Tuesday 24 November 2009

UK Movie Locations

During my two years stay here in UK, I had the privilege to visit some locations that were used and featured in my favourite films. Here’s the initial list.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Oxford University Christ Church College’s dining hall was used as Hogwarts dining hall during the sorting ceremony in the Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone film. At present the dining hall is still used for meals by students of this famous Uni.


Sunday 22 November 2009

Filipino Efren Peñaflorida is 2009 CNN Hero of the Year

"As I say to my co-volunteers, you are the change that you dream, as I am the change that I dream. And collectively, we are the change that this world needs to be. Mabuhay!"

Efren Peñaflorida ended his speech with these inspiring words after he was hailed the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year at an All-Star tribute at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday Night.

Congratulations! Mabuhay ka Efren! We are so proud of you!

Efren Peñaflorida, who will receive $100,000 to continue his work with the Dynamic Teen Company, was selected after seven weeks of online voting at CNN.com. More than 2.75 million votes were cast. Read full story: Pushcart educator named CNN Hero of the Year.

Saturday 14 November 2009

My Jimmy Choo for H&M Haul

Barbs and I went to the H&M store at Oxford Street around 10AM. There was of course a queue at the doors but it wasn't too bad. We breezed through in just 10 minutes. Inside we were told that could we shop freely at the womenswear area but had to queue again inside to get into the shoes area.

Queue again? No worries. We were only there for the shoes after all. It's Jimmy Choo. Duh! On our way to the shoe area queue I grabbed for myself a sequined racer-back sleeveless top, slim fit trousers and some cool accessories. Barbs got her hands on an exquisite sequined dress and some accessories as well. 


Friday 13 November 2009

Jimmy Choo for H&M

Jimmy Choo is coming to H&M on Saturday, the 14th of November.

Yep, that’s tomorrow! And you now you have an idea where I will be tomorrow.

Gosh, Barbs and I are so excited! I still don’t have a bridal shoes, so really, I have to be there…

The uber high-end designer brand has teamed up with the affordable Swedish mega fashion store to bring their merchandise more accessible to the public. The Jimmy Choo for H&M collection includes womenswear, menswear and accessories, with prices starting at £14.99.

"It’s all about capturing the DNA for the H&M price point," H&M's Jen Uglialoro said.


Thursday 12 November 2009

Hearthrobs London 2009: A Recap

I was a bit disappointed with Hearthrobs London 2009, which was held on Sunday, the 8th of November. With the thousands of pesos (in equivalent) I spent, it was just so-so. The stage was plain. Just a big LCD screen with, some lights, then tarpaulins that featured the sponsors. That’s it. Okay I can forgive the ordinary stage because I’m guessing it’s expensive to fly in the artists and their entourage to London, and of course the artists’ talent fees plus the rental of Theatre Royal Drury Lane for exclusive use must have taken a huge chunk from the production budget, but still they should have put on a better show. It seemed like the artists were just told to bring along minus ones (yes there wasn’t even a live band) handed them microphones and then pushed towards the stage where they had to sing three songs each. It was poorly conceptualized and poorly prepared, if any preparation was given to it at all. Well I know they are movie actors and possess no singing prowess close to West End performers’ calibre but I had expected a concert with ala-ASAP production numbers. Not a karaoke show.


Saturday 7 November 2009

Theatres Galore

In a span of less than a week, I have watched not just one but two theatre shows at London West End and not alone mind you, but with friends! Ahhh to share the good things in life with friends indeed makes every experience more enjoyable.


Monday 2 November 2009

This Is It! Our Wedding Invitation

Finally we have started sending our invitations. First to our overseas guests so they will have ample time to decide if they will attend or not, and then prepare should they give their word to be there. We fervently hope, fingers cross, that all our invited guests will grace us with their presence.

The exact moment I handed the first set of invites to a Royal Mail staff for posting I felt a rush of excitement, a spine-tingling emotion (no kidding) washed over me. It was a this-is-it moment, making this long awaited event of my life more real than ever. Blimey - we are truly getting married!


Thursday 29 October 2009

Must Have: Jeggings

I love leggings, especially jeggings a.ka. jean leggings (leggings that look like jeans). Jeggings are more comfortable than the real ones, skinny jeans. During my last visit to the Philippines I really enjoyed wearing my jeggings because they suited our hot, humid climate. It's more airy than denim, plus, a real space-saver too! You can just roll it and stuff it in your luggage.

I received my first pair of jeggings from a gorgeous friend in Tokyo. It's a bit faded now - proof that it has been used and washed dozens of times. So I need a new pair pronto.


Keeping the Love Alive Even When You're Apart

Long Distance Relationship - Will it work?

Yes. Definitely.
But it takes bloody work.

If other couples only have to survive short periods of being apart - just a few weeks or months because one has to be away for a business trip maybe - ours on the other hand are in a long distance setup right from the start.

Oh yes you heard, uhh read that right. Unconventional? True.


Tuesday 27 October 2009

Can't Say No to Derek Gerard

Harley has just been asked to be the Godfather of Derek Gerard – the firstborn of our good friends Ria (my bridesmaid) and Dan (his groomsman).

Derek’s got the perfect mix of features from his good-looking parents... his father’s trademark nose and his mother’s pouting lips. He is so adorable. Certainly one of the cutest babies in the world! I can’t wait to meet this little guy in December.


Saturday 24 October 2009

Happy 2 Years in UK!

Exactly two years ago I arrived at London Heathrow, breathed England’s cold air for the first time, hopped on my first black cab ride and headed to the Anne Boleyn hotel in Staines, Middlesex.

Two years ago I did not own a pair of boots. Now I have two pairs of knee-highs and a pair of ankle-length boots.

Two years ago I did not own a single pair of skinny jeans. Now I have 3. No wait, it’s 4. Errrm no. I think there’s one stuck in the laundry basket so, oh, it’s 5 actually.


Sunday 18 October 2009

Must Have Girls' Gadgets

I finally received my long awaited Visa extension (yebah!) on Friday. So to celebrate, I went shopping yesterday. I found really good bargains in Debenhams that even the cashier expressed her envy of my finds and gushed that I am such a good bargain hunter (Grin. Pat me on the back.).

I was in such a grand celebratory mood that I grabbed not just one but two gadgets. Oh no not the Sony eBook Reader Touch that I yakked about in my previous post. Though I was in a big spender illusion I still could not afford that. Sigh. But nevertheless I am happy with my new gadgets - my first epilator and my first hair straightening iron!


Friday 16 October 2009

Sony Reader Touch: A Virtual Library Anywhere You Go

I love books. I don't travel without books. Oh not the techie, educational stuffs. I love fiction novels and I read almost all genres: Fantasy, suspense-thriller, chick lit (my current passion as I have just recently discovered how delightful Marian Keyes' books are), sci-fi and of course romance! Especially historical romance! Oh every once in a while I have to get a fix of a cheesy novel about feisty gorgeous heroines and their tall, dark, brooding men. A novel wherein I am not required to do much thinking. Just a lot of imagining about the tall, dark, brooding men.


Thursday 15 October 2009

ASOS.com: UK's Largest Online Fashion Store

ASOS is the UK's largest online-based fashion and beauty store. It is a one-stop fashion store that sells not only lines from its own label but designer fashion goods as well. It features all the works - accessories, bags, shoes and clothes.

It full name is really As Seen On Screen. Its intention is to supply the public with outfits similar to fashion icons or celebrities. I subscribe to ASOS Style Update emails because I look forward to their Look of the Week columns where they suggest how us regular gels can put together regular outfits to copy the styles of featured A-List celebrities.


Monday 12 October 2009

My First Art Investment

I have long wanted to collect art pieces and decided that now is the good time to start since I will be moving (looking forward indeed) into a permanent home next year. My days as a wandering adventurer (in Cebuano, laagan) are numbered.

My first art purchase is no other than by my future cousin-in-law, the uber talented Mall. Here it is. Ta da!

Provoking me by May Ann Licudine

Provoking me by May Ann Licudine
Provoking me by Mall

Okay it is still marked as reserved in her blog because I have not yet paid for it. LOL.

I am not biased. I honestly love her works. They are very uplifting. Every time I look at an art piece she has created I feel transported to a happy place, a fantasy land, somewhere like Little Prince's world. I plan to decorate our home with her artworks.

Actually it is an investment. Because I have a strong gut feeling, oh it’s a certainty really that she will be world famous someday. More famous than she currently is. She is continuing to gain admirers. In fact here is a link of Julius Babao's blog about Mall.


Sunday 11 October 2009

Mango Outlet Online

Since I am saying goodbye to England in less than 2 months, I am starting to keep an online record of the good stuffs that I have discovered here during my 2 years stay. Who knows, I might have to come back here in the future.

I adore Mango fashion because its style is chic and sophisticated. But I rarely buy from the Mango store. (Okay "rarely" is subjective, but still...) Why? Because if I would just wait for styles that have caught my fancy to go out of season (I don't really care if what I'm wearing is so last season. Not that choosy. Besides I try to buy something that is wearable for all seasons.) I can purchase them at super discounted prices at the Mango Outlet Online store.

Mango Outlet Online store

See that blazer, second row, rightmost? It's retail price of 69.90€ (4,797.90Php) has been reduced to 19.90€ (1,365.92Php). What a bargain!

I have purchased from Mango Outlet more than thrice and I have never been disappointed upon receiving my orders. The clothes are always packaged well. Usually they would give you a really big box that sometimes I would panic that maybe I had hit the Checkout button twice and all I had ordered are in that box in twos. Delicate dresses / blouses often come with specialty hangers. Too bad it's only available in European countries. I will truly miss this :( Perhaps I should make one bulk purchase before I leave England... hmmm?

Mango Outlet Online available for countries


Friday 9 October 2009

Holiday in Paris for 2,500Php Only

And you don't even have to win Project Runway :)

Holiday in Paris for 2,500Php Only

Visit L'Oreal Paris Exclusif for more details.


Thursday 8 October 2009

Hearthrobs Here I Come!

This is it! There's no turning back. A point of no return.

Drum roll please.

Hearthrobs London 2009

Brilliant. Exactly a month from now I will finally see Piolo, Sam and John Lloyd live!


Tuesday 6 October 2009

Vote for Efren for CNN Hero of the Year. Apl.De.Ap's Take Me to the Philippines video.

Though I am currently living in a far away land, stories of Filipino heroic acts never failed to reach me. Mind you, I don’t have TFC. The internet is my only window to what’s going on back home. But these stories of the remarkable Filipino spirit have resonated and moved people around the globe. Here in the UK a few have been featured in the telly and newspapers.

The story of Muelmar Magallanes who lost his life, died of exhaustion after saving 30 people during the flooding.

The sorry of a Filipina catering business owner, immediately mobilizing her staff and her friends the day after the flood to provide delicious and most importantly clean food to the victims.

The story of my colleagues back home, who gladly pledged a portion of their salaries and were able to raise 100k in just 3 days to donate to the Ondoy flood victims.

... Countless admirable stories of our countrymen rallying, uniting to help the victims, our country, to recover from that catastrophe.

In all honesty, believe me in saying that I have never been this proud to be a Filipino.

But there is one story that has made me beam more with pride – the inspiring story of Efren Peñaflorida.

Efren or Kuya Ef despite of his own humble beginnings, thought more of how he can help impoverish kids in our country. He was still in highschool (August 1997) when he created the Dynamic Teen Company (DTC) to offer his classmates an outlet to lift up themselves and their community. Until today children flock DTC’s kariton (pushcart) classroom to learn reading, writing, arithmetic and English from Peñaflorida and his trained teen volunteers.

What he's been doing is so amazing that he is shortlisted, in top 10, a strong candidate to become CNN's Hero of the year. Let’s all vote for him. Now na!

Vote for Efren Penaflorida CNN Hero of the Year

Visit the Dynamic Teen Company’s website if you want help make a difference.

Here’s another to uplift the Filipino spirit. Watch Apl.de.ap's (of The Black Eyed Peas) music video just released on 1st of October TAKE ME TO THE PHILIPPINES. Enjoy!

Watch out for "In Baguio, Cebu, in Subic, I take ya!"


Monday 5 October 2009

Missing Jojo's Cooking. Missing Nathan more!

Jugarisa was my highschool classmate in CIC and after graduation we lost communication, until last year. I was absolutely delighted to find out she is now living here in the UK.

Finally it was this weekend that I got the chance to visit her. It had been planned meticulously as going to their place, Lincoln City, is a bit tricky. Well tricky for someone who does not frequent the north of England. (I live in south-west of England). But technology, Google to be exact made it easier to find a way.

Aside from a booboo that cost me dearly (I queued for a coffee at Pumpkin Cafe at one of the train stops, Peterborough. Perhaps I was so focused on having my daily fix that I missed the train and I had to wait for 2 hours for the next one. Darn! Glad I brought along a book. I always bring one in case something like that happened. Oh yes, missing train schedules had happened to me before. Many times, I’ve lost count actually), the journey to Lincoln was uneventful. I was so delighted to find her with her little family tagging along, waiting for me at Metheringham

Her husband, a Briton, is very nice and obviously adores her. They call each other ‘Lang (short for Palangga, the Cebuano word for “my love”). Though he is English he is very fluent in Cebuano. He knows a wide vocabulary and can understand most of the words, especially the bad ones. He is so good in fact he has set up an English-Cebuano dictionary website.

They were such gracious hosts. They toured me around Lincoln. We visited the Lincoln Cathedral and the Lincoln Castle (just the outside, it was already closed when we got there).

I also got to meet Jugarisa’s in-laws and they are so nice! They received me warmly. By the way Jugarisa is “Jojo” here now because her in-laws couldn’t pronounce her name properly. Jojo? Sosyal na!

Jojo was like a mother hen during my visit. She was literally feeding me something every hour! Though it was goodbye-my-week's-worth-of-diet! I was nevertheless happy to be pampered, spoiled and fattened like I would be sent to the executioner’s block or the slaughterhouse the next day.  The stone I suspect I gained out of it was worth it. The meals she prepared were all yummy (My favourite is the Chicken Curry. Gosh my mouth is watering right at this moment thinking of it. Paging Jojo... The recipe please!). The meals were prepared the Filipino way. Oh you know, Filipino taste? Not bland at all. Perfect.

Though I truly miss her cooking (especially now after having had a micro-waved cod fish for dinner courtesy of Sainsbury’s) and TFC (although SNN were sombre because of a terrible calamity that has befallen our country), I miss Nathan more. Nathan is her son. He is cute, adorable and simply gorgeous. Aside from that he is so well-mannered. I couldn't believe that such a well-behaved child exists. But he does. He's truly an angel. You can’t help but fall in love with him.

Everywhere we go there were always people smiling at him, gushing admirations of what an adorable child he is. He can absolutely give Piolo a run for his money. Since I can’t adopt him (though I did more than once plotted in my creative mind to kidnap him) I am more dead set than ever to give birth to a girl someday. So at least I will have a chance, no matter how slim, to have him as a son-in-law. Since I am a believer of The Secret, perhaps I should start calling Jugarisa Mareng Jojo! LOL.

Mareng Jojo, thank you love for such a great weekend!

Nathans impossibly long eyelashes
His lashes are to die for. Such a shame to be wasted on a boy! (Oh yes I am bitter.)

Nathans impossibly long eyelashes
Can I take you home, love?


A Visit to Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral is one and finest Gothic structures in Europe. It has been a place of worship for nearly a thousand of years (dates built 1185-1311).

Its Gothic spires, stained glass windows are a site to behold. This cathedral is indeed so gorgeous that it has been featured in two major films:
Da Vinci Code (a replacement to the Westminster Abbey scene as the film wasn't able to get a permit to shoot in Westminster Abbey) and Young Victoria.

Lincoln Cathedral’s postcode is LN2 1PX

By Rail: 
From London Kings Cross take the National Express Rail service to Edinburgh. Transfer at Peterborough Station. Then take the connection train at Platform 2 to Lincoln.

Other connections include Nottingham, Grantham, Skegness, Grimsby and Birmingham.

By Road:
A1 and A46 east from Newark
A57 east from Sheffield
A15 south from M180 Scunthorpe and Hull
A15 north from Sleaford
A46 south from Grimsby

On our way to Lincoln Cathedral
On our way to the Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral Information
Lincoln Cathedral Information

Lincoln Cathedral Nave
Lincoln Cathedral Nave

Lincoln Cathedral Nave
Beautiful stained glasses adorn all over the Lincoln Cathedral

The Dean's Eye - Lincoln Cathedral
The Dean's Eye window - an 800 year old British heritage whose restoration completed just recently costed millions. (Source: Stewart Design UK)

The Dean's Eye Information - Lincoln Cathedral
Historical key stages of the Dean's Eye.

Stained Glass - Lincoln Cathedral
The East Window of the Lincoln Cathedral

Spot the Lincoln Imp - Lincoln Cathedral
Spot the Lincoln Imp!

Spot the Lincoln Imp Zoomed - Lincoln Cathedral
Close-up of the Lincoln Imp. It is the symbol of the city of Lincoln.
The Lincoln City Football Club are nicknamed "The Imps" and an image of the Lincoln Imp appears on their crest. (Source: Wikipedia)

Young Victoria Filming - Lincoln Cathedral
Filming of theYoung Victoria in the Lincoln Cathedral.

Da Vinci Code - Sir Ian Mckellen, Audrey Tautou Filming - Lincoln Cathedral
Sir Ian Mckellen and Audrey Tautou while filming Da Vinci Code in the Lincoln Cathedral.
(Image lifted from: http://www.mckellen.com/)

Da Vinci Code - Sir Ian Mckellen, Tom Hanks Filming - Lincoln Cathedral
Sir Ian Mckellen and Tom Hanks while filming Da Vinci Code in the Lincoln Cathedral.
(Image lifted from: http://www.mckellen.com/)

Lincoln Cathedral
The Lincoln Cathedral is indeed beautiful.


Friday 2 October 2009

Typhoon Pepeng Advisory. Be safe!

Typhoon Pepeng (international name Parma) is predicted to make a landfall at north Luzon on the 4th of October, Sunday. It has maximum sustained winds of 195 kph near centre and gustiness of up to 230 kph. This makes the typhoon categorised as Category 5, a “Super Typhoon” - the first time this term has been coined.

Our beloved country is still reeling to recover from the terrible damages brought by Typhoon Ondoy and now this. It's just sad. This is too soon. Let's all hope and pray that Pepeng will weaken and just dissipate. Or that it will stray from its expected course and will just die down at the ocean.

Please to all Pinoy back home, especially those living at the area where Pepeng is expected to hit, be safe! Make sure your mobile batteries are fully-charged and you have enough torches, emergency lights or candles, supply of clean water and food at home.


Monday 28 September 2009

Ondoy Flood Victims: How to Help

Typhoon Ketsana (PAGASA: Ondoy) devastated Metro Manila, Philippines and other parts of Luzon on September 26, 2009. The latest tally from NDCC (National Disaster Coordinating Council) the number of casualties has risen to 100 and the damage to infrastracture and crops estimated at P109 million. (source: inquirer.net).

Though Ondoy has left the country, its wake has left many Filipinos displaced, without homes, without access to clean food and water. Please help. Any amount will do.
You can donate online thru Bo Sanchez or Kerygma Family Foundation.

Help Ondoy Flood Victims Today

or thru OnePhilippines.co.uk

Please do all you can to help. Pass this on.


Sunday 27 September 2009

Honeymooning in Bohol

Harley is giving me my dream wedding, so I am giving him his dream honeymoon. Thankfully he doesn’t demand a European tour (Although I do!  But I can wait. LOL.). He is a simple guy, so easy to please. I could not have been luckier.

Whenever we go home to the Philippines and our schedule permits we make time to island hop to Bohol. Harley adores white sand beaches. So it is a no brainer choosing where to go for our honeymoon. Our beloved country, with its 7,107 islands both high tide and low tide, boasts numerous beach getaways flocked by many tourists from around the globe. As there are so many to choose from, the challenge is choosing which island to go and which resort on that island to book.

Since I don’t possess a bottomless pocket, I have to choose wisely.  I am looking for a destination that will blow his socks off but not outrageously expensive or it might turn out I can only afford to send him there. Alone. Without me. Yeah some honeymoon...

Are you are in the same predicament and looking for an unforgettable beach honeymoon destination? Or are you planning a perfect romantic getaway with your loved one. Why not visit one of the gorgeous beach resorts in the Philippines? Convinced? Well to jumpstart your planning, read on for some stuffs I have researched.  Let me start with Bohol first.

Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have as many as Manila to Cebu flights a day. A MNL-CEB flight usually takes around an hour and 15 minutes. Of course waiting at the airport takes longer than that and make allowances of your flights getting delayed. Typical of Filipino’s infamous habit of tardiness. As a precaution, it is better to take the first flight of the day.

To go from Cebu to Bohol, you need to take a “fast craft” ferry. Journey time is around 2 hours and 40 minutes. As far as I know there are only three (3) ferries with route CEB to TAGBILARAN (Bohol). These are:
Oh yes their names blatantly say they’re fast. But I would have to agree as on the bigger ferries like Cokaliong Shipping Lines and Trans-Asia Shipping Lines it takes approximately 5 hours.
From Mactan International Airport (Cebu), take the cab to the Cebu City Pier 1 for SuperCat , Ocean Jet and Cokaliong.  Pier 4 for Weesam Express and Trans-Asia.

If you haven’t got ferry reservations or tickets yet upon arriving at Mactan International airport, you can go directly to the Cebu City Pier. The ticketing office per shipping line is also located at the pier area (number) mentioned above. Or if you are a bit scared to wander aimlessly at the port area, go straight to Ayala Center Cebu. There are ticketing offices there. Just ask around.

To get from Tagbilaran Pier to Panglao Island (where all the good Bohol beach resorts are located) you can arrange with your chosen resort for a van/car to collect your party. Or if don’t have resort booked yet and want to shop around, there are vans / cars at the pier area that will take you there at a fee of course. I don’t know how much it is but haggle. You can always negotiate for a lower rate.

Bohol is perfect getaway for newlyweds who want to cocoon themselves from civilization, and just spend time together rolling around on a white sand beach, basking in marital bliss. It is not as crowded and not as commercialized as Boracay but there are still plenty of things to do.  I have shortlisted here resorts in Bohol that I highly recommend to honeymooners:
This resort is nestled on a cliff at Alona beach. Harley and our families spent two days there on December 2008 and we definitely want to visit again. I highly recommend this resort. Food is great although a tad expensive but really could not complain because the service we got was top class. Whenever you bump to someone from the resort, you’re greeted with a smile. The staff easily provided us with a relaxing atmosphere.

For packages and rates, click here.
At the moment, this must be the most expensive and exclusive (yes because it’s very expensive) resort in Bohol. It has villas with their own infinity pools and whirlpool baths. I have no idea what a whirlpool bath is I’m afraid.

For packages and rates, click here.
The beach strip of this resort is to die for.  I’ve heard that the service here is also world class; it was after all the top resort before Amorita and Eskaya opened in Bohol. Reviews of this resort in TripAdvisor are generally high.

For packages and rates, click here

  • Dolphin Watching
Make an arrangement with your resort for a boat tour or you can contract a local boatman for a cheaper price (usually you can haggle a thousand pesos cheaper than what the resort charges).  You need to wake up early so as not to miss the dolphins. Arrange for your boatman to collect you from the resort at around 530 AM.

The last time we did this our boatman was able to get very near to the dolphins. We could almost touch them! So don’t forget to ask your boatman to get as close as possible. Dolphins in Bohol I must say are born entertainers. They love giving a show. And it is such a joy to watch them playing at their natural habitat.  This is really a must do activity, a real treat enough to make want to come back to Bohol again and again.
  •  Snorkel at Balicasag Fish Sanctuary
When the dolphins have decided they’ve entertained you enough and they scatter away to wherever they spend the rest of the day, your boatman will then take you to the Balicasag Reef / Fish Sanctuary where you can spend the rest of the morning snorkelling! Floating on top of thousands and thousands of colourful fishes is an experience one will never forget. Remember though to bring enough cash with you as you still have to pay for your snorkelling gear and for the banca (as only shallow hulled banca can get near the sanctuary). You can inquire about these beforehand from your boatman so you’ll get an idea how much these extras will cost you.
  • Virgin island / Sandbar
After you’re thoroughly scorched from hours and hours of snorkelling and decided you’ve had enough swimming with the fishes, ask your boatmen to take you to what they call the Virgin island. You and your hubby or loved one can do a HHWWPSSP (holding hands while walking pa-sway-sway pa) on this crescent-shaped sandbar. How romantic!

You can also arrange with the resort you’re staying for a day sightseeing tour around Bohol. Or if you want to get a cheaper deal, as we all know resort hotels charge a lot that even their local rates are still pretty steep, ask some locals you might see around the resort. Even ask one of the staff or the guards secretly for some local tourist guides they can recommend. Haggle. For the Bohol day tour I think we were able to get it for 2500 only, compared to Amorita’s 4k price. Not bad, eh?

A Bohol sightseeing Day tour usually includes trips to the
  • Hinagdanan Cave
This is an underground cave with fresh spring water and old stalactites and stalagmites located at Dauis. Click here for more about Hinagdanan Cave.
  • Blood Compact Site
The blood compact of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Datu Sikatuna happened at Barangay Bool Tagbilaran City on March 1565. It marks the first treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and the Bo-ol natives. Click here for more about the Blood Compact in Bohol.

  • Baclayon Church and the Church Museum
The spot where the Baclayon is was just a visita erected by the Jesuits in 1595. Sometime in 1717, the construction of the church commenced. Native Baclayanon forced labourers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks and piled on top of each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position and used the whites from millions of eggs to cement the coral stones together. (source: http://www.bohol.ph/article8.html)
  • Loboc River cruise. Don’t miss the eat-all-you-can lunch experience on a floating banca/restaurant that can accommodate up to 50 people while being serenaded by local musicians. The cost of this is outside the day tour package. I think the buffet costs 280 per person.
  • Tarsier
The tarsier is the world’s smallest primate. Usually the Bohol Day Tour package will take you at Tarsier sites along the Loboc river. But it is strongly advised not to patronise these sites as the tarsiers are kept for tourists or display purposes only... they live shorter lives than Tarsiers living in its natural habitat. Please visit and support instead the sanctuary of Philippine Tarsier Foundation, located at between the municipalities of Corella and Sikatuna in Bohol. Corella is 14 km northeast of Tagbilaran City.

  • Man-made Forest
On the way to Carmen for the Chocolate Hills, don’t miss the man-made forest of mahogany trees. If you don’t want to get off, just open the windows of your car, stretch out your hand and feel the cool breeze these 2 km rows of giant trees bring. Click here for more about the man-made forest.
  • Chocolate Hills
Bohol is world famous for its 1268 (or more) chocolate hills that spread the towns of Sagbayan, Batuan, Carmen, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia. They are not made of chocolate, which what my parents had led me to believe when I was a child and was terribly disillusioned when I first saw them and realized I couldn’t lick them. They are strange geological formation and actually look chocolatey (brown) during the summer. There is a viewing deck atop one of the hill at Carmen town that provide a 360° view of the hills.


Sunday 20 September 2009

Hearthrobs London 2009 LIVE!

Kapamilya Fiesta in cooperation with KCC Productions proudly present…

with Pokwang and Bea Alonzo in London

on 8 November 2009, Sunday
at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Catherine St. London WC2B 5JF

I received an email this morning (30th of September) from Ms. Roselle Collado on behalf of Kapamilya Fiesta / KCC Productions that for every ticket sold £1.00 will be donated to Typhoon Ondoy Victims.

Of course I am going. In fact I already reserved a ticket.  JLC watch out! *evil grin*

How to reserve and book a ticket? Click here.

Indeed I wouldn't miss this for anything. It's a rare opportunity. Imagine Sam, Piolo and JLC under one roof?  This is going to be the grandest jologs moment of my life and here in London no less! Finally I will see JLC in person! Gosh I think I'm gonna swoon. Help.

Map of Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
Nearest underground: Covent Garden

View Larger Map


Saturday 19 September 2009

Wedding AVP Songs (3rd List)

Here's another list of music that you might want to use for your wedding AVP.

  • Yellow (Yellow)

  • Hopelessly Addicted (The Corrs)

I know this is very outdated but this is the most favourite song of my favourite band ever... the Corrs. I just have to include it here because I hopelessly miss them :(

  • Giving Myself Over To You (Jennifer Hudson)

Now this is a gem, definitely a keeper from the famous American Idol alum, Jennifer Hudson.

Thanks to my good friend Noel for this. I don't know how he does it but he can always find the right songs for you. Those that are sentimental and touch you to the core.

This song of Jennifer's is on the top of my list. Most likely I will use this for our Wedding AVP. It conveys my feelings towards Harley perfectly.

Click this link for a non-live version in YouTube.


Tuesday 15 September 2009

A Wedding Dress Tip: Not Your Mom’s Girdles

I am not overweight but like most girls I am not blessed with taut midriff. I have soft tissues on it. Front and sides. Love handles.

Since I am daring to be ambitious with my choice of wedding dress, (yeah it’s kinda body hugging) I am considering of cheating...

Oh no, not liposuction. No way! But yep, as the title of this post suggests... GIRDLES!

Oh okay maybe when you think of girdles you cringe as you can’t help visualizing those hideous "diapers" your mother used to own. So let’s just refer to it as shapewear, shall we?

Shapewears available nowadays are not only fashionable but really do their jobs. They are made with lightweight materials cleverly designed not only to make us look sexy but also to feel sexy and comfortable wearing one.

Click on this very informative article at Oprah.com regarding how to choose the right panty solution per type of dress.
For my wedding dress I think the best shapewear for it is the second one below:

Where to buy one of those?

Well there's La Perla if you want the high end, expensive one.

With its hefty price tag of $272, it better be effective!

Or you might want to try SPANX. They have a cool range of shapewears. The one below that I like is 75% less than La Perla’s.

Or Fleexes Shapewear by Maidenform is more affordable, price is just £32 or $52

Wacoal sadly doesn’t have that many choices of shapewears. I like the one below but no idea how much it is!

I am sure in the Philippines there are options from Triumph and Avon.

But the question in my mind is (and I'm sure most of you are thinking of this too), how would I pee with one of those?!?

If you're interested of getting a SPANX, a fellow Cebuana W@Wie got hers from another W@Wie. Visit her online shop: http://shoppingabroad.multiply.com/


Saturday 12 September 2009

Debenhams SALE: Excuse for early Christmas shopping

Debenhams is having a 4 day sale. Again. This started on Wednesday, so it is on its last day today. I went there this afternoon, just out of curiosity. I did not have high expectations about it since the posters just say up to 25% off all departments. But to my glee I did find some racks with items on sale up to 70%! It would be stupid of me to pass up the opportunity and start shopping Christmas presents for my gorgeous girlfriends, wouldn’t it? So definitely you can’t blame me for buying a basketful of really good bargains. Yeah I know. Credit crunch is not yet over. But the world economy is already on its way to recovery, right?

After having combed Debenhams to my heart’s content, I made a beeline to Dorothy Perkins just in case they also have a sale. Lo and behold I couldn’t be more right. (I think I have a sixth sense on these things or something like that). Although there are only a few racks of sale items, I was still able to pick up really lovely pieces discounted to as much as 70% too.

So today I have officially started my Christmas shopping. It’s already a “-ber” month after all.

Below are some photos of the haul I got. I hope the recipients of these will love them.  But I do hope more that I can resist from keeping them all to myself and part from them without bawling over. LOL.


Wednesday 9 September 2009

A Payroll System for the Philippines

Four years ago, my cousin who owned a distributorship business at that time asked me if I could create a program that could aid him in his payroll and inventory system. He wanted something he could run on his laptop at anytime and from anywhere he needs it. It may be an easy system to make but as an IT engineer who worked for a demanding company, I never got to start the project he requested. Instead I referred him to a small-time software company who could make the system for him at a reasonable cost but even then he still find it expensive as he didn't have that much capital yet to spare for automation of the system.

This was the first thing that came to my mind when I came across SerBIZyo! technically it's called Sotware-As-A-Service but to put it simply, it's a software program that anyone can access and use anytime, anywhere at no initial cost. In short, a free philippines payroll software.  You just need a computer and an internet access, you don't even have to use your own server computer!  because your data (e.g. employee list, stock list) are stored securely in SerBIZyo's server, Meaning having your very own system that is accessible through the internet, all you need are your username and password and voila! you can finally do your payroll calculations while lounging in Boracay!

Finally the best thing with SerBIZyo! is that you don't need to allot a big slash on your company's operational budget to automate your system because with SerBIZyo, you only pay when you access your system, pretty much like a pay-per-view movie.  And if you try it now, you'll get it for free software in 3-4 months!

Now SerBIZyo! is certainly heaven sent for businessmen like my cousin who can finally enjoy the luxury of having an automated payroll and an upcoming inventory system without causing an arm and a leg!


Monday 7 September 2009

Wedding No-Nos: A list of Wedding Superstitions

We Filipinos are very superstitious lot. I personally did not really believe, did not plan to follow any until my brother passionately cautioned me against fitting my wedding dress (before the wedding). A retort of “Sus, I don’t believe in that.” was in the tip of the tongue but after a few seconds of intensive parsing the words that rolled out were “Opo kuya.” Oh before you accuse me of being a sissy, I am agreeing to his well meant advice because it is not wise to tempt fate. It’s better to be on the safe side than sorry, right?

Well I did some researching of what other wedding superstitions are out there (just so I can make a list of what to avoid hehe). Gosh there are so many! I am so relieved that I have not yet violated any. I was surprised to know that here in UK they have more wedding customs and superstitions than we have. In fact I suspect most of our superstitions originated here.  Read on.

The following information are lifted from www.weddings.co.uk
In the past when the marriage proposal was a more formal procedure, the prospective groom sent his friends or members of his family to represent his interests to the prospective bride and her family. If they saw a blind man, a monk or a pregnant woman during their journey it was thought that the marriage would be doomed if they continued their journey as these sights were thought to be bad omens.

If, however, they saw nanny goats, pigeons or wolves these were good omens which would bring good fortune to the marriage.
It was thought unlucky for a woman to marry a man whose surname began with the same letter as hers. The sentiment was summarised in the following rhyme:

To change the name and not the letter
Is to change for the worst and not the better

The bride should not practice writing her new name before the wedding. This is thought to bring bad luck by tempting fate.
Although most weddings now take place on a Saturday it was considered unlucky in the past. Fridays were also considered unlucky particularly Friday the 13th. The famous old rhyme advises a wedding in the first half of the week:

Monday for wealth
Tuesday for health
Wednesday the best day of all
Thursday for losses
Friday for crosses
Saturday for no luck at all

Advice on which month to marry in is given by the following rhyme:

Married when the year is new, he'll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you'll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September's shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.
Marry in May and you'll live to rue the day

May has been considered an unlucky month to marry in for a number of reasons. In Pagan times the start of summer was when the festival of Beltane was celebrated with outdoor orgies (what?). This was therefore thought to be an unsuitable time to start married life. In Roman times the Feast of the Dead and the festival of the goddess of chastity both occurred in May. The advice was taken more seriously in Victorian times than it is today. In most Churches the end of April was a busy time for weddings as couples wanted to avoid being married in May. Queen Victoria is thought to have forbidden her children from marrying in May.

Marry in Lent, live to repent

Lent was thought an inappropriate time for a wedding as this was a time of abstinence.

June was considered to be a lucky month to marry in because it is named after Juno, the Roman goddess of love and marriage.

The Summer as a whole was considered a good time to marry and this is partly to do with the sun's association with fertility. In Scotland one popular custom was for the bride to "walk with the sun" to bring her good. She would walk from east to west on the south side of the church and then continue walking around the church three times.
Something old, something new
Something borrowed, something blue
And a silver sixpence in your shoe

The rhyme originated in Victorian times although some of customs referred in it are much older.
The something old represents the couples friends who will hopefully remain close during the marriage. Traditionally this was old garter which given to the bride by a happily married woman in the hope that her happiness in marriage would be passed on to the new bride.

Something new symbolises the newlyweds' happy and prosperous future.

The something borrowed is often lent by the bride's family and is an item much valued by the family. The bride must return the item to ensure good luck.

The custom of the bride wearing something blue originated in ancient Israel where the bride wore a blue ribbon in her hair to represent fidelity.

The placing of a silver sixpence in the bride's shoe was to ensure wealth in the couples married life. Today some brides substitute a penny in their shoe during the ceremony as silver sixpences are less common.
It is thought unlucky for the bride to make her own wedding dress.
It is also unlucky for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before until she arrives at the ceremony.
The bride should not wear her entire outfit before the wedding day. Some brides leave a final stich on the dress undone until it is time to leave for the ceremony when the outfit is completed.
Most brides today marry in white which symbolises maidenhood. This tradition started by the rich in sixteenth century. The tradition was given a boost by Queen Victoria who chose to marry in white instead of silver which was the traditional colour of Royal brides. Before the white dress brides wore their best dress. The colour was a matter of preference. The following is a traditional rhyme offering advice on dress colour:

Married in White, you have chosen right,
Married in Blue, your love will always be true,
Married in Pearl, you will live in a whirl,
Married in Brown, you will live in town,
Married in Red, you will wish yourself dead,
Married in Yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
Married in Green, ashamed to be seen,
Married in Pink, your spirit will sink,
Married in Grey, you will go far away,
Married in Black, you will wish yourself back.

A green dress is thought to be unlucky unless the bride is Irish. The old expression that a woman has a 'green gown' was used to imply promiscuity, the green staining being due to rolling in grassy fields. (LOL.)
Traditionally, brides have been thought to be particularly vulnerable to evil spirits and many of the customs and traditions associated with weddings are to provide protection. The veil was originally worn by Roman brides. It was thought that it would disguise the bride and therefore outwit malevolent spirits.
Flowers have always been used for decoration at weddings.

Some people choose the flowers at the wedding on the basis of their symbolic meaning. For example orange blossom has always been associated with weddings because it signifies purity and chastity.

Peonies are avoided by some as they represent shame; azaleas represent temperance: roses symbolise love and snowdrops represent hope.

A combination of red and white flowers is avoided by the superstitious because they stand for blood and bandages.

However, people from different regions may attach other meanings to the same flower. For example lilies symbolise majesty to some but are thought unlucky by others because of their association with death.

The groom often chooses a flower for his buttonhole which also occurs in the bride's bouquet. This is a vestige of the time when a Knight would wear his Lady's colours to display his love.
When the bride is ready to leave the house for the wedding ceremony a last look in the mirror will bring her good luck. However returning to the mirror once she has began her journey will result in bad luck.

Seeing a chimney sweep on the way to a wedding is though to bring good luck and it is still possible to hire one to attend wedding ceremonies. Other good luck omens when seen on the way to the ceremony include lambs, toads, spiders, black cats and rainbows.

Seeing an open grave, a pig, a lizard, or hearing a cockerel crow after dawn are all thought to be omens of bad luck. Monks and nuns are also a bad omen. This may be because the are associated with poverty and chastity. They are also though to signal a dependence on charity by the newlyweds.

Bad weather on the way to the wedding is thought to be an omen of an unhappy marriage, although in some cultures rain is considered a good omen. Cloudy skies and wind are believed to cause stormy marriages. Snow on the other hand is associated with fertility and wealth.
Bridesmaids were dressed in a similar way to the bride for the same reason as the origin of veil. The bridesmaids were thought to act as decoys to confuse evil spirits and thus protect the bride.
Cutting the wedding cake is now part of the ritual celebrations at the reception. The couple make the first cut together to symbolise their shared future.
Confetti is Italian for sweets which in Italy are thrown over the couple as they emerge from the Church in that same way we use paper confetti. Raisins and nuts may also be used.

Before the use of paper confetti the married couple were showered with flowers, petals, rice or grains. This was to bestow prosperity and fertility on the couple.
In the past there have been a number of customs involving shoes which were thought to bring good luck. The best known, which is still upheld, is to tie shoes to the back of the newlyweds' car. This has evolved from the Tudor custom where guests would throw shoes at the newlywed couple. It was considered lucky if they or their carriage were hit.

The custom of the bride throwing her bouquet shoulder, described below, was originally performed by her throwing one of her shoes over her shoulder.
After the reception the bride throws her bouquet back over her shoulder where the unmarried female guest group together. Tradition holds that the one who catches the bouquet will be the next one of those present to marry.

A parallel custom is for the groom to remove the garter worn by the bride and throw it back over his shoulder toward the unmarried male guests. Again the one who catches it will be the next to marry.
After the wedding the bride must enter the new marital home through the main entrance. It is traditional for the groom to carry the bride over the threshold when they enter for the first time. The reason for this is uncertain. One explanation is that the bride will be visited by bad luck if she falls when entering. An alternative is that the bride will be unlucky if she steps into the new home with the left foot first. The bride can avoid both mishaps by being carried. A third explanation is that it symbolises the old Anglo-Saxon custom of the groom stealing his bride and carrying her off.
It is the best man's duty to protect the groom from bad luck. He must ensure that once the groom has began his journey to the church he does not return for any reason.

He must also arrange for the groom to carry a small mascot or charm in his pocket on the wedding day.

When the best man is paying the church minister's fee he should pay him an odd sum to bring luck to the couple.
The term "honeymoon" is though to originate from the times when a man captured his bride. The couple would hide from the bride's parents before marrying. The couple would remain in hiding for a further cycle of the moon after the wedding. During this period they drank honey wine.

In Scotland the custom was for a woman with milk in her breasts to prepare the marital bed to encourage fertility in the newlyweds.

In Ireland a laying hen was tied to the bed on the first honeymoon night in the hope that some of its fertility would be passed on to the couple. Eating a double yolked egg was also thought to bring fertility.


Sunday 6 September 2009

VMV Sale and Mandelic Acid

To all VMV Hypoallergenics users, VMV is offering 15% discount until tomorrow, 7 September 2009. Since they’re offering the discount online, I conclude that all their stores nationwide are offering it as well.

I am great fan of VMV because their Clindamycin toner is very effective for my acne. Oh yes I do suffer from adult acne regularly... whenever my irregular period nears. Or should I say “was effective” because it has been discontinued - a discovery that I just chanced upon when I browsed their website few weeks ago when I realized I was seriously running out of my Clindamycin stock. It has been replaced with Mandelic Acid Primer 2 toner and according to Wikipedia:

Its use as a skincare modality was pioneered by Dr James E. Fulton, who developed vitamin A acid (tretinoin, Retin A) in 1969. On the basis of this research, dermatologists now suggest mandelic acid as an appropriate treatment for a wide variety of skin concerns, from acne to wrinkles; it is especially good in the treatment of adult acne as it addresses both of these concerns. Mandelic acid is also recommended is a pre- and post-laser treatment, reducing the amount and length of irritation caused by laser resurfacing.

What a joy! Treatment for both acne and wrinkles? Hmmm this might be better than Clindamycin after all. I will take advantage of this 15% discount and try it myself. Also, my period is fast approaching. Sigh.


Thursday 3 September 2009

YOOX - Posh for Less

While looking for the this-is-it bridal shoes, I accidentally googled this site - www.yoox.com. Go to the SALE tab and you will see drool-worthy, famous designer brands slashed off as much as 70%!

Still expensive? Well don't be disheartened. There are also items that are more affordable.

KENZO wedge from £149 to £45 only.
Claudio Fracassa from £214 to £65 only.

Aside from shoes www.yoox.com also offers fantastic deals on designer bags, clothes, accessories and many more.
I ordered a pair of shoes yesterday (just couldn't resist it! lol). I am excited, can't wait to receive my order :) Will update you if I will be satisfied or not with the product.


Saturday 29 August 2009

Macarons with one Oh

The macaron is a traditional French pastry, made of egg whites, almond powder, icing sugar and sugar. This sweet pastry came out of the French courts' baker's oven as round meringue-like domes with a flat base. (source: Wikipedia)

Months ago Claire recommended that I look for and try this French delight here. Little did I know that PAUL, a chain of French patisserie in UK, is selling it and they have a branch just a few blocks away from my London office. Tsk! Oh well, it’s better late than never as last weekend I finally had a taste of this little devil. And I have been craving for it ever since.

This afternoon I browsed their website for the nearest shop and what a joy!, I don’t have to go all the way to London. There is one just 20 minutes by train, in Richmond. I dashed to the nearest train station right away, got there as fast as my short legs could manage.

Oh there you are pareng PAUL!

These little devils may not be as fancy looking as the other sinful treats, but don’t be fooled. They’re good. It is expensive, the lot of them.

As soon as I sank my teeth into its soft and a little bit chewy crust and then reached that cold, creamy filling, well blimey! I forgot my name! I had to force myself to slowly savour it and it took every ounce of my self control not to rush to the counter to order another one. Don't I deserve a pat on the back?

Macaron pistache - perfect with my coffee.

Before I left the shop I saw this at the display window. A box of mini macarons of every flavour!

Hmmm diet? What diet?


Wednesday 29 July 2009

Our Dream Team

Though it is still 5 months until our wedding but we already have booked most of our suppliers. Below is the partial list. There are some suppliers missing as I still have to google their websites, pics or company logos (LOL). We are blessed with competent wedding suppliers. No one is giving us a headache yet. So far it's so amazingly smooth. Believe me it really pays to hire a very efficient wedding planner. I am an overseas bride but I am not stressed at all. What I am feeling currently is just pure, wonderful excitement. Thank God we have Cielo of Blushing Bride, she is absolutely heaven-sent! Gosh I just can't imagine how chaotic it will be without her.

After our wedding I will post our reviews and ratings of these suppliers. I hope this page will help Cebu brides or those who are planning destination weddings to Cebu in hand-picking their own dream team.

Sacred Heart Parish

242 D. Jakosalem Street P.O. Box 98 Cebu City PH
View Website
View Map

Yes! I'm going to walk down the aisle and marry the man I love in this church (^-^)

Shangri-La's Mactan

Punta Engaño Road Lapu-Lapu, Mactan Cebu PH
View Website
View Map

Harley and I dream of celebrating our wedding under the stars, overlooking the clear blue sea... that's why we chose Shangri-La. And we believe we can never go wrong with Shangri-La in providing sumptuous food for our families and friends.

Mimi and Karl (Fotogra Weddings)

U303 Zaravel Business Center, 27 Congressional Ave. Quezon City PH
+63 2 925 2356 / +63 917 624 6464
View Website

These guys are our dream wedding photographers. I am a lurker of their website, always admiring every work they post. We are absolutely excited to have them shoot our wedding.

Jason Magbanua

unit6 Star Centrum Condominium 317 Gil Puyat Ave. Makati PH
+63 2 817 1989, +63 920 960 2127
View Website

Jason is simply the best wedding videographer there is. Need we say more? Just browse his site.

Cielo of Blushing Bride

+63 917 322 4356 (for Cebu weddings)
Or email: inquires@theblushingbride.us
View Website

During our first meeting with Cielo it took us less than five minutes to decide we had to get her. We did the right thing, she was able to help us book and contact our dream suppliers in less than a week. On our next meeting she already showed us inspirations on how she envisions our wedding should look like... we adore her!


La Union, Philippines
View Website

We begged Mall (May Ann Licudine) to design our invitation and we were ecstatic when she said yes! Well of course it helps that Harley is one of her favourite cousins (maybe not anymore after using that as a "blackmail" =p). Oh just browse her site, and you'll understand why we really want her to design our invitation. No one else will do!

Jun Escario

#417 General Lim St. Villa Aurora Cebu City PH
+63 32 233 1172
View Website
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32-Year Old Jun Escario is the creative force that helped shape the fashion landscape in Cebu and will soon be influencing the direction of Philippine fashion itself. He is one of the few Cebuano designers who have risen from the region to gain national recognition for his vision, creative identity, and contribution to Philippine fashion.

Marissa R. Unchuan

2nd Floor i2 Building, Asiatown, I.T. Park, Lahug Cebu PH
 +63 32 415 8056
View Website

Tita Marissa brought her cake samples during our first meeting and just after the we instantly became her fan. Her cakes are to die for... simply heaven.

Pink Flora Flowers

369 D. Tojong St. corner Escario St. Lahug Cebu City PH

View Website
View Map
Floral artistry at its best, Pink Flora creates magical and memorable event design for weddings, corporate events and private parties. From classic elegant settings to dramatic transformations, Pink Flora takes great care in providing only the finest of blooms and the very best in service

Weddings @ Work

View Website
I surely do not regret joining this mailing list. This is a wonderful venue for brides-to-be to share their preparation ideas and for brides who just got married to share their supplier ratings. Active is an understatement to describe this list because I receive like hundreds of emails everyday!


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