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Happy Birthday Mama~In Heaven

Monday, May 2, 2016

It's my mom's birthday today. She would have been 51. I can't believe it has been 2 years since she's gone. 
I still remember the last time I held her hands..they were pale and cold. Cancer has taken over her body. She was losing the fight. I asked her what she wanted to eat..she requested for lechon, fried rice, and cake for dessert. It was a 30 mins drive to the nearest bakery so I decided to get her ice cream instead. How I wish I bought her cake that day. 
She wanted me to take her to the beach...she loves to watch the sunset and feel the breeze. With her frail body, I refused to take her. I told her I will bring her next time when she's feeling better. It was a wishful thinking.
There was no way she's getting better. Cancer has spread all over her body and I knew her days were numbered but I still prayed for a miracle to happen. 
I wish you can just magically will for something to happen. Like close your eyes for a second and everything will be fine by the time you open it.
I deeply regret not telling her how much I love her. I was kind of stoic and definitely not the type to show affection to my parents. 
Now I'm just like one of those people who would cry on their parent's graves and tell them how sorry they were etc. Pretty pathetic huh?
If any of you still have your parents around, pls tell them you love them everyday. Spend time with them, cherish every moment with them. They won't be here forever. Make every moment count.

Lunch at Kuya J's

Saturday, April 23, 2016

I've been seeing Kuya J's commercial for some time now and I often wondered about their food. They only got a few branches around the metro so I had to Google a branch near me.

The nearest branch that I can find is the one in Waltermart Makati so we headed there for lunch.

We ordered Sisig, crabmeat fried rice, chopsuey, tokwa't baboy and mango cheesecake for dessert.

Tokwa't baboy

Their tokwa't baboy is to die for!

Sizzling sisig
Sisig was also good, though I wish it was made crispier.

Crabmeat fried rice

Crabmeat fried rice was good too and the serving size is quite big.


Chopsuey has this buttery taste that I really didn't like but it was okay. 

Iced tea pitcher

Their Iced tea was quite good although I wish it was served freezing cold.

Mangga cheesecake

Mangga cheesecake was too sweet and had too much syrup. I didn't like it.

Kuya J's has both hits and misses just like any other restaurant. Will I go back there? Definitely!

In case you were wondering about the price, it was very affordable and good value for your money.

Sisig - 190 php
Tokwa't baboy - 190
Chopsuey - 155
Crab rice - 175
Iced tea pitcher - 120
Mangga cheesecake - 260 (2pcs)
Total was only 1,090 

Zahra Persia Grill House

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Craving for some Mideastern food? If you happen to be in Makati, don't miss the chance to check out this little gem of a place called Zahra Persia Grill House. 

We happen to pass by this place and since we were craving for some shawarma, we decided to give it a try. 

I ordered their Chicken Shawarma with cheese for only 88 pesos. 

It was actually good. I ordered another one to take home with me. 

Their interior is nice and cozy. Their food prices are affordable. I'd definitely order from them again. Lucky for me, they deliver around Makati through foodpanda.ph.

If you want to check them out, they are located at Ground floor, Makati Executive Tower 3, Gil Puyat Ave. Makati City.

What to do if your Partner is Cheating Online

Monday, January 4, 2016

Online cheating is when your boyfriend or spouse is having virtual affairs that include sexting, flirtations, or exchanges of racy photos without having a physical affair.

Here's a friend's account on her bf's online cheating:

I'm quite certain that my bf is doing the exact same thing on Facebook. First of all, I didn't know he was active on Facebook until he sent me a screenshot of a website we were talking about. I didn't notice it right away. There on his notifications panel was a facebook icon indicating he has a chat message. And at the right part of the screen is a profile photo of a girl wearing something sexy. Ugh!

What to do

So what do you do when you've noticed all signs of an online affair? Would you confront him and ask him to come clean? What if he denies it? Or what if he admits it? Then what?
Is online cheating a deal breaker in a relationship? For me, trust is very important in a relationship. Even if the guy came clean, the relationship will never be the same.
If your guy denies anything to do with online cheating yet your gut tells you otherwise, you should gather more evidence and confront him once again. It's probably for the better if you find out everything before you end up marrying him. Him looking for someone else online indicates that something is lacking in your relationship.
But if you think you are doing everything you can, then maybe it's not your fault he cheated. Some people are just born cheaters. There's nothing you can do about it. Time to move on..

Grow Tomato in a Pot

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Living in the city and a wannabe farmer at the same time? Yeah, that's me. I love plants but I'm not sure if plants love me. I bought several potted plants over the years but they never seem to last in my condo's balcony.

They would die within a month even if I provide ample water and sunlight. Just a month ago I have this beautiful potted daisy and thought it's going to live but oh boy..it only lasted 2 weeks. A caterpillar ate the leaves till nothing was left. I removed one and I thought that's about it. I didn't notice right away that there were 2 of them till it's too late.

I read about planting tomatoes in pots and it seemed pretty easy to do so I tried it. I didn't even need to use seedlings. I used tomato seeds fresh from the tomato fruit. It only took 3 days to germinate. And here it is now at 3 weeks. 😃

Early Morning Walk at Roxas Boulevard

I would like to start the new year with new habits. Every Sunday morning, I would make it a habit to take a walk either in Luneta or Roxas boulevard.
I woke up early today and took a cab to Malate. Dropped by Malate church to attend a morning mass then proceeded to walk towards Roxas Boulevard.

The weather was kinda gloomy but the temperature is pleasant enough for a morning walk. 

There was a man feeding pigeons at the plaza and some locals taking a morning walk.
Half of Roxas blvd. was closed for a Sunday Fun Run. When I got there, there's a handful of participants running already.

Fun Run @Roxas Blvd.

Want a massage? These kitties are offering their services (well uhm..after they are done with their cat nap). 😃

Manila bay in the morning...

Why your Locked Luggage is not Safe Against Thieves or Laglag Bala Scam

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nowadays, getting a lock for your luggage is not enough to deter thieves or laglag bala scammers from tampering with your stuff. This guy demonstrates how easy it is to open your luggage's zipper. Using this technique, it's ridiculously easy to steal your belongings or worse, place a bullet or drugs inside.

Scary huh? All they need is a pen to open your luggage.

Scams in the Philippines

Saturday, November 14, 2015

This is kinda related to my "laglag bala" scam post earlier. Though there are lots of scams around the world, since I am from the Philippines and I am sick and tired of what's going on with this country, let me enumerate the scams here that I've experienced or that I have heard of. I'm not doing this to make my country look bad but something for us Filipinos to reflect on.

1. Laglag Bala Scam

Airport personnel planting bullets on people's luggage. How do we justify this act? Whenever pinoys hear of other kababayans doing some scamming, they automatically blame it on poverty. In this case, is poverty to blame? These airport personnels are earning decent wages (maybe not enough for a super comfy living but decent enough to be able to live).
Let's take an example with airport porters..they earn basic salary plus tips from travelers. I myself give them like 100-200 pesos tip whenever they help me with my luggage. Let's say they helped 20 travelers a day and earns 100 pesos tip per traveler..that's 2,000 pesos worth of tip a day already. Even with just an average of 50 pesos per traveler can earn them 1,000 pesos a day! Why do they need to plant bullets for? Simple. Most are greedy bastards who probably have gambling or womanizing problem or in case of women, they probably like to show off and look sosyal in front of their friends or whatever.

I'm not singling out airport porters. It could be airport security too, or those at the scanner section. They are all earning decent wages and if budgeted properly, they can still survive. They resort to scamming because they are plain greedy and it's easy money for them.

2. Pyramid Scams

Pyramid scam is one of the most common scams in the Philippines. It differs from network marketing. While network marketing is a legitimate form of business wherein members earn from products sold , pyramiding recruits people and charge them a registration fee and then the members are ordered to recruit someone and recoup their investment through the registration fees of their recruits. What if you don't know anyone who is willing to pay that "fee"? Then say goodbye to your investment.
Stay away from these get rich quick schemes and do a lot of research before you invest into something. I know it's common sense. But how come lots of people still get victimized even after much publicized pyramiding scandals all over Philippines? Greed.

3. Online Romance Scam

This mostly targets foreign men and occasional Filipino men living and working abroad. This isn't exclusive to Philippines only. It happens around the world but since this is about Philippines, let me tell you how it works here. 
You've probably been to an internet cafe (they are all over) and have seen Pinays chatting online with foreigners. You'll see some of them with multiple chat windows and all calling them "honey", "babe" etc. These women chat with multiple men, tells them sob stories and get them to send her money. Pretty common scam. And yes, its not just women scamming these poor guys. You will also see transgenders doing it. And heck yeah, some can look pretty convincing (maybe even better looking than some real girls). 
Most of these scammers think that foreign men are rich and scamming them won't really hurt them financially. Just so you know, not all foreigners are rich. Some may even have bigger debts than us. They may earn more than average Filipinos but their cost of living is way more than ours. 
But also, not all Filipinas are into that scam. Only a small percentage does that. Most of us are proud women who likes to be successful career wise and frown on those who does the unthinkable. And no, not everyone are looking for foreign men. 

4. Real Estate Scam

Again, it also happens around the world. (Source: http://www.lamudi.com.ph/)

The Out of the Country Scam

In this common scam, the prospective landlord or current owner says they are out of the country and unable to show you the property before you sign the lease or contract. They usually promise to send you the keys in the mail once the deposit has been paid in advance.

Title Fraud

This type of property fraud can be extremely devastating. Essentially it is a form of identity theft in which the scammer poses as the homeowner and uses fake documents to transfer the property into his or her name. They then get a new mortgage against the property, take the cash for themselves and leave the homeowner liable for the repayments.

Information Brokerage

This is a scam involving two real estate agents colluding to increase their respective commission fee once the property has been bought. An example of this is one agent representing the buyer and another representing the seller. In this setup, the owner and the buyer do not know that they are dealing with two different brokers since they are not introduced. This will create a scenario where there are two agents in-between the transaction and this would result in distorting the value of the property since the commission will be shared by the agents.

This practice is a clear violation of the Code of Ethics and Responsibilities for Real Estate Service Practitioners. Buyer and sellers must be able to tap trustworthy brokers who will protect their interests and would not deceive them.

5. Spiked Drinks Scam

Some criminals add knockout or ‘date rape’ drugs (known locally as Ativan) to drinks or food to subdue and rob their victims. It is best not to accept food, drink or rides in private vehicles from strangers, even if they appear legitimate. 

6. Phone scams

This scam mostly targets the local Pinoys with house helpers. 

The perpetrator makes a telephone call usually to a the victim’s home and tells the person answering (usually a member of the domestic staff) that the resident or resident’s guest has been involved in an accident. The caller says the resident or guest is in distress and that money is immediately needed for the urgent medical treatment. (Sometimes the reasons for the immediate need of money vary, e.g. to pay off somebody so the media doesn’t get involved.)

The caller advises the staff member to leave the telephone off the hook, search the house for money or valuables such as jewelry, and take it to a rendezvous point.

Domestic staff should be warned about this type of scam. They should be trained not to comply with such demands and given advice about what to do if called.

As a Filipino, how do we help put a stop to these scams?

Is Laglag Bala Distracting Pinoys from Bigger Issues?

Photo by: Interact Images

You've all probably heard about the "laglag bala" incidents in NAIA. I have been traveling a lot these past few years in and out of the country with my family and never had a problem with "laglag bala" scam. Have we just been lucky? How long has this scam been going on? It seems like each week, there are new victims.

Airport workers are allegedly been planting bullets in unsuspecting traveler's luggage and extorting ridiculous amount of money from them in order to avoid jail time. Most victims just give in and pay them bribe money to avoid serious hassle. If I were them, I would secretly record my conversation with the airport personnel, never touch the bullet, and demand for it to be fingerprinted. And yes, call my lawyer, get the names of those people asking for money, maybe even take a photo of them, and call a journalist friend to feature them in the newspaper. These crooks should be publicly shamed! Don't pay them the bribe money and don't let them intimidate you coz if you do, you are just enabling them to victimize more people.

But considering the amount of bail for illegal possession of ammunition (Php 150,000), I guess most victims would rather just pay them the bribe money they are demanding which is $500-$1,000 (depends on your haggling skills) instead of dealing with all the hassle like missed flights, non-refundable hotel charges and tour packages, lawyer's fee, bail money, and etc.

Some have been saying that this "laglag bala" scam is just being used to distract Pinoys from more important issues like the massacre of the Lumads in Mindanao, PDAF, INC scandal, and etc. But what about the "luggage wrapping" companies at the airport? Lol. They are the ones who benefit from this issue the most. Heck, maybe I should franchise one too!

But it does make me think, with all the media coverage that the airport is getting right now, why haven't they stopped? It seems like the more media coverage they get, the more people become victims of this scam. I feel for the Lumads who were not getting the media attention they deserve considering the seriousness of their problem right now.

So what's the solution? I don't know...maybe fly through Clark airport instead? If only they have more international flights like NAIA! I think the best thing to do right now is avoid bringing luggage with outside pockets or if you do, make sure to wrap it up good before going to the airport and never let it out of your sight.

Are you a victim of laglag bala scam at NAIA? Share your experience in the comments section!

Most Dangerous Places in the Philippines for Foreigners

Monday, October 12, 2015

It's more fun in the Philippines--NOT ALL THE TIME! You are probably thinking of retiring here and wondering where to live. You've probably been here dozens of times and stayed for a month or two each time. Do you feel safe? Visiting is different from actually living here. As a tourist, your activities are limited and your knowledge of the area only revolves around what you actually experienced during your stay.

Crime against foreigners are increasing. Recently, news about kidnappings in Mindanao has alerted expats living in the Philippines. Just to get some ideas, here are the most dangerous places in the Philippines:

1. Zamboanga

Zamboanga city hall. Photo source: www.zamboanga.com

Zamboanga city is the 9th most dangerous city in the world according to the website www.destinationtips.com. After a series of abductions by terrorist groups, Zamboanga is regarded as the most dangerous place in the Philippines for locals and foreigners alike. Victim of kidnappings varies from foreign tourists, town Mayor, public school teachers, and etc. 

2. Cotabato

Cotabato city. Photo source: www.cotabatocity.net.ph

Just like Zamboanga, Cotabato is also considered extremely dangerous. From bombings to kidnappings, you wouldn't want to visit there. In 2013, a car bombing occurred in Cotabato city, killing 8 people and wounding 40 others.

3. Basilan

Lampinigan beach, Basilan. Photo source: www.rappler.com

If you want to keep your head up (literally), don't go to Basilan. Aside from kidnappings and bombings, Basilan is also known for the 2007 beheading of 11 members of the Philippine Marines.

4. Jolo

Jolo, Sulu. Photo source: www.waltokon.org

Just last May, there was a twin explosion near a Mosque that injured at least 18 people.

5. Davao del Norte

Samal Island. Photo source: www.samal-island.com

Davao city may be one of the safest places in the Philippines but its neighboring towns aren't as safe as you'd think. On May 2001, Abu Sayaff members attacked Pearl Farm and killed two employees. Just last September 21, two Canadian nationals, a Norwegian, and a Filipina were kidnapped from a fancy beach resort in Samal Island. 

6. Manila 

Manila. Photo source: www.boring.ph

We all know Manila is dangerous but compared to those places in Mindanao, it's actually safer. Opportunistic crimes here are common but easily avoidable if you take proper precautions. 

7. Angeles City

Fields Avenue. Photo source: www.theville.com

Known for its nightlife, male tourists flock here to have a good time. There has been a series of crimes against foreigners in this city ranging from robbery, carnapping, assault, and murder. Personally, I don't think this place is an ideal place to retire if you are a foreigner (particularly white) since the crime rate is increasing each year.

Crime against foreigners in the Philippines

Like other countries, there are hundreds of crimes committed each year against foreigners in the Philippines. From petty crimes to violent ones, there is really no surefire way to avoid them as each situation is unique. But if you plan on living here, here are some tips:
  • Do not live in a secluded area. If you are white, you will be a target no matter where you live. Living in a secluded area makes it easier for criminals to rob your home as there will be no neighbors to help you. Live in a secured guarded village or condominium. For me, condominiums are much safer.
  • Do not hire maids (if you can). Most crimes committed in a household here are by maids or their boyfriends as a way to "get rich quick". Even locals here are wary of hiring maids because of the increasing crime committed by them.
  • Do not tell anyone about your finances (even your girlfriend). 
  • Do not post too much information about yourself in the Social Media (for obvious reasons).
  • Keep your doors locked at all times and do not open your door when somebody you don't know knocks especially at night. A foreign retiree was stabbed in the stomach when he opened the door to check who was outside.
  • Do not join a drinking party with locals (unless they were your trusted friends).
  • Secure your bedroom door with a good deadbolt lock and keep it locked at night.
  • Do not walk in dark alleys. Avoid going out late at night. 
  • Only withdraw money from ATMs inside malls.
  • Do not be too friendly with locals. You are always seen as the "rich one" and some will attempt to borrow money from you. If you decide not to lend them money, they will hate you for it and you can be a target for crime.
  • Avoid dating younger women as you can be a victim of extortion. There are syndicates who use underage girls as baits. These girls will pretend to be of legal age and lure unsuspecting foreign men.

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Certified foodie. Crazy cat lady in training.