3rd Anniversary at Minami Saki, Astoria | Review & Reflections

For our 3rd Anniversary celebration, since the hubby loves Japanese food, (God really knows and provides!) we are privileged to dine and have lunch at Minami Saki ℅ a good friend. Yay!

Minami Saki by Astoria is a new restaurant located at the ground floor of Astoria Plaza in Ortigas. They usually open at 11AM for lunch. Prior to going to Minami Saki, I checked some photos and their dishes are really photogenic and enticing. It got me excited about what awaited us.

Our first order: Ume Sashimi (Php 580) 3 Kinds of sashimi – tuna, salmon and lapu-lapu.



What we liked about it was the cut! It was very thick – a mouthful and it was also very fresh. The 9 slices were just enough for the 2 of us.


Then we had Tobiko Orange Sushi (Php 180) which was flying fish roe. Their sushi orders were just 2 pieces, as if it were meant for dates – a person gets one each. xp They were very generous with the flying fish roe to the point of it almost spilling over. I couldn’t eat it without the fish roe spilling a bit.

We also got Nihonsan Tako (Php 220) which was Japanese octopus. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take a photo of it. Surprisingly the octopus was very tender. I imagined it being gummy and like rubber, but it was very soft to the bite. It was an octopus I enjoyed.

Aburi Sushi (Php 530)

Aburi Sushi (Php 530)

Minami Saki boasts of their Aburi Sushi which was slightly burned sushi tuna, salmon, and lapu-lapu with their special aburi sauce. It was an explosion of flavors in my mouth! I enjoyed the special aburi sauce combined with the burnt cheese and the flavor of raw fish plus a hint of natural sweetness from a slice of fruit. What a treat to our tastebuds! How did we eat it? We halved all of it. xp It was “bitin”! We are definitely going back for this especially if we want to indulge on authentic Japanese food.


For their noodles, we tried their Tempura Soba (Php 475). With its serving, it was pretty much good for one. But since we had other orders, we split the soba and it was enough for both of us. The tempura was also fresh and wasn’t drenched in flour. It was really quality food. Even the noodles!




Our Minami Saki experience was such a treat to both of us! It is quite upscale and the prices are a bit steep, but if you’re looking for authentic and quality Japanese food, this is the place to go. 🙂 It is still cheaper than going to Japan. :p


So what happened on Year 3?

[May 2013 – 2014 Year 1] – The Rollercoaster Ride

[May 2014 – 2015 Year 2] – Exploring our Differences

[May 2015 – 2016 Year 3] – ???

When I look at our 3rd year as husband and wife and if I could describe it in one word it would be stable. Jason said his word was better.

Stable because I feel that we became more adjusted with each other’s quirks and habits, by God’s grace more understanding, more patient with each other and accepting of our distinct personalities. There are still some minor disagreements here and there but when it boils to our foundation and our faith there is no argument there, our God is God. Without Him I honestly don’t know how both of us who are very distinct from one another would settle our differences and even celebrate our uniqueness! 🙂

I believe we are getting more intertwined with each other, more in stride to one another. I am becoming more of him (in his corniness :P), and he is becoming more of me. err. in a good way hopefully. 🙂

Jason said his word was better. Better in communicating with one another. I would agree! There are many other ways of expressing than just being angry. :p Communicating is really key… He can’t just keep guessing and assume why I’m irritable at times, I have to tell him in an honest and respectful way. I also can’t be left in the dark on why he’s suddenly quiet, he has to tell me lovingly and gently what upset him.

I praise God for His goodness in our 3 years as husband and wife. When I reflect on God’s love for us, I am moved to love my husband more! We can only love each other because we know (how much!) God first loved us. Love truly comes from God.

Every year since our wedding day this verse holds true in my heart.

1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because He first loved us.

A Tale of Two Teacher Jason’s

My name is Gianina which came from the name “John” meaning “God is gracious”. I mentioned this to my husband and that God has been gracious to me and my sister (Johanna) all our lives.

One time, I told my husband of 2 different men in my life who has the same name (let me call them Mr. J).

The first man I knew, Mr. J-1 had claimed to know Jesus but his actions proved otherwise. This then has been a barrier for me to get to know Jesus. (More on this in another entry 🙂 But God is gracious. Early this year, I met another man Mr. J-2 who has even divulged Jesus to me, backing it with untainted character thus leading me to know Jesus in a deeper way. I suddenly remembered the bible verse in Romans 5:15, that through one man we have sinned (Adam) and through one man, we have been saved (Jesus).

Over breakfast yesterday, my husband asked me, “how about Jason, it’s unique right? Is there any other Jason that you’ve encountered before me?” (in my mind I thought “fishing”! haha but well.) I initially said no, but when I thought hard about it, there wasn’t any other “special Jason” I’ve met but there was one Jason I knew.

Teacher Jason.

Teacher Jason was a tutor of one of my best friends back in high school. He was a math and science whiz. He could break down mind boggling math problems and simplify it to a level we could understand. I secretly envied my friend then since she had her own personal tutor. After a perplexing geometry or algebra lesson in school she gets to have a Teacher Jason at home who would help her figure out the problems, aid her in answering a homework, and guide her in every step until she gets it.

Teacher Jason was very patient with her and me too. Thanks to my friend, I get to share Teacher Jason as he would help me over the phone and dictate the next steps in the math problem so I could study those on my own.

Teacher Jason was such a blessing to her and me at that time. Math was a subject I dreaded (Trigo was an exception :P).  I was so glad to have someone to consult when those math problems get the best of me and I find myself at a dead end.

When I grew up, math problems evolved into real problems and subjects that I’d like to avoid. God’s graciousness doesn’t stop. Another “Teacher Jason” came along to help me look at those real problems and challenges in the eye.

Who would think that another “Teacher Jason” would come into my life? Not just a teacher in school but a teacher of life. The best part was I get to have him at home this time and have him answer not just silly or practical questions but even questions regarding my faith – sharing that same interest of mine. A Teacher Jason who could break down puzzling problems and simplify it to something I can understand. Who would guide me in work, decision making and even managing our home so it would not be too overwhelming for me.

God gave me a new Teacher Jason to help, care for me and guide me through life. Sometimes it  is just amazing how when you look back at your life and see the goodness of God. How when we have talks over how God has given us blessings throughout the years though we may not deserve it.

God is indeed gracious for giving me the two Mr. J’s and the two Teacher Jason’s. Nothing is a coincidence when we accept God in our lives.


My mom named me “Gianina” which came from the name “John” meaning “God is gracious”. Indeed our names testify that God has been gracious to me and my sister (Johanna). His handprint is visible in the course of our lives to show He knows and cares for our needs, that He has never forgotten us and will never forget us. 🙂

My very own Teacher Jason :) (teaching summer art classes)

My very own Teacher Jason 🙂 (teaching summer art classes)

Waiting on God

Hate to wait? I believe most of us will agree with this. Nobody likes to wait patiently especially now when everything has an instant solution. It’s tough to wait on someone or something when we know we can do something about it – yes it may not be the best thing but at least we got some result. It’s tougher to wait when we know it’s beyond our control – when the waiting time is indefinite.

Last Sunday in CCF, I was reminded of the discipline of waiting, and waiting on the Lord.

In Psalm 27:14 it says, Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Imagine falling in line to get an interview with President Noynoy or the President of the United States and 5 hours or so have passed, do we demand an explanation on why it’s taking so long? Do we get mad, throw a fit and walk out on them?

So why can’t we wait patiently for the President of all Presidents, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords?

As Pastor Peter said, the ability to wait on the Lord depends on your knowledge of Him. Do we think God is there to punish us by waiting? Or do we believe God is sovereign, He knows everything, therefore He just wants us to learn something in our waiting?

God is not slow to answer and He is not slow to bless. Sometimes when the waiting time is too long, we get impatient and fail to realize that as we wait on God, He is also waiting for us. God wants to bless us. What father does not want to bless his children? Though we are unfaithful in waiting, He remains faithful in waiting patiently for us to be ripe and ready for what He wants to bless us with.

In our journey with God, we must understand that when He withholds something, He just wants it for our best. So when the time comes for Him to give it, we may delight more in the  blessed than the blessing, the giver more than the gift. God wants us to love Him and choose Him over anything.

Our tendency is that when we pray for something and we finally get it, we become preoccupied with the blessing and forget who blessed us. We tend to make it the end goal and become happy and content with it. Our waiting on God and dependence on Him stops. So in our walk with God, we go back to another waiting cycle until we learn to become what God wants us to be and wait on the most important one who deserves to be waited upon.

You may ask, how do we receive God’s best? Whether in work, in your lifetime partner, the best in life?

god's best

We must hold on to God’s promise everyday and walk in His ways – do things God’s way and not our own way. This is one of my favorite verses in this season of my life,

Psalm 37:34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land.

It is a lie to think that God has forgotten us. But sometimes we choose to believe that lie and do things our own way. Especially when people give us ideas that in order to be successful in life, we must have the best material things, must get married at a certain age, must be successful in business or our work no matter what it takes. We then resolve to shortcuts since we cannot delay gratification and wait any longer. When we want immediate success in business we do shortcuts. When we want the security of love of our partner, we give our purity away outside of marriage. When we want to forget the pain and hurt in our lives in an instant, we take substances. When we are not happy with our spouses and with our marriage, we opt to separate with them. We do things our way than go for the righteousness of God’s way.

We fail to understand that when we do things our way and fail to wait, we cannot escape the consequences. Yes there will be immediate satisfaction but in the long run there will be consequences. Indeed what we reap we will sow.

If we did not wait on God and did things our way, we will not know what we missed had we waited upon Him. If we fail to wait, we settle for less than God’s best for us.

As opposed to when we wait, hold on to God’s promises, do things God’s way and wait on His right and perfect timing, all these will result to the sweetness of the blessing – no less than God’s best for us.

When we obey God, there is a blessing.

Psalm 34:17 says, When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

However, if we did make mistakes – did things our own way which are not pleasing to God, He is merciful and just to forgive us our sins. We just need to repent meaning turning 180 degrees from our sinful ways and humble ourselves to Him. 
Yes it is hard to wait, but when we walk with God, He also gives me and us the encouragement
in Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 
God is so faithful and loving that even as we wait on Him, he even encourages us and gives us the capability to wait on Him.
The greatest gift of waiting is knowing that God Himself is the greatest gift. May we continue to seek God and find encouragement in His promise.
As He promised a long time ago that someone will save us from our sins and this was fulfilled through Jesus Christ, so will His promises in our lives all the more be materialized. God bless you all! 🙂
Photo from CCF Facebook page

Photo from CCF Facebook page


If only I were.. and If only these things could happen…


The two most ungrateful words I would often catch myself say. We often have the entitlement mentality and think we deserve more in our life than what we have now. We even hurt ourselves and turn bitter by that little thing we won’t let go.

I would be happier IF ONLY i earn more than what I have now.
I would be happier IF ONLY he would love me more.
I would be content IF ONLY they could treat me this way.
I would be happier EXCEPT that I still haven’t reached my 5 year goal.
I would be content EXCEPT that ______

And our list goes on. We often focus on that little thing instead of God’s unending blessings and grace in our lives. If it is really for us, God knows best when to give it to us, in His right and proper timing.

God wants our honesty and our heart and when we turn to Him, God has the power to make our heart right.

In Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Numbers 11:23 The LORD answered Moses, “Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.”

Isaiah 59:1 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.

Are you letting the exceptions rule your life or are you letting God rule without exceptions?

God’s Best and Indescribable Gift


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