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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Exploding like Dynamite: Chili Cheese Sticks

As we all know cheese sticks are our favorite snack both kids and kids at heart. Cheese sticks are elongated cheese wrapped in lumpia wrapper and deep fried. Mostly, it is served as an appetizer to restaurants matched with mayo-ketchup or mustard. Last week I discovered this kind of cheese stick but with a twist, on a cable channel’s cooking show, introducing Chili Cheese Sticks. Cheese sticks wrapped in Green Finger Chilies then wrapped in Lumpia wrapper & deep fried. It looks so yummy and zesty so I decided to create some with my own aioli-ketchup sauce. So here’s how:

7 pcs.                                   Green Finger Chili
1 pc.                                    Beaten Egg
1 cup                                    bread crumbs or flour seasoned with salt &  
7 pcs.                                   Lumpia wrapper
1 & ½ (sulit pack)                  block cheddar cheese
1/8 cup                                water for sealing
1 cup                                    Oil for deep frying or pan frying

Aioli sauce:

3 spoonful                            mayonnaise
1 spoonful                            ketchup
1 clove                                 garlic slice into bits


1.       Wash the Finger Chillies.

2.       Using a rubber or plastic hand gloves (to avoid the heat of chilies on your skin), slice the chili vertically from top to the tip, leaving enough space from the head. Then another slice horizontally at the top but not in full cut, enough space to remove the seeds. 

3.       Scrape the seeds. If you want milder chilies, remove the vein that line inside the flesh. 

4.       Stuffed the chilies with cheese. 

5.       Dip the stuffed chilies on beaten egg  (I used flat bowl so I can coat the chilies evenly)

6.       Lay flat the stuffed chili on Lumpia wrapper folding one end then roll it over keeping the head on one end. Seal the wide end with small amount of water.

7.       Dip again the wrap in the beaten egg and coat evenly.

8.       Dip the wrap on seasoned bread crumbs.

9.       Heat the oil for frying. You can choose if you want it pan fried or deep fried

10.   Fry the wrap until golden brown.

11.   Set aside and dab it to tissue paper to absorb excess oil.

12.   For the Aioli sauce. Mixed in a bowl, mayonnaise, ketchup and bits of garlic. Season it with salt & pepper.

13.   Serve and enjoy. Happy eating!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

A day of heritage & culture at Nayong Pilipino Clark

After our joyous experience seeing gigantic balloons soared high in the 17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta we decided to take a side trip to Nayong Pilipino Clark, since we finished early at the show. We all know that Nayong Pilipino is in Pasay where we took field trips during our elementary days, but yes you read it right a new Nayong Pilipino was built and re-opened year 2007 in Clark Field Pampanga. Entrance fee is 50 pesos for adults and 30 for children, and if you’re bringing your car 20 pesos is for parking fee. The park is open daily from 8am to 6pm. Shuttle service for park goers are also available at the Clark Freeport Zone main gate near SM Clark.

Nayong Pilipino features replicas of Philippine tourist landmarks, cultural heritage, and museums. It showcases our rich heritage and culture all in one place. Some of the replicas are Emilio Aguinaldo’s house, Jose Rizal’s house, Barasoain church and Spanish type plaza. 

Aguinaldo House

Barasoain Church Replica

Chinese Bridge

There are Aeta Village, Ifugao Hut, kalinga Village, Nipa hut lodges and cottages that can be rented for a picnic spree. We’re lucky that day because we also got the chance to witness the park’s cultural shows and presentations. On first set of performance, we were serenaded by rondalla band tuning up with classical songs followed by folk dances. The Nayong Pilipino Dance Troupe performs traditional Filipino dances accompanied by the live rondalla band. As we saw this group of performers, we reminisced our elementary and high school days during Phil Days performing different folk dances such as CariƱosa, Tinikling, Singkil, Pandanggo sa ilaw, Sayaw sa sombrero, Bulaklakan, and a lot more. The dancers were great on their Baro’t saya and barong costumes while having their great performance. After their set, they invited viewers to try dancing the tinikling and one foreign tourist enjoyed it.

We really enjoyed our visit and it was a fun side trip because we've got the chance to enhance our remembrance of the rich historical traditions & cultures of our motherland. 

For reservations, inquiries you can call Nayong Pilipino at these numbers:

Clark office (045) 4361718 / (+63) 916-6850997 (+63) 949-7681893

Pasay Office (02) 832-3767

Or just visit their site at

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

17th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta : where everything flies

As we all know February is month of love where people become romantic and spend some extra sweet quality time with their special someone or loved ones. Couple, family and friends hunt for some things to do, places to see or events to witness and festivals are some of the ideal hang-out. Some of these festivals include Pamulinawen in Laoag, Suman festival in Baler Aurora, Candle festival in Jaro Ilo-ilo, Panagbenga in Baguio, and a lot more.  But here is an extraordinary outdoor experience that surely you will loved. It is The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta where “Everything flies”. It is an annual tournament of balloonist from various countries and it features aero sport shows, kite flying, games, exhibitions and many more. It’s a four days event happens every February at Clark Field Angeles Pampanga. 

As our group wanted to celebrate Hearts Month, we decided to have a pre-Valentines date witnessing big balloons soar thousands of feet high. We were able to attend the 3rd day which is Saturday, February 11. My friends decided to stay at our home a night before and without sleep we left Manila 2 in the morning. (Just a tip, if you wanted to have a convenient parking slot near the entrance and good viewing spot you should be at the venue 4 in the morning and also to avoid long lines in entrance and ticketing booths. But for us, we booked our tickets 1 week ahead in SM TicketNet outlets: Mall of Asia, SM Makati, SM Bicutan, SM Southmall, etc. for only 200 + 20 pesos for the handling fee) We arrived at Clark 4 in the morning and the queue to the parking area, as well as the main entrance of the show area was very long but you’ll feel that everyone’s excited for the show. Around 5:30 in the morning remote controlled AeroLED aircrafts started to fly in the sky, a go signal that the show will start in a few minutes. 

remote-controlled AeroLED

When the clock ticked at exactly 6 in the morning, a sky jumper was seen in the sky carrying a Philippine flag while Philippine National Anthem played in the airways. It was an extraordinary feeling of proudness; and yes this is our homeland! 

Moments later participants started to set-up their balloons on the open ground, and we we’re so amazed on how hot air balloons were unloaded from the trucks, unfolded to the ground, get inflated, burst with fire and finally bloom in the sky. After a few minutes, the beautiful blue sky was filled with multicolor of varied sizes & designs flying big balloons. It was a wonderful and very child-like feeling like we’re back on our childhood days playing and capturing these gigantic balloons. Some of our favorites are the Daisy, Ice cream, Cake and Panda. 

The festival also features a number of events in skydiving, flag jumps, micro light and rocketry demonstrations, helicopter flying exhibitions, freestyle aerobatics, precision maneuvers, light airplane balloon bursting, ultra-light flying formation and bomb dropping, kite-making and choreographed Kite-Flying. After enjoying the balloons, we roam around the field to capture photos of AFP’s armored & military vehicles, weapons, assault rifles, gigantic air/warcrafts, and skydiving outfits.

Sky Diver formation

Since we finished early at the show, we decided to have a side trip at Nayong Pilipino Clark and took our lunch at the famous Aling Lucing’s Sisig and Susie’s pasalubong; tibok-tibok as their specialty which I will blog on my next entry.

Getting the chance to witness this kind of fiesta was really fulfilling and fun-filled not only because of the Big balloons but the chance of spending early Valentines with my friends, no one can replace the memories, experience, and the bonding where everything flies!!! 

Directions to Clark Pampanga:
Getting to the Clark Special Economic Zone by car, take the North Luzon Expressway from Manila and exit at Dau, Mabalacat. Take a left turn towards Angeles City and right turn into Clark. On entering the main gate, proceed along Roxas highway and the Balloon Fiesta will be to your right. Car trips usually take about an hour and a half to two hours from Manila.

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