Tuesday, January 24, 2012

US Roadtrip 2012: Hershey, PA

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
My 143 Journeys feature our mouth-watering journey on January 20-21, 2012 to the sweetest place on earth - Hershey, Pennsylvania (USA). As a post birthday treat for my prince, we drove about 130 miles off New Jersey (USA) to taste our way through the uber sweet Hershey's Chocolate!
Our first stop was at the Hershey's Chocolate World to take the free simulated journey where we slipped into the role of cocoa beans and were shipped, sorted and roasted through the attraction during the Hershey's Great American Chocolate Tour Ride
The Chocolate tour ride made us hopped aboard this "car(which looks like the conveyor belt that transports the beans into the factory) which is located in the middle of broad-leafed plants typical of the tropical rain forest of Africa and Latin America where cocoa beans flourish. Inside the chocolate factory we were educated about the chocolate-making process, from bean to candy bar and syrup.
On board the car, we made our way through the factory and were greeted warmly by Mr. Hershey's  and then by the three rhythm-and-blues singing cows with their hip rendition of "It's the Milk Chocolate". The song taught us that cows milk are the secret for Hershey's chocolate's creaminess.
Our "car" passed through scenes reflecting the latest chocolate-making technology showing the three principal ingredients in creating the different Hershey's milk chocolates like Kisses, Kitkat, Reese's peanut butter and others are cocoa beans, sugar and milk. 
It was such a sweet experience to see, feel, hear, and smell the delicious transformation from bean to Hershey's famous chocolate. But this sweetest experience was even  made sweeter knowing that my prince chose to bring me to Hershey's Chocolate World over a New York Knicks NBA game which was my treat to him on his birthday. Surely it was a real treat for me (see who has a bigger smile)!


Here's the process labeled in light blue. See if you can arrange this chronologically. (Tip: you must be a chocolate lover to know the correct order hehe)  


Beans are screened for quality.
Conching - heating and mixing the ingredients of chocolate - cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithen and "flavoring" and dry milk powder to allow the lactose crystals to transition into amorphous lactose.
Beans are broken.


Beans are milled.
Pressed beans are combined with milk and sugar





Refining - reducing the particle sizes of both cocoa solids and sugar crystals in finished chocolate.  




Refined beans are molded  















Beans are pressed


Beans are dried


Packaged and Shipped As the
Great American Bar-Hershey's, 
Kisses, Kitkat, Reese's 




Anyone who guess the correct order will receive a Hershey's Chocolate Bar!



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tastee Sub Shop: What's the Fuss?

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

While staycationing in Piscataway, New Jersey, USA for a whole month (December 23, 2011 - January 22, 2012), we often passed by this tiny eatery located in 267 Plainfield Avenue Edison, New Jersey (USA) called  Tastee Sub Shop. 
Almost always, I found lots of cars parked outside this nondescript yet renowned sandwich shop which does take - out from 9am to 11pm, although it also has few tables for dine - in customers. Like me, I'm sure you are wondering why this little place is making a big fuss among patrons? 
Well,  Tastee Sub Shop has been in business since 1963 so that's a track record to boast. But the real crowd drawer according to my prince are its freshest, best tasting, monster cold subs  where the most expensive is $9.08 for a whole of beef or turkey. Too bad, I am not a huge sandwich person so that didn't get my attention much! So, why I am even writing about it? Am I just messing around? Definitely not.
Well, if you have clicked on the first link you'll know why. But to cut the chase, I'll spill the beans for you! Tastee Sub Shop  is actually the same sub shop where US President Barack Obama made a pit stop to grab lunch and staged a photo-opp with small business owners last July 28, 2010!
That's right, the US commander - in - chief was at the Tastee Sub Shop for about 20 minutes, ordered half a sandwich and chatted with locals about ways Congress can aid small businesses and tax breaks. 
But that was two years ago! Do you think it is the "Obama effect that is causing the rave  now? or is it Tastee Sub Shop's exceptional  record of customer service and  its tastee sandwiches?  What say ye?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

US Roadtrip 2012: Gettysburg, PA

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda
1"Four score and seven years ago
 our fathers brought forth on this continent,
a new nation, conceived in Liberty,
and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal...
Gettysburg is just a borough in Pennsylvania, USA and yet it is a household word for many around the world even in the Philippines.  Thanks to the most famous speech by US President Abraham Lincoln delivered during the  American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863 which we know as the Gettysburg Address
Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived
and so dedicated, can long endure...
So when my prince announced we were going on a road trip to this historic place,  it has sparked back my interest  in history (I was a history professor before becoming a lawyer) and prepared my TAKE 4 to maximize our four(4) hours stay in Gettysburg last January 16, 2012. 
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field,
as a final resting place for those who here
 gave their lives that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this
...
   
Tour the Gettysburg National Military Park by heading first to the  National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center located at 1195 Baltimore Pike. 


Within its 22,000 square feet space is an inter-active exhibits, and multi-media presentations that describe the Battle of Gettysburg and its terrible aftermath. The museum is open daily and has lots of information on how to visit the park and what to see around Gettysburg so don't forget to pick up a free auto tour map
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- 

we can not consecrate -- 

we can not hallow -- this ground. 

The brave men, living and dead, 

who struggled here, have consecrated it, 

far above our poor power to add or detract...
Acclaim the speech of President Abraham Lincoln which was delivered in ten minutes and significantly recounted the foundation of democracy as "the government of the people, by the people, for the people" .  


5 The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.  

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- 
Kick-start the Self-guided Auto Tour at the Soldiers' National Cemetery to remember those who gave all in Gettysburg. Then drive our own car, stopping at our convenience at designated areas along the battlefield.  


that we here highly resolve that these dead 
shall not have died in vain --
that this nation, under God, 

shall have a new birth of freedom --

and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."   





Enjoy the orchards and the charming small towns that speak so much about history, devotion and sacrifice!

Monday, January 16, 2012

"START BEING" Monday Series: CREATIVE

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



CREATIVE (i.e.being imaginative or productive of something fresh and unusual). When I read this blog post 12 Simple Ways To Say "I Love You" With Food in How Does She, it made me say "ooh" and "aah" and felt inspired to try one last December 24, 2011, while with my prince in New Jersey (USA). I woke up early, followed the tutorial for Heart - Shaped Egg In A Nest,  set breakfast on the table and behold the finish product - a lovingly prepared toast with heart-shaped egg in the middle, a piece of bacon, ham and some garnishment! My prince was touched at the effort. Though I am still in the process of learning how to cook, I feel that my prince is inspiring me to not only learn the basic but also become creative!  


Have you been creative lately? Please tell.



*This is part of a series of 2012 Monday post inspired by Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant's Stop DoingStart Being article on Family Circle Magazine April 1, 2005 issue. What she said about having so many "to-do" list and trying hard everyday to check off the list hit so close to home! I agree with her that what I need is a list to help me be who I want to be, both for myself and othersClick on START BEING Monday Series to see other list of cool virtues we could emulate!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

US Winter Roadtrip 2012: Princeton University

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda


Because I  itch to get out and explore places during the below zero temperature here in the US, my prince gave in to my cravings last weekend.  Guess where he brought me? To a place that is close to his heart both in name and location - Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey . (remember I call him prince and he lives in New Jersey).  
Of course, my fascination for Princeton University does not end there. With this trip I was able to check off some bucket lists: (1) Ivy League schools, with Princeton as my 5th of the 8 schools that comprised the group, (2) another US National Historic Landmark and (3) One of the Oldest University in the United States. 
1Ivy League consist of the eight (8) private educational  institutions of higher learning in the Northeastern, United States. It  includes Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Darmouth College,Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Initially the term refers to the athletic conference,  but now it connotes academic excellence, selective admissions and social elitism. For 9 years,  Princeton University holds the No. 1 spot of US national universities according to US News and World Report and belongs to the Top 10 of the best of the best world universities! 
2Princeton's original name was the College of New Jersey founded in 1746 in Elizabeth New Jersey.It was only 10 years later in 1756 that then College moved to its current location in the heart of Princeton , New JerseyFor many years, the College of New Jersey was colloquially known simply as Nassau Hall, because this sandstone building was originally designed to house the entire college when it first opened on November 28, 1756.  In 1960, the United States Department of the Interior deemed Nassau Hall a National Historic Landmark signifying its importance in the War for Independence and in the history of the United States. During its more than two centuries of existence, Nassau Hall has survived the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777 and has served as the nation's barracks, hospital, and military prison. 
3Chartered in 1746, Princeton University is the fourth-oldest college in the United States. In 1896, the College was granted university status with its expanded program offerings. And ask its most important graduate? No other than the former President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson. He was a Princeton student, professor, and the University's 13th president. Of course, Princeton University boast also of an array of Nobel Prize winners and luminaries.
With that credentials and sense of history, I'm beginning to understand the lack of signage that bears its name anywhere in its 500 acres campus. Yup! Not even in its front gate like most Universities do! (oh well, who needs a signage when everyone knows you!)


Source:  Princeton University's Virtual Tour

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Travel Guide: A Glimpse Into 3D/2N D-I-Y Itinerary In Davao For First Timer or an Old Pro!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

3D2N (translated as three days and two nights) is that magical number-combination  tailored for travelers availing of trips on long weekends or during their short VLs. But other than the offerings in hotel -stay or tour packages (which comes in hefty,almost a rip - off arrangements), there seems to be a few accounts of the 3-days 2-nights itineraries by D-I-Y (Do It Yourself) travelers, and so you wonder if the magical duration actually works! 

Wonder no more. I will spill the beans for you! 3D2N works for me and my friend Nilo  while in Davao last August 21-23, 2011. It was Nilo's first trip while my umpteenth time in Davao but at least first time to attend the 26th Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival (where I met for the first time several Pinoy Travel Bloggers and wore the festival's media pass(for the first time!). So take a glimpse at our itinerary - the places and activities that did not disappoint both a first timer and an old pro (that's me!) and see if it works for you too!

DAY 1 - Detailed Itinerary and Highlights


If you are from Manila like us, maximizing the 3D2N in Davao (which is about 964km away by plane) means taking a morning flight for departure and an evening flight back to Manila. We took the Cebu Pacific Flight at 4am (slept on flight) and arrived at the Davao International Airport (Francisco Bangoy) at sunrise, just when everyone is waking up and starting their day. 


Before 7am we were already in Davao City, had breakfast at a fast food chain near the People's Park while peeking at people doing their morning exercise. Then we proceeded to Apo View Hotel (not to check in folks!) but to meet Pinoy Travel Blogger's contingent led by Olan Fernandez Emboscado to watch the  Pamulak (Floral Float) Parade, the culminating and one of the most awaited event of the 26th Kadayawan Sa Dabaw Festival. As Davao's annual harvest thanksgiving festival, the highlights of the Kadayawan Festival revolved around the third week of August so our arrival was anticipated at me joining several PTBs as "media" for the Pamulak Parade  on the last day of the festival. 


Our "media pass" allowed us a good view in front of Apo View Hotel and able to enjoy and photographed about 100 floats and thousands of people particpating in the colorful, festive Pamulak Parade. My fave float was the float of the cast of Amaya (my fave GMA tv program) and it felt good to see in person the beautiful Marian Rivera (oh, the jologs in me again! 
Then:


12NN - Lunch with PTBs and chit chats
2PM   - Checked - In at Hotel 
(Money Savings Tip: the best time to be in Davao is after the Kadayawan Festival, as most hotels offer 50% discount. We paid P1,500 for twin - bed occupancy at a four star business hotel!)
3PM   - Attend an LDS Church Service (and meet friends!)


At 4PM, Nilo's friend from Church and my colleague Atty. Bibiano Bustamante were in agreement that given the time, the best place to go was at the Davao Crocodile Park for that exciting Davao Wildlife Experience!


We availed of the Package (for P200) and visited the Davao Butterfly House, watched Davao Crocodile Park Show, and the Tribu K' Mindanawan Cultural and Fireshow. At 7PM, we dined at the Riverwalk Grill Exotic Restaurant for our first-ever Croco Meat! (well, I chickened out but tasted just a teeny tiny bit!) . At 8PM, we were back at hotel to doze off since we had an early morning trip to Cateel, Davao Oriental.


DAY 2 - Detailed Itinerary and Highlights.
For the detailed experiences, please check Love Affair With Cateel, Davao Oriental. (Note: Day 2 is for "old pros in Davao" who has the done-that, seen that and looking for new spot to explore. For first timer, I would suggest either a Samal Island Tour, Eden Nature Park, Gap Farm, City Tour, or Mount Apo adventures). 


(Travel and Money Savings Tips: Better call in to make reservations for bus travel to Cateel. We were just lucky to be given the front seat when we showed up!) at the Ecoland Bus Terminal. Be sure to couchsurf or stay at someone you know, and come home early so they don't worry where you are!)
DAY 3 Detailed Itinerary and Highlights


Returning in Davao from Cateel at 8AM, I chose to bring Nilo to the  Philippine Eagle's National Centre in Malagos, Calinan District (an hour away from the city by public transport). The Philippine Eagle National Center is a santuary of the world's largest eagles and home to the Philippine Eagle which is considered to be an endangered specie. We paid PHP 5 to go through the Malagos Garden Park and another PHP50  to gain access inside the Center. There is a small cafe so we had our breakfast there, while overlooking a large Koi pond. I believe Nilo enjoyed the Philippine Eagle which is said to be the second largest eagle in the world.But although it wasn't my first time there, I still enjoyed the visit of the so called "mega mall" and felt so close to nature, leaving it with a strong desire to take care of the environment!.


At lunch time, we were back in Davao City. After putting our bags at my colleague's office in front of Apo View Hotel, we walked to the nearby People's Park, a four-hectare park which was opened in December 2007. It is one of those places in Davao that I took for granted and skipped, so like Nilo it was my first time there! I was amazed at how beautiful the park is! I love the giant sculptures around the park esp. the Philippine Eagle, Durian and Davao's men and women. Towards the end of the park, there is mini-forest  with ponds and waterfalls. There is also an interactive fountains, but there was no water when we were there.


We spent the rest of the afternoon buying pasalubong at the Aldevinco Shopping Center and bought pomelo from the Ramon Magsaysay Fruit stands. At 5PM, we were already packing our bags, and ready to leave for the airport by 6PM, avoiding the traffic. We bid Davao goodbye at 8:40PM!  




This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for January 2012 with the theme ‘3Day 2 Nights Challenge’ being hosted by Eileen Campos (hot momma) of Possibly Pinay.com) .For previous Blog Carnival topics please visit Estan Cabigas' Langyaw.


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