Everybody loves a good bargain and it's such a great feeling to be going home with value-for-money stuff that are well-made and affordable. Recently, I finally had a chance to visit HMR Philippines' 5,000 sq.m. warehouse in Mandaluyong and saw so many good finds it was hard to choose which ones to buy!

I found out that HMR has been trading in surplus since 1992 and that the Mandaluyong store is the original one. Now, HMR has expanded to eight Surplus Depots located in various parts of Metro Manila and Laguna along with an ever-expanding franchise network of Save On Surplus (SOS) stores nationwide.

Speaking of SOS, there's one in Festival Mall which my hubby and I have already been frequenting since we discovered it last year! We were actually so bummed to find a tandem bike there once that has already been sold and was only awaiting pick up. But we've bought other stuff there that we were very happy about including a micro-CD player with speakers for only P990!

Over the years, HMR Philippines has become known as "The Best Surplus Depot" because its link to a strong international supply network of the HMR Group of Companies earned it a reputation of being the place to buy anything and everything from. Customers range from Classes A to E, from big corporations to small enterprises; and from famous celebrities to ordinary employees. 

Among its products are home and office furniture, computers and peripherals, telecommunications equipment, audio/video equipment, medical and industrial supplies, toys and novelty items, clothes and home furnishings, hardware tools, and many more. We were told that new products are continuously being added on a regular basis as they search for bargains both locally and internationally to offer their customers more unique shopping experiences.

For those wondering, yes, the products are brand new although some of the packaging may not be in 100% tiptop shape anymore. At HMR, surplus means excess, over production, or shelf pulls from leading retail outlets in Australia and the US.  

Prices of products at HMR are 20 to 50 percent lower than in other retail outlets that's why you'll love shopping there. When they hold sales, like the time I was there, the prices are further reduced! HMR is also willing to cut prices if items are found to be cheaper in competing stores!

This business model is really quite a unique concept. It not only caters to the needs of a wide variety of consumers with affordable surplus products, HMR also offers complimentary technical services, particularly on computer hardware and related peripherals.

HMR is moreover the exclusive Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) for the Philippines, which means they are able to sell Windows 7 operating systems and Office software for a significant fraction of retail OEM price. The company met strict requirements of selling refurbished computer units with pre-installed legitimate software at pocket-friendly prices.

Here's sharing my finds during my first HMR visit: three (3) 0.2Watts night lights for P590, three socket adaptors are P45 each, a super soft Star Wars blanket (50% off) for P445, an 8GB SD card for P249, a door knob with keys for P390, a nice condiments plate (50% off) for P75, and two boxes of latex gloves (50% off) for P75 each, which we often need for my special child's medical needs at home. 

Excited to shop now? HMR Surplus Depots can be found in Novaliches, Araneta Center, Mandaluyong, Manila, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, and Sta. Rosa, Laguna. For the complete addresses, maps, and contact numbers of these branches, please click here.

By the way, make sure to stay tuned for the launching of HMR's own sports equipment brand named Loro Sports this coming August 9. You may also want to start shopping soon! :)

Following the recent launch of its newest smartphone, the Ascend P7, Huawei recently opened a brand new shop in SM Southmall in Las Pinas City to cater to the growing demand for Huawei devices in southern Metro Manila. This new Huawei shop is operated by MemoXpress and takes after the brand’s signature premium, clean, and comfortable feel and look.  

The concept store is located in SM Cyberzone on the third floor. The company's aggressive expansion made this its fourth brand shop in the Philippines in less than two months. It was designed to be highly experiential for shoppers as there are interactive areas where customers can personally try Huawei devices such as 3G/4G LTE smartphones, tablets, and mobile broadband devices.

Charles Wu holding the Ascend P7
Charles Wu, Huawei Device Philippines country manager, shared that the Brand Shop further strengthens the retail offering of Huawei and gives shoppers an opportunity to avail of the very best of accessible premium devices. "And our brand of consumer device shopping is significantly different as we want them to really experience Huawei’s brand essence the moment they step into the store.” 

Apart from the SM Southmall branch, the three other brand shops can be found in SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, and Ayala Centrio Mall in Cagayan de Oro City, which opened in May and early this month, respectively. We were told that Huawei will further be opening additional stores in the coming months.  

In Southmall, the shop's opening was celebrated via a road show with goodie giveaways and surprises to participants. There was also a groufie kiosk where groups of friends can pose using the Huawei Ascend P7 that is equipped with an 8MP 5P non-spherical lens front-facing camera, which is especially designed to capture the perfect panoramic selfie or groufie shot. Read more about Ascend P7's features  in my other blog post here.

For more updates about Huawei Device Philippines, follow the brand on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HuaweiDevicePH) and Instagram (@huaweideviceph). 

Time and again, we are bombarded with a lot of news about people who have met accidents on the job.

photo borrowed from carlsonmeissner.com
I am sure it is really hard for those workers, who filed for benefits, to have their cases drag on for months and years. Many are unaware in the beginning how something could turn out to be so frustrating and stressful, not to mention, expensive. Thus, they need to have good legal counsel on their side.

I’ve read that even in the U.S., it takes a long time for complainants to get a court hearing and actually speak to a judge or trustee about their case. And then, when they finally appear in court, they find that there are employment specialists who will insist that they can go back to work, even in positions for which they are ill equipped. 

photo borrowed from guamcourts.org
As a result, they leave the court feeling humiliated and violated; one of the top causes why many drop their cases altogether. This is why, having a good attorney can help prepare them for court to avoid the unnecessary embarrassment.

Facing a judge or trustee whose job it is to disbelieve them, as well as occupational specialists whose duty it is to suggest jobs that they may or may not be able to do with their disability, can be intimidating, which makes hiring an attorney a wise decision.

photo borrowed from www.marksandharrison.com
Moreover, an attorney and his legal team can validate the disability by gathering pertinent information such as doctor’s records, employment statements, x-rays, and other proof to confirm that their client cannot go back to work.

A competent attorney can also support clients’ testimony on how they were hurt and how returning to work could actually cause them more harm and injury. With sound legal counsel, complainants can have better chances of having their application for benefits approved faster. 

photo borrowed from www.kfblaw.com
The firm’s legal team can keep working on the case until clients get the approval needed from the court so they could begin receiving the benefits they deserve. 

Got your own questions about this topic? Learn more by reading FAQs and other relevant information in legitimate online resources such as the websites of legal firms. 

I know several people who don't enjoy shopping in public markets due to sanitation concerns. I could understand the aversion to bad smells and icky wet floors because those sometimes make me avoid buying stuff there, too.

The good news is, at least for Dasma residents, their area now has a "marketmall" -- a two-in-one establishment that houses both public market and a mall! The yellow building was formerly a Kadiwa Center that has been upgraded through the public-private partnership between SM and the local government of Dasmarinas.

Since SM is managing the operations side, shoppers can expect mall features such as wide spaces, sanitation maintenance, covered parking, emergency clinic, and security personnel, in this palenke. These improvements mean a cleaner, safer, and more convenient market experience for the tenants and customers. 

Check out the photos where you can see the clean floor in the wet section and the wide aisles in between rows of vendors. With a more pleasant environment, doing market chores could really be a more enjoyable experience for shoppers here! 

SM Marketmall is in Dasmarinas, Cavite near DLSU.

Two new gadgets have been very recently been added to Lenovo's PC Plus lineup -- the Lenovo A8-50, a portable multimedia tablet with the latest processor, enhanced sound, and a large screen; and the Lenovo S850, a savvy and highly responsive smartphone encased in a classy, colorful all-glass exterior.

Michael Ngan, Country General Manager, Lenovo Philippines described, "The Lenovo A8-50 and Lenovo S850 offer productivity in compact and extremely portable form factors to support diverse mobility needs of Filipinos. Packed with cameras, powerful processors, high-definition displays, and connectivity features, [both devices] allow users to handle multiple tasks in style."

During the recent product launch event at the Mall of Asia Atrium hosted by KC Montero and Joyce Pring, guests got to see the gadgets up close and while modeled on stage by fashionable guys and gals wearing Forever 21 outfits. 

The Lenovo A8-50 has a 30% larger screen than seven-inch tablets and offers a more efficient on-the-go entertainment, gaming, and multimedia experience. It weighs 360g and a svelte eight-inch frame that can easily fit into a user's hand.

The sharp and colorful 8-inch display produces bright HD images while the front-facing Dolby Audio speakers make it an excellent choice for listening to music, watching videos, playing games, and interacting with friends online. Users who activate Smart Sidebar can moreover enjoy optimal video and audio settings for vertical or horizontal movies. Smart Sidebar can also suggest recently-used apps.

Supported by Lenovo's SHAREit and SYNCit apps, it is easy to share photos, apps, and other files across Android devices without network charges or Wi-Fi connection. To help users express their sense of individuality, this tablet comes in midnight blue, pearly white, flamenco red, and canary yellow. It has an SRP of P10,499 and is available through Lenovo's authorized resellers.

The Lenovo 850, on the other hand, is designed for the fashion-conscious consumers. Beautifully-crafted, this smartphone features a classy all-glass exterior that encases a smooth and responsive quad-core processor. Its brilliant 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras could capture crisp and sharp photos effortlessly. The wide-angle front camera allows anyone to take awesome selflies and project better images in voice chats.

This dual-sim device, which has a 5-inch screen for enjoying multimedia content in HD, is thin and light at 140g. It supports Lenovo's range of DOit apps that allow users to share content with friends quickly without network charges or WiFi connection; improve speed and protect their device against viruses, spam, and malware; back up and restore contacts, SMS messages and call logs; and use multiple shooting modes when taking pictures.

The Lenovo S850 is priced at P13,999 and is available through authorized dealers of Open Communications, Lenovo Philippines' exclusive smartphone distributor.

The decision to partner with the global fashion brand, Forever 21, was said to be in line with Lenovo's strategy of connecting with today's young consumer market by relying on Forever 21's reputation as an authority in fashion and being the go-to retailer for the latest trends and must-have styles.

Dixie C. Li, VP-Operations, Forever 21 Philippines, said, "We have seen that mobile phones are increasingly becoming accessories and extensions of one's personality, so the association with fashion is inevitable. We at Forever 21 are happy to support Lenovo in the launch of their more fashion-oriented offerings."

KC and Joyce taking selfies
In celebration of the its latest releases, Lenovo has two promos to delight fashion-conscious consumers:

For every purchase of the Lenovo S850 or A8-50, you'll get a P250 Forever discount voucher for a minimum purchase of P2500 worth of regular priced items. This offer is valid from July 21 to August 15, 2014 at all Forever 21 Metro Manila branches.

Two lucky shoppers can also win P5000 worth of gift certificates each for a shopping spree at Forever 21 by simply uploading a mirror selfie of themselves with their brand new S850. Check out the complete contest mechanics here. Submission and voting of entries is until September 21, 2014.

For more information and to get the latest news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo Mobile @LenovoMobilePH on Twitter and Lenovo Mobile Philippines on Facebook.

If there's a Korean restaurant to credit for opening my palate to a new world of tasteful wonders, it would have to be Woo Galbi. Like I said in my first blog post about Korean cuisine last year, I've always assumed before that Korean food is mostly about kimchi and other spicy dishes. Now, more than a year later, I have learned to journey deeper into the flavorful wonders that await food trippers when it comes to Korean cuisine. 

Recently, I happily revisited Woo Galbi at lunchtime and tried some of their latest dishes. Although the restaurant looks very modern with its posh ambiance, it retains the traditional authenticity in its flavors. Their all-time favorite classic Korean dishes consist of Bibimbap, Bulgogi short ribs, All Beef Platter, and Kimchi.

But even before diners are served with the main dishes, we get to taste banchan -- six mini Korean appetizers -- on the house! These freebies will whet your appetite even more for what's to come.

I am now a certified fan of Ssam Wraps and have been craving for some since I've had them earlier this month in Kogi Bulgogi, Woo Galbi's sister restaurant. So I was really glad to find that Woo Galbi also serves them! The blend of sauces and other condiments really complement the taste of the meat and the leafy green wrap. 

Dweiji Gui (P295) has grilled thin slices of pork but ssam choices include chicken, pork belly, squid, mackerel, salmon, and vegetables (eggplants, mushrooms, tomatoes, and sweet peppers). Prices range from P265 to P335.

And since we're having a lot of rains these days, it's so good to sip hot soup with chunky ingredients. If you're into spicy foods, order the Dwenjang Jjigae (P230), a Korean miso paste stew with seafood and tofu. 

I love Galbi Tang (P420) better. This has tender and easy to chew short ribs in clear soup, kinda like the Pinoy favorite Nilagang Bulalo. Really tasty!

For hard-core meat lovers, go for the All Beef Platter (P1350) with bone-in and boneless short ribs as well as hanging tenders. These are great to eat with the accompanying vegetables and several spoonfuls of rice. Since it also comes with green leaves, use the meat here and wrap them too. I did, and they tasted so good!

My friends and I also enjoyed two sets of rolls, the names of which I forgot to take note of! Sorry, the pleasure of popping a roll inside one's mouth can cause temporary amnesia :) Despite forgetting what they're called, I can confidently say that both are really delicious. Let me edit this part in the next coming days. I'll double check the next time I eat at Woo Galbi and I hope that would be soon!

By the way, we all know that the cooler season is also making a lot of Filipinos crave for ramen. If you're in near Shangri-la mall from 2 to 5PM any day from Monday to Saturday, make sure to drop by Woo Galbi and pay only P250 for unlimited bowls of hot and delicious Ramyeon. The price even comes with free iced tea! But if you can't eat that much, Ramyeon is also available ala carte at P138 per bowl. 

Do drop by this highly recommended restaurant that serves delicious dishes fit for the Filipino palate. Woo Galbi is located at Level 6, East Wing, Shangri-La Plaza. For inquiries, please contact them at woogalbi1@gmail.com or (632) 655-0558. Be updated with promos and events by liking Woo Galbi on Facebook and following @WooGalbi on Twitter and Instagram

Happy food tripping! 

10,000 boxes of pizza! That was how much Greenwich Pizza Thins were given away when the brand held its nationwide sampling last July 16 and 17, 2014. 

With the theme, Choosing Better, Greenwich aimed to make peoples' day better by sharing good food to its faithful thin crust customers. Aside from the participating stores listed in the brand's Facebook fan page, Greenwich also set-up an interactive booth in Alabang Town Center. Aside from free boxes of pizzas, there were also dance numbers and games that delighted mall-goers.

My friends and I spent #CrackThatDay at the new Greenwich Pizzeria in SM North Edsa where we were introduced to the newest member of the Greenwich Barkada. The program was hosted by top radio DJ / TV personality / entrepreneur Sam YG who welcomed Elmo Magalona, the rapper behind the brand's new and catchy #CrackThat radio commercial.

We also got to meet artists Rob Cham, Raizel Go, and Nelz Yumul who showcased their talents in creating pretty Greenwich boxes that are used with uniquely designed music player speakers. 

To cap off the celebration, Greenwich is partnering with Republiq in presenting Cazzette, a Swedish DJ Duo composed of Sebastian Furrer and Alexander Bjorklund, this coming August 8. Greenwich will  put a twist on a regular club night and make it better by bringing the house down and keeping everyone at their best party mode all throughout the duo's set. If you are a party-goer, save the date and #CrackThat night with great music, energetic people, and Greenwich's Pizza Thins! 

For many of us, skin care is very important especially when it comes to our faces. After all, the face is usually one of the first things that we notice when we meet people. 

YSA Skin Care Center Festival Mall branch

Aside from the aesthetics aspect though, caring for our facial skin is important for healthy reasons. Recently, I had a full facial treatment at the Ysa Skin Care Center branch in Festival Mall, Alabang which made me want to come back for succeeding treatments. 

I love the pampering because it involved a cool and rejuvenating clay mask containing natural herbal extract, sea collagen, and moisturizers that was left on my face for around 10 minutes; application of Cetaphil lotion to prepare the skin for the succeeding procedures; ultramask treatment using a low voltage wand to open the pores; suctioning of dirt and dead skin; steaming for another 10 minutes; manual pricking; another session of ultramask to close the pores; diamond peel; then application of an acne mild solution. 

treatment room

When it comes to sexy celebrities in the Philippines, many of my male friends would think of Ellen Adarna outright. After all, the slim rising star is known for being an exercise and health buff. Thus, it was no surprise to find out that she was chosen to embody international mobile brand Gionee's latest offering -- the ELIFE S5.5

Ellen Adarna
Declared by CBS Interactive ZOL as the World's Slimmest Smartphone to date, the ELIFE S5.5 is made of 98 percent metal and glass, which makes it look charmingly delicate despite its durable construction. That proves that being the sexiest Android phone around is not an excuse to compromise substance and power. 

Surrounded by the Corning Gorilla Glass 3  with Native Damage Resistance, the ELIFE S5.5 is said to be three times more durable compared to its predecessor after tests showing decreased visible scratches by 40 percent and increased compressive strength by 50 percent. To show how strong this sleek and durable smartphone is, Ellen confidently dropped her ELIFE S5.5 on stage to the amazement of the launch event's host, Giselle Sanchez, media guests, and audiences.

Oliver Sha
This new phone is likewise designed for go-getters with its octal-core chipset at 1.7GHz, a processing power that was only initially found in bulky laptops. With that kind of strength, the ELIFE S5.5 can therefore play high definition movies simultaneously with high-end apps without any lags. Gionee also incorporated the best capacity to density ratio in the battery, allowing the slimmest smartphone to last longer than its counterparts. 

Oliver and Giselle Sanchez
I'm sure selfie addicts would pay attention when they find out about the two high resolution cameras -- the primary one with 13 megapixels and the front camera with 5 megapixels -- that come with this phone. According to Oliver Sha, Gionee's Head of Global Marketing, even on autofocus function, the primary camera can capture photos and videos sharply with a vibrancy close to images taken using a professional camera. On the other side, the front camera has a 95-degree ultra-wide angle that can capture more people and sceneries when in selfie mode. Additionally, the ELIFE S5.5 has its own image and video editor to help process and enhance multimedia before they are shared.

Gionee, together with its Philippine brand ambassador Ellen Adarna, encourages people to be #MOREthanSLIM and #LiveSexy by being consistently in touch with what makes you feel good inside and out. With that, the slim smartphone has Beauty Apps that can serve as guides to living healthy, fit, and fab like Ellen.

The ELIFE S5.5 comes in five colors -- black, white, blue, pink, and purple. It became available in stores last July 13, 2014 with SRP P21,999.00.

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