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Last December 26, 2013, me and my family were bound for Hong Kong to spend our week long Christmas vacation there. We perused our American Express Cards issued by BDO, so we can use the Club Manila airport lounge located in Ninoy Aquino International Airport, while waiting for our boarding announcement. The lounge was full as it was Christmas and a a lot of people were taking advantage of the Christmas vacation from school. Since the lounge was full, we were escorted to another airport lounge, which is part of the same company, although on the second floor. We relaxed, ate some light meals, had coffee, a few drinks, and check our e-mails. We had an 11 am flight, which would bring us to Hong Kong at around 1 pm. At around 10:35 am, we heard our boarding announcements and proceeded to the departure gate.

We took Cathay Pacific Airways as we converted our Asiamiles points in exchange for flights. We were five passengers, namely me, my son, my wife, my sister in law, and my mother in law. When we landed in Hong Kong, we proceeded to the immigration counters, afterwards the luggage claim counter. Upon our exit, we saw a man carrying a placard with my name. So I approached him, and he told me that a limousine was arranged to bring us to our hotel. He was surprised that there were 5 people in our group, as he was notified that there were only 2 people. So instead of 1 car takings us to our hotel, we rode in two separate Mercedes Benzes.

We arrived at our hotel in a little over 30 minutes from the airport. We were billeted at the Renaissance Harbour View Hong Kong Hotel, for 6 nights. We also perused my Marriott Rewards to redeem our hotel stay in exchange of my Marriott Rewards Points. Our room was rather spacious. My son’s first instinct was to turn on the TV and check if there were any channels featuring animation, which there was, which pleasantly surprised him. We rest for the duration of the afternoon. My son informed me that he wanted to go to Hong Kong Disneyland the very next day, to which I said yes.

The very next day, me and my son proceeded to the Wanchai MTR Station, to go to Central MTR Station/Hong Kong Station. Upon reaching Central/Hong Kong Station, we proceeded to the interchange, in order for us to take the MTR from Central/Hong Kong Station to Sunny Bay MTR Station. Upon reaching Sunny Bay MTR Station, we disembarked and waited for the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Train, which would ultimately bring us to Hong Kong Disneyland. Since it was the Christmas holidays, there were may people. We visited some of my son’s favorite attractions, such as Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster, Philharmagic, Mystic Point, Enchanted Gardens, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, etc. The Mystic Point Manor was closed when we passed by in the morning, so we decided to proceed to Grizzly Gulch. We had a bite at the Grizzly Gulch Salon. We took some pictures at the Gold Nugget, etc. Afterwards we went pass Toy Story Land, which had long lines, so we opted to go to watch the Philharmagic show. We were treated to a feast in Beast Enchanted Castle, safari trip in Simba’s African Kingdom, flew in a magic carpet in Alladin’s Dessert Palace, and got wet and swam in Ariel’s Underwater Kingdom. Afterwards we proceeded to Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster. We had tons of fun blasting Emperor Zurg and his nasty space minions. We came back to Mystic Manor, but the lines then was too long. It stated that we needed to wait in line for an hour. So my son decided to head back to forego the attraction. We proceeded back to our hotel.

Taken near Food Street in Causeway Bay

Taken near Food Street in Causeway Bay


That night we decided to eat at our favorite restaurant, Delicious Kitchen, which was located in Food Street in Causeway Bay. When we arrived there were not too many customers yet, so we were able to get seats immediately. We ordered their specialty Double Pork Rib with Vegetable Rice, plus I ordered an additional deep fried pigs intestine. We had a sumptuous dinner.

The next day me and my wife, ran some personal errands. We jumped from place to place the whole day. We were tired from all day of walking and commuting, that we decided to retire to our hotel early, and rest.

The next day, me and my son went to the Apple IFC Hong Kong Store, to have a cousins iPhone 4S checked and repaired. While in IFC we decided to watch the movie Frozen in 3D at the IFC Cinema. Afterwards we decided to have dinner in Crystal Jade Restaurant. We were stuffed, and decided to take home additional food for my wife, my sister in law, and my mother in law.

My son wanted to visit Windsor House to check out what’s new in Toys R Us. He saw something he liked, but we opted not to buy it as we were carrying a lot of things already. We just decided to buy Pork Coin and Pork Jerky from Bee Cheng Hiang.

Mark, the Christmas Tree, and Central Plaza

Mark, the Christmas Tree, and Central Plaza


We also went to Worldwide Plaza to check on things. On the way there we passed by Central Plaza, and decided to take some pictures.

Disney Character Christmas Tree in Harbour City

Disney Character Christmas Tree in Harbour City


Second to the last night, we decided to go to Tsimshatsui, and do some shopping. We weren’t able to find anything we liked, but my son was able to get 2 Power Rangers Megazords. He was ecstatic with his haul.

Taken at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui

Taken at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui

On the day of our flight, after checking out, we waited for our transportation to the airport. We were pleasantly surprised that our service was a Toyota Alphard, which is the luxury version of an MPV/Van. Our flight was at 5:55 pm, so we were supposed to arrive in Manila at approximately 8 pm of December 31, 2013. We also perused the benefits of our credit cards, which was complimentary lounge access at the Traveler’s Hong Kong Airport Lounge. We had some meals, drinks, coffee, read newspaper, browsed the net, etc.

Simply to put our Christmas Family Vacation in Hong Kong, it’s “Spectacular!”

Fly High@5GMA Life TV, the first international Filipino lifestyle channel by GMA International, is commemorating five years of celebrating the best in Pinoy lifestyle this Maythrough a colorful and vibrant television campaign representing all the wonderful things that the channel is known for.

 

For five years already, GMA Life TV – one of GMA’s overseas channels alongside its flagship channel GMA Pinoy TV and international news channel GMA News TV International – has been a leading source of not only informative and entertaining, but also inspiring and meaningful Filipino lifestyle shows among Filipinos outside of the country.

 

To celebrate this important milestone, GMA Life TV has tapped six of the Network’s most sought after stars – Alden Richards, Mikael Daez, Rocco Nacino, Maxene Magalona, Bela Padilla and Louise Delos Reyes – to be the faces of the channel for its GMA Life TV: Fly High @ Five anniversary campaign. As the GMA Life TV VJs, they will take turns in introducing each program lending the channel their unique and colorful personalities.

 

“Highlighting the distinct and exceptional traits of the Pinoy lifestyle has ever been the primary goal of GMA Life TV,” said GMA Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia. “This year, we want to make things even more exciting as we present the GMA Life TV VJs, who equally embody the best traits of the channel – being fun, hip, original and inspirational.”

 

GMA Life TV prides itself in being the first and only Filipino lifestyle channel abroad to air English-dubbed Filipino drama series and the only Filipino channel offering classic black and white Pinoy films. In the coming months, viewers must especially await new movie titles (both mainstream and independent) as well as the premiere of GMA Life TV’s first documentary series “Home is Where the Heart Is,” which will take a peek into the homes of Filipinos living abroad.

 

The channel is set to even further diversify and enrich its content through the launch of new programs created by the country’s pioneer publisher of glossy magazines, One Mega Group. Such programs include a new fashion/reality program, a cooking show and also a home design show that fit right into the channel’s diverse mix of program genres focusing on home, fashion, food, travel, drama and reality.

 

GMA Life TV is available in the U.S, Canada, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Hong Kong, Guam, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Madagascar with an estimated one million viewers from all over the world. It will also be launched in additional pay-TV systems in North Africa and the Asia Pacific Region this year.

 

For more information on the channel, interested parties may visit www.gmanetwork.com/international.

Dreaming of a summer trip to Venice to explore Murano’s famous glass workshops? Wait no more by participating in our exclusive Murano Glass giveaway. Valued at 900 euros, this green and aquamarine Murano vase is adorned with 24k gold leaf trimming and is embellished with three delicately crafted dark blue flowers. Approximately 30 cm in height, this unique vase is a timeless piece of art.

 

Murano Glass

 

 

How can we guarantee that this magnificent vase was indeed crafted in Murano and not in a far away factory? Because this vase is endorsed with a Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark, a proof of origin that also guarantees that the piece was made using traditional artistic methods born and developed over a thousand years ago on the island of Murano.

 

Murano Glass

 

 

To authenticate a Murano glass vase before purchase, you must simply look for the stick-on trademark logo applied to a glass part of the object. The logo is displayed in red and gold colors or blue and gold colors according to the different kind of glass making techniques. The Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark is exclusively granted to about 50 small and large glass manufacturers on Murano, based on a series of criteria’s of excellence.

 

Murano Glass

 

Since LuxeInACity is all about uniqueness, good taste and refinement, we wanted to share the Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark knowledge, helping you make better informed decisions when shopping for Murano glass. Our friends at the Consorzio Promovetro Murano, who manage the Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark, wanted to share their “Made in Italy” art pieces by sponsoring this exclusive giveaway.

 

Murano Glass

 
To learn more about the Vetro Artistico® Murano trademark, visit www.promovetro.com or www.muranoglass.com.

 

Read more: Luxury Blogs | Win Murano Glass Vase, a Timeless piece of art http://www.luxeinacity.com/blog/win-murano-glass-vase-a-timeless-piece-of-art/#ixzz2RFS5M3xp

Future Payment Systems

March 4, 2013 — 1 Comment

The advent of technology has indeed brought us forward by leaps and bounds.  I am tackling the payment systems.

Before we were used to pay with our credit cards.  They swipe it in a terminal, wait for the confirmation code, print, and ask us to sign.  We thought this was hi-tech already for its time.

Then came the Octopus card of Hong Kong, which looks like a credit card, but does not function like one.  You do not need to sign anything. What you do is choose what you would like to buy, the cashier punches your order/items, then you tap in a terminal, and that’s it.  Instantaneous.  It is a reloadable cash card, which can be used for mass transport such as buses, trams, ferry, and the MTR.  It is also accepted as a payment option for McDonalds, Wellcome Supermarket, Watsons, Park & Shop, etc.  The only disadvantage is when you lose this card, it will remain lost, as there is usually no identifying marks or identification on the card itself to prove that it is yours.  Unless you have it personalized.  But cashier seldom check the legality of the card holder.

Then came the “swipe less” or “pay wave” credit card.  This is still a credit card, and can still be used as a normal one, wherein you swipe it and get the confirmation code.  But it can also be used almost similar to the Octopus Card System, wherein you just need to “tap” or “wave” your card in front of a reader and the charges will be debited to your credit card.

Now the more modern payment options are as follows.  In countries such as Japan, all you need to do is “wave” or “tap” your mobile phone to a reader, and the reader confirms your account, and the charges will be billed to your mobile phone bill.  Other countries are adopting such method such as U. S. A., wherein Visa International and Master Card International are developing such technologies, wherein your smart phone can store your credit card details, and all you need to do is let a machine or device read the “bar code” or “QR code” from your phone, and the charges will be billed to your credit card.

It was even touted that there would come a time, when we “humans” will be implanted with a microchip, that can be read by a scanner or a machine, and it would instantly know our medical backgrounds, such as our illnesses, medicines being taken, allergies, etc.  It can also store your social security ID, your driver license details, your home address detail, your business details, your work details, etc.  And it can definitely store your credit scores, credit background, and credit card details as well.  So in the near future, all you need to bring is yourself.  Just go to a supermarket, choose what you need, proceed to the payment counter, and get your goods.

This weekend, while having a family bonding time, I day dreamed and visited memory lane.  I day dreamed about years past, when I was growing up, until I ended up growing old.  I compared what my son has these day, to what I had when I was his age.  The comparison is so great.  Especially when it comes to technology.

As I was growing up in the 80’s, your household was considered well off, if you had a CRT Television, a refrigerator, and a mobile phone.  We all had those, and during those times I thought that this was the state of the art, and it would take half a decade for this type of appliances to be obsolete.  Boy, was I wrong.  Just to illustrate what we had then, are some photos for comparison.  The mobile phone then, was the military type mobile phone.  It was chunky, cumbersome, and heavy, and the only function it had then, was to make and receive phone calls.  Our refrigerator was the old type fridge, that kept food fresh, made ice, and made drinks cold.  The television during those times was the Cathode Ray Tube type of television, you could watch your favorite television programs.  Then in school, we had a pen and notebook, for taking down notes in class.

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When I was finishing college, technology began to upgrade itself, things became smaller, lighter, energy saving, and supposed to offer more features than the old type of appliances.  During this time, the mobile phone became more compact, such as the Motorola Star Tac, which makes and receives calls and send and receive SMS (Short Messaging System).  Then they offered a “No Frost” refrigerator, to offer a no mess, no clean feature to housewives.  Then came the advent of the LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and the LED (Light Emitting Diode) type television, offer a lighter more compact, brighter screen, more crisp sounds, and feature laden TV viewing.  Our traditional notebooks, were replaced by the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant), such as the “Palm/Palm Pilot PDA,” which not only offered the function of a notebook of jotting down notes, but also has a calculator, games, calendar, alarm, can remind you of appointments, and can fit in the palm of your hands, hence the brand name “Palm/Palm Pilot PDA.”

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Now, technology has again upgraded itself again.  Offering us all the comforts of our past appliances, plus more.  The mobile phones has become lighter, more compact, and more feature laden.  You can not only make and receive calls, send and receive SMS (Short Messaging System), you can also play games, send and receive e-mails, browse the internet, it also reminds you of appointments, has an alarm clock, makes you connect with friends through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., it also saves you a ton of money through internet telephony services, such as Skype, iMessage, Viber, What’s App, etc.  Then Smart fridge arrived, offering to keep your food fresh, make ice, make your drinks cold, energy efficiency through inverter technology, add vitamins and ions to your food to keep you healthy, show you the temperature for the day, inform you of the traffic situation for your commute to work, get the latest news, and tell you what groceries you need to buy to replenish the stock on your fridge.  After the Smart fridge, the Smart TV also appeared,  giving you more in depth colors, more vibrant sound, is more compact, energy efficient, can connect to the internet, you can check your email, connect to social media, search for information of your favorite shows, and download movies or television shows.  The Palm/Palm Pilot PDA has been replaced by the iPad, as the tool of choice for schools.  With the iPad, you can jot down notes, play games, has a calculator, take photos, shoot videos, send and receive e-mails, update your status in your social media, connect to the internet, watch movies/shows/videos, listen to music, and play musical instruments.

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So the comparison of what I used when I was studying then, to what my son is using now in his studies, is such a huge gap.  Technology has brought about changes in the lifestyle of the people.  Technology is beneficial and a great tool if put in the proper hands, but technology can also be a detrimental and mischievous tool if in the wrong hands.  So we must still keep an eye on the use of technology, especially by our kids, and grand kids.

My poor, poor dear countrymen! What is to become of us? I have this usual habit of reading the daily papers, listening to the AM radio, and watching news on television.  And all that I see bade bad news for all of us.

From the news about the elections, to the use of the AES (Automated Election System) or the PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machine of the COMELEC (Commission on Election), to the unscrupulous tactics of politician vying for position in the coming May 2013 elections, to the various fires that has hit the country, and the pounding of Tropical Depression “Crising” of the Mindanao area.  These news worries me, but not as much as what has transpired and will be transpiring soon.

Just last week, petroleum prices went up by as much as P1.50 per liter, on top of the already expensive petroleum prices.  And just this week, reports or news of an impending energy rate hike approved for this coming March, and the impending water rate hike to be approved for the month of July.  All of these hikes are taking a toll on the Filipino citizenry.  The wages of the ordinary Filipino has not increased in proportion to the increases being implemented by the petroleum, energy, and water conglomerates.  How will we cope with all these hikes coming one after the other?

The increase in petroleum prices, will definitely affect all of us one way or another.  The fares in public transport will definitely increase as well sooner or later.  The prices of basic goods such as vegetables, fish, and meats, will surely increase as well, as the cost of transporting these goods has increased.  The prices of prepared foods will surely increase as well.

The approved energy rate hike for this coming March, will surely add another burden, to the already heavy burden the typical Filipino family is already carrying.  The use of the television, which is the only form of entertainment of most typical Filipino family, will be limited.  The use of the electric fan, the air conditioner, the refrigerator, and other home appliances will also be limited, causing undue inconvenience, and discomfort to all members of the typical Filipino family.

The impending water hike due for July, is another heavy burden.  We, the Filipinos, is one of the most hygienically conscious people in the world.  We regularly take baths, some of whom take two (2) baths a day, to cool ourselves down from the extreme heat of the Philippines.  We regularly brush our teeth from two (2) to three (3) times a day.  We hand wash our clothes daily.   We wash our kitchen utensils pots, and plates, after every meal.  The use of the bathroom is common among all households, to relieve ourselves.  All of these requires the use of water.

The thing that irate me is the wages/salary of the typical Filipino, does not increase as much as the increase in the prices of these utilities.  The already tight budget of the typical Filipino household, would be even more tighter with the introduction of these price hikes.

I pity the typical Filipino family.  I pity all of us.  Only a few of us are unaffected by these price hikes.  But the majority of us, the 99%, will surely cringe, and suffer.  Why is the government doing nothing, to help alleviate the lives of the majority, the 99% of the Filipino? Are we not important enough to be given notice? Are we minuscule to be noticed? Are our sufferings too little to be significant enough? When will our government act? When shall we taste an easier, more convenient, and more relaxing life? Will we taste it when we are dead or dying?

Its time for our government to act.  Its time for us to wake up! Its time for us to choose the people, who will lead us to a more greener pasture, a more easier, a more convenient, and a more relaxing life! Wake up Filipino!

0001rtDoing business nowadays is costly.  You have to rent a commercial space, have enough ample space to display your wares, and hire staff to watch over your merchandise.  All of those mentioned cost money, big money! Rental cost alone is a migraine inducing factor.  Space is another one, as you can only afford a small stall, at an affordable rental, so space is a premium.  Then there is the staffing concern.  You cannot find good help these days.

The solution to this dilemma is to bring your business online, so no need for rental, no need for a huge storage space, and no need to hire staff.  You can do all of those mentioned by yourself.  Most company requires a sign up fee, but I found one that provides free sign up, upon registration, and you are allowed to post items in your own e-store! The website is http://www.redpages.ph.  It is a B2C business, meaning a business to consumer business, which directly provides customers to your e-business.  Having your own e-store is a great way to showcase your products, and provides direct link to you.  Best of all, all of these are free! Just visit http://www.redpages.ph, and click register, and follow the instructions, and that’s it!

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All you need to do is fill up the registration form, take photos of your products/services, upload it to your own e-store, post, and wait for customers to contact you via e-mail, text, or call.  For the free sign up, you are provided five (5) product shots, and product description.  If you feel that it is not adequate enough, you could simply upgrade to the next available category, which means more products shots, product descriptions, and more added features.  I find their fees to be acceptable, and the testimonials I have read/saw, made me believe that this is the right channel for me.