12.04.2015

Philippine Passport Application for the Kids

Lately I have been loving how we get to spend wonderful times with our kids during our out of town trips. It was more of a spontaneous road trip adventure rather than a fully-planned travel. One time, we woke up and decided to go to Avilon Zoo at Rodriguez, Rizal. All we had was our phone with GPS and our ATM cards. 

Another time, Cassy and David's field trip at school got some Failed Trip and out of frustration, we just decided to have some Tagaytay Take Two trip where we revisited Picnic Grove and Mushroom Burger and the Puzzle Mansion. It was another ATM and GPS only road-trip that we're on the books of our lovely rendezvous with my dear kids. 

Due to our recent rendezvous with the kids, we decided to finally get them a passport. We won't know when our next wanderlust would lead us but we would definitely want to share longer hours of bonding with the kids during travels so we are looking into..Hong Kong Disneyland or Legoland Malaysia or Universal Studios Singapore perhaps. 

It was quite serendipitous that my schedule was not chaotic these days that I had ample time taking care of the requirements and for the actual Passport Application as well. I have saved a lot in terms of processing plus more and more learnings on the way. Sharing herewith are my experiences and handy tips for passport application:
  1. Get appointment online. Take note of all the requirements and have your documents photocopied before going inside DFA. We got ours scheduled on Megamall. Photocopy inside is expensive and if you're not in luck, like us, the xerox machine is under maintenance so I have to go out and look for a Photocopy center. Gladly there are two Photocopy centers just nearby so I get to go back quite fastly. 
  2. You need to have different sets of  photocopied requirements per child. For mine, since I got three kids, I need three photocopies of my passport, ID and marriage certificate.
  3. There's a Saturday schedule at DFA-NCR East, that is SM Megamall but it is automatically upgraded to Express. Regular application fee is P950.00 and express fee is P 1200.00 each. You add P150 pesos per passport if you want it delivered to your preferred address.
  4. You'll be submitting the original NSO copy of the kid's birth certificate so be sure to have it photocopied for future reference. 
  5. I personally got the kids' birth certificate at NSO East Avenue so I saved a lot in processing. Regular rate is just P140.00  per child. You also need to get an NSO authenticated copy of your marriage certificate. Also, if it's not your first time to get an NSO copy of your or your kid's birth certificate, be sure to bring it and note on the BReN on the lower left corner of the document. This is almost beside the barcode on the bottom left of the document. This BReN would make your life easier as there is a dedicated lane for those who already have this BReN. I got my 3 kids' birth certificate in less than 30 mins same day processing. Happy mom on the time and cost savings :) By the way, I got mine on a November so it's not peak season as compared to pre-enrollment months so I guess it would take a bit longer than that of my 30-minute experience.
  6. If you're travelling with your kids, you won't need an Affidavit of Support and Consent to Travel. I have researched on this a lot before actually going there. I am a bit adamant that if I don't get to bring the duly notarized Affidavit of Support and Consent to Travel, we would have to go to square one again. Anyways, I have initially checked with the DFA website which states that this requirement is only for minors not travelling with their parents. The document review officer didn't ask for it as well when we went on our appointment date. Fortunately, we have successfully gone through the entire process without having to submit this Affidavit of Support and Consent to Travel. For those who would need there are downloadable templates online so no need to worry. Fill up the details and have it notarized and you're ok. :)
There you go, I'll add up when I remember some more. For now, I hope to finally lay my hands on the kids' passport and save it for our future adventures outside our Neverland. 


9.27.2015

#IDoItTwiceAWeek

My career being a manager and technical head is really time-hog and attention heavy. I have been really determined to take this step further as I accepted the offer to lead our team starting this year. Deciding to keep up to this challenge is a big deal as I am also a mom of three with no house help especially on weekends. It was one big circus as I beat my deadline for a presentation while having to finish a school project at the same time. My evernote and daily to do's is a mix of home chores, work stuff, church to do and personal + lovelife matters. It was like halo-halo mixed with Leche Flan in my mind :)

So I was asked:

“What do you do 2x a week to keep you feeling clean and sexy?”

For me, more than the physical looks, being sexy is keeping a balance of the different aspects of our lives. May it be family, individual, spiritual or social aspect.

So this work-week day monotony becomes a sudden feast and mundane-task free because there are happy days known as Saturdays and Sundays! Those two days are like weekly birthday and anniversary leaves to us as these are days that we recharge and unwind. These are days that we take a break from our usual lives as we paint memories that would forever paint  the pages of our rainbow-colored Scrapbook of Adventure < insert smiley as I type >...

1. Twice a week, we take the kids out for a weekend adventure...

No matter how busy the week that was, we always make a point to shake it all off and build our own version of Neverland with the kids! We swim, eat out, take a joy ride, play inside the supermarket, ride a caritela, take breakfast in the park or even a simple "biglaang" midnight snacking for some hot "lugaw " in the road. These not only burn fuels and fats that let me achieve my 10,000 steps a dat  but also would surely mark every milestone on the kids memories and fill the pages of A decade of our happily married life as well! 


2. Twice a week, I take a well deserved  ME time...

Last year and this year fickle funny fate found me and I have been having a bang with my career. I have received 5 awards and recognition both local and international. Our project map won the Philippine ESRI Conference Map in Shangri-La, Asia Geospatial Excellence Award 2014 and 2015 in Indonesia and Malaysia, and won the Risk Management Excellence Award in our company. Ive been to four countries in two years and on the side, I have just recently received the Presidential Pride due to Performance Award. These were  my greatest feats in my working life as it continuously prove how God has been keeping a good balance of my priorities in life.



To keep me abreast my daily beast-mode list of To-Dos, twice a week, I do lemon water cleansing, I dine in cafe and have some Pellegrino instead of caffeine (reminds me of Devil Wears Prada boss!), do some exercise, have some foot spa and even some Swedish Massage, sauna and jacuzi for a well deserved ME time!



So just like these twice a week breaks that is surely busy and tiring, I make sure that I keep myself fresh and clean at the end of the day! My OB recommended to use this Betadine Feminine Wash after I gave birth to Paul, 2 years ago, and from then on, I have been a self-confessed convert. I have felt the freshness and confidence using this Betadine Feminine Wash because it is reckoned from the famous Betadine Antiseptic for treating wounds. Best for RED days indeed! 

TWICE THE PERKS! 
- Buy Betadine Feminine Wash 100mL and get 20% off on Flawless All Natural Ultimate White Facial and Cell Booster Infusion Mask. Just present your receipt and box at any Flawless branch as proof of purchase.
- Buy Betadine Feminine Wash 100mL and get 10% off on all Posh Nails' services (excluding basic manicure and pedicure services).Just present your receipt and box at any Posh Nails branch as proof of purchase.

3. Lastly... Twice a week, I go out on date night with Boyfriend #1:
We watch movies, go on concert dates, go shopping together, go road tripping, watch animes together, make kid's project together and go on rendezvous once every random workday !

This boyfriend number 1 is my real life hero. Life may be tough and busy but he makes it surper easy. If not for him, I may not be where I am.

So forbid the cheesiness and we're celebrating our first decade together soon...  this goes to my Boyfriend #1...
Dear Boyfriend #1,
I saw you this morning and you're still as stunning. Still overwhelmed by the thought that each morning I wake up next to my all-time crush. And that surreal feelings are never gonna change FYI.
These days we may no longer be particular of monthsaries like we used to. We don't go out on dates as often and chat at work a bit less than the way we used to have some few years back. Our romance has now taken a different toll by way of waking up early to send the kids to school, spending bonding talks during a long drive to home, eating on a burger stand together for dinner or having fast food for breakfast and staying on the wee hours at night while drafting for reports and projects. Sleep has been more of a luxury to us than strolling on the mall during weekends. But I must admit I would still stay awake ‘til 2AM for that large hadron collider trash talk!

We tend to watch more animes these days than before, perhaps it speaks of the euphoria that we just want to cling on the younger us. At times I miss the way we used to date and the way we used to play but when I see you next to me each morning I wake up, I get more thankful, not just for your “fake” biceps or pilit-na-may-abs-look or bumenta nang pick-up lines, but for God must have been so generous to give me not just a loving husband, but the best dad to my kids and the most reliable friend whom I have shared faithful 141 months with. It is when we count the days and weeks and month of togetherness that we know we're still farther from FOREVER... but yeah, we're a decade down... NTH decades TO GO... 'TIL IT'S FOREVER MY HONEY ! I love you.




My one mantra that keeps me doing the things I ought to do is this favorite quote from one of my favorite books - "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. 



“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” -Stephen Covey 
We are what we reapeatedly do! So if we want to be better, we ought to repeatedly practice the things that would lead us to our ultimate goal.

8.30.2015

I was looking for a Perfect Home until I found this...

For an ordinary couple taking a usual employee 8-hour workday, 5-day work-week, having a home you can call your own is but a major achievement in life. We started out quite early in our family life and as I may say, our humble beginnings are worth the ultimate throwback. It is one for the books and a story that can pass an audition for the next :MMK episode. I can't believe we've gone larger than our lives when we dared took the challenge of getting our OWN home. Days and nights of computation and capacity planning until we finally decided to go look for the best place to build our own Neverland. It was only until December 2012, that we finally had our ultimate move-in and step at the doorsteps of our new Nest. It took much guts to get that glory.


I can still remember when we were just starting out in looking and asking around for better options and location of our new home. We tried the internet, we asked friends and do visits on open houses... All for the quest for a perfect Home. That was almost 5 years ago... fishing for a new place has a bit more tedious and not-so-hassle-free than it is today. Today, searching for a #PerfectHome can be a few clicks away...

I may have found our Neverland now but surely the quest for Perfect Home still lives on...

We have always been opened to the fact that this may not be the one last place we will build our happy family ever after. A few years from now, the kids are getting to higher school and eventually college. Our location is an hour drive away from work. We're dreaming that the kids would enter Philippine Science HS and eventually graduate in UP Diliman like me. That was a dream... with the highest hope of being true of course!

Good thing I found out that there is a place in the web that serves this purpose of taking me to my dream land at the comfort of our my own desktop. My next open house visit is just a few clicks away... right at my fingertips!

#PerfectHome  #Property24  #Property24PH

 Property24.com.ph is the fastest growing property portal in the Philippines.  They provide an effective online platform for leading Real Estate Developers, Agencies and Brokers that allows them to showcase their property listings to a wider audience of qualified prospective Buyers.

As early as now, we're already considering buying a property that would fit the needs of a working family with perfect proximity to our own work place and the kid's school. Having a trusty and affordable condo within a few minutes from work and our dream schools for the kids are but a fix option in our to buy list.
This one I wish to spend the workdays with and then spend the weekends and holidays within our original family house.
http://www.property24.com.ph/apartment-and-condominium-for-sale-in-diliman-110483132

Also, when given a rare chances of long weekends, we go out of town and catch some fresh air with the kids. With some of our rendezvous, we have loved the cozy feel of Tagaytay. We had a planned day trip last January but heavy traffic back to Manila made us decide to stay overnight at a hotel. Back then, I was thinking that Tagaytay is a very relaxing haven for out of town trips. Perfect getaway just to unwind with the busy Metro and location is still just a few kilometers away from Manila. At some point I even thought of buying a property within the vicinity. I am again dreaming that I would like to get something that is a bit expensive for a vacation house but that would surely be worth it... the weather, the view of Taal Lake, the escape from the busy streets of Metro Manila and the perfect vacation home of our next generations...

I have chosen a listing from #Property24 that resembles that of this castle by the mountain Alps look.. reminds me of my favorite kiddie series Heidi with their simple life in the mountain with Lolo Alps.. (^_^)



Oh well, since I am in the mood of thinking for Perfect Home locations, it came to my mind that we're planning a long vacation break at another cozy place, that is Baguio. It was perfect since my younger sister now studies at UP Baguio. Perfect that we can go visit her place and her school and also spend some strolling days in Burnham, Mines View and La Presa. Good that we can now look for affordable places to stay like this one. At two bedrooms, this one is surely back for the bucks. ( Oh, I remember my 11k per night stay at Singapore last 2013). This one, at 2500 per day... is surely for the win! This listing instantly struck me as it reminds me of my room when I was in Hong Kong.. a see through bathroom and a cozy place for perfect relaxation after a whole day of shopping around the streets... but this time, not on the streets of Mongkok, HK but on the walks to remember at Session Road at Baguio City... 



Now as my mind drifts to farther places,this makes me fast forward the future.. some few decades from today...I was thinking of really choosing for a place to retire. Something farther from the busy streets of Manila, less pollution, more nature tripping and if ever, No threat of Earthquake! Hahahah! Forbid me of the paranoia as I am an earth scientist/engineer and I have been used to juggling all these information on the threatening Big One and all the other earthquakes within the seismic belt of fire in the Philippines. You know what, if you want an earthquake-free location in the Philippines... choose Palawan! Palawan belongs to a different tectonic plate ... i.e. China (shhh! don't tell China.. (^_^) )So there you go, Palawan, for me, is probably the best place to retire for an earthquake-paranoid like me. 

Practically this one fits my minimum requirement... I want a large lot to build my simple Bahay Kubo with lots of green grass and tall trees by the backyard where we get to plant our healthy veggies to eat everyday.. Oh! That simple and hassle-free provincial life... spells out a Perfect Home for me and my kids as well..


However, if you might want a bit more dreaming, the Perfect retirement home for me is somewhere near the shore... where land meets water and where air is the best cure for asthma... 

I have always loved the fresh breeze by the beach. Perfect for a swing with a sip of fresh coconut juice by the sea shore while I watch the sun sets by the horizon. This is where Perfect Home happens not inside the four corners of our Bahay Kubo but outside the fresh sea breezes of El Nido, Palawan...  


Wherever our feet takes us.. wherever we choose to build our other Neverlands... it would surely be another Perfect Home where we will spend our Happy Family ever after...



5.29.2015

Sarap Maging Kid with Inipit

During weekdays, we go overloaded with our office tasks! Meetings here and there, appointments and fieldwork and reports just seem to fill our daily calendar... but when we get home, we are a different person!

We're the care-free, spontaneous mom and dad who would love every bit of adventure with Cassy, David and Paul! Those three cutees...they never fail to give us the joy and inner peace each time we're together!

From instant gala, instant swimming adventure, instant picnic, instant joy ride... we just never seem to ran out of brilliant bonding moments together!

Now what? Our refrigerator is like a sari-sari store filled with everything that satisfies the sweet tooth of our little angels!

From candies to sprinkles and biscuits to cakes and fruits and chocolates... we just seem to give in to their every tempting taste for sweets. And oh! Us too, we just can't outgrow these goodies... We just love to play like our "luto-lutuan" days... we mix everything and we eat it like it's the best dessert the world could ever have! Haha!

Now our own Neverland is our own home! We play with the kids like we used to play with our playmates way back in primary school.

So it was one Saturday night, Daddy was out for the usual music team practice at church and we're alone with the house after we finished our usual home chores. We looked in the ref and voila! It's experiment time kiddos!

We've got some BLACK FOREST RAINBOW INIPIT for Daddy's sweet surprise!

We used ingredients that are easily available. It was like a DIY cake but we would properly want to label it as   BLACK FOREST RAINBOW INIPIT DELIGHT...
Ate Cassy is just as hands-on and excite with our INIPIT recipe!

And so we mix everything a-la expert dessert connoisseur! The steps are easy peasy so kids can really share the fun with us! Here are 4 easy layering steps that's so easy you might want to make your own version of layered Inipit Desserts!


What's so good about this Lemon Square Inipit is that it offers a variety of colors for its tempting cake bars! When arranged side by side, it was really an eye candy that the kids would surely love to play with!

With it being of various colors, the taste would never disappoint as well! You'll really get the taste of UBE in the violet Inipit, CHOCOLATE in the brown Inipit, PANDAN in the green Inipit, KESO, CUSTARD and LEMON in the yellow inipit! It was like having a feast of Fruit Salad in your mouth once you get to mix it all together!

The taste complements with each other such that adults and kids would both adore indulging with it!

The cake is also of the right sweetness that you can have enough leeway for more layers of sweets!

Creating our own Inipit dessert was as enjoyable as it was tempting to eat! We had it chilled in the refrigerator for some ice-cream cake feel! Oh, the kids just got overwhelmed... and me too!

And so waiting for Daddy has never been so enjoyable with this easy-peasy BLACK FOREST RAINBOW INIPIT DELIGHT filled with LOVE and SO MUCH FUN with the KIDS and KIDS-AT-HEART!

And oh! Forgive us, we made not just one but two desserts with the same recipe! Here's our Mixed Fruit Inipit Cake in a Cup!

With Lemon Square Inipit... we would never ran out of dessert ideas for the whole family!

'Til our next bonding moment! Sarap maging kid with Inipit!
#NoLimitWithInipit !

4.04.2015

Le Abuel travels to Avilon Zoo in Rizal

It was one fateful holiday of December 2014, we woke up on the right side of the bed, then suddenly we talked about going to the zoo and walla! We're on our way to Avilon Zoo at Rodriguez, Rizal!

It was Cassy and David's 2nd time to visit a zoo, the first was when we've been to Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife in December 2013. This Avilon Zoo has much to offer. Oh well, it's for the price we have to pay that we ought to really get what we paid for. Since it was an unplanned trip, we paid the entrance fee in full, like 600 per head. We were with Bea and Joyce as well so we get to pay 6 heads and Pochi is free. We could've gotten some savings if we got some online voucher at Metro Deal or others where they sell the tickets for only about 300 Philippines pesos per head . Half the price, huhu!

Anyways, it was Pochi's first time to visit a zoo and see his fave animals for real.

He just have to see the crocodiles. (It was his fave due to the MTV of Counting Stars where a crocodile is starring! Pochi used to call them "duday!")

I don't think we were able to see all animals as we were with Pochi on the run. But yeah, it was a plenty to see the stars of Avilon, Trixie the Urangutan and Luning B'Hari the Giraffe. We get to see different species of birds, crocodiles, fowls, snakes, bats, lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, ostrich, bears and schools of fish.

At the Aviary on Avilon

The Bat cave is so spooky!

The way from Trixie the Urangutan's place to the coy fish and the little Bear! So relaxing :)

Different species of crocodile on the crocodile farm! Pochi is just as observant and wild!

We can only smile just because the Jaguar is caged!

The leopard is so big with scary fangs! His sound seems devouring already! Huhu! Stay caged!

You can feed the one year old giraffe with carrots! The viewdeck is a resting place as well. So refreshing!

At the Entrance is a Welcome banner with Luning and Bhari (the famous giraffe in Avilon Zoo!)

The animals of Avilon and many more!

The Ostrich is a shy type!

Cam whoring at the entrance with the famous characters of Avilon Zoo!

The schools of fish and Trixie the Urangutan's sanctuary!

It was indeed a memorable experience with the kids. They are very happy and in return we just had all fun amidst our tired feet around Avilon Zoo!

3.14.2015

MEL meets Indonesia


It was November 2014 when I visited Jakarta for the Asia Geospatial Forum.

Since I came from a neighboring country- Philippines, I find Indonesia something much more like our country than other places abroad that I have visited before.

I see motorcycles all around, perhaps because of the heavy traffic there in Jakarta. I can't believe it is even worse than Manila. Oftentimes I wish I should've walked to my destination some 300 meters away instead of taking a ride. It took me almost 2 hours just waiting patiently on a taxi ride. I say I could've really enjoyed roaming around when the transportation system will be improved. 

Best tip for when traveling to Jakarta: always ride a Blue Bird taxi. It is a regulated group of taxis where you won't get overcharged or fooled around circles to get to your destination. Learn a bit of the Indonesian language as well for the locals are not very good in English. 

I like that Indonesia charges very little for a taxi ride. I heard it is because Indonesia is an oil producing country. Anyways, I think Indonesia is a very rich country. The malls are luxurious, they even have a mall dedicated just for selling Louis Vuitton products alone!
Jakarta, Indonesia

As mentioned above, I have been to Jakarta to attend the Asia Geospatial Forum. Our company bagged the Asia Geospatial Excellence Award 2014 and I am there to present our works.It was held at Hotel Mulia. From there I get to meet my graduate degree thesis adviser and I also get to meet a fellow Filipina who happens to be a consultant in Jakarta. Their presence made me enjoy my Jakarta Trip :)

Asia Geospatial Forum 2014 at Hotel Mulia
This is Sultan Hotel.This has been my home for my 5 days stay in Jakarta. It is a pretty old 5-star hotel but their staff is really great! I got a premier suite and the food inside the fridge is free. I get my food refreshed everytime they makeup my room. There is a fast internet inside my room so I get to work even before  I sleep :( Hahaha! No excuses! :)

The breakfast buffet offers a variety of Asian and American dishes. Indonesian food are much more like in our country so I get to enjoy their curry meals.Indonesian must have loved a variety of spices in their food that is why their meals are so tasty.
Sultan Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia

Top 5 things I like about my Jakarta Trip.

  1. Hotel Mulia is grand and the food is very good. I love the bakery where really nice cakes are being displayed. Too bad we can't take photos. I love the giant Christmas Tree as well. 
  2. Sultan Hotel has fast interned connection. Food on the fridge is free. The place is quiet and the staff are very courteous.
  3. Blue Bird taxi drivers are very honest. They charge exactly and return the exact change. Some speak good English as well :)
  4. I learned that Muslims are really very dedicated to their praying time. It is the first Muslim country that I have visited. I learned how they are very serious in reminding people of their prayer time, even on malls, on television and when you're out on streets. I hope we Christians adopt that kind of dedication as well when it comes to our praying time :)
  5. Mi Goreng and Arabica Coffee! The supermarket offers very affordable prices for Coffee Beans! Yay! I just hoarded 8 packs of House Blend and Arabica. I had three months of reserved beans for my coffee maker. When I compute it was just like 150 pesos for 250 grams of ground and whole beans. Mi Goreng, their pansit canton in Indonesia, is so yummy and so affordable. I got it for like 8 pesos only and I also hoarded quite an amount :) Hihi! When I go to our supermarkets here in the Philippines it already priced 15 pesos. I still buy occasionally when I miss that sweet and spicy taste of Mi Goreng :)
All in all it was one lonesome but enjoyable 5-day trip that I would love to come back for more.(Except the traffic of course!) Props to the FX Mall as well where there is already a hotel integrated on the mall as well.    The view, the food and the shopping is great as well. I wish our booking agent has booked me there. No worries, there will always be a next time! :)

MEL meets Hong Kong

It was June 2014 when I get to experience Hong Kong! My stay there is too short, like 3 days and the 2 days I have spent inside a conference. I am one of the invited speakers for the GeoSmart Summit. From there I get to meet lots of professionals who venture into our field of interest/expertise i..e Geospatial technology. For the non-technical, we're the one who study and uses high level GPS receivers and integrates it in a more complicated but equally exciting database with mapping and analysis features known as GIS (Geographic Information System). 

Given that it is my first time to speak abroad with an audience as big as this, I am very anxious. It was only after my presentation that I get to relax and feel the Hong Kong fever! Hahah!
Asia Geospatial Summit 2014 at Langham Place Hong Kong

During our 3 day stay, this has been our home - the Langham Place Hotel!

It's nice because the conference is also being held within the same hotel. The food is really great and the room is very modern and cozy. The buffet breakfast has lots to offer and I just love their croissant!  My best out of the hotels that I get to stay and visit in Indonesia and Singapore.This Langham Place is also adjacent to a mall where the goods are pricey and  the food tastes like heaven. It was there where I get to try the Singaporean laksa that I really love. The restaurant is Papaya Pok Pok, I won't forget because the name is witty :). They have big servings for their meals which compensate for the price. I love it!

My room, I must love it really! There is wi-fi inside the room. Very good view from the window and the pool is just so inviting. I must also mention my see through bathroom glass.It was my first time to have a see-t-hrough bathroom but I must say, I just love it! I feel like this is perfect for couples on their honeymoon:) Hehhe!
Langham Place Hotel at Mongkok, Hong Kong

Since we just had a very limited time to stay, we've got the best of us roaming around the streets of Mongkok for some shopping! When we arrived there on a Sunday, we just love how the street is so busy at night! There are street performers and the spirit is just so high with lights blinking on the streets!

On a regular day, people are so busy as it was just near their Mongkok train station. With my paper street map, I battled the busy streets and alleys to find for affordable steals! I get to buy affordable pasalubong shirt at a nearby tiangge. I got something like 8 shirts for 100 hongkong dollars. Converting that would just be like 60 Philippine pesos each. That was such a steal! I also packed some big Dove shampoo and lotion thrift packs for just like 500 pesos. And perhaps the best part is when I get to purchase an Esprit bag for just like 2000 pesos because it is on sale in its outlet center. It's one trusty big black leather bag that costs more than 6k here in the Philippines. Wew!

For honey, I got him a brown leather Converse Chuck Taylor for just 2000 pesos as well. Yay! I swept the entire sports street and luckily, I found what I am looking for in a thrift shop there as it was on 60% discount! Double yehey! Honey was so happy as it was a rare find here and when we checked on the same design at the malls it is priced at more than 4000 pesos! What a steal again!

Next year we're planning to bring the children to Disneyland and we'll surely have another round of shopping adventure at Hong Kong!
Streets at Mongkok and the HongKong International Airport
From the streets of Mongkok to the HongKong International Airport, I am very sure that every tourist who's up for some real shopping experience would surely love it here!

Here are the  Top 5 things that I love about my HongKong trip.

  1. My stay at the Langham Place is really first class. The see-through bathroom is for the books! The food at the buffet breakfast is sumptuous and offers real variety. The croissant is love. The hotel staff is very courteous and my things are well taken cared of.
  2. The adjacent mall at Langham Place is just but an eye candy for expensive brands! The food is also pricey but the servings are very full. Must try their food court meals and you surely would have empty plates and bowls with a full stomach after a meal.
  3. The street entertainment on Sunday nights! I love how they can be so vulnerable and just play around the blinking street lights on a weekend. The lights are really festive and the music all around makes the shopping oh so lovely!
  4. The modern look of the Hong Kong International Airport. Very clean and lovely and modern. There are also affordable chips and snacks around for some shopping before boarding :) . In fact, when we roam around, we found a small stall selling affordable leather items for half the price here in our country! If you're still up for some shopping before riding the plane, board early and roam around for some extended shopping there at Hong Kong International Airport! 
  5. The shopping! Shopping! Shopping and SALE! Wuhoo! Getting really great discounts on quality brands is the one I just so love to have as a tourist in Hong Kong. My 2k EDC bag and 2k leather Chucks is what a steal! I should've had more time for shopping and I surely got some more. 
Summing it all up, I think a three day trip is just plain injusttice for the so many things that Hong Kong can offer. By the time we go to Disneyland, I will surely allot a few more days to go back to Mongkok to shop and lurk around and get some real bang for the bucks that I get to have during my first visit! :)

MEL meets Singapore

It was November 2013 when I got my first airplane ride. I met Merlion on my first step outside the Philippines. 

November 2013- MEL visits Singapore!

At age 27, I had my first airplane ride. Haha! I know right, I am so late for the journey. Nevertheless, better late than never! 

My first trip is a 5-day trip to Singapore. This is a business trip so I never had a hard time passing through the immigration. 

THE WALK AROUND SG TO MERLION PARK
It was on the second day that we get to roam around. It was also when I get to see the famous Merlion. You've never been to Singapore if you've never had a photo op with this Mermaid Lion at Merlion Park. Marina Bay is within view so you just have to take another photo op there! 

From our place at Orchard Road, we just took the brisk walk around to the Merlion Park.You get to see the beauty of Singapore by just walking around. I appreciate the very clean streets, tall buildings, fresh surroundings - a very modern and rich country so to speak!

Merlion Park, Marina Bay Sands and the Suntec City Fountain of Wealth
THE CARLTON HOTEL

From my room at the Carlton Hotel, I get a view of the Metropolis and it was such a sight to see! You'll know you're at the heart of a very rich city/country because of the view of those buildings that stand tall on piles of colorful lights by the hotel window. Raffles City is just outside our hotel along Orchard Rd.
Singapore by Day and Night as viewed from my Room at Carlton
This is my hotel room at Carlton. I've got a double bed but I am actually alone. It was the only room available by that time so they got me booked here. Since I stayed here for 5 days, I slept alternately on my two beds just for fun! :) The room is already big for a single person and the amenities are commendable. One haggle through is that the W-Fi on the room is not free. You have to go to the lobby for free Wi-Fi or you have to pay for extra charge to have your room connected.
My home for 5 days at Carlton Hotel, Singapore
Since there is no Wi-Fi in the room, I never opted to pay for extra charge so I just took it as a chance to lurk around the lobby and see its great interiors and exterior as well as the busy guests that comes in and out of the hotel. The couches on the lobby are very comfy so staying there is more of a relaxing experience as well!

From the hotel door you get to see really luxurious cars arriving here and there. For us we took a Toyota Prius as a ride from Changi Airport. Maserati and Porsche are just a common view in Sg! I heard it's quite expensive to acquire a car in Singapore that of which explains why there are really high end cars just around the corner because owning a car in SG is more of like for the rich of the rich!

Carlton Hotel Interiors and Exteriors
THE ESRI ASIA PACIFIC USER CONFERENCE 2013

It was my first time to join a region-wide User Conference. For 2013, it was held at the Suntec Convention Center at Singapore. I learned a lot and met lots of professionals within my field. I love to join them as a delegate and I love to really discover how our field has much more to offer than just maps! I am so looking forward to discovering more at the future User Conferences. :) Hopefully, I get to visit ESRI's main office at Redlands Califrornia and join the International User Conference as San Diego as well.

ESRI Founder Jack Dangermond and the Delegates of the 2013 ESRI Asia Pacific User Conference

AROUND SINGAPORE

On my last day of stay in SG, I took it as a time to just roam around the city by walking. I love that I get to see these structures that seems to be so old but are preserved within the busy streets of Singapore. From our place at Orchard Road, I took the walk to their Parliament and some Art Museums around. The Fullerton Hotel and the Bridge is just iconic.The parks are so clean with just a few people around in the mornings. I know there are so many fines in Singapore so I am very careful of being charged of fines as I roam around.

From my observation, the people here in Singapore are so busy for work. Few people on the park and streets, few people on the mall and cafe during mornings. Very different from what we have here in the Philippines where people are jampacked all around may it be day or night!
Singapore Parliament, Museum and the Fullerton Hotel

Just so cars are so expensive to own, the public transportation in Singapore is already sufficient as I may say. The people are so wary on Bus Stops and the subways are just as commendable!

Of course, we can't leave Singapore without shopping and buying pasalubongs! There is the Funan Digital Mall for the technology savvy.Raffles City for the eye candy expensive finds. Now if you're up looking for Hawker Foods and affordable Pasalubongs, there's a lot along Pearl Street where affordable trinkets can be bought. We got some souvenir bags, shirts, key chains and other novelty items for like 100 pesos each. The price for these goes triple or even more at Changi Airport so better grab a lot from these thrift shops before heading the airport. How's that?

Shopping around Funan Digital Mall, Raffles City and Singapore Souvenirs at Peal Street with Hawker's Food


THE AIRPORT and THE AIRLINES

I was also very lucky to board via Singapore Airlines. I've read that it is one of the best airlines around so I am just so happy to be on board with them! The food is very good and the amenities are really thumbs up. I got an economy ticket but based on the other airlines that I have taken, this one is much more like a Business Class treatment for an Economy Class passenger. I must love Singapore Airlines that is why when I went to Indonesia the next year, I just opted to take the Singapore Airlines route MLA-SG then SG-Jakarta.

Changi Airport is just so BEST! The amenities are great, the Duty Free shopping is first class and the stay inside it is already a tourist experience for the books! Kudos to a very high customer satisfaction rating that I just have to give to Changi Airport! How I wish we just have the same amenities as that of Changi here in the Philippines :)
The Prius Ride, Singapore Airlines by Changi Airport in Singapore

My first airplane ride and my first trip abroad is just fun-filled amidst the fact that I am missing the kids and honey back home. It was one for some me time and reflection and the much coveted rest after the hustles and the bustles of the busy days at work.

Here are the Top 5 Things that I love about my Singapore trip.

  1. Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines is a tourist spot in itself. I love that I was being taken cared of really well during my Singapore Airlines flight (s). The airport in itself as well as real taker for their pampering amenities and great sights to see and shop! 
  2. The Carlton Hotel for the very accommodating staff and the great food at the buffet. They offer a variety of meals everyday so I did get to enjoy my daily breakfasts during my 5 days stay. 
  3. The Merlion Park is just as busy and the view around is really a tourist photo op attraction. I am glad to see some boat within the lake, the busy highways, the Marina Bay Sands and the very clean walkways that I just wish to happen too here in our country. Kahit sa Metro Manila lang muna! :
  4. The Suntec Convention Center. It was one modern mall with I guess that largest LCD Display in the world. We get to shop around after the conference and do some lurk around the park where the Suntec Fountain of Wealth is. It was walking distance from our hotel so we don't mind staying late. The streets are safe so we have no worries too!
  5. The Singapore Souvenirs, thrift shops and Hawker's Place! Hawker foods are affordable, good to the taste and clean. It is our break from the first class food from the buffet breakfast at the hotel and along Suntec Convention Center. These hawker foods offer more of like the real Singapore culture. A must try! On the side are some thrift shops where you can go get affordable pasalubongs that the loved ones back home would surely love.:)
Thats's all and I hope I get to touch Singapore grounds again for I know I missed some fun at the Sentosa and the Night Safari. Will definitely go back to Singapore for MORE!