Free Admission to The National Planetarium

The Planetarium is just a ride away from where I grew up but unfortunately, I haven’t been there.

No fret though, now is the time!  

In celebration of the National Heritage Month, the National Planetarium is extending its Free Admission Promo until May 31, 2017.

Check out the photo to see the schedule of the shows.  You may also call 5277889 for inquiries.

Oh, I hope I could drop by one of these Saturdays.  Will bring my kids! 

I will keep you posted on what is there to see at the National Planetarium!

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Promo: Starbucks 2017 Planner

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It has been a tradition to most of us to collect Starbucks stickers to get that “Starbucks Planner”.   I particularly can’t get rid of this tradition even if I  am not that much of a coffee drinker.

Check Starbucks.ph to read on the full mechanics on how to get this planner.

Simply put though, to get the Starbucks Planner, one has to purchase 9 cups of Starbucks’ core beverages and 9 cups of Starbucks’ Holiday beverages.  Every purchase entitles you to a corresponding sticker.  When you complete the 18 stickers, then you can redeem a 2017 Starbucks Planner in any branch.

The promo will run from November 2, 2016 to January 8, 2017.

Here is my cup by cup journey in getting that planner.

I  am so grateful for friends who donated their stickers to me.  Technically, I only have to purchase 8 cups on my own.  

I can’t wait to get my 2017 Starbucks Planner!  Update soon!

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Food: Pansit

I just have to share with you one of the best pansits in town!

Just the way I like it.  

Hot. All pansit (noodles) and minimal sahog (toppings). Not too salty. Very tasty!


Yummy! Eating it for breakfast now.

You can find them at Hormiga Street in Binondo Manila.  It is just a small carenderia that caters to the employees of nearby offices.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Food: Tori Box

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photo from tori box fb page

One Sunday evening, my cousin and her boyfriend dropped by to visit the kids.  Since we stayed home all day, we were excited to go out and grab some dinner.
Browsing through the internet for places to eat, we found ourselves going to the U Belt in Espana.  Depended on Waze to bring us to Tori Box.

We found Tori Box beside Starbucks in I Tower along P Noval in Espana Manila.

Tori Box is a small space compared to Starbucks and we got there just before people started filling the place.  We occupied the only parking slot in front of the resto and had a nice table in the middle.

photo from tori box fb page

The interior has that homey chillax feel to it.  The smell of the chicken karaage greets you as well.

Checked out the menu and we were so happy that the prices were very affordable.   “Presyong Estudyante” (student price) for working people like us looks very attractive.

We tried to order all that caught our eyes but many of them were either sold out or out of stock!  Too bad because we wanted to try the spicy ones.

Anyway, we settled for what’s available.  Here they are.

Milo Dinosaur
Spam Fries
Cheesy Karaage
Cheesy ToriKatsu
Curry Tonkatsu
BBQ Karaage and Mojos
Sour Cream Karaage and Rice

I love Potato Corner and eating these yummy Karaages in the same bbq flavoring that is my favorite is just heaven.

There are so many flavors to choose from! BBQ, Sour Cream, Chili Pepper, there’s 3 or 4 more and I forgot about them already.  

What I also love aside from the flavoring is the chicken karaage itself.  It’s not all breading.  You could actually taste the chicken.  

I would love to go back again to Tori Box!  If you want to visit them, they have branches in Agno, Taft, Manila and Regalado, Fairview, Quezon City.

Like them on Facebook, ToriBox.

Follow them on Instagram, ToriBoxPh.

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Food: The Goodness of 100% Buffalo Milk

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Photo from Buffy’s Milk FB account

We are always left with no room for dessert after we have a meal.  So we decided to have desserts first!
Braved the drive from Batangas to Sta Rosa just to have a taste.  We don’t regret skipping dinner over pastillas and ice cream!

Buffy’s is a quaint little store that sells Fresh Buffalo Milk, Pastillas de Leche and Ice Cream made from Buffalo Milk!  Their products are all natural.  No preservatives.

Buffalo Milk.  So many flavors to choose from!  Our daughter chose the Chocolate Milk (Php250.00).  Both our daughters give their thumbs up!

Buffy’s Pastillas de Leche also comes in different flavors.  We decided to get the original one.

Pastillas de Leche (Php158.00)

The Ice Cream comes in 5 flavors: Original, Vanilla, Strawberry, Mocha and Ube.  (Php158.00)

Creamy and milky, not too sweet.

My new favorite ice cream.  

Buffy’s Ube Flavored Ice Cream. 

Like them on Facebook, Buffy’s Milk.

Disclaimer:  I am not a super fun of either milk or ube, but Buffy’s made a big difference.  Definitely worth the trip!

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Food: Cafe Aquatica Manila

Good news for everyone! 

Cafe Aquatica, that famous and relaxing fish shop / cafe in Greenhills, just opened their 2nd shop in Binondo, Manila!

It’s very near my workplace, about 5 minute walk.  This new branch is just a quaint coffee shop / restaurant.  Don’t expect something like their branch in Greenhills.  

It still has those nice aquariums though.  And when you enter the place, it’s like you’re transported out of the hustle and bustle of Chinatown!

They don’t offer everything in this branch. The menu is limited

This is what we ordered.  Take note, we were only 2!

Appetizer: Nacho Cups 

(super sulit – yummy and crunchy – only Php130.00)

Main Dish: Grilled Chicken & Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Drinks: Almond Shake

They also offer a variety of cakes and I can’t wait to taste them all!

Let’s go to the Aquariums.  

These are Albino Angel Fishes.  They are not available in the market.  

I think the next one is called Mickey Platy because of its inborn black Mickey figure in its tail.

This next one is the Neon Fish.

If you’re in the area, why don’t  you try Cafe Aquatica. We went there for our lunch and it surely took away the stress we were feeling at work.  Such a relaxing place to be in.  With its extraordinary aquariums and soothing music, this one’s really a keeper!

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Travel: US Visa Approved!

Throwback to the day of our appointment:

You can imagine our happy state as we walked away from the booth of the consul who said that our passports will be delivered in our address in the application!  My daughter’s got a twinkle in her eyes!

On exactly the 5th day after the appointment, we received our passports with our US Visas! We were all given 10 years! Great isn’t it?


So how did we do it?  Read on.

Be calm.  Be honest.  Two things to live by during this whole application process.  From the moment you fill up your application form up until the time of your interview with the consul, be calm and be honest.

Getting to the US Embassy
Lining Up

We had felt pity on ourselves as we lined up outside the embassy under the pouring rain, with 2 kids in tow.  That feeling was immediately changed as we went through a very easy process inside the embassy. 

Grateful to the staff attending to the lines outside because he gave us sort of like a Fast Pass seeing that we have 2 kids.  

There will be 2 security checks before you actually get to the Consular Building.

Once you get in, you’ll be directed to Step 1, the Pre-Screening.  No lines here.  At this window, the Officer will get your Confirmation Page, your Passport and your 2×2 picture.  Then she will ask the applicant his name and birthday, validate it against the application form you submitted online.  Takes about 5 minutes tops.

Step 2 is Finger Scanning.  There was a short queue for this.  There was also a hand sanitizer and paper towel for you to clean your hands.  Again, only the Confirmation Page and the Passport is needed.  The officer was very jolly and she interacted with the applicants well.  Her voice was loud so you’d think she was angry, but she’s not.  Finger Scanning is only for adults.  She asked us for our names and birthdays, then instructed us to put our thumbs together and had it pressed in the machine.  After the 2 thumbs, all 8 fingers were scanned together.

Last and Final Step is the Interview with the Consul.  We waited and were seated for about 8 minutes until we were called to stand in line.  There was a family in front of us, but unfortunately they weren’t granted the Visas.  

It was nerve wracking because the family before us just got denied.  While waiting in line, me and my husband were discussing our answers in the application form because that is the only basis of the consul.  

When it was our turn, we said hello to the consul and we were asked to wait first as he finished jotting down notes for the application of the family ahead of us. 

Be calm and be honest.

He asked for our Confirmation Page and the Passports.  He asked for our names then continued to interview us.  These are some of the questions he asked us:

  • What will you do in the States?
  • Where in the States will you be going?
  • Where do you plan to stay?  How long?
  • When do you plan to go?
  • What’s our occupation and how long we have been with our respective companies?
  • Who is going with us in our trip?

Right after he asked the questions, he just told us that our passports will be delivered to the address we stated in the application form.  He didn’t ask for a single document.

No fanfare.  No congratulations.  But in my head and in my daughters’ heads, there were fireworks!

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Public Service: Modus on Parking for US Visa Applicants

Our scheduled appointment was 8:45am.  US Embassy wants you to be there at least 15 minutes before your schedule. 
Together with the kids, we left the house at 630am.  We got into the tail of traffic at Quirino Highway so we decided to take another route.  Fortunately, the longer route wasn’t as jammed as the previous.  We arrived at the US Embassy area around 730am.  Well, at least we have enough time to spare. 

We looked for a parking space on a side street because all the service road parking near the footbridge was full already.  (The footbridge is the only way to cross Roxas Boulevard to go to the Embassy.)  

When we found a parking space, an ate from the parking bureau immediately assisted us.  When finally parked, hubby rolled the window down, the ate said, “Embassy Sir? 100 po.” (She said parking is 100 pesos if you are going to the Embassy.)  Shocked of her announcement, we said “why 100? Holdap ah?” (We asked why 100 pesos for embassy goers, we asked her is this a hold up?)  She answered, “matagal kasi interview dun.” (The interview takes time.)  We tried to argue with her and she discounted the rate to 70 pesos.  

What a shocker really!  The ticket’s print says that it’s just 30 pesos for the first 3 hours, then 10 pesos for every succeeding hour.  Even if we stayed until noon there, our parking should have been just 50 pesos.

And since we finished about 930am.  The 70 pesos we paid was just for 2 hours of parking.  A clear kickback of about 40 pesos. Grrr…

Funny thing is, when we were leaving the parking space, Ate was just standing there and not assisting.  Maybe she’s afraid that we will call her out with our parking fee if she gets near us.

Lucky her we were too happy with the result of our interview, we just let her be.

So guys, beware of these parking attendants.  If you don’t have a driver, make sure you don’t get hold upped by these attendants.  If you have drivers, better let them drop you off in front of the embassy and just let them know where to wait for you.  

Good luck with the parking!

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