Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sam Won Korean Restaurant

Sharing our favorite Korean restaurant in BF Paranaque. We eat here all the time, the Korean owner is now on a "beso beso" basis with my MIL haha! At Sam Won, the decors and furniture are all very simple and straightforward. There's nothing fancy here, which for me just adds to the authenticity of the place. Besides, the true star of this place is the food which never fails every time. Here, all the tables have charcoal grills and pull-down exhaust fans, which is great since you can enjoy your meal smoke-free. And the best part, you really don't smell like food after! So if you're in the area, try dropping by Sam Won for some really good Korean food.

Sam Won Garden
226 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, ParaƱaque City
825-1144, 0915-5699972
Restaurant hours: 10AM – 10PM daily

Monday, July 30, 2012

Under the weather

How was your weekend everyone? Between all the shopping sales, the Olympics, the Rob-Kristen cheating scandal, and now the non-stop rains AND even the brown-out last night, mine was certainly an eventful one!

We're all feeling a little bit under the weather now so to speak. I even brought the kids to their pedia last Saturday because Sabe was extremely constipated, had colds and a slight fever. He wasn't able to get his scheduled shot since he was sick, but poor Miley did!

Miley proudly wearing her injection band-aid. She didn't take it off until we got home.

Going the pedia used to be easy when the kids were smaller and they don't really know what's going on yet. But now, OMG! Both kids refuse to have their weight and height taken, as well as have their other body parts checked, so we have to hold them down which they hate even more. There's always a lot of kicking and definitely a whole lot of screaming and crying (which I'm pretty sure the whole floor can hear!). Actually, whenever they get their shots, they cry more because of the holding down part, not because of the actual injection. The poor kids after us look terrified once were done haha!

With this weather, we're definitely staying indoors and I'm hoping we all get well soon. =)

Friday, July 27, 2012

F21 opens at SM MOA

I wasn't really planning on going to Forever 21 when it opened today since I knew there was going to be a lot of people. But my mom and tita were the ones who wanted to go because of the P500 coupon that they were going to give away from 10:00 - 10:30am. I guess being a shopaholic does run in the family! Anyway, off we went bright and early to SM MOA and as expected, there was already a long line from the entrance. Once we got in, we were each handed the coupon you see below.

There were crazy long lines in the fitting room and especially the cashier (they only had 1 counter! tsk tsk!). I wasn't able to bring my cam so no pics of the place, although I think their branch in Makati is still bigger. Here in MOA, they're located where Our Home and Toy Kingdom used to be on the 2nd floor. Anyway, here's what I ended up getting:

On sale from P505 down to P249
I super love their bodycon skirts! From L-R: P505, P455, P455
Their jeans were a steal at P555!

Anyway, if you'd rather wait until all the hoopla dies down from the F21 opening, you can also check out the Topshop and Dorothy Perkins sale. They have further markdowns plus the "buy one get one free" promo happening this weekend only. Happy shopping! =)

How I applied for my Australian Tourist Visa

Just want to share the good news that my visa got approved! Yey! Me and my best friend have been planning to go to Australia for a couple of months now, to visit our kabarkada who is based there. Now I absolutely hate applying for visas. I just find it such a chore compiling all the documents and then so stressful waiting to see if you got approved or denied. I was extra nervous this time as well, since I'm now a SAHM and have no job.

Anyway, after weeks of researching online and gathering all the necessary documents, I finally applied for the visa. Btw, you can find all the information you need on the ff websites:


What's great about the Australian visa is there's no interview. You just submit your documents by doing any of the ff: 

1. Phone-in / Book for a roundtrip Courier Service.
This service is a phone-in option that includes the pick up of the completed Application Form and supporting documents from the applicant's given address and delivery after processing at the Embassy. This service is available nationwide and involves a flat rate; roundtrip courier fee (P320).

2. Walk-in / Direct Lodgment at the VIA Centre
This is a walk-in option where an applicant or an authorized representative can directly submit the completed Application Form and supporting documents at the Embassy's Visa Information and Application (VIA) Centre. This option involves a lodgment service & handling fee (P600) which includes the one-way delivery by courier after processing.

I chose Option 2. Now, the phone-in option is cheaper and more convenient but the call has a toll charge which costs P32 per minute. I wasn't sure how long the conversation with the call center representative will last but I figured if we talked for 10 minutes, that's P320 already. Besides, the VIA Centre was just in Makati (and I could go to the mall after hehe). I wanted to lodge the application personally so that I'd know if there was any problems with the documents, and I could still change it if ever.

Since I'm a SAHM, here are the documents I provided (make sure you photocopy all your documents):
- completed application form with 2 passport sized ID pictures
- manager's check for the Visa Application Charge - check the website for exact costs since I think they update it every couple of months
- my hubby's Certificate of Employment, ITR, and bank certificate since I wrote in the app form that he would be supporting my trip
- my credit card statement (to show my credit limit) 
- our house title
- NSO birth and marriage certificates which I applied for online via www.ecensus.com.ph - according to the website, the embassy will only accept NSO documents through electronic channels. Once the NSO has facilitated the request, the documents will be couriered directly to the Australian Embassy and be matched to their visa application.

You don't need an appointment if you do the walk-in option. You just show up and wait for the number they give you to be called. I was at the VIA Centre for less than an hour and thankfully all my documents were ok. I was then feeling pretty good about my application. After all, I was going on this trip with friends, which meant that my husband and 2 kids will be back home waiting for me. 

My visa arrived in exactly 15 days. We were actually in Cebu when my passport was delivered so luckily I left an authorization letter to our maid just in case. But what was great was that both the Australian Embassy and Air 21 texted me in the morning to let me know that they would be delivering the visa on that day. And Air 21 also texted me later on to let me know that my package was received. Very efficient! Anyway, since I was in Cebu, I had to wait until we got back to Manila to find out whether I was approved or not. Luckily I was!

Another thing to note, Australian visas are now "label free" which means you don't get anything affixed on your passport. What I got back was just my passport and a bond paper which is the Visa Grant Notice. It includes details of my visa including my visa grant number which is the unique number assigned to my visa.

Anyway, if you have any questions which you feel were not addressed in the websites, you can call their free visa information number at 845-9200 or email them at aus_inquiry@via.ph. I did both and they were so helpful. The phone number was easy to get through and the call center representative who I spoke to answered all my questions. When I emailed, I got a response within a couple of hours as well. 

Here's the costs I incurred during my application:
Visa Application Charge = P5,100
VIA Lodgement and Handling Fee = P600
NSO Birth & Marriage Certificate (P315 each) = P630
Bank Certificate = P200

So thank God I got approved since that is a lot of money to just go to waste! Hopefully this post was helpful to those who want to apply for a tourist visa as well. Now, I can't wait for our trip in the next couple of months. Wheeee! =)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Art Attack

Here's some of the arts and crafts projects me and the kids have been up to lately:

- PAPER SHAPES - Made these from colored art paper and just stuck them on the wall using masking tape. Perfect decor for the rainy days.

- ORIGAMI - I just searched online for easy to do tutorials and viola!

- CLAY - Just make sure its non-toxic and supervise the kids closely since they might eat it. Their daddy was a bit hesitant at first to make them play with it, but in the end, he was the one making all the shapes! Check out a few of his creations below. =)

- DRAWING with CRAYONS - Actually, what Miley likes to do is TELL ME what to draw. For some reason, she loves making me draw a "witchy witchy" all the time. We also love tracing our hands and feet and putting "nail polish" by coloring the nails.

- DRAWING with COLORING PENS - After all the crayons got broken c/o the kids, I decided to buy coloring pens. Miley was ecstatic! Finally, she was the one drawing...

And then, she discovered writing on herself. Ok, I couldn't resist, I drew some small "tattoos" on her ankle. ;p

Now I thought she was done playing so I left her alone for a minute and THIS is what I came back to...

Uh-oh! That's why always buy WASHABLE coloring materials! ;p

Monday, July 23, 2012

Photo of the Day: Miley as Edith

And so Miley's love for Despicable Me doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon. She loves wearing this hat very similar to the one worn by Edith in the movie. Hmmm, maybe this could be an option for her Halloween costume? ;p

Edith from Despicable Me

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our Cebu Trip: Hotel Hopping

We had a chance to go around some of Cebu's finest resort hotels during our vacay. You see, Vins' brother (who is based in the States) is getting married next year here in Cebu, so my mother-in-law took this chance to go on an ocular to check some possible venues.

First stop was Shangri-La Mactan. We were taken around the resort in a golf cart so we could check the ballroom and also the outdoor venue. We weren't able to go to the beach though. Maybe next time since it looks like this is really where they want the reception to be.

Moving on, our next stop was Imperial Palace Cebu. I've seen pictures of this place from my friend so I was dying to see it in person. And it did not disappoint! The place was huge and sprawling and looked very new. There were also a lot more guests here compared to Shangri-La.

Although the beach area was a bit small, the waterpark made up for it! They have 5 different themed pools: Amazon River, Wave Pool, Beach Pool, Captain's Hook Pool, and Toddlers Pool. And they also have water slides! The kiddie pool looked so fun, even I wanted to jump in. Miley was looking at the water so longingly, we made a promise that we will definitely go back here. I think the day trip is about P2500, but it is consumable with a buffet meal. So better to just book a room here to really enjoy and take advantage of all the facilities.

Oh, they also have a Kids Club which I'm sure all children will enjoy. Miley started to go wild when we went inside especially when she saw the area with all the balls. We had such a hard time prying both her and Sabe away from the place. We definitely HAVE to go back! =)

Our last stop was Crimson Resort & Spa. Upon entering the premises, we instantly noted that it looked like The Palms Country Club in Alabang. We were then informed that it was owned by Filinvest Development Corp., which explains the similarities. The place was smaller and cozier than the first two resorts, but it was still fabulous.

Their beach area was the biggest and nicest for me. I can already imagine myself drinking a mango shake on one of those lounge chairs. ;p

Now look at their villas! I mean, if we stayed here, I don't think I'll want to leave the room anymore. And to have your own private pool where you can just lounge around anytime? Winner!

Funny thing, the whole time, we felt like we were the foreigners since almost all the guests in the 3 resorts were Korean haha! Anyway, all these resorts are far from the city but I doubt you'll even want to leave to go shopping once you're in the beach.

Actually, if you do the math, it might come out more expensive if you book in one of these resorts rather than going abroad to say Hong Kong. But Vins and I are torn between Imperial Palace and Crimson. Imperial Palace definitely wins because of the waterpark and all the fun things the kids can do. But Crimson is cozier and is a great place to just relax and unwind with the fam. So we'll see! Hopefully, the reception takes place in one of these places. Either way, we're coming back here next year and we cannot wait!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Our Cebu Trip: White Sands at Maribago Beach

We stayed at Cebu White Sands at Maribago Beach for 3 nights during our vacation. FYI, this whole trip was c/o of my mother-in-law who booked our tickets months ago during a seat sale (thank you mom!). It was also her and my hubby's tita who chose and booked the hotel through Agoda.com (the rates there are so much lower than booking straight through them). Transfers were not part of the package so we ended up taking an Innova van for P500 from the airport.

We were greeted by a very accommodating staff and were served welcome drinks at the lobby.

The best part of this resort is really the pool area. The main pool was nice and big. The shallowest part of the pool was 2 ft. which was perfect for the kids. They also had a jacuzzi and another smaller pool near the spa area. There weren't a lot of guests when we were there so we had the pool almost to ourselves the whole time!

They also had lots of koi fish in the spa area. In fact, I think these were some of the biggest and most gorgeous koi I've ever seen! We really enjoyed watching them swim around, especially during feeding time.

Their beach front is really just a SMALL area so you might be disappointed if you're expecting a nice, long stretch of sand. But you can still do a lot of activities like island hopping, jet skiing, parasailing, or even ride a banana boat. The sand and water were clean so we were content just playing in the sand and chilling in the water looking for shells with the kids.

This was the restaurant area where they serve breakfast and have free wi-fi. We had lunch here and the food was good, although a bit pricey. What we did was walk to Maribago Grill outside the resort for dinner where you can get more value for money. The breakfast food was the normal spread of bacon, eggs, bread, cereal, and fruit.

The resort has many different types of rooms. I was surprised at how huge and spacious our room was. It was me, hubby, the 2 kids, and our yaya who stayed here. We really didn't need the extra bed, but the kids (especially Sabe) ended up enjoying the bed on the floor. The beds were comfortable although the blankets were super thin. I didn't like the TV since it was so small for the room and wasn't even a flat screen. Although it had all the cable channels so I could live with that. There were lots of mosquitoes though, so they provided the plug-in type of insect repellant. But all the electrical outlets in the room were the ones with round sockets. You had to ask for an adaptor to be able to charge anything. Weird! The bathroom also looked old for me and there was no hairdryer (you have to ask for it). But I have to say, we were comfortable during our stay.

This was the room of my in-laws. It had a single bed and a double bed. The bathroom was much nicer although it was smaller. All the rooms on our floor had a balcony.

All in all, we had a good time here. Like I said, the best part is really the pool area which was perfect for us since the kids enjoy swimming in the pool more than the beach. But when we do come back, I hope to stay in one of the hotels we ended up checking out, which I'll blog about next. =)


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