Monthly Archives: May 2011

Preparing Spanish Cuisine at Tapella

Last May 16th, I got the chance to see Chef Xandra of Tapella prepare their bestsellers: Paella Manchego, which is her own original recipe, an appetizer Cojonudos, and Sangria.

The Paella Manchego (Php550.)

  1. A good paella is determined by how tasty the rice is. From the term paella, it’s about cooking rice in a pan, where the Catalan word paella is derived. For Chef Xandra, the rice need not be the sticky kind. Jasmin rice or the regular rice is just perfect.
  2. Consistency is important. Chef Xandra said that if you are cooking chicken paella, then you use chicken stock and just garnish it with chicken meat and vegetables. If you prefer seafood paella, then you use seafood broth. She is not sold to the idea of mixing all sorts of seafood into the rice to make a paella because the flavor will not be as distinct.
  3. For this Paella Manchego, two special ingredients are added: manchego cheese and saffron. Both are sourced from Spain. The manchego cheese is made of milk from Manchega sheep.
  4. The Ingredients:


50gms. olive oil

75gms. chicken breast

50gms. onions

50gms. garlic

80gms. calrose rice

30gms. broccoli

70gms. prawns

30gms. asparagus

20gms. Manchego cheese

.5gms. paella seasoning and chicken broth


Heat the oil in a paella pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a dish. Add the onion and garlic to the paella pan, and cook for 2 minutes. Add shrimp,cooked chicken and paella rice,paella seasoning, salt and pepper and chicken broth put the heat to medium, cover, and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Mix in the asparagus. Cook for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken and rice are tender and the broth has been absorbed.Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle with the Manchego cheese, and serve.

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7 Advantages of Taking A Day Tour When On Domestic Holiday

When we travel to exotic locations like Egypt, we would not think twice about booking tours for this and that, but when it comes to going on holiday in our own country we often neglect to think that there are many day tours that suit both domestic and international visitors. Why is it we assume that we can go visit somewhere and do it our self so often in our own country?

There are many advantages of going on a day tour, particularly in Australia, and the distances involved, for example, a blue mountains tour would just make more sense when visiting Sydney. Lets take a look at some of them.

  • Driving. You may think that you are free and carefree because you are driving yourself, but there will be many things that you have to think of. It is not much fun when you are visiting wineries and you cannot partake in all those beautiful wines because you have to worry about drink driving.
  • Cost. Remember that on a tour you are moving as a group, and that means that the tour operator can arrange entries and meals based on group buying discounts. You have better chance of getting what you want at a more affordable price.
  • Company. If you are one of those people who thinks that moving around in a group thinks it is not fun, then you should think again. Going on a day tour is a great way to make new friends and acquaintances. Everyone is in the mood for a good time and in all of my experience travelling and on tours, they have been some of the best experiences.
  • Safety. If something goes wrong and you are on your own, you will know it. On a tour you are being taken care of. You are insured against something going wrong, and if something does you have people who are trained at taking care and solving the situation.
  • Information. One of the biggest plus points of any day tour, you are being escorted by those who know all the ins and outs of where you are visiting. Tour guides and drivers know their business and have often spent a lot of time researching all those little bits of information and history that can make visiting somewhere all that more interesting. How much are you missing out on when you go it alone?
  • Timing. Day tours have a schedule. And they can stay on their schedule because they are skilled and very practised at what they do. You know you will be getting back at 4pm when the tour says so. Who wants to miss out on that night at the opera because they were caught in traffic or had a flat tire?
  • Sit back. Ultimately you day is hassle free and someone else has made all the arrangements and will manage your day for you. All you need to do is spend your time enjoying yourself, eating, drinking, chatting and taking photos. The only way to behave on any holiday!

Business Best Practice: Be fussy about who does your business computer services

There are computer services and computer services. Some provide excellent, fast service and some provide “service with a sneer”, sticking clients on a line to wait for results. The fact is that no business can afford downtime, and the best computer services provide fast, efficient service when you need it.

The really good news for businesses is that service standards for IT are improving, daily. The days of waiting for service when someone feels like providing it are long gone, too. Business computer services these days are fully professional and not only make appointments, they keep them. This is an extremely competitive industry, and quality is the key to success for the computer service firms.

What to look for in a business computer service

There are some basic standards you can apply to make your hunt for good computer support a lot easier:

  • Business-friendly costs – Rates are competitive, standardized and quoted upfront. There’s no guesswork involved, and no “surprises” in the billing.
  • Full range of repairs servicesThis is critical. You need a computer repair service that can provide comprehensive support and deal with all the issues.
  • Network and server services – These services can be invaluable in shutting down a range of issues which can cause crashes and data problems.
  • Remote diagnostic services – The service people can find problems offsite, and in many cases even fix them remotely. This is an extremely efficient operational approach, saving hours of time.
  • Staff training – If you know how much staff IT training costs, you will appreciate the value of a relationship between your service people and your staff, and the good communications and support relationship this generates.
  • Mobile network support and service – Everybody has an “office in your pocket”, and these networks are crucial to business efficiency in the various mobile business modes.

Checking out computer service firms

Your basic criteria will create a good short list of possible computer support options. The next stage is direct contact. It’s a good idea to talk to your possible service providers and get an idea of their service quality. Most importantly, it’s a way of checking out their efficiency in dealing with customer inquiries.

You can use a checklist for your contact:

  1. Was the reception service quick and efficient?
  2. Is the firm’s “new business” contact a good communicator?
  3. Does the service understand your needs and answer your questions clearly?
  4. Does the service suggest options and otherwise suggest it can do more?
  5. Was the contact able to provide good background information to advertised services?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, move on to the next contact. Don’t waste your time with people that can’t even manage to get a competent person on the phone to get new business.

If you answered “Yes” to all the questions, you’ve probably found your computer support.

6 Common Problems International Students Face In Australia

If you are just arriving in Australia, larger issues about your stay are probably taken care of, but there are common problems, although small, you might have to find a way around. Here is a look at some problems that may blow out of hand and you are going to need help with – especially if you have come here to learn English.

  1. Bank and phone etc. Despite being a multicultural country, simple things like opening a bank account and hooking up your phone will require a little more identification that in other countries. Australia has a point system for identification – meaning that you need to fulfill a certain amount of points to qualify. What this means is that one piece of identification is not enough and you will need to get help with this. Your passport and some other documents with your name and address will be very helpful. Banks and other institutions rarely have non-English services.
  2. Public transport. Despite being a big country, Australia’s public transport is not highly developed. If you are in any rural situation you will find that there is nothing available at all. Cars are still very important in Australia and you will find that out fast.
  3. Smoking. Smoking is very expensive in Australia and a packet of cigarettes can cost up to 10 times more than many other countries. Finding somewhere you can smoke can also be prohibitive. There are large fines for smoking in many places and you will find yourself in awkward situations if you continue to smoke. Quitting is a serious option with noticeable social benefits in Australia.
  4. Study style. Australian study techniques are some of the most modern in the world. You will find that you are required to learn on your own, and develop your own opinion. Being able to express your opinion and justify that will be more important than learning and repeating. This can be quite challenging for many students especially for those from Asian cultures, that still rely heavily on wrote-learning techniques. Whether you are looking at modern marketing courses or more traditional studies, the approach will be the same.
  5. Working. This is a common problem for many international students. Finding appropriate work for their skills can be very difficult. Even finding work that is much below your skills can be difficult in a very competitive environment. Being prepared for this and finding out where you are best suited, and looking to your school or organisation will help.
  6. Internet. Unfortunately you may find internet costly and a little slow compared to your home country. Australia’s internet speeds and cost are considerably higher than many countries. Finding ways to share your cost can be very useful. Sharing accommodation and sharing the cost of internet connection is one of the best ways.
  7. Some foods. Remember some of the things that you take for granted in your own country may be special and imported in Australia. You can find what you need, but you are going to have to pay for it. Adjusting to local tastes will certainly save you a lot of cash. Looking for items that are similar but not from your home may be quite different. Importing yourself may not be an option.

It may sound a little tough after reading these points, but it is important that you speak with others and your school and organisation. There will have to be some changes that you will need to make.

World Class Education at Enderun Colleges

Quality education, like quality graduates, to me these days has become rare. It’s ironic really that at this day and age when schools have been sprouting everywhere, yet you can’t find good ones.

I know this because in the company that I work for, I interview applicants and many of them lack the skills—even the basic yet important communications skills—to help them get the job.

That is why when I heard about schools that offer world class quality education, I am happy. Enderun Colleges is one of them. The college is run like an  Ivy League university where faculty members are leaders in their fields and learning doesn’t stop in the classroom, but extends to internships in international hotels, restaurants, and business organizations.

Personally, I have confidence in Enderun Colleges because one of those who put up the school was a good friend of mine. :)

You may know more about Enderun Colleges by calling the Admissions Office at 856 5000 or logging on to

Typhoon Bebeng, a Spoiler!

Just when the country was rejoicing Pacquiao’s victory over Mosley, and perhaps some families were ready to celebrate Mother’s Day, Typhoon Bebeng released a downpour.

If you are like us who planned to go out after the Pacquiao Mosley fight, then perhaps your plan was spoiled like ours. We were about to prepare to leave for Resorts World at Newport City when the  heavy rains came. Children in the neighborhood started running under the rain calling my kids out.

The kids then wanted to go and play in the rain and didn’t want to go out with us. On my part, I didn’t feel like dressing up so we decided to stay. The decision turned out to be a good decision. It was not a good time to go out. News started coming in that many streets in Metro Manila have been flooded.

In fact, water was started to rise at the back part of our compound. Good thing, the rain stopped just in time. That was when we found out that Metro Manila had been placed under Signal No. 1.

Typhoon Bebeng is such a spoiler!  Look!

Summer Means RoadTrip

I love taking roadtrips. Who doesn’t? During roadtrips, you can do two things that you love doing at one time: travel and  eat. 😀

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to Boracay via Kalibo. Naturally, from Kalibo we had to take a van to Caticlan. We were all excited about the roadtrip ahead. :) We already had food with us from chips to McDonald’s burgers, anyway.

These are a few of the shots I was able to take during the trip from Kalibo to Caticlan:

My nephew shared that when you cross a bridge, at the foot of the bridge, you hold your breath and make a wish. Then you breathe out at the end of the bridge. We passed by a couple of bridges after so we did just that.

We had fun during that roadtrip. :) You, too, can do the roadtrip this summer and make it more fun by bringing along your favorite McDonad’s fare.

Spanish and Chocolate at Tapella on Mother’s Day

From simple to exquisite, light to delectable–foodie mom deserves to be amused nothing but a palate-pleasing Mother’s Day fare. On May 8, that’s tomorrow, take the whole family to Tapella where everyone is in to be treated a rare line up of glorious Spanish food selections.

Experience a gastronomic melody with one of the most celebrated cuisines in the world. Showing off Spain’s most distinctive cuisines from the certified Executive Chef-mom Alexandra Cacho, expect that the menu line up are meant to take moms to a dining experience with style.

A perfect starter for a great summer meal, try the white garlic and almond cold soup (P70). Fittingly served in a shot glass filled with grains of almonds, it features a pleasurable contrast of sweetness from the grapes, lightly smacked with garlic. The result? A refreshing tickle that’s surely a unique delicacy mom will love.

The calamari el bulli (P255), another fancy starter will painstakingly make anyone forget the old-style impression with Spanish food. Made from the squid’s black ink stains, the soft mollusk is covered into a batter resulting to a crispy and tasty dark finished, served with aioli dip and fennel leaves. For a family of bread lovers, the camembert and caramelized onions on flueted bread (180) is filling yet makes anyone wonder what’s in for the next equally scrumptious hot selection. Considered a top-notch for its simple preparations filled with semi-sweet onions, this bread creates a noble distinction when combined with the soft and creamy camembert without the unwanted guilt. And what’s a Spanish cuisine without the traditional chorizo? Another Tapella’s certified favourite, the chorizo in red wine (P245), are sure to delight any meat-lover moms not only for the taste but for its less oily preparation.  Deliciously tender and flavourful, each cut is made special by the complementing combination of red wine and rich red oil.

Moving on to the heavier and more popular Spanish meal, Tapella incorporates a modern and alluring twist to paella with its manchego cheese, chicken, and shrimp paella (P500).  Don’t wonder why Tapella’s contemporary version of this most-loved paella is a major hit. The robust rice, meat, and seafood fillings are made special by the pleasing taste of manchego (Spanish cheese made from ewe’s milk), perfectly melted on top of the hefty serving that can satisfy up to 3 persons per order.

A certified signature favorite, the Tapella indulgence is not complete without sampling its simple and meek version of the certified Angus beef steak (P2750 per kg). Slowly cooked on the hot plate right in front of the diners, the cooking process makes it an appetite-inducing experience. The secret remains to the prime choice of the freshest meat, plainly seasoned with salt which naturally allows the flavors to come out. While other steaks are complemented with sauce, Tapella’s steak is known for its potatoes and pimiento for a more palatable Spanish twist.

To sweeten up the great meal, Tapella is treating moms with one of its sinfully good desserts fresh from its pastry oven—the choco lava cake! Exploding with the rich and gooey molten chocolate center, this dessert will make everything memorable from start to finish.

Reminisce and enjoy longer Mother’s Day meal at Tapella where the experience is revelry of Spain’s time-honored cuisines. Make this day a breezy blow out for the whole folk; plus, mom will surely remind her forever the fabulous Mother’s Day affair prepared in a cinch. 

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Located at Ground Level of cosmopolitan Greenbelt 5, Tapella is surrounded by top Bussiness Offices, eight theatres and high end shops, making it the ideal spot for a quiet coffee, a fashionable business lunch or a romantic dinner.

TAPELLA offers a wide variety of Spanish cuisine served in an informal and relaxed ambience. Headed by Executive Chef Alexandra Cacho, the restaurant specializes in tapas and paellas plus a wider range of salads, pastas and desserts served the Spanish way that will surely perk up the gustatory spree. The wine selection is from around the world valued well for money. The ambiance gives a modern and relaxed atmosphere with interiors designed with plush of red and beige accent. For more information or reservations, call 7572710 and 7572711.