Monday, May 03, 2021

3 Filipino heritage dishes: warek warek, calandracas, and minukmok (with recipes!)

Cooking is one of the essential skills we parents can impart to our children. In fact, I would rest easy once my sons know how to cook because I know they won't ever go hungry if they know their way in the kitchen. Right now, they know how to bake brownies, cook pancakes, and make pizza. My second son is the only one who knows how to cook ulam. Adobo, bistek Tagalog, menudo. 

It's on my To-Do list that all my boys know how to cook Pinoy food. That's why when Lamudi, the leading real estate platform in the Philippines, asked me to share these distinctive Filipino heritage dishes with you from three unique provinces, I said yes! Let's try out these recipes this summer!

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GUEST POST - The Philippines is known for its rich cultural heritage. One of the things that contribute to the essence of being a Filipino is our food. However, some traditional foods that our ancestors have grown up with are now on the verge of extinction. To make sure that my kids and grandchildren will taste these culinary delights in the future, I selected three Filipino heritage foods to learn with my family.

Warek Warek

Photo screengrabbed from YouTube/Eats My Putahe

This dish from Abra is similar to sisig and dinakdakan in ingredients, preparation, and taste. The difference is that this dish uses the offal of a black pig. Black pigs are often raised in Abra by couples planning to marry. A few days before the marriage ceremony, the black pigs are butchered, and the people check their entrails to determine what their gods have to say regarding the decisions made by the couple that will influence their future.

The preparation:

To cook this traditional dish, combine pork neck and ears in a pot with garlic, ground black pepper, bay leaf, and salt. Add water and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender.

Drain the pork pieces, season it with salt, pepper, and baste it with ¼ cup of calamansi or lemon juice. Broil or torch each side for five minutes or until crispy.

Slice them into small strips and place them in a mixing bowl. Add ginger, onion, pepper, calamansi juice, salt, and mayonnaise or pork brain. Place on a platter, then serve.


Photo via Ang

Now that we have a meat dish, it is best to prepare a vegetable dish to make sure my family has a well-balanced diet. Calandracas is a traditional vegetable dish that originated in Tanza, Cavite, and is still enjoyed by residents of Phirst Park Homes Tanza and other Caviteños.

In the olden times, this soup dish was made out of the livestock, vegetables, and spices offered as tribute to the departed during burials. These ingredients are chopped and cooked together in a simmering kawa with a chicken soup stock. Ingredients often included in this traditional dish are string beans, eggplant, banana bell (or banana blossom), sweet potato, and sotanghon (a transparent bean noodle). This satisfying dish is served to the family and other guests who are present at the burial.

The process:

Saute onions, then add chicken and shrimp stock.
Add sotanghon.
Add all the vegetables.
Toss in toasted garlic and fish sauce.
Let it simmer until all vegetables are half cooked and then serve.


Photo via Facebook/Food Holidays

It is always ideal to end a good meal with a dessert. Minukmok is a traditional delicacy from Majayjay, Quezon Province. It is sometimes made out of boiled sweet potato but is often made with boiled saba. Other ingredients include sugar and butter or margarine. You can also add grated coconut, peanut butter, and condensed milk.

This delicacy is often prepared by potential lovers giving them enough time to spend time together while their parents watch them. The end product is also believed to determine the state of their feelings for each other. Males would be the ones to pound the boiled saba, and the females would mix the banana to make sure all are mushy. Once this is done, she adds in the other ingredients, and he will pound it repeatedly until all is well blended.

The process:

In a big mortar, add in boiled bananas and brown sugar. Make sure that the banana is mushy and everything is mixed well together.

Add in other ingredients and pound it again until all is mixed together.

Coat a small bowl with butter or margarine. Place the minukmok mixture. Turn it upside down on a plate. Add grated coconut and a sprinkle of brown sugar. Serve.

The ingredients to all these dishes are easy to find, and these are all easy to prepare. Learning how to make these Filipino heritage dishes allows us to teach our kids the skill of cooking. This is also an opportunity to preserve traditional dishes and make sure the future generations still enjoy them.

Interested in buying property like houses in Abra, townhouses in Tanza, and farmland in Majayjay? Go to Lamudi to check out the thousands of real estate for sale all over the Philippines.

*This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email for my rates. Food photos courtesy of Lamudi.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Mother's Day gift suggestions: 10 tokens of love from Pinoy-owned brands

One week from now and it's OUR day, mamas! Happy Mother's Day to all of us. I have no plans yet. We're still in quarantine and I haven't decided if I'll order in or cook for the kids. I also haven't decided what I want as a gift. The boys usually make me colorful cards but I teased them that since they have money, they might want to buy something for their old lady haha And I have a list of Mother's Day gifts from Pinoy-owned brands for them!

Here are my suggestions for a Mother's Day gift. It's more special because these are all my friends' businesses, most of them mommies, too. I hope you can pick a favorite from this list! 

1. Beachborn 3 Kings shampoo bars

This local brand offers 7 shampoo bars in their roster of hair care products. Shampoo bars are just as effective as liquid shampoo, but because they're solid, their paper packaging is more environment-friendly. Choose from the 7 variants according to your mom's specific hair needs and get them in a bundle.    

2. Mirth & Yift Belinda rose quartz drop earrings

Meticulously handcrafted, these pretty drop earrings are so feminine and flattering. Grab a pair for yourself and gift another for your mommy. 

Since we're all at home, why not give your mommy friends these cute shirt-and-shorts sets in pastels? Comfy enough for lounging at home but spiffy enough for a sudden Zoom/Facetime call!

4. Meadow scented wax tablets

Made from luxurious wax to capture perfume, these pretty wax tablets with dried flowers can be displayed on a tray on your desk so you can catch the fragrant whiffs as you work. You can also place it in a pouch made of muslin or lace and slip it into your closet for OOTDs tinged with perfume. 

5. Gentle Hour scented candles 

So in love with the attitude of these empowering candles! The luxe scents, the unapologetically feminine, and sassy candle names are definitely going to uplift and inspire you and all the moms in your life!

6. Prana Movement Studio virtual signature sessions

You don't have to go to the gym to stay fit. Gift yourself and your mom a Pilates workout! You can tone, stretch and strengthen your bodies together but virtually. If you're a group, the classes get more affordable! So gift these virtual fitness classes to your mommy barkada!

7. In the Beloved Love Notes from God 

I love these little cards of love. It's a small box with 25 illustrated Bible verses and sometimes I pick one out and that's my meditation for the day. I also slip some cards into gifts for family and friends. It's a really nice gift to inspire and bless mommies.

8. Solenn Manila Mother's Day bundle 

Oh, this is so yummy! The special Bibingka MNL bibingka bites are topped with queso de bola and glazed ham. The soft and moist pastry together with the chewy ham and cheese, the mix of sweet and salty - so good! The Nanay Luisa's Truffle Queso de Bola spread is soooo good, they really ought to sell that in a huge jar because we finished ours quickly!

9. Quirks So Many Books bookends  

For the book lover mommies who also love a quirky shelfie, you have got to give them these bookends! It will make her bookshelf look clever - just like her!

10. Not Invisible: A Memoir 

Of course, this list won't be complete without my book on marriage and motherhood! Hundreds of copies have been bought and many mommies have written to me saying they loved it. I just know you'll love it, too. Dearest Loyal Readers, please support my debut book and gift it to all the moms in your life! Thank you! 

I hope you like my list of Mother's Day gifts from Pinoy-owned brands. Please buy local and show your mommy (or yourself) some love!

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Putting together my Covid Care Kit thanks to Watsons 3-Day Vitamin Super Saver Sale

 With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, we'll really have to make sure our bodies are stronger and healthier so we can resist the COVID-19 virus. I wrote a list on what I would do just in case but it never occurred to me to make a special home care kit until VP Leni launched her COVID Care Kit. And this weekend is the perfect time to complete the kit because of the Watsons Vitamin Super Saver Sale!

Get as much as 50% OFF on your vitamins from Watsons 3-Day Vitamin Super Saver Sale on April 30-May 2, 2021. Only the vitamins and minerals are on sale so I'm stocking up on Vitamin C + Zinc and Vitamin D. But as long as I'm on the Watsons website, I might as well buy the medicines on this list (care of the OVP):

1. Phenylpropanolamine Hydrochloride/Chlorphenamine Maleate 325g – For colds accompanied with nasal congestion
2. Paracetamol – For fever and pain relief
3. Carbocisteine – For coughs with phlegm
4. Cetirizine – For allergies and itching
5. Butamirate – For dry coughs (without phlegm)
6. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) – To help prevent dehydration
7. Hexetidine Gargle – To help relieve sore throats
8. Vitamin C + Zinc, Calcium + Vitamin D3 – Supplements for recovery

I also need these medical tools in the kit:
1. Digital thermometer – To monitor temperature every 4-8 hours
2. Face mask – To prevent the spread of the virus
3. Pulse oximeter – To monitor oxygen levels
4. Disinfectant – To sanitize surfaces
5. Rubbing alcohol – For disinfection and hand hygiene
6. Trash bag – to dispose separately items used by the patient

The OVP also says to have a monitoring sheet to note down temperature, medication, and symptoms. I like this one created by Jel Directo of Verses: COVID monitoring sheet

So anyway, shop this weekend, mamas! Watsons Vitamin Super Saver Sale is a great chance to stock up on vitamins from Watsons, Potencee, Enervon, Centrum, Conzace, Pedzinc, Neurobion, and more because of the savings of up to 50% we can get!  I added this to my cart:

Okay, one last word from Watsons (and me!): 

"Watsons wants to remind Filipinos to continue taking precautionary measures such as wearing of face mask, washing of hands regularly, and to continue with their healthy lifestyle such as eating right and sleeping well to stay healthy and protected against the virus. Along with these, taking vitamins regularly can help boost our immune system, and help us stay healthy and protected against the virus."

Take advantage of this sale happening for 3 days only. Shop now in any of Watsons 800+ stores nationwide (, online via or mobile app ( or via call & delivery service (