1 week ulam/viand challenge: DAY 4

We are now on our day 4 of our challenge. Yesterday was pretty challenging. And for today’s menu…one of the easiest ulam to to make in our week..we have fried fish (pritong galunggong) and steamed ladies’ finger (okra).

DAY 4 of 7: Fried fish (galunggong) and steamed ladies’ finger

Ingredients (P 127):

1/2 kg galunggong fish (~4-6 pcs medium size galunggong) (P 80)

1/2 cup cooking oil (P 10)

1/2 tbsp salt (P 1)

1/2 tsp pepper (P 1)

16 pcs okra or ladies finger (P 30)

2 cups of water

1 tsp bagoong (optional) (P 5)


Fried fish: Season the fish with salt and pepper. In a frying pan, heat oil. Fry the seasoned fish until both sides of the fish turn brown.

Steamed okra: Place all the okra in a steamer. Steam with water for 2 minutes. Best served with bagoong or alamang.


Note: okra contains magnesium, folate, vitamin A, C, K and B6; it is also high in fiber and source of natural laxative that strengthens the digestive tract. galunggong is your source of protein; it is also rich in DHA and omega 3.

**good for 4-6 people






1 week ulam/viand challenge: DAY 3 with toge (mungbean sprout)

Yesterday’s viand is a quick one, right?

You did not read it wrong. Day 3 is when I made 3 lumpia dishes from toge. But do not worry, day 3 will still be healthy, easy-to-make and budget friendly.

Day 3 of 7: Lumpiang toge

Ingredients (P 130):

1/4 kg toge or mungbean sprouts (P 20)

2 pcs porkchop, cubed (P 40)

2 pcs chicken liver, chopped (P 20)

1 /4 cup tokwa/tofu, cubed

1/2 cup cabbage, chopped (P 10)

1/4 cup carrots, chopped (P 12)

1/2 tsp oyster sauce (P 10)

1/2 tsp honey (optional) (P 10)

1 tsp soysauce (P 5)

1/2 tsp salt (P 1)

1/4 tsp black pepper (P 1)

1 tbsp oil (P 1)

1/2 cup water

Preparation (10 minutes):

In a pan, fry the tokwa in 1 tbsp oil until golden brown. Set aside. While the pan is still hot, fry the cubed fatty part of the porkchop until it turns brown. Set it aside. Remove excess oil. Sauté garlic and onion. Add the fried fat, tokwa, remaining porkchop meat, and chicken liver. Add water. Let it boil until the meat is cooked. Add oyster sauce, soysauce, honey, salt and pepper, then mix the toge or mungbean sprouts. Simmer for 2 minutes before adding the cabbage and carrot. Mix everything and cover.

1st dish: Lumpiang hubad


How to make the sweet sauce (additional cost: ~P 10): In a pot, dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch in 2 cups of water. Add 2 tbsp soysauce and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Boil the mixture until it thickens. Add 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Sprinkle some fried garlic on top if you like.

2nd dish: Lumpiang sariwa


How to assemble (additional P 7 pesos for 5 pcs lumpia wrapper)?: Remove the excess liquid in the lumpia mixture. Simply wrap the mixture in the wrapper. You can make your own lumpia wrapper. But because we want to save time, I just bought one. Add some sweet sauce. Sprinkle with crushed peanut or garlic on top (optional).

3rd dish: Pritong lumpiang gulay


How to assemble (additional cost for the lumpia wrapper, oil and vinegar)?: You just need to deep fry the wrapped lumpia mixture. Wait until it turns golden brown. Serve with your favorite spiced vinegar.


Note: carrot is rich in vitamin A. cabbage is packed with vitamin C and K. mungbean sprouts contain antioxidants and amino acid, protein, fiber, folate, manganese and magnesium. tokwa, chicken liver and porkchop are source of protein. garlic has antibacterial properties while red onion has antioxidants.


**good for 7-8 people




1-week ulam/viand challenge: DAY 2

Yesterday or my first day of healthy, easy-to-make and budget-friendly viand/ulam challenge I had ginisang ampalaya and greaseless fried porkchop. Here is the link of my previous post 1-week healthy, easy-to-make and budget-friendly viand challenge: DAY 1 if you want to try it.

Today’s viand is super easy to make!

Day 2 of 7: Sautéed tahong with pechay

Ingredients (PhP 100)

1 kg tahong or mussel, washed (P 80)

3 cloves garlic, chopped (P 5)

1 pc red onion, chopped (P 5)

1 thumb-sized ginger, chopped (P 5)

1 tsp salt (P 1)

1/2 tsp pepper (P 1)

1/2 tsp patis (P 1)

1/2 cup water

1 bugkos (approx. 2 plants) pechay, chopped (P 10)

Preparation (9 mins):

Make sure to wash the tahong (soak them for 30 minutes before cooking so that it will excrete some of its waste) and the pechay (to remove any fertilizer or pesticide residue).

You can opt to sauté garlic, onion, and ginger first before adding the tahong. But, because we are trying to make each viand in this challenge a little healthier, I will always try not to use oil in cooking.

In a pot, mix all the ingredients and wait until it boils (5-6 mins). Then, check if the tahong/mussels, if most of them are already partially open, add the pechay. Mix everything and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Note: red onion contains antioxidants, garlic has antibacterial property, ginger is rich in vitamin B6 and magnesium, pechay has high vitamins A and C, mussels are low in fat and can be your source of protein , vitamin C and iron, and VERY RICH in cobalamin (vitamin B12).


**good for 5-6 pax






1-week healthy, easy-to-make and budget-friendly viand challenge: DAY 1

I am challenging myself to post a blog entry everyday for a week and I decided to post our viand per day during this week…because…why not?

Viand or ulam is a meat, seafood or veggie dish that accompanies rice in  a typical Filipino meal.  I’d try to make healthy (to boost our immune system), easy-to-make (so that you can still do extra work within the day) and budget-friendly (let’s be practical) dishes.

DAY 1 of 7: Ginisang ampalaya and greaseless fried porkchop

For the ginisang ampalaya:

Ingredients (cost: P38 or 108 if I include cost of ampalaya(60) and tomato (10):

3 medium size ampalaya or bittergourd fruits, sliced (free from our garden)

3 garlic cloves, chopped (P 5)

1 pc red onion, chopped (P 5)

2 pcs tomato, sliced (free from our garden)

1/4 cup ground pork (you can also use ground beef, chicken) (P 20)

1 tsp oil (P 5)

1/2 tsp salt (P 1)

1/2 tsp patis (P 1)

1/4 tsp pepper (P 1)


Preparation (10 minutes):

Put 1 tsp oil in a preheated pan. Sauté garlic until golden brown then add the onion. When the onion becomes translucent, add ground pork and wait until it turns brown. Add the tomato and wait till it is completely mixed with the pork. Then, mix the ampalaya, cover the pant for 30 seconds. While you are waiting for the ampalaya to get cooked, beat 2 eggs in a bowl and add it to mixture. Continue stirring until the egg is cooked.

DSC_0018 2

Note: tomato is rich in lycopene, garlic has antibacterial property, red onion contain anthocyanin, ampalaya is high in vitamin C and A.

For the greaseless fried porkchop:

Ingredients (P 157):

3 pcs porkchop (P 140)

1 tsp salt (P 1)

1/4 tsp pepper (P 1)

1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional) (P 15)


Preparation (30 minutes):

Sprinkle salt, pepper and oregano on both sides of the meat. Leave it for 10 minutes. In a pan (preferably non-stick), place the marinated meat. Cover the pan. Flip the meat every 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 8.38.45 PM

Note: porkchop will be your source protein. Make sure not to eat the fat if you have hypertension.


**good for 5-6 pax


8 fertilizer-related mistakes: what would possibly happen and how to avoid them?

Are you a newbie in applying fertilizers? Here are fertilizer-related mistakes you should avoid:

1. Not knowing the plant’s essential nutrients

Plants require 17-18 essential nutrients to complete its life cycle. The important thing is that you know the elements needed in large (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium), moderate (calcium, magnesium, and sulfur) and small (boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc) amount. Some of these elements are present in nature while others are not or in unavailable form. You can do further research (highly recommended) on your own.

The barrel below simply shows that yield is limited by the lack of a specific nutrient. Despite abundance of fertilizer you put, if you miss just one essential nutrient, then your plant will suffer.

photo source: http://citrusindustry.net/2017/05/09/update-ufifas-grower-citrus-nutrition-trials/

WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN TO MY CROP? Limited plant growth. Stunted growth, yellowing leaves, premature ripening and death of plant are some you may observe. You are also wasting fertilizer which can harm the plant and the environment.

HOW TO AVOID? Familiarize the needed nutrients of your plants. Do soil testing (if you can) to know the elements that are already present in your soil. If you can’t do soil testing, look into the symptoms of nutrient deficiency of your crop in the web and then compare – e careful in doing this, insects and diseases can also affect plant growth

2. Forms and types

Fertilizers can be organic (e.g. chicken manure, bat guano, fish meal) or inorganic (chemical fertilizers), the former contain little nutrient and needed to be decomposed first while the latter have specific and large amount of nutrient and can be absorbed easily by the plant. Chemical fertilizer usually comes in granular, powder or liquid form.

Plants will not eat/absorb everything you put…the element/nutrient should first be in its available form (ion). Please support my little shop and get your fertilizer in liquid form here (https://shopee.ph/SNAP-Hydroponics-Set-i.86521262.5717286140)! Nutrients in this solution set is in ion form and can be readily absorbed by the plant.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? Plants cannot absorb the nutrient and the lack of it will affect its overall performance.

HOW TO AVOID? Choose the appropriate form and type of fertilizer your crop needs. For plants with fragile roots (e.g. tissue cultured), use slow release fertilizer. If you are going to use manure, apply them ahead of time prior to your planting to allow the nutrient to become absorbable to your plants.

3. Not covering your urea 

Urea fertilizers (46-0-0) can be used to increase nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is part of the chlorophyll molecule which gives the plant their green color. We know that chlorophyll plays a vital role in photosynthesis, therefore, the greener the plant, the better. However, urea granules are highly volatile which means that if you left them uncovered, the nitrogen can be lost easily to the atmosphere.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? Nitrogen is a macro molecule. If your soil contains very low nitrogen and you decide to apply urea and did not cover them with, then little to no nitrogen will be absorbed by your plant leading to pale green to yellow color of the leaves/plant.

HOW TO AVOID? High soil temperature and pH increases volatility of urea. If you have alkaline soil (high pH) make it neutral first (I haven’t encountered this kind of soil yet so better I just search the net and according to the Eldon Everhart of Iowa State University, you can apply sphagnum peat, elemental sulfur, aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, acidifying nitrogen, and organic mulches to reduce soil pH). Apply your urea early morning (before 7am) so that the soil temperature is relatively lower. And of course, after application cover urea with soil.

4. Putting directly to the plant/seed

There are fertilizers that came from dragons and can literally burn your seed/plant when put into direct contact – can we command it with ‘FERTICARYS’ (I was kidding when I said they came from dragons. Because winter is coming. lol). Urea and all-ammonium phosphate and those containing with nitrogen and potassium will cause burning in seeds, seedlings and plants if you placed the fertilizer too near to your plant. Fertilizers contain salts and the burn is brought by osmosis principle but I will not go too technical with. It’s already good to know that fertilizers can burn plants.

photo source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/chemical-burn-caused-by-excessive-use-356500457

WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? Like the picture above, burnt leaves as if you lit them with fire or the sun went spot burning. Seeds will not proceed germination. Death of seedlings.

HOW TO AVOID? Be careful not to let the fertilizer have direct contact with your seed, seedling or plant. If you are going to apply fertilizer before planting the seeds, make sure to cover the fertilizer with soil before putting the seed. Place your fertilizer directly on the soil not on the roots. If you accidentally applied them on the leaves, wash them with water immediately.

5. Location relative to the plant

In a garden set-up, fertilizer is applied through 4 different ways. First, broadcast before planting wherein fertilizer is spread evenly and mixed with soil to a depth of 3-4 inches before making rows – this is the least damaging and best way for those gardening at home.

Second, row/band application. You need to be careful when doing this because you are applying fertilizer in a strip to the side of the row before planting – this will prevent the roots in contacting the fertilizer band.

Third, nutrient solution (nutrient in water) – this is only used on transplants like tomato, lettuce and eggplant. In this method, you will need to soak the hole with the solution before transplanting.

Fourth, application to growing plants and this can be done by putting fertilizer granules (avoid the leaves during application and make sure to hill it up after) or sprinkling nutrient solution along the sides of the rows.

The bottomline here is to put your fertilizer near the roots but not too near that you are killing them.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? Fertilizers that are too far from the roots will just leach and little to no nutrients will be absorbed by the plant. On the other hand, placing the fertilizer directly on the seed/root (as mentioned before) will kill your plant.

HOW TO AVOID? Apply the fertilizer on the soil near the root or seed. The best location will be along the sides of the rows. If there are no rows, apply the fertilizer in circle around the plant (distance of the fertilizer from the plant depends on the radius of the rooting zone of your crop).

6. Applying too much or too little

Just like when someone broke your heart and reasoned out that you’re too much or not enough for them. Ouch. Ok. Back to fertilizer. LOL. Plants can suffer lack (deficiency) or excessive (toxicity) nutrient depending on the status of your soil, choice of crop and amount of fertilizer you apply.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? For deficiency of mobile (N, P, K, Mg) and immobile (Ca, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, B) elements, you will see symptoms (e.g. yellowing) at the base and the top of the plant, respectively. With toxicity, you may observe some of these: wilting, leaf drying and root tip burn.

HOW TO AVOID? Conduct soil analysis if you can. Know the nutrient requirement of your crop.

7. Timing of application

Right love at the right time. Perfect timing. And just like your fertilizer application, timing is everything. As you’ve learned the basic of your crop, you should know already that there are different growth stages. You cannot plant a seed today, apply fertilizer and expect a bountiful harvest tomorrow. Different crops have different life cycles and therefore the time when you need to apply fertilizer will depend on the crop you planted.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? Lower crop performance than expected since nutrient was not absorbed during the critical stage of the plant. Wasted fertilizer.

HOW TO AVOID? Know the growth stages of your crop and when to apply the appropriate fertilizer

8. Use of partially decomposed organic matter

Organic fertilizers are derived directly from plant or animal sources. Examples of these are manures, compost or bone meal. This kind of fertilizer requires proper and complete decomposition (a gradual complex process of breaking down raw materials to finished compost) before you can incorporate this to the soil where you’re gonna plant your crop.


WHAT WOULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN? During the process of decomposition  bacteria, fungi, moles, protozoa, actinomycetes and other saprophytic organisms feed upon decaying organic materials. These microorganisms in your partially decomposed organic fertilizer may harm your crop. Also, the microbes warm the soil through respiration. High soil temperature can damage your root system.

HOW TO AVOID? Make sure that your organic fertilizer is fully decomposed before applying them to your field/garden.


The next time you ask yourself why your plants did not grow despite applying fertilizer, think first on how, when, where, what and how much did you apply.

And if you insist that you did nothing wrong…well…go to your garden again and monitor your area for other factors affecting the growth of your babies/plants.

#travelgoals: 20 destinations worth visiting and revisiting in the Philippines

One Filipina content creator from YouTube mentioned that the next thing she is planning to do after all her flights abroad (due to the pandemic) were cancelled is to travel locally. And I second the motion. When we have a go signal to travel, let’s help boost our local tourism.

Here are places you can consider and let the (no edit, no drone shot, no fancy camera used) pictures speak why they are worth visiting and revisiting:

1. Enchanted River (Agusan del Sur)


2. Sagada (Mountain Province)


3. Kawasan Falls (Cebu)


4. Siargao (Siargao Island)


5. Sipalay (Negros Occidental)


6. Coron (Palawan)


(photo not mine cause I haven’t crossed this one from my bucket list)

7. Sablayan (Occidental Mindoro)


8. Dingalan (Aurora)


9. Maniwaya (Marinduque)


10. Gigantes Island (Iloilo)


11. Caramoan Island (Camarines Sur)


12. Daraga (Albay)


13. Seven Lakes in San Pablo (Laguna)


14. Laiya (Batangas)


15. Cagbalete (Quezon)


16. Zamboanga City (Zamboanga Peninsula)


17. Samal Island (Davao del Norte)


18. Patapat Viaduct (Ilocos Norte)


19. Hundred Islands (Pangasinan)


20. Baguio City (Benguet)


The crisis we are facing is no big joke. Let us pray. Stay at home. Travel later (when everything is ok). Also, do not forget to support our local products!

Soil-less farming: 15 vegetables to plant when you are surrounded with concrete

You read that right. You can be a farmer even if you live at the top most room of a building. One of the ways is to do hydroponics. Here’s a crappy-but-the-idea-is-there (lol) tutorial on how to create a soil-less system:

You can also improvise other materials to create your soil-less garden – like using pale or tin cans. And because you are in a soil-less system, your plants need essential nutrients. You can order your nutrient solution here: https://shopee.ph/SNAP-Hydroponics-Set-i.86521262.5717286140

Once you have the system…you are now ready to grow these 15 veggies:

1. Kangkong (Ipomoea aquatica)

Water spinach or morning glory on white background

2. Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

green fresh lettuce. studio shot.Click below to see other images of vegetables:

3. Celery (Apium graveolens)


4. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Basil leaves isolated. Collection

5. Tomato (Lycopesicon esculentum)


6. Pechay (Brassica rapa)


7. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)


8. Garlic (Allium sativum)


9. Pakchoi (Brassica rapa)


10. Spring onion (Allium fistulosum)

More Photos like this here...

11. Arugula (Eruca vesicaria ssp. sativa)

Fresh arugula

12. Pepper (Capsicum annuum)


13. Mustasa (Brassica juncea)

Green leaf mustard in growth at vegetable garden in Vietnam

14. Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica)


15. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)


Most of these veggies have small root system that is why you can grow them even without soil. Enjoy soil-less gardening!


Be a farmer for a day (or more): 11 basic things in growing crops

Are you done with all your TikTok vids and looking for other things to do? Why not try to be a farmer during this quarantine period or even after? Some of you are planning to grow plants and others have already started their mini farm. If you are a newbie farmer, here are some points to remember:

1. Have a get-to-know phase

Choosing a crop you want to plant is easy. Seeds are available in the supermarket and also from the veggies you bought yesterday. However, you need to do a little research on the crop you want to cultivate – from seed to harvest.


2. Do not directly plant every seed

Small-seeded crops like lettuce, pechay and bokchoy may require you to pregerminate their seeds and here’s an easy and effective way on How to pregerminate small seeds? (YT vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDK7sP3ggeI&t=6s).


Some plants have little to no seeds because they are cultivated in other form – in cassava for example, stem cuttings are used as planting material.

3. Let there be light!

Photosynthesis is a thing we were taught since grade school. Basically, plants need sunlight to grow. So plant where there is light.


But, be mindful about your crop. Some crops love extreme sunlight while others are happy with a little ray of light.

4. Do some catching up (visit and talk)

After a successful germination, do not leave them like what your ex did to you. LOLjk. I wasn’t kidding when I said that do not leave them for good. Visit them from time to time and check their condition, and (this may sound weird)talk to them…some say plants grow well when you do this.


5. Feed them

Fertile soil is good for your plant but when you observe yellowing on the leaves (with no insects or diseases), they may be suffering from lack of nutrient (like nitrogen). When this happens, you can put a little fertiliser like (14-14-14) or urea (46-0-0).


If you observed low soil fertility prior your planting and you did some composting, add those to your soil (make sure they are fully decomposed) before planting.

6.  They get thirsty

Plants are approximately 95% water so they get thirsty. High temperature these days will easily dry out your soil and will eventually dehydrate your plant leading to death. Quench their thirst by watering your plants early in the morning and late in the afternoon.


7.  You want to breathe? And so they are!

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by so many things and we want to breathe for while and I am telling you…your plants want to breathe too. Have you watched the K-dram ‘She Was Pretty’? There was a scene there wherein they grew an onion with smiley face in water…I tried doing it…but sadly the onion died. And this was probably because of hypoxia or lack of oxygen in the root.amigurumi_onion_from_korean_drama_she_was_pretty_1446773149_d02930d0

My point here is to give your plant air. Dig the soil around your plant (make sure not to damage the roots) to release some compaction of soil and allow air to flow.

8. Protect them (from pests)

Pests are those damaging your plants to the point that you are left with little to no harvest. Control the pests. If they are still manageable, you can just pick them with your hands.


You can also plant some insect repellant plants like marigold. Or concoct your own natural insecticide (available in the internet). If you observed disease in your plants, remove and burn them. During your next cropping season, plant clean materials or try crops that are not the same family as your previous one.

9. Be gentle…they have feelings too

As you progress in your farming activities, these plants will grow in no time. You will apply good cultural practices you found during your search like pruning, weeding or bagging. When you do, be gentle, some plants are sensitive and brittle. Your days of growing them will be put into waste if you are careless.


10. Understand their maturity

Different plants may have varying maturity. As I mentioned earlier, it is imperative to know your crop before planting. It is also important to know when they will mature. There are crops with dual purpose like sweet potato – you can harvest camote tops as early as 30 days from planting while the roots are harvestable after around 90 days.


Some crops develop bitter taste when you prolong their harvest time or when the timing of harvesting is not appropriate.

11. Diversify

Plant several crops. There was a study that even a small area can house up to 9 different crops. This technique will give you variety of vegetables with different nutrient components. And since they are different from one another, you can program a daily harvesting of different veggies. Diversified garden may also lower incidence of pests and diseases.


Farming will be your daily source of sun, healthy food, and exercise. If you do not have land with soil in your place…you can try doing hydroponics…I did a vid on how to do easy DIY hydroponics (below) – it’s kinda crappy but the basics are there.