Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Lunch at Johnny Rockets

Last Christmas, we planned to watch a movie.  But since it was not being shown at the Resorts World Manila and we didn't like the idea of watching at SM Bicutan, we decided to go to the Alabang Town Center (ATC) for a change. It's been a long time since we went there. In fact, I think this is the first time our daughter will be going there.

Also, I missed the spaghetti being served at the Makati Supermarket. Unfortunately, the grocery was closed for the holiday.
We found out later that most of the people were at the theaters lining up to buy tickets. The movie we were supposed to watch is already full and it hasn't started yet. We didn't want to wait for the next screening since the following day is a work day and we didn't want to stay out late. We strolled around and looked for a place to have late lunch instead.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Isdaan sa Calauan

Everytime we go home to Pangil, Laguna, we always see this big floating restaurant along the highway in Calauan, Laguna, just between the towns of Bay (pronounced Ba-ee) and Victoria. In fact, we witnessed how it slowly grew while the big concrete statues of the restaurant were being constructed. We wondered then if this will click among patrons. We realized later that their open parking lot seemed to be always full when we pass by it.

We asked ourselves when will be able to eat there. The opportunity came last Saturday, 22 December 2012, on our way to Pangil, Laguna. It was already past 1 pm and so we decided to try it out.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 6 (Last Day of Our Trip)

December 4, 2012 (Tuesday)

On our last day, my wife and daughter didn't want to get up early. In fact, they finished a movie showing on TV before they finally got up and took their shower. I guess because this will be the last time they will be able to relax as we will have to check out since we plan to leave our things in the hotel and go back for it in the evening before we go to Melaka Sentral to catch a bus going to the KLIA Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT).

We had one last photo in the hotel lobby before we went out for a whole day of sightseeing and shopping(?).
We found out that the free bus service, the GO KL bus stops in front of the KLCC Suria Mall, so we walked towards the Petronas Twin Towers to catch the bus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 5 (Finally, Kuala Lumpur)

December 2, 2012 (Sunday)

We were supposed to leave early for KL since we wanted to maximize our time  there, but the two girls didn't want to get up early. Since, this was a vacation, we decided to get up a little bit late. Besides, 6 AM in Malaysia is still dark, unlike in Manila.

After taking our shower and getting dressed, we brought our luggage downstairs and left it there while we had breakfast somewhere.
About a block or two away, we found an open restaurant and decided to have our breakfast there.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 4 (Overnight in Melaka)

December 2, 2012 (Sunday)

Since Melaka was along the way to KL from SG  and it has been on my bucket list,  we decided to include it in our itinerary. I had earlier booked our seats online for the trip to Melaka.

We got up early and checked out of our hotel at past 6 AM to catch our bus going to Melaka which was scheduled to leave at 7:30 AM. The bus is located at the Golden Mile Complex (taxi fare: about S$ 11). It was good that we arrived early because we were not sure where the office of the bus was and we were supposed to get our tickets there. The bus was located in another area. Although it was just walking distance, if you are not familiar with the place and you happen to arrive at the last minute, you might not be able to board on time.
There were only about 10 passengers on the bus which included us and there are only 3 seats in a row with a super wide leg space that you can recline your seat that you are almost lying down since there are no passengers behind you.

Friday, December 14, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 3 (Around Singapore)

December 1, 2012 (Saturday)

Today, we woke up late since we've been waking up early the last 2 days. Since we were going to Chinatown, we decided to have breakfast there. Walking along Orchard Road, we took a bus at a stop near the Orchard Hotel. As we didn't know the fare, we had to ask the driver and fumble with our coin purse to have the exact change as the drivers do not give change.

We got off at a bus stop which is one more stop farther from Chinatown. As we walked towards Pagoda Street, we passed by a Bakkwa store and decided to buy some as gifts when we get home.

Further on, we passed by a Chinese pharmacy and again we went inside to buy some medicine which were requested by my wife's office mates.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 2 (Universal Studios and Orchard Hotel)

November 30, 2012 (Friday)

We had to wake up a little early because we were to transfer to another hotel a few blocks from Marriott. 

We decided to check-in early at the Orchard Hotel because the complimentary shuttle bus going to Universal Studio Singapore (USS) stops there to pick up foreign tourists. Take note that you should have your passport as well as embarcation card ready to show the bus driver or you he won't let you in. Also, since this is the last stop along the route, it's almost full when it gets there so be early. The first trip is at 9:35 and every 30 minutes thereafter.
We got to bus station in Sentosa Island, where we were to take the escalator going up to the USS. We had a photo taken first at the revolving  globe infront of USS.
When we got to the entrance, I realized that I did not bring my pre-printed voucher. I was advised by the attendant to go to the guest relations office. There I just presented my credit card, which I used to purchase my vouchers, and they printed our tickets which we then presented at the entrance.

The theme park was not that big. In fact, where it not for the long lines, where you have to wait between 15 to 45 minutes, it would not take the whole day to finish all the rides in the park. I will just let the pictures talk about the park.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dining at Domino's

After a long while, we finally had another taste of Domino's. I actually found out that they're back in the Philippines late last year when I saw one of their stores in Alabang. The opportunity came when we were on our way to Laguna. Since the road from Marriott to SLEX via Villamor Air Base was slow moving, we decided to take the Sucat road via NAIA 1. It's on the way to SLEX that we found that a new branch of Domino's has just opened in the new SM Hypermarket in Sucat.
What I like about Domino's is that their pizzas are less greasy and their chewy crust. They come if four sizes: 7", 10", 12" and 14" and with a promo of buy 1-take 1.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

SG-Melaka-KL Trip Day 1 (Bound for SG)

November 29, 2012 (Thursday)

Our trip to Singapore and Malaysia had finally ended as quicky as it had started. What took about a year to plan was through after a 6 day tour of Singapore, Melaka and Kuala Lumpur. Our first day started with us waking up early even though our flight was still at around 12 noon. Since it was our first time to use the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Pampanga, we decided to leave Manila early.

We took a bus at the Victory Liner bus terminal in Pasay and was told to take the Dagupan bound bus as this will pass by the Dau Terminal. From there, one has to walk out of the terminal and turn left. There is a queue of air-conditioned jeepneys waiting for passengers bound for the airport. I think it costs P100 each for 25 minute trip.
Upon arrival at the airport and x-ray of the luggages, we went to a counter and paid for our travel tax. It's P1,620 per adults and slightly lower for kids. Since the check-in counter was still closed, we get copies of the immigration cards and filled it up while waiting. 

Upon checking-in, we proceeded to the gate and paid for the terminal fee and then queued to have our passport and immigration card checked by the immigration officer. If you are a government employee, make sure you have a travel authority to avoid the hassle of explaining to the officer. Upon stamping of the passport, we were at last free to go inside and wait for our boarding call.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Angel's 11th Birthday

Weeks before Angel's planned skating party to celebrate her 11th birthday, we had already bought some vouchers and informed her classmates, cousin and a friend's daughter about the event. We decided to do it yesterday, since we will be going to Singapore on her actual birthday on the 29th of November.

Unfortunately, when we got there, there was a figure skating competition and so the rink was closed to the public. When I asked what time the competition would finish, I was informed that the skating rink will be open to the public at 4PM. We immediately informed Angel's friends about the problem but they still agreed to go and celebrate Angel's birthday just the same.
Since most of them arrived at about past 11 AM, we decided to have lunch first so that we can plan what activity they can do for the day. We went to Pizza Hut Bistro and ordered a meal for 12 persons. However, Angel's cousin called that they can't make it for lunch so there were lots of food left for us to take home.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Joey Pepperoni's Pizza

This is not the first time we ate at Joey Pepperoni and always it's at the SM MOA. But this time was kinda urgent. The voucher we bought a few months back was about to expire last Friday. Coupled with that, our daughter had a school activity the same night: reading camp.
It was a good thing my wife checked the expiry a few days before because you have to get a reservation a few days before you avail of the voucher.

Right after the school activity at about past 8 PM, we headed directly to SM MOA as the restaurant closes at 10 PM. I dropped my wife and daughter infront of the SM Department Store so that they can order ahead while I find a parking space.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bound for Bondi Beach

July 5, 2005

After catching some sleep in the train from Melbourne, we finally arrived back in Sydney. Since we still have a day to spend here, we decided to use the last voucher that came with the train pass we bought: a return bus fare to Bondi Beach, the world famous beach.
Arriving in Sydney Central Station
For breakfast, we bought some burgers at a nearby McDonald's and soda in a 7-11 Store
Since it's winter time, the beach was deserted except for some brave few souls surfing the waves

Finally, Melbourne

June 27 - July 4, 2005

Finally, 5 days after leaving Brisbane, we were on our way to Melbourne. After taking a bus in Canberra we were dropped off at Cootamundra where we were to catch a train bound for Melbourne.
It was already dark when we got to the city where my wife's sister picked us up and drove us to their place in a suburb about 1 hour away from the city. We were to stay there for about a week.

Since my sister-in-law and her husband had to work, we were left to ourselves to explore the place. We spent most of the time going to the mall and around the neighborhood in the suburb. Every now and then, we go to the city via train. Since the bus going to the train station is not that often, we usually hitch a ride in my sister-in-law's car who also goes to the city to work.
Federation Square

Flinders Street Train Station

Thursday, October 25, 2012

NSO Birth Certificate, Anyone?

e-Census - National Statistics Office | Philippines
A copy of an NSO birth certificate is vital to anyone applying for a passport, getting married or other official documents which may
require an NSO copy of this important document.

There are two ways of getting an NSO birth certificate (marriage certificate, certificate of no marriage [CENOMAR] or death certificate for that matter. One is going to an NSO Serbilis Center or applying online at e-census.

Go to an NSO Serbilis Center if you want your document within 1 to 2 working days. For online application, you get it between 3 to 9 working days after payment, depending on whether you live in Metro Manila or in the provinces.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How to Save When Buying a Universal Studios Singapore Pass

Since we are planning to visit the Universal Studios Singapore (USS) when we visit Singapore next month, I was trying to look for a way to get a discounted ticket. That's when I found in the Resorts World Singapore website that I can get a discount if I use my MasterCard/ The regular one-day peak pass costs S$74 and $54 for adult and kids, respectively. By using the MasterCard, you can buy the same pass at S60 and $45 each.
The USS one-day Pass comes with a free entrance to the Maritime Experiential Museum. I don't know how much the entrance fee to the Museum is but just the USS pass, you easily get about 20% discount.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Canberra: Australian Capital Territory

June 25 - 26, 2005

Since Canberra was within the area covered by our train pass (via a bus), we decided to include it in our itinerary. Again, a former classmate offered their abode for our 2-night stay there. However, the planned bus trip from Sydney to Canberra did not materialize. Instead, my ex-classmate in Sydney offered to drive us to Canberra to also meet our classmate there. Apparently, they have no idea of each other's presence in Australia.

When we got to my friend's home in Canberra, we were showed to our room. After a few niceties, he invited us to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant.
After lunch, we went to the Federal Parliament Building. Being a weekend and no sessions were held, we were free to roam around the complex.

Side trip to Sydney

June 24, 2005

We took a lot of detours before we got to our final destination: Melbourne. Since we have two weeks to complete our travel to return to Brisbane, we decided to make stopovers, 2 nights in Sydney and 2 nights in Canberra.

With our first full day spent in the Blue Mountains, we decided to use the free day trip ticket that came with the train pass. The ticket gave us full access to buses, trains and ferry within the Sydney area. Without any actual plans of what to see, off we went to explore Sydney. All we really wanted to see were the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the QVB. How to get there, we have no idea. 

The train system was quite extensive and all you need to know is where to get off to reach your destination. Very early in the morning, we took the train going to the Circular Quay train station to catch a ferry going to Harbour Bridge. I just can't remember why we picked the place. Anyway, that's what we did and from there took a ferry bound for Darling Harbour. We spent almost half a day exploring the place.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day Trip to the Blue Mountains

June 23, 2005

Going to the Blue Mountains on our way to Melbourne was not in our original plan in 2005. However, when we bought the Backtracker travel pass, which gave us two-weeks train pass from Brisbane to Melbourne, it came with a free return ticket to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Since its free, we included it as a day trip.

Fortunately, a high school classmate of mine offered their home for us to stay during our 2 night stopover in Sydney. So, when our train from Brisbane arrived in Hornsby, my classmate picked us up at the station and brought us to their place. We had breakfast with his family and right after got a lift from his wife who was on her way to work and uses the train going to the Sydney CBD.

We took a train going to the Sydney Central Station where we were to catch another train going to Katoomba. We heard earlier that it snowed their the night before, so were so excited to go there. This would be our first time to see real snow.
 Upon arrival in Katoomba, we bought our tickets to a hop on - hop off bus where it passes through places of interest both in the towns of Katoomba and Leura. It's a double-decker bus where the bus driver also acts as a tour guide as he keeps the passengers informed of what we are seeing at any given moment via his public address system.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Theme Parks in Gold Coast, Australia

Studying in Australia for 1 1/2 years from 2005 to 2006 gave my family and me a lot of weekends to explore Brisbane as well as the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. 

Travelling by public transport and going to theme parks is not a problem as you can plan your journey by simply logging on to Translink, a website which gives you the schedule and what buses/trains/ferry to take and where to take it. 

Fortunately for us, since I was a student then I got a concession fare with a 50% discount, my daughter rides for free as she was less than 6 years old then. It's only my wife who pays full fare.

It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours one way to get to the theme parks in Gold Coast, so a day trip there coming from Brisbane is possible. We usually wait for discount vouchers found at the back of grocery receipts to save some from the entrance fees.

It was only through browsing my multiply account that reminded me to post these photos. Multipy by the way will no longer be supporting the photo sharing by the end of the year but will focus instead on e-commerce or something to that effect


This has the fastest and wildest rides among the three parks. Unfortunately, most of them cannot be ridden yet by Angel at the time because she was too young.

This is also the place where the Australian Big Brother is being shot.
watching a show of sponge bob and friends
the claw

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lunch at Home on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

When not on travel, Sundays are usually spent at home to laze around since the following day is the start of a new work and school week.

Having done our grocery and attended an anticipated mass the day before, that's what we did. We slept late and woke up late. Aside from a cleaning lady who visits us twice a week to also cook for us, the food preparation is left to my wife for the rest of the week.

Since we had some left over food from the previous week, we decided to eat pangat (or pangatlong init or third time to reheat the food, ha ha ha). We are a green family after all. We reduce, reuse and reheat, he he he
Raiding our ref, we saw the pack of spicy bangus (milkfish) bought the previous week and which my wife wanted to eat ever since we bought it. However, since we always get home late, she was unable to have what she wanted. Now was the day where she had a lot of time. And that's what she did. It was not as spicy as we would have wanted. Also, we later found out that it was not boneless.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy: It's World Smile Day!

This Friday, 5 October 2012, we celebrate World Smile Day.
It was Hervey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachussetts, who created the smiley face in 1963. He was hired by the State Mutual Life Assurance Company from his hometown to create a happy face to raise the morale of the its employees. He drew a face with a bright yellow background, dark oval eyes, full smile and creases at the sides of the mouth. The happy face was done in 10 minutes and Hervey Ball was paid $45 for the creation.
However, Hervey noticed that, through the years, the symbol he created beceme over-commercialized, and that its original meaning and intent got lost. Because of this concern, he conceived the idea of a "World Smile Day", so that at least one day each year everyone could devote it to smiles and kind acts throughout the world. He declared the first Friday in October each year as the "World Smile Day" which began in 1999.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Brunch at Papa John's

Nope, Papa John is not a term of endearment for somebody's boyfriend. It's one of the newer pizza joints that sprouted in Metro Manila.
Being a Sunday, we woke up late, which was the reason why we didn't have the time to have our breakfast as we had to catch the 10 AM mass.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ox Brain: Food for the Brain?

We got a chance to have lunch again at Behrouz near Shopwise Sucat last weekend. When we asked our daughter where she wanted to have lunch, she immediately said Mang Inasal. But when she found out that we're going to do our weekly grocery in Sucat, she immediately changed her mind and blurted out "Behrouz".

We parked our car at Shopwise and walked our way to the restaurant, which is about 5 minutes away. When we entered the place, it was half-filled and we picked up a booth, sat and started to order. We're not the adventurous type, so we asked for the same food when we usually dine there.

While waiting, I asked my wife is she wanted to try the ox brain, which had piqued our interest ever since we started eating there but never had the courage to try it. A plateful costs P80, so what the heck, we called the waiter once again and asked to have the ox brain also.
from left (clockwise) - ox brain, 2 small shawarma, beef kebab and shawarma rice without the rice

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Staycation in Marriott Hotel Manila

We had planned on a staycation at the Marriott Hotel Manila after we stayed there for a night two years ago, courtesy of the hotel which my wife won in a raffle. It was my birthday but unfortunately, I was not feeling well and not able to enjoy our stay as much as I wanted to.
photo taken from 
This time, however, my wife had to work till 7 pm as there was a wedding fair being held at the hotel. So it was just my daughter and I who spent the whole afternoon. We were given a room on the 6th floor of the 8-storey hotel.

The room has two double beds with each bed having four fluffy pillows. My daughter loved the bed as she will be having four pillows all to her own. A large LCD television is located just at the foot of the bed. The room has two chairs by the window and a workstation where you can plug in your laptop computer. What I like about their electric outlet is it is universal where almost any kind of plug will fit into.

The room also comes with two pairs of house slippers and matching bathrobes. The bathroom has lots of towels and bath supplies, like toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and conditioner, etc.