Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pining for Penang

At the last minute, Tiger Airways had bungled up our flights hence we were forced to spend an extra day in Singapore. That also meant one day minus our stay in Penang, which is a shame because we realized there was so much to see with only little time in our hands.

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Lobby of Trader's Hotel


Our hotel, the Shangri-la Trader's Hotel, is in beautiful George Town, a city teeming with historical sights and curious tourists like us. We had heard about its fabulous food and that the Hainanese Chicken was not to be missed. Immediately after checking in, we hailed a taxi and asked to be taken to Chulia Street to eat lunch. My friend Jeff, who did all the pre-trip legwork, somehow forgot which restaurant served the best version of the dish. The cab driver dropped us off in a corner of a sidewalk that had about a half dozen open-air eateries. Each eatery had one common trait -- a steel cart out front with one man frantically chopping chicken and duck. Luckily, Jeff looked at the right direction and saw the sign of Sky Hotel, the place he had read about on the Internet. The lady manager was a little hard to talk to, but after a bit of discussion she fixed us a table in the most inconvenient section of the restaurant -- right next to our seats was the lady assigned to wash the dishes and utensils. And get this, she was doing all of it with a pail and a faucet! Mind you, she was quite the furious human dishwasher. Every now and then a sizable splash of water landed on my left leg. Certainly not the best distraction while eating chicken.



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Sky Restaurant's signage was inside the restaurant. Kind of hard to see from outside!

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En-en, Chicklet and Me

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Please do not spit!


The manager went ahead and ordered what the typical tourist would -- a variety of fresh fruit drinks, a combo plate of roast chicken, duck, beef and pork with rice, and a soup with what I'm guessing were innards of a certain animal. I'm not a fan of animal organs, though my friends seemed to enjoy the soup. I was happy enough with myself just feeding on the normal food. The chicken was tasty, and the pork, which resembled our local tocino, was nice too. Our drinks were, well, 'interesting'. Mine tasted like cinnamon, almost similar to chai tea, but in juice form. I hated it. But I loved the star fruit juice and lime juice that two of my friends got. Lime juice seems to be a big thing in Malaysia and Singapore lately, I noticed.



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Soup with intestines :|

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Now we're talkin!

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Sweet Roast Pork

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Starfruit Juice

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The juice from cinnamon hell

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Lemon Juice

Our hunger satiated, we headed back to our hotel to meet two of our other friends who flew on a later flight from Singapore. We got dressed in our beach wear and rushed to get taxis, this time going to the Golden Sands Hotel along Batu Feringgi Beach. It's about an hour's drive, about enough for us to take a quick nap inside the cab. We were dead tired. Shuttling between different cities is fun but physically draining!


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The Golden Sands' elegant, bleached facade hovered over its vast estate sprawling with four large lagoon pools and lush gardens, all of which we were able to enjoy for free because Trader's Hotel was a sister hotel. Outside was a beach strip where we were approached by peddlers advertising their aqua sports portfolios. We were keen on the parasailing and it took a while before all of us mustered enough courage to do it. I, for one, was a bit nervous because of my vertigo. But I thought, hey, this happens only once... might as well suck it up and give it a shot. Each one of us paid 250 ringgit for a short trip. It was enough for a first timer, but afterwards I wished I paid more for the longer trip. The people handling the parachutes and equipment gave us guys a quick run through on what to do before and after taking flight. If I remember correctly, I only had to pull two ropes while taking off to keep our balance, and pull hard on another rope on my left to help us land when it's over. Parasailing isn't as frightening as it looks. My partner, Pinky, literally had to be coerced to join us. Once we were up there, all her doubts were instantly erased. The thrilling view of the mountains, the sea, the sky and the cool wind billowing on our cheeks were something to behold. It's moments like these that you don't forget for the rest of your life.


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Andrew, Pinky, Paolo, Chicklet, Jeff, En-en

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Me and Pinky before we flew off to the skies


Here's a 9-second video of us taking off.



I wish it were longer but my friend didn't know how to operate my camera. :|

Stay tuned for part 2 of my Penang adventure!

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Featured on M Magazine


I'm famous!!

This blog was featured recently in a local lifestyle magazine, M Life and Living in Mindanao.

Here's what it had to say about my blog:

"A fun and funny blog created by Dabawenyo Andrew dela Serna about his travels across the globe, the celebrities he's seen in person, his nauseating Sea Dragon (mis)adventure, and so much more."

My cousin was kind enough to take a picture of the clipping above. I don't have a copy of the magazine yet, so I dunno who wrote the article. But whoever you are, thanks a million!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Two in Singapore: Universal Studios

Universal Studios Singapore


Universal Studios is the newest addition to the many must-see places in Singapore. It opened March of this year but has garnered more than a million visitors in a short span of time. The more well-known park in Singapore, Sentosa, actually houses Universal Studios. I have been to HongKong Disneyland and found it too bland and childish for my taste. There wasn't much stuff for adults. The one and only ride I got on involved a fat orange bear who wears no underwear. ;) Kinda boring but hey, I couldn't resist my niece :) Universal Studios, on the other hand, was the bomb! It had enough nerve-wracking roller coasters to scare the shit out of me. The mascots were cuter, too. I had a blast taking pictures with Fiona, Shrek, Woody Wood Pecker, the wacky crew from Madagascar, even characters from the box office flop Waterworld.

Funny story. I was staying in a different hotel from 4 of my friends. The night before, we agreed to meet in Universal Studios at 9 in the morning. Their hotel was kind of, well, situated in a galaxy far, far away. I was staying in Orchard Road, so it was easy for me to take the MRT to Vivocity, where tourists can take a monorail or bus to and from Sentosa. Despite that, I was a bit late getting to the park (to this day they're giving me flak for it). My friend Jeff picked me up at the entrance as he was the one holding our tickets. We paced onwards to Shrek's castle where they were already busy posing for pics. There was another group of Filipinos nearby. Let's call them "The Others". Since I was the designated photographer (as always), I made it a point to have myself in at least one picture per scenery. My friend Christine prodded me to hand my camera to one girl from The Others to take a pic of our group. And I was like, what? We don't even know these people and the girl looked burdened enough by a gigantic DSLR of her own. She said it's ok just give it to her! I'm like nah, I'd rather not. The girl suddenly spoke to me and said it's ok, let me have it. So I did. As I posed with my friends Christine was like, hey come join us! Now things were getting strange. Five of The Others rushed and posed with us for a group picture. Ok, I thought, looks like Filipinos, albeit strangers, do unite in photo ops and unfamiliar places. So I just went with it. Next, the girl who had my camera said let's go for a photo op with the Madagascar mascots. I'm like ok that's not a bad idea! She led us to the secret exit where the mascots come out before walking into the park and greet guests. The girl with the gigantic camera had a backstage pass! Whaaat? After a few pics my friends began talking casually to The Others. I was totally Lost (get the pun? :P). They knew each others' names! I pulled my friend to a corner and asked her how do you know all of them? She's like they're Jeff's friends! WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME BEFOREHAND?! Sort of embarrassed, I was introduced to Desay, Paul, Cookie, May, Joshua and Ivy .... I'm so bad with names. They're from Davao City like me, which is cool. Really awesome people to hang out with.

Universal Studios Singapore
Backstage Pass FTW


Later on, I learned that the girl with the gigantic camera, better known as Ivy, works for Universal Studios. Hence the backstage pass! She was kind enough to take the day off to tour our group. Sweet!

Universal Studios Singapore
Pinoys Rule!!

Universal Studios Singapore
Shrek's Castle

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Fiona was totally into me :P

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...

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Seated in the viewing deck of the Waterworld Stunt Show. The pre-show was more exciting than the actual one LOL

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Arrr, posin' for the camera Gar, Where can I find a bottle o'rum? Oops wrong movie LOL

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Christine and Me. Behind us is the Batman roller coaster which hasn't opened yet due to "operational glitches".

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Posing with a Pharaoh on stilts. Check out the abs on that guy. I have to work more on mine so I can work in Universal Studios! :)


The day's climax was when we rode The Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster. WOW. It's like Disney's Magic Mountain on acid. Too bad I couldn't get hold of our official snapshot. Hmm who took it? I guess it's better left hidden for most of us. :)


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Posing with Cleopatra (?), the Pharaoh and Scorpion King.

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Impromptu photo with Woody Woodpecker


If you're planning a trip abroad, definitely don't leave Singapore out. Universal Studios alone is worth it if you crave for adventure! Check out their official website. One ticket costs about SG$66.

More on my Singapore journey in my next blog post!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Day One in Singapore

Tired, groggy and excited.

That's how I feel on my first day here in Singapore. I arrived hours ahead of my friends who are just about to fly in from Manila (it's 11:18PM). I'm now blogging from my fantastic room here at Hotel Rendezvous. Unknowingly, I booked for a "Plaza Club Room", which is some sort of executive suite. Me, an exective? Who knew? Like a normal person, I went straight to their front desk in the lobby to check myself in. But when they saw my reservation I was hushed off to the 11th floor where us executives have our own private Club floor check-in! Wow, I felt like a celebrity.

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My room


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Bathroom shot hehehe


Other perks I got (which the normal people didn't get) are free internet, free fruit basket every morning, free breakfast, free cocktails in the evening, and the chance to rub elbows with foreign execs.

I ventured out to Plaza Singapura to grab dinner at Thai Express.

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Pad Thai with Shrimp


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Lime Juice


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Tapioca with Coconut Milk


Everything was delicious but it's too much for just one person! The waitress even asked me if there was something wrong with their food. I said nah, I said all's fine except that I was on a diet. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Long Overdue Post is Long Overdue

Recent and not so recent events prevented me from blogging.. anywhere. If you check my other blogs, those have not been updated for weeks, if not months. I could not get into the nitty-gritty. I will, soon, when things improve.

My trip to Singapore and Malaysia is coming up in a couple days. Really excited about that. Will be traveling with five of my friends. Should be blast! Will make sure to blog about some places while I'm there. Surely when I return, I'll be broke as hell. :(

Next March, my dreams of seeing Paris again might come true after all. :) LOL

That's all I can say for now. See you Singapore and Malaysia!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Going to Manila

I'm heading to Manila a few days earlier than my team. This gives me the chance to spend time with my dad and nieces who I cannot wait to see!

Also, I'd like to invite you guys to try PicLyf.com. It's my startup company's pet project. It allows you to take pictures and share them easily through your social networks. I'm testing our Android app but it's a little buggy when it comes to logging in. I hope to test it full blast while in Manila.

Ohhh.. I'm looking for people to play badminton with! So far Gail, Marc and Poyt said yes. Hope we could reach 6 people. :) Shoutout to my other friends Mica, Winston, Jehz, Maki, Cai, Aileen, Jay, Fritz etc.. laro tayo!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Next Trip: Singapore and Malaysia

WordCamp Philippines 2010 is only a few weeks away!!

It's been a crazy roller coaster ride but being a part of it gives me a sense of accomplishment and I can't say I'm not enjoying every bit of it.

So... here I am again talking about my upcoming trip. I'm going back to Singapore!! Universal Studios, here come I! I was supposed to go to Singapore with my friend Aileen today, but so much work still has to be done for WordCamp. Work before play, as the saying goes.

As luck may have it, three of my friends invited me to come with them to Singapore and Malaysia in November. That's cool because I've always wanted to go back to Malaysia. I was in Kuala Lumpur last year with the same people, but this time we're making a side trip to Penang as well. Before we settled for Penang, I asked my travel sensei Nina for her wisdom. Our three choices were Penang, Kuching (also in Malaysia) and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. She said Penang had nice historical sights and good food, while Ho Chi Minch was cheaper and more laid back. She's never been to Kuching. So I asked her straight away.. if she were to choose between going to Penang and Ho Chi Minh, where will she go? You guessed it.. Penang!

I booked myself a Philippine Airlines flight to Singapore two days ago. My mom helped me book it through the phone coz buying it online would have cost me double (to the tune of US$600 O_O). I also booked tickets on AirAsia and Tiger Airways for my trips to KL and Penang. My friends, however, got Cebu Pacific flights to Singapore. I fly to Singapore earlier than they do and a bit later going back to Manila. I plan on spending my last night in Singapore in a five-star hotel. Ritz-Carlton perhaps?? LOL

After WordCamp, normal blogging operations will resume here at Yeah, Drew. :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

What's Keeping Me Busy

WordCamp Philippines 2010

^^ Yes folks, this is what's keeping me busy nowadays. I'm a WordCamp Philippines organizer and everyday we are feeling the pressure building up! About 250+ happy, geeky campers have registered for the event. We promise the coolest, bestest WordCamp Philippines yet!


A while ago I designed a WordCamp shirt that I hope everyone will like. My co-organizers Chattee, Brendel and Lyle seemed to like it. :) Thanks to Chattee for the concept. Also, I'm working on a secret project for those attending the event. It's about 95% done. All we need to do is have it undergo a 'stress test' before going public. Watch out for it!

Oh, and see you at WordCamp!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Real Deal

Yesterday I saw another doctor and what was great about this guy is he tells things as they are. It was like having a session with a shrink, minus the shrink and the crazy person (I'd like to think I'm not crazy.. yet.) Anyway, he said that there is nothing wrong with me. He told me to go back to my usual routine, that is, going to the gym almost everyday, eat all the food that I like (though he said to take it easy) and drown myself in work (I dunno about that one lol) The doc said that I was a young growing boy with a lot of things to look forward to. Wait what? So yeah, let this be the day where I try to go back to the life that I miss so dearly. Honestly, what keeps me going are my family, friends and my online readers. Thank you for sticking around!

So my mom was with me that time and she and the doctor ended up gossiping about Kris Aquino and Coco Martin. I didn't know that they were linked together. Wow Kris, get yourself together! The funny things that happen in the doctor's clinic... Tsk

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hiatus

I'm taking a short hiatus from blogging here in Yeah, Drew. Don't worry, I will be back as I am recovering from my back injury that's causing me dizziness and quite a bit of pain. I am slowly getting better and I hope to be back to my old self by the end of the month. Frustration and sadness are what I feel sometimes but I'm lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who love and support me. And of course, I'd like to thank you, my blog readers who never fail to drop by even if I haven't written a lot lately. Please pray for me coz I really need it. Thanks! :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dizzy

My head is spinning!

I'm suffering from a bout of vertigo. It ain't fun. It keeps me from doing stuff I love to do (such as work out), even stuff I hate to do (like real work). I can't move around freely. It's like I'm in a prison.

My meds sort of help in easing the nausea, but they're making me groggy. Last night I slept for 11 hours!! That's too much!! Hey Mr. Bert E. Go, give me my old life back!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hong Kong Day 1

The day started out like any first day of traveling. Lack of sleep, waiting in long ticket queues, terminal fees here and there, not to mention the flights that suck the energy out of you. That pretty much describes my voyage to Hong Kong today. I'm here in the Marco Polo where I'm booked. My mom is asleep, doubly tired of the day's events. She's wearing a funny looking set of pajamas.

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This is Hong Kong's ginormous airport. It's so huge we had to catch a train going to the baggage claim area. LOL

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Our room in the Marco Polo Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. The beds are tiny.

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Camwhoring while my mom checked out our bathroom.

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For dinner, we ate at the Silvercord mall, which is very near our hotel. Their food court, located in the basement, had a dozen of establishments to choose from. We picked Mi-ne Sushi where we enjoyed their sushi carousel. Mi-ne is a do-it-yourself (DIY) restaurant. I'll review them in my food blog.

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One of the things I made sure of is to taste HK's milk tea! In the middle of the food court they sold all sorts of drinks, including Black Tea with Milk and Tapioca (HK$12). It is the strongest milk tea I've tasted but I loved it! I told my tea addict friend Aileen that I'm having it for breakfast tomorrow. :)


Long day tomorrow. Gotta sleep!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memories of Eiffel

Lame pickup line: "Are you that famous tower in Paris? Coz when I saw you, Eiffel in love." Huh.

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View of the Eiffel from the Arc De Triomphe

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Took this while on top of the Notre Dame Cathedral

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My cousin acting stately during a cruise on the Seine.

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A nice shot of the tower at night.

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Amidst fireworks on Bastille Day.


I'm making it my goal to come back next year to see it once again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Delayed

My flight to Cebu is delayed! We should be boarding by now. Waiting for the status of my flight. I might go to a beach resort today if things go well. :-)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cebu This Week

I'm so pumped about going to Cebu this Thursday to attend the Cebu Blog Camp, a blogging conference organized by my good friend Winston Almendras. It would be the first blogging event I'm attending in the Visayas region. Friends from Manila and Mindanao are flying in for that too. Should be loads of fun catching up with them. My cousin Ria will be speaking about blogging communities while my babe Mica will talk about Blogging 101. My badminton buddy Dulce of Padd Solutions is a sponsor.


On the day I arrive (Thursday), I'm tagging along with Aileen, Jay and Miguel as they tour the city. It would be Miggy's first time in Cebu, so Aileen wants to make sure that her son sees everything he needs to see. I'm looking forward to taking lots of pics of Cebu's landmarks. And, more importantly, eat their world-famous lechon! Even Anthony Bourdain was impressed with Cebu's take on this native delicacy that he had to feature it on his show. As I asked around for things to do in Cebu, "lechon" was almost in every answer that I got. Aside from that, Casa Verde's Baby Back Ribs, Siomai from Harbor City, Barbecue at Larsian and Golden Cowrie's native food. Somewhere in there, Moon Cafe was also mentioned. I wonder how I'm going to fit that all into my 3-day schedule!


On Friday, we're planning to hit the beach. We haven't decided which resort yet. We're choosing between Tambuli, Maribago and Plantation Bay. Mica might be able to hook us up with a discount at Plantation Bay. I hope she gets it coz I'm dying to go there. In the afternoon we're going back to the city to continue our food binge tour. lol Aileen and I will then meet up with other geeks in the evening.


Saturday is CBC day. I believe it starts early in the morning and ends late afternoon. I'm not familiar with the event's agenda. I hope the lineup of talks will keep me and the rest of the attendees engaged. I'll do a little partying afterwards then go back to my hotel coz I have an early flight to catch the next day.


It's 1:46AM on my clock. Getting dizzy and sleepy! Good night! See you all in Cebu!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Busy Eating

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This cute and cuddly logo is brought to you by... ME.


The Davao Food Appreciation Tour (DFAT) begins today! Will be busy eating this weekend. I'm excited to meet bloggers from GenSan, CDO and Manila!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Famous People I Have Seen

Here are the most notable famous persons I've seen:


International

Alicia Keys - Saw her talking to a couple of fans on a New York sidewalk. Too chicken to approach her. I remember her as being very tall.




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Julia Stiles - Saw her walk past me one winter morning in New York. She was very pretty and white. Yes, white.




Claire Forlani


Claire Forlani - The actress whom I remember from Meet Joe Black. She was eating lunch on 6th Avenue. I think she is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life.

Madonna - Does this count? Watched her Drowned concert in Madison Square Garden. One word: limber.

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman - I think I saw them on Chelsea Street while eating lunch with a cousin. My cousin noticed them first coz my back was facing them. I only got a glimpse of their spines. Because of that Uma isn't the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in real life. :s

Spencer Breslin - Ok, this kid isn't that famous but he played the young Bruce Willis in the "The Kid". Bumped into him on Bleecker Street.




Dwayne Johnson


Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - He was waiting for his flight in O'hare airport when I saw him. I was starstruck but again was too chicken to ask for an autograph. But I have to give props to the teenage boy who asked him upfront: "Are you the Rock?" and ended up being ignored.

Roma Maffia - Another semi-famous actress who played Dr. Liz Cruz on Nip/Tuck. She was standing outside Puck Building with a couple other actors who I didn't recognize.




Pope John Paul II


Pope John Paul II - Saw him inside the "Pope-mobile" in a motorcade near Malacanang Palace.

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Stephon Marbury, etc - Saw all of them in a Knicks Vs. Nets game in New Jersey.

Local

Richard Gutierrez and Georgina Wilson - Holding hands at the Fort LOL

John Lloyd Cruz - Chatting with Richard Gutierrez at Embassy.

Anne Curtis - Ran into her in Greenbelt. WOW. Move over Claire and Uma.

Cheska Garcia - Cheska was walking behind Anne Curtis. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. My female cousin Ria went gaga. Literally and embarrassingly.

Akihiro Sato - I know a lot of girls and gays go crazy about this Brapanese model. I saw him in Friday's.

Ryan Agoncillo - Saw him at Powerplant mall.  He's short!

Judy Ann Santos - Saw her at Ever Gotesco Mall on Commonwealth. LOL

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Cure Natural Aqua Gel


At the risk of sounding like a beauty product endorser, I am endorsing the above product, Cure Natural Aqua Gel.  What does it do?  Read on:


Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a gentle and natural exfoliating gel that removes dead skin effectively without causing undue stress to the skin. Unlike chemical peels which use strong acid, Cure is very gentle on the skin and only removes the unwanted dead skin. It does not dry or thin your skin which causes your skin to be vulnerable to sunlight.

Note to self: I will not rave about Cure like a rabid fanboy.

I'd go far as to say that it is partly responsible for why I have good skin. I learned about it through my Plurk friend Sophie Uy, who was selling it at a Christmas bazaar last year. I purchased a bottle from her (P1,700) after hearing incessant praises from Jayvee and Fritz. Cure works by binding to your dead skin and sloughing it off by the gentle rubbing action of your hands. Right after my skin looks and feels fresh, smooth and firm. Ergo, I look cuter. They should rename it to Cute Natural Aqua Gel hehe. Use it only 3 times week tops.

As I blog this, Sophie is selling a new batch on her Multiply site, Beauty & Minerals.

**Squeals**

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blast from the Past


Universal Studios, Circa 1996


The pic above was taken during one of the darkest eras of my life. Bushy brows, fake tan-like tan, gap teeth, braces and fake golf outfit. I found this souvenir pic sitting in my mom's office storage recently. I haven't seen it in a long time. It should have stayed that way until somebody decided to resurrect it out of its tomb! It's ok coz I couldn't help but laugh at myself every time I see it. Yeah, laughing at myself is my best medicine!

OT: This afternoon, I was driving my cousin home from the gym and we ran behind a passenger jeepney filled with girls in their tweens. When they saw me (yes, me, not my cousin) they started waving at me. My cousin was like "hey, they're waving at you". So I waved back. The girls screamed. LOL