Dec 31, 2013

It was a blessing in disguise that my holiday giveaway from another supplier fell through. I have been missing these cupcakes for a while now so this gave me a reason to message my good friend, Cha Pangilinan of True Riches Cupcakes to place my orders for our family and few friends.

Without batting an eyelash, Cha accepted my orders and we arranged the pick up date. Just a sideline story, Cha and I worked together in the same team in my previous company. Soon after, we became friends and eventually neighbor when she moved in to the same apartment building. Lastly, our connection did not end there as I was privileged to be a witness when she gave her life to Christ on July 2011. With new wisdom from God, she prayed that her hobby from baking cupcakes would eventually lead to a business venture. So being neighbors with her, I got to be part of her taste test group. Whenever she would try out new size and flavors, she would hand some over our window for FREE!!!

However, I had to give up that privilege when we moved from Fort to Alabang. Fast forward to today, I was so happy to revisit the True Riches Cupcakes Facebook Page and check out what is the latest concoction from her kitchen. Was very happy to see that she continues to learn more and more even accepting cake orders.

She was heading to her hometown for the New Year so our meeting was very brief. We literally drove from Alabang to Fort and back via SLEX in 1 hour, hihihi. But it was worth the gas and toll fee, the cupcakes are more delicious now so I am excited to share it with friends.

So touched that True Riches Cupcakes
still used the logo I designed a year ago

Here are some of the flavors you just can't missed out. I love the ones with cream cheese. Please visit their FB Page for the rest of the menus and other offerings.

So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, 
who will trust you with true riches?

Luke 16:11 NIV

Dec 30, 2013

Due to my thyroid problem, I often have body aches and muscle pain. Aside from taking my prescribed oral medication, I found that getting massages relaxes me and soothes the pain. So for the past few months now, I have been going to Beauty Pleasures Nail Care and Day Spa located at the 3rd Floor of Festival Mall Alabang Muntinlupa City. Their location is perfect, just right beside the escalator going up. It is sandwiched between the floors of Starbucks and Victory Christian Fellowship Alabang (VCF).

Beauty Pleasures Facebook

I already availed several services such as Swedish  Body Massage, Body Scrub and Foot Reflex. My usually shy hubby even tried their back massage and he really like it. Unfortunately, due to the limited space they do not have a couples room so we often get treatments on separate rooms.

Often, spa centers would play instrumental music but in our first visit I was surprised to hear that they were playing Christian instrumental music and according to one of the therapist it is because one of the owners is actually a Christian.

Gratefully, when we at Victory Alabang celebrated our church 15th Anniversary they gave out a privilege card that can be used for several establishment. I was happy to find a Beauty Pleasures Spa coupon which entitles me to a discount when I register to become a member. I wasted no time in using it and was able to avail big discount during my birthday month last November.

Hope you will also enjoy your visits with them and don't forget to be generous with the attendants when tipping. Have a relaxing time!

Dec 29, 2013

It has been a year since we went to Ace Water Spa in Pasig, so a day after Christmas day, we went back there but this time with the whole Yap family. Nothing much changed from our last visit even the rules and regulation are the same so you may want to read back on my previous post here for review.

For this visit though, we bought several vouchers from Metrodeal Deal to be able to bring the family over and experience the hydrotherapy massage that Ace Water Spa is known for. We got the deal for Php 350 each instead of Php 550 a month before our visit.

Still, taking pictures are not allowed in the pool area so here are few of our family snappies before and after our treatment.

with my in laws and hubby's nephews

We all first took a dip in the pressure pool to try out the different massages. Base on what I noticed, MIL and DIL (mom and dad in law) like the different temperature in the herbal pool while the kids enjoyed the swimming pool. We also borrowed a life vest to ensure the safety of the youngest so he too could practice and learn how to swim.

Belated Merry Christmas everyone and
hope you have a blessed new year ahead!

God bless!!!

Dec 16, 2013

Last November was my birthday month and hubby gifted me with an overnight staycation at Bellevue Hotel Alabang - Main Tower through Deal Grocer voucher.

Located at Northgate, the hotel are among corporate buildings with night shift thus a few steps away you can conveniently find your go-to shops like Starbucks, 7-Eleven, Country Style's New Bistro, Jollibee and others. 

The highlight of the room is the king-size bed! Honestly, it really irks me when hubby would lie down at end of our own bed horizontally instead of vertically while watching TV kse I wouldn't be able to straighten out my leg kse nakaharang sya! Urrggh... But he was able do this at the hotel and it was all good.

A round of complimentary drink is available either at the cafe or the swimming pool. The pool is found at the 3rd floor together with the gym and even the Jing Monis Salon. However, there was ongoing building construction outside so there was not much of a view to look at. WIFI connection is also available with login credentials provided during check-in.

The next morning, we head out to the restaurant for the buffet breakfast. There are variety of food for the kids, the bread, the rice, the meat, the cheese lovers and others.

Of course, we would not check out without having our quirky photos taken right? Lakas lang maka-Gladys Reyes' Moments at Net 25 ang couch na ito sa lobby, frustrated talk show host ang peg.

Thank you Father for another year of experience and for loving protection all year round. Your grace and faithfulness is my stronghold. Belated Happy Birthday to Me!

Dec 14, 2013

I must admit, I am the NOT the best person to go to when it comes to finances. 

My background: my parents are hard workers so by the time I was in high school, their efforts have paid off and our several small businesses were at its peak. So basically, I get whatever a normal teenage girl would like to have during those days. However, by the time that I was graduating in college everything went down the drain due to mismanagement. Our house, the cars, the stores and real estate assets ended up being sold to pay out business and personal debts. It was hard to swallow and with the whole family's ego bruised we had to start from ground up. My mom passed away right after the whole ordeal and now my dad who is almost in his 60s do not have any pension to fall back on.

As I moved up in the corporate ladder in the IT industry during my early 20s, I somehow relived the life that I once had when it comes to spending. So even if I was starting to earn more, I still lived from pay check to pay check and at times a week short to the next pay check scavenging a few hundred bucks which I might left off somewhere in the pockets of my bags.

But in 2011, when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I then realized that He is Lord of all or nothing at all. He reigns over every aspect of my life including my finances. I had no vices whatsoever like smoking, drinking or drugs but when it comes to money it was a struggle for me to control and be discipline. It did not happen overnight but I continue to pray and pray for God to give me the wisdom to handle and be a good steward of His financial provisions. Being a wife who shares the responsibility of budgeting for the family, my heart aims that at the end of it all, the Lord will say "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master" just like in the Parable of the Talents.

Money in itself is not evil but the LOVE of money is the ROOT of all evil. I am blessed that our church, Victory or VCF, also encourages us to first and foremost give back to the Lord and teaches us not only Biblical but also practical principles on handling finances. Just to mention, recently we finished our Sunday series: It's Not About the Money and you may listen to these podcast for those preaching.

I know God is steering me in direction where I could take hold of this struggle. It is a slow process but through reading the Bible then other financial literature (books, blogs, videos and even seminars), I am starting to gain more knowledge about it. It is actually been going on for a while but I haven't blog about  it because I still feel inadequate to share my experience with you my beloved readers.

However, before 2013 ended, by God's grace I hit my 3rd financial target so I decided that this is a good year-end post to encourage people like me, especially the younger ones, that you do not need to have hundred thousands to start investing and that time is your ally. Around this season as well is when companies are giving out the employee's bonuses so please do pause before buying that latest smartphone or what-have-yous (I am also techie so I understand what you are going through) and think how you could allocate this additional blessings.

My Top 3 Investment Targets to Financial Freedom
1. Build up the Emergency Fund through a bank savings account
2. Start buying stocks through a trusted trader
3. Get a life insurance

So here I am with Bong Landerito, my Financial Adviser from Manulife whom I met through an officemate. Like most of the Filipino families, he has his own fair share of story to tell when it comes to financial struggle. This became his advocacy because of the the things he learned from his own life experience. Very relaxed and easy to talk, just reached out to him through the contacts below. 

Cheers to my new life with Manulife!

Just a reminder, to do your own research. Have time to reflect on your needs and goals. Explore your means and vehicles to build up your asset. Be cautious on get rich quick scheme and do not rush into things even if someone else is pressuring or persuading you to do so. This is your hard-earned money so take as much time as you need to fully understand even the terms in the fine print. 

A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, 
but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.

[NIV] Proverbs 13:22

Sir Chief, Richard Yap

Sources: Some images came from their Facebook Page

Dec 12, 2013

On our 3rd and last day at Hong Kong, we went around Causeway Bay to try to do some shopping with the last HK Dollar that we still have before flying back home that night. It was still a bit early so the malls are still closed but some smaller stores are already starting to set up. 

Across Sogo Mall at the Lockhart Road side, hubby and I entered a compu-electronics stall called Sunlite. He inquired about a small tripod that can be used in tables. The store attendant was quite attentive and while paying, hubby also inquired for a battery grip with remote control for his Nikon D3100. However, like I said we were already down to our last HKD so we could no longer afford it with the remaining change we have. I tried to be honest and the store attendant made some computation. He remarked with a smile "no business", I think he was trying to imply that they wouldn't make any profit at all. But I honestly told him the change from the tripod is the only money left on hubby's shopping budget so after a few minutes the attendant asked for additional $10HKD to have a good "morning business". Buena mano I think is what he means. I reached out for my pocket and there was a $10HKD coin.

So we started laughing and the attendant introduced himself as Jack. While testing the items, he took a picture of us and said "maganda". The more we laugh because he said he knows "konti lang" Filipino words. In case you are within the area and want to score good deal with some camera accessories, try out Sunlite and look for the very friendly Jack.

Find them at the Causeway Bay Area
(Click the image to view larger picture)

Dec 11, 2013

Hubby was dropping hints that he wanted to buy a guitar for himself but considering that he just recently bought a mountain bike, he is still weighing in if he should buy one. But while channel surfing 2 weeks ago, I saw the RJ Guitar Center 1-Day Christmas Sale on Dec 7, 2013.

So, I thought it would be a great 16th (4th Wedding) Anniversary gift for him and we will be back from our HK-Macau trip by then. A day after of our actual anniversary, we checked out the RJ Guitar Center in Festival Mall Alabang right after my dentist appointment around 12nn, there were no customers yet for the 30% off deal. Hubby eyed for a couple of guitar designs and later when 6 o'clock pm came, he lined up like the rest of the customer and came home with his first choice with 50% off discount.

His Caption: Thank you Lord for a very loving and understanding wife @sasaramosyap as she continues to support me in my hobbies and interests.

Dec 10, 2013

In the previous post, I mentioned that the HK-Macau packages quotation of the different travel agencies are basically the same except for the hotel accommodation. So after reading hotel reviews in TripVisor, I decided to avail the package trip from GJM International which includes accommodation to The Emperor Hotel in Happy Valley Hong Kong.

Our 3-day trip is jampacked with activities, we basically reach the hotel every night by 12mn and wake up at 7am so other budget travelers might consider booking cheaper hostel but for us, we still prefer to go home to a nice-looking room at a reasonable price. So we are quite satisfied with the facilities in Emperor Hotel and here are some of the highlights of our experience:
  • The location is 20 minutes away from Causeway Bay and 5 minutes walk to the tram station or terminal. This distance is quite acceptable except that when you are already tired from walking all-day the time could be longer.
  • The bus and taxis are available in front of the hotel but we were not able to try out these one. Also, coming from Mong Kok you can ride Bus 117 but take note last trip is at 9:45 pm so if you are doing the Ladies Night Market you won't be able to ride it.
  • There is a free hotel shuttle coach with routes going to Causeway Bay so check at the front desk for the times and reservation
  • McDonalds and convenient stores such 7-11, K Circle, Market Place, Vingo are within 5-10 minute walk radius of the hotel
  • The hotel staff are helpful but not too friendly compared to the hospitable Filipino hotel staff
  • Allows guests to leave their baggage at the front desk during early check-in/out 
  • Nearby landmarks are Happy Valley Racecourse or Jockey Club and from what we learned is that this is one of the most popular form of entertainment during Sunday where a lot of people come to watch and bet that allows them to earn billion of US Dollars
  • Other landmarks are Hindu temple then our tour guide also jokingly pointed out the location of AIA Building (Insurance), the hospital and cemetery right beside each other.

Anyhow, The superior room is at 230 square feet which already includes the bathroom area. According to our tour guide the average unit for a family in HK is only 50-60 sqm and the price is not about the size but the location. Thus, there is no complaining to the hotel room size. On Day 1, I was disappointed to enter to 2 single beds in the room that I immediately called the front desk and informed that I booked for a double room. They explained that it was not noted during the booking however no need for us to change room number and they will  just change the bed during housekeeping the next day. True enough, we finally came home to a double bed in our Day 2. By the way, since the travel agency processed our booking, I actually sent an email directly to the hotel a week before our arrival to verify our reservations just to make sure.

Hope this review will be helpful to those looking for accommodation in the HK Island side near Causeway Bay. Also, several Filipino families were staying at the same hotel as well and here are some of the pictures of our room located at the 17th floor.

Gold kung gold ang mga fixtures 

Inside the room you will find the following: 
Choice of Double or Twin 
Private bathroom 
Electronic card keys 
in-room safe 
Individually controlled air conditioning 
Coffee & tea making facilities 
Cable TV with 39 channels and 2 radio channels 
Writing desk 
IDD telephone system 
Wireless broadband internet access 
Hair dryer  
Alarm clock