For my father’s 50th birthday, I decided not to buy the usual cake from Red Ribbon or Goldilocks and I chose another food that is unique and never had been eaten by my family. Thus I chose to buy Dolor’s sapin  sapin.

I first tasted Dolor’s sapin sapin in an office event. Actually, someone always buy a Dolor’s sapin sapin whenever there are celebrations in our office. Dolor’s sapin sapin is delicious and I always come back to the table for more. The sad thing is that my officemates also like the sapin sapin, making second helpings impossible.

What is Sapin – Sapin?
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Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Sapin sapin is a Philippine dessert that is usually placed on a “bilao” (circular bamboo tray) and consists of different kinds of kakanin (rice cakes) and other Philippine native desserts. Dolor’s sapin sapin is arranged like a large dartboard and composed of ube halaya, malagkit, a chewy part (the red portion of the sapin sapin) that is like kutsinta, and many more. The parts of Dolor’s sapin sapin that I liked the most is the part on the edge of the sapin sapin (the white portion) and the ube halaya (the violet colored part).
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Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Many bloggers are all thumbs up for this delicacy and they are not wrong. Dolor’s sapin sapin is the best sapin sapin that I ever tasted. Some even said that the demand for Dolor’s sapin sapin is very high during the Christmas Season that many people did not get the chance to have on “bilao” of sapin sapin for the Noche Buena and Media Noche. During the non-holiday season, people buy Dolor’s sapin sapin as pasalubong for their loved ones.

The delicious sapin sapin is made by Dolor’s Kakanin in Malabon City. The food shop also sells other kakanin like puto and kutsinta. Dolor’s sapin sapin were already famous for years, especially in Malabon, that’s why it is not surprising that many shops offer this yummy treat.


Dolor's Sapin Sapin

Where and to Buy Dolor’s Sapin Sapin?

There are many shops that sell Dolor’s sapin sapin. The main branch and the original shop of Dolor’s are located in Malabon.

The main distributor of Dolor’s delicacies is “Mommy’s Malabon Pride,” which have various branches in Metro Manila. Mommy’s is owned by the daughter of the owner of Dolor’s. Their branches are located near Monument, along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City, and Sucat near Bicutan Exit.

Dolor’s Main Branch’s address is: 19 Governor Pascual Avenue, Concepcion , Malabon City with telephone number: 282-0071.

Another branch is at 79 Mc-Arthur Hi-way, Barangay 078, Caloocan City with telephone number 332-0227 or 332-0228.

Another shop that sells Dolor’s products is the Sapin Sapin sa Banawe that is owned by a relative of the owner of Dolor’s. If you decided to look for this shop to buy Dolor’s product, I suggest that you go before 5:00 PM because this shop closes early. Never go to this shop during the night. The address of Sapin Sapin sa Banawe is: 575 Banawe Ave., Corner N.S. Amoranto St., Quezon City, with telephone number: 743-7947.

SM Hypermart is another distributor of Dolor’s. Dolor’s sapin sapin and other kakanin could be brought from SM Hypermarkets, specifically at SM Santa Mesa in Manila.

How to Buy Dolor’s Sapin Sapin?

I suggest that you call first the shop where you will but the sapin sapin before actually going to the shop. You could inquire if the sapin sapin is available and you could also place a reservation for the sapin sapin that you will buy. Only Mommy’s Malabon Pride has reservation and I do not know about other distributors. There is no reservation fee so that placing a reservation will not hurt your pocket. Be reminded that you should be at shop by 6:00 PM or your reservation will be waived. Reservation is recommended, especially during Christmas Season.

The Verdict

Dolor’s sapin sapin is truly delicious and the reviews of other bloggers are right. The tag price of this delicacy is not bad, compared with the cakes of Red Ribbon and Goldilocks, because the sapin sapin is not only delicious but also heavy in the stomach. In our home, it took about two days before we eaten all of the 17-inch sapin – sapin.

For the taste and affordability, I give Dolor’s sapin sapin two thumbs up.
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The jeepney, also known to others as the Philippine Bus, is the most common means of public transport in the Philippines. It a modified version of the US Army jeep, which was lengthened so as to accommodate more passengers. The usual jeepney can carry 14 passengers, excluding the driver. Two passengers are seated beside the driver, while the remaining passengers are divided into two and seated to the left and right seats inside the jeepney.

It is a common scenario where the jeepney is filled to maximum capacity and the passengers were compressed too much. Imagine the inconvenience for the last passenger to board the jeepney who is forced to sit on a space that is just half of his buttocks. It is uncomfortable also to other passengers who had to contend with being compressed just to go home.

As a regular commuter and jeepney passenger I already made my ideal selections of seats when I am riding a jeepney. Before boarding a jeepney, make sure that there still ample space for you and you will be comfortable when seated. Also, look inside the jeepney and scan your possible seatmates.

So here are my ideal seats inside the passenger jeepney:

Behind the Driver’s Seat or Beside the Back Entrance

These are my favorite spots since these locations eliminate one seatmate. What I mean is that only one part of your body is being compressed by other passengers. The other half of your body will feel more comfortable. Just be more alert if you chose the seat beside the back entrance since this portion is the area where most theft (more popularly known as snatching in the Philippines) occurs.

Front Seat (Beside the Driver)

This another ideal spot since this seat only allows up to two passengers. You will not be subjected to too much compression in this area. However, make sure that the front seat indeed made for two passengers. There are jeepneys that have front seats that are modeled for one passenger only. Jeepney drivers usually allow two people to share in that kind of seat. Sitting on that kind of seat is uncomfortable.

Away From the Kids

I had many experiences of being vomited to while riding a jeepney. The usual culprits are kids and infants, which easily experience dizziness during long trips. Vomit stains can be wiped out with cloth but the smell never leaves your clothes. This is inconvenient if you are just going to school or the office. So, before entering, I usually scan the jeepney for any kids or babies and I take seat that are as far as them as possible.

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Visit my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my review of the apocalyptic movie, 2012.

Leave a Comment. Find this post informative? Do you like this post or hated it? Please let me know. Your comments, suggestions and reactions are warmly appreciated. All reader’s comments will be personally replied to as soon as possible.

Yummy Magazine, Summit Media

Filipinos love to eat. Every province or every ethnic group in the country has their own specialties. There are the Bicolanos whose specialty are the fiery and spicy dishes, the Ilocanos who are known for their buro and veggie dishes, the Ifugaos for the pinikpikan, and other delicious recipes from other tribal groups. Explorers will discover various culinary adventures in any islands of the Philippines. The love for food and cooking is the reason why Yummy Magazine became popular among the culinary magazines.

Yummy is an interesting magazine because it has many sections and features that will satisfy the thirst for culinary knowledge of the people who want to learn how to create excellent dishes. The members of Yummy staff are good cooks and really know what they are writing in their magazine. They have recipes that mothers can follow for the everyday food of the family. They feature famous chefs and reveal their culinary secrets. Lastly, they dish out tips that prove to be helpful to both beginner and seasoned cooks.

The very first Yummy issue that I read is the issue featuring the yummy specialty in the Bicol region plus a list of delicious fruits coming from Mindanao. Every page contains mouth watering dishes that make me think of learning how to cook. My mother and father also liked the magazine because they are the ones who are expert cooks in our home. The procedures in the magazine are easy understand and to follow. There also many tips about cooking that beginners will find helpful. Restaurant and owners of eateries will also find this magazine as a good source of new and delicious menu.

The popularity of Yummy came in part from the sudden rise of public interest to cooking. So if you are just beginning how to cook or already an expert, I recommend Yummy as a nice read for your kitchen needs.

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Visit Before the Eastern Sunset and read my review of the film 2012 in, “In 2012 the World will End in Boredom.

How to Build a Strong Social Network

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Sunday, November 15, 2009

Connections and relationships are important aspects of human life. These connections or social network, in other words, are important tools in job hunting, starting your own business, and in furthering you personal ambitions. Because of its importance, developing your network should be started as early as possible.

I remember a classmate of mine who said that joining a fraternity is important because the frat he is joining is well connected and will help him in his future career. And I believe that there is grain of truth in what he said. Our connections sometimes determine if we can move ahead or be left behind in achieving our life’s goals.

So how could you build a strong and social network? Here are my tips:

Be Sincere

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The first rule in building your network while is to be sincere with anyone whom you are joining in your network. Never befriend anyone just for the sake of using them to further your goals. Having this motivation in developing your network will make your relationship a fake one and it will be felt by those whom you are befriending. Another thing is that relationships formed from sincere motivations tend to be stronger. Remember, stronger relationships build a stronger network and return produces better benefits.

Be Friendly and Approachable

How can you strike a good friendship if you tend to be sarcastic with other people or you have an intimidating aura? A person who is approachable and emanates a friendly aura tends to have a larger network. Having a larger social network is important and open up various channels of opportunities.

 The Rule of Equivalent Trade

The Rule of Equivalent Trade only means that relationships are two way processes. If you receive something from your friend, then you should also have something that could also give to that person at a value equal to the one you receive. It doesn’t mean that if you are given two hundred dollars, you will also give two hundred dollars in return. Everyone is unique and have own perception of values on different things. It is possible that the person who gave you those two hundred dollars will value your smile as worth the two hundred dollars that you received.

Study each of the persons in your network and know their perceptions on value of things. Keep a person that only requires a return of things at a value below or at par with what you believe should be given to that person. Be careful, or at worst, eliminate persons who demand too much things beyond your perception of value from your network.

Show them Your Value

One of the best ways of keeping your network strong is to show that you are a valuable person. People tend to keep persons in their network if they see them as an asset in their social network. But if you are just a person who always asks for free lunch, so to speak, then your value will go low and many people will cut you off from their network. Remember, the more valuable you are, the harder you are to be removed in other people’s network. Another thing is that the higher your value, then the more possibilities and benefits you can obtain in your social network.

Creating a strong social network is a continuous process. Some people build a connection with little effort, while some put a lot of effort but destroys their network in a long run. The best tip that I could give is that building a social network should conform to your personality so that you can do it as natural as possible. Always remember that a strong social network can not be made overnight and must be acted upon continuously.

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Leave a comment. If you have questions, reactions, or clarification about this article then please leave a comment. All comments will be replied to, personally, as soon as possible.

One Piece poster

A boy with a straw-hat, a weird power and a big dream, that is a fitting description of Monkey D. Luffy, the captain of the most famous pirate crew – The Straw Hat Pirates.

I have been following the anime One Piece since its first airing in GMA 7 years ago. I have been easily attracted by its story line and the funny antics of its characters. Since then, I downloaded images from the net to serve as the wallpaper of my computer, I had read and reread the story and episode guides in Wikipedia and leading anime websites, and I just finished watching episodes up to the story arc where Robin was whisked away by government officials in the city of Water 7.

One Piece is about the Straw Hat Pirates who travel the treacherous waters of the Grand Line and in the end obtain the ultimate treasure, One Piece. Only the pirate king Gold Roger confirmed the existence of One Piece. Whoever obtains One Piece will be hailed as the Pirate King.
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The Straw Hat crew

The Straw Hat Pirates are composed of powerful and wacky characters like the Rubberman Luffy, the three swords user Roronoa Zolo, the thieving navigator Nami, the lying sharpshooter Ussop, the love cook Sanji, the reindeer doctor Tony Tony Chopper, and the archeologist/assassin Nico Robin. Currently, the two more characters were added and they are the shipwright Frankie and the skeleton musician Brooke.

What I like about this anime is that even though it has circumstances that are out of this world, it does not over exaggerate things. An example of this is Dragon Ball Z where the main characters just go stronger and stronger every story arc that the whole anime was blown out of proportion and became unbelievable. One Piece is a fantasy anime that has the feel of being realistic.

Another thing that I liked is that the anime delve in to the inner selves of the characters, so as to help the viewers understand each and every decision that each characters do.

One Piece is one funny adventure and the crew fought monsters and different characters with awesome powers. My only problem in this anime is that the Straw Hat crew experienced fatal attacks but none of them died. This is the only thing that I think is the problem of this anime. No major characters die.

However, looking largely on the anime in general, it could be said that One Piece is one of the best anime out there. So if you are looking for a fun anime plus great adventures like that in Gulliver’s Travels, then One Piece is recommended for you.

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Visit Before the Eastern Sunset, and read about my trip to Tagaytay City Picnic Grove.

Philippine Passport

In the old version of this post, I talked about the old process of applying for passport at the Consular Affairs Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). In the old system, passport applicants just walk in the Consular Affairs Office to apply for passport. In the new system, passport applicants need to make an appointment with the Consular Affairs Office before actually going there.

Applying for a passport at the Consular Affairs Office is still quick and easy, as long as you follow the DFA’s application procedures and you are not absentminded. If you need information on how to go to Consular Affairs Office, read my post, How to Go to DFA Office.

Tip # 1: Set an Appointment First

The DFA changed the old system and now requires passport applicants to set an appointment with the Consular Affairs Office first before going to their office. For those who don't know, the Consular Affairs Office transferred their office from the DFA main office in Pasay City to Aseana Business Park in Paranaque City.

The first that you should do is to set up an appointment by filling up the appointment application form in the DFA website. Please read my post, How to Make an Appointment for Philippine Passport Application, for the step-by-step procedure in setting up an appointment with DFA.

Tip # 2: Do visit the DFA Website

The DFA website contains the step by step procedure that you must follow when applying for a passport. For the appointment system, visit the DFA Passport Appointment System website. For the requirements for first time passport applicants, visit DFA’s First Time Applicant page. If you are renewing your passport, visit DFA’s Requirements for Renewal of Passport Page.

For a list of valid IDs, read my post about the list of IDs that are accepted by DFA for passport application.

Just visit DFA’s website and the basic information that you will need for your passport application or renewal is there.

Tip # 3: Beware of Fixers


Even if DFA improved the passport application system, there will always be people who will take advantage of passport applicants. You must avoid these fixers because you do not need them, unless you are planning to submit falsified documents.

Never believe anyone outside DFA and always ignore any fixers. They have many tricks and modus operandi. It is better to ask the guard for information. If the guard pointed you to the fixers, then you can always have him fired by telling the DFA management of his activities with the fixers.

Tip # 4: Bring Enough Money

It is good to make sure that you always have spare money whenever you go to any place. Bringing extra money will make sure that you will never need to go home if the money in your wallet is not enough when applying for the passport.


Tip # 5: Don’t Submit Fake Documents


I have seen one applicant who is submitting a marriage certificate for her passport application. The employee of DFA inspected the document and immediately confiscated it. She said that the marriage certificate that she is submitting is a fake. She threatened that the applicant may be penalized because she is falsifying documents.


It is better not to submit fake documents or else you will be penalized or even be blacklisted by DFA. If you are keen in submitting fake documents, then you must ensure that your fake documents 99.9% resembles the authentic documents.


Tip # 6: Never Be Afraid to Ask Questions


I suggest that you ask questions if you are lost or confused with any of the application procedures. However, you should not just ask anyone. The people that I usually ask for directions and clarifications are the guards inside the DFA. They are more credible because they are easy to recognize and it is hard to impersonate a security guard inside the premises of DFA. Fixers can trick you with fake DFA employee IDs but they can’t wear a guard’s uniform. If the guard does not know the answer to your question, then he will refer you to a legitimate DFA employee. There are also information booths inside DFA that are manned by DFA employees who know the application procedures.

Tip # 7: Call the DFA if You Have Questions

DFA set-up a hotline for passport related inquiries. If something is bothering you about your passport or your passport application, then I suggest that you call Consular Information at telephone number (632) 556-0000. You can only contact them from 8 AM to 4 PM, Monday to Friday.

These are some of the many tips when applying for a passport in the Philippines. Be alert and always be on a look-out of possible tricks from fixers. Follow these tips and your passport application will flow smoothly.

The House of Spirits

Posted by Ishmael Fischer Ahab | Sunday, November 01, 2009

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The House of Spirits, Isabel Allende, Bantam Books


“Barabbas came to us by sea…,” these are the words that started and ended this wonderful book of Isabel Allende. These are the very same words that captivated me to read this novel.

I encountered this book as a required reading for one of my subjects in college. This book is a rare find and gave me a hard time looking for it. Luckily, I found it in a second hand book dealer as the last remaining copy. The search for this book had paid off well since it introduced me to rich writing styles of Latin American authors.

The novel is about the epic story of the Trueba family as told by Esteban Trueba and Alba. Esteban is a cruel landlord, while Alba is his granddaughter. The story started off with the diary entries of Clara, narrating her childhood stories and revealing her mystical powers. The story was then taken off by Esteban Trueba, which narrates his life in his hacienda and his married life with Clara. The last part of the book is narrated by Alba. Played in the background is the history of Chile progressing from the age dominated by landlords; to the rise of the democratic society, the climax of which is the election of the first socialist president; and the demise to a brutal military rule.

What I like about this novel is I got to connect with the people affected by their History. It is unlike retelling the history of Chile from a boring history book. I got to see their happiness, their anguish, their desperation for a better tomorrow. I got to connect the novel with the story of my country, the Philippines.

The House of Spirits is a good novel to read and a good example of an excellent writing from a Latin American author. Isabel Allende spun history, emotions, and magic into a one engaging book.

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Read “Another Use for the Pink Fence” in my personal blog, Before the Eastern Sunset. The blog post is about my idea on the use of MMDA’s pink fences to help decrease traffic violations.

Leave a Comment. Find this post informative? Do you like this post or hated it? Please let me know. Your comments, suggestions and reactions are warmly appreciated. All reader’s comments will be personally replied to as soon as possible.