HAVING been to DMC (Dipolog Medical Center) many times before, I feel like being "home" again. And every time I'm invited to conduct classes or seminars there by their SHRIM (School of Hospitality & Institutional Management) Dean, Atty. Diane Concha, I always look forward to that exciting travel passing through Iligan City to Mucas Port, then taking the barge that bring me to Ozamis City, Oroquieta City, Dapitan City and finally, Dipolog City.

And many a time, I would pass by Sapang Dalaga in Zamboanga de Norte where there are many fresh fruits being sold along the road. Usually it is Marang, Mangosteen and Rambutan that make me stop to buy these exotic fruits and eat them while on my way to my destination. However, on my way back to Cagayan de Oro is the time that I get to the splash out on these fresh delights!

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First day was spent in teaching students the basic ways of Bread Making using the favourite Asian Sweet Dough Recipe. The class was divided into two groups so as to give them a better hands-on experience. With my recent experience with Zeelandia Bakery Ingredients demonstrations in Davao and Lucena City I conducted recently, I was able to make use of the new techniques and shared it to the students.

Both morning and afternoon sessions was fun because aside from the basic practice, they were able to come up with their own and unique sumptuous creations. The tension began to build up when they started to see their breads rise, which for them was really something new. Basic understanding of Baker's Percentage was explained together with the effects of ingredients used like yeast, sugar, shortening, salt, milk, eggs, water and butter. This was done to make them understand better the effects of one ingredient to the other.

As the dough was placed inside the oven, they can excitingly see further the rising of the bread (since there is a window in the oven door). Then the aroma of freshly-baked bread began to emanate in the entire room which make everyone drool! It was hard to resist because even before the breads cooled down, the breads were gone. The 2nd batch of bread was different since each and everyone has a plastic container ready to take home their share of "hard work".

The 2nd day was spent on baking sinfully-rich chocolate cupcakes. After which, everyone had a grand and creative time decorating their chocolate designs using the all-time favourite boiled icing. Some didn't get to show off their beautiful cupcakes since they just have to gobble it even before I get see their works of arts! Good thing there were digital cameras to capture the moments!

With the egg yolks from the boiled icing, we just wouldn't want to waste it. So we made several layers of Mocha and Chocolate Caramel Custard. It didn't take long to cool down again. It was gone right after it was transferred to a platter!

Needless to say, everyone had a grand time doing what they enjoyed best: baking and gorging on their delectable creations! Some brought with them their finished products to share with their friends and families. It was indeed a 2 fun-filled days for these future "culinary artists"!

We had our dinner at Big Joe's which is THE place to visit and dine when in Dipolog City. I got to see an old friend from Cdo, Ms. Chai who's connected with Nestle Philippines who happen to be there, too. I had my share of Big Joe's famous Crispy Pata, Chicken Sotanghon Soup and their Big Joe's meal. Dr. Gerald Concha, Academic Vice-President of Dipolog Medical Center arrived later and we had a nice chat.

On my way home, I just couldn't resist buying several kilos of Mangosteen and Rambutan, Watermelon and Marang. Can anybody tell me what the English word for Marang is? And of course, what is Dipolog without Spanish Sardines?

I dropped by JYT Bakeshop in Ozamis City just to say hello to my friend, Jeanne and was given instead two boxes of her delicious Cassava Cake Slices! What a wonderful visit! Then it was time for lunch at my cousin's place, Noel and Jing. We had grilled pork shops in onions and vinegar (delightful!) and sinugbang Panga (so tender and fresh!) and Chicken Macaroni Soup! The meal was highlighted with their freshly picked exotic Durian from their farm! Wow!

I arrived in Cagayan de Oro past 5 p.m. and am back to "reality". What a short "vacation"! I am preparing myself again for a two-day extensive "livelihood program" for the Nestle retirees this weekend. A busy week indeed! But enjoying every minute of it!

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