Space Edsa: Live closer, live better for as low as P4,200 a month

Admit it, the horrendous traffic situation in Metro Manila is sucking the life out of us. It kills our productivity, ruins our schedules, affects our wellness. The struggle is worse for those among us living in far-flung areas.

Imagine if we live close by.

There’s a new and modern dormitory along Edsa that offers a huge respite from that pain. Space Edsa, centrally-located along EDSA Highway Hills, Mandaluyong, provides a convenient location one can call a home in the heart of the busy Metro. Space Edsa has all the modern amenities that a typical millennial (or even a gen x and a baby boomer) needs — a strong wifi connectivity, gym facilities, a common living area with multiple sockets for charging laptops and other gadgets, kitchen amenities, clean bathrooms, among others.

Space Edsa is perfect for young professionals and students who work and study in Mandaluyong and nearby cities.  It could very well be a smart option to go home to, to avoid the long commute every single day.  The convenience could far outweigh the cost of living in a dormitory, or better yet, it could even be more economical.

Space Edsa Rates

Grabbed from Space Edsa’s FB Page

“Rates are inclusive of a bed, locker, electricity, water, wifi & cable in the common areas and 24/7 use of the gym.” – Space Edsa

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Spending an average of 4 hours on the road everyday to get to one’s destination is a nightmare.

If you are one of the many people who brave the throngs of MRT and LRT commuters everyday, and who fight with cab drivers who refuse to take you to your destination because of the distance and heavy traffic, you might want to give Space Edsa a try — safe, clean, with wifi and cable, gym and all the basic amenities to support your modern lifestyle.

For more information, visit their FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/space.ph/?fref=ts

Space Edsa: 167 EDSA Highway Hills, 1554 Mandaluyong.

 

 

Time To Heal, Philippines…Change Is Coming Really Soon!

This year’s Presidential Election produced probably the most number of political analysts in most of us. I’ve seen friends and relatives unfriend each other on Social Media, fought tooth and nail to campaign for their respective candidates, got caught in the middle of heated political discussions online and offline. All those brouhaha for everyone’s fiery and diverse stands on the country’s political platform and personalities.

The people have spoken. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is now the country’s presumptive President. Maybe we should all go back to being normal (meaning not the political analysts we have come to be over the past months or weeks)?

Despite our differences in political opinion, we’re all but one nation.

The die is cast. People, apparently, clamor for change. I say we can’t change as a nation if we rely everything on our President to fix this country.  The last time I checked, Duterte doesn’t have a magic wand.

May we all be instruments of the change we crave for, starting with ourselves. Stop the hate, stop the bashing, stop the trolling. Change is at hand.

May this also be the start of the country’s insurgents to put down their arms and go back being allies of the government. Afterall, we’re all Filipinos. Why are we fighting?

Digong, Duterte, Philippine President

Digong, Duterte, Philippine President

I have to say Senator Grace Poe won my admiration and trust when she made the first move in conceding to Duterte. In a country where conceding is not “uso” because politicians are almost expected to cry foul for being cheated, I admired Poe for her actions.

On the side note, the Vice Presidency race is still clouded with doubts, following the allegations of Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ camp that the VP votes may have been rigged.

Let’s wait and see how this politicalserye will unfold in the next days, months, or years.

But for now, allow me to bask in optimism. I’m full of hope and excitement for a brand new and better Philippines.

Let’s heal our land.

 

 

 

Change is coming this PH Halalan 2016

This Monday, May 9, let’s go out and vote. The political game is getting dirtier and the only way we could help this country is by getting ourselves well-informed about the candidates — who are real public servants, who are paid attack dogs, who have the heart to listen to our plights, who are only good at branding, who are the most competent and trustworthy leaders based on track record instead of promises?

Just a few days before the elections and Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s opponents are spewing nastier smear campaigns against him…and it’s a pain to watch especially if you know they’re all baseless accusations.  Amid all the cheating rumors hounding this election, I still want to believe that change is coming.

Yes, change starts within us BUT reforms in government start with our leaders.

Kahit gaano ka pa kabait as an ordinary citizen, may magagawa ka ba if people in power continue to turn a blind eye on you, rob you, abuse you, leave you with nothing but graft and corruption that’s embedded in our system?

Our economy looks good on paper pero ramdam kaya ito ng mga gutom nating farmers na pinagbabaril sa Kidapawan at ikinulong pa pagkatapos? Ramdam kaya ito ng ating mga kababayang walang makitang permanenteng trabaho dahil sa job-skills mismatch na di gaanong natututukan? Ramdam kaya ito ng ating mga kababayan na nangangailangan ng basic social services especially in far-flung areas but our government chose to underspend para may savings? Ramdam kaya ito ng ating mga kababayang walang tahanan sa sariling bayan? Ng mga hina-harass at displaced na mga katutubo sa Mindanao dahil sa mining at iba pa?

“For what good will progress be if its benefits do not trickle down to the poorest of the poor? Let us bear in mind that the test of good government is not whether we can add more to the abundance of those who have much, but whether we can provide for those who have so little.” – ‪#‎Duterte‬

Sorry but whenever I see those goody-two-shoes branding of some candidates, it’s as if I’m watching the “Emperor With No Clothes.” Some media networks and personalities can twist facts to ruin #Duterte and make his opponents look spotlessly clean and decent, an epitome of an ideal presidentiable…but they can’t force me to say the emperor’s clothes are awesome, when he’s not even wearing one.‪#‎DuterteSOLID‬ ‪#‎ChangeIsComing‬

Rody Quote

 

Why I’m voting for Duterte

I have long wanted to write about this but I always ended up deciding against it.  I’m not a political analyst nor am I a prolific writer, but after seeing all sorts of black propaganda being hurled against Mayor Duterte from all corners imaginable after he surged to the top of the surveys, I feel it is my moral obligation as an ordinary Filipino to take part in this electoral process the way I see it from the grassroots level where I’m at. It is from this vantage point that I carefully shaped my decision on who to vote for President and why. And I refuse to helplessly watch from the sidelines any longer.

I was born and raised in Davao City. I lived most of my life there for over 35 years (I now live in Marikina). I have personally seen, heard, and experienced Mayor Duterte’s leadership.  I am one of the many living witnesses to his good governance.

Is he perfect? No. Nobody is.

Is Davao City perfect? No. No city in any part of the globe is.

Is he a dictator? Certainly not. A dictator is a ruler who wields absolute authority while Mayor Duterte has always worked hard for the people of Davao to enjoy their freedom — freedom to live, work, express themselves, have fun, and do business in a peaceful environment. Dabawenyos enjoy democracy just as anyone else in other parts of the country. Perhaps the only difference is that Davao City is strict with the implementation of laws and city ordinances. After all, what good are those laws and ordinances if we don’t follow them? Feel free to visit Davao City and see if you’d feel like your basic human rights are curtailed as if you’re under Martial Law. Not even close.

Does he kill innocent people on mere suspicion that they are criminals? Funny but that’s what his detractors are insinuating even in their political ads. If one political ad is to be believed, Mayor Digong’s brand of justice is the type that tortures and kills even kids suspected as criminals. That’s preposterous. But if only for a point of discussion, if that indeed is true, you think the people of Davao would feel safe walking around the streets if they believe that Mayor Digong would, at any given time, shoot them or their friends and family members for being suspected as criminals? You think the people of Davao would love and trust Mayor Digong this much if he’s anywhere close to being trigger happy? If there’s a shred of truth to a culture of impunity under Mayor Digong’s leadership, we should have feared him instead of respected him.

Mayor Digong, being a lawyer himself, has reiterated many times over that he is for imposing the law. If a criminal puts innocent lives in danger, he will bear the consequences of his actions. And what’s the problem with that? Would you rather put innocent lives in danger just to protect the human rights of criminals? If you haven’t heard it yet, Mayor Digong’s mantra is “Follow the law.” If that scares you, that’s beyond my comprehension.

His political opponents are sowing fear through distorted information. I’d rather go by first-hand experiences than hearsays that are meant to fool and scare people just to earn votes for themselves.

Does he shoot people in the streets for failing to follow curfew? You must have seen Mystica’s viral video which shows her spewing this scenario as if she has seen it happen under Duterte’s leadership and so will continue to happen if he wins the Presidency. I don’t know how she got that impression, it’s crazy to the point of ridiculous. Chill! Mayor Digong won’t “bratatat” you dead in the middle of the street for failing to follow curfew. Mystica dear, get back down to earth, for goodness’ sake.

So why am I voting for Duterte? Let me count the reasons:

1. He is the only Presidentiable that commands respect from all sides — the government, MILF, MNLF, NPA, ordinary citizens. He is respected by Muslims and Christians. He unites, not divides. He understands the plight of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Mindanao. I believe he’s the only one who can start the much-needed lasting peace in the war-torn areas of Mindanao.

2. He has the heart, the political will, and the competency to lead and serve the country. His track record is the glaring proof.

3. His passion for public service defies anything politics. His turf is Davao City but he is always quick to help other cities in need without brandishing his name to claim credit. He operates even under the media radar, which is the exact opposite of what a lot of politicians do. That to me is REAL public service.

4. He is a man of action. Again, his track record is proof. Aren’t we all tired of self-aggrandizing speeches? Of finger-pointing? Of leaders giving us excuses rather than solutions and results? I am.

5. He acts like a father to his constituents. Unlike other politicians, Duterte doesn’t act like a king who expects to be served. He serves. He is a simple man who has a soft spot for children and senior citizens.

6. His leadership is contagious. He has his way of affecting positivity in people. This is the only national election I’ve seen so far where I witness people going out of their ways to support a Presidential candidate, even printing their own marketing materials from banners to t-shirts, ballers, car stickers and anything they can think of. He brings out the spirit of volunteerism and discipline in us like no other Filipino politician has or can. That’s the mark of a true leader.

I could go on and on but I’d rather feature some of my friends from different parts of the globe about their take on the good Mayor. Here’s why Mayor Duterte is their choice for President:

Rob Rances

“I’m voting for Duterte coz he’s the only one who proposes to solve the problem. The other candidates are all part of the problem.” – Rob Rances, Business Coach / Social Entrepreneur

Bobet Alip

“He is not perfect and he was the first to admit it. But I know he can and will get things done. His heart and mind is in the right place.” – Bobet Alip, Agripreneur

Anonymous DJ

“Borrowing from General Patton, ‘As It Was Written So It Shall Be Done!’ His political will… That’s why.” – A Club DJ and Radio Presenter from a giant TV/media network (name withheld upon request)

Mel and Boyet

“We need him as a leader because he is not beholden to any oligarchs. We want our daughter to experience affluence that most of us never had for decades.” – Melanie Confesor and Pelagio Nalla III, Customer Service Associates

Brandy Allen Fuentes

“Aside from the fact that I am one of the many who enjoy the fruit of his hardwork, I’ll vote for him because he gets things done… specially if it benefits the many.” – Brandy Allen Fuentes, freelance host

Carol Yao

“Du30 because we not only need a man of integrity, we also need strong leadership.” – Carol Yao, true-blooded Bisdak

Restie Concepcion

“I’m voting for Duterte because I believe he will be strong for us dealing with China bullying us. 2nd, what we need right now is an action man, not a planner anymore. Would you give a cough medicine to someone ailing with LBM or upset stomach…that’s the analogy.” – Restie R. Concepcion, Marketing Director/licensed CPM (Certified Professional Marketer)

Jerome Faune

“After Flor Contemplacion and the burning of the Singapore flag it was then that I wished he were the president of the Philippines. Integrity, political will, courage, humility, love for country and his leadership is unprecedented.” – Jerome Faune, OFW

 

Dr. Roni Mines

“I am voting for Duterte because he has the kind of political will and leadership that this country needs. In my many years of living in Davao City, with about two decades of having him as our mayor, I feel safe and protected with his leadership. He really cares for his constituents and he is consistent! I like his crusade against impunity and I believe he will help us realize a better Philippines and turn the fortune of the country around. Having been plagued by corruption, drugs and crime for so long, this country needs someone like Duterte to make the needed changes.” – Dr. Roni Mines, Educator

Mayor Digong talks tough but he has a big heart to serve the people.  For me, he is the best chance we have to move this country forward. No other political candidate has ever moved me to be this vigilant and nationalistic.  And to think that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte doesn’t even know I exist.  I’m sure there are millions of other Filipinos like me who tirelessly campaign for the Mayor in their own little ways without any political affiliations and self-serving expectations.

How about you, why are you voting for Duterte?

 

Kiwanis Cainta Greenpark and PCSO join forces in Medical Mission

med19A total of 100 individuals from different age groups benefited from the recently held Medical Mission initiated by Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark, in cooperation with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), last March 19 at the covered court of Greenpark Subdivision in Cainta, Rizal.

The beneficiaries went home with free medicines and vitamins after their medical consultation with the volunteer doctor from the Municipal Government of Cainta.

Most of the medicines and vitamins were provided by the PCSO, through the efforts of Mr. Alberto “Boy” Maceda, PCSO’s Senior Procurement Officer.

The said Medical Mission is another addition to the growing accomplishments of Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark under the leadership of its president Kwn. Chona Chavez and the active participation of its members.

Here are some of the snapshots taken during the event:

medical mission

At the Registration Table (L-R): Kwn. Pres. Chona Chavez, Kwn. Engr. Dick Florendo, Kwn. Susan Kanai, Kwn. Amy Melendrez, Kwn. Rochelle (Yep, that’s me.), and PCSO’s Boy Maceda.

Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark | medical mission med8  med10   med14  med18med22med23Kiwanis Cainta Greenparkmed24med25

Upcoming Event: Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark and PCSO are bound to embark on another Medical Mission this April 30 in Zambales, this time involving 800 families or more than 2,000 individuals expectedly, which is by far the largest crowd ever to receive basic humanitarian and healthcare services from Kiwanis Cainta Greenpark in a single project.

Membership: If helping is in your veins, get in touch with the Kiwanis chapter nearest you.  I’ll bet my two cents they’ll happily welcome you in the group, just as they did to me when I inquired about them last November.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers initiating community-based programs to better the lives of children and the community it serves as a whole.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.Working together is success. ~Henry Ford

 

 

 

 

 

When in Marikina: Dine like it’s your last meal at Caffe Piansa, the first jailed-themed resto in the PH

With all the restaurants mushrooming everywhere in the Philippines and fighting for a decent market share, one must not only offer good food and service to compete and thrive but also provide a fresh concept in terms of theme and ambience. All these contribute to a memorable, fun, and satisfying dining experience that keep attracting new customers day after day and keep luring old patrons to come back, with new customers in tow. Of all themes imaginable, who would’ve thought someone would choose JAIL for a restaurant concept? Caffe Piansa is exactly that, and it is one of the most pleasantly surprising restaurant I’ve been to by far.

From the outside, it didn’t look captivating to me although I got a little intrigued by its tagline “The first jail-themed restaurant in town!” Piansa means bail, which already gives you an idea about their branding. Still, the moment I stepped inside, I exclaimed in amazement like a child who just got an all-ride access to a theme park. Clearly I underestimated their concept until I got in for a “detention.”

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Caffe Piansa’s interiors are a replica of prison cells, a courtroom (with a magistrate in complete outfit), and a police station fused into one fun dining place. All the restaurant personnel were in character, except that they could be the coolest prisoners and magistrate you’ll ever meet. If I were an outlaw to be detained here, I’d rather enjoy languishing in my cell than post bail.

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You can take a mugshot upon entering and invent a funny case against yourself (It would make a wacky profile picture of you on social media).

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Happy campers, err, prisoners at Caffe Piansa — The only “prison” in the world where you’d be happy to be incarcerated.

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If you think the fun part is over, wait until you see their menu.

caffe piansa, marikina

caffe piansa, marikina

PASTA ALA PIANSA. And their food certainly didn’t disappoint.

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What better way to serve the sentence after the hearty last meal, lol!

caffe piansa9

caffe piansa8

Clearly the restaurant game in the country has changed with the influx of concept restaurants and diners like Caffe Piansa. The playing field has gone beyond the taste, variety, and price points of food, but the total dining experience.

With food, service, and ambience this awesome, I wouldn’t mind being incarcerated at all. In fact, I’d pay my way to detention.

Caffe Piansa – 57 Dragon Street, Midtown Subdivision, San Roque, Marikina City

Their FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/caffepiansa

 

 

 

The new era of radio breaks geographical barriers with JaygerFM

Online or Internet Radio has become a great platform for music lovers to listen to their favorite music genres beyond the limited mileage offered by traditional radio. Unlike traditional radio, online radio has a global reach and therefore can be accessed and heard anywhere in the world where there’s Internet connection. Friends, lovers, and families separated by geographical divides can listen to the same music stream at the same time sans timezone differences. One online radio that I listen to is JaygerFM which plays a smorgasbord of Top 40 and contemporary songs throughout the weekdays and a plethora of old and new songs during the weekends.

JaygerFM was founded by a young man named Claro just February 28 of this year. What started out as an idea spawned into a real deal, with JaygerFM attracting more listeners day after day. Their FB page started generating thousands of likes organically.

jaygerfm jocks

DJ Claro and DJ Gabz (Photo from jaygerfm’s fb page)

jaygergm jocks

Deejays jamming on Jayger Jamz.

“I did not expect our Facebook page and listenership to grow into what it is today. I guess it was serendipitous but nevertheless I am thankful,” said DJ Claro. Most of JaygerFM’s listeners come from the Philippines, the US, Australia, Brazil, and the UAE.

What prompted DJ Claro to set up JaygerFM? “Actually it was an arbitrary decision,” he mused. ” I just wanted to try it out and see what it was like to own your own Internet station,” DJ Claro added.

JaygerFM does live broadcasts every Friday, 5pm Manila time, on Jayger Jamz  where the young and opinionated DJs Clarissa, Gabz, Jairo, Lejana, Leo, Martin, Nikki, and DJ Claro himself engage in wacky conversations that make their listeners glued to their headsets and speakers. Jayger Jamz, which DJ Claro said was a brainchild of his dad, gets replayed every Sunday.

I’m privileged to be part of JaygerFM as their weekend newscaster.  My newscasts are heard within Jayger Jamz’s timeslot. I started last June, a month after Jayger Jamz’ inception.  Though my stint has been sporadic due to my hectic schedules, doing newscasts for JaygerFM has always been a stress-buster for me. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous post My “secret” life as a voiceover talent, audio production is my secret love.

Me, doing what I love — voice recording.

Come to think of it, the global reach of online radio makes it a good avenue for international companies to market their products and services worldwide at a minimal cost.

Listen to JaygerFM by clicking on this link:  http://jaygerfm.com/ and get updated with the latest hits in music, fun conversations, interesting news bits, and a bit of the top tracks from the past.

Heads up, the guys are cooking up a fun radio show for tomorrow on Christmas Day!

 

A Day with Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark

IMG_20151212_103702I spent practically most of my entire day with Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark last Saturday.  It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a member yet, the Kiwanians were surprisingly friendly and accommodating.  So how did I end up there? It all started with a choice — a choice to do something meaningful and productive that’s not about me, myself, and I…a choice to join an organization that makes valuable contributions to the community; an organization that positively impacts other people’s lives. I only had one club in mind — KIWANIS INTERNATIONAL. But which chapter should I approach and will they accept me as a member without a referral from a current member? I wouldn’t know until I tried.

With the help of my handy dandy buddy Mr. Google, I searched for Kiwanis Chapters near me. I looked into their meeting places and schedules and the one that appealed to me most, primarily on those grounds, was Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark. I searched for their FB page and sent a message of inquiry and intent to join. Luckily, someone replied to my queries and informed me of their Feeding and Gift-Giving Activity which I could try to check out that Saturday.

To cut to the chase, I went to the event venue despite the nagging apprehension that I might be out-of-place since I didn’t know anyone from there. When I got to the place, I looked for the past president Jojo Figuracion who eventually greeted me with a warm welcome and introduced me to his fellow Kiwanians. All of them exuded positive vibes, notwithstanding that I was a stranger. Their warmth was overwhelming. There wasn’t a moment that I felt I made a wrong decision to go there. In fact, the longer I stayed, the more I loved it.

The said Feeding and Gift-Giving Project benefited the kids of Cainta Greenpark’s tricycle drivers. The Kiwanians distributed food, gifts, and prizes, much to the delight of the kids who also enjoyed the fun games and dancing. It was the club’s second year of organizing such an activity within Cainta Greenpark.

The Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark has been initiating fellowship and outreach projects for 30 years since its inception.  The exciting part is that the club is brewing more service-focused activities up ahead, apparently in keeping with what Kiwanis International is known for — serving communities with its motto “Serving the Children of the World.”

I only spent one Saturday with them but the Kiwanians at Cainta Greenpark showed me the value of camaraderie, friendship, charity, humility, and service, among other things.  I felt their strong bond as if they’re all brothers and sisters. Looks like I’ve found myself a new family.

And oh, my induction will be next Saturday. Just the thought of it makes me feel like a child anticipating Christmas.

Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark
Kiwanis Club of Cainta Greenpark IMG_20151212_111030 IMG_20151212_141032

Getting fit for less around Marikina

A lot of fitness gyms in the country require skyrocketing membership fees that could ruin your monthly budget, you’d lose pounds not from working out but from the lack of livable funds left in your wallet.  For fitness-conscious individuals who don’t have the financial capacity to enroll in expensive fitness centers (or simply don’t want to include preposterous gym fees in their monthly budget), there are other options to stay fit and healthy for less.

Fortunately for residents of Marikina, the city has a number of public places where one can jog, run, brisk walk, play outdoor and indoor sports with friends and family, or even join free zumba sessions like in our community every weekend.

My personal favorites are:

Marikina Sports Center

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Park’s FB page

1. Marikina Sports Center (Complex) — Built in 1969, it was renamed to Marikina Sports Park in 1995 and is situated in Sumulong Highway corner Shoe Avenue, Marikina also known as Bayan for locals.

Marikina Sports Park is one of Metro Manila’s cleanest and well-maintained public sports facilities. It is equipped with an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 400-meter track oval.  It also has a sports building that houses indoor game facilities for boxing, sepak takraw, arnis, and martial arts. It has an indoor gym with basketball,  volleyball, and event centers.

Entrance to Marikina Sports Park is only P10. Some of the facilities may have separate charges which are several folds lower than those charged by exclusive fitness gyms in the Metro.

Marikina Sports Park has two grandstands with a total seating capacity of 15,000. Practically almost everything you need for your fitness regimen is here.

Photos courtesy of Marikina Sports Center's FB page

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page

marikina sports park_wendell

Photo courtesy of Marikina Sports Center’s FB page   

2. Marikina River Park –  Right outside Riverbanks Center in Barangka, Marikina, the Marikina River Park is a sprawling open space ideal for brisk walking, jogging, and running early in the morning or late afternoon. This part of Marikina River is usually clean unless during or after a heavy rain which pollutes the river with tons of trash from other places. On most days, it’s a perfect spot for your fitness routine.

Marikina River Park

Photo courtesy of Riverbanks Center’s FB page

3. Feetness Pad – (NOTE: This isn’t a public park like the other two mentioned but a low-cost fitness center with no monthly fees.)

Just this month, my friends and I agreed to take on a challenge to lose weight before our rendevouz in Cebu City this January. It’s our own version of The Biggest Loser, with bragging rights up for grabs. I figured I could use a fitness gym where I could be motivated to workout and lose more pounds than when I do it without a coach. I searched online for female-friendly gyms around Marikina and it led me to Feetness Pad located in Concepcion. Interestingly, their sessions are as low as P99 and up plus their programs looked inviting so I gave them a try. Feetness Pad’s Coach Ryya assured me that I wouldn’t feel left out even if I’d go there alone. And she was right. The atmosphere was warm and friendly at Feetness Pad.

feetness pad

Photo courtesy of Feetness Pad’s FB page.  The pole is calling!

I went there on their first anniversary where they hosted a free zumba session. My first visit was primarily just to check out the place but while watching the zumba class, I couldn’t help but give in to the beat. I left the gym feeling happy, energized, and all worked out.  The next day, I went back for their Circuit Training which was also a blast. I have to say all the fitness coaches I met at Feetness Pad were accommodating, nice, and really good at their craft.

Other than Zumba and Circuit Training, they also have Pole Dancing Lessons (which I am so tempted to try), Yoga, and Boxing. Check them out on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FeetnessPad, for more information about their fitness programs.

These are some of the fitness places in Marikina that you can visit without paying a fortune. Given that facilities like them indeed exist, excuses about high gym membership fees no longer hold water. At the end of the day, it’s your motivation to get fit and healthy that will drive you to your goal.

Tara na, kilos na! :)

 

 

 

Trip up north: Manila to Sagada

Sagada is one of the best and most popular tourist destinations in the Mountain Province. Before it even took the spotlight due to the widely-celebrated film “That Thing Called Tadhana,” Sagada has been a favorite destination of choice by people seeking breath-taking panoramic views, cold weather, nice people, and tranquil environment where one could feel like he/she is on top of the world some 275 kilometers away from the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

Sagada

We had our trip up North to Sagada summer of last year and even though it was the longest land travel of our lives, it was arguably one of the best.

We rented a 12-seater van that accommodated all of us comfortably. It certainly wasn’t cheap but the convenience was priceless.  We took a Manila-Baguio-Sagada route which took us two days to reach Sagada from Manila (just because we stopped by Baguio for some sight-seeing and stayed there overnight).

Ways to get there other than through private transport:

By Bus

  • Western route (Victory Liner, Partas, Genesis, Dagupan  Bus Line) — Manila to Baguio

Fare (Manila to Baguio City): P455-P750 (around $10-$17)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Baguio City to Sagada (GL Trans, Lizard Transit)
Fare: P220 non-aircon (roughly $4.90)
Estimated travel time: 6 hours

Manila-Bontoc-Sagada
Bus ride from Manila to Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province.
Estimated travel time: 12 hours. A jeepney ride from Bontoc to Sagada takes another 45 minutes.

  • Eastern route (Ohayami Trans) — This bus line passes through Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao. It doesn’t take you straight to Sagada but gets you close – at least up to the eastern edge of the Cordilleras.
    Manila Terminal: Lacson Avenue cor. Fajardo Street, Sampaloc
    Contact number: 09276493055, 02-5160501 (Manila); 09175617344 (Ifugao)

Fare (Manila to Banaue): P450 (around $10)
Estimated travel time: 10-12 hours

 

WHAT TO EXPECT IN SAGADA:

  • Picturesque winding roads worthy of cinematic exposure
  • Colder weather compared to most parts of the country
  • Caves, lots of caves to explore! One of the the caves we visited was an ancient burial cave of Sumaguing (Sumaguing Cave)
  • Clean, sparkling rivers and waterfalls
  • The famous hanging coffin and other historical sites
  • Smaller versions of the famous Rice Terraces in Banaue
  • Dining areas with lots of good food and some of them can only be found in Sagada! I would love to go back just because of Sagada Lemon Pie House which serves the best (lemon) pie I ever tasted.
  • Warm, friendly people
  • Clean, safe streets

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Sagada

My niece and daughter enjoying the serenity of Sagada.

Sagada map

 

When you get there, it is best to go to Sagada’s Tourist Office and register as a tourist. Local guides are there on stand by to give tourists a hand in exploring the main attractions and provide local information about Sagada for a minimal fee. Highly recommended to get a local guide from there to maximize your Sagada experience. There are caves and other tourist spots there that are hard to explore without a guide.

On off-peak season, accommodation should be easy to find even if you don’t have any prior reservations. There are a lot of affordable houses and hostels for rent around the area.

My pictures could never give justice to the beauty of Sagada. I failed to capture a lot of panoramic views when I got consumed by the vast green slopes, tourist attractions, exciting trekking trails, and lots of good food and company but that’s the thing — Sagada is a place where you can be one with nature, or reflect on the things that happened in your life, release all your pains and shout all your angst to the clouds like in the flick “Tadhana,” or frolic around it with the people you love.  If you haven’t been to Sagada, you might want to include it in your bucket list and make new unforgettable memories of your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malagos Garden Resort, Davao City

I often get asked by friends where to go and what to do when visiting Davao City. There are plenty of choices actually, depending on your kind of high. Here’s one of the go-to places for those wanting to bask in the beauty of nature when in Davao: Malagos Garden Resort.

Malagos Garden is a 12-hectare nature theme park located in Calinan, Davao City — about an hour away from the city’s downtown area. One may choose to stay overnight as there are cottages available. The nature park is a sprawling beauty of greenery, such a welcoming and relaxing respite from the noise, smog, and heavy traffic of urban living.

I brought my family there to unwind and dine last August in time for the Kadayawan Festival, and it didn’t disappoint.

What we enjoyed the most:

1.  The Interactive Bird Show – Imagine different species of eagles, owls, and other birds suddenly flying over you from nowhere to converge at the center to join the veterinarian-host; or a bird swooping over you to take the P100 bill you’re flashing and then returning it to you towards the end of the show (yes, it will remember you); or birds segregating trash and putting them in the right trash bins; best of all, ducklings, ducks, geese, and lastly a beautiful ostrich going out in throngs from the little ones to the biggest to manifest an animal evacuation when there’s a looming vulcanic eruption (which should serve as a warning to us humans). Very impressive! We never expected it to be as entertaining and informative as it was.

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2. The Lunch Buffet – A sumptuous lunch buffet for only P275 per person. Yes dear, P275 and you get awesome food choices from appetizers to desserts (drinks not included) while a talented pianist plays on the background. Worth trying are their fresh vegetable salads!

3. The Attractions – It was a vast area to cover on foot but the attractions where we stayed the longest were the View Deck Cafe and Grill, Koi Cafe (it was so windy and cool out there), Gardens of Malagos, the Butterfly Sanctuary, and the Bird Park. We also saw the Abueva Sculptures and visited the poolside. I would’ve wanted my parents to ride the Kalesa but we couldn’t find its station.

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Malagos Garden Resort is definitely one of Davao City’s tourist destinations. More than anything, it’s an awesome place to bond with your family where you can dine, play, talk, laugh, swim, learn, take pictures, and enjoy nature at the same time. To me, that’s priceless.

The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love

I’m a sucker for romance. I love happy endings and stories that give me butterflies in my stomach. I like reading books that transcend me into a different dimension such as romantic comedy and fantasy. These kinds of books were my addiction of choice during my high school days and early on in College. Mills and Boon and other thicker romantic paperback novels were my bedtime companions, and probably the culprits why my eyesight got screwed to negative 200.

Fast forward, I’m now more into non-fiction books. The ones that appeal to me now are more about self-help, leadership, and business books…but I’m still a sucker for romance.  I like the spot-on love quotes by Bob Ong, and the witty and funny lines by Sen. Miriam Santiago in her book “Stupid is Forever” like “Ang crush parang math problem, kung hindi mo makuha, titigan mo na lang” and “Miss, kutsara ka ba? Kasi papalapit ka pa lang, napanganga na ako.”

Bob Ong

 

Bob Ong

Recently my attention is on a freshly-published book authored by my friend from High School, Christopher Ryan Maboloc. His book, “The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love” is a plethora of original love quotes, essays, short stories, poems, and letters.

Ryan, a Philosophy educator at Ateneo de Davao University and regular contributor/commentator at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, is a talented writer who loves posting catchy love lines on social media. I noticed that he has hundreds of readers responding very well to his posts so one time I sent him a message that perhaps he should consider compiling all his popular posts and make them into a book. And the rest is history.

I had the cover designed by my niece Angel, under the supervision of my youngest brother Ray An who is also a skilled graphic designer, while Ryan completed his book’s contents.  After months of several revisions which I lost count of, Ryan finally decided the book was ready.

I managed to get the book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and got it live on Amazon store last September 5. And with the help of Ryan’s friends in the local publishing industry, “The Harshest Things You’ll Ever Learn About Love” is also out now at Jade Bookstore in Davao City, close to Ateneo.

What could be the harshest things we’ll ever learn about love, if we ever learn at all? Check out the book’s Kindle version on Amazon or the paperback at Jade Bookstore.  Soon to be available on Amazon’s print-on-demand.

 

The Harshest Things You'll Ever Learn About Love

About the Book: “You don’t actually choose the right man. You choose love, and for this reason, the right man,” the author writes in this book which proposes falling in love as a universal therapy. Perhaps, it will require nothing short of magic to be able to bridge that huge divide between real life and fiction when it comes to love, a task that the author will try to accomplish in this book by carefully putting together a collection of short pieces, literary essays and letters, poems, and sharp aphorisms on love, life and philosophy.

About the Author: Christopher Ryan B. Maboloc has been teaching philosophy for almost twenty years. He has been to Germany, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Thailand as a young scholar. He finished his master’s degree in applied ethics in Scandinavia under a generous scholarship from the European Commission (Erasmus Mundus). He also contributes social and political commentaries to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

 

Kadayawan Sa Dabaw 2015

The biggest festival in Davao City — Kadayawan sa Dabaw — culminates today with the highly-anticipated Floral Float Competition! Ironically I left yesterday after witnessing one entry at the Indak-Indak sa Kadalanan, which is one of the highlights of the festival.

Kadayawan sa Dabaw 2015 is the 30th Kadayawan celebration and as usual, it attracted thousands of local and foreign tourists to Davao City.

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kadayawan sa dabaw

Prices of fruits drop at this season of bountiful harvest. I only spent a total of P200 for 3 kilos of mangosteen and 2 big pieces of marang.

Kadayawan is an annual festival in Davao City celebrating its bountiful harvests. You will find fruits that are fresh from the farms being sold on the streets and in public markets (the most popular and probably the biggest fruit market you could find is the Bankerohan Public Market) at very low prices: Mangosteen from P40-P50 per kilo, Marang and Rambutan at P20-P30 per kilo, Durian from P35-P65 per kilo, etc. If you buy directly from farmers themselves, you will get even cheaper deals. But as for myself, I don’t normally bargain with farmers because I can only imagine their tiny mark up. They need to earn too, you know.

Next time you plan your trip to Davao, be sure to be there during the Kadayawan week.  With fruits this cheap, you have no excuse not to eat fruits when in Davao.

Madayaw, Dabaw!

 

 

August Sight Saving Month

(George Optical Press Release)

With most Filipinos taking their eyes for granted and failing to see the importance of having routine eye checkups, until there is already a problem, possibly a critical one at that. Eye experts urge the public to have their eyes thoroughly checked regularly.

Every August our country celebrates “Sight Saving Month”. The objective is to promote better awareness for eye health and encourage Filipinos to have their eyes checked. It aims to strengthen public awareness of the importance of proper eye care and the prevention of avoidable blindness and eye diseases.

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Avoidable blindness and visual impairment is a serious global health issue. It imposes a significant health, social, and economic burden on individuals and communities. With the aim of eliminating the main causes of avoidable blindness by the year 2020, the global initiative ‘VISION 2020: The Right to Sight’ was launched in 1999 by the World Health Organization in partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, which promoted the development of sustainable eye care programs based on the three core strategies of disease control, human resource development and infrastructure and technology, incorporating the principles of primary health care.

Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment, while cataract remains the leading cause of blindness. Furthermore, 65% of visually-impaired and 82% of blind people are over 50 years old.

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The top three causes of visual impairment are uncorrected refractive errors, cataract, and glaucoma. On the other hand, the top three causes of blindness are cataract, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

In the Philippines, the current estimated number of persons who are bilaterally blind is 569,072, of which 62.1% is due to cataract, 10.3% due to uncorrected refractive errors, 8% due to glaucoma, and 4% due to retinopathies.

George Optical supports this celebration and promotion of public awareness by offering a free comprehensive eye examination and initial contact lens assessment for the entire month of August, discounts will also be given on selected frames on all its twenty five (25) branches nationwide.

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Patients can also give back by donating their old wearable eyeglasses, which in turn will be given to the less fortunate through the Dr. George Co, Sr. Foundation, in honor of George Optical’s founder.

Dr. George Co Sr.

Dr. George Co Sr.

For more than fifty years running, George Optical has a strong commitment to quality, and its success story is simply of a company with a heart and a simple vision: to make lives better through healthy vision.

Truly, George Optical with its Chief Optometrist and President, Dr. Geoffrey Co, together with a team of licensed Optometrists and in-house ophthalmologist ensure that the founder’s philosophy lives on today.

Dr. Geoffery Co

Dr. Geoffery Co

Dr. George Co Sr. and Wife

Dr. George Co Sr. and Wife

Around Pilipinas supports George Optical’s cause in donating wearable eyeglasses to the less fortunate. If you happen to have a pair of eyeglasses you no longer use, you can help save someone’s vision by donating it through Dr. George Co, Sr. Foundation.  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

This month of August, get huge discounts and a free comprehensive eye examination or an initial contact lens fitting at George Optical. Check out their facebook page for more information:  https://www.facebook.com/georgeoptical 

Phone Numbers: +632 834 8742 / 834 7663; 832 8679

Official Website: http://www.george-optical.com

Branches: http://www.george-optical.com/locations.html

Online Shopping in the Philippines

Online shopping is fast becoming popular in the Philippines.  Even without a credit card, one may purchase online using other payment channels like PayPal, Bayad Centers, banks (over the counter or ATM deposits), Western Union, and other options.

I myself is an online shopper. What, with the heavy traffic around Metro Manila, it’s more convenient to shop online especially if you’re looking for gift items that aren’t too common.  So instead of hopping from mall to mall which could practically eat up your entire day on the road, you can stay home and surf online for items that you need or want.

Of course there are items that you’d rather see and feel first instead of just look at the pictures, so you prefer to visit the actual stores. I do that for clothes, shoes, and bags.

What I buy online are mostly beauty products I trust and only from online shops that I trust.  Like a couple of weeks ago, I purchased Olay Regenerist from Lazada and last week I paid for dental services online at MetroDeal. Lazada and MetroDeal are two of my trusted online shops in the Philippines. I never had any problems nor have I been scammed by shopping from those sites.

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Lazada_Olay

Customized gift items

For gift items that are customized, I doubt if you can find them on Lazada but you can definitely find them on Heart Press.  They turn ordinary items into extraordinary as they personalize practical gift ideas like ceramic plates, mugs, specialty items, linen, keychains, even cellphone cases.

How it works:

1. On their website, you choose an item that you want to personalize.

2. Upload the image that you want to be printed on your chosen item and then press “Add to Bag.”

3. Proceed to checkout using your preferred payment. Heart Press accepts PayPal, debit and credit cards, and other money centers.

personalized clock

Glass square clock you can customize at Heartpress.ph

I believe they’re awesome for corporate giveaways, wedding souvenirs, or even as gifts to ourselves and the special people in our lives.

They also have a physical store in Cavite.

My favorite is their glass square personalized clock.

I’d like to have one on our wall with a nice picture of our family so that everytime I look at the time, I’d be reminded about just how lucky I am to be able to spend quality time with them by working (and shopping) from the comfort of our own home.  :)