Night Market at the San Francisco Mint

I came and I saw.

I worked for a company who is dedicated and support volunteerism passionately. Our “ASIA” group signed up to participate as part of the volunteer group for this event. I was able to witness their first event which happened on August 18th. This is a non-profit organization festival  that showcases Filipino food, music, dance, culture, poets, and vendors every 3rd Friday of the month. It is located at the The San Francisco Mint.  Every Filipino or whoever is willing to experience should witness what this organization has to offer to the community.  It was a great turnout of people who came, although there are still a lot of room for improvement, the downside was that there were not enough spaces and/or rooms to cater to all these masses of people who came. That’s actually a good problem considering more people came and patronized than what were expected. What amazes me is that although there were people who got turned down for entry(due to maximum capacity was reached) had negative feedbacks, a lot of people were still very positive and understanding. They are still willing to go back, try and give it another chance. This is how you support your community! I’m sure they‘re taking steps towards improving the overall experience. My suggestion for their music collaboration is that they should also cater the older generation, i.e. , 70’s and 80’s music and play some popular Filipino songs.

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Are we really what we are with what we eat and drink?

What we are with what we eat and what we drink?

How healthy can we really be by eating foods and drinking stuff we think is good for us? The reason so many people hit an energy wall every day has everything to do with what they’re putting into their bodies. I know that most of us think that eating healthy is a constant battle in our daily lives. Main reason is that everyone thinks it is more expensive than most of fast food and junk foods that we can easily buy.  It is a scientifically proven fact that our food choices affect our health! We all know that already, yet, still stubborn or just too complacent to act on it. However, sometimes, it’s either the habits, culture, lifestyle and financial restraint is one of the culprits that hinder us from eating healthier. The old saying, we are what we eat, is true. Every cell in our body was created from the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. In addition to nourishing our bodies, food also affects the quality of our lives, our appearance, moods, weight, energy, the aging process and our overall health and well-being.

I make my own organic pickled onions, garlic and ginger with chili peppers that I bought from the Farmer’s Market. We use vinegar a lot as condiments when eating some Filipino dishes. Garlic, onions and ginger are best known to have natural anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties

Are genetically modified foods good for us?

These days, people are getting more and more aware of GMO foods, (Genetically Modified Organisms.)  A genetically modified organism is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Scientists insert a gene from one organism into another to “improve” or change the organism. These GMO foods were found to have been sneaking into our diets since 1995. I read an article that tomatoes were the first foods to be modified. They are modified to have a longer shelf life and so they will not freeze during cold seasons. Also, strawberries and many other fruits are modified to grow year-long so they can be bought anytime of the year. Makes sense. In order to make crops have a longer life, they insert a special gene, called Bt- toxin so that crops are more resistant to pests. These were mostly used on corn and cotton plants. Now, we ask ourselves: Are they a big contributing factor to all the diseases that are so prevalent today? Does this really have something to do with what we eat and what we drink?

These are baked organic chicken wings, with organic carrots and celery from Farmer’s Market


I truly believe that most of the chronic diseases plaguing the world today can be drastically reduced with better choices in our food and drink intake. If you have been watching the news, documentary videos or read articles about on how some countries are also manipulating and trying to inject chemicals so that they will look fresh,  colorful and plump for exporting, you would not believe your eyes seeing it. In the Philippines, we always see on the news on how fake rice is being sold to a lot of consumers and get sick. It is real and happening. It. is. really. sickening.

Once a month treat: Dimsum – chicken feet, fried tofu, chicken and dried fish fried rice, steamed pork/shrimp dumpling, roast duck, shrimp ball, steamed pork ribs and fresh sea urchin. I know, I know some of you would roll your eyes here, but this is just a reward I give myself for being good during workweek! wink..;)

Some of the independent research that has been done on biotech crops has revealed troubling health implications. A 2009 International Journal of Biological Sciences study found that rats that consumed Roundup Ready corn (produced by Monsanto) for 90 days developed a deterioration of liver and kidney function. Another study found irregularities in the livers of rats, suggesting higher metabolic rates resulting from a Roundup Ready soybean diet.

organic canned vegetables are also available now, so your options just got wider

So, being aware of what we feed our bodies and how that food is produced is of paramount importance. We should think with our bodies, because what goes on in the inside shows on the outside. Feeding your body nutritional foods possible heals your body better than any drugs! Food is not just for the taste buds, it is for nourishing every cell in your body. They say if you don’t want medicine to be your food, let food be your medicine now, before it’s too late. Sometimes, I am guilty myself  for eating junk foods couple of days a week but I am only human so I get tempted once in awhile especially on weekends. We all do. Of course, who wouldn’t want to enjoy their weekends? However, this keeps me back on track for the workweek after the weekend of binging. So I just offset and kick those junks out by detoxing and consuming mostly fish, fruits and vegetables. I believe that Food is healing and that when we connect our relationship with food deeper, we unleash it ‘s power. We should recognize that food and nutrition are critical components in living well so it can contribute to a more positive and confident outlook throughout our lives.

Organic meats are cheaper if you buy in bulk, I always go to Costco to get most of my meat. Otherwise, I have no choice going to this Asian market I go to for special type or cut of meat when I’m cooking something that’s not available organically
meal prepping helps a lot in making healthy options

I am not really at my best on healthy-eating. All I can say is just to keep it balanced and enjoy life! I know it is and will be a big leap for some of us to be more conscious on what food and drinks to buy. Keep checking every label on the shelf before we even decide to make that purchase. Some might say it would be really difficult not to be able to buy stuff without some of the products that has GMO, but at least eliminating some of them from our lists and/or diet will help. Motivation will get you started and habit will make you keep on going. Start buying and eating organic fruits and veggies from your local farmers. Somehow, it will give you a sense of accomplishment that you are contributing to the success of small businesses and contributing in keeping our environment pesticide free.

Organic cilantro, eggplant, cucumber and onions from the farmer’s market

Unfortunately, our food industry is dominated by a handful of powerful corporations that control nearly every aspect of how our food is produced. Monsanto, for example, now owns a staggering number of seed companies that are genetically modified. I don’t believe in supporting big companies that dictate what I put on the table and making decisions on what is best for us – the customers. It’s all about them making increasing their bottom line and what is best for their profits and not what is best for us. GMO foods are not going to solve nutrition problems or feed the world- they are all about corporate control and profit.

We all have to start somewhere.  It just all begins with Consciousness, which will lead to Awareness, that follows by each one’s interest with the result of Action by making a Decision.

Just remember, “A healthy outside starts from the inside”. – Robert Urich

sautéed beet leaves in onions



SF Pride Parade 2017

LGBT Pride celebrations are held around the world every month of June and the parade occurs on last sunday of the month. This year, it was held on the 25th. In this event, that is celebrated every year, present are people from all walks of life with different races and backgrounds who express and support Diversity, Inclusion and Awareness. Most importantly, Equality for all.

SF Pride 2017. Gap Inc float

It was my first time to attend the Pride parade and march with my colleagues and family. Thanks to the opportunity working for Gap Inc who was one of the major sponsors. I am proud to be a part of this company who is so passionate that supports a lot of campaign and does really a lot in helping the community so much more than “just sell clothes”! What a great company to work for.
It was soo much fun! Aside from free food, shirt, more freebies, you get to experience seeing different colorful and festive floats, dancers, drag queens, and you can also dance to amplified music.
Just be prepared with all the walking and standing long hours to enjoy them. 😉

Gap HQ in 2 Folsom, SF

Being gay isn’t easy. It’s just not.
I’ve heard quite a few stories from people I know because they were
afraid to come out of the closet due to the fear they won’t be accepted by their relatives, community and all.
I have family members and some friends who I love dearly who’s been there, so I know.

GAP Lobby

It just all starts with self-acceptance. Accept yourself for who you are so that others may do so. The world is harsh and no matter what, regardless you’re gay or not, someone will still judge and hate you. So don’t worry what others think of you, and say about you…Just do “YOU”.
That boils down to Equality, Freedom and Rights.

Gap Inc float

-Tina Lifford

Top 10 tips on planning a weekly meal

Meal-planning and prepping is a real game-changer

As a mother with two kids, I have always planned our meals. They’re both grown up now and my son has moved to L.A. already. With my husband, my daughter and I to worry about on a daily basis or at least 3-4 days a week. We try to eat out on weekends or just buy take-out so we can have something different depends on our cravings. I need a break too, don’t you think? We all do… ;p

As the years go by and being married for almost 27 years, I have learned some tricks, techniques to make life much easier especially when doing housechores and cooking meals for the whole family. I have been living here in the US for almost 30 years and my husband who just followed us in year of 2000. I was born in the Philippines and grew up there until 19 when my mother have petitioned me to live in Hawaii. My husband and I were living comfortably back home, so to speak, due to a lot of help around the house. There is someone to cook, wash and iron clothes and drive you to places. I didn’t have to worry about doing all the chores except cooking. Cooking is my passion and what I really love doing. It is a therapy for me and no matter what, I would always go to the “wet market” to get fresh fish, meat and vegetables  regardless of how much help we have at home.

Eversince moving here in America, lifestyle has changed drastically. You do everything here . As for me, I lived here for the first few years before my husband could even join us to take care of some business issues back home. Living here was never easier since you have to do everything and no help to rely on. Unless, 1. you can afford to pay for a housekeeper, 2. you can buy take-out food everyday, and 3. you are so blessed to have parents or parents-in-laws, who have retired, supportive, generous and assist you with some housechores and willing to babysit their grandchildren. With this lifestyle, what do you expect? The result? Stress and fatigue. That’s right! I hear yah.

For me, eventhough I love cooking, I consider it the most difficult chores of them all. The fact that for this type of chore alone, it includes meal-planning, grocery-buying, loading and unloading stuff, putting them away,chopping and cooking all the necessary ingredients, and washing all the “tools” used just to put food on the table. After all these preparations, the food you just cooked,  in few minutes, are gone caput, and inside your stomach ready to be digested in few hours.  Isn’t that too much work? Is it really worth it to cook or to just buy fast food, or to go out to dinner instead? Some would say yay and some would say nay.

These days, times are really tough for most people and not only here in America but the whole entire world is feeling it. Each one of us has to learn to be really smart and wise in every penny we spend especially when it comes to food. Statistics show that at least on average, every household throws or wastes $100-$400 dollars worth of food a month with leftovers thrown away, spoiled fruits, veggies, meat, old frozen items, etc. That’s $1200-$4800 dollars a year right there! Enough to feed the whole starving population in Africa or even Philippines for the next 10 years! I am one person who refuses to toss any single piece of food that’s still edible. I raged when I see my kids waste even a piece of meat and just throws them or not being able to finish their plate. I always think there are a lot of people starving around the world and here we are, doesn’t even bother to think twice throwing pieces of food where some would even grab and take it just to put something in their stomach even it’s already in the trash. There’s a saying by Benjamin Franklin, “A penny saved is a penny earned”. Totally agree. So planning your meals for the whole week(ok, 3-4 days at least is ok) will definitely save you lots of dough in the long run. No more spoiled/rotten veggies, less leftover to throw and minimizes buying take-outs. Plus you become more productive since you have more time in your hands than being stuck in the kitchen the whole night, prepping and washing dishes every single day. Here are some tips on planning meals on a weekly basis:

1. First of all, be willing or rather start learning to eat leftover foods. If it’s edible and not spoiled, it’s still okay to eat it. It’s just all in the mind. Train your kids while they are still young and your husband? Ignore his face. He’ll get used to it. lol! Think of Africa, Philippines, other third world countries who has people that’s dying because of poverty. Be thankful that we have so much option to consume good food that we want to eat.

2. Plan your meals ahead of time. I know bad habits are really hard to break. Quit the habit of just last minute cravings and that’s when you only starts preparing for food, or much worse, ends up buying fast food. This does not only waste your time but also not saving you money in the long run.

3. Write down all the ingredients needed. If you have everything listed, you are less likely to buy stuff you don’t really need. Again, that saves you another dollar.

4. Never go hungry! Don’t ever go to the grocery store when you’re starved. Your eyes are going to get bigger than your stomach can handle. So you end up stuffing your cart and paying for something you don’t really need.

5. Once in a while, cook meals that are in the same family like let’s say kids want some spaghetti. Cook a little bit more of the pasta than the sauce so that you can make the extra pasta for a cheesy garlic noodles with lots of parmesan cheese on top. Kids will love it! You can also double up on the meat when you sautee and you can save the other half for an omelette the next day or so. Or If you baked/roasted a prime rib larger than usual, you can make the rest of them, a prime rib sandwich. All you need is a mayonnaise and a bread.  And beef noodle soup/stew, the next! Just add chopped veggies. Voilah! Yummm! That’s already 4 different meals you have there and good for one week and I’m sure one of those days you might have to eat previous day’s menu. So you skipped one step of boiling the pasta for the cheesy garlic noodles, you skipped baking/roasting the prime rib for making a sandwich plus, less washing all the dishes! You have more time to do other stuff. Like that overdue ‘workout” regimen you’ve been putting off for months now.

6. Think of menus that can be frozen for weeks or months. You can freeze veggie soups or any type of soup you prefer. The beef stew or chicken teriyaki for BBQ, or any marinated meat that you have. This way you can always have what I call “Emergency food” instead of having canned goods, which are not actually good for our health. Canned or processed goods  are very convenient and gets cheaper sometimes when they go on sale but it is a trap to being unhealthy.

7. Eating lunch out is great but bringing home-cooked meals to work is a greater deal! A lot cheaper, better and healthier than take outs or to-go.

8. If you love eating breakfast i.e. eggs n sausage with bagel, or ham n eggs with toast, try cooking or making them good for 2-3 days in one cooking. Buy those small plastic containers in same sizes and stuff them in there and stack in the fridge. This way it’s just a “grab-and-go” for the both of you.You’re lucky if you have toaster in your office kitchen, if not just don’t eat with the bread and forget the carb! You’ll loose weight as well. If you and your husband will bring and eat it to work, you’re gonna need 6-10 of them since there are 5 days of the week. Okay, okay maybe only 8 coz you deserve a break. Fridays, it’s a break so you’re excused to buy that breakfast burrito you’re craving from that deli next to your office.

9. Buy lots of food containers. They come in very handy and so easy to plan your meals/snacks with them. You can also cut up fruits and veggies like cantaloupe, pineapple, papaya, carrots, celery, etc ahead of time to bring to work. You can stack them up in the fridge so it’s just, again, a “grab n go” for you.

10. Last but not the least – refrain shopping and buying bulks of perishables from wholesale club i.e. Costco, Sam’s Club, Smart and Final. If there’s only two of you who’s gonna eat a certain type of food and if there’s a dozen of them, or one huge box or packaging, how much could you really eat for the next 2-3 weeks or so? Then it will end up stocked up in the freezer/fridge for months and before you know it, it’s expired or you feel you don’t want to eat it anymore since it’s been there for the last 6 months, so you end up throwing them away eventhough it’s not expired yet. Sounds familiar? So instead of thinking with buying in bulks to save $$$, just go to the regular grocer closer to your home unless it’s necessary. Trust me because 99.9% they just end up in trashbin. Don’t you agree?


Philippines Debut Tradition

Celebrating 18th birthday for young women in the Philippines is a very special event every family looks forward to. If a girl comes from a middle-class or affluent family, most of the time, they do a lot of preparations for this event. It is very popular in the country that even families who comes from low-class or even for those who doesn’t have enough funds, try their best to make the event happen in their own little, special way. This way, they try to make it memorable and something the debutante will treasure for the rest of her life.

The “debutante”, as she is called, is a French word meaning a “female beginner”, an adult now, who is being prepared to be introduced into society and into a world of civic responsibility and social awareness. Originally, she is being exposed due to her legal age, that she will be eligible for marriage and to be formally introduced to all eligible bachelors as well. That’s why this event is also called as the “coming out party”.

The debut tradition consists of the 18 roses presentation, in which 18 males from family members and close friends perform a short waltz dance with the debutante. One of those roses is from the father of the celebrant, usually the first one to dance with, but some do it the last dance, so they can perform the “Father and Daughter dance” portion. Next would be the presentation of the 18 candles, which has 18 females either from family members or closest to the celebrant’s heart who say their speech and wishes. They will lit each of the candle that represents all the virtues that they chose to resemble the character of being a full grown woman to guide her in her journey in life. They say each of their own piece and greetings, and after all of them are lit, the debutante will make her wish and blow all the candles and the cake is cut for the guests to enjoy. Last but not the least is the cottilon de honor, which has 9 pairs who will be presenting a waltz dance number, together with the debutante and her escort. This usually is an elaborate dance number wherein it could take from 4-10 minutes the longest which requires at least 6-8 months long rehearsal. At most times, the family of the debutante hires a choreographer so he can prepare them for the special performance and the most awaited portion of the night. The rehearsal is always at the Debutante’s home who also provides food and drinks to all the participants of the cotillon de honor.

Also, a new presentation has been added wherein they call it “The 18 Symbolic Treasures/Token”, where another 18 participants, either family friends and/or relatives offer a gift to the celebrant and explain why they chose to give it to her. The gift is something that the Debutante should treasure/cherish/use as she moves onto college and starting to live as a young woman. These days, everyone can get creative and just accomplish in whatever way they want to celebrate.

The debutante’s ball concludes with dancing by both the teenagers and the adults.