Pre-heat the oil at high heat. Adding the garlic and onions, put it to medium heat so as not to burn them. The soy sauce comes in after, letting it simmer for less than a minute, enough time for the flavors to blend. Eggplant comes next, this one you'd have to stir a bit from time to time then cover the lid at 10sec intervals approximately. When it starts to soften, add the rice and the crushed pepper, then pour the ampalaya thereafter. Keep folding the rice in. Do this for a minute till the soy-sauce has coated on each grain. This should take no more than 2 minutes with a wooden ladle. I do turn the heat to the lowest low when doing so. In the middle of that wrestling procedure, pour in the sugar. Finally the tomatoes, I intentionally put them last so it wouldn't get soggy. This also retains much of its nutrients. Just rest them on top of the rice, no stirring needed. Cover the pan and let it simmer for a minute or so.