Monday, December 17, 2012

Manilabake:Traditional baking with a modern Filipino twist

I really missed the Pandesal during the 70's and the 80's where it only cost 25 cents each and the size was as big as a small coconut. Each time my mother served that bread during breakfast, it was so filling that you can skip lunch and still feel full.

Today, the regular bakeries don't served that kind of Pandesal anymore. Though some popular ones are making them, but each cost hundred times over. So, in most days my family and I would resort to the pebble-sizes at P2.00 each. 

Just over a week ago, I was so blessed to be part of a unique tasting event of special breads, including the special Pandesal I used to eat before and more. The pastry house is called Manilabake. It is located at Katipunan Road, just a little over Blue Ridge in Quezon City. 

The person behind this special bakery house is Ms. Gretchen Lim. Ms. Lim shares that the reason why many breads today lost the quality is because much of them are cooked to quickly. In order to produce more, in a short span of time, bakers normally overly dressed their doughs with too much yeast in it, so it can expand more faster, therefore cooking time is shorter. By doing so, most of the good ingredients of the breads are not cooked well and you don't get much of their flavors.

Manilabake's motto is: "good bread comes from good baking". A good baker patiently waits for the dough to rise naturally, then hand-shaped and well-mixed and laid out in a cool place to ferment and to developed to the fullest. After which, a baker will placed them in customized ceramic charcoal fired oven. This way, you allow the bread's sugar to caramelized and fully baked to perfection.

The everyday Pandesal is not the only bread Manilabake serve. Among the best sellers are the Barbeque filled Pandesal, priced at P47 each, Bonete bread at P5, Cinnamon Raisin loaf at P225, Macapuno Pandan cake and much more. My personal favorite is the Calamansi Cupcake which is surprisingly very affordable at P70 each.

The cafe also served some light meal with coffee and desert, like the special Champorado and the Sheperd's Pie la Cubana. It is actually a mashed Camote (sweet-potato) and patato blanketing the meat filling served in a bowl. If  you want something special for the holidays, they also make Queso De Bola cupcake.

Ok, the Pandesal was not as affordable as I thought it would be, but they sure brings me back to the time where the Pandesal was so special it's the best meal of the day.

HUAWEI Smartphones Now in the Philippines

HUAWEI. Honestly, it took me a while to just get the correct pronunciation of this not-so-quite-new player in the never ending “battle of the smartphones” industry. Little did many people know, HUAWEI is one of the two biggest telecommunication companies in China today aside from ZTE. For years, Huawei is one of the leading toll-manufacturers of smartphones and tablets being used by other brands like the PLDT tablet. With the wide acceptance of many information and telecommunication brands in the world, the company finally ventured out to come up with new communication devices under its own brand name.

Last December 16, 2012, HUAWEI unveiled two of its latest top-of-the-line smartphones namely, Ascend G600 and Ascend D1 Quad XL. Powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, these two, along with the rest of the smartphone lines are backed up by US software technology. The hardware casing design is a product of former BMW design experts in the UK.

With all the powerful l smartphones available in the market today, one prevailing limitation that’s common among these phones is battery life. As a common rule, the more powerful the phone is, the faster it would wear out. Not so for the Ascend D1 Quad XL because one of its notable features is the longer battery life. Huawei Tech people were able to improve the battery life span up to 30%, much longer than its leading competitors. It carries an ultra-powerful 2600mAh battery that can deliver an impressive 15 hours talk time and stand-by time of 500 hours.

This turbo-charged smartphone is powered by Huawei’s HiSilicon HI3620 quad-core 1.4GHz processor. It provides a cinematic experience with it cutting edge IPS display in a high-definition 4.5-inch 1280 x 720 Toshiba screen, giving you crystal clear images even under direct sunlight. Matching its high quality visual clarity is the Dolby Mobile 3.0 Plus sound enhancement that offers a superb audio experience. The Ascend G600, on the other hand, also carries Android 4.0 ICM. The camera is 8-megapixels with auto focus, double focus, and surround system speakers. Being a one notch lower model from Ascend D1 Quad XL, this phone still packs more powerful features that are much better than other brands in the value-for-money class.

The official launch was held at the activity center at SM Annex North Edsa. It was graced by tech and lifestyle bloggers as well as several members of the traditional media. Each of us was able to scrutinize the details of the Huawei phones and they do give a serious kick and can compete side by side with the other more popular smartphones around. 

At the near end of the program, the management of Huawei was generous enough to raffle off great prizes including a unit each of Huawei Ascend G600 and the top of the line, Ascend D1 Quad XL. In raffles like these I normally don’t keep my hopes too high because, for some weird reason, luck always seems to be against my favor and I would be happy if I just go home with one of the minor prizes. However, my friends’ names were called one by one and I still didn’t hear mine. Then suddenly, as I was thinking that all luck has ran out, my name was called and I bagged the grand prize – the Ascend D1 Quad XL! Wow, my first quad-core phone!  

 Truly, this made the Christmas season a very Merry one for me. Thank you Huawei! 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The indigenous Filipino Martial Arts, Lakan Kali gains popularity in the law Enforcement

I have always been a fan of martial arts and I’m fascinated by anything indigenous -- everything that is true-blue Filipino in nature. So when I first saw the interview of Matt Damon in the film Bourne Identity, I was surprised to hear him explaining how he learned a cool martial art which originated in the Philippines. One of the highlights of that film was the fight scene between Jason Bourne and a Threadstone agent assassin where Jason (Matt Damon) used a pen as a weapon against his opponent, hitting on the vital parts of his enemy and eventually subduing him down. The fighting style that was ingeniously choreographed is no other than the Lakan-Kali.

From then on, many Hollywood action films followed, such as “The Hunted” starring Venicio Del Torro and Tommy Lee Jones, that also featured the Lakan-Kali fighting style. Presently, this Filipino martial art has gained and crossed over its popularity from the movies to US law Enforcement, such as the State Police Force, FBI, Navy Seals and US Special Forces. Of course, the Philippine National Police is never left out in mastering this martial art that is, in the first place, inherently ours.

Last November 21, 2012, the Philippine National Police Training Institute celebrated its annual sports fest with a different kind presentation. About two thousand police cadets simultaneously executed a synchronized field demonstration of Lakan-Kali. Headed by Police Chief Inspector Serafin Petalio, a.k.a. Lakan-Kali Grand Master, who first instituted to integrate the Filipino martial arts as the standard basic self-defense and counter offense to be taught in the police academy.

The demonstration was witnessed by the guest of honor Ms. Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski, the daughter of Philippine Public Safety College President Ms. Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, who has been a loyal supporter of improving the law-enforcement in the Philippines. In the past eight years, Ms. Cojuangco has sponsored countless developments in the structure of the Philippine Police Academy; one of which is the application of Lakan-Kali to be the standard police self-defense system, improving the training facilities for the police cadets in training, and improving digital capabilities of the academy by putting up a state-of-the-art CCT monitoring system within the areas of Camp Gen. Vicente Lim. 

Police Chief Inspector Petalio expressed that Lakan-Kali or Kali, apart from being both an effective deadly and non-lethal way of subduing an assailant, is an advocacy that many Filipinos should learn. It has been evident that in many health and fitness gyms that are sprouting around, self-defense that were being taught there are all foreign like, Tae-Kwon-Do, Thai-boxing, Capoiera (Brazilian martial arts) and Krav-Maga which is Israeli in origin. Grand Master Petalio further expressed his vision that Kali may someday be taught in these gyms as well and be known throughout the country and even around the world.


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