Friday, November 25, 2011

Vibe: Vibal Foundation's e-Bookstore

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The first e-bookstore in the Philippines has launched. Vibe, a project of Vibal Foundation, launched recently and was introduced to bloggers at a gathering at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Vibe is the e-bookstore's name as well as the name of the reading app that is downloadable FREE on PCs, Macs, Android devices as well as on iPhones and iPads.

Vibal Foundation's goal was to make available to the reading public the widest number of newly published, out of print or public domain book titles, including magazines and newspapers. This is good news not only for academe who will have digital access to many books that have long been out of print but Vibe is also a way by which budding authors and bloggers can get their dream book/s self-published in cyberspace. And earn from it as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tell me what you're thankful for and win 1 of 30 license codes (updated)

It's Thanksgiving Week! And before anything else, I want to thank Digiarty Software for providing me with 30 license codes to give away:

1) 10 license codes for WinX DVD Ripper Platinum Thanksgiving Edition

2) 10 license codes for MacX DVD Ripper Pro

3) 10 license codes for MacX DVD Ripper Pro for Windows

This is a good time to be thankful for blessings that come our way, whether they be the people around us, a good job, a happy event and more.

So to get a chance to win a license code, here are the mechanics and it will be easy:

1. Post on the comments section of this article what or who you are thankful for, tell me which of the 3 software you prefer to win, and give an email address.
(For ex: I am thankful for my parents who sacrificed so much to send me to school. I want to win software #2. My email address is

2. Promo ends on Friday, Nov. 25, 10pm Manila time. I will email license codes to winners by Nov. 26, Saturday and names of winners will be added as an update on this post.

Entries will be grouped according to software category and winners will be chosen via Randomizer. To give more people a chance to win, I will only consider one entry per email address for this giveaway. If there are multiple entries from same email address choosing different software, I will only include the first entry posted.

Note: these license codes allow you to run all features of the applications but they don't entitle the users to upgrades or tech support. The license codes also have to be activated not later than November 30, 2011.

I also invite you to join me on my Facebook page and Google+ page

Features of WinX DVD Ripper Platinum Thanksgiving Edition

No.1 fast DVD ripper software capable of ripping both homemade and commercial DVDs to popular videos, such as rip DVD to AVI, MP4, H.264, MPEG, WMV, MOV, FLV, 3GP, etc. It can also help users faultlessly rip and backup DVD to iPhone/4S, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Android, HTC, Samsung, XOOM, Galaxy Tab, Kindle, ThinkPad, DELL Streak, PSP, etc. One of the few DVD rippers that support the latest encrypted DVDs such as Thor, Transformers 3.

For features of MacX DVD Ripper Pro, click HERE

For features of MacX DVD Ripper Pro for Windows, click HERE


(UPDATE: Well, looks like I have enough license codes to give away to all those who entered so congratulations to all who posted their thanksgiving messages before my cut-off message. You will all get a license code for the software you chose. Please wait for my email.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

MacX DVD Ripper Pro Thanksgiving Giveaway

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Not many people celebrate Thanksgiving here in the Philippines but that's what's nice about an online community. Wherever in the world you are, you can avail of Thanksgiving promos and giveaways.

Digiarty Software is at it again this Thanksgiving and guess what they are giving away until Nov. 29, 2011 or till supply lasts:

10,000 whopping FREE copies of MacX DVD Ripper Pro

Last year, I was able to download my own free copy of MacX DVD Ripper Pro so for Mac users out there, this is your chance to get your own.

You must hurry. Promo stops when they've given away the 10,000th free copy! I just checked and they've given away already over 9.600 copies! Less than 400 copies are left!

One note. Since this is a free copy, it does not come with a free upgrade or tech support service.

To download your MacX DVD Ripper Pro, click HERE.

For description of MacX DVD Ripper Pro features, click HERE. (Note: This page is NOT where you download for free.)

If you are a Windows user and want a similar free download, you need to LIKE Digiarty's Facebook page and download MacX HD Video Converter Pro for Windows from there.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Book Launch: "Home-made for the Holidays"


Wondering what to give for Christmas to someone who loves to bake? Or are you yourself wondering what new treats you can bake and give away as presents to friends or serve up at your family reunion?

Authors and chefs Aileen Anastacio and Angelo Comsti combined their efforts to produce a book they lovingly call "Home-made for the Holidays". Published by Marshall-Cavendish, the book features over 60 treats. Each dish's recipe comes with vivid photographs and a complete list of ingredients.

Aileen Anastacio and Angelo Comsti

I enjoyed looking around a table filled with some of the treats featured in the book. Just take a look at all these goodies. 

Smoked Salmon Spread

Rosemary Breadsticks

Chocolate Mint Cupcakes

Cheese Torta

White Toblerone Cheesecake

Caviar Pie

Whisky Brownies

Olive Tapenade

Holiday Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies

Holiday Snowballs

Mini Cups

Cake Popper

Home-made for the Holidays is available exclusively at National Book Store and Powerbooks for PhP 895.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf's Brunch Series features Randell Tiongson

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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf recently launched a new concept "Out with the old and in with the new" through a new brunch series - Small Talks for Big Changes. And its very first expert guest speaker was none other than my friend, Randell Tiongson, Director of Registered Financial Planners of the Philippines.

About two months ago, I spent a whole day in a financial planning workshop, "Steps to Financial Peace" where Randell and some of his friends spoke. My post on that can be found HERE.

At this first-of-three brunch series attended by people from all walks of life, Randell once again pursued his advocacy to improve people's lives by changing their financial habits. His easy-to-grasp, personal style that included personal stories, aimed to empower people through a more conscious approach to their finances.

It never ceases to amaze me when Randell presents startling statistics about savings in the Asian region. Countries like China, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand average about 30% savings while the Philippines does not even reach 20%. And even if we do save, it is often not enough to provide for us when we retire. Randell is hoping that through his talks and workshops, more people will learn to get a grip on their lives and map out an effective financial plan that will adequately provide for them and their families.

This series is part of CBTL's Great Exchange program, an ongoing trade event that highlights its Single Serve Beverage System which coffee aficionados have dubbed as the future of coffee and tea.

While listening to Randell from the back, I actually got to see how the Single Serve Beverage System works. The barista had me pick out my kind of coffee (or tea) from over 70 varieties and he was able to brew me my very own single serve coffee in no time at all. Nice. I think I want one for Christmas! I can have my very own cappuccino any time of the day.

Catch the last of the series on November 19 at Shangri-la Mall where Preview Magazine's Associate Editor, Eunice Lucero, leads a fashion talk and make-over session.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Goldilocks Launches a Bakebook

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Goldilocks was the name I grew up with when it came to cakes and pastries. The popular fluffy mamon and ensaymada were staples during my growing-up years.

When I started my own family, it was a regular trip for me to cross from Unimart to Goldilocks (where Gloria Maris restaurant is now) and buy mamon, ensaymada, and polvoron (both classic and pinipig) for the kids' baon (school snacks) the following week. And during my kids' birthdays, I remember poring over Goldilocks' various albums filled with different themed cakes trying to decide what kind of cake I'd order for them.

So when I was invited to the launch of Goldilocks' bakebook, I made sure I'd drop by even if my day was packed with events. I was curious as to why Goldilocks would, after all these decades, share its successful recipes with the world. And I was hoping that I'd meet the people who made Goldilocks a household name.

The ladies behind Goldilocks are sisters Mrs. Milagros Leelin-Yee and Mrs. Clarita Leelin-Go and their sister-in-law Doris who first opened Goldilocks along Pasong Tamo, Makati in May 1966. The two sisters eventually carefully developed each Goldilocks recipe to make it what is now.

To celebrate 45 years of Goldilocks, both sisters are now sharing the very recipes that built Goldilocks into what it is now with us through a bakebook. I asked one of Goldilocks' executives if they did not think it risky to share these recipes. I was told that the recipe ingredients were tweaked so that it is a lot easier to prepare at home. Their original recipes are meant for commercial preparation. So I guess you shouldn't expect the results to be exactly the same as what you can get from Goldilocks. But close enough...

A selection of goodies whose recipes are in the bakebook

The Goldilocks Bakebook contains 108 recipes in 211 pages that includes beautiful photos as well as an overview of the company's beginnings. The last part of the bakebook contains actual stories from Goldilocks customers including my friend Noemi's story about how Goldilocks played a part in her son's birthday party.

This bakebook is not meant to be a coffeetable book or simply a collection for one's library. This bakebook is meant to be kept in the kitchen, its pages used and re-used, with pages that probably show stains from dough, butter and other things that a baking mom usually uses.

Here's what Goldilocks calls its Winning Recipe:

The Goldilocks Bakebook retails at PhP 799 and is available in all National Bookstore branches and select Goldilocks outlets.

Kenny Rogers Introduces its Honey Roast Chicken + 4 New Side Dishes

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By November 15, 2011, Kenny Rogers Roasters patrons will be treated to a whole new offering to add to their choices for the Christmas holidays. I was part of a blogger group that got first dibs at trying out these dishes so I am excited to tell you about my gastronomic experience.

First up is a new flavor for Kenny's chicken offerings - the Honey Roast Chicken.

I usually order the Fiesta chicken flavor when in Kenny Rogers but after trying the Honey Roast Chicken, I am changing my preference! 

Kenny Rogers perfected the preparation of this chicken by marinating the chicken in a mixture of honey and maple. The serving I had was very tasty and juicy. For me, eating it plain with rice was enough. 

You can order the Honey Roast Chicken WHOLE for only PhP 399 when you bring your family or group of friends. Or choose to have it with Kenny's Solo Plates, Healthy Plates, Combo Meals and Group Meals.

The servings do come with Kenny's own honey-garlic sauce for those who prefer to enhance the taste of the chicken. The sauce can be overpowering for some since the garlic-ky taste covers most of the initial honey-maple marinade of the chicken so when you order this, you may want to try the chicken as is first. Then dip slices of the chicken into the sauce next to see whether you want to slobber the sauce all over the chicken or eat the entire thing as it is.

Next are the new side dishes - all 4 of them!

Clockwise: Sour Cream and Chives Potatoes, Turnip Salad,
Aglio Olio and Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

Two of these are hot side dishes while the other two are cold side dishes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jewelmer's Concept Boutique opens in Resorts World Manila

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The name Jewelmer easily conjures up images of the best, most lustrous Palawan South Sea pearls ever found in the world. Founded by French perliculture specialist Jacques Branellec and Filipino entrepreneur Manuel Cojuangco in 1979, Jewelmer is now synonymous with exquisite, rare, valuable Palawan South Sea pearls known worldwide.

And just the other night, some of us had the chance to mix in with the Jewelmer crowd to witness the grand opening of Jewelmer Joaillerie (joaillerie is French for 'jewelry' or 'jeweller's shop') at the Newport Mall of Resorts World Manila.

Glimpse of the Jewelmer concept boutique
(photo taken from Jewelmer's Facebook page)

The first time I heard of Jewelmer was in the 80s. I was a fairly new auditor working for one of the largest accounting firms and in one of those years with the Firm, The Peninsula Manila became my client. Every time I would pass the Jewelmer shop in the hotel, I would stop to admire the black South Sea pearls being displayed. Even then, Jewelmer's South Sea pearls were already held up as the premier choice in jewelry by the wealthiest families and individuals not just in the Philippines but globally.

At that time, the pearls were black in color. But in 1999, the first batch of deep gold pearls were harvested and today, the golden pearls of Jewelmer are probably the most expensive kind of pearls on the planet. My friend Noemi tells me that pearls can only get their golden luster from the cleanest sea waters and that is in Palawan. That's one big reason to truly protect our seas!

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend but pearls show off a woman's passion. Just wearing stud pearl earrings set against a bold or black simple dress is enough to exude beauty and elegance from its wearer. My mom always told me that pearls needed to be worn, not locked away in some safety deposit box. The more pearls are worn, the more their true luster comes out.

Here's Angel Aquino looking so stunning in her deep red dress with only strands of pearls as her accessory.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Samsung MV800 - a multiview, self photo camera

You know how hard it is to get a self-photo, right? In most of my blogger events, we always end up asking other people to take our photo with our camera or someone from our group has to be the one behind the lens.

The few times I have tried to take a self-photo with my digicam, my photos would get half my face, come out crooked and look so awkward.

About two years ago, we marvelled at the new Samsung digicam with 2D view technology which had a second frontal display screen. What a novelty it was back then as friends who had it showed us how easy it was to compose self-photos exactly the way we wanted the shot. The camera could also detect a smile, taking a picture just as you grin.

Last November 4, Samsung introduced the Samsung MV800 - a multiview camera - at a media launch. The MV800 can be rotated all the way to 180 degrees to catch important events from any angle.

Here are some features of the MV800:

A 3.0" touchscreen display features different apps you can launch
with the touch of a finger. No knob twisting anymore.

See that sign on the side? A whopping 16.1 megapixels!
And what is that - a 45 degree angle?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Otterbox is now in the Philippines!

The first time I heard of Otterbox was from my friend, Carlo Ople. And I did not hear of it -- I saw it in action. In a dramatic way. Because to prove how sturdy it was and how much faith he had in it, Carlo made a video where he dropped his Otterbox-encased iPad from a sofa onto the floor. Yes, Carlo is crazy.

But, what do you know, next thing I know, Carlo invites me to an Otterbox event. It's now available in town through Tenkie Box!

As they say, if you're going to spend precious money to buy an expensive gadget, why scrimp on its protective casing, right?

Otterbox is available in 4 variants and for a wide variety of devices - Apple, Blackberry, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Dell, and HTC.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winners of WinX Blu-Ray Decrypter are...

My Facebook page made a debut last week and as a welcome for new followers, I decided to do a quick and easy giveaway promo - 10 license codes of the WinX Blu-Ray Decrypter, courtesy of Digiarty Software. That post can be read HERE.

Anyway, I have just used Randomizer to pick and choose the winners. Since only 15 out of my 80+ followers signified that they wanted to join, the odds were pretty strong for winning.

I could not count some of you who may have wanted to join but did not specifically follow the contest mechanics. You had to specifically tell me that you wanted to win the WinX Blu-ray Decrypter so I could distinguish which contest you were joining (I had people interested in the Globe Tattoo giveaway but not in this one).

The 15 people who had indicated they were joining this particular contest were assigned numbers in the order that they posted on my wall:

And Randomizer says that the winners are:

Alwin Aquirre (2)
Jun Anteola (3)
Hazel Nacario (4)
Diony Tapac (5)
Mauie Flores (6)
Katherine Sicat (8)
Ding Iyog Mendoza (9)
Ellen Chang (11)
Annaliza Demition (13)
Julie Custodio-Fuertes (15)

Congratulations, winners!

If your Facebook privacy settings allow me to message you, I will give you your license code via private Facebook message. If I will not be allowed by your settings to leave you a message, I will have to ask for your email address so I can send it there.

For those who did not win this round, don't worry. The BPI-Globe Tattoo contest is ongoing and I have another software giveaway brewing. This time, 20 license codes will be up for grabs so you can still win.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

BPI's Limited Edition 160th Commemorative Tattoo (winner posted) Stick + a Giveaway

(UPDATE: I asked a BPI branch manager and her staff to select the winner. So firstly, thank you to Ms. Helena Tiu of BPI-Wilson branch!!! And *drumroll*, the winner who gets the BPI 160th commemorative Tattoo stick is -- Joyce Rivera Mauricio! Congratulations, Joyce. I will be contacting you directly.)

Last Thursday, an intimate gathering of bloggers at Cafe Mary Grace in Greenbelt 2 met up with BPI and Globe people for the launching of the BPI 160th Commemorative Tattoo Stick to mark 160 years of the Bank of the Philippine Islands' existence as a financial institution.

(photo courtesy of Globe Tattoo website)

Being online is now a part of my waking and working hours. From the time I wake to the time I sleep, I am online (so how many hours is that?). If I'm home, then I use our wifi but the moment I step out, that's another matter. My mobile phones are wifi and 3G-enabled, my ipad is also 3G-enabled, and when I bring my Macbook along with me, I have USB sticks as well.

My confession? I have sticks for 2 other carriers but not for Globe Tattoo yet (guilty!!!).  I got one stick from an event and the other one, I bought during a promo. I guess at that time, I felt that having 2 dongles was more than enough. And yet, living in the Philippines, I experienced times when I could not connect through those two carriers in the particular area where I was so I had already been mulling getting a Globe Tattoo stick to give me a third option. And then this event came along.

Charo Logarta (met her for the 1st time here) emcees the event

Dong Ronquillo, Globe's Head-Nomadic Broadband

Anj Mirasol, BPI's Head-Electronic Channels Marketing Dept.

Bloggers in attendance
(L-R): Roch, me, Jackie, Faith and Alvin (standing)
As this is a tie-up with BPI (and I am a BPI accountholder who uses online banking a lot), I was happy to note that many of the online banking services were embedded in the commemorative stick, something that made this particular Globe Tattoo stick even more useful for me.

What's so special about the BPI 160th Globe Tattoo stick?

1. It's a limited edition stick commemorating BPI's 160 years. That's never coming around again, right? You'll own a collector's item right there and then.

2. It's the first (and only) co-branded internet broadband stick (with speeds up to 3.6Mbps) that allows you to access various BPI websites such as fund transfers, prepaid mobile reloading, bills payment, express cash reload and balance inquiries even with ZERO PREPAID BALANCE. So imagine yourself being able to go to BPI Express Online site, paying your bills or reloading prepaid phones with zilch load in your stick. This feature is available for free till Dec. 31, 2012.

3. BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank and BPI Direct accountholders can have 24/7 internet access because these BPI Tattoo sticks can be topped up via BPI Express Online REAL-TIME, among others. Other top-up channels are Express Phone, Express Mobile, Express Teller ATM machines, Globe prepaid cards, AutoloadMAX, Share-a-load and GCASH.

4. The stick has a CALL OPTION so clients can access the BPI Express Phone for more banking services.

And here's MORE!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My Halloween giveaway: WinX Blu-ray Decrypter

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I am still in on holiday mood. Thanks to the people from Digiarty Software, they have provided 10 license codes of WinX Blu-ray Decrypter for me to give away. Yes, yes, not all of us have Blu-ray players (I don't). But you can always give this as a gift to someone who has one. After all, this software retails at $49.95. One less Christmas gift, right?

More details about this software, key features and specs can be found on its website. An excerpt on the same site states:
WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is a professional Blu-ray decrypting and copy tool for users to decrypt and backup Blu-ray to M2TS video file or Blu-ray folder (compatible with Win7 Media Player). It is able to remove and decrypt encryption (AACS MKB v25), BD+ copy protection, etc. in Blu-ray disc. With this program, you can effortlessly protect your beloved Blu-ray discs from scratch or loss. WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is an ideal Blu-ray backup solution which supports both Full Disc Blu-ray Backup and Title Copy modes. It allows you to decrypt Blu-ray Disc with all known copy protections and encryptions and backup 3D Blu-ray to 2D video in only 3 clicks. It also brings fast decrypting speed while preserving original video/audio quality. If you are looking for powerful software to backup and decrypt Blu-ray video disc, WinX Blu-ray Decrypter is the way to go.
All you need to do to get a chance to win one of the license codes is:

1. Join my Facebook page by clicking HERE
2. Leave a short message on my wall just to greet me and say you want the WinX Blu-Ray Decrypter.

SIMPLE! Everyone who properly follows the 2 steps above will be assigned numbers (1, 2, 3...) in the order that you post on my wall (first to post is #1, etc) and will choose the winning numbers. 

I will choose the winners by Sunday, Nov. 6, 10pm. Winners' names will be announced on my wall by Monday, Nov. 7. I will send the license codes to the winners by private message on Facebook or via email.

(Note: License codes must be activated before November 30, 2011)

And stay tuned because I have another giveaway coming up after this one....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Sandwich Heroes Project of the World Food Programme and Unilever

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I was one of several who gathered at the Cilantro Kitchen of Unilever last October 24 for a blogger event for a cause.

The United Nations' World Food Programme and Unilever people were there to present to us their project that will involve feeding about 40,000 children in Mindanao via the Sandwich Heroes project. This project would also involve several food establishments which would contribute to the project with every sandwich bought at their establishments.

As a mother, I know how important it is for good nutrition for babies (even the unborn). During my pregnancies, I stopped taking coffee, watched what I ate, and regularly took in the vitamin supplements prescribed by my OB-Gyne. I knew that poor development and growth even in the womb would be irreversible.

Malnutrition in children can lead to permanent damage. Some of these are: impaired brain development, skinnier children, stunted growth and weaker immune systems. If you regularly watch episodes on TV Patrol, Bantay Bata 163, and other public service shows, you will notice that the poor people more often have children with medical conditions not seen in those who are wealthier.

World Food Day was just recently celebrated globally (Oct. 16 every year) so it was appropriate that this event was also the launch of a project that addressed food security.

We learned more about hunger, in the Philippines and worldwide during this gathering. Did you know that -

  • Worldwide, it is estimated that 925 million people will suffer chronic hunger in 2011 (according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). About 12 million of these people live in the Philippines.
  • One-third of children who die annually die of malnutrition.
  • One in 7 people worldwide go to bed hungry every night. One out of every 9 children in the Philippines go hungry.
  • About 1 in 4 children under 5 years of age in the developing world is underweight.
  • Hunger kills more people than TB, HIV and malaria PUT TOGETHER!

Two slides shown us prove the devastating effects of malnutrition in children.

Watch this video from the World Bank for more statistics.

The partnership between Unilever and the World Food Programme aims to bring Unilever's reach beyond the chef's kitchen and bring hope to hungry children in Mindanao via Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan.

Every sandwich purchased from participating food outlets serves to make a contribution from you towards the Sandwich Heroes project. The establishments participating in these are:

Biggs' Diner
The Coffee Experience
JD Bakeshop
The Flying Pig
Holy Cow!
The Sandwich Guy
Wham! Burgers

At the event, Unilever laid out a wide array of sandwich ingredients from different kinds of breads to vegetables, dressings, cheeses, meats, spices, sauces and so much more. As I made my own personal sandwich which I called "Sinfully Healthy" (made of whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumber, blue cheese dressing, cheese square, chicken strips personally cooked by me), I kept thinking how luck I was to have this option of making my own sandwich tailor-fitted to my preferences. So many children did not even have the option to eat any kind of sandwich.

My "Sinfully Healthy" sandwich

WFP has also launched a Facebook page to keep us updated on their food program efforts. To join, please click HERE.

When Sandwich Heroes launches, please bring your family and friends to any of the establishments above, knowing that while you are eating, you are also helping towards feeding the children of Mindanao. Be a hero. A SANDWICH HERO!