Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Manila Ocean Park Year 1

Wonder how Manila Ocean Park looked like in 2009?

I could not believe it's been four years since Manila Ocean Park opened. Time flies cliche hits again and again. This is one of the many experiences I failed to blog. As promised I'd be blogging them one by one. (Not necessarily in order). Here's a post dedicated to my first visit to Manila Ocean Park in March 2009.

I've never been to Subic's Ocean Adventure so I have nothing to compare with MOP locally speaking, however, I've been to Osaka Japan's Ocean Park so that may be the closest thing I could compare it with. Of course, OJOP's bigger than MOP but it was alright for me. During my first visit, I gave it a benefit of the doubt since it just opened and there are room for improvements. By now, I can say I was right.  In 2009, some facilities were still under construction, no Hotel H2O yet, no shows just pure life-sized aquarium with different species being displayed. Some of the stores and restaurants were still closed then but yes, there was already a fish spa. I already forgot how much the entrance fee was then by I think it's around 500 PhP or below.

Here goes a sort-of-photo-blog to give you a view:

Upon entering MOP, you will see a dark hall leading to a dry place where reptiles and fish pond's located. There are plants and man-made falls placed on that area establishing nature's beauty. You will be welcomed by these crocodiles. They are real but you can't touch them. They are living in a very secured area so no worries.

Something fishy
There's a stair leading to the fish village, I forgot what it's called but that place is really dark. Cameras with flashes weren't allowed. Several species could be found there, for instance on the photo above: stone fish, star fish, sea horse, eel fishes and the rest of Nemo's gang.

A little anecdote on the place, however, dark, I saw my then blockmate Alya. It was unexpected, she's with her family and I'm with my mom and relatives. We hugged, introduced each other to the parties we were with and had a little catch-up since that was a summer vacation.

What's inside your bag?
The photo above were embryos of a certain fish, again I forgot which kind. It's amazing to watch because they got heart beats already. I'm thinking it could pop-out any time soon.

Big fish
Here we go to the Oceanarium part of MOP. I actually have a photo seemingly kissing this big fish on my 2009 and 2012 visit. I might show them to you on my future MOP post as a throwback. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Floating Malabon resto afloat for more than a decade

text and photos by ROSETTE S. ADEL
University of Santo Tomas Journalism program

MALABON CITY—A FISHING pond here has become the 12-year-old beehive of a floating restaurant here in this flood-prone city. 
Now, 12-year-old Balsa sa Niugan added a relaxing place for coffee lovers out there.

This floating restaurant and fishing garden in M. Aquino Street, the first in the city, just opened its coffee shop. Its capacity is 300-strong.

Balsa sa Niugan was established on July 18, 1998 under the ownership of a family-owned corporation, the Centennial Raft and Allied Services Inc..

Asked about the name ‘Balsa sa Niugan’, Manager Loreta Geronimo said that it was her husband, Santy, who had thought of it. Most of the facilities they have were made of rafts which are literally called ‘Balsa’ meaning floating raft made from bamboos that is why they used the name ‘Balsa sa Niugan’. 

Mr. Geronimo was also the one who conceptualized the design of Balsa sa Niugan—to cover the dining area, extension area, The Balsa area, Kubo area, Pavilion area, fishing area, and the “Kapihan sa Balsa,” which was opened last June 20 (Father’s Day). 
“Each area was gradually added as extensions for our facilities,” Mrs. Geronimo said.

The said areas may be used for events like weddings, baptismal, seminars, reunions, birthday parties and conferences as well as occasional reservations.
“Balsa sa Niugan caters to people from all walks of life, from classes A to C,” says Mrs. Geronimo. 

The restaurant’s menu consists of Filipino dishes, seafoods, sizzlings, Japanese and Chinese foods, and cocktail drinks which are being served daily on their operating hours from noon till midnight. “Kapihan sa Balsa” serves brewed coffee, cakes, and pastries.

Dining afloat in a fishpond with a cool relaxing ambiance of our open-air place makes us distinct, says Mrs. Geronimo.

Having been in the industry for 12 years now, Balsa sa Niugan has established its niche in the food retail industry in Malabon. 

However, like any other business in Malabon, the location itself is a drawback. Mrs. Geronimo said that because Malabon City is a flood-prone area, whenever there is flood or typhoon, they cannot operate. 

Its owners refuse to disclose how much the restaurant earns annually.

As for the community, Barangay Kagawad Rizalito De Guzman said that he sees no problem with the establishment of Balsa sa Niugan.

“Since the establishment is being featured on television and newspapers, our Barangay (Brgy. Niugan) is also being promoted in the process.” Johanne Bautista a resident of Brgy. Flores, Malabon City said that the concept of Balsa sa Niugan being a floating restaurant “is a good one”. She said that because of this people from other places visit Malabon to experience dining in Balsa, therefore it promotes local tourism benefitting the flood-prone city.

“Balsa sa Niugan a good place for sightseeing, although one thing I find negative about it is that there are lots of mosquitoes during night time because the water is stagnant,” says Marion Karenina Sagun, a resident of Brgy. Tinajeros.

But with simple rafts serving as the restaurant’s humble beginnings, the little pond where Balsa sa Niugan started has become a sea of livelihood for the Geronimo family and the city.

Rosette Adel, a third year Journalism student of UST, submitted this story for her Newspaper Practice and Management class.

Author's note: *I am just reposting my article from our Newspaper Practice and Management class. It was also posted in Pinoy Community Newswire 
-September 13, 2010. This was a site organized by our then Asst.Prof. Jeremaiah Opiniano. This article was also published in: The Philippine Business and News Forum
-November 10, 2010. However they already removed it when they updated their website.*

Monday, July 22, 2013

On why you should Overexposed

Overexposed album cover (Photo from Google Images)

Isn’t it ironic that an introvert like me is a concert-goer? I don’t know maybe this is just the fan girl in me I can’t seem to just shrug off. Part of the mainstream me, I guess. This is also the late bloomer outgoing self I have been gradually cultivating since College. For almost four years that I’ve been fan-girling, I already lost count on  how many concerts, fashion shows, plays, gigs etc. event I’ve seen and gone to, paid or for free. God, I’m such a scenester! Well, admittedly.

This year, I’ve been really looking forward to seeing Maroon 5 perform live. I already mentioned that on my personal blog. That’s because I missed two of their concerts here in Manila and I just can’t miss their concert on September 18. However, to my dismay, tickets are screaming SOLD-OUT! Heartbreak right there. But there are buts:
1) But I’ve already prepared myself for this. I’ve been saving money once I found out that they’d be having a concert in the hope of purchasing tickets by September. Bad news though, the tickets were sold out earlier this July. Up to now, I still cannot believe it. The persistent Rosette is still hoping for she is more than willing to spend all her cash to see ADAM LEVINE in flesh! Who wouldn’t want that?
2.) But I’ve already prepared myself for this part 2.  Sorry for the piracy, baby Adam. I immediately downloaded the Overexposed album after the release of Payphone so that I can memorize it and sing along with your band come your tour. Yes, I almost memorized every track. Even the awws, whoahs and the lalalas.
3) But there can’t be no tickets. Sold-out? Nah, I don’t think so. I’d like to believe that Ticketnet or whoever’s in-charge of the ticket selling is bluffing us, that there are still tickets hoarded and will be sold on the day of the concert itself. Hello scalpers! Oops. I mean… Hello ticket promos here and there? I really hope I am right. For if not, lemme just mourn and bawl for a sec for this is my fault. Deluding on some false hope my brain made me believe. Here’s to the hope that we’ll all score tickets for September 18, cheerios! Or maybe, just maybe there’d be Day 2 of their concert.

I’d love to write a track by track review on Maroon 5’s Overexposed album but Billboard already did that and what they wrote were somehow similar to my thoughts. You can check it out here. Besides, I don’t know how to review a track. Everything sounds good to me. I’m sure those tracks will hit like Moves like Jagger hit. Otherwise, I’m just being biased. So go and be the judge. I would just write about the reasons why you should (at least) listen to Maroon5’s Overexposed album, here it goes:

1.       The Wiz Khalifa Collab- Unlike their Hands all over album with several collabs, there’s only one for this album. Go on raise your eyebrows for the Black and Yellow rapper but then again the point of this collab is that it shows the versatility of Maroon 5. From Pop Christina Aguilera and Lady Antebellum to Gym Class Heroes and Wiz Khalifa. Different genres, still making a hit. Come on, the truth is there are only few band who can pull this off.  Widening their horizons and jumping from one genre to another yet still leaving their fans in awe.  Don’t you agree with me? No? Alright, listen to Payphone (Never mind the MTV) and tell me I’m wrong. I’m just waiting for a cover from them. Something like the Coldplay did with Rihanna’s We found love. I believe they actually don’t need that but it wouldn’t hurt if we’d hear them sing another song.

2.       Lyrics- Admit it, most of the songs nowadays have blah blah blah lyrics which really doesn’t make sense at all. It’s disappointing that however good its melody is, they just don’t make sense. Some are just about obscenity and some are just words jumbled. Maroon 5 has a gift in lyric-writing though. Over the years, from This Love to the present, they can pull off a song and yet send the message and emotion of it. We’ve seen it, She will be loved, Sunday Morning, Never gonna leave this bed, I won’t go home without you, etc. In this album, they did it again. Yes there were tracks with songs which have repeated lines but most songs still contain good lyrics. It’s even viral on statuses and other posts. Take Payphone as an example once again. Even the rap part made sense. I know you have that line you wish to tweet… or maybe you haven’t decided which yet. Altogether now: I’m at a payphone…

3.       Tracks are picker-upper- Maroon 5 stayed upbeat on this album. Very eargasmic. There were just about three or a couple of tracks which sounded sappy, “Sad" is one of them, given the title. The rest will make you groove and sing to it however sad the lyrics of the songs are. Most tracks are heartbreak songs but it doesn’t feel that way. I think that’s a good thing. Singing a heartbreak song or dancing on a heartbreak song won’t make you feel sad anymore. It’s like a happy pill that gives you positive vibes. I’m glad this band decided to reinvent their usual lonely-tuned songs into happy-sounding sad songs. Something to look forward to the new Maroon 5.
4.       Promising tracks- Let’s exclude Payphone because it already got million views on Youtube and made it to the Billboard 100. I’ll play Fortuneteller like one of their tracks titled Fortuneteller. I can see a bright future on most of the tracks from this album. If I’d rate this, it will definitely get a ten, ten being the highest. I’d say 9/10 out of 12 tracks have a potential to make it to the charts. However, I just chose 6 tracks aside from Payphone which you may have to prioritize: Beautiful goodbye, Love Somebody, Wipe your eyes, Sad, One more night and Lucky strike. The rest can be equally rated. Those were just my picks because I find them very promising. I could listen to every single track all day without getting bored. The moment I listened to the album, I knew it will one day land on the charts and will give people LSS like the Moves like Jagger hit.

5.       And Lastly, Adam Levine- Yeah, just ADAM LEVINE, in bold and in all caps. The Voice. The music. The body. One man team actually. His voice swoon me over on this album. What is Maroon 5 without him? I can’t imagine. Plus his good looks and hot body, more reasons to Overexposed.  No need to elaborate. Photos as proofs:

Photo from Google Images

Photo from Google Images

Still a no? One more.
Photo from Google Images

 In less than three days he’d be painting the town maroon, can’t wait! But if we can’t go to the concert, let’s just play their album, blast the volumes and have a mini-concert on our rooms! Come on now, Why don’t you overexposed with me?

*Original blog post was posted on Stay at Home Club., September 15, 2012.  All photos are from Google Images, could not retrieve the exact source anymore, will have to provide exact url for future attributions next time. Apologies.*

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Best of EWWM 2012

Cover art by Jelito De Leon
Ellie’s Wicked Wednesday Mixtape was a late music discovery for me. Maybe I listened to too much mainstream radio stations that I was not able to come across this. But anyway, I am glad I learned about it on the latter part of 2012.

Little did I know that Ellie Centeno, who for me is a music savior, is also a fellow Artlet. Had I known then I would have told her how I love her passion for music especially that her choice has a very wide variety and I, being in love with mainstream and indie could totally dig to the mixtapes even if I never heard most of the tracks before. Like I said, learning and discovering is fun. It would not hurt to know a new band or a new song. In fact, it is therapeutic for me. I get to widen my choices as well making me more in love with music.

I have yet to download previous EWWMs and since the segment (as of the moment) is not  being aired I could just follow EWWM which is now Ellie’s Wicked Weekend Mixtape online.

 So far, my favorite mixtape is the “Pity Party: Heartbreak Edition", it could be because it is timely or the tracks are just pleasing to my ears. Please don’t think of me as a masochist. In my defense, I just like the tracks on that mixtape. You might want to check out the preview here so you could get a chance to love it as well: Pity Party: Heartbreak Edition

To prove that listening and saving EWWM is worth it, here’s the list of the tracks from the BEST OF EWWM 2012:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Krispy Kreme celebrates 76 delightful years!

Krispy Kreme turns 76 today!

As a treat, they are selling 6 pieces of their signature original-glazed doughnuts for only PhP 76.00 (1 box). You just have to print or screen grab the voucher and show it via your phones/ tablets. Voucher can be downloaded here: Krispy Kreme Promo.  Details are already indicated on the voucher. You may download as many as you want.
Krispy Kreme Voucher

Each person could only avail maximum of two boxes. Promo runs from 7 A.M.-6 P.M. Hurry and brave the long lines, it's raining doughnuts today!

I already tried my luck today and bought a box for me and another for my office mate at Krispy Kreme, Ayala Branch.I actually didn't know this promo until this morning, I just learned it from my service-mate and since I am an early bird, why not try it?

This is what welcomed me when I entered their store!
Waiting area

People already surpassed the start of the line, that's how long the line is but it's nothing compared to J.Co.'s line.
I told you I didn't know about the promo. I went there with nothing. I just noticed the people got print-outs and I asked the lady behind me. She told me there needs to be a photo or a printed voucher. Good thing she was kind enough to lend me the voucher. I took a photo of it and showed it at the cashier. WE FIND WAYS.
Happy birthday, Krispy Kreme!

Look! Monsters University donuts spotted. It's Sulley and Mike Wazowski!

Thank you, Krispy Kreme! You made today special. <3>
Follow them on Instagram: @KrispyKremePh
Twitter: @hotlightgirl

*This is a free advertisement for Krispy Kreme by LadyLuckGazette

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Friday Beauty Haul and Pumpkin Soup craving

This is the latest I can get.

Last Friday, I decided to finally buy the things I needed as of the moment, along with things I don't really need but found useful. I went beauty/hygiene shopping in Landmark, Watsons and SM Makati of course with a help of a special friend. I don't usually do this because I only purchase stuff one at a time depending on the need. That's how I tend to be practical, sometimes too much. The factor that I now earn money adds to my practice of practicality. It's a good practice though, but there need to be a right timing and right execution. You don't need to deprive yourself of the beauty of commercialism once in a while. Just don't be a shopaholic.

So far after this sort of retail therapy, I am satisfied. My latest beauty haul which consist the following:

Ladyluckgazette's beauty haul

1) Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser- I always see this in the mall but I didn't know how it is being utilized. It's a good thing Youtube Guru Say Tioco Artillero introduced this to us during the make-up workshop (I have yet to blog). This can do wonders, I swear! If I have time I might review it. I would not buy this if it's not useful, remember, practicality. Available in department stores nationwide for PhP 299.00.

2) Nail Polish Remover- Also known as Acetone. I need this now because my nail polish are chipping off already. At PhP 15.00, this would last long for me since I rarely paint my nails.

3) Maybelline Clear Smooth All-in-one Shine-free Foundation- Another Maybelline product right here. I got this in "Honey shade" because that is the darkest shade they offer. My Maybelline press powder's swatch broke so I needed a new one. Since I attended a make-up workshop, I decided to switch to foundation because it's more lasting and appropriate as cover-up. Apparently, what I bought was only a refill. It has no mirror. I'm actually okay with it. It's more handy and less likely to break unlike the ones with mirror. I already forgot the price but it's ranging from 149-170. (If my memory serves me right.)

4) Tictac candy- I usually buy mints from either Double Mint or Tictac. I found Double Mint too strong and expensive though so I stuck with Tictac. I bought this since I'm already running out of candies. I'm not a fan of mentos except for the grape one because it's delicious.This costs PhP 25.00.

5) Foot treats Moisturizer Foot Spray- For hygienic purposes, my mom recently bought a foot powder. It's good because it leaves your feet dry and odorless. However, it leaves stain on the shoes, especially if it's dark colored. She told me she found foot spray and try it instead. So there you go, bought this one just to see if it works better. I got the grape seed flavor out of the four more scents. Available in department stores nationwide for PhP 99.00.

After shopping, it's already dinner time. Usually, I plan the place-to-eat ahead of time to avoid wasting time but there are days like this when I don't have the planned place in mind. Luckily though, I remembered the restaurant in Glorietta located beside Pancake House. I forgot its name then but I remembered they have the menu outside and a flashback of a photo of pumpkin soup appeared in my head. When asked where to eat for that night, I said the description, my companion agreed and so we looked for it.

While looking for the restaurant, there was an event on the ground floor. The singer Jeric Medina of X Factor Philippines was performing live for a certain brand of bike. I recently saw him at the Bloggers United 5 but didn't watch him live so I decided to join the crowd stopping by second floor to peak and listen to his performance. He sang two songs I forgot the first one already. I was also people-watching then and I suddenly saw the restaurant we were looking for, THE SPAGHETTI FACTORY.

Upon arrival, there was a long line so it's good that Jeric was performing because we can overhear his songs. He sang my favorite The Man Who Can't be Moved by The Script. I approached the manager to ask for the menu and see their price range. There were expensive meals but the price is good especially if you are sharing food. I guess. They were very accommodating and told us that we should just wait for they are cleaning our table.

We struggled on thinking of what to eat because I wanted salad but I was hungry during that time so I know I needed something heavier than veggies. So we settled and chose pizza instead of salad. Below are the photos of the foods we ordered and the rest of my SF experience:

Spaghetti Factory Menu

Spaghetti Factory in collage

For appetizer, Creme of Pumpkin Soup! (You should know by now that this is one of my favorite soups.)

Pizza Mixa (This gives us an option to pick two flavors, we chose Italian Sausage and BBQ Chicken. Go figure which is which.)

Vangelina's Spaeribs for main course. This is not for sharing actually but we opted to share because they had big servings anyway. You can choose from plain rice and risotto. Of course I chose, RISOTTO.Tastes really good!

This is the fat me enjoying pizza.

Overall, for an Italian restaurant Spaghetti Factory was good. The waiters and manager were accommodating and they serve fast (They have service charge by the way). The food was definitely delicious and worth the price. You will not find it hard to order because the menu already had recommendations indicated in it. Those with 'thumbs up' icon are their best-sellers. The table setting was good, only the place was not spacious. No wonder people fall in line for it. I will come back to try their pasta of course. My rating is 4/5. ****

We had to burn the calories after eating so we walked and I remembered that I have no video for the day yet. Good thing I spotted a piano near the exit area. I asked my companion to take a video of me seemingly playing the piano. Later on, I found out the display was real so I played my favorite piece in it: Ni Yao De Ai (The Love you Want) by Penny Tai as heard on Meteor Garden (Yes, I can play piano, just "can" would have to learn other pieces such as A thousand miles and A thousand Years)...
Caught playing piano :(
.....and then the guard heard me and reprimanded me. Talk about embarrassment. That was the end of my Friday night, shame.

Stay tuned for more of my throwback posts and reviews.