Promo: HSBC Red

I got offered by a telemarketer and I am so thankful.  I was hesitant first but I gave in.

She offered me a new HSBC Red Mastercard and this card has more promos than the Platinum one.  It even has a new card promo.

Once approved, an accumulated spending of Php5000.00 will entitle you to Php3000.00 worth of free shoes from Payless Shoesource!  Neat right?

After spending, once you are qualified, you will receive a text message from HSBC redeem that you can now claim your shoes in participating branches.

The message will look like this:

Check the list of participating branches, not all will allow the redemption.

We went to the Paseo de Sta Rosa Branch to claim ours.

What better feeling than having new free shoes!  Of course, my kids have their own share too!

For the terms and conditions, check this.

To apply for a new card, go to www.hsbc.com.ph.

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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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Family: Family Dice Games 2016

Being Chinese New Year the biggest celebration in Chinese Calendar, this season known as the Mid Autumn Festival is next.  In Chinese Culture and Tradition, we celebrate the end of the “Ghost Month” to ward off bad vibes and unncessary spirits.  Aside from giving out different variants of mooncake, we also celebrate by playing dice games.

This Game is a game of chance that depends on the combination of your thrown dice.  Every combination corresponds to a level and prizes.  

Every year, around September or October, families and friends gather to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival.  The day usually consists of a lunch or a dinner together, then a dice game afterwards.  

For our family, I usually take charge of what prizes to include in the game.  We just  set a budget per person then go from there. We deduct the budget for food and spend the rest for prizes.  This has already evolved, before, our prizes just consisted of hopias.

How to play?  It’s so easy.  There are a total of 6 dice.  You  throw it on a ceramic bowl and wait for the combination to appear. 

There are 6 levels of prizes: 

The Chong Guan is the highest of them all.  Minimum combination to get is 4 fours then it gets higher and higher. If you get 6 fours then you are a very lucky person as you could wipe all the prizes, but of course, too much of everything is bad.  So some break the bowl and just get the Grand Prize, then they continue the game for everyone to get the other prizes.

2nd Prize. Here you could either throw a combination of 3 each of 2 same numbers or a series of 1 2 3 4 5 6.

3rd Prize. The combination you need is 3 fours.  

4th Prize. You need to throw a combination of 4 same numbers (except four).

5th Prize. 2 of the easy ones to get. 2 fours.

6th Prize. The easiest of them all.  All you need is 1 four.

For a detailed post on how to play the dice game, read here.

So there! Go organize your own dice game now! It’s super easy to play and so fun!  For adults and kids alike!

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Family Mode: Visiting Tsim Sha Tsui Part 2

It was a very long day.  But kids weren’t tired yet so we decided to go the Avenue of the Stars which we discovered was already closed.  There was still a viewing area / deck near the Clock Tower though.

Kids enjoyed running around, taking pictures of the Victoria Harbour, and looking at the boats passing by.  Very picturesque sight to behold.

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There was a slight drizzle so it was cold by the harbour.

We capped our Tsim Sha Tsui escapade by boarding a ferry to go home.  Too bad though that plastic curtains were drawn down because of the rain and big splashes from the waves.

Can’t take beautiful pictures of the now lighted buildings by the harbour.

Oh well, there will always be next time.

Until then!

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Family Mode: Minion Domino

Found a new game for my kids in my recent trip to Hong Kong. 

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It’s a Minion Domino!  The box and the instruction sheet are not in English but I thought it wouldn’t matter when they are playing already. 

True to my words, the girls enjoyed playing the dominoes.  The pictures of the Minion characters in the tiles are color coordinated so it’s very easy to play.  They finished in a few minutes and are now on their 2nd round.

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The set comes with 28 domino tiles.  Such a bargain at less than HKD 50.00.

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Family Mode: Easter 2016

A few days to go before Easter, so busy that this post is only now.  Don’t worry though, I am sure you could still find a venue for your kids.  I did just last week!

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If you have a family member who is arriving or just arrived from abroad, Duty Free Philippines Fiestamall is the perfect place for you. 

This event is FREE!  Just register and get a shopping card.  A shopping card entitles you to a coupon that allows 2 of your children to join in their festivities.

Be there early as it starts 9am.

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There’s also an event in Macapagal, the Easter Hoppening at Blue Bay Walk.

This is also FREE!  200 participants would be entitled to tickets to join in the Easter Fun.  All you need is shop for a minimum Php500.00 single or accumulated receipt from participating shops and register.  There will be Easter Event Stations beginning at 4pm. 

That is so easy.  By the way, a maximum of 3 registrants per shopper is allowed.  For more of the mechanics, please read here! ↓

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Another event that is happening on Easter is the one in Fun Ranch.  You can choose which branch you will join.

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This is not FREE though.  Kids need to pay Php 550.00 to register and adults Php 275.00.

For more details, you can call the Alabang or the Ortigas Branch to inquire.

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An Easter Egg Hunt at Bayview Park Hotel is also happening.  A bit expensive because of its Php1,500.00 rate.  It includes 1 child and 1 adult.

Maybe it’s okay as the registration fee includes not only the fun and games but also food and drinks!

And then there’s the one we are going to.  Easter Playland at The Podium.

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This is FREE!  You just need to have a BDO Credit Card and purchase a minimum single receipt of Php 1,500.00.  Present this receipt at the registration booth found at the 2nd Level of Podium and they will exchange it for a coupon that entitles a kid and 2 adults to join in the fun!

They have a lot in store for all the kids.  And the reason I chose this event was because there’s a meet and greet with a Shopkins Character! 

My kids are loca over Shopkins so this is perfect for them!

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Family Mode: Visiting Tsim Sha Tsui

We chose a day to take the kids out.  We decided to bring them to Tsim Sha Tsui where one of the biggest Toys R Us is located.

Took the MTR again and it’s just near.  If you are coming from the Hong Kong Side, Tsim Sha Tsui is just 2 stations away from Central.

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As the weather is nice and cold, we proceeded to walk to Kowloon Park before going to the Harbour City Mall.

Exit at A1 and walk a few steps and you’ll see the wide uphill entrance of       the park.

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It’s a very tranquil place to be in. Being surrounded by the lush trees and the chirping sounds of birds, you’d think you are in a forest and not in the midst of the city.

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The highlight of our visit in Kowloon Park is the Bird Lake. 

Look at these wonderful birdies.

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We would have checked out the other amazing sites in the park but the rain continued to drizzle. Some other time maybe.

On our way to the mall, we checked this Viewdeck near the park.

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Got lost a little bit but it turned out good as we found ourselves in a mall full of Branded Outlets like Esprit, Bossini and Mickey Mouse.

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This mall by the way is where you take ferries or turbo jets going to Macau.

We finally found ourselves in Harbour City.  Kids before going in Toys R Us ate with us at KFC first.  We stayed maybe an hour because there are so many interactive games you could play (aside from the toys they are selling!). 

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Family Mode: The Peanuts Movie

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Watched The Peanuts Movie before the year ended.  My daughter loved it.  Full of funny scenes, but what made it more meaningful is the story of friendship between Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang.

Always there for each other, Snoopy, the beagle, is truly Charlie Brown’s bestfriend.

There’s also some kind of puppy love twist to it.  Definitely a must watch.

I still love Snoopy after all these years.

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