Saturday, October 13, 2018

Valenzuela City Hall's Backstreet: Savor A. Pablo's Local Food Fare

A. Pablo Street is the road at the back of Valenzuela City Hall.
Who would have known that the humble street behind Valenzuela City Hall would be a haven for hungry people in search of good food? Lined just across city hall's back gate are three small must try shops which you might want to check out: Bagnet Meals & Seapowet Bread, Anncel Pancit Cabagan, and Armored Chicken (this is how you will find them as you exit the City Hall Back Gate). Bearing the same address (No. 60 A. Pablo Street, Karuhatan, Valenzuela City), the food establishments in this area are easy to find for they are just a few meters away from McArthur Highway and are, as mentioned, just at the rear of  Valenzuela's major landmark.

Bagnet Meals & Seapowet Bread
Open hours: 7:00am to 7:00pm (Bagnet Meals)
                      1:30pm for the fresh oriental bread (Seapowet Bread)
Contact details: (0921)240-2525

Bagnet Meals is already on its second year while Seapowet Bread (pronounced as "Si-pah-we") is turning six at A. Pablo Street. The power couple behind these two adjacent local food stops is Kuya Anilo, who bakes the bread and makes the noodles, and Ate Fatima, who cooks the customers' meals. 

Bagnet Meals offers Brunei-inspired rice and noodle plates. Diners should try the Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, and Chicken Samosa. The Nasi Goreng (P70.00, solo plate) has big chunks of bagnet which are marinated in Ate Fatima's homemade rice wine. The Mee Goreng's noodles are handmade by Kuya Anilo (P60.00 per serving). "Natutunan ko yung Nasi Goreng at Mee Goreng sa Brunei," Ate Fatima shares her story as a hardworking Overseas Filipino Worker. On the other hand, the Chicken Samosa (P55.00 per 2 pieces) is such a delight with its creamy dip.
Bagnet Meals and Seapowet Bread must-haves (L to R): Rice Goreng, various bread bestsellers from the bakery, and Mee Goreng
Mee Goreng (Big serving at P200; Solo order at P60). Kuya Anilo makes the egg noodles from scratch.
Party trays are also available for the Nasi Goreng or Mee Goreng (P300 for 8-10 persons; P500 for 15-20 persons; P900 for 30-35 persons; P1500 for 50 persons; You may also contact them for updated prices). These party trays come with free sweets  (like chocolate or lemon bar).
"My mom is from Baguio City. Mahilig sila sa rice wine dahil malamig," Ate Fatima recalled that her mother taught her how to make rice wine which she now uses in preparing bagnet.
Nasi Goreng (Big serving at P200; Solo order at P70)
On the other hand, Seapowet Bread got its name from the last ship that Kuya Anilo sailed in as a seaman. After working in ships for 12 years, he decided to come home already. "Yung karatula namin dati, barko na punung-puno ng tinapay," Ate Fatima mentions. Kuya Anilo then eventually resumed baking when he got home. 
In Focus: The Chicken Samosa comes with a creamy dip.
The bestsellers of Seapowet Bread is the Oriental line up. "Pizza, Chicken, at Sea ang mabili. Yung mga yan sarili naming gawa, sariling recipe," she further highlights. There was even a time when 1,300 boxes of oriental bread were ordered by a well-known television network station (Note: Each box has 12 pieces of oriental bread inside!). This was the largest bulk order that Seapowet Bread has received.
Pizza Oriental (P12 each), Samosa (P55/ 2 pieces), and Chicken Oriental (P12 each)
Riders on a break give their thumbs up on Bagnet Meals' Mee Goreng.
Anncel Pancit Cabagan
Open hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday (Dine in and Take out)
                     11:00am to 5:00pm, Saturdays and Sundays (Bulk orders only)
For updates, like Anncel Pancit Cabagan on Facebook here.

"Madalas, ang mga customer namin dito ang probinsya ay Isabela, tsaka Cagayan," sisters Maryann and Maricel Laggui relate their day-to-day routine at the shop. They initially wanted to put up a pasta and burger stall, the typical go-to place for people looking for snacks. Eventually, they thought of offering something different because they observed that, while looking for a place to set up their food business, such a menu is very common already. "Gusto po naming ipatikim yung pansit namin, ung authentic na pansit na galing sa Cabagan, Isabela." they added.

Anncel Pancit Cabagan makes use of egg noodles coming all the way from Isabela. Other than the noodles, they also use soy sauce and vinegar which are also from the said province. "Twelve hours po yang binabiyahe. Older brother po namin ang nagpapadala papunta dito," Maryann mentions. With this, the Pancit Cabagan that they offer is savory and not salty; the noodle is firm to the bite.
Pancit Cabagan Single (Para sa nag-iisa; P50). Anncel Pancit Cabagan also has other portion servings: Married (Good for 2 persons para sweet; P80); Separated (Good for 3 persons pero gustong mag-isa; P100); Squad Goals (Good for 6 persons para sa magtotropang maganda ang samahan; P250); and Happy Fiesta!!! (Good for 12-15 persons para sa pamilyang masaya)
This shop is known for Pancit Cabagan but you may also place big orders of baked macaroni (P500), lasagna (P700), chicken cordon bleu (P500) and creamy carbonara (P500) under their Happy Fiesta food line.   
Happy Fiesta!!! at P500. This serves 12-15 persons. Anncel Pancit Cabagan uses 20 to 30 kilos of noodles per day to serve customers.
Other than the famous Pancit Cabagan, you can also place bulk orders of viands for your gatherings and parties.
Anncel Pancit Cabagan also has rice bowls and fried rice meals which one may order for lunch or for merienda. They have buttered chicken, pork higado and chicken adobo at P45 per bowl (with rice). For the fried rice meal, they have a medley of siomai, egg, porkchop, chicken fillet, and shanghai per plate (P45-55). 
L to R: Buttered Chicken, Siomai, and Chicken Cordon Bleu samplers
When you read the tweets on the wall and not on your mobile phone: Sen. Win Gatchalian and Mayor Rex Gatchalian show support to the local food industry of the city.

Armored Chicken
Open hours: 11:00am to 11:00pm, daily
For updates, like Armored Chicken on Facebook here.

This local fried chicken stop recently joined A. Pablo Street's line up of dining shops. It just had its grand opening last September 21, 2018 where they gave samplers of chicken drummettes during lunchtime.  

The owners, Allan Bucu and Anthony Manalo, shared that Armored Chicken grew from the menu of their start-up restaurant in Cubao. "Bakit naging Armored? We call it Armored Chicken because the chicken is coated, like an armor." It is among the bestsellers from the menu. Because the chicken is highly favored by diners, they decided to develop and create its own line.
Armored Chicken: not your ordinary chix! 
Armored Chicken is covered with a thin breading, thus the chicken skin still becomes the highlight of your bite (and not the breading that comes with the coating). "Others kasi maharina (too much flour)." Observably, their chicken is also very juicy! Your chicken order also comes piping hot from the deep fryer as they only cook your meal just after it has been placed.
Select from their menu posted on the vibrant wall.
For big groups, get the buckets of Armored Chicken (Jumbo Chix Bucket or Armored Jr.). If you are going solo with a big appetite, the Giant Chix is really huge and is best partnered with their unli-rice option. Other chicken variants to choose from: there's the Armored Boneless Chicken Fillet Steak, Drumettes, Armored Mini Wings, and the Hot & Spicy Drumettes.
This big bucket of chicken will make you and your barkada satisfied. More flavors to come...soon!
Armored Chicken's Giant Chix (Php89.00) will fill your hunger.
Armored Chicken also offers rice toppings which include premium pork barbecue, bacon and egg, papel de liempo (thin and crunchy strips of liempo), bagnet, lechon kawali, and grilled liempo, ranging from P49 to P89 per meal.  
Armored Thick Premium Grilled Patty. These patties, 15 mm thick and 3 inches in diameter, are made of premium-quality chicken breast. No extenders! 
"Masarap!", happy diners at Armored Chicken.

These three food spots are the little gems of Valenzuela City Hall's backstreet. The next time you go visit People's Park or the City Hall, walk a bit and dine at these shops to sample the food fare that these locals have in store for everyone. Bet you are getting hungry now...see you on this street soon!

Extending our appreciation to Anncel Pancit Cabagan, Bagnet Meals & Seapowet Bread, and Armored Chicken for allowing One Valenzuela to share their food stories.

Friday, September 28, 2018

More than Just Food: Melo's Dine In and Take Out at Marulas, Valenzuela City

"Good Food. Good Times. Good Memories." Those are what the Cabrera family would like to share among diners, especially us Valenzuelanos, who will enter their newly opened restaurant. "It's a big dream... Having a restaurant! Mahilig kami sa pagkain and, yes, I love to cook," Mrs. Cabrera expressed enthusiastically. 

She vividly recounted what they have gone through as they try to establish the restaurant which takes its name after her husband. It took them months of searching for that one spot to build on this dream of putting up a dining place where they can share their passion for food and cooking. They eventually set their eyes at the bustling Pio Valenzuela Street of Barangay Marulas. Converting an old pawnshop to a restaurant with a warm and welcoming atmosphere was another challenge which they had to go through.

Each detail of  the restaurant is given ample attention, ensuring that the space will give you a sense of belongingness. 
There is a saying which tells us that we have to "Eat well. Live simply. Laugh often."
"May vault pa ngang naiwan noon!" Mrs. Neldelaine Escaner-Cabrera detailed how difficult it was to develop the place. Going around every corner of Melo's now, customers will be delighted to see and experience the transformed space. You will also notice that the Cabreras have placed their heart in making this humble restaurant reminiscent of home.
These photos on the wall depict the meals that Melo's Dine-in and Take Out serves its diners. 
Mrs. Cabrera is also passionate about cacti. She can even give tips on how to grow one. Some of the cacti that she owns are displayed near the entrance of the restaurant, giving customers a warm welcome.
From their family to yours: sharing good memories and good food on the table.
Melo's Dine-In and Take Out offers Filipino fusion cuisine. Home-cooked style Filipino dishes have consistently brought about comfort, allowing one to recollect good-old memories. The restaurant showcases the Cabreras' well-loved recipes as well as the head chef's ingenuity. It was indeed a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with the chef who whips up the good food served on the tables. Chef Jerry "Jheng" Lopez, a Valenzuelano from Marulas, has 18 years of cooking experience at well-established hotels in the Philippines (like Manila Hotel and G Hotel) and in popular restaurants in the Middle East. He has also previously handled a 450-seater restaurant in Bahrain.
Teamwork makes the dream work. The whole Melo's team on their soft opening day. Still all smiles after long hours of serving diners. The Cabreras recognize the genuine effort that each of the Melo's team members gives.

It's always good to pause for a while and celebrate life. Happiness starts from within the team.
You can sometimes hear Zac play some music, giving Melo's a spirited energy. He plays the organ by ear. 

Being surrounded with such a vibrant environment makes you wonder about what's served on your plate. Pork Humba, something similar to the Pinoy Adobo, is among those main dishes which one should try at Melo's. Cooked for three hours with fresh pineapple, the pork is really tender to the bite. Sweet, sour, and savory - just the exact blend which anyone who loves this stewed meat dish would want to taste. Sarap!
This Pork Humba dish will definitely steal your heart. Melo's makes use of every ingredient to the fullest - the dish is made more appealing by being served on a fresh pineapple bowl (Php120.00 per order). 
There are more dishes to try at Melo's which will definitely require a few more visits to satisfy one's palate. Here are some of the must try for starters: the Sinigang na Tinapa,  a dish which Chef Jheng and his Filipino colleagues cook in the Middle East; the Crispy Gatang Dinuguan and Melo's Bicol Express which hail from Chef Jheng's Bicolano roots; and of course the Cabrera's Pares which One Valenzuela will try in a future visit. Want a Pares twist? Grab the Philadelphia Cheesy Beef among the Melo's sandwiches - it also makes use of the same beef from the pares but is now served with bread and three types of cheeses.

Meals, of course, are best eaten with dessert at the end. The Halo-halo Turones is a must have. Unlike the cold halu-halo cup that we are used to, this one's served enveloped in crunchy spring roll wrappers and a scoop of ice cream. You'll be amazed with what's inside the unassuming golden brown wrapper: vanilla biko, ube, jackfruit, sweet potato compote, some bananas, red and white beans. You may also opt to have some Fresh Fruit Cuts, Mango Crepe, or a plate of Battered Oreo to satisfy that sweet tooth craving.
A closer look at the Halu-halo Turones dessert (Php120.00). It is served with a scoop of ice cream which seals the whole experience.
There are still other things to discover on the menu: appetizers (the Mashed Potato Balls Stuffed with Cheese Pimiento is chef-recommended), silog meals (which are plated beautifully - saw how one looks by peering from another table), and soups and noodles (the Bulalugaw, the Cabreras mentioned, is a must-have). For drinks, Melo's have milkshakes and milk tea variants.
Shakes at Melo's (Php80-100.00).
This family-owned casual dining restaurant has served many groups of satisfied diners since its soft opening last September 15. Staying true to its word of delivering good Filipino food with refreshing tastes and combinations, Melo's have received good reviews from the public highlighting their great tasting yet inexpensive food,  stylish interiors, and cozy ambiance. One even mentioned that Melo's provides a "fine dining experience" to everyone.
Happiness in every table, in every plate, in every bite.
Who wouldn't love Melo's? MELOvers await on their respective tables.
Melo's grand opening celebration is set tomorrow, September 29, 2018. Let us support the Melo's team by joining them on this memorable event. 

Special thanks to the Cabrera family and the rest of the Melo's team for sharing your story with us, Valenzuelanos. 

#eatlocal #supportlocal #SarapngMarulas #ValenzuelaCity

Melo's Dine-In and Take Out
Address: No. 90 Pio Valenzuela Street, Marulas, Valenzuela City
Open Hours: 2:00pm to 12:00mn, daily
Be updated by following Melo's Dine-In and Take Out on Facebook here.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sana Araw-araw, Pasko: Aling Aida's Puto Bumbong of Malinta, Valenzuela City

Ber months are never complete among us Pinoys if we do not have our puto bumbong and bibingka fix which are best eaten with your choice of hot tea or coffee. But there are times when you would just wish that each month of the calendar would end with the "-ber" syllable. People are just happier, kinder to one another. And, of course, the food way, way better. Di ba, wish mo rin, araw-araw ay Pasko?
Puto bumbong brings back good memories of the holidays.
Aling Aida, a warm and friendly senior citizen who resides in Malinta, just made this simple wish come true through their puto bumbong stall which serves those sticky purple rice cake wrapped in banana leaves whole year round. During the interview, Aling Aida mentioned that they initially offer puto bumbong during the Ber months only. But the people have been very receptive towards the puto bumbong that they sell and so, they tried to keep their stall open every afternoon from December 2017 onwards. It can be read in the One Valenzuela Facebook page that many customers have given praises towards the classic puto bumbong that Aling Aida and Kuya Melvin (her apo who assists her since he was in high school) prepare. Aling Aida has been cooking and selling these steamed delicacies for about 40 years now.
Aling Aida of Barangay Malinta: Tagahatid ng Pasko sa pamamagitan ng lutong puto pumbong.
One Valenzuela was blessed to have a brief talk with Aling Aida who stopped cooking puto bumbong for a few minutes to answer some questions (Salamat po, Nanay Aida.)

Gaano katagal na po kayong nagluluto ng puto bumbong? Dito na rin po sa pwestong ito?
Ah, since 1979. Doon kami dati sa, ano, Western. Doon kasi ang bahay ng lola ko noong araw. Taal po kaming taga-Malinta. Mga Cruz po kami at Doma. 

Bakit po puto bumbong ang inyong niluluto? Matagal ninyo na pong recipe ito?
Niluluto yan sa kawayan. Mula po sa lola ko, hanggang sa nanay ko, tapos ako na, tapos siya na (Kuya Melvin). Nagluluto na at nagbebenta na talaga ang pamilya. Bata pa ako, simula't sapul na.

Ang presyo po dati ng puto bumbong? Noong 1970's?
Ano lang yata, Php2.00 isang balot. Yung niluluto namin ngayon, katulad pa rin ng dati. Hindi kami nag-iiba ng lasa. Yun at yun pa rin ang lasa. Pangkaraniwan, malakas talaga pag Ber na. Tsaka may mga tawag kami sa mga okasyon. Pag Ber na, yung dalawa kong anak ang nagseservice. Ako, hindi na kaya. Christmas party, birthday - mga ganyan. Pagsampa ng September, talagang mabili na.

Aling Aida shares a light moment with the customers who patiently wait for their turn to be served.
Bakit po ninyo naisipang magbenta ng buong taon?
Mabili. Mula January (2018), wala kaming tigil. Tuluy- tuloy, hindi na kami tumigil. Kaya maraming natutuwang mga balikbayan. Dati raw nakakakain lang sila, Ber lang. Mabuti raw kami nagstraight na, whole year. Pag uuwi sila galing sa ibang bansa, may nakakakain silang puto bumbong. 

Yung inyo pong lutong puto bumbong ay classic po, ano? Walang condense, cheese (na hanap ng iba).
Oo, tradisyunal siya. Pero sabi nga nila, masarap. Hindi na kailangan ng iba pa. May libre pang tsaa.

Nagluto nga kami sa Ermita niyan (tsaa), Chinese pinaglutuan namin. Tuwang-tuwa yung Chinese na umorder samin. Mayroon silang kinainang birthday (na nagserve kami ng puto bumbong), nagustuhan nila. Tapos tumawag, kung pwede raw kami sa birthday niya. Hatid-sundo kami, kasi wala kaming sasakyan. Gustung-gusto nila yung puto bumbong. Tapos sabi, tatawagan daw kami ulit.

Sa isang araw po, gaano karaming puto bumbong ang niluluto ninyo?
Kami? Ngayon? 15 kilos. Masaya kami na mabili.

Nakakatuwang experience po ninyo?
Ung binabalikan kami. Iba raw yung puto bumbong namin. Syempre yun lang, matutuwa ka na dun. Tsaka sabi nila fresh yung aming niyog. Kinukudkod talaga namin gamit ang kamay (manual). Di kami gumagamit ng makina...Tsaka yung tsaa daw, iba ang lasa. Kapag ininom mo, talagang lumalasa. 

Matagal na po kayo dito?
Oo, siguro mga nasa 10 or 12 years na rin. Matagal na, alam na nila andito kami.

Working until the sun sets.
Ano po ang gusto ninyong sabihin sa mga tumatangkilik sa inyo, Nay Aida?
Salamat! Kasi, marami silang kumakain. Iba raw yung lasa nung puto bumbong dito eh. Ito raw pag kinain mo, lumalasa ang niyog at asukal. Hindi raw mahirap nguyain. Ito raw masarap at mura. Tsaka malinis. Bente pesos lang, kayang-kaya ng bulsa. Tara, kain na.

Maraming salamat po, Nanay Aida at Sir Melvin. 

Would like to buy some puto bumbong? Aling Aida's Puto Bumbong can be found in Malinta Market, Valenzuela City.  You may see their humble stall in Cuevas Bakery during the afternoon, around 3:30pm to 10:30pm.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Made in Valenzuela City: Milcu Deodorant Powder

Running is one of the most accessible sports that we can indulge in for a variety of reasons. One Valenzuela has been participating in running events since July 2018 to complete a personal goal of reaching 150 kilometers in races to celebrate Dr. Pio Valenzuela's big 150th Anniversary next year. Last August 26, 2018, she joined Run With Me 2018 to: (1) have her first bonggang effort 10-kilometer run (with an unofficial time of 1:10:11, not bad for starters?), (2) run for her dear student (the thought of her made One Valenzuela push forward and go the extra mile), and (3) include this 10 kilometers in the #pio150km goal. Other than the blisters on both feet which were a bit painful the next day (huhu), it was indeed a great and meaningful run. 
Run With Me 10K Finisher's Medal #RunWithMe2018

Just like any other running event, you will see many sponsor booths at the main activity area. One Valenzuela was glad to see the Milcu brand among them. Why? Because its manufacturing plant is located in Valenzuela City. One Valenzuela has acquired this habit of checking the labels of the products that she buys at the grocery and there she learned that Milcu, the deodorant powder that she uses daily, is made in Paso de Blas, Valenzuela City.

Participants of Run With Me 2018 checking out Milcu's booth

Milcu product line-up at the Run With Me 2018 event

This is actually a long-delayed post about Milcu that One Valenzuela kept in the draft file. She wrote an e-mail way back to Milcu asking for more information about them. The company owner's son, John Cusi, answered her email.
This is a 2017 photo of the Milcu Deodorant Powder that One Valenzuela had before (notice the old One Valenzuela logo and the "high quality" photo, hehe). She still uses Milcu as of this writing (even brought one small bottle in the Run With Me 2018 event).

Flip the bottle and win Milcu products.

According to John Cusi, Milcu originated from Bacolod, Philippines in 1958. It was founded by Milagros Cusi with the mission of "helping people eliminate body odor naturally and effectively". The management of the company has been passed on to Mr. Victor Cusi, John's father, who still currently runs the company headquartered in Quezon City.

Milcu products were first manufactured in Quezon City. The company eventually expanded their manufacturing plant in Valenzuela City. John Cusi also mentioned that "one of the many awards we receive every year is the Product Excellence Award". Milcu is also the pioneer maker of Tawas crystal deodorant powder in the Philippines.

Facebook Live on Run With Me 2018: Milcu Booth

The Milcu website mentions that they use recycled packaging to reduce landfill and that no chemicals are used that contribute to water pollution. They also do not conduct animal testing (PETA Certified). These are some things worth noting among product-producing companies.

One Valenzuela is really satisfied with the Milcu deodorant powder. Now knowing that there are more items worth trying, she intends to check and try the rest of the product line-up when she goes to the grocery.

Note: This is not a sponsored article. One Valenzuela is "hiyang" and happy with the said product, thus leading her to share views on this.  Hope this post helps those who are still looking for that one deodorant they are comfortable with.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

A Two Decade Dream: Brawler's Lab at Brgy. Karuhatan, Valenzuela City

"Never stop believing that you can fulfill your dreams." - Jose Aldo, MMA 

Twenty years in the making. That's how long Brawler's Lab has to go through to be the facility that it is today. "Ang tagal, di ba?",  Gabay Forlales said during One Valenzuela's visit at the gym which can be conveniently found along MacArthur Highway. He narrated that Brawler's Lab opened on 2014 in a 70-square meter space at Barangay Marulas before being in its current capacious location in Karuhatan. But its vision has been conceptualized and dreamt of way back in the 1990s.

The facility's realization did not come as easy as most people would assume. Gabay, who is a licensed Mixed Martial Arts judge and trainer under the Games Amusement Board (GAB) expressed that "Some didn't accept that there is a possibility that a multiple of disciplines can be synthesized into one thing that actually works together which can become effective when it comes to sports fighting". But as they say, beautiful life works eventually have their breaks. Through time, many of his students trusted in the concept which helped him spread the word.

Gabay Forlales (L) prepares for a training with a student. Brawler's Lab is the first and only dedicated martial arts and functional training facility in Valenzuela City.
Photo Credit: All photos are by LC Santos Acharon, unless otherwise stated.

Gabay Forlales hails from a family with two karate black belters but it did not occur to him readily that he will also travail the same path. He was supposed to pay his tuition during college enrolment when the unexpected happened: somebody tried to rob him. "Sa underpass ng Lawton, madilim na madilim yun dati eh... I was walking at the underpass papunta akong school. May nakita akong lalaki na sumunod sa akin. For some reason, I just felt off. Ang ginawa ko, pababa palang, I was running already. Pagtingin ko sa kanya, he was running towards me and he was holding something. Takbo talaga ako, because I have money to pay for my tuition... sa stairs to my right, may nakita akong jeep na hinabol ko at sumabit ako dahil takot na takot akong maholdap. Natakbuhan ko naman siya. Ang naging problema, since hindi naman ako noon nagbibyahe talaga, nadala ako ng dyip papuntang Divisoria which I don't know. There I looked for a way papaano ako makakauwi... That incident became the trigger that I don't want to have the same feeling of helplessness again," Gabay recalled his college days. He eventually realized that he wants to defend himself when such instances occur again in the future. At the very least, be composed in such situations - not to panic and do something about it. Thus when he went back to school the very next day, he changed his PE class from basketball to Wonhwado, a Korean martial arts class. From there, he took more classes - arnis, judo, and taekwondo.

Gabay Forlales of Brawler's Lab
Video Credit: Brawler's Lab

He also looked for an aikido school along U.N. Avenue, having sensei Henry as his first teacher. He would also accompany his martial arts teachers in their sessions, assisting them in their classes. He enjoyed doing it and passing on the learning which made him the coach that he is today. Recalling the film Dead Poets Society, he says that he liked the impact that the teacher made to his students in the said film. "Gusto kong magturo. I would like to have the same impact to my students. To change lives. I wanted to share what I know. If you are a coach you can be a big impact talaga eh, especially if you know how to. Especially if you show enough that you care. " Gabay added.

Glaiza De Castro trains at Brawler's Lab. She gets personal training here together with kickboxing and cage fitness classes.

He was also invited to come to Malaysia to teach. "Yung regular sessions na ginagawa ko dito sa Pilipinas, they consider it as a seminar there...Mabusisi raw akong magturo and I can actually make them understand it. Sabi ko, if these people can appreciate what I do, sabi ko, bakit hindi sa lugar ko? Paano kung Pinoy pa? Walang language barrier." He eventually opened the idea to his students who supported it and invested on it. Its original concept is a self-defense gym, not a sports gym or an MMA gym, which will empower people to be safe, with fitness on the sideline. From a small space of 70 square meter, they transferred to a larger location due to demand.

Fighters from different places then came to the facility who became part of the team while some would also ask him to prepare them in their upcoming fights. "Those people who are already here really do improve, others see it. From there the reputation came that we are doing something right here in Valenzuela," Gabay said. The very first tournament that they participated in is a Bulgarian Open Submission Wrestling. It is an international event. "Funny thing is, sinabi sa amin ay may novice division...We participated dahil may novice. Pagdating namin doon [sa location], wala palang novice. So my students who are training for three months competed against others who are competing for two years already with an Iranian coach. Underdog kami. There, we got two silver medals. Not bad, considering they are beginners." The students competed with their hearts out.

Mark Daniel Togonon of Barangay Karuhatan has won consistently in tournaments under the training of Coach Gabay Forlales. Photo Credit: Mark Daniel Togonon on Facebook.

Brawler's Lab has been there for its students and many of them are already reaping achievements. Mark Daniel Togonon of Barangay Karuhatan started in Brawler's Lab when he was just 14 years old. Togonon already won in five big tournaments where even foreigners compete: he grabbed gold medals in two Pan Asia Pacific tournaments and in one Philippine Nationals Trials; a silver medal in the  Philippine International Open; and a bronze in the Philippine International Open. With the wrestling programs all set, Gabay sees that Valenzuela City may have a Palarong Pambansa champion, especially if support comes along the way to students like Mark Daniel Togonon. To add, Kathleen Eula, another student of Brawler's Lab, placed third in the 18-34 age division of the Test of Will competition by Underarmour (See results here).

Brawler's Lab is the first facility center to bring Cage Fitness in the Philippines.
This elevates the MMA-inspired fitness training in the country.
Video Credit: Brawler's Lab

Other than the personal training that the gym offers, its flag carrier is the Cage Fitness program. It is a US-based fitness program where Gabay Forlales is the very first licensed coach in the Philippines. The program was developed by former mixed martial arts fighter, Matt Hughes,  and trainer, Kai Fusser M.S. It mimics MMA fighting which makes the practitioner safe because all the techniques like punching, kicking, and lifting are done on cage fit bags. 

Form. Function. Fitness.

There are also classes on: Boxing, Kickboxing (Muay Thai), Brazillian Jiu-jujitsu, Submission Wrestlings, High-Intensity Interval Training, and Flashpoint Circuit training.  Just this July, Brawler's Lab launched its Fitness Kickboxing class - which is different from Muay Thai because the latter focuses on the skills to fight and compete while Fitness Kickboxing is more on general fitness using the moves of Muay Thai. Each client has a personalized punching bag for this with a coach to guide them.

Training equipment at Brawler's Lab

Ending the conversation, people would ask "Why do you always mention Brawler's Lab - Valenzuela? May iba pa bang branch?". Gabay Forlales would say "None, only in Valenzuela City." Then they would further ask, "Why mention Valenzuela?" to which he would answer, "Dahil proud akong maging Valenzuelano". Thinking about it, the city is indeed blessed to have such outstanding people and to have a good facility that is Brawler's Lab.

Brawler's Lab
Address: 203 Juan Reyes Street, MacArthur Highway, Brgy. Karuhatan, Valenzuela City
(Landmarks: Building across Novo; Above Calle Cafe)
Gym Hours: Monday to Friday- 9:00am to 10:00pm
                     Saturdays - 9:00am to 8:00pm
                     Sundays - 9:00am to 12:00mn
Visit their Facebook Page here for updates.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

5 Things that You will Love about Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela

Once in a while, we all would usually want a bit of pampering. With that said, One Valenzuela, along with a friend, had the chance to try a popular salon located near Puregold Valenzuela. Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela is part of a large and reputable chain of salons and is the first and only branch in Metro Manila, owned by a persevering and dedicated Valenzuelana. It provides salon services to all with a great team of stylists who are mostly Valenzuela City residents. Here are a few things that One Valenzuela would like to share in their recent visit at Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela:

1. Great Hair, Great Day
"Invest in your hair. It is the crown that you never take-off."  Hair is a very important feature of any individual, likening it to a crown of a queen or a king. Thus, it is very important that one takes good care of it. Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela has a terrific line up of stylists who have already gained many years of experience in hair service. They evaluate and give advice on what treatments that a particular customer should have. Moreover, the salon only uses branded and good quality hair products in all their services. You may know more about the treatments just by asking them as they work on your hair.
Before and After Treatment
April "Congratulations" is among the star celebrities who have been to Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela.

2. Happy Feet Go Along with a Great Crown
The hands and feet get exhausted easily since we use them often in our daily routine. One can indulge and get revitalized by having jelly foot spa at the salon. You'll want to doze off as they massage your tired feet! Promise!
Jelly Foot Spa for the Gents and Ladies. It's sobrang satisfying at just Php200. Will definitely be back at Divalicious Premier Salon -Valenzuela for this service.

Trying out some pretty flower nail art
3. Salon Ambiance is Great
People who commonly go to salons are those who are usually tired, needing a little bit of "Me time". Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela's vibe is indeed re-energizing. The salon is spacious and has a number of elegant and comfy chairs where you can cozily sit, unlike other salons where you would wait side by side with other customers on a small couch.
The salon is roomy, as they say, "maaliwalas". Look at those comfy chairs! Some would even fall asleep as they have the foot spa service.

Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela is a child-friendly salon too! Great for mommy-baby bondings.
Photo Credit: Divalicous Premier Salon - Valenzuela

4. Hungry? Grab a Bite in the Salon
One Valenzuela would usually bring some snacks whenever she undergoes a lengthy hair service like a rebond or having her hair colored. Other than having their own drinks, what is great about Divalicious Premier Salon - Valenzuela is that it also supports other food establishments within the area by allowing their customers to order from within the salon. For example, One Valenzuela was able to order a full meal from The Real Grill Burger, a homegrown burger joint in the city, which is a few meters from the salon.
Rebonding takes time but you won't get hungry! Eat well with The Real Grill's burgers. The meal will be delivered to you at Divalicious while you get the pampering that you deserve. 

5. The Salon Staff is Like Family
"Posibleng makakuha ka ng parehas na quality na hair results sa ibang salon pero yung experience na makasama mo yung staff ng Divalicious, maaaring hindi mo makita sa iba," One Valenzuela's salon buddy mentioned after going through the hair treatment. She saw the staff as a big family where you instantly belong like a dearly missed relative or a balikbayan who just came home to the country. They are very comfortable to be with. Other than the warm welcome of the salon team, their expertise in hair and nail care are also worth commending for they are long trained in the field.

Amidst giggles with the staff: Cookie Monster and Elmo nail art to complete the day.

Thank you, Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela, for that wonderful salon experience!
Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela
Address: No. 32 McArthur Highway corner Action Center Drive, Barangay Dalandanan, Valenzuela City (Landmark: Puregold Valenzuela)
Open from 10:00am to 10:00pm
Like Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela on Facebook here.
Giveaway Announcement!
August is One Valenzuela's birth month. Because of this, Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela is sponsoring a birthday blowout! (Salamat po!) Each week of August, there will be one (1) lucky winner who will receive a FREE rebond treatment and another (1) lucky winner of a FREE Jelly Foot Spa (which you will definitely love!).

How to join the contest? For WEEK 1: (1) Like Divalicious Premier Salon Valenzuela on Facebook, (2) Like One Valenzuela on Facebook; and  (3) Tag a friend who might be interested in joining the contest too! NOTE: Winners will be claiming their prizes during weekdays (Monday-Friday).

WEEK 1: August 6-10, 2018 (Like Divalicious on FB here) (Like One Valenzuela on FB here) (Tag a Friend on FB below)

WEEK 2: August 13-17, 2018 (Like Divalicious on FB here) (Like One Valenzuela on FB here) (Tag a Friend on FB below and tell why you want to give the FREE SERVICE to her/him)

WEEK 3: August 20-24, 2018 (To be posted.)
WEEK 4: August 27-31, 2018 (To be posted.)

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