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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Travel: Booking Daj Suites

The first thing to do when going on a trip is to find a place to stay.  A comfortable and clean place where you can achieve the relaxation you want.  All the others follow.

Browsing through the hotels, the apartelles, the inns and what have yous made me so dizzy.  Good thing Daj Suites popped up when I was looking in Trip Advisor.  Not only did their competitive price got my attention, being a Trip Advisor Traveller’s Choice hooked me!


Upon checking Daj Suites out (in pictures!), the place is something that suits my taste.  Clean, spacious, with wood accents, affordable, and especially this next one – it has so many good reviews!


I almost booked it using a hotel / travel app, but thought twice about doing so.  I then checked their own website and learned that booking directly with them is cheaper by Php500.00.

I decided to book online but chose to pay over the counter in a bank.  I was given 3 days to deposit my reservation of Php 1000.00.  Someone from Daj Suites texted me about the details of my booking and their bank details.

After depositing my reservation, I sent a copy of the deposit slip and they confirmed right away.  I received a text message with all the confirmed details of my booking.

I can’t wait for our mini vacation.  This is my little surpise weekend getaway to my hubby as we celebrate our 7th year together.

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Travel: Renewal of Canadian Visa

Previous months back, had an experience with applying online for a Visa.  I almost had a heart attack.  Read on my experience here.

Of course, mistakes of the past are meant to be lessons of the future.

One of our immediate family members needed to renew her Canadian Visa.  So I filled up her forms online, prepared the documents then submitted everything through the service provider which is VFS Global located at Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City.

What are the forms and documents needed for a renewal?  Kindly check out my list:

1) Application Form– IMM5257 (Application for Visitor Visa Made Outside of Canada)  It’s a 6 page application form you can download and fill up electronically

2) Family Relations Form – (IMM5645) – You will list all your immediate family members’ names and birthdates here.  And if they are travelling with you or not.  2 page form

3) Passport Info Page and Last Page.  

4)  Past Travels.  All the passport pages with travel stamps, especially those with Visas, expired or unexpired.

5) Letter of Invitation from someone in Canada.  This is optional.  

6) Bank Certification.  To prove that you have money to burn in their country.

7) Any property under your name.  To prove your ties with the Philippines.

8) Digital Photo

9) VFS Authorization Form

I already paid the Visa Fee online so there’ll be no hassle anymore when I go to VFS.  Once I got there, you just tell the guard that you’re for Canadian Visa then he’ll let you in.  Don’t worry about the long lines outside, they are for the other countries.  I went there as early as possible, before everything went chaotic, especially the traffic along Chino Roces!

Upon entering the next door, someone will ask for the purpose of your visit.  I told her I’m gonna submit some renewal docs, then she’ll check the passport and if you have brought a photo.

She’ll give you a number and buzz the door open. (Yes, it’s very secure inside!)

When you get in, there will only be a few people.  Filled up the delivery form then waited.  I got called within 5 minutes.  Since I made sure that I got everything needed, it was very easy for the assistant to process my docs.  She checked then asked for my payment.  A little over 1 thousand pesos is not bad.  Considering your passport will be couriered to you after visa has been stamped.

I was told that the passport will be delivered in 5 working days.

And we have it now.

No frills. Just Visa.

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Family: EQ Dry Buddy Bag

Hey mommies! EQ is at it again! And I was so excited, I already sent my entries before I wrote this post.  

As you see, I am an avid collector of EQ Dry Diaper Packaging and I always wait for times like this!  

Photo from EQ Diapers Facebook Page

This is the latest promo and you get this cute little animal bags for FREE! 

How it works?  How to do it?  Read on.  

With or without a promo, I always keep the diaper packaging of EQ Dry.  Depending on the size of the packaging, we can earn corresponding points.  

As for me, we always buy the jumbo pack as it’s the largest packaging available for the size we buy.  It’s convenient for us.  We automatically earn 3 points for each wrapper.
To redeem a buddy bag, you need to have 58 points. You can mix and match your wrappers if you have different packaging.

Before sending your entry, you must write the basic information needed.

Of course you have to include your top 2 choices of the buddy bag.  So I split all 4 designs into my 2 entries.

After that, you can either hand carry your entry to the JS Unitrade office or send it through mail.

I chose to send mine through a courier.

Now, I wait.  The company will send the Buddy Bags for free! Will post photos as soon as I receive them!

The promo is until December, 2016 so you have a lot of time to collect, prepare and send your entries.  You can send as many as you want.

Full mechanics here!

Update October 1, 2016:  

We received our package!  The bags are so cute!

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Food Trip: Brad and Pit’s Ribshack

New place to hang out.  Still in Kapitolyo.  I love this area.  A hub of old and new places for foodies like me.

Brad and Pit’s is my kind of place.  A little bit rustic, the walls full of chalkboard with sayings and what nots. This is a place for a good chill out time with family and friends alike.  I love the homey feel.  In fact, it really is a home turned into a dining place.  

One of the rooms features Coke Collectibles, an old typewriter and a vintage music player.

Started on appetizers.  True to its name, Mount Nachos is high up there.  Twisted the nachos with their rib sauce instead of the usual salsa.  The nachos were thin and super crunchy.  Even our kids can’t get enough of it.  

Kid friendly menu consists of Fish and Chips. This is also good for Fried Food Lovers.  Will surely get full with the big slice of fish fillet and a handful of fries.

We ordered Fettuccine Alfredo for the kids also.  Serving is not that huge. Maybe you could skip this. 

The mashed potato is good.  Not made of pre mix, plus the rib sauce adds a little bit of spice to it.

Of course, this is a Ribshack so we ordered 2 kinds of their Rib Mountain. You have a choice whether you like a few ribs only or as many as you could devour. 

The first one in the picture is the Dry Rub Rib Mountain, tender ribs encrusted with a special concoction of spices.

The other one is the Original Rib Mountain, tender ribs with original bbq sauce.
Both Rib Mountain comes with sides of corn and coleslaw.

If you want to see more of their menu, check this out.  There’s so much to try in their menu.  Plus the dessert list is something to look forward to.  

Brad and Pit’s Ribshack is located at 35 East Capitol Dr, Kapitolyo Pasig City.  They are on Soft Opening.  They are open Mondays to Sundays, from 12nn to 11pm. 

They also have another branch at Marikina.

Visit their Facebook Page, Brad & Pit’s Ribshack.

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Public Service: Artistically Tristanne

You might be curious as to why I titled this blog post as Public Service.  Well, I personally think that I am doing the public a favor by introducing them this super duper talented and artistic lady who goes by the name of Tristanne. 

I am always in awe when I see her Facebook posts about her doodles, sketches, drawings, creations, or whatever you want to call these works of art.  I can’t help but press the like button.  I have always been a FAN!

Come Father’s Day, she gifted her dear father a pair of hand painted shoes.  She made the white slip ons her canvass.

You can see that the characters she painted had full semblance with the original ones.

Her parents couldn’t be prouder.  

Then she posted another pair of hand painted shoes.

A wacky Odie and Garfield but still looked awesome.

And then she played with her mom’s old branded bag and the result was just as amazing.

There’s always that one person who will be first.  This next bag is the first commissioned bag Tristanne did and she will have that privilege forever.  Especially when Tristanne, in the nearest future, is already well known in the industry as one talented artist.

So there, you have seen her work and for sure, you’re asking these questions in your mind.  How can I contact her?  What design can I ask her to do?  Do I have an old bag or even a new one for her to use?  Bag or Shoes? 

You may contact Tristanne through her Facebook Page, Tristanne Yasay or through her Instagram, @Tristanneeee.

This girl is just starting out but I am pretty sure that she will go a long way.  

So proud of her!  Go contact her now before she gets too busy!

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Public Service: BIR Promo

If you are a shopper who loves shopping at 168, Divisoria Mall, 999, 1188, Lucky Chinatown or Dragon 8, then this is the Promo for you!!!

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We all know that these shops don’t issue Official Receipts and BIR is having a hard time asking them to pay taxes.

So BIR Manila thought of a way that will force these shops to issue receipts.  They launched the “Balik Eskwela BIR Pakwela Premyo sa Resibo Raffle Promo.”  Promo is already up and running and will last till June 30, 2016. 

To join the promo, your receipt which will from the above mentioned shops will serve as your entry.  At the back of the receipt, you write your name, your address, your contact number, the name of the Shopping Mall and the stall number or unit / shop of the merchant.  No minimum purchase required.  There is also no limit on how many entries you would like to send. 

It’s so easy to join, just drop your entries (receipts) in the drop boxes near the entrances of the shopping mall.  You will be notified once your entry is drawn.

There will be 10 winners of Php5,000 each for the 4 weekly draws happening on June 6, 13, 20 and 27.

The Grand Draw on July 7, 2016 is something to look forward to of course!
1st Prize Php50,000.00
2nd Prize Php30,000.00
3rd Prize Php20,000.00

Not bad if you really need to shop for your children’s school things right?

So go and help your country by forcing these merchants to issue receipts, in that way, they will be forced to pay their taxes too!

Happy Shopping!

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Public Service: #freefromfear

We have all experienced this at some point in our lives.  Back when I used to walk from our house to my workplace, everyday’s the same, men who I passed through would greet “Good Morning Ma’am” or “Hi Ganda (Hi Beautiful!).” 

It may or may not be known to those men that their supposed “greeting” is actually a form of harassment.  They probably thought they are doing you a favor by saying something nice.

What they don’t know is that their supposedly nice and no malice greeting actually make you uncomfortable and somewhat scared.

After all, you are out in the streets walking alone and by yourself.  The fear of the bad things that might happen is frightening enough.

I am glad that UN is doing something to prevent this kind of harassment.  I totally support this campaign. 

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The Free From Fear Campaign aims to stop street harassment and sexual violence against women in public spaces.  They are teaching women how to stop it by using the 4Rs.

Realize
Know your rights.

Respond
If you feel safe, you may tell the harasser that what he did makes you uncomfortable and him rude.  Don’t be passive.  Let him know how you feel.

Report
Share your experience to your family, friends, colleagues or even social media.  You may also report to the police.

Reform
Don’t tolerate the harassment.  Speak out.

For more information on this campaign, check out this video, Safe Cities Free From Fear.

Let’s all enjoin our hands and support this. 

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