Cagayan and Iligan

When I was very young, my uncle, who was single then, would always drop by our home every time his vessel docked, bringing several packs of Iligan peanuts. I never grew up loving peanuts, but those were simply divine. I could devour them for hours. They’re neither so salty nor too toasted–just perfect for any palate, even for young kids like me.

Cagayan de Oro is another story. In my last office work, a lot of my colleagues were from CDO. Mind you, they’re fun people to be with. When I was heartbroken, they were some of my best companions. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get over it so easily if it weren’t for them.

CDO also reminds me of Chiq, one of the pioneers of Cagayan de Oro Bloggers. I met her around two years ago, along with Ria from Davao,  when we all participated in a journalism seminar sponsored by the U.S. Embassy. We only spent around two days together, but I guess you could never instantly forget someone who makes you feel so at ease.

These two beautiful places, with equally lovely people and heritage, however, are currently in a very serious condition. Sendong took away not only their livelihood, homes, cars, roads, electricity, and water, but also countless lives.  Many are getting sick, growing weaker for lack of proper food and water, and battling depression and trauma.

These two cities, their people, need us right now.

I hope you can all take the time to help in any way you can. You can follow the links below:

One for Iligan

Help CDO

Philippine Red Cross

Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan

From PEP:

Gawad Kalinga‘s “Operation Walang Iwanan in Mindanao” (cash donations)
Gawad Kalinga Philippine Peso Current Account  # 3101 0977
56 BPI EDSA Greenhills at Gawad Kalinga

US$ Savings Account  # 3104 0162 34
BPI EDSA Greenhills

Swift code: BOPIPHMM

ABS-CBN Foundation Sagip Kapamilya (cash donation)

BDO Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 39301-14199
Swift Code: BNORPHMM

PNB Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 419-539-5000-13

Peso Account
Account name: ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Sagip Kapamilya
Account Number: 3051-1127-75 (West Triangle, Quezon City)
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM

GMA Kapuso Foundation

BDO Peso Savings
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:469-0022189

Dollar Savings
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:469-0072135

PNB Peso Savings

Account Name :GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Numbe:121-003200017

Dollar Savings
Account Name:GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc.
Account Number:121-003200025

News5 Aksyon Center (cash donation)

BDO Peso Account
Account name: TV5 Kapatid Foundation Inc.
Account No. 005310-410164

BPI Peso Account
Account name: TV5 Kapatid Foundation Inc.
Account No. 1443-05333-2


RAFI, DOH Urge Observance of Healthy Lifestyle during the Holidays

Past records of the Department of Health show an increase of the number of patients at the local hospitals after a long Christmas vacation.

This prompted Dave Bargamento, National Nutrition Council 7 nutrition officer, and Ronald delos Reyes, program coordinator of the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center, to urge the public to observe a healthy lifestyle during the holidays.

During the Dec. 17 episode of Pagtuki, the weekly radio program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. aired every Saturday morning over dyLA, Bargamento and delos Reyes shared tips on how to stay healthy this yuletide season.

“People, especially those who are always attending parties, should eat moderately. They should avoid eating high fat and salt content foods. Too much of fat and salt will always have a negative effect on one’s body,” Bargamento explained.

Both Pagtuki guests promoted the eating of fruits and vegetables and lessening the use of seasonings.

“Since it would be a long holiday for everyone, it would be better to give time to exercising. Exercise would help burn excess calories. The sweat would help release toxins from our body,” delos Reyes said.

“Intake of water would also be helpful, especially when you drink alcoholic beverages. Water can help dilute alcoholic drinks,” Bargamento added.

They also advised partygoers to eat food that are rich in protein before going to their parties, saying that being very hungry before an event would trigger them to eat a lot.

“Eating ham on noche buena should also be minimized. Ham is processed meat and is high on salt. One or two slices of it would be enough,” Bargamento said.

He also urged parents to store the kids’ favorite, spaghetti, properly since it “perishes easily” compared to other food.

Both Pagtuki guests pointed out that excess intake of food would lead to obesity that increases the risk of other possible illnesses, such as colon cancer. (by Hannah Reoma/RAFI intern)

SM Seaside City Cebu Set to Open in 2013

It's bent to be the biggest shopping complex in Visayas and Mindanao.

The year 2013 will be a grand year for the Cebuanos.

Think politics and election. Before the end of May, we’ll hopefully have new leaders sitting in both provincial and city government seats.

Think of South Reclamation Project and SM Seaside City.

Yup, guys, if everything else goes as planned, we’ll be able to see one of the first shopping malls in the reclaimed area. In fact, it is bent to be the biggest SM in Visayas and Mindanao.

According to RJ Leduna, PR manager for SM Visayas-Mindanao, in an interview, the soon-to-rise shopping mall will be like a metro within a city. In its more than 300,000 square meter SRP lot, Cebu residents can look forward to an all-white well-designed church known to be Shrine of Mary Church (it’s slated to open by 2012). There will also be convention centers, residential complexes, hotels, and even health care facilities.

The mall is meant to be a sight to behold. Designed by Arquitectonica, a company based in Miami, Florida, SM Seaside City Cebu will stay true to its name: nautilus inspired with growing foliage, a lot of open spaces, and arc-centric shape. Rumor has it BRTs will take passengers from the mega complex to the city and beyond, then vice versa. Elevated walkways will be constructed, linking a variety of structures for convenience and speed.

For the past months, a lot of stories about SM Seaside City Cebu have already circulated in the media. Whether all of them ar true or not, one thing is for sure: it’s something worth waiting for.

A Pleasant Surprise

I am not your typical girl.

I don’t like flowers and teddy bears.

I don’t like surprises. 

Call me a control freak, but that’s just how I’m wired. I want to be ready for the onslaught, have my armor and weapons at hand just in case the going gets tough. These are impossible if I don’t know what’s ahead of me.

Today, however, my long-held stance on surprises may change. A long-time client of mine surprised me this morning with a substantial amount as a Christmas gift.

It was like, “Wow!” Until now, I could not wipe off the grin on my face. It does feel good to be surprised. I’m happy, real happy.

A huge bulk of the money is definitely going to Cebu Bloggers Society‘s outreach program on December 18 at Missionaries of the Poor in Pasil. It’s a shelter for orphans and the aged, many of which are suffering from Alzheimer’s.  The money can go a long way in providing the pressing needs of the residents.

I’ll definitely be forever grateful for any support you can give to our cause. 🙂 For more information, click here.

Thank You, Best Cebu Blogs

Squeezing the Lemon had just been nominated for Best Cebu Blogs Awards 2011.

I wasn’t really able to express my profound gratitude to the organizers of Best Cebu Blogs: Mark, Agnes, and Bjorn. Thank you to the judges. Thank you to those who voted for me in Facebook as well as to that one person who took the time to nominate my blog.

Hats off to my co-nominees and most definitely to the winners. I’d also like to take this opportunity to salute everyone who dares to blog. It’s not easy to share your thoughts and be very open to public opinion.

Here’s to blogging!

Coffee Dream Company Celebrates 15th Year

Coffee Dream Company, Inc. is celebrating 15 years of living the passion – bringing the ultimate coffee experience to every Filipino.

What started out as a small kiosk operation in 1996 at the 4th Level in Ayala Center Cebu has grown to be one of the country’s leading specialty coffee chain with a total of 36 stores nationwide. It has shops in Cebu, Metro Manila, Cavite, Bohol, Bacolod City, Ilo-ilo City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao City and General Santos City which includes franchised outlets. Coffee Dream ventured into franchising in 2001 and currently has 13 franchised outlets.

President and Founder, Glenn Anthony O. Soco, envisioned a homegrown concept utilizing high-quality locally produced coffee beans. He visualized a place where people converge, hang-out, relax, do business over a cup of coffee. Realizing that there is a growing trend in the coffee drinking lifestyle globally, he created his own concept fervently believing that the market is best served by patronizing its very own.

Coffee Dream is best known for its regular brews like: Café Americano, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Café Mocha, Chilled Blends (frozen blended coffee and non-coffee concoctions), paired with its delectable selection of cakes and pastries. One of its famous drink is the Tsokolate, a traditional local recipe using fresh “tableya” (a term used for local cacao chocolate) from Argao, a town in southern Cebu. Recently, it expanded its menu to include food items such as sandwiches and pastas and the all-day breakfast meals.

Coffee Dream continually served the local market not only by selling its products but also putting a concerted effort in making its coffee shops comfortable and homey to visit and stay. About 3 years ago, it embarked on its new look campaign and shied-away from the conventional specialty coffee shop look. Coffee Dream transformed its stores to modern, hip and fresh with the use of bold colors. It changed its logo design and branding to showcase a uniquely distinctive concept. Employing the services of Industrial Design students mentored by world-renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, they collaborated in creating new and interesting ideas for Coffee Dream giving fullest attention to detail.

On October 24, 2011, Coffee Dream will launch its 15th–year anniversary campaign with several activities:

  1. Pick-a-prize promo – entitles customers to a freebie/privilege for a minimum purchase of 150 pesos. The customer will pick-a-prize and instantly gets a prize.
  2. Capture your dream – an on-line photo contest where entries will be submitted and posted on-line through Coffee Dream’s Facebook fan page. The most creative photo showcasing Coffee Dream will win cash prizes and gift certificates.
  3. Coffee Dream extends a 15% discount on a special featured Chilled Blend of the month.
  4. Free re-fill of freshly brewed coffee from 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. every 15th of every month.

Aside from the activities mentioned above, three (3) short films produced by Coffee Dream will be released to highlight the 15-year anniversary celebration. The films tell 3 different stories that happen inside the coffee shops – presenting how the coffee drinking lifestyle evolved among Filipinos.

Coffee Dream also invited Miss Universe 3rd Runner-up, Ms. Shamcey Supsup, to lead the launching of the 15th–year activities and grace the ceremonial ribbon-cutting of Coffee Dream Arcenas Estate branch in Banawa, Cebu City. The Arcenas Estate branch will be the latest addition to the growing number of stores of Coffee Dream. This branch will feature a different feel using new set of furniture, new colors and an expanded menu. The store will be offering wines and premium beers with additional food items to compliment it. This concept came to mind to enhance the “third place” definition of Filipinos as part of Coffee Dream’s effort to be adaptive to the needs and wants of the community.

Coffee Dream has been active in helping the Micro and Small Enterprises by selling locally-produced products like: Camote Cookies from Aloguinsan and the Ginamos Paste from Pilar, Camotes which are produced by community-based enterprises. Alturra beans made from the foothills of Mt. Apo are being sold and used as well.

“Your Piso, My Dream” campaign will also be launched with the cancer-stricken children as the chosen beneficiaries.

With the continued evolution and pursuit for excellence, Coffee Dream aims to further expand its operations nationwide. By the end of 2011, it has opened and renovated a total of 10 stores. Coffee Dream targets to open a total of 7 new stores next year, 4 of which will be in Metro Manila. It estimates to cost 30 million pesos in additional capital. An upgraded commissary is currently being set-up at the central office and another commissary will be set-up in Metro Manila next year to service its branches in the area. The total capital expenditures for the next 3 years is estimated to be around 100 million pesos.

Ushering Christmas at Home

Bernard and I casually talked about Christmas. It’s already December, and I feel I haven’t done much when it comes to decorations. Yes, there is pressure, especially if you can see your mom putting so much effort to it. She already has her Christmas curtains up and is done shopping for anything pretty but cheap there in Ka King Parkmall.

So out of the blue I told him, “I better not put up anything Christmas-y at home. Besides, I’d rather prepare our home for next year.”

But I really do think he loves Christmas. After all, it’s his birth month be on a “festive mood,” he said. So the decors right now stay, like the lonely Christmas tree.