Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Advent of the Bicycles in the Philippines

It’s everywhere, folks. Bicycle lanes here, bicycle rides there.


There’s no denying that Filipinos have the healthy gene in there system. Since more cities are promoting healthy lifestyles, providing walkways, park recreations and more bicycles lanes, it just makes perfect sense to get a bicycle of your own. Even in our own village, the number of bicyclists and bicycle enthusiasts has increased by a tenfold. Yes, those little stainless steel frames with square baskets hanging upfront are now a trending health item.

Bicycles... I’ve seen pink ones, blue ones, and even orange ones. Aside from the now-popular Japanese bikes, there’s also the ones known as folding bikes.


My sister’s officemate has a Pacific folding bike. His health regimen includes biking long distances along the busy roads of Metro Manila (Pasay in particular) and eating four eggs a day. Unlike most enthusiasts however, this person takes his folding bike to the office with him. He uses it to travel with in his free time. You would think Metro Manila was his playground.

His usual bike routine includes going through long distances with his beloved bicycle. Once he gets tired, he stops, folds his bike, and hails the next jeepney he could fit himself and his bike in to go back to his starting poing. He’s been doing this for more than a year, and the fruits of his exercise has paid off—just like John Lloyd’s new hobby has done wonders to his body.

The Many Benefits of Using a Bicycle to Travel

1. Biking builds and tones your muscles. It’s also a great way to increase your endurance.
2. It does not cause pollution, which further helps in promoting the Philippines’ Clean Air Act.
3. It’s a great way to socialize and meet other bike enthusiasts.
4. It’s cheap and convenient.

Taiwan, India, and China are the world’s leading bicycle producers. However, unlike the latter countries, Taiwan-made bicycles are intended for exporting. This is why Taiwan’s bike industry continuously strives for excellence and versatility. Brands like Pacific, Merida, and Giant are becoming names to reckon with in the biking industry.


Yes, expect cold-rolled steel tubing, magnesium alloy and carbon-fiber frames!

Just like Japan’s 5S, Taiwan’s bike industry has 3N (New Materials, New Technologies, and New Designs) to prepare it for the different environments the bikes will be used in.


The Taiwan Excellence campaign, with the implementation of TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council), aims for us, Filipinos, to discover a range of high-quality Taiwan-made products that carries the country’s seal of excellence. Their campaign is also endorsed by our local celebrity, Iya Villania-Arellano.

You can learn more about Taiwan Excellence by browsing through their pages: the Taiwan Excellence website or their Facebook page.

Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored, the content and opinions are my own.
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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Lotus Garden Suites in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan

Well, this is the second time I've stayed in the place. This time, I'd probably rate it Above Average. It's not perfect, but it's still the best place I've ever stayed at. Also, it's a few meters away from the airport. 

The Lotus Garden's top view from the tree house.
Personal Experience Staying in Lotus Garden Suites

1. Staff. The staff are extremely nice and friendly. All of them were courteous and cheery. To compensate for the mishap in the rooms, they upped my free breakfast meal to be served with garlic rice rather than bread.

The Lotus Garden Suites' huge pond at the entrance.
2. Food. I'm a so-and-so on this one. Breakfast was okay. I love that they always have fruits on the plate. Their coffee is pretty good, too. Instead of the instant creamer, it's served with evaporated milk. I have yet to try to their Japanese cuisines, but I intend to do so another time.

Brewed coffee, brown sugar, and milk in the morning
3. Room. I just love the Okisaki room. It has always been my favorite place to crash. The bathroom in it is roofed (unlike the other bathrooms), and it's situated above the pond with floating lilies and swimming kois. It's also probably the only room with decent cellular reception if your network is SUN cellular.

Lotus Garden Suites' Mikado Room
Sensei Bedroom
The Sensei room would be my next pick because the bathroom (bathed in sunlight or moonlight) has the best water pressure. They also have a bidet beside the toilet, which is an added plus. But compared to Mikado, the floor is tiled rather than wooden. Expect it to get pretty cold when you wake up in the morning for a quick bahtroom break.

Lotus Garden Suites Sensei Room Open-roof Garden Bathroom
Mikado Bathroom at Night
Nature-inspired Open-roof Shower
Yes, it can get pretty cool at night, so expect to end up with a cold after taking a nice bath.
4. Lounge Area. Now, this is where Lotus Garden will always one of the best inns to book a room in. Their lounge area is Japanese-themed and nature-rich. Their restaurant/ reception areaOn one side, books are rowed in wooden shelves.  Not only is it surrounded with plants, the ponds filled with floating flora and fauna. They have a swimming turtle in the pond beside the Sensei room. 


Lounge Area and Restobar
Another Lounge Area
5. Price. The price is just about right. In comparison, the room in Corazon Tourist Inn was 180 php more expensive than a room in Lotus Garden Suites.

The tree house looks nice too.
I think that wraps up my experience for the Lotus Garden Suites.

Personal Ratings

1. Staff: 5/5
2. Food: 3/5 (I have yet to taste their sushi)
3. Room: 4/5 (My first pick is Okisaki. Sensei would be next among the standard/regular rooms).
4. Lounge: 5/5 (Travelers get to enjoy well-thought landscaping and beautiful greenery simply by hanging-out on their restaurant.
5. Price: 5/5

The Lotus Garden Suites Information

Address: 371 Rizal Ave. Puerto Princesa City, Palawan PH 5300
Phone: (048) 434 11 32
Website: http://www.lotusgardenph.com/

Next stop, Ardent Suites in Puerto Princesa, Palawan... 
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

'Tis the Season to be Jolly with Taiwan Excellence's Christmas Contest

We, Filipinos, love the Christmas season. 

We put-up our Christmas tree, reward carolers for singing Christmas songs, religiously attend simbang gabi, and prepare Noche Buena feasts. It’s a long-standing tradition that’s been followed even before I was born. 

Gift-giving has also played a crucial part of this country’s Yuletide season. Most of you may remember bringing canned goods and packed noodles to school in celebration of White Gifts Sunday. Although a Methodist started this tradition, some schools in the Philippines continue to honor it. And just like us, Taiwan Excellence recognizes how special Christmas is for us. This is why they have offered to fulfill 10 Filipino’s “Grown-up Wish list” through the Taiwan Excellence- Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest.

Taiwan Excellence-Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Flyer

And let’s face it! The act of giving is far more rewarding than the act of receiving. 

Made to Enjoy Christmas Contest Details

By simply visiting and registering in the Made To Enjoy The Life website, you will have the opportunity to win your loved one a special present this Christmas. All it takes is choosing a Taiwan Excellence product and sharing your reason for choosing that person.

Taiwan Excellence Products

Have you joined the contest yet? If you haven't, do so now. You might be one of the ten lucky winners to give your special loved one the gift they solely deserve. As an added bonus, Iya Villania-Arellano, Taiwan Excellence Celebrity Endorser, might be the secret Santa to deliver it at their doorstep.

The Taiwan Excellence seal is found in Taiwanese brands that excel in quality, innovation, and good value for money. Products you may have already used include Acer, Asus, MSI, and even Pacific. These four are just some of the ones well-known worldwide.

With the assistance TAITRA, the Taiwan Excellence campaign was launched in the Philippines with the purpose of providing Filipinos better Taiwan-made products, or as Taiwan has put it: Bringing Excellent Lifestyle in the Philippines.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Digitally Transforming the Filipino Haggling Tradition

Yesterday, my sister and I went to Divisoria. We were searching for a certain curtain design for their bedroom. As you all know, Divisoria is the place to go when buying anything and everything at an extremely cheap price. The streets were lined with stalls that were filled with hanging Christmas decors, drapes, and--I repeat--anything under the sun.

The Divisoria Experience

After having to deal with the traffic from Recto to Divi, we maneuvered the busy stalls of Puregold to reach Tabora. In Tabora, we checked every single stall, kiosk, and selling space that sold curtains. To our dismay, we didn't find the particular design. Although a little disappointed, we got some great deals on a few yards of U.S. cotton textile. Yes, like any other Filipino, we ended up haggling for the 7 yards of Winnie the Pooh and some other cartoony-designed bed sheet-to-be.

U.S. Cotton sheets cost 85-130 php/yard
Haggling

Haggling has always been part of our culture. We always here phrases like "Last price?" or "No Discount?" or "I'll buy it by bulk if you give it to me at _____". Honestly, even online sellers from OLX/ Sulit, Ayos Dito, and eBay receive text messages like the ones I mentioned above. It's a typical behavior that's neither good nor bad, depending on the haggler's technique and style.

Selling on eBay used to be as easy as bidding and winning.
Filipino Online Shopping

Nowadays, a lot of us have enjoyed the benefits of buying online. For one, you wouldn't have to deal with the heat, the crowded streets, and the pollution of going to Divi. You also save on precious time and fare because the items get delivered at your doorstep (especially in the Manila area). Some online items are even being sold at a cheaper price than in malls. So, it's really no surprise that a lot of us are now going to websites like Lazada and Zalora.

My first Lazada purchase...
Can't Haggle When it's Sold Online

However, like buying an item from a mall or a superstore, all prices are fixed. There's no haggling allowed, because all prices are final. We don't get the opportunity to talk to the online shop's owner, and it can be a bit frustrating at times. Fortunately for us, we are a resourceful race. Some of us wait for sales or marked-downs; others end up using coupons (usually encoded prior to online checkout).

All it Takes is a Keyphrase

iPrice is a site for the thrifty, budget-conscious Filipino. When all the coupons are at your fingertips, readily available at a click of a button, online shopping definitely gets better. So why bother scouring every single blog/website via Google Search when you can go to a single website for the keywords that can slash a price down to a better bargain?

Is Using a Coupon the Same as Haggling?

It's not. However, these two techniques result to a single outcome. We get what we want at a bargain deal.

Some helpful links:

My Lazada Buying Experience
How to Commute to Divisoria
The EBAY Experience: Pros, Cons and some Tips in Buying and Selling
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Taiwan Excellence to the Philippines: A Tech-Savvy Blogger's Perspective

What does Asus, Acer, D-Link, and Transcend have in common? They're all brands proudly based in Taiwan. These four powerhouses are also names normally sought after by consumers looking for cheap yet reliable electronic gadgets and devices. Ironically, some people still believe that these brands are from the US. For that said reason, it's important for the world to learn about Taiwan Excellence.

Taiwan Excellence to the World

The Taiwan Excellence Award is given to companies who continually challenge themselves in creating innovative and high-quality products that stand out in the industry. Among Taiwan's forerunners are Asus and Acer. Both are well-known for building laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones with specifications as powerful as their US counterparts.


These brands don't stop at competitive pricing and ingenuity. They broaden their reach by creating ads and marketing strategies focused on the masses, rather than just the Tech community.

An Act of Ingenuity

Back in the days, when people asked what router worked best with PLDT DSL, most computer stores would immediately point to D-Link. Compatibility-wise, D-Link was easier to set-up compared to Netgear and Cisco. This, alone, made Taiwan's brand a highly-recommended product to multiple subscribers. Not only was D-Link able to ensure its product's purchase, but is also created a demand that no other brand could supply.


Customer Loyalty


When memory cards were first sold, Transcend was among the brands that stood out. It went neck-and-neck against SanDisk, Imation, and Kingston. Years later, some users still rely on Transcend because they're cheap and durable. While others have switched due to preference, there's no denying that the brand has now garnered continued patronage for its continued excellent quality and performance.

Bottom Line
There are so many times where people assume that a good electronics brand can only come from the "Land of the Free". Now, Filipinos can rely on brands that are closer to home.

With a design inspired by the spirit of fulfillment in their traditional culture, the Taiwan Excellence Seal provides the world a means to recognize brands and products that are, in fact, made in Taiwan.

Disclaimer: Although this post is sponsored, my opinions are my own.
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Get Ichabod's Voice Commands on your Waze (Philippines)

Say what? A gross invitation to indulgence?!?

I just found out through CNET that Sleepy Hollow fans can now make use of Ichabod's voice to help you drive safely through the streets of Manila.

Waze Application for Android, Samsung Galaxy 4
To get Ichabod Crane's (Tom Mison) voice on your Waze, all you have to do is open your Waze, tap on the cloud-like icon at the bottom and go to your settings (cog-shaped icon).

Ichabod Crane's voice is now available in Waze worldwide. Enjoy old English phrases as spoken by Tom Mison based on his 18th Century Colonial American era.
Under settings, just tap on Sound. Tap on Navigation Guidance and select English (US) - Ichabod Crane.

And even in online gaming, Ichabod Crane strikes again with a bucket if filthy curse words that sound more adorable than babies and puppies combined.
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