Category Archives: review

Halo-halong Discoveries Part V

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Book Sales. As much as I love reading, I am also very picky with the books I read. I used to read ebooks religiously but I’m now finding myself reaching for the hard copies. Must be because I’m getting old and digital books hurt my eyes. I’m usually the what-do-my-friends-recommend type of reader but sometimes, I also try to be experimental and just buy a random book, especially if the price is right as I also don’t like buying new books and paying too much. Aside from the gem I found last time for my Malapascua trip, I found another of Georgia’s adventures’ book by the same author (P25). I also found two more interesting books called Dogs of War (P25, I love war stories) and another one called 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (P25). I love it when I find books for such dirt cheap prices! 


H&M Sales. More often than not, I like going to H&M rather than Forever21 because I find the former has better quality items. And when they go on sale, THEY GO ON SALE. As I was walking around the mall, burning calories during my lunchbreak, saw these super cute, powder blue, suede chunky heels (whew! That was a long description). It came at a perfect time since I was looking for new heels to take turns with my good old trusty SM Parisian heels, which are now showing wear and tear (because I use them every week for the past two years and they are so comfy and goes with anything). What made it perfect was that it was only P300 from P999. Where else can you buy such cheap (but hopefully sturdy) heels? Comfy too! The gold clutch I have been eyeing for so long but couldn’t bring myself to pay P700 for it since it’s made up of hinabi-like material and really, because I don’t need it. Good things come to those who wait and voila! It was on sale at P300. But instead of keeping it for myself, my sister wanted it so I’ll be giving it to her. Lastly, the red glittery flamingo tape dispenser was also on my maybe-I’ll-buy-it-if-it’s-on-sale-list because no way was I going to pay P349 for an office supply albeit cute. Initially, I wanted the unicorn version I saw in Indonesia but since it was between the flamingo and a whale, I went with the flamingo (P100). My colleague kept teasing me it’s a duck. And what’s a tape dispenser without colorful tapes (P50 for 2 instead of P199). So yeah, simple things – sometimes needs, sometimes non-sense wants – make me happy. #TreatYoSelf  

 

Rustan’s Supermarket Discounted Items + Smoked Salmon. I love lounging around supermarkets and is always part of my itinerary when I travel abroad. Even here in Manila, I actively try to find really good items and when I do, it makes me happy, especially when they are on sale. Since I pass by Shangri-la everyday, sometimes I stop by their grocery just to scope the goods. On this particular trip, found some Buy 1,Take 1 one-liter Snapple in Peach (fave!, P124 for two) and half price Vanilla and Cherry Coca-cola (P19 each). But my best find is the smoked salmon! The first time I dropped by Rustan’s, there was no salmon, which disappointed me since I thought Rustan’s would be carrying this. When I didn’t find any, my second option would be S&R which is very inconvenient and out of the way for me. Good thing on my next trip to Rustan’s, found not one but two brands of smoked salmon. I chose this particular one (P219) because its expiration date was in December, though I ended up eating it that night. Once you open it, it is recommended you eat it within 3 days. I paired it with tortilla wraps, Japanese mayo, tomato and a whole lotta romaine lettuce. I was in heaven! It was really good! Each pack is good enough for two meals if you’re a salmon eater. So happy I can binge-eat salmon (only twice a week though since it’s high in sodium) just like when I was in Georgia and the US, where salmon is overflowing. If you don’t like salmon, an alternative would be tinapa which has the same smokey taste.

My office’ Starbucks branch discount. I don’t usually drink handcrafted aka expensive coffee, simply because I just need a regular cup of hot coffee to start my morning on the right track. I don’t like watered down coffee but simple ‘own brewed coffee’ is good enough for me. But one Wednesday, my colleagues invited me for some afternoon coffee and since that was the day me and some other friends were going to watch a 9pm movie at Cinema 76, I opted to get a cup of joe to keep me awake (I sleep early like a lola. Haha). My other colleague then mentioned that Starbucks had a P100 Grande Wednesday. For that day, it was Vanilla Latte but since our organization has an agreement with the government, it does not pay taxes and this includes the concessionaires inside our office. So, we ended up paying only P82 for the grande cup. Sweet deal, huh? #WorkPerk

 

Poo-rific Spray. Stop reading now if you feel we’re not that close yet. Haha! Randomly saw this in Robinson’s Supermarket and was convinced to buy it because (i) cute packaging and (ii) it smelled divine. Basically, you spray this directly into the toilet bowl water for a floral scent while you do your business. It’s not a need, I mean, you can still poop without it but the experience is more enjoyable because it smells so good. Another version is found in True Value but more expensive at around P100. I like this better because it’s very handy and affordable at P55.


 

Foodie: Beerhouse (Kapitolyo Brewing Co.) and Behrouz Persian Cuisine

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A few months back (months talaga!), some colleagues and I decided to grab some drinks. One of them lived in Kapitolyo and so she knew about this local beerhouse which brewed their own beer, aka, craft beer. Don’t be fooled by the masa name ‘beerhouse’ as the place is quite nice and cozy. I know cozy is not exactly a word you usually describe a pub but really, the place was very inviting and had the ‘relaxed’ vibe. 
 


We went there after work and was able to avail of the Buy 1, Take 1 promo that they had so we only paid P150 for two glasses of locally crafted beer.

 

Best part was that we could buy food at the nearby food park and bring it to our table at the Beerhouse, since they really don’t offer any food. We ordered so much food!

 

I’m not a heavy drinker but I do like supporting local businesses and I encourage you to do the same too.

 From beer to no beer, again a few months back, I was craving for some kebab so my friend suggested we eat at Behrouz at Metrowalk. I have been wanting to try that Persian restaurant! We went there on a weeknight and the place was deserted. The restaurant is huge with plastic chairs and tables, giving it a food court vibe.

 

What they lacked in ambiance, they made up with in food. The servings were huge and super delicious! We had the chicken and beef kebab plus roasted tomatoes and onions and naan. It was so good! I highly recommend this restaurant if you want your fix of yummy, authentic-tasting kebabs. Do note that they only serve halal food so that means, no beer allowed (though really, kebabs would go so well with an ice cold San Mig).

Bliss at Cinema ’76 Film Society and street food at Juanito’s

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Ever since my colleague told me about this small, mostly-indie-film-showing cinema late last year, I have always wanted to visit the place. It reminded me of my college days when me and my friends would watch indie films at UP Diliman’s Film Center (hello? I watched Boatman (1985) there and couldn’t even finish the film). Since it’s a bit out of the way, it took me awhile to actually drag some friends along, intentionally inviting my friend who had a car (haha!). When I learned that Iza Calzado’s Bliss was going to be shown starting May 10, I knew that had to be the first film I would see there.
 


Without even watching the trailer nor reading the synopsis, I really wanted to watch Bliss because of an interview I read about Iza. When they found out the MTRCB gave the film an X rating, Iza’s reaction was, “Porn star ba ako?” I loved her reaction and it was effective in spiking my curiosity so on the first day of screening at Cinema ’76, me and two of my friends headed to the tiny movie house.


I was actually surprised by how big the whole production company (TBA) and their office was. We watched the 8pm showing so no photos of their office and the cinema house but it’s fairly easy to find via waze. There are limited parking slots but it’s not located at the highway so it was ok. We got there on the dot and the place was already packed. The cinema can accommodate about 50 people. We ended up sitting at the back, with high chairs, which proved to be a great spot because (i) we could see well above the heads of those in front and (ii) that was the only place food and drinks were allowed. If you do decide to sit in front, comfy seats and fluffy pillows await you.

 

Bliss, for a Filipino film, was pretty good. Not for the impatient, not for the weak, not for the malicious. No slapstick jokes, no overly-gory scenes, no over dramatized lines. In other words, not for people used to ‘mainstream’ films. You don’t have to be the artsy-fartsy, hipster type of viewer to enjoy it but just someone who appreciates art (whether or not you get the art). My favorite elements of the film were (i) Iza’s impeccable acting (she is so underrated); (ii) the whole cast and their respective characters who all had well-written backgrounds; (iii) I loved how the nurse looked with her freckles and how unique her character was; and (iv) the build-up and how the director tied all loose ends of the film.

After more than an hour of the film, what better way to end the night but with street food, drinks and laughter at Juanito’s. We had kwek-kwek (P120), sisig pork isaw (P150 I think), chicken isaw on stick (P120), dynamite sticks (P175) and of course, beer (P50) to wash it all down.

 

Make sure to follow Cinema ’76 website. Let’s do our part in “keeping indie films and small cinemas” alive.

Review: NAIA Terminal 4 and Mactan Cebu International Airport

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It has been more than 5 years since I had a flight go through NAIA 4 so I was pleasantly surprised when they had improved so much! My flight to Cebu via Air Asia was in Terminal 4. Going through security was fast and easy, perhaps because I had an early flight and also because I had checked-in online via the Air Asia app. But once inside the waiting area, it looked so much better than I remember. Aircon was good and cool, lots of seats for passengers, TVs here and there, a charging station, bright, clear lights, clean restrooms and best of all, lots of food stalls lined up.

 

Aside from the food stall that sells pinoy food and snacks – where I bought my P48 Nescafe Macchiato – there was also Cinnabon, Goldilocks, Café France, Papa Johns and Seattle’s Best. There were a lot of standing tables too for eating. Little improvements but improvements nonetheless! 

Another surprise for me was the Mactan Cebu International Airport. I think the last time I was there was 5 years ago when we went to Singapore. It has improved so much! Did it become bigger?! I don’t know but there are now tons of shops and food stalls inside and outside the waiting area. So convenient that they had a scanner for boarding passes (mine was just on my phone!) unlike in Manila where everything is manual. They also have a water fountain inside! That is so important to me because why require your passengers to buy bottled water when drinking fountains should be the standard? Their trashcan is aesthetically pleasing too!

 

Once inside the waiting area, ample seats are there. They have an old and newly renovated toilet and tons of shops along the area – including Zubochon, Dunkin Donuts, a pizza bistro, Tsim Sha Tsui, a chocolate shop, Potato Corner and Jollibee, which had the longest line. And they had lots of standing tables (I love standing tables because after a whole day of sitting, all I want is to give my aching butt a rest). They even had a Bench and Victoria’s Secret/ Body Works/ perfume store. Awesome! Oh, and wifi is fast too. 


So good! Kudos to these two airports!

The best P20 Froyo

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Hands down, Fancie’s Frozen Yoghurt located at SM Megamall’s Grocery Store at Mega B is the best and most affordable froyo I’ve tasted. Perfect when you just want a small serving of froyo for dessert or snack. Move over over-priced Blk 513 charcoal froyo. Their menu goes as low as P20 for a cup or cone of regular froyo – which is very generous in serving – to P89 for their smoothies and P65 for their bigger froyo cup with toppings. Toppings are P10 each. 


Tip: bring your own toppings. On my first time, I had the oreo toppings for P10 and it was like just 1/4th of the cookie. Not worth it so just stick to the froyo itself and bring your own favorite toppngs. I brought a cup of cheerios with me! 🙂 

Review: ELF Lip Exfoliator

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I am a fan of exfoliation because I think it really helps in keeping your skin fresh-looking and healthy. I’ve shared before my chosen face exfoliation techniques – both with the peeling gel type and with the face brush – as well as my weekly DIY body scrub made up of coffee grounds. But what about the lips?

I am one of those women who have constantly chapped lips even with religious application of lip balms. Though I’m not proud of it, one of my bad habits is actually peeling the dry skin, leaving my lips with splotches and yes, blood (eww I know). So regular exfoliation is required. As much as the good ol’ toothbrush works well enough, I happened to chance upon the great discounted ($3.5 from $5) set of ELF during my trip to the US, which included a maroon lippie and their lip exfoliator, which I have been trying to get a hold of for years.

The one I got was the Cherry Tart flavor. Had to stop myself from constantly licking my lips because it smelled (and tasted) good. I probably won’t die from tasting it but better not to do that since it’s still made up of chemicals. I love how the exfoliator is in a tube for very much easy application, unlike other scrubs which are in pots, making it messy and unhygienic to apply.

 

It doesn’t automatically slough off your dry lips nor does it immediately make them soft. But what I do is after showering, I swipe it on my lips and leave it on for a few minutes, something similar when you use petroleum jelly. Afterwards, I wipe it off and my lips’ dryness somehow lessens. I think for the price and convenience of this exfoliator, it’s a great buy. I probably won’t buy one again unless discounted (plus it’s not available in the Philippines yet) but it’s a fun product to add to your beauty regime.

Review: Blue Avocado (Re)Zip Baggies

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My friends know that as much as possible, I try to be environment friendly by bringing my own reusable bags, tumblers and even coffee mug sleeves; by not using Styrofoam products or plastic ware and by not throwing my trash – however small – in the streets (common sense lang di ba mga Pinoy). When doing grocery shopping, I put my items in my handbag, if I forget to bring my reusable bag. I try to reuse, reduce, recycle and upcycle old stuff. I walk and take public transportation as a way to reduce my carbon footprint. I have stopped using plastic straws and am even trying to go all natural with my beauty products. And now, my newest addition to help save our environment is by using Blue Avocado’s (Re)Zip Baggies.
 


I admit, I’ve used a lot of ziplocks in the past (who hasn’t?) and the thought of all of that plastic just going to landfills – taking years to decompose- broke my heart so I started searching for a reusable baggie. Saw this in amazon but with my low EQ, I wanted it immediately instead of waiting for it to be delivered. Luck would have it that National Bookstore actually carries these, for a bit more in terms of price but still not bad for what you’re getting – the bags are re-sealable, reusable, BPA, PVC and lead free, leak-proof, and dishwasher and freezer-safe. The first bags I bought were the sandwich-sized ones (Php529 for two) which I left when I went to the US. Haha. Perfect for chips (though it’ll leave scratch marks on your bag) and yes, sandwiches.

 

Since I left those in the US, I decided to buy again but this time, opted for the 1 cup baggie (Php345 for two). This one I absolutely loved and used it every weeknight since I started to eat overnight oats (more on those later). I place my oats with milk in the bag and because it’s leak-free, I don’t have to worry that it’ll make a mess in my handbag. I also tested it out in our freezer when I placed berries in it and so far, still good. It can also stand by itself, making it the perfect on-the-go container, even for food with liquids in it. Perfect for travelling! It’s easy to clean too with our regular dish soap and sponge.

 

I highly recommend that everyone buy this product. It’ll save the environment and your pocket from constantly buying ziplocks. Now all I need is to convince all my friends and family (and you) to use this. Imagine how many tons of plastics we’d stop using?