Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An Authentic Taste of Japan: Aki Oishi at Brgy. Coloong 2, Valenzuela City

If you have been to Japan, you more likely have fallen in love with their local cuisine other than their sakura blossoms, picturesque parks, and the very comfortable train rides. One Valenzuela can still remember how good the food was from their miso soup to their ramen and bento meals in a short trip that she had several months ago. 

Thus, it is indeed a welcoming treat to find Aki Oishi at Coloong II. It is owned by the Sato family, led by Chef Aki, and is on its ninth month of serving wonderful Japanese dishes. It has become popular to many Valenzuela residents looking for authentic Japanese cuisine. Their menu is pretty extensive for they have several starters, maki, sushi, donburi, gyoza, sashimi, shoyu and miso ramen, a variety of bento meals, burgers, tempura and takoyaki platters. They also have milkshakes and kakigori (shaved ice) for dessert.
Aki Oishi's red door invitingly welcomes everyone to sample their dishes.
Vibrant lanterns and kawaii food images greet and surround diners at Aki Oishi.
One particular dish that One Valenzuela really aimed to eat here was their Ise Ebi, or Japanese spiny lobster. Eating lobster has been sitting in her bucket list for so long since it is quite expensive, reaching Php1,500 to Php3,000 a piece at Seaside Macapagal. Who would have known that a Japanese restaurant in Coloong would offer such wonderfully baked lobsters?

The lobster takes some time to cook and so ordering something else on the menu will help you tide over your hunger pangs. One Valenzuela also got a few more staples to eat together with her group. One Valenzuela has eaten a ton of california maki in several places within and outside the city and she has to say that Aki Oishi's california maki is highly recommended. On the other hand, their bowl of hot miso ramen is quite big and is good for sharing (as what they did). The texture of the noodles is smooth, chewy, and renders a firm bite. Very Japanese. 
Do not miss ordering some california maki at Aki Oishi. (Php60 for 4 pcs.; Php120 for 8pcs.) 
A bowl of miso ramen can already be shared by two hungry Valenzuelanos. (Php190.00)
The ebi tempura bento meal and lobster dish eventually followed. The bento meal was bigger than what One Valenzuela expected. The set includes some egg soup, veggies, nicely fried ebi tempura, rice, and a scoop of what she believes is chocolate ice cream. The lobster dish was the showstopper! It was nicely baked with creamy bechamel sauce and topped with some melted mozzarella cheese.
The ebi tempura bento meal will leave you with a very happy tummy. (Php195.00)
Aki Oishi's baked Japanese spiny lobster. The one in the photo is worth Php750.00. Aki Oishi also has small ones which are priced at Php250.00 (200grams).
Dining at Aki Oishi was another great opportunity to experience good food with fantastic people in tow. The Land of the Rising Sun may be around two thousand miles away from the Philippines but through Aki Oishi, Valenzuelanos can recreate their own little Japan experience without leaving home.

Gochisousama deshita.
Aki Oishi
Address: #198 Coloong 2, Valenzuela City
Open Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:30am-10:00pm (closed on Mondays)
Contact number: (02)277-0662 / (0975)789-3667 (accepts reservation)
Like Aki Oishi on Facebook here for updates on their menu and more.

How to get to Aki Oishi via public transportation: 

From Brgy. Malinta along McArthur Highway, ride a jeepney going to Malanday (Php7.00). Then take any of the following options:
Option 1: Look for the terminal of jeepneys going to Paco. Ask the driver to drop you at Brgy. Coloong II (Php7.00). Then ride a pedicab to reach Aki Oishi (Php10.00).
Option 2: Ride a tricycle at Malanday. Give the exact address of Aki Oishi. (Estimate: Php36.00-40.00 for a special ride)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Isang Pangarap: Reflecting on the Alternative Learning System in Valenzuela City

Schools are quite busy again. It has also been several months since One Valenzuela, together with a classmate, visited and interviewed Valenzuelanos who form part of the Alternative Learning System (ALS) in Valenzuela City for their Reading class project. To give you readers a general perspective, ALS is a program for individuals who were not able to finish their elementary and secondary school studies. After completing a series of class sessions and passing an examination, they are then allowed to pursue higher levels of education.
The Alternative Learning System Building of Valenzuela City
There, One Valenzuela and her classmate learned that there were 148,968 students from kindergarten to secondary school in Valenzuela City in 2015. Other than that, 1,814 are studying under the ALS Program in the city and from there, 168 are in the elementary level while 1,646 are in the secondary school level. Upon further online research, they also gathered that Valenzuela City was also able to top the Accreditation and Equivalency (A and E) test given to ALS learners (see article: Valenzuela City Tops Accreditation and Equivalency Test for ALS Learners).
ALS learners are asked to write essays about their ambitions in life.
One Valenzuela and her classmate were able to interview Ms. Charry Villanueva of DepEd-Valenzuela. Here, they learned that there are 33 ALS centers in the various barangays of Valenzuela City. Literacy and livelihood skills are taught in class which are useful in their daily needs. It is also worth mentioning that adult learners who were able to pass and get excellent remarks in the A and E test are given incentives by the Local Government Unit of Valenzuela City for doing a job well done. Additionally, they visited two ALS centers- the class of Sir Henri in Valenzuela City Jail which is composed of male inmates and then the class of Ms. Aurora Ocampo in Malanday which is composed of a merry mix of teenagers, adults, and senior citizens. Both ALS Centers cater to unique sets of learners which have different learning needs. One Valenzuela and her classmate interviewed several learners from both classes to get a profounder glimpse of their goals in learning and experiences while undergoing the program.
A day in the ALS classroom with Mam Au and her students in Brgy. Malanday.
Sir Henri prepares his lesson for the day at the Valenzuela City Jail.
Surface information about the Alternative Learning System is all what One Valenzuela has before proceeding with the activity. Hence, immersing in the said field was indeed an enlightening one. A deep connection between the teachers and the learners was also present. One Valenzuela sensed the learners’ earnest desire to learn and the ALS instructors’ yearning for the learners to reach their educational aspirations. The commitment to reach their dreams, which together with the whole group form one collective goal, is spirited and certainly inspiring. 
Mrs. Zenaida Macapagal, 71, took ALS classes in Malanday to get her long sought diploma. One Valenzuela is happy to announce that Mommy Aida passed the recently held A & E test and will be pursuing a course in Valenzuela Polytechnic College.
The Alternative Learning System in Valenzuela City is a prevailing proof that adults who dream that they finished their education when they were younger can still pursue their studies and get their diplomas. Together with the support of the local community, one’s determined pangarap can,without doubt, turn into reality.
Sincerest thanks to DepEd-Valenzuela,Valenzuela City Jail, the ALS instructors, and learners. To all ALS Learners, keep striving. To all who passed the recent A & E Test, congratulations!