I was so excited when I found out that Tim Ho Wan was one of the restaurants that was about to open in Robinsons Place Manila. On the very few occasions that I had been in Glorietta, all of my attempts to try out Tim Ho Wan failed because of the long queue of people. When it finally started its operation in Robinsons Manila, I wasn’t surprised seeing a flock of diners even at past lunchtime. But luck was on our side when Boyet and I finally had the chance to know what the hype was all about one Saturday afternoon after doing some last minute shopping before my delivery. (Yeah, this is one of my long overdue posts. Haha!)

When Tim Ho Wan came to the Philippines, everybody could not stop raving about their Baked Bun with BBQ Pork. I was so curious that is why it was the first thing that I ordered from their menu.

tim ho wan
Baked Bun with BBQ Pork PHP145

I finally understood why these buns became so famous. The bun smells so good which prepared my palates for an extraordinary gastronomic treat! Believe it or not, the bun itself is already good enough. Imagine how my taste buds reacted when I finally tasted the pork filling! Its sweet and savory taste perfectly complements the bun.

We were starving at that time so we scanned Tim Ho Wan’s menu for their rice meals. Unfortunately, the choices were a bit limited. I opted to have their Pork Ribs Rice, while my husband had Rice with Beef & Fried Egg.

tim ho wan (17)
Pork Ribs Rice PHP170

I was initially disappointed when the Pork Ribs Rice arrived to our table. The serving looked so small. But then again, looks can be deceiving! Finishing it made me really full. Siksik pala ‘yung rice. Parang bottomless! =))

Pork Ribs from other restaurants tend to be overpowering, sometimes giving me the feeling that my blood pressure is about to shoot up. Haha! But I’m glad that the meat to fat ratio of Tim Ho Wan’s Pork Ribs is perfect. It’s tasty and very tender, too.

tim ho wan (3)
Rice with Beef & Fried Egg PHP180

The Rice with Beef & Fried Egg looked a bit unappealing. But this little treat was surprisingly delicious. It’s like eating our local tapa, but this one is swimming in their secret sweet and savory sauce. Even an ordinary fried egg turned out to be extraordinarily tasty because of the sauce.

Next to the pork buns, the other thing that caught my attention from their menu was the prawn dumplings! You may think that paying PHP160 for four little pieces of dumplings is a bit too much, but the size of the prawn definitely compensated for its price. I have to say that it’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

tim ho wan (8)
Prawn Dumplings PHP160

Tim Ho Wan
Ground Floor Midtown Wing
Robinsons Place Manila
Ermita, Manila

* All photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S3600

Tim Ho Wan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Zayne turned two months old on January 8 so here I am again writing about it a few days before she turns another month older. Haha!

Just like the previous month, we had a very simple celebration at home. Mama and Papa came over to our house, and we had spaghetti, pork barbecue and cake for dinner. Zayne’s Ninang Joie was getting married the following week so she begged off in doing our Little Kolokoy’s cake. Mama gifted Zayne with a cake from Goldilocks, and her OOTD that day was also a gift from Mama.

I could not believe how much she had grown in a span of one month. She’s very heavy that’s why Boyet and I woke up one day with aching arms and wrists. Would you believe that Boyet had to buy a wrist support? Weighing more than 9 pounds at 1 ½ months, her pediatrician told us the she is gaining weight as expected for her age. She’s getting chubbier each day. Her length also surprised us. So far, hindi pa siya bansot gaya ng nanay at tatay niya! Push mo lang yan, anak! :p

We took off her mittens after she turned a month old, and it didn’t take long before she discovered the use of her hands. Haha! Every time I’m breastfeeding her, her hands are everywhere! Ayun, na-discover na rin ng kamay nya ang butas ng ilong ko. Bwahaha! But I guess she would agree with me that her favorite is holding my hands while she’s latched on me. :)

She also has excellent grip! There was this one time when she fell asleep on my chest, and I could not take her hands off my hair.

She now knows a lot more than feeding, crying and pooping. She now smiles a lot! (She used to smile only when she is pooping. Haha!) The funny thing is, she first smiled when I told her, “Zayne, show Nanay your dimples!” Hahaha! I could not explain how ecstatic I was the first time I heard her giggle. As in yung hagikgik level kind of giggle! =)) It’s as if everything around her is funny. Pero pinaka-funny sa kanya ang Tatay niya! :p

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

She also makes all kinds of funny faces.




A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A video posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

She hates wearing headbands!


She’s super active! People are very amazed how strong she is. I wrote in my previous post that she was able to tilt and move her head even before she reached a month old. My husband and I thought that it was the end of it. But on Christmas eve, Boyet just lost sight of Zayne for less than 30 seconds, and he already found her lying on her tummy! Wala pa siyang two months! @_@


The onesie she wore on her second month birthday says it all! LOVE! Our hearts have changed tremendously because of our little darling. I didn’t know that I was capable of loving the way I do now. I have never been this tired and sleep-deprived, but I have also never been this happier. I am grateful beyond words because my husband and I feel like she’s everybody’s little sweetheart. I have been getting private messages from friends (some I haven’t even met personally) telling me that they have gifts for Zayne! More than the material things that she is being showered with, I feel very lucky to know that our daughter is being loved by so many people!

She’s growing up too fast that I can’t even keep up with her. So for now, I’ll simply try to savor her every cry, every smile and every trick. =)
I turned 32 yesterday!!!

Believe it or not, I almost forgot about my birthday because we had Zayne baptized on January 23. I also went back to work from my maternity leave on Monday so that didn’t help me get into my usual birthday vibe. When my husband kissed me at midnight to greet me a happy birthday, the only thing I got to say was, “Huh?!” I didn’t even realize that it was already my birthday because Zayne was still latched on me. Hahaha! I was planning to still come to work on my birthday. But I guess Zayne missed me so much that she decided to wake up at 2 in the morning and played with us until 4! I woke up really late so I just decided to skip work. The only time I got out of the house was when Boyet and I went to church. Mama, Papa, Abes and Kate came over, and we had pizza, pasta, chicken wings and ice cream for dinner.


I didn’t even have a cake to blow! And that was it! For some, you may think that I had the worst birthday this year, but I actually had a blast despite the lack of a grand celebration. Why?

I am blessed with a very loving family.
I am surrounded by friends who treat me like family.
I have a job that allows me to put food on our table.
I have a house that my husband and I can call our own.
I have a husband who treats me like a queen.
I have a two-month old chubby baby who makes me feel like I am the best mother in the world.


I am finally back to my pre-pregnancy weight!!!


Happiest birthday to me! :p
I wanted to have a maternity photo shoot, but I didn’t really prioritize it when I became pregnant. Our medical bills spiked up because of our fertility workup. We have a house amortization to worry about. We also needed to save because my husband and I knew that giving birth in St. Luke’s would put a stress on our savings. But God really knows the deepest desires of our hearts. He did not simply give me the maternity shoot that I hoped for, He also sent the best person to do it for me!

Ian Santillan was our wedding photographer in 2011. When we first met him in a coffee shop in Makati back in 2010, he already made a mark in the wedding industry. And over the years, he managed to make that mark indelible. But despite of his stature, he has remained to be the same nice and unassuming guy who gave us a beautiful and memorable wedding.

Our prenuptial shoot was cut short because we had some glitches with the venue. And due to time constraints, our postnup shoot was also cut short. After the wedding, Ian said that he was willing to have another shoot with us to compensate. We didn’t feel the need for it because his photos were more than enough for what we paid for! But I remember telling him, “Sige, ‘yung postnup kapag nabuntis na lang ako para maternity shoot na rin!” And because it took me four long years to get pregnant, I totally forgot about it. Hahaha! But when I wrote about our battle with infertility, Ian was one of the people who shared our story in social media. I then had a chance to have a chat with him. In one of our conversations, I said, “See you in January” because Joie also got him for her wedding. Ian said, “We can meet earlier. Let’s do a maternity shoot!” He said that he feels that our story has been a blessing to other people so he just wanted to return the blessing. :) Aarte pa ba ako?! E Ian Santillan na ‘yun! =))

I received a lot of compliments from people all throughout my pregnancy.

“Blooming ka!”
“Parang hindi ka naman buntis!”
“Sure ako, girl ang baby mo!”

But in my head…

“Shet! Ang taba ko!”
“Ang dry ng hair ko!”
“Ang panget ko!!!”
“Ang laki ng ilong kooooooooooooooo!!!”

We scheduled the maternity shoot on my 32nd week. Sabi ko para may natitira pa akong ganda, kaso mali pala ako! Umasa na lang talaga ako sa lens at galing ni Ian! Hahahaha!

Because Ian was doing the shoot as a favor, I volunteered to have the shoot done in Alabang for his convenience. I initially wanted to have an outdoor photo shoot, but I didn’t have the time to research and acquire the necessary permits. I then decided to do it in a hotel. I contacted Crimson Hotel, but they were asking for a lot of things! They wanted me to PERSONALLY meet the Duty Manager to sign a waiver so we could shoot in the hotel premises. Shooting inside the room that we would book also requires coordination with their Duty Manager. I removed Crimson out of the picture and contacted Acacia Hotel instead. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any reply from them. I then asked Ian if we could just shoot in his studio in Alabang. Ok lang daw. So ayun. Goodbye, outdoor shoot! :p

Days before our shoot, Ian asked me for some pegs. Sabi ko, “Wala. Magaling ka naman so ikaw na ang bahala!” Hahahaha! On the day of the shoot, I received a call from Ian. I was already dolled up and ready to leave the house when Ian told me that there would be change of plans. He thought he had flu. He was worried that I might catch whatever he has if we shoot in an enclosed area. Days later, he found out that it was Dengue Fever! Nakakahiya! Nag-shoot siya kahit may sakit! @_@ Kaya ayun. Hello, outdoor shoot uli! :p

I actually crammed for the shoot. Wala akong pegs. But we brought some props for the shoot. Hindi rin prepared si Boyet. And for some odd reason, I felt really awkward during the shoot. Panget na panget siguro ako sa sarili ko. Hahahaha! I didn’t have the time to go to a salon to have my hair trimmed. Kaya ayun, sabog sabog ang bangs ko! I did not have the energy to go to the mall so I just looked for a dress in my closet. The printed dress was given to me by Aubrey. I borrowed the white one from her her, too! She also coordinated with Cor to do may hair and makeup. Bwahahaha! I wanted to look all diyosa-like (hahaha) so I meant to buy a flower crown. Joie got me one in one of her trips to Divisoria. Ang parasite ko lang! :p

Anyway, there are more than one hundred photos, but these are my favorites. =)
























The shoot lasted for more than an hour. We had to cut it short because Ian was not really feeling well. Ok lang. It also started to rain, and I was also a bit tired because of the extra weight. Ian was very apologetic. Sabi ko, “Ano ka ba?! Ok lang!!! ID picture nga lang na kuha mo, masaya na ako!” Ayun, bawi na lang daw siya sa next baby! =))

Thank you, Ian! You have been a blessing to our family since Day 0! :)
Zayne will be turning two months old in a few days, and here I am writing a blog post about how we celebrated her first month. Hahaha! I know, I know. I am such an efficient mommy blogger. My very clingy Little Kolokoy is not giving me the option to do other chores aside from feeding her, singing lullabies to her, changing her diapers, bathing her and being her favorite bed. But a part of me really wanted to document her milestones here in my blog. She is growing up really fast, and I want to have something tangible to look back to.

We had a very simple and intimate celebration at home when she turned one month old last December 8. It fell on a weekday so my younger brother and my in-laws failed to join us. My parents went to our house to celebrate with us. We shared palabok, pork barbecue and pichi-pichi for dinner. We had more than enough to distribute to our neighbors. When I was on the last stretch of my pregnancy, my husband and I would spend our mornings walking along our neighborhood. Our neighbors never fail to greet us on all our walking “sessions”. The extra nice ones were even more excited than we were. We have a lolo neighbor who kept on telling us, “Ang tagal naman lumabas niyan para masundan na agad!” Hahahaha! Aside from thanking them, we also included them in our celebration because we wanted to make suhol in case they could hear Zayne’s cries in the middle of the night! Hahaha! They say it takes a village to raise a child. I’m just so glad that we have one, both literally and figuratively! =)

I wanted to take snapshots of Zayne. I dressed her in a pink onesie and pink mittens, both of which were gifts from her Ninang Joie. Hihihi!

DSC_3128Hi there! =)

DSC_3127 Nanay, I’m sleepy na po! @_@

Aside from our simple feast, we also had cake for Zayne! I asked Joie, owner of My Sweets’ Haven, to make Zayne’s monthly cakes. I wanted her cakes to be simple – no specific themes, and definitely no fondants. I just asked her to make a round chocolate cake with a number 1 on top made from colored chocolates. I don’t need to tell you that the cake was delicious! Wala siyang gawa na hindi masarap. Promise!

Umaanggulo ka pa, Anak?!

DSC_3109Haaaay! I can’t even eat MY OWN cake!

DSC_3101Hmp! Wait ‘till I’m old enough to attack Ninang Joie’s cakes!


I’ve heard mothers whine about how their kids grow up too fast. I know it’s already a cliché, but now that I have my own child, I finally know how it feels. Zayne is growing up so fast, I can’t even keep up! She was only 5 pounds 10 ounces when I gave birth to her. Two weeks after, she was already weighing more than 7 pounds! I wasn’t prepared to see her transform in just a span of one month!

first month
These photos were taken just a few days after we were discharged from the hospital. She was soooooo tiny!

I know that motherhood would change me. I thought that waiting for four years for a child would make me fully prepared for the drastic changes, but I was wrong. During the first few days, I found myself crying. I got frustrated when she would not stop crying. I got easily irritated when people would give me unsolicited advice about how to raise my own daughter. I cried each time I would feel that my love and attention for her were not enough. But as my daughter gains weight, I also gain more knowledge on how to take care of her.

My schedules are always off. I don’t shower on time. I’m always in a hurry on everything – eating, brushing my teeth and even pooping! My wrists hurt like crazy. Days pass that I only use my hands to comb my newly-showered hair. I don’t have the time to blog and to read a book. Most of the time, I smell like poop and spoiled milk. And my list goes on. But despite the things that I have been missing, I enjoy being needed by my daughter. I enjoy the limitless hugs and kisses. I love looking at her every single time, whether she’s happy or grumpy. I will forever remember how hard Boyet and I laughed when we first discovered that she has dimples while she was pooping and how she sprayed poop on Tatay while he was changing her diaper. (Yeah, our world now revolves around poop! Hahaha!) Her accomplishments and milestones are also mine. I take pride at how she can effortlessly lift her head or how she continuously tries to lie on her tummy when she was just less than two weeks old. Her kicks only prove the same strength she manifested as she battled with me through a difficult pregnancy. So I guess doing this monthly thingy is not only a celebration for Zayne. It is a celebration of our teamwork – Zayne’s strength as she grows and our strength as parents. It’s not only a celebration of her milestones as a baby, but also ours as parents. ^_^

I didn’t really get to “enjoy” Christmas. I missed all the reunions and year-end parties. I don’t remember the last time I set foot in a mall. I didn’t experience the usual holiday rush. And to say that I live in a cave will be the biggest understatement of the year. But surprisingly, my heart is overflowing with so much joy. For four years, my husband and I would flash our smiles in front of the camera for the mandatory “Merry Christmas from our family to yours” photos. Hidden behind those smiles was a void that needed to be filled. For four years, our Christmas wishes were the same - to have our own home and our darling Little Kolokoy. For the longest time, we had been claiming every New Year that it would be OUR YEAR. Finally, through God’s grace, 2015 was indeed OUR YEAR! Our Christmas was quiet, but it was the happiest because we got to spend it in our own home with Zayne. And for the first time, our big smiles genuinely radiate joy, no more hints of sadness and longing.

It might be a simple family portrait for some. It wasn’t even taken in some fancy studio. But for us, it is the greatest testament of God’s never-ending love and generosity.

If you’re reading this post and you happen to be experiencing your worst Christmas or you feel that 2015 has been your worst year, wipe away those tears. Believe in God’s promise that better days are coming. Believe that your breakthrough is happening soon. Believe that our God is a faithful god. And so as we bid 2015 goodbye, I do hope 2016 will be so much better for all of us. To jumpstart your year, let our Little Kolokoy tickle your hearts through this photo!

Happy Holidays! =)
Saying that I love lasagna is such a big understatement. That’s why when my teammates dragged me to try out House of Lasagna, I gave in despite the fact that I was already having a difficult time moving my very pregnant ass. Nyahaha! (Yeah, this is one of the many food reviews on my backlog!)

The place is quite small so scoring a seat on a busy Friday afternoon was almost impossible. We decided to place our orders while waiting for a table to be vacated. We were supposed to have separate orders, but one of the servers suggested their set meals. We opted to have their Family Set Meal B which costs PHP1,920 and is already good for 8 people. The set includes a whole tray of lasagna, 8 pieces of fried chicken, iced tea and unlimited serving of garlic bread.

Believe it or not, the lasagna from Greenwich is my favorite among the “cheaper” choices. You can’t blame me if my mind was set to compare House of Lasagna’s version with that from Greenwich. Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed House of Lasagna’s take on my favorite lasagna. The serving is very generous! We were a group of 7 people with very big appetites so we were really confident that we’d get to finish the whole tray, but we ended up taking home some leftovers.

house of lasagna (4)
The lasagna is very creamy just the way I like it. Don’t you hate it when you get to eat a lasagna that’s all dried up? I also love the perfect blend of sweetness and tanginess brought by the different kinds of herbs. Some people may find the the taste a bit too strong especially those whose palates are accustomed to the usual sweet and cheesy lasagna. But my taste buds were more than happy with the beefy, cheesy and that pungent kick in the end that I get at every bite.

Munching the garlic bread initially kept us busy while we were waiting for the food to arrive. Soon after, it became the perfect partner of the lasagna. I loved how I got to use the bread to scrape the sauce off my plate!

house of lasagna (3)
The fried chicken is cooked to perfection. Its golden brown color was very appealing. The skin is very crispy, and the meat is tender and juicy. I loved that salty and peppery kick. It may not be the best version of fried chicken in town, but it surely was the best accent to my lasagna and garlic bread combination for lunch.

house of lasagna (2)
As I’ve mentioned earlier, this specific branch of House of Lasagna is a bit small so expect the place to be cramped especially if you’re planning to go there for lunch on a Friday. Make sure you come earlier to avoid the long queue. =)

House of Lasagna
Third Floor, Dela Rosa Carpark 2,
Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village,
Makati City

* All photos were taken with an iPhone 4s

House Of Lasagna Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
After our four-year wait, our Little Kolokoy, Pia Frances Zayne, has finally arrived! On November 7, my husband and I went to St. Luke’s BGC for what we only thought was a routine weekly checkup, but we ended up not going home that day. We welcomed her into our loving arms the following day, November 8. I’ll reserve a separate post for my birthing story. For now, allow me to share with you some bits and pieces of the five-pounder girl who changed our lives forever!

During the four years that we were praying for a child, my husband and I asked for the intercessions of two saints – St. Pio and St. Gerard. Boyet and I agreed to name our first born Gerard, if we’re gifted with a son, and Pia if we’re blessed with a daughter. Pia also means pious or spiritual. We want to remind our daughter that she is the best proof that nothing is impossible with prayers.

Frances means free. We also chose this because my husband and I were deeply touched by the recent visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines. We braved traffic, a large crowd and even heavy rains just to have a glimpse of Lolo Kiko. And after countless of attempts, we finally succeeded when he celebrated mass in Luneta. Having a baby this year was also one of the many things that I fervently prayed during that mass. And I guess our four-year journey is somehow similar to what we went through during his visit.

Boyet and I wanted our kids’ names to start with the letter Z. Zayne is technically a boy’s name. It’s usually pronounced as ZEYN so we pronounce our daughter’s name as ZEY-NI to make it sound like a girl’s name. Hahaha! :p Zayne means “God is gracious”. I believe it’s only fitting to name her Zayne because she is and will always be a testament of God’s grace in our lives.

People around us tell us how strong she is. She fought really hard for her life from the very start. And when you hear about my birthing story, you’ll agree with me that she is one strong baby. Now that she’s out, Zayne still continues to surprise us every single day. The doctors, nurses and even the lactation experts at St. Luke’s BGC told us that we’re lucky because she effortlessly latches to me. They also said that Zayne’s sucking “skill” make it easier for me to produce more breast milk.

Her motor skills also amaze us! And I’m pretty sure that she didn’t inherit them from me. Haha! We were surprised that she could swiftly move her head when we make her burp. While we were still in the hospital, she cried really hard when I tried to feed her while I was sitting down. (She got so used to being fed in side-lying position.) It actually took three (yes, three) pediatricians to restrain her! Iskandalosang bata! Hahaha! :p There are also countless of times when we would find her at the edge of her crib! Sobrang likot! People who have been visiting her in our house were amazed because she can already tilt her head, and she can lift both her legs to touch her tummy! Because of these, people get so scared carrying her. Making her burp and changing her diaper have become arduous tasks for me and Tatay! And oh, when she was just barely a week old, I found her almost succeeding in lying on her tummy! I texted Mama, “Mama, nahuli ko si Zayne na sinusubukan na dumapa!!!” Sabi ni Mama, “Weh?!” Hahahaha! :p

She’s also very ginawin. I know that it’s common for newborns, but she’s very much like her Tatay. Tipid sa aircon! Nyahaha! People say that she got my lips and my super duper taray eyebrows! I think she got her Tatay’s eyelashes. I actually prayed for that because Boyet’s lashes look better than mine. She got my kunot ng noo, but she also got her Tatay’s wackiness! She loves making faces! Bwahahaha! And oh, I think she got her Tatay’s atomic bomb-like fart! Parang hindi babae kung makautot! Nyahahahaha! :p

Ok, ok! I think I might be boring you with my stories so let me just share with you some of our little one’s photos and videos! Ako na ang stage nanay! :p

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

Duck Face?! :p


This crib is tooooo big for me!

Kanina lang nasa gitna ka, ha?!

Bedtime story with Tatay ^_^

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

A photo posted by Jerellt Abenoja-Andrade (@dahwanderer) on

So in case I go on blogging hiatus once again, you know who to blame! :p