Signs of progress: Singapore Airlines opens new SilverKris Lounge at NAIA 3

After the recent opening of the Cathay Pacific Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3 comes the newly launched SilverKris Lounge for Singapore Airlines business class and first class passengers.
Prior to its opening, this is what Singapore Airlines’ temporary waiting area looked like at Terminal 3.

Before: Singapore Airlines LoungeBefore: Singapore Airlines Lounge
Before: Singapore Airlines Lounge
Before: Singapore Airlines Lounge

Look at this now:

Welcome Foyer
Gallery

Things are definitely looking up at NAIA Terminal 3, where well-designed lounges are opening up for business and first class passengers.
Singapore Airlines new SilverKris Lounge carries the “home away from home concept.”
The 450-square meter lounge was designed by Singaporean design firm ONG&ONG, and features a lot of personal spaces plus works of Filipino artists curated by Silverlens Gallery.

Living Room Area

The art work will change constantly except for the centerpiece, a sculpture called “Flight” created by Filipino artist Impy Pilapil.

Dining Room showcasing Impy Pilapil's Artwork

This is the first such lounge in Southeast Asia and the fourth in the world after Sydney, Hong Kong and London.
“We want to bring the familiar feeling of home to Filipino passengers,” said Philip Goh, regional vice president for Southeast Asia at Singapore Airlines. “This home away from home concept is a multi-million dollar investment to innovate our 15 lounges across the world.

My personal favorite space is the productivity pod, which looks like it was recycled from Singapore Airlines signature business class chair. It has a USB pod and an outlet for charging phones, tablets and computers.
I was impressed with all the outlets available throughout the lounge.

Productivity Pods

Roving hosts will look after guests. Passengers can also seek assistance about flights and seating. A self-service buffet area offers drinks and food.

Food and Beverage Area

Different menus ensure a wide selection of choices, including staple Singaporean dishes such as Laksa and Hainanese Chicken Rice. But don’t hold your breath; the chicken rice we tried that day was far from authentic. You still have to fly to Singapore for that.

Singapore Airlines Lounge

Filipino dishes like Caldereta and Bicol Express, adobo rice and beef tapa will also be served along with sandwiches, snacks, and ice cream ill also be served. The beverage selection includes all kinds of liquor, red and white wine, beer, Coca Cola products, fruit juices and coffee and tea.

Singapore Airlines Lounge
Singapore Airlines Lounge
Singapore Airlines Lounge
Singapore Airlines Lounge

During the press day, the only things I enjoyed were the fudge brownies and the ice-cold Coke. That said, there is much room for improvement as far as their caterer goes.

Singapore Airlines Lounge

I also checked out the restrooms. They are clean and functional, but nothing spectacular design-wise.

The restrooms

Customers can enjoy access to the lounge if traveling on Suites, First or Business Class, or if they are members of the PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Gold departing on Singapore Airlines operated flights as well as STAR Alliance Gold card members departing on STAR operated flight.
Singapore Airlines flies from Manila to Singapore four times daily which conveniently connect to onward flights to the rest of the world. For more information, visit singaporeair.com.

Found: Smart Fit by Lihit Lab at National Book Store

I’m really a sucker for pouches, organizers, and anything Japanese. Combine all three, and I just can’t stop buying them.
The Smart Fit series by Lihit Lab is something I’ve been seeing a lot at wastelands and stationery stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Now you can find them at National Bookstore.
The collection includes a carrying pocket for travel, which has six pockets to put your passports, tickets, passes, credit cards, and maps.
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
The pen case can be used as pencil or tool case, pen stand and memo holder.

Smart Fit by Lihit LabSmart Fit by Lihit Lab

The mobile pouch is a 80mmx140mm case where smartphones, digital cameras, notepads and pens can be carried compactly.

Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

The A4 and A5 clutch bags are designed to carry laptops and other school and office supplies, and can be used with the shoulder belts available in 32mm and 38mm width.

Smart Fit by Lihit LabSmart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

The Smart Fit bags and pouches are made with durable and water-resistant Condura fabric, a global brand known for its ultra-lightweight high tenacity nylon and polyester make.

Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab
Smart Fit by Lihit Lab

Find them at National Book Store.
http://www.nationalbookstore.com.ph

Danish lifestyle brand HAY now in the Philippines

“Copenhagen is the new Milan.”
That’s what Joseph Tay kept hearing when he was shopping around for a new home and furniture brand to bring to Manila.
Joseph, his wife Stenie Coyuito and their business partner Dana Uy, co-own Casa Bella Home and Living, which sells high-end and mid-range furniture from Europe. Among the brands they handle are Moroso and Furninova.

As Joseph tells it, he and Stenie asked furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue about brands they could possibly bring to the Philippines. Cobonpue told them about a brand from Denmark being sold at Lyndon Neri’s lifestyle store Design Republic in Shanghai.
The brand was HAY, established in 2002 as a collaboration between Troels Holch Povlsen, founder of Bestseller, and the furniture designer Rolf Hay.

Design Shanghai Mar 2015 (21)
HAY at Casa Bella
HAY at Casa Bella

“HAY began as a chair company,” said Dana. “The most popular one is About a Chair, which was designed by Hee Welling.”
About a Chair can be ordered in different finishes, fabrics and colors. Custom orders take two to three months.

About a Chair
About a Chair

Little Nobody Chair, which is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, also caught my eye. Dana explains it was originally created for use in a prison so no screws or wood was used.

LITTLE NOBODY 01

HAY is known for nurturing young design talents and encouraging original designs and collaborating with established and new designers. The Copenhague Collection of tables and chairs was created in cooperation with Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec and is used for the University Copenhagen.

copenhague-chair-6-49922

Sebastian Wrong was given a complete sub-brand called Wrong for Hay, which was presented on the London Design Festival in 2013.

HAY also has couches, tables, shelves, carpets and other pieces for the home.
Aside from furniture retail, HAY is a mid-range brand that is into accessories and contract, meaning it supplies furniture for restaurants, hotels and offices. The designs are simple, functional and refined.

HAY at Casa Bella

The look is very modern. If you are furnishing an office or restaurant and want it to look young and modern yet cozy, you should consider HAY. A bonus is that their sales manager, an Italian named Lorenzo Turchi, loves the Philippines and knows where the best Italian restaurants are.

HAY at Casa Bella

Rolf’s wife Mette Hay introduced HAY accessories in 2006. The accessories include rugs, cushions, quilts, bedcovers, hangers, notebooks, pens, tote bags and many others.

HAY at Casa Bella

The prices are affordable considering the design and workmanship involved. The chairs start at Php 14,000. The couches are priced at over Php 200,000.
The accessories are a more affordable way of trying out the brand. I love the scissors, feather pens and the black and white hangers.
HAY accessories will also be available later this year at Univers in Rockwell.

HAY at Casa Bella

The HAY showroom is at Casa Bella Home and Living, Lobby, AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Avenue corner Garnet Rose, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
For more information, call (02) 470-6250 or 470-1089.

What’s in my bag? Life-changing shopping via #SmartLife

I change bags very often—sometimes once a week, sometimes everyday.
It depends on where I’m going, who I’m meeting, what I’m doing, or what I’m wearing.
Today I’m using an Isaac Mizrahi clear tote ordered from Amazon (but you can also find it at Estancia Mall). I lovett. One side is black and the other side is clear, so the guards don’t have to poke inside my bag when I enter the mall.

What's in my bag

What’s inside my bag?

what's in my bag

1) Filofax wallet (because old school is cool)
2) Clear pouch of little things (Isaac Mizrahi; it came with the bag)
3) Hartmann wallet (gift from Hartmann, thank you!)
4) Muji pen case
5) Chaka tissue case from Japan
6) Can’t leave with wet tissues
7-8) My two mobile phones

While I tend to change bags very often, there are a few essentials I can’t leave without—my wallet, the wet tissues, the power bank (extra charger), and my two phones.
This way, my boys can reach me anytime, anywhere. Through What’s App and Viber, I can keep in touch with friends and family, even while traveling. If I need directions, I go to Google Maps. When I need to relax, I can play Candy Crush and Candy Crush Soda.
As a blogger, I really need to sit down and use a computer to update my site. But when I’m on the go, I can update my social media accounts using my #SmartLife subscriptions.
I really enjoy sharing interesting finds on Instagram via @chuvafinds, which I post in real time. I can even shop on Amazon with a click on my phone.

@chuvafinds

There’s no end to what I can do with my Smart phone.
If you’re a Smart subscriber and shopper like me, you’ll be glad to know that Smart has recently launched Charge2Phone, the country’s first sticker-based NFC contactless payment solution, exclusive to Smart and Sun Cellular postpaid subscribers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 6.43.43 PM

Simply place the C2P sticker on your mobile phone and tap it at any Visa payWave terminal to pay for your purchase. You can get C2P when you apply for a Citi Rewards Card at www.citibank.com.ph or any Smart and Sun Business Center.
For now, you can use your C2P sticker to pay at these merchants.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 5.51.28 PM
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 5.51.28 PM copy

For security purposes, you can use your C2P sticker for purchases below ₱2,000. But you can still use the Citi Rewards Card for transactions that are ₱2,000 and above.
For online payments, select C2P at the checkout page and enter your 11-digit Smart or Sun Postpaid mobile number, m-PIN, 3-digit card verification value or CVV (found on your sticker), and a one-time password, which you will receive in your registered mobile number.
To know more about the service, go to https://charge2phone.com/.

http://www.smart.com.ph/smartlife

Dominique Ansel Bakery opens in Tokyo

“Is the Cookie Shot really as good as it looks?” Dinna asked as I stepped into the office yesterday.
“Yes, Dinna, it is really perfect and heavenly.”

cookie shots

When I first found out Dominique Ansel was opening in Tokyo, I made a mental wish/plan to be there when it opens without knowing how.
After all, the Japanese are notoriously patient when it comes to lining up. Which I’m not. Even if I flew there, was there a chance I could get in?

And then I found out the opening date: June 20, 2015.
I still had no booking and no one to go with. Jeroen has too many trips this year, so I had to find another companion. Luckily my brother Dennis is always in Japan for business. He was booked for June 21-24, so I asked if I could come along.
And then I had to email Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York to get invited to the press day, but got no answer.
Now I know why. My friend passed away recently. There was no way I would have left Manila not certain when she would leave us. She was buried on June 19. God’s timing is perfect. I was able to rest one day before leaving for my happy place, Tokyo.

On June 20th, Dominique Ansel Bakery in Omotesando opened its doors at 8 AM, Saturday. But by 7:50 AM there were more than 250 in line.

Lining up

Dominique Ansel takes a selfie at the queue

Lining up

I arrived on June 21 and heard the line was up to the Burberry store in Omotesando (see map), and all the good stuff were sold out.
June 22nd I had lunch at Barbacoa with the Yupangco girls, Ariane and Martha, who are both studying in Tokyo.

Barbacoa

At first I asked the Andaz concierge to book a table at Barbacoa Marunouchi. But since they were full, I asked them to book Barbacoa Aoyama (1) instead, which is near Dominique Ansel (3).

Dominique Ansel Japan

After lunch the girls and I went shopping at Flying Tiger before deciding to take a chance at the bakery.
Ariane and I went to Louis Vuitton (2) while Martha ran to line up ahead of us.
Next thing, Martha was frantically calling Ariane’s phone—at first I thought she was going to say they were sold out again. But she called to say, there was no line and they had cookie shots!!
So we ran! True enough there was no snaky line, just a few people.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

This was around 3 PM on a Tuesday

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

Plus, there was an express line for cookie shots!! (Hint: cookie shots are typically available at 3 PM)

Cookie Shot line

A look inside the store: there are very limited seats

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

Making S’mores

Making S'mores

There is a nice Filipino staff named Maria Cristina (Nina) at the store

Nina Yambao

I asked her if it was allowed to bring home cookie shots to Manila. She asked permission and informed me, no, because they are only good for two hours. How I wish I could take all of these home.

Cookie shots

We ordered anyway, three cookie shots. Martha (L) inquired if Dominique Ansel was in the store. Unfortunately he was out and leaving this Saturday.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Tokyo

In no time at all, Ariane, Martha, and I were sipping vanilla milk from our cookie shots while standing in the corner.

Cookie shots

I quickly ran out of milk, so we walked all the way to the nearest Starbucks to buy cold milk.
I smelled the cookie shot all the way. It was perfect, heavenly, but very filling! The cost? Less than 500 yen.
Can’t wait to take my boys in December. Verdict: Worth flying for!
Thank you Martha and Ariane! You are my lucky charms!
To know more about Dominique Ansel Bakery in Japan, click HERE.

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