Family Matters

Family Matters features employees’ stories on family values and practical parenting tips

Head Over Meals

by: Mary Grace Sevilla and Rodenie Sevilla

The Covid 19 disease made a lot of changes not only in our country, but in the whole world as well. From different levels of community quarantine, people are now gradually adapting to the “new normal”. Everyone has made some adjustments to their usual routine and activities for them to be safe and keep away from the virus.

In NLEX, one of the adjustments made by most employees is to bring their own food. They pack a quick and healthy meal before going to work due to the unavailability of food stores, and to limit interaction with other people.  Let’s hear the stories shared by our co-employees on how they were able to recreate canned goods into healthier meals and find out their secret recipes.

Toll Teller Mary Ann Mantala is inspired to prepare a healthier baon for herself and for her kids. She turns the veggies into purees so her kids can eat them.

“Sa panahon po kasi ngayon na may pandemic kailangan kasi natin kumain ng mga masustansya lalo na yung pampalakas ng resistensya natin. Isa pa po natutunan ko ngayong pandemic is kung paano ko mapapakain ng gulay ang mga anak ko kasi hirap ako pakainin [sila] ng gulay. So naisip ko na “what if lagyan ko ng gulay ang bawat lutuin ko during this pandemic?” by using a method na gawin ko po syang puree kasi mahilig po mga anak ko sa sabaw and sa sauce na ulam. Kaya ngayon pong panahon ng pandemic, I make sure po na may gulay ang bawat niluluto ko. Isa din po itong way para makakain ako ng gulay everyday to fight COVID.” – Mary Ann Mantala, Toll Teller

If you would like to try her recipe, here is the list of ingredients:

Ginisang Sardinas with Malunggay Puree


  • 1 can sardines                              
  • 1 onion                                                   
  • Garlic                                                         
  • Cooking oil                                               
  • Malunggay leaves and puree                 
  • Salt and pepper
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Saute garlic and onion, add sardines and malunggay leaves and puree. Add salt and pepper.

Pork Menudo with Squash Puree

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  • Pork (menudo cut)
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Cooking Oil
  • Tomato Paste
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Hotdog
  • Liver Spread
  • Tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squash puree


Saute garlic and onion, add pork menudo, carrots, and potatoes. When meat is already tender, add the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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“Mag-isa lang ako sa bahay. Nagluluto ako ng baon ko para din makabawas sa lungkot at pagkainip. Dahil sa pandemic, kailangan talagang magbaon at mag-isip ng masarap na kakainin sa duty.” Mark Lorena, Toll Teller

Crispy Tuna Sisig

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  • 3 canned tuna
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 sili pula
  • 1 sili green
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maggi savor
  • Dinurog na chicharon
  • 1 tsbp mayonnaise
  • For sizzling:
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg


  1. Remove the oil of tuna and fry
  2. Sautee in onion and garlic
  3. Add seasonings
  4. Stir well
  5. Prepare for sizzling

Patrol crews in Traffic Operations have likewise adapted to the new normal. They also bring packed food to work. Surprisingly, most of them prepare their baon themselves. And by so doing, some of them discovered their hidden talent, creativity, resourcefulness and passion in cooking. They see to it that their baon is not just cheap, mouthwatering and delicious, but is also healthy, to help boost their immune system.

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“Mahilig din po kasi ako magluto, mag-imbento ng mga bagong recipe. Dahil sa pandemic, kailangan namin magbaon ng food sa trabaho. Nagiisip ako ng pagkain na masustansiya at masarap at hindi paulit ulit.” Patrol Crew Jing Nacino

Kimbap Korean Emerut Ala Patrol Jing Nacino

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  • Japanese rice
  • Sushi roll
  • Sesame oil/seed
  • Brown Sugar
  • Scrambled egg
  • Kimchi
  • Carrots
  • Crab Meat
  • Cucumber


Cook rice. Sa Sushi roll, maglagay ng kanin, konting sesame oil, sesame seed, brown sugar, scrambled egg, kimchi, sliced carrots, crab meat, and cucumber. Then i-roll until firm and slice. Pwede nang baunin.

Quarantine Puto ala Patrol Jing Nacino

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  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp. iodized salt
  • 1 cup powder milk (bear brand or Alaska)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • grated cheese


Paghaluhaluin lahat ingredients. Ilagay sa molde, lagyan ng keso sa ibabaw then i-steam hanggang sa maluto. Pahiran ng yema bago kainin para mas masarap.

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“Sarado po kasi lahat ng fastfood pati mga karinderia. Kaya kailangan po namin talaga magbaon para iwas na din sa Covid. Sinisigurado ko na masustansiya ang baon namin para pamapalakas ng resistensya at siyempre, dapat masarap.” Patrol Crew Irish Fajardo

Sauteed Bitter Gourd with Shrimp

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  • 2 medium sized ampalaya
  • 250g pork, cut into bite size
  • 1 cup shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sized onion, sliced
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock
  • 2 Tbs. cooking oil


Wash and slice ampalaya, cut and remove seeds.  Slice thinly and sprinkle with salt and mix well, to lessen the bitter taste. Rinse well.

In a large pan, heat cooking oil and saute garlic, onion, tomatoes, pork and fish sauce. Add water or chicken stock and simmer for 5-8 mins. Add shrimps and stir for another 5 minutes. Add drained ampalaya and stir for 5 minutes.   Simmer for another 5 minutes or until ampalaya is done. Serve hot with rice.

Keto Spam Musubi

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  • Sliced spam (cooked)
  • Nori ( 2 inches strip)
  • Spinach ( blanch )
  • Lettuce
  • Kewpie
  • 2-3 Eggs for omelette
  • – grated carrots
  • – minced scallion


Omelette: Beat eggs in a bowl, add grated carrots and minced scallion. Add salt to taste. Cook in a pan. Cut using spam can as mold. Set aside.

Stack omellete, lettuce, spinach, kewpie. Add spam, then wrap it with nori strip. And it’s ready to eat.


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