Kiki & Lala

Archive for February 2010

Welcome back!  How was your trip? Di me, di me!

After being under inclement weather house arrest for a day and a half, it became apparent that a night out somewhere, anywhere was in order.  And there’s no better way to spend your “re-emergence” back into the bright lights and big city  than with a bunch of your friends.  So we all met up in this pan-latin restaurant called Agua Dulce.  Apparently, agua dulce means fresh water, which I found odd because I coulda sworn it meant sweet water.  But I digress.  They take pride in serving their own fresh, filtered and flavored waters, which I didn’t get to try.  I was a little more interested in their flavored alcohol than their flavored water. Haha!

Its a vibrant place nestled in the west side of the city and seems to be a pretty popular one too.  If you’re looking for a quiet and tranquil place for dinner, this shouldn’t be in your short list.  The loud music sets the tone which I actually liked.  Here is my ATTEMPT to capture the mood and ambience.  I really liked the wrought iron grills used as dividers, somehow gave the space a more vintage feel.

This is what we ate.

Churrasco, chimichurri on a bed of roasted potaotes. Green stuff was delish!

Pollo Al Carbon - half chicken on a bed of crispy potatoes

Yucca fries with garlic vanilla alioili. As you can see, someone couldn't help himself and went for it

Salmon in some kind of green olive caramel sauce...mmmmm

I have to thank the Little Twin-friends for holding off on enjoying their dishes so that I can shoot them for the sake of our blog.   Here they are.

Little Twin-ham (as you will later notice him in most of the photos) and Little Twin-dutch

Little Twin-ladehs

After dinner we walked down to Kyotofu to get our japanese dessert fix.  I know what you are thinking.  I was tempting the gods of restriction by going to a dessert bar when I sacrificed desserts for Lent.  But I emerged victorious! A little cranky but victorious nonetheless. There was a bit of a wait so we whiled the time admiring the full moon…

Que Linda!

While Little Twin-ham whiled his time admiring and testing his weather resilient boots.

From its name, I think you will easily figure out what the main base ingredient of this place is: soybean.   Check out what we…i mean THEY had (Grrrr!).

Warm mochi chocolate cake paired with a sake flight

Soft serve with these mochi cubes which I understand were very good. This was paired with chocolate flavored shochu (i think!)

I don't know what this is called but its supposed to be their version of taho

And what did I have you dare ask?  While their sweet teeth were overindulging, I had this…

Chateau les Tuileries Sauternes 2003 aka dessert wine. woohoo...?!#$@*

And as if sitting through all that wasn’t torment enough, they send us complementary brownies.

The next shots are just random photos of us playing with the camera.  I also took shots of the interior.  Nice clean lines.  I really like the high cushion back rest.

Here’s a distant shot of the kitchen.

With Little Twin-WOW

I will definitely hit this place up after Easter Sunday.  Those desserts were just so hard to resist.  Join me?

Y tu?  Tell me about your trip.


While you are living it up in the desert, I am STILL stuck in winter wonderland.  As we enter the month of March, we’re still packing it in with deceptively pretty powder white precipitation.  Good news: we were sent home early today…yay!  Bad news: it was horrendous in the commute home…boo! So I thought I’d make my walk home worthwhile and show you the huge flakes falling and continuing to fall as I share this with you.

This is Washington Street (Hoboken’s main street) about to be blanketed in snow. I think you can imagine how tomorrow morning will look like…

These next ones were taken from the park I cut through to get home.  Pretty surreal to see this park deserted.

I passed by the supermarket to stock up on food and buy some chocolate tablets for hot chocolate!  Then I remembered I gave up anything chocolate for Lent. Booooo!

Hope your trip is going well…AND SAFE.  I have to admit that I’m missing our morning chats.  So come home soon!

UPADTE:  Thought I’d give you a glimpse of the after math.  This was taken from my apartment window so please ignore my window’s screen mesh.

Check out this tree weighed down by snow

A man and his little girl attempting to make a snow man

In the latter part of fall 09, I biked up to a quaint little village in New York’s Rockland County called Piermont.  It’s a lovely little destination town right by the Hudson River, which also serves as a pit stop for weekend cyclists (bisikleta na naman!).  I can only describe it as Sausalito meets Nantucket if that makes any sense to you.  And hopefully my pictures will show you what I mean.

Last weekend was one of the few milder and sunnier weekends we’ve had here in a while. So it was a nice opportunity to go up to Piermont.  Tell me, how picturesque is this? Have  you ever seen marshlands this pretty?  I also love the effect of melting snow on the fringes.

And then as you enter the village, the main street is lined with typical small town shops. Very pretty.

Of course there are the New England-esque homes overlooking the river.  I thought that they were just so precious.

Barney House

I also took some shots of the marina and the Hudson.

The great thing about this place is that it isn’t so far from the city.  So you can have a place of respite and refuge without having to travel too far a remote area.

It’s an ideal bike destination.  It’s calm and tranquil aura meets you just when you think you are about to die on that bloody saddle.  It’s like seeing a soothing light at the end of the tunnel.  And once you’ve taken all this splendor in, it hits you:  It’s not over, you still gotta bike back to where you came from!

Rocio: Mom, are you also “rising an Aquarius”?
Lala: Nope. I’m Leo rising
Rocio: What’s that?
Lala: It means you like to be the star and you can be very direct.
Rocio: So I must have some Leo too because I like to be the star.
Lala: Well Kris Aquino is Aquarius… and Noynoy is too, I think.
Rocio: Well, he was BORN to be a star and everyone knows it.

Gotta love him. I post this in honor of our BNE with royalty.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Prince William", posted with vodpod

In the beginning of 2010, we toasted to another blessing-filled year.  We prayed for the courage to seize opportunities benevolently handed to us by the Powers that be.   2 months into 2010 and I think this year is turning out to be promising!

About 4 months ago, one such “hand-out” fell on my lap. I think this reawakened the same passion that fueled me to go to grad school and to shift my career trajectory towards the realm of public service.    I mentioned this little (career) development to you in passing before but didn’t want to get into any details as I didn’t want to count them eggs before they hatched.   So what exactly am I rambling about here?

MADDEL is a social enterprise start up which I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to join.  In a nutshell, we provide easy-to- use technology that help displaced families affected by conflict, disasters and extreme poverty rebuild their lives. What exactly does this mean?   It means MADDEL will assist affected families in every step of their rehabilitation and rebuilding process. Our entry point would be to first provide them with temporary shelter.  The MADDEL Team is blessed to have a handful of brilliant architects, engineers and designers who are very responsive to the needs of these unfortunate families. Check out what they’ve come up with.

This is what we’ve tentatively named Mark II.  Its made of Polypropylene material (read: like plastic) that makes the shelter lightweight, easily transportable (as a flat pack) and easily assembled in refugee sites.   Having said that, this shelter is reusable too!

This unit can be collapsed, relocated and re-erected multiple times without losing structural integrity.

Mark II shelters can be used as stand alone units or as part of a larger unit to build on-site temporary clinics, triage centers or even schools!   Can you imagine if this was already available after Typhoon Ondoy, the 2004 Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina or even the recent earthquake in Haiti?

I think the schools idea resonates most with me because affected children need not interrupt their education due to their displacement.  Cool, no?

To better appreciate the portability and ease of installation of the Mark II, I urge you to check out this link. The animation is pretty awesome, if I may say so myself.

This next one is named Mark V. It’s a more evolved version of the Mark II and was literally conceptualized in the back of a napkin while taking into consideration the inputs of prospective buyers during a presentation in Geneva. We call this transformable shelter because users can actually “transform” this shelter into their new home.  They just pack this puppy up and go back to their neighborhood with a new home.

Here’s a scale model.

MADDEL’S service does not stop at the humanitarian response level. If we stopped at this level, wouldn’t our efforts be considered as merely “reactive” (wink, wink)? We also ensure that these families are able to sustain their living through products like the MADDEL Water Purification…

MADDEL Wall System to help hem swiftly rebuild their homes…

And MADDEL Agriculture and MADDEL Sanitation which is currently under development.

Our business model is simple. Generate enough revenue from the humanitarian response side of the business (read: sell as many shelters as possible) so we can finance the sustainable development part of the enterprise (read: help in rebuilding their lives through community building efforts).  I think our edge as a small player in the development industry would be our easy-to-use technology that will help affected families get back up on their feet.  But i also think we have an advantage because of the passionate, fire-burning-in-our-belly members of Team MADDEL.  We are committed to creating little miracles daily so the lives of people around us improve even just a little bit.

The last few months have been an exciting time for us as we’ve been thinking of creative ways to penetrate this challenging market. But as you already know, I’m all for the journey and I can’t wait to see where this one will take me!   So tell me what ya think?

There simply aren’t enough words to express how great I think Shangri-La Boracay Island Resort and Spa is. I’m telling you now that whatever I write or post won’t do the place any justice. I’m tempted to grab photos from their official website but I figure the stuff on my camera will make this a more honest review (which is not to say their website is misleading). Shangri-Lala Land is something to be experienced first hand.

So here’s what it looks like when you fly by it…

It’s situated at the northwestern tip of our fave island and has two beaches. One of which is exclusively Shang’s. (The other one is shared with Club Panoly).

Getting there is easy. You take the 45 minute flight from Manila. When you land in Caticlan, the transfers are seamless. There’s a 2 minute ride to the port where Shang has it’s own lounge. Refreshments are served while your stuff is loaded on the speedboat and from there it’s less than 15 minutes to the resort.

You land at this jetty…

from which the view looks like this…

A golf buggy takes you to the main lobby which is a gorgeous, light-and-airy contemporary take on Asian-Filipino architecture.

It has lovely embellishments like a series of these fishy fountains

and these ball lanterns on water.

So what’re the beach and pool like?

First you need to know that the beaches do NOT have Boracay’s world renowned powdery sand. Shang’s sand is white but it’s


Still, it’s all good I guess since my LittleTwinBrats had no issues about playing with this quality sand. Though their excitement was at an altogether different level when they got to feel the island’s “real” sand outside the resort.

Having said that, the sand and beaches were far superior to anything I’ve seen in other places like Phuket or Bali. And at Shang you absolutely get the exclusivity you pay for.

My boys with the beach to themselves.

complimentary mineral water and chilled fruit cubes

This grassy patch by the beach has inviting hammocks strung between the trees.

The pool side is a welcome alternative to the beach. (Late January waters were a wee bit too chilly – at least for the first few minutes you get in). The pool is laid out with lots of little nooks and crannies where you’ll find “jacuzzi beds” and other charming water features.

This bahay kubo is part of the pool resto. To the left is a discreet little jacuzzi area.

Their cups runneth over...

La famille de Lala facing the walk way leading to the beach.

If for any reason you tire of the the water (I didn’t but LittleTwinBrat numero uno did), there’s still lots to do. Welcome to Adventure Zone…

There’s also the Entertainment Center which has billiards, pingpong, unlimited internet access on what looked like at least two dozen big screen computers, arcade basketball shooting, Wii, Playstation, boardgames – all for free and open till 1am in peak season.

On to the accommodations. The resort has over 200 rooms and villas. We stayed in the rooms which were very, very spacious.

Regular room by day (1 king sized bed and sofa bed).

Deluxe room by night (two queen sized beds and sofa bed). Spot remote control monster on middle bed.

Upon our request, we got to check out the different types of villas in the resort.

This is the Villa Palmera which has two bedrooms…

living area

your own lil pool

master bedroom (the other room had 2 queens)

This is the Villa Kanluran…

oops! only took a pic of the entrance!

Moving on… they brought us to the honeymooners’ split level villas which are made to house two adults (and two kids) max. This is the Loft Villa which are the little cream and brown houses you see on the hill from the shore.

sexy bathroom

living area

private pool... use your imagination...

LittleTwinDad stopping to pose

This is the Tree House villa which you see as the all-brown houses perched at the resort’s highest elevation.


living area

day off pic on the balcony


We also took a look at the resort’s (overpriced!) Chi Spa…

reception area entrance

Chi Spa reception lobby's floor-to-ceiling bamboo center piece

Chi Spa's private pool

Shang Bora has something for everyone – as you’ve just seen. While the island’s rep as a party place precedes it, LittleTwinHub and I found a much cooler place for a night cap. We came across it by accident really. We had wanted to hang out at the Entertainment Zone one night but it was closed. So as we were strolling by the beach we noticed there were lights on on this cliff…

We'd thought the whole time that it was a villa...

The roving security guy told us that it was the seafood restaurant and the bar. Whooohooo! The two are right beside each other in open but discreet spaces. I loved it because they built right on the jagged grey coral rock so sit and sip and admire nature’s work.

Can you see the gorgeous coral rock formation to the right?

drinks, bar snacks, full moon, cool wind - all you need for a chill bora night..

So save up so we can go together next time. (This on top of our other fab travel plans, of course!) The local resident’s rate is expensive but doable when it’s off peak season.

Tulong Para Sa Rizal

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