Lego fans, don’t miss the first Lego Certified Store in the Philippines

The first Lego Certified Store opened yesterday at Park Triangle in Bonifacio Global City.
Its opening also marked the first time I would take all three sons to a media event. While Ben and Markus have outgrown their Legos and moved on to Minecraft, Christian is still very much interested in anything Lego.

Christian with storm troopers

Stormtroopers welcomed VIPs and media guests at the morning event. At 1 PM, the store opened to the public.
News about its opening traveled fast through social media.
This was how the store looked before the guests arrived.

Lego store at The Fort

Nice and spacious.

Lego store at The Fort

And this is how it looked pretty much for the rest of the day—on the outside

Queueing at the Lego store

And inside

Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store
Queueing at the Lego store

Insanity.
“I don’t understand, is there a special discount today?” I asked the people.
Nope. They were all lining up for personalized keychains, basically a Lego brick (Php 179) that can be engraved for an extra Php 100.

Personalizing keychains

They are really cute, but we’ve had a chance to make them in Tokyo last year, so no need to line up for now.

jeroen

Some folks were also lining up for the Php 50 Lego Spider-Man Glider sets—proceeds of which will benefit World Vision’s project of rebuilding classrooms in Malabon. I would’ve wanted to hoard, but only five pieces per customer.
LEGO will be selling 5,000 pieces of the Spider-Man Glider up to May 17, 2015.

Spiderman lego

We’ve had Lego sold in the Philippine stores for years but this is the first Lego Certified Store with exclusive collectors’ sets and product lines.
“A Lego Certified Store is a store that is designed by The Lego Group, and adheres to all the store fit-out and experience guidelines,” said Camilla Botke, RTM Senior Manager at Lego Group.
Camilla (L) welcomed guests at the opening with Mr. Jan Christensen, Denmark’s ambassador to the Philippines

Camilla Botke and Jan Christensen

Both carried commemorative Lego jeepney Legos in lucite boxes.

Lego jeepney
Lego Jeepney

Among the store’s special features are: the Pick A Brick station that allows customers to buy LEGO elements (sold per 100 grams) that they might need to finish their own creations

Lego store at The Fort

Build A Mini lets you build your own mini figures by choosing headwear, head, torso, legs and tools/accessories—very limited selection though; subject to what’s available.

Lego store at The Fort

The Monthly Mini Build program is a hands-on event where kids ages 6-14 are invited to create simple, seasonal and exclusive LEGO Store mini builds—no purchase necessary.
And while everyone was going gaga over the personalized bricks, here’s what caught my eye: the Architecture series, featuring the Imperial Hotel (Tokyo, Japan), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Lego sets

and the Villa Savoye (Poissy, France) which looks like my future (flood-free) home

Lego sets

If I were a kid again, I would love to have this box

architecture studio

There are tons of Minecraft sets, which is amazing considering these used to be few and hard to find

Lego sets
Lego sets
Lego sets

Plus some really fun Simpsons sets, like the Kwik-E-Mart
kwik e mart
and the hosue
simsons house

Very pricey though. I wonder if they offer 0% interest?
The newly opened store is the most complete Lego store you will find in the Philippines—with Duplo for smaller kids; Lego Friends, Elves and Frozen for the girls; plus Star Wars, Ninjago, and Super Heroes for the boys.
Lego fans, don’t miss it.
The store is located at Park Triangle, 11th Avenue corner Rizal Drive Bonifacio Global City Taguig (beside Kidzania) open daily from 11 AM to 9 PM.

Signs of progress: Studioilse designs Cathay Pacific Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3

Remember that Cathay Pacific Noodle Bar you always look forward to at the Hong Kong International Airport?
It just opened in Manila, at NAIA Terminal 3.
What’s more, the newly opened Cathay Pacific Lounge was designed by Studioilse, the London-based design studio led by Ilse Crawford.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse-designed entrance to Cathay Pacific Lounge in Haneda

Located at Level 4 near Gate 114, the new lounge adopts the new Studioilse design template—with the cherry wood walls and limestone floor, using warm, natural materials like wood and stone to soften acoustics where possible.
The design also features details such as glazed screens, green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar, bronze highlights at the main entrance, and brass in the Bar.

Cathay Pacific Lounge, Haneda
Studioilse design template in Haneda with green ceramic tiles at The Noodle Bar

The Manila lounge measures 650 square meters—almost twice the size of the previous lounge at NAIA Terminal 1—with a seating capacity of approximately 135 seats.
The overall feeling is more like a living room than an airline lounge, with natural sunlight coming through the windows.
Designer furniture and lighting, bespoke chairs and side tables with in-built lamps and sockets offer a comfortable environment and understated luxury for First and Business Class passengers before boarding.
Three individual workstations offer the use of iMacs and printers, and free Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge.

Cathay Pacific lounge
Wish this guy came with the lounge

Finally, the dining area’s signature Noodle Bar will offer a selection of Asian noodles like dandan mien and wonton noodle soup, freshly prepared by a chef.

Wonton Noodles

From the morning hours until 11 AM, an authentic Philippine breakfast will also be offered, and the Bar is where passengers can enjoy a wide selection of tapas, desserts, freshly blended cocktails and a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
PS. Is there Haagen-Dazs?
Makes me wonder what the bathrooms look like.
Now there’s another reason to fly Cathay Pacific.

My birthday 2015

It’s not my thing to celebrate my birthday every year, but I’m getting old and I can afford to throw a party now. Sort of like my Dad; he celebrates every year. So maybe I get that from him.
I wasn’t supposed to celebrate this year. I was 50-50 on pushing through, but sort of last minute, I decided to go ahead and just do it.
But I didn’t want to spend as much as I did last year. That meant scaling down the party and inviting less people (sorry!!).
I didn’t have time to hire Saga Events, I just planned with three people: my friends Melvin Mojica, Yodel Pe, and Anthony Prudencio.
In planning a party, you start with a theme. I wanted to have airplane food, sort of like this.
I thought it would be fun to serve airplane food

Cathay Pacific Meal

So I ordered rush invitations online

Invitations

I had a couple of meetings at Lusso with Anthony Prudencio to talk about the food.
It was supposed to be at Lusso, but I felt it would be be cramped, so we moved it to Whitespace instead (thank you for you kindness, Cris Villonco and staff).
The weather cooperated (no thunderstorm), though it was a bit warm inside the venue. They could add another aircon to the foyer.
From the outside, you could see the space was illuminated in KLM blue

Whitespace

And this is how it looked when guests arrived. There’s your inflight movie

Dinner setup

What’s a party without the drama?

Whitespace

Balloons

My birthday balloons

Melvin hired a wonderful DJ, Chie Castañeda, who was probably a kid in the ’80s, but totally gets the music mixed with Burt Bacharach and other retro tunes.

Chie Castañeda

This was Melvin, me and Chie before the guests arrived. The outfit is from Dover Street Market Ginza

Melvin Mojica, Cecile van Straten, Chie Castañeda

There’s the satellite bar

MIni bar

A pizza oven churned out freshly baked flat bread for arriving guests

Pizza

This is the guy who paid for the party, hehe

Jeroen

First to arrive: Patty Betita, Jeroen van Straten, Joris Spanhoff, Gerome Vizmanos

Patty, Jeroen, Joris, Gerome

Nikki Luna and Mikee Carrion

Nikki & Mikee Carrion

CJ Cruz, Rita Nazareno, Grace Velasco, Kevin Ching

CJ, Rita, Grace, Kevin

Denise Peralta, Mikko Sison, Tata Montilla

Denise, Mikko, Tata

Patrice Diaz, Patty Betita, Grace Velasco, Tina Tagle

Patrice, Patty, Grace, Tina

CJ Cruz and JP Singson

CJ Cruz and JP Singson

Behind the scenes, Margarita Forés’s team was busy plating (that’s Anna Lopez and Anthony Prudencio)

Behind the scenes

And they’re good to go

Food trays

With Margarita’s team, you get first class service

Behind the scenes

And dinner was served

Dinner
Dinner

Yodel Pe designed the logo. First course was dinner rolls, truffle pasta, and Caesar salad

Dinner is served

Can’t help but Instagram it

JP Singson

Second course was surf and turf: pan-roasted sea bass in a box with Lusso’s Entrecote Bearnaise, Malagos goat cheese potato torte, and buttered rice

Dinner is served

And for dessert there was creme brulee, caramel cupcake, lychee sorbet and customized Machiavelli chocolate in salted caramel

Dinner is served

My siblings played pusoy dos

Pusoy dos

Penny Ong and Rita Nazareno had some catching up to do

Penny, Rita, Grace

To be honest, I was not prepared for the cake that appeared. This has to be Anthony’s idea

Behind the scenes

I wished that Manny Pacquiao would win…

Blowing the candle

Later that night, Fumio Onishi took over the DJ booth

Fumio and Melvin

While Ryan and Garovs Vergara milled outside

Ryan and Garovs

My people: CJ Cruz, Jujiin Samonte and JP Singson

CJ Cruz, Jujiin Samonte, JP Singson

The highlight of my evening had to be Jujiin’s Comme des Garçons Mexican cowboy boots

Jujiin's shoes

Thanks to all for a wonderful evening, including those who worked behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes

And thank you Anthony Prudencio and Luther Abcede for the photos :)

Celebrate 25 years of Citi Mastercard with dream trips and packages

In 1999, Citibank approved my application for my first legit credit card, which changed my life forever.
Sixteen years later, it’s still one of my most used cards, mostly because of the credit limit and the rewards (hello, airmiles!).
Citibank was in fact the first credit card to launch a loyalty program via Citi Rewards—offering rewards points for fuel rebates, airmiles, shopping credits, and more.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary in the country, Citi Philippines rewards users through its My Unforgettable Story campaign, which gives Citi cardholders a chance to create memories in some of the world’s most unforgettable places.

The campaign was launched recently at the Fairmont Makati ballroom at an event hosted by Tessa Valdes.

CitiCard event

Leading Citi credit cards’ 25th anniversary celebration was Citi Philippines CEO Batara Sianturi

CitiCard event

Mr. Sianturi raised a toast to Citi credit cards on its 25th anniversary, joined by (L-R) MasterCard Senior Business Leader/Account Leader for Citibank Asia-Pacific Saleh Anam, Citi Credit Payment Products Director Dave Stoughton, Citi Consumer Business Manager Bea Tan, MasterCard Philippines Country Manager Poch Villa-Real, and Citi Head of Consumer Banking for ASEAN & India, Anand Selva.

CitiCard event

Also there (L-R): MasterCard Philippines’s Rochelle Mayuga, Jo-Ann Camacho and Judith Dayrit with Citi Philippines’ Joanne Jacobe, Gretch Santos and Martha Aguila

CitiCard event

How to join:
Promo is open to Citi cardholders from February 26 to August 31, 2015.
Each purchase equals one entry. NO MINIMUM SPEND!
What’s more, “To give all cardholders a chance to win, we’re awarding raffle entries for nearly every use of a Citi card: from using Citibank Online to charging with Citi PayLite, and even when you apply for a personal loan,” said David Stoughton, credit payments head at Citi Philippines.

A total of 15 winners will be chosen in three raffle draws with the following prizes:

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 5.45.20 PM
• Gourmet food tour in Japan for two (five days, four nights, hotel accommodations, plus $500)
• Journey to self-discovery in Bali for two (four days, three nights, hotel accommodation, massage and yoga, palm reading and tour, plus $500)
• Scuba diving in Palau for two (eight days, seven nights, hotel accommodation)
• Tour of China for two (three days, two nights, hotel accommodation, plus $500)
• Tour of Egypt for two (five days, four nights)

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 5.45.20 PM - Version 3
• Honeymoon in Maldives for two (five days, four nights, hotel accommodation, romantic dinner)
• Island escapade in Thailand for two (four days, three nights, hotel accommodation, romantic dinner and massage for two)
• Hot air balloon date in Dubai for two (four days, three nights, hotel accommodation, desert safari, romantic dinner and hot air balloon)
• Wedding gown made by a top designer and feature in a bridal magazine
• Wedding proposal package worth Php 200,000

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 5.45.20 PM - Version 2
• Family ski adventure in Korea for four (five days, four night, hotel accommodation, ski lessons, and Seoul tour, and US$500)
• US theme park getaway for four in Orlando, Florida (four days, three nights with hotel accommodation)
• Mediterranean cruise (11-night Venice cruise for two)
• African safari for two (seven days, six night)
• Magical Northern Lights experience in Norway for two (eight days, seven nights, plus US$1000)

To know more about the promo, click HERE.

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Love Rilakkuma? Happy Land now open at SM North Edsa

At my age (obviously) I’m not done buying cute stuff.
It started with Dick Bruna and Sanrio in the early ’70s, and while there have been so many others, none have made me feel as guilty than Rilakkuma or “relax bear.”

10415580_875647539144761_9025430613390030242_n

Designed by Aki Kondo and produced by San-X Japan in 2003, Rilakkuma depicts a lazy bear in relaxed mood—sort of like me.
My friend Mich is a diehard fan of Rilakkuma and can’t go to sleep with the one she calls “Porkchop.”

Recently I got invited to visit Happy Land at SM North Edsa, a store dedicated to Rilakkuma.
At first I was hesitant to go all the way to QC until the owner, Marivic Chua, assured me their company “is the only one recognized and authorized by SanX Japan to open stores in the Philippines for all licensed Rilakkuma products.”

Rilakkuma store

Marivic’s company also holds the license for Hello Kitty apparel in the Philippines. She says it’s very easy to spot a real Rilakkuma from the fake ones.
“If you look at the eyes of authentic Rilakkuma, you will see that they are symmetrical and balanced. The big plush toys have beads in the hands so that owners can press on them when stressed.”

Rilakkuma store
Rilakkuma store

Marivic says there’s a huge difference in the materials used for the authentic plush toys and the fake ones. Authentic Rilakkuma plush toys are very soft to the touch.
“Some people ask why our items are expensive. I tell them to compare our items to the fake ones, which are cheaper. They may look the same from afar but the feel is different.”

Rilakkuma store
Marivic sent me the giant cream bear on the right

Opened last August 2014, the store is not easy to find—at the 2nd floor of the main building of SM North Edsa.
The easiest way is to get dropped off at the Jollibee entrance on the first level and take an escalator to the second floor. Happy Land is not far from Booksale. Hopefully you won’t miss it with its clean interior design, following the look of San-X stores in Japan.
Here’s what we found: the canvas bags

Rilakkuma store
Rilakkuma store

Durable aluminum flasks that stay hot or cold for hours

Rilakkuma store

Plates and bowls

Rilakkuma store

Table ware

Rilakkuma store

Drink holders

Rilakkuma store

Calculators and phone chargers

Rilakkuma store

Soap dispensers

Rilakkuma store

Soft cases and pouches

Rilakkuma store
Rilakkuma store

Pens, pencils, erasers

Rilakkuma store
Rilakkuma store

Folding totes

Rilakkuma store

Cute mirrors for your office desk

Rilakkuma store
Rilakkuma store

and so much more.

Rilakkuma store

Check out my loot! (Total: Php 5,007)

Rilakkuma loot!

Visit Happy Land at the 2nd level, main building, SM North Edsa, Quezon City.
For more information, like them on Facebook.

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