Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Name Day

As I've said before, May is my favorite month of the year. Not just because it's the fiesta season or that the first rain of the year falls around this time but also because it's my name day month! Like everybody else, I look forward to having my own day. Which is to say, the day I was born.

Good haul this year! :)
Well, what's wrong with that really? Everyone greets me 'Happy Birthday!' as if I've done something really amazing, people around me makes me feel important so much so that they keep their criticisms and opinions (of moi) to themselves (for the day), they agree with everything I say, they praise me for no apparent reason, and the best bit is that I get presents!

Ah yes, the gifts. People I love honor my being alive and turning a year older by giving colorful, wrapped presents.  It may be big or small, expensive or cheap, useful or useless, may or may not be the thing I wanted but all the same I get to have something to appreciate. As they say: It's the thought that counts.

And isn't that great? When I think about it, it's okay if people don't pay attention to me 364days out of a year but that one day, that one special day, I want to feel as if that day belongs to me and nobody else's.

Well, of course this is untrue as there will be hundred million others celebrating their birthdays as well, but who cares? This is my day! :)


Monday, May 20, 2013

Great Beauty Finds for Under ₱100 (2013)

Every girl appreciates beauty products from time to time... Even those like me who aren't very girly. Here are some goods my sister and I came across:

1. Sophie Magic Pink Cream

Sophie Paris is one of the top direct-selling brands in the country. I've joined the biz late last year and discovered items I cannot resist. One of which is this cream blusher that is very affordable and effective. The white cream turns pink once applied on the skin. Like magic! Just a pea-sized amount gives your cheeks that natural, 'in love' blush and lasts all day long. 

Price: ₱85
Order from: Any Sophie girl near you

2. Strawberry Face Mask

Our face is the most exposed part of our body. That's why it needs extra nurturing. One way to pamper it is by putting on a face mask once in awhile. This yogurt-based mask that smells oh-so-sweet like strawberries rejuvinates and hydrates the skin. It's not the peel-off kind. Just leave it on and rinse after a few minutes for a softer, fresher skin.

Price: ₱39.75 (Buy 2, Get 1 Free)
Shop at: Watson's Drug Store

3. Foot treats' Antibacterial Foot Scrub in Citrus

Two buddies we shouldn't take for granted are our feet. So why not purchase this foot scrub and get one for free? Our eyes sparkle the instant we see the 'buy one, take one' sign but this one's really a steal! With its tiny beads, it thoroughly scrubs off dead skin and dirt from our used-up feet. Like going to a really quick spa. It also comes in other scents like Primrose and Grapeseed.

Price: ₱99.00 (For 2 jars)
Shop at: Watson's Drug Store

Get beauty wisely! :)


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Milk Tea Crazy

Tea is always a good idea. It has a distinct organic flavor plus it's healthy and soothing to the body. Having said these, however, tea is not everyone's cup of tea (Get it?). Some find it grassy or bitter and prefers sweeter drinks like frapuccinos. That's before milk tea emerged. Since this more playful, hipper beverage from Taiwan fashioned our country, Filipinos begin to drink tea more often, including me. Here's some shops I like:

1. Happy Lemon

Happy Lemon serves a lot of coffee and tea-based drinks. They have fruit teas, yogurts, and their famed rock salt and cheese items but their milk tea is also good! Their flavors are not varied enough compared to others though.

They have the basic brewed milk tea with different add-ons like beans, grass jelly, cookies, or pearls (which are delightfully small and travels smoothly through the straw). It tastes a bit bland once the ice melts but their menu is pretty affordable since your one hundred bucks can go a long way. :)

Rating: 3.25/5
*In the picture: Milk Tea with Oreo Cookies and Cream (Left), Milk Tea with Black Pearl Sago (Right).

2. Chatime 

If you're in for a good time, why not try Chatime?
Their place in Pioneer is roomy and perfect for chatting with friends. The one in SM Megamall is nice too with an iPad display so customers can browse pictures and descriptions of their wide selection of products.

Their milk teas are refreshing and creamy. I've tried some and liked their Taro and Matcha Red Bean in particular. Their prices are 100 more or less since the toppings have a separate price.

Rating: 3.75/5
*In the picture: Taro Milk Tea with Pearl and Jasmine Green Tea with Mousse (Okay so it's not milk tea but hey).

3. Gong Cha

Gong cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me? Gong cha! 

Enough with my pussycat doll commercial. Lol!

What can I say? I'm addicted to this baby. It's so silky, smooth, and flavorful! Even if you opt for their less sugar level, their milk teas taste great. They even have concoctions that are not available in other stores. So far, each time I try new flavors, Gong Cha doesn't disappoint. The price range is also within the 100 peso zone. 'Sinkers' entail additional bucks but the blends alone can satisfy. My current favorites are their GC Wintermelon, Honeydew, and Earl Grey Milk Teas. I hear their Ice Cream Milk Tea and Coconut Milk Tea are ah-mazing!

Rating: 4.25/5
*In the picture: Gong Cha Milk Wintermelon Tea

So tea is a good idea. But milk tea seems to be a better one. Slurp! :)


Happy Lemon - 2F The Block, SM North EDSA, Quezon City
Chatime - Pioneer Center Supermart, 8006 Pioneer Street, Kapitolyo, Pasig City or UG Level SM Megamall A, Mandaluyong City
Gong Cha - 4F Trinoma, Quezon City

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Safe Haven

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. Yes, another one of his melodramatic novels that would entail a lead character dying of some terrible illness, an overly romanticized plot, and oh, most definitely a tear jerker. These thoughts went through my mind as I was hurriedly browsing for ebooks to download and saw this title. Except for 'A Walk to Remember' (novel) and a couple of movies adapted from his books, I don't think I paid any attention to his works. But I was running out of things to read so I decided 'What the hey?' and touched the proverbial download button.

Katie, a mysterious twenty-something woman is desperate to start her life over. She thought she found solace after arriving in Southport, a little town in North Carolina. Although she struggled to open up to the people she met, she soon found herself befriending a local named Jo and falling in love with a shop owner called Alex. But just as she's starting to gain her sense of self, her alarmingly violent past catches up with her.

'I truly believe that while love can hurt, love can also heal...'

I was right, all of my expectations about this book were true. Surprisingly, I liked it! Sparks kept me turning the pages on my tablet. This wasn't just a sappy romantic novel. It also has suspense, action, and dare I say, fantasy. I liked that it was a little dark and a bit brutal in some parts. Not your typical Nicholas Sparks love story. The fear and self doubt in Katie's character is what glued this whole thing together. The emotions emanating from her drove the story.

I liked this novel enough to watch the movie version online. Sadly, I was disappointed by Julianne Hough's acting. It lacked depth and she was unconvincing as an abused woman running for her life. As I said, the story depended on Katie's emotional turmoil. She didn't give that. :(

Though the movie didn't fare as well as the novel, I still learned something from this experience... Don't judge a book by its cover. ;)


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Let's Go To The Beach

Based on a review I read about Villa Navarro, I wasn't too thrilled when I learned our company summer outing will be there. But when we arrived there last week, we were greeted by a friendly staff and quickly checked-in our rooms. Since we were sixteen in the group (including children) we occupied three executive rooms and a family cottage. Though rooms were a bit small and sparse in decorations they were clean and basic amenities were provided.

Lunch was already waiting for us after depositing our bags. It was simple but delicious. We had inihaw na porkchop, pritong bangus, and monggo with bagnet. They served ripe mangoes for dessert that were very sweet. The servers were attentive to our needs.

Afterwards, we changed into our swimsuits and took a dip in their pool where a watchful lifeguard supervised us. This was comforting esp. with kids around. The drawback was that they only let us use the pool until 8pm. This I believe was because the lifeguard gets off at 8pm, too. We were a bit disappointed but took consolation on the fact that we can swim in the beach which is a few yards away from the resort. However, that afternoon, the waves were just too big for us to enjoy it much.

Enjoying the scenery and having a blast with friends

At dinner, they served us sweet and sour fish fillet, beef nilaga, and diningding. For dessert, juicy watermelon. They were tasty and plenty to go around. We ate at the nipa hut near the beach. It was so relaxing to hear the waves crashing on the shore and feel the wind on our skin. This was what I came here for. 

A videoke machine was also set up in our nipa hut and we sang 'til the wee hours of the night. I hope we didn't bother anyone. Their bar also served us drinks like beer, gin, and cola.

The next morning, we took a stroll on the beach and watched stray dogs play. At some point some of them approached us but I didn't mind because I'm a dog lover. I also think it added to the appeal of the resort. 'Probinsyang-probinsya' comes to mind. They served us fried egg, longganisa Vigan, and garlic rice for breakfast. Fresh pineapple as panghimagas (dessert).

All in all, it was a great stay at this resort. The furniture could be improved/updated, the place/look could use a bit of sprucing up, and maybe longer hours on use of pool. I liked that the place is kept clean, has lots of trees, good food, polite staff (very prompt and accommodating), and its quiet and simple ambience. I also like that they seem animal friendly (I saw a guest check in with his dog).

I was apprehensive at first but now I could see myself coming back there.


Villa Navarro Resort - Caba, La Union, Philippines