The Return of Freine


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Bonjour! Bonjour! Ça va?
It has been a loooooooong hiatus (I know. Eep!) but Freine is coming back! Hep hep, hooray!

What can you expect? My numerous stories about my adventures and discoveries in Makati (and beyond) will soon be on the blog. So please stay tuned.

Have a great day ahead!

A bientôt!


Wheat Pao is a Healthy Pao


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If you have tried the popular Filipino-Chinese snack siopao, the steamed buns which are usually filled with meat and/or egg, and have wished that they would come in a whole wheat and meat-free variety, then your prayer has been answered by Wheat Pao.


According to Tita Laly, the creator of the wheat paos, she makes sure that the whole wheat flour that she uses is of top quality (bromate-free) and she uses extra virgin olive oil in making the buns. Plus, she is adamant in using no flavor enhancers, preservatives or any artificial additives— just the good and body-loving stuff.


For the vegetarians out there, you’d be psyched to know that you can choose between the all-veggie and mushroom filling (but why choose, have them both!). But if you’re still not keen with the idea of having no meat on your siopao, there is a chicken flavor which is packed with lean chicken meat and no fats, thank you very much.



Yes, the taste of the buns is different from the regular ones because of the whole wheat but it still has the chewy texture the steamed buns are known for. The fillings are also tasty and generously packed, which are more than enough reasons to keep on coming back. The even better plus: they only cost P50. Tita Laly said that she isn’t really after the profit. She is just thankful to The Lord that she discovered this healthy snack that could help people nourish their bodies better.

Wheat Pao is available every Saturday at the Salcedo Community Market, Jaime Velasquez Park in Makati City. You may also contact them through mobile: 0917-590-9757 or 0908-130-3306 and landline: (02) 454-6011.

(First photo from Wheat Pao’s Facebook page.)

La vie est trés belle,

Eat’s Singapore!


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Have you heard that you can experience Singapore for as little as P135 in the middle of Metro Manila? Yes, that’s true. All you have to do is head to My Singapore Food Street restaurant in the second floor of SM Megamall bridge way.

This fast casual food joint boasts of serving Singaporean dishes that are honestly authentic that your taste buds will be brainwashed into thinking you are actually in Singapore. Why would it not be authentic? From the ingredients, to cooking style to the ambience, they all scream Singapore.

Continue reading

In The Beginning There Was Us


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What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that haunt fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.

This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds.

In The Beginning There Was Us is Australia-based writer Ingrid Jonach’s second young adult sci-fi romance novel.

Published last April 28, 2015, Ingrid is excited to give you a glimpse of her latest work with an excerpt below and…. a RAFFLE DRAW wherein she is giving away free ebook copies of In The Beginning There Was Us and her first sci-fi novel, When The World Was Flat (And We Were In Love).

You have until May 31 to join.

Chapter One

I WAKE TO the sound of sirens and a bedroom lit up, as if by fireworks on the Fourth of July.
I blink owlishly at the ceiling for a moment or two, before I throw back the covers and crawl across my bed to peer through my window at the blue and red flashing lights of a police car and a fire engine. They’re followed moments later by an ambulance and two more police cars.
The five vehicles careen around the corner, like clown cars off to throw confetti on a fake fire, and I realize that they’re headed in the direction of the Lab.
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Nielson Tower: A Piece of History Beside the Park


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It’s such a wonderful feeling to start your day productively especially if it involves a discovery.

Sometimes all it takes is a walk, or in my case, a run, around your neighborhood and before you know it, the surroundings which you have taken no interest in in the past turns out to be of great importance.

This is what happened when I noticed a building beside the line of restaurants on the west side of Ayala Triangle Garden in Makati City, Philippines.



Lo and behold, it used to be an airport tower- the Nielson Tower to be exact.


It was built in 1937 on the land owned by the Ayala family and the CIA. It was the Philippines' first modern and commercial international airport. Paseo de Roxas and Ayala Avenue used to be the runways of this airport. During the second World War, it became the headquarters of the American and Japanese army. It ceased to operate in 1947.

But the Ayalas wanted to preserve the building's pre-war architecture and so, after renovation, here it is- serving as a reminder of its pioneering role in the transportation and communication sector.


The entrance is located along Makati Venue, fronting ThePeninsula Hotel. 20150425-000459.jpg




Nowadays, Nielson Tower houses the Filipinas Heritage Library and humbly contributes to the scenery of the business district.

La vie est trés belle!

Itadakimasu at Ippudo


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Ippudo Philippines has launched a limited edition ramen- MISO AKAMARU.

Aside from the fact that Ippudo offers a “world famous Hakata-style ramen experience from Fukuoka, Japan” (definitely not your supermarket instant ramen!), it continues to upgrade the classic ramen. Right now, they are calling all ramen fans to spoil their taste buds with the Miso Akamaru.

What makes the Miso Akamaru more delectable?

1. The miso tonkotsu broth is a combination of three, yes, 3, types of miso. The result is a richer and creamier flavor compared to the classic ramen.

2. The noodles themselves get a makeover. They are thicker and have more curls.

3. Each bowl is served with a torched Ooban Chashu (rolled slice of pork).

4. For spicy-food lovers, this ramen is for you. Although, it isn’t Tabasco-like. Just a hint to add more flavor.

5. It’s a well-balanced dish with the go, grow and glow foods (you still remember Nutrition 101?) in one bowl- cabbage, bean spouts, chopped spring onions, slice of pork and noodles.

6. There are add-ons available as well such as the well known nori.

Salivating for this P450-ramen? Then visit Ippudo Philippines at the 3rd floor of SM Mega Fashion Hall Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City and sip that broth away.

Plus, plus, plus… They have an offer which just might convince you to dine with them.

Starting today(April 17) until May 17, for each Miso Akamaru ramen that you order, you are entitled to a raffle ticket wherein the price is…. A year’s worth of ramen! Gasp! How cool is that?!

Even if you’re not a self-confessed ramen addict, it is a wonderful experience to sip and slurp one of Japan’s famed dishes. It is considered a must to SLURP your ramen in Japan although it wasn’t readily observed in the restaurant when I was there. Still, it opens your mind to the culture of another nation. Now that’s really cool.

Keep your mind informed.




La vie est trés belle,

Be Inspired


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FreineWrites is finally back and this April will be filled with tales about the city of Makati, Philippines. Of course, they will be sprinkled with a touch of influence from other cultures. Let’s celebrate the best of unique cultures. After all, it’s beginning to be a small world nowadays.

So stay tuned for the tale which involves the rich cuisine of an Asian city-nation which was a former colony of a European island nation. Any guesses?

La vie est trés belle!

Subject Worth Talking Over Tea


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It is quite overwhelming, and humbling, when you experience certain unexplainable acts of kindness which happen by surprise. The mere fact that you didn’t expect them boggles the mind.

Yesterday, several people showed that we are capable of spreading good cheer to our fellow earth dwellers.

KIND PERSON #1 (Un): The jeepney driver, who was about to call it a day, still allowed me to ride the vehicle (since he’ll still be passing the landmark where I intend to alight). But it gets better! He told me not to pay any longer. In a world where money is of great importance, here comes an individual who doesn’t prioritize it 24/7.

KIND PERSON #2 (Deux): While eating lunch in a semi-busy food court, the middle-aged man who inquired if he could share the adjoining empty table, noticed that my handbag was left open by my side. He quickly called my attention and advised me to zip it stating that his wife experienced the same thing but unfortunately found out too late that her two mobile phones and wallet were already stolen.

KIND PERSON #3 (Trois): Another jeepney driver makes the list. Since he didn’t have change for the fare I handed to him, he let me keep half of it. 50% discount! Not bad ha?!

KIND PERSON #4 (Quatre): My colleague, who noticed that I was into teas, gave me three individually wrapped tea bags from TWG Tea—> incidentally, it has been one of the tea brands that is on my bucket list. What luck!

And most importantly, March 7 was filled with a lot of people who SMILED and were easy to communicate with. So, they can be categorized under KIND PERSON(s) #5 (Cinq).

I was awestruck on the possibility that everyone can exude kindness and a tranquil disposition. Life would definitely be better if we choose to be kind. In the end, all you could really do is to sincerely say “Thank You” and pay it forward.

La vie est trés, trés belle!

PS: I’d love to hear your thoughts. Email me at:

Messy Bessy: The Earth-loving Lifestyle


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Nowadays, being a green thumb is in. A few years ago, the voices of people who were eco-conscious were quite limited. Today it is quite different. Organic produce, weekend markets, homegrown, fair trade and environmentally-friendly products and slow food are the rave. And, well, why shouldn’t it be the rave? The latest reports on the state of our Mother Earth is quite disturbing. Pollution is continuously on the rise, water shortage is slowly threatening city centres while poverty issues are in dire need of solutions.

Wheew… that’s a lot.

But… people have not been apathetic. There is a growing number of businesses which offer products that are beneficial to the environment and the masses. Which in turn makes it possible to have an Earth-loving lifestyle. One such enterprise is the Philippines-based Messy Bessy.

Messy Bessy

Elle est cute, right?

Messy Bessy is all about producing effective household cleansers that are all-natural and biodegradable. Yes, you can clean your home without the unnecessary chemicals and bad-for-your-health fumes. Aside from these, I have listed down several reasons why I learned to love Messy Bessy.

1. The ingredients lists are short and readable. Admit it, can you actually read the ingredients on most of the products we purchase at the supermarket today without sounding like you’re reading a tongue twister? Okay, do you even read the list? Let’s say, you can read them out loud with the confident tone of a chemist, are you familiar with the ingredients themselves (unless you are a chemist)? Here’s a sample:

Ingredient list

For their Minty Orange Surface Cleaner, it only contains three (to four) ingredients. Yup, that’s all!

No tongue twister, too!

2. Employs disadvantaged individuals. According to the Messy Bessy website, their primary goal is “employing, training and educating disadvantaged (formerly abused, trafficked, out-of-school, impoverished) young adults.” This basically means that a lot of their employees get to attain an education while working for the company. The company’s founder, Krie Reyes-Lopez, surely has a big heart!

3. Caters personal care products. They may have been primarily known for household cleansers and detergents but they also have hand sanitizers, insect repellents, hand and body wash and a head-to-toe wash for babies (under their Messy Baby line).

I absolutely adore The Little Warrior hand sanitizers, especially the one with Green Tea scent.

4. 100% Filipino-made. It is widely advocated to stick and support products made with local (and preferably organic) ingredients because not only will it support the economy but the environment as well–> lessens the carbon footprint.

photo1 (2)

Last but not the least, they gave away a free bottle of cologne (seen above) during the holidays at their newly opened Glorietta kiosk in Makati City. So sweet of them!

You don’t have to travel all the way to Glorietta for their products though, you may shop online via If you prefer to call or text, you may do so at:+ 639175607871 or (02) 5027176 from Monday to Friday (9 AM-5 PM).

La vie est tres belle!