cute wall.

They plan to put more table and chairs outside the store.
Glass decor at Chez Karine
Chez Karine Dainty take out boxes. The boxes are so cute that I almost ordered them for take out lol.
Box of 14 and Box of 21.
The menu.
Hot and cold drinks
Overall rating:
4 Fingers

BINONDO CHURCH

BINONDO CHURCH

Binondo Church,  officially known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, is located in the District of Binondo, Manila fronting Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz, in the Philippines.

My blogger friends and I had a chance to visit Binondo last January 30, 2014.

Binondo Church
Address: Plaza L.Ruiz, Binondo 1006,Manila

For A Healthy New You: Eat Your Peas, Love Your Lentils!

For A Healthy New You: Eat Your Peas, Love Your Lentils!

Aloha! Happy New Year!

Kiong Hee Huat Tsai! We just celebrated Chinese New Year’s Day the other week. New Year means new beginning. Thus, it is just right that we should start eating healthy in the Year of the Wooden Horse. I was having various health problems before the Chinese New Year. It prohibited me from eating my favorite adobo, lechon kawali and other “sinful” dishes that are part of my regular diet. I am aware that in order for my state of health to improve I must change my diet fast. It is a good thing that my friend Marlon and Reggie invited me to an event themed “Peas Be Unto You and Lentils, Too!”

The event is an eye-opener for me. I learned that Peas and Lentils are among the greatest additions to any diet, especially for those who are diabetic, those who have heart problems, and those who are trying to lose weight. When a person tries to lose weight, a lot of fiber is needed. And among the good sources of fiber and which are safe for your health are beans and lentils.

Legume is a class of vegetables that include beans, peas and lentils. They are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes have these distinct characteristics:

  • typically low in fat 
  • contain no cholesterol 
  • high in folate 
  • potassium 
  • iron 
  • magnesium. 
  • They also contain beneficial fats 
  • soluble fiber 
  • insoluble fiber.

A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat which has more fat and cholesterol. I became an instant fan of these versatile, economical and convenient legumes.

Filipino master chef Ojie Reloj, showcased recipes that highlighted peas and lentils. Lentils are so easy to throw into a pot. With two minutes’ effort, you got something simmering and ready to eat in about 30 minutes.  

Jenny Dacasin and Charisse Galvez, product managers of the company that distributes Easycook peas and lentils and other legumes, Ideal Macaroni and Spaghetti Factory, Inc., gave an overview of the company and its products.

According to the US Dry Pea and Lentil Council of the USDA, pulses are everything on one plate: they deliver great flavor that’s not only nutrient-dense, but also gluten-free with low allergen and low glycemic responses.

Legumes use nitrogen from the atmosphere to make protein. They are a valuable equivalent to animal protein but have the added benefit of being low in fat and less in calories. In comparison, a six-ounce cut of steak provides 40 grams of protein, but also 38 grams of fat (14 gram saturated fat) while a cup of cooked lentils gives 18 grams of protein and only one gram of fat. This is not surprising, considering lentils are the third highest source of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut (next only to soybeans and hemp).

Protein is an important cell builder of the body. It is crucial in building muscles and tissues, the parts of your body you need to move and lead an active lifestyle. When choosing sources of protein, it is essential to select lean, nutrient-dense food like beans, nuts and whole grains. Dried peas and lentils are available everywhere, any time of the year, and so offer one of the most inexpensive sources of protein.

Fiber is important because it helps clean out one’s digestive system. Along with an adequate intake of liquids, fiber flushes out unwanted toxins from the body. Soluble or dietary fiber reduces the risk of developing many diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and constipation. And because fiber-rich foods fill one up quickly, there are less calories consumed.

Fiber is found mainly in legumes, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The more you eat and the more active you are, the more you need fiber. 


Peas and lentils provide one of the highest amounts of fiber. A cup of cooked split peas gives 16.3 grams of fiber, while a cup of cooked lentils has 15.6 grams of fiber. To compare, the traditional source of fiber, cooked oatmeal, contains four grams of fiber.

Peas and lentils like beans and other legumes are rich in phytochemicals. These antioxidants help in defending the body against the effects of free radicals, and slow down aging and breakdown of body processes. Studies show that a diet high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Peas are round. Peas are used in side dishes, salads, casseroles, and soups

• Black-eyed peas

• Whole peas

• Split peas are whole peas split in half

Lentils are flat disks. Lentils are used in soups

• Green

• Red

• Yellow

• Black

Some of the recipes Reloj made are the following:

  • lentils a la mongo (prepared the same way as mongo)
  • lentils or yellow split peas empanaditas
  • and lentils and pesto macaroni soup. 

Easycook peas, lentils, and beans are distributed in the Philippines by Ideal Macaroni and Spaghetti Factory Inc. For more information, go to their Web site http://www.idealmacaroni.com.