Monday, July 26, 2010

Payless ShoeSource is coming to Manila

No, it's not the noodle brand. But I'm pretty sure a lot of you are familiar with it.

Payless ShoeSource, one of America's leading discount footwear store is opening its Manila store which will be located at Festival Mall in Alabang. Stores Specialists, Inc., the one who also brought, among many others, Marks & Spencer here in the Philippines, is also the one responsible in bringing this store in our local shores. And according to, the first Philippine Payless store will be opening this week, July 29.

I'm actually excited at the thought that one of the premier US stores selling discount shoes is finally here. Now I won't have to go outside the country just to purchase a lovely pair of sandals or heels at great prices.

My only beef is that I live in Pasig. Oh well. I'll have to find a way then. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A new look and a Links Page

I guess I just wanted to see the results of me toying with Blogger's Design. There were so many possible looks, but I settled for this one because it's simple and not too cluttered to look at.

And I also built a Links Page, which you can see as a tab on the top area of the blog. If you click through, you will see that I have built categories in which I have placed the links of blogs and sites that I follow via Google Reader. Though there are those blogs and sites which I have not included because it has been inactive for a pretty long time.

This blog is also open for link exchange, so if you want us to exchange links, click on the Links Page on top and follow the instructions. Choose only one category that best describes your blog. I opted on categorizing because I don't want to limit myself in just choosing blogs that fit a certain theme/category (which I do on my other blog).

For those bloggers whom I included in my Links Page, please tell me if there are any wrong details (category, description, etc.). I only got the descriptions from your site, by the way. If there are any corrections, I'll work on them as soon as possible.

Hope you like the new things you see on my blog. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Inception: Keeps you at the edge of your seat

Must admit, my better half and I only watch films in the cinema if we feel that it's worth the money. So after Toy Story 3 (didn't get to write a review, but it was a super duper amazing movie), we decided to watch Inception because it was a Christopher Nolan film and we liked him. As well as the other cast like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer), Ellen Page (Juno), Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai), and Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight).

Okay, I'm not a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio, but he's a good actor.

Anyways, the trailer has left me curious as to what this film is about. By its very definition, the word "inception" means the beginning or origin of something. So the movie is a beginning of what, you might ask.

In the story, Leonardo DiCaprio is Cobb, a thief who steals secrets in a most unique way: extraction, or stealing by going into a person's subconscious (dream state) and gets what he wants. His last assignment, supposedly to steal information from Saito (Watanabe), goes a bit awry. Cobb, a wanted fugitive (the reason revealed later on in the movie) and Arthur (Gordon-Levitt) decide to lie low for a while, but then Saito appears and offers them a proposal that would become Cobb's ticket to redemption: to do inception, or to plant an idea in the mind, on Robert Fischer, Jr. (Murphy), heir to a big oil company. Cobb, wanting to be with his children again and be cleared of his past charges, accepts the proposal and builds his team. Along with him, Saito and Arthur, he gets Ariadne (Page) the architect, Eames (Tom Hardy) the forger, and Yusuf (Dileep Rao) who creates the sedative to let them go to the dream state.

I found it amazing how Christopher Nolan and his team was able to take the film viewers to multiple layers of dream states and still have them engaged right to the very end. Every scene elicited a gasp or so, and a lot of twists and turns were quite unexpected. It was not much of the action scenes that glued people on their seats, rather it was the whole process of inception, on making the dream so real, that made us watch from start to end.

And the end... man! If that wasn't mindf--k, I don't know what is.

Christopher Nolan has been good in that aspect, especially if you've watched his previous movies like Memento and The Prestige. They all keep you guessing in the end (actually the 2 Batman movies were less mindf--ks but had you at the edge of your seat). Inception is no exception. It's like dreaming within a dream and waking up just to say, "Am I still dreaming?" That's how crazy it got for me.

Acting-wise, I think everyone delivered. Albeit short, Marion Cotillard and Michael Caine had their moments. DiCaprio was quite good as the skilled yet troubled Cobb.

Note, though, that this is a movie that would require you to be awake to not miss any details. It won't fall under the category, "Relax, see a movie." So if you're not up to it, you might as well catch it on DVD to listen to the dialogues and press Replay if needed. And I would recommend people to watch it when you're completely awake, just so you won't miss out on anything.

One of the best movies this year so far. A film about dreams that leaves you awake. Really cool, try to catch it in local cinemas while you still can.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Celebrating my daughter's birthday at Jollibee

I distinctly remember telling my husband that my child's first birthday won't happen in Jollibee because she would be too young to remember it. Well, what do you know, I ate those words.

Maybe I was just a bit too excited, but about a month before my daughter's first birthday, I was looking into holding her birthday in a fast food restaurant, complete with banners, balloons, cake, giveaways, and a mascot appearance.

Taking into consideration the location (we live in Pasig), we inquired at Jollibee Greenmeadows and McDonald's El Pueblo. Side by side, Jollibee seemed to offer more bang for our buck. So we opted to go with the big orange bee.

Jollibee Greenmeadows had 2 party rooms: the Hetty Room that can occupy up to 60 guests and the Jollibee Room which accommodates up to 100 guests. We picked the Jollibee Room because someone else has reserved the other room for the time and date we wanted. We also picked the Yum Food Package (good for 70 guests) that had the burger, spaghetti, fries, sundae, and softdrinks. We also included the loot bags and medium cake in the package. Jollibee's appearance was a sure-ball upon reservation of a Kids Party Package.

And so that Sunday, we went to Jollibee Greenmeadows for the party. It was scheduled at 1PM, and we arrived 30 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, the venue wasn't prepared yet because there was a reservation previous to ours. I think they started late. But it was a good thing the crew acted fast, and so by 1:15, we were welcoming guests in.

By 1:30, our host, Kuya Ton, came in and started the program. Prior to that, we talked and I told him to hold less games for the adults and more for the kids -- primarily because it was a children's party. He agreed.

The only game for the big ones (meaning kumares and kumpares) was a draw-yourself-without-looking-at-it kinda game. It was fun and not corny at all, unlike the ones that I've seen before. The other games were purely for kids (longest line, etc.) and a parent-kid game (bring things in pairs).

This is the medium-sized cake that came with the package. If you remember the birthday cakes of the 80s, the icing's pretty similar to that -- egg-white based.

After the games, 30 minutes was spent for the meals. After which came the most awaited appearance of that day. Yeah, that big orange bee!

On the photo above, you can see the host, Kuya Ton, fixing up Jollibee. As soon as the mascot came in, all the kids stopped what they were doing and came running towards the bee. Heck, even my daughter was enamored by Jollibee.

Did I say enamored? Look at her reaction! :)

Anyway, he performed 2 dance routines, after which came the candle blowing and the opening of gifts. The giving away of the loot bags followed. Everything went on the dot: all in 2 hours. We didn't have to pay extra for overtime.

And I didn't have to worry much about preparing for my daughter's birthday: cooking, wrapping lootbags, buying balloons, renting chairs and tables, and cleaning up after. Everything was done for me by Jollibee. And I just had to pay around Php12.5K for the hassle-free party.

I've had my share of cheesy restaurant birthday parties, but I actually enjoyed my daughter's party at Jollibee Greenmeadows. I guess one of the things that added to our positive review was that the host was also really engaging and lively (we overheard the host on the other room doing her spiel -- she sounded more subdued compared to our host), and Jollibee was a real wacko. Hahaha! I guess it's because the guests are pretty much game in everything.

If you're considering holding your kid's birthday at Jollibee, I'd actually recommend this branch. Fun, affordable, and most importantly hassle-free.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Team Carnival asks: what can I do to help change the country?

From Team Carnival, here's a sponsored post from Unilab that comes just at the right moment when the new Philippine leaders have been sworn in.

"What can I do to help change the country?" This seems like a really big and heavy question. At the onset, I thought, who am I to change the country? I'm just a regular person who has a day job and a family to think of. I don't have the money to make a big donation to any charity here. I'm not smart enough to teach the street kids at our place. Heck, I don't even have the name that rings a bell and that would make people stop and follow me, even if I plead them to.

So how do I, as an average working middle-class Filipino, make a change?

Simple: by being a citizen who's obedient and concerned about my fellowmen and what happens to my country.

I start with myself: by being honest in everything and not cheat on others. That's from paying the correct amount of money for the goods I buy to filing the correct taxes.

By being an advocate of cleanliness and care for the environment. Throwing candy wrappers and bus tickets in the trash can. Recycling stuff that could be used again.

By following rules and obeying the law. Falling in line while waiting for the FX. Not beating the red light.

By being a good example, especially to my daughter. Share to her the values of altruism, of caring for others, and not being apathetic to the needs of those around her.

By doing simple gestures like saying thank you when a co-passenger hands me the change for my fare or when someone holds the door for me.

I can make a change by doing the little things that matter. Because the little things, when nurtured, can become big.


I would encourage student bloggers to join Unilab's Ideas Positive. I love this campaign, and I hope the youth will learn a lot of things when they join here.

Here are more details:

Unilab launched Ideas Positive (, a school-based competition open to all college students in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, and Pampanga. Unilab invites student groups to come up with fresh and positive ideas that promote health and wellness in their chosen community/beneficiary.
The groups with the best ideas will have the chance to make this idea a reality. The first placer will receive P100,000 seed money to implement their idea. They will also receive a three-day, two-night group vacation package to Boracay. Second and third placers will get P50,000 seed money, and an iPod Shuffle for each member of the team.
Interested parties must form groups of five to seven members and submit their social marketing ideas, in the form of a sustainable plan, to address the health and wellness concerns of their chosen community. Deadline for submission of entries is on August 16, 2010. You can visit for more details.

Beastly: Bringing a modern twist to "that" fairy tale

During one of those lull times in the office (hehe!), a colleague of mine shared to me a copy of the book Beastly by Alex Flinn. She liked the book, told us that it fell under the "light reading" category for her, and that though the story was really something for the young adult crowd, she enjoyed reading it.

I got curious because Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite animation movies of all time. Of course, I've also seen the series with Ron Perlman and Linda Hamilton when I was a kid. They were two different versions, but with one underlying plot: how a scary-looking monster and a beautiful human fall in love.

In this book, however, the beast's story is given a little more background. Set in today's times, we learn that he was first known as Kyle Kingsbury, a hot high schooler who based everything on physical appearance. When he wrongs a witch, a spell was cast on him and he becomes the hideous monster that even his dad would feel such shame to call him his son. The only way the spell was to be broken is through a kiss between him and the girl he loves, who also should love him back despite his appearance.

What's interesting here in this book is how the story is presented. I particularly loved the chapters where the beast, known as Adrian, would enter a chat support group of kindred souls (read: cursed by witches just like him). And though the story was bordering cheesy (as expected of any juvenile/young adult fiction), I found it quite entertaining to the last bit. It's also quite short, with about 160 pages. Light reading, not so much for drama, but it kinda does stick to you in some way. I guess it's because the storyline is a familiar one.

And who doesn't love happy endings?

Very much recommended for those who don't want to be bogged down by too much drama or suspense in written words and bound pages. Also teaches kids a lesson or two, so might as well have your tween kids read it. :)

EDIT: Beastly is going to be made into a movie, with Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens. Mary Kate Olsen and Neil Patrick Harris are also in it. Check out the trailer below:

Seems a bit different to the original story. But I think it looks promising.

And Alex Pettyfer just might be the next Robert Pattinson.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


That's probably the most overused word after President Noynoy Aquino's inauguration, or even during his campaign. And yeah, it was overly used during the first Kris-James marital brouhaha. But I digress...

While I wish PNoy (!) congratulations, I guess I wouldn't go as much as saying "good luck" or "I hope you will do the country good." Why? Because it's like putting all the responsibilities on his shoulders when, in fact, healing our nation is the shared responsibility of every Filipino.

Yes, it does irritate me when people think that it is only the president's job, when people comment in blogs or forums that it's his duty to clean up the mess of the past and make the Philippines better than it is or was. Truth is, he can't do it alone. He needs us as much as we need him.

The hope of the nation does not lie on one man alone while the others sit comfortably in their futons and watch as this one man does the job in his lonesome. A job that is every man's responsibility.

Don't pin your hopes of a better Philippines on President Noynoy alone. Every Filipino must do his share. Follow rules. Obey laws. Pay your dues. Because in the end, it's not only PNoy who will benefit from it. It's all of us.

NB: After the inauguration, I therefore conclude that Viel is the prettiest among the Aquino sisters. Don't you agree?