Hard water problems in Manila?

We’re beyond excited to move into our new house, but when we last visited, I noticed that the brand new fixtures we installed already had *gasp* water stains.  We asked around and found out that our new neighborhood, although very nice, has hard water.  Sorry, first world problem, I know.  But seriously, hard water brings a lot of problems – build up of residue in pipes, stains on fixtures and shower walls (my pet peeve), not to mention dry skin and buildup on hair (!!!).

My husband tasked the Part Time Homemaker with reading up and finding water filtration systems within Metro Manila.  I kept putting it off thinking that it would be a snap, but finding a water filtration system here is much less common than I thought.  I checked online and there are so many types of systems that are available – in other countries.  Hahaha.  🙂  Anyway, I finally stumbled upon Aqua Add-on Systems Inc, website here and they appear to have a home filtration system that will cure our hard water problems.  They’re scheduled to visit the house tomorrow, will let you all know how it works out!

If any of you know of any other water filtration company/provider, please do let me know.  🙂

Where to buy? Things I’m happy I found in Manila

Where can I buy this or that???

Most people into cooking/crafting and a lot of mommies too here in the Philippines probably share my dilemma that a lot of important things are quite hard to find, or if so, only found in specialty shops.  Here’s a quick list of things that I’ve been searching for that I’m quite happy to have found in places around town.  🙂  Feel free to comment and/or add!

Food

Za’atar and sumac – Assad Mini Mart (Makati and UN Avenue); you can find Za’atar in Spices and Flavours in Salcedo Market but at more than double the price in Assad as of July 2013

Natural peanut butter (without hydrogenated oils) – Landmark Supermarket, Makati

Aluminum-free baking powder – Healthy Options (any branch should have it)

Whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, self-rising flour – Healthy Options, Market Market Supermarket, Bake Masters

Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce – Metro Market Market Supermarket

Tahini – Healthy Options, Santi’s, Kashmir stall in the Saturday Market in Salcedo Park

Fresh paneer – Assad Mini Mart

Rennet – apparently you can order from UP Los Banos – still trying to figure out how to get my hands on some without going all the way there!

Blocks of unsweetened, dark, semi-sweet, white chocolate, Dutched cocoa and Valhrona chocolate too – Chefs’ Nook, Bake Masters in Sucat

Black chicken/native chicken – Salcedo Market every Saturday, Sunday market in Greenhills

Water chestnuts – Metro Supermarket, Alabang Town Center (then would probably have it in Market Market too!)

Whole wheat pastry flour – Healthy Options

Liquid smoke (Hickory) – Metro Supermarket, Rustan’s Supermarket

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt – S&R

Tapioca flour – Spices and Flavours (they closed their branch in Market! Market! so now you have to find them in the Salcedo Market) and SM Makati

Potato starch – Bake Masters Sucat

Buttermilk – Rizal Dairy Farms in Salcedo Market or at their stall in Market! Market!

Biscoff cookie butter – Metro Market! Market!

Fresh buffalo mozarella – Santi’s and S&R sometimes

Cooking

Carbon steel wok – True Value carries one by Ken Hom but I ordered mine from The Wok Shop in San Francisco and had it sent through Johnny Air

Mommy-related items

Bellybuds – Babyland, Glorietta 3 near Mercury Drug

Breastmilk bags – Mothercare, Baby Company, or on sulit.com.ph

Breast pumps – Mothercare, Rustan’s, Baby Company or order through Amazon, even with shipping cost it is much cheaper

Lactation massage – Lita Nery, Mom massage

Enderun Fundamentals Course

Last January, I mentioned that I enrolled myself in culinary school in Enderun Extension in this post here.  So for all my Saturday mornings this March and April, I spent my mornings at Enderun Campus in Fort Bonifacio, learning the technical basics of cooking through their Fundamentals Course.

The school facilities were great, with very well-equipped kitchens and endless coffee, iced tea and snacks set out for the students (Like most people, I love anything free!  Hehehe).  Also, there were only 10 of us per class which was ideal since the instructors had enough time to go around, check on our individual progress, and answer all our questions.

Here’s some of what was included in the fundamentals course just in case any of you are interested in this class.  🙂

During the first session, we practiced basic knife skills and learned how to make the different cuts like brunoise, julienne, paysanne, etc.

Aside from the facilities and the very knowledgeable instructors, what I really enjoyed about the course is that although we were only supposed to learn technical skills with no actual cooking, the instructors made sure to show us how to turn the raw ingredients into something yummy every week.  For the knife skills with vegetables, we had a delicious ratatouille that I’ve recreated at home several times.

Practicing knife skills

Torching a green pepper before peeling

Ratatouille made from all our chopped veggies

We had a potato and leek soup during the session that taught us to turn vegetables.  Turning vegetables is purely decorative, we pared down potatoes into football shapes and make miniature carrots from full sized ones.  So next time you see those miniature vegetables that you see on the side of your main dish when you order stuff in fancy restaurants remember that a heck of a lot of work goes into it!  I now have a new found appreciation for garnishes.

Potato leek soup

The other sessions taught us to truss and break down chickens, and prepare fish fillets, lamb chops, pork loin and tenderloin steaks.

Roast chicken

I cook at home quite a lot so there wasn’t really anything very new to me, but it nice to know the “proper” way to do things and get to improve on my rather haphazard way of getting things done (although it’s worked for me so far!).  🙂

It was a fun way to spend a few Saturdays, and I would definitely enroll in the intermediate course should it become available.  I recommend the course for beginners who want to learn how to cook and for serious home cooks who want to fine tune their skills.  🙂

Fusible Interfacing in Manila

Hi everyone!  I’ve been away for quite some time, sorry about that!  I have a really good reason though: my husband and I welcomed our lovely baby girl this month.  Our little bundle of joy has currently been sleeping very soundly through the day but has been awake (okay, not just awake, howling) through the night.  She lives in Manila but is operating on North American time!  Anyway I’m back and on maternity leave so I hope to be able to post more often in between taking care of the little one.  🙂

I’ve shared in my previous posts on sewing supplies here that one thing I couldn’t find is fusible interfacing here in Manila.  Bam commented that there was some in Carolina’s Glorietta 5 so when I found myself in SM Megamall a few weeks ago, of course I had to go check it out, and I’m glad I did because my search for fusible interfacing here is now over!  

As with many sewing supplies here, fusible interfacing goes by a different name (which is why I couldn’t find it!).  In Carolina’s, they call it cotton fuse or Sanforize.  I bought several yards of each type to test them out.  Prices are as follows:

Sanforize (125 Php per yard) on top, Cotton fuse (30 Php per yard) on the bottom. Prices as of April 2012

In the picture below, cotton fuse is to the left and Sanforize is to the right.  Cotton fuse is much cheaper at less than the equivalent of a dollar per yard, and is somewhat translucent.  Sanforize as they call it is much thicker, somewhat like regular plain cotton with a sticky side.

To test them out, I cut some scraps of cotton I had lying around and fused both types by pressing them down for 20 seconds with a hot iron.  Here is how they looked from the back:

Cotton fuse to the left, Sanforize to the right

Here’s the front view below:

Cotton fuse interfacing on the left, Sanforize interfacing to the right

They both fused to the cotton very well, but Sanforize produced a noticeably more stiff result than the cotton fuse.  Also, the resulting color of the cotton was brighter with the Sanforize.  Overall, they worked well although I have yet to use them for an actual project.  🙂 Carolina’s Megamall contact number:  (02)633-4965, (02)633-1766

Update:

Fusible interfacing is available in Cotton Depot, Glorietta 5, Manila at 50 pesos/yard.  This price is as of November 2014.