Martes, Hunyo 24, 2014

A piece on resourcefulness and exerting effort

Ok here's the deal, I have been encountering these phrases for the last 3 weeks and I'm starting to get really pissed. I hear people say these words all the time lately and my ears burn whenever I hear it.

               ------> I CAN'T  / THERE'S NONE / I DON'T KNOW <----

Direct Tagalog translation ---> Hindi ko kaya, Wala / wala akong makita/mahanap (and other variations), at hindi ko alam (or sometimes metaphorically, wala akong pakialam).

I know that situations aren't always positive or goes your way all the time and I understand that people may not have all the complete information about a certain idea or thing all the time, and I am well aware of all the living and breathing imperfections around us. I hear it all the time, "No one is Perfect". I know it well. I myself am light years away from being perfect. But there's one thing that I appreciate most about people who are far from perfection and yet tries to make up for what they lack --- they give effort, they try to know what they don't know or understand, and if they lack something or probably can't afford or produce something at a certain time because of several factors, still they TRY. And if trying still doesn't work, they go beyond it and offer alternatives! Its called resourcefulness. I know its possible because I've witnessed people (from different walks of life) do it and they succeed.

In this high tech age everything is certainly possible! So a person most of the time doesn't have a choice but NOT to go back empty handed when he was sent on a mission to accomplish something. Almost everything is made available to almost everyone. All you have to do is open your eyes to all possibilities and give it your best shot; and if your best shot is still not enough then suggest other possible ways to do it. Anything, anything at all... just don't say: "I can't do it!". "Wala eh..", or simply shrug your shoulders out of defeat.

I suddenly realize that the training that I've received from former bosses and superiors (and even former professors --- Sir J, Sir B, Ma'am V, Ma'am E, Mrs. G are top of mind) are so priceless. All 7 of them will never accept an "I can't do it" when they assign tasks to their subordinates. "Wala eh" is not an acceptable excuse. So even though I cried buckets and spent many sleepless nights under all their guidance (or to some of then, their "tormentorship" hehe), still I thank them for the years of training! Because of you, Ms. A, Pastor B, Ms. M, Ma'am M, Ma'am K, Sir L, Sir B,  I learned not to stop trying. Maraming salamat po! May you mentor more minds! God bless you all.

I just pray that these people will realize their unlimited potential everyday and will try harder to give it their best shot. Sayang kasi. I hope they realize that not everyone will get the chance that they are so taking for granted now. Someone out there is dreaming to be where they are right now, and yet here they are, wasting the chance away. Its a very frustrating sight to see and I just pray that they realize the mistake and will try to improve. Its for their own good anyway. Hay.

Martes, Hunyo 3, 2014

On uttering the 3 magic words...

If you're like me, you would be squeamish at the mere thought of saying the 3 magic words - I love you - to anyone. Whether to family, friends, special people, heck even to your pet dogs! I know I'm so abnormal that way. I guess I just never got used to the idea of saying "I love you" just for the sake of saying it. I remember one time someone said these words to me and my reply was "thank you". So needless to say, that did not go anywhere. haha.. In my defense, let me justify this personal weirdness by saying that I grew up in a home where the words "I love you" are only mentioned in greeting cards. We never actually say it in person (until recently). So I never learned how to say it and when do I actually say it. So I guess I never had the correct practice.

But fortunately, years down the road, I met beautiful people who taught me how to say it by example. Sometimes my friends would tease me by acting sweet and they would say I love you to each other so I would turn into goo and die from being grossed out. hehe I would rather eat onions (my hatest vegetable in existence) than be caught saying those words. But of course, change is inevitable and its good that with enough pushing from people to practice and actually having the chances to practice it, I was able to overcome this weird pet peeve. Which is lucky for me! :)

So fast forward to 2014, I guess 80% of the barrier has been knocked out. I can say it without feeling nauseous and I'm proud of it! hehe Its definitely a remarkable improvement for me! :) So to you ( yes you!) who taught me how to express affection, thank you! I love you!! :)

To these people, I love you all with all my heart! :)

Linggo, Abril 20, 2014

Resurrection Sunday-- He Lives!

I wrote this 5 years ago during a Holy Week Retreat with a good friend. I remember staring onto a blank paper after reading the scripture that I was pondering on. There's this moment of nothingness. I was hearing nothing and I could not think of anything to say. Plain and blank, I was just listening to the sound of the wind through the leaves and staring at the bright clear sky. Nothing. I don't even know what am I supposed to watch out for or feel at that moment. Then slowly I picked up my pencil and began writing this piece:

Almighty Father and Everlasting God,

In the stillness of the night and in the brightness of the morning, I hear your heart beat,
In the beauty of the sun rays and intricacy of a blade of grass, your wisdom shines through,
With every rustling leaf that I hear as the wind blows forth, your voice soothes my troubled soul and aching heart.

As the clouds draw pictures of your artwork in the sky, Your awesome Creativity is beyond words,
Oh Lord, as a painter leaves imprint of  his name in his works, so You make Your mark on every little thing that shouts Your Name on this earth.

I am lost for words to tell of your wonder, but I know that a single drop of rain falling from the sky, can reveal more about You, than all my words combined.

All Praises unto Your Name, oh Lord, Jesus Christ!


While I was anxious to hear from Him or say anything to Him, the Lord reminded me to be still and trust in Him instead. I need not do anything for HE is the Resurrection and Life... He can raise to life every thing that is dead or dying within and around me... I just have to believe. 

May this message speak to you in ways that only Jesus can impart. Happy Resurrection Sunday! God bless you! :)

Lunes, Marso 3, 2014

Beautiful Weddings of all time (My personal list)

As a wedding florist, and as someone who belongs to an age group where everyone (except me.. at least not yet.. haha ;-) ) is getting married, I have probably witnessed or worked for over 60 weddings my entire florist life and counting. So I cant really help but develop certain expertise and eye for it. Not too much, but just enough for me to put some wedding experiences in three categories: 1). Beautiful and exceptional 2. Nice and Pleasant and
3. Unforgettable.

When I brand a wedding as Beautiful and exceptional, it means that the experience is burned in my memory because it gave me another reason to believe that life is wonderful when lived with someone holding your hand.  When I say a wedding is Nice and Pleasant it means that the wedding was, in my point of view, well planned and executed. While when I say a wedding is Unforgettable, it means that the experience left an impression caused by other reasons (e.g cold weddings [and I didn't mean that as freezing], or encounters with "nice-ish" coordinators (or other suppliers), or momzillas/mohzillas/dadzillas/closefriendzillas (and other forms of "zillas"). In my experience, most of the time, its not usually the bride or groom who turn into feisty versions of themselves, but the people who plan with them. The pressures of preparing for the most awaited event of a person's life can be too much at times, that's why the "zillas" are born. Believe me, I was one of them. I was a MOHzilla, and terrible one at that. hehe Just ask my sis-in-law. ;)

So, today, I want to share with you the most beautiful weddings that I have ever witnessed. Those that left a lasting imprint in my heart. :)

1. Let me share with you the wedding when I was a MOHzilla. haha... Of course, my favorite wedding of all time, was that of my brother (Ian) and his wife (Lovely). :) Its not being biased (well maybe a little haha), but I love their wedding because of its simplicity and sincerity. Their wedding wasn't lavish, but just special enough to aptly celebrate 10 years of their relationship and welcome their new life together as husband and wife, coincidentally on my brother's 28th birthday, April 10, 2013. Because budget was an important consideration, they really sifted through almost all the wedding suppliers available to them. At the end, everything turned out just as they hoped for. As my brother said in his speech... "Lahat naman ng tao pinangarap magkaron ng ganitong klaseng kasal...", and based on his teary thank you speech, I was pretty sure, he got the wedding that he and Lovely wanted. :D Sure, there were details that did not go as planned, but a year down the road, it did not matter much. :)
Their wedding was sincere in a sense that 2 families really did blend together. I love the fact that our (Ian and I's) parents and Lovely's mom really became good friends. :) More importantly, their baby boy, Lexzeus Skyler, became a very important common ground between two families who love him to bits. :)

2. My second time as a Maid-of-Honor began last December when my friend Joy (Kristine) called me in my cellphone at 4am to tell me that Roscoe has just proposed to her and she said yes! :) She also told me that she wanted me to be one of of her MOH and instantly that made me feel blessed. :) Joy and Roscoe's wedding has a special mark in my heart because they journeyed the road down the day of their wedding not only by themselves, but they made sure that their loved ones- family and very close friends alike shared the experience with them up to the day that they will say I do. It was a first time experience for me to witness a civil wedding and of all the weddings that I've been to, I never expected for me to tear up in a court room as my best friend said yes forever to the love of her life as she herself shed happy tears. :D There were exactly 6 witnesses (+ the couple) in the room and I was very blessed that my friend Joy chose me to be one of those people to witness that very special event in her life.
Two months after the civil wedding, with their prenup pictorial at Japan, a surprise bridal shower, and a lot of meetings with suppliers and errands to be ran in between, the big day has finally come, May 30, 2014! :) I love their wedding in a lot of ways but here are 5 reasons why it hit home run in my heart:
1) Despite the fact that their guest list has around 400 people in it, the warmth of their love for each other and for their family, friends, and guests was very much felt throughout the day. The couple's personalities left a mark in every detail of the wedding and you can immediately tell that they would like everyone to enjoy this day as much as they did. I also appreciate how their wedding professionals and suppliers contributed quality services and skills which made the wedding even more beautiful.
2) I love their wedding because I felt my heart turn into marshmallow when I-- saw my friend dressed in her wedding gown for the first time, when I was doing the bouquet for my friend and was practicing my speech, when I was actually delivering my speech, when I was listening to the speeches of the couple's parents, and most  especially when I heard them say I do at the altar and when the groom made a surprise music video to the tune of "Stolen" and was played during the reception. My friend was so surprised and happy, she cried! hehe :) Roscoe's video did not only express how much he loves Joy, but it was also evident on the video how much he is loved by his best friends (the best man and one of the grooms men). It showed depth of their relationship and how much they are willing to go for the love of their best bud.
3). Again, it was a first time for me to be the MOH and a secondary sponsor (proxy) at the same time. I had two roles so I had two bouquets! haha... Despite my little duh moment while I was lighting the candle (*wink, wink* hahaha), I was just so happy that I was able to do this for my friends. Imagine how privileged we (members of the entourage) were as we stand at the altar with the couple as the priest said words of blessings and encouragement for them. Again that's a first. I felt that the love, friendship and support that we have for them, the bride and groom, and their love and friendship for us is sealed forever in faith and prayer as their relationship is sealed forever in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The experience is something else, that I can tell. It was definitely a blessing and a privilege.
4). So I have a knack for couples who dance as part of their reception program, but I never imagined that we (2 MOH, Bestman and a Groom's man) had to dance with them as well! haha.. When my friend texted and informed me that we will be dancing with them on the dance floor, I almost fell out of my chair! haha... But then I thought, what the heck, bring it on, lets have fun! :) It was indeed fun and we were all happy to be dancing to the tune of "Happy"! hehe ;)
5). Lastly, I love this wedding because the celebration did not end when the last music spun by the DJ ended. The couple opted to spend more time with friends and family instead of retreating to their own room to rest. They valued their loved one's time and effort for being there to celebrate with them. So even after the reception, even if I'm sure Joy and Roscoe were exhausted from the whole day of fun wedding experience, they chose to sit down, bond and talk to people who were there for them. I and 2 of my friends went home at 2am, but I heard from the bride that they actually went to rest at 4am. So needless to say, the time was really maximized. :) And I definitely appreciate this part the most. So my dear sis and Roscoe, congratulations! May 30, 2014 will always be remembered as the special day with your names on it! :)

3. It is the first time that I hop into an airplane to attend a wedding. :)  Another brother (soul sibling) of mine got married to the love of his life. :) Almost a month ago, I witnessed the most fun and heartwarming wedding of my good friend Jerome and his wife, Lyn. I loved having able to witness my friend of almost 15 years get teary eyed as he looked upon his lovely bride as she walked down the aisle. The small beautiful chapel was filled up with love in that very moment almost instantly. It was one of those weddings that did not depend on expensive things to become memorable. It is a wedding that was filled with details (big and minute) that reflected the couple's personality and their common love for travel. :) It was also one of those weddings when having close friends as your emcees turned out really well. Their reception party was fun, entertaining, and made me appreciate having an intimate guest list who are very close to the couple even more. The night went on for hours without a dull moment and was capped by Jem and Lyn breaking into a dance number! Oh how I love that part! hehe :) Ultimately, it was surely a day to remember, Feb 8, 2014. :)

4. I have a knack for dance numbers during weddings. :) Another favorite wedding of mine was when the groom breaks into a surprise dance number for his bride to the tune of  "What makes you beautiful" by One Direction. :) It was definitely entertaining and I loved seeing the bride's joyfully surprised face. :) Oh, this was during the wedding of my good friends Rex and Inah. :) I also loved how the groom looks into his bride's eyes and vows not to make promises because promises are meant to be broken, instead he professes his love and loyalty for her before family and friends and lived by that day after day from then on. I also loved that I was part of their prenup pictorial, where I snapped a few good photos of the couple with their big smiles and joy evident in their eyes. :)

5. The bride's father was not able to witness her daughter say I do. He passed away some time prior to the wedding. But that did not stop the couple from making him a part of the wedding celebration. At one point of the program, live butterflies were released to symbolize the couple's love for the father. The song "Butterfly Kisses" were playing at the background while the words of affection for the father were being uttered. It was a very touching moment and I must admit that it moved me to tears. Soon after that, there was a beautiful fireworks display that lit up the clear evening skies. It was indeed perfect. :) One of my staff saw this butterfly perched onto one of the table arrangements that we made while we were doing egress. Since its life did not last long after that, I kept it as as a souvenir and put it in frame which is now displayed in our living room.

6. Yes I turn into a romantic softie once the groom becomes more emotional than the bride. ;) One of my favorite moments during wedding ceremonies is the exchange of vows. I love it when couples declare their personal vows on top of the " for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part" church prescribed vows. One of my favorites was when the bride pledges "From this day on, everything will start and end with you...", and the groom actually sheds tears. It was a very tender moment that instantly filled the small chapel with overflowing love. :)

7. More on wedding vows, another favorite of mine was when the bride vows to his husband in front of I think 150 (or more) guests that she will never make him do household work. And the congregation reacted with a loud cheer to that statement. hehe.. It was also the only wedding that I attended where there were more than 10 pastors who took part in their wedding rites. I also loved that they have different wedding symbols that are not very ordinary like a plant and a Jewish shawl. :)

8. The members of the entourage were not wearing gowns, instead they were wearing jeans and green shirt (but of course they had floral bouquets and corsages with them). It was school themed wedding. :) I did not witness the wedding ceremony personally, but I find this idea very unique. I love it when weddings defy the usual wedding practices but still turn out very beautiful. :) The couple had a school bus as their bridal car, which I think is fun and reflective of their personality as a couple. :D

9. The wedding party was made up of less than 25 people literally: the couple, the pastor, and a few of their close friends and family. And this was held in a big church. They were all gathered in the altar area. But the beautiful thing about is was that the bride still walked down the beautifully decorated church aisles. It was the 25th anniversary renewal of vows of this beautiful couple who were in their 50's. The bride talks about his groom with so much love and even humor. I remember that it was raining that afternoon and Taft avenue traffic was terrible. When the groom arrived at the church, he realized that he forgot the rings at the hotel room. But since the roads were clogged with vehicles, he rode a pedicab back to the hotel and back to the church in order to fetch their wedding rings. I just think it was adorable. :) However, recently, the groom went home with Lord. I came by to pay my last respects for him, and the bride recognizes me as their young budding florist (at that time) who decorated their church for their wedding. And even when he was gone, I could still see the love and devotion that she had for him. Definitely, I will never ever forget them as a couple. Blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of their 25th year milestone.

10. I love it when couples shake things up a bit to keep the wedding experience unique and fresh. I was the stylist for this one wedding when the couple skipped the standard prenup pictorial (in between church ceremonies and reception), and went straight to the reception venue. Before the guests were let in, the couple was already standing by the entrance of the ballroom in order to personally welcome each of their guests. This is actually the first and the only time that I see a couple welcome guests instead of making a grand entrance. I just think that it is a very personal and heartwarming way of thanking family and friends who came to witness your special day. :)

Another one that I liked was when the couple made a little boy their flower bearer instead of a little girl. So I prepared for him a little toy truck filled with flowers that he pulled down the aisle. That was charming. :) So cute.

So that's my list... I'm keeping this open for future favorite weddings. :)

Linggo, Marso 2, 2014

Thoughts in a time capsule

This was a blog entry that I've written back in 2012 but for some reason, I left it unfinished and unpublished, and soon after that I've been locked out of my account for, oh, 2 years!! So after repetitive efforts to retrieve my account, finally, I am able to access my blog! Thank God! :) So this piece contains thoughts that were locked in a time capsule for 2 years. Unread, unedited, almost forgotten. So reading through it made me feel that I am reading someone else's thoughts. The events and words are familiar, but the feeling as I read through it is just not the same.

So, is back online! :) The timing of finally being able to unlock this blog today, I think it is fate. ;)


There are moments such as this when I suddenly stop and realize how days or even months slip by so fast! Its amazing how we are just a few weeks away from 2013! Oh yes another year is about to begin and before we even know it people are posting their new year's resolutions list on their FB pages. I don't know about you but some of my resolutions never seem to materialize. The last time I wrote such a list, among the top items said that "I will never wait for anyone for more than 30 minutes".  But from my latest meeting alone, I don't think the resolution was applied at all.

So to shake it up a little bit, I will not list the things that I want to change or improve, instead let me share with you how the last 11 months turned my life in many different ways. 

A 2012 Revolutionized Perspective:

1. Learned to better appreciate and understand the intricate details of Boss-Staff relationship.

I know that there are different facets to consider when trying to foster an effective and harmonious relationship with the people working for you and with you. Employees working for companies probably have a bigger and more complex bucket list to be filled for them to work efficiently and stay with the company for a long time. It varies per person, per company, and even per industry.

I had been blessed with the chance to turn the table around and see this kind of relationship from, should I say, the "Employer's" perspective. This year, I had the opportunity to handle a bigger group of people compared to the group that I was handling in the past 3 years of doing the business. For this year, the challenge of understanding different personalities, transfer of skills, influencing, and motivating different persons all came together as one giant fusion that filled up my to do list. And it was  difficult but I can't back down. My team is composed of individuals who have simple lifestyles and backgrounds. And these different personalities actually taught me be to be a better leader and a listener at the same time.

I, being a hardcore choleric-melancholic, always had a tough time listening to negative responses and sometimes even to little suggestions (gosh this is an understatement hehe). I hate hearing words like "hindi kaya", hindi pwede",  and "hindi ko alam". Believe me, metaphorically and physically, I would feel burning sensation in my ear whenever I hear these negative phrases. However, as I spend more projects working with these people and learned how to understand and handle one personality from the other, I eventually learned to listen through the negative and actually allow them to contribute ideas. So now when they say they can't do it in the way that I want, I finally learned to encourage them to think so they can suggest alternative ways to do things efficiently and creatively. And there are times, some of their ideas actually worked. That's good for me, the team and our clients. :) We really are not perfect, even I know that, but then again, we strive to improve and become better in what we do as a team. 

After working with them for a year (and some of them for even longer), the experience taught me that the foundation of leader-subordinate relationship becomes strong and effective when built on discipline, respect (of people's time, ideas, resources, decisions, physical capacities and limitations, etc.), trust, integrity, and open communication. 

To my staff who worked with me since the business began, but most importantly those who worked with me from 2011 to present day (now at 2014), thank you. You rock, team CPB! :)

Work at Tagaytay

Stage Design at Calamba, Laguna

Wedding at Sonya's Garden

Wedding at Sta. Rosa, Laguna

2. The process of Letting Go, Moving On, and Growing Up

Letting Go. Accepting that talents can be passed on and people, when properly trained, can do what you can do, and sometimes they can do it better. It took practice, faith, and more importantly, lowering of one's pride.

It took me years to accept that I cannot do a one-man show forever. During the early part of my Entrepreneurial Journey, I had this delusion that I had super powers. I thought that with some of the leg work out of the way, I can be on center stage all by myself and do a great job. When my projects were smaller, yes I did a spectacular job on my own. Then as the projects expand in scope and details, my stellar performance could not hold up much longer without any help. So I had to hire and train people, which means that I had to share the secrets of the trade, I had to allow people to see what goes behind the magic, and eventually teach them to perform on center stage with me. Letting go for me means acceptance, trust, and yes even humility. Slowly I learned to unravel the tricks and steps locked up in my brain that I have developed for years, lay the process and techniques on the table, and teach it to my staff one step at a time. Letting go for me means harvesting extraordinary patience and having faith in someone else's creativity and perseverance. It wasn't easy for me since the process did not only involve transfer of skills. Its more of asking someone to take care of something that is very precious to me. 

Moving On. 

The art of moving on taught me something new for this year. Its like moving on in reverse. I always had this notion that moving on generally means, "Having-Losing-Accepting-Forgetting-Moving Forward". Little did I know that the process can be stirred up and it will still do a person good. The process can also be in the order of "Losing-Accepting-Forgetting-Having-Moving Forward". Sometimes there are things that you have to do or accomplish or experiences that you have to go through before you reach a state of inner peace, which a person normally gets with acceptance and moving forward. Have you ever had that experience wherein you always run into the same situation/problem/people/dream until you finally "man up" and face them with all courage? Sometimes we feel that we have "lost it/him/her" and we learn to deal with the loss, accept it wholeheartedly, and even sometimes erase them completely from our memories. However, somewhere along the way, we would "casually" run into the same person/event/dream/mistake/situation until we look them in the eye and say "Ok let's get this over with". Then when you do, that's the time, that you have really "moved on".

I am saying this because I have been running into an item on my To-do/dream list that I thought that I will never ever accomplish ( I have been putting this off for nearly 5 years). But I just keep on running into it, my mind almost seem to long for it. I just can't have that inner peace until I finally take the courage to do it. It feels like when I avoid it for the nth time, it will never get tired of calling out for me, because that's my destiny. So finally, I have decided to tackle that road this coming month. Little-barely-baby-steps at time, it will take me a looong time (about 3 years hopefully) to finish, but I strongly feel that its really my destiny to go through this experience. So, though I am scared, uncertain of what lies ahead, and even sometimes doubtful if I am even worthy to stare at it squarely in the eye, I am doing it. Finally. And hopefully when I do, it will stop haunting me, and give me a little bit more inner peace. Asking for your prayers. :) Hint, it has something to do with achieving a what seems to be an impossible dream. (Another hint, now at 2014, I am currently more than a year into my "ID" dream ;) )

***photo -2014

Growing Up.

This is what growing up meant to me not only for this year but in the last 2 years: It meant embracing humility, learning how to ask and accept sincere help and assistance from friends and loved ones, listening and considering ideas and opinions different from mine, and more importantly seeing the hand of God in the series of events that transpired in the last 4 years of my roller coaster life. Growing up also meant seeing myself in the light of how God sees me -precious, full of potential, and living out those potentials.

***Unfinished piece. But I will leave it just as it is. ;)

Biyernes, Oktubre 12, 2012

Loco over Sinampalukang Manok in Buco :)

Two weeks ago I had a wonderful time (as always) with my beloved Gelatins. We had the most fun road trip that brought our happy feet to the shores of San Juan, La Union. We savored the sights, the sounds, and most importantly the tasty food that the province has in store. My friend Cathy brought us to this place called Halo-Halo de Iloko, where we had a good dinner. The restaurant is located in one of the side streets of San Fernando City. They have the best tasting ukoy, bagnet (well, I did not actually taste this but looking at my friends' faces as they were eating it, I guess it was delicious :P), and of course their Halo-Halo was superb! But what really caught my attention was their Sinigang/sinampalukang manok in Buko. My friend mentioned that its like an Ilocano version of Chicken Binakol. But I haven't tasted any of those two dishes, so I was curious with how the dish tastes like. So after waiting for a while, the chicken concoction was served in a huge coconut shell, steaming with its savory goodness. I was really excited to taste it! :)

The hot soup was of course, sour, but it is also a bit sweet (I'm guessing because of the coconut juice). It has a hearty mixture of chicken pieces, string beans, radish, fresh tamarind, kangkong leaves and stalks, young coconut meat, and tomatoes and onions. So with that mental note, and with the help of my friend Jem's nice photos, I tried to replicate it a few days ago. To my surprise (or maybe it was just my imagination hehe), this replica is actually good. :) Its really easy, just like cooking sinigang and tinola in one dish. ;) So I'm sharing the recipe with you so you can also try it at home. :)

Jem's photos of the dish by Halo-Halo de Iloko:


1 whole chicken chopped in serving pieces
2 cups of string beans sliced in 2 inch strips
3 cups of young kangkong leaves and stalks
8-10 pcs. whole fresh tamarind
4 whole ripe tomatoes, quartered
1 medium onion, quartered

1 small chunk of ginger sliced into big pieces

Meat and juice from two young coconuts (About 2 cups of meat, and 5-6 cups of juice)
2/3 medium sachet of sinigang in sampaloc mix
1/2 small sachet of seasoning granules
2-3 tbsp of Fish Sauce (add according to your taste preference)
2 tsp white granulated sugar
2-3 tsp of iodized salt
1/2-1 tsp ground black pepper
6 cups water

(NOTE: You can add more veggies if you like. Eggplant and radish will be good for this dish.)

Prepare soup base: In a large soup pot, pour in all the buko juice, water, tomatoes, onions, tamarind, 2 tsp iodized salt, pepper, and 1/2 of the contents of seasoning granules sachet. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally, until the tamarinds are soft (but not mushy). Taste, then add the fish sauce and sampaloc mix, add more or less according to  your taste preference. I like intense flavors so I added a bit more than usual.

Brown chicken: Pour a little oil in a hot skillet, saute ginger for a minute, then add chicken pieces, cook until brown or until the bloody bits are gone.

Incorporate: Transfer the browned chicken from the skillet to the prepared soup base and bring to a boil until chicken is fully cooked. Add 2 tsp white sugar. Add more fish sauce or sampaloc mix when necessary. When the chicken is about done, add string beans. When the string beans are a bit soft, add the kangkong leaves and stalk. Boil for another minute (don't overcook the veggies), then turn off the stove. Mix in the coconut meat and let sit for about a minute or two.

Serve in coconut shell (if you wish) or a simple bowl. Serve hot with steamed rice. hhmmm... Enjoy! :)