Sunday, September 30, 2012

Grocery Monitoring

Hubby and I have been trying to find ways to save - we switched to LED light bulbs, we minimized the use of the car to save on fuel and we even cook and bring our own lunch to work.We also do our grocery shopping on a monthly basis to save on trips to the supermarket.

Before, we used to go to SM Supermarket but when I compared the prices of goods, that of Walter Mart's proved to be cheaper so we've been going there since then. Just recently, Puregold opened a branch near us and we went there yesterday to see how the prices compare to Walter Mart.

We already had a few items in our cart yesterday when we entered the milk section. Johan's milk is 20 pesos higher in Puregold! So, I told hubby not to put anything else in our cart until we look at the prices on the other items on my list. It may be just the milk that is priced higher and the rest may be cheaper. But, lo and behold, there is at least a three-peso to a maximum of thirty-peso price difference. It may be a little amount to some but remember that we're shopping for a month's worth of groceries so that "little amount" can blow up to a thousand or more on the final tab.

I was so surprised that Puregold's prices are higher than that of Walter Mart's because all the while, I was under the impression that Puregold offers the cheapest prices of goods compared to most supermarkets. I was proved wrong yesterday and because of that, we abandoned our cart, left Puregold and went back to Walter Mart.

In summary, Walter Mart offers the cheapest compared to SM Supermarket and Puregold. A branch of South Supermarket will be opening soon in our area and when that happens, I will definitely pay it a visit to do another round of grocery monitoring.

Till then!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Food Trip - Blackbeard's Seafood Island


My friends from work and I usually eat out every Friday after office hours as a way of treating ourselves after a tiring and stressful week. We make it a point to try a different restaurant and since it has become some sort of a tradition, I thought, why not post our Friday night outs here in my blog. So, here is the first of the (hopefully) many more Friday Food Trips to come.

Up first, Blackbeard's Seafood Island at the Alabang Town Center. We decided on the place because TJ and I were craving for grilled squid and I've been hearing a lot about it so I might as well give it a try.


The place is just so-so, though. There's nothing special about the interiors and worse, we even had to switch from one table to another because only one of two air-conditioning units was working and the original table where we were seated was located at the opposite direction of the air-con. It was becoming really hot so we had to move to another one.



But, the food is really good. We chose the Palawan Shores Boodle Feast which costs Php 785.00 good for 3-4 people and comprised of the following -  Grilled Shrimps, Tahong, Halaan, Squid and Tilapia, Steamed Crab, Lato, Grilled Corn with Clams Meat Rice. I know it doesn't look appetizing at first but don't let looks fool you because this feast really is good! Well, except for the mussels which are all dried up and the much too salty lato, the rest of the meal tasted great. (Sorry for the not so good photo quality, I had to use my Blackberry because I left my camera charging at home).


Very unique presentation. I didn't notice this when the waiter put it down on our table until my friend pointed out to me that the food was served in a boat. Indeed, it was!


This is the very salty lato. It tasted as if it was just fished out of the sea before it was served to us - yes, it was that salty.


 And here I am enjoying a moment with my pair of crab claws. Yummy!



Blackbeard's Seafood Island is definitely worth a second visit, I only hope that they have that second air-conditioner fixed and possibly add a little more bright lights to the place because it was a tad too dim.

Total Costs:
Php  785.00  -  Palawan Shores Boodle Feast for 3-4 persons
Php  210.00  -  Pitcher of Iced Tea
-------------
Php 995.00

It's not really that expensive and every spoonful, errr, handful of seafood is so worth every cent.

Go have a boodle fight!


Blackbeard's Seafood Island
2/F Corte de Las Palmas Alabang Town Center
Muntinlupa City
(632) 772-2968







Thursday, September 27, 2012

Who's Naughty, Who's Nice?





I'm stressed because I'm beginning to list down the names of the people I have to buy presents for this coming Christmas and the number is huge!

Just from my Mom's side of the family alone, I need to buy gifts for 56 people and that includes all my Aunts and Uncles, cousins, nephews and nieces. I am yet to make a list for my Papa's side of the family, another one for hubby's family and a separate one for all my godchildren and friends. Whew! Where in the world will   I get the strength to buy gifts for everybody?

Last year, I told myself I will make sure to shop early this year but I don't think that'll happen because I don't have the time and most importantly, I have no budget yet! Hopefully, by November, I'll be able to make time to shop so I won't have to cram during the Christmas rush. #fingerscrossed

I have to get back to making lists now, a lot more names needed to be added and I don't want to miss anybody. Wish me luck?




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The SSS UMID Card


My new SSS Unified Multipurpose Identification System (UMID) card arrived today. I applied for it last January and though mine arrived earlier than most, I heard some had to wait for more than a year, eight months is still a long time to manufacture an ID card.

Anyway, what is the use of the new SSS UMID card? The UMID card is not only exclusive to SSS services but also to those from three other state institutions - Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and Home Development Mutual Fund. The UMID card has a microchip that stores the personal information of the member and can be easily retrieved using the fingerprint matching facilities located in various offices of the government agencies stated above.

According to SSS Vice President for Member Services Mario Sibucao:
"The UMID enables the four covered agencies to save costs, eliminate redundant identification systems and offer members a more secure and durable ID card that is tamper-proof, hard to fake and can last for up to 10 years.” 
I am just so glad that, finally, our government is gearing towards unifying our agencies and providing accessible means to getting our benefits and privileges that we so rightly deserve.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Houzz.com is ❤

I not-so-recently discovered the website Houzz.com and I tell you, if you're the type of person who enjoys looking at home designs and decors, you'll surely fall head over heels in love with this website. If I could turn the time and make it 2016 already, I would have done so in an instant because by then we would've finished paying for the car and then we can finally start planning our own home. 

Here are some designs that I am loving right now, come swoon with me?

I love the contrast of the plain colored couch and the printed one-seaters

I am so going to have one like this made!

I like the burst of the color red
Very relaxing

There are so much more one can find at Houzz.com. I am definitely inspired and have a pretty good idea on what I would want on our future home. :)


Friday, September 21, 2012

Conserving Energy, One Bulb at a Time



I've been shouldering all our utility bills at home since the day we purchased our car. Hubby was the one paying for the car loan and I'm responsible for all the bills at home. What hurts me the most amongst all the bills is the electric bill. It seems that no matter how much we try to minimize our aircon use and TV time, our monthly bill doesn't reflect that much savings.

So, when I read about how LED bulbs can save energy consumption, I talked to hubby about it and we decided to give it a try. Mind you, the price of LED bulbs is twice, if not more, of the regular light bulbs and to think we already bought from one of the cheapest stores! But then, if you consider the long term savings that we could get from it, the price really is minimal.

As written in Energy Savings Gadgets:

LED light bulbs use less energy and don't put off nearly as much heat as an incandescent bulb. For example, typically LED Bulb uses only 10 watts of electricity but perform just like a 100 watt bulb. Incandescent bulbs often waste 98% of their energy because they produce too much heat. LED bulbs don't waste energy by producing excess heat, instead they produce much less heat and this even assists in cooling costs.

We already switched all bulbs inside the house from the regular bulbs to LEDs. Hopefully, by the end of this month, I will see some huge savings in our electric bill.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our Wet, Wet, Wet Weekend

September 13th was MIL's 60th birthday. Her children decided to celebrate it at their house in Manila last Saturday. I wasn't able to sleep the night before because of the terrible colds I had, I was close to having a panic attack because I felt I was suffocating everytime I try to lay down or turn off the lights. I was finally able to sleep at 3am just as hubby arrived home from work and I slept on the floor because that's where I was comfortable at during that time.

So, when I woke up around 6am (yep, I just had 3 hours of sleep), it was raining hard and when I tuned in to the morning news on TV, the red warning issued by PAG-ASA over Metro Manila greeted me. I was asking hubby not to go to Manila anymore because I was scared we would be stranded in the streets or at their house which was flooded waist-deep during Ondoy. But my hard-headed husband won't hear anything of it and so off we went to Manila and faced the heavy rains head-on.

Here's what we went through when we arrived in Manila:

Heavy traffic going to the Manila City Hall

We tried to find other routes but the entire City of Manila seemed
to be submerged in flood waters. This is at the back of the City Hall
fronting SM Manila
Our smart kababayans would know how to make money out
of a few sacks of dirt
   
Tapang ni Ate! 
Flooded Avenida

Johan was amazed at the sight of the flood

He kept on shouting, "My, Fi!" - which means "Mommy, Fish!"



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ba-Bu

Ba-bu
[ba-boo]
idiom


Johan's current addition to his growing vocabulary. I know it sounds like the Filipino word for sink but I like it that way coming from my little man. There may be different versions: A-yu, A-bu, Ya-yu, but nevertheless, they all mean the same and even though my young Johan cannot grasp yet the true meaning of the phrase, our hearts swell every single time he mentions it, after he kisses us, more than a dozen times every single day.

Ba-bu is Johan's way of saying, I love you.

And we love you, too, dear boy.

Always have, always will.






Saturday, September 8, 2012

Price Hike, Budgeting and Everything in Between

I created a spreadsheet where I can list down everything I paid for and bought. This is so I can keep track of my monthly expenses and in the process, make everything organized and make budgeting a little less tedious to think about. After the not-so-recent damage that the Southwest Monsoon has left the country, the prices of goods, specifically the vegetables, have climbed way, way high. It’s almost impractical to serve vegetable dishes on the dinner table. I am near-insane whenever I plan the menu for the week realizing that the usual budget allotted for it is not sufficient enough and would last short of the usual number of days.

Along with the high price of food, the nonstop hike on fuel prices is becoming quite unbearable. We can really feel how hard times have become and despite the safety that the car can provide the hubby when he travels to and from work, he returned to riding his Yamaha Mio just to save on fuel. Hubby riding his motorcycle again makes me extremely nervous. He is a good driver, he truly is, but what scares me the most are those drunk drivers that he usually encounters on the road. Those irresponsible drivers need to look for good Phoenix DUI Lawyers that can defend them when they get into an accident. It’s really scary to think about what can happen to hubby whenever he rides his motorcycle. I always remind him to drive defensively and responsibly, not to drink and drive or else he might have to hire a phoenix dui lawyer himself.

I am hopeful, though, that everything will return to normal. By normal, I mean, that the prices of food, fuel and all our basic needs go back to being affordable as they normally were.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On Autism, Positive Thinking and True Love

I don't know that much about Autism. I didn't have any firsthand experience with the disorder and never did I think that anybody close to me will be diagnosed with it - until now.

Mhy and I have been best of friends since college. We were inseparable, so to speak and we almost, always do everything together. We are both the eldest in our families, we both had boyfriends in college almost at the same time, we had our first drinking lesson at the same time (and yes, we both got pretty drunk), our birthdays both fall on the month of January and we both gave birth to boys in October 2010! In tagalog we are magkasanggang-dikit and magkadikit ang bituka.

Just recently, during their visit to a developmental pedia, our suspicions regarding Ethan, Mhy's son, were confirmed. He was diagnosed with Autism. We noticed the signs early on - Ethan not making any eye contact, him not reacting whenever we call his name, Ethan not interacting with anybody besides himself and his toys, making grunting noises instead of talking, and Ethan banging his head on the wall or on floor whenever he gets frustrated. It is heartbreaking but definitely not hopeless.

Mhy and her husband, Bong, are maintaining a positive attitude. Ethan is still Ethan, though a little delayed in development, his mental age is assessed to be that of a 9 month old instead of at his actual age of 22 months. According to his pedia, it is good that he was diagnosed sooner than later. Early interventions were already planned out - regular occupational and speech therapy - until his 2nd assessment on March of next year. Necessary adjustments were made by Mhy and Bong, even if that meant leaving her husband and son here in the Philippines so Ethan can undergo therapy and Mhy going back to Singapore by herself to work.

I was saddened and was a bit ashamed when we went to their house yesterday to see Mhy off as she heads back to Singapore. Ashamed, yes, because when our two boys were together, one can see the difference in both kids' behavior. Johan was actively dancing and laughing while watching TV compared to Ethan who was quietly sitting down turning a toy car in his hands, unmindful of the chaos that my son was making. For the first time in my life, I was not proud of how many building blocks my son can put up or how many words he can already say - because Ethan, though they're of the same age, can say nothing yet.

Regardless of the diagnosis, Ethan is still the boy that my best friend gave birth to, whom they love with all their hearts. Who am I to think that he is anything less? I am pretty sure everything will be okay. With the love and support of his parents, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles and everybody else around him, including me and my family, Ethan will be okay. Autism will never be a hindrance to him, we will make sure it will not be and instead, it will open doors to big possibilities for him. Besides, as Mhy put it, "Ethan is still Ethan", and we love him.

We all do.





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