Monday, February 28, 2011

Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet Manila Hotel

Some weeks ago, Manila Bulletin published 50% off coupons for the newly opened Cafe Ilang-Ilang in Manila Hotel. Cafe Ilang-Ilang is the latest multi-cuisine extravaganza to hit the eat-all-you-can buffet scene. Anyways, my aunts and uncles all clipped coupons and well... a dinner date was set!

Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet Manila HotelI was awed by the place. It was huge. There were food stations everywhere. If you don't explore every single corner, you will surely miss something.

Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet Manila HotelThere was Spanish, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, and Indian food. It was really hard to decide what to get first.

Cafe Ilang-Ilang Buffet Manila HotelI noticed though that there was a premanent line at the carving station. There was Colombian beef, porkloin, salmon, and other stuff.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kolours Luster for ammonia-free hair coloring!

I had the chance to personally preview Splash Corporation's latest at-home hair coloring line last Feb. 22, 2011 at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel.

Kolours Luster Hair ColorKolours Luster, Splash's high-end line was introduced. Luster is demi-permanent and ammonia-free so it's safer and gentler for the hair. The color lasts for 6-8 weeks. There are three shades to choose from:

  • Adore Me Chestnut
  • Delight Me Mahogany
  • Pamper Me Brown
Kolours Luster Hair ColorSplash wanted us to experience Luster for ourselves and so after a brief product presentation, we were ushered to Head Zone Salon in Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. There were five of us bloggers who were getting a cut and a color treatment that day.

Kolours Luster Hair ColorMy hair was dry cut first and then divided into sections to be colored. I chose the shade Delight Me Mahogany since it seemed the lightest and most obvious shade. I mean, what's the point of choosing a dark shade that can't be seen, right?

Rubbabu Toys now in the Philippines!

I was invited to the launch of Rubbabu baby and toddler toys last Feb. 19, 2011. Since my children are already far from the baby and toddler age, I had my sister go on my behalf. My one and only niece is turning 2 in May so I figured this was perfect for her.

Rubbabu Toys PhilippinesRubbabu Toys PhilippinesRubbabu toys are made of natural rubber foam so they are soft and safe for small children. They come in bright and solid colors which are sure to catch the attention of little ones. Rubbabu toys have won several awards in the United States. They're environment-friendly too as the toys are hand made without cutting down trees.

Rubbabu Toys PhilippinesThere were several types of Rubbabu toys displayed at the event. My sister said the tool set was her favorite. Browsing through the catalog she took home, my daughter was immediately enamored with the sword and shield set.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Inasal Republic in Quezon City

When we got invited to try out Inasal Republic in the Banawe area last Feb. 19, I wasn't really expecting too much. I was thinking it's probably just like every other Inasal place on the block serving chicken and pork barbecue with rice.

Inasal Republic Quezon CityI ordered Bangus Half Meal (P89, pictured above) for my 6-year old daughter. Amazingly, she finished the whole order. The fish is boneless and flavorful, you don't need to dip it in vinegar, soy sauce, or whatever because it's already good as it is.

Inasal Republic Quezon CityI decided to try Sago at Gulaman (P35, pictured above). I've always been mystified by this classic Filipino drink, so much so that I even dared to ask the cashier at Goldilocks before as to what's in it. "Miss, ano laman ng sago't gulaman?" I asked. My hubby, who was beside me, and the cashier looked at me incredulously as if I had suddenly grown wings and a second head. "Sago't gulaman," she answered. Sorry, until that time, I have never had Sago't Gulaman so I really didn't know. I thought there'd be milk and other stuff but it's really just sweetened water with the essence of pandan, tapioca balls, and gelatin cubes. So that's how this particular one is.

Inasal Republic Quezon CityHubby decided to go for Pa-a Meal (P99, pictured above), which is chicken thigh with rice. Since I'm not really fond of chicken I didn't bother getting a taste. Hubby said it's pretty good.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Carmex Lip Balm Review

Carmex. I remember the bright yellow and red tubes my grandma used to bring home from the States when I was younger. I remember not being too excited because it was so plain compared to the other lip balms with fruity flavors, names, and designs.

Carmex Lip Balm ReviewWho would've thought that two decades later, I'd be interviewing celebrities about their beauty secrets and they would always mention Carmex. In fact, two of the most recent ones I've talked to, Tweetie De Leon and Andi Eigenmann, swear by it.

Carmex Lip Balm ReviewThis Carmex Original Flavour Moisturizing Lip Balm is exactly like the one my grandma gave me a long time ago.

Carmex Lip Balm ReviewIt's in gel form, so you squeeze out the amount you need and then swipe over your lips. The original flavor is actually tasteless and scentless, it just has this minty tinge that you feel upon application.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Plejee Deal Site Review

Today I completed my first deal of the day purchase ever. I did it with Plejee! While I've bought stuff at Awesome.ph and Dealgrocer.com in the last 2-3 days, I have yet to avail of my purchases so my reviews of those sites will have to wait.

Plejee Deal Site ReviewI was Plurking this morning when I saw my fellow bloggers talking about a deal of the day site offering 50% off cellphone load. They said it's on Plejee. So I immediately logged on to check it out. Indeed, P300 worth of cellphone load (for Globe, Smart, and Sun) was being sold for P165. It was at P165 when I first checked because not enough people had purchased to make it a full 50% off or P150. I waited till it reached the maximum discount. :p

See, that's how Plejee works. Let's take this cellphone load deal's case for example. P300 worth of load was initially offered for P195 or 35% off the retail price. If enough people buy, the discount moves on to the next tiers which are P180 then P165 and then finally P150. If you purchase a deal early, you earn Plejee credits you can use for special deals.

Special deals? Yup. Like right now you can get an Apple iPod Touch for P650 worth of Plejee credits. If you buy at the maximum discount, you don't earn Plejee credits.

Since hubby and I both use Sun Cellular prepaid lines, I decided to buy P600 worth of Sun cell load. That's the limit for this deal, only two units of the P300 load per person for P150 each. I paid via credit card and the transaction was immediately recorded on my Plejee account. There were also claim links I could click on in order to redeem the load. I clicked on the claim link and got a prompt to enter the phone number the load was to be transferred to. After I keyed in the phone numbers, a notice appeared and indicated that the load would be credited within 24 hours. Lo and behold, about two hours later the load was already texted to our cellphones! :D

I'm very happy with my Plejee experience:

  • Registering for an account is really easy.
  • Purchasing can be done in a jiffy, just click buy and then pay.
  • Redemption and availment took a lot less time than indicated.
Looking forward to more great deals from Plejee! Check them out at http://www.plejee.com


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Papa John's Pizza in the Philippines!

The first time I tried Papa John's Pizza was in California back in 2008. I remember getting the one with everything on it. It was huge and there were so much toppings it was kind of hard to eat without making a mess. I remember the crust being warm and toasted yet soft. The cheese was gooey too, the type that would stretch in strands as you took a bite.

A few years later, Papa John's Pizza makes it to Philippine shores. We decided to have a late evening snack last Feb. 16, 2011 to celebrate our son's 10th birthday. The Papa John's branch we visited is the one located along Annapolis St. near OB Montessori School.

Papa John's Pizza PhilippinesWe ordered Cheese Sticks (P90, pictured above) for our daughter since she only likes cheese pizza at this point. Since it'd be a waste to order plain cheese pizza, we got this for her instead. It's actually not cheese sticks, it's more like a mini pizza topped with lots of cheese. It's served with a small dish of butter-based sauce on the side that my daughter did not care for. Suffice to say she finished the whole order and told us it was yummy.

Papa John's Pizza PhilippinesOur son decided to have a Strawberry Ice Cream Float (P79, pictured above). A scoop of strawberry ice cream and some whipped cream are placed on top of a tall glass of Sprite. It actually tastes pretty cool when it's all mixed together.

Papa John's Pizza PhilippinesWe picked Super Papa's Pizza for the main event (P450 for medium with 8 slices, pictured above). The pizzas come in three sizes -- Small (9" diameter), Medium (12" diameter), and Large (14" diameter). Super Papa's is the bestseller. It's topped with Pepperoni, Italian Sausage, Ham, Mushrooms, Onions, Green Peppers, and Black Olives.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Webchat with the Consul c/o the US Embassy of Manila, Philippines

The US Embassy in Manila, Philippines held its first ever webchat event entitled "Ask the Consul" earlier this afternoon. The topic was US Non-Immigrant Visas. Since summer is coming, I'm pretty sure some of you are planning trips to the United States. While I've already posted an updated and comprehensive guide to US visa application here, I figured some could use the additional insight the chat would provide and so I transcribed a part of the session (I logged in a bit late and so I may have missed some earlier points). Please note that transcription has been edited for grammar and spelling errors. I've also omitted questions that do not pertain to NIVs.
  • US Embassy 1: (00:45) For business and tourist visas (B-1/B-2), each applicant must qualify under section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which states: ''Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the officer, at the time of the application for a visa . . . that he is entitled to nonimmigrant status . . .”. Essentially, the visa officer is looking to see that the applicant has compelling reasons to return to the Philippines. Under U.S. immigration law, the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that he or she qualifies for the visa. This proof may come in many forms, but when considered together, it must be strong enough for the interviewing officer to conclude that one’s ties to the Philippines will bring him/her back at the end of a temporary stay in the United States.

  • Francis Acero: (00:45) Just to repeat my questions yesterday:

    1. Is there any way to appeal a decision of the consul denying an application for non-immigrant visa, when the denial is founded on a lack of evidence to establish that the applicant has not presented enough evidence to support his expressed intent not to stay in the United States;

    2. Suppose that person, at the time of the denial was a college student, who now has completed trade school and is now working on his own. His family intends to give him a vacation in Los Angeles as a graduation gift, which includes a planned taxi franchise. What should he bring to establish his intent to go to the USA as a tourist?

  • US Embassy 2: (00:45)

    1. A finding of ineligibility under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act cannot be appealed, but it is not a permanent ineligibility. If you believe you can demonstrate that you qualify for the visa, you may reapply.

    2. The applicant should reapply and bring all documents which proves the applicant's family, social and economic ties outside of the United States. The Consul may not require these documents. It is more important that the applicant can answer the Consul's questions honestly and prove his ties.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set from Beauty & Minerals!

Last December, I threw out several make-up brushes which I deemed too old and worn out. Most of them were from The Body Shop since so far I've only used 3 brands of brushes: The Body Shop, Origins, and Shu Uemura. My TBS brushes were the oldest ones on my dresser.

Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set from Beauty & MineralsAnyways, most of my beauty blogger friends are forever raving about Charm Luxe brushes from Beauty & Minerals. That above is the Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set. I was only too happy to replace my old brushes with this since it's really costly to buy brushes individually as I had been doing in the past.

Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set from Beauty & MineralsThe brushes come in their own wallet-like case. There's a built-in zip pouch where you can store small cosmetics like eye shadow pots and lipsticks. It's ideal for toting around or travelling. :D

Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set from Beauty & MineralsThere are eight (8) brushes in the Charm Luxe Holiday Brush Set:

  • Powder Brush
  • Blush Brush
  • Crease Blending Brush
  • Eyeshadow Brush
  • Angled Brow Liner Brush
  • Concealer Brush
  • Lip Brush
  • Pointed Liner Brush

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon City

We held a simple baby shower for Didi at Cerchio near Tomas Morato last Feb. 18, 2011. It was everyone's first time in the restaurant. It exuded an ambiance that's similar to Romulo Cafe's. As I suspected, it's owned by the same group.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityThe interiors are pretty cool, although I wasn't able to take photos of the surrounding areas since it was a full house. This happened to be a reserved long table whose patrons had not yet arrived.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityI ordered Grilled Chicken with Chorizo & Saba (P90, pictured above) soup. I was surprised because there was so little of it on the big but shallow bowl. It was very flavorful, I liked the combination of tastes -- the spicy-ness of the chorizo, sweetness of the banana, and the non-descript taste of the chicken all came together pretty well.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityFor my main course, I picked Tenderloin of Beef topped with Onion Marmalade & Blue Cheese (P480, pictured above). It can be served with either mashed potatoes or fries. I opted for the former. Okay, I liked that they got the doneness right as I asked for medium well. The meat was tender and pink inside but not bloody. Problem was, the outer portion tasted charred, so it was on the bitter side. The onion marmalade and blue cheese didn't really help even after I spread them all over the meat. In the end, I had to ask for A1 steak sauce to mask the burnt taste.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityHubby settled for Grilled Blue Marlin served with Garlic Noodles (P520, pictured above). Here's the twist: it tasted like my charred-on-the-outside tenderloin beef. Perhaps they forgot to scrape the burnt remnants off the grill? The garlic noodles however, were divine. Flavorful but not greasy, cooked al dente.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityThen our companions decided to get a couple of pizzas for us to pass around and share. Now, I had been warned by Anton Diaz's blog post that Cerchio's Sisig Pizza (P320 for a whole pizza, slice pictured above) is ..."not good enough to rave about" but that's really putting it mildly (the man is too kind in most of his reviews so I really do not believe he is BBB -- but that's another story). Sisig Pizza was just plain bad, ironically its toted as one of the house specialties. See the yellow thing above? It's not cheese, it's sweetened egg. The crust was not crisp, in fact I found it makunat. The sisig was moist and icky. As a whole it tasted like old pizza.

Cerchio Restaurant Quezon CityAside from the Sisig Pizza we also had Chili Con Carne Pizza (pictured above). I think it cost about the same as the Sisig Pizza but I'm not sure because at that point I wasn't really paying attention anymore. At least it was better than the Sisig Pizza.

Overall I really don't see myself going back to Cerchio anytime soon. The interiors and ambiance are ideal for dating couples and intimate gatherings but the food is nothing to write home about.


Cerchio
#76 Scout Limbaga St.,
Quezon City
355-0998


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Monday, February 21, 2011

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt at SM Hypermarket Pasig

A small group of moms (myself included) was invited to try Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt at SM Hypermarket Pasig last Feb. 17, 2011.

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt at SM Hypermarket Pasig

From left to right: Michelle, Rone, me, Jane, and Noemi

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt SM Hypermarket PasigTutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt is a US chain which has found its way to Philippine shores. They have over 50 different yogurt flavors which rotate on a weekly basis. You can choose from 8 different flavors at the store at any given time. When we went, the flavor roster included:

  • Taro-bly Delicious*
  • TF Original*
  • Death by Chocolate (Ghirardelli)*
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Pomegranate
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Vanilla
  • Strawberry
*These flavors are the bestsellers and they are available on a permanent basis.

Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt SM Hypermarket PasigWe were given small bite size portions of all the flavors so we could decide which to get in a cup. All the flavors except for TF Original taste like soft-serve ice cream. Tutti Frutti froyos are smooth and creamy in general. They don't melt easily and can hold up to a few minutes of picture-taking, haha! Death by Chocolate reminded me of Magnolia Chocolait. For those who don't like sour tastes (like my hubby) Taro-bly Delicious would be a sure hit.

I decided on TF Original, since I'm not an ice cream person. I'm one of those who prefer the tart taste of real yogurt. There's a wide array of toppings you can garnish your froyo with. You can even drizzle it with a variety of syrups. Of the many possibilities, I picked...

Justin Bieber for Proactiv Solution

Oooh, guess whose fresh face is now representing Proactiv acne and pimple fighting skin care solution?

Justin Bieber for Proactiv SolutionIt's Justin Bieber's! While Justin Bieber is clearly not the entertainment choice of my age group, he is definitely the man for tweens everywhere. My hubby's nephew who's barely 12 can't stop watching The Bieb on youtube. Let's not even mention girls his age. In this light, I thought I'd share this promo to any mommy readers who might be interested.

If you're planning to try out Proactiv Solution, now is a good time as any since they're raffling off 2 pairs of Silver tickets to Justin Bieber's upcoming concert. Yup, you can win Justin Bieber concert tickets when you buy a Proactiv Kit. The concert is slated for May 10, 2011 at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds. All Proactiv Solution kit purchases from Feb. 15 to Mar. 30, 2011 qualify for the raffle. The draw will be held on April 25, 2011.

You can get raffle tickets at the following participating outlets:

  • Proactiv Online Shopping Cart: http://my.proactiv.com.ph
  • Proactiv Door to Door Delivery Hotlines: 729-2222, 1-800-8-729-8888, 1-800-10-889-4444, 0917-801-8888
  • Proactiv Kiosks at Glorietta, Trinoma, Robinsons Galleria, and Marquee Mall
Follow Proactiv Solution on Facebook for more news and updates about this promo.


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Sunday, February 20, 2011

I want to try Yuko Yamashita's Hair Treatment System!!!

If you've been a long time reader of my blog, you would know that I have the most horrible hair type known to man -- thick, coarse, and wavy in a really awkward way.

This is me without straightening! This is me without Shuji Kida's Japanese Magnetic Hair Straightening. Ick. Photo was taken back in 2009 before I had my first session.

Animetric at House of Obagi I'm totally dependent on Shuji Kida for nice hair. I had the process done for the second time last October 10, 2010 -- my birthday. It's been more than four months and I currently have about an inch of regrowth. It's not obvious yet but I foresee myself having my hair straightened again in a few more months.

Yuko Yamashita Hair Treatment System at Akira Salon from Awesome.phLast night while surfing the net I came across this deal from Awesome.ph -- 52% off Yuko Yamashita Treatment System at Akira Hair & Make-Up Studio. I'll tell you from firsthand experience that authentic Japanese treatments are really costly and so as soon as I saw the P960 price tag on this I bought the deal right away.

Chowking Signature Dishes with Kim Chiu and Jericho Rosales

Chowking formally launched its three signature dishes in a post Chinese New Year party last February 15, 2011.

Chowking Signature Dishes Kim Chiu Jericho RosalesThe Mercato Centrale tent at Bonifacio High Street was draped in red and had golden rabbits all over in order to welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

Chowking Signature Dishes Kim Chiu Jericho RosalesFeng Shui Master Professor Charlie Chao conducted free readings for guests. I actually had a turn while waiting for the festivities to start. He asked for my name, date of birth, and time of birth. He said that I'm a Wood Tiger. He also told me that I'm frank, impatient, hot-tempered, and that I have leadership abilities. Hahahaha... he got the frank, impatient, and hot-tempered part right. I'm supposedly lucky this year, and I'll put that prediction to the test by joining lots and lots of raffles. :p

Chowking Signature Dishes Kim Chiu Jericho Rosales

The event kicked off with a dragon dance "blessed" by Prof. Charlie Chao.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Animetric's Favorite Things Year 2

Hi y'all! It's that time of the year again where I give away my favorite things. We have way more prizes this year compared to last year and an entirely fresh new roster of sponsors!

Prizes from Pond's, House of Obagi, Crumpler, Human Nature, and Real LivingPrizes from House of ObagiPrize from JewelmerPrize from Jewelmer

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boost up with Tropicana Juice Plus!

I got to try the new Tropicana Juice Plus drinks last week. There are two variants out: Calcium Boost and Antioxidant Boost. There seems to be an orange juice craze ongoing right now with different brands but these caught my attention. I think it's mainly because of the word antioxidant... hahaha! I'm just really obsessed with anything related to anti-aging (because I am already well into my 30's) and since antioxidants help keep the skin firm and nice well... you get the picture. XD

Tropicana Juice Plus Calcium Boost and Antioxidant BoostTropicana Juice Plus orange drinks are high in vitamins A, C, and D. There are no preservatives too.

Tropicana Juice Plus Antioxidant BoostOf course I had to try Tropicana Juice Plus Antioxidant Boost first. It contains high levels of vitamins C and E to help your body fight free radicals. Free radical damage is widely considered to be the primary cause of aging (think wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, etc.). Taking in food and drink rich in antioxidants help you fight free radicals and therefore keep you looking and feeling younger longer. :)

Tropicana Juice Plus Antioxidant BoostI have low tolerance for sweet tastes. I can't stand sugary food and drink. In fact I have coffee and tea with no sugar at all. Lucky for me, Tropicana Juice Plus is not overly sweet like most orange drinks. The taste is more on the citrusy side. Yey! I love it... in fact I find it addictive. :D

L'oreal Base Magique Primer Review

I'm very non-fussy and straightforward when it comes to beauty. Although I've been reading make-up how-to's from Seventeen magazine (US version) since my high school days, I've never really gotten around to using or experimenting with primers -- I figured, my skin isn't flawed anyway so maybe I don't need it.

L'oreal Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer ReviewMore than two decades after, I find myself on my way to my 40's. I'm not quite there yet but I am undeniably getting closer and closer. I'm still relatively unblemished but I'm getting ready for fine lines, wrinkles, and such. I guess it helps that my skin is on the oily side so it won't age as fast. Anyhow, I got my first jar of primer in the form of L'oreal Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer.

L'oreal Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer ReviewIt's very thick in terms of consistency, in fact it's like putty. You use a primer to even out the texture of your face so that your make-up looks and stays on better.

L'oreal Base Magique Transforming Smoothing Primer ReviewPutty-like it is. I felt like a construction worker. I mean, they use putty to fix, fill, and seal stuff. L'oreal Base Magique does the same thing, only it does it for your face. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mien San Noodle House -- revisiting our favorite snack place!

When I first posted about Mien San Noodle House, some of my cousins and friends suggested that I try the Spicy Wanton when I go back. Since Mien San is very conveniently located plus my hubby and I love the food there, it's automatically one of our options when we want to grab a snack.

Mien San Noodle House ReviewOn one such snacking trip, we decided to deviate from our usual Fried Pork Chop Noodle and Steamed Kutchay Dumplings combo. Hubby had Taiwan Style Dry Noodle (P128, pictured above). Thin rice noodles are topped with a mix of ground pork and minced mushrooms. It also comes with one breaded shrimp, one deep fried shrimp ball, bean sprouts, and green onions. Although it's supposed to be dry, it's served with a bowl of clear soup. Hubby said it's pretty good. :)

Mien San Noodle House ReviewI ordered Spicy Wanton (P78 for 6 pieces, pictured above) -- steamed meat dumplings submerged in sweet-spicy-sour sauce sprinkled with minced green onions and chili. It's mind-blowingly good. I can't get over the delicious sauce. The flavor just explodes in your mouth and even if it's spicy I couldn't help sipping some of it with my spoon.

Mien San Noodle House ReviewI also ordered Onion Pancake (P65, pictured above). It's a small and lightly pan-fried pancake sliced into 8 wedges. It goes very well with the sweet-savory dark soy based sauce that it's served with. It's kind of heavy though despite its small size. I can only finish 2 slices in one sitting tops, so it's definitely for sharing.

Food is generally inexpensive, of good quality, and delicious, just like the way it is in Taiwan. The only problem with Mien San Noodle House is the limited parking. We usually visit at an awkward time that's neither lunch nor dinner so we can park in peace.


Mien San Noodle House
Granada St., Bgy. Valencia,
New Manila, Quezon City
721-5794 / 723-0558


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