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Friday, October 9, 2015

Tips: E-Session or Prenup Shoot

Getting married is typically a once in a lifetime event.  And with today's changing times, e-session or prenup shoot has become part of the wedding preparations.  As for me, I am getting married soon (that's the reason why I seldom post here as I got really busy).  Of course, we also had our prenup shoot.

At first, I thought we can do away without prenup shoot.  It would just be an added cost and I don't seem to understand why it is needed or why it is always part of wedding preparations.  Out of the constant questions from family, friends and relatives as to where and when will our prenup shoot will be, that's the only time I've decided to have prenup shoot of our own.

We had our prenup shoot the other day.  Now I understand why it is recommended (not really required) to have a prenup shoot.  The most important thing I've learned is that, during prenup shoot, you will get the chance to be comfortable with your photographer.  For me, it is important to be at ease with them so that both parties can express themselves and give feedback or suggestions on how to make the shoot beautiful.  You also get to see the raw files of the shoot so that during the actual wedding day, you already know what to expect on the output and quality of your photos. 

Another important thing is with your chosen hair and make up artist.  For some, they do the trial make up during prenup shoot.  As for me, I already had a trial make up with the same artist during my prenup shoot.  So during the session, I gave comments to my artist based on the feedback I got during the trial make up.  It turned out, I already looked "made up" and better during the e-session.
Aside from what I learned in having an e-session as part of wedding preparations, I'd like to share some tips when planning for an e-session or prenup shoot.  Again, these are all based from my personal experience.

Plan for Location and Theme
Planning is everything.  I admit, we had planned for prenup shoot only a few weeks before the target date.  I had a preferred location but time, budget and weather conditions does not permit us to push through with it.  I had difficulty in finding a nice location as I really do not have a definite theme in mind and I only have about a few weeks left to decide and book for a location.  By planning, this entails determining the location of the shoot and the theme or peg for the e-session.  It is not necessary to have a theme but it helps to have one as the theme can coincide with the location.  Likewise, having a theme will help you decide on what clothes/shoes/accessories to wear and what props to bring if necessary.  Another thing to consider in choosing a location is whether it has powder area and changing clothes area.  Though it's not really a requirement but it would be better if it is available.  It would be hard to just use your car to change clothes.  In case you don't know, prenup shoot entails a lot of shots using different outfit depending on your requirement and preference.  Similarly, your look and make up can change depending on your outfit, if necessary.  

Treat Prenup Shoot as the Actual Wedding Day
Why? Because all soon to be married couples had undergone several preparations for their wedding day, that is grooming themselves.  You should also do the same on your prenup shoot.  For the soon to be groom, it would be best to keep your face clean without mustache and beard.  It is also best to have your hair cut or keep your hair away from your face.  For the soon to be bride, be sure you have shaved your legs and armpits, had your nails done and finally kept your face clean and clear if possible (I know wedding preparations can be stressful and lead to pimples).  Additional tip, it is best to just shampoo your hair (no conditioner) if you have long hair and plan to set it into curls or whatever style.  This will help keep the chosen style setting last.

Be Physically Prepared
No need to be buff or physically fit (though health-wise, that will be great) but mainly I meant keeping yourself free from sickness and had taken enough food.  Prenup shoot normally takes hours with little breaks.  It will keep you sane if you had eaten before your shoot.  Yes, sane.  It's hard to smile and laugh with an empty stomach.  If you choose an outdoor shoot, be prepared to get sweaty on a hot weather.  Sometimes a hot weather can put you out of the mood so just try to be patient with it else your tiresome might be seen in the pictures.

Bring Drinking Water
Most especially if you're shooting outdoors on a sunny weather, it is best to have drinking water available, not just for the couple but also for the photographer, assistant and make up artist.  As mentioned, hot weather can change your mood so drinking cold water can somehow keep your cool.

Practice Your Smile
Prenup shoot will of course require you to smile, either showing your teeth or not.  I think it would help if you know the kind of smile that will look good on you.  Also, it helps if you know which angle will make you more beautiful (and handsome for the groom to be) in pictures.  And since this is a prenup shoot which will take more than an hour, expect to get tired from smiling.  Just be patient with it so your pictures will look good.

Trust Your Photographer
You've chosen your photographer because of their style in photography.  Trust their creativity.  Even if you're not used to always strike a pose on your photos, just trust to what pose they will ask you to do.  The poses that they will tell you maybe common but for sure they will give you a shot that will still look extraordinary.   

Unless you're a celebrity, you will only get to have a prenup shoot once in your life.  So just enjoy the moment being a model for a day.  Smile and have fun! 

It was a tiring 4-hour prenup shoot for us but seeing the pictures (raw file), it was worth it.  And when my photographer uploaded a few pictures in his FB page, we felt happier and relieved as the comments from different people were heartwarming.  The shots were wonderful!  We didn't look tired.  And most importantly, we looked in love according to the commenters.  Click this link for a preview of our prenup shoot from our photographer's FB page.

To those soon to be wed couples, congratulations in advance and enjoy your prenup shoot!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Taiwan Excellence: Made to Enjoy Singing Contest

Are you fond of singing?  Do you upload your singing videos in You Tube?  Or do you just want to show off your talent so you can be the next online superstar?  Then this contest from Taiwan Excellence is for you!

Taiwan Excellence' Made to Enjoy Singing brings you their latest online contest to all aspiring singers out there.  If you got that singing talent and you've got what it takes to be the next You Tube sensation, then this contest is for you!  You do not only get to show off your singing talent, you also get a chance to win exciting prizes from Taiwan Excellence.

The Taiwan Excellence Made to Enjoy Singing Contest aims to showcase the one of a kind singing talent of Filipinos.  To make it more exciting, the public will be voting off the best musical videos submitted by aspiring contestants and will be judged by panel of experts.  The winners will take home cash prizes and fantastic Taiwan Excellence products which includes innovative products from their various 78 brands.

The contest will run from August to November with qualifying round every month starting August and the grand finals will be held in November.  Monthly winners will already bring home cash prizes and Taiwan Excellence products.

For the month of August, winners will get to take come a Transcend Drive Pro 200, a Tatung Rice Cooker 100 and Php 10,000 in cash.  They will also get the chance to sing with Sam Concepcion on September 5, 2015 at the 2nd Taiwan Excellence Experiencing Zone in SM City North Edsa, The Block Atrium.

For September winners, you can take home an Acer Liquid Jade Z or a Kingcom Sigma Evo smartphone.  Winners for October, on the other hand, will get to win Asus Zenfone 2 or an Acer Iconia Tab.  In addition, each finalist will also get to bring home Php 10,000 in cash.

For the grand finals in November, the winner will get a KYMCO Agility 125" motorcycle and a cash prize of Php 50,000.  Plus, the prizes will be given by Taiwan Excellence endorser, Maja Salvador.

"We have always been amazed at the musicality of Filipinos and we hope to give them a fun platform to showcase their talents while at the same time giving the best ones an opportunity to win Taiwan Excellence products." says Yu-Wei Hsiao, Deputy Executive Director of TAITRA.  "The quality of our products is reflected in the high quality of Filipino singers."

So whether you're just a beginner in singing or you've been singing in front of your friends or a few audiences for a long time, Taiwan Excellence-Made to Enjoy Singing Contest is a perfect opportunity for you.  You will get to show off your excellence in the musical industry just like the brands under Taiwan Excellence which are noted all over the world for their great innovative designs and workmanship.  This is your chance to become an online superstar or even be discovered as the new singing talent and be known worldwide!  You not only get to share your singing talent to everyone but you also get to have fun and enjoy this memorable experience with opportunity to win great prizes.

To join, just register at Taiwan Excellence - Made to Enjoy Singing official website at

The qualifying legs will be held on August, September and October while the finals leg will be held on November 2015.  For more information on the contest, visit

So what are you waiting for? Join now!

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Coloring Book for Adults

Just last month, a friend of mine invited  me to an FB group named, Coloring Book for Adults.  I've heard of it quite a bit but I really didn't put much attention to it, until I started browsing the group posts and comments.  It was a nice page seeing people's artwork which shows off their creativity and effort.  The artworks have intricate details and it is quite impressive on how these people patiently colored them.  The various combination of colors were pleasing to the eyes and the mediums used in finishing their artwork were somehow interesting.  But I thought, I don't think I have that patience in coloring such intricate details.  Also, personally, I don't think I have that artistic and creative side of the brain that can produce "pleasing to the eyes" artwork.

But then, just a few weeks ago, an officemate mentioned about this coloring books for adults which could somehow relieve stress and makes you relax.  With the nature of my work, I thought, why not give it a try.  After browsing further on where to buy coloring books for adults from the FB group, my officemate and I hurriedly checked Powerbooks in Greenbelt upon their store opening.  There were a very few coloring books for adults on display and some books we saw when the store was still closed were no longer there.  Specifically, what catches my eyes was the Mandalas coloring book but it was no longer there.  So my officemate asked for it from the saleslady.  It turned out, those books were already reserved.  But the saleslady was kind enough to double check if those reserved books can be available.  Luckily, the saleslady handed us 3 more variety of coloring books, one of which is the Mandalas I was eyeing.  Without hesitation, I bought it while my officemate opted for the The Can't Sleep Coloring book.  Hers was more expensive but with various designs while mine was purely Mandalas, but I was happy with it.  Of course we also bought colored pencils.  We chose Faber Castell brand, 24 pieces.  I also purchased other mediums like markers and metallic gel pens.  I wanted to try various mediums to check which ones will look good and which will be more comfortable to use.

My 1st coloring book

 Coloring pencils from Faber Castell

Colored pens and metallic pens

The Faber Castell coloring pencils were kinda light in shade.  Or maybe I just didn't put to much pressure on coloring.  But anyway, it still provide nice and clean output.  

I also bought the Faber Caster coloring pens.  It has very pointed tips and doesn't smudge on the artwork.  I find this very useful on those small and intricate designs.  Partnered with Dong A metallic gel pens, you will get an accurate shading on those deisgns.  

On my first artwork, I combined all these 3 mediums.  About quarter of using colored pencils on my artwork, I can already feel a bit of tiredness in my hands.  So I then tried the colored pens and metallic gel pens.  They were easier to use and not tiring.  Although on my first try with the colored pens, I used it on a not so small details which made it look thick and uneven. I shaded too much and so it kinda stain the back of the page.  Maybe because I was making sure all white marks were covered.  On my first try, I was able to finish it in two days.  I was only coloring at home after work.  Here's my first artwork.  What can you say? You will notice the part where I used the colored pens. #fail 

1st artwork
Medium: colored pencils, colored pens and metallic gel pens

As of this writing, I was able to color 4 mandalas and 1 in process.  The one I'm working on right now is kinda experimental artwork since I used watercolor pencils.  Will probably post about my experience on it soon.

I'm not really sure if I felt relaxed or it relieves my stress, but I was enjoying coloring my adult coloring book.  It keeps my mind focused and busy in determining what colors to use.  What I like best is that you can combine any colors you want without following any rules on whether this color should match this color.  I'm not sure if this new hobby is letting out my creative side but I like combining different colors and using different mediums.

2nd artwork
Medium: colored pencils and metallic gel pens

3rd artwork
Medium: colored pencils, colored pens and metallic gel pens

4th artwork
Medium: colored pencils

There's also an app in Apple Store and Google Play Store called Colorfy which is an adult coloring book.  It's a nice alternative if you want to color on the go.  However, some colors and artworks are not for free and it is quite expensive.

Right now, I'm in search for other adult coloring books.  I might get bored and tired with Mandalas!  I hope I will still continue doing these to keep my mind off on stressful things.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Treasures of Bolinao: Revisited

My family and I had a quick weekend getaway in Bolinao, Pangasinan last February.  They wanted to stay in Treasures of Bolinao.  I've visited Bolinao and also stayed in the same resort last 2012.

Not much has changed but there were improvements in the resort.

Treasures of Bolinao now have 2 pools.  This new one was supposed to be the infinity pool but it doesn't seem like it.  Although this pool is a bit bigger and deeper.

Infinity pool

The bridge was now repaired.  This serves as a viewing deck where you can view the sunset as well the picturesque rock formations with the splashing of waves.

The bridge

My family stayed in Maharlika Building.  We stayed in Suite room located at the 3rd floor.  We got 2 rooms but my family on the other room requested to transfer since their aircon was not functioning well.  They transferred to the 2nd floor which is more expensive as it has veranda but with no extra cost.

That red roof is the Maharlika Building

The picture of Suites room at the 3rd floor in their website is deceiving.  I thought the checkered floor is still part of the room, but it is not.  It's like the receiving area of the 3rd floor.  Anyone staying at the 3rd floor can lounge there.

The room was big with two queen size bed.  There is an LCD TV but there wasn't cable channel available.  The linens were clean enough except for the bed cover which seems unwashed for so long.  The pillows were just right, not too soft nor hard.  The extra bed provided was a sofa bed which is comfortable enough unlike in some resorts where a thin matress is provided for the extra bed.

The restroom was ok with hot and cold shower.  Although the shower head needs repair already as waters are coming out from the end of it.  The door knob can sometimes be not functioning well since most of the time, we can't lock the door.

Come night time, there were a lot of insects crawling in our room.  It seems like a big ant or as we call it "gamu-gamo".  It is quite disturbing as some are crawling in our pillows.  My sister patiently kills them all since we have kids in our room and the fear of it getting to our ears.  We also tried spraying citronella on it and it somehow helps.

I'm not sure why there were these kinds of insects in our room but in the other room where my other family transferred, there was none.  That room in the 2nd floor is a bit smaller but they have a veranda and size of bed is same as ours.

Similar to our last stay, the service was still slow.  It seems like they are undermanned.  The girl from the reception was also the girl getting orders and serving food from the restaurant.  Food was ok, edible.  Serving size was just enough.

Overall, it's still nice to stay in Treasures of Bolinao but some of the rooms already needs improvement.  I just don't have pictures of our room.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Human (Heart) Nature Day and Night Moisturizer: A Review

If you could recall from my previous blog, I'm an avid user of Human Heart Nature products.  Their all natural, organic and proudly Filipino made products suits my skin very well.  Just last year and last month, I found another holy grail products from Human Heart Nature.

Having an acne prone and oily skin, I am careful on what I put on my face.  As mentioned in my previous blog post, I listed a few Human Heart Nature products applicable to this skin type.  This time, I am so happy to find a cheaper moisturizer good for my skin type.

I have tried the old formulation of both day and night moisturizer of Human Heart Nature.  I didn't like them as it felt quite thick on my face and it even adds oiliness to it.  This time, I took the risk of trying out first their Night moisturizer.  I thought, if the effect on my face will be the same as the old formulation, at least I'm just at home and about to sleep.  Although I've read in some of the reviews that the Night moisturizer is even best for oily skin.  I'm glad I did try it.  Aside from it is indeed good for oily skin, it even helped in combating my pimples.  I'm so happy! My holy grail!

Because of the nice effect of Night moisturizer, I took again the risk to try the Day moisturizer.  I've been using it for only about a month but I am loving it already.  It is also good for people with oily and acne prone skin.

Both Day and Night Moisturizer have a watery like consistency which makes it absorbed by the skin quickly, no greasy feel.  On the first few days of application though, you will feel that your face is perspiring easily.  I'm not sure why this happens but after your face get used to these, you won't get to experience it anymore.

Since it quickly absorbed by the skin, I sometimes tend to put much of it but still my face doesn't look greasy.  It feels moisturized all day and night.  What I really love about them, aside from I didn't breakout from it, the oiliness on my face is now at bay even until late in the afternoon.  I now seldom use oil control sheet to blot excess oils on my face.  My face feels supple and I know that my face is getting vitamins and minerals essential to keep it healthy.  What's more, the Day Moisturizer is much cheaper than the Cetaphil Moisturizer I previously used.

So if you have oily and acne prone skin and still struggling to find the right moisturizer, then I suggest you try this Day and Night Moisturizer from Human Heart Nature.

Stay beautiful!

New Orleans Restaurant: Best Seat to Watch Pyromusical Competition

Last March 7, my fiance and I had an impromptu decision to watch the 6th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.  I love fireworks and I make sure I watch this competition every year.  But I missed out last year's competition and we almost missed out this year's.  So after persuading my fiance, at an instant, we decided to watch the competition.

Since it is a last minute decision, I called up some restaurants near the bay and veranda of SM Mall of Asia.  But unfortunately they are not taking any reservations over the phone at that last minute (I called up Saturday afternoon).  Most of their policy is now first come first served basis.  So we just decided to go to SM MOA early.

Upon reaching MOA, similar to previous years, tickets are available on sale all over the place.  We specifically wanted to watch it from the restaurants in the veranda, 2nd floor.  So we checked out Italianni's, Healthy Shabu Shabu, Sarsa, New Orleans, Pepper Lunch, and 2 more restaurants which I forgot the name.  During that time, 5pm, the veranda area is still open to the public.  Reservations are still accepted at this time on a first come first serve basis.  However, most of these restaurants were fully booked, especially on the front row seat.  We have no preferred restaurant but the New Orleans restaurant seems favorable to us.   Though the front row seat is already occupied, we reserved seat at the third row.  Favorable because for me, it is one of the best view since we saw the vessel where fireworks will be set up right in front of this restaurant.  Their price per head for the veranda dining is Php 1,000: Php 300 for the ticket entrance plus Php 700 worth of consumable food and drinks.  It seems that all the restaurants have the price range as New Orleans.  Even the time I called up some restaurants near the bay, price is also about Php 1,000 per head.

Below are the foods we ordered.  The consumable price of Php 1,400 for 2 is already more than enough for the night's dinner (and snack) for the whole duration of the show.  We just added roughly about Php 245 for the excess with drinks (we just had fruit shakes) including service charge.

This is name Godfather spaghetti with big meatballs, good for sharing

Cajun Shrimp Bucket, good for sharing

All Meat Pizza, more than enough for 2 persons
The country to perform were United Kingdom and Canada.  We were excited to see their performance since these were the usual champions in the previous Pyromusical Competition.  First to perform was United Kingdom.  Their show lasted about 20 minutes.  See some pictures and last segment video below.  Apologies for the quite blurry pics as I don't have a tripod and my camera is just basic camera, my favorite Nikon Coolpix P300 (which I own since 2011, very reliable! See my blog post about this camera here and here)

Next performer is Canada.  See below sample pictures and video on their last segment

Both countries' fireworks show were entertaining.  United Kingdom uses some upbeat music and those that are quite known by the crowd.  Even with upbeat music, their fireworks goes along with it.  For Canada, they use a more classical and instrumental music which to some may find it boring.  But their fireworks, for me, was amazing.  It was something i have never seen before.  Their fireworks display moves around to various direction.  And with that, in this night's show, my vote goes to Canada.

You still have this weekend for the last show of the 6th Philippine International Pyromusical Competition.  This weekend, the country who will perform are Philippines and China.  Try to reserve seat from New Orleans Restaurant.  You will never regret it as the view is perfect!  Good food too!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

White Beach, Boracay: Ranked #7 in the Best Beaches of the World

Once again, the beautiful White Beach in Boracay Island is included and ranked number 7 in the 25 most beautiful beaches of the world according to the 2015 Travelers' Choice from Tripadvisor.

It's no doubt that many people was still smitten by the powdery white sand and clear blue waters of the White Beach in Boracay Island.  I've been here a lot of times and at different seasons and I can say that I still want to go back here even if it has been too commercialized.  The sands are still fine, the sunset still lovely and the water is still clear.  Boracay is still one of the beaches here in the Philippines that I never get tired of coming back.

You may see all the top 25 best beaches in the world here.

Haven't been to Boracay?  You're already missing a lot!  Here's a budget friendly accommodation in station 1, the more quiet but still more fun location in the whole White Beach of Boracay.

Enjoy Boracay!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Review: Magallanes Square Hotel Tagaytay

Before 2014 ends, my fiance and I had an impromptu overnight getaway in Tagaytay.  Well, it's not really impromptu but somehow it is unplanned.  We received a gift certificate last Christmas for an overnight stay at a Deluxe Room in Magallanes Square Hotel in Tagaytay (You may check their room rates here).  Validity of the GC is only until December 31, 2014 and it cannot be used on a weekend and holidays.  We were quite in awe since after Christmas, December 29 is the only day left that falls on a Monday and not a Holiday.  Unfortunately, upon checking Trip Advisor for the availability of the deluxe room, there's none, even in other rooms.  I even tried other dates after Christmas and it seems the hotel's already fully booked.  I tried my luck by calling the hotel directly.  My first choice of date was December 29-30 to conform with the conditions of the GC.  But there's no available deluxe room on that day and the date that th hotel offered me was December 30-31.  I told them that my GC is not valid on a holiday but they didn't say anything about it so I proceeded with the reservation.  A last minute reservation and relaxation for the  year 2014.

Magallanes Square Hotel is a small hotel located in, as the name implies, Magallanes Square (Magallanes Drive).  If you're not familiar, Magallanes Square is near the vicinity of some famous restaurants in Tagaytay like Leslie's, The Grill by Antonio's, RSM Lutong Bahay Restaurant and many others.  There are buses that makes Magallanes as one of their drop off point.

Sofa at the reception area

Coffee area at the back

Our deluxe room is located on the first floor.  Their key is a magnetic card where it is also used to turn on the electricity of the room.  Its quite wise for them to provide only one card key so that the electricity will be turned off once the occupants leave their room.

Hallway to our room

Our room number

Our room have queen size bed, glass bathroom, hot and cold shower, business area, closet with safe, mini ref, electric kettle with coffee sachets, LED TV, carpeted room (except near the toilet) and complimentary bottled water.

What I love about this hotel is the smell of their linens.  It seems to be very clean.  The pillows however are not too fluffy and quite flat.  I guess it already needs to be replaced.

I find their glass bathroom quite unique.  Normally the shower area is the only one that is made of glass.  But theirs was the enclosed area of the bathroom made of glass.  Well, not really the whole bathroom but specifically their door and side panels.  The bathroom is clean but the shower area seems clogged as water gets too long to be drained after shower.  Their toilet also has bidet.  Towels and a few toiletries were provided.

I also find it unusual for a small hotel like this to have a safe and carpet.  The carpeted floor covers most of the room except the area outside the bathroom.  The safety box is just small.

Our accommodation includes buffet breakfast.  But they are only serving garlic rice, egg, tocino and longganisa.  Orange juice, water and coffee are the available drinks.  My fiance and I love their garlic rice.  It seems to be cooked in butter.  You can taste and smell it on the rice.

Below is the hotel's room rate for 2015.

I find their rate without discount to be expensive.  With the discount, its quite reasonable already, although my fiance still finds it a bit expensive.  He thinks the hotel is very basic.  No special or additional amenities for the rate.  Well, its quite true but additional things like carpet, safety box and card key, for me, was the "added" feature of the hotel.  Nevertheless, the hotel is recommendable due to its proximity to famous restaurants in Tagaytay.  What's more, they accommodated and allowed us to stay on a holiday even if it is not valid as per GC.  The staff were also approachable and they replied to my inquiries quickly.  Not bad for a free, quick, last 2014 hurrah!

Should you wish to book this hotel for your staycation, you may go to this link.