Saturday, June 30, 2012

Piss Poor Landline Service I've Been Getting from PLDT Since Last Year

PLDT landline
When it comes to service problems, it has been my experience that the megacorporations are the ones which are most frustrating to deal with. With small businesses, you can find the owner and complain directly and the owner usually addresses your concerns as quick as possible. With megacorporations, the big fish are always out hobnobbing with fellow millionaires (and billionaires), with no way for us mere mortals to contact them. All we get to talk to are grunts who don't really care about complaining customers because 1) we're just one of the many many complainants they talk to every day and 2) we can just go screw ourselves and transfer to their competitors because they will still get paid and new subscribers will take our place. In short, they don't care about losing our business.

PLDT is one such company. And this is a long rant.

When we transferred to a new apartment building last year, I applied for a new PLDT landline service. I had been a subscriber for years and although our previous landline phone occasionally had no dial tone, the PLDT branch was just a five-minute walk from our house and having the problem fixed was easy. As for the bills, I was never behind in paying them.

Monday, June 25, 2012

San Marino Tuna Embutido Makes Me Think of Soylent Green

I love San Marino Corned Tuna. It is a staple here at home. Whenever we feel like having rice but don't feel like cooking, that's what we have as viand.

Because of my fondness for that particular canned good, my well-meaning housemate bought a can of San Marino Tuna Embutido for us to try. We just finished dinner and I must say that tuna embutido is very inspirational. Even if I wasn't planning on posting any review today, I was deeply inspired to write one.

San Marino Tuna Embutido

Shi Lin @ The Podium

I had been hearing a lot of good buzz about Shi Lin (their xiao long bao in particular) so we decided to check out their branch at The Podium. We took the MRT and walked the rest of the way to the mall so we were starving by the time we got there.

facade of Shi Lin at The Podium


We ordered the Hot and Sour Soup as appetizer, Mushroom and Vegetable Dumplings, Shrimp and Pork Shaomai, Xiao Long Bao, a plate of rice, Passion Berry Iced Tea and Tropical Plumberry Iced Tea to wash them all down, and Red Bean Dumplings for dessert.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Longganisa Sorpresa @ SM North

Everytime I pass by Longganisa Sorpresa in SM North, I chuckle a little. I find the resto's name quite humorous.

I must admit -- I'm not a longganisa fan, mainly because I don't eat fat. I don't mind eating fatty food but I can't eat the actual fat. Many of the longganisa I had tried before had lots of fat bits. This alienated me from longganisa.

However, I got intrigued when Longganisa Sorpresa launched an offer via Metrodeal. Knowing that there were many kinds of longganisa available, I decided to buy a voucher and try out their food.

For P240, the buyer would get the Longganisa Platter and four cups of Garlic Rice (all worth P480).


When the server handed me the menu and asked me to choose 5 kinds of longganisa, I got a little overwhelmed. I didn't know there were so many kinds to choose from.

Basically there are two groups of longganisa: recado and hamonado. Recado is a mix of salty, garlicky, sour, and peppery types. In this group are longganisa from Alaminos, Baguio, Cabanatuan, Calumpit, Laoag, Lucban, Tuguegarao, and Vigan. Hamonado consists of sweet and smoked ones from Cabanatuan (Batutay), Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, General Santos, and Pampanga.

Knowing little about the different kinds, I asked the server to choose for me and to choose the ones with minimal fatty bits. She readily agreed and within a few minutes our platter arrived. According to the server, our platter consisted of Calumpit, Vigan, Cabanatuan, Batutay, and Alaminos longganisa.

Longganisa Sorpresa Longganisa Platter
Longganisa Platter - P360 (reg price)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bake & Churn's Dome Ice Cream Cakes

I love cakes. I love ice creams. Sometimes it's hard to choose between the two, so what better solution than to have an ice cream cake? Off we went to Bake and Churn in SM City North EDSA Annex and got two dome ice cream cakes: Mango Madness for me, Rocky Road for bf. Each cake was 8" in diameter and cost P530.

The cakes were housed in a special box that was supposed to keep them from melting for up to 3 hours (even 4 hours, according to Bake & Churn's Facebook page). I clarified that with the girl manning Bake and Churn's stall, just in case there was a separate container that we needed to buy to maintain the cake's form as long as possible.

Bake & Churn said the ice cream cake would not melt within four hours
the ice cream won't melt up to at least 4 hours

Bake and Churn ice cream cake box
the special box

From SM North, it took me 20-30mins to get home. I excitedly unboxed my cake. Aside from a slight imperfection of the icing design at the base of the cake, the cake was beautiful.

Bake and Churn mango madness ice cream cake
Mango Madness ice cream cake

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Works Bistro @ Tomas Morato

We dropped by The Works Bistro in Tomas Morato for a quick dinner.


We ordered a rice dish and a pasta dish, but since the rice dish was not available that time, we changed our order to The Works Pizza 10" (P325) and Zesty Mojos (P185).

They serve milkshakes. Who can say no to milkshakes? So we also ordered a Chocohazelnut Milkshake (P110) and a Strawberry Milkshake (P110).

The Works Bistro chocolate milkshake and strawberry milkshake
Chocohazelnut Milkshake and Strawberry Milkshake

The milkshakes arrived first. Chocolate and strawberry syrups were drizzled along the sides of the respective glasses to form a simple design. Both milkshakes were good.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sample Affidavit: My Cleverbuy Affidavit

Click here for updates about Cleverbuy or CleverTravel.
Click here to see all posts related to Cleverbuy or CleverTravel.

Several commenters have asked about the format of an affidavit or a sample affidavit so I decided to post mine. I haven't submitted this to the NBI or even notarized. I drafted this affidavit then had it looked over by a lawyer friend.

This is just a sample. You can add more info, especially if you've attempted to contact Cleverbuy or the merchant before writing your affidavit.

Some notes:
  • According to my lawyer friend, the rows should be 1.5-spaced (you know, that thing between being single-spaced and doubled-spaced). I'm not sure how strict the NBI or our local courts are about the format of the affidavit since I saw other notarized affidavits last Friday which looked simpler (no numbers, not much legalese terms, etc).
  • You have to present a valid ID when having the affidavit notarized. A community tax certificate (cedula) is not enough anymore.


Republic of the Philippines}  s.s
City of Manila

I,  (my name), Filipino citizen, of legal age, single, and a resident of (complete address), after having been duly sworn in accordance with law, hereby depose and say:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Latest Updates About Cleverbuy / CleverTravel

Just to recap the events since May:
  1. J2 Discount Travel and Tours closed down. Cleverbuy said they would take care of the refunds. Some complainants were able to get post-dated checks.
  2. May 29 - Cleverbuy stopped issuing post-dated checks and only issued promissory notes. A meeting with Cleverbuy was scheduled at NBI on June 1, 2012.
  3. May 30 - Cleverbuy suddenly closed their office as well due to threats, verbal abuse, and a few cases of vandalism and theft received from their angry clients. The closure would be temporary according to them. Communication with them was soon cut off however (no response on their Facebook page, invalid contact numbers, etc).
  4. Anonymous tips and various information from former Cleverbuy employees began surfacing.
  5. June 1 - The meeting at NBI's Anti-Fraud Division was reset to June 8, 2012.
  6. June 5 - The bank account used by Cleverbuy to issue their checks was closed. DTI encouraged complainants to go direct to NBI since this matter had become a criminal case.

A few days ago, I heard from an ex-Cleverbuy employee that the company's CEO Christian Bayer denied being the owner of Cleverbuy. That was certainly odd -- Cleverbuy's SEC registration could disprove his denial. Even in the official statement Cleverbuy issued last May 3, 2012, Bayer was named as the CEO. This denial sent my mind whirring and I began to consider the possibility that Cleverbuy was a scam from the beginning (unknown to their Filipino staff) and Garcia was being used as a fall guy by Bayer (just in case someone needs to go to jail to pacify the angry mob) while Bayer runs away.

What happened during the NBI meeting on June 8, 2012...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Unhelpful, Argumentative Guard at BDO SM Megamall

We were at SM Megamall near closing time last Saturday night and decided to withdraw some funds from the ATMs near National Bookstore.

They were both vacant that time so I used the right one while bf used the left one. I encountered no problem and finished my transaction. The left ATM, however, was taking a long time to cough up bf's money and was beeping continuously. As bf continued to wait for the money, I snuck a quick peek inside the BDO branch a meter or two away from the machines since the door was closed but the blinders were up. I'd seen bank branches that still had employees inside even past banking hours; I was sort of hoping that perhaps someone from BDO could help us.

ATMs at BDO Megamall

Apparently, the bank guard heard the machine's continuous beeping and opened the door. We told him that the machine did not eject money but according to the ATM's receipt, the money was deducted from bf's account. Instead of helping us in any way, the guard lectured us that the machine's beeping meant that the money was already in the slot. He said that if the money was not taken from the slot immediately, it would be swallowed up by the ATM again. He then went back inside the bank.

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