I Left My Heart (and Stomach) in Balay Indang

Two days ago my family and I, along with my paternal grandmother and aunt, visited a unique and beautiful house in Indang, Cavite. Just 90 minutes from Manila (although it took us 2 and a half hours to get there), Balay Indang (“House of Indang”) or The Red Ginger Farm is a Filipino/Asian-inspired,  bed-and-breakfast destination.

went immediately to the dining area to eat. FOOD is the best welcomer ever, if I must say 🙂

baked Parmesan fish is love! 🙂 I ate gobs of it. It was that good!

twas my first time to see and touch records. 🙂

I love surprises. Balay Indang gave me this the moment I stepped inside her wooden gate. As you saw in the photos, the interior was decorated contrarily: Christian places all over and Buddhist statues inside the living room. However, that to me was no surprise compared to what awaited us at the dining table. Since we left our own balay early, my family and I (except for the golden ladies :D) had no time for breakfast. Thankfully, a Balay rule accommodated our physical needs: upon arrival (which should be reserved, by the way; they don’t accept walk-ins), breakfast/lunch/dinner is served immediately. Although your right in choosing what to eat is deprived of you inside their home, the amiable staff have already prepared delicious meals that would pull your heartstrings. The best part about it is all ulam (viands) are refillable, so in effect, meals are eat-all-you-can! 🙂 The Balay Indang menu varies everyday so that each visit would be unique on its own. As I mentioned earlier in a caption, I fell in love with the baked Parmesan fish! What seemed to be the “crust” of the cheese tasted like the fish’s belly (or maybe it really was the fish’s belly) and it just made my jaw drop in awe. The salad (not pictured) was simple yet tasty because of the nuts and finely grated Parmesan cheese. The dalandan-orange drink was also very refreshing and natural for it was made out of real dalandan and orange, squeezed and mixed to perfection by the staff.

After lunch we toured the rooms. Each room, named after a Bible character, was designed to accommodate 4-6 people and was spacious enough to move around and play board games (I can imagine my brothers and I playing Monopoly Deal and Pictionary). We did not check-in (boo) so we just went to the Pavillion and relaxed our afternoon away (for me that meant a siesta). =)) Come 3 PM merienda (afternoon snack)  was served. Our perpetually hungry family ate mini buko pies and bread topped with pesto, cream and shrimp. 😀 More memorable photos were shot and snapped before we said our goodbyes and wished the place success (we weren’t the only customers, by the way).

Balay Indang (The Red Ginger Farm and Garden)

88 Mahabang Kahoy Cerca

0917-8374261 or 0917-8665825

PLDT number: 775-6886

Kung Fu Panda 2: Jam Packed With Morals

WARNING! Spoiler-inducing details of an awesome, awesome movie ahead.

Yesternight’s movie premiere of Kung Fu Panda 2 provided me lots of hearty laughs and insightful lessons to apply. 🙂 Compared to the first film, the sequel of awesomeness involved more drama and lasted for only an hour and 35 minutes. Nevertheless it was….

awesome! 🙂

For me, Po is the best superhero among all animated characters. Why? He is an epitome of what a true warrior and gentleman is like. He respects every person he meets, discarding all stereotypes; never backs down on a tough challenge; is not afraid to show his real self; cooks great Chinese food; and is undeniably hilarious (in a good way). Sure, his abs are preceded by a big fat F, but I think he wouldn’t be as charming and amiable as he is without them. Being a person who would love to chew, nibble and swallow for a living, I think Po and I would make excellent buddies. This year’s sequel of the film reveals a character in Po that I admire the most: a feisty conqueror.

I have warned you earlier, so don’t report me as spam (if that is even possible here) when I tell you that Po’s childhood–his adoption and how he was separated from his parents–was dramatically revealed in part 2. I say dramatic because almost all of the sentimental moments of the movie revolved around Po’s uneventful beginning. Like any adopted kid who hungers to know of his past, Po stumbled over sad realities regarding his parents: why they were killed, who killed them, why he was left inside a boxful of radish only to be picked up by a goose and how he should face his newly discovered weakness with “inner peace.” I realized that in every person there is an inner warrior destined to escape the walls of fear and shame and fight for justice and truth. The gastronomic lifestyle that Po mastered so well was meant to be his training ground and the life of a warrior his diving board to destiny.

As one gains strength, wisdom and experience, his struggles and weaknesses vary and increase in strength as well. Fear of the unknown haunted Po in part 1; in part 2 it is fear of the past. I learned that hero’s kryptonite is not his nemesis or some external evil force annihilating anyone who gets in its way, but his own imperfections and flaws combined with uneventful circumstances in the present, past or both. No wonder Master Shifu’s next lesson for Po was inner peace. Many times I think that I can fully maximize my potential if the environment I live in would change–achieve permanent peace, uphold justice, etc–but I’m mistaken. Transformation ought to take place within me. Often times we work our way to change others when we should be changing ourselves.

Apparently I’m the serious side of the movie after doing all the metaphorical and philosophical analysis. :)))) Seriousness aside, Kung Fu Panda 2 is a must-see for those kids at heart who are yearning for much-needed hearty crack-ups and of course, insightful morals. Other delightful findings aside from these things and Po’s portly, bouncy stomach would be Tigress’ elegant, hardcore voice (which only Ms. Jolie can deliver), the peacock’s, Shen’s, unique design, baby Po and the peanut ampao that I munched even though doing so ruined my diet. With a character like Po kung fuing his way to your heart and stomach, there is no room for diets to pervade and conquer. 🙂

cuteness overload!! 🙂

unSHACKled

Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?

Countless people ask this question. Some find answers, some don’t. Maybe they do, but they choose to reject the truth because they think it is too unbearable, too painful to simply accept it.

Mackenzie Allen Phillips asked the same question and felt the same way. He was on vacation with his family when his youngest daughter, Missy, went missing. As time and search progressed, evidence found in an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness suggested that Missy may have been brutally murdered. Four years later, in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a mysterious note in his mailbox that invited him to revisit the shack for the weekend. Apparently, the note came from God.

Desire won over Mack’s better judgement. Thus, on one wintry afternoon, Mack left home and revisited the shack where all the pain inside him stemmed from. The succeeding events inside that shack will change his life forever.

Let me be the nth person to say it: This novel is a magnum opus of Jesus– next to the Bible, of course :D. He used W.M. Paul Young, the author, to intelligently and wisely connect the dots of the plot, match the right words and create an extraordinary masterpiece. His working in Mack’s life is an encouragement to all His other children especially those who harbor pain, grief and independence in their hearts.

Mack’s story made me smile, think and shed a tear. Although it’s not and never will be as perfect as the Bible, it somehow corrected my wrong notions of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It’s a mystery I have been trying to solve for months, but after reading the book, I decided to just leave it at that. When there is no mystery, thrill does not exist. And who does not love thrills? Okay, maybe you don’t, but I certainly do!

This book is for everyone–Christian or not, in pain or in joy. Never neglect the divine revelation of God–the Bible–but also do not belittle the wisdom and spiritual truths explained in this novel. As I flipped the pages and comprehended every paragraph, I understood the nature of God; His unexplainable and overflowing love, grace, compassion, patience, forgiveness and provision for me and all His children. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are overwhelming but amazing. There is no regret in choosing to trust them. In fact, it’s the only key to understanding the essence of human existence. Depending on Jesus is the first key to being truly human.

Dear friend, as you near the end of this review, I encourage you to go to your nearest bookstore as soon as possible and purchase a copy of The Shack. In the Philippines it’s quite an expensive book compared to other Christian books, but I tell you, it’s definitely worth the buy.

As you read, there will be times wherein you have to stop and think about a statement or principle mentioned in the book. You may not agree with it or find it too difficult to comprehend. It’s okay; I experienced the same thing. You do not have to agree with everything the author says since he has his own values and morals, but as with any other Christian book, The Shack has one main objective: that you get to know Jesus better and in a more personal way. He is the Source of heartwarming, life-changing stories that turns the world upside down.

The Shack. Buy it. Read it.

And may our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ unshackle you from your suffering and pain! 🙂

Hair Click: A Click Salon

Girls, agree with me: Next to pimples, oily skin, dry skin, blackheads, dark eye bags and dark underarms, DRY, FRIZZY, UNRULY hair is one part of our body that we hate the most. No wonder most of us, if not all of us, resort to quite expensive but lasting treatments, namely, rebonding and relaxing. I’m one of those girls. I was dying to have my hair rebonded, but I wanted one that would yield a voluminous shape. The “straight as a broomstick” treatment was too obvious and common.

Thankfully, my mom knew a salon that offered a VOLUME rebond at a discounted price. It wasn’t very far either! I fell in love with the salon immediately.

Hair Click Salon is a Korean salon located at Polaris St., Bel-Air along Kalayaan Avenue in Makati City. It faces a Spanish restaurant called Alba. Although its location is not as exposed as another Korean salon located along Jupiter Avenue, Hair Click is renowned for its quality service at an affordable price. In fact, local TV personalities underwent services in the salons themselves and advertised the  salon on their respective shows. Among them are Kuya Kim, weatherman of ABS-CBN’s “TV Patrol”, Donita Rose, Sam Oh of QTV and Susan Enriquez, host of GMA7’s “Kay Susan Tayo.”

Allow me to share with you my personal experience. Upon entering their gorgeous infrastructure, friendly Filipino employees greeted me and my mom. We told the receptionist our respective choice of service. Treatment began immediately. I started ahead of time since rebonding takes more than 2 hours. The interior design was very modern, bright, appealing and adds a “relaxation” ambiance that most local salons fail to give. (Most salons have posters of strangers with colored hair and weird hairstyles.) After several minutes of medicine application and color application to me and my mom respectively, we sat on comfy chairs and read the latest issues of OK! and YES! magazines. While reading, we were offered iced tea. When I sipped my just-the-right-sweet iced tea, I decided I adored this salon. But that was just the appetizer. After a few minutes, we were given a plate of soft bread sticks with chocolate sauce. YUMM. 🙂

The volume rebond was a success! Here are some photos of the process and the results:

It had a very natural and soft finish. The senior stylist, Rain Choi, did a superb job. Although he doesn’t understand much English, he understood what I wanted and after 2 hours and several minutes–Voila! The hair of my dreams.

So if you’re like me and you are dying to get rid of your dry, unruly and frizzy hair, drop by at Hair Click. Right now, almost all their services are on a 30% discount, so you better hurry! Prepare PhP 3,000-5,000, but prices depend on the length of hair. It’s super fun and worth the pay!

Hair Click

TEL: 896.7000

EMAIL: info@hairclick.co.kr (though I think it would be in Korean!)

PS! I also want to thank my mom for treating me to this amazing salon. She discovered it and shared the news that brings tidings of great joy. I’ll pay you soon, mom! When I get a job at a prestigious company. 😀 That’s 4 years away! I love you!