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Archive for the ‘Shopping’

Tindahan ni Aling Puring: A fiesta for food entrepreneurs on Oct 14-15

October 09, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Announcements, Food, Shopping, Sponsored No Comments →

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Canteen operators, hoteliers, karinderya owners, caterers, amateur and professional cooks are invited to the 1st Tindahan ni Aling Puring KAINdustriya Convention on October 14 and 15 at the World Trade Center Tent Area in Pasay City. Admission is free.

Organized by retail giant Puregold, the convention is a national fiesta where food entrepreneurs can shop for food items at discounted prices, and learn how to improve their earning potential.

“These food resellers provide a big boost to the local economy,” says Puregold Merchandising Director Vincent Co. “They source their supplies from their communities, and generate jobs in those same communities. They also provide nourishment to the country’s workforce, from laborers to executives, who do not have the time to prepare their own meals but need good Filipino home cooking to keep them strong.”

The KAINdustriya Convention aims to give small- and medium-scale food entrepreneurs what the annual Puregold Sari-Sari Store Convention has been providing tindahan owners for the last 11 years. During the two-day event, entrepreneurs may attend free seminars and learn business tips from experts, including RJ Ledesma and Anton Diaz of Mercato Centrale. They can attend cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs, check out the trade showcase, and buy food retail products at discounted prices.

This being a fiesta, celebrities will grace the event.

“It will be two days of kita, kain and kabuhayan for our neighborhood chefs,” said Co. “Through this event, we hope to foster a sense of community among our food entrepreneurs and inspire them to bring their business to another level.”

Puregold will also hold pocket KAINdustriya events at its QI Central, Paranaque, Cainta Junction, Valenzuela, Meycauayan and Dau branches. For updates on the latest Puregold events and offerings, visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

Finally opening in Manila on Friday

October 07, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, Shopping No Comments →

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For years there have been rumors that the Swedish retailing giant H&M would open in Manila. Many months ago, construction began on its first store at Megasmall. Signs around the site said it would open “in the fall”. As far as we know, there are only three seasons in the Philippines, and fall isn’t one of them. Yes, you read it right, three seasons. Hot and sunny, hot and raining, or hot, sunny AND raining, like today, when traffic went straight to hell again.

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Back in August, our friend the publicist of H&M got fed up with our frequent queries (Is it opening yet? Is it opening yet? Is it opening yet?) and invited us to the showroom of H&M in Makati.

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The showroom contains the store’s current collections, but they’re not for sale. It was set up so fashion editors and stylists could borrow outfits for photo shoots. This beats having to go to a branch and signing out for the clothes.

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In case you’ve ever wondered what happens to the clothes that get loaned out for fashion shoots and celebrities’ public appearances, they are returned to the racks and sold to the public. Unless they’re dirty, in which case they’re cleaned first. According to the H&M showroom manager, the clothes they lend out are not sold afterwards.

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According to the billboard on the highway, H&M finally opens on Friday, 17 October.

We’re curious to know how the entry of Uniqlo, H&M and other foreign brands with competitive prices has affected the sales of local retail brands.

Reading year 2014: The Bone Clocks is singular and spectacular. Drop everything and read it.

September 28, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Shopping 3 Comments →

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We knew nothing would get done until we finished reading The Bone Clocks so we blew off work for two days to concentrate on it. We could’ve finished sooner, but we needed to recover after each of its five sections.

The Bone Clocks is on the Booker Prize longlist and while we would love if David Mitchell won, it’s probably too damn entertaining for the judges. After the traditional structure of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, Mitchell returns to the connect-the-plots-and-characters arrangement of Cloud Atlas (whose film adaptation by the Wachowskis and Tykwer reviewers hate and we really liked). The Bone Clocks is a science-fiction/fantasy novel, with entities not unlike Time Lords who pop in and out at different periods of history. (How does Mitchell avoid getting consigned to the limbo of the “genre” authors, many of whom could write circles around the critically-acclaimed?)

The Bone Clocks is ambitious, gripping, bizarre, occasionally irritating in a blockbuster action movie way (the fourth chapter, detailing the battle between those entities, is Matrix-y), and wonderful, and when we got to the end we wanted to start reading it all over again. The last section, set in 2043 as a world without oil hurtles towards a Mad Max future, was particularly, viscerally terrifying.

How visceral and terrifying? We went to S&R to stock up on provisions in case the world falls apart. Unfortunately we did not consult our apocalypse-prepping friend so we ended up with plenty of cat food, vitamins, ginger ale, and giant bottles of mouthwash and moisturizer. Then it occurred to us that in case the world does go belly up, the Time Lords, Horologists, Atemporals or whoever is in charge would pick us up and whisk us to a library bunker somewhere. And if they don’t, we’d at least have clean teeth (We could probably share the cat food, if things get really dire).

The Bone Clocks will be reviewed in full.

Eponymous

August 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Shopping No Comments →

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This drink has our name on it,

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and so does this stuffed toy. It’s the Jessica Monster, available at La Pomme on the third floor hallway of Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati.

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La Pomme sells stuffed toys outside of the stuffed animal range—they’ve got clouds, ships, mermaids, fruit, cupcakes and so on. They also offer basic sewing lessons so kids can customize their stuffed toys. (Though they cannot be responsible if your kid sews “666” onto their doll.)

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“Why are there no monsters?” we asked. “We want a stuffed toy monster.” Voila, Apol made one and named it after us (We’ll add eyeglasses).

A chastity belt for the brain

March 31, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Clothing, History, Places, Shopping No Comments →

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Noel’s latest find from the Legazpi Sunday Market: “One-of-a-kind Cleopatra-inspired Gargantilla. Pieces of Spanish brass, turquoise, mosaic sapphire,” a.k.a. a choker. The stones give it a medieval look, but the circlet makes it science-fiction. It’s beautiful. The artist’s name is Uan, and we’re going to drop by the market next weekend to find out more.

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The keyhole pendant brings to mind a chastity belt, except that you wear it around your neck. Aha, a chastity belt for the head. To keep people from thinking about sex. Of course, wearing it guarantees that you will think of nothing else.

The Legazpi Sunday Market is open Sundays from 0730 to 1400 at the corner of Rufino and Legazpi Streets in Legazpi Village, Makati near Greenbelt.

Boating in the Batcave, Puerto Princesa

March 18, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Food, Places, Shopping, Traveling 8 Comments →

Being complete idiots about geography, we thought we could visit Calauit island and feed the giraffes on this trip. Wrong! Palawan is huge. As Cookie discovered while overthinking our trip, travel time from Puerto Princesa to Calauit is about ten hours. To do the safari thing, we’d have to fly direct from Manila to Coron or El Nido. We decided to stick to Puerto Princesa and its environs—fine by us, because we’re not a beach person. Mountains, caves, dungeons, troll holes, labyrinths: we’re there.

1. wharf

Cookie booked us a tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a.k.a. the underground river, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most important biodiversity conservation habitats. We expected there would be wading involved, so we wore flip-flops. Fortunately we had gotten a pedicure recently so we would not be mistaken for a gorilla escaping the forest. Also, being maniacally prepared, we put all our stuff in zip-loc bags inside our waterproof bags. At the last minute we decided not to bring a flare gun (It would have to be checked baggage).

2. karst

By the second day we were in total vacation mode, and by total we mean “No Internet”. The wifi in our room could only achieve dial-up modem speed, so we decided to take a break from blogging. And down the slippery slope to sloth and idleness we rolled. It was great.

Pick-up for the underground river tour was set for 0630, so imagine our discomposure when the van turned up at 0600. Getting up at 0530 when your regular sleeping time is 0300 is one thing, but traipsing off to the limestone forest before you’ve had two coffees is another. But Hernan the preternaturally chatty guide did not seem to mind that Grungella the Grouch auditioning for The Exorcist was in the van, and he kept up a steady stream of patter that could not be stopped by our iPod wall of sound.

We learned many things, such as the length of Palawan, the differences between north and south (Primary economic activity in the north, fishing; in the south, farming. Preferred alcoholic beverage north, rum; south, gin), the ratio of males to females in Palawan, and signs of economic development in the area (great leaps in the last decade or so). The ride to the wharf in Sabang took two hours, some of it over rough terrain (“By the way, this is what we call a massage!”). We stopped at the karst (limestone mountain) where part of The Amazing Race was shot; beneath those caves was Smaug the dragon with his hoard of gold. No, the subterranean river.

3. trail

As we queued up for the outrigger boats that would take us to the caves, Hernan the very knowledgeable pointed out improvements to the tour in the last few years. A system has been put in place so there’s no jostling or fighting for places (or passengers), standards have been set for the boats (the wooden ones used to get scraped on stalagmites and start taking in water), and the orange life vests have to be laundered regularly (the alternative would be gross). A 15-minute boat ride takes you to the trail through the forest, which is populated by monkeys. Visitors are asked not to feed them or open plastic bags, which they associate with snacks.

4. cave mouth

At the end of the trail we put on hard hats—stuff falls from the roofs of the caves, including bits of rock and bat droppings—and boarded another boat, manned by the effusive guide Piolo. “Not Pascual!” he announced, in case anyone was confused.

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Into the bat cave we rode—”The mines of Moria!” Cookie whispered—the pitch black relieved only by the beam of light from the boat’s lantern. Despite our ignorance of geology, we were fascinated by the rock formations. And entertained by Piolo’s running spiel. “Look over there…it’s a T-Rex! Doesn’t that rock look like a T-Rex? And there, see the hair and the beard? It’s the face of Jesus! And there…an angel without wings. Up on the ceiling: bats! To your left, Balin, son of Durin! Next to him, Kit Harington’s abs…” Okay, we made that up. Periodically our boat would meet a boat carrying foreign tourists and Piolo would interrupt his humming of the theme from Titanic to cry, “Annyeonghaseyo! Opa gangnam style!”

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The caves stretch for miles, and large sections have not been fully explored. Who knows what we may find in there: hominids, mermaids, dragons, Nessie’s relatives, mithril, Smeagol and the Precious. The Subterranean River cruise alone is worth a trip to Puerto Princesa.

7. beach

Forty-five minutes later we emerged in dazzling sunlight and pale, powdery sands. Swimming is forbidden on this strip of beach.

8. tiangge

Back in the bayan, we stopped at the mall to pay our phone bill. The shopping mall is new; another one is being built. We practically live in the mall, and it’s a great convenience, but we hope Puerto Princesa doesn’t become another Mallville. The laid-back, rustic, stress-free ambience is one of its main charms, and the profusion of small businesses ranging from family-owned restaurants to handicraft stores is another. Most restaurants don’t have air-conditioning, and they don’t need it—the air is clean, the breezes are cool, and motor traffic is light so dust and grime are minimized. Fine, there are too many renditions of the greatest hits of Bread, but they fit the relaxed atmosphere.

9. chichirya

We found the Tiangge, a souvenir market crammed with every conceivable type of pasalubong. The cashews and other nuts are excellent.

10. pearls

You can get cultured pearl earrings for ten pesos and mother of pearl charm bracelets for twenty. There are miniature tribal wooden fridge magnets, woven bags, T-shirts and caps, beads in various configurations, wind chimes, dream catchers, wood carvings, and so many accessories, we shut up and shopped. The most expensive items are strands of real pearls which go for Php3,000.

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Dinner was at one of PP’s best-known restaurants, Kinabuchs. Go early because by 7pm there’s a queue.

12. crocodile sisig

We had the crocodile sisig. It tastes exactly like regular sisig, though the very concept of eating (farmed) crocodile is badass.

13. struklji

Puerto Princesa reminds us of Bali, and like Bali it’s not very big on dessert. We wandered along the main thoroughfare, Rizal Avenue, until we spotted a restaurant called Euro Chef. They serve a Slovenian dessert called struklji—rolls of dough filled with cottage cheese, apple, nuts, raisins. It’s not too sweet, and it goes very well with coffee.

Back to the hotel, where we did absolutely nothing and then slept for nine hours. Vacations are dangerous.