Sonnet's Haven

Health and Art Blend in Macrobiotic Prints


The Best Doctor in the Philippines

How many times has your doctor told you to “Boost your immune system by taking vitamin C, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, and sleeping early”? I bet you don’t remember.

My doctor, Dr. Tan Ci Shou, gives more specific instructions to his patients to help them regain a strong immune system. He does not simply tell you what most doctors would, as seen in the foregoing paragraph.

Dr. Tan goes to the root of your health problem and cuts it, making sure it never grows back.

On your first visit to his clinic, which you will find at the Fu Yong Mansion in Ongpin, Binondo, Dr. Tan will check your tongue and pulse without using multiple medical apparatus. He only uses a tiny flashlight to get a clear view of your tongue. Once he’s done, he already knows what’s wrong with you.

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The Look in Grandma’s Eyes


Photo by Jef Valdez

Sometimes, a picture is all that you need to get the message of a story.  I prefer not to write anything about the one above so that you can create your own plot.  Why is the grandmother staring at her granddaughter as the latter takes a bite on her Big Mac?

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Knitting for Love

Who has not worn crochet tops and shawls?  Practically every woman in my family has because my Mama Love has a perpetual fascination for crochet.

Mama Love, my grandmother on my father’s side, has been doing crochet hats, frocks, coasters, mantles, duvets, and shawls among others since time immemorial.  When I was a little girl, I would always watch her work with her crochet hook and yarn.  If she’s not busy with crochet, she’s actually talking about it.


Mama Love can finish a crochet piece in just a couple of hours, while it took me a month to finish a single crochet pillow case for a high school project.  Because my parents were office employees when my brother and I were still kids, we were often left in Mama Love’s care.  I miss those days when all I did was watch Mama cook in her spacious kitchen; or sew a party dress, duster, or new pajamas for me.

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Smoothie Time

As a kid, I was a big fan of chocolate milkshake.  I remember how I would always look forward to going home after school so that I could get my tall glass of yummy shake.

As adulthood stepped in, my fondness for milkshake waned gradually as hot and cold coffee drinks began to rule my heart.  It was during my stint as a newspaper reporter that my addiction to coffee started.  I was fresh out of college then and I noticed that everybody in the office had coffee mugs on their desks which concealed heaps of instant 3-in-1 coffee mix in drawers.  Even if I wanted to have my dose of milkshake from a small tumbler, the feeling of embarrassment hampered me.

I thought drinking coffee would make me appear more mature, responsible and capable of handling the toughest field assignments.  So I started drinking coffee until I eventually let the culture swallow me.

For many years I have been a slave to coffee beverages but when I got into macrobiotic two months ago, I noticed that my addiction to this caffeinated drink just decreased.  Instead of getting my usual morning cup, I would opt for a fruit smoothie or combine a fruit with a vegetable.

Apple-carrot for the ones that I love.

Cucumber-celery smoothie

In the afternoon, I would usually spend my smoothie time with my daughter and husband.

They cannot get enough of the apple-carrot variant, papaya, and cucumber-celery smoothie.

My personal favorite is the cucumber-celery with a dash of ginger. Jon tasted it once and said it’s better than John Smith’s.  This remark made me love him even more:)

Fruit and vegetable smoothies apart from my other macrobiotic meals have helped me eradicate the recurring eczema on my right hand .  I plan to keep these in my diet forever.  Though I still get my occasional cup of coffee, I no longer see it as a staple in my life but a once in a while treat.



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That Pumpkin Changed My Hubby

My husband was raised in a household of veggie experts. My late mom-in-law and dad-in-law’s spacious kitchen always teemed with all kinds of light and dark vegetables, and their veggie recipes are to die for.  I just noticed that dad and mama always required heat in preparing all these.

So yesterday morning while discussing what to have for lunch, I told hubby that macrobiotic chefs suggest the balancing of cooked and raw vegetables in accordance with the yin and yang philosophy.

It’s only the brown rice that I cook well and always  see to it that two cups of rice equate to six cups water because following the 1:1 ratio will harden the rice.

Anyway, so we were talking about using heat scarcely in cooking and he tells me, “Sweetie, I really love the fact that you are being more experimental in the kitchen nowadays but I cannot sacrifice my stomach.”

Still, a guy who can’t cook has to eat what’s on the table. For yesterday’s lunch I prepared pumpkin stuffed with yogurt glazed chopped cabbage. This was inspired by some of the best macro blogs that I have been following for over a month now.

Pumpkin stuffed with yogurt glazed cabbage

I blanched one -fourth squash (one-half is preferable for this recipe) and let it drip for a while. In another pan I sauteed minced garlic, onions and ginger before mixing in the chopped cabbage for a microsecond to avoid overcooking.

Next, I poured the mixture into the carved squash and glazed it with regular yogurt. Served it on the dining table and Jon remarked, “it looks yummy but can I bite into it the squash?” This left me in stitches.

We proceeded to eat and what do you know, the serving spoon never left Jon’s hand. He told me that he loved the crunchiness of the leaves and how the ginger’s tangy flavor blended with the smooth texture of the yogurt.

We were in the middle of this momentous event when Sonnet arrived from school. She went to wash her hands and when she came to the table, lunch was history for Jon and me.

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Plants vs. Zombies

My enthusiasm for video games ended with Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. and that was about…like I would say the year.

Still, I cannot get those electronic games out of my system since my husband is a game master while our daughter is his only student.  Once they get tired playing their iPad games or when the battery of this device dries up, they move to the desktop as hubby has converted our Windows to Mac so everything on the iPad they can access via desktop.

I remember vividly that it was 2010 when my daughter got addicted to the game, Plants vs. Zombies. My husband, on the other hand, has managed to reach the end of the game at a time other people were still figuring out how to go past the first wave of zombies.  And my mother, she too jumped on the bandwagon. Everybody was in it except me because I don’t see how playing it would satisfy me.

Then I woke up one day a few weeks back and just felt differently about the game. My Sonnet was playing it and I found it very unusual for me to sit beside her and just watch. I would even cheer every time she succeeded in slaying a zombie; especially if it’s Football Zombie or the one on catapult.

I looked back on the past days, weeks, months in hopes of finding a clue that led to this change. Then came the realization that the reason of my sudden interest in Plants vs. Zombie could’ve stemmed from my macrobiotic diet.  Perhaps, I subconsciously see the plants as my good bacteria and the zombies as the culprit of all kinds of diseases.

It’s not only me who’s happy with this change, though.  Sonnet just loves to have me as her No. 1 fan.

There’s a zombie on your lawn!


And Jahjah was born

The universe has its way of surprising me.

Upon arriving home last night, my little girl surprised me with her new name. I heard her yaya call her ‘”Jahjah” so I wondered, who’s Jahjah? I gently scooped Sonnet up into my arms and asked her, “Be, who’s Jahjah?” Sonnet pointed to herself.

I don’t remember calling my sweet angel “Jahjah” so I asked yaya why Sonnet calls herself that and the former tells me, since Sonnet’s first name is Janaelah she thought Jahjah would be the perfect nick.

Although I initially didn’t like the new name, I’m sort of starting to like it especially when Sonnet reacts to it. Most of us, after all, come in different names. As a little girl, I was identified as Nini. When I started school everybody in the classroom would call me Antonette, my teachers and classmates alike. When I started working, colleagues would call me the same and when they got tired of it they’d cut it short to Net or Toni.

Some preferred to call me Ann, which is really uncomfortable. I feel like a nun whenever I’m called by this name. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m just honest to say that I’m no goody two shoes. Before my professional life, I was but since exposed to the real world I’ve long forgotten how it is to be a meek lamb who’d give in to anybody. Let’s face it, there are more evil than good on earth.

I’m open to the fact that someday my little Sonnet will make her own choices in life. She’ll face her own trials or obstacles on the way and there’s no way I could control the events that would come her way. But as her mother, I would never leave her side. I’ll be here to guide her through anything.

People can call her Sonnet, Janaelah, jahjah, or even Net. But to me, she’s always going to be the sweetest Bebe in the entire world;)

By the way, a friend sent me this important link. If you have time, maybe you can do something for the little angel here