City of Dreams’ Crown Towers wins international design awards
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Crown Towers Manila, one of three premier luxury hotels at City of Dreams Manila, recently won two design awards in the prestigious International Hotel and Property Awards 2016—namely Best Hotel over 200 Rooms (Asia Pacific) and Best Lobby/Public Area/Lounge (Global)—at an awards ceremony held at Hotel Cipriani in Venice.

“City of Dreams Manila carries the very best DNA of the Melco Crown Entertainment brand. Following Mr. Lawrence Ho, our Chairman and CEO’s grand vision, City of Dreams Manila has joined its sister properties in Macau to become the best in its breed,” said Geoff Andres, Property President of City of Dreams Manila.

Steered by Melco Crown Entertainment’s in-house Design and Construction team, the hotel was a joint effort with architectural and design firm Michael Fiebrich Design.

Presidential Villa study
The Presidential Villa by Michael Fiebrich Design

Presidential Villa bathroom

Design et al, a leading interior design magazine which hosts the annual awards, describes the Crown lobby as “the perfect blend of strength and softness”.

Crown Towers Manila Lobby_
Crown Towers Manila Lobby

Crown Towers Manila Crystal Villa
Crystal Villa by Michael Fiebrich Design

Crystal Villa bathroom

Crystal Villa living area

The Best Hotel award encompasses Crown’s 254 guestrooms, suites, villas, spa, fine dining restaurants, and the bar lounge, which present regional elements and local Philippine materials that required working with local manufacturers and artisans.
To know more about Crown Towers Manila, click HERE.

OMG, IKEA. I cry.
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While I appreciate luxe furniture, I also love IKEA and try to visit whenever I’m abroad.
Sometimes we take the kids. When we travel I like to point out art and design to them. At a very young age they could already tell an Eames chair from a Rietveld.

The boys at the Louvre

When we chose the floor tiles for our living rooms, the kids had a vote and won.
A couple of nights ago, my son Markus told me to stop calling him Marky. I realize the kids are now 13 and 14, they are no longer babies, but some of us can’t help but hold on to their childhood.
Just like the mom in this IKEA ad.
Moms who love their sons, please watch this.
PS. IKEA will open in the Philippines in 2020. It will be life changing.

HP Showcases New Intel-Powered 2-in-1 Devices
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In the past few years, I have seen my friends check email on their phones and even write reports and articles. Personally, I can’t do that. I need a large screen to properly operate. So I check my email only when I’m on a laptop.
That said, I’m intrigued by the idea of lighter and thinner laptops, which aren’t actually laptops but Hybrids.

The growth in sales of traditional personal computers has steadily declined in the past few years while sales for Hybrids has grown year after year.
“Hybrid” is a term used by HP for 2-in-1s—gadgets that are a cross between a laptop and a tablet.

“Detachables and convertibles are very popular. The segment is growing because more and more users are leading mobile lives. They want a PC that’s portable, has superior batter life, better display quality and is lightweight,” said Claire Anne Pascua, HP Country Marketing Manager, PC Philippines.

The Pavilion x360 is a convertible powered by the Intel® Pentium® N3710 Processor(2b) running Windows 10 Home, 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM (1 DIMM) • Hard drive: 500GB 5400 RPM Serial ATA Hard Drive, Intel® HD Graphics with up to 2104 MB total graphics memory.

HP Pavilion x360 - Modern Gold - Laptop Mode

The best convertibles function as both laptop and tablet. A convertible can be transformed into a tablet through many ways, including flipping, swiveling/pivoting and sliding. Basically, you bend the hinges of the Pavilion x360 by 360 degrees to turn it into tablet.

The Pavilion x360 has four modes to help you be more productive, keep you updated with the news and other event, lets you message and call the people who matter and allows you to relax. You can write reports and update your blog while the Pavilion x360 is on Laptop mode. Stand mode is for watching movies and making those video calls. Tent mode is for editing photos and playing with apps and games. You can check your newsfeed, read a book and browse the ‘Net via Tablet mode.

HP is also “threading” a new path in the Pavilion lineup with the use of the digital threads inspired by the fashion industry. The Pavilion X360 is now available in Modern Gold.

HP Pavilion x360 - Modern Gold - stand mode

With a choice of 11.6-inch or 13.3-inch diagonal HD(33) IPS UWVA WLED-backlit multi-touch enabled edge-to-edge glass (1366 x 768) the x360 offers the highest quality viewing experience, implementing a variety of the latest display technologies such as OLED displays. Cameras now enable easier and faster login, collaboration, improved security and more. HP also embraces new technologies like Windows Hello, Wide View and pop-up privacy cameras.

HP also makes it is fast and easy to connect displays, headphones, peripherals, etc. by offering a full portfolio of I/O ports.

The Pavilion x360 is the thinnest, lightest Pavilion x360 ever at under 3lbs and less than 20mm thin. The battery life is at about nine hours and 15 minutes so you don’t need to carry the heavy charger around.

The HP Elite x2 is a versatile tablet that offers the productivity of a full notebook with the convenience of a tablet. It is crafted from milled CNC aluminum with a focus on aesthetics. At just 8.1 mm thin, the tablet weighs less than 840g and has a built-in kickstand with 150 degrees of adjustability, allowing a user to set the device upright for viewing and keyboard typing or laying it back for on-screen typing.

SEE IMPORTANT *NOTES* HP Elite x2 1012 G1 (12", OGS touch, Natural Silver) with Windows 10 screen, Catalog, detached, left facing with stylus

Performance is important for mobile professionals, which is why the Elite x2 has long battery life, features Windows 10 and is built with a 6th generation Intel® Core™ M vPro™ processor optimized for high performance with power efficiency and SSD technology. The Elite x2 gives users premium audio tuned by Bang & Olufsen and HP Noise Reduction Software to ensure conference call attendees can hear and be heard with clarity.

The Elite x2 includes the HP Active Pen with App Launch as a standard feature. Based on industry-standard WACOM technology, the pen has integrated pressure sensors to help control the width of lines when writing or drawing onscreen.

HP x2 is a simple detachable PC that gives you all the essentials and four different modes. It opens up new possibilities at an affordable price.

HP x2 210 G1 (10, touch, Turbo Silver) Catalog, Detached, Left facing

The x2 runs on Windows 10 powered by an Intel Atom™ x5-Z8350 (1.44 GHz, up to 1.92 GHz, 2 MB cache, 4 cores) with a standard memory 32 GB eMMC, a 500GB Hard drive and Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 400. It has a 10.1″ diagonal WXGA IPS eDP BrightView WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass (1280 x 800).

HP x2 210 G1 (10, Turbo Silver, touch) Catalog, Stand mode, Right facing 2

Get the latest Intel-powered HP 2-in-1s at Lazada or any HP retailer nationwide.


Tokyo Eats
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It’s been only three days since I arrived Sunday night and I’m already missing Tokyo.
Two years ago Sayoko treated me and Jeroen to lunch at the Mandarin Oriental where her friend Chef Syun Hirota was a chef.

Chefs Syun Hirota, Jeroen van Straten, Sayoko Hokazono

Last week, Sayoko invited me, Grace, Cedric, Joey, and Aka-san to dinner at her home where Chef Syun prepared dinner for us, and here’s what he made: fancy “home fries


A fancy mushroom “pizza” on layers of pastry dough—he makes it look like art


Some fancy corn fritters, cause everything he makes looks fancy 🙂


Plus the one of the best steaks I have ever had. I didn’t get a chance to photograph the finished product but I think you can tell the quality of the Matsuzaka beef. It was cooked to perfection and served with steamed rice and Japanese soy sauce.

Chef Syun

The following night we had dinner at a magical place called Uoshin which is a few minutes’ walk from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
This outdoor izakaya is always packed. Luckily Joey had made reservations for our group of five.


We ordered mostly seafood. Everything was delicious! My favorite was the Hokkaido crab, which you don’t have to work for. Just look at the presentation. Best eaten with sweet Japanese vinegar.

Hokkaido crab

This is Michelle, the only Filipino waitress at the restaurant. Try to look for her, she’s just lovely.


Our dinner companions Joey and Taichi

Joey and Taichi

Oh, and we took a train to Daikanyama for a night cap. Here’s Joey buying our tickets.


Tsutaya book store at Daikanyama T-site is the most magical book shop in the world!!


We had drinks and dessert at the Anjin Library & Lounge on the second floor, where I had the most delightful vanilla ice cream ever!!

Anjin Library & Lounge

The following day I was back for lunch with Cedric and his parents at my happy place, Barbacoa restaurant in Roppongi Hills

Cedric and parents

Cedric loves his greens and his meats too.


This is my favorite Brazilian Cheese Bread called Pão de Queijo—party in my mouth!!
Extra serving please!


And the best Brazilian pudding—too bad I only discovered it now. This beats any leche flan


Beautiful Coke bottles for me and Cedic’s dad


I ate so much. I’m just glad I didn’t gain weight because I walked so much during the trip.
That said, I can’t wait to go back with my boys in December. Tokyo is love!

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