Category Archives: Exploring the City

Bounty Fresh Chicken Top Torikatsu

A few weeks ago I received some goodies from Bounty Fresh. At first, I thought Top Torikatsu was a new restaurant so I was surprised to get these packs of chicken.

Bounty Fresh Chicken Top Torikatsu | Classic and Cheese & Chives

I was delighted to know that it’s Bounty Fresh as we buy chicken from the brand every week. Husband and I trust Bounty Fresh when it comes to chicken for obvious reasons– it’s Asia’s Best. If we buy from another brand, the chicken don’t usually stay fresh longer.

My husband received the package. Before that day, there was some kind of problem as the delivery guy had gone to our house thrice already but nobody would answer according to the marketing person who sent the Top Torikatsu packs. (I’m guessing tulog pa kami….)

The next day, I tried to cook one pack. I’m not good at frying so I had to carefully cook the chicken.

Fresh and firm chicken
One of those few times that we eat fried food…
I told you I’m not good at frying….
I think I overcooked them….
For the little boy…

Guess who loved the Top Torikatsu chicken for lunch? 🙂


Bounty Fresh Top Torikatsu Facebook | Top Torikatsu on YouTube

Bounty Fresh Top Torikatsu products are available at leading supermarkets. One pack contains six pieces (450 grams). Retail price is P179.

Thank you Bounty Fresh!

SM Aura Premier

sm aura premierFacebook and Twitter, even my Instagram, are abuzz with SM’s latest mall: SM Aura Premier. The first time I heard about the mall was a couple of months ago when a friend told me it will be something like Power Plant. Okay. So it’s gonna be a high-end mall? Maybe.

SM even managed to fly in Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City. I know a lot of women who got excited that she’s coming but I’m not one of them. The only Carrie I want to see is AnnaSophia Robb. Hehe.

I plan on visiting next week. Not this opening weekend although I want to bring my mommy there. She’s always been Misis SM I think she’d love to visit while she’s here in the Philippines.

I checked the SM Aura Premier (SM City Taguig) Facebook and here are some photos:

sm aura forever 21 sm bonifacio global city sm aura premier high street sm aura premier
(Photos grabbed from SM Aura Premier’s Official Facebook Page. Credits to the photographers.)

Address: 26th Street Corner Carlos P. Garcia Ave, Taguig, PH.
Tel. No.: (02) 556 0680

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Rockwell

TWG manilaHusband and I got to try the newly opened TWG in Rockwell earlier this April. I’ve been wanting to bring him there since we became tea drinkers but Greenbelt is so far. Kidding! It’s just that whenever I am at the Ayala area, I get lost easily. That’s ironic since it’s just a few blocks from my hometown. Anyway…

It was one of those Saturday nights that Josh and I could go on a date so we met up in Power Plant (our favorite mall!). We didn’t watch a film because the movies showing then were “downloadable”. By that I mean not worth-our-money-lets-wait-for-the-torrent kind. :p

After the usual dinner-True-Value-National-window-shop round, we settled on TWG. He was clueless about this place but he saw that the Power Plant Archeology Wing was now crowded by this pretty tea salon with colorful macarons and tea boxes on display, he gave in.

TWG philippines

Classy but not intimidating. The first problem I saw was that they were under staffed. Nobody was ready to welcome us and find us a seat. I had to ask. That’s fine with me as I’m trying to be nice. I guess it was a test for me. LOL! And it was the opening weekend so…fine (but they could have prepared more!)

We were given a table next to a momma and her sleeping baby placed inside a bulky Quinny stroller. (Talagang kailangan kong i-describe?) We were given the menu and was shocked to see the prices. P195 for a cup of tea?! Okay fine. Husband ordered Jasmine tea. I wanted the Napoleon Ice Cream but it wasn’t available yet so I asked for anything cold. The waiter suggested the South African tea. And then I ordered only three flavors of macarons:  Moroccan Mint Tea, Green Matcha, and Earl Grey Fortune and Chocolate. We were there for dessert for no need to order that Wagyu Burger (slurp!).

twg tea salon power plant mall

The two of us were both sleepy that evening so we were bored waiting for our order. But when the teas and macarons arrived, nagising kami bigla. We were surprised the tea Josh ordered was actually a golden teapot which could give us four cups. I thought a cup costs P195 hindi pala. So yeah, I think the price is sulit naman.

Make 3 wishes!
Make 3 wishes!

As for the macarons, they were pretty good at P55 each. Pricey for a small piece but it’s macaron!

twg macarons

I haven’t tried Bizu Patisserie macarons or macarons by Andreas Vienna Pastry Art so I can’t compare but they taste good.My first macaron I tasted in Bangkok last year failed–parang local merengue lang. :p

Did we like the experience? Yeah!
Babalik pa ba kami? Yes, but not anytime soon.
Babalik ba ako mag-isa? Pwede as an alternative to Starbucks or Coffee Bean when in Rockwell.

I want this yellow canister badly.
I want this yellow canister badly.

As for the tea they offer, I will buy a small can next time. They’re pricey. We’ll finish our Jin Ling and Peets Jasmine Fancy from husband’s aunt first. 🙂


TWG Tea Official Page | TWG Official Website | TWG Tea Salon & Boutique Philippines

Other TWG Branches in Manila, Philippines:

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
Greenbelt 5, 1-049, Level 1
Greenbelt 5 Ayala Center,
Makati City
Tel: +632 720 8665, +632 720 8667

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
Resorts World Manila, Ground Floor – Block 1,
Shop 17B, Newport City,
100 Andrews Avenue, Newport Cybertourism Zone, Pasay City, Tel: +632 551 0696, +632 551 0925

Operating Hours:
Monday to Thursday, 11:00am to 12:00am
Friday to Sunday, 11:00am to 1:00am

SM Advantage Rewards Card

sm advantage card

I’m a sucker for rewards cards. I only have a few but I use the SM Advantage Rewards Card most often. I live near an SM Hypermart branch so I do my weekly grocery there. There are a couple of Watson’s in our neighborhood so I thought getting an SM Advantage card would be useful. The cashiers can be annoying too, asking if you have one every time you are at the cashier, so to avoid such question, I got one last year.

I remember having one before but didn’t bother to renew the membership. I only got the permanent card when Noah and I went to SM Centerpoint last week. I received a Welcome letter and the Value Perks discount book which contains, according to SM, ‘endless shopping rewards and benefits‘. Most of the deals are valid until May 31, 2013 so good luck when and where to use them.

I was particularly interested in registering my card number over SMS as indicated in the letter. I like to test such procedure. Haha. Unfortunately, it was not successful. I was told to register the number with my birth month and birth year as my four-digit PIN. I tried to register the same evening so I thought maybe the system still needed to be updated or processed.

I tried the next day, same ‘Invalid PIN’ message. I tried registering online, still the same. I tried SMS registration six times– all failed. I gave up.

This morning, I bravely e-mailed the SM Advantage Customer Service to ask what’s the problem. I gave them my details so they could check the error. After 23 minutes, I got an e-mail response that they have ‘successfully reset my PIN’. Quick response. Wow!

That was impressive. Problem is, my e-mail information was incorrect. SM Advantage Card Rewards System

Instead of [reah.padla] , it was [reah.padilla]. Where did that come from?

I understand that others would have the tendency to commit that mistake when writing my surname but this was supposed to be system-generated, right? Is the database being updated manually? That whoever is e-mailing me simply entered my information right then because I asked. Am I the only one experiencing this?

I edited my e-mail information and finally got an activation link, unfortunately again, it still isn’t working. I sent another e-mail and reported the error . I wrote “seems that you manually entered a wrong e-mail address“.

Does this happen all the time?

And then I got this reply: “We have manually activated your registered account.”

So accounts are manually activated? What’s the point of having a database if SM still needs to ‘manually’ update and activate the accounts?

This isn’t really a big deal for me. It won’t add value to my life but for a group as big as SM, the company should have a nicely setup database. Or at least, have hired the best developers and web guys in the country. Up to this point, I am not sure if this happened to me only but I sure hope the SM Advantage team fixes this.

I realized that local companies still don’t put priority on their websites. I am all for e-governance and I am happy that some government agencies are taking this seriously. Meanwhile, a lot of private companies and firms do not– at least, not yet.

The future of e-commerce is very bright. No doubt about that. I hope local businesses reconsider their strategies.  The digital landscape is also rapidly growing and improving that people and businesses need to keep up with the trends.

I know this is old news but apparently, majority of the Philippines is still behind. Sure, there are thousands of online stores based in the country right now. Thanks to Multiply, Facebook, and now Instagram– admit it, these three social networks, have annoyed contributed  to our social shopping life. But I hate that most of them still do not offer online payment. What’s the point of opening an online store if the customer can’t pay online, that she still has to go outside the comforts of her home to go to a bank, a GCash outlet, or a Western Union branch?

I understand that most of these online stores are small retail businesses that some owners may not have credit cards or have knowledge about PayPal and such. But if they want to target more people, they should at least, consider other payment methods aside from bank transfer.

As for SM, I still love you even if I’ve been told by some people not to support Henry Sy. I am targeting the SM Prestige Loyalty Program but I don’t think I would be able to spend P300,000 all at SM Malls within two years of membership.

I love SM because they still ‘got it all for me’.  🙂


[ Mandaluyong Preschool ] School Hunt is Over

Our search for Noah’s school is over. We’re sending him to Kites & Strings Learning Center in Mayflower St., Mandaluyong City. We’ve been looking at pre-schools in Mandaluyong for years but it’s only recently that we decided where to send our 3-year old for Nursery.  There are a lot of pre-schools in our area but most of the really good ones have tuition that start at 90K. We live in Mandaluyong – San Juan and Manila boundary so we have a lot of choices.

Just a 2-minute walk from our house is Jose Rizal University. Five minutes is Don Bosco Mandaluyong and Don Bosco Sta. Mesa Manila. There’s also my alma mater, St. Mary’s Academy of Sta. Ana Manila, but they don’t offer Nursery classes. I’ve always imagined sending him to my old school at least for pre-school but we decided not to send him to a Catholic institution. I have nothing against it but we’re not Catholics, we’re Born-again Christians, and we don’t want him to be confused this early.

We thought of sending him to his dad’s old pre-school, OB Montessori in Greenhills, that or the Manila branch, but I heard tuition is around 80k. There is no way we would pay that price. Josh also went to the International Christian Academy for a year. It’s a good school but it’s in the South. Never mind. Ateneo, where he studied Prep until College, doesn’t offer Nursery classes. So much for those schools.

Five-minutes from our house are some of the best pre-schools in Mandaluyong and San Juan area. They are the ones that I often read about in Mommy forums. Here are some of the pre-schools in Mandaluyong we shortlisted:

Maranatha Christian Academy is a Christian school but it easily got a thumbs-down from my mom-in-law because our churchmate had a very bad experience with that school. Kiddo Academy is a bit far from us but I liked that it’s located inside a condo and parents are allowed to view the school’s CCTV cameras remotely. Kingsleigh is inside a mall so it’s dangerous for me. As for the rest of those in our list, they are very near our house but tuition are very expensive.

And then I remembered Noah’s playschool. He joined the Toddler Classes at Rainbow Room Learning Center in Tivoli Gardens along Coronado St.– where I grew up. Also an expensive school but because it’s near my old house, we thought it’s okay if we enroll him there, after all I’d be visiting my grandmother more often. Last year, tuition was around P55,000 so we expected it would increase a bit this year. Price range is okay for us. Even better because a branch nearer us would be opening at along Martinez St. (formerly Nueve de Febrero St.) although we were pining for the Hulo branch already. I already expressed our intent to enroll Noah with his Teacher Rom and even thought of letting him join the summer programs.

But God had other plans.

We dropped our top choice because our home church…IS finally opening a school. Our church is where Joshua and I met, nurtured our friendship, grew together in love, developed our relationship, and are still serving and attending.  It used to be just a dream for me and the other church members but God, in His goodness, mercy, and grace, are making more impossible things done.

Everything happened so fast. I have no idea how the pastors and the school staff are doing it right now. All I know is that God has given our church a vision and He is now making greater things happen.

My home church, International Charismatic Service, In Christ our Strength, has been greatly blessed, allowing us to open a  school. We’re starting small but with the resources God has been giving us, it seems to be bigger than we’ve imagined and prayed for.

The church office has been transformed to a Pre-school. The area used to be our Sunday School too but now it’s back to being a place where kids can learn more about God and His people. It is perhaps where Joshua and I first met.

It was only last week that I got to visit the school. But prior to checking it out, I already chocked upon seeing the new Children’s Church upstairs. The church office has been moved to the 2nd floor so the children’s room became smaller. I went inside the messy Sunday School alone. I looked around and tears welled up in my eyes. Tables and chairs everywhere but I could spot the beauty in it.

THIS IS IT. I thought. I grew up learning about God here. Joshua and I both discovered our faith in this same room, in this same church… and now, our son Noah will start to learn about this Great God of ours– in this same blessed place.

Last Sunday, we dedicated Kites & Strings Learning Center to God. That was after we dedicated the new church office. Yes! God is good! All these and more, less than a year after we opened the 180 Activity Center.

Kites & Strings Learning Center
Kites & Strings Learning Center

For a while, we even postponed our search because we thought we would be moving. I never really expected that God would end our search this way. It was an answered prayer.

We have more than a month to prepare and pray for this new school. I know in my heart that it was God who is making great things happen in our church.

I am glad that my family– Joshua, Noah, and I– will be part of this new endeavor. We see this as a journey— a journey towards learning– not only for our child but also for us parents heeding to God’s call to train Noah in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6) and to bring him up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast,   whose spirit was not faithful to God.”
(ESV, Psalm 78:5-8)



Kites and Strings Learning Center

Kites & Strings Learning Center
Ground Floor,  ICS Worship Center
Address : Mayflower St., Greenfield District, Brgy. Highway Hills,
EDSA CENTRAL, Mandaluyong City 1554

Contact Nos : 6321093 ~ 6315265

Courses offered:

NURSERY – 3 to 4 years old
KINDER – 4 to 5 years old



Noah’s 3rd Birthday | A LEGO Jollibee Kiddie Party

Special thanks to ClaudRod for making this Noah Lego Logo

We decided earlier that we would be having a small party at home for Noah this year. A small party meant our immediate families, a few relatives, and some friends. But when I finished the guestlist, the number totaled to 70. That’s still a lot for a small party. I planned on inviting them to our house by batch: families for lunch, relatives for merienda, and friends for dinner. That sounded not too practical as I knew I’d end up very tired and would be spending more. Then, I thought of getting a hotel suite and just inviting them over. That didn’t seem convenient to everyone but would be cheaper for us.

And then I remembered how Noah enjoyed the Jollibee mascot at his cousin Jam’s 1st Birthday Party. It was the first time that I really witnessed him have fun at a birthday party. Actually, that weekend he enjoyed three birthday parties that made me decide to finally schedule a kiddie party at Jollibee. So we did.

There were  70 guests and most of them were family, relatives, Joshua’s bandmates, my best friend’s family plus my mom’s friends at church. This was a “small” party so I wasn’t able to invite our churchmates and most of my friends. (Ang dami pa rin! Sorry, guys. Bawi kami sa 7th Birthday party. Planado na. Haha! Joke.) Continue reading Noah’s 3rd Birthday | A LEGO Jollibee Kiddie Party

[Bangkok] To the Airport!

Two weeks too late. I figured it’s easier for me to share photos of our recent travel instead of writing about them. I’ll be posting different photoblog entries for each part or each day of our Bangkok trip because there are just too many. I’ve shared my UNIQLO Siam Paragon and Cath Kidston Bangkok shopping experience already but allow me to share more. 🙂

Off to the Clark Airport….

Thank you Lolo Abe for driving us to the Clark Airport! Happy Birthday!
Sunday NLEX Driving

Continue reading [Bangkok] To the Airport!

SM Megamall: Next Level Malling (and Traffic)

I saw this sign while on the way to SM Megamall three weeks ago. As if the “malling” experience wasn’t already exciting, the management of SM still wants to take it to the next level. I was looking for a smaller caption that says ‘Next Level Traffic’ but saw none. Traffic in the area has always been bad as long as I can remember and with the Megamall expansion (yet again!), expect the EDSA-Crossing-Julia-Vargas-Ortigas area to be highly congested. Continue reading SM Megamall: Next Level Malling (and Traffic)

500 Shaw Zentrum Grand Opening this Weekend

I have been to this building a few times already. The first time to buy the grocery at Super 8. It was then I discovered Office Busters at the parking lot where I fell in love with a leather sofa set and got heartbroken because it was sold already. I haven’t gone back to the grocery and the surplus store but I would always check out the latter’s website for great furniture deals. We’ve tried a few restaurants at the 500 Shaw Zentrum already with Army Navy as my and my husband’s favorite. We live only a few blocks so we would pass by it regularly. I’ve always been curious of this “mall”.  Next to SM Hypermart, this one is the nearest to our house. Pwede. Continue reading 500 Shaw Zentrum Grand Opening this Weekend

looloo is live!

looloo is now available on the App Store.  Yey!

What is looloo again?

It’s a new app developed by a Filipino tech start up that lets you explore the best places in Metro Manila. It’s probably the best app for the local foodies, spa junkies, and nightlife lovers out there. It’s like Twitter for the gimikeros who like to review, okray, or simply share their experiences at a restaurant, spa, or wherever.

The looloo app allows you to search for places nearby within an area in the city. It offers suggestions by your friends and other looloo users. Because the looloo team believes that people who know you best know what you like. I agree since I usually try a place if recommended by friends and family. Continue reading looloo is live!