Reviews

Mommy Ginger shares reviews on great products that would make a mom’s life easier and definitely happier!

We are a family that loves playing boardgames. And these boardgames that we play are not your traditional Monopoly, Snakes and Ladder or Pictionary. We (and when I say “we” in this case, I’m really pertaining to my husband… haha!) have close to 50 table top games. 

We have Deck-Building games, Cooperative Games, more confrontational games, etc. For this summer, I thought about creating a list of boardgames for kids that we love! These are games that you can purchase and play with your kids, because the rules are simpler and game time is not that long.

We love them all so here is our list in no particular order!

AZUL

In the Philippines, we love playing BINGO! The objective of the game is almost similar to playing BINGO! Basically, the objective of Azul is to gather the most number of points by filling up their “colorful” tiled wall. The colors have to be laid out in a manner where a players can score the most points. There are specific patterns that score more points. Completing a colored set will also earn extra points.

Azul is an abstract board game. Abstract in the gaming world means that moves made are based on pure strategy. This game was designed by Michael Kiesling (Wikipedia). This boardgame was released by Plan B Games in 2017.

This game’s theme is inspired by the Moors (Moroccan), a Muslim population that resided in Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages. They had azulejos (originally white and blue ceramic tiles). Azulejos are painted tiles that form beautiful artwork and are normally found inside and outside places of worship, palaces, schools, houses, etc.

What we like about the game:

The game is very aesthetically appealing. Kids will love how beautiful the game is. This game is best played by 7+ year olds. Here is how you play it!

BARENPARK

Zeeka loves this game, because there are a lot of cute little animal drawings. The objective of the game is to create 4 completed and fully filled out blocks of land and to earn the most number of points. You “complete” it by building a park and putting tiles of lands with bears on it. Some tiles have corresponding points. Completing objectives also such us being the first to have 3 tiles with the same types of bears will give you extra points.

I love that the game is based purely on strategy, too. All tiles are visible, so getting points are all based on the decisions that you make.

What we like about the game:

It’s very simple to play. It even tests and helps builds the spatial intelligence of kids. It’s also a nice game to play with adults if you want to introduce them to the world of tabletop games! 🙂 This is how you play it.

DICE FORGE


Dice Forge is designed by Régis Bonnessée and is published by Libellud / Asmodee. Asmodee is one of my favorite game publishers. They are the publishers of our first game that got us addicted to boardgames — Splendor! They also released Catan, Carcassonne, Splendor, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, etc.

For Dice Forge, the objective is to get the most points. What makes this game standout is that you can change the faces of the dice that you have. To get point, you either get to roll a die with a face that gives you points, or get cards that that are equivalent to points but you have use up the other resources that you have.

What we like about the game:

Changing the die faces is appealing to kids. They get to choose the face that they want to place and then change it themselves. To play this game on your own, you need to be at least (I would say) 9-10 years old. The younger ones (5 to 8 year olds) can help an adult play by throwing the dice, moving the pieces and changing the faces of the die.

This is how you play Dice Forge:

MEEPLE CIRCUS

The objective of the game is to get the most points. In this game, we are circus performers going through rounds of practice. We will then present what we practiced on the third round.

We base our circus acts on the cards that we drafted. Players will then score points for completing acts. There are three types of acrobat performers that score points in specific ways. In the second round, each player will also draft a Star Performer, a unique meeple.

BTW, meeples, are those small pieces in boardgames that represent “people”. It is now more broadly used to refer to nearly any pawn or figure in a game. It is believed that the term was first used by Alison Hansel as an ad-hoc abbreviation for “my people”, as noted in this 2001 session report and described in detail in this history. (https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Glossary#toc130)

The third and final round is where player draft their final performances.

What we like about this game:

We love the game pieces of Meeple Circus. The little horses, elephants, etc. are so cute! Kids will love them! The mechanics is also very simple. Kids can also practice their tactile and motor skills when they try to follow their drafted cards using the little pieces.

This is how to play Meeple Circus:

These are the four boardgames that you and your kids can play this summer.

Do you have other suggestions? Please let me know by replying in the comments section below. If you also have a video of a review or play through, please share it with me, too!

Although I’ve been going with my family to Korean restaurants ever since I was a child, my sincere and personal love for Korean food started when I started watching K-Drama 2 years ago. These shows just change you! Seriously. There was this K-Drama called Let’s Eat that had a story but in every episode, the characters would gather around meals and dishes that one would them explain. After every episode, I would crave for Korean food. So Korean dishes have been one of my favorites (aside from Filipino dishes) since that time.

In BGC, we tried out this new Korean restaurant at the new One Bonifacio
High Street Mall. The restaurant was surrounded with a floor-to-ceiling transparent glass enclosure, so you could see customers grilling their dishes and enjoying their meals. The retractable Korean BBQ Exhaust and the Charcoal Grill Set was available for use at each table. We (Zeeka, me, EJ and Ate) hurriedly grabbed a seat at the couch in the almost full restaurant.

Appetizers: Pamuchim (Leek Salad), Gyeranmari (Egg Roll) which Zeeka loved, Gamja Sarada (Potato Mash), Myeolchi Bokkeum (Roasted Peanuts with Anchovies), Kongnamul (Seasoned Beansprouts), and homemade Kimchi.

After ordering, we were given the traditional Korean Appetizers called Banchan.

Banchan (/ˈbɑːnˌtʃɑːn/, from Korean: 반찬; 飯饌; banchan [pan.tɕʰan]) or bansang is a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banchan)

After a while, our orders arrived. Our main order was the Premium BBQ Combo Set. This set includes the following good for 4 people:

240g of meat per person with other dishes

  • 2 orders of Medium Woo Samgyup
  • Medium Yangnyeom Tohsisal
  • Small Fresh Samgyupsal
  • Small Smagyupsal (choice of any flavor)
  • 1 Medium Dak Ganjeong
  • 1 Japchae
  • 1 Panjeon
  • 4 unlimite white rice (add Php 20 per peson to upgrade to Kimchi Fried Rice)
  • Soup

Have no clue on what thee Korean Meat Variants are? Let’s go through them!

Woo Samgyup (우삼겹) is the USDA Choice Beef Belly. It is marbled beef belly. It usually is sliced thinly, too, and best cooked at “medium” instead of “well done”. I loved this! This was my favorite.

Yangnyeom Tohsisal is lean, juicy and flavorful hanger steak marinated in Korean sea salt according to Soban.

Samgyupsal or Samgyeopsal (삼겹살, lit. three-layer meat) is basically grilled pork belly. The cuts are normally thicker for this meat variant.

These meat are soaked overnight in any of Soban’s 6 signature marinades—Original, Fruity, Soy Garlic, Honey Spiced, Black Pepper, and Gochujang—all formulated in Korea.

For those who love chicken, do try the Dak Ganjeong. Dak Ganjeong is caramelized boneless fried chicken. The picture above is the medium sized order. It comes with the combo set.

We, Filipinos, love this next dish called Japchae. Japchae is stir-fried Korean vermicelli noodles with assorted fresh vegetables and pork bits.

The last dish the was part of the combo set, apart from the soup and the rice is this Haemul Pajeon. Pajeon is a traditional Korean Pancake made with squid, shrimp, Korean Mussels and green onion. I love how Soban K-town Grill prepared it as it was more chewy than the other Pajeons that I have tried. It was also mostly meat than egg!

Since we underestimated the quantity of the Soban’s Premium BBQ Combo Set, we ordered one more dish. We ordered Bibimbap. Dolsot Bibimbap is Korean mixed rice served in a sizzling stone bowl.

Apparently, we OVER ordered and had to bring a lot of left-overs home. But this was really yummy food that we ordered!

We still had room for dessert, of course! We ordered this K-Drama named dessert, Coffee Prince. Coffee Prince is homemade coffee flavored ice cream on a soft graham red bean sandwich. I don’t normally like dishes with beans but this combination works!

Soban K-Town Grill also offers a Mega Meat BBQ Set which is good for two people. This set is only at Php 1000. Ever since our visit, I have been wanting to go back.

I loved that it’s reasonably priced. I love that the food is so delicious and the staff was so accommodating. They explained what the dished were when lil ol’ me kept asking about each dish.

Take your family to the new branch in Megamall (3rd level of Megamall Bldg B.) Order the Mega Meat Set for 2 to feast on Woo Samgyup Beef Belly and Samgyupsal Pork Belly with unlimited rice, soup and side dishes at P550 all in per person. A duo of diners can also choose the flagship Woo, Samgyupsal and Dak Ganjeong P445 all in. Bigger groups can enjoy the Premium Set for 4 for P605 each all in. On a budget? Enjoy BBQ meats for as low as P242 to P423 all in!

Soban K-Town Grill is an original collaboration between award-winning Korean restaurateur, Mr. Sung Rah, of Sariwon Korea and the Happyfoods Group of Sariwon Philippines. All recipes are developed by Mr. Sung Rah, with his team of Korean chefs sent to train their Philippine counterparts.

Apart from the Megamall and One Bonifacio High Street Mall branch that we went to, experience real Korean favor and visit them at Eastwood Mall, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 3 and SM North EDSA, Robinsons Place Manila. Visit Soban on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Soban.KTown and follow @soban.ktown on Instagram for more information and promos.

Thanks, Soban K-Town Grill! We give you Korean hearts and all our love!

In celebration of Women’s Month last March, I took time off to go to First Metro Asset Management Inc.’s (FAMI) event called Smart Women Invest. I loved it that they had an event that encourages women to understand more about saving and investing.

With Rose Fausto from FQ Mom and Marcie Linao

As women, I think that understanding how investments work is important. This is not only for our own personal benefit, but to secure the future of our loved ones.

I remember the first time that I was exposed to investments. It was already late in my life. When I was 27 years old and working in a bank, I got my first exposure to investments and investment vehicles. Prior to that, my parents placed my savings in a time deposit account. Not to say that this was not important. It was, and I appreciated it. Looking back though, I should have taken bolder steps earlier to understand how money works and how I could have earned more if I had invested my money.

Today, I have 5 different policies and have tried multiple kinds of vehicles. I tried different kinds of investments because I wanted to choose the perfect one that fit each of my investment objectives. One of the investments that I have had since three years ago is a mutual fund under First Metro Asset Management Inc. or FAMI.

What is a Mutual Fund?

For those who want to know what a Mutual Fund is, a Mutual Fund is an investment vehicle made up of a pool of funds collected from many individual investors for the purpose of investing in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments and similar assets.

Check out this video:

What is a Mutual Fund?

Why should you invest in Mutual Funds?

There are several reasons of why you’d want to invest and you can check it out here to see if it’s something that will fit your investment objective.

  • It is professionally managed. The investment decisions are based on extensive knowledge and research of market conditions and on the financial performance of individual companies and securities. You need not research on what’s happening in the market because it’s managed already by people who know what they are doing.
  • For Diversification. We all know that you should not place all your eggs in one basket. Since Mutual funds is basically a diversified portfolio already, it reduces the risk of losses from securities with gains in others.
  • Offers Liquidity. You can convert investments to cash anytime. I remember withdrawing from my mutual fund some years ago since I badly needed cash. Now, I’ve managed to pick it up once more by regularly putting in money into it again.
  • Safe investments. Mutual funds are regulated by the SEC or Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Company Act and its implementing rules and guidelines.
  • Shared information. FAMI shares information about the NAVPS or Net Asset Value Per Share every business day.
  • Its Tax Free. Income generated from mutual funds are exempted from capital gains tax as stipulated in the Republic Act No. 8424 Section 32(B)(7)(H).

Check and see if these features are aligned and will eventually help you with your investment goals.

For my own personal investment, I opened a Save and Learn Equity Fund. Here are some information about the fund that I have:

What I loved about this is that the minimum investment is at Php 5000 and I could add to it anytime. And the minimum additional investment is at Php 1000. The way I purchase units is via Bills Payment in the UnionBank Mobile App. This makes it more convenient for me to add funds (purchase units).

Here are the details of the other funds / products that they have.

I was also given the opportunity to open a First Metro Consumer Fund (see details above) when I attended the FAMI event. The fund is comprised of stocks capitalizing on a consumption theme, with high revenue exposure to key PH industries benefitting from the structure of the Philippine family’s consumption expenditures.

Check out the video of Rose Fausto, taken during FAMI’s Smart Women Invest Event:

Smart Women Invest

Let’s see how this fund performs.

If you have any questions about FAMI’s products and services, please feel free to visit https://fami.com.ph. You can also visit https://www.facebook.com/firstmetrofunds/

It’s amazing how technology works nowadays. Do you know that you can open bank accounts using your phone? I’m quite curious as to how these virtual banks operate.

“Virtual banks are similar to traditional retail banking services in that they will be able to accept deposits and give out loans. They aren’t expected to set up physical branches. Analysts at Citigroup estimate around 10 per cent of existing banks’ revenue is at risk over the next decade.” https://www.businesstimes.com.sg/banking-finance/hong-kong-starts-granting-licenses-for-virtual-banks

There are two known (as least what I know at this point in time) virtual banks in the Philippines. These are ING and CIMB. I will be trying both in the coming months. At this point, I really don’t have any preference, since I haven’t tried any of these.

Save Money With GCASH

Today, I found out though that GCASH partnered with CIMB. I, apparently, already have this new feature in GCASH called Save Money. And guess what? The money that you save here earns 2.3% interest, which is higher than what the your standard commercial bank offers.

The maximum daily withdrawal though is at Php 50,000 (still higher than the Php 20,000 withdrawal caps from ATMs and debit card transactions of some banks). The downside though is that the Maximum Deposit Limit is only at Php 100,000 over 12 months. I hope that they increase this limit to at least Pp 500,000.

Your money is also insured by the PDIC or Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation. Another advantage is that there is no need to maintain a minimum balance in your account.

So, how do you compute for the interest? Check this out. I got this from GCASH.

I just started depositing money mid this month, so let’s see how this goes. I love though how banks are not making it convenient, too, for people to save and invest money (not just to spend it).

With these tools, you can automate the way you save and forget that you even have those funds. Save it for a rainy day!

I remember one of my favorite books: The Automatic Millionaire. You can check out the gist of the book here:

Goodluck on saving! 🙂

I don’t know if I should be happy that I’m a mother in this particular generation. Haha! And I’m saying this because of the plethora of choices that are available to us. We have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to raising our children, especially on raising them to be healthy independent individuals who will contribute to society’s well being when they grow up.

And how do you measure that? How do we know if we are doing a good job as Moms or Dads? How do we know if our child is actually learning from us and picking up the right values? It’s not like as if a person can create a device that could measure if kids will grow up to be healthy and good citizens.

No one can give us a report on how our child is doing in LIFE. How I have learned to cope though is to make the informed decisions and wish for the best. Seriously! All these parenting stuff is just like starting a business. No one really knows if this new business is going to fly or fail, what matters is that we constantly keep trying our darn best.

This is the reason why, as a mom, I know I must learn new things. It’s not just for me, but it will be for the well being of my daughter, too. And these things that I need to learn will not always be about the highfalutin stuff like blockchain, investment vehicles, etc. It may also be as simple as what kind of shampoo should I have Zeeka (my daughter) use or what should I give her for snacks? Mostly, these will be decisions on simple stuff that will have an effect in the long run.

Recently, I got to witness moms who were just like me; Moms who wanted to know more about nutrition. These were the moms who joined the Let’s Build a Healthier World school tour of Lily’s Peanut Butter. Lily’s visited the students of St. John Paul II Academy Paranaque, Colegio De Sta. Cecilia in Valenzuela, Philippine Christian University Union Elementary School in Manila, Don Bosco Institute of Makati, Maranatha Christian Academy in Manila and Paco Catholic School in Manila. They made learning fun for the moms and kids, too, as they held a Lily’s Mom and Me Health Ambassadors challenge!

Lily’s chose 10 Mom-Kid finalists also advanced to the next level called the “Healthy Baon Recipe” contest in which they were given 10 minutes to prepare a nutritious snack using Lily’s Classic Peanut Butter, Lily’s Choco Peanut Butter, and Lily’s Crunchy Peanut Butter. The Grand winners from each school received Php 10,000 cash, plus Lily’s gift packs and an educational plant tour. All of the other finalists though received Php 2,000 cash, plus Lily’s gift packs and an educational plant tour at Lily’s production plant.

Because of the tour, these are the things that I learned about Lily’s Peanut Butter that will help me make an informed decision:

  • Do you know that Lily’s Peanut Butter has been in the Philippines for more than 60 years now?
  • Lily’s Peanut Butter is made from all natural ingredients! Nothing that could harm our kids.
  • It has iron, natural dietary fiber, natural potassium, natural protein, and vitamin E which are all essential for kids’ growth.
  • It contains brain-boosting vitamins and minerals that develop sharp memory and help kids reach their full potential

Zeeka wanted to us to decorate healthy dishes, too. I’m not half as creative as the moms during the school tours (haha! So please don’t judge!), but I took this as a teachable moment. We can teach our kids to choose only snacks that would boost our child’s health and brain development.

During our breakfast “activity”, I could talk to her about healthy food, and always making informed decisions. I told her that before buying things, she should research or get to to know more about the products and the brand first, before buying.

Also, it’s important to always have fun with your kids and bond with them no matter how busy you are.

Here are some snapshots from our own Lily’s Let’s Build A Healthier World Challenge (at home 😄)!

Our breakfast table!
*To check out the different variants of Lily’s, please visit this link: http://mylilys.com/products/
Zeeka spreading Lily’s Peanut Butter on her pancake!
Helping out the competition 😂
Both of us taking this challenge seriously! 😄 Making it hard for Daddy EJ to choose which healthy dish looks better!
My Creation! I used Lily’s Peanut Spread Lite!
Zeeka used Lily’s Classic Peanut Butter for her Creation!
And the winner was this Little Bunny! 🙂

It was a truly fun morning. I usually have a hard time making her stay at the dining table, but this morning was different! It was a stress-free, enjoyable morning with Zeeka.

For those who are wondering what Lily’s products we used, here are some of them:

Lily’s Classic Peanut Butter

This is the variant of Lily’s that I grew up with – Lily’s Classic peanut butter. It is made of all-natural ingredients and uses only high-grade peanut kernel.

Lily’s Peanut Spread Lite

This is my new favourite variant. The Lily’s Peanut Spread Lite is made with sweet Stevia extract!

Lily’s Crunchy Peanut Butter

I love food with texture. This variant has real peanut bits that you chew on!

Lily’s Choco Peanut Butter

A great snack for both adults and youngsters alike. The sweet and rich flavors of fresh peanuts and dark semi-sweet chocolate are generously combined to create this all-new premium spread.

Read more about the variants at the Lily’s Website: http://mylilys.com/ Lily’s is manufactured by Newborn Food Products Inc tel: 282-3462

So Moms and Dads, don’t worry too much about the decisions that you make as parents. Just learn more about things before making decisions, especially if these are decisions that will affect your children.

Also, let your kids decide on some things on their own, too. This breakfast activity is something that you could do with your child. Aside from talking to Zeeka about healthy food when we were doing the challenge, I let her decide on what she wanted to put on her plate.

Plus it’s good practice just in case you get to be one of the mom and child contestants in Lily’s School Tour this year. I heard that they’ll be visiting more schools this year, so stay tuned!

Don’t be too hard on yourself! Enjoy and be grateful everyday. As long as you heart is in the right place, you’ll be fine 😉