Sunday, January 30, 2011

So I Didn't End Up Going to CDO...

...but I did end up here.

View from the entrance

Living area at our villa (yup, "our"--Hamil came with me, yay!). Not shown: 42-inch flat-screen TV.

Dining area. Not shown: Kitchen.

Bedroom with four-poster bed. Not shown: Another 42-inch flat-screen TV!


His and hers sinks in the bathroom. Check out the reflection--yet another flat-screen TV at the foot of the tub! I quite enjoyed watching 30 Rock while soaking in a bubble bath!

And a private plunge pool for good measure

All these were taken at the Crimson Resort and Spa in Mactan, Cebu.

Tomorrow: Back to reality.

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Training Day

So this is what running 15K feels like...

I used to abhor running. Back in college, the warmup before dance practice was sometimes a one-mile run. I could get through it pretty quickly (eight minutes, to be exact), but it was torture. I would bitch through those eight minutes and think about how I would much rather be learning a new routine. Cheerdancer training was no different. We sometimes had to run about half an hour, all around the Ateneo campus, and it was my absolute least favorite part of training.

When I started working, I didn't have regular dance training anymore, so I had to resort to other forms of exercise. Running became one of them. I would push myself to do interval training (increased my speed and endurance) and 5K runs on the treadmill (personal best: around 29 minutes. Obviously, it involved some walking!). For a time, I kind of enjoyed it, especially after a rough day. Running in Ateneo on cool evenings also helped me clear my head when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed.

Last year marked the first time I ran about 11K. It took a while, but I did it. I would've been so proud of myself if only my husband hadn't kept on running for 10 more kilometers (for no apparent reason other than he can), leaving me--and my personal record--behind in the dust.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had no desire to join fun runs. And then my husband signed me up for a half marathon. That's 21 frickin' kilometers. Our phone conversation:

Hamil: Ano, register na kita? (Should I register for you?)
Tisha: Ummm... Magkano ba yan? (How much?)
Hamil: P1,300.
Tisha: MAGBABAYAD AKO NG P1,300 PARA LANG MAPAGOD?! (I'm paying P1,300 just to get tired?!)

After much thought, and despite being in the worst shape in recent years (I hardly had any exercise in November and December, and I had the holiday fat to show for it), I relented. I figured that this was the first and last time I would ever run that long. And I figured I had one of my 100 kisses waiting for me at the finish line.

Hamil outlined a training program which I haven't been able to follow. The weather was uncooperative last week so I wasn't able to get in the miles I wanted to get in. I did, however, have the best possible trainer for my first 5K run of the year--Marie, one of my really good friends, who just happens to be the editor in chief of Runner's World! She's run the New York Marathon twice and an ultra marathon (that's over 100 kilometers!) so I'd say she's a bit of an expert in this area. She gave me some helpful tips and, more importantly, distracted me from the boredom that inevitably accompanies seemingly endless rounds at the Ultra oval.

Last night, as per Hamil's training schedule, we had to run 15 kilometers. All my old feelings about running resurfaced. (See first paragraph.) By the seventh kilometer, I was already bitching about the pain in my stomach, my knee, my ankle. I wasn't the most pleasant person in the world to run with, but my husband stayed positive, cheering me on and waiting for me. I knew that he was kind of holding back, that he was raring to run ahead. But he stayed with me. He wanted to practice running with me because he doesn't want to leave me when we finally run the 21K, personal record be damned. More than anything, that's what's going to push me to the finish line.

Wish me luck.

Image from here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Live Show

Guested on morning show Unang Hirit last Friday, which meant a 6:00 AM call time. Not easy, considering sleeping is one of my most favorite things to do. (I kind of believe that the only thing standing between me and world domination is my desire to sleep! Har.)

For this guesting, I was asked to talk about stress relief at the office. And since I'm the girl who sometimes stays until 4:00 AM at the office, it was just a teensy bit ironic!

A few days before the appearance, I was asked to send a list of items that could help people relax when work is driving them nuts. When I arrived at GMA7, I was given a script which included questions I didn't prepare for beforehand (e.g., causes of stress at the office). I answered the questions and went over the script as I sat in the makeup chair. Thankfully, I had some help from the Unang Hirit researchers, plus some stock knowledge on stress. When you get psychosomatic symptoms like an upset stomach, falling hair, and a twitching eyelid, you're bound to know a thing or two about stress!

For this appearance, I was interviewed by Miss Lynn Ching. A friend, who caught the show on a bus on his commute to work, noticed how Lynn towered over me. And I was in five-inch heels! (Well, she was in heels too. But yeah, I'm kind of pocket-size.)

It isn't so hard to sound all peppy in the morning when you're interviewed by an energetic host.

The Unang Hirit people built a set of an office outside the studio, complete with blinds and a fake aircon! Pretty cool. I couldn't believe they went through all that trouble for a seven-minute segment.

In between Q and As with Lynn, there were spiels showing stressful situations at the office.

The actors, Betong and May, totally cracked me (and the crew) up! Betong played the boss, who said things like, "Eto, bilangin mo nga itong ream ng bond paper kung 500 talaga ang laman niyan!" ("Here, count this ream of bond paper to check if there are really 500 pieces!") I watched them rehearse a few minutes before we went on air, and they were just masters at ad libbing!

Hurriedly taken photo. Wasn't able to adjust camera settings.

The most fun TV guesting I've had to date, even if I did have to wake up at an ungodly hour!

First three photos courtesy of Tracy, my current TV pimp.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tishie Tishie on Twitter

Yeah, it took a while. (Long story.) Follow, if you please: And while you're at it, follow Good Houskeeping too!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Will Work for Food

Well, OK, not really, since money buys me shoes (and helps pay for the roof over my head). But one of the best (and worst) parts of my job is that I get to eat at all these great places for free! I get invited to events and restaurant openings, where there is no shortage of yummy food. Afterwards, I'm left trying to figure out how to burn off all the calories. Sigh. Case in point: yesterday's scrumptious eight-course (count 'em, eight) lunch at Lola Maria.

We started off with vegetable quiche with a dollop of sour cream. (I ended up scooping more onto my little quiches.)

This was followed by prawn balls, which I described as very...prawn-y. (Ladies and gentlemen, the very eloquent EIC of GH...) We were free to get seconds but we all wanted to leave enough room in our tummies after seeing the menu!

My favorite: pinipig-crusted cream dory with tartar-cayenne sauce. Yum! Yum! Yum!

We were served calamansi sorbet to cleanse our palates for the next courses.

Cocido, served with rice (which I finished. Hey, I ran 11km the night before, so I was entitled!)

US rib-eye steak. Thankfully, they gave me an extra fatty cut so I sliced those bits away, and I ended up not eating too much beef. It was quite tender though! I would've loved a big slab if I hadn't started with four other courses!

Finally, three kinds of dessert: ube and langka pana cota, ensaymada bread pudding with grated queso de bola, and fried suman with chocolate sauce (mmmm).

Hours later, I was still stuffed! It's a pretty good life.:)

Read more about Lola Maria (located at Legend Villas on Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong) in an upcoming issue of Good Housekeeping.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

It was a bit of a quiet birthday for Hamil, and a relatively healthy one too. While last year, we feasted on steak at 22 Prime, this year he wanted something lighter. The night before his birthday, we decided to eat at Kai, a Japanese restaurant in Greenbelt 5. (Years ago, the resto was at Greenbelt 2, and there, Hamil had his fill of sake.) The meal was predominantly made up of raw fish; while there was some wagyu thrown in, it was mixed with tofu and asparagus.

The day of, we stayed home and I cooked. Nothing spectacular. He just asked for my fake Conti's salmon, and I also whipped up cream of spinach soup (there was some leftover spinach) and a roasted vegetable salad with portobello mushrooms. Then, because he didn't want his usual favorite ube cake (which would languish in the ref, given that there's just two of us), I surprised him with a birthday mamon. Ube, of course.

We had long conversations over the weekend, and at some point, talk turned to religion. We are both practicing Catholics in that we go to mass every Sunday and say our prayers. But we both have a lot of questions, and constantly talk about our faith and other faiths. This particular talk touched on reincarnation, life's purpose, and the possibility of a passive god.

This last concept was a bit hard for me to grasp. If ours is a passive god, then what is the purpose of prayer? There would be no one to thank, no one to guide us and give us strength. And what I find most hard to believe: A passive god would mean that I merely stumbled upon the most wonderful man by sheer dumb luck or by virtue of my effervescent charm (both of which I do not possess in abundance). No, a passive god, He is not. For me to find the best man, for me to be indescribably happy, there must be a Stronger Force at work. And as Hamil blew out his little candle, I thanked that god for the day my husband was born.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

To Go or Not to Go...

To Cagayan de Oro? Friends have been bugging asking me to come along for a weekend of disc (and possibly rafting), but I think I have an event in Cebu that same weekend. And then there's Boracay Open coming up. Hmmm. I do hope this year shapes up like last in terms of travel (Bacolod, Boracay, Cebu, Dumaguete, Singapore, Bali, New York--twice--with Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong in between!). I've really been itching to get on a plane and go somewhere. A friend joked that the reason I got sick was because I haven't traveled in a while. I've never been to CDO so I'm really tempted to go.

But that Janet concert is just as tempting! And I've gotta think about proper allocation of funds. Sigh.

And just so this post is not a complete waste, a recipe--something I whipped up last night. I tried to replicate Conti's baked salmon, with moderate success. Needed a bit more garlic, but my bechamel sauce turned out OK for a first-timer! Measurements not entirely accurate because, as I mentioned before, I just kind of throw things into a pot.

Poseur Conti's Baked Salmon

Bechamel sauce:
2 tbsp butter
1/8 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Ground nutmeg

4 cloves garlic, crushed
Quick-melt cheese

1. Make bechamel sauce: Melt butter over low heat. Add flour, mix until well blended.
2. When roux is a light golden color, slowly add milk, stirring continuously. Simmer lightly until sauce thickens.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Remove from heat. Mix in garlic.
5. Place salmon in a baking dish. Spread bechamel on top, covering fish entirely.
6. Sprinkle grated cheese on top.
7. Bake in pre-heated 350F oven, 20 minutes.
8. Remove from oven. Serve with mixed vegetables.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On My Nightstand

For some reason, I felt like I needed to brush up on my philosophy, so for the past few weeks, I've been reading Sophie's World.

I wanted to refresh my knowledge of everyone from the Greek philosophers to Kierkegaard (and beyond), but I didn't want to have to pick up my old text books. (Flashback: sleepless nights slaving away over papers about The Republic. Shudder.) I figured this book, written by a philosophy teacher who wanted to make philo more fun for high school students, would be an easy-peasy way to refresh my memory.

It's about a 14-year-old girl who suddenly finds herself communicating with a mysterious philosopher. I have problems with this concept because, seriously, if that were my daughter, I would be freaked out by the idea of her secretly taking philosophy lessons from some strange man. And, well, the backdrop story doesn't engage me enough to make the the philo lessons interesting. So yeah, the "past few weeks" bit in the opening sentence is telling. Bit of a struggle.

I was feeling like I was in a reading rut, but didn't quite know what book to buy or borrow. I'm not into chick lit (unless Jane Austen counts), I am the farthest thing from a Coelho fan (sorry, no offense to Coelho readers out there), and I'm not into pa-deep novels (I found Unbearable Lightness of Being rather...unbearable. Or maybe I'm just simple-minded that way). I like magical realism--GGM's One Hundred Years of Solitude is a favorite--and I like novels set in the past. I used to rely on photographer-friend M's recommendations. That is, until he turned all guy on me and started devouring non-fiction books--more my husband's territory.

Voracious doesn't begin to describe what kind of reader M is. Just a few days ago, he remarked, "I got sad when I realized that life isn't long enough for me to read all the books I want to read." Wow. Anyhoo, M and I are in agreement that we don't like highly complex novels--we kind of like easy reads that are well-written. Simple as that. (We are also in agreement about Coelho, but I won't pick on the guy anymore...) He had been recommending Chabon for a few years, but every time he would mention Nazis, I would kind of tune out. He finally sold me on one of his top two books as I was going over his bookshelf recently. I do trust the man's taste. He is, after all, the dude who introduced me to James Clavell (Tai-Pan) and Puzo (The Sicilian, featuring my literary crush, Turi Guiliano).

And it's a Pulitzer Prize winner, so it can't be that bad, right?

It's about a guy named Josef who escapes to New York from Prague after the Nazis start putting heat on the Jews. He and his cousin create The Escapist, a comic book with a "Nazi-busting hero who liberates the oppressed around the world." They become successful, but all the while Josef's thinking about his family back in Prague. I'm speeding through it, at least as much as my packed sched and intense desire to sleep allow. It's partly because it is rather engaging, and also partly because I want to know why M loves it so much. I'm hoping it'll see me through this reading dry spell and get me back on track to fulfilling my reading quota.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tishie's Travels: Our Top 5 Bali Restos

...and I use the term "restos" loosely here. A couple of them are actually warungs, or food stalls. We ate at a lot of places during our nearly week-long stay in Bali, and some places were more memorable (or mentionable) than others. Our favorites:

5. Made's Warung II
Jl Raya Seminyak,

For our first meal, we walked from Bonsai Villas to Made's Warung II, the Seminyak branch of popular Kuta eatery, Made's Warung. According to our (more often than not) trusty Lonely Planet guide, Made's was the original warung in Kuta, and it supposedly has a much-imitated Westernised Indonesian menu. Its Seminyak sister is in a courtyard, with a few shops by the seating area. I gotta admit, I expected a warung to look more...rustic. The place looked a lot like our local grills (think Grilla or Congo Grille without any of the monkey-themed decor), and had really speedy service.

I didn't want anything too heavy so I just had the chicken sate...

...while hungry Hamil had the ribs in young papaya.

I kind of expected it to be cheaper, but maybe that's because I'm a bit of a cheapskate. Har. Still, I had no complaints. At least the servings weren't teeny. A pretty satisfying first meal.

4. Warung Ibu Oka
Jl Suweta, Ubud

I first read about Bali's babi guling (roast suckling pig) here. Ever since, I told myself that I would have me some of that if I ever found myself in Bali. I had the privilege of having lunch with Anonymous Paul, and his face pretty much lit up as he raved about this popular Bali dish.

Our guidebook recommended Warung Ibu Oka, which was right outside the Ubud Palace. On our second day in Ubud, we headed there for an early lunch, to avoid the crowds that both Anon Paul and our guidebook mentioned.

Now, I'm not a lechon person. Filipinos mark fiestas and special occasions with a nice roast pig, and get all excited when they see the pile of meat and skin on a buffet table. But to be honest, I normally skip it and opt for other heart attack-inducing Pinoy treats. Not a big fan. During our trip, I just wanted to try something distinctly Balinese, and I wanted to be able to compare it with our local lechon.

Well, it kind of looked the same as our own lechon.

But it wasn't. The babi guling meat was tender, the skin crispy with an ever-so-thin layer of fat. And the whole thing was flavored with herbs and spices, and served with rice and veggies. At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I gotta say that I enjoyed this much more than any local lechon I've ever had. Although a side of Mang Tomas would have made it even better!

3. Rumours
Jl Oberoi 100

It was our fourth day in Bali, and after having nasi goreng for the nth time, I really wanted some Western food. I had a hankering for some really meaty spaghetti bolognese, and I got exactly what I wanted at Rumours on Eat Street, about a 15-minute walk from our beloved Uma Sapna.

That really hit the spot! I also loved their vanilla-flavored iced tea. (On the very sweet side, but I didn't get follicular pharyngitis for no reason...) I've read that the place is popular because of its steaks, but on this visit, Hamil had some hearty beef dish with a side of mashed potatoes and veggies.

My husband remarked that it was exactly the kind of restaurant he would want to have in Manila--it was laidback, had good music and beer, and served yummy and very reasonably priced food. (We looked at quite a few menus on that street, and this one seemed to be the cheapest.) We loved it so much that we went back the next day!

2. Ku De Ta
Jl Laksmana,

Every frickin' Bali guide mentions this beachfront bar/lounge/restaurant, and many of them also warn about the price. (The Frommer's guide lists it under "very expensive.") It's very chic, with a low, open structure surrounding a courtyard, sexy lighting, and loungers outside with a view of the beach (it's lit from the shore so you can still see the waves in the evening).

For starters, we had some braised wagyu burgundy pie, lit by sexy lighting.

Then I had mushroom risotto. Yummers, but I wouldn't call it the best risotto ever.

Hamil had lamb, which I didn't eat much of since I don't really like lamb. (All worked out in Hamil's favor.)

At the end of it, we just closed our eyes as we handed over our credit card savored the experience--because, while they do serve great quality food, what you're really paying for here is the privilege of hanging at one of Bali's iconic spots.

1. Warung Yogya
Jl Padma Utara, Legian

You read right--Ku De Ta isn't number one on my list. That distinction doesn't go to the most expensive meal that we had in Bali, but to the cheapest! (I did mention earlier that I'm a cheapskate!) After Hamil went surfing, we walked around Legian/Kuta, consulting various maps, looking for Warung Yogya (pronounced "Jogja"). I gave my Bahasa a test run by saying "Saya cari Warung Yogya," ("I'm looking for Warung Yogya") and was so successful at it that the locals proceeded to give me directions in Bahasa. Ah. We just followed their hand movements and eventually found the place.

Warung Yogya is exactly like the warungs I had in my head--carinderia-like, with inexpensive food. Seeing the prices on the menu, I kind of expected sad plates of day-old food to be served. I was pleasantly surprised to get the plates of awesomeness that were set before us. We went all local and ordered the nasi campur (a rice dish with peanuts and curried veggies and/or meat)...

...and, of course, nasi goreng (fried rice with meat).

This abso-effin'-lutely delicious meal for two plus our drinks set us back about P200 (less than $5)! Aaaah! I would've eaten there again and again if only it were more accessible from our villas.

So there you have it, our top five picks for the best eats in Bali, and the last of my Bali posts!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Running Start

Has it just been one work week for 2011?! I am so exhausted! This week has just been full of shoots and pullouts and planning--and a visit to the doctor--that it feels like it's been agesss. I had to hit the ground running after that welcome holiday break. I am so ready to visit the spa this weekend!

Half the stuff I did this week could have been assigned to an editorial assistant--I don't like assigning even more stuff to my already overloaded peeps. Someone find me an EA!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Guess Who's on the Cover of Preview?

I know, two posts in one day. But I just had to share this gorgeous gorgeous cover of the Philippines' fashion bible, Preview Magazine...

That's Preview's very own Liz Uy! Doesn't she look absolutely fab? I'm told this was due to popular demand--there's apparently a clamor to see the Preview girls on the cover! They're quite the It Girls now, and rightfully so. (Believe me, I feel like I'm in pambahay every time I see them at the office, always impeccably dressed.) Stylish doesn't even begin to describe them!

I love everything about this cover. The outfit. The hair. The lighting. The new font. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! While you're out picking up a copy of GH, grab a copy of Preview as well!

Happy New You!

Good Housekeeping's January-February ish features mom and daughter Jaclyn Jose and Andi Eigenmann on the cover. Our main feature's got over 40 expert tips on food and exercise, and a super quick 20-minute workout (much like Jillian Michaels's 30-Day Shred) to help you lose all that holiday flab!

Incidentally, I've gotta start doing the shred again. My clothes are feeling tighter, and my stomach looks an awful lot like Jell-O. Tsk tsk. I really didn't think I'd get away with all that wanton eating--and it's affected me in more ways than one. I just got back from the doctor and found out that I have follicular pharyngitis, or something like that. I googled it and the pictures ain't pretty. I closed the window right away because I was pretty grossed out! Apparently this happens when you have too much of a good thing--sweet, spicy food and all that, irritating your throat. (A quick recall of what I've been eating the past couple of weeks and it all made sense.) I'd had a blasted cough for a week, and finally decided to see my doc. Now I know why my throat's been hurting.:( Doctor's orders: No eating or drinking anything sweet, spicy, cold, or hot. In other words, all the things that make life worth living. *tear*

Ah well, it's a forced diet, which is actually perfect. This is the year when I'm finally going to start eating right (most of the time) and finally getting that goal body! Ahh, New Year--the time when everyone is optimistic!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Recipe: Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cream Sauce

Because I was tired of subsisting on ham and queso de bola (gifts from TV5, where I recently did a guesting--thanks, TV5!), and all the sweet Christmas stuff from friends that are crammed into the fridge (and some of it, in my thighs), I decided to cook a proper dinner. I just thought of something super simple and easy to prepare, which didn't require frying since our stove is on the fritz. (I ended up using it anyway, to heat up some veggies and mashed potatoes.) In the end, I decided to tweak something I made a few months back.

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Cream Sauce

(Note: These measurements are by no means accurate. I normally just throw things into a pot or pan.)

3 boneless chicken breasts
Crushed tomatoes (I used the canned version to save me time)
Half a can of cream of mushroom soup
3/4 container sour cream
White wine (as much as you like!;) )
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven at 400F. (Er, my oven might be inaccurate too.)
2. If you've got time, pound the chicken breasts so that they're nice and flat. If not, just butterfly cut each breast (slice through the center, taking care not to slice all the way through).
3. Place spinach and tomatoes on one half of the chicken. If you wanna add cheese, that'd probably be awesome. Place other half over to cover.
4. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish. Set aside.
5. In a bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients. Pour over chicken.
6. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove cover, then bake until done.
7. Serve with veggies and your choice of carbs (taters, rice, pasta).

My husband loved the sauce. I think he's generally partial to anything with white wine!

For dessert, I had me some almond and chips ice cream with...

Droooool. My friend Melody found this at the Hershey store when we were in New York, and I couldn't resist buying a couple of bottles (one for me, one for my Reese's Peanut Butter-lovin' cousin). It tastes exactly like melted Reese's! I like having it with vanilla ice cream so that nothing competes with the flavor. That almond thing was just OK, but man, I think my ice cream to chocolate peanut butter topping ratio was 1:1!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

And the Winner Is...

And who is number 10?

Congratulations, Maudey! Lovely that you got an iPod Touch and got to meet your boyfriend's parents! (I must admit, I'm a little curious about the whole Meet the Parents thing. Haha.) Please get in touch with me through You have until 12:00 noon of Tuesday, the 4th of January 2011.

Thank you to all those who joined! I had fun reading all your comments. Interestingly, many of the best gifts people received weren't material--time with family, new babies, new jobs. Truly, the best things in life are free! But it sure is nice getting some freebies every now and then, yeah?;)

Happy new year, everybody! Let's rock it out, 2011!

Giveaway Is Officially Closed!

Happy New Year, everyone! My first ever giveaway is officially closed! Check back at noon to find out if you're the lucky winner!