I’m beginning to get addicted with alot of the digital programs that creates Photo mosaics and recently Rasterized pictures. On Photomosaics, I have tried Mosaic Magic from Fishsoft (the website is down now), Andrea Mosaic (which has a rough interface and not userfriendly) and Centarsia which I use for the photomosaic above with 100 pictures (click on it to see full blown). Also, for the rasterized image, I used rasterbator which creates a PDF file that contains the rasterized image.
If you want to try out these cool programs check out their website:
It’s been a while since I’ve blog about stuff in our awesome manila because we have alot of offsite meetings in the office (which I don’t usually blog about them). Last Sunday, I took the opportunity to check this famous day spa @ the heart of the malate area. I was flabbergasted by the beauty of the filipino inspired spa inside a spanish old house in Malate. This is really fantastic and just in the heart of the adriatico circle.
I’ve been a spa addict ever since and in fact we still have a spa membership in Westin Philippine Plaza Spa and Suriya Spa across Gold’s Gym in Glorietta. While in Suriya, I’ve read in one of the spa magazines all the best spa in Manila and the previous two spa was mentioned (Westin Spa and Suriya @ Intercon). Mandarin Spa is also mentioned that is in my next list to visit but what surprises me is the mention of Sanctuario in Malate. Yes, another sanctuario but not the resto in Tagaytay but a day spa. What makes me interested in this spa, is the famous Roberto Nacario who is a true manghihilot who uses a coconut oil made by him during good friday and a menthol oil that is really icy soothing. Enough with the background, but for all those spa addicts out there here is my review on Sanctuario:
1. Try out the Banahaw Mystique! I guarantee you that it is a totally different spa experience that is truly Filipino I should say. You start of by have a shower, steam, sauna and enjoy the different open air pools in aquaria. Then you take a dip in a wooden bath tub with hot water of Pito Pito. After this you get an authentic Hilot Remedial Therapy by Tatang Robert. He is also performing the Bentosa (also called suction cups) which involves “sucking of certain acupoints in negative pressure environment” to clean your system, activate blood flow, stimulate nerve systems. Then you finish off with Dagdagay which is an authentic Filipino Tribal foot massage using bamboo sticks. Total damage is P1,550 which is not bad considering the number of treatments for 2 hours.
2. Roberto Nacario is a must! He is on a by appointment basis only so you should call or set an appointment via the website. Yes, the website appointment system actually works. He is a down to earth guy who is part time manghihilot and in the morning drives a jeepney. Also, expect that his hands would be rough already and he is already mid 50’s but the pressure is the best. He would give you alot of insights on alternative healing. He is also available on home service basis @ P500 per visit. His cell number is 0919-2551151 for home service appointments.
Sanctuario is a full blown spa, salon and restaurant also. To give you an idea about the massage prices, aromatheraphy goes for P1,020, and reflexology/shiatsu by P780. Check out their entire line up of services.
This is yet another awesome application for the flickr lovers out there. It was fun doing the badge, and looking at other badges. Flickr people are really creative and it continues to amaze me that the 3rd party applications are innovative. Try it out too and post your badge in the flickr badge group.
I can’t believe it 🙂 It is like a factory outlet store in Manila that actually has quality branded apparel goods at less than 500 pesos per piece. It was a great sale indeed that only happens twice a year (Mid-year, and Christmas) in a warehouse in Meycauayan Bulacan. There are three things that makes this certified awesome sale:
1). People shop in crates! Yes, people actually hoards the clothes and fills up the crates. My wife and two of her friends bought P6,000+ worth of clothes. I can’t believe it either but I’ve seen it with my own eyes and my credit card is my witness. Yes, they accept credit cards — can you believe it? If you know the owner, you can simply ask for additional 5% discount on the total purchase — who can beat that?
2). A Secret Place that only Chinese people know. I watched the people go into the sale with excited faces and these are mostly young Chinese women. You know that something is really good if you can see Chinese girls shopping in the store (they are the most value conscious people). Also, if you don’t see sedan cars in the parking area– mostly you can see Toyota innova, Toyota Revo, Ford Explorer, Honda CRV, Toyota Hiace and other family or 4×4 cars. This is strictly by word of mouth through the rotarians network but once you are in their contact list of the factory sale owners, you get informed when the sale gonna be held.
3). Original Mango Apparel at 1/3 the costs! My wife and his barkada would visit all the mango stores in metro manila to check out the great Mango sale. They cannot believe it when they saw some of the same clothes that are being sold in the mango stores for P900+, you can buy it in the factory sale for around P300! The warehouse have an air conditioned room where all the mango clothes can be found and the non-aircon area would have the men’s shirts and other branded apparel. There are no imitation in this factory sale.
By the way, the Chinese owners are very nice and they even offer you soft drinks or bottled water when you shop. Really amazing!
What’s the catch in all of these?
–> The products are overruns from export factories, from Hong Kong/ China, or Marshalls from the US. We suspect that the clothes are bought in bulk by weight. Some are from export companies in the Philippines so you would also see Ralph L made in the Philippines (but there are also made from other countries like mexico, etc.)
–> The factory store is located in Meycauayan, Bulacan which is the 2nd exit in the North Luzon expressway. Here is the address:
Star Trends Apparel Corporation
Block 4 Lot 3 Acefree Street, Sterling Industrial Park
Meycauayan, Bulacan Tels 2996061, 2996120
From Balintawak Northbound, take the North Expressway and take the Meycauayan exit (the big exit after Valenzuela, right after the Ever Memorial Park). Upon entering Meyc exit, turn left at the rotonda towards Iba (there is a sign), go straight past all the gas stations and you will see a big water tank of sterling on your right that marks the industrial park. Look for the second gate which is on your right (approximately 1.2kms from the rotonda). When you enter gate 2 (you have to leave ID), take the first left (Orion St.) and take the first right (Acefree St.). The gate is the 2nd gate from the corner (green).
–> The sale was already finished last June 30 until July 2, Saturday only. So keep posted on this blog for the next sale in November/December.
Finally, together with some of our friends, we were able to complete a day trip to the Laguna area via going around the Laguna Lake! This is the first time I tried it last Black Saturday. We left Manila at around 8.30am, had a stop over @ petron in south super h-way to grab big chill and jamaican patties. Then we proceded to Calauan Laguna for to visit Field of Faith at around 11.30am. After an hour in FOF, we left Calauan at around 12.45pm enroute to Exotik restaurant for lunch @ around 2pm. After 2 and a half hours, we left the restaurant and dropped by the famous Paete Church. Most of the shops are closed because of Black Saturday in Paete but you can still see some wood carving shops in the middle of the town. After praying for 3 wishes, we head back to Manila via Rizal @ around 5pm. We arrived in Ortigas at around 7pm — woohoo! Still have plenty of time to have dinner @ Metro Walk.
Try it out! Exotik restaurant is located in Longos, Kalayaan Highway in Laguna. It is about 4 hours drive from Manila and you need to pass by Pagsanjan and Caliraya (yes, it is that far). From the field of faith, Exotik is about 1 hour away and some of our friends are hungry already when we left Exotik at around 12.45pm and we arrive about 2pm in Exotik. The food is Filipino and I like their Sinigang, Tuna sisig, grilled Tilapia, grilled squid. The food is great! (specially if you are hungry 🙂 One funny thing though, we did not order any of the exotic food this place is known for. Our billed turned out to be P3,500 for the a group of 9, so we had to pay P400 each — and I think that is expensive priced for tourists! Even the pasalubong place who sells espasol for P45 which could be bought easily at 3 for 100 with the same quality. The ambiance is really nice, it offers a few of the Laguna lake, and one of the attraction is Samantha (a pet anaconda shown below). Check it out if you happen to be in the Caliraya area. This is definitely a place for tourist to eat exotic food!
When our friends were looking a place to visit last black saturday, my friend Maong stumble upon this Inquirer Article (3/21/05): Field of Faith offers solitude, rosary garden. We were inspired by the story and we decided to visit the place. Upon arriving, you are greeted with a wonderful view of a fountain and the main chapel over a backdrop of coconut trees. The place feels fresh, peaceful, and it is like you are transported to a magical garden.
The best part of the garden is the rosary path where you could see inspiring quotes on the concrete road, find a comforting meditation spot, reflect on the joyful mysteries in resin and metal, meditate on the sorrowful mysteries depicted in wood carvings, or pray in the cement and glass cross on top of the hill. Also, you can pray the stations of the cross on the right side of the entrance with the stations wood carvings nailed to trees.
We were awed-inspired when we visited and I’m sure to come back to this place this time to meditate and pray (instead of taking pictures and acting like tourists). The place was designed to find God and find your inner strenght. To the Singson family, thank you for sharing this place with us.
For more information about the Field of Faith:
Field of Faith is 2-3hours(with traffic) drive from Manila. You should watch out for the pansol area and los banos junction traffic. There is no entrance fee but food and drinks are not allowed so that you can buy from them (one way to augment costs). The CR is clean according to the women and this is worth mentioning. There are alot of good restaurants within the area including Samaral and Kamayan sa Palaisdaan.
I’ve always been a follower/fan of Fr. Armand (SDB, Salesian) who delivers awesome homilies — touches your heart & soul at the same time funny, full of anecdotes and alot of references to funny expressions in the commercials. I really missed his homilies during the 8pm Sunday mass in Don Bosco ever since he left his parish duties about a year or so ago. So when I hear the announcement last Sunday that he will be giving the 7 last words today, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be the best 7 last words that I would have ever listened to. No doubt, Fr. Armand does not fail to amaze us with his excellent funny delivery (for 2 hours) and I learned alot of things. I would like to share with you my reflections/insights on Jesus’ 7 last words:
1.Loneliness is the biggest suffering of Jesus and the 7 last words teaches us, how He finally triumphs over it. Contrary to Mel Gibson’s depiction of the Passion of Christ, the biggest suffering of Jesus is not the physical torture He suffered or being nailed on the cross; but, being alone through out His crucifixion. Judas betrayed Him, all His disciples abandoned him when He was arrested, and Peter denied him 3 times. This must have been very painful inside specially getting through it without your trusted friends or family.
2. Reflect. Pray. Find your inner strength. God, the Father, loves us so much that sometimes, He would prolong our agony — a little more that we can bear, so that we would find time to pray, listen and communicate with God. In the process, we would find the solution within ourselves and realize that God already gave us enough strenght through the Holy Spirit and He won’t be giving us trials that we can’t bear. This process might be longer than you would expect but He would send us the gift of our friends and family to help us through the ordeal. When Jesus said “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”, He was not complaining but actually praying (psalm 22) to find that inner strength to overcome his loneliness on the cross.
3. To give life, you must die. When Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”, He was offering His life to God proclaiming that He was able to fulfill God’s will and save us from our sins by dying on the cross. This really touched me specially now that I want to change to a more healthy, pious lifestyle. I realized that changing for the better is not only about cultivating new habits but more importantly dying and burying your old self. You must say goodbye to your old habits in order to say hello to the new and better ones. Lastly, it is important that you strive to be a lifegiver to other people through encouragement, positive outlook in life, and touching people’s heart.
The 7 Last Words
“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”
“I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”
“Woman behold your son, Son, behold your mother”
“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”
“It is finished”
“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”
Last Sunday, we attended Juan Gabriel’s 1st Bday @ Serye in Quezon City Circle. It was a fun Sunday afternoon with Rache’s barkada. We can’t wait for Aidan to grow up and enjoy these children’s party. Check out the fun pictures, including Aidan’s first baby love @ first sight. Enjoy!
Todd & Mina – Thanks for the wonderful Sunday Party!