Must watch: Extreme Cheapskates

It was my friend Biden who told me to watch the reality show Extreme Cheapskates which made my husband, son, and I all cringe as we watched all seven episodes.
When I was young my dad told me a rich cheapskate is as good as someone who’s broke. He taught me not to hold on to money so tightly because giving it away or spending it actually makes it go back to you in a good karmic way.
Of course you’re not supposed to spend more than you can afford.

My friend, fashion designer Mich Dulce has the best cheapskate stories, a lot of which has to do with her travels abroad.
Mich is deathly afraid of overweight luggage, so every time she checks in and is 10-15 kilos overweight, she pretends to speak no English and adapts a Japanese accent.
The frustrated passenger service agent will usually let her go without paying due to loss in translation.
Mich got away with it a couple of times. But a third time, the airline employee finally called in a Japanese translator, so Mich panicked and had to pay.

One time, Mich and her assistant Kitty traveled to Bali with her fashion collection. Upon checking in for their return flight to Manila, Mich was told they were 10-15 kilos overweight. Her solution: Mich and Kitty wore the entire collection in layers—including platform shoes. “As in, ang init!” Mich said.

As someone who can’t hold on to money, I have to say I learned a few lessons from watching Extreme Cheapskates.
Last week I was really thirsty at the Podium mall, and instead of automatically buying bottled water, I entered Starbucks to see if I could get a free sip of water. Unfortunately I did not see any cups next to the pitcher. So I ended up ordering a crepe at Café Breton to get a free glass of ice water.
This year I want to cut down on my spending. I am not allowed to buy any makeup, shampoo and conditioner due to all the press freebies I have amassed these last couple of years (I should take a picture!).
I should probably try to squeeze more toothpaste out of a tube, like Roy below:

Jeroen wishes he could unsee the video of this woman who doesn’t use toilet paper

And I really got sick to my stomach watching this man cook goat’s head for his wife.

While some of the cheapskate practices featured in the show are really disgusting (such as eating food from the dumpster bins), some of the things they do are actually good for the environment.
To know more about Extreme Cheapskates, click HERE.

How to help a man stuck in NAIA?

In the 2004 movie The Terminal, Tom Hanks stars as an eastern immigrant who finds himself stranded in the JFK airport.


His country goes into revolution while he’s en route. Upon landing in New York, he finds himself without a country—or at least one that the US government can recognize. He is denied entry, but cannot be deported until his status is fixed.
Though he doesn’t speak English very well, he somehow adapts to his temporary residence in the airport.

Tom Hanks

The film was partially inspired by the 17-year-stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Terminal I, Paris, France from 1988 to 2006.

Mehran Karimi Nasseri

If I were to get stuck in an airport, I would choose Hong Kong where I can eat tonkatsu


buy clothes at Zara or Giordano

Zara at Hong Kong airport

or hang out in the Cathay Pacific lounge, where there are decent restrooms and showers, and hopefully they won’t kick me out.


One of my goals this year is to visit Seoul as well as experience the number one airport in the world, Incheon.
Wouldn’t mind being stranded there.

Another one from Incheon airport. Somehow, I did not feel mall fatigue shopping here

Now imagine you are stuck in NAIA.
British citizen Gary Peter Austin, a 52-year-old former horse jockey from England, has been stuck in the departure lounge of NAIA Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport since December 17, 2012.
Austin told reporters he arrived in Manila from England via Bahrain on board Gulf Air last Nov 29, 2012, and went to Cebu for sightseeing and to meet his Filipino friends.
He returned to Manila last December 17, where he tried to check in at the NAIA Gulf Air counter for his return trip to England.


But airline staff said they cannot accommodate him, as his e-ticket was already cancelled by his travel agent.
Unfortunately Austin had run out of money, so he decided to stay at the terminal as he tries to figure out how he can raise money to fly back to England.
Without money to buy a return ticket to England, barred from leaving the airport, and virtually forgotten by the airline that flew him in, Austin will have to make do with terminal 1 as his temporary home.


Listen, the thought of being stuck in NAIA just makes me want to cry.
We want to pay for this man’s ticket to go home. But how to do it?
Can Edwin Llobrera/Rappler/Maria Ressa help us make a donation?

UPDATE: We have been in touch with Rappler’s Bea Cupin and Maria Ressa and have contacted Mr. Austin.
Let’s hope he catches his Emirates flight tomorrow PM.

Hello, it’s time to fix the airport!

Condé Nast Traveler just named Philippines one of the Top 2013 Holiday Destinations.
Isn’t it time to do something about NAIA, with its collapsing ceilings, hideous bathrooms, and disgusting food choices?
Sayang naman now that Travel & Leisure, Lonely Planet, and Condé Nast Traveler all say 2013 is our year!
Anobah, who is in charge of NAIA??

Condé Nast Traveller - CNTRAVELLER.COM

Destinations to watch in 2013

For travellers willing to go the extra thousand miles for a deserted beach, the Philippines has around 7,000 of the most heavenly islands in the world. It’s still not the most obvious beach-holiday destination, but it soon will be.

It’s becoming particularly popular among serious divers, who come for the incredible underwater life, unspoilt coral gardens with rainbow-bright fish, green sea turtles and dugongs. In Bicol you can swim with the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark. While fish-fans of a different nature can go deep-sea fishing in one of the deepest trenches in the oceans, not far from the little-known island of Siargao.

The archipelago of Palawan ticks all the boxes: palm-fringed white-powder beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, natural lagoons for wild swimming on Miniloc Island – all of it protected by UNESCO. Its Bacuit Bay is something like Halong Bay in Vietnam, only without all the tourists – for the time being, at least. There are just a handful of resorts, which are tasteful and deliberately low-key. Two of the newest are Ariara Island 

Ariara Island 0009
Ariara Island 0019

and El Nido Pangulasian Island, a private-island resort with palm-thatched villas, a spa, its own dive centre, and sea views to melt the heart.

pangulasian resort (used to be the biggest resort in El Nido)

Another super-stylish new opening is Dedon Island, on Siargao; it’s owned and designed by contemporary furniture brand Dedon.


And a perennial favourite is Amanpulo, yet another high-design private-island hotel on Pamalican Island.

Amanpulo - Casita Bedroom and Sundeck

Or sail around them all in style on Alila’s new boat, the Phinsi.

As the gateway to these private-island retreats, the Philippines capital of Manila is also having a moment. Among its new openings – another one in December 2012 – is the Fairmont Makati City.


Sorry, Maldives… We love you, but we’ve got a new flame.


How not to starve in NAIA

After last month’s siomai horror story in NAIA, I made a plan not to starve while waiting in the airport.
Jeroen and I had a 12:25 noon flight to Hong Kong. Which means we would have to leave the house at 10 AM.
Since I don’t eat breakfast and I don’t eat in the plane, I knew I should eat before boarding the plane.
We all know there are no decent food choices in NAIA, so I made a quick decision to sneak in Jollibee inside my bag.
I got the idea from a Japanese tourist, who my sister and I saw hand-carrying a bag of Max’s fried chicken in NAIA in 2011.

Drawing: Ana Zamora

We passed by a Jollibee drive-thru near the airport—so near there was no time left to eat it in the car.
So I snuck it in my bag. It passed through all the X-rays.
Thirty minutes later, I was sitting in a secluded corner of the Cathay Pacific first class lounge (less tao).


I transfered the contents to normal plates and threw out all evidence of Jollibee packaging.
Thank God nobody saw and nobody cared.


Unfortunately no regular Coke in the lounge, so I had to step out and buy one.
I found some young Korean tourists looking around in the pathetic siomai booth and felt sorry and embarrassed for them.
When oh when will NAIA have decent food?
P.S. This is not a sponsored post by Jollibee. Next time I will probably sneak in McDonald’s.

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