The Medical City Clark in Pampanga

The Medical City Clark in Pampanga

The Medical City Clark Emergency Entrance

If it weren’t for my dad’s fracture in his femur, I wouldn’t have known about this hospital. The local hospital here in Urdaneta doesn’t have an MRI and we were told of two places that have it – the TMC in Clark, Pampanga and in Dagupan, Pangasinan. We wanted the earliest one that was available and that was Clark.
The travel time there by car from Urdaneta is about an hour and a half thru TPLEX. The TMCC is quite new. It was built sometime in 2013 with state-of-the-art facilities. SM City Clark is just a few minutes away (about 4 km) and they offer a free shuttle bus to and from the mall every half hour daily.

The Medical City Clark Cafeteria

The room rates are relatively affordable at P2,800 (De Luxe) a night. You get 3 meals a day, housekeeping and 24/7 excellent service from the caring staff of TMCC. Patient’s family who are visiting can grab a meal from their cafeteria or drop a coin in their vending machine for a cold drink. If you prefer a fastfood meal, you can take the free shuttle ride to SM City Clark. Their website at http://www.themedicalcity.com/newsroom/news/the-medical-city-hostel-close-to-loved-ones also mentions about a 23-room hostel located at the 9th floor of the Nursing Tower.

The Medical City Clark Guest Elevator

As a PhilHealth-accredited institution, it also provides inpatient and outpatient benefits to member foreign nationals and their qualified dependents, as well. Visit this link for more information – https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/news/2017/expands_coverage.html.

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Apollo-Jem Building Commercial Space For Rent in Urdaneta Pangasinan

Now Leasing!  8/8/18

The Apollo-Jem Building is located at San Vicente Central along the MacArthur National Highway in Urdaneta City. It is a 3-storey commercial building with a basement warehouse, a road-level store space (approx. 38 sqm with 9 sqm front extension),  2nd floor office/clinic space. It is situated right across the bus stop for passengers heading to Baguio, Vigan, Laoag, Pozorrubio and other northern towns.

Update 9/5/18:

The retail space has been taken. The 2nd floor office/clinic space is still available. It comes with a bathroom, a kitchen and new floor tiles. Hurry while it still lasts!

20180805_111707
Apollo-Jem Building along McArthur Hi-way, Urdaneta City, Pangasinan

For inquiries, please put it in the comment.

Pinares Pagkaing Pinoy in Baguio

Pinares Pagkaing Pinoy in Baguio

Pinares Pagkaing Pinoy

There’s a new restaurant in Baguio City that replaced Kuya J at the Travelite Express Hotel by the Shuntug Road near the City Hall.

Pinares Meal Menu
Pinares Ala Carte Menu
Pinares Drinks, Desserts, …

The Pinares Pagkaing Pinoy is an all-Filipino restaurant that is operated by the hotel. The advantage of being run by a hotel is the emphasis on customer service. I had a slight problem with how my order was cooked and the manager apologized repeatedly and corrected the issue immediately. He even gave us a free dessert, courtesy of the Chef as a gesture of an apology.

Pinares Pakbet Rice
Pinares Chicken Halang

Food was great! Even with the low price, the serving size exceeded my expectations. This would be our regular place from now on whenever we’re in the City Hall or the Court House area.
We were there during their dry run but their opening will be on August 2, 2018 and they will be open from 7 AM to 9 PM.

A 5-star Treat at The Manor in Baguio

A 5-star Treat at The Manor in Baguio

The Manor Hotel Le Chef Garden Baguio.jpg
The Manor Hotel by the Garden

“Yes!”, was my next reaction after the Front Desk lady told us that they have upgraded our Deluxe room to a Suite. My first reaction was disbelief followed by the question, “Is it for the same price?”

Since we arrived here in the Philippines, I have heard about The Manor in Baguio City at least three times in separate occasions. When a time came to celebrate a special moment, I went online and booked a room from their website at https://campjohnhay.ph/accommodation.php. Their price already includes the taxes. I found it cheaper going directly rather than using any of the online travel booking sites due to their added service charge and fees. To give us an idea of what to expect from their famous Le Chef restaurant, we searched for their menu and found it here – http://www.munchpunch.com/le-chef-the-manor/menu. We found out later that the prices have increased and the Filipino Specialties are no longer available.

The Manor Hotel Suite

Their suite room was like a whole house. It has a living area with a veranda, dining, kitchen and its own bathroom. The master bedroom comes with a vanity, closet and a bathroom. There was no A/C unit but they have ceiling fans and screened doors and windows.

The Manor Hotel Baguio City Children Playground
The Manor Hotel Children’s Playground

The view at the veranda was so serene – it’s overlooking the well-manicured garden with the pines and the mountains in the backdrop.

Le Chef Restaurant Schedule/Hours
Le Chef Dress Code

Le Chef Dinner Char-Grilled Baby Back Ribs
The Manor Hotel Le Chef Garden Restaurant .jpg
Le Chef outdoor dining

Dining at Le Chef restaurant was impressive. It has a main room and about three extra rooms. There is also a covered area by the garden next to it if you like the feel of an outdoor dining. Service is great – they pull the chair for you and put on the napkin on your lap. The food was served quickly and there were a lot of servers standing by to cater to your needs.

Le Chef Breakfast Buffet Pastries
Le Chef Breakfast Buffet Eggs and Salads

Breakfast buffet was delightful with all the different varieties and volume of food available to satisfy your taste and appetite. They have meat, seafood, eggs (regular, red and black – century egg), cereals, pancakes, pastries and fruits.

The Manor Hotel Camp John Hay Baguio Concierge
Smiling faces at The Manor Hotel Concierge

After checking out, the helpful concierge by the entrance called a taxi for us. Wow, that’s what I call initiative! From check-in to check-out, we had enjoyed our five-star experience at The Manor Hotel.

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You Travel – Part I

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe While You Travel – Part I

While we spend much time looking for a safe hotel to stay in when planning for a trip, we also need to take time to keep our home safe when we leave. There are certain criteria that thieves look for in targeting a house. The goal is to avoid these, making your chances of not being in their “hit list” much better.

A. Time

Travelling time

Burglars pick the most convenient time to break in to a house – when no one is home. Months of July and August as well as during the holidays are the favorite time for thieves. That’s usually the time when we take off for a family reunion or enjoy our hard-earned money on a vacation. Thieves prowl the neighborhood to see which homes are unoccupied. To not convey your absence,

1. Keep mails/newspapers from sight. Have someone pick them up regularly.

Keep mails from sight

2. Keep some lights on. Just a light in an upper room window can signal the presence of someone.

Keep some lights on inside

3. During the holidays, keep presents out of sight. Don’t give thieves a reason to “shop” in your house. After the holidays, keep boxes of presents out of sight. You don’t want to let thieves know that you got the latest and greatest in electronics for Christmas.

Keep presents from view

B. Place

Hiding in the dark

Thieves pick a house where there’s a place that they can hide in the dark or from public view. To keep them from targeting your house,

1. Add lighting. Light up any dark spots in your yard.

Light up your yard

2. Trim bushes/trees. Keep bushes low enough so no one can hide behind it. Keep tree branches trimmed to keep it as far away from your house as much as possible so it can’t be used to access your upper rooms or roof.

C. Accessibility

Adding a fear factor

Keep gates locked and put a “Beware of dogs” sign to add a bit of fear factor. If, for whatever reason, they still would like to try your house, make it difficult for them to break in. Hopefully, they’ll get frustrated and leave.

1. Use deadbolts. Make sure the area of the lock and door jamb that it’s bolted in is reinforced (such as Door Armor MAX from Armor Concepts) and will not easily break when pried with a crow bar or kicked in. Of course, the door must be solid so it will not break into pieces when forced open.

Reinforce doors

2. Use sliding door and sliding window security bars for additional protection from forced entry. A piece of 2×2 lumber from your local hardware or an adjustable one from an online store will keep sliding doors/windows fixed on its track.

Next time, we’ll look into how you can make your home smart as an additional option to keeping your home safe and give you a peace of mind while away.

Rocco’s Korean Grill

New Korean restaurant in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan.

Rocco’s Korean Grill

The only Korean restaurant in the city! It’s been a while since we have eaten Kalbi and Bulgogi. Although they didn’t have them, their pork ribs were close enough. Their main dishes, which you can choose from three choices, come with the typical Korean side dishes. By the way the noodles are so good, you’ll keep on asking for more. They offer an unlimited or all-you-can-eat serving but they’ll charge you extra for leftovers. You cook your own food on a stove-top griddle that is on every table which is great so you can control the tenderness of the meat and its fat content.

Main dish comes with side dishes.

The price is P299 and up depending on your order. And each comes with a pitcher of ice cold tea. So if you have been craving for some good Korean dish, stop by at 125 Mac Arthur Highway, Nancayasan, Urdaneta, Pangasinan. They are open from 11 AM to 8 PM.

7 Must-Have Gears To Pack When You Travel

7 Must-Have Gears To Pack When You Travel

Have you ever checked in to a hotel or resort and find out that there is no Wi-Fi signal in your room? Or you have just arrived at the airport and can’t use Uber because your phone ran out of juice.

Gadgets-travel
Gadgets make your vacation more enjoyable.

Backpackers, like soldiers, need gears to survive or adapt to an unfamiliar place that is missing some of the necessities found in the comfort of home. Those include devices they use as they go about in their daily activities. For shutter bugs and vloggers, they might need to bring a kit version of their studio to save on luggage space. For some who just can’t leave their work behind, they throw in their laptop or tablet as well.

Having traveled here and abroad in some occasions staying overnight or several days, here are the list of gadgets that fill my backpack other than the grooming kit.

Must have:

Phone-beach
Unfortunately, there are no charging stations at the beach.

1) Quick-charge Power Bank – Do you often get that dreaded low battery status on your phone before the day ends? You even get it quicker when you’re taking pictures of everything that looks cool or when you’re engaging with 100+ social media friends and followers. Guess what? There are no charging stations at the beach or on the bus.

This compact power bank can save your day by quickly charging your phone not just once but several times over. I’m not talking about the freebie you got from some sales promo or from work. They will not cut it. Stick with a reliable and proven product such as this one.

Phone-charger
Less clutter with a multi-USB charger.

2) Multi USB wall charger – Newer devices such as phones, power banks, cameras, etc. use USB chargers. Instead of bringing their own chargers, why not carry just one but with multiple USB ports. These can even charge at a faster speed than what came with the devices and with less clutter.

Phone-lowbat
Avoid crowding the charging station with a long USB cable.

3) Long USB fast-charging cable (10ft.) – Most lengths of USB cables that manufacturers include with their devices are sufficient if the power outlet is close to your bedside or don’t mind hugging the nightstand. Some hotel rooms, especially in some countries, have just one and if it happens to be across the room, a long USB cable would come in handy. Also, charging stations at the airport usually gets crowded. Having a long USB cable will allow you to run it to the nearest sitting lounge where you can have more elbow room and privacy.

I prefer using a darker color so the grime from the floor will not be visible. You would want a durable cable that will withstand all the pulling and bending. Not all cables are created equal. Some create bottlenecks. But this cable is fast-charging and will complement the charger described above. There is also an iPhone version available if you need one.

Universal-adapter
Yes, they come in different shapes. Do you have the right gadget?

4) Universal power adapter – Different countries have different sizes, shapes and ratings of power outlets. Some have 2 holes, 3 holes, flat holes, round holes, slanted holes, you name it but this universal adapter will let you plug in your USB wall charger just fine. Fortunately, most chargers are rated to run on 100V-240V just like this one making it adaptable to any power source. Just plug it in to this universal adapter and you’re good to go.

Power-strip-phone
Not enough power outlet for everyone?

5) Portable Power strip – If you have been in a hotel room on a vacation with your family, you know how hard it is to find an available power outlet for everyone’s gadgets. You can covertly replace theirs with yours and risk ruining the vacation or you can plug in your power strip and you’ll even have a spare spot to share with others. A travel-size one will fit nicely in a backpack and will not slow you down.

Memory-stick
Bring hours and hours of movie time with a memory stick.

6) Back-to-back USB memory stick – Do you remember getting the “memory full” notification in your phone? This memory stick or flash drive can fix that problem by allowing you to transfer old pictures or videos from your phone or tablet and thereby freeing up much needed space. If you want, you can load it up with your favorite movies that you can watch while waiting for a bus ride. It does not need any adapter so it connects directly to an android phone, tablet or an iPhone.

Pocket-wifi
Not every place has a free Wi-Fi.

7) Pocket WI-FI – How would you feel if you’re on a trip and your phone’s data signal is barely making a blip and loading a page is taking forever? And not every place has a free Wi-Fi. That’s when I grab my pocket Wi-Fi and fire it up. This one gets its signal from another provider and most of the time it’s stronger. The pay-as-you-go is perfect for traveling, money-wise, since you only use it when needed and there are no roaming charges. When you travel to another country, you’ll have a backup Wi-Fi to use as soon as your plane has landed. Then, at a later time, load it with a local SIM card of your choice, if you want, to save on money even more and get a stronger signal.

You can enjoy your vacation with the same convenience you have at home, well almost, with these gadgets. You can give some of these to your friends and family as a present and they’ll be grateful you did.

Coming up soon: 7 Things You Should Do to Keep Your Home Safe When You Travel

‘Maayong’ Travel Tips for Iloilo

‘Maayong’ Travel Tips for Iloilo

The City of Love, as they call Iloilo City, is about an hour and fifteen minutes flight from Manila. The best time to take a trip to Iloilo is the week before the fourth Sunday of January which is the city’s Dinagyang Festival.

Travel Tips Iloilo Dinagyang event at Plazuela

It is an event that is similar to the well-known Ati-atihan Festival in Aklan, a neighboring province. Book your accommodation close to SM City in Mandurriao, Iloilo for convenience specially if you’ll be using public transportation – they have a Grab taxi booth there that can assist in your travel needs. If you’re flying to Iloilo, it is best to reserve your ticket early so you can avail of cheaper price. To get there from Urdaneta City, you can take a bus that is headed to Pasay City (via TPLEX will cut travel time to 3.5 hours) from the bus stop infront of CB Mall along the McArthur hi-way. From the bus’ Pasay terminal, grab a taxi (or any of the available app-driven transport) to the domestic airport.

Arriving in Iloilo days before the festival will give you the opportunity to visit some of its fascinating places.

Megaworld

Travel Tips Iloilo Megaworld

Those who enjoy urban life can find themselves at home in Mandurriao’s Megaworld area

Travel Tips Iloilo iQor

and vicinity. It is the newest section of Iloilo City where it is being developed with the live-work-play concept. You will find new hotels, businesses and dining areas.

Travel Tips Iloilo Marriott Courtyard and the adjacent Convention Center
Travel Tips Iloilo Casa de Emperador

It is a few minutes away from shopping centers like the SM City, Plazuela

Travel Tips Iloilo Plazuela

and Atria and the Festive Walk Parade or the Esplanade

Travel Tips Iloilo Esplanade

where you can get a relaxing stroll. You can also enjoy a pedal boat ride along the river

Travel Tips Iloilo Esplanade River Ride

or rent a bike and tour Esplanade 1 & 2 and the Festive Walk Parade. When exhaustion hits you, there are coffee and snack shops along the route to recharge one’s energy like the Riverside Boardwalk.

Travel Tips Iloilo Riverside Boardwalk

Garinfarm

Travel Tips Iloilo San Joaquin Garinfarm

If you have a religious background or love outdoor activities, you might like visiting the Garinfarm in San Joaquin. Travel time is about 45 minutes to an hour ride from Iloilo city. Take a taxi from SM City to the Mohon jeepney terminal where you can get a ride to San Joaquin church. A tricycle can take you from there to Garinfarm. Aside from the heavenly scene atop a hill,

Travel Tips Iloilo Garinfarm heavenly scene on top of a hill.

they also have several activities that young and old can enjoy such as a zip line across a lake, horse back riding, water rides, etc.

Travel Tips Iloilo Garinfarm fees

You’ll also get the chance to feed the doves, fish and the sheeps during their feeding time at around twelve noon.

Guimaras island

Travel Tips Iloilo Guimaras Island view from Iloilo City

Then if you want an island adventure, take a 15-minute travel on a pump boat ride to the Guimaras island. From SM City, grab a taxi to the Ortiz wharf downtown and pay a ticket

Travel Tips Iloilo Guimaras Jordan boat ride ticket booth

for the boat ride to Jordan, Guimaras. Once there, register at the Tourism Office

Travel Tips Iloilo Guimaras Jordan Tourism Office

where they’ll help you find a transportation to your destination. Although all the roads are paved, we opted to rent a jeep for the travel for P450 instead of P250 for a small tricycle due to my stature. We went to Raymen’s Resort in Alobijod (or Alubihod) beach, Nueva Valencia. Here you can rent a room (the hotel type has private bathroom) overnight and explore, swim and/or play in the un-crowded beach. They have their own restaurant that serves cheap but good food

Travel Tips Iloilo Guimaras Raymen’s Restaurant.

which is very convenient since the beach is far from from the town. Check also with the front desk if you want to go island-hopping and enjoy nature at its best.

Bearland Paradise Resort

Travel Tips Iloilo Bearland Paradise Resort in Tigbauan.
Travel Tips Iloilo Bearland Paradise Resort fees.

If you just want to just soak in the water without the waves or sand getting in your flip-flops or shoes, you will love this inland resort in Tigbauan. It’s about a 30-minute travel time from Iloilo city. From the same Mohon terminal, take a jeepney ride to Tigbauan then a tricycle ride to the resort. They have several size pools overlooking the beach where you can wade and bask in the sun.

Travel Tips Iloilo Bearland Paradise Resort infinity pool.
Travel Tips Iloilo Bearland Paradise Resort pool.

Go to bearlandparadise.com to reserve an accommodation if you plan on staying overnight.

Travel Tips Iloilo Bearland Paradise Resort accommodations.

If you visit around January and February, they’ll have fewer guests and youll have a more enjoyable stay.

Recommended gadgets for travellers:

Phone holder
Mini tripod with remote control
Selfie light
Power bank compact high-speed
Selfie stick pro with remote control

The Road to Dual Citizenship – How to Apply for Retention of Philippine Citizenship

How to Apply for Retention of Philippine Citizenship

Having experienced the process first hand, here are some tips to help those who are planning to get their Philippine citizenship back:

1. Forms and Documents
Download the petition form and the instructions/checklist form from the Bureau of Immigration website (http://www.immigration.gov.ph/services/citizenship-retention-and-aquisition/application-for-retention-re-acquisition-of-phil-citizenship). Obtain all the required photos and documents including an Affidavit of One and the Same Person if your current name is different from what’s in your birth certificate. A common example is a married woman who changed her last name to  her husband’s.

Fill out the forms except the Oath of Allegiance. This will be prepared for you at the Dual Citizenship office before the oath-taking.

Place all the documents (in the order of the checklist) in a long folder and attach them with a paper fastener. If you forget to do this they’ll ask you to buy the supplies from the ladies by the the main door. They also have copying service inside and attorneys outside to handle your last minute affidavit needs. To save time, check your official documents for any discrepancies and correct them before turning them in or you’ll get a letter from them after two months of your petition asking you to submit an affidavit.

2. Before the trip
Plan your trip to the Bureau of Immigration Head Office, Magallanes Dr, Intramuros, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines. This is the only place they do it when you’re in the Philippines. If staying overnight, I recommend the Bayleaf Hotel (https://www.thebayleaf.com.ph/). It is nice, fairly priced and very close to the BOI. Usually, Mondays are always the busiest so try other days. Before heading there, check to make sure that your scheduled date does not fall on a holiday. They usually have holidays in Manila only and sometimes declared on a short notice.

3. Parking
Once there, parking is along the road on the BOI side. There are parking attendants that will give you tickets which you’ll pay P20 for the1st 3 hours then P15 for every hour thereafter for a car.

Parking ticket at BOI Main Office.

4. Windows, Windows
At the entrance, you will be required to leave your identification card with the guard. Head over to the Public Information and Assistance Unit (PIAU) right across the main entrance and turn in your petition. It will be forwarded to the attorneys in a room behind the counter. Wait for your name to be called. The attorney in charge of your petition will review your documents with you to make sure everything is in order.

Assessment windows
Payment window.

After passing the review, take your documents to the Alien Registration Division (window 18) then Central Receiving Unit (window 19) and finally Central Receiving Unit (window 20) for payment of application.

5. Taking the Oath
Go up to the 4th floor to the Dual Citizenship Office (room 401) for the oath-taking preparation. You’ll have to make one last payment of P2,510 at the window of room 404. All the applicants will then be called to make the oath before a legal officer.

The whole process should be finished in a day if you have all the documents needed.

6. The Certificate of Citizenship
The Certificate of Re-acquisition/Retention of Philippine Citizenship will be available for pick up only. The waiting time is 2 to 3 months after the application date. Call (02) 301-0756 or (02) 485-2400 locals 458 or 459 to inquire about the status of your petition.

Masangret Cove – The “Blue Lagoon” of Agno, Pangasinan

The “Blue Lagoon” of Agno, Pangasinan
The Blue Lagoon of Agno, Pangasinan (aka Masangret Cove).

https://goo.gl/maps/WME11vz3Bo32

The cove is located at Masangret, Agno, Pangasinan but accessible through the Cabongaoan beach of Burgos, Pangasinan by

Rocky trails from Cabo Beach to the Death Pool.

heading northward on rocky trails past the famous Death Pool and just over Mary Hill.

Approaching Death Pool with Mary Hill in the distance.
Mary Hill (a youth camp) is between the Death Pool and Masangret Cove in Pangasinan.

Its official name is Masangret Cove but I’d like to call it the little Blue Lagoon after the movie with the same title because of its resemblance to the pristine body of water used in the film although in a smaller scale. For those who prefer a tranquil and kids-friendly swimming, this is a perfect spot to go. There are no waves to watch out for not like the neighboring Cabongaoan beach or the Death Pool.

Adventurous dudes who prefer excitement and adrenaline rush should try the Death Pool. It has a diameter and depth of about 20 feet. The level of the water rapidly goes up and down as the waves rush in and out sucking the water from the hole like a flushing giant toilet bowl. There is a smaller version nearby called the Date Pool. It is more like for dipping ones feet while sitted around its edge. You can also ask an unsuspecting friend to peek into a hole that randomly burps out streams of water. These are found on the other side of Mary Hill.

Couples or individuals who just want to stroll on a white sand, collect shells or feel romantic watching the sunset, there’s the Cabo (short for Cabongaoan) Beach nearby.

Cabo Beach in front of the Allen Beach Resort (https://m.facebook.com/aencabowhitesandbeach/photos/?ref=page_internal&mt_nav=1).

Sunset at Cabo Beach.

Whatever age group you belong to and if you’re looking for a quiet beach getaway that is not yet crowded and commercialized, Cabongaoan Beach is the place to be.

Sunset stroll along Cabo Beach.
Masangret Cove – our Blue Lagoon.

Recommended gadgets for travellers:

Phone holder
Mini tripod with remote control
Selfie light
Power bank compact high-speed
Selfie stick pro with remote control