20 March 2010


We're heading to China for our 6th Wedding Anniversary. As part of the adventure, we're arranging the trip on our own. We successfully organized the last SG trip ourselves (no hitch at all), so we're doing it again. For budget travelers like us, that's a lot of savings (No more agency fees!).

Tickets: Check! We booked online.
We use the card with a very low credit limit.

Hotel: Check! We booked online.
We go to the hotel's official website, no third parties.

Visas: The start of an adventure...

If you're crazy enough to get your Chinese Travel Visas on your own (I know most Pinoys let their agencies handle this), get ready to do a lot of legwork.

All the Travel Visa requirements are in the Chinese Embassy website.

We completed the requirements in two weeks (We're busy).

The most challenging task: the NBI clearance.

Who has time to go to the crowded NBI Carriedo office? Not us. We couldn't get it from the Megamall office since we're applying for the Travel Clearance for the first time. The Megamall branch accepts only renewals. During one lunch break, we checked out the NBI Quezon City Hall office (10 minutes from work), and the lines were horrific (Think Tutuban in December)! Umatras kami. We tried the NBI office in the Mandaluyong City Hall (10 minutes from home). Thank God, the lines are more humane there. At 8am, there were less than a hundred people. First step: Get Community Tax Certificates (aka Cedula) from the Mandaluyong City Hall. Cedulas from other cities won't be accepted. Step 2: Fill-up NBI form. Step 3: Pay PHP140 each. Step 4: Have your photos taken (via the NBI cam). We then waited for almost 2 hours for my clearance's release. J had to come back after a week (someone has the same name raw). We doubt that but what can we do, right? After a week, he got his clearance.

March 9: Our first trip to the Chinese Embassy
Address: The World Center, 330 Sen. Gil J. Puyat Avenue, Makati
Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 9-11am

We arrived at the Embassy at 815am and was 115th. I guess, you have to be there around 7am to get a better number.

After 3 hours of waiting, our number was finally called. We submitted our passports and documents to the Pinay officer. Just as we thought we'd breeze thru it, she points out that the birth date on my NBI clearance does not match the birth date on my passport! Oo nga! Arg! My bad! I didn't notice that. Lesson: check your NBI clearance's details! Also, our bank certificates were supposed to come with original receipts or debit memos! Double arg!

All that waiting for nothing? We had to come back with the complete requirements. At one point, we were tempted to ask for an agency's help already (sayang kasi oras) but decided to complete this on our own. We're no quitters.

So we went back to the NBI Office at the Mandaluyong City Hall. I told them about the typo. I didn't have to pay again (Yey!). They checked my file and released my clearance (with the correct bday) in less than an hour. Then we went back to the banks to ask for copies of the debit memos.

Mar 16: Trip #2 to the Chinese Embassy

We arrived before 8am and was 85th. Had breakfast at the Starbucks downstairs while waiting for the Embassy's 9am opening.

I love Starbuck's banana bread. J had corned beef pandesal.

We were called a little past 10am. And was finally cleared! We were told to claim our visas after 3 days. YAHOO!

Mar 19: J picks up our Visas

He arrived at the Embassy a little after 8. And was served a little after 10am. Fee: PHP1,400 each (for single entry)

Now, we're all set! Shanghai Spring, here we come!

So was it worth the PHP3,000 we saved on agency fees? Big sigh.

I choose to see the bright side. Despite all the hassle, we're proud to have done it on our own...without losing it. People can really go crazy with all the red tape, the waiting, the human errors, etc.

If a couple can laugh together through an errand as STRESSFUL as this, I believe they're really meant to travel through life together.

Doing the most annoying errands are worth it, basta't kasama kita.

18 March 2010


The first time I dragged J to a nail salon, I thought the experience would make his toes curl. I was so happy when he actually appreciated the pros' work on his hands and feet (Mas maayos nga!) -- he gave them two thumbs up!

And that was how our nail spa dates started. I'd come more often, like once every two weeks. He'd come with me once a month.

A: mani and pedi with massage and polish (optional)

J: just cutting and cleaning

What we have in common: We're not fans of foot spas (We don't get it, sorry.). We'd rather go for massages. We bring our books for our nail dates -- simultaneous Me Time and Couple Time (Yipee!).

Our neighborhood nail salon: The Nail Spa, 5F Shangrila Mall
Tel No (632) 6874991 (Call. They're always fully-booked!)

13 March 2010


We finally met one of our more famous neighbors, Charlie!
The best thing about "him" -- he lives along the street behind us.
We could actually walk to his place! Yey!

Charlie's Black Angus Burger, around Php150
(Good burger.)

Charlie's Chili and Cheese Dawg, around Php150
(My fave so far!)

Charlie's Buffalo Wings, 6pcs, around Php150
(J says it tastes like my version, he really loves me!)

Charlie's Cheese Steak, Php 320
(Cheese lovers' delight!)

Charlie's Mini Frozen Braso de Mercedes, Php170
(It satisfied my Brazo cravings...mmmm!)

The happy neighbor

Love thy neighbor!

Charlie's Grind & Grill
16 East Kapitolyo Drive, Pasig

06 March 2010


I have a confession to make. For my Pap Smears, I require that J stays with me to hold my hand (Thank God for OBs who allow it!). This must be OA for most but hey, it helps me relax. To each her own.

Anyway, today, right after the procedure...

J asks my OB: "Is there an Orthopedic here, Doc?"

Doc: "Meron."
And she goes on checking the list of doctors.

J: "Parang nabali po kasi yung kamay ko."

Doc and Me: Laugh out loud.


Can we have lunch at Cafe Romulo every day?

To Do for 2010: Try everything on the menu!

Winner Monggo Soup!

One of the best Crispy Patas we've had.
They agreed to put the bagoong on the side (J's not into bagoong).
One day, I'll try this with the bagoong (PM sisters, lunch out?).

The big Fried Tilapia

This is the Honey Garlic Pork Spare Ribs (right?)

The rooms upstairs are charming!
Sorry, I didn't take photos. Just see for yourself.

Cafe Romulo is 10 minutes away from our office so my Master Plan looks doable.Right, J? (Thanks to MW for suggesting that we try Cafe Romulo.)

Cafe Romulo
32 Scout Tuason corner Dr. Lazcano
Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 332-7275

04 March 2010


Imagine the Petronas Twin Towers as a couple holding hands...

Tower 1: "Masaya ako pag kasama kita."
Tower 2: "Ako rin."

--Kilig exchange between Bea and John Lloyd in their recent box office hit, "I Miss You Like Crazy."

A & J also plan to hold hands forever.

A: Why do we love each other so much?
J: Baka sira-ulo tayo?
Both: LOL

KL, Malaysia
March 2008