Feb 28, 2014

The long wait is finally over, it was so near yet so far... 

I am talking about dining at P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro located in our neighboring mall Alabang Town Center. Read great review about it from my fave blogger, Patty, and hubby was also raving about it when he once dine there together with some clients. Also, let us not forget that it was actually mentioned in one of the episode of comedy TV Series Big Bang Theory.

A photo beside the horsey...tigidig, tigidig

But enough about the waiting, actually the night was a bit special compared to our usual Friday dining. It was afterall the 28th of Feb, so it was our last hurrah for hubby's birthday month...and just the day before that, we got the official letter from hubby's office that he got promoted!!!


Double celebration for God's double portion. The timing is impeccable -- to receive the news a few days after his birthday and coming back from our Boracay trip. But looking back in 2009 a few months before our wedding day, in the same company at around the same time of the year, my-then-fiance actually got laid off due to recession that year. He also got the news few days after his birthday and we were actually very sad at that time as we were in the middle of our wedding planning. Despite that we held on and kept saying "by faith" things would be better.

In 2011, he returned to the company after recovering from the recession and now five years after that incident we received this great news. It is only God who can truly turn things around only if you trust Him and obey His will. So to God be the glory, honor and praise... Thank you, Father!

Again, happy birthday to my dearest husband and congrats! It is chow time...


The serving size of the meal is good for sharing between two people and ranges from Php 300-500 per dish. We ordered brown rice together with Crispy Honey Chicken and Shrimp with Lobster Sauce and it was deli-C-I-O-U-S. For full menu and branches, check out P.F. Chang's official website.


I have a growing fond of creating photobooks through Photobook Philippines. I get regular email updates from them regarding promos and discounts but this particular email really caught me by surprise.



One FREE 6x6" 40-page mini square photobook?! Sweet!!! Hmm...I wonder if there would be any catch. I got the email right after V-day and it noted that it is valid only on Febuary 28. So my game plan was to use it for our Boracay trip but I have to create and finish the project super fast.

I already got a look in mind and I was able to finish up in a day after we got back from trip since I am already familiar with their easy to use application. At Feb 26, I was able to upload very early in the morning and I used the code provided during the ordering process and it was definitely FREE!!! <insert cartwheels here> From original price of Php 1,200 + Shipping fee, I only paid Php 200 for the shipment using BPI My ePrepaid Mastercard.

As I tracked my order in DHL, the excitement started building up when I saw that my order was already printed out and picked up from Photobook Worldwide - Malaysia office. The next day, I already received my order. Just look closely to the timestamp below! <insert victory dance here>


Despite the compact size of 6x6", I absolutely love it especially the quality of material used. Could not ask for more considering it is for free. Muah, muah!!!



Oh, hubby also had his own account with them and he also received an email. I used his code to order another copy of the same photobook so we could give it to my in-laws. Praise God for this freebie.


Thank you very much Photobook Philippines!!!
More about Boracay here.

Feb 27, 2014

I had to admit, I rarely do OOTD post here anymore. A lot of fashion blogger do a much better job in it anyway so better to leave that part to them. But it is the beach and it is Boracay no less so cut me some slack for trying (again)... hihihi!


So these are my pegs from Google Search and being plump would not stop me from doing a cute outfits either. Embracing my new body type but off course I am still hoping to be in a better shape once I get hold off this thyroid issue of mine.



What is fun about this outfit which I wore on Day 3 of the trip is that I actually got the ensemble from the ukay-ukay just a few steps away from our apartment!!! Yeap, the cover up which was made in Indonesia and the white board shorts only cost me Php 200 bucks. Sweet deal, right?



I have always wanted a Fedora hat so finally I got to buy one from a Surplus Shop in Festival Mall Alabang which also cost Php 200. By the way, you can also find lots of hats like this in the souvenir shops in Boracay in different colors.


So the whole look is less than Php 500.
More about Boracay here.

Feb 26, 2014

I have 3 travel destination in my faith goals for the year and praying for the Lord's favor and provision. We started our travel early this year... Numero uno reason is that hubby celebrated his birthday last weekend. Also, this would be our first time to travel with family members in tow. My in-laws just turned 60s recently and we want them to get out from their seniorly daily lives to enjoy an inter-island vacation while they still can. So the challenge for me is to arrange and plan out everything for 4 pax instead of my usual 2 pax...of course, the main concern is the BUDGET!!!

But God is faithful, it was December last year when I saw GJM International Facebook post regarding their Boracay Package promo just around the time I got my 13th month bonus. Remember they were the same group who made our land arrangement in Hongkong-Macau. I asked hubby's permission first and when he gave me the go signal. I started coordinating with assigned agent, Grace to plan out our itinerary.


After some few email exchanges, I deposited the 75% amount due to their Union Bank account for reservation and paid the remaining balance a month before our travel dates. They have other payment options but I prefer bank deposits because they do not have processing charges unlike credit cards.

GJM Service: I still find their offerings quite reasonable however comparing my first transaction with them, medyo nakulangan ako sa mga information na sinesend sa akin this time. I had to make several follow ups and at times had to call for details. But generally, I was still satisfied as they were able to deliver what they promised in their advertisement.

The Flights: Unlike in the past travels, I usually arrange the airfare by waiting on promo fare but GJM package already included this. Since this is just a promo so it was expected that the flights are scheduled on "off-peak" hours of the day to take advantage of the lowest fare possible. 

MNL to KLO via Air Asia Zest in Terminal 4 at 6:50am in the morning

It was our first time with Air Asia Zest on an A320 plane and I was quite pleased with it. However, since our fare did not include baggage we had to pay extra Php 350 (for maximum 15 kgs) for hubby's bag because they did not allow the tripod for camera as hand carry.



KLO to MNL via PAL Express in Terminal 3 at 10:40 pm in the evening

We were booked under Fiesta Deal or the Budget Economy in A320 so we had no baggage allowance. While still in Boracay, I tweeted @flyPAL and inquired about their Prepaid Baggage because as estimated we needed one from all the pasalubong plus again the tripod issue. After getting a tweet back, I called up their Kalibo office to get further instructions. Good thing our flight was still later that evening, I dropped by their ticketing office in the airport to pay up Php 350 for maximum of 20 kgs. The usual cost is Php 200/kg so imagine the difference but keep in mind prepaid baggage is available up to only 4 hours before the flight.

Both flights took less than 1 hour, sobrang bilis lang talaga promise. Parang kakatake-off pa lang, pababa na ulet. Mas matagal pa yung traffic sa EDSA! No wonder, a lot of people with money goes to Boracay often.

Kalibo Airport: There are 2 airport that you could fly in to Boracay - Caticlan Domestic airport and Kalibo International Airport. The Kalibo Airport caters to International flights thus the airplanes are bigger BUT it is around 70 kms away from Caticlan Jetty Port. It took us another couple of hours on a van to drive up then down the mountains to get to the port.

Caticlan Jetty Port:  From the boat terminal, it is less than 20-minute boat ride plus a 10-minute tricycle ride is what keeps you away from the white beach of Boracay. Kaya lang for a stay of 5 minutes sa jetty port, you still have to pay for the terminal and environmental fee. Sa sobrang lapit nung 2 island, parang mas feel ko pa magbayad ng fee para sa isang mala-Ocean park see-through tunnel habang naglalakad underwater with sightseeing.

Accommodation: Also included in the package is 3D2N stay in Boracay Travelodge, formerly Boracay Courtyard. The room only has its bare essentials, nothing fancy or picture worthy. But if you plan to stay at the beach and spend the whole day trying out all the activities, this one will do. There is heater in the shower although the water pressure is not strong but the aircorn works fine in room 204. Good thing, it is under La Carmela Hotel Management so we get to eat the daily buffet breakfast there and also use their amenities.


By the way, it is located at Station 2 and a few steps from d'Talipapa. A place of many many souvenirs shop and wet market where you can buy fresh food especially sea food and have it cooked in the restaurant nearby for a fee or what we call "Paluto". Think: Dampa-style here in Manila.

Additional Charges: Lastly, although our package stated all-in there were additional expenses on the way. I do remember confirming with our agent in one of my calls about the terminal fees, sabi covered daw but when we were there the person attending to us confirmed hindi. I checked my print out service vouchers, walang nakaindicate specifically so indi ko na pinush. We were already there and I see no point of calling my agent to verify it. Lesson-learned na lang to make sure to have it in writing for all the inclusion.

Caticlan Jetty Port
    Terminal Fee - Php 100/head x 2 (back and forth)
    Environmental Fee - Php 75/head

Airport
    Kalibo Terminal Fee - Php 100/head (going back to Manila)
    Baggage Fee - Php 350 x 2

Breakfast
    The package only included daily buffet breakfast for 2 pax so you have to pay extra for the other 2 in the group.

Activities
     Although we did not do any of this considering our companions, I overheard that mostly they offer Php 1,300/head for 5 activities like helmet diving and AVR ride, etc.


I know there are already a lot of information in the internet about Boracay but I hope this still helps! Feel free to comment in this post for questions or share your own experience in the planning stage of your trip.

P.S. Do not call Boracay as Bora, there is an ongoing petition by the locals on that as they do not want to be confused from Bora-Bora which is another travel destination found in French Polynesia.  

More about Boracay here.

Feb 23, 2014

Here goes a chessy post... #PagbigyanNa

Happy, happy birthday, my Jasey ♥♥♥

I continue to praise God to have you not just as my husband but as a friend and leader. I am honored that I am able to be in the frontline with you as your life continue to unfold. It has been a pleasure and inspiring to be a witness of your obedience to the Lord. 

I pray for your good health and wisdom in decision making...more great blessings ahead. I he♡rt you to bits!!!



More about Boracay here.

Feb 16, 2014

So its 2014 and I still hold true to my personal rule - no credit card. I have been using my ATM Debit Card for online buys but I wanted to shake things up and separate my savings from my online shopping budget. Enter BPI, you know they just have the practical solutions in most of my financial needs so I read on their Prepaid Card offering.


Additional perk is that I was able to avail BPI My ePrepaid MasterCard with just Php 350 through LivingSocial former Ensogo instead of regular Php 500 application fee. After signing up, I got an email that the card is already available at my nominated BPI branch.

I picked up my card and submitted the printout of the email notice. Ms. Rosemarie of BPI Ayala FGU also assisted me to register the prepaid card to my savings account. 24 Hours later I already transferred my initial load and started shopping. Hihihi....




Feb 12, 2014

Our reliable Brother Printer has finally reached the end of its service. I think more than 5 years is quite a feat for this printer to last. It has served its purpose well and even helped us out to print some of our wedding items few years back. So with that kind of performance, we decided our loyalty remains with Brother Printer and our investment is worth every penny.

Last weekend, we swung by Octagon Computer Superstore at Festival Mall and inquired about their latest model.  Good thing, the store attendant Renante was very patient in all our inquiries and happily assisted us in choosing from their line of products.


Little did we know about this promo and was surprise to get a voucher after paying at the cashier. We were entitled to a Jollibee bucket meal which includes 6 pcs Chicken Joy, 3 rice, 3 softdrinks and 3 Regular Yum. It was an added bonus that we decided to give Renante his share in our freebie after claiming it at the branch right across the store.

Visit their website for more details.

Feb 11, 2014

So even before hubby and I started going out back in high school, he has always been into biking. Come to think of it, my first memory of him is seeing him riding his bike around the neighborhood and then... we locked eyes! Hahahaha... True story but enough about that. It was unfortunate though that he got so busy. But after all these years of missing out on this good exercise, he finally decided to return to his roots.


He bought a beginner's Trek Mountain Bike, Minato, sometime in August last year. It was already typhoon season so he had to wait a month after before he was able to use it. Fortunately for us, we are living in Alabang gilid passing along Daang Hari where other bikers take a spin of their ride every weekend. 


I've seen a lot of photos since then and he has invited me once in awhile but my weekend mornings were reserved for catching up some Zzzzzs so hubby usually goes out with my bro-in-law. Until last Saturday, thanks to juicing I started to have a little more energy than the usual so I finally joined him. But because I don't have a bike (yet) we drove out Jarvis, our car, and parked at Petron Daang Reyna (across Starbucks and McDonalds) and power walked instead.



A few meters further from where we parked, I was greeted by this seemingly Biker's Convention under a Tent near Fernbrook Gardens. Think Mercato at BGC or Salcedo Weekend market but instead it caters mainly for bikers needs: lugaw and mami for their breakfast and a whole lot of apparel. Thus, I thought in my head, it is a whole culture out here -- a biking culture.


I am still undecided whether I should buy my own bike. There is a commitment issue and a space issue. Minato hangs in our apartment wall since it was bought. But I did enjoy riding Minato while we brought it at the Palms the last time. There is quick video at the end so click play.




Feb 9, 2014

So the other day I already mentioned the first in one of my personal projects which I was able to do during the long weekend and now here is the second one:

Create a Times of Refreshing Blog Photobook (magazine-style)



So I scored another voucher from Metrodeal for a Softcover 8x11" 40 pages for Photobook Philippines. But instead of starting out from scratch, I tried one of the travel templates found under their Ready Books category. With a little bit of tweaking to customize some of the pages in my own preference, I was able to finish up in 2 days and here is the finish product. Click on the link to show all the pages.




I know it is a far cry from those done professionally but it is for personal use and for a non-artist such as myself, I am quite happy with the end result. I am done ordering and just waiting for delivery after 7 days. Don't worry, I will update this post with the actual photobook printout once I received it.

Feb 8, 2014

I am so hooked in this new gem in Asian cable TV!

Been watching it over our Sky Cable Dual Def 499 HD Channel - Lifetime Asia. Not only am I viewing it... I am also iRecording it (more about this nifty feature later)!!! Wiiiiiiihhhhh.... <Insert cartwheel here>


Lifetime Asia describes Sugar Stars as the escapades of these unusual friends-turned-business partners as they take you into the world of 'petite sweets' and the drama that ensues as they run their specialty dessert business in the sugary world of over-the-top confectionery creations, as the crew designs elaborate, eye-popping 'sweet tables' for the biggest events in town.

Every time I watch it, I have a staple smile in my face -- as we put it in Filipino "ang kulit lang talaga nila". I like how the show focused on the creative side, planning and executing for the actual event instead of the how to bake the food or sweet treats. But the Cakes By Yolanda are just jaw-dropping and will knock you out your socks off each time. My personal faves so far are The Game of Thrones Dragon Eggs and the Topsy Turvy Cake. Elle and Caspar with Antonella, with their own cray-cray personalities, just complete their foursome team of Petite and Sweet in Toronto, Canada.

I am so inspired by it, I am already doodling a travel-themed sweet table in case I plan to throw out some party of my own. Props would be the least of my problem, I am starting to get butt-loads of souvenirs from my travel.

Pictures via Google Search



So, what is this iRecord I was talking about earlier? Well, just in case you still did not know Only SKYcable gives you a world of limitless possibilities with its widest selection of channels and different ways to enjoy it.

For one, SKYcable has the most number of standard definition (SD) and high definition (HD) channels. Enjoy over 180 channels so the entire family can have a world of possibilities and limitless discoveries. Genres include Movies, Sports, Kids, Learning, Music, General Entertainment, News, Lifestyle, Religious and International channels. SKYcable also has the most number of high definition channels – a total of 42 HD channels – the most in the country!

If you are a SKYcable subscriber then you also have the ability to add channels and packs that you like to your basic plan. Choose and add channels and packs to your basic subscription plan to suit the family’s viewing preferences.

Then, you can also get access to special shows and events through SKYcable Pay-Per-View and Free View with the widest variety of live entertainment – from sporting matches, thelatest blockbuster movies to live coverage of special events and concerts.

Lastly and my personal favorite, SKYcable enables silly me to take control of my TV viewing with iRecord allowing me the power to pause, record, and rewind live TV, so I never miss out on any of my favorite shows and scenes like Sugar Stars. 

SKYcable has the first and only Personal Video Recorder (PVR) feature in the country.
 
Pause
The SKYcable iRecord also has timeshift which lets you pause live TV in case you need to step out for a while and resume where you left off.

Record
With a press of a button, it lets you record like your favorite tv series – while watching the news. The SKYcable iRecord also lets you schedule recordings so it automatically saves the shows you want even if you’re not around.

Playback
You can bookmark, fast forward and rewind recorded shows so you can get back to your favorite scenes in a snap. Plus savor every exciting moment in slow motion and frame by frame playback.


Glad I got reconnected to SKYcable and now I can always view the show iRecorded at my most convenient time and no more rushing to get home or getting late to sit down at the dinner table because I am still watching TV. Hahaha... Thanks much, mySky!


Sugar Stars follows the escapades of these unusual friends-turned-business partners as they take you into the world of 'petite sweets' and the drama that ensues as they run their specialty dessert business in the sugary world of over-the-top confectionary creations, as the crew designs elaborate, eye-popping 'sweet tables' for the biggest events in town - See more at: http://www.lifetimeasia.com/show/sugar-stars-s1#sthash.vixQdX4u.dpuf

Feb 7, 2014

It was a blessing in disguise that I did not score any getaway deals for the long weekend last week (Chinese New Year) so instead I was able to focus on a couple of my personal projects at home. One of which is to try out juicing for a change.


(Photo from Ensogo) I am using the one in the right but bought it at SM Dept.

As you know, I have been praying for divine health for this year and asking God to give me the wisdom and discipline to be a steward of this body so I could do the good works He has prepared for me. Two weeks ago nga pala, I got my cholesterol test result from the doctor and ayun top honor ang lola nyo sa pagiging high scorer. All the more I wanted to do a juice fast to jump start a healthy eating habit and to my surprise, some of my FB contacts got curious when I posted this photo of my practice juice recipe.


Masarap pala sya kahit walang sugar. The next day I was determined to drink different juice concoctions and by God's grace I did!!! The day turned out to be colorful to say the least.


So I continued for the rest of the week with at least one full meal a day. Mostly, I would eat Tuna Sandwich with Cheese using Gardenia Wheat Raisin bread during lunch then fruits afterwards. Some days I had rice with Century tuna or roasted chicken minus the skin. I also drink Banaba Tea during the evenings. I was surprised how my cravings for junk food went away. I still crave for sweets but they are manageable. So I take half a bar of this Goya Dark Chocolate every other day. They say dark chox are better the milk chocolates.



The big question is: did I lose weight? Well... it is too soon to weigh but I did went down a few centimeters in some body parts. Besides NOT to crave for red meat and softdrinks the whole week is already unbelievable to me. I don't feel sluggish and lethargic so I might add few light exercises to my routine. However, this blog post might inspire you on the before and after result of juicing.

My Combinations

2 Pears
1 Ponkan
3 Tomatoes

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2 Apples
1 Ponkan
1 Carrot
0.5 Cucumber 

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2 Pears
1 Ponkan
Asparagus

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2 Apples
1 Ponkan
Celery

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This one is a smoothie with the use of a blender

2 Slice Mangoes
3 Bananas
1 Cup Malunggay Leaves
1 Tray Ice Cubes


I am no health professional and expert so I am not claiming that any of this will work for you. I've done my fair share of research and consultation. So I hope when you decide you are ready, you will also equip yourself with enough information. Happy juicing!