Love Love Tulisan Indonesia

I’m having some kind of Cath Kidston withdrawal.  Proof?  I haven’t been stalking their website for 3 weeks already haha!

It used to be that I check the Cath Kidston website every week, not exactly looking for something to buy but just to window shop. Big thanks to my Cath Kidston sisters – Mother E and Diane, I was able to build up my Cath Kidston collection that fast because pool our orders together and buy when there’s a sale.

Lately it’s all about Tulisan.  If you didn’t know it yet, I am a big fan of Tulisan bags and accessories too (check out my Tulisan collection here, here and here).  I like to call this the Asian version of Cath Kidston because of their colorful illustration designs, not to mention the very roomy bags and functional travel accessories.  Oh, they have the cutest home and stationery products too!

The nice thing about Tulisan is that they come up with these limited edition illustration designs from time to time – mostly on themes about dreams, hope and love.  Because each illustration is detailed and spontaneous, you’ll think that there’s really some storytelling going on in your bag, note card, cushion cover or make-up kit!

Check out some of the illustration designs that Tulisan has launched in the past months; they are all so pretty and very original.  Really, somebody should bring this brand to Manila – I’m sure it’ll be a big hit!

Librarian Tote (Story: Love Letters of Roro Mendut)

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Beach Bag (Story: The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung)

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Principia Tote (Story: The Royal Clover)

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Siesta Tote (Orange Tangerine)

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Luna Tote (Smokey Night)

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Portico Tote (Red Sangria)

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I love, love their cushion covers and Giclée prints too.

Barn Owl from the Anima Series

JOU_150406_CUSHIONCOVER_2Fuchsia Fantasia

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Giclee impression - The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung

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Pink

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Les Papillons de Victor

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Red

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More about Tulisan at http://www.tulisan.com/id/

To shop online, click HERE.

Flower Bouquet Cupcakes

Just sharing with you these gorgeous-looking and super yummy caramel cupcakes I ordered from Blue Toque for my mom last Sunday, in celebration of Mother’s Day.  It was the design that really caught my attention – lovely blooms in orange peach and green – making these floral cupcakes look like a bouquet when arranged in a plate.

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I’ve had my share of disappointing cupcakes which looked really delicious because of the pretty frosting or buttercream decoration on top, only to reveal a store-bought cupcake.  This one from Blue Toque reminded me so much of my favorite caramel cake from Estrel’s.  The cupcake is light and fluffy, and the caramel frosting (between the cupcake and the buttercream icing) is not too rich nor too sweet.  Caramel goodness talaga.  The buttercream icing itself is not too sweet, either.

I couldn’t help but take lots of pictures of the flower cupcakes before I gave them to my mom, hehe!  Each one looked delicately made.

Here are more pictures of the pretty blooms, or rather, cupcakes from Blue Toque.  Enjoy!

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Visit their official website HERE to view more of their bespoke cakes and other home-made quality desserts.

No-Bake Summer Dessert Recipes with Lemon Square

The unforgiving summer heat has made it difficult for AJ to resume his baking experiments, which is sad because I do like to munch on his chocolate or butter cake after dinner to cap my evening.   And now that we are hitting 37-38 degrees Celsius this summer, I need cold sweets too + lots of water to keep my body from collapsing from the terrible heat.

With AJ’s baking activities temporarily put on hold, we are glad to find Lemon Square Inipit that we can use as substitute for sponge cakes that we love to have for dessert:

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Did you know that with these Lemon Square Cupcakes and Inipit, you can already whip up mean desserts that are not only easy to do, but which you can do using available products from your pantry?

My two (2) favorite desserts are the Banana Chocnut Trifle which I got from Yummy Magazine (July 2011 issue) and my personal creation, inspired by afternoon tea parties, which I like to call the Cold Tea Cake.

Here are the ingredients for these 2 easy dessert recipes:

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  • Lemon Square Inipit (custard flavour)
  • Lemon Square Cupcakes (cheese, mocha, and pandan flavors)
  • slices of banana
  • chopped Chocnut
  • strawberry jam (I used Clara Ole’s)
  • Arce Dairy’s vanilla ice cream
  • whipped cream (not in picture)

For the Banana Chocnut Trifle, I made use of Lemon Square Inipit custard cake sandwiches which were sliced into cubes.

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For the Cold Tea Cake, I made use of Lemon Square Cupcakes (in different flavors) which have to be “molded” to give it a “tea cake” appearance.  You can do this using a big polvoron mold.

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So easy, right?  Even kids can do this!

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The “molded” cupcake (leftmost side in the picture below) is now smaller with flattened top.

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Below are the steps to making the 2 yummy-licious desserts – with no baking required at all!

For the Banana Chocnut Trifle, simply assemble the ingredients in a mason glass.

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Start with the Lemon Square Inipit custard cake sandwiches (that were cut into cubes) as the cake base.

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Top with slices of banana, followed by a generous layer of Chocnut!

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Repeat until the mason glass is full, then top it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

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Next, prepare the Cold Tea Cake.  By the way, the reason why I have to compress the Cupcakes was because I’m going to use a champagne glass for this dessert.  Sosyal, diba?  Hehe!

Assemble the molded Cupcakes, slices of banana and strawberry jam (one on top of the other) in a champagne glass then cap it off with a fat layer of whipped cream.

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You instantly have an afternoon tea dessert (cake, strawberry jam, and whipped cream) served in a champagne glass.  It’s best served cold, so prepare it early and then keep it chilled before serving.

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These cold cake treats are perfect for parties too, and nothing could go wrong with a dessert offering that combines cake slices + Cupcakes + chocolates + fruits + ice cream! And don’t forget the presentation – because it matters!

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By serving your dessert in transparent mason or champagne glass, it looks highly pleasing, drawing your guests’ eyes in to the details and yes, nakaka-build up ng appetite!

I hope you give these recipes a try soon!

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Now, I’d like to see you whip up your own dessert creation, too, and show that there’s #NoLimitwithInipit!

From today, May 8, until May 29, 2015, I’m holding a “No Limit with Lemon Square Inipit” contest, and at stake are baking tools worth up to Php5,000 and Lemon Square products!

The mechanics* are fairly simple: Make your own Lemon Square Inipit dessert, post it in your blog (like I did), or on your social media site, and share the entry URL at blog.nuffnang.com.ph.

Deadline for submission of entries is on May 29, 2015.

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* Here are the details:

FOR BLOGGERS

  1. Create a dessert using Lemon Square’s soft, yummy, and fluffy Inipit cakes.
  2. Document how you created the dessert through photos or video.
  3. Share the dessert recipe on your blog.
  4. Include the message: “Sarap maging kid with Inipit” and hashtag: #NoLimitWithInipit in your blog post.
  5. Fill out the gravity form at Nuffnang.com (click HERE).

Five (5) winners will win a Baking Set worth Php5,000 each and Lemon Square products!

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria

  • 50% – Uniqueness of Recipe
  • 40% – Dessert Presentation
  • 10% – Blog Post Story

FOR ACTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA USERS

  1. Create a dessert using Lemon Square’s soft, yummy, and fluffy Inipit cakes.
  2. Take a photo of your finished product.
  3. Share the photo on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts.
  4. Describe your dessert in the caption, and include the hashtag: #NoLimitWithInipit.
  5. Remember to make your accounts public!
  6. Fill out the gravity form at Nuffnang.com (click HERE).

Ten (10) winners will win Baking Tools worth Php2,000 each and Lemon Square products!

Entries will be judged based on the following criteria

  • 50% – Dessert Presentation
  • 40% – Photo Quality
  • 10% – Caption

Bag Crush: Mansur Gavriel

I can’t even begin to tell you how bad I wanted to own a Mansur Gavriel.  The Bag Hag blogged about it in January this year, and it was love at first sight (again!) for me.

It was the description “very light” that made me take interest in their bags – particularly the tote bag which is simple in design but has very fine structure.  Investing in good leather bag/s is always a good choice, ladies and as much as I wanted to buy myself one, I find their weight a bit heavy and that’s what been holding me back (from buying).  That’s also the reason why I prefer  Cath Kidston bags over the others right now: they’re lightweight, water-proof and are very easy to clean.

I learned that Mansur Gavriel bags are made of vegetable tanned leather, and for this alone it is worth buying already.  Why? Here are interesting facts you should know about vegetable tanned leather (from BillAmberg.com):

  • Vegetable tanning is environmentally friendly; meaning any leather products that have been vegetable tanned can be recycled.
  • Vegetable tanning is an age old tradition, so most tanneries have very skilled craftsmen producing and dyeing the leather.
  • Due to the natural tannins used, vegetable tanned products are unique and have their own life, they are not the same for their entire life, but they change, continuously, for the better developing a patina over time.
  • The colours that vegetable tanning produces are rich and warm tones that look completely natural.
  • Vegetable tanned leathers are more valuable and thus sold at a higher average price compared to chrome tanned leathers.

Now the thing about Mansur Gavriel’s vegetable tanned leather handbags is that they are surprisingly affordable.  The smallest size-bag will set you back at around Php 20,000, which is reasonable considering its leather quality that is guaranteed to last a lifetime.  And it is no doubt cheaper than luxury bags like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci and others.

So far, I’ve not had any success in ordering one online.  All the bags are SOLD OUT, but I read that they are restocking this month so there’s hope for me pa hehe!  I am eyeing 3 bags to choose from, all of which are in small sizes:

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From left to right:  Small Tote (Brandy) – $425.00, Mini Backpack Canvas (Black) – $525.00 and Mini Bucket Bag in calf leather (Flamma) – $475.00

There’s this interesting story about how the Mansur Gavriel brand was born.  I highly encourage you to read it because their success story was built on “making things that they love” and doing it at a comfortable pace.  Beware though, because after reading it you too will want to have your hands on their bags.

And that’s where frustration kicks in because the waiting list is insane!

Wanna stalk the coveted Mansur Gavriel bags and shop as soon as one becomes one available? Bookmark their official website / online shop now at http://www.mansurgavriel.com/

Good luck ladies!

Blue Sapphire: A Gemstone of Love

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From the Diamond-Jewelry-Pedia:

“The “Celestial” Sapphire – symbol of the heavens, is said to guarantee good health, innocence, truth, and preserver of chastity. It is the birthstone of September and its name is derived from the Latin word “Sapphirus” meaning blue.

This gem has been known since the ancient times. There was a belief that Earth is set on this gemstone, because of which sky is blue. The ancient Egyptians associated this stone with the ‘eye of Horas’ (the eye in the sky).

It has been popular since the middle ages and, according to folklore, it was believed to protect loved ones from envy and harm. Favorite among priests and kings, this stone was considered as the symbol of wisdom and purity.

It also symbolizes the qualities required in a healthy relationship, like loyalty, faithfulness, truth, sincerity, constancy and reliability. Therefore, it signifies long term relationships, while representing attributes like – sincerity and faithfulness.”

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Now that we know the symbolism behind the beautiful blue sapphire, it’s no surprise that this coveted gemstone has become popular in betrothal rings.  Aside from having a striking blue color (its hue ranges from royal blue to indigo to cornflower blue), blue sapphire also comes second to diamond in terms of hardness (yes, it’s scratch-free!).  If you are looking for a family heirloom jewelry to invest in but do not want it to be in pure  diamonds, blue sapphire is your next best choice.

And to make it more special, The Bright Spot combined the elegant and traditional design of Princess Diana and Duchess Catherine’s popular engagement ring (with 12-carat oval blue Celyon sapphire in the middle) and the opulence of Titanic’s Heart of the Ocean with this design:

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The total carat weight of the 3 blue sapphires is 19.15 cts.  Genuine diamonds surround these heart-shaped blue gems set in 14k white gold, further enhancing its heavenly hue.

All jewelry pieces are custom-made.  We use 14k Philippine gold and high-quality gemstones sourced from all over Asia.

For price inquiries, email me at dbrightspot@gmail.com.

Taal Vista Hotel

I’ve been reading lots of good feedback about Taal Vista Hotel, so to celebrate AJ’s birthday last week, I booked us a weekend stay here.

Thankfully, traffic was not so bad that Saturday morning.  We left Makati at 11 (without any breakfast!) and was at the hotel at exactly 1:30 p.m.  We were supposed to have lunch first at Josephine’s before checking in at Taal Vista but their waiting line was insane!  Eh mainit na rin sa labas so instead of looking at other places to eat, we checked in at the hotel na and had our lunch instead at Cafe Veranda – Taal Vista Hotel’s main restaurant.

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Their weekend buffet lunch (priced at P1,212 per head) was a mix of Filipino and International cuisine. I especially enjoyed the fresh lumpia, chicken inasal, the tenderest roast beef pochero and paella rice!  I forgot to take pictures, though.  Famished na kse kaya deretso kain na hehe!

When we checked into our room, AJ was surprised to find this, hihi!

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I availed of their Superior Room Package (Mountain View), priced at P8,500.00 and already includes buffet breakfast for 2.

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The Superior Room (King).

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Picture from Taal Vista Hotel’s official website.

The hallway.  Big windows, lots of natural light.

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We spent the afternoon relaxing and strolling around the Ridge, which is popular for its “most perfect” view of Taal Volcano.

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If you want a better view of the Taal Lake, the Lake View building of the hotel can afford you that.  The rooms there are pricier, though.

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By late afternoon, the Ridge was teeming with guests and visitors of the hotel enjoying the cold wind chills that begin to set in.

Another equally attractive spot is the Magnolia Pavillion, also overlooking the Taal Lake and designed in Tudor-style architecture.  Much of the hotel (then called Taal Vista Lodge) was reconstructed in 2002, after it was acquired by SM Investments Corporation.  However, its original style was retained, thus preserving Taal Lodge Hotel’s glorious and historical past.

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Taal Vista Lodge in its original grandeur (picture from Inquirer.net)

The gable with framed woods design is the architectural element that defines Taal Vista Lodge, now Taal Vista Hotel.

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Notice the white projector screen outside the pavilion?  Every weekend starting this month until May 31, outdoor movies will be shown in tandem with the barbecue dinner buffet set being offered by Taal Vista Hotel.  They showed “Maleficent” on the night we were there.

At first I thought the dome-shaped “clay pot” in the middle of the pretty bougainvillea pocket flowers was too big, until the night sets in and it lit up – revealing a big lamp with warm, soft glow.  There are several of these lined up in the Ridge.

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The sight at night was magical and romantic.

Dinner was at Taza Fresh Table, a newly-opened restaurant just beside Magnolia Pavilion. It was inspired by the “farm-to-table” restaurant concept.  Locally grown and organic products were sourced for the menu, so the food tastes fresher and more delicious!

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Since hindi pa k’me fully recovered from our buffet lunch (that ended at 3 p.m.) AJ and I decided on a “light” dinner and shared on the following:

Spinach with Bacon Jam, served with Flat Breads (Php 200.00).  Anybody here knows where can I buy a bacon jam (or how to make one)?  Ang sarap eh!

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Four Cheese Pizza (Php 395.00).  The combination of locally-produced cheeses like Laguna kesong puti, Pato quezo de bola, Laguna mozarella and homemade ricotta in a pizza is like having an all-star cast in a movie.  It was so good, and so worth the price.  I usually sprinkle some chili flakes over a four cheese pizza, but for this one, I skipped the chili flakes because I wanted to savor each of the cheese kind in my pizza.

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We chose a pasta dish to go with the pizza and decided on this Mushroom and Spinach Matagliati (Php 390.00).  The main ingredients are the wonderful trio of Tagaytay mushrooms: oyster, shiitake and button mushrooms. The fact that it was cooked in truffle oil made it a winning choice for us.  Like the other dishes we had, we found this superb.  Oh, mukhang maliit sya in picture but it’s good for sharing.

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The restaurant’s Manager (a nice lady whose name I failed to write down) suggested that we try their Bignay Fizz (Php 395.00 per glass), a champagne fizz infused with dried bignay tree bark –  said to have potent health benefits.  It tastes good but too pricey for me.  You can already order an additional pasta or pizza with its price.

After-dinner tea was at the Lobby Lounge.  They serve TWG teas.

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There was a high school prom going on that night so naging entertainment ko ang mag-rate ng gowns nila.

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Taal Vista Hotel’s breakfast buffet, as expected, was a hit among the guests.  Cafe Veranda was still full at 9:00 a.m. but the hotel staff were ever efficient and courteous, we didn’t mind waiting (and we waited only a little) for available seats.

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Weekend naman eh, so I rewarded myself with bacon hehe!

After breakfast, AJ and I checked out more of Taal Vista Hotel’s surroundings and found that there’s so much to see there pala.

There’s a swimming pool just outside the Mountain View (where we stayed).

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A cake shop inside the hotel, near the main lobby.

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There’s a Kultura shop too, also inside the hotel.

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More souvenirs and local produce for sale at these kiosks along the Ridge (leftmost side from the Magnolia Pavillion).  Not sure though if they are a permanent feature there, or just a weekend market.

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AJ and I are used to exploring different places in Tagaytay whenever we are there (check out the travel stories from our last trip), but the charm of Taal Vista Hotel won us, and we didn’t want to leave.  We knew that our travel plans that weekend have changed after stepping into the hotel’s lobby and enjoying our welcome drinks.  It was a true staycation bliss, enjoyed right in the heart of Tagaytay.

http://www.taalvistahotel.com/

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  All images appearing here are my personal photos, unless stated otherwise.  Attribution is required if you want to re-publish or re-blog my photos, for personal or commercial use.  Link to the blog post where the photo is featured is strictly required.   Thank you.

Maleficent’s Fire

The green fire of Maleficent inspired the creation of this jewelry setting using beautiful Biron emeralds (check out my first emerald jewelry feature HERE).

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The idea was to create a jewelry setting inspired by Maleficent (Angelina Jolie’s version).  It has to display power, fierce, drama and flamboyance – Maleficent’s defining characteristics.  Big Biron emeralds were used, to represent the powerful green fire she emits every time she cast a spell.  The jewelry setting should be elaborate, but must not overshadow the gemstone one bit.

My jeweler partner and I came up with this design, showing 2 thin diamond-encrusted gold bands “guarding” the emerald in the middle – the same way that Maleficent fiercely guarded the Moors from the greed of humans.

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The earrings come with detachable jackets, in case you want to wear the emeralds separately.

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All jewelry pieces are custom-made.  We use 14k Philippine gold and high-quality gemstones sourced from all over Asia.

For price inquiries, email me at dbrightspot@gmail.com.

Beatles Fan Alert!

Don’t miss out on these limited edition Hallmark cards that feature the famous lyrics of Lennon-McCartney, the song-writing duo behind the biggest band in the world: The Beatles.

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I found them by chance at National Bookstore (SM Mall of Asia branch) 2 weeks ago while looking for a birthday card.  There are 6 designs available (at least at this National Bookstore branch), and more than the bright and happy colors of the cards, it’s the typography and the words chosen for each that I find fascinating.

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I just wished there’s a card saying “It’s been a hard day’s night” because aside from being one of my favorite Beatles songs, it also sums up my state of mind nowadays hehe!

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Of the 6 cards, my favorite is the one with the lyrics “The Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away” in front because it very much mirrors the psychedelic culture of the late 60’s – the era I believe I am stuck in.  It was also in the late 60’s where the critically-acclaimed Beatles album Magical Mystery Tour was released.  This is my 2nd favorite Beatles album (the first being “Revolver”), and it contains my ultimate favorite Beatles song ever – “I Am The Walrus”.

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“I Am The Walrus” is also the reason why I fell in love with the 90’s Britpop band, Oasis (a die-hard fan here!).  I heard their live interpretation of the song in ’95 and it was effing great!  IMO, no band has come close to the Beatles except Oasis.  No looking back in anger here, even though they canceled their Manila concert in 2002.

I really don’t have plans of using these greeting cards (you see, even the most mundane Beatles item is a collector’s item for me) but I’d like to have them framed someday.

Here are the 6 Beatles-themed Hallmark cards, which I lined up for better view of the designs:

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Each card is priced at Php 37.50.  Available at all National Bookstore branches.