Dancing Jellies at Manila Ocean Park

The first time I’ve been to Manila Ocean Park was in 2008, when I helped organized a Children’s Christmas Party there with about 500 kids as guests.  Manila Ocean Park was fairly new then and the only attraction that I remembered from that trip was the Oceanarium – a stunning walkthrough of the watery depths featuring 7 sections and containing 1,900 cubic meters of seawater.

I had a chance to revisit Manila Ocean Park again yesterday with my family from Cebu (that’s Dino, Juvvy (of Mommy Juvs) and their growing boy, Liam) and Liam’s Ninong - Ninong Ken.  We got the Sea Breeze Express deal from Metrodeal, and enjoyed 8 fabulous attractions from Manila Ocean Park for only P699 (per person), instead of P2,050.

I’ll make a full report on this in a separate post, but in the meantime I’d like to share with you my favorite among all the attractions we saw yesterday: the Dancing Sea Faeries or simply the Dancing Jellies!

I’ve been stung by a jellyfish before (sa sosyal na Punta Fuego in Batangas pa!) and have come to dislike them.  But seeing them yesterday – dancing before my eyes – made me want to forgive the jellyfish which gave me my first sting scar that burned for weeks.

Here are some of the pictures I took of these floating beauties, using my Panasonic Lumix LX-5:

P1220400_b

P1220403_b

P1220415_b

P1220418_b

P1220412_b

P1220420_b

P1220397_b

P1220424_B

A wonderwall of dancing jellies.

P1220422_b

An awesome view:  room filled with cylinders full of moon jellies.

P1220430_b

A closer look at a Moon Jelly (also known as the saucer jelly or common jelly):

P1220440_b

P1220437_b

The hall where this exhibit is held is filled with soothing music, and the jellies appear to be dancing with it.  The music, the jellies, their beautiful formation and the changing back lights all have a calming effect on me that I wish I could stay here longer.

Kaso walang calming effect on my 3-year-old pamangkin, Liam, who just made one round of the area and then headed towards the exit door hehe!

But I’ll surely be back here again.  It’s a perfect place to de-stress!

Catch The Jellies:  Dancing Sea Faeries at Manila Ocean Park from Mondays to Fridays at 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and on weekends / holidays at 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

www.manilaoceanpark.com 

 

Elegance is Timeless with American Standard’s Luxe and Style Collection

I was invited by American Standard to the Luxe and Style Blogger Engagement last Saturday (July 19) and thanks to my angels – Ross and Mimi – I did not only make it to the event, but I had a super great time too!

P1210700_b

I am not new to the American Standard brand of toilet bowls and wash basin (or ‘water closet’, as they are collectively called) because I have personally used them - at home and in hotels.  We used to own one at home before, back when uso pa ang big toilet bowls, and this actually started my habit of bringing a book or magazine inside the CR hehe!  That’s how comfy I find the toilet seats made by American Standard!

It was also this habit of reading in the CR that brought about the OC-ness in me when it comes to bathroom cleanliness.  I don’t mind having a small bathroom at our apartment as long as it’s always kept clean and disinfected.  AJ and I take turns in cleaning our bathroom (yes, I don’t mind doing this dirty work) so you could say I know how to blend pagdating sa usapang toilet (not toilet humor though – mahina ako dyan haha!).

Lastly, my wanting to reconnect with the brand I grew up with has something to do with this major project I’ve been working on since last year.  It all started with this lot somewhere in the South that I acquired last year:

P1100703b

In this lot will rise our ‘home away from the city’, and AJ and I are really saving up for the house that we will build here.  I call it our future ‘shabby chic home’, although AJ is eyeing a ‘rustic cabin’ look para daw hindi magmukhang super girly hehe!

Getting to know the brand I grew up with.

The event started around lunch time, with Ms. Fe of Lixil Corporation introducing us to their company which purchased the American Standard brand in 2013.

P1210718_b

Lixil Corporation is known for the manufacture and sale of building and house construction materials – offering a complete living and housing solution.  It is based in Japan but now has a global presence that’s hard to ignore, especially after acquiring American Standard in 2013.

The brand name “Lixil”, I learned, came from the words “living” and “life”.   Thus the company’s mission vision and corporate social responsibility (CSR) charter are all aligned to good living, and you can very well see this in the brands they have acquired over the years – which includes American Standard.

As an overview to the good living philosophy that we are about to learn, we were feted with a full-course Italian menu c/o Buona Vita Restorante Italiano.  Incidentally, buona vita translates to “good life” in English.

buona_foodFrom left to right: Freshly baked bread and bread sticks with pesto and tomato dips, Gambas al Ajillo, Cesare salad, Pollo alla Valdostana, and the heavenly good Tiramisu.

Here are interesting facts I learned about American Standard:

1.  The brand has a 40-year history with the Philippines already, where it was previously known as American Standard Philippines before it was bought by Lixil and is now known simply as American Standard.

2.  With Lixil, the superior design and innovative technology of American Standard bathroom products were further enhanced not only to achieve maximum comfort for the home and business owners, but also to minimize its environmental impact.

3.  It recently introduced the “Your Style, Your Way” concept that focuses on the design philosophy of stylish innovation, comfort and “green technology”, making American Standard the choice in countless leading projects worldwide, including the Burj Al Arab, the world’s most luxurious hotel. 

P1210962_b

4.  The ceramic parts of American Standard toilet bowls are covered by a lifetime warranty.

5.  It is more sulit to get the one-piece toilet bowl (where the tank and bowl are seamlessly connected together) intead of the 2-piece model because it’s easier to clean and prevents germs and bacteria from building up at the bottom of the tank.

6.  Skirted toilets (or “full skirt” design toilets) are also easier to keep clean than non-skirted ones (or those in the shape of a goblet).  You don’t have to worry about grimes building up at the bottom of a toilet bowl because this one has a curve-less shape, thus easier to scrub too!

7.  There’s something for everyone at American Standard, with top-class to mid-range products available to choose from.

We were next given a preview of the Luxe and Style collection of water closets and fittings by American Standard.  Each collection in Luxe and Style  is distinct and, as you will see later, their aesthetics and function are their biggest selling points.

After enjoying our sumptuous lunch and learning a lot about American Standard, we prepared for a tour of their showroom in Wilcon Depot, their exclusive distributor here in the Philippines.  We had a group picture taken before heading there, and I felt starstruck standing next to Camille of The Soshal Network haha!

P1210788_b

The ultimate one-stop shop for all your construction needs:  Wilcon Depot!

P1210795_b

The Bathroom Tour at American Standard Showroom:

P1210803_b

P1210811_b

P1210909_b

I found myself examining closely the toilet bowls and wash basins on display - something I’ve never done before - thanks to the new information I learned during the presentation of American Standard products.

By developing toilet bowls with 3 to 5 liters flush volume (from the previous 6 liters in their older models) and dual flush feature, American Standard minimized its environmental impact in form of reduced water wastage.  The smaller flush volume also means the tank will fill up fast, so kung ikaw na ang susunod na gagamit ng banyo, you have nothing to worry about at all hehe!

P1210956_b

Highlight of our tour:  seeing in person the newest bathroom collections of American Standard – the Luxe and Style Collection.   You can already tell from the name alone that these products will really upgrade your bathroom experience.     

The Acacia Collection.  Designed by Lixil’s design director, Khumtong Jansuwan, this collection was inspired by the emotional characteristics of the East and the natural sensibilities of Northern Europe.  Sleek lines, soft curves and geometric shapes are its design elements, which evoke an unspoiled look for the bathroom.

P1210844_b_text2

P1210850_b_text2

La Vita Collection.  Italian designer Ronen Joseph designed the La Vita collection for American Standard with nature in mind.  His objective is to create a natural-looking paradise inside your bathroom.  The toilet bowl and water basin are shaped like pebbles, have protective anti-bacterial glaze and are resistant to scrubbing and frequent use.  Sakto lang sa dream house ko diba, because that one’s going to be our future nest and everything in it has to be durable.

P1210843_b_textb

Ventuno Petite.  I love the “petite”-ness of this one too.  I immediately thought of my condo (which I am renting out) because it’s a studio-sized unit so the compact-shaped toilet is perfect.  But don’t be deceived by its size.  It’s packed with useful features like the anti-bacterial glaze that prevents the growth of bacteria and accumulation of odors.  It also has a soft close seat and cover so wala at all yung maingay na bagsak ng toilet seat and cover (and aren’t we all annoyed by that noise?).

P1210898_b_text2

Ideal Design Solutions (IDS).  If you are a sucker for minimalist but highly-functional designs, then you will love the IDS collection of American Standard designed by Achim Pohl and Tomas Feigl of Artefakt, “a German design company with an enviable reputation for product design”.  Their philosophy is “The ordinary should be beautiful” thus all their designs for American Standard showed a well-balanced approach to form and function.

P1210805_b_text

P1210971_c

That’s Camille (of The Soshal Network), me and Erlaine (of Glammamomma) trying out the different variants of the IDS (Clear, Dynamic and Natural).  Each has its own distinct style and personality.  I was sitting on the IDS Dynamic here which has the comfiest seat.  Perfect for reading books while doing my business in the CR haha!

Activa Collection..  The team of Pohl and Feigl also designed the Activa Collection Suite; offering a balance of subtle curves, soft squares and ovals for a modern and spacious-looking bathroom collection.  It’s slightly more compact than the IDS collection so it’s perfect for a condo or townhouse.

P1210966_b_text2

My verdict

The Luxe collection of American Standard are all in the high-ranged price level, with the Activa toilet being the “entry level” product with a P24,199.00 price tag.  The most expensive is the IDS Dynamic toilet (yung favorite ko) which is priced at P48,699.00.   All toilet products are made of 100% ceramic, so hindi na ako nagtataka sa price tag.  It’s like investing in lots of Llandro ceramic figurines.

If function and comfort are my only deciding points (kunwari, money is no object hehe), then the IDS Dynamic is my choice.  This design marries my need for a comfortable toilet seat that’s durable and minimizes environmental and health impact in the long-run.  My second choice is the Acacia, because it’s simple in design but has all the “green” technology features of American Standard.

In terms of design naman, I am torn between IDS Dynamic and Ventuno Petite.  The boxy shape of the Ventuno Petite also appeals to me, mainly because it’s structure looks more like a chair than a toilet!

As to price / affordability, Acacia is slightly more expensive than Activa, but definitely less expensive than the IDS Dynamic.  I still prefer it (over Activa) in terms of design and function.

What about you?  Which is your style, your way?

Elegance is Timeless with American Standard’s Luxe and Style Promo!

For a minimum purchase worth P30,000.00 of any of the water closets and fittings from Acacia, La Vita, Ventuno, IDS and Activa, all of which are part of the American Standard Luxury Collection, you get a raffle stub that will give you a chance to be one of the winners of a Lucerne Gift Certificate worth P200,000 each.   Each gift certificate may be used to buy the luxury watch of your choice from Lucerne’s branches at Glorietta 4, Shangri-La Plaza Mall or Ayala Center Cebu.

The Luxe and Style promotion is available in all branches of Wilcon Depot and Wilcon Home Essential stores nationwide and will run from July 12 to October 3, 2014 only.

Visit the American Standard showrooms now at Wilcon Depot and Wilcon Home Essential stores to personally view and experience American Standard products and to participate in this limited time promo!

American Standard  |  www.americanstandard.com.ph  |  facebook.com/AmericanStandard.PHI

 

Uber On!

The Uber car has my best friend this past few weeks.  You see, we have sold AJ’s 20-year old car and bought a new one as replacement but it is just taking too long to be released to us so we resorted to commuting - the Uber way.

But Uber Manila (which I first featured here) has spoiled me so much that it has now become a habit of mine to guess what kind of Uber car will pick me up in the morning: an Altis, Vios, Montero, Innova or Fortuner?   Napapatingin na nga yung mga guards sa office namin because I “bring” a new car almost every day, with matching driver pa who opens the door for me hehe!

uber01

Compared to when I first tried the Uber service last March, I find it much easier now to request for an Uber car.  That’s because there are more Uber cars now than before, which can only mean that Uber Manila is really growing!  Hooray for that!

More cars = Less competition (for us Uber riders) = Less surge pricing.

You may wonder, what’s “surge pricing“?  You see, when the demand for an Uber car is so high (for example, 3 passengers requested for an Uber car all at the same time), Uber will pick the passenger who’s willing to pay more for the ride than the others.  Simply put, the demand for the car raises its price high, thus the surge pricing.  Simple economics, right?

I’ve accepted this surge pricing option twice last week when it rained so hard (post-Glenda) and getting a cab was next to impossible.  It’s in times like this that I appreciate Uber’s service because an Uber car will not turn down a ride.  Once the driver has confirmed and is en route, may kontrata na kayo.  You most definitely won’t get this kind of service in a taxi. especially with such a bad weather.

I also discovered that I can actually have someone “fetched” by an Uber by changing my location and pinning it to where the passenger is. I first tried it with my brother Dino who arrived from Cebu last week.  I had an Uber car pick him from the airport.

How did I do it?

I checked the map to see if there’s an Uber car near NAIA 2.  Luckily I found one, so I set the pick-up location to NAIA 2 and then pressed the “Request Black Car” button.  To be sure, I called the driver assigned to me and told him that his passenger is my brother.  I gave him the exact location at the airport where he’ll be picked up.

After relaying the info to my brother, and told him that the Uber car will be there under 10 minutes, binulaga nya ako with this text:  “Okay, pero hindi pa k’me pinapalabas ng plane.”  Nakow!

It’s a good thing there’s a 10-minute waiting time for Uber passengers (after which your ride will be cancelled, sorry!) and this gave my brother enough time to run to the exit door hehe!

Sulit naman daw ang pagtakbo nya, hehe!  Here’s his say about his first Uber ride:

uber04

AJ too became a regular Uber rider.  As we have no problem requesting for an Uber car from Makati, it became his regular ride going to The Fort, where he works.  Actual fare ranges from P140.00 to P170.00, depending on the traffic.  AJ said that in a regular taxi, his  fare averages to P150.00, including tip to the driver.

uber_05

I believe that the extra premium we pay for Uber’s service is acceptable, considering that we ride in a brand-new car and we are at the hand of a careful driver.

I also noticed that Uber drivers are not only courteous, but professional as well.  They know how to interact with their passengers, but not in an annoying or prying manner.  When they are not sure of the direction of the route, they will courteously ask you about it.

To those who are wondering, here’s how you can request an Uber car using your iPhone or Android:

Want a free Uber ride?  Let me give it to you!  Use my voucher code vla4z when you sign-up at UBER to get P300.00 FREE credit that you can use right away!

UBER  |  Instagram: @uber_manila  |  Twitter: @uber_manila  |  URL: https://www.uber.com/sign-up

 

Pylones and Cath Kidston Items at Daiso

I was at the Daiso / Saizen store in Glorietta earlier, and I couldn’t help but be amused at these items I found that reminded me so much of Pylones and Cath Kidston (hence, the title of this post hehe!).

Take for example these cleaning brushes in colorful floral design:

Jpeg

They reminded me so much of the multi-tool hammer (in black) which I spotted at Pylones Rockwell last year.

I saw the same “Pylones” effect in these mesh bags:

Jpeg

I stopped myself from hoarding these microfiber clothes with colorful stars:

Jpeg

But ang hirap magpigil because they look cunningly similar to Cath Kidston’s Shooting Stars design:

Shooting Star Hand Towels

Shooting Star Hand Towels

Now check out this book-shaped gift box, particularly the blue backdrop with little roses in flower-shaped outline:

Jpeg

Design is original daw o, but how come it looks very similar to Cath Kidston’s Provence Rose print:

Provence Rose Foldaway Shopping Bag

Provence Rose Foldaway Shopping Bag

Lastly, this hanging pocket organizer almost passed as another Cath Kidston knock-off:

Jpeg

It’s a good thing the roses in the Provence Rose (red) print doesn’t have diamond-shaped outlines!

411301

Provence Rose Stanley Mug

What can you say, ladies?  Is it Aye or Nay for these Daiso / Saizen products?   =)

 

Food Post: Nolita @ Bonifacio High Street

Random searching at Zomato Philippines led me to Nolita, a gourmet pizza place located at Bonifacio High Street.  The words “New York-style pizza” immediately caught my attention, because that means their pizzas must be are large and thin and crispy at the base.

P1210663_c

What we were not prepared for was the price.  Mahal sya ha!

P1210660_c

But the pizzas look inviting so gave them a try.

Pesto-Grilled Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato (P250.00 per slice).  Pikit-mata kong in-order ito because its price can already buy me 2 slices of pizzas and an order of french fries at S&R.  But I was curious to find out why it’s so freaking expensive, plus there’s only 1 slice of this available when we ordered so I figured that it must be that good.

P1210648_B

It turned out to be really good!  Real pesto sauce was used (the same sauce used in making pesto pasta) then topped generously with cheeses (I tasted 2 varieties here but totally forgot to ask what they are!), grilled chicken and sun-dried tomatoes.  The pizza base was baked well but not that crispy as I expected it to be.  However, I appreciated that there were no burnt parts because I dislike eating those in a pizza crust.  Pwede na for P250.00.

Cheeseburger (P210.00 per slice).  This was AJ’s order.  Compared to the Pesto-Grilled Chicken / Sun-Dried Tomato pizza, this one lacked oomph.  The chunky burger bites tasted so-so.  Better skip this one.

P1210645_b

We also ordered their Honey Garlic Buffalo Wings (P330.00), which were served hot and tasted okay.  But for the price of P330.00, I can already have a dozen-size order at Wingman or Frankie’s.

P1210669_b

Sorry but I wasn’t overall impressed with the food at Nolita.  The P200++ price tag for a pizza slice is too much.  For P400.00, we can order this famous rolled-up pizza by Chef Chris at Recess:

May pizza ka na, may alfalfa sprouts and arugula leaves ka pa  =)  Now that’s an epicurean delight worthy of its price!

Nolita  |  UG/F, Bonifacio High Street Central, West Superblock, 7th Avenue Corner 29th St S, Taguig