July 12, 2016

Saturday Lakwatsa at S Maison

Last Saturday, we decided to check out SM's newest lifestyle mall - S Maison (at Mall of Asia Complex) and at the same time catch Ice Age Collision Course. The mall opened simultaneously with Conrad Manila, the new luxury hotel to open in Manila, last June 15. Conrad Manila sits atop the first two floors of the building which is the S Maison.

I am not really a mall rat but I like checking out new malls. For one, newly opened malls are usually not crowded, which I like. And second, I like to check out new dining and shopping concepts.

S Maison was understandably empty last Saturday. Not all shops are opened yet. The few open shops are: Fully Booked, Starbucks, True Religion and a couple of restaurants on the second floor.

We watched the movie at one of their 3 Director's club cinema. Movie was cute of course but I fell asleep in the middle of it. Shhh, don't tell my 9 year old, ok? :)

July 5, 2016

Hello 2016!

Okay, that's too late for a greeting this year. But allow me, please.

This year we made a big leap. We decided to move back to the Philippines. We have lived away from the Philippines for almost 10 years and so, moving back was a big decision for us.

When I visited my bank last month, a banker asked me if our decision to move back was because Mr. Duterte won the presidency.

No, it wasn't that. I wish it was as simple as that though.

We moved back for several reasons:

The employment offer for my husband was nice. But let me clarify, the offer was not as nice the employment offers abroad.

I wanted to do something for myself, something for my self-growth. Or something to that effect. Haha!

We wanted EJ to experience living in the Philippines.


{At Phnom Penh airport, taken before we flew to Manila}

We moved here just last month. I have to be honest and say that personally I am experiencing reverse culture shock. Yes, I was ecstatic about seeing my family and friends. I was also happy to be able to eat the food that I used to eat. But there's something that's making me feel unwelcome.

I don't know. But I am sure I will get over this.

So yeah, we're back in the concrete jungle that is Manila. We're no longer expats. Like I said, I am still adjusting to our life here. But surprisingly, our son EJ, has eased into his life here pretty quick. I guess kids make adjustments faster than adults.

Anyway, I have decided to blog again. I hope this time I can keep my promise. We'll see.

December 8, 2015

Three Reasons to Have Your Home's Air Quality Tested

The quality of air in your home can affect the health of everyone living in the house. In many instances, the quality of your air is not readily noticeable. One or more people may begin to develop symptoms of respiratory problems, or they may begin to exhibit symptoms of an allergy. Often the root cause is the quality your indoor air. The following are three reasons to have your air tested.

You had a fire in the last few months
Any fire, no matter how small, that was put out with water can create a mold issue. After a fire, the issue of hidden water damage is sometimes neglected. Everything that can be seen is repaired and restored, but any water damage behind the walls, floors or ceilings is ignored. The problem is that this moisture seldom goes away on its own. In time, mold can develop, and the spores that mold produces can come through the walls. Because they are airborne, these spores are easily inhaled. This can lead to breathing problems. However, you can have your air tested. If mold is present, the source can be found and removed.

People sneeze inside your home
Although you or others living with you, do not have allergies, one or more people in your family have been sneezing lately. It is possible that you can have a medical issue, but it is also possible that it is the air in your home. Do you sneeze when you are outside of your home? If not, you need to have your air tested. It may simply be a problem with dirt in your air due to the output from your heating and air condition system. Often, all it takes to remedy the air quality issue is a good cleaning of the air duct system.

People with respiratory issues are struggling
If someone in your home has a respiratory problem, they already have daily struggles to face, but if you notice that their problems seem worse than normal, you should have your air quality tested. An example might be a family member suffering from asthma. You notice that they are using an inhaler more often than usual. There are many other examples, but if you notice the behavior of a loved one's breathing issues change for no obvious reason, you might want to consider the quality of air.

If you suspect an issue with dirty air, then you should contact a company that offers the services of indoor air quality testing near DC as soon as possible.

November 8, 2015

Our Experience: Taiwan Tourist Visa (for Filipinos)

When we were thinking of places to visit last month, we considered Seoul, San Francisco, and Taiwan. After a little research, we ruled out Seoul (we had to apply visa in the Philippines) and San Francisco (we only had 7 days total of vacation time, so bitin) and went to Taiwan instead.

I'm glad we did. Like I said in my earlier post, it's now one of my favorite destination

{At the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park}

Filipinos with a valid visa or permanent resident certificate issued by USA, Canada, Japan, U.K., Schengen Convention countries, Australia or New Zealand, are eligible for the "visa exemption program" of Taiwan. The visa allows the tourist to stay for up to 30 days in Taiwan.

All you have to do is apply for the "authorization certificate" online. It is free! The link is here: https://niaspeedy.immigration.gov.tw/nia_southeast

Since we have a valid US Visa, our Taiwan visa application was a breeze. My husband applied for our authorization certificate and was able to print it within minutes. This authorization certificate, you have to show it to the airline staff during check in and of course at the immigration officer in Taiwan (together with the valid visas/or permanent resident cards).

If you don't have the visas mentioned above, you can still apply for the Taiwan visa through regular application at their consular offices.

For more information, check out  http://www.roc-taiwan.org

{One of the flipboard art at the Taipei 101 train station}

November 1, 2015

Taipei: Raohe Night Market

They say that Taipei is a food destination. And the best way to experience that is to go to the night markets of Taipei.

We visited Raohe and Shilin. Raohe was an easy choice because it was close by our hotel. Shilin, on the other hand was a bit far from our hotel but we decided to visit it because we read that it's one of the famous night market.

{Entrance to Raohe Night Market}

It was drizzling when we first went to Raohe. But because we were so hungry, the rain did not deter us. LOL! The rain stopped though after a while.

{One of the streets near Raohe night Market}

{The temple in front of Raohe Night Market}

Our original plan was to buy food along the street and eat while walking. But since it was drizzling and we had kids with us, we went inside a restaurant. The restaurant was called Running Spoon and they serve fried rice in sizzling plates.

{Inside Running Spoon Restaurant}

After our dinner, we went through the whole stretch of Raohe and saw a lot of yummy looking food. We only tried a couple of street food because we were already full from dinner. But we came back another night for a taste of some of their street food.

My favorite was the sausage and the milk tea. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of it. As usual we were busy eating and taking in all the things around us.

Here are some pictures we managed to take using our phones only.

{Flame-torched beef. Must try!

{Fried chicken fillet, I think. Did not try this}

{Fried pork cubes. The kids loved it!}

{Toasted buns. It was good and very filling. No wonder the queue was long}