This post has been saved in my draft for over a year already (dated Sept. 9, 2006)!  I saved this to serve as my future reference in case I’ll need to get documents from NSO again.  In that way, I’ll already know what to do, that is if they don’t change the procedure.

Anyway after a year, I’m finally sharing this post.  Who knows someone might find this useful.

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When I arrived at the NSO building about 8 in the morning, there was already a long queue pouring out to the parking area.  I learned that they don’t give out priority numbers anymore. Somebody advised me to position myself at the end of the queue which was leading to the Window 1, where the forms are handed out.

Here’s a quick guide on what to do so you won’t get confused:

1. Get an application form from Window 1 and fill it up. Valid ID is required when getting the form.  Usually it’s better to be early to get a head start, but in this case I would suggest coming in at a later time to avoid the long queue.  Around 9:30am, you can just approach Window 1 without all the trouble of waiting coz most of the people have moved on to the second step.

2. Go to Window 2 (the “Screening” part) where you will be asked few questions about yourself in relation to the form you filled up.  The person in-charge will ask for the payment (each certificate costs Php 125.00) and tell you to come back at a particular time to get your receipt at Window 3.

3. Wait for the cashier at Window 3 to call out your name and show her your ID. She will give you your receipt where the date of the release of your document is written.

4. Claim your document at the releasing area on the specified date written on your receipt.  Usually the releasing of certificate is on the next day.

Mine will be ready on Monday. Yeheyyy! =)

August 12th, 2006Celebrating with Nature

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We celebrated mom’s birthday at Mambukal Resort.  It was a bold and risky wish she had because it has been raining for days, weeks and months!  With storm after storm brewing non-stop, it was almost impossible to have a favorable weather much more a sunny day.

So there we were with some friends. As mom happily related to all, she prayed for a good weather and fortunately, heaven heard her and gifted her with little sun in the morning and a slight drizzle in the afternoon which was just enough for us to stroll on foot around the resort.  We were forbidden to go up to the falls (series of 7 in all) because the rain would have probably made the road slippery and moistened the soil which might cause some landslides. No amount of begging could give us the much sought permission to trek up the falls. We were a bit disappointed coz we had a guest who was flying back to Manila on Sunday.

It was a working day and I bet the rainy days had discouraged people to even plan on going there, so we almost had the resort all to ourselves except for a group of Koreans and a family. It was great coz there are always flock of people and tourists every time we go there especially during summer and christmas seasons. So the atmosphere was serene with all the towering trees, verdant lush vegetation and slight drizzle,  making it a nice moment to be with nature.

Aside from hiking to the 7th falls, other attractions are boating lagoon, wall climbing, dipping pool (in sulfur), swimming pool, bath house, hanging bridge, butterfly garden, vegetable farm and stalls offering a variety of food.

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Raging water beside us, a view from our hut.

There was a grilling and washing station very near our hut, so it was convenient to cook there. Don’t you just love grilled foods? We marinated the chicken and pork meat overnight which we plan to grill there but instead we had it fried at home before leaving lest the rain will pour and we’ll have a hard time making fire there.

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Hot sulfur spring. You can actually see the smoke!

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The boating lagoon.

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Let it flow!

That’s about it! While on our way home, that’s the time rain poured like crazy. Indeed it was mom’s birthday wish come true.

July 10th, 2006Nam Tok Moo

 

 
tadan!!! mine has few greens and more pork!

Nam Tok Moo or Moo Nam Tok is a thai dish of grilled pork mixed with ground chili pepper, lime juice, scallions, onions and parsley.  I was captivated by its spicy and savory flavor when I first tasted it. That was almost two years ago and the craving got lost in oblivion land.  My appetite was only re-awakened when I was browsing on my travel pictures and the delicious culprit paraded itself right before my eyes. I showed the picture to Cy and asked if she knows the name of the dish.  Luckily for me, the mysterious dish has now a name and the search for the recipe with Uncle Google was a success too.

Preparing Nam Tok Moo is a breeze – so simple and fast to prepare. The only challenge is that the recipe didn’t specify how much pork should be used.  I used about 400 grams.  I didn’t have a clue if the rest of the family will like it (other than me and Cy), so it was safe to cook a little amount.

It was less than an hour till lunch time when I took out the frozen meat from the freezer.  Just a few minutes of defrosting in the microwave, the meat was already a bit cooked.  Instead of grilling it, I decided to cook (seasoned with black pepper) it in the oven for 15 minutes at 175C. The pork was sizzling noisily on its own fat with its juice oozing out when I turned the oven off.

 
should be hot hot hot!!!

Some more revisions I made:

I used the juice that came out of the pork while baking it and added some water to come up with the 3 tablespoons of broth. I used 1 tablespoon of powdered lime juice dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water. And instead of 1 tablespoon of ground chili pepper, I just used ¾ of a teaspoon to cater to the taste buds of the family though we can all tolerate hot and spicy food. Cy suggested to add parsley. No spring onions in supply, so this was omitted. And yes, I added salt. My guess is that the recipe was meant for 500 grams of pork.

My conclusion:

Though it was delicious, it lacked the “flavor” it’s supposed to have. It didn’t taste exactly the way I had tasted it before.  Probably not grilling it was a major factor. Grilled pork is tastier and less yucky.  The spiciness was just mild; I should have followed the required 1 tablespoon ground chili pepper to make me sweat with my tongue out and smoke spewing from my ears! I noticed too late in the recipe that the mint leaves were meant only for garnishing.  Anyway, I added it in the dish and the result was funny mixture of cool (mint) and hot (chili pepper).

Note to myself:

Grill the pork and use plenty of ground chili pepper!!!

July 8th, 2006Herbs: My new pals

While in the mall recently, I chanced upon a garden fair at the lobby. Lo and behold there was one booth selling some herbs in plastic pots.  I chose basil and parsley which are commonly used in cooking.  Then I spotted a mint plant. Oh boy, was I ecstatic? Of course! I have been meaning to cook Nam Tok Moo ( a spicy thai dish of pork) but wouldn’t know where to get mint leaves.  And there it was not just some bunch of leaves but a plant that would give me constant supply of fresh mint leaves, unless of course it will die.

My little herbs in their new abode
(I transferred them in some new pots).


Mint                                          Basil
 
Parsley

I have already snipped off some basil leaves to add to the tomato puree I made for the spaghetti few days ago and it added a distinct flavor to the pasta. Now I’m already anticipating the time I can make the Nam Tok Moo with the mint leaves.  Oh well, somebody at home always has something else in mind what to cook for our meals, so my project has been put off many times already.

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I found this picture of Nam Tok Moo I ate couple of years ago at a Thai restaurant (I forgot the name) in Future Park. It was my Thai friend Chaiyoat who suggested to us the place coz I requested  to eat real Thai food. And I wasn’t discouraged! My face turned red and sweat was popping out from my skin as I was feasting on the spicy foods.

 
Overload of different spices! The pork meat is almost non-existent!

June 26th, 2006Cinnamon Twists


Tasty & crunchy cookies

The downside of baking cakes, cookies or bread is that it limits me from playing around with the ingredients.  Lack or too much of any usually results to myriad of errors.  Unlike cooking where I can easily adjust the quantity of ingredients and the taste as I cook, baking needs exact measurement.

I thought this recipe was a bread. I should have known, bread usually has yeast as one of the ingredients and this one doesn’t. Also, since the instruction said to place the mixture 2 inches apart from each other, I thought the dough might grow in size. I was surprised that after the required baking time, the growth was minimal. When I took a bite, it was only then that I realized that it’s a cookie, not a bread.

I got a little tip from my aunt – on the first encounter with the recipe, just follow it,  then develop your own from it by adjusting the ingredients. This recipe has just too much sugar which makes it very sweet. Next time I’ll make this, I’ll probably lessen the sugar by 1/8 cup. It tasted very good with the cinnamon flavor there.



Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
½ cup butter or margarine (softened)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 375F (I set it to 175C initially and reduced to 150C for the next batches). Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half. Stir cinnamon into one half.

Shape 1 level teaspoon each for plain and cinnamon dough, into 3 inch rope. Place ropes side by side; twist gently. (I formed mine into circles after twisting). Repeat with remaining dough. Place twists about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until very light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Adapted from The Big Book of Cookies
I forgot that I copied the recipe from the cookie book. That should
have given me an idea what I’m baking instead of surprising me.

Tip: Store cookies in an airtight container to keep its crispiness.


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