Cabalen Opens 28th Store in Iloilo

 

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Cabalen is one of the most familiar names in the world of restaurants in the country. Whenever we hear, ” Cabalen”, you will automatically think about ” local cuisine” and “buffet”. For the past 30 years, Cabalen has kept their ground as one of the top names in the industry.

A restaurant known for their Kare-Kare as well as other Kampampangan dishes, Cabalen adds more cuisine choices for Ilonggos. I asked what does, ” Cabmen” mean? And a few Google searches, I learned it means ” town mate” – “balen” means, ” town” while “ka” means ” mate” or “fellow“, just like the word, kabayan. Thus, the restaurant offers family-friendly dining venue for all types of occasions and dishes that everyone will love.

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When it comes to gastronomy, the Kapampangans takes the lead and they are known to be good cooks. Yesterday, Cabalen formally opens their 28th store in Iloilo bringing more dining options in a city known for gastronomy and flavor. Cabalen is another addition to the various restaurants opening their doors to the local market.

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The ambiance is homey, drawing inspirations from local homes in the Philippines or those elegant heritage homes in the country. Thus, everyone feels at home with the company of good friends and family.

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At the far end is their function room, for Ilonggos to host their special occasions and intimate events.

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What’s in the menu?

Proud to be the Home of the Best Kare-kare, Cabalen offers a complete set of menu from starters to desserts.

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When you say, Kapampangan, I look for one of my favourite dishes – sisig – which was invented in Pampanga.

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Plenty of options like chicken and bangus. I still go for the original and tofu.

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Cabalen is famous for their signature dishes like Dinuguan, Caldereta and Lechon Paksiw.

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I’m hungry just writing this post.

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Still on your 2017 New Year’s resolution? Cabalen also offers low-calorie choices like their own salad station.

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If you want to skip meat, my personal choice is their Lumpia Hubad. Tokwa’t Baboy as well as Crispy KangKong won’t hurt your diet regimen too.

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Their dessert table ranging from local sweets to foreign like the chocolate fondue.

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Kapampangan Cuisine

I love discovering cuisines from other regions of the country and I found a taste ( literally and figuratively) at Cabalen. I only learned that they call Arroz de Valenciana ( a local take on Paella) as “brenghi“.

Here is  Sampelot– Kapampangan’s version of “Ginataan” or what we call in Cebu as ” Binignit”.

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Tibok Mais for me is a hybrid of sapin-sapin and maja.

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Ilonggo Dishes

Though Cabalen is a restaurant known for Kapampangan dishes, I overheard from the owner while taking photos that they also want to focus on Ilonggo food. True because it is not easy to cook Ilonggo dishes at home these days.

One of them is Bagongon. Bagongon is type of snail ( that grows mostly in fishponds) and Cabalen’s alternative to their famous snail dish which is another authentic Kapampangan.

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My dad will be happy to dine at Cabalen in SM City Iloilo. Whenever we visits Iloilo, off we go to the local market to look for bagongon and he patiently cooks and prepares them. I’m not into  “exotic” food but I love bagongon. I just wonder how I can suck the snails with class while dining at Cabalen.

Another Ilonggo favorite is Tambo – young bamboo shoots.

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Aren’t you not salivating yet?  This newest restaurant in Iloilo is located at the 2nd floor of SM Iloilo ( Cinema Level). For Cabalen Iloilo price tag and contact information, here it is:

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Kids 4-feet and below get 50% discount while kids 3feet and below can eat for free. Now that’s a new addition to the list of family restaurants in Iloilo.

If you are looking for where to eat in Iloilo, check out this new restaurant in Iloilo.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Win Tickets and Watch Coldplay Live in Manila: Create your Globe Coldplay story on April 4, 2017

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                      Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour at the Allianz Stadium, Sydney Australia

 

The Coldplay fandom in Manila is undeniably huge. Tickets to their April 4, 2017 concert at the MOA Concert Grounds, presented by Globe were sold out in a day, but Globe will give all its customers another chance to watch the most-coveted concert of 2017.

By registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to any Broadband plan, customers can earn raffle entries to win tickets to Coldplay’s “A Head Full of Dreams Tour in Manila”. For Globe Broadband customers, every P5 spent on their bill is equivalent to one raffle entry. Forty tickets are up for grabs as 20 lucky customers will win 2 tickets each.

“We know that music is an integral part in every Filipino’s lives and Globe is here to elevate your music experience by allowing you to enjoy music in a different perspective. With Globe, you can listen to your favorite artists like Coldplay on Spotify, or catch it via live stream from their L.A. concert on YouTube, or even watch them perform live by joining our raffle promo. We want all our customers to get this chance and experience watching their favorite artists here in Manila, or even abroad,” shares Globe Senior Vice President for Consumer Mobile Business, Issa Cabreira.

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“This time, by simply registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to a Broadband plan, all our customers can get a chance to win tickets to the most-anticipated concert of Coldplay this 2017.” Cabreira added.

Globe takes entertainment to another level. Just recently, Globe awarded two of its loyal customers, Monique Lim and Cristina Santiago, to watch the band perform at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney Australia last December 13, 2016 through Globe’s “Fly-Away Promo.”

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                  #GlobeColdplay “Fly-Away Promo” winners, Monique Lim and Cristina Santiago.

They won a total of Php 230,000.00 worth of prizes which includes a 4-day, 3-night trip to Sydney with round-trip airfares, concert tickets, hotel accommodation, and pocket money.

“I’ve always been a hardcore Coldplay fan, from Parachutes to A Head Full of Dreams. It just so happened that A Head Full of Dreams is my most favorite amongst their albums. The moment people started screaming and when the show was about to start, I had to pinch myself to feel that I was actually there… about to witness beyond paradise!” shares Lim.

Santiago shares the same fandom as Lim, “When Chris Martin went up the stage for the first time, it was so surreal, that feeling was way over the top. After witnessing and experiencing how their live performances, I will definitely get tickets to their concert here in Manila. We’re so grateful that Globe made it possible for us to experience such a magical concert all the way in Australia. This whole experience is definitely one for the books.”

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Customers can still get a chance to experience paradise and win tickets to the Manila leg of Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour by registering to any GoSurf promo or subscribing to a Broadband plan. Learn how to earn raffle entries by visiting www.globe.com.ph/globecoldplay. Follow @enjoyGLOBE (on Twitter) and like Globe Telecom (on Facebook) for updates.

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Megaworld to Open Four Hotels This Year

Three hotels are Megaworld’s local brands, one hotel under the Marriott international brand

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Property giant Megaworld is set to open four new hotels under its portfolio within the year, in a bid to further boost tourism in its various developments across the country.

The company is set to open the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Iloilo Business Park and the Savoy Hotel Boracay in Boracay Newcoast by first half of this year, and Savoy Newport Hotel in Newport City and Hotel Lucky Chinatown in Binondo, Manila, by the second half of the year.

The 15-storey Marriott Courtyard Hotel in the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township in Mandurriao, Iloilo City, will offer 326 rooms and it will be the first Marriott brand to open in Western Visayas. It is strategically located beside the iconic Iloilo Convention Center.

Last year, Megaworld announced that it is adding the Savoy Hotel brand, alongside Belmont and Richmonde Hotels, as its homegrown hotel brands.

The first Savoy Hotel to be opened will be the Savoy Hotel Boracay Newcoast, a 559-room resort hotel in the 150-hectare Boracay Newcoast development. The six-storey hotel will feature the country’s first concert pool arena, which will be capable of hosting events in a pool setting.

The 11-storey Savoy Newport Hotel, on the other hand, will offer 684 rooms and will add to the growing hotel offerings of the 24/7 leisure and entertainment complex of Newport City, which is the home of the renowned Resorts World Manila.

In Binondo, Manila, the six-storey Hotel Lucky Chinatown will offer 93 guestrooms and will mainly cater to Chinese tourists and businessmen as well as for those who are on a historic tour of Manila.

“We see tourism as a potential driver of growth for Megaworld as we draw more people to our developments. Within the next three to five years, we hope to see a bigger slice of hotel earnings in our revenue pie as we open our new hotels,” says Kevin L. Tan, senior vice president, Megaworld.

To date, Megaworld owns three homegrown hotel brands namely Richmonde Hotel, Belmont Hotel and Savoy Hotel.

The company is operating three Richmonde Hotels in Eastwood City, Ortigas and Iloilo Business Park; and one Belmont Hotel in Newport City. Three more hotels under its portfolio are scheduled for completion within the next five years in various townships.

 

Source: Press Kit

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Star Cruises Announces the First Cruise Ship to Homeport in Manila for Filipinos to Cruise to Taiwan and Hong Kong

 

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Featuring 6 Day/5 Night Cruises to Laoag, Kaohsiung and Hong Kong on board SuperStar Virgo from 19 March to 28 May, 2017;Providing more choices for Philippines outbound tourism
Star Cruises, the leading cruise line in the Asia Pacific, has announced the first-ever homeport deployment of SuperStar Virgo to Manila, providing another tantalizing option for the booming Philippines outbound tourism industry.Featuring 6 Day/5 Night cruises departing from Manila, SuperStar Virgo’s itinerary is the perfect opportunity for Filipinos to enjoy exciting ports of call including:

Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte, Philippines, featuring Spanish colonial buildings, baroque churches and white-sand beaches

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2009 Ilocos Norte Trip

 

  • Kaohsiung, the largest southern port city in Taiwan, a centre of Chinese culture and cuisine

 

  • Hong Kong, a bustling metropolis world famous for shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife.

 

Take advantage of “almost unlimited baggage allowance” on Star Cruises when you need to take home the spoils from an unforgettable vacation!

“Star Cruises was the first major cruise line to recruit Filipinos 23 years ago for our cruise ships and now we are pleased to be the first international cruise line to welcome Filipinos on board Superstar Virgo as our guests from our homeport in Manila,” says Ang Moo Lim, President of Star Cruises. “Worldwide, nearly 25 million people have enjoyed a cruise in 2016 and we are extending this opportunity for Filipinos to join their ranks from Manila – and at an affordable price.”

Benito C. Bengzon, JR, Under Secretary for Department of Tourism welcomed the move of Star Cruises with: “The Philippine Department of Tourism extends its warmest congratulations to Star Cruises as it launches its latest program. We are confident that inclusion of the Philippines in the itinerary of SuperStar Virgo will help strengthen the country’s position as a competitive cruise destination in the region.”

Star Cruises strives to continue to offer a differentiated cruise experience with the added bonus of great savings. An irresistible Early Bird Discount starting from PHP 24,500* Per Person (Twin share) will be accorded for cruise departures on 19, 24 and 29 March 2017; third and fourth persons (Quad share) can enjoy an additional 50% off from PHP 12,250 per person*.

Book now for school holiday fun! Filipino holidaymakers can look forward to setting sail in style and luxury with an all-encompassing cruise voyage comprising of deluxe accommodations, up to 6 sumptuous meals daily, spectacular performances, pampering recreational facilities and much more – all part of Star Cruises promise to deliver exceptional cruise experiences infused with a touch of warm Asian hospitality.

For more information and reservations, please call our appointed travel agents or Star Cruises at (632) 836 6830/ 31/ 32 or visit our website www.starcruises.com.

* Fares shown above are based on twin-share in an Inside Stateroom on SuperStar Virgo, excluding port and gratuity charges, subject to Star Cruises’ terms and conditions.

About Star Cruises

Star Cruises is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genting Hong Kong, a leading global leisure, entertainment and hospitality corporation. A pioneer in the Asia Pacific cruise industry, Star Cruises has been operating its fleet since 1993, taking on the bold initiative to grow the region as an international cruise destination with a fleet of six vessels including SuperStar Virgo, SuperStar Libra, SuperStar Gemini, SuperStar Aquarius, Star Pisces and The Taipan.

Star Cruises’ commitment in offering best-in-class services and facilities is reflected in a host of recognitions and accolades received over the years. These include being inducted into the prestigious Travel Trade Gazette’s “Travel Hall of Fame” for a ninth year in 2016 in recognition of winning “Best Cruise Operator in the Asia-Pacific” for 10 consecutive years. Star Cruises was also recently voted “Asia’s Leading Cruise Line” at the World Travel Awards for a fifth year in a row in 2016.

 

About Superstar Virgo

The 13-storey SuperStar Virgo is equipped with 935 cabins, including sea- view cabins and balcony suites. Offering a wide variety of dining, shopping and entertainment choices, her facilities embrace Chinese, international and Japanese restaurants, an alfresco bar, foot reflexology salon and spa, gym, steam and sauna rooms, hairdressing salon, two-level theatre, duty-free shops, a 100-metre mega water slide, outdoor swimming pool, mini golf course, karaoke room, children’s activity centre and more. A calendar of themed entertainment constantly refreshes the onboard fun and excitement, ensuring every voyage is a brand new enjoyable experience.

 

For more information on Star Cruises, please visit:

Website: www.starcruises.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/starcruises

Instagram: www.instagram.com/starcruisesasia

Twitter: twitter.com/starcruisesasia

 

On Star Cruises, every journey is a voyage of discovery and surprise.

Source: Press Kit; images for SuperStar Virgo and Kaoshiung courtesy of Star Cruises

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Cebu for the Holidays

 

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For months, we planned to spend our Christmas in Mindanao, particularly in my mom’s hometown in Lanao del Norte. But just like any travel plans, last-minute decisions always end up to be the best.

So we decided to spend our holidays in Cebu instead. It was nice since my family is there and my dear friends are also flying over to Cebu. Just perfect.

We started the Christmas holiday with a nice dinner and fireworks display at Day’s Hotel’s The Promenade before leaving for Cebu.

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With two weeks to spare in Cebu, we decided to bring our car and traveled by land. Hashtag, road trip!

Two things made this Cebu trip “special”. First, for almost a decade, we got to spend both Christmas and New Year’s Day. Second,  it was my first time to drive in Cebu. Yay!

I asked the kids to help me come up with the highlights of our Cebu trip and here they are…

 

Ice Skating

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SM Cebu used to have an ice skating rink and I can still remember just looking at those  kids enjoying the ice. Imagine my delight when I learned that SM Seaside has an ice skating rink. Obviously, it’s too late for me to enjoy ice skating ( haha!) but the kids just had the best of their times. We went skating twice – on our 3rd day in Cebu and the day before we left. Worth the price.

 

Cat Cafe

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Liam loved the Cat Cafe, located at the Skypark of SM Seaside. Everyone who gets inside needs to order. Surprisingly, the cafe is inexpensive.

 

Cousin Love

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Just two of their ten cousins. My eldest, my melancholic child, shares that the best part of our time in Cebu is visiting their cousins. They seldom see each other and I take pride that my kids bond with their cousins over the holidays.

“High Tech” Cebu

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We stayed in one of the hotels in Ayala during our first 5 nights and my eldest was in awe with the buildings. ” Cebu is beautiful, Mama”. It made me realised that whenever we are in Cebu, we seldom go to malls or visit the city center. We prefer staying at home, but I guess I have to expose my kids to city life.

Mama’s 60th birthday

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Christmas season will always be special for our family because my parents celebrate their anniversary every December 27th, followed by my mom’s birthday. Because 60th birthday is special according to my mother, we treated them to a 2-nights staycation in Marco Polo. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu was gracious enough to gave me a complimentary overnight stay. More on Marco Polo in a separate post.

Cebu’s mountain barangays

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One of the things I take pride is that you can escape the urban in less than 30 minutes, courtesy of the mountain barangays of Cebu.  I love going to Busay and the Trans-National Highway. Whenever we go on a road trip, I find joy traversing the Northern Cebu Protected Landscape with lush mountains and forests.

I also look forward staying in one of the private homes in Cebu’s mountain areas and wish my friend can build a pool in their farm. With my mother’s curiosity, we went to Sirao Flower Farm. Yeah, I know it’s hyped but it was a short drive from Marco Polo. We enjoyed the mountain air and the views. I can’t imagine how harassed the place will be during Sinulog.

Giving back

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Photo by Glen Layosa

In lieu of gifts, my high school barkada has an annual gift-giving. This year, we shared some joy to kids in Sitio Babag, Barangay Busay. I was late and got lost but the candy prizes came just in time. 😉

I don’t want to sermon but it’s a nice idea to skip exchanging gifts with your group of friends and come up with an outreach program.

Southern trip

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Our southern road trip to Oslob was a double-whammy. We missed the Whale Shark watching ( you need to come early, it ends at 11:30am) and we arrived in a drained Tumalog Falls. A consolation is that we saw the whale sharks even from the shore. I can’t imagine how gigantic they are up close.

Still making the best of our southern road trip, we got to see the coasts of Cebu, ride the habal-habal,  drop by at the heritage church of Boljoon ( pictured above), eat torta in Argao and chicharon in Carcar. It was still a nice day especially for my parents.

 

Making memories

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Sums up our holiday in Cebu. Going beyond the things to do in Cebu or the must-eats in Cebu, weaving new memories especially for my kids is the best part of our trip. Bonding with my family, my kids with their grandparents and cousins as well as catching up with my friends.

There were quite a few things on my list that we missed like visiting museums ( ouch!), but I think there is another time for that. Our last vacation was making the most of urban Cebu with short trips to the mountains and seas, definitely seeing the best of Cebu. There are more to see and enjoy in my hometown and we will surely be back.

See you in a few months, Cebu!

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Shop for Beauty Products Online with BeautyMNL

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Maybe it’s because of my work as a freelance writer or my distaste towards crowd, but I’m an frequent online shopper. I love browsing products online than checking them in racks and stores. Though I confess not leaving a mall without some purchases, online shopping gives me more freedom, convenience, and savings. Living outside Metro Manila, it means that some of our selections and collections are not that complete. That’s the reason more people from the province prefer online shopping.

When it comes to beauty sites, I have discovered BeautyMNL, a beauty site where Filipinas like me finally has an online destination to pick and shop for beauty products from skincare to travel accessories. Gratitude goes to BeautyMNL team for letting me try their site and shop.

My BeautyMNL Loot

While most beauty site sells expensive beauty products, you will love the BeautyMNL carries affordable products that you can have for yourself or as gifts. Here is my loot..

 

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I shopped for products that I can use for my travels, because there is no reason to look less pretty even while on the road. Let me introduce my beauty picks from the site!

UV Perfect Bright Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ and Cleansing Oil Facial Cotton Sheets (Handy Pack)

 

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I can’t live without Japanese beauty products and Boiré is a trusted name when it comes to skincare. Bioré Face Milk is a non-sticky skincare product with SPF 50 that I can easily put in my travel kit. Same goes with Bioré Cleansing Oil Cotton Facial Sheets that easily wipes my make up, saving me from bringing my make up remover liquid bottles. The facial sheets is also great when traveling on the road to quick freshening up.

 

Beach Born Sea Salt Spray

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I love the beach. Who doesn’t? And this best selling product let you take the beach by giving you that beach waves anywhere you go.

 

Skin Genie Lip and Cheek Stain

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My ultimate travel tip for beauty junkies? Bring multi-purpose products like Skin Genie’s Lip &  Cheek Stain. It is small that I can take even in my small pouch and the color fits any skin tone. Plus, it is very affordable. Check out the site and you’ll be surprised how much it really costs.

 

Maybelline Fashion Brow Cream Pen and Matte Lipstick in Madly Magenta

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I love make up but I can live without painting my whole face – except for lip color and brows. The nice thing about BeautyMNL is they carry a lot of Maybelline products and you know how inexpensive Maybelline products are.

It’s been years that I “graduated” from Maybelline because I want something more bold and long-lasting but I think the company now evolves to provide long-lasting product like this Cream Brow Pencil. I only use Japanese brow pencil for the color and long-lasting qualities and surprisingly, this Maybelline Cream Brow Pen is long lasting! I’m glad I stumbled on this affordable product because I don’t think I can spot this in stores.

Matte lipstick is a hit these days and today’s trend lip color is about magenta and burgundy. I love this lipstick from Maybelline, colours survive after a sumptuous meal. It smells good and unlike other matte lipstick, it is non-drying.

Shopping with BeautyMNL

Shopping online with BeautyMNL was a breeze and if I was to give a BeautyMNL review, I will give it a high rating. The site is easy to navigate and the products are well presented with prices and even reviews for meticulous shoppers.

Shopping online can be tricky for some due to the number of products. To trim it out, check out their ” New Arrivals” or ” Best Sellers” page. Let me share that I was done shopping in a flash.

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I received my package in 5 business days; for those living in Metro Manila, they will ship the next business day. The package arrive well-sealed and bubble-wrapped.  If you are concerned about shipping costs, the site offers frequently offer free shipping, so better check the site regularly to avail their promo.

For now, I will be inviting you to join their monthly selfie contest called, #selfieMNL  and you can win a Printster polaroid of your pretty face and a PHP200 BeautyMNL GC. To join, click here for the complete details.

Enjoy shopping, beautiful one!

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Nobu Hotel Manila

 

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A brand unmistakeable in the world of luxury, everyone was thrilled when Nobu opened another franchise in Manila- the first in Asia-  in May 2015, attended by members of society’s top tier as well the people behind the brand such as Chef Nobu, Robert De Niro, and Hollywood producer, Meir Teper.

Almost a year and a half after the opulent opening, it’s not that too late to have the chance to spend even for one night in one of Manila’s luxury hotels. Nobu Hotel was the official residence of the media for the Vivo V5 Grand Launch held last November 23.

 

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Nobu is one of the three hotels of City of Dreams, an integrated resort of Entertainment City in Paranaque. City of Dreams is hard to miss with its gold hue and the distinct Fortune Egg.

 

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Lobby and Reception

Location wise, Nobu Hotel and its sister hotels within City of Dreams are good options for those who don’t want to go far from the airport ( read: traffic!).  The facade is not too gaudy or too decorative but security measures at the entrance reveals that Nobu means business and pleasure.

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True to the Japanese theme, the whole hotel carries the color scheme Japanese like – neutral colours blending from dark to light. I need to get adjusted to the dark browns all over the property as I have grown some liking to citrusy but not bright colours in hotels.  Right at the entrance of Nobu is the casino.

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Polished Elegant Rooms

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Not just spacious or complete with amenities, you will appreciate how rooms are personalised, giving guests a feel of owning the room during their stay at Nobu Hotel Manila.  Sheets and linens are comforting, firm bed with plenty of seating spaces. Ergonomic workstations with electrical sockets all over the room for guests who might be bringing a gazillion gadgets.

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Rooms are splashed with touches of Japanese art and style from the brush stroke painting at the wall above the bed’s headboard to the geta-shaped ( traditional Japanese slipper) in-room slipper. Very Japanese but not trying too hard.

While some rooms have garden views, I have the Manila skyline far away.

 

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Personalized greetings on screen will greet the guests. TV includes paid movies but I was contented with cable shows. The phones are programmed to guest’s name. Nobu’s mini bar includes bottles of wine and sake.

I love the work station with their purple pen and notepad with its dainty holder that I was tempted to take it home. I tried contacting guest services via phone and it took only one ring and they answered with ” Good morning Ms. Caulin how may I help you?“. Hmm, impressive.

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Now let’s go to the bathroom. It would be nice to have a tub in my room to enjoy ofuro but I’m cool with what I had. The corners of the shower glass – spots that most housekeeping often miss – were squeaky clean.

 

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The sink is too big that you can wash some laundry here or if you are traveling with a baby is perfect! Sakura are printed on the designs of their toiletries and other fixtures.

My only concern about Nobu Manila Hotel’s room? I hope they can have a socket close to the mirror. It took me twice the time to dry my hair with the power socket located at the far end of the wall. Challenging if you are giving your own hair a blow out.

 

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Nobu Restaurant

There is a reason why Nobu is such an acclaimed name in the culinary world. Food satisfying not just to one’s palate but to your whole senses. It is not just eating but dining experience.

Breakfast was impeccable in terms of flavour, variation, and service.

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Another factor is the interior of the restaurant.

 

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Breakfast is served at Nobu and it is just one of the dining options at City of Dreams. For affordable dining, go to Red Ginger.

 

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As a luxury hotel, Nobu Manila has a long list of facilities and services. To get the complete list, I recommend visiting their site.

 

Beyond Nobu Hotel Manila

Going out of the posh walls of the hotel, the garden is a wonderful place to kill time. Some do this while waiting for check in or in our case, while waiting for our shuttle schedule to the airport.

 

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It is heaven for fashion bloggers and influencers. Families will love the open space for kids to roam and explore.

 

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Speaking of kids, City of Dreams is home to Manila’s top family attraction – Dreamplay! I can’t wait to bring my kids here.

 

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If you don’t have plans to enjoy the casino, City of Dreams has a lot of options when it comes to shopping and dining, or malling.

 

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With a casino and dark color scheme, I asked myself if this is a kid-friendly hotel. I think, yes. I can bring my kids here and I think they will love it. The space, Dreamplay, the pool and awesome breakfast – what more can we ask for, right? Plus, I’ve been few guests with little children.

For Nobu Hotel Manila contact information or Nobu Hotel Manila rates, visit their site.

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Educational App Brings Filipinos a Step Closer to Their Dreams

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For Danica Rose Garay, shifting careers from teaching to being a doctor is not easy. For one, she has to take and pass the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT), and she doesn’t have the luxury of time to enroll in a review center as it tend to be expensive. Self-study is her only viable option.

Zookal was like manna from heaven for Danica Rose. With Zookal’s help, she is now reviewing for free for her upcoming NMAT exam.

“I find reviewing with Zookal is so much easier. Questions are categorized so I can go straight to those relevant for me. The immediate response from the app, whether the answer is right or wrong, and the accompanying explanation are very helpful features,” says Danica Rose.

“Zookal also changed my study habits. Since I carry my phone anywhere and anytime, I can study in between tasks, or when commuting. There’s no need to lug around books, and wads of papers as review materials, I just click on the app, and start reviewing,” she added.

Criselda, who’s preparing for the Licensure Examination for Teachers, says reviewing while working is no longer an impossible task.

“Zookal helped me a lot in such a way that it gave me a chance to review everywhere. I was working while preparing for the LET so it was really convenient for me. I could just open the app and read during my free time at the workplace. I could even do it during my commute time. It’s amazing!” says Criselda.

“I actually recommended Zookal to some of my friends already. I told them they need not to pay for an expensive review center to prepare for a test. All they need is to download this impressive app. Zookal is an amazing tool to help people achieve their dreams, I am just so grateful it was developed,” adds Criselda.

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Embracing technology

HR practitioner and Sunlife Advocate Aaron Hinlo-Roca handles Internship Relations and is a community service partner of universities in regions 7 and 8.

He required incoming interns to pass the Civil Service examination and be eligible to work for government. They reviewed for the exam for two weeks using the app on a dry run, and he saw that it was effective as an online learning resource.

“It was very interactive. While we also used books for the review, the app was very helpful. Zookal revolutionizes studying, you just need data connection and you can learn anytime, anywhere. We must embrace technologies like this. It is timely and relevant not only for students but also for professors, and practitioners like me,” says Aaron.

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Wish list

One thing Aaron wishes for is an offline version of Zookal so students without connectivity can still use it for their learning.

Meanwhile, having administered admission tests as a teacher, Danica Rose would like to see more of practice questions involving abstract reasoning.

“This type of test measures the spatial and the IQ of the test taker in predicting outcome. Also, you can master it through constant practice. It’s quite hard to make but I know it will help a lot of test takers. For the tips I guess, they could put videos and mnemonics styles to cater learners who have diverse learning styles,” Danica Rose suggests.

She also wants to see a “timer” feature in the app so one can easily evaluate how fast one can answer the questions and challenge to do it faster next time. It makes for good practice since almost all exams are timed.

In its latest update, Zookal already has a timer feature that allows just that.

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Zookal for all

If you think Zookal is relevant only for those who are reviewing for exams, you are so wrong.

“I recommended it to my friends and family members to help them boost their intelligence in their field of expertise as well as in other areas of learning,” says Danica Rose.

“It may be an online reviewer but it is never boring using the app. My friends and I use it for fun just like the popular TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. With Zookal, learning is never boring,” adds Aaron.

100,000 Filipinos and counting

Since its launched in September, Zookal has now grown to one hundred thousand (100,000) users in less than 2 months time. “There are now more than 100,000 Filipinos closer to their dreams; that alone assures me and my co-founders that we are doing an excellent job in doing good for the future of Filipino students and professionals through Zookal,” said Jon Tse, Zookal co-founder.

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Novotel Manila Araneta Center

 

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One of the newest hotels in the Metro, Novotel Manila Araneta is the official residence and venue of Blogapalooza .  With this,  I had the chance to spend two lovely nights at this modern business hotel.

Set in the business center of Cubao, Novotel Manila (the first Novotel in the country), has the best location. A few steps from the hotel is Smart Araneta Center and it is surrounded by malls as well as train and bus stations.

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Lobby

From the lobby, a resident security dog welcomes you and staff checks your luggage before you enter the lobby. With this, the first impression will always be that Novotel Manila is not just an upscale hotel but a business hotel.

Still has a business atmosphere, the lobby is straight forward with highly efficient front desk officers. From its chic fixtures, their lobby has an interactive table for kids to enjoy while Mommy and Daddy are checking in.

 

Rooms

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Novotel Manila has 401 guest rooms, all equipped with the latest amenities. I like the color scheme – citrusy and soothing to the senses.

The rooms are also spacious that it can accommodate an extra bed. Their extra bed looks like a regular bed – a far cry from mattresses offered by most hotels. The seating area has a sofa bed for extra person. For families, each room can accommodate up to 2 children.

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I like their bathroom especially their eco-friendly toiletries and the “diva” lights from the mirror.

 

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Here’s what it looks like if you want some privacy inside the bathroom.

 

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Dining

Though the hotel is surrounded with a long list of restaurants, Novotel offers six dining venues. Whether you are enjoying Novotel Cubao buffet at the Food Exchange Manila or a relaxing nightlife at the Pool Bar, this hotel has everything covered.

I love their breakfast. Great selection and food. I appreciate how much homemade offerings they have like their butter and their juice bar. Likewise, they have an Indian and Korean spread – giving more options for international guests.  Staff during the buffer were attentive and offering what I might need. Let us say, I truly enjoyed my me time during breakfasts.

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Premier Lounge

For luxury hotels, I always look forward to their exclusive lounges and Novotel’s premier lounge is worth a visit. Novotel’s decor and interior are impeccable and I adore the Filipino and local inspirations of their interiors at the lounge.

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Located at the 24th floor, guests staying at executive suites can enjoy some privileges like afternoon teas and free use of their meeting room.

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Other Facilities and Amenities

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Novotel is the metro’s “it” venue from weddings to conventions. Its 6th floor is where you will find the pool and the Bridal Gazebo and Garden. Novotel also has a spa, fitness center, and a kid’s club.

 

Family-friendly hotel

Though the hotel seems business-like, I’m impressed with Novotel’s family policy. From spacious rooms, their kid’s club is spacious and big in relation to Novotel’s size. At the premier lounge, they also have an exclusive kid’s area where even bigger kids will enjoy the entertainment offerings.

 

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Now that my kids are getting bigger, it’s a respite to know that hotels like Novotel Manila Araneta Center let parents with bigger kids enjoy without spending too much starting with their breakfast. Kids below 16 years old, eat for free. Therefore, I can’t wait to bring my family back to Novotel.

If you live within Metro Manila, they offer special discounted Novotel Cubao room rates for you to enjoy a much-deserved staycation. For the latest Novotel Cubao rates or Novotel Cubao promo, visit their Facebook Page.

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Proposal Season Comes a-Ringin’

 

“DULL November brings the blast, then the leaves are whirling fast,” says Sara Coleridge in her poem “The Months.”

But, is November really a dull month? Dull, maybe, during the author’s time in 19th century England, but not anymore in this day and age when people look forward to a lot of exciting events slated in the penultimate month of the year.

November is when we observe All Saints’ Day, celebrate Halloween, enjoy the semestral break, and start shopping for the Holidays.

Unknown to many, November is also the start of the Proposal Season – the season for bachelors to get down on their knee and pop the million-dollar “will you marry me?” question.

If you’re among the many wannabe husbands planning to propose to your dearly beloved this Proposal Season, you might first want to consider looking for the most important thing for this historical event – the engagement ring.

 

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If you’re among the many wannabe husbands planning to propose to your dearly beloved this Proposal Season, you might first want to consider looking for the most important thing for this historical event – the engagement ring.

Picking out the best requires much thinking, but a jeweler like Odysseus Suarez can help a guy out in choosing the perfect engagement ring for his bride and make the proposal event a milestone to be treasured forever.

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“The Proposal Season is upon us and we are encouraging those who are planning to propose this year or early next year to start looking for their engagement rings the soonest possible time,” said Mylene Suarez, Odysseus’ better half. “We get a lot of orders during this season, so it is best to order earlier.”

Suarez offers a wide range of engagement rings to choose from. Wannabe grooms can have a diamond ring for as low as Php15,000 and as high as one cares to spend.
Clients can also have their short messages of love engraved inside the ring for free, added Mrs. Suarez.

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But should the process of picking out the right ring proved very difficult for the ones proposing, Odysseus Suarez is also prepared to make it much easier for them with a few suggestions on how to pass the burden to their partners while at the same time dropping a clue.

Interested to avail of Suarez’s assistance may visit his website at suarezweddingrings.com or drop by his nearest showrooms.

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Odysseus Suarez’s unique and highest quality engagement rings are available at Suarez Wedding Rings’ showrooms in Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, SM Mall of Asia, SM Fairview, Gateway Mall in Cubao, SM Clark and Olongapo, SM Iloilo, SM Lanang in Davao City, and Ayala Centrio in Cagayan de Oro.

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