Megaworld Launches 6th Residential Tower in Iloilo Business Park

August 18th, 2016

Property giant launches SAINT HONORE, a themed residential condominium showcasing French grandeur

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Megaworld, the country’s largest developer of integrated urban townships, is launching its sixth residential tower in the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

To be called SAINT HONORE, the 10-storey condominium will be an exclusive residential community inspired by the classic architectural designs of the shophouses, boutiques, museums and retail rows of the Rue Saint-Honore, a historical street in downtown Paris.

“Ilonggos will get to experience the world-renowned beauty of Paris with Saint Honore. Amidst all of its grandeur and Parisian lifestyle, future residents are assured of utmost exclusivity, privacy, and serene atmosphere in this first-of-its-kind residential enclave in Iloilo,” says Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice-president for sales and marketing – Iloilo Business Park, Megaworld.

With a striking and elegant façade, the new residential tower will emanate timeless luxury in the City of Love, comprising only of 168 units ranging from studio to executive 2-bedrooms. Select units will have its own lanai or balcony with a magnificent view of the township or Iloilo skyline.

Capturing the laid-back, laissez-faire way of the Parisian life, Saint Honore will have its own lifestyle amenity deck on the third floor composed of a swimming pool, a pool lounge, a kiddie pool, a Jacuzzi, function halls, and a fitness center.

The atrium, located at the ground level, will serve as the centerpiece of the development, replete with garden landscape with trellised seating, while a strip of boutiques and retail shops will border the ground floor area of the property. The podium parking will also have its own driver’s lounge with washroom.

Future residents will also be assured of utmost security and privacy as the residential lobby with reception and lounge area will have closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, video-phone security system in all units, and a centralized security command center for 24-hour monitoring of all building facilities and amenities.

Saint Honore will be a short walk distance to and from Richmonde Hotel, Marriott Courtyard Hotel, the Iloilo Convention Center and the Festive Walk Mall. Walkability around the township is a key selling point of this development,” adds Palmares-Fong.

Poised to be the biggest business and tourism hub in Western Visayas, Iloilo Business Park is a vibrant integrated urban township of Megaworld where everything is within easy reach. It is home to three condominium projects, namely, One Madison Place, Lafayette Parksquare and The Palladium; the iconic Iloilo Convention Center, Marriott Courtyard Hotel, Richmonde Hotel Iloilo, modern BPO office towers, and the Festive Walk Mall.

*Source: PR kit

Getting the Best of your Pokémon GO

August 14th, 2016

 

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We joined the craze! Pokémon GO  finally came to the Philippines last week but it my boys’  exam week – I only at the end of the week that I downloaded the app. We officially started capturing them yesterday and I’m a little frustrated that not a single monster lives in my house. Still, we are excited as well check for sightings and other monsters. I have planned our hunting schedule for this week.

For fellow mommies ( this game is a good bonding experience for the family and exercise!) or those who are into the game, here are some tips and tricks for you.

 

Tips and tricks to be the very best trainer that you can be

 

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Gear up trainers! Pokémon GO is finally available in the Philippines, and it’s time to fulfill your dreams of becoming a Pokémon master! Developed by Niantic Inc., Pokémon GO blends the much beloved world of the classic Pokémon game, with the real physical world through augmented reality. As a player of the game you must start your journey as a Pokémon Trainer to catch Pokémon, train them and eventually become a Pokémon Master. However, unlike other mobile games, Pokémon GO requires you to put more physical effort and even strategy to progress and master the game.

As the game is now officially available in the Philippines after weeks of anticipation, players are more than ready to go out and explore around. But don’t just roam around, be the very best with these tips when starting your Pokémon GO quest.

Always bring extra power – Playing Pokémon GO uses internet either through mobile data or WiFi, GPS to locate you and Pokémon nearby, and even your camera as part of the augmented reality experience, resulting to heavy battery drain when playing the game. It is best to always bring an extra power bank with you to keep your game going.

Hydrate properly – Pokémon GO requires you to go around and explore your surroundings, sometimes even walk or bike 10 kilometers just to hatch a Pokémon egg. With this, trainers are advised to always bring water and wear comfortable clothes to avoid dehydration. Who knows, you might even need to climb to the top of a nearby hill just to find the Pokémon you’re looking for!

Have fun while being aware of your surroundings – Holding your phone in public can possibly attract thieves who may steal your phone. You might be also too distracted around you when you are enjoying too much of the game so be alert by keeping on the lookout from time to time!

Items are not unlimited – Playing Pokémon Go in the early stage might get you carried away in your excitement to catch Pokémon. Just remember that PokéBalls and other items are not unlimited, so use them wisely.

When catching Pokémon, keep the Pokémon centered in your camera frame so you can catch them more accurately. Don’t worry though, Poké Balls can always be acquired in PokéStops, or if you do ever run out of Poké Balls, you can purchase in bulk using PokéCoins.
Need PokéCoins? With Globe, you can easily buy more on Google Play via the hassle free Direct Carrier Billing so you can easily charge to your postpaid bill or prepaid credits!

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Go to convergence areas for more PokéStops – PokéStops are there to provide you items to help you catch Pokémon, and can sometimes be spots where Pokémon can appear when lure modules are applied. PokéStops are most likely located in nearby convergence areas such as malls, parks, basketball courts or even mural paintings and statues. PokéStops refresh in a few minutes, so just keep on collecting items!

Watch out for PokéStops with lots of petals! This means that someone has activated a lure module in that PokéStop, and nearby Pokémon will be attracted to it for 30 minutes. You can activate this too by purchasing Lure Modules using PokéCoins.
Hint: You can check out https://www.ingress.com/intel for potential PokéStop and Pokémon Gym locations, as Pokémon GO uses the same data collected and used by the game Ingress, which is also developed by Niantic.

Form a team! – Are you team Instinct, Mystic or Valor? Once you reach level 5 you have to choose which side you will be. It’s best to form a team within your neighborhood or friends, this will give you better advantage to certain situations such as taking over Gyms, which allows you to gain prestige for your team, allowing more Pokémon from your team to defend the Gym. Plus, if one of your Pokémon is defending the gym, you can get PokéCoins for free every 21 hours your Pokémon is in the gym.

Choose Pikachu! – You can easily get Pikachu from the start of your game, simply ignore any of the starter Pokémon Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur, that might appear around you. Walk around for 3-5 times. Eventually Pikachu will appear and you will be able to capture the iconic Pokémon.

Transfer duplicate Pokémon for candy – Catching Pokémon might get you a lot of the same kind of Pokémon. Got 10 Pidgeys you say? Transfer your weakest 9 Pidgeys to Professor Willow for Pidgey candies!

You can transfer these duplicate Pokémon into candies if you hand them over to Professor Willow. Candies are necessary to increase the combat power (CP) and other stats of your Pokémon. Gain enough candies and you can evolve your Pokémon to its stronger form.
Pro-tip: Always transfer the duplicates with the lowest combat power (CP).

Eggs will make you travel – Hatching eggs will require you to travel a lot, make sure you always have an egg in the incubator to get the most of your travel. Eggs right now can hatch from distances of 10km, 5km or 2km depending on how rare the Pokémon is inside.

Level up fast – make the most out of your Pokémon adventure by using Lucky Eggs, which doubles the experience you gain from the game. Couple this with using lures or incense to catch more Pokémon. The more Pokémon you catch, the more experience you gain!

Pokémon GO just started its wave in the Philippines, and more and more trainers will venture to try out the new game and competition will get more intense in the coming days.

These tips will surely get you ahead of others. Playing Pokémon Go will get you hooked and it’s best to get the most of the trend. Globe offers 7 free days of access of Pokémon GO via the Globe Switch app, so you can maximize your data and enjoy playing without worries.
So go get your gear ready and catch ‘em all!

#50FIRSTDAYS To Showcase Duterte’s Milestones

August 11th, 2016

 

 

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 THE PRESIDENTIAL Communications Office (PCO) has launched the #50FirstDays campaign to highlight the achievements, and milestones of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration since his assumption to office on June 30.

This will be the first time that an incumbent President will showcase his achievements even with only two months coming into the presidency.

“The Duterte administration challenges the status quo of the usual 100-day milestone. We are confident that even at an early stage, we have effected change in our government while calling everyone to be our partner for change,” said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

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“Change is happening everyday. It feels like everyday is a new day for a new Philippines. That is why we chose to tag it as the ’50 First Days.’” Andanar added. On August 18, at 12 noon, PCO will release a documentary on PTV-4 to give a recap of President Duterte’s day-to-day activities since day one up until his 50th day in office.

Narrated by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, the documentary will also feature insights from cabinet secretaries, other government officials, as well as the ordinary Filipinos who have hoped for change to come through his promise of change.

An interactive website containing the administration’s achievements will also be launched on the President’s 50th day in office.

“Through the #50FirstDays campaign, we call to action every Filipino to help us implement more reforms and have hope that good things are coming for our country. Every one is our partner for change,” Andanar said.

* Source: Press Release, Presidential Communications Operations Office

Riding the Bus from Iloilo to Caticlan

August 10th, 2016

 

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Traveling is not just about visiting a new place or your revisiting your favorite destination, it also entails experiencing something new. Often, we look forward to experience a little bit out of our comfort zone. As a resident of Iloilo, we go to Boracay by car. It would be nice to take the bus from Iloilo to Caticlan – with kids!

 

Bus from Iloilo to Caticlan takes at least 6hours. For our trip, our bus left at 7:30am and arrived at the Jetty port of Caticlan past 2pm.  In terms of schedule, first trip is at 5am and last trip is between 3-4pm ( you will arrive at Caticlan at 10pm). No need for the exact bus, all buses leave every 30 minutes. Just a guide, last trip for the boat at Caticlan going to Boracay is at 7pm.

 

The terminal was not busy and my kids freely walk towards our bus “stop”.

 

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The bus is equipped with a CR and a Wi-Fi along with TVs though wi-fi was broken in our bus. Still, I was impressed the moment, I stepped on the bus.

This is not the Ceres bus I was used too. 😉

 

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The bus was more comfortable than the bus I took in Malacca and Singapore but buses traveling to Malacca from Singapore are more spacious and they bring us to great dining places.

I’m happy with the new improvements. Bus fare from Iloilo to Caticlan is Php346 ( estimate) with discounts for kids;  what I can remember was that our total fare was Php991.

 

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We only had two major stops – in Passi City and then in Kalibo. I was expecting we would stop in Kalibo longer for lunch but maybe because there were only a few of us, it was only for 15 minutes. No worries, we were full from all the vendors selling bus food.

 

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In general, the ride was a breeze. If you are traveling with kids, pick a weekday to avoid the rush. We also took the back portion of the bus. The empty line of seats became a make-shift bed for sleeping.

 

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I’m glad the boys didn’t utter the notorious line, ” Are we there yet“. Maybe the view from a bus is different from a car? I’m looking forward to more bus ride with these two.

 

Thanks for reading!

7 Reasons Why I love Staying at Ferra Hotel Boracay

July 29th, 2016

 

 

 

 

There are too many hotels to choose in Boracay.  If you ask me, I will tell you to pick Ferra Hotel Boracay.

I have stayed at Ferra thrice. First was last April 2015 for a media trip, then I brought my husband and kids last October 2015 . Last week, we stayed at Ferra when my sister came home from Japan with her kids.

Thus, I won’t be shy to recommend you this small hotel in Boracay. Here’s why.

 

Personalized Service, Attention to Details

 

 

 

Ferra Hotel only has 37 guest rooms. This hotel in Boracay benefited from the trend of more guests staying in boutique hotels because they render personalised services. Less guests means each need is taken cared of right away.

For example, my kids and nieces wanted to ride an e-tryk. All we did was informing the lovely ladies at the front desk and they go it for us. Same goes with my massage. Ferra staff provided us with skilled massage therapists. If you need help with your island activities, Ferra Hotel can assist you.

One of the details that I like are flip flops they provide. So, there is no need for me to bring my own rubber flip flops. I’m not sure if this is a big deal for others, but I appreciate it. Staying here thrice, I have seen some additions they fitted to the rooms for their guests to have the best Boracay stay.

 

Best Rooms

 

 

 

Looking for hotels in Boracay with great rooms was a challenge. Great rooms often come with a price, affordable hotels offer average hotel rooms.  Ferra Hotel Boracay rates is inexpensive yet guests can stay in one of the best rooms in the island. The sleep quality is often mentioned in other Ferra Hotel Boracay review.

When you bring your family to Boracay, you need to double your effort because you want to make sure they will be comfortable and it will pass their own standards. True enough, both my husband and my sister approve Ferra’s rooms.

 

 

 

Great Food for Everyone

 

 

Luckily, I have a fair share of hotels serving great food in the island and one of them is Ferra.  On top of their delicious food, they offer a wide variety to suit different palate. Guests at Ferra comes from different countries, and their food caters to each taste buds.

With last week’s trip, my kids can’t live without sinigang and grilled liempo while my Filipino-American nieces want their pasta.   Dinner at Ferra was a success with our kids enjoying their meals. Less hassle for the moms. On top of it all, food is inexpensive.

 

 

 

Their breakfast buffet spread is also good. We love how their staff offered pancakes ( waffles was at the buffet) to the kids. I love their pork longganisa, sister likes their noodles guisado.

 

Peaceful Boracay Boutique Accommodation

 

 

 

One of the complaints for Boracay hotels is noise – noise from the parties or nearby constructions. At Ferra, you will have a good sleep, especially after a good massage!

I took the photo above when we arrived after a long day at the beach.  Inviting isn’t it? Staying at Ferra also means staying in a safe hotel. I have brought my laptop and other gadgets while at Ferra.

 

 

 

That’s the normal day at Ferra. The lobby is never crowded, giving Ferra this homey vibe. It is relaxing. I think that is one of the many advantages when you book in a small hotel.

 

Nice Location

 

 

Ferra hotel Boracay location is at Bulabog. Bulabog Beach ( photo above) is only 6 minutes away on foot. It is also a short walk from D’mall and White Beach. At first, I thought it was a little bit far ( I was used to staying at White Beach) but it actually isn’t.

Likewise, if you avail watersports activities, they are now done at Bulabog. I like the plan, exclusively giving White Beach to swimming and paraw sailing.

Its location is an assurance of a noise-free stay in the island. Your short walk also let your absorb the unique vibe of Boracay.

 

 

Inviting Pool

 

 

 

If you want to stay in a hotel in Boracay with pool, book Ferra Hotel. It has a modern pool, great for quick laps. My kids love their pool and that is their only complaint when we were there- we didn’t give them enough time to swim.

 

 

 

Ferra’s pool is a good place to bring the kids when it is too hot to swim at the beach or pre-bedtime swim to release what is left of their energies.

 

 

Rooftop Bar

 

 

 

Aah..my favorite spot at Ferra – Ruf Resto Bar. If you want to spend a peaceful dinner, reserve your seats. I highly recommend this to those traveling with kids. Kids often start acting up when sleepy, just when the adults want to enjoy some “nightlife”.

You are in Boracay, you need to enjoy your mojito! Plus, Ferra Hotel gives complimentary cocktails…love it!

This area gives us the right balance. We enjoyed our drinks while the kids are already asleep at the couch. The bigger kids went to the other part of the bar to watch a movie.  Therefore, if you are parent and want to have some nightlife, stay at Ferra Hotel Boracay.

Inexpensive, safe, relaxing with personalised service, you can never go wrong with Ferra. I have brought my family at Ferra and they all exclaim how great this accommodation is. My sister vowed to go back to Ferra for their next Boracay trip and I’m looking forward bringing my parents to Ferra Hotel, adding more reasons why I love staying at this new hotel in Boracay.

Thank you Ferra Hotel. I think you are one of the biggest factor why my sister’s first Boracay trip was a success. Traveling with 4 kids is no joke, and your hotel made it a breeze. All the best to you, Ferra Hotel!

For Ferra Hotel Boracay contact number and other information, visit their official site – www.ferrahotel.com

 

 

 

 

Nogas Island, 13 Years After

July 13th, 2016

 

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While planning for our Boracay trip next week, I was reminded of our trip to Nogas Island last month that I still need to share to you. Sorry, it took so long.

Nogas Island is one of Antique’s off shore islands, located in Anini-y town. If you want to explore Antique, Nogas Islad is a good start. For our visit, it was our last hoorah before my kids go back to school.

Nogas Island is one special island to me. Sentimental so to speak. I’ve been trying to go back and finally, after seeing my friends’ posts on Nogas, I just need to go back.

Nogas Island reminds me of my well-loved History professor, Prof. Henry, who passed away years ago. It was during his class and we had to make a town profile of Anini-y. It was fun because we rarely do have field work when I was studying History in UP, plus, it was an overnight trip. Overnight trips for college students seem like a trip to Disneyland.

After our field work, before going back to our campus in Miag-ao, Sir Henry brought us to Nogas Island. Back in the day, “travel” is not what it’s like what it is today. Honestly, it was just another island to visit because our bunch were more into our noisy selves.

 

 

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But I do remember how blue the water was. There is a part that the water turns indigo.  And my classmate wanted to keep on dipping his hand into the water while the bangka was running. Sir Henry tried to scare us to keep quiet and that there were sharks.

Some of the memories are snippets. I remember this line of Calachuchi, the flowers I used to adorned my curly hair whenever I do the Hawaiian dance. Today, it is mandatory photo spot among tourists.

 

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We took a class photo on the exact spot sans the graffiti. I’m still trying to dig my friend’s Facebook baul to post the photo. Who would have thought I’d be going back to Nogas with these two beautiful boys?

 

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We took a different trail 13 years ago. We went to other side of the island and took a longer time. I remember one of my friends, Reagan, with his purple batik sarong as shade from the scorching sun. And we I saw a mother and her daughter shore fishing for shells. The island was so to speak, man-free.

We never swam. Before going back, I asked myself why Sir Henry didn’t let us take a dip. I thought he was in a hurry or something. But to be honest, Nogas Island more on a snorkelling kind of an island rather than a dipping beach. The sand is bigger, coarser, and rock bottomed.

 

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I returned after 13 years, and it was a low tide, I felt guilty stepping on healthy corals that  I asked my kids and husband to just leave and head to the shore. I hope the local government can designate a swimming area for tourists to keep off from the corals.

 

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I disrupted my kids’ playtime in the water to take a hike with the caretaker’s son as our guide. That’s another unique thing about Nogas, you can go on a short hike just like what we did in Mantigue Island in Camiguin

 

Another phot op favorite is this Banyan Tree, though we didn’t see this during college days.

 

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For a small island, you’ll be impressed with its vegetation. Kid2 asked if we were lost.

 

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I love the moss covered woods.

 

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I miss my college friends and my life back then. Good memories.

 

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Still, Nogas is rich in marine resources. While I was rekindling college memories, my kids had close interactions with nature. Hello, Mr. Krab!

 

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Is it you, Gary?
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More shells..

 

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A meadow of sea grass during low tide.

 

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Nogas is a birding destination. These mangroves not only provide solace for baby fishes but to migratory birds as well.

 

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I think we spotted some starfish here.

 

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Thirteen years, I must say Nogas hasn’t changed that much. Though there are cottages in the island and a caretaker to assist tourists. To get to Nogas Island, travel all the way south to Anini-y,  and just go to Siraan Hot Spring, pay the environmental fee and rent a boat for Php500.

Nogas Island is great destination for those who prefer somewhere closer. Let’s keep the island sustainably developed – no trash and don’t step on the corals!

Thanks for reading!

Introducing UNIQLO SPORTS

July 8th, 2016

 

Fitness, fun, and fashion merge as UNIQLO joins the high-performance sphere with the launch of its newest line, UNIQLO SPORTS, in the country.Designed not only for sports scenes but also for daily life, UNIQLO SPORTS features athletic function without compromising comfort and style.

UNIQLO makes the good life better by continuously producing high-quality and innovative products that address the changing lifestyles of Filipinos,” says Geraldine Sia, UNIQLO Philippines General Manager. “This summer, we are thrilled to showcase UNIQLO SPORTS.”

 

 

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Uniqlo’s newest line, UNIQLO SPORTS, brings together fashion and function. Photo shows runner         Lauren Young in a Light Pocketable Parka, AIRism tank top, dry sweat pants, and comfort bra.

 

UNIQLO SPORTS is part of the UNIQLO LifeWear collection that highlights apparel that comes from the Japanese values of simplicity, quality, and longevity. Designed to be of the time and for the time, LifeWear is made with such modern elegance that it becomes building blocks of each individual’s style. LifeWear is clothing that is constantly being innovated, bringing more warmth, lightness, better design, and better comfort to people’s lives.

Featuring highly functional DRY EX and AIRISM products, UNQILO SPORTS makes use of a special material and design to help you perform in style. The new line is not only for the gym or for the court; it’s for the contemporary way of life. Two products that showcase style in sports are the DRY EX-Polo for Men and the AIRism Full Zip Hoodie for Women.

 

 

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Professional Tennis Player Novak Djokovic in a Dry EX short sleeve polo shirt and shorts. The Dry EX line features conventional quick-drying items.

 

 

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Dancer Sonoya Mizuno in Women AIRism racerback bra sleeveless top, Women AIRism UV Cut mesh full zip hoodie, and Women Dry sweat pants.

 

 

Whether you plan to work out at the gym or are anticipating a day with intense physical activity, UNIQLO’s Dry EX Polo Shirt is perfect for you. This men’s polo is made with next-generation, high-tech DRY-EX material that can dry excessive sweat with rapid speed. Although it is 100% polyester, the texture is similar to cotton pique material. The cut is designed to allow excellent mobility, and the high-performance material is great for casual scenarios.

 

The AIRism Full Zip Hoodie for women, on the other hand, is great for both warm-weather exercising and everyday casual wear. It disperses moisture, helping the body feel cool, while its breathable mesh material lets you slip it on easily. Its UV Cut function also blocks UV rays and the thumbholes in the sleeves let you keep even your hands covered from ultra-violet rays.

 

Yoga Instructor Waka Nozawa in a Women ‘s UV Cut long sleeve full zip hoodie, dry sweat pants, and comfort bra.

Yoga Instructor Waka Nozawa in a Women ‘s UV Cut long sleeve full zip hoodie, dry sweat pants, and comfort bra.

 

 

The Women AIRism UV Cut mesh full zip hoodie has a light, supple fit.

The Women AIRism UV Cut mesh full zip hoodie has a light, supple fit.

 

 

Stay active and fashionable by upgrading your style with UNIQLO SPORTS. With its distinct innovation and basic style sensibilities, UNIQLO is the brand of choice for all Filipinos.

For more updates, consumers may visit UNIQLO Philippines’ website at www.uniqlo.com/ph and social media accounts, Facebook (facebook.com/uniqlo.ph), Twitter (twitter.com/uniqloph) and Instagram (Instagram.com/uniqlophofficial).

 

UNIQLO is now open in SM City Iloilo, Upper Ground Floor, Mall Extension. 

 

Source: UNIQLO Press Kit

 

Mary the Queen Chapel: Delivering Dignity to the Community

July 5th, 2016

 

 

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Relocating informal settlers is not as easy as we often see. It’s not just about removing and finding a new home for them, the site should be close to significant places like their source of livelihood and schools. My friend who works for a humanitarian group said, “..you have to give them dignity or else, you are just displacing families“.

The relocation site in Baranggay Lanit, Jaro is a community of residents used to informally settle along Iloilo River. Not far from the city center and the area is conducive for raising a family, Bgry. Lanit is a model relocation site. And to complete their new home and community, a chapel is built for their spiritual needs and guidance.

Mary the Queen Chapel is now part of Balabago Parish, serving not just Lanit Relocation Site but neighboring communities as well.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? A chapel that the residents of the site truly deserve.

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Located just beside the site, residents don’t have to travel or spend for transportation when they need to go to church.

 

 

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Standing within a 1,500 sam property, the chapel has ample space for all worshippers covering an area of 326 sq meters.

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The interior and overall ambiance of Mary the Queen Chapel radiate love and compassion.  Open layout with natural light and ventilation coming in, Mary the Queen Chapel is perfect for  intimate celebrations like weddings and baptisms.

 

 

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This 6.1 million chapel was funded and built by Felicidad T. Sy Foundation.

 

Last June 27, Mary the Queen Chapel was blessed and turnovered to the archdiocese of Jaro. Present is SM Matriach, Felicidad Sy and Most Reverend Angel Lagdameo, archbishop of Jaro.

 

 

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Here are some photos from the Blessing and Turnover Ceremony of Mary the Queen Chapel in Bgry. Lanit, Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

 

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Members of SM’s Sy Family and SM Executives.

 

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Archbishop Lagdameo officiating the Holy Mass

 

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May the people and the parish, take good care of this holy structure. Warm gratitude to Felicidad T. Sy and her eponymous foundation.

 

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Hipmunk’s Guide to Landing the Lowest Summer Airfare

June 27th, 2016

 

 

This post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on April 12,2016.

 

 

 

 

Gas prices are down, the temperature is heating up, and travelers are inevitably looking to take advantage of both this summer.

In fact, with all the sunny news about oil prices you may be itching to plan an escape of your own. But summer is three whole months long, airfare is usually priced at a premium, and there tends to be a lot of confusion for travelers around the optimal purchase date to obtain the best deal. Indeed, the most asked travel advice question posed to Hipmunk Navigators concerns the best time to purchase a ticket.

As of March 31, 2016, overall domestic summer airfare (flights departing and returning during June, July, or August), is down from a median price of $330 to $286.

Similarly, flights from the US to major European countries – Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Austria and Ireland – follow the same trend: travelers this summer are paying about 15 percent less than last year, from a median price of $1331 to $1129.

And those savings seem to translate into a higher proportion of people planning longer getaways: In 2015, 46 percent of summer vacations that involved flights lasted four days or fewer, while just 33 percent lasted between seven and 10 days.

In 2016, however, 40 percent are four days or fewer, while 38 percent are between seven and 10 days, indicating a shift towards longer vacations.

To ensure that the hardest decision you’ll have to make this summer season is which umbrella drink you’ll order, Hipmunk analyzed its historical booking data to find the best time to buy summer flights on a monthly and holiday basis. Further, you can find an an interactive guide to summer airfare that show the best times to book flights book flights from the top US cities to trending destinations for summer 2016, as well as Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 4th here.

Let’s dive in.

When to Buy: Summer Holiday

An analysis of Hipmunk’s historical data found that flights booked at least five to seven weeks in advance of major summer holidays—Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day—generally lock in better airfares.

Memorial Day: 5 weeks prior

The kick-off summer holiday weekend is also the second most popular travel time of the season and flight prices rise rapidly. The optimal time to buy according to historical data is five weeks prior to the holiday. (31 percent less than the week-of high).

 

 

Fourth of July: 6 weeks prior

 

The most popular time to travel during the summer season is the week leading up to the July 4th holiday. To avoid steep price hikes, it’s best to book six weeks prior. (21 percent less than the week-of high).

 

 

Labor Day: 7 weeks prior

 

The unofficial end of the summer also has the longest lead time. A safe bet is to purchase tickets towards the end of July when prices are their lowest—about seven weeks before the holiday weekend. However, if your plans are up in the air, you might be able to secure that same price up to three weeks in advance. (60 percent less than the week-of high).

 

 

 

 

When to Buy: Vacation Month

 

If your dates are more flexible and you’re trying to decide when to buy tickets to score the lowest prices for a particular month, our data showed that there were two times when travelers could optimize their purchasing power: two months before the beginning of summer or five to seven weeks prior to their departure month, with a vacation in August needing the least amount of lead time and a vacation in July the most.

June: Now, or mid-May

 

 

 

July: Now, or the first week of June

 

 

Now that you know the best times to buy for your summer vacation, it’s time to start planning. Try Hello Hipmunk, your free personal travel agent, to get flight and hotel recommendations straight to your inbox.

 

 

METHODOLOGY

Hipmunk analyzed its historical roundtrip airfare data from the top 30 US airports to determine the best times to purchase airfare.

To compare summer 2016 airfares and vacation lengths to those in summer 2015: Hipmunk calculated the median weekly round-trip flight prices for all flights booked during the first week of Jan 2015 through the last week of March 2015 for flights that departed and returned between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as well as the number of days of trip length for those flights, from the top 30 US airports (flight prices were included the week in which the flight departed). Hipmunk performed calculations with the same criteria for 2016 flights, and compared the results.

To find the best times to buy for lowest airfares: Hipmunk calculated the median weekly round-trip flight price from the top 30 US airports, for flights booked from the first week of April 2015 to the last week of August 2015 .

 

 

Hipmunk considered a flight for a holiday weekend one that departs up to three days prior to a holiday and returns up to two days after.

 

Hipmunk Hotels: Places to Stay in North Carolina — Durham, Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville and Chapel Hill

June 25th, 2016

 

The post below was originally published on A New Life Wandering on April 11,2016.

 

Image via Flickr by Yumian Deng

North Carolina has a diverse landscape ranging from beaches, mountains, and cool cities in between with lots of history. If you haven’t gotten to know this state yet, you will not regret a visit. If you don’t know where to start, the cities of Durham, Charlotte, Wilmington, Asheville, and Chapel Hill all have plenty of things to do. Each have their own charming personality.

Below, you can learn a little bit about these three cities and find ideas of where to stay if you decide to visit.

 

Durham

 

This is where I spent most of my three years in North Carolina. Home to the prestigious Duke University, Durham has a lively energy to it. One of the best things about Durham is the food scene; it was crowned the The South’s Tastiest Town by Southern Living, and I can vouch for that title.

A great hotel to book here would be the The King’s Daughters Inn, which offers the best combination of an elegant and luxurious hotel with a bed & breakfast style. It is centrally located near most of Durham’s best places including the Duke Gardens. For more hotel options you can browse cheap hotels in Durham.

Image via Flickr by Mr. Jincks

Charlotte

 

Charlotte is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States and offers countless activities, including browsing the NASCAR Hall of Fame, learning about post–Civil War history at the Levine Museum, and interacting with science at the Discovery Place. You can browse the city’s hotel guide to find a place to stay, or look no further than The Dunhill Hotel — a historic, vintage hotel that will make you feel like you walked into an old photograph.

Image via Flickr by DrOMM

Wilmington

I fell in love with Wilmington just minutes after strolling around downtown. The town has a strong history, and it shows along the mile-long downtown Riverwalk and along the waterfront. If you like movies, Wilmington houses the largest American television and film production facility outside of California.

If you want a full-on historic experience, you can stay at the 1913 revival style home Airbnb in the heart of the historic district and within walking distance to many shops, dining, and nightlife. If you would like to stay at a more conventional hotel, you can check out more hotels in Wilmington.

Image via Flickr by James Willamor

Asheville

 

If you prefer a place closer to the mountains with a vibrant arts scene, a laid-back attitude, and historic architecture, then look no further than Asheville. Downtown, you can enjoy the many art galleries, museums, places to eat, and a historical aesthetic like the former factory buildings now being used as residences and art studios. To find a place to stay, used this easy-to-navigate Asheville hotel guide.

Image via Flickr by Joshua A Cole

Chapel Hill

 

Last but not least, Chapel Hill owns up to its spirited atmosphere thanks to the local and beloved University of North Carolina. Places to explore here include the following: the Science Center, the Basketball Museum, the North Carolina Botanical Garden, the local favorite and must-visit Top of the Hill restaurant and brewery, and the historical Carolina Inn. You can make it easier to visit this gem by choosing to book your room there! Or, find a different place with the Chapel Hill Hotel Guide.

Image via Flickr by Tom

Whether you pick the foodie and smart town of Durham, the fast growing city of Charlotte, the charming coastal town of Wilmington, the artsy mountain town of Asheville, or the laid-back college town of Chapel Hill, there is no wrong choice.

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