Thursday, December 30, 2010

Espasol by Lorrie's Sweets

My mother-in-law (Nanay Lorrie) creates the best Espasol I've ever tasted. It is no wonder that our friends, relatives, officemates, and even complete strangers order it for pasalubong not only in the provinces, but also to other countries. 

A friend's Japanese boss would always ask her to buy some, while a hospitalized aunt of a lady senator would not eat anything on the hospital except my Nanay's espasol. One time, she even sent her driver to get the espasol from San Ildefonso, Bulacan to be brought to Manila!


Made from only three simple ingredients -- glutinous rice flour, coconut milk, and sugar -- it is so popular for those who have tried it. Even those who do not eat espasol easily became converts. To skeptic buyers, I always tell them to try a box first, then I don't oblige them to pay if they are not satisfied. Well, I have yet to encounter one who will refuse to pay or would not place another order, hehe.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

La Mesa Ecopark

Last Sunday, we had a chance to experience the La Mesa Ecopark with 2 other family friends. The ecopark is situated near Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, hence QC residents pay lower than the Php 50 entrance fee. Kids below 3 feet can enter the park free. 

The forest park is being maintained by ABS-CBN Foundation since 2004 through Bantay Kalikasan (Nature Watch) in partnership with MWSS and other private donors. Its an offshoot of their reforestation program to protect the La Mesa watershed, which supplies potable water to more than 12 million Metro Manila and nearby residents.


The park has many picnic areas with free concrete table and chairs, like the one below. Those who want to use portable table and 4 plastic chairs may rent one set at Php 120 per set.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Pastillas de Leche by Lorrie's Sweets

My mother-in-law Nanay Lorrie has been making pastillas (dulce) for many years now. Unlike the moist, sugar-covered pastillas of San Miguel, Bulacan from carabao’s milk, Nanay produce the drier version from cow’s milk, making it less vulnerable to molds and therefore can have 3 weeks of shelf life. 

Her pastillas is sold under the brand name Lorrie’s Sweets, and has been featured many times in early morning TV shows, documentaries, and  in some magazines. She does not advertise her products, and she do not have a retail or distribution outlet, but her regular clients who flock to their home in San Ildefonso, Bulacan do the word-of-mouth promotion for her.


Despite the increasing demand especially during holiday seasons, Nanay maintains the same homemade-level of production. I think her reason is to maintain the consistency of quality through the same 2-3 trained workers doing the tedious handmixing of the pastillas paste. Let me walk you through the making of her unique, pure, and all natural pastillas.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pagadian Food Options & Hotel Camila

While in Pagadian City for 3 days, we stayed at Hotel Camila along Ariosa St. near Rizal and Fajares avenues. For a room rate of Php 699/night without breakfast, its very reasonable. Rubylyn, Emil, and their colleagues at front desk are all very helpful, and would always assist guests on their queries. The rooms are quite old but clean, while some bed linens need replacement due to thinning thread count. Water pressure needs more strength to ensure consistency of hot shower to work. Still, I wouldn't mind staying back at this hotel for their location, rate, and warmth of customer service.


Their Sunburst restaurant is one of the few air conditioned and "upscale" restaurants in the city. The quality of food is good enough during our room service experiences, although it takes more than 30 minutes before they are served, whether inside the guestrooms or on their dining area. 

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Friday, December 3, 2010

BPI - Jollibee Promo Dec. 2010 to Jan. 2011

After the not-so popular BPI-Goldilocks promo here that ended last month, BPI Credit Cards this time did not took a rest, with their BPI-Jollibee promo I received by SMS message the other day. Verifying with their 89-100 hotline, the promo period is from 01 December 2010 until 31 January 2011. Redemption period is until 31 March 2011. See the product entitlements below.

 


For every single charge BPI credit card receipt of:

P 2,000  -  1-pc of either Jollibee Chickenjoy or Chicken BBQ with rice
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Pagadian Sights

Availing a 3-day vacation leave from work, we set off to Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur last week, accompanied by Wife and our 3-year old Son. Its a city on a hillside, bounded by the Illana Bay on the south, and referred to as the little Hong Kong of Mindanao. Its like Baguio City minus the pine trees and cold climate, plus the seas nearby.


With CebuPac's total promo round trip airfare of only P776 for the three of us, we were able to set foot on the island of Mindanao for the first time. I was surprised on the "mob" of people at the airport to welcome their friends or relatives who came from their Muslim pilgrimage at Mecca.

The highlight of our trip is the Manga Waterfalls above, which we visited on our second day. Although it was a 1-km. tiring hike to and from the waterfalls (especially as I have to carry my son most of the time), it was all worth it once you see and hear the volume of water surging down the deep pool of water. 

I have no plans to swim, but I wasn't able to resist taking a dip on its inviting cool and clear waters. Since I did not bring extra clothes, I was only able to rinse and change into dry clothing only when we got back to the hotel, less than 10 km. away.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Girls of Auto Salon 2010

This is my post with the least words but the most photos. As what a popular song says, "a picture paints a thousand words", so the photos are more than enough for this post. Regrettably, I was only able to bring a camphone, so some photos do not give much justice to the beauty of the subjects.



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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Auto Salon 2010 at SMX

We just arrived from the Auto Salon 2010 at SMX Convention Center along Mall of Asia grounds in Pasay City. There are many amazing displays of vehicles, as well as merchants offering their various products and services. Below are some photos I was able to capture using just a camera phone, as I forgot to bring a real digicam.


Above is the oldest car in the show, a Citroen originally built in 1925, displayed outside the exhibit center. Below is a yellow Ferrari car.

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168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria

Last Sunday, while most Filipinos are glued on their homes to watch the Margarito-Pacquiao boxing fight, Wife and I chose to do our Christmas shopping to take advantage of less crowd and traffic at Divisoria. But upon arriving by 9 am at the mall, we were quite surprised with the huge number of people, realizing that its not only us who have thought about this timing strategy. :)


We did a walkthrough first, looking at the merchandise on offer by various stalls, then compared the prices.
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Saturday, November 13, 2010

NOAH Shop & Forest Camp in Negros Oriental


There’s not much to see in Dumaguete City, although its a cool place with its seaside Rizal Boulevard, Silliman University, and many options for inexpensive food trip here. On our first day in Dumaguete, we spent the morning at Manjuyod sandbar, 54 km north of Dumaguete. We have also visited 2 old churches in Dumaguete and Bacong here.
Prior to visiting the Bacong church, our gracious and lovely host Ms. Pearl, took us to a stonecraft factory in Bacong. Its called Negros Oriental Arts & Heritage Shop or commonly referred to as NOAH.

NOAH’s main products are decorative and multi-use items made from rock material found in the province. The rocks are cut, carved, glued like mosaic patterns to their respective frames, before being glazed and polished. As we saw the painstaking efforts and fine craftmanship on each handmade product, I can say that their selling prices are worth each peso spent by their customers. Once these products reach the shops in Manila and abroad, they would cost much more.
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Dumaguete's Rizal Boulevard

While in Dumaguete, we stayed at Honeycomb Inn, one of the bayside hotels along Rizal Boulevard. Its a low-rise medium-range hotel with a homey-facade facing the sea. Unfortunately, the room given to us on the first floor has no window for seaview. 

Our room has very basic furnitures but clean. Amenities include the usual shampoo, toothbrush, and nice-smelling bar soap. Set breakfast is included on the Php 1,000 nett rate per night, with choice of Filipino, American, Chinese, or Continental varieties. Their front desk people are courteous and helpful. The only downside is that they don’t provide complimentary drinking water, whether in dispenser or in small bottles.
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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Batanes: My Dream Destination


I’ve read and watched so many nice things about Batanes -- the northernmost tip of the country and with most number of typhoon visits; the only place in the country with 4 seasons; the smallest province with unique landscape; the province with lowest crime rate; friendly and courteous Ivatans (Batanes inhabitants) who have preserved their culture and way of life, inspite of globalization and new technologies.
Batanes is one of my top dream destinations. Why? Below are my 10 reasons why Batanes is worth a visit:
1.  Nice Beaches
Devoid of tourist crowds, Batanes beaches has unspoilt fine white sand beaches that could rival Boracay and Palawan beaches. I’m a beach buff, so I would like to see how Batanes beaches fare with the other 2 top beach destinations in the country. The rock formations like in the photo below are added bonus.
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Christmas Lights in Makati

The city of Makati is the premier business district of the Philippines. Boasting one of the highest revenue generating cities of the country, their local government can afford to flaunt their wealth by decorating their main business roads with Christmas lights each year.

Usually, their Christmas lights on the road islands have yellow color and without any form or shape. This year their Christmas lights have white color and are arranged vertically like big cylinders or funnels. Another difference is they have a special effect, like a dropping luminous white liquid, or a low shooting star from afar.

The photos above and below are taken along Ayala Avenue in between the Makati Stock Exchange and BPI branch.
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Dumaguete Food Trip

Our culinary tour in Dumaguete started with a new breakfast experience at the east side of public market. Its called “budbud kabog tsokolate”, consisting of cooked millet seeds unwrapped from banana leaves (lower left item, locally called also as "suman"), cooked red glutinous rice (top item), and thick chocolate syrup from local cacao fruit.

The cooked rice and millet seeds are usually dipped into the chocolate syrup. The "suman" or "budbud" are available in 3 options – plain, with chocolate, or with jackfruit.


If you need protein with these carbo-rich foods, cooked eggs or ham are available from the same carinderia-type stalls that sell this unique Negrense food. Aside from the 3 food items above, we also ordered cooked ground corn and hot chocolate drink, for a total bill of only Php 95 to break our fasting.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Manjuyod Sandbar, Negros Oriental

Below are two of the photos I saw from the net, showing the 7-km sandbar of Manjuyod (pronounced as man-hu-yod) during low tide at calm sea in Negros Oriental.  Located along Tanon Strait that separates the Negros and Cebu islands, its what enticed me to see the place, about 54 km north of Dumaguete city.



After breakfast, we rode the Manjuyod-bound Ceres bus from Dumaguete terminal. Fare is Php 50 per adult person, on this northbound route with views of the hills on the west side, and seaside views on the east side. The bus trip took 1.5 hours due to a lot of stops to load and unload passengers. We passed the towns of Sibulan, San Jose, Amlan, Tanjay, and Bais City, which is another takeoff point if we were able to avail the usual tour package which includes dolphin watching, etc. Unfortunately, the Bais City tourism office had not responded on my online reservation, while a private tour operator I was able to contact is charging Php 3,000 for boat rental which is just too expensive for only three of us.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dumaguete & Bacong Churches


During our stay at Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, we were able to visit 2 old churches of the province. The first church we visited is the most accessible in the heart of Dumaguete city’s town plaza, the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral. 

Built between 1754 to 1756, its the oldest stone church on the whole Negros island. It was reconstructed in 1885, then extended with present facade in 1936, somehow loosing its ancient look. Its interior had also succumbed to the pressures of modernism.

The last reminder of the church’s old charm is its separate belfry built in 1760s. Its the only surviving belfry out of the 4 original belfries constructed more than 2 centuries ago. Aside from housing the church bells, it also served as a watchtower against invading sea pirates, common with other old churches during the early years. 

Sadly, even this remaining belfry has to accommodate newer structures on its reduced land area. Like the church, its also situated along Perdices St. in front of Rizal Park.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Sojourn in Siquijor

Last Monday, I took my wife and youngest son to Siquijor, the 3rd smallest province in the country. Known as the center of witchcraft and love potions, it also boasts of old church, white sand beaches, caves, and short waterfalls.


From Dumaguete port, we rode the Delta fastcraft at Php 135 fare/pax, arriving in Siquijor port by 11:15 am. The choppy waters on the middle of the 45-min. boat trip may cause seasickness, but nobody vomitted among the passengers.
We proceeded to Das Traum Shop to ask if we can have early check-in at their guest house as arranged through SMS messages. The owner, Ms. Joy De Andrade offered his staff to give us a lift in a motorbike, but we declined as our hired tricycle driver Joam Camingao was already there to take us to the guest house. 

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Siquijor Churches

Joam, our hired tricycle driver and tour guide, took us first to Siquijor's San Francisco de Asis church and bell tower, which is just walking distance from Siquijor port. In front of the church is a triangular rotunda with signage of “Welcome to Siquijor”.


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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuding's Porkchop


I invited my 2 boys to join me at a nearby gasoline shop to give my old trusty AUV a routine oil change upon reaching 105k on its odometer. After bearing with me for 1.5 hours, they asked me to bring them in a branch of Tuding’s Original Porkchop Eatery which is along our way back home.

The younger son ordered a “ToSiLog”, a meal consiting of Tocino (cured sweet pork meat), Sinangag (fried rice), and Itlog (fried egg sunny side up style). This has been his favorite every time we dine here. Their tocino is tender (probably due to nitrate mix) and too sweet for my tastebuds, but just right for kids with sweet tooth.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

BPI-Goldilocks Promo Oct.1 - Nov.30

Good news to all BPI credit card holders. After more than 2 months without food promo for their credit card holders, they are bringing it back with Goldilocks products under DTI promo code 6392.
 


Promo period covers purchases between 01 October up to 30 November 2010. Redemption is until 15 February 2011, EXCEPT the busy Christmas period of 16-31 Dec 16-31, hence the 15 day extension of redemption period.

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Legend Hotel at Puerto Princesa

While I was comparing Puerto Princesa hotel rates and facilities for a group of doctors, Legend Hotels offered me a complimentary stay at their Puerto Princesa property. This is to allow me to have a first hand experience of what they offer, without any guarantee or obligation that my group will stay at their hotel. 

I think their location is just a kilometer away from the city center, but only a few steps away from the provincial hospital. Among the top 3 hotels in the city, they have the most number of guest rooms, function room, dining, and recreation facilities. They also have guest lifts, which is a plus for the elderlies or for people with disabilities.

Below is a photo of their premium room, which is spacious like all of their guestrooms, except the Pads room.

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Hotel Fleuris in Puerto Princesa

One of my assignments when my sister sent me on a trip to Puerto Princesa last year, was to conduct ocular inspection for their group who will be doing medical mission for 10 days after 9 months. Among the top 3 hotels in the Puerto Princesa, Hotel Fleuris is the nearest from  the city center with the least expensive room rates.

Here's the facade of Hotel Fleuris, with their coffee shop and a japanese restaurant flanking the hotel's entrance.


The swimming pool on the left side of hotel's entrance, which makes it easier for anyone to see the hotel guests in the pool.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Airlines' Promo Fares

Nowadays when my family and I travel by air in domestic routes, we normally spend less than Php 400 airfare per way, including aviation fee and value added tax (VAT). Thanks to low cost carriers like Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific, who put a few seats on sale on certain periods.


Air Philippines is the low cost carrier of Philippine Air Lines. Last month, I was able to book my industry colleagues on our planned Cebu seminar next year, for only Php 88/way or Php 214 round trip fare including aviation fee and VAT. Hehe, we jokingly refer to it as field trip for all 23 of us riding the same round trip flight next year.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

SM Cinema's Deceptive Practice?

This afternoon, Wife and I watched a movie in 3D at SM Sta. Rosa. Movies shown in 3D format have more expensive ticket price, but we don't have a choice since the movie we chose is only shown at their 3D theater.


Compared with regular 2D format movies, I expected the ticket price to be P50 to P100 more expensive in 3D,  but with free food and/or drink. I remember when we watched Ironman 2 in 3D last May or June, we were given a drink and a choice of popcorn or hotdog sandwich, that came free with the ticket price. After that we watched Last Airbender also in 3D format, we were given only a choice of free drink, no food item.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Driver's License Renewal

My driver's license had just expired last Tuesday, my birthdate. So I arranged the renewal of my driving license yesterday at LTO Drivers License Renewal Center (DLRC) in Robinsons Galleria mall, at the park avenue in lower lobby near Ortigas Avenue entrance.


I arrived at about 12:15 pm when this DLRC Galleria branch was on lunch break. I noticed however that the drug testing facility beside it is entertaining clients inside as they have no lunch break. Since I don't feel like taking a leak that time, I decided to have lunch first so that I would have enough urine to discharge (pardon the details) for the drug test when I come back.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Asianic Computer Store at Park Square Makati

Last Friday, I went to Park Square in Makati City to buy a laptop and a printer.  After paying cash in my laptop purchase to avail a huge discount, I have no more cash to avail the  printer's cash price of Php 3,900 at PC Corner where I bought my laptop.

My target printer is Brother 195C priced almost the same at Php 3,950 in all stores where available. In Asianic Store, the tent card price indicates Php 3,950 and available for 6 monthly installments of Php 658.33/month. Its the same price even if I pay in cash or credit card. So I told the salesguy that I would like to buy one unit, and he started to unpack the printer box for a product demo. He volunteered to process the payment while doing the demo to make it faster, and I agreed. 


When I was about to give my credit card, I told him that I would like to avail the 6-month installment of Php 658.33/month, which will be Php 3,950 in total. But he advised me that the total price will be around Php 4,200 if I will be charged in installment basis, as there was a mistake in the price tag. He was even trying to show to me their pricing scheme in their Point-of-Sale computer system. I told him that its not acceptable as they are misleading their customers, so I told him to cancel the transaction. I could afford straight charge in my card, but I cannot tolerate such malpractice 'coz I felt being cheated!
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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hot Air Balloon at Clark Field

I just like to show some photos of the hot air balloons last 15 February 2009 at Clark Airfield Pampanga.


The crowd marvelling at the various hot air balloons from different participating countries and companies. See the hot air balloon of Coke soda below which unfortunately did not flew very high that day.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Salasa and Mangatarem Churches in Pangasinan

The Salasa Church below in Bugallon, Pangasinan is the first church I visited in Pangasinan, whether consciously or unconsciously. Unconsciously because its where I was baptized almost 4 decades ago. Its also the first church I remember to have entered in the province during my childhood years. The church was built mostly on bricks, though repairs on modern times were inevitably done with cement.


Bugallon town's original name used to be Salasa during the Spanish colonial period at year 1714. The church which is also known as Our Lady of Lourdes church was built in 1747 until 1748 under Fr. Francisco Barroso. It had undergone repairs in 1874, 1885, and on later years. The town and the church were relocated to its present site after it was inundated by the rampaging Agno River. Legend has it that the image of San Andres refused to be moved while the church was being dismantled. Opposite the church on the other side of the road is the municipal cemetery.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tatoy's, Ted's Batchoy, & One Lourdes Dormitel

During our 2D/1N stay in Iloilo, we stayed in One Lourdes Dormitel at the corner of Fuentes & Ledesma streets on the back of East West Bank. Inspite of it being far from the more popular hotels in Gen. Luna St., I can say that it has perfect location for budget travellers like us. 

First, the public utility jeepneys pass in front of it when we went to Ortiz wharf (drop off to Guimaras) , Miag-ao (church tours), Villa (lunch at Tatoys or Breakthrough), and to other Iloilo towns. Second, the Iloilo public market is within walking distance if you need to buy pasalubongs like dried seafoods. Third, the Robinsons Mall is just a block away. Fourth, SM Delgado and the other major establishments in the city are less than 10-minute walk away.


We got a family room for only P950 nett per night with 2 double beds that could comfortably accomodate 4 adults. Usual amenities like towels, soap, and shampoo are included. The closet is quite big for the room's size. 

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Iloilo Church Tour

One thing that attracted me to visit Iloilo is the presence of very old churches which are mostly within an hour's drive from each other. So after doing Guimaras last Saturday, kids and I embarked on a tour of some notable Iloilo churches the following day. We traveled about 70 minutes and 40km southwest by jeepney from our hotel to our farthest church destination. 

We passed the scenic seaside towns of Villa, Arevalo, Oton, Tigbauan, Guimbal, then Miag-ao. If the kids are not with me, I might have traveled up to the last Iloilo town San Joaquin, along the boundary of Antique province.


I decided to start with one of their most famous churches -- the Santo Tomas de Villanueva church or more commonly known as Miag-ao church. It is one of the only 4 baroque churches in the country inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List, built between 1787-1797 by Augustinian friars. 

One of its most interesting feature is its unique and well-preserved facade with deeply-incised relief carvings, giving it a nice three-dimensional view. The bas relief shows St. Christopher as a farmer carrying the child Jesus in reaching for the coconut tree. Papaya, guava trees, banana leaves, and other Philippine flora and fauna are also sculpted on the facade, although they are out of scale to emphasize the Filipino theme of the facade.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Iloilo Jeepneys

"Sa lugar lang"...

The Ilonggo phrase above is what we hear when a passenger of an Iloilo public utility jeepney wants to get off on a point somewhere on the jeepney's route. In Tagalog, we say "Para po" which means to stop, and lugar means place in Tagalog, so the Ilonggo phrase above could also be a shortened instruction to stop in that place along the jeepney's route. 

In my parents' native tongue of Pangasinense, lugar means to ride and lugaran is the place or vehicle where a person will get a ride. Somehow, it is quite amusing if you see the same word's related meanings on different Filipino languages.


Anyway, I just like to show some photos of jeepneys in Iloilo. They may have the same engines and transmission like the jeepneys in Luzon, but their bodies are very different from Sarao-inspired jeepneys in Luzon. However, they are similar with some "XLT-design" assembled jeepneys that ply the Nueva Ecija and northern Bulacan routes. 

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Rush of Guimaras

Straight from the Iloilo airport after dropping our luggage to the hotel, we headed to the Ortiz wharf to board the boats that will take us to Guimaras island province. Boat fare is only P13 for adults and P12 for kids. The boat has capacity of 45 passengers, and we were seated at wooden benches below the life jackets that hang on the ceiling.



The boat trip took only 15 minutes to Jordan port, where tourists are asked to register and assisted on their transport needs by the lady in the small tourist counter. Public transport around Guimaras has infrequent trips, while jeep rental of P1000 and multicab rental of P800 are too much for us, so I decided to rent a tricycle for P500 with my 2 kids. 

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Vehicle Registration in LTO

Two days after getting my motor vehicle clearance from Highway Patrol Group, I went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Manila East branch in Sampaloc, Manila where they keep the physical records of my second-hand bought vehicle. 

Luckily for me, the LTO's connection on insurance companies are offline nationwide. So there are very few cars for registration when I arrived, only those who were able to secure TPL insurance beforehand like myself, hehe.


In contrast with my bad experience at Highway Patrol Group when I secured my vehicle's clearance, the Manila East LTO personnel performed much better than my expectation. The Window 1 personnel checked and arranged my documents, then assigned somebody to stencil my vehicle's engine and chassis numbers. The LTO stencil guy did not asked nor hinted about money for snack or cigarette, which is common with other LTO branches.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Motor Vehicle Clearance from HPG

I personally arranged my ride's registration and transfer of ownership last week. The LTO fixer who handled my previous car's registration and ownership transfer, now has "processing fee" of Php 2,500 without need of bringing the car to HPG for clearance and to LTO for registration. To avoid such under-the-table processing fee, and to support Pres. Noynoy's call to eradicate graft and corruption practices in Philippine government, I decided to handle such tasks even if it entails  more effort and using my vacation leave balance at the office.


Since Highway Patrol Group's (HPG) Muntinlupa office is the nearest to my place, I decided to bring my car there to get the PNP Motor Vehicle Clearance. It is one of the requirements on registering second-hand vehicles before the Land Transportation Office (LTO) revise the owner's details on the car's registration. They are supposed to verify if the car is not stolen or carnapped, before it can be registered to the new owner. HPG is formerly known as Traffic Management Group (TMG).
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Macau in 24 Hours


After 2 nights in KL, we flew to Macau again using promo airfare of Air Asia. Wife and I have to endure the 3.5 hours of never ending noisy chitchats of mainland Chinese who occupy at least half of the plane. Upon checking out of Macau airport where we can’t find a Macau map,  we rode the Bus #26 to take us to the city for MOP 4.20 fare each.

Unfortunately, we missed the bus stop after A-Ma Temple, where we are supposed to just walk going to Ole London for US$ 55/night. First taxicab we flagged down does not understand English, so it was the second cab near the last bus stop that took us to Ole London hotel for MOP 25 including luggage fee of MOP 4. Still less expensive than getting a taxicab from the airport which will cost us between MOP 70-80.


We arrived at 1:00 pm in the hotel with heavy downpour. Good thing that they allowed us to check-in before we went out for lunch at McDonalds in Senado Square. Inspite of the hotel-provided map and their Filipina staff Marivic giving us walking direction to a laundry shop and Senado Square, we initially got lost until we talked to one shop owner who could speak English.

It is almost useless to ask directions from the locals, since most of them do not understand English language. After lunch at McDonalds, we bought a foldable umbrella, because the hotel-loaned umbrella can’t protect us both from the rains. Since I ran out of clean shirt, we patronized the on-sale items at a Hang Ten shop in the square.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hooters Bar in Manila

I've been to Hooters Bar at SM Mall of Asia's bay area twice. The first time was out of curiosity, and second time was when my monthly drinking buddies chose to hang out in the baywalk area. The establishment is located at the right (or north) side along San Miguel by the Bay, quite a long walk from the mall.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hitting the Food Markets

Wife and I left home before 6:00 am this morning to buy fresh produce at Binan Public Market. We were quite surprised to see that all parking space were full, as some restaurant operators and biyaheros (resellers) are still in the market. 


Hankering for other seafoods aside from usual milkfish and tilapia, I was able to buy talakitok (trevally), dulong (dwarf goby) for fishcake, and dalag (mudfish) which was turned into pesa dish for today's dinner.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

SLEX's 300% Toll Hike is Highway Robbery!


Starting on 07 July 2010, people who use the South Luzon Expressway will have to endure the 300% increase on toll fees. That is if South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) or the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) were not bothered by their conscience, to reverse their ruling of increasing the toll fees at astronomical terms. Remember Albay Governor Joey Salceda, the guy who called GMA as luckiest bitch? I couldn't agree more with his recent statements as follows:


"Trade with Manila is the lifeblood of Bicol and the SLEX is the main artery. The SLEX toll fee amounts to an unavoidable imposition on our traders, farmers, students who study in NCR, workers who work in [Philippine Economic Zone Authority] zones in Cavite, Laguna and on ordinary families who visit their relatives in Quezon City. We can not even protest by not using it. The prohibitive cost is tantamount to a curtailment of trade and our freedom to travel," Salceda said in a statement.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Meralco Deposit Refund


We just received our Meralco electric bill. The bad news is that it is our highest electric bill on record! :(  


The good news is our bill includes a notice that we could get our deposit refund starting next month. :)  Details of the deposit refund and downloadable MDR form can be found here.

Now, there's just one problem. I cannot find the required Meralco deposit receipt when I applied for Meralco service about 15 or 16 years ago. How can ERC or Meralco expect their customers to keep the deposit receipts after so many years? Meralco must have records of their customers' deposit payments as basis for the computation of the refunds.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Caylabne Bay Resort, Cavite

Its been more than 5 years since I set foot again in Caylabne. During those previous visits, its  exclusive for members only, and it was also managed by an international hotel chain. This time as its now open to the public, I noticed a drop in quality of dining equipment used as well as in maintenance of facilities. But at Php 900/person for use of facilities plus buffet lunch and 2 snacks, I think our company paid reasonable fee for our teambuilding last weekend.


Leaving Makati at 7 am thru Coastal Road route then traversing the Maragondon mountains, we reached Caylabne's gate on a hill after 2 hours. The resort's security guard checked our group's name against his arrival list, noted our bus' plate number, number of guests, as well as the food and drinks we are bringing in. Prior to reaching the resort, we also passed the magnetic road portion, as our bus crept thru a semi-level straight road. The bus was using its 3rd gear, but we experienced a crawling speed like we are just a notch above first gear. 

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mutated Fruits & Veggies


Man's quest to be more efficient or do something different have been extended even on the farmed produce. Even without tinkering with genetics, he is able to dictate the appearance of some fruits below:

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Kamayan sa Palaisdaan in Bay, Laguna

After our hike in Mt. Makiling's Mudspring, we decided to have lunch at Kamayan sa Palaisdaan restaurant in Bay, Laguna. Its on the right side of the road from UPLB heading to Sta Cruz, Laguna, probably less than 5 km. from the intersection of main highway and Lopez St. (road that leads to UPLB). Parking is not a problem, as they have ample parking space shaded by trees to keep the car cool even at lunchtime.


Upon entering the restaurant grounds/fishpond, a man-made waterfalls with statue of laughing buddha will greet the customers. A waiter with laminated menu card on hand directed us to a floating hut where we'll enjoy our lunch for 5 persons. There are big tilapia and mudfish on the fishpond, which the guests could catch if they bring their own fishing rod and pay the prices of the live fish per kilogram. The place is very popular as it was almost full by 12:45 pm, half an hour since our arrival.
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Another Mt. Makiling Hike

Two months after our previous hike in Mt. Makiling, we did it again this morning, this time with 2 nephews from Bulacan. We started the hike to Mudspring at 8:00 am, then arrived on our destination in 2 hours. We were told that Kuya Kim's team from Matang Lawin TV show is scheduled to do an episode of Mt. Makiling today, but we have not seen his team until we got down before 12:00 noon at College of Forestry.


See a short video of boiling mud below:
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Kids' School Books

Our 3 kids' total book cost for this year will be almost Php 14k if we get all of it from their school. Thats a lot of money, aside from their tuition fees, uniforms, and other school supplies.

Buying used books from Recto Avenue or their senior schoolmate counterparts could be an option, but only if the books' previous owners took good care of them and didn't leave any mark, which is almost impossible. If those books are less expensive on bookstore chains, it could be another option, but most of the time they don't sell those institutional books.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BPI Credit Cards Pizza Hut Promo

Good news to all BPI credit card holders!


I received an SMS message from BPI last night advising their promo with Pizza Hut Restaurants and Bistros, valid from 18 May until 15 July 2010. As usual, BPI has not yet posted the promo details on their website, but a quick call to 89-100 confirmed the details below.

Redemption is until 15 September 2010, and valid for dine-in customers only. For every minimum charge to your BPI credit card, you can redeem the following items from regular Pizza Hut outlets:

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