Sesame Street Fizzy Tub Colors

Bath time fun for tots.

Funky Feet

Not quite shoes.

Cinema Leonardo

Baguio house by the hill.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Bliss Cafe, Baguio

A whiff of calming incense smoke greeted us by the door. World music faintly being played teleported me back to India, where we came from the previous week.

We just entered Bliss Cafe. A refuge from the insane crowd of Panagbenga Festival goers. My eyes instantaneously adjusted to the soft lighting, and swept the not-so-small artsy nook.

The merry, multihued shelves complimented the interesting trinkets from varied countries on display, collected by the owners themselves.

Bliss Cafe exudes a spiritual personality, but not in an overwhelming way. Just enough to entice you to linger around and order that extra glass of lassi while you browse through their stack of books or space out and pseudo-meditate.

Or like our baby, stare at the groovy paintings.

I have actually read about this lacto-vegetarian resto from Lonely Planet. Since we moved to Baguio five months ago, I have always wanted to check it out. For some reason, I didn't have the opportunity to swing by this side of town (its location's somewhere we don't frequent in).

So earlier that day, after watching Panagbenga's Grand Float Parade, fellow blogger Joel and I agreed on having dinner there. We also invited a few Couchsurfers to join us. Joel reserved a table for six.

Happy hippies from left to right: Shanti, Jim carrying Luna, The Hippie Mum, and the hubby.

We were warmly welcomed by owners Jim and Shanti. They established Bliss Cafe in 2004 after Jim quit his corporate job and Shanti left teaching (they met at a yoga camp, how cool is that?!). I am Multiply friends them , it was funny when Jim asked "Are you the hobohippie?". That question led to an awesome conversation, with topics ranging from art to traveling to food.

And speaking of food, Shanti busied herself in the kitchen (she's the chef!) after we ordered our meals. So how are their munchies? We all enjoyed our appetizers, papadum (thin Indian flatbread, my fave!) and Haiku (their vegetarian chicharon). The hubby, a meat eater, loved his Curry "No Quack" Duck.

I ordered Sunrise from their all day brunch. A hearty meal of scrambled tofu, peppers, order of mantra (Shanti please explain), veggie sausage and toast. It comes with either coffee or tea. I liked my food but it was a mistake to request for lassi (Indian/Pakistani yogurt based drink), because coffee would be perfect with it. I felt like I was just about to start a long day.

One of us ordered pizza, Shanti uses chapati as the crust. Brilliant yumminess!

Everyone having a bliss time!

Bliss Cafe's got a menu that can leave you contemplating for a long time. They got Indian, Filipino, Mexican, even Korean. Pasta and burger too! I have not tried everything so I pass the gastro exploration to you guys... And kids, eat your veggies!

We had such Bliss-ful time, hope y'all experience it too.

The Hippie Mum's family is about to move out of Baguio, and as a farewell treat (we don't have local friends to party with, boo hoo!), we'll give away a P500 Bliss Cafe gift certificate! All you gotta do is "Like" The Hippie Mum and Bliss Cafe Baguio on Facebook. Then post this on The Hippie Mum's wall: My idea of a blissful time in Baguio is ___________ . It's that easy!

Winner will be chosen via, and we'll choose the number 8 because we're leaving our abode on April 8 (and because I don't expect the number of participants to reach 48!). Sigh. Deadline of entries is on April 13 and winner will be announced the next day. Good luck guys!

Bliss Cafe
2nd Level, Hotel Elizabeth
Gibraltar Road
Baguio City


Friday, 25 February 2011

The New Mum: Baby Kick

I was about four and a half months pregnant when I first felt it. I remember it being the creepiest, most beautiful thing that happened to my body. Hubby couldn't take the smile off his face when I let him feel it too (he was kicked in the face though as he was about to kiss my tummy).

Fetal movement, also called "quickening", can be noticed around the fourth or fifth month (may depend on a woman's built). Movements start from gentle tippy-taps, then progress to painful jolts.

When my baby turned seven months in my womb, she started doing twists and turns and combos of jabs and kicks! I also remember her doing punches when I lie down to one side that she didn't like. Her punch would command me to rollover. Okay maybe she didn't really "punch" or "kick" (or "headbang" to music), if you're a fellow mum, you know what I mean.

It hurt. But hey, nothing a pregnant woman's body cannot handle.

Luna looks like she's going to be a football player or martial arts expert someday.

Fetal movement during the last month will slow down, for the baby's temporary abode will already be cramped by then. Photo above was taken two days before I gave birth. Luna didn't seem to care about her small space, she still stretched her limbs as she pleased!

How fast she grew... Now she's five months old, kicking me for real. And what great power her legs have!

Note: Fetal activity/movement should be closely monitored in the third trimester. Consult your OB-Gyn if you feel less than 10 kicks in about 2 hours.


Friday, 11 February 2011

Passport Wedding Invitation

Yesterday, I shared with you guys our Boarding Pass Wedding Invitation. As promised, here's our Passport Wedding Invitation which we also ordered from Printed Matter Express.

Passport invitation cover

It's more expensive at P130 a piece plus P1,220 processing fee. Minimum order is four pieces.

1st page. Shervin's name, misspelled on the draft.

Layout work will also take 3 days to one week. Photos and details can be sent thru email.

2nd and 3rd page, travel photos and wedding details.

A draft will be presented to the client, and when approved, will be sent to production which takes another week. Should there be revisions, a form will be filled-out. Any other corrections after that, there will already be a P100 charge.

4th and 5th page, list of sponsors.

6th and 7th page, more travel photos!

The immigration stamps coincidentally say Australia, where the hubby's from.

Last page, RSVP contact details.

This invitation was such a hit among our guests... everyone requested for a copy but uhm, we didn't have enough. Couldn't afford to order tons.


Boarding Pass Wedding Invitation

I consider traveling as a lifestyle, not just as an escape. So does the hubby. And I made sure this was depicted during our wedding more than a year ago. We had an AVP about our trips when we were still steadies (there was also a video of greetings from our friends around the world), our wedding cake had a topper of a couple with backpacks, we set off sky lanterns (something that reminds us of Thailand where hubby realized I'm "the one") at the after party, and the invitations?

Boarding pass invitation cover

We ordered boarding pass and passport invitations from Printed Matter Express!

Believe it or not, the invitations were two of the biggest splurges (even my gown wasn't at all pricey) for our wedding. One boarding pass invitation was P90, plus there's a processing charge of P1,150. Minimum order's six pieces.

1st page

2nd page

3rd page

Initially, we only wanted to order the passport invites, but the perky attendant of their kiosk at Glorietta 3 showed us a sample of this - and so we ended up ordering both.

I submitted our wedding info via email. Their layout-ing takes 3 to 4 days, sometimes up to a week if they're uber busy. When it was done they asked us to come back and see the draft, and fill-out a form should there be revisions. Any revision after that, you'll be charged an additional P100. Production takes another week.

Were they worth the hefty price? Heck yeah! We love 'em so much, it was so difficult to give 'em away!

Passport invites to be featured next.


Skip Yowell Wrote "To Luna"!

A hippie, mountaineer, author, and one of the founders of JanSport... That's Skip Yowell, and he autographed Luna's JanSport bag!

A friend made it happen.

One of my climbing buddies, Christine, used to work for R.O.X. Philippines. They handled Skip's talk/tour in the Philippines, November last year. She invited me to their event.

We were about to move to Baguio then, I told her I couldn't make it. Instead, I requested for Skip's autograph and Christine assured me it's doable. Problem was, I didn't own any JanSport item.

And so, I asked her if she could also buy a genuine JanSport bag for me (a stress on 'genuine' cause we were laughing at the thought of asking for Skip's autograph on a knock off). I chose pink, assuming our baby Luna will like it when she turns into a toddler. After a series of Googling images, emailing, Globe G Cash-ing, and texting... She finally bought The One (and charged me at a discounted rate!). An eye sore popping merry combination of pink and orange.

As promised, the bag was autographed on the day of the event, and Skip even wrote "To Luna". I just received it about three weeks ago when Christine went to Baguio to catch a Besao-bound bus. Now we're using it as Luna's first travel backpack!

She also gave me this cute sticker.

JanSport started with a shoestring budget! Read about its humble beginnings, fun ads, and the cool, creative trio who established the company here.

Check out also Skip Yowell's site, written on the main page is this: As noted by Ed Viesturs, the first American to climb all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks, Author of No Shortcuts to the Top, "(Skip) stayed true to himself, maintained friendships, traveled the world and most importantly, preserved his passion for his job.... We can all learn something from Skip."



Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The New Mum: What is a baby blanket?

This is the same question I asked my hubby while we were at the mall's infant wear section. He ain't got a clue also.

My hubby and I are very practical people. We only purchase stuff that we really need (and boy, whatta difficult task it was steering away from adorable baby girl clothes!). And since we thought the baby blanket was just an ordinary tiny blanket, we skipped buying it that day.

Our baby daughter, a few minutes old, wrapped in a baby blanket at the nursery.

I only realized what a baby blanket is during one of our OB-Gyn visits. My OB-Gyn shares her clinic with a pediatrician. So obviously the waiting area's not only crowded with other preggy women like me, but also with other mums carrying babies.

All of the newborns were wrapped in blankets. But not just ordinary blankets, blankets with hoods! Then it dawned on me that these are the so called baby blankets!

With further research (and tons of questions thrown at my OB-Gyn), I learned its importance. Let's state the obvious, it keeps the baby warm. And I was told that the hood protects the baby's head from hamog during early morns and evenings.

"Hamog" if I'm not mistaken, is fog in English. So how come the elderly warn the parents "Baka mahamugan ang bata." (Transliterated: The baby might get fogged.) when there isn't really any fog happening (we live in the mountains however, so this applies to us)? Beats me.

My fave.

I have read online that 30%, some say 45%, of a human's body heat is lost through the head (this is now considered a modern myth though). Could this be the reason?

A more important role of a baby blanket, when wrapped snuggly around a newborn, is that it gives a feeling of security. It imitates the womb's environment. It is believed to give the baby a deep sleep too (don't keep your hopes high, a newborn still wakes up every couple of hours to feed!)

Pointers in choosing a good baby blanket? Just make sure that it is of good quality (I got my bet on cotton). Not too thick during summer and not too thin during winter/rainy season (or again, if you live in the mountains like us).


Saturday, 22 January 2011

A Bag Of Goodies From A Fellow Hippie Mum

I can't recall how Khristine found my travel blog... but I'm sure glad she did. She left a comment on one of my posts and I remember how thrilled I was to hear from a fellow hippie mum.

Bag of travel goodies: Bag, Citronella Bug Spray, drop-in bottle, disposable liners, vegetarian cookbook.

We haven't met in person yet nor have we been cyber friends (I love that 90s term) for a long time, but she sent me a package of goodies three days ago for no occasion at all - perhaps out of hippie sistahood?

I was in bed playing with our baby Luna when the delivery guy called out "Tao po!" from our apartment's gate. Hubby was the one who answered the door and received it. I asked him if it was an envelope (we were also expecting mail from NSO) or a boxed package. When he said it's got a lot of contents inside, I rose quickly to check it out.

I love all of the stuff she sent but I'm particularly fascinated with this Playtex Drop-In Nurser Bottle. I never knew it existed until I received one! Khristine also gave disposable liners for it. Perfect for traveling with an infant.

It's the first time I have received a gift from someone who reads my blogs. It feels stellar and strange. I am a human being and I love attention like everyone else, being noticed makes my existence more colorful... and to be noticed by someone whose writing I admire too (I've become a serial internet snoop follower of her blog too when I found out about it), not to mention that someone is a more learned mum than me, is something else.

Thank you, with all my heart. I know today's your birthday and I wish you good karma for the rest of your life. And oh, regarding the note you've written on the book... Would love to meet you in person (or in a parallel universe) so I can give my simple birthday gift for you.


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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Pasta Wednesday: Clara Ole's Cheesy Pesto Pasta

The Hippie Mum's household had/has a tradition (had because it used to be a tradition until one Wednesday we just totally forgot about it, and has because we've just started it again) of eating at least one pasta dish every Wednesday.

Pesto overload: pesto sauce with pesto chicken fingers!

My mom's the greatest cook I and colonies of other people know (my parents used to have a catering biz in our ol' village), specializing in Kapampangan and Ilokano food. I, on the other hand... well, let's just say I can follow cooking instructions easily and I don't usually burn stuff. But I can't whip up a mean dish from scratch (hubby always says my meals are awesome, but that's from someone who used to live off bread and bananas).

With that said, I bet it's odd for me to share a recipe then (let alone you guys browsing through it). If you're no chef-material like me or if you love prepping meals in a jiffy (because you got a bunch of Facebooking other things to do), this shall interest you. This pasta sauce is ready to eat, and you just need to "make it your own"

This post ain't in any way sponsored. Ingredients were chosen by me.

What you need:

2 tbsp olive oil (vegetable oil will do)
2 cloves minced garlic
250 grams spaghetti (or any other type of pasta available)
180 grams Clara Ole Cheesy Pesto Pasta Sauce
4 pieces Magnolia Pesto Chicken Fingers sliced into bite size pieces, then fried.

What to do:

1. Saute garlic in oil. If you're substituting chicken fingers with mushrooms, tuna or shrimp, you may already add them in.

2. Pour in pesto sauce, add salt if desired.

3. Toss in pasta. Mix until well blended. Add chicken fingers last so they remain crispy. Serve on a charming, colorful plate (just because).

The sauce itself is already chees-ey, but you may add grated parmesan or leftover keso de bola (you still have?!). I love adding chopped peanuts too, if I don't put any meat in the sauce.

The 250 grams pasta may not be enough for the sauce (in case you don't like it too oily), you may use the excess sauce as bread spread.

There you have it folks. Delizioso! At least, for me.


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Tuesday, 11 January 2011

How To Apply For Marriage License In The Philippines

This was originally posted 14th of October '09 on my personal blog, but now that I've taken it down (with a very demanding drama princess toddler I cannot maintain a gazillion blogs!), I decided to move it here. Same requirements are asked until this day. Yes, I checked.

Yesterday, we attended a seminar conducted by the Manila Health Department at the Manila City Hall. We winded through the maze-like corridors in search of the seminar room. Records and books that got wet from the flood which typhoon Ondoy caused were still lined up along the halls to dry.

The seminar's a prerequisite for a marriage license. For those who are planning to get married soon, this post will give you guys an idea as to what the requirements are.

The application for license shall be done in your own municipality. At least one should be a resident of the city, you will be asked for a valid I.D. which shows your address later on when you submit your documents.

Charming Manila City Hall, where we applied ours.

At Manila City Hall, you need to approach first the helpful staff at the reception of the Civil Registry Office. They will provide you with a sheet where requirements are listed down:

They will refer you then to another officer who peruses the documents being submitted. She (if I remember it correctly, her name is Mina Lopez) will check which documents you need to submit, in accordance to your age bracket which are as follows:

Applicants 18-21 years old
1. Birth Certificate latest copy
Born in Manila - local copy
Born outside Manila - NSO copy
2. Valid I.D. - original and photocopy
*Again, at least 1 of the party must be resident of Manila, I.D. must show address.
3. Parental Consent - parent must come with valid I.D.
4. Marriage Counselling
Manila Health Department
5. CENOMAR (may not be required)

Applicants 21-25 years old
1. Birth Certificate latest copy
Born in Manila - local copy
Born outside Manila - NSO copy
2. Valid I.D. - original and photocopy
*Again, at least 1 of the party must be resident of Manila, I.D. must show address.
3. Parental Advice - parent must come with valid I.D.
4. Marriage Counselling
Manila Health Department

For 25 years old and above (where I belong), only Birth Certificate, valid I.D. and marriage counselling are required.

For Foreigners
1. Legal Capacity to marry (Certificate of No Impediment) to be issued by the embassy.
2. Certificate of Singleness or CENOMAR. This is different from the CNI and can be issued by the foreigner's country of origin's government. Case in a point, an Australian's CNI is issued by his embassy here in the Philippines but the Certificate of Singleness can only be requested directly from the Australian government. The City Hall will accept an email or fax copy.
3. Passport - original and photocopy.

Previous Marriages
Additional requirement:
1. Must provide the death certificate of deceased spouse
2. Or the judicial decree of your absolute divorce, or the judicial decree of your annulment or declaration of nullity of your previous marriage.

Note: If changed nationality, present Naturalization Papers if father is Chinese and mother is Filipino (or vice versa). Married parents born 1975 up, present election/recognition of citizenship.

Seminars are conducted Mondays through Fridays at the Manila Health Department Rm. 128. Before attending though ask for a payment slip from the registry, pay at the taxpayer's center (P120), present receipt back at the registry and they will finally give you the application form for marriage license to fill out.

Schedule of seminars:
1st session 9:00-10:00am
2nd session 1:30-2:30

You will hand in the form to the Manila Health Department staff before taking a seat to watch a film about human gestation and ironically, abortion. Which perhaps will encourage couples to practice family planning rather than resolving to killing an unborn child. The film was Silent Scream , which I have actually watched in primary school. Geez, what were our teachers thinking then?! Okay, so before I wander off memory lane, let's continue with the final steps (by the way there was also a short talk by the staff-cum-speaker about married life).

After the seminar, if you have brought with you all the documents, you simply go back to the registry officer to submit these together with the certificate of seminar attendance. After going through the papers, she will lead you to an office for the oathtaking. It's an oath stating that the information you have provided are correct. You simply answer 'yes' to two questions.

Hurray you're done! You will be asked to come back after ten days to claim the license, notice of the marriage application will be posted on a bulletin board outside the local civil registrar's office (like marriage banns) during this period. It may also be a time to contemplate whether you want to push through or not *wink*.

License is valid for 120 days from the date of issuance.

Additional information taken here. List of requirements copied off a brochure from Manila City Hall's Civil Registry.


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Saturday, 8 January 2011

Funky Feet: Not-Quite-Shoes

So... Weather forecast indicates that the temperature here in Baguio might hit once again its all time low at 6°C by mid-February. Hubby and I are worried for the little one - especially after watching news reports about infants and toddlers brought to hospitals because of flu and pneumonia.

Luna in Candy Janes' Blue Stars in Tam-Awan Village.

And what are we doing to help protect her from being sick? Well, aside from not taking her out too often, we make sure she's warmly bundled all the time. She always wears a jacket, pants and socks.... fashionable socks! Funky Feet socks!

Can't remember how I came across this brand on Multiply, but I'm sure glad I did. When my sister asked what present should she buy for Luna's baptism, I requested her to order online a Funky Feet Candy Janes set!

On her first roadtrip to Baguio, she wore this pair, Candy Janes' Pink Hearts (still very loose when she was 5 weeks old).

This particular set turned out to be the perfect choice for its socks are long, appropriate for the cold climate.

Candy Janes' Dotty-dots. Luna by the beach in La Union, but all dressed up because we were about to head back to Baguio.

Price may be a bit steep for me some, P500 for a "Mix & Match set" of 5 pairs and P320 for a box of 3 pairs - but hey, you're paying for good quality and fun fashion! I say they're worth the dough.

Check out Funky Feet's other adorable designs here:


Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy, Shiny New Year

Cheers to 365 happy, shiny days of 2011!

Today's the first day of the new year and I just sent a donation to WWF Philippines to help fund the different conservation projects of the organization. Since I currently have a demanding (but uber cute) infant to take care of, I may not have the chance to do volunteer work anytime soon, so this is the next best thing that I could do.

This is in a way a baby step towards achieving our green resolution for 2011. How about you? What have you done this 1/1/11?


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