Finally Tried That Hand-Pulled Noodle!

There was a time when my husband and I tried the’s Top 10 Halo-Halo in Manila. We tried 8/10 already. I am slightly following Eat Out Now 2014’s restaurant recommendations. There’s like a hundred of them. I have only tried very few of those so far.

eat out
I have a digital copy of this from Buqo. I grabbed the photo from

I wanna taste something different tonight. While most crave for their favorite or comfort food, I crave for something new. Taste discovery is fun. Suddenly, my husband announced he was coming from Pasay to my mom’s house in Quezon City where we stay for the meantime. I just told him I am craving for a bowl of noodles. In my mind was the ramen. Tokyo Tokyo seems to be the cheapest. However I don’t know of a branch nearby. Then I remembered Kanzhu- Hand Pulled Noodles from the Eat Out Now. It’s also a chance to tick a box from that.

1-kanzhu logo horizontal1

Credits to Picky Eater. Thanks!
Credits to Picky Eater. Thanks!

He picked me up at the ground floor of the condo. Our baby was already sleeping. Good thing about living (at least temporarily) in this area is its close proximity to interesting eats and shops.

Some recommended dishes are the various versions of braised beef noodles, beef tendon dry noodles, lamb-fried noodles and the green tea taho. I’m not in the mood for beef noodles, so I got the Lamb Dumpling Noodles. Lamb! But in a dumpling, what would it taste like? It is said to be a sleeper hit anyway. I ordered for take-out. I paid 185 pesos. A ramen from a Japanese resto costs 210 pesos the minimum. So I think this a good deal for a non-instant noodle. Well, ramen must be of different realm, done more meticulously.

Instead of waiting in the resto or in the car, I decided that we get the soft-serve ice cream from Family Mart. I like their ice cream twirl because they are huge, very affordable and the flavors are unique like Green Tea, Salted Caramel, Raspberry, Pistachio and Blueberry Cheesecake. The last 2 are the newly released Christmas specials. Some newly opened branches offer such at 15 pesos, most are 25 pesos.. initially, but now they’re 30 pesos. My husband likes it if the store staff would be the one to put the ice cream on the cone. They can maximize the space. At this time, I was told that they have a management policy that it had to be the customer to fill in the cone. Nevertheless, as another staff was cleaning the machine, the cashier said he could assist me and so he did make me the tallest twirl I’ve ever seen.


I think Green Tea and Salted Caramel are their best flavors because it tastes like such truly. I got a Pistachio and Blueberry Cheesecake mix. You can taste the each flavor at the sides of the ice cream, unmixed.  The Pistachio flavor is more of just a hint of it.

I returned to get my take-out. They just put the closed sign on the door. I was happy to be carrying a quite heavy paper bag. Few minutes later, we were home. I should say this is one of the best noodles I’ve ever tasted. There is a reason why the selling point of the resto is that hand-pulled noodle. They are flat (probably half width of the fetuccine) and thicker than the usual. The noodle taste excellent by itself. The broth is one of a kind. It has cilantro in it. The lamb dumpling is also yummy. This is quite a foreign but pleasant taste.

kanzhu lamb dumpling noodle

Besides a satisfying out of the blue food trip, I am just very thrilled to have such worthwhile fun with my husband without breaking the bank. 🙂 Marriage is also having random dates.


What is Love?


I just saw this excerpt of this highly recommended book. I shall have this book in my hands soon enough.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

“We must say to ourselves something like this: ‘Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn’t think “I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.” No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us – denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him – and in the greatest act of love in history, he STAYED.'”

-“The Meaning of Marriage”- Tim Keller

On Having a Helper

To have a helper or not? For Westerners, that’s almost a “not” answer. I’ve been told how costly it would be to have one, like in United States. It’s common for a stay-at-home mom to do everything- from kids to household chores. For the working moms, there is day care but at the end of the day, she and if hubby would help, keep the house clean. I noticed that these types of families do a lot of house work on their rest days.

For me who lives in the Philippines, it is still an available option. Many of my friends have expressed how hard it was to find or keep a helper, though. However, it is feasible.

Before I married, I had an ideal that I wouldn’t work but be a housewife, and dead set not to get a helper. I said I was willing to do everything on my own, although, I’m not the best at housework even in my single years. That could be learned, I thought.

To my surprise, having a baby, being a wife and a homemaker are time and energy consuming tasks. It’s like I ate my own words.

We searched and waited for a helper. We tried to get one from an agency, but we couldn’t get one who matches our qualifications, like she should be 18-25 years old, single and most importantly for me, of kind demeanor. There are just who seem to be born with strong will and self-confident– in a negative way.

Unbelievably, our helper came when I least expected it.

She’s been staying with us 2 weeks. It’s the less mentally and physically stressful 2 weeks I’ve had since time immemorial.

There was a part of me who tried to try to do it all. I’m more of a lone performer than a team player. It’s like I’d choose tennis over basketball. Also, I admit that I don’t want to think or relate to other people besides my family, within my own house.

Now, slowly but surely, I can do activities that I love and are worthwhile (not that house maintenance isn’t worthwhile, but you know, delegating that to someone who is best at it).

Our house help is a blessing and answered prayer. Now I can:

1. enjoy a clean and uncluttered house.

2. cook! Let me explain more about that soon.

3. have more quantity and quality time with Ramon and husband.

4. plan for a side line.

5. plan well for everything.

6. just do  a particular task without worrying I haven’t cleaned or arranged this and that.

I remember my Filipino-American uncle told me: “Get a helper. Don’t be prideful to not get one, while you can.” That was quite a game changer for me.

My biggest lesson through this all: more is accomplished with two or more people.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

85890209 (1)

Discovering Batangas: Taal

Intramuros, Vigan, Macau, Malacca- some places for the history buff. If these kinds of places are your cup of tea, then the Taal Heritage Town would captivate you. It’s a place for inspiration, nostalgia and discovery of the past for an old soul like me.

Its claim to fame is more than being the namesake of the world-renowned smallest volcano. Basilica de San Martin de Tours is the biggest Catholic church in Asia, which is majestically perched atop the rest of the preserved 1800s Spanish-inspired ancestral houses of this small but significant town.  Taal’s welcome arch prides itself for being the land of balisong and barong Tagalog. [Read more]

arianne iphone 2014 1279


To My Only Sister…

If Elsa has Anna (Frozen), I have Shane. I fondly call her Sharky. Today it’s her birthday! Time flies. I vividly remember telling my mom that I want an “ate” (older sister), but, boom, clap!, Shane arrived when I was 7 years old. She must be way better than having an “ate”.

Here are 10 fascinating things about my only sister:

1. She loves tenaciously. I saw it when she sacrificially took care of our dad and her beloved dogs.

2. She is extremely talented. She can actually sing and write. That’s besides her primary talent of interior designing!

3. She is the Ms. Handyman of the house. Broken windows, doors, hard to open knobs of gasul, we call on her.

4. She is my make-up artist. She can contour and make your face look flawless!

5. She was the one, my only companion then, who drove me to the hospital in Sta. Cruz from Fort Bonifacio, when my water bag broke!

6. She’s every inch an artist. She is a multimedia graphic artist, interior design and photographer. You’d see the depth of her persona from her shots.

7. She is a loving daughter. It’s one of her missions to take care of my mom.

8. She has a tender heart for street kids. She wants to be their “ate”.

9. She pursues excellence. Good enough is never good enough for her.

10. She is a true and loyal friend. I found a best friend in her.

Happy birthday Sharky! My prayer is that  you’ll be closer to God and live out all His plans for your life. I love you Sharky!



Say Something

Since iWrite, I’ve been fully convinced that anyone CAN write. As long as you have a valuable perspective and insight, you have content! Every well-meaning writer wants to inspire. For starters, you don’t have to be too conscious about the technicalities and to get close to having a write-up worthy to be put in a newspaper or magazines. If you can share your thoughts to advise a person to lead him to the best option, you could put that in writing.

What is written lasts. Sharing to one person could influence one or more, as he pays it forward. Imagine, what if it is written and shared on social media or any publication format, there’s a chance to impact hundreds, if not, thousands of people. 

I came across statements that encouraged me in this writing endeavor. 

First comes from the Bible, in Matthew 5:14-16. 

You are the light of the worldA town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

I  like the last part the most. Let your light shine: hope, good news, inspiring thoughts, positive encouragements, encouraging experiences and more. Let the whole world see your good deeds and glorify God: hear them say God is good and make them see God is real and He acts.

Sharing what’s in you, in this context, through writing, is not about you, but for God, for others and the world.


The second comes from Mr. Salman Khan, creator of Khan Academy. It is an online resource for academic lesson videos- those you study in school like history, algebra, economics and more. I originally came across that from a homeschooling mom. Frequently, I watch the videos to find out about my topic of interest. He is a learning/ education advocate obviously. He wrote a blog entitled, The Learning Myth: Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart

Here is my favorite excerpt from that blog:

“I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows.”

Writer’s block happens. I’ve also heard a lot of aspiring writers and accomplished writers who say they’re having a hard time to write. I fall to the latter category. I think the message of this blog could apply to our endeavor to write better. The answer to becoming a successful writer is to persevere. I also think this can apply to any endeavor in life in general. We increase our capacity as we overcome struggle.

Khan goes on to say:

“..our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.”

Let this be an encouragement that all those difficulty is the way through becoming better or even be your best. 



Honoring A Chivalrous Gentleman (On His Birthday)

Exactly 36 years ago today, the man destined for me was brought to the world. I first met him in the summer of 2009, since then I’ve never missed to wish him well on his birthday. Yet, it was only in 2011 when I celebrated it right beside him with an Estrel’s Caramel Cake with candles.
Unlike me, he doesn’t ask for/ demand/ expect gifts or any special treatment on his birthday, and even on any other day. But I think someone like him deserves a lot of such. That’s just very consistent with his traits: content and humble. I personally think we need to boast about people like that.
He’s the most humble man I’ve ever met. That’s why I couldn’t let a man like that pass up.  Because of that he is secured, without a need to prove himself to the world. His identity is in Christ, not in his achievements and titles. He lives for Him. That’s his greatest satisfaction and fulfillment.
I’ve never seen such a man who prays without ceasing, from praying for the restaurant we would eat at to asking God about life-altering decisions. Miracles are a reality to him. How blessed I am to have a man with childlike faith and stands in reverend awe before God.
He has taught me a lot about life and love. He is no Shakespeare, but when he tells me “I love you” every moment of every day, I know he means it.
He is a responsible leader in our household. He is the ultimate chivalrous gentleman.  He is a wonderful father to our only son.
I am glad to have married someone I really admire. How could he not steal and capture my heart.
As a song says, in a restless world like this is, love is ended before it’s began. And too many moonlight kisses, seems to cool in the warmth of the sun.* I have found the one my soul loves.** He is really one of a kind.
Before God winked*** at us, God impressed to me through his word what my husband was going to be like.
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever.
Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
—- Psalm 45:1-5
 He’s gotta be excellent, anointed with grace, a warrior and has a noble cause- to me that’s my Mak Shwen Caringal, my almost literal knight in shining armor. 
Photo by Angelo Y. Zalvidia
Photo by Angelo Y. Zalvidia
Happy birthday my forever love! I’m blessed to be your wife.
* “When I Fall in Love” is the song.
** Song of Solomon 3:4. That’s sweet.
*** My friend Nova told me there’s a book entitled When God Winks At You. That’s a book about love life. 🙂