Oct 26, 2009

Laptop User Friendly Places in SM Megamall

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Ever since SM Megamall became WiFi ready, a lot of laptop owners started to troop to the place to enjoy the free connection. But we all know that WiFi isn't the only thing you need if you want to be fully connected to the internet while at the mall. The place where you'll be staying should be laptop user friendly, that is, having free-to-use power outlets for its paying customers. Mind you, there are restaurants and cafes that charge by the hour for electricity use. The nerve of these establishments, 'no?

I decided to make this list for your reference, just in case you'll be in SM Megamall and you need to use your laptop for hours more than your laptop battery can handle.

Krispy Kreme, Ground Level, Bldg. B.


Image credit: Krispy Kreme Philippines

Cheaper than staying in Starbucks or any other coffee shop up in The Atrium. Average spending will be around Php 150 bucks (around 3 USD) for a small cup of coffee and a donut. KK has its own unsecured WiFi connection aside from that of SM Megamall's so you have 2 options. There are three power outlets, one is behind the condiments counter, that you can use. That is, if you are lucky enough to find a seat near them. The place is cramped and can be too crowded during the weekend. It can be warm, too. I don't know why. Me thinks that hot ovens + cramped place + another door facing EDSA don't mix. So, I've two pieces of advice: be there early to secure a good and cool seat away from the door facing EDSA and just order iced coffee or a glass of their yummy chillers to keep you cool.

Icebergs Eskimo Bob, Level 4, The Atrium


I originally thought that Icebergs is just a dessert place but they serve main meals as well. We were there for a snack and my boys and I shared the Belgian Chocolate Fondue that was served with fresh fruits, whipped cream, a few pieces of cake, and ice cream. It was worth it at Php 378 (around 4 USD). There are three power outlets attached to the mirrored wall. The place is clean and the food is yummy. However, my WiFi connection that day was low at 5.5 to 18 Mbps which was strange considering that The Atrium is supposed to be the place with the best WiFi strength in the mall.

Bigby's Cafe, 3rd Level, The Atrium


It was our first time to eat at Bigby's Cafe and, man, was I impressed! Think of an uber inexpensive version of TGI Fridays and you'll get what I mean. Take this, we had 3 orders of Seafood Chowder, 1 glass of bottomless iced tea, 1 chocolate shake, 1 glass of Four Season's, 1 plate of Rock-a-Bye-Baby Back Ribs, 1 plate of Uncle Sam's Roast Beef, and Chicken in a Basket all for Php 1,300! Everything, except the drinks, is good for sharing. Yummy and affordable food, fun and accommodating staff, homey ambiance, and strong WiFi signal. Definitely, two thumbs up! The biggest surprise of them all was that Bigby's is 100% Filipino! I read that the cafe's original branch is in Cagayan de Oro City. Now, the power outlet I used that day was just a bonus. It so happened that we were able to find the spot near the service counter. Just ask for the same spot from their friendly service staff.

Starbucks, The Atrium, Level 4 (added on 7 November 2009)

I was here yesterday to work on some online tasks that got piled up because of my mommy duties. Starbucks has power outlets conveniently placed either on the floor or on the dividers near each table. WiFi strength is excellent. I ordered a Toffee Nut Frappuccino which gave me my first sticker out of nine that I need to redeem the Starbucks 2010 planner come January. After a few sips, I realized that I should have ordered hot coffee instead because I was already shivering from the cold. I guess the A/Cs were on full blast inside Starbucks yesterday. Oh, by the way, I hope the power outlets on the floor were recessed like the ones in Krispy Kreme Robinson's Galleria. Someone was stupid enough to not look at where she was walking on and stepped on my laptop plug and bended the metal ends!

Superbowl of China, The Atrium, Level 4 (added on 14 December 2009)


This is an accidental find during our celebration of my son's First Communion. My boy misses Superbowl's free kropeck so we headed to The Atrium. It was an early lunch for us so we were able to find a place in the cushioned long seats beside the walls. When I looked under the table, there it was, the electrical outlet! Wee, such a sweet surprise. WiFi strength is commendable, too. Pretty much like the signal strength in Starbucks. The food versus the price is another story. I find the food choices and servings lesser and the prices higher now compared to when we were still dining at the old Superbowl by the ground floor food strip.

I'm going to update this list as I discover more and more of these laptop user friendly places. If you have tried other establishments that are worth adding to this list, just let me know by commenting to this post.




Oct 24, 2009

Moleskine and National Book Store present My Moleskine Philippines 2009

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National Book Store brings to the Philippines the legendary Moleskine notebook which is the same one used by artists and thinkers for over two centuries, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and Bruce Chatwin.

Last October 23, 2009, the nation's biggest bookstore formally launched the "My Moleskine Exhibition" that showcases the great diversity of talents, creativity and innovation of contemporary artists based in Asia.

Thirty-four artists from the fields of design, photography, painting and music used the Moleskine notebook as their new canvas to freely express and showcase their inspirations and artworks or to share a more intimate side of their work. Their works are presented in the exhibit and visitors can freely flip through the pages of the Moleskine notebooks to view their art.

The My Moleskine Exhibition will be on display at NBS Glorietta 5 from Oct. 23, 2009 to Nov. 30, 2009; NBS Rockwell from Dec. 1, 2009 to January 22, 2009; NBS Trinoma from Oct. 23, 2009 to Jan. 22, 2010; and Bestsellers Robinson’s Galleria from Oct. 23, 2009 to Jan. 22, 2010.

Along with the exhibit, Moleskine and National Book Store also launched "My Moleskine Open Call Manila", an art competition which aims to promote and emphasize the strong association between Moleskine notebooks and artistic expression. It is an opportunity for Filipino artists to show off their own creativity by scribbling or doodling them on Moleskin notebooks.

The winner of "My Moleskine Open Call Manila" will receive P25,000 worth of gift certificates from National Book Store and the best entries will represent the Philippines in the "My Moleskine Open Call Shanghai 2010". They will also have a chance to be part of the permanent roster of Moleskines being showcased around the world. Entries to My Moleskine Open Call Manila can be dropped at participating NBS branches until December 15, 2009.

Moleskine notebooks are available at select National Book Store branches at a 10% discount until January 22, 2010. Follow National Bookstore on Facebook, Friendster and Twitter or go to www.nationalbookstore.com for details.

UPDATE (29 October 2009)

Thanks to Hannah for asking about the mechanics of the contest. I sent a correspondence to Mr. Charles Dee, Advertising and Promotions Officer of National Bookstore and he was kind enough to send me the mechanics of the "My Moleskine Open Call Manila" art contest. Art enthusiasts, please refer below:

MY MOLESKINE OPEN CALL MANILA
CONTEST RULES AND ENTRY FORM


• Entries to “My Moleskine Open Call Manila” need to consist of any original Moleskine notebook with any writings, drawings, doodles, photos or other attachments in the notebook. Participants are free to use the notebook in whatever way they deem fit.
• All entries must be dropped before December 15, 2009 at any National Book Store branch and must be accompanied by a duly signed and completed Contest Rules and Entry Form.
• All entries shall automatically be the exclusive property of National Book Store, Inc. (NBSI) and may be used, copied, reproduced and/or reprinted by NBSI into any size or medium for exhibition, advertising, promotion, publication or whatever purpose whether for profit or not. Contest participant further allows NBSI to use his/her name and/or image/picture/likeness without limit in conjunction with his winning entry.
• Final judging shall be on December 18, 2009 at the head office of NBSI at 125 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City.
• Top prize shall be twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000.00) worth of National Book Store gift certificates and a roundtrip ticket to Shanghai to attend the opening of myDetour Shanghai Exhibition 2010.
• Criteria for judging shall be: 50% Creativity, 25% Originality and 25% Execution.
• Winner, who shall be notified by registered mail, must present the original Notification Letter and a valid original ID (birth certificate, passport or driver’s license only) to claim their prize.
• All prizes are non-transferable and non-convertible to cash.
• The decision of the board of judges with regards to the winner is final.
• All employees of NBSI and Working Unit, the board of judges and their relatives up to the 2nd degree of consanguinity or affinity are not allowed to join this promotion.
• In case of doubt, the decision of NBSI shall be deemed final.






Oct 21, 2009

"Proud Ako! Nagueño" Music Video

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Sharing with you Naga City's present anthem. Indeed, the city has changed so much since the day I first visited it way back in 1999. My husband says that it's far too different from the Naga City he knew when he was a young boy. Nevertheless, we are proud of the city's progress, albeit the traffic in the centro, hehehe.



Proud Ako! Nagueño

Sa paglipas ng panahon
Unti-unting naiipon
Nakaraan at alaala
Na kay ganda

Ngunit kahit pigilan ko man
Nakaraa'y maiiwan
At sa paggalaw ng panahon
Napapalitan ng bagong ngayon

Chorus:
Tingnan mo ang Naga, ang laki ng pagbabago
Ating galaw sumasabay sa ikot ng mundo
Dahil sa pagkakaisa lahat ay sama-sama
Pinaghirapang pangarap ngayon ay narito na
Ngunit sa puso ko, merong di magbabago
Proud akong maging Nagueño.

Pagsisikap ang naging daan
Upang pangarap ay masimulan
At ngayon nga nang aking tingnan
Ibang-iba na ang aking bayan

(Repeat Chorus)

Bridge:
Maraming beses dilim nagdaan
Bayan ay sinubukan
Ngunit dahil sa panindigan natin
Wala tayong hindi kayang gawin

(Repeat Chorus except last line)
Pakikipagkapwa-tao
dedikasyon sa bayan ko
Proud akong maging Nagueño.





Oct 14, 2009

Let Apl.de.ap Take U To The Philippines!

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The Philippine's Department of Tourism (DoT) launched its latest tourism campaign dubbed as "Take Me To The Philippines" last September 27, 2009 with a music video starring Apl.de.ap of the Black Eyed Peas. The music video is entitled "Take U To The Philippines" and the song talks about the places worth visiting in the country.

Watch Tourism Secretary Ace Durano and Apl.de.ap talk about how the video came about.


Apl was chosen by the department as the global ambassador of its "Take Me To The Philippines" endeavor. This campaign is aimed at re-establishing the position of Philippine tourist spots as global destinations.