Saturday, December 31, 2011

Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow 101 Financial Management Workshop

One of the topics that interest me is personal finance and I consider Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad to be a book that's great both for shifting your paradigm regarding money as well as for keeping you motivated as you strive for financial freedom. I had heard about the Cashflow 101 board game but I did not really pay much attention because the board game was very expensive (Kiyosaki is selling Cashflow 101 for $195). There was a local group that regularly met to play the game but even that was expensive (more than P1000 per game). So when Metrodeal featured Cashflow, I quickly bought two vouchers.

Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow 101
picture from Metrodeal

We met with the other folks at Spicy Fingers in Greenbelt 2. In our table, there were 2 facilitators and 5 of us newbie players. The game's mechanics was explained and we were each given two sheets of paper -- Income Statement/Balance Sheet and Small Deals Buying Sheet. Financial independence is about getting out of the rat race so each player was represented by a tiny plastic rat.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ambeth Ocampo's "Doble Kara: Rizal in Art and Monuments" Lecture at the Ayala Museum

Dr. Ambeth Ocampo's "Doble Kara: Rizal in Art and Monuments," lecture last December 3 was the last in his 2011 History Comes Alive! series. David Beckham was in the Philippines, playing with the Azkals, but Ambeth's loyal fans couldn't care less. (FYI: I mean no disrespect. For some reason, I feel more comfortable calling him Ambeth rather than Dr. Ocampo -- well, probably not to his face hehe). Anyway, the lecture was still well-attended and was as lively as the previous ones (see here and here).



Ambeth's slideshow included photos of several Rizal monuments. Before seeing those pictures, I did not know that there were so many Rizal monuments around and that some of them looked a bit goofy.

The history of the Rizal monument in Luneta was also discussed, from the time it was commissioned to the time it was modernized. It was my first time to see that towering steel pylon they erected in the 60s. Good thing they removed it a few years after, since it looked out of place and made the Rizal statue look like a footnote.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lipo-Sculpt Cavitation at La Estetica (Tomas Morato)

Our first session of lipo-sculpt cavitation was at La Estetica's Pasig branch. Since their Tomas Morato branch was more conveniently located for us, we decided to have the second session there. This time around, we had an easier time booking for a reservation by phone. Unfortunately, we arrived a little late and there were a lot of clients that time so they were not able to accommodate us, but the staff were nice enough to extend our vouchers' deadline. We came back the following week.

La Estetica Tomas Morato
La Estetica Tomas Morato

The one who attended to us was a male staff, just like in their Ortigas branch. Like in our previous session, the staff was also nice. The procedure was a little different though. There were no belt-like metal plates attached to my abdomen at the start of the session. I asked the staff why and he said that it was because he was using a different machine, and with that machine, the metal plates were not needed. The guy's pressure in rubbing the handpiece was stronger and halfway through the session, it began to be a little uncomfortable near my pelvis area (where there was less fat than in the other areas). After the treatment, though, I did not feel any soreness like I did in the first session.

Monday, December 12, 2011

6' Christmas Tree I Bought from Metrodeal (JT Photoworld)

I wasn't planning on buying a Christmas tree this year. Our family wasn't really into them and I could only remember one Christmas when we had a tree - that one was a real tree that was probably transported all the way from Quezon when I was still a kid.

But when I saw Metrodeal's Christmas tree promo, I got excited and thought that perhaps it was a sign that the adult me should start having a Christmas tree again.

The price was tempting (P999 instead of P3000) and the tree in the picture looked great so the deal was certainly very tempting. However, since Metrodeal and other similar sites had a habit of using stock photos (and the merchants of inflating the original prices), I was a bit worried that I would get one of those cheap, very plastic-looking, sparse trees that were being sold at low-end malls for P700-P1000.

The merchant for the tree was JT Photoworld, a camera shop in Manila. After calling them to set a schedule for pick-up, bf and I headed to their Paco office. It was around closing time when we arrived so we did not get the warmest of welcome, but we got our tree and they helped us tie the box with straw rope upon learning that we would be commuting.

Metrodeal JT Photoworld Christmas tree

The box was worn and dusty but the tree was in good shape, lush, with a dark green color. Setting it up was a bit tricky though, since the base of the tree's spine didn't fit the hole of the tree stand. Thank goodness bf was around since I didn't have enough strength to fix them. Using pliers, bf loosened up the stand's hole a little and crimped the tree's base to restore its cylindrical shape.



JT Photoworld
1434 Gen Luna St.
corner Apacible St.
Paco, Manila


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Cultural Dinner Show at Barbara's Restaurant in Intramuros

We dropped by Barbara's Restaurant for a dinner buffet and their cultural dinner show. It was our first time in Barbara's and to be frank, I was not expecting much, but the night turned out to be a lot of fun! I had been seeing buffet offers left and right and that somehow conditioned me to expect a lot more food in any buffet, so I was a bit disappointed to learn that there were only a few dishes available in Barbara's buffet. The cultural show, however, that one I completely underestimated. I was expecting one or two numbers with the dancers in an elevated and faraway stage. Boy was I wrong! That cultural show was the best part of the evening.

Barbara's Restaurant Intramuros
facade
Barbara's Restaurant Intramuros
exterior walls of Plaza San Luis

When we arrived, a band was playing. We were ushered to our table and the band continued playing with their stringed instruments as we ate, performing songs such as A Little Night of Music, Let It Be, Yesterday, and Dahil Sa 'Yo.

musicians at Barbara's Restaurant Intramuros

At around 7:15pm, the musicians were replaced with dancers. Soon, everyone was crowding around the group to get a better view as these dancers swayed to various traditional music. They danced continuously for about an hour, with costume changes in between numbers. Some of the dances they performed: Binasuan, Tinikling, Pandanggo sa Ilaw, La Jota ManileƱa, and Sayaw sa Bangko. Up until now, I never really got excited with folk dances. As a kid, we had to learn them at school but I never really appreciated them (and I hated Binasuan because the glass on top of my head fell and shattered during freshman high school!) but seeing them being performed by graceful professionals with colorful costumes, impeccable hair, and a perpetual smile made me swell with nationalistic pride.

cultural dancers at Barbara's Restaurant Intramuros
dancers with their colorful costumes

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011

We dropped by the Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011 last November 19 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The atmosphere at WTC was very festive. Upon entrance, you would be greeted by a lot of colorful booths and displays.

Christmas shoppers at Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011
Christmas displays at Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011
Christmas displays at Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011
Christmas trees at Noel Discovery Bazaar 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Lazy Bean Cafe (Tomas Morato)

I got introduced to The Lazy Bean through their Ensogo promo

Taste
We ordered their Crepe Salad (mix of ripe mangoes, grapes and salad veggies wrapped in crepe, with cheese sauce on top), Spicy Tuna Sardini (tuna and Spanish sardines in olive oil mixed with spaghetti), and Beef Casserole (beef and mushrooms baked with mashed potatoes on top). For drinks, we had Violet Curacao and Cucumber Soda.

The crepe salad was an interesting appetizer. It was light and it cleansed the palate well. I also enjoyed my sardini. Its spiciness was just right and the dish wasn't as greasy as the ones I've tried before. I only got a few bites of the beef casserole but it was also good.

Crepe Salad at The Lazy Bean
Crepe Salad
Spicy Tuna Sardini at The Lazy Bean
Spicy Tuna Sardini

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sky Safari Zipline at Zoobic Safari (Subic, Zambales)

Zoobic's Sky Safari Zipline was a fun ride. It was our first time to try it. We had two senior citizens with us and we thought we had to drag them kicking and screaming to try the 200m zipline, but they were game enough to try without any convincing needed.

Sky Safari zipline at Zoobic
view from the zipline area
Sky Safari zipline at Zoobic
view from the zipline area

Nearby, these handsome fellas were lounging that lazy Saturday afternoon.

white carabao buffalo at Sky Safari zipline at Zoobic

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zoobic Night Safari at Subic, Zambales

We went to Zoobic Safari last November 5. Zoobic Safari is a 25-hectare amusement park located in Subic, Zambales. To go there, we took a Victory Liner bus in Monumento (regular bus - P169/pax, P121/pax for senior citizens; airconditioned bus - P202/pax, P162/pax for seniors). Upon arrival at Olongapo, we took a jeepney to the SBMA gate (P8/pax) then a taxi to Zoobic Safari (P350/trip). The taxi fare was costly, yes, but it was a long ride and the taxi was a van-type vehicle so you'll spend less per person if you're going in a big group. As far as I knew, there was no alternative - no buses or jeepneys went to and from Zoobic, just private vehicles and taxis. The system was to get the driver's mobile number then text him around 30mins before the end of your trip. Failure to get the driver's number might result in the commuter having a hard time in going back since there were very few available taxis waiting outside Zoobic Safari.

The driver of our taxi was friendly and chatty, so the taxi ride was leisurely. The scenery was also terrific - lots of greens! For someone born and raised in Manila, breathing fresh air and seeing lots of trees has become a luxury so I really appreciated the time just looking at them.

Upon arrival at Zoobic, we were told to sit near the hall entrance to have our picture taken. I didn't like that part, because with the way the staff ushered us ("let's take a picture first!"), it sounded as if the pictures were included in the tour package and were therefore free, but they were not.

One of the primary reasons why I wanted to go to Zoobic was to have my picture taken while I was petting/feeding a tiger cub. When I saw the tiger in the feeding booth, though, I had a thought bubble: that is not a baby tiger!

tiger at Zoobic Safari
tiger at Zoobic Safari
tiger at Zoobic Safari

The tiger was a little petulant. There was a time when its handler was pulling on its chains to make it get up and approach the bench, but it wasn't responding and was even clinging to a leg of the table. It was probably bored or sleepy or tired of being fed milk by the tourists. There was another tiger nearby. This one was inside a cage, pacing back and forth, back and forth. Truth be told, I felt bad for the tigers because they looked bored. I just hope that all the tigers in Zoobic's Tiger Safari took turns in being the feeding area tiger and the caged tiger.

Since the feeding tiger was a lot bigger than I expected, I had to muster more courage. When I finally had it, we approached the staff, only to be told to come back because it was already feeding time for the tiger. Well they got no resistance from me, I wasn't interested in being so close to a tiger who was already expecting a fresh meat that minute. I had no plans of being an appetizer.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Serious Security Flaw at Cleverbuy

I logged in to Cleverbuy to review the terms of some vouchers I bought. I clicked My Account and got the following screens:

security flaw at Cleverbuy
security flaw at Cleverbuy
security flaw at Cleverbuy

The thing is, I am not Anthea Gabriel. I don't know who she is nor was I trying to hack her account. But there I was, looking at her full name, order list, address, email, and phone number. I could use her info for mischief. I could also change her address and password if I wanted to. Hello identity theft!

I quickly reported the bug to Cleverbuy's Facebook page. In fairness to Cleverbuy, they promptly replied and promised to fix the error.

I just hope they really do fix this security bug because it's a serious error. If a legitimate client can access another client's account without even intending to or trying, then how much easier would it be for a malicious hacker?



Update: If you got here because you're concerned about Cleverbuy being a scam, head to my more recent Cleverbuy post. That's where I post updates I get about this issue.

If You Still Have an Unclaimed Cleverbuy Voucher, Read This!

 

 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Diamond Peel Facial Treatment at MEDIcard Skin & Body Clinic

I'm a Medicard member but my interaction with the company was limited to annual physical examinations that they conducted in my workplace's premises. I knew they had an office in Makati but it was my first time to go there. I was expecting just a small, simple clinic so it was a pleasant surprise for me to learn that their office was big and posh. We went up to the third floor for their 20min facial diamond peel treatment. It was the first time for both of us to try diamond peel.

MEDIcard Skin & Body Clinic

The whole building looked spotless and chic. Decorations were minimal but tasteful. The place was well-lit and the temperature was just right, not chilly.

MEDIcard Skin and Body Laser and Aesthetic Care Center
MEDIcard Skin and Body Laser and Aesthetic Care Center

To those unfamiliar with it, diamond peel (also called microdermabrasion) involves the use of diamond dust to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate cell turnover. It minimizes pimple scars, fine lines, and sun damage. Compared to other skin peeling treatments, diamond peel has no downtime, so you can do your normal activities right after.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pigging Out on Buffalo Wings and More @ Wingman (The Collective, Makati)

Badet had been raving about Wingman for the longest time, so when Ensogo offered a P500-for-P1000-worth-of-food voucher, I bought two.

Taste
We've been to Wingman twice. The first time was in September, right before attending Ambeth Ocampo's Queridas ni Rizal Lecture at the Ayala Musem. We ordered a dozen buffalo wings (lemon pepper and garlic parmesan), curly twist fries, and Wingman Salad. This is the only evidence of our first visit, since the chicken wings and fries were safely tucked away inside our stomach cavities by the time we remembered to take pictures:

Wingman salad
Wingman Salad - P250
I'm a big big fan of McDonald's twister fries, so I really enjoyed Wingman's curly twist fries (P130). When it comes to chicken wings, I'm partial towards non-saucy variants. Both the lemon pepper and garlic parmesan variants satisfied my taste buds. The Wingman Salad (lettuce with bleu cheese dressing and topped with buffalo chicken breast slices) was a meal by itself. I rarely order salad when dining out since I usually find green salads too bland for my taste, with not enough dressing/seasoning/cheese/meat, that I end up just munching plain lettuce halfway through the salad. I liked the Wingman salad, though. It was seasoned well and there was a generous amount of chicken included.

On our second visit, we ordered a dozen wings again. This time, we wanted to try their burger, but we couldn't decide which one to get so we got Home Run Sliders (choice of 3 mini-burgers), in order to sample the different kinds.

buffalo wings at Wingman in The Collective, Makati City
Buffalo Wings!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brazil Brazil! Churrascaria at Metrowalk

I've been hearing about Brazil Brazil! for years already. I was intrigued but since their branches were out of the way for me, I never got around to trying their food. When their Churrasco feast platter was featured in Metrodeal, I considered it a sign for me to go and finally sample their food.

The Churrasco feast platter was good for two and included the following: delicate beef brisket, pork belly, hanging tender, pork shoulder, chicken thighs, heavenly frankfurter sausage, Java rice, banana (saba) and Japanese corn.

Churrasco feast platter at Brazil Brazil in Metrowalk Pasig
Churrasco feast platter

Taste
The meats were flavorful and juicy. They reminded me of just why I was a meatlover! I'm a picky eater and one of the things I don't eat is fat trimmings. The meats in the platter were lean and suited me quite well. Next time I have to try the buffet.

Affordability
If you're a carnivore looking to maximize your peso, go for the buffet instead of the Churrasco platter. They cost about the same but you'll get to eat a lot more meat. The buffet's price (P777) is pretty reasonable for a meat-centric foodfest especially if you happen to have a huge appetite.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lipo-Sculpt Cavitation at La Estetica (Pasig)

Thanks to Metrodeal, I learned about La Estetica's lipo-sculpt cavitation offer. Lipocontour slimming through ultracavitation, also called ultrasound cavitation, is a non-surgical treatment to burn fats in tough areas, like tummy, arms or thighs. Since it is non-invasive, it won't leave scars and requires no anesthetic or recovery period. I could use a few inches off my midsection so I bought bf and myself 2 vouchers each just to try it out.

Reservation was a headache. I booked a reservation through their online form, indicating the date, time, and chosen branch (Tomas Morato). I was surprised to see that leaving your contact info was just optional, but I entered my phone number anyway and waited for their confirmation. Which never arrived.

Some people would assume that this scenario meant that everything was okay, because they would contact you if there was a problem, right? Just to be sure, I had bf call their Tomas Morato branch the next afternoon to confirm the reservation. They couldn't even give us a straight answer. Their reasoning was that not all online appointments could be accommodated because they prioritize those who set appointments via landline. According to the staff who answered the phone, she would have to check with the Ortigas branch because it was the Ortigas branch that attended to online appointments. She asked bf to call again the next day. Bf had the impression that the girl was rushing because it was already closing time but didn't argue. He called again the next morning (11am) and was asked to call again at 1:30pm. Bf gave a time allowance and just called at 3pm. La Estetica still couldn't find my reservation. Really, why bother putting an online appointment widget on your Web site if nobody checks it anyway? Bf was already annoyed so I took over the phone and called the Ortigas branch to book a reservation there instead of the Tomas Morato branch.

La Estetica skin clinic in Ortigas, Pasig
La Estetica in Ortigas, picture owned by eyp.ph

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cesar Montano's Bellissimo Ristorante

One of the things I find depressing is hearing about celebrities who've become rich and famous, then plummeted into poverty and obscurity because of vices and financial mismanagement. So when I hear about business-minded celebrities, I get a smile on my face. I've previously posted about such restaurants (Marvin Agustin's Marciano's and Kian Kazemi's Persia Grill). Now we have Cesar Montano's Bellissimo Ristorante.

The waiter recommended for us to try their Embrodo Soup. We weren't familiar with that kind of soup so we decided to try it. Until now, I still don't know what embrodo is. Anyone care to enlighten me? Google keeps on returning results related to the totally unappetizing embryo soup.

Taste
Aside from the embrodo soup, we also ordered Fried Mozzarella and Sunshine Pizza, with strawberry and raspberry Italian sodas as our drinks.

embrodo soup at Cesar Montano's Bellissimo Ristorante
Embrodo Soup - P200
I didn't know what to make of the embrodo soup. My unfamiliarity with it seemed to have confused my taste buds as well.

fried mozzarella at Cesar Montano's Bellissimo Ristorante
Fried Mozzarella - P280
I'm a sucker for mozzarella so I happily gnawed at the fried mozzarella rolls. They were quite filling.

Sunshine pizza at Cesar Montano's Bellissimo Ristorante
Sunshine Pizza - P450
The Sunshine pizza was okay, but nothing to write home about. I've read good reviews about their Aglio Olio but since there were only two of us dining, we had to make a decision: pizza or pasta, and pizza won that night. We'll try the Aglio Olio next time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Clawdaddy (Eton Centris)

This was our second time to eat at Clawdaddy. In our first visit, the Clammy Spaghetti wasn't such a hit with us (more of a personal choice, I just preferred pastas with thicker sauces) but we enjoyed their Marinara Pizza. We also loved their mojos and Boston clam chowder, so when I was craving for mojos, we trooped back to Clawdaddy. Unfortunately, the server informed us that they didn't serve mojos anymore. I was shocked. I had to rephrase my question several times just to make sure that they have discontinued the mojos and was not just out of potatoes that night. *sigh* I'll miss their mojos.

Anyway, on our second time, we decided to order the Baked Four-Cheese Oysters, New Orleans Original Seafood Gumbo, and Half-Slab BBQ Baby Back Ribs.

baked four cheese oysters at Clawdaddy Eton Sentris Quezon City
Baked Four-Cheese Oysters
New Orleans original seafood gumbo at Clawdaddy Eton Sentris Quezon City
New Orleans Original Seafood Gumbo

Monday, October 3, 2011

Buffet Dinner at Seasons (Manila Pavilion Hotel)

We arrived at Seasons at the Manila Pavilion Hotel at around 6:45pm. There were only a few diners then.

Following are some of the food that we ate (* = food that bf ate but I didn't taste):

soup (cream of veggie of some sort)
another soup*
pickled mushrooms
embutido
a variety of cheeses
a variety of breads*
squid salad*
Caesar's salad*
shake sashimi
squid tempura
sushi
siomai & dumplings
lechon kawali
roast beef with lemon butter sauce
roast pig (lechon goodness!)
strawberry pudding
durian cake
mango ice cream
ube ice cream
blueberry jam
paella
2 kinds of fish fillet
chilled orange juice
chilled pineapple juice*


Now, for some food porn...

Bf is a big fan of salads, so he had to try the salads.

salads at Seasons buffet Manila Pavilion Hotel
Caesar salad, squid salad

He also has a love affair with cheeses and breads, thus this:

cheeses and breads at Seasons buffet Manila Pavilion Hotel
breads, cheeses, dried fruit

For this plate, the caption says it all...

at Seasons buffet Manila Pavilion Hotel
I don't even remember this plate. Bf probably wolfed down all the food quickly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

UCC Vienna Cafe (Mall of Asia)

It was already past 11pm and we wanted to eat. We didn't have much appetite and we didn't want to feel bloated so we opted to order sandwiches and fruity drinks instead of rice/pasta and coffee.

Bf ordered the Vienna Cliffhanger Sandwich (P289) and the Hawaiian Sunrise (P179). I ordered the Wasabi Mayo Seafood Pizza Toast (P259) and the Frozen Honey Calamansi Iced Tea (P139). The Cliffhanger is a "triple-decker Japanese bread with bacon, egg, grilled chicken fillet, and mozzarella cheese, dipped in custard sauce, breaded and lightly fried" while the Wasabi Mayo Toast consists of "assorted seafood in wasabi mayo and mozzarella cheese on thick sliced Japanese bread, baked pizza style".


UCC Vienna Cafe Cliffhanger Sandwich and Hawaiian Sunrise
Vienna Cliffhanger Sandwich and Hawaiian Sunrise

Wasabi Mayo Seafood Pizza Toast and Frozen Honey Calamansi Iced Tea

Taste
It was my first time to try wasabi on a toast. The toast sounded interesting but since it was my first time to try it, I didn't know what to expect. Well what do you know? It was awesome! Loved loved loved it! The Cliffhanger was also good, but my vote goes to the Wasabi Mayo Toast's ability to tickle my taste buds. As for the drinks, they were both good and refreshing.

Affordability
UCC's food is a bit on the expensive side. But we were happy with what we ordered and the sandwiches were a lot bigger and filling than we expected so we consider them worth the price. Bf had a hard time finishing his food and I had to take home half of my toast.

Interiors
Because it was already late night, only a couple of customers were there. The cafe was quiet and relaxing. The couches were soft and comfy.

Cleanliness
Spotless.

Service
Good.



UCC Vienna Cafe
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bookgasm in the 32nd Manila International Book Fair

Bf and I are both book hounds. One of our simple pleasures is raiding book sales. So when SMX held the 32nd Manila International Book Fair, of course we had to be there. I have a big box of still-unread books, but I can't stop buying books! T_T

Here are some pictures of the registration area and the lobby.


32nd Manila International Book Fair registration area

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

32nd Manila International Book Fair

Bf was thrilled to see none other than his favorite author, Prof. Ambeth Ocampo. Ambeth (yeah we're close, first name basis baby...joke!) was chatting with some friends. It was already getting late and they were probably hungry. Bf and I were about to approach Ambeth to have a book signed when a girl arrived and handed them a box of donuts. I told bf that we should just come back after they've finished eating. Ambeth heard me as he was biting into a donut. He put the donut down and gestured for us to approach. That was really nice of him. Other authors would probably have been already (understandably) cranky by then.

I was supposed to take bf's picture with Ambeth but Ambeth's friend asked us if we had a camera and volunteered to take our picture, so I was included in the photo. What a sweet lady! But because we're camera shy, I've cropped the picture before posting it here. That thing above Ambeth's head (beside the denim jacket) is my neck. :)

Ambeth Ocampo at the 32nd Manila International Book Fair


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Icebergs (Mall of Asia) - Just a Quick One, Like Their Service

Just a quick, short review.

We were starving after that Mongkok MoA fiasco. Moody and famished, we ended up in Icebergs. This branch was smaller than other branches I've been in but was busy. We were lucky to get a table.

We ordered their Famous Sisig and Lechon Kawali.

Icebergs Famous Sisig

Icebergs Golden Lechon Kawali

(photos from Icebergs Facebook page)

The food arrived much quicker than we expected. And it wasn't because the food was half-cooked or anything. Thanks goodness, because we were starving!

For dessert, we shared a German U-Boat Split. Our mood quickly improved.

There's not a lot of things in our lives that hot meals and ice cream can't fix.



Icebergs
SM Mall of Asia
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Icebergs Facebook Page


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