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We ate Uok at Angono, Rizal!

One of the things we made sure to accomplish during our vacation back home in the Philippines this year was to explore the province of Rizal. I have lived in Rizal for 10 years and it has been our home base whenever we are back home.

The province of Rizal has a lot to offer, it is after all the Art Capital of the Philippines. Some of the top things to do in the province is to visit art museum, old churches, spend a day at nature parks and explore food scene.

We accomplished two of the suggested things to do – eat and relax.

First on the list is FOOD.

Balaw-Balaw Restaurant located at Angono, Rizal is well known for serving local delicacies and exotic dishes. I have been to this restaurant twice however a first time for my Daddy C, kids, my Mom and siblings. This restaurant was also featured at Andrew Zimmerman’s show Bizarre Foods.

We chose to have lunch at this restaurant for us to try out some exotic food. Here are some of the unusual food Balaw-Balaw has to offer.

Listed are crocodile, kabayo (horse), kalabaw (water buffalo), kuhol (escargot), palaka (rice frog) and Uok (coconut beetle larvae).

Growing up in Davao and with an adventurous Ilocano family I pretty much tried a lot of dishes which some might consider exotic – tokak (frog), balut (duck embryo), rabbit, sawa (snake) and baywak (monitor lizard). I was quite an adventurous kid, if you tell me it’s good food I would probably eat it! However, I draw the line on animals that I consider family.


Uok Tempura

Uok Tempura (PHP 300 / AED 22) had a crunchy exterior, the larvae skin was so tough it was a struggle to bite but when you manage to cut through the skin it had a gelatinous gooey insides! We ended not being able to chew the skin and had a spoonful of vinegar dipping to get through the “fat” inside.


Uok Adobo

Uok Adobo (PHP 300 / AED 22) was more pleasurable to eat because of its rich adobo sauce. We managed to chew some skin but it was still tough.

After sharing photos to family members I learned that my Great Grandma used to eat Uok and Abal-Abal so did my Aunts/Uncles growing up. Apparently it is a good source of vitamins that is according to my Lola.

What is Uok? Uok is a coconut beetle larvae which can be found in coconut logs. According to our server this one is best eaten RAW! this creepy creature is apparently a good source of protein.

Andrew Zimmerman ate Adobong Uok at his show, Bizarre Foods.

Crocodile Sisig (PHP 480) tasted like chicken. This one we really enjoyed and sadly I can’t find the photo.

Ginataang Kuhol (PHP 170) is Stewed Escargot in Coconut Sauce. This is a familiar dish since we always have it every Sunday when in season. Kids are also used to eating this, please don’t tell Chloe she ate this.

Ginataang Kuhol

Sinagang na Kanduli sa Miso (PHP 200 / AED 20)  I have no idea the English name of the fish, mom said it is a cousin to the cat fish. A fat fish that complemented well with the rich sour sinigang soup.

Sinigang na Kanduli


Balaw-Balaw is not just a restaurant it also features some art pieces.


We did not have any room for desserts but they have some delicious choices of Filipino snacks like turon and ginataang bilo-bilo.

Balaw-Balaw Restaurant


Food may take time to be served but you can use that to explore the place and admire the art pieces. Servers was very pleasant and patiently answered all our questions about the food. I will update this post soon with a video blog of our dining experience.

Balaw-Balaw Restaurant and Art Gallery is one stop you should not miss when you travel to Angono, Rizal.

Balaw-Balaw Restaurant

16 Doña Justa Subd. Ph. I Angono, Rizal
Contact Nos.: +63 2 651 0110; +63 2 295 2698; +63 923 714 4209

FREE 2017 – 2018 UAE School Year Calendar

One of the things I like most during the season of back to school (new year) is the fresh start everyone get to have to organize stuff. I have been trolling Pinterest looking for ideas for a less stressful school year, I found tons!

I chanced upon a school year wall calendar but it had marked Saturday and Sunday as weekends, which will not work for Middle East folks because our school/work day begins on Sunday and we have Friday and Saturday for weekend. Helen of ThMothershipDXB shared a wall calendar her family use which is very useful only if I had it printed last January!

Took matters to my own hands and made myself (US!) a SY 2017-2018 Wall Calendar with Friday and Saturday greyed out. Paper size set is A3.

Download 2017-2018 UAE School Year Calendar.

FREE 2017-2018 UAE School Calendar

I have checked all the weekend twice but in case you find a mistake, please let me know so I can edit and upload a new file.

Hope this helps!


I want to spend my “Great Moments”

Everything so fast paced now it is important for us to take it slow, step back a moment and think about the important people in our lives. Great moments does not really have to be extravagant, it could be as simple as getting off social media and just be in the moment listening to your kids stories.

School break is a perfect time to spend as much time with family –  spending extra cuddles in bed, sharing new experiences or teaching them house chores. I have been busy getting the kids involve at home, they have been assigned responsibilities like setting the table, watering plants, washing dishes (more for my 9 yrs old) and loading dirty laundry on the washer.

That is why when I got an email about sharing your “Great Moments” campaign of Procter & Gamble and Carrefour, I knew we as a family should participate. P&G is a company that is part of our household, I grew up using their products, up till now that I have my own family.

P&G Great Moments

In partnership with Carrefour, P&G is giving UAE consumers the chance to both share their great moments of happiness with their families and loved ones and create new ones by winning family experiences. From July 30th until August 9th consumers can take part in the world’s largest campaign to express joy for moments of togetherness.

During the campaign consumers who visit Carrefour at Mall of the Emirates or Dubai Festival City Mall and who express who is part of their Greatest Moment can become a part of the Guinness World Record attempt for the longest line of photographs. The Greatest Moments campaign was conceived to help consumers in the UAE both show their appreciation for who makes them the happiest, as well as enable them to make new moments together that they’ll cherish. The photographs shared by shoppers will be used to form the world’s longest line of photographs, which will be put on display for family members and loved ones to see at the end of the campaign. On August 9, Guinness World Records representatives will be invited to Dubai Festival City to verify the record.

In addition to the record attempt, consumers that visit any Carrefour hypermarket or supermarket across the UAE and purchase AED 100 worth of participating P&G products from selected brands will have a chance to make new moments of happiness by winning family experiences to attractions such as Ski Dubai, iFly, VOX Cinemas and other Majid Al Futtaim attractions.

Make sure to visit P&G’s Great Moments booth to have your photos taken!

Tsokolate or Sikwate (Filipino Hot Chocolate Drink)

Lately, I have been reminiscing the summers spent at Tagum with my Lola Mommy (Papa’s mother).  As soon as the school is over I commute via public bus and travel for 1 hour and 30 minutes to Tagum, Davao del Norte.

I have this vague memory of walking under cacao trees at our ancestral home looking for ripe cacao fruit. Once I spotted one and get a confirmation from Lola that I did find the right one, we would break it open and enjoy it’s fresh white meat. “Oh wag mo itapon yung buto” (Don’t throw the seeds) Lola would remind me. I was tasked to gather, wash and dry the seeds under the sun making sure that birds won’t steal them away. Once the seeds are dried, Lola would roast and grind it before she makes tsokolate or sikwate. The house would smell amazing.


We would always enjoy our tsokolate with Tagum biko – a rice cake with a sweet glaze on top. The biko we get from Tagum is like no other, I have sacrificed luggage space to bring some back here in Dubai. Another story to tell…

While I still work my way on recreating biko, we settled for a different kakanin (Filipino dessert) to pair with our sikwate. You can enjoy this drink with puto or cassava cake.

I have been looking for a tablea that would measure up to what Lola use to make me, tried several brands sold on groceries back in the Philippines but many of what I tried did not taste good. Mama recently discovered a chocolate brand from my hometown called Cacao de Davao. The packaging says they only use the finest cacao beans that are harvested and sundried from Davao.

Tsokolate drink is traditionally prepared on a pot over medium fire and stirred using a batirol to make it frothy. Alternatively you can boil milk or water on a pot then add shaved tablea so it easily melts.


Embracing the woman I am today

“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” – Arnold Jean Palmer

I stepped in the building of my first corporate job at  the age of 19 yrs, surrounded with career woman looking gorgeous and powerful in suits. I wanted to be just like them.

Why? Because I saw how lost my Mama was when she became a widow with three kids and living with her in laws. Growing up, my mom did not have much authority on us because she had to rely on relatives help to financially get by. She worked so hard to finally be on her own and even manage to buy us our own house with her salary as a government employee.

I want to be the woman who does not rely on anyone to pay her meals, travel or go out and have fun night on her own.  When friends and I discuss family life, I stand strong to my ideal life of still having a career of my own and not depend on my husband.

I was that woman for 8 years.

Fast forward…

Today, I hold the title “expat wife” and stay-at-home “mom” to two kids. I am completely dependent to my husband to pay for my needs – clothes, meals and my weekly salon visit.

It was an easy decision to make, I want my son to grow up with his dad and I want our family to be together in one location. Where my husband go, my kids and I go when possible. The first year was difficult and I struggled to be fully dependent on my husband.

I am happy with the woman I am today. I am raising two beautiful kids in a multicultural environment. I look back to the woman I was before and will always be proud of her.

What once seemed a life I do not imagine is the most rewarding one I have today. I’m happy to be devoting the whole of me to raise my kids. Grateful every day that we get to be an expat family here in Dubai.


This post is part of the ‘Quote for Thought’ Blog Hop hosted by UAE Mom Bloggers.

See how other bloggers have been inspired by this quote:

How my study abroad experience helped meStars In The Desert

The dilemma of expat parenting Sand In My Toes

Freshly Foods – My Emergency Food Stash

Do you have those days where you just don’t have any idea on what to feed your family?

I have plenty.

I try my best to plan our weekly menu but sometimes life as a stay-at-home mom gets in the way. Why? I wear several hats – a chef, blogger, main cleaner, teacher (my eldest it seems have exams every week), playmate and referee…are just a few hats I wear. It is overwhelming.

As much as I want to prepare fresh cooked food every meal time for my bunch (kids + husband), I sometimes just don’t have the energy (and time) to do it.  So I rely on store bought frozen food a few times a week (specially for lunch box) to get by. Choosing the right one is quite a bit of a challenge because I have to make sure that it is not made of junk and that my kids will eat it.

Freshly Foods Products

While shopping at Lulu Hypermarket we chanced upon the tasting booth of Freshly Foods  a company that prides itself for producing premium and MDM free food products. My kids loved everything at the tasting booth that they kept going back for more – it was already a Mama must have product in my books.

What is MDM? It means “Mechanically Deboned Meat”, which basically means that machine crushed bones is mixed in your food (eww!). Freshly Foods does not do this MDM stuff, they only use 100% pure chicken breast. As a parent who try my best to provide the healthiest possible food I can afford for my kids, this is one product I need. It is convenient, affordable and taste really good too.

Freshly Foods Chicken Shawarma Lettuce Wrap

One of our favorite Freshly Food product is the Gourmet Chicken Shawarma Meat. Here, I gave it a twist by serving it as a filling to a Chicken Lettuce Wrap drizzled with garlic yoghurt sauce for Kuya V’s school lunch box. All you really need to do is pan fry meat on a little oil since it has been pre marinated already.  

I will be using some Freshly Foods product in the coming weeks, so be sure to watch out for it on our Instagram account.

Meantime, to learn more about this amazing find visit them online here and here.


Disclaimer: I have been buying Freshly Foods product even before I was contacted to do a sponsored post for them. As always, all opinions are my own.

Birthday Blog Hop with Pretty Paper Studio: Gratitude Project

Pretty Paper Studio 5th Birthday Blog Hop

Pretty Paper Studio turned FIVE this month and we are celebrating via a Blog Hop with some of the best bloggers in town!


Thank you board


To celebrate Pretty Paper Studio’s birthday we were asked to make something around the theme “GRATEFUL” which I think is perfect because along with every celebration one must also always remember to give thanks.

A lot of ideas flooded my mind when I opened my box of goodies from PPS – a photo binder, a scrapbook, a framed collage and a lot more. To make something with one instruction that is to “be creative” scares me A LOT, I honestly wanted to send the box back to Neelu. Then… LittleMiss C opened the box and exclaimed “Oh mommy! So many pretty things, I want to make something with you.”

So we did.

Thank You Board

I am a visual person, for a project to be effective and memorable it has to be something that I (family) can use and see every day. Last Christmas, I made “Count your blessings” sticks where we get to pick a random popsicle stick and answer questions like “How many shoes do you own?” I wanted something similar and came up with “Be Thankful” board.

Be Thankful Board

Designing the board was a struggle for me because I wanted to use all of the craft materials provided. Every single item I laid out did not looked disorganized. I have a tendency to overthink things which ultimately leads to unfinished task. I stepped away from the board and asked the kids for help. Thank God for my kids creative genes.

Thank you board

At the end of the day each family member will write down or illustrate what they are thankful for that day. Simple. I hope that by doing this daily we all remember that there is so much to be grateful for like a cup of freshly brewed chai.

Are you ready to blog hop?

First, find a favorite spot and grab some snacks too because this will be a fun and creative blog trip. The creative team of Pretty Paper Studio along with some fellow bloggers have worked hard to share this projects with you. Visit each blog listed below and show some love by leaving genuine comments.  Next, make sure you follow all Instagram accounts (links provided below), like Pretty Paper Studio on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and Pinterest, subscribe to the YouTube Channel, and join Facebook Group. Once you are done, simply leave a comment on the main Blog Hop page to let us know that you have followed the instructions.

For being so generous of your time and spreading your love to every one on the blog hop, YOU will have a chance to win an amazing prize! Make sure you follow all the steps mentioned above.

Blog Hop Prize



Pretty Paper Studio Blog Hop

One winner will be picked randomly and will receive a Silhouette Cameo 3 Electronic Cutting Machine worth AED 1250. Simple. International entries are welcome too! You got to follow all the instructions to stand a chance though – that’s the only condition.

Blog Hop Winner Announcement

Blog Hop ends on May 1st, 2017 and a winner will be announced here on May 5th, 2017. In sha Allah.

Alright then, hop on!

You Are Here —} Cuddles And Crumbs (Abigail Caidoy)

Now Hop on To…

Designs With Donna Espiritu

Explore With Mafaza (Mafaza Haleem)

Handmade With Love (Ujjwal Gupta)

Mummy On My Mind (Zeyna Sanjania)

Papermade by Ing (Ingrid Lim)

Pretty Paper Studio

Quill And Punch Works (Hussena Calcuttawala)

Follow Guest Blogger Mummy On My Mind on Instagram

Follow Guest Blogger Cuddles And Crumbs on Instagram

Follow Guest Blogger Explore With Mafaza on Instagram

Like Pretty Paper Studio’s Facebook Page

Follow Pretty Paper Studio on Instagram

Follow Pretty Paper Studio on Pinterest

Subscribe to Pretty Paper Studio’s YouTube Channel

Join Pretty Paper Studio’s Facebook Group

Pretty Paper Studio reserves the right to final decision regarding the judgment method and winning Entries. This contest is not sponsored by or affiliated with Silhouette America.

Recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs

Kuya V spent an afternoon at a professional teaching kitchen of The Chef’s Palette by Gaggenau  in Fairmont The Palm where he learned how to make Spaghetti & Meatballs under the fun supervision of Executive Chef Kyle Grant.

Chefs Palette Fairmont The Palm


Watch the fun afternoon we spent getting messy to cook something yummy.

Chef Kyle shared his recipe for meatballs and tomato sauce below.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


  • 1 Lb. Ground beef, 20% fat
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 Cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ Cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, shallots and garlic. Add the eggs, grated Parmesan and olive oil. Add the breadcrumbs a bit at a time to make sure that the meatballs mix just holds together. Add the seasoning and make sure the ingredients are mixed well. Don’t over mix them or else the meatballs will become tough.

Tomato Sauce

  • 5 pounds tomatoes
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 1 basil sprig
  • 1 bay leaf


Cut tomatoes in half horizontally and blend in food processor. Put tomato pulp in a low wide saucepan over high heat.  Add salt, olive oil, tomato paste, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Reduce the sauce by almost half, stirring occasionally, to produce about 2 1/2 cups medium-thick sauce, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt. It will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator or may be frozen.

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Heat pan drizzled with olive oil. Pan fry meatballs till brown. Pour tomato sauce, simmer on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta according to directions. Pour meatballs and sauce over pasta, grate fresh parmesan cheese. Enjoy

Details of the class below.


• Enroll your little ones in our famous Kids Culinary Classes via or +971 4 457 3457
• 9 weeks course starts on April 30 and ends on June 25, 2017
• Classes take place every Sunday from 4:00pm – 6:00pm
• Other days are optional too, if a minimum of 8 kids register
Disclaimer: Kuya V was invited to attend the preview of the Kids Culinary Class. It was a really fun event and we wanted to share it with you all.