GMA's Food for the Heart Event with Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon, Benjamin Alvez and Bettinna Carlos

January 16, 2014 - I couldn't believe that a week after my birthday, I would be given a blessing. Guess what? I was just invited to a GMA-organized event entitled Food for the Heart! Whoa! 

When I received the invitation through email, I was greatly baffled, and this will be an understatement because my heart skipped and the world stopped for a split second. Now here I am, excited and proud, sharing with you what transpired during this event.

Just to avoid confusion, Food for the Heart is not a TV show of some sort. This is just organized to showcase the cooking/baking talents of GMA 7's celebrities, and to provide support to some of the artists' baking business!
A Not-So-Popular Kid with Chynna, Ryza, Ben and Bettinna
A Not-So-Popular Kid hanging out with the Celebs - Awesome right?
Food for the Heart featuring Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon and Bettinna Carlos
Food for the Heart featuring Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon and Bettinna Carlos

Brief Story of God's Small Miracles
I got extra excited when I found out that I would have an opportunity to be in an event where there are celebrities. Hence, when I looked up the venue in Google Maps (typing Highlands Coffee Quezon City), I hurriedly picked the first one that popped out, which apparently ended up to be the wrong one.

Carpooling my way to the venue, I arrived at 12:30 pm which was way early for a 3:00 pm call time. Thanks to technology and traditional book browsing, I was able to burn 2 hours of supposedly idle and waiting time. Thinking I was early at 2:30 pm, I decided to just burn the remaining minutes in the venue itself. As I entered I realized that there were no stairs leading to the 2nd Floor Balcony.

"Holy Crap...  I'm in the wrong branch... wrong venue!" But you know what's worse? Well, it was my first time in QC by myself, and so I didn't know how to go to the correct venue! It was pure blessing that I met good people (e.g. the security guard, the manager of Highlands Coffee, the jeepney drivers and a few passengers) who guided me in my tiresome commute to the venue, and because God is awesome, I arrived there 4 minutes after 3:00 pm --still made it almost on time!

Chynna Ortaleza's Cherry Pizza which was actually a tart-type pasty
Chynna Ortaleza's Cherry Pizza which was actually a tart-type pasty

Getting Dumbfounded and Starstruck
Before we get into the food, let me just share with you that even if I don't consider myself someone who goes head over heels with celebrities (maybe just head to waist?), I still found myself amazed by the fact that I was seeing celebrities in person - not just 1 but 4 GMA artists namely Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon, Benjamin Alvez and Bettinna Carlos.

Bettinna Carlos, Benjamin Alvez, Ryza Cenon and Chynna Ortaleza
From left to right: Bettinna Carlos, Benjamin Alvez, Ryza Cenon and Chynna Ortaleza
Aside from showcasing the desserts and a few dishes, the Food for the Heart was also a get-to-know the celebs event, and it was a nice opportunity to find out how genuine and real the celebrities were! Contrary to the impression that celebrities are snobbish in person, they were not especially Benjamin (or Ben) Alvez who was so friendly and warm. I even had some conversations with him going on wherein he talked about his sweet tooth and love for ice creams, brownies and anything sweet! Anyway, such an awesome guy! Catch him together with Ryza and Chynna, in GMA 7's Adarna after 24 Hours.

Bettinna Carlos's Baked Bites - Nutella Rock, Red Velvet Brownies and Pecan Cheescake Cup

Food Tasting
I was actually clueless when I arrived at the place. All I knew was we were going to taste some food. Later that afternoon, it was revealed that we were going to taste the goodies the artists baked or cooked themselves!

Bettinna Carlos's Baked Bites Creation
Bettinna Carlos with her Baked Bites Goodies!
Bettinna Carlos with her Baked Bites Goodies!
Photo from GMA
Bettinna Carlos' creation called the "Baked Bites"
Bettinna Carlos' creation called the "Baked Bites"
Bettinna Carlos prepared the following for us to taste:
  • The Nutella Rock - this one features a bland-to-rich flavor that unravels in your mouth
  • Red Velvet Brownie - the moist red velvet brownie showcases smooth texture and fantastic frosting!
  • Dulce de Leche Pecan Cheesecake Cup - you'll find here diversity of flavors and textures in a cup

I've crafted a separate post for all the three desserts Bettinna Carlos made. You may want to check this out: Baked Bites by Bettinna Carlos - Nutella Rock, Red Velvet Brownie and more!

Note: Bettinna Carlos already started up a business on these desserts called the Baked Bites. For more information, you may want to check out the said separate post.

Ryza Cenon's Bake Goodies and Other Dishes
Let's begin with the sweet stuff Ryza Cenon baked for the event:
  • Coconut-Ferrero - this one had a touch of dried shredded coconut meat, visually and tastefully enhanced by the ferrero treat on top
  • Cookie Butter Nutella - hmmmm, as far as I can remember, this one brought an indulgence of sweetness and chocolates! 
  • Red Velvet Whoopie Pie - Ryza's different take of Ryza with these red velvet cupcakes or shall we call them cakewiches?
  • Brookies - among Ryza's creations, this is my favorite! The main feature of this heaven-in-a-cup was the creamy yet marshmallowey center! Wait, did you know Brookies is a word-blending from Brownies and Cookies?

Ryza's Coconut-Ferrero, Cookie Butter Nutella, Red Velvet Whoopie Pie and Brookies!
What really bewildered me with the sweet creations by Ryza was the art and ingenuity in each of them that resulted to unique innovations!

For orders: DM @iamryzacenon on Instagram

Benjamin Alvez and His Sweet Tooth
Food for the Heart was further graced by Benjamin Alvez, aka the boy with a sweet tooth! *haha*

Benjamin Alvez after indulging on the baked creations of Ryza and Bettinna!
Benjamin Alvez after indulging on the baked creations of Ryza and Bettinna!
It was just so amusing to see someone who really appreciates loves sweets so much! He was like a kid lost in a candy store with eyes blazing with passion for the sweets!

Ryza Cenon's Red Velvet Whoopie Pie
Ryza Cenon's Red Velvet Whoopie Pie
I just love the different take of Ryza with these red velvet cupcakes. The way it was made alone was enough to tantalize me, as if the syrup on top was spelled "Eat Me". However, it didn't just look good, it tasted great as well! In fact, something that I appreciated about this was the less greasiness of the filling/frosting. This made me focus more on the flavors. Despite this, I believe I still love the version of Red velvet of Bettinna more by a short margin. Sorry Ryza! *peace*

Trivia: Ryza and Bettinna both learned how to baked by just reading a "book" (yup, the same book which I unfortunately forgot).

Ryza Cenon's Brookies
Multitude of Brookies - now that is paradise!

Aside from sweets, Ryza also cooks some savory meals! Check this one out:

Ryza Cenon with some of her cooked dishes!
Photo from GMA
  • Spinach Pizza - this was supposed to be eaten when served, but since Ryza needed to pack it up, it lost that freshness that could have made this special. 
  • Buffalo Wings - Now, this one got my attention. I just adore the spiciness and the flavor at the same time.
  • Lasagna - Hmmm, this Lasagna was not half as bad. Although I found it a little saltier than necessary, this Lasagna has a potential! Way to go Ryza!
Looking for some good Buffalo Wings? Check out B.Wings' Black Mamba

Ryza Cenon's Spinach Pizza, Lasagna and Buffalo Wings
Another Trivia: Did you know that Chynna and Ryza are best friends? This is why Chynna tagged along in this event. She wanted to give her full support to her bessie! However, the support didn't end there. Chynna even tried to bring something as well (even if she rarely cooks). Such a sweet best friend, right? 
Chynna Ortaleza showing her love for her best friends' Cookie Butter Nutella
Chynna Ortaleza showing her love for her best friends' Cookie Butter Nutella
Food for the Heart - Chynna Ortaleza and Ryza Cenon
Food for the Heart - Chynna Ortaleza and Ryza Cenon
Chynna Ortaleza's Cherry Pizza and Banana Prune Bread
Okay, we are down to the last set - Chynna's creations!

Chynna Ortaleza - taking the challenge of cooking something for the event!
Photo from GMA
As mentioned, Chynna also prepared something for us - Cherry Pizza and Prune Bread! And you know what's lovely about Chynna? Well, the fact that she rarely cooks didn't hinder her to produce something worthwhile! That's just persistence, faith, trust and a dab of luck. Wait, let me take back the last one. Haha!

Chynna Ortaleza's Cherry Pizza and Banana Prune Bread in an Adorable Package
Chynna Ortaleza's Cherry Pizza and Banana Prune Bread in an Adorable Package
There's a note attached to the food package which goes like this:
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf
Great for a first-timer - the Cherry Pizza and Banana Prune Bread of Chynna Ortaleza!
I just love the fact that Chynna used organic products to come up with these two. The robustness of flavors were so genuine and potent especially the cherry jam on top. It was definitely a great snack! The Banana Prune Bread was something amazing as well! Why? Well, hello it's prunes! Kidding aside, I appreciated how balanced the taste seemed - nothing was too overpowering which was definitely good news!
C'mon even if you deny it, your pastries tasted so amazing Chynna!

A Day Well Spent
As I near the end of this blog post, I just want to share with you how happy I was after I got home from this event. Finally, I was able to cross out a few of the items in my Bucket List such as meeting and conversing with celebrities, commuting on my own to a not-so-near place and feeling exuberantly happy for the entire week! It was truly and awesome ride, and I want to thank GMA and its Social Media team for this wonderful opportunity and experience!

Here's a snapshot of the food bloggers (which include me) and the celebrities:
A Not-So-Popular Kid with GMA 7 Celebrities
With fellow food bloggers and foodie-celebs of GMA
Photo from Rina-Barbero Zamora of
Now, check out the apron that I got from GMA. I had it signed by the 4 celebrities!
Chynna Ortaleza, Ryza Cenon, Ben Alvez and Bettinna Carlos Autograph
My signed apron and freebies from being part of this awesome event!
Unfortunately, I forgot to let them write my name on it. Now, it didn't seem legit enough. Haha! But wait, what if I show you this?

Food for the Heart - Ryzza and Bettinna signing the aprons
Food for the Heart - Ryzza and Bettinna signing the aprons
Photo from GMA

Alright, so that's almost everything that transpired during the day, and I would say it's a perfect day well spent! The baked goods were as lovely as the ones who created them! Thanks Chynna, Ryza, Bettinna and Ben!

Follow @gmanetwork in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Also catch the celebs in their instagram account@abettinacarlos, @iamryzacenon, @chynsortaleza, and @benjaminalves
Photo from GMA

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  1. Replies
    1. Sadly, Kuya Thirdy. :(
      I had my prime lens that I borrowed from my friend, so fixed yung zoom. Then, I didn't realize that I could have used my phone. Haha!

  2. Such a cool event! Never knew Bettina had her own business.

    1. Yeah, it was really awesome! And I didn't know as well until I attended the event.

  3. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. It was my pleasure po! Thanks for the invite!


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