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iKON 2018 CONTINUE TOUR IN SEOUL (Korea Version)

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6.14.2019

Why You Should Get Your Van Insured.

No matter what type of van you have, you should always make sure to get insurance. Doesn’t matter if it’s a fancy brand new one, or an old one. You will need insurance. Getting insurance is so important for so many reasons. If you ever get into an accident then having insurance can mean that you are protected, it also protects any other passengers that are in your car. If you don’t have insurance, then you won’t get the compensation that you deserve if you are in an accident.
Miss & Mrs. Cops (2019).
Accidents will happen
No matter how careful a driver you are, there are often things that we cannot control. The accidents might be a minor thing, however, sometimes they can be deadly. Over the course of a lifetime, the average motorist might be in about four accidents. Obviously, this number depends on how much you drive, where you drive and how you drive. Accidents happen regardless of how good the driver is, so even if you’ve been driving your van for years, you can never be too careful.
Running Man episode 429, December 2018.
Damages might occur
The best way to avoid getting your van damaged is to park it off the road in a secure location. Most of the time though, people don’t have a big enough garage to place their van in or even off-road parking. Your van might also be damaged whilst you are out driving for a work-related reason. This is why it is so important to get your van insured, as if anything does happen you can be assured knowing that your insurance will cover you. Depending on what insurance you get, only some types of damages might be covered. So, it’s a good idea to double check all that you can about your insurance so that you know what you have.
Vampire Prosecutor, 2011.
Your van could be stolen
Having your van stolen can be disastrous, not only does it cause a lot of stress and annoyance, but for many people, it can mean a loss of earnings. If you use your van for work, then it is a good idea to make sure that your insurance has a “like for like” policy, as this way you can easily get a replacement van. However, this will only help you get to and from places. So, if your equipment was left in the van when it was stolen, then you need to make sure that you can get your money back.

One way to avoid losing your equipment is to store it in your home overnight, rather than leaving it in the van. If you can empty your van when you leave it, then this is the best thing that you can do. Why risk losing out on your business when there is a simple solution?

You might be thinking that you want to risk it and get cheaper insurance. A lot of people think that just because something hasn’t happened to them yet means that it won’t happen again. However, they are wrong. If you do this then you end up risking an awful lot and it’s just not worth it. Anyone who drives a car, van or motorbike needs to get insurance. For more reasons why you need insurance click here.

6.09.2019

Pampered at Purple Strawberries Salon & Spa.

The new school year is almost upon us, and I, like most moms, am savoring the last few hours (barely 24 to go! ) of summer. And so before I go back to the daily grind of waking up early, preparing my son's meals, helping him with school work, organizing lecture notes, and writing reviewers and mock exams, I treated myself yesterday to a bit of pampering  at Purple Strawberries Salon & Spa.
Purple Strawberries Salon & Spa.
The spa is located at Colago Avenue, right across the Community General Hospital. Ironically, this place is just a few meters away from my son's school, but it took me years to finally come and visit. At first, I thought this was just an ordinary nail bar which offers the usual manicure, pedicure, and nail enhancements. I guess that's the main reason why I never bothered to come here despite its 'very accessible location'.
Purple Strawberries at Buena Ventures Trading Post.
My indifference changed to interest when I learned from a friend that Purple Strawberries now offers massage and body care services. My poor, aching back had long been pining for a massage, and I had been meaning to get my nails done for the longest time. And with this salon offering both nail care and massage services, it's like killing two birds with one stone. Yay!
The reception desk/waiting area.
Photo credit: Purple Strawberries.
I booked an appointment for Saturday afternoon, after Yue's karate training. I made it a point to call the salon a day before my visit, because weekends are usually the busiest days for businesses like this. Yue and I arrived a little after 3:30 pm, a few minutes ahead of my 4 pm appointment.
The Nail Bar/Nail Care area on the first floor. 
I was ushered to the Nail Bar on the first floor, where the nail care services are done. I was planning to have the massage first, then the footspa and pedicure later, but the receptionist told me that the schedules got a bit mixed-up; the couple at the waiting area had to be massaged first since they were availing the couple massage at promo rates (Php 500 from 11 am - 4 pm).
Locking in the moisture on my feet with lotion, cling wrap, and a warm towel.
The therapist who was in-charge of me that day was apologetic for the mix-up, and assured me that my nails will be dry before I get my massage. (She used a nail dryer to dry my toenails, lol). At least she did a nice job with my foot spa and pedicure. The foot spa was very relaxing, and I did not feel pain the whole time she worked on my toenails. (Goodbye, ingrown and dry cuticles! So nice to get rid of you, finally!)
The Nail Bar.
I like that Purple Strawberries has a wide selection of nail polish, most of them from imported brands (think Zoya, Orly, and the like). So don't be daunted by the rates if you see their price list. They're pretty reasonable considering the (high) quality of the brands. Aside from the regular manicure and pedicure, they also offer nail stamping, with various stamping images to choose from. I'm not really into nail art since I do house chores, plus the fact that I always wear sneakers when I'm out and about, so I chose a purple Zoya Matte Velvet nail polish instead.
Color selection for Orly Gel Nail Color.
Massages and other body care services are done on the second floor. Their body massage is a combination of Swedish, Shiatsu, and Thai, with rates depending on the duration of the service. A 1-hour full body massage at Purple Strawberries costs Php 350 - still at par with the rates of other spas here in my hometown. I'm not sure if you can request for a specific type of essential oil for your massage, but mine had a minty scent. Something like eucalyptus, which I actually prefer.
The Massage/Body Care area on the second floor.
They also offer hot compress and cupping (ventosa) for an additional Php 125 for each service. I tried cupping for the first time in my life, and oh my goodness, I could feel the months (years, even) of soreness and stiffness being sucked away as the cups were placed on my back. It felt so good! Why have I never tried this before???
The place is dimmer in actual. Very relaxing, imho.
Overall, I enjoyed the massage despite the therapist being a bit heavy-handed. I had to ask her to soften it up a bit on my arms because my skin is rather flimsy and  I get bruised easily, and it was only when I got home that I discovered tiny bruises on my left arm. Nothing a concealer can't handle, but I will most likely request for another therapist next time, lol.
Yue hanging out at the Nail Bar. :)
If you're planning to visit Purple Strawberries with a kid, you'd be glad to know that they have free wifi. Just ask the receptionist for the password, which my son boldly did, haha. This kid would be willing to wait for me hours as long as he has his phone, his power bank, and data/wifi connection.
Buena Ventures Trading Post
Colago Avenue, San Pablo City
(049) 521 2511 / (0995) 1977 037 / (0929) 2515 284 
Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays, 1pm - 10pm 



6.04.2019

The 1st Shoshinkan Invitational Tournament + Life Lessons from Karatedo.

Still on a high from last week's belt promotion, the kids of Demuraha Shito-Ryu Genbukai Laguna (aka our kids) took on another challenge - their first invitational karatedo tournament.
Demuraha Shito-Ryu Genbukai Laguna, represent! 
Hosted by Shoshinkan International Philippines, this event is also a first for the Quezon-based organization. The inaugural tournament was held last Saturday (June 1), at the Sentrong Pangkabuhayan in Pagbilao, Quezon.
The 1st Shoshinkan International Philippines Invitational Karatedo Tournament.
More or less 100 karatekas, mostly from Calabarzon, participated in the event. Most of the karatekas were Shoshinkan practitioners, while some were Shotokan practitioners. Our kids were the only ones who practiced Shito-Ryu, and the smallest delegation at that.
The Voltes V of Demuraha Shito-Ryu Genbukai Laguna. :)
Participants listening to the rules and regulations of the tournament.
They say you should 'keep your circle full of quality rather than quantity' - well, these kids proved just that. They may be few, but all of them won medals in the Kata competition. All those grueling hours, days, and weeks of fine-tuning their moves and stances and practicing their kata definitely paid off!
Sensei Louie giving the kids a pep talk before they hit the mat. 
Yue preparing for his turn.
Winners, Kata Intermediate Division, 9-11 years old.
Yue won bronze, while his teammate Kal-el won silver.
Lance, the oldest in their team, also won a silver medal in Kumite (sparring), Intermediate Division.
Medalists, together with Senpai Jolan, Sensei Danny, Sensei Louie,
and Teacher Digbay of Kaleidoscope Kids Learning Center.
L-R: Daniel won silver in Kata Novice Division, 9-11 years old;
Kal-el won silver in Kata Intermediate Division, 9-11 years old;
Mark won gold in Kata Novice Division, 9-11 years old;
Lance won silver in both Kata and Kumite Intermediate Division, 12- 14 years old.
Yue won bronze in Kata Intermediate Division, 9-11 years old.
It was a very proud moment for all of us, especially the coaches, who devoted their time and effort in training these kids.
With Sensei Ramil Abragon, head of Shoshinkan International Philippines.
But what makes me even prouder is how Yue has completely embraced the karate lifestyle. There came a point in time when he wanted to quit karate because the training was 'tiring him out', but now, he never misses out on training, even if it meant going to the dojo thrice a week for the past two months.
Yue's achievements this summer - his Green Belt in Shito-Ryu Genbukai,
and his Bronze Medal from the 1st Shoshinkan Int'l Philippines Invitational Tournament.
Karate has also instilled in him these valuable lessons, which has become his guiding force throughout the years and hopefully, for the rest of his life:

1. Never stop learning.
When you practice karate - or any other form of martial arts - you will come to realize that learning is a lifelong process. Learning all the different katas, for instance, will take years; all the more if you're a Shito-Ryu practitioner, which has 90+ katas in the syllabus.

2. Patience is a virtue.
The road from a white belt to a black belt is long and arduous. The kids' latest belt promotion took almost two years to happen, but they patiently learned all the kihons and katas and practiced their kumite skills until they were finally able to prove to their senseis that they are ready to be promoted and are worthy of their new belts.
Yue during his kumite competition.
3. Confidence is key.
By learning their strengths and working through weaknesses, these young karatekas were able to build their self-confidence. As they gain mastery over their skills, they have a deeper understanding of their capabilities, and can assimilate things beyond it. They become empowered, which gives them the confidence to overcome not only their opponents on the mat, but also the toughest situations in life.

4. Hard work brings great rewards.
For the past two months, the kids have been training really hard for their belt promotion test and this tournament. At times, they would even extend their training by an hour or so just so they could nail their katas to a T. 'You reap what you sow' so goes the old adage, and these kids finally reaped the fruits of their labor with their new belts and medals.

5. Discipline is everything.
Some people think that karate is all about kicks, punches, power, and technique, but one of the first and the greatest thing that kids from learn from it is discipline, which is critical for success in any field. Whether you want to be a black belt karateka, a pastry chef, a professional gamer, or even a make-up artist, you must invest a serious amount of time and effort to do so. It’s not always easy, but being disciplined will allow you to weather the storms and keep you focused to achieve your goals.

That being said, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Yue's senseis and senpais for inspiring these kids to work hard and train harder and for helping them to achieve their goals.Thank you Sensei Danny, Sensei Kenneth, Senpai Louie, and Senpai Jolan! Our kids are so lucky to have teachers like you!

Yue is a proud member of the Demuraha Shitoryu Genbukai Laguna, training under Sensei Danny Bualan, Senpai Louie Gelizon, and Senpai Jolan Asia. Classes are held every Saturday at Kaleidoscope Kids Learning Center. Come train with us and join our dojo! :)


5.28.2019

K-Street Festival | For the Love of All Things Korean!

Back when K-pop and K-dramas weren't as popular as they are today, I had to go to great lengths just to purchase an album of my favorite K-pop group and I had to scour the internet to watch properly-subbed episodes of K-dramas. These days, with the continuous rise and the growing dominance of Hallyu around the world, one can easily stream K-pop songs and currently airing Korean dramas through smartphone and smart TV apps. Fangirling has definitely become easier through the years!

But wait - it gets better.

For the first time ever, the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) of the Philippines will be hosting the K-Street Festival, a celebration of all things Korean - from the culture itself, to food, fashion, and beauty. The event will be held at Bonifacio High Street’s C1 Park from May 31 to June 1, and at the BGC Amphitheater from June 1 - June 2.
K-Street Festival!
As part of BGC’s Summer on the Street series, K-Street Festival promises awesome offerings such as performances from Pinoy K-pop Star winners, Korean street food & pop up shops, k-merchandise, all-day fun & games, and so much more. This one-of-a-kind festival promises to delight everyone with traditional and contemporary Korean activities that showcase the wonderful culture of this country.

Celebrating the depth and breadth of Korea’s rich culture, K-Street Festival will have seven zones at the C1 park, plus a whole lot more activities at the BGC Amphitheater that will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Korea. Get ready to check all these out for must-try experiences!
What's your fandom?
Music, merchandise and more
Crazy about BTS, Blackpink, or EXO? Then head over to the K-Pop zone, the first of seven zones at Bonifacio High Street’s C1 Park, where you can listen to your favorite K-pop artists and play exciting games to win different freebies. This zone, organized with the Philippine K-Pop Convention, Inc. (PKCI), will also offer an assortment of K-pop merchandise to kickstart (or complete!) your collection.

Are you a K-drama fan? Then indulge in some of your favorite Korean shows through Netflix and VIU’s streaming services at the street festival. Enjoy Korean dramas and movies you’ve never seen before, all offered with multiple language subtitles.
Hansik - traditional Korean food.
Savor the flavors
Treat your taste buds over at the K-Food Zone, where you can enjoy authentic Korean food and eat to your heart's content. Whether it’s kimchi, bibimbap, kalbi-jim, or good ol' ramyeon, you’re sure to find mouthwatering delights that will get you burping in no time.

Plan your (next) trip
If you can’t wait to visit Seoul’s spectacular sights, head over to the K-Tour Zone, where you can check out the various tours and travel options available. Organized by the Korea Tourism Organization which has promoted diplomatic relations between the Philippines and South Korea over the past 70 years, this zone will give you a sneak peek of why Korea is visited by over 10 million tourists every year, and why my son and I keep coming back to Korea.

Wear a hanbok
There's also the K-Fashion and Beauty Zone, organized in partnership with Hanbok Palace. Here, you can try out some Korean traditional clothing and take selfies while you're at it. 

Gadgets galore
If you want some high-tech fun, head over to the K-Tech Zone, which promises to enthrall you with cutting-edge Korean innovations. Enjoy the ultimate VR experience with Samsung, allowing you to enjoy movies and video games on a whole new level. You can also get your hands on Coreon Mobile, an innovative mobile postpaid service from IT Corea that lets you enjoy 3 numbers in one SIM card.
Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team in action.
Taekwondo like you've never seen before
Finally, at the the K-Sport Zone, you'll be able to witness a one-of-a-kind taekwondo demonstration  by the world-renowned Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team. With their high-flying, gravity defying martial arts skills, you'll see taekwondo moves like you've never seen before.

Indulge in the K-mmunity K-POP Madness 
As an added treat, head over to the other side of the festivities at the Bonifacio High Street Amphitheater where BGC in partnership with Globe Prepaid, Globe at Home and Pulp have lined up huge surprises for fans of K-pop heavy weights TWICE and TVXQ! Attendees can get first dibs on concert tickets, win exciting freebies, and participate in themed booths and activities.
Save the date!
So for all you K-pop and K-drama fans and K-culture enthusiasts (like me), make sure you free up your weekend schedule for these exciting activities. For twice the fun, bring your family, friends, and fellow stans along! :)

For more details, you may check out Bonifacio High Street’s official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BoniHighStreet/


5.26.2019

Foodie Goodie | UniBearsity Cafe.

While browsing through the 'Nearby Places' tab on Facebook, I came across UniBearsity Cafe and a handful of geo-tagged photos of the place. In photos, this new cafe looked nice and modern, and the food looked quite appetizing. Yue and I were driven by curiosity (and the desire to eat something 'non-fast food') so we decided to have lunch here the other day, right after his karate training.
Chillin' with the bears at UniBearsity Cafe.
UniBearsity Cafe characterizes itself as a 'concept hang-out place' which aims to serve its customers not just good food, but also a unique dining experience. Although relatively new (they opened last January), this place seems to be well-liked by teens and young adults, and I think the cafe's ambiance contributes a lot to its popularity.
Bears as big as a 10-year old kid.
Adorned with teddy bears and throw pillows, UniBearsity Cafe has a relaxed and homey vibe, with Instagram-worthy aesthetics to boot. This crib-style cafe has lounges sectioned off for each group of customers, where you can sit on the floor, plop on a pillow, and snuggle with teddy bears.
The crib on one side of the cafe.
If dining while sitting on the floor isn't your thing, don't worry. This cafe has regular tables and chairs for customers like me who think it's a hassle to remove your shoes in public and find it uncomfortable to sit with your legs crossed for an extended period of time.
Tables and chairs on the other side.
As for the menu, UniBearsity Cafe offers pasta, snacks such as nachos, burgers, and fries, and a small selection of desserts. They serve 'silogs aka breakfast meals all-day, and they have a wide variety of beverages to choose from. All items on their menu are affordably-priced, nothing beyond Php 100.
UniBearsity Cafe menu.
I was expecting Yue would want a rice meal since he gets really hungry after karate training, but he chose the Tuna Pasta instead. I was in the mood for pasta as well, so I ordered the Chicken Mushroom Pasta for myself. We also got a platter of Nachos for sharing, a glass of Classic Lemonade, and a glass of Cucumber Lemonade.
Pasta, nachos, and lemonade.
Since we were the first customers that day, it didn't take long for our food to be cooked. The Nachos were served on a chopping board lined with wax paper, topped with a generous amount of ground beef, chopped tomatoes, and gooey, melted cheese. I like that the chips were crispy and the toppings were flavorful, but I would have liked it even more had there been onions and cucumber in the mix.
Nachos, Php 90.
The pastas that we ordered both had white sauce. Yue enjoyed his Tuna Pasta, saying that it tastes like the carbonara that I cook at home. My Chicken and Mushroom Pasta, however, was a bit watery and the sauce just wouldn't adhere well to the noodles. The noodles per se weren't soggy, but the garlic bread on the side was, and I couldn't even eat it because it was 'too wet', lol. I guess the cook didn't drain the noodles properly, leaving some pasta water on the plate. 
Chicken and Mushroom Pasta, Php 90.
The drinks were okay, but I can tell from one sip that they're made from fruit juice powder and not from natural fruits. I give props to the presentation, though. They were served in cute, bear-shaped glasses which matched the cafe's theme.
Cucumber Lemonade Juice, Php 45.
Overall, I like the concept of UniBearsity Cafe - budget-friendly food that even college students can afford; a cozy place to hang-out with friends, brainstorm for a project, or have a group study; ambiance and aesthetics that would stand out on an Instagram feed. They need to work on their kitchen techniques and drain their noodles properly, though, because a watery spaghetti can ruin the whole dining experience.

2F New Kalahi Building
T. Azucena Street, 
San Pablo City, Laguna
+63945 210 4338