#BetterMe Buffets

We’ve had two #BetterMe sessions for the year and both have been sponsored by buffets.   Along with their overflowing food, we’d like to thank them for their overflowing generosity.  Thank you Pia, Mara, Cara and Bokie Villavicencio for opening your (kitchen) doors to the SoMoms and our guests (and if you know the SoMoms, we just love to eat so buffets are really perfect!).

Dads World Buffet Mega Mall

The Villavicencio household has been familiar to me since grade school.  Pia would invite her classmates over for play dates (I don’t know what we called it then) and lunches (turned dinners and parties in high school, college and after).  Every event in the Villavicencio household had crowds of family and friends enjoying great food — so it was not a surprise when Cara Villavicencio mentioned to us that this was really the inspiration and vision of Dads and even their buffet concepts.  It was to bring together big families, enjoying food the way Filipinos love to do.

What’s a Filipino celebration without lechon? In Dads, there’s lechon everyday.  (You can also spot stylish lolas walking about. I love her dress!)

Its called World Buffet because they have food offerings from 14 different countries.  My favorite (and I feel pinakasulit) is still the Saisaki Japanese section. (I can eat sushi all day!)    Cara told us that food safety is a priority to them because the temperature of raw food is essential in keeping it safe for consumption for the duration of the buffet periods.  (That is a reflief!)

At Dads, the buffet price includes drinks and different kinds of shakes (my kids love these!) and kids below 3ft eat for free (which is very considerate of them because they don’t really eat a lot).

Up to the end of April, Dads Mega Mall has a special promo rate, perfect for celebrating graduation.  Plus, you get a free buffet on your birthday too!

Follow Dads on Facebook or their website to know more about their promos and offerings.

Sambo Kojin

Sambo Kojin means kitchen god in Japanese, as relayed to us by Bokie Villavicencio (I remember going to his 7th birthday party!!), Managing Director of Sambo Kojin (managing director na siya, I feel so old!).

I love Sambo Kojin because of the yakiniku.  The kids enjoy cooking their own food!  Man, that asparagus wrapped in bacon and grilled is yummy.  And their special sauces are awesome too!

And once again, I feasted on the Japanese buffet — sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki, tempura, gyoza and kamameshi.  Loved all of them!

I’m really not sulit when it comes to buffets because I don’t eat a lot (yes, Tanya, my friend, I’m sure you will disagree) but with the food you eat at Sambo Kojin, the rates are great even if you just have one round.  (May I just say na lugi kayo sa dad ko by giving him 50% off).

Can I just say I’m not a fan of buffet craziness – the lines (and my brain going overdrive on hoping there’s a serving tong for every dish) and the crowds.  At Sambo Kojin, they spoil you somewhat because the waiters actually ask you what you want and they can bring that to you.  Pretty cool.

Follow Sambo Kojin on Facebook or their website for updates and promos.

Again, thank you Dads and Sambo Kojin for sponsoring our #BetterMe sessions and believing in what we do.  Thank you for giving Filipino families an affordable venue for celebrations.  And my mother thanks you for feeding her freeloader daughter many times in high school.


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Goodbye Walis!

Who remembers that ad “Goodbye bunot, hello Pronto?”?  Amazing how it’s stuck to my brain.  I used to do a lot of household chores as a member of my mother’s household — walis (tambo and tingting), bunot, floor polishing (think of that giant round thing those janitors push around in hotel lobbies) the marble, scrubbing the pebble wash out … that was how we spent our weekends and summers as kids (sounds like a child labor camp).  Just ask my friends who mistakenly went to our house thinking they’d spend a lazy day watching TV.  Hahaha.

Cut to 30 years later, in August of 2013, and I again, was subjected to everyday chores because I became helpless, literally.  And when you start doing things yourself as an adult, you suddenly realize that the right tools are super important.  It was around that time I met the distributor of Tonkita in the Philippines (they generously sponsored one of our #BetterMe sessions on communicating with our helpers) and she opened my eyes to the wonderful new standard  of cleaning implements.

The brand Arix has been around for 60 years in Europe.  They acquired the Tonkita brand in 2011 and since then, they’ve been manufacturing products that are fully recyclable. The bristles of their brushes are made from recycled materials.  My favorite (yes, I have a favorite) product is the outdoor broom — the bristles are rigid enough to sweep leaves and are able to withstand wetness.  I also love that lobby dust pan (that’s what they call it) because the handle is tall!  You don’t have to hurt your back bending.

They have indoor brooms, scrubbers, and so many different kinds of mops — microfibre, cotton, terry cloth — whatever your floor or requirement, they have a mop for it!   I chose the puligenix for dry-mopping the inside of the house and getting dust and hair (it’s kinda like a swiffer), then we use a cotton mop for wet mopping.  We also have a different mop for the upstairs bedrooms.

They also have this floor wiper.  It’s like a squegee but for the floor – so it’s longer.  We use this for the outsides of the house — garage, patio.  After wiping with this, we use the Microfibre mop for drying up.  That’s 4 separate tools for the floor!  The thing I like about Tonkita is you can just buy the heads.  The handles fit  the different heads for the mops, brooms and wipers.

My OC mom taught me to have a knife specifically for cleaning.  I have one for cleaning gunk on edges of the floor that won’t get removed by mopping.  Tonkita made something especially for this!!  It’s called the spazzoleria (doesn’t that make cleaning gunk sound cool)?

Then there are the hand tools.  Yes, I have all these.  I’ll just talk about a few:

1. The Rimedio Synth is like the magic eraser — it’s good for cleaning the old white Macbooks (haha). I saw a tip on the net which said you could get slivers of this, drop it into your toilet bowl and the rings that won’t get removed in the bowl would.  I haven’t tried it because I don’t know if it’s biodegradable.

3.  We have bottle brushes for the glass bottles we use for storing our Aquasana-filtered water in the ref.

4. Window wipers/ squeegees for glass doors and shower partitions

5. I keep this handy dust pan and brush in the car and also in the house for when I want to ask help from the kids.

For the kitchen, I got their multi-colored scrubbers.  The color code helps so you use a different scrubber for pots and pans, plates and glasses and what the kids use.  They also have these ultra-absorbent big sponges which are great for wiping up wet messes in the kitchen instead of using ugly basahan.  They’re color-coded too.

Then they have this grill/ pan scrubber that has a thick sponge on one side and hard bristles on the other side.

We’re all so used to walis tambo and tingting but really there are better alternatives (and I don’t say this to be anti-patriotic).  The Tonkita products are very sturdy (they don’t lose or break strands easily).  They can be cleaned by soap and water after every use (try doing that to a tambo!!).  And aesthetically, they look really nice.

Now, if we innovated on the tambo and tingting, I would  pay attention again.  In the meantime, I have newfound friends.  (Hey look, it’s that famous stock photo girl!)


Tonkita is available in True Value, Handyman, Ace, Pioneer Center, Home Depot, Wilcon, etc.  Follow Arix Philippines, the distributor of Tonkita in the Philippines, on Facebook.

P.S. I wasn’t paid for this post.  I just got a few products to try for free. Most of the Tonkita products at home I bought myself.  I was just ultra excited about their product lineup. Haha.


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San Francisco Starts the Ban on Plastic Water Bottles

Woohoo!! SFO has started a ban on selling water bottles on city property and they are working on a ban on using city funds to purchase bottled water.

My Snapware filled with Aquasana water comes with me everywhere.

My Snapware filled with Aquasana water comes with me everywhere.

Here’s the article from Reuters.

It’s gutsy move for a big city in the US where the bottled water industry is probably worth millions.  It’s also an admirable and responsible move knowing that water in plastic bottles don’t just produce unnecessary trash, they cost so much money and the perception of bottled water being healthier is just not true.  (I wrote about some bottled water research here and here .)

Hopefully, other states and countries will follow and Manila will be pressured to join the bandwagon.  A few years ago, Senator Pia Cayetano made the senate stop serving bottled water during hearings and meetings (Thanks Senator Pia!) so  there is hope.

So starting now, practice filtering your own water and bringing your own reusable water bottle with you because soon those single-use bottled water products will be phased out just like the plastic bags in stores (well, I’m hoping they will be).  Let’s just hope someone doesn’t propose paper bottles!!

Filter your own water at home with an Aquasana Drinking Filter




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A Post 6-Month Report on my Healthy Goals

It’s been a little over 6 months so where am I on my Quaker Supermoms goals?  Here’s my report:

Aquasanastore Standee 02

1. Healthy Air, Water and Energy

Of course, I have a perfect score on healthy water because my house is equipped with an Aquasana Whole House filter, Drinking filter and shower filters in each bathroom.  We only bathe, drink and even wash in Aquasana filtered water.  It can’t get healthier than that.

On air, I have installed air filters in all our air conditioners (I’ll blog about that soon) and have recently met with the distributor of Crane Air Purifiers in the Philippines so I’m excited to buy that!

On energy, we have started applying the no WIFI and cell signal rules while sleeping, as learned from the Building Biology principles of Mel Teng-Go.

2. Healthy Emotional Relationships

Coach Pia has helped us tremendously in our #BetterMe sessions for the #SoMoms and I believe I’m really becoming a better person because of her, and consequently a better parent.  I’ve also learned to let go of some of my OC-ness.  Thank you for the OC and #BetterMe therapy Coach Pia.

3. Fitness and Healthy food 

I’ve posted about having the right healthy fuel (and I’ve shared our recipe on Quaker Oats homemade cereals),

making healthy food choices and using healthier alternatives in cooking food (Convection vs Air Fryer).

I am proud to announce that I’ve also been going to pilates, zumba and belly dancing classes over the last 2 months regularly after being lethargic for 6 years.  Yay me!!  I’ll blog more about those soon too.

So after looking back, when it comes to achieving my goals, I can say I’ve really come a long way since I started these tasks in July.  I want to shake my hand, pat my back (and my tummy that’s slowly but surely losing fat) and say thank you to my husband who is probably very happy that I’m actually doing something about my health.  Hahaha.  And (true to Oscars fashion) I’d also like to thank Quaker Oats who helped point me in the right direction with these goals.  I still can’t call myself a supermom but if you insist on it, then I … thank … you.

Taken at the Quaker Supermoms photo shoot

Taken after the Quaker SuperMoms photo shoot before I cleaned the guest bathroom

Here’s to going further in becoming more healthy in mind, body and spirit for the rest of the year (and my life) ahead.



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