Thousand Cranes Shabu-Shabu Restaurant

For the longest time, my family has been planning to have a shabu-shabu dining experience. Once, I have tried making shabu-shabu at home. It was less expensive and enjoyable at the same time.

Shabu-shabu is a Japanese hotpot dish. It is like Sukiyaki because both dishes use thinly sliced meat and dipping sauces but shabu-shabu is less sweet.

Thousand Cranes is a Japanese restaurant in Eastwood Mall that serves mini shabu-shabu. By having mini servings of the dish, each customer is able to customize his/her own hotpot with the main ingredients of his/her choice.

We ordered two sets of mini shabu-shabu dishes: Mixed Seafood and Mixed Meat. Both sets come with a plate containing cabbages, tofu, meatballs, crab sticks, mushrooms, corn, noodles, spices, and seasoning. The Mixed Seafood set had squid, shrimps, oysters, and white fish. The Mixed Meat set had thinly-sliced beef, lamb, and pork pieces.

After our hot pots were prepared and the the base soup was poured in, we were basically left to ourselves. There are actually no standard steps in what ingredients should be put in first. I just told my boys to put in the corn first because it was the one that needed the most time for cooking. Once the corn was half-cooked, all the other ingredients followed one by one.

Aside from the hot pot sets, we also ordered a plate of Gyoza or Japanese dumplings, and glasses of juice. Our bill for the entire spread was around Php 1,300.

Thousand Cranes is located at the 2/F Eastwood Mall Veranda, Eastwood City, Libis. Contact (0922) 850-9006 for reservations.

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Famous Beaches of the Philippines

Being an archipelago, the Philippines is surrounded by sea. We have the best beaches that foreign tourists visit and appreciate. Without these beaches, I must admit that a large chunk of our country's income from tourism will be lost. Filipinos often dream of the snow in the States while the people from the other side dream of our beaches.

Aside from swimming, tourists also get to enjoy doing various water sports like kayaking, jet skiing, and diving. Not only that, they also get to dine in places like a San Diego restaurant with ocean view. Our skilled Filipino chefs do not only serve our native fare but also other popular international cuisines. Lastly, our beach resorts have Filipino staff that are friendly and efficient. Foreigners enjoy world-class Filipino hospitality 24/7.

Here is my personal list of Philippine destinations with the most beautiful beaches:
  • Boracay Island
  • Palawan
  • Cebu
  • Bohol
  • Caramoan

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Gold in the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago blessed with so much riches of the earth. It is a pity that not all Filipinos recognize this. One of these riches is gold. We have our own Philippine gold. Although some say that Philippine gold is inferior compared to Saudi gold and Singaporean gold, the truth still remains that we have gold!

Philippine gold is plenty in Mindanao, the third major island of the country found in its southernmost part. Most of the gold resources there are not being tapped since the war against terrorists affected almost all business activities in a large part of the island. Another popular gold digging site in the country is found in Baguio City. Local Baguio miners get gold the old traditional way - panning and sluicing along shallow rivers. Meanwhile, in Legaspi City, Albay, gold can be obtained from some of the beaches and under the rice paddies. What the miners make of their find is actually not worth the trouble at all because they do not make much money out of it. Probably, they should learn how to sell old gold instead to earn more cash.

Cash4Gold superbowl XLIII commercial shows how to earn cash from gold. Cash4Gold videos are also available over Youtube. It's just unfortunate that our local miners do not have access to these resources.

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Eastwood Mall's Ultra 7 Cinema

My husband's birthday week coincided with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. We decided to celebrate his birthday by watching the movie at Eastwood Mall's Ultra 7 Cinema.

The Ultra 7 Cinema boasts of being the country's first ever cinema with twin-seater Lazy Boy recliners. I have read in most blogs that the charge would be Php 400 for one person but it goes down to Php 350 for two tickets or more. The fee is inclusive of unlimited popcorn and drinks. Our ticket yesterday was priced at Php 401 each. I guess it's because our drinks were served in reusable Transformers tumblers. Not bad at all for my husband's special day.

While we were seated at the lobby waiting for our 12:30 p.m. schedule, the cinema attendant already took note of our preferred drinks and popcorn flavors. The snacks were served a few minutes before the movie started. Since the servings are unlimited, we were advised that we just have to raise our hands to ask for another serving.

The fully reclining seats were wide and uber comfy. It was so tempting to fall asleep. Thanks to its Dolby Surround Sound System, the sound effects of the movie was enhanced and amplified making my heart pound so much to keep me awake.

Even though there are attendants serving snacks every now and then to patrons, I wasn't at all distracted because the cinema's stadium style design made the seat in front of me low enough to avoid blocking my view even when my seat was fully reclined.

The only downside of this movie viewing experience was that the unlimited soda made me visit the ladies' room thrice throughout the entire movie! LOL! At least, the cinema's restroom is well-kept.

Ultra 7 Cinema tickets are worth every penny. I recommend that you try watching a movie that is heavy on special effects and one that runs more than two hours to fully enjoy an Ultra 7 experience.

By the way, my boys were not able to finish their buckets of popcorn. The cinema attendants gave us plastic bags for holding them and our reusable Transformers tumblers as well.

The Ultra 7 Cinema is found at the new Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City. Click here to view their movie schedule.

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The NIDO FORTIFIED Science Discovery Center

Yesterday, Ralph and I attended the advanced screening of "Ice Worlds" a documentary film about the existence of ice in the Earth's polar caps and its relation to global warming and climate change. It will be shown starting on June 23, 2009 at the NIDO Fortified Science Discovery Center at the SM Mall of Asia. This science museum is formerly known as the SM Science Discovery Center.

Aside from getting to witness the advance screening of the said documentary film, we were also able to go around the museum and enjoy the exhibits. The last time we visited the place, we were not able to spend more time with each exhibit as there were excursionists. The best time to visit the place, I gathered, was on a non-school day.

The Gravitram is the newest exhibit in the science museum. Gravitram is short for Gravity Tramway, a rolling ball sculpture created by Shabtay Levy and George Hohnstein wayback in 1973. Aside from the NIDO Fortified Science Discovery Center, various museums around the world also exhibit the Gravitram.

The NIDO Fortified Science Discovery Center is located at the Southside Entertainment Mall, SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City and is open daily from 10 AM to 10 PM. For more information and ticket reservations, you may call 556-2153 and 556-0331 (group booking).

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Traveling and The A(H1N1) Influenza Virus

Now that the World Health Organization has finally acknowledged the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic throughout the globe, it is but natural to be having second thoughts about traveling at this moment. On the other hand, the WHO maintained that issuing a travel ban will only do little to stop the spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, I believe that it would be most helpful for travelers to do their own precautionary measures. If it is possible to delay traveling to a place where there is a high transmission rate o the A(H1N1) Influenza Virus, then reset the travel date. If traveling is inevitable, practice the first lines of defense against the virus. Wear a surgical mask if possible and always sanitize your hands and personal belongings.

Here's the A(H1N1) Influenza Booklet from the United Nations for your reference.

A (H1N1) Influenza Booklet A (H1N1) Influenza Booklet Noemi Lardizabal-Dado Things to Know, Things to do . A UN publication

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Free WiFi at The Podium

The Podium has finally joined the roster of malls in the metro that provide free Wi-Fi access to its customers. Bloggers convened in the 2nd Level Atrium last May 31, 2009 to test the mall's Wi-Fi signal strength. I brought my laptop and PSP to the event. The connection strength was excellent in my laptop that I was even able to download Open Office files at high speed. The connection via my PSP was favorable, too. I even tried to test the signal strength inside the ladies' room, hahaha!

This is another good news for people like me who love going to malls that are classy and quiet as The Podium. Do not be fooled by its size. The Podium almost has everything under its roof. Aside from its chic boutiques and restaurants, the mall also houses Watsons, National Bookstore's Betsellers, Smart Wireless Center and Globe Business Center, and a two-theater cinema. Not bad, don't you think?

The Podium is located along 18 ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

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