Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sony PS3 and PSP are officially in the Philippines!

If there's something I love as much as food, it's video games.

Rejoice video game fans, addicts, and fanatics... Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) and Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) are now officially in the Philippines!

Sony Playstation Portable PSP and Sony Playstation 3 PS3Sony Philippines launched the Sony Playstation 3 and Sony Playstation Portable along with a few games last March 27, 2010. Okay, I know that sounds weird considering die-hard video game fanatics like me have bought everything from the original Sony Playstation PS1 onwards (Greenhills, anyone?). It's true though, it's only NOW that Sony Philippines is officially carrying the Playstation here in our country. Observe the cosplaying models above posing with the PSP (girl on the left) and PS3 (girl on the right). These consoles can be bought from Sony Centres nationwide.

Sony Playstation 3 PS3The Sony Playstation 3 or PS3 retails for P18,999 (120GB model) and P20,999 (250GB model). Buying from a Sony Centre gives you the benefit of having a full one year warranty. Since there are no mods or pirated/fake game discs anyway, why not get an official unit? I'm so thrilled because I'm actually in the market for a PS3.

Sony Playstation Portable PSPSony Playstation Portable PSP in different colors
Meanwhile, the Sony Playstation Portable or PSP retails for P9,999. It's available in a wide array of bright, funky, and pretty colors.

Final Fantasy XIII 13 for Sony Playstation 3 PS3The event climax for me was the unveiling of the Final Fantasy XIII. This is my favorite RPG (Role-Playing Game) series of all time, I actually played the first Final Fantasy on the first generation Nintendo Gameboy. It was in monochrome and it was called Final Fantasy Legend. I played all the games up to Final Fantasy XII on the Sony Playstation 2 or PS2. Let's just say I got goosebumps watching scenes from Final Fantasy XIII on the huge LED screen during the launch. It was breathtaking! I am so fortunate for having been among those who witnessed this momentous occasion.

Final Fantasy XIII 13 for Sony Playstation 3 PS3Final Fantasy XIII retails for P2,699. You can buy it at Sony Centres and Game Xtreme outlets. Not bad considering it sells for a little over US$50 in the US.

Sony cosplay models, Sackboy, and Sony officialsI actually got to grill Sony Philippines and Sony Asia officials regarding the PS3 since I have a few concerns.
  • Will it be able to play games from the United States? What about from other Asian countries?
  • Is it backward compatible? Can it play my original Sony PS1 and Ps2 games?
I was told that the official unit assigned to the Philippines is the Asian version, which is the same as those you would find in eight other Asian countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam, etc.). So in effect, if you buy games from those countries (except Japan), they would work. They were pretty iffy about the US versions though as Sony highly discourages buying outside your region. I was told that the discs would play, but they cannot guarantee the playability.

Since the PS3 doubles as a Blu-Ray DVD player, it is not backward compatible. It cannot play games for older Playstation consoles. Too bad. I have some original Sony PS1 and PS2 games which I really love... whereas our Nintendo Wii can play Nintendo Gamecube games without a hitch. :p

Animetric meets Little Big Planet's SackboyAnyhow, I caught up with Little Big Planet's Sackboy during the launch. That guy jumps around a lot and so I had to really hold onto his hand so I could have a photo op. It's blurred because he won't stop moving!

I'm definitely getting a Sony Playstation 3. In fact I've already won a couple of auctions for the PS3 games Katamari Forever and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. Final Fantasy XIII, you will be mine too!

Thank you so much to Sony Philippines and VPRI for letting me be a part of this! :D

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What in the world is Globe 4438?

Are you a Globe subscriber? I've been one for the last decade or so, as are almost all of my family members and friends. Through the years Globe has proven to be a reliable mobile service provider, so I've never really been tempted to switch to another company.

Globe 4438Mark your calendars because this April 4, 2010, Globe has something great in store for all of us loyal subscribers. The only clue provided is that it's going to be something BIG, and you should make sure your cellphone is on that day so you'll be sure to receive that special message. It's also guaranteed to make Globe, Tattoo, and TM's 25 million subscribers happy.

What could Globe 4438 be? A contest? A promo? A freebie? Care to wager a guess? Honestly, I myself have no clue. All I know is that it's happening this April 4, 2010, and there's been a lot of buzz about it on Facebook. We'll just have to hold on to our Globe Handyphones to find out. In the meantime, why not join Globe's 4438 Sightings Contest while you wait so you can score some FREE Gateway Mall movie passes? What better way to count down the hours than by catching a good movie, right?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Win up to a million pesos with Safeguard, Tide, and Ariel!

Safeguard, Tide, and Ariel gives you a chance to win up to a million pesos simply by doing your groceries!

Safeguard, Tide, and ArielIf you're a Safeguard and Tide user like me, you don't even have to do anything out of the ordinary. Well, why not give Ariel a try while you're at it like what I'll be doing? Word's been going around that Ariel's cleaning power is so strong that it could wear out clothes before their time, but I'm not one to rely on hearsay. There is nothing like actually trying the product yourself -- I promise to keep you posted on my Ariel experience in the near future.

Specially marked SafeguardAnyways the next time you're in the supermarket, make sure to grab specially marked Safeguard (see above), Tide, and Ariel packs for a chance to win some cash.

If you have a winning Safeguard pack, just text the following info to 2910: SFG, name, age, address, unique promo code. You'll receive a confirmation message which indicates where you can claim your cash prize or if your e-load winnings have already been transferred to your cellphone.

To claim the cash prize, you must present your valid and specially marked Safeguard pack, the SMS reply from 2910 that states your prize and how you can claim it, and two (2) valid IDs (i.e. SSS, Driver's License, Passport, Company ID) and the SIM card with which the entry was made.

Ariel Yaman Logo
Tide Yaman LogoPictured above are the special markings for Ariel and Tide. If you have a winning Ariel or Tide pack, claim your prize by presenting the valid and specially marked Ariel or Tide pack and any two (2) valid IDs (i.e. SSS, Driver's License, Passport, Company ID) at participating LBC outlets nationwide.

Join the Safeguard, Ariel, and Tide Yaman Promo now (or on your next trip to the supermarket)! Who knows... you may just win a million pesos.

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The day I met the Cheese Dude and tasted Real California Cheese

I was invited to a cheese-tasting session hosted by the California Milk Advisory Board last March 26, 2010 at M Cafe.

Real California Cheese tasting at M CafeA plate full of cheese wedges and slices greeted me as I sat down. There were also bottles of wine on the table to accompany the cheeses. I wondered where the nuts went, because usually nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans would also be part of a cheese platter.

Chef Mark Todd, the Cheese DudeChef Mark Todd, or the Cheese Dude as he prefers to be called, was to be our guide through our hour (or was it two?) long journey into the wonderful world of Real California Cheese. The Cheese Dude is simply one of the most unpretentious people you'll ever meet in this life. He hates formalities so we had none of those stiff shirt rituals that usually accompany a wine and cheese session. It was all very down-to-earth and well... real.

Mascarpone Cheese at M CafeTo start us off, the Cheese Dude passed around a tub of Mascarpone cheese. We were instructed to scoop out a portion with our spoons and put it in our mouths. Now an 8 oz tub of Mozzarella Fresca Mascarpone Cheese costs over US$5, so this 16 oz tub could very well sell for at least P500 here in the Philippines. Mascarpone is the cheese used in desserts like Tiramisu.

A scoop of Mascarpone cheeseSince I don't bake nor cook (believe me there is a long and complicated story behind that), it's highly unlikely that I would stock up on Mascarpone cheese anytime soon and so I took out a big chunk. The Cheese Dude told us to use our tongues to push the cheese against the upper arches of our mouths and let the flavors engulf our taste buds. Mascarpone cheese is extremely smooth, creamy, and rich. It leaves you with a sweet finish. We were told it's one step away from butter. I wouldn't mind having a few more scoops but I have that thing called a waistline to worry about.

Chipotle Pepper flavored cheese and Cheddar dipped in CamembertWe sampled over a dozen cheeses that morning, and if I were to elaborate on each and every one in full detail I would probably end up putting my readers to sleep. Of course, it's different when you're actually the one there doing the tasting versus just looking at the photos and reading. Two of the most memorable cheeses for me were the Chipotle pepper flavored cheese (pictured above on the left) and the cheddar dipped in Cabernet (pictured above on the right).

The Chipotle pepper cheese had a spicy smoked jalapeno flavor. It was good. I can snack on these in place of chips or popcorn while watching my favorite movie. Meanwhile, the Cabernet-dipped cheddar can give you your cheese and wine fix in a single bite. You can smell the aroma of red wine the moment you put it near your mouth.

Cheddar Cheese at M CafeThe Cheese Dude also let us try cheddar cheese cubes with ages ranging from 2 weeks to 16 months. You taste it in order of the youngest to the oldest. Doing so gives you a sense of how cheddar cheese's taste develops as it matures.

Very strong blue cheese, entry level blue cheese, and Habanero Cheddar CheeseThat photo above shows the last three cheeses we sampled (from left, very strong blue cheese, entry level blue cheese, and Habanero Cheddar Cheese). A lot of my companions would probably not soon forget the Habanero Cheddar Cheese. The Cheese Dude warned us to take just a little bite since it's extremely hot and spicy, but no... a lot of us didn't listen and so the Habanero Cheddar Cheese had people panting and reaching for the nearest glass of cold water or iced tea. It was indeed very spicy but I actually kind of liked it. The beginner's blue cheese in the middle seemed formulated to please every palate with its creamy texture and mild taste. The finale was the strong blue cheese on the left. It was so tart it was almost sour, but it possessed this exquisite deep flavor that stays with you for quite some time after it melts in your mouth.

It's too bad I don't have a good photo of that slice of Leonza cheese that I had. It was one of my favorites with its slight sweetness and chewy texture.

I don't think I've met any Real California Cheese in that session that I didn't like. But then again I love cheese so I'm pretty easy to please. Before I end this blog post I'd like to share the Cheese Dude's tips on how to taste cheese properly:
  • Lightly crush the cheese between your fingers. This releases the aroma and warms the cheese.
  • Have a whiff of the cheese's aroma.
  • Push it against the upper arches of your mouth when you eat it. Your most sensitive taste buds are located there.
  • Let the flavors stay for a while to engulf your senses.
Remember, cheese is supposed to be served at room temperature. :)

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cooling off at the Electrolux Midsommar Festival

EDSA Shangri-la Hotel's Isla Ballroom was transformed into one big Swedish Midsommar Festival venue complete with maypoles, free-flowing food and drink, music, and dancing last March 25, 2010. Electrolux is after all from Sweden.

Electrolux Midsommar Festival at EDSA Shangri-la Hotel
Electrolux Midsommar Festival at EDSA Shangri-la HotelWe were told during the event that Midsommar Festival marks the beginning of summer in Sweden. It is usually celebrated in late June, but since summer here in the Philippines is officially in April and May, this one was held in the last week of March.

Electrolux's Midsommar Festival was meant to launch their latest line of cooling products, specifically their new refrigerators and air-conditioners.

Electrolux refrigeratorsFirst to be unveiled were the new Electrolux refrigerators, which promise to keep your food market fresh with its innovative new features:
  • Active Deo Fresh System - This absorbs stray odors.
  • Multi-Air Flow Cooling System - This maintains a constant temperature inside the refrigerator and controls the humidity to keep vegetables from wilting.
Fresh strawberries from SwedenTo demonstrate we were served imported strawberries from Sweden kept fresh inside the new Electrolux refrigerators. They retained their deep bright red color plus they were very juicy and sweet.

Electrolux Air-ConditionersThe event reached its climax with the presentation of Electrolux's new air-conditioners. What could be more perfect for those scorching hot summer months ahead, right? New fangled features include:
  • Air Filtration Integrated System - There's a whole world of air purification technologies in a single air-conditioner from Electrolux. Its Bio HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter removes bacteria and dust for starters. Active Plasma Filtration System reduced the incidence of allergies... etc.
  • Follow Me Technology - You set the desired temperature and have cool air follow you throughout the room. For this, you need the A/C's remote control, which acts as both a thermostat and a sensor. Let's say you want your baby to enjoy a perfect 20°C temperature in his crib. Set the thermostat (remote control) to 20°C and leave it inside his crib. You can have the rest of the room at 18°C if you prefer.
  • Vitamin C Technology - This allegedly helps soften your skin, reduce stress, and combat free radicals that cause cell damage.
These new cooling products are all very energy-efficient and reasonably priced to boot. Too bad they just launched these, we just replaced all our room air-conditioning units last year. If you are however looking to buy a new ref or air-con, these are definitely worth checking out.

Electrolux Customer Care Hotline: 845-CARE (2273)
Domestic Toll-Free Number: 1-800-10-845-CARE (2273)

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

A night out at Holy Cow Steak Ranch & American Grill

My hubby and I had a not-so-great lunch experience at Holy Cow Steak Ranch & American Grill about a month or two ago. We ordered their promo meals which were being advertised on a standee out front, and well... two words: peppered cardboard. For me anyway, hubby said his burger steak was quite okay. I did however, love the soup that I ordered.

Creamy Apple Squash Soup at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillI was one of those invited to try out more of what Holy Cow had to offer last March 22, 2010. Of course, I ordered that lovely soup again, which is Creamy Apple Squash Soup (P70, pictured above). It's really a unique take on the usual cream of pumpkin soup as it actually has the sweet tartness of apple and the texture of squash. It is topped with some cream, croutons, and bacon bits. Yum! This is definitely a must-order at Holy Cow.

Cobb Caesar Salad at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillNext up was the Cobb Caesar Salad (P130 solo / P240 regular, pictured above). Just your typical caesar salad, really... with slices of grilled chicken. Didn't really strike me as anything special.

Cowboy Combo Platter at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillWe also had the Cowboy Combo Platter (P295, pictured above), which is Holy Cow's latest appetizer. The platter had chicken tenders, onion rings, calamari, and fries. It's a big serving and good for sharing. The menu described the fries as being barbecued and oozing with flavor but it actually tastes just like regular salted fries. An okay dish... crunchy and filling but that's about it.

Iron Grilled Tiger Prawn at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillIron Grilled Tiger Prawn (P350, pictured above) is pretty good. A serving comes with 3 big prawns, a lemon wedge for additional flavor, and two side dishes of your choice. This one had steamed rice and 3 pieces of potato croquets on the side.

Famous Rib Eye Steak at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillThen came my main dish, Famous Rib Eye Steak (P950, pictured above). I picked mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables as my side dishes, and went for the Trio Mushroom Gravy as recommended by the waiter. Normally, I think this would be an okay dish at the very least but I was unlucky that night and the steak I got was severely burnt outside and bloody inside. What you are seeing up there is the slightly presentable side. The burnt parts were bitter and tough of course, while the bloody insides were gummy. Had I actually paid P950 and gotten something like this I would probably summon the manager, refuse to pay, and walk out... never to return. I did however, get to try a fellow blogger's well-cooked version of the Rib Eye and it was actually good. Hopefully, if you ever decide to order this they won't burn it.

Ranch Steak and Prawn at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillMy hubby was more fortunate though, he ordered Ranch Steak and Prawn (P445, pictured above) and said it was good. He had it with garlic rice and potato croquets on the side.

Midnight Black Forest Cake at Holy Cow Steak Ranch and American GrillWe didn't really have a choice for dessert since they were all out of everything except Midnight Black Forest Cake (P95, pictured above). I can understand why this was the only one left as it really wasn't very satisfying. It's too... ordinary.

Holy Cow Steak Ranch & American Grill
Level 3, West Lane, Robinsons Galleria
EDSA cor. Ortigas Ave., Pasig City

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 is the perfect daytime moisturizer

A fellow mommy blogger once told me that one's youth ends at 35. Well, I am 35 -- so that means I should start taking even better care of my skin so I don't start looking like a hag.

Clinique Superdefense SPF 25I don't like the sun. Sun exposure causes premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots, and even skin cancer if you're one to go around for hours on end without protection. I do not go out of the house without sunscreen for my face and other exposed body parts.

I was introduced by my fellow writer/blogger and friend The Beauty Coach to Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 last year (yes I know this is an uber late post). It's an anti-aging daytime moisturizer with sun protection, and I apply it right after I wash my face in the morning.

Applying some Clinique Superdefense SPF 25Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 is creamy in texture and yet surprisingly light when you actually put it on. It's absorbed quickly so it disappears in no time, leaving only a very thin layer of moisture on your face. It's available in combination oily to oily, very dry to dry, and dry combination. My T-zone tends to get a bit greasy so I use the combination oily to oily variant.

The thing is, I'm not the only one addicted to this product. My hubby is too! He's even more religious than I am when it comes to skincare rituals and he actually goes to a dermatologist for facials. He says it's the best moisturizer/sunscreen he has ever used on his face because it doesn't cause him to break out (he has very sensitive skin) and doesn't make his face greasy (he has oily skin, not even combination).

A jar of Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 costs US$42.50 + tax in the US and P2,900 at Clinique counters here in the Philippines. Using it daily keeps my skin well-hydrated and protected from the sun so I don't get dark spots and pigmentation problems. I don't wear make-up during regular days since I'm in the construction supply business, but this moisturizer gives my face a naturally dewy look.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blog Index by category, establishment, and product in alphabetical order

Beauty and Fashion
Food, Dining, and Restaurants

Films, Entertainment, and Amusement

Gadgets and Technology

Family and Household


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dads Merienda Buffet SM Megamall

Some days ago, hubby and I were wandering around SM Megamall looking for some Samsung toner cartridges for our printer/copier. It was around 3:30pm and we wanted to grab a light snack. We wanted something quick but didn't want to eat at a fast food joint. We were already getting sick of all the processed fare we're usually forced to have on the road.

Dads Merienda Buffet SM MegamallWe passed by Dads on the fourth level and spied a poster outside which said P139 Eat-All-You-Can Merienda (merienda means light afternoon snack). We found it so unbelievable that we asked the lady standing beside it if it were actually ongoing and true. She said yes, so we went in. We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw the spread inside. I was immediately attracted to the palitaw (pictured above). Palitaw are small and chewy sticky rice cakes covered with dessicated coconut and dipped in sugar. It has always been a favorite of mine, my grandma would make it fresh for merienda when I was a little girl. Yummy! I had so many of these tiny palitaw.

Dads Merienda Buffet SM MegamallThere was also Kamote Cue (pictured above), caramelized sweet potato chunks and slices which are usually served hot. Other sweet treats included Cream Puffs, Chocolate Cake, Biko (another type of sticky rice cake), and Cassava Squares.

Dads Merienda Buffet SM MegamallDads merienda buffet isn't all sweet though. There are even more savory items, like the Tokwa't Baboy (pictured above). Tokwa at Baboy literally mean beancurd and pork. It's a Filipino dish with beancurd, bits of pork, onions, and chili peppers in soy sauce and vinegar. There was also Spaghetti, Pancit Palabok (noodles in shrimp-based sauce), Mami (Chinese noodles), Siomai (Chinese steamed pork dumplings), Siopao (Chinese steamed pork buns), Dinuguan at Puto (Filipino pork blood stew and steamed rice cake), Lumpiang Ubod (Filipino spring rolls), various sandwiches, and Empanadas (Spanish stuffed pastry). It's mostly Filipino fare with a couple of stray Chinese stuff.

Taste-wise, the food is okay, considering you're paying only P139 to have an unlimited amount of it. Nothing special or extraordinarily delicious, but it's got that home-cooked charm. It's nice to eat real food for a change and not those factory-processed patties with salted sticks pretending to be potatoes. We thought it was well worth our P139 per head. Dads Ultimate Merienda Buffet is available from 3pm to 5pm only.

UPDATE as of December 2013: Dads Merienda Buffet now costs P228 weekdays and P258 weekends. There are more food choices, drink-all-you-can, and all the desserts from lunch and dinner including the ice cream station can be availed.

Dads The Ultimate Buffet
Level 4 Bridgeway, SM Megamall
EDSA, Mandaluyong City
636-3785 / 633-1758

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Set your tummy on fire at BlueWater Day Spa!

Today I lost an inch off my waistline after having my stomach set on fire. That's what happens when you dare undergo BlueWater Day Spa's Tibetan Meridian Fire Therapy.

Tibetan Meridian Fire Therapy at BlueWater Day SpaAfter the usual process of getting changed in the locker room, I was ushered in a room with a spa bed that had a clear sheet of plastic on top. I was to lie on my back on top of the plastic while the therapists applied slimming solutions to my abdominal area.

The Tibetan Meridian Fire Therapy makes use of a deep tissue massage similar to the Filipino hilot. I was in pain with a capital P as soon as they set their hands on me. I thought I was going to cry. I was sweating profusely while they kneaded, squeezed, and massaged my abdominal area with all the force and pressure they could muster. Blame it on my being a non-massage person. I had more air or "lamig" in my system than normal so it was also more painful than normal. Anyways, I was forewarned that it was going to hurt. Ah, what I go through for my feature articles. :p

Tibetan Meridian Fire Therapy at BlueWater Day SpaOkay, I thought the "Fire" in the treatment's name was just for the sake of art. Chika. You know. But it was not. They really did set my tummy on fire. You tell them to put it out when you can't take the heat anymore. Then they continue to squeeze, knead, and push the fatty abdominal area into submission. They repeat this whole process 5 times. You can actually roast marshmallows, it's like having your own personal campfire.

You can have the Tibetan Meridian Fire Therapy done on your tummy, legs, arms, and back. It costs anywhere from P3,000 to P3,500 depending on the body part. You can't drink anything cold or eat anything heavy after the treatment.

What do you know... I lost an inch off my waistline after the 45-minute session!

This is just a preview of what's coming up in Health Today Magazine's anniversary issue this June 2010. Watch out as we unveil our picks for the top 15 local spas and wellness destinations + the unique services they offer!

Blue Water Day Spa
2/F BPI Greentop Condominium,
Ortigas Ave., San Juan City, Metro Manila
724-0426 / 727-8420

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