Monday, June 27, 2022

Dae Nong Mart in BFRV, Las Pinas is the Best Korean Store

When I say that I have been to my fair share of Korean Marts, trust me on this. Every single time I pass by one, I make sure to stop and check it out. Most of the time, I am okay with the choices but sometimes, I feel let down, especially after I started watching Korean vlogs.

I found out that I have a love for Korean food and cooking, thus, the search for the most complete KMart has started. Thankfully, I saw Dae Nong Mart. 

Dae Nong Mart

This is located right beside BPI Family Bank which is along BF Resort Drive. It's not that big but trust me, it's almost complete with the basics to cook a wonderful Korean dish.

They have all of these mushrooms. They have 5 different kinds and I love them since I love dishes with mushrooms and a lot of the Korean dishes that I want to learn involve mushrooms in one way or another. 

They also had the small sausages that are perfect for budae jjigae which I love serving in our home since it's so easy to make.

Dae Nong Mart

They have premium Korean beef which I use for beef enoki mushrooms, soup, and stir fry beef veggies. They also have Kimchi which I use for Kimchi rice. 

They had fish cake, the big togue, and hotpot ingredients. 

They even have really affordable bokchoy which is one of my go-to veggies. 

And this! Singapore Fish Ball is the best when it comes to noodles and ramen. ACK! So so good and bouncy fish ball. GAH! 

I also tried their gimbap ham and it's definitely something that I will be adding to my menu now. Their japchae is also so so great because a big serving is only 120 pesos and it's good for at least 3-4 meals. It's so easy to cook too coz you just need to pour hot water and leave it for 30 minutes to one hour. 

Here's the latest dish that I cooked at home. It's not perfect but I know that I am getting better with every attempt. 

I even bought a ttukbaegi for making Korean steamed eggs. I also have Mirin. The other dish is a veggie stir fry with gimbap ham and baby eggplant that I harvested from our tiny garden.

My version of jajamyeon.

Next time, I'll try the gimbap. I am so so excited. 

Kathy Balmores

Saturday, June 25, 2022

AstraZeneca Philippines and Medasia Team Up for Early Detection of Chronic Kidney Disease

In commemoration of National Kidney Month, AstraZeneca Philippines and Medasia Medical Products Corporation have signed an agreement with the aim of broadening the country's access to machine testing that can help in the early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD). 

In 2017, CKD was seen as the 4th leading cause of premature death in the Philippines with Impaired Kidney Disease as the 9th leading cause of death and disability. In 2021, hemodialysis procedure topped the procedural cases reimbursed through Philhealth.

Dr. Nickson Austria said: “As the burden of CKD weighs heavier on patients’ shoulders, it is essential to have these patient-centric initiatives. We cannot do this alone. It is a collective effort among the medical community, patients, government, and private sectors to be able to improve the overall quality of life for Filipinos and save more patients.”

“By working in partnership throughout the entire patient care pathway, I hope we can tangibly improve CKD patient outcomes and support our healthcare systems for many years to come,” says Jo Feng, Senior Vice President of AstraZeneca Asia Area. 

Addressing the unmet need among CKD patients through the AstraZeneca and Medasia partnership

The partnership between AstraZeneca Philippines and Medasia will enable more Filipino patients to gain access to urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) machines, which detect how much a small protein called albumin is present in the urine -- one of the earliest indicators of kidney disease. The testing may be done in doctors’ offices, hospitals or diagnostic clinics.  

Depending on the patient’s background and existing health conditions, the uACR is a simple urine test that may be taken once a year. Only a small amount of urine is needed (about two tablespoons) to do the test, which will then be checked through the uACR machine. A normal amount of albumin in urine is less than 30 mg/g. Anything above 30 mg/g may be an indication of CKD.

“CKD is highly underdiagnosed. Now that our uACR machines are more accessible to patients, we are committed to helping AstraZeneca Philippines and the medical community in addressing the root of the problem,” remarks MedAsia general manager Mr. Oliver Lim.

“In AstraZeneca, we recognize the urgency of early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic kidney disease.  We stand in unanimity with our partners to improve the healthcare ecosystem and enable solutions including disease education and broad access to diagnostics through our advocacy programs such as the Kidney Patrol which aims to Care, Know and Detect CKD. We are committed to helping improve outcomes, delay progression, and prolong dialysis-free survival for more Filipino patients,” says Lotis Ramin, AstraZeneca Philippines country president.

Recognizing the burden CKD poses on Filipino patients, AstraZeneca Philippines in November 2021 shared its commitment to address the condition through the launch of Kidney Patrol. It is an online advocacy campaign that seeks to educate patients on kidney health, including prevention of disease progression, to dialysis and its complications. The social media-based campaign also encourages Filipinos to self-screen for risk factors and consult their physicians to recognize and detect CKD early. 

Through AstraZeneca Philippines' Kidney Patrol campaign and improved uACR access through the company's partnership with Medasia, more Filipinos will be encouraged to fight the dreaded Chronic Kidney Disease with the right CKD--Care, Know, and Detect. 

Weekend Hotpot at F1 Hotel Manila's The Canary

What's a good thing to do on a weekend? HOTPOT BUFFET at F1 Hotel Manila!

F1 Hotel Manila

Earlier today, my family and I headed to BGC because we heard that there was something called a laksa hotpot buffet happening at F1 Hotel. Ever since my visit to Singapore five years ago, I have fallen in love with Laksa. 

I just love it and my husband also loves it. Since we both hate being late, we ended up arriving earlier than 6pm and had time to catch the golden hour. 

F1 Hotel Manila

After, we trooped inside and got ready to feast. I loved that there wasn't an overwhelming choice of things. They kept it simple but filling.  

You can start with Kimchi Rice, Japchae, a fish dish, and Korean chicken. I had one serving of each and loved the Kimchi Rice. The Japchae was okay but I think the one I cooked a week ago was actually better. Teehee. I felt that this lacked a few more soy sauce and sesame oil. 

The fish was good and the chicken was very tasty. It was a good meal opener so to speak. Now off to the hotpot part. 

The fish tofu (lower left) will always be a winner and the crab sticks as well. I wished that the odeng (upper left) wasn't cut so small. Odeng is best experienced in large doses, not tiny strips. 

They had 4 kinds of noodles and 5 kinds of meat. I had tons of shrimp and beef. My son had pork overload and had fun flipping it and cooking it wrapped in the chopsticks. I chose the Pad Thai noodle and the rest got Egg Noodle.

My late grandfather would have been so proud of me. I actually got a lot of the bell pepper and ate it. I also got mushrooms and a little bit of the togue. 

My family and I ended up going home with a full stomach. The laksa was just thick enough and tasty enough with a hint of spice. It was perfect for me. 

I wish I could recreate this at home. I'm sure that it'll be special but if I can't, the good news is that the Weekend HotPot Buffet at F1 Hotel Manila will run until the end of August. Right now, they have an ongoing promotion too so head on here.

Seoul Stop Inside BFRV Needs More Soul

I recently went to this little KPOP store inside BFRV. If you are not from here, it's almost right after the guard house in Casimiro going to BFRV, located to your left. It's pretty nondescript so make sure that you are on the lookout for it. 

Tip: It's located on the second floor of a building to your left. 

It was my son who requested to go here though he did give me fair warning that it was pricey. Since my son has been doing well in school and has been an overall good kid, I thought that he deserved this. 

Aesthetics, there's not much to the store. If not for the merch itself, it would be the blandest store that I have ever been to. I think they either relied on the merch to make it look good or they didn't have the budget anymore to decorate or give the place a personality. 

Overall, the place seemed to have a good variety of merch for the different KPOP groups that my son mentioned and stans such as TWICE, SEVENTEEN, Blackpink, BTS, Stray Kids, NCT, and the like. 

They also had the OST of famous KDramas which thankfully I didn't find attractive or else my wallet would have cried. 

We ended up buying an album from SEVENTEEN and this is where the title of my post stems from. For a store that had no other customers in the more than 30 minutes that we were in, the staff was very uninterested in assisting us. I tried to make small talk and was met with a smile and nothing else. 

It was appalling. 

The item my son wanted to buy had no price and it took them more than 15 minutes to find out the price for it. I found that to be very wrong because it's a business. 

It was a good thing that it was my son who wanted to visit Seoul Stop and that he was able to buy some items because if it was just me, I would never go back to this store. 

It's a pity too because as far as I know, they're the only KPOP Merch store inside BFRV. 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Why You Need to Put Your Savings in the Bank

Many Filipinos still do not feel at ease with putting their savings in a bank. 

Most Pinoys still feel apprehensive about banking because they feel that they won't be welcomed, there are many requirements, and the initial deposit is big. Others feel that they don't need a bank and can just keep their money safe at home and provide themselves with easy access. 

However, experts continue to advise that it's still better to put one's savings in a bank so that it won't be lost or stolen. All you need to do is to visit a branch and open an account. 

So, what are the benefits of having a bank account? 

1. Convenience - With ATMs available almost everywhere, access to your money any time of the day is no longer an issue. 

2. Savings security - Your money is insured for up to Php500,000 per account. No matter what happens, know that your money is safe and sound in a bank.  

3. Interest in savings - At home, your money won't have any interest. In a bank, you earn even a small interest. 

4. Access to credit or loan - When you have money in a bank, you build your credit score. This allows banks to assess and gauge if you are good for credit or a loan. 

5. Record of all transactions - Every single transaction in a bank is recorded. All withdrawals, deposit, interest earned, all of these are recorded. 

"BDONB will prioritize those Filipinos who are in far off places and may not have banking services readily available to them. We want them to experience the benefit of having a savings account." said Jesus Antonio Itchon, president of BDONB. 

To know more about the advantages and benefits of having a bank account, visit your nearest BDO Unibank or BDONB branch. 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Celebrations at Nanyang Mall of Asia

Finally, Nanyang is slowly making its way to the South. They have opened in Mall of Asia and I'm hoping that soon, they will open up in Molito, Evia, or even SM Southmall. Now that would be a dream come true for the laksa lover in me!  

Earlier today I found myself trooping over to Nanyang because I have been craving laksa for quite some time now. I met up with some friends and it was truly an afternoon well spent. 


The place is easy to spot in Mall of Asia because it is located at the Ground Floor neat the activity center. It's also right beside Bread Talk so there's already a familiar landmark right beside it. 

Though the place looks small at first glance, you'd soon realize that they were able to maximize the seats. Since our group was around six, we decided to sit at the elevated table that could fit all of us.

Since we were a pretty big group, we ended up ordering a lot of the dishes and there were absolutely no regrets from any of us.


The newest item was the cheesy chicken chop noodle which I wasn't able to try because apparently, it was so good that it was gone in an instant. 

I had my usual laksa and it was still the same taste, two years after I last had it. I was also able to try out the Hainanese Chicken and I can tell you right now that they are as close as you can get to the real thing. 

The fishball noodle will always be a winner in my son's book and this time was no different. He wiped off the plate and was so full at the end of our lunch. 

Afterward, we had Kaya Toast with Eggs and I also had KOPI. This was definitely something that I hoped to learn how to do in the future at home. 

Overall, I am severely reminded of how good Singaporean food is and how I wish that I could be in Singapore right now, eating Laksa while overlooking the entire city. 

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Department of Migrant Workers Request to Retain Atty. Abdullah Mama-o

In the days leading up to President-elect Bongbong Marcos Junior officially being seated as the President of the Philippines, he has made several announcements as to who he wanted to lead the different Departments that make up his government. One such announcement was for the Department of Migrant Workers and he chose the late Senator Blas Ople’s daughter, Susan ‘Toots” Tolentino, to handle the newly created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

 This was not met with open arms by the people in the Department of Migrant Workers. In fact, they feel that Susan 'Toots" Tolentino is not someone that has the best interest of the OFW's at heart. 

Unified Migrant Workers Global representatives: L-R: Mr. Robert Picasso, Mr. Ken Bautista, Mr. Ferdinand De Los Reyes, Ms. Gomez, and Mr. Ramon Sta.Maria.

The Department of Migrant Workers was just established three months ago and acting Secretary Atty. Abdullah Mama-o because in just a short time, he was able to repatriate distressed OFWs in the Middle East and has helped domestic helpers as well.

With the announcement of Toots Ople replacing Atty. Mama-o, they feel that all of their initial hard work will be put to waste. They are now requesting 15 minutes of audience time with the incoming President Bongbong Marcos Junior. ” We know that he is busy now going through all the process of transition but we appeal to him to hear our plea”, said Ken Bautista, VP for Unified Migrant Workers Global. ” 15 minutes is all the time we are requesting from him”.

Toots Ople is not new to the sector she has been tasked to serve. Toots Ople advocates migrant workers’ rights and was a labor undersecretary under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presidency. However, the Unified Migrant Workers Global representative does not believe that she has done something worthy of note during her time and now that she is not 100% in condition because of her illness, they feel that she won't be able to do her job to full capacity. 

Do you agree? Do you think that it's best to leave Atty. Mama-o as the head or should the Unified Migrant Workers Global representatives trust in the choices being made by the incoming President? 

Let us know your thoughts down below. 

You can also watch a snippet of our interview with them here

Monday, June 13, 2022

Sunshine and The Crafters Marketplace

Have you ever met someone who loved arts and crafts so much that they turned it into a business and because of their love and passion, made it successful? If not, then you need to meet Sunshine Asuncion, owner and founder of The Crafter’s Marketplace also known as TCM. 

TCM was born in 2015, the same week Sunshine’s youngest daughter was born! She started by sourcing coloring materials and hard-to-find adult coloring books for clients from Manila. As their customer base grew and their social media accounts gained more followers, their product line evolved and grew as well to meet the rising demand of customers.

So, why TCM? Does it cover all types of crafts? 

Shine had this to say, “My dream has always been to have a crafting space that welcomes every kind of crafter: the card maker, the paper crafter, colorista, those who sew, work with yarn, quilters, clayists, hair bow designers. We each have a special affinity to a certain craft, while some are curious about other crafts. The beauty of this is that when we are in one space, we get to share with each other what makes our craft so special to us.”

Though TCM carries different crafting lines, it’s the crafting kits, scrapbook paper, stamps, ink pads, and crafting machines that sell like hotcakes whenever Shine posts about its availability to her community. It also helps that when Sine says “It’s so pretty!” it really is pretty and you can bet that it’ll sell out.  

One of the key challenges Shine initially had was the fact that she was located in Canada making her 12 hours behind her market. However, she soon realized that this was actually her biggest strength because she had easy access to brands that most of her customers didn’t have access to. She could also lead the pack with new releases and sales that would never be available in the Philippines. 

Over the years, Shine has had her fair share of life lessons and growing pains from managing TCM. She’s realized that clients will always come and go, but they will always bring something special to the community. You always need to be quick on your feet if not one step ahead, in order to keep the community engaged and growing. But with all the effort that you put in, the best part is having a community that loves you hard and supports you all the way.

One of the benefits of crafting is to heal and calm the mind. It is something that a lot of people have turned to, especially during the pandemic. It was a great way for them to connect with their creative side that has been silenced by the reality of adulting.    

Crafting will stay relevant in our lives as long as we welcome and embrace it. When the world becomes too noisy and disruptive, crafting allows you to disconnect, create something magical and personal, and rediscover yourself in the process. It is that part of our soul that gives us balance, that allows us to say what’s in our hearts without using words.

For Shine, crafting has and will always be a big part of her life. From cross-stitching, sewing, card making, and her true love, scrapbooking. This has allowed her to keep intact her memories, fostering her love for paper, stickers, and ribbon, while earning money on the side.  

She may be far from her home country but she doesn’t feel alone because she is constantly surrounded by people who are supportive of what she is doing and she has built a strong community of crafters, people who speak and understand her craft language. 

From creating a small business to brand partnerships all over the world, from a small team to a growing team internationally, and from doing things by herself to being able to share with a community of crafters in an instant, Sunshine is definitely shining brightly in the world of crafting. 


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