Friday, May 31, 2013

"Visit" Italy this June at Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila

Among all the destinations I dream of going to, Italy remains on top of my list. I've long been fascinated by this country after watching Only You, a film that stars Robert Downey Jr. and Marissa Tomei many years ago. Someday, I hope I could visit this country, particularly the area of Positano, and marvel first hand at the beautiful sights it has to offer.

For now, I am simply happy to be able to partake of a slice of Italy in the newest 5-star hotel located south of the Metro. Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila brings guests closer to the land of good food as it commemorates Italy's National Day this coming June 2

Ciao Italia is a month-long food festival that highlights authentic gourmet dishes as  prepared by Crimson's Hotel's Executive Chef Alessio Loddo who is a native of Italy's South West Sardinia. He is the ingenious mind behind the palatable creations in the hotel's Cafe Eight, whipping up Mediterranean flavors from Southern Europe to Middle Eastern regions.

I had the pleasure of joining other members of the media as we got to "test drive" a couple of days ago some of the dishes that promise to provide a feast for all senses. We were treated not only with good food but also with beautiful Italian music and a visually stunning collection of art pieces. 

Pasta and Main Dishes
In addition, there were hotel staff dressed in Italian festive costumes that added to the memorable experience. All these, we found out, were made possible thanks to Crimson's partnership with Il Mercante Di Venezia.

Desserts and Italian art pieces
Come to Crimson Hotel with your loved ones any day this June to celebrate and be delighted while you enjoy Italian cuisine for PhP1,000 nett for lunch and P1,400 nett for dinner. You may also want to avail of the "Buy One Get One" offer on Italian wines priced at P1,500 nett for Romio Sangiovese and Chardonnay.

For further details on Crimson Hotel's Ciao Italia feast, please visit or call (02) 863-2222. Remain updated of other promos by liking Crimson Hotel Filinvest City Manila on Facebook and follow @Crimson_Alabang on Twitter.

* See more photos taken during the media luncheon here

Thursday, May 30, 2013

At Papa John's, all Tuesdays this June is Unli-Pizza Day!

I've blogged about Papa John's promos before because they really offer value for money. This June, brace yourselves for the biggest pizza treat yet because you'll get to indulge in all of Papa John's pizza goodness as much as you can every Tuesday!

The promo actually started last May 21 but I only found out about it a couple of days ago. Thankfully, we still have 4 more Tuesdays to avail of this treat with family and friends. Enjoy delectable pizza favorites while you can from 5PM to 9PM. That's four hours of happy munching especially if you have your loved ones sharing the pizzas with you.

Pay only P225 per person and get to eat all the Hawaiian, Pepperoni, Garden Special, and Special Pizza of the Week. The price already includes 1 serving of a Coca Cola product. Please take note, though, that this promo is valid for dine-in customers and not with other ongoing promotions or discounts. Also, there is strictly no sharing and no leftovers.

If the unli-pizza is not enough, help yourself to any of Papa John's pasta dishes like the Meatball Bolognaise, Mediterranean Seafood, Diablo Burst, and Seafood Carbonara. There are also lots of yummy side fix-ins such as Pepperoncinis and Pizza Dips, Calzone (Chicken and Mushroom, Pepperoni Mushroom, and Spicy Meatballs), Cheese and Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Strips, Chicken Wingettes and Drummettes, and Seasoned Potato Wedges.

If you've been a long-time customer of Papa John's, you'll be delighted to know that there's a new pizza pricing scheme that starts at P250 for the 9-inch Simply Cheese. You may also want to order the signature pizzas and get the same high quality you're used to at friendlier prices.

Oh, and make sure you try out the new Italian Sodas that come in a variety of flavors. They are also  perfect to pair with any of Papa John's tummy-filling fares.

Satisfy your pizza cravings now at any of Papa John's pizza outlets: Arnaiz (Makati), BF Homes (Paranaque), Brick Road (Sta. Lucia Mall), Greenbelt 3, Annapolis St. (Greenhills), Jupiter St. (Makati), SM City Fairview, SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, Robinsons Galleria Veranda, Tomas Morato (Quezon City), University Mall (Taft Avenue), and Waltermart (Sucat). Dial their special number (887-7272) for Makati-based deliveries. 

For more details, please visit and also like their Facebook page to be updated of new promos.

Tomato Says It's Time to SWAP! My Watch. My Way.

Express your style inside out through fashionable watches that has just been launched by Tomato! SWAP is the most exciting watch concept this year because it's young, it's fresh, it's fun, it's vibrant, and it's versatile!

This line of timepieces will help reflect individual styles, personalities, and everyday moods. There are a rainbow of colors to choose from in both the watch faces and straps. They're very comfortable to wear and easy to interchange with each other. You can even SWAP watch faces and straps with friends and family!

The recent launch at Glorietta 2's activity area was well-attended by both celebrities and members of the media. Everybody had a grand time mixing and matching colors that can go with their outfit or generally fit their lifestyle. Now, it's more fun to express oneself with a different SWAP everyday!

All SWAP watches come with a stainless steel case back, are water resistant for up to 3m, have a hypoallergenic silicone strap, and comes with a one year warranty on the Japan-made mechanism. At the moment, the SWAP straps come in 30 different colors and 22 exciting watch face designs that users can SWAP any time, any way they want.

We were told that every month, there will be a new theme of graphic watch face designs to be offered which would range from various themes and interests such as sports, movies, characters, superheroes, places, and even fashion patterns, designs, and trends to keep customers updated to what is hip and hot! Hmmm, I hope they'll come out with an Avengers edition! Those would be cool to SWAP with fellow fans! 

Beyond beauty and fashion, SWAP also has a "Be the Change" Advocacy line of watches. With these, people can actually CHANGE THE WORLD ONE WATCH AT A TIME. There are three advocacies you can help depending on the color of watch you buy. All of them promote personal awareness and social responsibility to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged people in the country.

SWAP Be The Change for Education -- For every 3 watches (with a blue strap) you buy, you will help send 1 child to school for a month through World Vision Philippines. This is one of my top advocacies because the organization provides education to deserving children whose families can't afford to send them to school. Know more about World Vision by reading my previous blog posts here.

SWAP Be The Change for Hunger - For every 1 watch (with an orange strap) you buy, you will help provide 15 meals to those who are in need of food. This will be made possible though SWAP's partnership with Operation Blessing, an organization that feeds those who cannot buy even the most basic food necessities.

SWAP Be The Change for Breast Cancer - For every 10 watches (with a pink strap) you buy, you will help provide 1 free mammogram procedure to women who can't afford it. This advocacy is in cooperation with The Cancer Treatment and Support Foundation, Inc. to help promote breast cancer awareness and provide financial assistance for treatments of breast cancer. Stay tuned for announcements of partnerships with other advocacies. 

All SWAP watches are now available in selected Tomato Stores and SWAP Exhibits located at various malls in the metro. Likewise, you can place your orders online at where you can also find out more information about SWAP.

SWAP watch faces are priced at P500 each while the straps sell for P350 each. Available in limited supply are SWAP starter kits for P1,000 which already come with 2 silicone straps and 1 watch face of your choice. 

* To see more photos taken during the launch, please click here

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Elmo Magalona Reunites with Dad Francis M and Grandpa Pancho in "New" Kaleidoscope World Music Video

The Magalonas is one of the most enduring families of celebrities in the Philippines. It started with a matinee idol in the 1950s named Pancho Magalona. Aside from his good looks, his talent for acting was recognized when he won Best Actor in the 1958 Famas Awards

Pancho's son, on the other hand, became responsible for bringing Pinoy hip-hop into mainstream music with his anthems and catchy beats. Francis M established himself as an icon to rock and pop artists. The Master Rapper's early passing was indeed a great loss for the Philippine music industry.

One of Francis' sons, Elmo Magalona, is now a star in his own right. Like his dad, the teen idol is known for his looks and singing talent; a great legacy from his celebrated lineage. 

The other night, the present generation of Magalonas presented to guests and members of the media an edited version of Francis M's Kaleidoscope World music video. In it, Francis could be seen interacting and singing the song with his son Elmo interspersed with black and white footages of Pancho. The editing was beautifully done and makes for a great tribute that's perfect for celebrating Father's Day next month.

Francis' wife, Pia, and their children were present to celebrate the video's unveiling. Although everybody was obviously moved by what we saw, it was doubly touching to see the youngest daughter, Clara, in tears. Probably, losing her dad at a very young age, has made her miss him the most. 

This digital reunion of the three Magalonas was made possible through Oishi Prawn Crackers, a Filipino snack that has also achieved timelessness. Through the years, it has become a symbol of celebration of things that are never forgotten, things that Filipinos have enjoyed and continue to love as time goes by. I know, because I've also been munching that Oishi product since I was a little girl :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Makati Toursim Foundation, Inc. Launches 2013 Milestone Projects

Makati City is well-known to be the center of finance in Metro Manila. It is where many establishments have their offices and businessmen make multi-million deals. But beyond these aspects, many are not aware that this city also has a lot of landmarks and heritage sites that are worthy to be visited.

Officers and members of MTFI
Last May 23, the Makati Tourism Foundation, Inc. (MTFI) inaugurated two milestone projects for 2013. First is the MTFI Kiosk that's conveniently located at the Glorietta Activity Center. It is an information center slash souvenir shop where tourists can find brochures and other promotional materials from the foundations' members composed of hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and retail stores. The kiosk also displays Makati City and Ayala Center merchandise such as shirts, umbrellas, stuffed toys, mugs, and more.

The MTFI Kiosk
During the opening ceremonies, MTFI President Christian Pirodon acknowledged that the day is a milestone for their organization because, "we are closer to fulfill our mission to make Makati City a primary tourist destination of choice in the country."

Pretty jeepney!
On the other hand, there's also Soul of a City, MTFI's city tour project that showcases the city's historical and modern landmarks, heritage sites, and prime shopping venues. This is in line with the foundation's thrust to further promote the city as one great tourist destination that is rich in both character and culture.

Church of Saints Peter and Paul
Two of my friends and I joined other members of the media and a group of students on an afternoon tour where we were brought to several interesting sites including the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Guadalupe Shrine, and the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Ours was a shortened version though of the four-hour tour so we didn't get to see other places that are in the regular itinerary. Still, I found our ride enjoyable because we rode an air conditioned and nicely-decorated jeepney that has a uniformed driver and tour guide as well as ... a videoke machine! I'm sure those who like to belt out songs would love that feature! 

Guadalupe Shrine
It was also quite a unique experience to be inside the vehicle while reporter Marisol Abdurahman did a live news report. She was just behind me, talking in front of the camera, while the jeep's TV was turned on to the GMA News TV channel. That was so cool! 

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
After the tour, my friends and I had a late lunch at New World Makati Hotel, one of our favorite hangouts because it is such a cozy place to be in during hot afternoons. Read my blog post here on our Afternoon Tea gathering there a couple of months ago.

Our very filling late lunch at New World Makati Hotel
Soul of a City is made possible through partnerships with Ayala Land, Inc., Le Clefs d'Or Philippines, Jeepney Tours, and the Makati City government

Inside the jeepney with Marisol and the students
For more information and to reserve seats, please approach the Concierge desks of participating Makati City hotels or call MTFI's Dr. Elton See Tan at 09178475451, email address or contact the foundation at 893-9977 and Ask if the introductory discounted ticket prices are still available. 

To see more photos taken during the inauguration and tour, please click here.

SHOP ANYWHERE with BPI Express Credit to get a FREE P500 Ayala eGC!

Want some shopping money? Redeem Ayala eGCs (e-Gift Certificates) that you can use in a lot of stores in Ayala Malls! I usually use my eGCs to buy movie tickets, shop for grocery items or clothes, shoes, etc.

Earlier today, I swapped two of my BPI Credit Card's charge slips for two P500 eGCs in the main concierge desk in Glorietta, Makati.

Qualified charge slips should amount to P12,000 (single receipt or accumulated of 2 charge slips/transaction receipts with amount NOT lower than P2,000).

The promo is open exclusively to existing cardholders of BPI Credit cards with good credit standing. Promo period is from April 5 to May 31, 2013. Redemption is until July 30, 2013 at the following Ayala Malls: Abreeza, Alabang Town Center, Ayala Center Cebu, Centro Mall, Glorietta, Market! Market!, Marquee Mall and TriNoma.

For more details, please read the full mechanics here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Get FREE Pizza, Tacos, and Ice Cream with BPI Credit Card's May to July 2013 Promo!

It's freebies time once again for BPI credit cardholders! Go food tripping with your loved ones using your BPI transaction slips.

It's so easy to redeem!

1. Visit any Pizza Hut Restaurant, Pizza Hut Bistro, Dairy Queen and Taco Bell branch
2. Present your BPI Express Credit card used for the transaction.
3. Surrender your original charge slip or cash advance slip (minimum single receipt purchase of P2,000, P6,000, or P12,000).

Promo period is from May 15 to July 31, 2013. Redemption is valid until September 29, 2013.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fast & Furious 6 Cast Arrives at the Red Carpet Premier in Manila, Philippines

Earlier today, the Mall of Asia's Music Hall became filled with hundreds of people as they await the arrival of some of the stars of Fast & Furious 6 who came all the way to Manila for the movie's red carpet premier.

Despite the draining heat of summer, fans, passersby, and members of the media all sweated it out for more than three to five hours of waiting within the designated area. The venue was decorated with lots of posters and tarpaulins while the stage features a really cool car that had many guys salivating over.

To pass the time, my friends and I posed for group selfies and posted them on Instagram. Included in the fun were celebrities RJ Ledesma and the ever gorgeous-looking Gellie Victor who later hosted the event (she is one lucky lady!).

From the Instagram accounts of foydi and mixofeverything
It's not surprising that people became more excited when football stars James and Phil Younghusband appeared at the VIP area. Of course, we didn't waste time in having some photos taken with them. The brothers graciously indulged us and did not seem to get tired smiling at cameras.

Finally, the FF6 people arrived in no less than beautiful cars that carried them towards the back of MOA. They walked the red carpet towards the stage amidst cheers from the crowd. 

Among the cast members, Luke Evans, Gina Carrano, Michelle Rodriguez, and Vin Diesel were able to make it. My vantage point was not quite the perfect place to take good shots so I'm borrowing my friend Myke's photos ( as he luckily found a good spot beside the railings near the red carpet and the stage.

Expectedly, everything the stars said was met with enthusiasm and glee especially when Vin said, "Mahal Ko Kayo" (I love you) with a twang. That's A+ for effort!

Before the short program ended, Producer Neil Moritz left us with a teaser that the Philippines might be one of the locations considered for the film's next installment. The team also left their signatures on the car on stage to get a great price when it is auctioned for charity.

I was one of those who got to see the movie before it officially opens next week. There are lots of heart-stopping actions that would leave you breathless. Make sure you catch FF6 starting May 24th at your favorite cinemas.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Crystal Jade Dining IN Opens in Bonifacio Global City

Get ready to taste some of the most flavorful dishes that can be found at the Bonifacio Global City! Crystal Jade, a multi-awarded and widely recognized food and beverage establishment from Singapore and Hong Kong, has just opened its first fine dining branch in the Philippines.

Crystal Jade Dining IN is a fine dining concept restaurant by Crystal Jade Culinary Holdings. It is now here to treat Filipino foodies to authentic Cantonese cuisine with modern twists that takes the Chinese dining experience to a whole new level.

Cherry Chu-Lo, Crystal Jade Operations VP in the Philippines says if there's one thing they are famous for, it's the authenticity of the Cantonese cuisine they offer. "Yet, there's a distinct flavor that makes it 'ownable' by Crystal Jade Dining IN, especially because we take pride in promoting and preserving Chinese culture and practices." 

She adds that the restaurant's menu and specialty dishes are faithful to Cantonese traditions but that every dining experience with Crystal Jade will be distinctive. "It's not just about the authenticity of our cuisine but the excellent service and pleasing ambiance," explains Cherry.

Indeed the cuisine and ambiance are things worth coming back for. I had the fortune of having lunch at Crystal Jade Dining IN last week and enjoyed the tasty dishes presented very attractively on their serving plates.

For appetizers, we were served with Steamed Radish Cake with Egg White and Chinese Wine (P160/pc), Baked Bo Lo BBQ Pork Bun (P180/3 pcs), and Crispy Duck Sandwich (P680) served with a siding of Shredded Duck Fruit Salad. Among the three, I liked the duck dish best because of the crunchy duck skin that tastes great when combined with cucumber, tomato, and bean curd skin.

For the main dishes, we had the Double-boiled Crab Claw Soup with Superior Mushroom in Fresh Coconut (P480). I was really amazed that the soup stayed hot inside the coconut for a long time! I love the sweet juiciness of the crab meat inside the claw, the flavorful soup, and the huge mushroom that's waiting to be scooped up from the bottom of the creative container. I am definitely ordering this dish again the next time I come back to Crystal Jade Dining IN!

The Braised Pork with Special Sauce and served with bun (P350) came in cute ceramic bowls with cover. It is made of pork belly which has a good layer of fat. If you enjoy eating that portion of pork, you'll probably like this one. I wasn't too keen about it though.

Prawn lover that I am, I of course enjoyed having the Sauteed Prawn with Chicken and Assorted Mushroom served in Pumpkin (P680). This is something that would be a great centerpiece if you're having a group dinner with loved ones.   

Many of the dishes go well with the Fried Assorted Grain Rice in Hot Stone Bowl (P320). This is made with white and brown grain rice stir fried together with sweet corn, diced mushroom and vegetable, egg and pine nut in oriental style. It smells really good!

For dessert, I savored the Chilled Avocado Pudding and Pomelo. It's quite a novelty for me to be eating avocado together with fresh mango cream and pomelo on top. I liked it! The combination is simply brilliant. We also had Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Taro, which is chewy and filled with taro bits. 

I am not surprised to find out that the restaurant chain has already received awards in Singapore for providing quality food, dining, and service excellence. Now that Crystal Jade Dining IN is here in the Philippines, we can now savor Cantonese cuisine in a nice setting that's good for get-togethers as well as business meetings! 

Visit the establishment at Unit SEUG201, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, BGC, Taguig City. For reservation and inquiries, please call (02) 519-8191.

*To see more photos taken during our lunch, please visit this Facebook album