Monthly Archives: January 2011

LAST-MINUTE TRAVEL DEALS: HAWAII from $247 Roundtrip Air & 3 Nights Hotel – Travel 2/1 – 2/10/11

From $247 per person, fly roundtrip to Oahu and enjoy a 3-night stay at Castle Ocean Resort Hotel or $273 for air and 3 nights at Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. Deals valid for travel between Los Angeles and Oahu or San Francisco and Oahu. See below for routes and dates with most availability.

MUST CALL TO BOOK: 1-888-786-9841

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Posted by on 01/31/2011 in Travel


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Enjoy Hawaii Even on a Tight Budget

(Re posted for those who will avail of the deal above)

Last December, my family of four spent four-day vacation in the island of Oahu. I initially had second thoughts of going  due to our present financial situation; taking a vacation is the farthest thing in my mind. But how can you passed up a deal of $1,400 for a family of four that includes plane, hotel and taxes? Also,  it’s been a long while since my family had went altogether for a trip. It was, in fact way back August 2005 when we drove and visited friends in Canada.

We left on Thursday morning and decided to fly-and-park nearby LAX which costs us $40. After an hour flight delay Via United, we landed in Honolulu at 1:30 pm. We proceeded to pick up our rental car from Budget that costs us $85 for the entire stay and unlimited mileage. On our way to Castle Ocean Resort where we were booked, we passed by Costco. We bought some bread, milk, bottled water, etc. and enjoyed a late lunch at Max’s next to the store.

We found the room to be really nice with 2 queen beds and a bonus twin bed. It has a kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave oven, coffee maker, cook top and all pots, dishes and utensils. The room is on 8Th floor with a balcony where we can view the city. Our first night was spent strolling in Waikiki Beach which is about 5 minutes walk from our hotel. We saw Hawaii nightlife while walking down the International Marketplace.

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Posted by on 01/30/2011 in Blogs, Travel


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For the Love of Marilyn Monroe

A Canadian businessman paid somewhere around $20 to $30 million for the right to the late icon’s name and image. He plans to introduce a line of branded lingerie, handbags, jewelry and fragrances, and possibly a reality-TV show.

Although the actress is well-known around the world and with revenue of $4-$5 million last year, she still didn’t make it to Forbes’ Top 12 Earning Dead Celebrities.  Michael Jackson took the top spot with $275 million earnings, followed by Elvis Presley with $60 million.

Marilyn Monroe

“She’s the most iconic female personality in the world. She’s timeless”. She sure is. Who could forget that image of her standing on a subway grate as her dress is blown above her knees by a passing train; this said image I keep as one of my Iphone wallpapers. I also have an image of her face which I cross-stitched and framed. It now hangs by the headboard of my bedroom.

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Posted by on 01/29/2011 in Blogs, U. S. News


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I Love my Iphone

Are you one of the 90 million people who own an Iphone? Yeah, that’s right. That’s the number of people who had bought an Iphone since its launch in 2007. Although what I have now is still a hands-me-down 3GS from my son (who now owns a 4G), I’m still very happy about it. It already has everything I need with all the apps my son had downloaded on it.

Among my favorites are calendar, photos, camera, video recorder, weather, mail, ipod, radio and safari. It has lots of gaming apps although I only brain-stimulant games like Boggle, Fishtropolis, Textropolis and TanZen. Other games like FarmVille, Angry Birds and TapTap don’t appeal to a mature woman like me. (I don’t really want to divulge my age but my choices are giving it away, ha ha ha).

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Posted by on 01/28/2011 in Blogs


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I Hate Pine Trees

In the city where I live in, street sidewalks are lined with big, robust trees. Each street carries a different variety of tree. On the street where I live are 70 year old, robust pine trees. There are pine trees not only in the sidewalk but several more in my backyard. When I first moved in my house and saw these nice looking trees, I thought it was perfect. A few months passed and my feelings toward these trees turned around 360. Why? I realized how unfortunate it is being surrounded by them.

When it’s windy, dried needles is blown everywhere— the yard, roof, cars and even in the branches of other trees. It’s no joke sweeping all these dried needles. You can’t just leave them in the ground or else it will kill the grass. Another problem are the cones which could be as long as 8 inches and could weigh up to a pound. You could imagine how bad the dent could be when it falls on cars. And not to forget, the sap. My goodness, you should see the sap that had dropped and dried in my car. Forget about bringing it for a car wash, it can’t even be removed. What is more frightening? A neighbor told me that once a tree branch fell on a car and insurance company didn’t cover the damages.

Sure, it’s nice looking at snow-covered pine trees in parks, forests and mountains where I believe they should remain, but not in the street where I live in. Please….

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Posted by on 01/28/2011 in Blogs


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Carinderia Circa 50s

My beloved maternal grandmother, Engracia (RIP) was  well-known to be the carinderia-owner beside the church patio in Poblacion. In this carienderia, she served goto (beef-tripe noodle), puto-bibingka(rice cakes) and halo-halo (a sweet concoction of shaved ice and fruits). My Lola Gracia (as we fondly called her) was not just the owner but she was also the cook, server, dishwasher, maintenance and whatever else was needed to keep the carinderia running smoothly. Talking about multi-tasking, huh!

But, hey, the job didn’t even start there. The preparation was way ahead before the carinderia opens at 6am. She had to go to the market for ingredients, place order for ice and sodas, cook ingredients for halo-halo and make galapong (rice paste). Does anyone still remember how they used to make this? After soaking rice in water overnight, it is grinded in a gilingang bato.

Oh, boy… I’m glad there’s Seafood City and Island Pacific to buy ready-made ingredients to make bibingka. Or if you’re still too lazy to do that, just go to Goldilocks for cooked bibingkas. But still… nothing really compares to a hot bibingka made from scratch.

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Posted by on 01/27/2011 in Blogs


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Meet Ato and Ine (Say Who???)

Does anyone in the Philippines still earn the nickname “Ato” or “Ine”? I guess not anymore. I know a lot of people nicknamed “Totoy”, “Nene”, or “Boy”.  Will these nicknames soon be history? The same applies with first names. A long time ago, women were named Liwayway, Marikit, Dalisay, Luningning while men were Bayani, Dakila, Tagumpay. Then the era came when women were named Maria and men were either Jose or Juan. These days you can rarely find babies named as such except for a few who were given Spanish names like Juan Carlos Miguel or Maria Victoria Concepcion. Nowadays, babies are named after famous movie stars and their kids. A lot of kids are named Ralph, Michael, Nicole and nicknamed KC, PJ, Kim. Where is Ato and Ine?

How do we even address our parents these days? Gone are the days when parents were called Ina/Ama, Inay/Itay, Inang/Amang. Some still call their parents Nanay/Tatay. These days, parents are known to be Mommy/Daddy or Mama/Papa. Aunts and uncles were known to be Nana/Tata or Tiyang/Tiyong but now they are Tita/Tito.

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Posted by on 01/26/2011 in Blogs


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Pook 12 (Doce)

I was born and lived in a town in Bulacan, in a street named M.H. del Pilar after one of the national heroes. Somehow, when a newbie comes to town and ask for direction, that street name does not help. Our street is known as Pook 12. Our neighboring streets are known as West Canal and the other, Riverside. I don’t even know the stories behind those colloquial names but whatever, that’s how they are known for.

In Pook 12, even the people end up having names different from what their parents gave them. A brother of mine is called “Dragon” because of his fascination with Ramon Zamora’s popular 70s movie, the “Return of the Dragon”. A cousin earned the nickname “Technique” because of his penchant ability to overcome any trouble with ease. He has his own techniques to apply, hence the nickname. Another cousin is known as “Mental”. Yeah, he was once a resident of the National Mental Hospital BUT NOT as a patient but as a security guard. Another is known as “Sergeant”. Why? He works in the municipal fire department and although that’s not his actual position, he was “baptized” to be as such. One is known as “Puto”, a name that he hates until now. He used to help his mom cook putong bibingka sold daily in the market. One is “Bukol” because of a big scar on his head which he now hides with his long hair. Mind You…Technique, Sergeant, Mental, Puto and Bukol are all brothers.

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Posted by on 01/26/2011 in Blogs


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Lady, Get In Line!!!

When I was preparing dinner before I leave the house for an important meeting, I realized I forgot an important ingredient needed to complete the task. Since 99c store is just around the corner, I rushed over there, grabbed the item and headed towards the check-outs.

To my dismay, only two registers were open with long queues of customers carrying basketful of commodities. Since I was in hurry and with only one item on hand, I stood beside one of the cashiers who was ringing up a customer at that time. After apologizing, I asked her if I could just hand her $1 bill and leave. This is a strategy I have learned from other customers before and never had a problem until today.

Before the cashier was able to respond, the customer yelled at me and said that I have to wait for my turn. Another customer told me to go at the end of the line where five more people were waiting by now. Feeling so embarrassed, I turned around and debated if I should still wait in line or just go home.

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Posted by on 01/25/2011 in Blogs


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Buy Plants from Hardware Stores, Not Nurseries (Seriously???)

In the Philippines, you can do gardening without spending anything on plants. All you have to do is to scout around the neighborhood for any seedlings, twigs and even pots of any plants or trees of your liking. The friendly neighbors are more than willing to share whichever one you may choose.  The same is not true in the US. You can’t ask the neighbors for any plants, unless they are family members or close friends. You are not even allowed to pick any flowers even in parks or else you get a citation.

Where do you go then for your gardening needs? In nurseries or hardware stores? I prefer the latter though because of their plant guarantee. Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a one year guarantee.  Just keep the receipt and UPC code, if anything happens, a replacement or refund can be done within one year of purchase. But the best policy is what Orchard Supply and Hardware (OSH) has. Mind you, they have a lifetime guarantee on plants? Too good to be true, right?

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Posted by on 01/25/2011 in Blogs


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