Travel Madness Expo 2014: July 4th - 6th at SMX Convention Center

It's the time of the year again for the Travel Madness Expo 2014!From July 4th to 6th, you will have the chance of finding the most affordable flights, tour packages, brands for different travel accessories! Same venue as always at SMX Convention Center, Pasay. 

The entrance ticket which is only Php 50 will serve as your raffle ticket for a raffle giveway inside. 

Here's the schedule:

July4-5  9:00am to 8:00pm (entrance close 7:00pm)
July 6  9:00am to 7:00pm (entrance close 6:00pm)

For more information you may check their official website at http://travelmadness.ph/




How to Commute to Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) the Cheapest Way via Shuttle at Genesis Bus Terminal near MRT Taft

For many years the only transportation I knew going to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)  is via taxi only.  Sure it is comfortable but the cost is really a pain in the ass. If you are always on a budget whenever you travel, taking a taxi going to Manila’s airport is not advisable.  You have to deal with a lot of taxi drivers who don’t want to use the metered way of charging. They ask way higher than the amount that you should rightfully pay if you opted for the meter.  Most of the time traffic is terribly bad especially during rush hours. 

Those barkers especially along MRT Taft are very irritating. I have a lot of awful experiences with these guys who at first appears to be really helpful for you to find a taxi. They ask too much of their “service” and what really irks me the most is while I approach the taxi to come inside, another barker appears from nowhere also trying to open the door behind and pretends that he helped you get that same taxi too! 

Another coworking space in Manila: the newly-opened Honeycomb Manila Coworking in Ortigas

As a freelance entrepreneur gives me a freedom  to work anytime and anywhere I want. I can work in my bed with my laptop and I can answer clients' emails via my smartphone in a coffee shop. 

However this absolute freedom also has negative consequences. The noisy TV, messy housemates and the ambiance of home which to me is a place of rest are my mightiest distrations.

Most of the known coffee shops in the metro don't  have a reliable wifi connection. Their password-enabled internet connection which is often rate per hour is merely for browsing and cannot be used on serious stuff like working online.

10 Best Restaurants For Chinatown Binondo Food Tour Package

It was during the celebration of the Chinese New Year on January 31, 2014 when I and Lawrence Chan – one the most dedicated tour guides in Manila I have ever known personally held our pilot walking food trip in Binondo and the nearby Sta Cruz. Our goal is very simple - to bring more people to get a glimpse of Binondo’s history which was established in 15th century making it the oldest if not one of Chinatown outside China in the world.

As a matter of fact the mark up price we included in the rate, is little compared to our other “rakets” or other sources of income.  We just love to eat authentic Chinese dishes and we want more people to experience the same. Binondo is a haven of hundreds of Chinese restaurants most of them established centuries if not decades ago. Eating there is like tasting  a recipe that stood the test of time.



I have long been planning to collaborate with him by organizing a Binondo Chinatown food tour package for a cheaper price compared to another leading tour operator in this area. I cannot think of anyone else better than him knowing the fact that he is half – Chinese, can speak Mandarin language and the most important is he used to live in the streets of Binondo. And my decision was right all along, when he started conducting tours, he talks very spontaneous like he is just sharing his childhood memories to the rest of the participants.
Now on our 6th month, our enthusiasm and appetite for eating to different old restaurants has not dwindled, not a bit I tell you. We have brought a lot of people from different walks of life from as small as a group of 2 mostly a couple to a family reunion of 16 to a company outing of 40 plus. We don’t want to sound hypocrite since out of that small markup price, profit is also our main driving force behind this, we really would love to bring a bigger crowd as much as possible because that would mean a bigger pay. But we realized the more participants outside the attention capacity that can be carried out by a tour guide, the less they get to appreciate what the food tour is.  Eating in Binondo is not just filling the participants’ stomach but it is appreciating the rich heritage of the Chinese community.

With that I would love to share 10 best restaurants that I think are the gems of Binondo Chinatown. Please be reminded that none of them have not sponsored  this post nor they give us special discounted rates whenever we bring people to eat in their restaurants. We pay the same rate like the rest of the customers that dine to them.
     

1. New Eastern Garden Restaurant
Address: Ongpin Street, Sta Cruz

New Eastern Garden Restaurant was established in 1950 so this is already 64 years old. They are known for their very affordable lumpia. You can even see how they prepare it – a guarantee that what you will eat is fresh.  The small regular is only P38 and the jumbo special is only P55.





2. Ling Nam Wanton Parlor and Noodle Factory
Address: Alonzo St, Santa Cruz

Wanton beef, lugaw and congee are their must – trys. The prices are very affordable.   Wanton soup is P135  and wanton asado for P155. 








3. Sincerity Café
Address: Yuchengco St. Binondo

Sincerity Café  is about 60+ years old as well. We love their halo – halo special there for only P80 and the serving size is quite bigger compared to the rest I see elsewhere.  Cha Misua and oyster cake are the other must- trys here. Their wintermelon tea is the best, from the kundol fruit.  







4. Maki Place
Address:  Benavidez St. Binondo 

Raddish cake and pork maki are the must try here.  Of all the old – restaurants here in Binondo that I featured this is the only one that has a FREE wifi connection. I don’t know with the rest but getting online for even just a few minutes in between breaks is already a big help to me as I work online. 







5. Ambus Mundos
Address: Florentino St. Recto Avenue

Ambus Mundos was founded in 1888 so that means it is 126 years old. One very interesting sight that will greet everyone in the entrance door is a black chubby pig.  Don’t worry it does not stink and it is groomed well. It is believed to bring good luck by the owners. Must try is their pork asado, yang chow rice and nido soup.  






6. Antigua Toho / New Toho Antigua Center
Address: T. Pinpin St, Sta Cruz

We used to hear a lot that Jose Rizal used to dine in here and also Fernando Poe Sr! We’ll let you do the math of how old is this! Must try are their lechon kawali, fried kikiam and pancit canton. 

7. Dong Bei
Address: 642 Yuchengco St, Manila

I can eat dumplings and chao long baos all day! That’s how I love this place – my personal favorite. Though the place is relatively small, I have seen this place lined up by people for hours on different occasions and it is proud to be reviewed by Tripadvisor, the proof is its badge posted in the main door. 






8. Bee Tin Grocery
Address: 733-735 Ongpin St, Binondo, Manila, 1006

If you want to see a lot  of exotic and never – heard of medications, remedies and a lot more about Chinese products get inside here. 





9.  La Resurreccion Chocolate
Address: Ongpin St. Binondo

La Resurreccion Chocolate is the oldest chocolate factory in the Philippines so you know what I mean. You are buying a product from a national – title holder. I love cocoa products because back in my home we have a few cacao trees in our backyard. 





10. Holand hopia
Address: 551 Nueva Street Binondo




There’s a lot of bakeries and breadshops in Binondo. If you want to buy hopia, my personal favorite is at Chinese Holand delicacies or more known as Holand bakery. Their hopias come in different flavors like everybody else but the flavor does not give you that feeling of after a few bites you don’t want to have more.  The flavor is not too sweet and not too plain.  

I also want to add three more to the list that will make a meaningful Binondo walking tour: the Sta Cruz / Binondo Church, Santo Cristo de Longos shrine and temples within the place. Please never join a trip to Binondo without a camera. You will regret not capturing a single moment as the place is full of picture perfect shots from a wide array of fruits in the streets, to people walking by and of course the food for Instagram.

There are a few challenges though that we need to brave. Most of these restaurants are small in capacity so a larger group is not really advisable. The participants should expect that the walking tour is good for 4 hours and it can extend to 5 or 6 hours. We don’t however charge any extra for that. They should be prepared walking and wear light clothes plus flat footwear.

So there you go I hope I have given you an idea of the best places to dine in Binondo and I hope you join our weekend walking Binondo food tour. You are very much welcome. Just send me an email for your questions.

Living in the Metro : Worth the Extra Expense

Swimming pool in the 15th floor
I’ve been living in Metro Manila for over 6 years now.  Our call center office moved from Legazpi City, Albay to Kapitolyo, Pasig in 2007.  I lived in a dormitory owned by our country manager which costs P1, 500 per month together with officemates from Bicol who also relocated.

 I don’t have much memories of going out that time because I was not familiar of the places around the metro. All I can remember is we used to do a movie marathon and visit the nearby church during weekends.


What people don’t understand about working as a call center agent?


My workstation, 2009
When I was a college student, I never wished to work in the BPO industry. My perception of the people working here is very shallow. I thought all it takes to work as a call center agent is the ability to speak a foreign language particularly English. I said to myself I did not finish a two-year diploma and a four-year course just to work by taking calls from the other side of the world.

I also pitied those who are degree holders and board passers but ends up working in call centers. I was looking forward to land to my dream job right after college… but just like them life has become uncontrollable if not unpredictable.  Though I had a scholarship grant that helped me finished college, my parents filled the gap of what my sponsor cannot such as support, efforts and money for miscellaneous things. I knew I have to find a job as soon as possible to help my family. I ate my words and chose to be practical. I found myself applying for a job I once hate!

Riding the MRT at Rush Hour

It’s like suicide. This is how I describe riding the MRT at rush hour. I live in a condo unit along Edsa Ave. in between MRT Boni and MRT Shaw. No matter how I despise riding in the MRT’s, I still use it for two things: it is cheaper and it is the fastest way to go around the metro. Commuting during peak hours is the most dreaded time to see a long line of people buying tickets, a big crowd waiting for the train to stop by and a way bigger crowd compressed inside.

I thought this is a common sight for a public transportation system… until my trips to Singapore and Malaysia proved me wrong. I can say that they have the best public train stations in the world. Now if these two countries can, why can’t our government do the same? Even during rush hours, everything is very organized. It is great to see people who work in the office commuting rather than using a private car. I even saw one who was checking briefly his emails via his laptop looking very secure just like he is at his own workstation.  I mean here in our own MRT’s can anyone do this?

The Perks Of Being A Long – time Call center agent

In the office, 2010
The very first impression of friends who knew that I lasted for eight long years in the BPO industry is they assumed that the office I worked has the best perks for a long-time call center agent like me. I told  them the outsourcing company I was employed is just the same as the rest of its kind in Manila. We only have one regulation and compensation rules for everyone even for a newbie or a tenured one like me. 

Actually as the company grows older each day, the rules become tight especially whenever the US economy goes down, our commission rate is lowered and any unnecessary gratifications are stopped. The worst scenario is a retrenchment.

Aside from the P1, 500 transportation allowance, I could not think of anything more. Being a senior agent, I and along with my old colleagues has also been curious about any retirement plan for us… this is the best perk for a company to give to employees who spent so many years to them. Sad to say,  this benefit is always a work in progress. 

Coffee at work. How do we benefit from it?

When I was a kid, I did not like drinking coffee because I feel like it does not do any good. Every morning I prefer a warm tea or milk and if these are not available, I just grab a hot water instead. 

My mom and late dad are both coffee lovers. They cannot start a day without having one cup at breakfast and another one in the afternoon for merienda. They have no particular brand that they prefer, whatever that is in the nearest sari – sari store will do. We are always budget tight, the cheapest I can remember is two pesos for a sachet good for one drinking. But still they enjoy every sip of it so long as they drink it really hot and strong enough to wake their senses. They’re all good for a  coffee plus sugar combination.  

Their fascination for drinking coffee has never convinced me joining their league though until I started working night shift. This is when I get to appreciate coffee at work. Any kinds of tea and milk contain substances that relaxes the body therefore tell all the senses to rest then eventually to sleep. I cannot in anyway drink any of these in the office!

FREE: The Manila Collectible Co. First Year Anniversary Roofdeck Party


A celebration of our rich culture and heritage in a night awaits The Manila Collectible Co.'s Annual Anniversary on a a roof deck party this coming Saturday, July 5th at Villa Blanca, Cabild Cor. Beaterio, Intramuros, Manila.

This is the night where you can learn about tribal cooking and taste native mixes while enjoying the music of Pangalay Artists Circle and Magui Moro Master Artists. There will be an art exhibit and launching of two brands. The Manila Collectible Company describes themselves according to their official website at a "one-stop-shop that offers the best of Philippine products, tours and events"

This is a free event but you are requested to come in your hip native chic attire and you can  win a prize!  For more information you may check the official Facebook Fan Page of TMCC here. 

FREE: Eiga Sai 16th Film Festival 2014 in Manila, Davao and Cebu

One of my favorites, the 16th Japanese Film Festival is coming in Manila, Davao and Cebu. Would you believe for the past  3 years I have not missed not one season of this? Probably because I am just a stone's throw away to the Shangrila Plaza Boni that's why.
Anyway, here's the list of schedule:

 Shang Cineplex Cinema 2 (July 3 to 13)
 Abreeza Mall, Davao (July 25 to 27)
 FDCP Cinematheque, Davao City (July 29 to August 3)
 Ayala Center Cinema 4, Cebu City (August 6 to 10)

As always, admission is FREE and English subtitles are provided.

Tickets for the Eiga Sai Film Festival 2014 are released 30 minutes before each screening but I suggest be there at least an hour before especially during peak hours because of the long line. For more details you may check the official Facebook event here.


FREE: Concierto de Organo by Fr José Enrique Ayarra Jarne of the Cathedral of Seville

The Embassy of Spain in Philippines in collaboration with San Agustín Church in Intramuros and sponsored by Swiss International Airlines would like to invite you to the Organ Concert of father José Enrique Ayarra Jarne, one of the most noted Canon organist of Seville Cathedral in Spain. 

This will happen on Thursday, June 26th 7PM at the Church of San Agustín, General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila. Free!

For more information you may check the official Facebook Fan Page of the Instituto Cervantes de Manila here.

FREE: Fête dela Musique Festival 2014 in Manila, Philippines

The Fête dela Musique Festival  also known as the World Music Day, is an annual gathering every June around the world. Here in Manila, Philippines this will happen on the 21st which is just a few days ahead. 

Featuring some of the country’s best musical talents, Fête dela Musique Philippines will be held at the A. Venue Mall Open Parking in Makati Main Stages, Greenbelt 3 Park, Intramuros Main Stage, Maestranza Plaza and Magallanes Drive near the Bureau of Immigration. That's over 10 hours of live music and over 200 acts at 3 main stages and 19 pocket stages in Manila and Makati for you... all for free.

 This is brought to us by the Alliance Francaise de Manille, the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Department of Tourism, Intramuros Administration, B-Side Productions, Viva Manila, A. Venue Mall, the City of Makati.  For more information you may click the official Facebook event page here.

Good Food Community Delivers Fresh Veggies & Fruits At Your Doorstep

I have been living in Manila as an independent woman for the past 4 years. I love it. But if there's a big challenge that I am yet to overcome is the opportunity to eat nutritious food.  I do not have much time to prepare my own meals. I really have a hard time to finding the right combination of vegetables and fruits I need  to stay healthy.  

Yes there are a lot of available food shops in every corner of Metro Manila but the risk of getting a clean and safe source is an issue that should given a huge importance.

SEAIR partners with Muranglipad.com to offer fare comparison to passengers


SEAIR International (SEAIR) announces its partnership with Muranglipad.com to offer airfare comparison to passengers.  

SEAIR, the brand that pioneered commercial flights to Boracay in 2005, is back to offer premium services with fast and stress-free travel to passengers. Part of its thrust to offer innovative services to clients, is the belief to offer the best value-for-money fares to passengers.


The Polecats Manila's 4th Dance Recital, "Stellar Goes Pop"

Part of every grown - up woman's dream is to learn some sexy dancing because of these reasons: to boast her femininity more and/or impress her romantic partner for whatever reason she may have. 

Poledancing is one of those that really helps a woman reach that sexy feeling of being adorned or fantasized. More than wearing those sexy outfit is the woman behind who wants to fulfill one of the epitome of being just herself.  Now here in the Philippines, being a conservative country,  sexy dancing like "poledancing" and "striptease dancing"  are still considered "sinful" to some. I remember days before this event I was asking friends to come join me as Polecats Manilas gave me 2 free tickets to their 4th annual summer dance recital entitled "Stellar Goes Pop". Most of them the first impression is "Really is there such a formal and legitimate class like that?"

Showing: 19th French Film Festival in Manila June 10-15, 2014

The 19th French Film Festival is just around the corner! Once again, the Embassy of France to the Philippines and  the Alliance Française de Manille will bring another batch of the best French Films in this generation at the Greenbelt 3 cinemas, Makati from June 10 - 15, 2014.

Aside from  the French films,  the festival will pay tribute to Filipino filmmaking on Independence Day on June 12 by screening three masterpieces that were screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival : Lino Brocka’s digitally-restored “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” Erik Matti’s “OTJ,” and Lav Diaz’ “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.”

Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. You may also check the Embassy of France in Manila official Facebook Fan Page here. I suggest you come at least an hour before the schedule or book through seats.com because the line is very, very long. We have a lot of French film fans here in Manila!


FREE Yoga Classes at Onelife Studio in Makati this June

Stressed living in the city for such a long time? Well, there's a free yoga classes offered to everyone this June by Onelife Studio in Makati. They will do an open house series from June 12 - 27, 2014 and they have over 80 free Yoga classes. You can choose up to maximum of 7 classes. Whoa! How is that for a freebie?! 

Reservations are required for all classes. You may click here to register.  

Onelife Makati is located at 2F BCS Prime Building, #2297 Chino Roces Ave., Kayamanan 9, Makati City. You may check their official Facebook Fan Page here.


MUNI Market Day: A Celebration to Patronize Filipino-made Productst

If there's one Filipino idiosyncracy that I wish to banish forever, it is the misconception of most of us that all products abroad are always far superior than what we have here. I remember when I was a child whenever a relative returns home or send stuff back, the whole family eagerly awaits for their share of pasalubong. Whatever that is, so long that it is a foreign brand, most of the time we brag about it.

When I took the path of entrepreneurship to follow my heart's desire to run an online shop, I realized creating a business is not always about making money. If you want a business that will last for a long period and positively change lives, it should have a purpose deeper than making a profit out of it. 

I have been to a lot of meetups and heard countless entrepreneurs around the metro even read tons of how their humble beginning stories... all goes back to finding one's passion and turning it to a business.