How to prevent bill shock from Meralco
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As a mom that manages a household of 14 (family and househelp), I was concerned that Meralco was once again raising its rates.
Since my past issue with our electric bill, I’ve been careful about our power consumption. I didn’t want to get shocked upon opening the envelope so I did some research on this.

The Energy Regulatory Commission has approved Manila Electric Company’s Php 4.15 increase in its billing—the highest in Philippine history. The rate hike will be implemented in three tranches.
Meralco says the record rate increase is due to the scheduled maintenance of the Malampaya natural gas platform, which forced the company to get the bulk of its supply from the Wholesale Electricity Market (WESM).
Meralco will collect Php 7.67 per kwh in its December 2013 bill and spread the deferred cost over the February and March 2014 billings. That’s a bit of good news—better than paying the rate in one billing period.

The important thing is that every household to learn how to use energy properly.
For starters, you can download the Meralco app on your smartphone or tablet to give you round-the-clock access to Meralco’s services.

Meralco app
The app’s appliance calculator allows you to find the estimated cost of operating your individual home appliances while the bill manager allows you to know the estimated energy cost contribution of your home appliances to your total household energy cost.

Meralco app

The app also allows you to check your bill, find the nearest Bayad Center, get electricity tips, and more.
If yours is a high-consumption household like ours, try enrolling in Meralco’s Peak/Off-Peak rates program.
This is an alternative energy pricing scheme that is based on the time of day electricity is generated, and on the cost of supplying electricity during that time.
With this pricing scheme, Meralco customers can avail of lower generation costs in their total electricity rate during pre-defined off-peak hours.

Here are some energy-saving tips from Alfred Iporac, Meralco’s energy expert:

1) Using an HP inverter split-type aircon saves up to 50 percent savings versus a conventional split-type unit. It can reach the desired temperature setting faster, making it more energy efficient.

Inverter aircon

2) If your airconditioning unit is old (like ten years old), consider changing it as it costs more energy and money to operate an old aircon than to buy and operate a new one.
3) Did you know that lighting can account for up to 20 to 30 percent of your electrical bill? Use natural light whenever possible.

Light bulb

4) Maximize the operation of your washing machine. Use a water level appropriate for the size of the load.
If your washing machine doesn’t have different water level selections for different loads, always try to wash in full loads. Do not over-wash clothes. Different types of clothes require different wash cycles. That’s what those knobs are for,
5) Rice cookers have a keep warm function used for maintaining the appropriate amount of heat needed to keep rice warm after it is cooked. Prevent the unnecessary operation of the keep warm function by properly scheduling the cooking of rice in accordance to the eating time.

Rice is nice

6) Schedule clothes ironing to once (if you are a small household) or twice (if you have a bigger one). Some say it is cheaper to iron at night than in daytime. A friend also recommended not ironing pajamas or sleeping clothes—you will save a lot!
7) Unplug power cords of household appliances when not in use because keeping them plugged generates phantom electrical use that adds up. If you are too lazy to plug and unplug like me, invest in power strips with power switches that light up. These will remind you to turn off the switch when you’re not using the appliance.

a switched power strip

Luckily I didn’t get the bill shock this month. Hoping we will keep it down long after the ‘ber months are over.
And you? What are your power-saving tips?

CONTEST: Guess the number of Oishi bags and win!
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Over the next few days I’m going to be posting all sorts of fabulous giveaways, check often and join!
It ain’t Christmas until the Oishi truck comes along

I always love when the Oishi truck comes around

And it ain’t Christmas until there’s a scandalous amount of Oishi chips in the house.
This is Oishi Christmas 2013 at home!

Oishi Christmas

I ain’t selfish though, so I’m giving away three giant bags of Oishi packed with assorted bags of chips.

Oishi Christmas

The thing is you have to guess how many bags of chips are inside the mother bag.

How to join:
1) Contest is open to any reader who is willing to pick up the giant Oishi bag at Pepper Lunch Shangri-La Plaza or my office at Bonifacio Global City. If you live reasonably near me, I can deliver!
2) Must have a Twitter or Facebook account.
3) Share this post by clicking the Tweet or Like button after the entry.
4) Guess the number of bags of chips and register HERE.
5) Contest runs until December 30, 2013 at 11 AM.
6) Contestants with the right answer will enter an electronic raffle. If no one guesses the number, the ones with the closest guesses will enter the raffle.
7) The three winners will be announced her shortly after the New Year and will be contacted via email.

Pantene TVC: Coincidence or copycat?
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Just when we were feeling proud and amazed that a Philippine-made TV commercial has gained more than 14 million views on YouTube—only six weeks after its November 9, 2013 posting, we find out that the TV commercial closely resembles a Glee Project music video aired on June 26, 2011.
Here’s the Pantene TV commercial which went viral after being praised by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

and here’s the Glee Project music video posted on August 27, 2011

No wonder it looked familiar.
I’m not in the ad industry so the copycat thing doesn’t affect me that much (pretty used to it as a Filipino). But I can imagine some people may be annoyed about this revelation. And you?
Check this out.

Just opened! The new Bleach store
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I’m so happy to say Tinay Villamiel is not an askhole!
Tinay is, of course, the creative owner of the store formerly known as Bleach Catastophe.
I’ve known her for a few years and seen her mature into a great designer. From fashion, her focus has grown up into home.

Tinay of Bleach Catastrophe

After collaborating with her on our capsule collection Heather Miss Grey, I convinced Tinay to sell things for the home, such as placemats and throw pillows—and these she did beautifully in her own way.
Bleach Home was born and became and instant success that she started thinking about rebranding and repackaging her apparel store into a home store with clothing.
After a drastic renovation, the new Bleach store reopened last week at the same location in Greenbelt 5.
Tinay texted me to come and visit but she wasn’t there when my friend Poma and I dropped by unannounced. I was pleasantly surprised, the little hairs on my arms stood up!

Bleach Home
Bleach Home
Bleach Home
Bleach Home

Tinay really outdid herself. The result looks like H&M Home meets Diesel Home meets Margiela Home—but all Philippine-made.
We don’t really see stuff like this in the Philippines, like the Margielic placemats

Bleach Home

Seat cushions

Bleach Home


Bleach Home

Totes and caddies

Bleach Home
Bleach Home
Bleach Home
Bleach Home

Pillows and cases

Bleach Home

Bleach Home


Bleach Home

Table runners and totes

Bleach Home


Bleach Home

This is a great place to do your last minute shopping as I did! The placemats are my favorite.
I’m so excited for Tinay and Bleach. It can only get better! And if I may gush Tinay, I’m so proud of you!
The new Bleach store is at the 2nd Level, Greenbelt 5 mall, Makati (right next to Swatch).

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