Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Akemashite Omedetou!!

Garandee and I always spend New Year's Eve at our balcony watching the fireworks go off while sipping wine and eating leftovers.

But what's even more amusing than seeing fireworks light up the skyline is watching Rockwell disappear right before our eyes!





Ha! I'd like to see David Copperfield pull off a trick like that.

But seriously, this is how polluted the air gets from all that gunpowder smoke from firecrackers and fireworks. It's almost 12:00am... Time to take a deep breath and welcome the new year! Now where did I put that asthma medicine...

Garando: "Happy New Year!!"

Garandee: "Akemashite Omedetou!!"

Wet Tarsier: "Punk is not dead!!"

Wishing all of you happiness and prosperity for 2009!

Garando mode:
Let's do the "New Year Dance"! Shake it, baby!! Read More......

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dental Dilemma

Garando: "Mine is on the far left of the case, and yours is on the far right. OK?"

Garandee: "Hai!"

Garando: "Great! And since we never brush our teeth at the same time, then there's a slim chance for error."

Garandee: "Hai!"

This was my strategy after "accidentally" buying a toothbrush that was identical to Garandee's. A brilliant solution if I might say, but apparently not sustainable.

Because after a few days...

Garando: "Dee, my toothbrush is wet. I saw you brushing earlier, did you use it?"

Garandee: "Nyo."

Garando: "But your toothbrush is dry..."

Garandee: "Ooops! Sorry po! But no big deal, it's like kissing anyway."

Garando: "Kissing?!"

Garandee: "Hee hee..."

So then I thought of an even better solution: The Kitchen. If I keep my toothbrush there, it's too far from hers to accidentally get switched!

It worked really well for a good couple of years, I'm particularly proud of that. Besides, I also made sure that never again will I end up with the same toothbrush as hers.

But last weekend...

Garando: "Dee, my toothbrush is wet. Did you use it?"

Garandee: "Of course not!!"

Garando: "But... how...? "

Then I saw it.

Another toothbrush was on the kitchen counter and it was exactly identical to mine!

: "Oh! Please don't keep your toothbrush in the kitchen because that's where I keep the one I've been using to clean the oven."

Garando: " !!!!! "

Garando mode:
I probably finished half a bottle of mouthwash...

Read More......

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The day after Christmas...

The morning after Christmas:
Garando: "ZZZZZZZZZZ...."
Garandee: "zzzzzzzzzz....."

Around noon:
Garando: "ZZZZZZZZZZ...."
Garandee: "zzzzzzzzzz....."

Around 2PM...
Garandee: "zzzzz.... time to wake up, Garando!"
Garando: "ZZZZZZ uuurrnnhhhh.... again?"

After getting up I looked back at our bed and was surprised to see my body engraved on it... The form was so detailed you can trace it with chalk just like in a crime scene.

eeeeep!! Did I eat that much?!?!

Ok, now I'm seriously going on that fruit & veggies diet now! least until New Years' Eve when I need to take a quick break to eat my juicy grilled steak, then resume eating plants for the rest of 2009.

trifle 01

And speaking of fruits, Garandee made this delicious Fresh Fruit Trifle for my family's Christmas party! As expected, it was another hit!

trifle 02

Originally an English dessert (hint: Nigella), no fancy recipe here! Just chop 'em all up, dump these in a container and enjoy:
Fruits:: strawberries, melons, bananas, mangoes
Etc: sponge cake, whipped cream, custard
For Luck: chocolate sprinkles
* you may want to bake your own sponge cake and prepare your own custard though

DOH! My diet is screwed...

Garando mode:
must... chop... more... strawberries! Read More......

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our Christmas Wish...


To all our readers and friends, old and new
may your Holidays be filled with cheer
and may all your hopes and wishes come true

- from Garando & Garandee

*Do & Dee avatars were created using Read More......

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Garandee's Christmas Hit!

Oh my gulay!! I never expected the last few days of Christmas to be this busy!


Christmas parties, a LOT of shopping and wrapping of presents have taken most, if not all of our time... The presents are stacking up at home and we're not even done shopping! I guess that explains my week-long hiatus from blogging.


But last week's real highlight was Garandee's first shot at baking an authentic Japanese Cheesecake. She never expected it'll become an instant hit!

If you haven't tried one yet, Japanese Cheesecake is a light, moist and spongy cheesecake that simply melts in your mouth. Think of it as the exact opposite of the rich New York Cheesecake or the infamous Filipino Blueberry Cheesecake. Its taste, flavor and texture is so light that you can easily devour half of the cake in one sitting and not feel full at all. It also has significantly less calories so you can toss the guilt out the window.

DSC_0046...straight out of the oven!

I know Bread Talk is selling these for a bit over P300, but Garandee's cake is definitely superior than those. Why? Because Garandee uses LOVE as the main ingredient. Now that's what makes this cheesecake so cheesy!

Sent early prototypes to some colleagues and friends to try out and now we have serious orders for 6 - 8 pcs! (Thanks to Jonie!) Now how can we even think of mass production with our tiny oven? We'll figure it out!


Garandee: "oooooh... Garandee's Pastry Shoppe!! Do you think I can start one in the future?"

Garando: "Of course! But we'll need a bigger oven for that dear..."

Garandee: "Ahhh... hai!"

Garando: "Let me go ask Santa if he can send some elves over to help out... I heard they're cheap labor."

Garandee: " ok po... "

Garando mode:
All set for Christmas Eve!
Read More......

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

H, and what it means to Garando...

letter H

It's my first blog game!! Sheng sent me the letter "H", so now I need to post 10 words that mean a lot to me, and they should all start with that letter.

I'm glad she met my request of not giving an "X" or "Z". That would've been too easy!

HTML - Something I had to learn when I started Balut & Natto

Hope - Something everyone should always have.

Hide - Something I'm starting to get good at whenever I made a boo-boo at home.

Harmony - Something I wish for the whole world.

Helium - Something I'd like to suck on before going Christmas caroling. I always wanted that authentic chipmunks singing voice!

Home - Ain't no place like it!

Hot - Garandee's goal... No, not for her, she already is! It's actually for me... but the diet officially starts after the holidays. Phew!

Happiness - Something I wish for everybody.

Hero - The Mighty Garando that Garandee can count on to save her day. Only I don't usually wear my underwear over my pants and since I'm a proud owner of genuine love handles, a tight hero suit is out of the question.

Humor - If I didn't believe in it, I would have never reached 2 blog visits/day.

Soooo... WHO's NEXT?? The "X" and the "Z" are still open for challengers...

Garando mode:
That was pretty fun! Read More......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Little Taste of Europe in Japan


I was going through some of my old folders the other day and found these photos of the Kawaguchi-Ko Music Forest. It was one of the most fascinating places Garandee's best friend brought us the last time we were in Japan.


The moment you enter, it almost feels like you've left Japan and gone into one of those fantasy novels set during the Renaissance. It's no wonder why like magic, all three of us started talking funny all of a sudden..

Garando: "Care for some tea, mi lady?"

Garandee: "Oh I'd be delighted, Sir Garando. But we'd like to see the museum first."

Garandee's friend: "It's bloody beautiful, isn't it?"

tolkien 02

The place is at one of the mountain resorts near Mt. Fuji, and that explains why the clouds were hanging so low like my old underwear...


Garandee is a magnet for swans. Either they're just curious or they're guard swans in attack mode.

tolkien 01

I can almost imagine Frodo and Sam happily frolicking around... holding hands, looking gleefully at each other and... never mind.

But the main reason we went there was for the huge collection of antique automated music boxes. You know those wind-up music boxes that played either Christmas tunes or tunes from Disney's Fantasia? Imagine a museum filled with these music boxes only they were a hundred times bigger! Big enough that their main attraction was an entire orchestra!

orchestra 01

orchestra 02

This is an orchestra of dolls playing instruments. It's one humongous music box surrounding the entire hall, it felt like we were looking at the true origin of Dolby Surround Sound!

This orchestra originated from Belgium in the 1800's and was unfortunately abandoned until a Japanese collector decided to purchase and restore it before bringing it back home to Japan. I heard all the music boxes in the museum were owned by that same collector, and to think I saw over a hundred!

I wish I had more photos, but taking pictures wasn't allowed in some parts of the museum... At least I was able to sneak in some videos. Here's a one minute video of their most kawaii (pretty) music boxes!

Garandee mode:
I want that English accent!
Read More......

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tortang Toron


Garandee: "Garando!! Wake up already! I made Tortang Toron!!

Garando: "ZZZZzzzz.... uurrrhh... Tortang banana?"

Garandee: "Nyo... Come here... See? It looks so authentic Filipino!"

Garando: "Ohhhh I see! That's Tortang Talong dear..."

Garandee: "Hai, Tortang Toron! Nice, di ba (isn't it)?"

Looks like Garandee surprised me again! Look what I found on our breakfast table today: Tortang Talong (grilled eggplant omelet)!

This popular domestic dish makes a regular appearance in any family's dining table, and is also a mainstay in foodcourts and carinderias (affordable food stalls) around the metro. This is officially Garandee's 3rd Filipino dish.

Garandee: "It's also Japanized!!"

Garando: "...Japa-what?"

One munch and I knew what she meant.

She grilled the eggplant on an open fire until the skin was easy to peel off, giving it a nice smoky taste. Inside that omelet is minced chicken marinated in miso, shoyu, ginger and a little bit of sugar. Net, the classification of Japanized!

Loved it! It's unique, and it's probably the healthiest Tortang Talong I've ever had!

Garando: "But Dee, you should practice saying Talong, because Filipinos might get confused and think it's a banana omelet.

real turon

*Turon is a popular snack made of banana & jackfruit wrapped in spring roll wrapper and smothered brown sugar syrup before it is fried

: "Of course not! That's different because that's Tulon!"

Garando: " ... "

Garando mode:
Listening to my favorite Blues & Bebop Christmas songs!
Read More......

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Close to Panic

The other day I found Garandee grimacing in our bedroom. Worried that she must be in terrible pain, I immediately rushed to her side...

Garando: "Garandee, what's wrong?? Does your tummy hurt?"

Garandee: " ... "

Garando: "Are you alright? tell me..."

Garandee: "wait..."

She then changed her facial expression but it still looked like something was really bothering her.

Garando: "I'll take you to the doctor, I'll go change."

Garandee: "wait..."

Garando: " ??? "

Garandee: "aaaaahhhhhh... finished po!!"

Garando: " ??!! "

Garando: "What was that all about?? Are you alright?"

Garandee: "I did Face YOGA!!"

Garando: "Face YOGA?!?!?!"

Garandee: "Hai! It's really popular now!"

Garando: "uuuuuhhh... I think I'll have a headache... Ok, next time can you at least put a "YOGA Session" sign next to you? You're freaking me out..."

Garandee: "Hee hee..."

I checked youtube after that, and she was right. Face Yoga was all over! Maybe I'll go try it in the shower... wouldn't want her to think I'm constipated again.

Garando mode:
I have a bad cold...

Read More......

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leftover Platter Surprise

Garandee went out on a dinner date with one of her Japanese amigas. I guess when the wife's away... what's the husband usually left with?

Leftovers. And our fridge is packed with abandoned ulams (meals) waiting to be noticed.

foil leftover

But guess what, after she left I found this plate covered with foil on my ugly desk. She mentioned she was worried about what I'll have for dinner while she was gone. So the sweet wife that Garandee is, she whipped up something quick for me! YEY!



I'll call it: "Garandee's Leftover Platter Surprise!". It looks pretty good and should be enough for me to survive through the night.

I just don't remember having these things earlier in the week though. Hmmm... that lipstick on my cabbage?

Garando mode:
Must stay awake so I can pick her up later!! Read More......

Jansson's Temptation

The other day I thought I was just going through the usual morning routine, not knowing a suprise was coming as I sat down at our breakfast table. After my brain finished booting up, I rubbed my eyes after noticing our breakfast was so much kawaii (prettier) than usual.

temptation 02

Garando: "ooooh... what's thaaaaaat? (with a yawn)"

Garandee: "JANSSON's TEMPTATION!! ...and my pandesal."

Garando: "Johnson's what?"

Jannson's Temptation. According to Garandee it's a Swedish recipe that's very popular in Finland. But what's interesting is that she was more excited to tell me about the legend of the dish than have me eat it already. So I had to put my fork down and gave a listen...

temptation 01

Garandee: "Once upon a time, there was a monk who was vegetarian..."

Garando: "I bet his name was Father Jansson. Now can I..."

Garandee: "Don't interrupt me! So... he made this gratin dish made of onion, potato, milk, and cream. But still something was missing, so he could no longer resist the temptation to add the final secret ingredient that will make this dish ICHIBAN (No.1)!!"

Garando: "so... what was the ultimate temptation?"

Garandee: "ACHOVIES!!"

Garando: "ooohh... well better that than Angelina Jolie or else he'll be in much bigger trouble."

Garandee: "Hai! Douzo!! (help yourself!)"

temptation 03
a closer look...

I finally got to try it and it was AWESOME! One of the best gratins I've ever had. Creamy, yet the potatoes were firm and chewy adding some variety to the texture. Then the salty anchovies were spot-on, like bago-ong on your Kare-kare!

temptation 04

It's perfect with Garandee's homemade pandesal!

Garando: "Thank you, darling! That was mucho excellente!!"

Garandee: "Welcome! Next time I will make GARANDO's TEMPTATION!!"

Garando: "Oh really?? Wow, I'm flattered! so what's the secret ingredient for that?"

Garandee: "... NATTO!!!"

Garando mode:

Read More......

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Communication Breakdown #2 - Her Husband

If you think the typical Pinoy husband-wife misunderstanding is a challenge, here's an example of a Garando & Garandee communication breakdown.

The drive back home from our office is always a great opportunity for me and Garandee to talk about the days events/gossip, what to eat for dinner, or what to do over the weekend, etc etc (unless she remembers I haven't taken out the garbage yet, then I'll never hear the end of it.)

Garandee: "Ohhhh... You KNOW (slaps my arm), my officemate... her husband..."

Garando: " .... "

Garandee: "her husband..."

Garando: "Yes? so what about her husband?"

Garandee: "her husband!"

Garando: "Hai, so what about her husband? continue please..."

Garandee: "Nooo... her HUSBAND!!!"

Garando: "so what did he do? I won't know until you tell me"

Garandee: "I'm telling you her HUSBAND!! She's so kawawa!"

Garando: "uh... they broke up?"

Garandee: "She doesn't have a house anymore, it was a terrible accident! HER HUSBAND!!"

Garando: "OHH!! Her HOUSE BURNED!!! ahhhhhhhh i see."

Garandee: "Ikaw!! LISTEN to me! hmph!"

Garando: "but.... I heard... I thought...."

Garandee: "...can we drop by ministop for some soda?"

Garando: "but I heard... ok... how about seven ereven? it's croser."

Garandee: "grrrrrr...."

Communication Breakdown #1

Garando mode:
Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines... sigh... Read More......

Monday, December 1, 2008

Garando's Top 5 Chicken Wings

I've been hunting for the best chicken wings in Manila since 2004 and I thought I'd share my list of the best chicken wings around!

hooters wings

Garandee says chicken wings are best eaten with your fingers and I totally agree. There's nothing more satisfying than sucking the meat off every bone, then tossing it over to an empty plate or bucket. Besides, picking on the small thing with a spoon and fork just looks really wrong.

On to the list...

#5 Firefighters

This was a small fastfood restaurant in Libis that IMO, served the best chicken wings at that time. Their buffalo wings were spicy, juicy and tasty.. match it with their blue cheese or honey mustard dip and it's a sure winner! Too bad it's no longer around, I never got a chance to take a photo..

Hot Wings
#4 Yellow Cab's Hot Wings

Around the time Firefighters closed down, along came Yellow Cab. The pizza's ok but I'm not too fond of the after-taste that came with the spices they used. The chicken wings however, was Firefighters re-incarnated and even better! They're bigger, juicier and crunchier!! Wish it came with the dips though...

hooters wings2
#3 Hooters' Chicken Wings

My love for chicken wings started in the U.S. during my first visit to a Hooters branch. We ordered 50 pcs of breaded goodness and I was totally hooked after that. Now you can just imagine the excitement I felt when I heard out about Hooters in SM MOA (Mall of Asia).

Though I don't think it's worthy of the "Hooters" brand ("Hootlets" is more appropriate if you ask me... ehem!) the wings are almost as good as the ones in the States. Best of all, they have the dips!

asian trio
#2 Garandee's Asian Wings Trio

Dee totally surprised me with these Chinese, Thai and Japanese inspired chicken wings! Chinese was deep-fried, very crunchy with that "home-cooked" familiarity you'd come to expect. Thai was done in a similar fashion, but had a hint of green curry for that extra spicy kick. Japanese had a subtle sweet-shoyu flavor topped with sesame seeds for that authentic nippon taste. Three kinds of chicken wings in one sitting, she sure knows how to make me happy!

rosemary wings
#1 Garandee's Roasted Rosemary Chicken Wings

This takes the cake! It's slow-roasted making it very tasty, succulent and healthy. Perfect with Dee's chili pasta with baked cherry tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar and extra vigin olive oil. It's so good it makes my mouth water as I type this post, not to mention this is always a big hit with our guests.

Well, that's my list of the best chicken wings. If in case you're interested in the the recipes of #1 and #2, leave a comment and I'll ask Garandee for it. Trust me, #1 is so good!

Garando mode:
Now back to my oatmeal and normalizing my cholesterol...

Read More......

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My precioussssss.......

Garando: "....???!.... Since when did you start wearing a ring on your toe?"

Garandee: " ...... "

Garando: "wait a minute, is that my wedding ring?"

Garandee: " ...... "

Garando: "IT IS my wedding ring! How did that end up there? That's so YAK!!"

Garandee: "You left it in the toilet... again!"

Garando: "Oh! yeah, I keep forgetting... that's because I always take it off before using the tabo."

Garandee: "Excuse again!"

Garando: "Ok, hand it over please..."

Garandee: "Alright... don't lose it, OK?"

Garando: "Shempre! it's my precioussssssssssss.......*slither* *slither*"

Garandee: "You're so YAK...."

Garando mode:
Another long weekend! Read More......

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai Terror Attacks

I woke up this morning to find the horrific situation in Mumbai all over the top news channels. Coordinated terror attacks have targeted up to 6 sites, possibly more. 87 dead, hundreds wounded. OMG....

I have friends & colleagues there, dear ones. I am now waiting to hear if they are alright. My thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to the people of Mumbai.

Here are the first pictures of the terror attacks from Vinukumar Ranganathan's flickr site

*photo of the Taj hotel taken from the BBC In Pictures: Mumbai Attacks

Garando mode:
This is terrible... Read More......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Viva Bohol!

Viva Bohol

Do & Dee's Honeymoon? Not likely because I was with the in-laws the whole time. This is the first time Garandee's family has ever been to the Philippines, so we had to make a good impression to encourage them to visit more often. She thought Bohol will definitely make a good first impression, and boy was she right!

Garandee's Mom and brother have never experienced a beach in their whole lives so you can just imagine how amazed they were when we arrived at the Bohol Beach Club in Panglao Island. Read on for the photos!

Garandee family beach
Not wasting precious time, Garandee and the in-laws hit the beach pronto!

okasan starfish
Garandee's Mom was overjoyed upon finding so many starfish. They were all over the place! Those hairy legs aren't Garandee's by the way... that's her brother.

otosan beach
Garandee's Papa hastily rolled up his cargo shorts eager to join the fun...

...only to be attacked by a raving, rabid starfish soon as he got to the water!

otosan coconuts
So he just went back to the resort and played with his coconuts... literally.

Bohol Tour!
Besides the beach, the infamous Bohol day tour is perfect for newlywed couples with senior tourists. Too bad it was raining all day...

choco hills
First stop, Chocolate Hills of course! Garandee's Papa wasn't that interested since he said he had been to the Himalayas during his prime years... asus!

river cruise
The Loboc River cruise. The buffet was awful, but at least the floating cultural show made up for it. Garandee got to dance "Ocho-ocho" and the "Tinikling" while her Mom got to play Bohol's version of the ukelele. Garandee's brother just got his sneakers wet on the balsa (raft)

Old Church
The Baclayon Church. Erected in the 1590's, it's likely one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. I'm terrible with history so when her brother asked me what the church was all about, I just said "Ano hito wa okama desu, kyokai..."

blood compact
Blood Compact Monument. This probably started the whole idea of "dinugu-an" (Philippines' famous pork blood stew delicacy) least that's what I told her brother. We were'nt really that interested, we just went there to use the restrooms.

Wet Tarsier
And finally, a Bohol tour wouldn't be complete without experiencing the adorable Tarsiers! Since it rained cats & dogs the whole time we were on the tour, the tarsiers were all wet & soggy. We didn't mind, it kinda made them look funky! Gone was the "emo" image, as you can see, "punk" is in!

Tarsier: "PUNK IS NOT DEAD!"
Garando: "Rock on!"

Our last night at the beach...

I love spending evenings at the beach! The sound of waves are so relaxing, so serene... besides the fact that Garandee's Mom got trapped in the toilet because of a faulty doorknob and me getting bitten by huge beach ants hiding under our toilet seat, it was a relatively peaceful night.

Our last day in Bohol...
Garando: "Okay, in-laws! This is your last day in Bohol, go and make the most of it!!"
...and they sure did!

hammock mitsu
Garandee's brother spent the final moments relaxing on a hammock, I guess he can't imagine leaving this paradise for the dense concrete jungle called "Tokyo".

okasan starfishagain
Garandee's Mom hunted for more starfish.

otosan coconuts
Garandee's Papa played with his coconuts... literally.

and Garandee hit the beach again!

going home
Finally it's time to bid Bohol farewell... thank you for the coconuts.
Her Papa proudly brought a piece back to Japan, that explains that huge bulge on his bag. Her brother also has a better understanding of Bohol history, thanks to moi.

Garandee mode:
I miss Bohol!!

Read More......