Ricotta Parmesan Dumplings

A rainy day calls for a warm and cozy soup to enjoy with family. Here’s a light, creamy and heart warming recipe when you’re both a soup and cheese lover! It’s quick and easy, and since you’re making dumplings, you can make more in a batch to store in the freezer. Make sure to save some chicken stock too to make another set the next time you crave again for some soupy delight.


RECIPE: Ricotta Parmesan Dumplings


  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Soup (add as much veggies as you want)

  • chicken stock
  • kosher salt
  • butter
  • asparagus (trimmed)
  • spinach (including tender stems)
  • onion leeks (chopped)
  • garlic chives (chopped)


  • pepper
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped garlic chives
  • wedge of lime or lemon


Enjoy your warm, cheesy soup on a rainy day!







Preloved movement for sustainable fashion



One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This holds true to fashion stylist Monica Vivar and founder of Denuo, an eco-conscious lifestyle brand that aimed to repurpose and reclaim preloved clothing. She reckons that fashion has become disposable with 80% of post purchase going to waste and thinks that women lose the power of self-expression by changing fashion pieces frequently. Vivar’s way of self-expression and empowering women, melds her styling with sustainability and believes in greater value of preloved and vintage items.

On a survey with 860 Filipino females conducted by Carousell Philippines, 67% buy a new piece of clothing every month. The top three reasons are, “I saw it on sale”, “for retail therapy”, “for special occasion”. While more than 50% of Filipino women have at least 20 pieces of underused clothing in their closet. 52% of the respondents said they sell them away, 21% give it to a close friend while 16% leave it in their closets.



Sustainable fashion bazaar in Kapitolyo, Pasig



“Fashion Revolution is a global movement that educates consumers on the impact of their clothing purchases to mark the Anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse. Overconsumption is both a global and Filipino problem. In 2017, 65% of Filipino adults have thrown clothes away.” said Sophia Calugay, Fashion Revolution’s country coordinator in the Philippines.

“People used to associate preloved clothing with messy piles of clothes from the local ukay-ukays. However, this perception is changing. Buying preloved is not only eco-conscious but also a way to create a unique style. It’s no surprise that Women’s Fashion is the most popular category on the Carousell marketplace with 350,000 listings, out of which 70% is preloved.” said Marita Galvez, Marketing Manager, Carousell Philippines.



Fashion stylist and founder of Denuo, Monica Vivar; sustainability advocate, Kimi Juan and Carousell representative Marita Galvez hold a styling and sharing workshop on sustainable fashion




In fact, the preloved trend is gaining traction in the Philippines, especially with the fashion-conscious crowd. 76% also said they are proud to wear preloved clothing. The top three reasons? It helps save money, it makes their styles unique, and they enjoy the thrill of second-hand shopping. Monica Vivar adds, through valuing and taking care of what people have in their closets and learning to experiment and combine pieces, it can reinvent one’s fashion.

In line with this, a first preloved bazaar for sustainability dubbed the Treasure Market, hosted by Carousell Philippines and Fashion Revolution Philippines, join forces to change the way Filipinos consume commodities. The curated bazaar featured booths from trendsetters like Tricia Gosingtian, Janina Manipol, Raiza Contawi and more.



Jan Aranilla, influencer, stylist and a mother; Kat De Jesus, resident DJ at The Palace Manila, influencer



Penelope Pop by Winnie Wong, Philippine-based illustrator with a dual passion for art and education; influencer



Preloved items of Divine Lee, an entrepreneur, philanthropist, blogger, host, and model 


Janina Manipol, influencer, filmmaker and content creator

“We are excited to be part of the Fashion Revolution Week. At Carousell, we believe that changing the way we consume things can make life more meaningful. Treasure Market encourages buying and selling preloved, a way for fashionistas to update their styles more responsibly.” Marita adds.

To encourage young Filipinos to join the preloved movement, Carousell Philippines and Fashion Revolution Philippines organised a series of online and offline activities. A Sustainable Fashion Show held on April 28 as the public screening of award-winning Canadian documentary Riverblue taught more about how fashion can save the planet, followed by a runway showcasing clothes that have been recycled, upcycled and reconstructed.



STKD Zeppelin Coworking + Event Space at 11 Brixton Street, Kapitolyo Pasig


About Carousell and Fashion Revolution

Carousell is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing classifieds marketplace where people can buy and sell easily. Launched in 2012, Carousell started in Singapore and has expanded to 7 key markets. It has been recognized as the most popular shopping application in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. The marketplace has variety of products in 29 categories, including car, gadget, and fashion accessories. Download the apps for iOS or Android, and visit www.ph.carousell.com/ for more info.



Fashion Revolution is a global movement that works for a more sustainable fashion industry, campaigning for systemic reform of the industry with a special focus on the need for greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. Fashion Revolution is a non-profit organisation with a presence in over 100 countries around the world. Our vision is a fashion industry that values people, the environment, profit and creativity in equal measure. Fashion Revolution works all year round to raise awareness of the fashion industry’s most pressing issues, advocate for positive change, and celebrate those who are on a journey to create a more ethical and sustainable future for fashion. Visit www.fashionrevolution.org/ for more info.



Very affordable, hardly-worn branded and designer clothes, and are sold for a cause




For those who missed out the on-ground event, on May 4-6, The Online Treasure Market will hold preloved pieces from influencers like Tricia Gosingtian, Janina Manipol, Kimi Juan and more on the Carousell marketplace.


– xoxo, hoppiepolla

Madrid Fusión Manila // Tweaking Madrid Fusión Manila

Madrid Fusión Manila, the gastronomy event that aims to promote the Philippines as a culinary destination while showcasing Spanish cuisine alongside Filipino fare has been moved from April to September this year.

The food congress is set to run for five years, starting in 2015, during the previous administration. Its fourth leg, however, is still being reviewed by the Department of Tourism.

Robert Lim Joseph, an honorary consultant of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo (Photo by Mae Pascual)


During a discussion with Robert Lim Joseph, an honorary consultant of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo and a member of Philippine Association of Convention/Exhibition Organizers and Suppiers, Inc. (PACEOS), he said there’s still hope for Madrid Fusión Manila 2018, but a list of things need to be verified before going any further.

The current administration questions the objectives of the 5-year project at a cost of P600M, a contract locked in during the previous administration, headed by former Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez.

According to former DoT Secretary Mina Gabor, president of International School of Sustainable Tourism, when they had a meeting with Tourism Promotions Board, she asked if the terms of the contract between Madrid Fusion is being complied with especially in tourism arrivals and the reply she said was it is not.


Media and other guests in previously held Madrid Fusion Manila (Photo from MFM Facebook)


Gabor believes that the Philippine brand should be promoted before anything else. She avers that the event has no clear direction on what it is trying to achieve, with too many topics and programs that are out of focus. She believes that the event should help improve knowledge in food preparations and have a holistic approach to the development and marketing of Filipino food before and after the event. She further notes that it lacks international publicity to trigger awareness for tourists to pique there curiosity and come to visit the Philippines and try Filipino food.

During the first meeting of presidents of all tourism organization nationwide, Sec. Teo instructed Usec. Bong Bengson to turn over all records from the Madrid Fusion Manila events, but the latter has only showed a copy of press releases while other information are still pending.

Philippe Bartolome, a Belgian chef, hotelier, and Chairman of Chefs on Parade shared how the Chefs on Parade held in 2011 and 2013 was staged with only P10 million budget, P300,000 of which was subsidized by the DoT.

Bartolome said COP was able to give free seminars and workshops daily by well-known chefs around the world for only P50 entrance fee. Meanwhile, MFM’s entrance fee costs P500 and the private dinners could reach P4,000 to P5,000 per head, thus it wasn’t unable to fill the entire SMX Convention Center.

A Spanish chef, who wishes to remain anonymous and was part of Madrid Fusion Manila, mentioned that they were not exposed to Filipino cuisine and didn’t get a chance to share experiences, techniques, and products of Philippine gastronomy. One of the setbacks, he said, is when there are degustations of Filipino food, it lacked explanations on the background of the food they are eating, moreso, the method of cooking.


Madrid Fusion Manila aims to promote the Philippines as a culinary destination while showcasing Spanish cuisine alongside Filipino fare


According to him, the chefs are not being paid to participate in the event thus are free to do their own agendas, losing the purpose of immersing themselves in Filipino culture and limiting their time to learn the local gastronomy and interact with Filipino chefs.

“The tourism has a small budget, so having a P120 million budget per year is already a sacrilege. With that amount and the result of the past three events, 70 percent could have been used to other tourism promotions instead,” said Joseph.

He reiterated the importance of introducing the Filipino ingredients, highlighting that in order for other countries to appreciate Filipino dishes and the style of cooking, it is also a good idea for foreigners to experience the local markets and gain perspective on the agriculture of the country and know the sources and characteristics of ingredients.

Joseph suggested that in order to make the event more dynamic, there must be food challenges nationwide where foreign chefs will engage with local chefs using local ingredients that different regions are known for. From exploring our unique ingredients and farm products, it will also benefit the country’s trade and commerce and could open doors for exportation.

“Money is going to the wrong place. If not stop, at least tweak it, or at least make ‘Fusion Manila’ or ‘Manila Fusion’ instead,” asserted Joseph.


Written for Manila Standard: http://manilastandard.net/lifestyle/food/264410/tweaking-madrid-fusi-n-manila.html

Alternatives to Boracay

Boracay, one of the most idyllic destinations for locals and tourists in the Philippines known for its day to night leisure-friendly beach, is nearing its 6-month hiatus. Soon, it’ll be out from our list this summer as it goes under rehabilitation from an environmental mishap brought together by years and years of mishandling, causing a massive water waste pollution. But being blessed with 7,641 islands, we have other beach destinations that can satisfy our need for some sea-sand-sun break.

While we’re giving Boracay a break to breathe a new life, here’s a list of some alternatives.

San Juan, La Union – Ilocos Region, Luzon

San Juan (Photo from booking.com)

La Union, a coastal town in the Ilocos Region, is dubbed as the “Surfing Capital of Northern Luzon,” for its huge swells that attract seasoned and amateur surfers alike. The province is tourist-friendly with accessible roads and an array of artsy resorts and restaurants available in the area.

Apart from enjoying the flourishing surfing vibe along the shores, one cannot miss trying out surfing as there is a number of groups offering lessons. The best time to go to San Juan, La Union is either during summer months (March to May) or October to March when the big waves turn up.

La Union also has hidden waterfalls and rivers such as Tangadan Falls and Tapuakan River that tourists can explore while they’re in the province.

La Union is only 5- to 6-hour drive from Metro Manila. Bus terminals with trips going to the province are located in Pasay, Manila, and Quezon City.


Camaya Coast, Bataan – Northern Luzon

Camaya Coast (Photo by Mae Pascual)

Had a busy week in the metro? A good slowdown will only take you a 3-hour drive or a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Manila and bring you to the southernmost tip of Bataan where the fine white sand and clear blue waters of Camaya Coast Resort will set you quick to respite mode.

The private-owned, 450-hectare land-turned-prime residential resort offers a balance of beach life and urban living with full amenities to guarantee comfort and perfect leisure time for vacationers. There are restaurants, food kiosks, and cafés near the beach area. Other amenities include waterpark, infinity pool with kiddie pool, fitness gym, and the internationally renowned, Bali-themed Mandara Spa.

Bookings are made through their website or via Metrodeal. Apart from land transfer to Mariveles, Bataan, you can also avail of roundtrip ferry transfers at Sun Cruises Terminal located at Esplanade Seaside Terminal at MOA Complex in Pasay City.


Bantayan Island, Cebu – Central Visayas

Bantayan Island (Photo from bantayanisland.org)

Bantayan is an island situated at the west of northern end of Cebu. Calmness, relaxation, and simplicity are the words the island promises to its guests. Known for its powdery soft white sand and aquamarine clear waters balanced with lush tropics, it leaves many charmed by its pure beauty. The water is only 4-feet deep at around 100 yards off the shore, ideal for a warm soak and basking under the sun.

The island has many to offer, from affordable accommodations, cottages, food, to scooter rentals if you opt to stroll around. Not too far from the resorts is Ogtong Cave that can take you to another unique excursion. Other activities are snorkeling, boat riding, and even bar hopping in various resorts on the island.

This Visayan island is accessible via ferry from Hagnaya Port in northern Cebu. Going to Santa Fe Port of Bantayan Island could take 1.5 hour.


Anda Beach, Bohol – Central Visayas

Anda (Photo from bohol.ph)

Anda is one of Bohol’s hidden gems situated at the eastern coast of the island. Not far from the town proper is Quinale Beach, a three-kilometer strip of fine white sand that lures you to its cerulean waters. Due to its long distance from Tagbilaran, it remains unspoilt, raw, and pristine, best for those who are after a perfect quiescence and repose.

When in Anda, it is also best to visit Cabagnow Cave, a unique cave structure with deep turquoise waters resembling a hidden lagoon that has emerged from nowhere. One cannot miss this spellbinding experience.

From Tagbilaran airport, head to Dao Terminal. It takes 2-3 hours from Dao Terminal to Anda town proper.


Samal Island, Davao – Davao del Norte, Mindanao

Samal Island (Photo from samal-island.com)

Samal is an island located in Davao Gulf of Davao del Norte. Together with Talikud Island, just southwest of the main island, they form a part of the Mindanao Island group.

Samal Island features a wide selection of resorts and accommodations dotting its 116-kilometer shoreline, depending on the traveler’s budget and needs.

There are several ways to enjoy the island, ranging from windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, scuba diving, kayaking, and surfing. You can also try spelunking at Balete, Mangongawong or Baga caves or go mountain climbing at Mt. Puting Bato. Samal also has a vanishing island in Barangay Tambo which disappears during high tide.

From Davao City, boats and ferries are available at Sta. Ana Wharf and Km. 11 Wharf in Sasa going to Samal Island for only 1-2 hours.

These alternatives are just some of the Philippines’ famed beach destinations. More coves, islands, and expansive white beaches in the country are waiting to be explored. We must learn our lessons from what happened to Boracay; one must not forget, when turning to nature for a dose of relaxation and enjoyment, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.


written for: The Manila Standard

BBC Earth’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor // Not your ordinary doctor

British medical doctor-turned-television presenter and producer Michael Mosley is best known for his programs on BBC and for endorsing a diet program which he tested on himself.

In hopes of curing himself of type 2 diabetes, whose complications took the life of his father, without relying on medications, he tried a novel approach to intermittent fasting wherein he only consumed 600 calories for two days and ate normally for the rest of the week. He called it the “5:2 Diet.”

The result of his diet  was remarkable; Dr. Mosley lost more than 10 kilos, the visceral fat in his liver was gone, and his blood sugar level went back to normal. He reached the non-diabetic range without taking any drugs.

He featured his personal journey in his TV show Eat, Fast, Live Longer in 2012, and by the end of the year, his 5:2 Diet was already a popular method, whose fans include Beyonce Knowles and Benedict Cumberbatch among many others. He also detailed the diet plan in his book The Fast Diet, which has already sold 2 million copies to 40 countries, with translations of 20 languages.

Apart from intermittent fasting, gut bacteria also play a big role on how our bodies function and behave, says Dr. Mosley. According to him, Psychobiotics, which refers to the intake of probiotics and prebiotics, can alter a person’s mental health, as emotional, cognitive, systemic, and neural variables could be highly correlative to health and disease.


BBC Worldwide director of communications Jeanne Leong listens intently as Dr. Michael Mosley talks about the latest series of his TV show, ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor.’  Mae Gianina C. Pascual


The 61-year-old doctor, however, admits that his unconventional approaches don’t translate to more earnings. When asked by Manila Standard, he openly shared that he and his wife remain committed to teaching nutrition and losing weight to cure diseases instead of administering drugs despite losing money that could potentially reach to $20,000 to $30,000 a year.

Though a dauntless non-conformist, his knowledge and medical practices are backed by scientific references and support from Nobel Prize winners. He says he would be happy to debate vis-a-vis doctors who may be doubting his methods.

Moreover, he shares it is part of his mission to find the best medical solutions for people all over the world; to learn more about prevention and natural ways to take care of our bodies, and not just cures that heavily rely on drugs. And he is ready to test them himself.

This is exactly what he aims to discover in the latest series of his TV show, Trust Me I’m a Doctor, on BBC. Dr. Mosley and his team of experts go behind the hype to find the truth about what’s really good for our health.

Season seven’s first episode focuses on mental health and explores the impacts of sleep, laughing and food on the wellness of our minds. In Episode 2, Dr. Mosley  takes on beverages. Do fizzy drinks make people eat more? Does caffeine boost physical performance? He also tests the claim that cholesterol can cut out cholesterol in Episode 3. Succeeding episodes will investigate if eating crabs at night is bad for us as well as how to minimize the effects of jet lag, among other topics.

“I hope that the series will resonate with Filipino viewers, and provide them with information that will help them live better, healthier lives,” says Dr. Mosley.

The latest season of Trust Me I’m a Doctor premieres on April 16 at 10:50 p.m. on BBC Earth (Ch. 245 on Cignal).


Written for Manila Standard: http://manilastandard.net/lifestyle/home-living/262163/not-your-ordinary-doctor.html

Remembering Spring in Taiwan


April, indeed, is the best time to go to Taiwan and experience spring. Remembering last year’s travel to North of Taiwan – nice and cool climate that envelope the beautiful foliage of Taipei all the way to the country’s northernmost coasts.

Apart from good food and friendly locals, Taiwan is also one of the cleanest places to go to.

P L A C E S   E X P L O R E D  //

Yonghe District
Lehua Night Market
Taipei 101
Shiding District
Shengkeng Old Street
Beitou Thermal Valley
Bagua Tea Plantation
Yangmingshan National Park
Shimen District
Guanyinshan North Coast
Baishawan Beach
Feng Zhi Men Bike Trail
Linshan Cape


*** Updating this post soon for more of this Taiwan travel story! ***


A lash paradise party of pinks and rose golds



Clumps, flakes, smudges – every eyelash mascara junkie hates which could typically destroy ones’ makeup. When out and about, sporting a long, noticeable and dark lashes makes a whole lot of difference to an overall look. Sometimes, it could be worth skipping eyeshadows or liners. Though the quest for volumized, long, and comfortable lashes could be complicated and can make navigating the beauty aisles a challenge. This time, ladies can finally try the one mascara that could solve the messy problems as the sought-after mascara in the US is brought to the Philippines!


Pinks and rose golds theme



Makeup station for guests


Ms Girlie Uy doing my makeup

On March 15, beauty bloggers, influencers, makeup artists and friends from the media in their pink kimono robes had a lovely afternoon filled with cheese and champagnes, poke bowls, cotton candies, pink desserts, spa treatments and most specially, makeup sessions while having their first dibs on the Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.


Champagnes while waiting for the sunset


Luscious pink dessert bar


Unicorn of your palate’s dreams

L’Oréal Paris, the global leader in cosmetics, announces the arrival of Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara, the best-selling mascara in USA that sold one in every eight seconds.

Famed for its easy to glide formula that gives women volumized, feathery soft and light lashes, this highly coveted mascara offers a sensorial experience with every swipe. It provides silky volume in one coat that won’t flake, clump, or smudge. Thanks to its 24HR long-wearing and waterproof features. After all, nothing enhances your look better than the classic long and volumized lashes! Apart from its amazingly innovative formula, Lash Paradise also comes with a feathery-soft wavy brush with 200+ bristles. The applicator is designed to hold maximum product and smoothly coat your lashes from root to end for a stunning lash effect.






Beauty bloggers, influencers, makeup artists and friends from the media being dolled up and having their first dibs on the new mascara



A vanity party with guests wearing pink kimono robes



Spa time after the makeup sessions

The mascara in a pretty millennial rose gold tube had underwent a consumer test in the USA, with 91% seeing an intense and volumized effect lashes, 98% lengthening effect, and 87% agreeing to having more beautiful lashes. With the arrival of Lash Paradise in the Philippines, women no longer need to worry about finding a quick perfect preen for their lashes.

It is available in the Blackest Black shade. Lash Paradise is definitely the ideal product for women who want it all – long, volumized, and feathery soft and light lashes that lasts all day. Ladies definitely won’t bat an eyelash with keeping one in their purse!


The new Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara


Available on Lazada starting March 19, and in L’Oréal counters in April for only P500 (P400 for promo price), you can #TakeYourLashesToParadise with L’Oréal Paris’ Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara.