PJLA Holds Shinnenkai & Welcome Party for Madame Ihoko Haneda

Members of PJLA welcomed 2018 with a colorful “Shinnenkai” or New Year’s party on January 17 held at the Milky Way Café in Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City. This year’s gathering had a special welcome for Madame Ihoko Haneda, wife of Mr. Koji Haneda who is the new Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines.

Mrs. Ma. Elena Laurel-Loinaz, PJLA President, welcomed the guests and members with her opening remarks and presented a bouquet of flowers to Madame Haneda, which was followed by the Ambassador’s wife’s brief acknowledgement message.

“I’m so honored and thank you for your warm welcome. I’m so happy. Thirty-five years ago, I was here, so we are balikbayans,” explained Mrs. Haneda. She added, “Our first country of assignment was Manila, so this is a very memorable country for Koji and me. I look forward to seeing you many times in the near future.”

The Shinnenkai party started around 2 p.m. and wrapped up around 4 p.m. after snacks and fellowship. It also served as the birthday celebration for several PJLA members who had their birthdays in November and December 2017, and January 2018.


Related Resources:
PJLA Shinnenkai 2018 Photo Album
PJLA Shinnenkai 2018 Video

November 2017 Activity:
PJLA Members Visit Yakult Factory

On November 22, 2017, the ladies of PJLA visited the iconic Yakult factory in Calamba, Laguna for their association’s monthly activity. The ladies assembled early, around 8:30 a.m., in Makati City and traveled together to the Southern province to see a glimpse of how one of the world’s most loved and recognized dairy product is made.

Upon arrival, the PJLA members were welcomed by factory manager Ms. Bela Sta. Elena who gave an overview of the Yakult production process. PJLA Vice-President Tomoko Nakagawa said that they were oriented about the process of making Yakult until it was packed into its very unique small bottles. They also received some free Yakult products before proceeding with the guided factory tour. After the tour, the ladies enjoyed posing for their group photos with the Yakult mascot and at other areas around the factory.

Lunch was provided by Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc. courtesy of PJLA treasurer Dra. Nora Torres. A Yazaki-Torres staff also gave a brief orientation to the visitors about their company before lunch.

“The factory was impressively clean and the lunch was super delicious!” exclaimed PJLA President, Mrs. Ma. Elena L. Loinaz.

For photos of the Yakult factory visit, see resources below.


PJLA Yakult Factory Visit Photos


PJLA September 2017 Activity: Filipino Cooking Demo
PJLA Members Learn History & Recipe of Traditional Bicol Express & Laing

Modern Filipino dishes take many forms and different versions of traditional recipes are aplenty that sometimes it’s hard to know how a particular dish should taste. That’s why it was a real treat for PJLA members to learn the history and traditional recipe of a well-loved Pinoy dish, Bicol Express, during the group’s Filipino Cooking Demonstration held last September 28, 2017.

Complete with all the essential ingredients that make for a truly authentic Bicol Express like pork belly, shrimp paste (bagoong alamang), and coconut milk, Mrs. Glenda T. Ferma shared her family recipe to the curious audience that afternoon at the Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III Hall in Makati City. Also a PJLA member, Mrs. Ferma opened her cooking demo with a bit of history—how the famous dish was actually invented in Malate, Manila by Cecilia “Tita Cely” Villanueva Kalaw who is originally from Los Baños, Laguna and named after the train that travels from Manila to Bicol. There is another anecdote, Ms. Ferma says that tries to makes sense of the name by saying that the dish is so spicy, one needs to run super fast—thus the word “express”—in order to tame down its spiciness.

So what’s the secret to a delicious Bicol Express? According to Mrs. Ferma, use long, green chili peppers (siling haba) instead of the Philippine bird’s eye pepper (siling labuyo). She explained, Bicoloanos only use the labuyo as garnish and for extra color. Another technique she shared is to slice and soak the green chilies in water if you want to remove some of the heat and end up with a milder version. Also, don’t forget to use ginger to balance the flavors of the shrimp paste and coconut milk.

Using the same Bicol Express dish as the base, Mrs. Ferma also showed how you could create another popular Bicolano dish, Laing. It is made with the same essential ingredients as Bicol Express but dried taro leaves are added to the pork mixture. “When cooking laing, never stir the leaves once you’ve placed them in the pot,” reminded Mrs. Ferma. Taro leaves contain calcium oxalate, which can leave an “itchy” sensation in the mouth. It is an old-school belief that you can prevent this by not stirring the dish while it’s cooking.

For video of the cooking demo, please refer to our related sources.


Related Resources:

Filipino Cooking Demo September 2017

PJLA September Activity:
Ladies Get Bonding Time at Art in Island 3D Museum

Last September 14, members of the Philippines-Japan Ladies Association (PJLA) spent bonding time at the Art in Island museum located in Brgy. Socorro, Cubao, Quezon City as part of their monthly get-together activity. PJLA president, Ma. Elena Laurel-Loinaz, led the assembly around 8 a.m. at the Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III Hall in Dominion Building, Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City.

Known as an interactive 3D museum, Art in Island has gained popularity as it allows visitors to “play” with the artworks. With an entrance fee of P500 (P400 for seniors), people can spend the entire day being creative with their “selfies” since the artworks are mostly 3D murals that present either historical locations and landmarks like the leaning tower of Pisa and Trevi Fountain in Italy or art installations that create optical illusions such as Michael Angelo’s Creation of Adam.

“The museum had almost everything from Disneyland scenarios to the current characters. It also depicted scenes from Rome and Venice, Italy and old scenes, waterfalls and inverted like rooms,” said Mrs. Loinaz.

PJLA members who participated in the activity enjoyed taking photos and walking through rooms with wall-to-wall artwork and hallways filled with famous paintings given a twist. After the morning museum trip, the ladies got more boding time during lunch in the area.

Asked about their overall experience, Mrs. Loinaz recalled, “The experience we had in the museum was taking photos with different 3D artworks making it look so real through the lens. The museum was clean, had good lighting and worth the price. Our expectations were not much but to our surprise we enjoyed it.

With recommendations coming from its members and interesting feedback about the museum, the association decided to visit Art in Island for their September activity. “The activity was fun and something different. I think PJLA can visit other museums as well since it is a good bonding activity among the members,” she concluded.

For October, PJLA will hold a Filipino cooking demonstration that will be presented by one of its members, Mrs. Regine Velasquez-Alcasid.




PJLA Art in Island Photo Album
Trip to Island List of Attendees


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