December 2, 2012

Blogging with Blogsy



I know I've been remiss with my blog posts. I haven't even shared our Northern Mindanao family adventure. I promise to write about it soon.

Blogging on the iPad is not as easy as I thought it would be. The Blogger App was just too much of a hassle and full of limitations. I've done my homework and concluded that the Blogsy App is the best blogging tool for the iPad. I bit the bullet and purchased it for US$ 4.99.

My previous post was done using Blogsy and all I can say is that the cost is definitely worth it. I should have gotten it sooner and saved me a lot if headache shuffling from drafting my post on the iPad and working on my office computer or borrowing the husband's laptop to add/edit photos. Sheesh.

So there, now I have no more excuse not to blog.

Except that the Christmas Holidays are fast approaching and I've barely started on my shopping. Already, the littlest kid is saying (well actially, bordering on the nagging) that she has at least 20 friends from school that she will give gifts to. Parties and get-togethers are sure to abound as i've got a brood of three girls and a husband with a number of extra-curricular activities. Life will continue to take over but I'm not complaining.



November 28, 2012

All I Want For Christmas

A couple of weeks ago, the husband asked me point-blank what I wanted for Christmas and I wasn't able to reply. So now, allow me to dwell on some fine material things as I take time to write down my wish list.

Thomas Sabo charm

First on my list is this charm to add to my Thomas Sabo bracelet. This particular charm is called "Hope, Love, Faith" and will remind me of my girly girls who never fail to give me hope, faith and love in more ways than one.


Nikon 18-200mm AF-S DX VR II



My dream lens for my Nikon DSLR. This is the lens I'd take anywhere and everywhere to capture more than just our family's precious moments. With this, I would have no need to change lenses and risk letting a perfect moment slip by without getting a shot.

And lastly, the ultimate wish for this year,


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I can dream, can I? ;)






September 22, 2012

Beauty Sale Loot: Guerlain Cosmetics

At least every quarter, Luxasia, a distributor of high-end perfumes and cosmetics, holds a sale in various parts of Metro Manila. For several years now, my friend L and I anticipate Luxasia's booth at the lobby of the Pacific Star Building in Makati. On various occasions, I got Shiseido liquid and powder foundation and tinted moisturizer at 40 to 60% off. Last December, the hubby and I chanced upon their annual warehouse sale at the FMF Compound along Pioneer in Mandaluyong. Even he didn't go home empty-handed. Last summer, L and I chanced upon them at a bazaar in World Trade Center and I scored Guerlain Kiss Kiss lipsticks for 500 bucks.

And so when I found out about this Pre-Christmas Warehouse Sale last Thursday, L and I didn't hesitate and trooped over to Pioneer. We were there at around 3 pm and to our utter shock, some of the sales assistants whom we knew by faces informed us that a number of items were immediately sold out earlier that day. Buyers lined up outside that morning and hauled off the most coveted scents and shades. Nonetheless, I wasn't disappointed with what I got:

"If there were a dictionary devoted to beauty, listed under the word 'classic' you'd find Guerlain. This purveyor of luxury fragrance, makeup, and skincare has consistently defined—and redefined—our standards of beauty for over 175 years. Since 1828, Guerlain has guided us through a remarkable series of firsts, including industry standards like lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, and scientifically based skincare. And that's just the beginning: Their fragrance house has created over 700 perfumes, several of which are considered masterpieces. An enduring symbol of style and innovation, it's nearly impossible to imagine life before lipstick—or Guerlain." (source: Sephora)

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau Foundation and Concealer with SPF 20
Original Retail Price: Php 3,900
Sale Price: Php 1,200

Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette
Original Retail Price: Php 4,200
Sale Price: Php 1,000

Great discounts, don't you think? Now go and check out Luxasia's Warehouse Sale, ongoing until 7pm today. It is worth your while.

September 14, 2012

TGIF Laughs: It's Friday!

As happy as this monkey can be :D

August 17, 2012

When In Subic ...

... I never fail to drop by Royal Subic, where I buy my pasalubong for my brood. As in most duty free shops, prices are quoted in US dollars and the conversion rate to our local peso is dependent on the current exchange rate.

I got sweets for my sweet girls.

Chips, a.k.a. junk food. I know, my bad.

skin food

The Burt's Bees lotion and hand salve were at $ 8.10 apiece. These are steal deals as these stuff are sold for more than double in most shops in Metro Manila.

Do share your must-buys and other shopping loot when in Royal Mall. I'm interested to know ...

Photo Op: Alta Vista de Boracay

Owned and managed by DMCI Homes, Alta Vista de Boracay is located in Barangay Yapak in the northwestern part of Boracay Island. We had a quick opportunity to visit the resort during our trip last month. Alas, we didn't have time to tour the vast four-hectare property. We had a glimpse though of a number of  cluster buildings which house a total of 500 rooms.

Immediately upon entering the lobby, I was drawn to the resort's infinity pool set amid the hilltop.  

The resort's secluded ambiance is a perfect foil for the maddening crowd in the island's White Beach area. Lounging by this poolside is sure to relax one's mind and soul. Just order a refreshing drink at the nearby restaurant and you're set ;)

Going back to the lobby, I appreciated the use of indigenous material like the bamboo reeds which lined the entire sloping ceiling. This provided a soft visual texture which contrasted against the tiled floor. In addition, the capiz panels allowed natural light to come in, giving a bright and airy feeling to the huge lobby. The lighting fixtures also made use of our native materials. Notice the capiz chandelier hung in the middle, anchored by a tree trunk adorned with more capiz lanterns. Native reed lanterns were also lined above the reception desk.

Here's a closer look at the juxtaposition of the indigenous materials. My compliments go to the designer for imbibing the tropical theme and making good use of locally available decor materials.

For more information about Alta Vista de Boracay Resort, view their website by clicking here.

TGIF Laughs: Weekend is Coming

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And it's a four day weekend at that ... woohoo :)

Hope this bright and sunny weather stays until next week. Enjoy, everyone!

August 9, 2012

Against All Odds

Thank heavens for Mr. Sun is finally out! 

We are quite thankful too that our family and friends were spared from the onslaught of rain and flood. We pray for those who were affected and may they find strength, courage and incessant faith during this trying time.

Over the past couple of days, my Facebook wall was filled with posts ranging from the gravity of the situation in Metro Manila and in other parts of Luzon to rescue efforts and prayer requests for deliverance. Then too, a number of posts showed  our people's uncanny ability to make light of the catastrophe befallen us. 

Take this, for example:

And this:

And this:

Seriously, I am amazed at our resilience. Amidst tragedy, we, Filipinos, are always ready with a smile (and a joke) to ease our burdens.  No amount of rainfall could dampen our spirits. As a parting shot, this last one says it all.

July 23, 2012

The Other Side of Boracay

I had mixed feelings when I read recently that Boracay was named as the top beach destination by the Travel + Leisure Magazine. Having just visited the island a couple of weeks ago for a 3-day business trip, I was actually disappointed when I saw the stretch of Stations 1 to 3 now fully dotted with commercial establishments and teeming with quite a number of tourists on what is supposedly an off-peak season. While this is a boon for our travel industry and local business owners, it dampened my soul a bit as I looked forward to a less crowded island in July.

Luckily, we were billeted at the Sol Marina Boracay Resort located in Baling-hai Beach in the northwestern portion of the island. This was the former Club Panoly Resort and the property is now owned and managed by the same company which owns Zest Air. Already, plans are underway to build a 500-room structure to maximize the vast property.

With the elite and classy Shangrila Resort as its neighbor, the resort's beach cove remains pristine and exclusive. And this for me is what Boracay is all about. 

I felt like I was transported to paradise when I saw the wide expanse of sand still unencumbered with commercial developments. I hope that this remains as it is for travelers like me who enjoy nature's undisturbed glory. There were moments when I had this whole unspoiled beach all to myself and those were pure bliss.

July 13, 2012

TGIF Laughs

It's my favorite day of the week once more ...

June 15, 2012

TGIF Laughs: Hang On!

Just a few more hours until the work week ends ...

June 8, 2012

TGIF Laughs

The most joyous day of the week has come!

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June 3, 2012

Just Finished

A few days after I got the iPad 2, I purchased a "Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson" ebook on eBay. I thought it apt to read about the man behind this device.

This is why I've been quiet on the blogosphere. Steve Jobs' biography is an absorbing read, albeit it took me more than a month to finish. I found myself cringing at his numerous idiosyncrasies but my heart leaped in delight at the part where he returned to Apple. His story may not be that of a saint, but his legacy is unmistakably lauded by his peers and rivals.

Steve Jobs' saga is best summed up as follows (p. 922-923):
Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly. As a result he launched a series of products over three decades that transformed whole industries:
• The Apple II, which took Wozniak’s circuit board and turned it into the first personal computer that was not just for hobbyists.
• The Macintosh, which begat the home computer revolution and popularized graphical user interfaces.
• Toy Story and other Pixar blockbusters, which opened up the miracle of digital imagination.
• Apple stores, which reinvented the role of a store in defining a brand.
• The iPod, which changed the way we consume music.
• The iTunes Store, which saved the music industry.
• The iPhone, which turned mobile phones into music, photography, video, email, and web devices.
• The App Store, which spawned a new content-creation industry.
• The iPad, which launched tablet computing and offered a platform for digital newspapers, magazines, books, and videos.
• iCloud, which demoted the computer from its central role in managing our content and let all of our devices sync seamlessly.
• And Apple itself, which Jobs considered his greatest creation, a place where imagination was nurtured, applied, and executed in ways so creative that it became the most valuable company on earth.

May 14, 2012

Monday Inspiration

Whether big or small ...

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Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday's Mother's Day celebration was a simple but special one. My girls greeted me as soon as the clock struck midnight.

There were no handmade cards this year. Times have indeed changed. But I am nonetheless appreciative of their efforts. They gave me chocolates after breakfast. Much better than roses, I thought. And the hubby cooked Wagyu steak for lunch.

Life is good and I am so grateful.

May 11, 2012

Cagbalete Island Camping

Ever since I watched an episode about camping on Oprah about a couple of months ago, I "obsessed" about taking our family on a camping trip. Since then, I searched the internet for nearby camping sites. I considered Anawangin in Zambales but got too scared when I read about horrifying boat mishaps on the rough sea to get to the island. An office colleague then suggested Cagbalete Island, off Mauban in Quezon province and when I saw the reviews and the availability of resorts on the island, preparations for our "roughing it up" experience was underway.

We reserved a hut at Villa Cleofas Resort in case the girls won't sleep in the tents. And also to make sure that we would have a proper bathroom. (Let me get ahead of myself by saying that the hut didn't have its own bathroom and we had to use the common restrooms and shower stalls.) I bought tents, an additional sleeping bag and a rechargeable light with fan. I also packed our cooler and portable stove.

The "obsession" became a reality last April 28.

The drive from Manila to Mauban took about 4 hours. We passed by the towns of San Pablo, Tiaong, Candelaria, Sariaya and Tayabas before finally reaching Mauban. We easily reached the port with plenty of time ahead of the 10am boat departure.

Suffice it to say the the port administrators need more organizational skills. On top of the boat fare, an "environmental fee" was also charged per passenger. At around 9:50 am, a local lady presented an alternate option to hire a private boat. It seemed that there were more passengers that could no longer be accommodated on the regular passenger boat. I immediately spoke to the other passengers who were to stay at Villa Cleofas Resort. In the end, we split the P 2,500 one-way fare with two other groups. (This option saved us from a 1.5 kilometer trek from Sabang Port to the resort which I read in other blogs.)

This was the banca which took us to Cagbalete Island. I almost backed out when I saw that there weren't even decent seats available. But I just took a deep breath and told myself that this was exactly what I signed up for. All 20 passengers Indian-sat on the deck, carefully distributing our weight to keep the boat balanced.

After 30 minutes on the boat, we saw a first glimpse of Cagbalete Island. Even from afar, the sand glimmered under the bright blue sky. 

Getting off the boat was another adventure in itself. As the tide was low, the boat could not reach the shore to unload us. We all got down on thigh-deep water, lugged our belongings, supplies and rations and walked about 750 meters to reach the shore. Under the scorching heat of the sun, I must add. But then again, I shut my mouth and did not dare complain. I just took it all in and summed it all up as part of the "roughing it up" experience.

Up close, the sand wasn't really pristine white and powdery. But the blue sea and sky were more than enough. We were finally on the island and away from the city jungle.

We set up our camp after we ate our prepacked lunch. The littlest one was our "tent master." Daddy just assisted her in setting up the tents.

 Once settled, these two wasted no time and scoured the beach for shells ...

 ... and delighted at the abundance of hermit crabs. Again, the littlest one bravely picked up the crabs while the ates freaked out.

After a quick nap, we all trekked to Bonsai Island. It was just a few meters off the shore of the resort. Though the tide was very low, the corals made the walk very uncomfortable. Halfway there, the husband and I almost gave up and wanted to turn back. The littlest one exclaimed: "We're Sulits! We never give up!" And so we trod on.

A number of photo shots later, we headed back to camp.

Dinner was grilled pork and fresh squid. We let the girls roast hotdogs. Too bad though that we didn't get to light a bonfire because the wind was very strong. Entertainment was provided by the littlest one (yet again) as she sang and danced. As I laid inside the tent that night, I heard my girls exchanging stories with each other. That put a contented smile on my face.

 The morning greeted us with a glorious sun rise. Waking up to this was pure bliss.

This was our humble camp. I have no qualms in doing this again. And I vow to buy portable chairs and a table for our next camping trip. Perhaps another of that sun dome tent because it had more ventilation.

I don't care much about my disheveled hair. I more than survived our adventure. Fact is, I actually enjoyed it. That smile on my face is enough proof that I live for bonding moments like this with my family.