Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pico Sands Hotel at Hamilo Coast in Nasugbu, Batangas (Part 2 of 3)

When we went to Pico de Loro two weeks ago, we stayed overnight at the newly opened Pico Sands Hotel. It's located beside the Pico de Loro Country Club -- as in it's walking distance.

Pico Sands Hotel at Pico de Loro CoveThis is actually the back view of the hotel as seen when walking from the Pico de Loro Country Club. You can go to the Pico de Loro Beach Club via a shuttle you can ride at the lobby.

Pico Sands Hotel at Pico de Loro Cove

This is the hotel lobby where the front desk is located.

Pico Sands Hotel at Pico de Loro CoveAfter checking-in at 12nn, you're given a room key card and a folio card (green card) which you can use to charge all your expenses (food, rentals, etc.).

Pico Sands Hotel at Pico de Loro Cove There's a bar area and some lounge chairs by the lobby. This is where the breakfast buffet is set up in the morning.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Pico de Loro Beach Club at Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, Batangas (Part 1 of 3)

Last March 17, I went on a trip to Pico de Loro Cove with my family and friends. One of our friends is a member so we can use the facilities as his guests. We just need to pay a guest fee... I forgot how much it is per person but for four of us (two adults and two kids) I remember paying P900. I've been to Pico de Loro several times in the past but this is the first time I'm blogging about it. :)

Pico de Loro Beach Club at Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, BatangasThis blog entry will be divided into three separate posts starting with Pico de Loro Beach Club (pictured above). I'd like to show you the three main areas of Pico de Loro you can enjoy when you stay overnight. I'm timing this right before Holy Week and summer vacation just in case any of you are planning a trip... or maybe you got a voucher from Deal Grocer like we did!

Pico de Loro voucher from Deal Grocer This voucher (I've blocked out certain details) allows you guest access (even if you don't go with a member) to all the beach and country club facilities, an overnight stay at Pico Sands Hotel, a P500 GC which you can use either at the spa or the restaurant, and breakfast buffet for two. It was sold for P6,500 which is a good deal considering you normally can't get in without a member.

Pico de Loro Beach Club at Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, BatangasAnyhow, here's another view of the swimming pool at the Pico de Loro Beach Club. There's a kiddie pool beside it too in case you have babies and toddlers in tow. A lifeguard always keeps watch over this pool. There's also a locker area equipped with towels, toilets, and showers nearby.

Pico de Loro Beach Club at Hamilo Coast, Nasugbu, BatangasJust walk a bit from the pool area and you will actually find yourself on the beach. You can relax under the beach umbrellas, snooze on the hammocks, play in the sand, or even rent boats to go snorkeling. Be careful when wading in the sea though as jellyfish abound.

Facial Care Centre is now in Eastwood City!

The first time that I had a facial was when I was 18 years old. I was part of my friend's cotillion for her debut. She said that a couple of days before the party, we had to go get a facial. I found my self at Facial Care Center in Quezon City and later on I would have my face steamed, cleansed, scrubbed... even my blackheads and whiteheads were extracted. I had a soothing mask treatment afterwards too. Since that was like two decades ago (hahaha :p), I remember paying P375 for the service.

Facial Care Center Eastwood CityI found myself at Facial Care Centre again 20 years later, during the opening of their Eastwood City branch last March 13, 2012. My face isn't really high maintenance and I've never felt the need to see a dermatologist so I don't get facial treatments often... unless my editor assigns me to do a feature on the topic. XD

Facial Care Center Eastwood CityAfter a brief consultation, it was determined that I would avail of the Purifying Indulgence, a deep cleansing treatment that would rid the skin of impurities followed by FCC's signature Advanced Lasertone and then capped off by a full collagen mask. Then I was ushered to a treatment room. It has a hotel/spa vibe. Fresh sheets, cool air-conditioning, a drawer where you can keep your things, and even a sink with a mirror greeted me as I entered.

Facial Care Center in Eastwood CityI was surprised by the monogrammed robe and the pair of soft, cushioned bedroom slippers that was prepared for me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Step-by-step guide to Korean visa application in the Philippines

So you've booked tickets to Korea from the Cebu Pacific sale -- we did, and we got roundtrip tickets for around P5.5+k each. That's actually just the beginning of your journey. I'd like to share with you what comes next and it's not booking a hotel. It's applying for a Korean visa. You can do so two ways: by yourself or through a travel agency. I suggest doing it yourself since it's free and I will elaborate further why else later on.

Official Korean Embassy website First things first. When you Google "Korean Embassy Philippines" you will get a whole lot of links that all look like they could be the official page. Anyway, this is the url of the official Korean Embassy Philippines page - http://embassy_philippines.mofat.go.kr/english/as/embassy_philippines/main/index.jsp and my screen cap above shows what it looks like.

Download the Korean visa application formClick on the Visa Application Form in order to download a printable PDF version of the form.

Korean visa application formThis is what the visa application looks like. It's two pages in length, the second page is a guide on how to answer the form. Print out as many as you need. Since there are four of us applying, I printed out eight copies in case I make a mistake filling them out. Follow instructions on the second page of the PDF file closely because not doing so will piss off the person receiving your document in the Korean Embassy and you'll be asked to do it again. Then, depending on what type of application you're submitting (as an employee, businessman, housewife, student, etc.), gather all the required documents for submission. There are two types of tourist visa application -- regular and OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development):

  • Regular application means you do it the normal way, that means submitting COMPLETE requirements as specified in the Korean Embassy website. Processing for this is five (5) working days.
  • OECD application simply means that you have an existing valid (not expired!) visa to any OECD member country (except Korea) and you have actually traveled there within the last five (5) years. OECD applications require less documents. Processing time is also faster at three (3) working days. OECD member countries include Australia, Canada, Japan, United States, and United Kingdom. For a complete list of OECD member countries, click HERE.
Before I proceed, take note that if you are enlisting a travel agency to apply for you, you will be asked for ALL the requirements of regular application even if you qualify for the OECD application. This is because travel agencies do applications by batches and they do not want to take chances that you may have something missing which will cause them multiple trips to the embassy. Minimum processing time for travel agencies is also about 7-10 working days since they don't have routes to the Korean embassy on a daily basis. You will also pay a few hundred pesos as a service fee to the agency. The Korean visa is completely free of charge if you're staying for 59 days or less.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Browhaus Manila for the perfect eyebrows!

Your eyebrows can make or break the way you look. Notice how in movies and TV, "ugly" girls (think "Ugly Betty", "Blusang Itim" -- Snooky version, "The Hottie and The Nottie", etc.) are usually portrayed with really, really unruly, thick, and bushy brows. I think this is because a good grooming will make for a more dramatic transformation during the finale. I'm no stranger to eyebrow grooming, specifically threading. I've had it done before both here in the Philippines (but I wasn't happy with the service so I didn't blog about it) and abroad.

Browhaus Manila SerendraThus I was quite excited when I was invited for a get-together at Browhaus in Serendra. I'm a big fan of their sister company Strip the Ministry of Waxing, so I was expecting the same high quality service from Browhaus. The owner herself Tab Abad talked about Browhaus' signature service, Brow Resurrection.

Brow Resurrection at Browhaus ManilaI borrowed the above before and after photo from Inquirer Lifestyle since I am not qualified for Brow Resurrection. I have thick and dark eyebrows which are not really the kind you'd want to add more volume to. Brow Resurrection is for those with thin, sparse, short, or overplucked brows. Brow Resurrection is done by drawing using organic vegetable dye and superfine natural strokes. They use grids to scientifically determine your ideal shape. It's semi-permanent... so you do it once and then retouch ever so often. It lasts for a couple of years if maintained properly.

Cupcakes at Browhaus Serendra

Anyhow we had some sweet treats after the eyebrow talk. :)

Classic Threading at Browhaus SerendraThen each of us was treated to a free Basic Brow Shaping service, Classic Threading (P580 per session). Tara went before I did so I took photos of her.

Hatsu Hana Tei at Herald Suites, Makati City

Hubby and I had a nice Sunday lunch with friends at Hatsu Hana Tei, an authentic Japanese restaurant located at the second floor of Herald Suites sometime last month.

Hatsu Hana Tei Herald SuitesWe chose to have our meal in a small function room. We had to remove our footwear prior to entering. I borrowed the above photo from the Hatsu Hana Tei website since I was unable to take pictures of the interiors.

Hatsu Hana Tei Herald SuitesThe table was completely set up with chopsticks, Japanese condiments, and even toothpicks.

Hatsu Hana Tei Herald Suites

We were all given small dishes of complimentary appetizers.

Hatsu Hana Tei Herald SuitesAnyhow, for lunch, hubby ordered the Yakiniku Set (P330). It comes with Chawan Mushi (pictured above) which is deliciously soft and savory egg custard with small pieces of meat, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marie France EDM + SLIM and my own weight loss journey!

Okay... I was supposed to blog about something else today since I tend to post about things in chronological order. I advanced to this post because I'm too excited to share the latest weight loss technology from Marie France and how it has worked for me so far.

Marie France EDM + SLIM Last March 20, I was invited to the grand opening of Marie France Eastwood. At the same time, Marie France was also launching a new treatment called EDM (Endermologie) + SLIM. EDM + S.L.I.M. loosens stubborn stored fat and cellulite so that you can burn it off with your usual physical activity. I had the chance to interview Dr. Clelia Monteux herself, head researcher of the French company LPG (Louis-Paul Guitay) Systems who created the machine used for this innovative treatment.

Marie France EDM + SLIMAccording to Dr. Monteux and Marie France's resident physician, EDM + S.L.I.M. does the following things:

  • It loosens or frees up stubborn fat and cellulite. When this fat is released, you can burn it off through your regular physical activity.
  • It helps improve circulation.
  • It promotes detoxification via lymphatic drainage.
  • It can sculpt and reshape body parts like your buttocks, thighs, arms, etc.
  • It activates collagen and elastin production for smoother and firmer skin.
By the way, S.L.I.M. stands for:
  • Stubborn fat naturally eliminated
  • Loose skin firmed up for body anti-aging
  • Intense cellulite smoothening
  • Maximum body resculpting
Marie France EDM + SLIM Anyhow, I did more than just talk about EDM + S.L.I.M. that day. I tried the treatment myself. I was ushered into a private room equipped with the machine.

Marshall Major and Minor Headphones

When I got the Marshall Major and Marshall Minor Headphones, I was expecting them to be just like all the other headphones I've reviewed so far -- okay but nothing really spectacular that would wow me. I was wrong.

Marshall Major and Minor Headphones For starters, I really liked the brown kraft packaging for both Marshall Major and Minor Headphones.

Marshall Major Headphones

I decided to test drive Marshall Major first.

Marshall Major HeadphonesThe Marshall Major Headphones look very classy in white -- and it's not because it reminds me of Apple products. :p

Marshall Major HeadphonesIt even has Dr. Jim Marshall's signature in gold. I actually don't know who he is but I Googled and found out that he's known as "The Father of Loud" because he is a pioneer in guitar amplification. Marshall amplifiers are actually used by a lot of bands here and abroad.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cold Layers at Northeast Square, Greenhills

This is a super duper delayed post thanks to all my backlogs. Last February 14 (yes, Valentines Day!) hubby and I had a nice lunch that beats dining at those overpriced places with set menus. What's more, we had the entire place to ourselves... haha!

Cold Layers Northeast Square GreenhillsI had purchased discounted Cold Layers vouchers at Cashcashpinoy late last year (paid P150 for P250 worth x 3). Since they were valid for 6 months I decided to use them for lunch since Cold Layers serves more than just desserts.

Cold Layers at Northeast Square, GreenhillsI liked Cold Layers' light, pastel-themed interiors and cute penguin mascot. It looked a lot like those Asian dessert places abroad.

Cold Layers Northeast Square, GreenhillsThere's an abundance of tables and chairs to accommodate customers.

Cold Layers Northeast Square, GreenhillsI ordered Turkey Mango Sandwich (P180, pictured above). Slices of turkey breast, sweet ripe mangoes, lettuce, and Japanese mayonnaise are sandwiched in between slices of panini. It also comes with potato chips and a side salad with the yummiest Japanese sesame dressing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stuff you need to know about NSO by Teleserv!

Summer's here! Tis the season for travelling with the family... and you know what that means -- passports, visas, and documents for processing. Now one of the most crucial requirements in securing a passport or visa is an NSO copy of your birth and marriage certificate.

NSO birth certificate I still remember the days when you'd have to line up the entire day just to get an NSO document. Thank goodness those days are gone. Now you can just go online, fill out a form, and then apply for one. You don't even have to leave your seat. You can request for a CENOMAR (Certificate of No Marriage), birth, marriage, or death certificate by phone or internet.

NSO birth certificate You can start by visiting http://www.citizenservices.com.ph/. From the main page, you can choose what service you need to avail of. You can request for an NSO certificate / OFW exit clearance, or schedule a passport appointment.

NSO birth certificateSince I needed NSO copies of our birth certificates for visa application, I selected NSO Certificates from the menu. You can either call the hotline to order NSO certificates or click on the online web chat option to order online. I chose to do everything online.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Gus* Modern Furniture now in the Philippines!

Well technically, the Canadian furniture brand Gus* has been in the country for a few months now since it debuted in Greenbelt last December 2010. Anyhow, I was invited to an intimate Gus* media event held last March 8, 2012. Being a home owner, of course I was interested in what they had to offer.

Gus Modern Furniture PhilippinesThe event was hosted by cute and bubbly fellow blogger Hannah Villasis, who may be better known to netizens as Flaircandy. After some coffee and snacks at UCC along Connecticut St., we proceeded to the Gus* showroom beside it.

Gus* Design PodI find Gus* furniture to be very American in terms of look and build quality. Pieces are simple and sturdy, combining function and design.

Gus Modern Furniture PhilippinesI like how this Stump Storage Box from Gus* can also be used as a decorative side table.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

BoTan Bubble Tea Cafe in Makati City

We were invited to try out the newly opened Taiwanese-owned BoTan Bubble Tea in Makati last March 7, 2012.

BoTan Bubble Tea Cafe Makati CityI immediately took a liking to the bright and roomy interiors. This is probably one of the most spacious milk tea places around and it's because they also serve meals apart from a wide assortment of drinks.

BoTan Bubble Tea Cafe Makati City

There's a couch area if you just want to chill.

BoTan Bubble Tea Cafe in Makati CityThe first drink served was Fresh Fruits Tea (P150, pictured above). Hot and amber-hued brewed tea with chunks of fruit come in a small pot with a tealight candle underneath to keep it warm. There's also a small glass of honey on the side so you can sweeten to taste. The hot tea has a citrus taste and is rather comforting.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shu Uemura YUME Advanced Make-Up Class

Back in January I took up Shu Uemura's Personal Make-Up Course using a voucher I had bought from Deal Grocer. Being a Shu Uemura addict for nearly a decade now, of course I was thrilled when I was offered the chance to participate in the Shu Uemura YUME Advanced Make-Up Class.

Shu Uemura YUME Advanced Make-Up ClassThe word yume () means dream in both Japanese and Chinese since it's written in kanji (Chinese characters used in the Japanese language)... but it's pronounced as meng in Mandarin. I think it's a fitting name for the course because Shu Uemura's make-up style has always struck me as imaginative, enchanting, and well... dreamy. Our teacher was Shu Uemura accredited make-up artist Sharon Soledad-Malig.

Shu Uemura YUME Advanced Make-Up ClassThis is a photo of my workstation inside the Shu Uemura Color Atelier at the Power Plant Mall. We were all given handouts that would serve as a guide through the lessons. Skin care and make-up products were provided too, although I did end up bringing a lot of my own stuff.

Shu Uemura YUME Advanced Make-Up ClassSharon did not elaborate on skin care anymore which is the first step, since the advanced class assumes that you are already familiar with it from the basic class. We all cleansed, toned, and moisturized on our own prior to applying make-up. She started with demonstrating how you do a glowing everyday look.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Restaurant 5 Lunch Buffet at Discovery Suites!

The first time I dined at Restaurant 5 of Discovery Suites (it's on the 5th floor) was when I checked in the hotel with my family a few years ago. We had an ala carte dinner at Restaurant 5 and I clearly remember being very happy with the food. Restaurant 5 no longer serves dinner these days, just breakfast and lunch.

Restaurant 5 Discovery SuitesAnyhow, I was invited to sample Restaurant 5's themed lunch buffet last March 1, 2012. That day, they were serving Spanish food. We started off with a complimentary bread basket which came complete with Discovery Suites' signature spreads. You can actually get all the bread you want at the buffet area.

Restaurant 5 Discovery SuitesThen there was the warm and comforting Sopa De Ajo or garlic soup which I enjoyed.

Restaurant 5 Discovery SuitesSavory Spanish-style cold cuts followed -- chorizo, olives, jamon serrano... all available from the buffet area as well.

Restaurant 5 Discovery Suites

I also grabbed an empanada (savory meat puff). It was soooo yummy!

Watsons Switch & Save with Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Victor Basa, Divine Lee, and Patty Laurel!

I've been shopping at Watsons in Hong Kong long before they opened shop here in the Philippines. I like how it's on almost every street corner, with floors and floors of meds, personal care and even food + gift items -- making it a very convenient stop before I go back to the hotel.

Watsons Switch & SaveThat said, I was very happy when Watsons finally reached Philippine shores. Not long after I began to see Watsons brand products like liquid soap, tissue paper, dental floss, shampoo, etc.

Watsons Switch & SaveThis brings me to the latest from Watsons -- the Switch & Save campaign which is headlined by Watsons Switch & Save advocates Patty Laurel, Victor Basa, and Tessa Prieto-Valdes (Divine Lee is also one but she was unable to make it to the event.).

Watsons Switch & SavePatty, Victor, and Tessa shared their favorite Watson's products. Patty likes the Watsons tissues (I do too, plus the packaging is very cute! In fact I just hoarded several boxes last week.). Victor said he likes the Watsons Breath Strips which are very convenient during shoots, especially if there are scenes that require you to be really close to your co-star. Tessa meanwhile, likes the gigantic buy 1 take 1 bottles of liquid soap since she can use them at home and as giveaways for her bonggacious parties.

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