FASHIONABLY LATE – often used to describe a socialite’s understanding of time and are exactly the words to describe the second show of Fashion i at the Genting Club, Resorts World Manila last December 3.

Cocktails and the Wait

Being punctual like many of the guests, I arrived at the show around seven o’clock in the evening for a round of cocktails. Fashionistas and club members were lounging around and getting their pictures taken with the display of some of the best works of the designers. Unfortunately, the show started about 30 minutes past the expected time so everyone was really anxious and spent their time getting updated with the LA Galaxy versus Azkals football game while waiting to be let in the show area.

Despite the wait, the show did not disappoint. Hosted by the lovely and courteous Joey Mead-King, the show featured the designs of Pablo Cabahug, Eric Delos Santos, Joel Escober and Anthony Ramirez. As expected, the show was incredible. In between designers were intermission numbers by Resorts World’s dancers.

The Collections

Pablo Cabahug’s designs were very sophisticated and were more than just ramp worthy items; they were wearable and avant-garde enough to make every contemporary woman who wore them stand out in a crowd.

One thing you’ll love about Eric Delos Santos’ designs is how it will never fail to impress you with his chic and stand out pieces. What stood out most was the dress worn by Ornussa Cadness. It had great details on it from the pattern, use of color and bedazzling embedded in the dress.

I loved the fact that Joel Escober showed off his men’s line. The suits were awesome and I wanted to take them home for myself. The women’s collection was just as gorgeous with a more sensual element.

Anthony Ramirez Fashion i
Anthony Ramirez Fashion i

Anthony Ramirez was the last to showcase his designs and gave one hell of an ender for Fashion i. Those scarab-like patterns were so intricate and stunning, and I can’t wait to his next collection.

Part Three

The show is the second installment of a series of fashion shows hosted by Resorts World Manila and sponsored by Mega Publishing Group, Mercedes Benz, Maybelline and lifestyleasia. The third and final installment will be on the tenth of December featuring master designers like Randy Ortiz and Rajo Laurel.

Joey Mead-King
Joey Mead-King

Key Pointers When Buying a Second Hand Car

It does not matter if you are buying a second hand car from an individual or from a local car dealer you need to carefully inspect the car for any defects that are not apparent.
Second hand car buying tips:
1. Educate yourself as a consumer
2. Prepare a list of your needs. Prioritize between the necessities and the wants.
3. Determine the budget and the kind of car that would best fit.
4. Make a selection by models and types. Narrowing them down will be helpful.
5. Research both online and offline by dealers.
6. Know the market value of model you .
7. Research the Vehicle Identification Numbers and history.
8. Take a mechanic when checking the car whether buying from a friend or a dealer.
9. Never shy away from asking questions.
10. If there’s a gut feeling about it not being good, don’t be afraid to walk away.

Bringing a mechanic along is always a good strategy.
Make sure your mechanic inspects the total car, down to its last screw. It should be parked on a level spot. You should make certain that it was driven for about an hour before the inspection. The car should be inspected in a well lit area in daylight.
How to inspect it thoroughly:
Checking the exterior.
Walk around to see if there is damage to the body. The corners of the car should be shaken and bounced up and down to see if the shock absorbers are still in good condition. Make sure that the wheel bearings do not make any sound when trying to pull the front tires by tugging them. Open the doors lift the hood and the trunk to see if all the rubber seals are still in place. This will also tell if any hinges are loose. Check for signs of repainting. There will be difference in the color because shops can never duplicate the original paint of the car exactly. Ask someone to turn on all the outside lights of the car and look if all are working. Cars with only 30,000 miles of travel most probably still have their original tires. Beware if you find a car with only a few miles of travel but has new tires. When the test drive is done, check the break discs. Check the windshield for cracks.
Checking the Interior.
Though it sounds odd, smell the inside of the car. Sniff under mats and the carpet. If it smells like mildew then it’s a sign that there is a leak somewhere or that the car may have undergone flood damage. Switch on the air-conditioning to make sure that it really turns the whole inside of the car cold. Next, try the heater. Try out all lights inside as well and never forget to blow the horn. Also try all the seat adjustments. The upholstery should still be in good shape too. There is a lot more to check and here is where the mechanic can help the buyer.
Looking inside the trunk. Once more, smell the insides and check for any signs of leaks. Make sure that some basic car tools are still present for the new user.
Checking under the hood. Feel the wiring for any cracks or brittleness. Squeeze the hoses and the fan belt for any cuts and possible electrical tape patches. Do not take off the cap of the radiator until its cool enough. The greenish color indicates a good condition where the coolant is. Beware of stains and dirty-whitish color on the radiator.
Checking under the car. Lie down if you must and use an emergency light to see the engine underneath. Feel any signs of residue. Check the pipes and examine any possibility of heavy rusting.
Do the Test Drive. The owner or dealer of the second hand car should not stop a buyer from going over about twenty minutes of test drive. This is a special time to thoroughly look for any problems with the air-conditioning, heater, steering wheel, brakes, transmission, and most importantly, the comfort. Feel everything; it’s okay to try it on a hump or a slight bumpy road to really experience the performance. Listen carefully to check any rattles.

Clothes: When to Save and When to Splurge

Being fashionable does not come cheap. Knowing how much to spend on clothes and accessories is always an important consideration. Deciding the right amount to spend on a particular piece of clothing is not easy, especially if you are on a tight budget.  But still, you HAVE to look great. We are glad to tell you that you don’t always have to buy the priciest dress or pants in order to be fashionable. To get the most out of your hard-earned cash, here is a list of items that you should splurge on and items that you can spend less on.

Splurge on…

  • Jeans

Jeans is like a universal uniform – you can wear it anytime, anyplace. A good pair of jeans should not only fit well, they should be able to stand repeated use. Great fit can make your butt and legs look awesome, and it’s only understandable why you should spend considerable time looking for jeans that will fit your body well. The fabric should be strong enough to survive the years of washing it will experience.

  • Handbags

Handbags are both an accessory and a necessity. You can’t live without carrying a handbag whenever you go out of the house. Aside from design, durability is a primary concern, since it will carry your stuff. A good handbag should be made of quality materials, with good stitching and a classic design. Spending a few hundred dollars more on a good handbag is worth the momentary guilt.

Save on…

  • Evening dresses

Unless you’re a celebrity and looking awesome is a must, it’s not practical for you to pour thousands of dollars on outrageously expensive long gowns. Since you will only use them for several times and will be delegated to the back closet afterwards, you should buy reasonably priced evening dresses with good fit and good material. If you do decide to buy an Armani or a Versace, make sure that you choose something that you can use over and over again.

  • Hosiery

They will run or get snagged sometime anyway, so what’s the use of buying those Victoria’s Secret stockings? Designer hosiery may be a tad more durable than the cheaper ones, but the material is still flimsy. For the price of one pricey stockings or pantyhose, you can get two or three moderately-priced ones with good quality.

Shopping in Divisoria

Nothing beats Divisoria when it comes to cheap, cheap shopping. “Divi,” as the Pinoys call it, is the mecca for bargaining, where unbelievably inexpensive items can be bought for even lower prices. Here haggling is the norm. Practically everything is here in Divisoria, and people from all walks of life brave the crowded streets in order to score bargain goods.

Since the area is made up of a dizzying maze of stalls, carts, tiangges and shopping malls competing for the customers' hard-earned pesos, it would help tremendously if you are already familiar with the place before you go shopping. For the uninitiated, here are some of the places that you should check out in the Divisoria area:

– Divisoria Mall

This is located near Tabora St. and the oldest mall in the block. The air-conditioned building has the usual stalls and narrow passageways that sell wide range of items for both wholesale and retail.

– Tutuban Mall

Located along Claro M. Recto Avenue, Tutuban Mall is one of the biggest malls in the area. Aside from the usual items, the mall also sells wide varieties of gadgets such as mobile phones and DVD players. There is a food court with lots of food choices and good restroom facilities. During nighttime, there is an ihaw-ihaw, dampa-style food court at the back of the mall which serves barbecue and fresh seafood. It is the perfect way to cap off a tiring day of shopping in Divisoria.

– 168 Mall

168 Mall is now one of the most popular shopping malls in Divisoria. Compared to the Divisoria Mall, 168 has better security and nicer restrooms. Items here are pretty much the same as in Divisoria Mall although 168 has more electronic gadgets and home décor. There is a spacious food court with usual fare of McDonalds', Jollibee, Greenwich, Chowking among others.

For the more adventurous ones, check out the stalls that stand side-by-side along the hot and crowded streets of Divisoria. Some of the streets have more shops specializing certain groups or pieces of items. For instance, Tabora St. is known for its sewing and crafting materials, as well as textiles and kitchen utensils. Juan Luna Street is the place to check out for ready-to-wear clothes, shoes and accessories.

If you are going to shop in Divisoria, make sure to wear simple and comfortable clothing and shoes. This is not the place to look glamorous. Shorts, jeans, light shirts and sandals/flip flops are the perfect uniform for Divi shopping. You will be walking around A LOT so do not make the mistake of wearing your expensive heels, or any other pair of heels for that matter. Also, try to avoid wearing jewelry or bringing expensive mobile phones. There are lots of shoplifters in the area so do not take chances with your personal belongings.

How to shop online

We absolutely LOVE internet shopping. The ease of choosing and buying items right in the convenience of your home and office is definitely for those who can’t be bothered to go to the mall to buy stuff. I’m pretty sure that most of us have eBay, Amazon and Multiply bookmarked in our browsers.

To make online shopping more enjoyable and definitely hassle-free, here are some tips how to shop online:

  • As much as possible, stick with the sellers that you already know. Trust is a precious commodity when it comes to online selling, and you’ll feel better buying items from someone you’ve already dealt with. If the seller is unknown to you, make sure to find more info about him through feedbacks from past customers.
  • Be careful and take note of the item’s condition. Sellers MUST cite if an item is brand-new, slightly used or refurbished. The actual condition of the item should always correspond with the seller’s description.
  • Take note of the shipping expenses. Usually, prices posted by sellers exclude the shipping expenses. Make sure to read carefully and find out the exact shipping fee required, which will be added on top of the item’s base price.
  • Always read the return policy. You never know when you have to return an item that has been shipped to you. Make sure that the seller has clear and fair return policies. Do not hesitate to ask questions to the seller in case there’s something unclear about the policies.
  • Be clear on the delivery date. Some sellers become sketchy when it comes to delivery dates. The duration of the delivery should also correspond with the amount of shipping charged to you.

How to Buy an Engagement Ring

So you think that buying an engagement ring is just going to any store that sells diamond rings and plunking down wads of cold, hard cash? It's not as simple as that. Asking your woman to marry you is serious business, whether or not you're certain that she'll say yes. Every girl dreams of the perfect marriage proposal, and this involves you flashing a gorgeous, diamond ring that will send her tear ducts to overdrive.

Knowing how to buy the perfect engagement ring for her will definitely help lessen the pre-proposal jitters. Here's what you should do:

  • Know your four C's

Most men are blissfully unaware of what they should look for when it comes to purchasing diamonds. Take a crash course on the four C's – cut, carat, clarity and color. You think that all diamonds look the same, but you're dead wrong. So far, the most popular cut among brides is the princess cut. The carat of the ring will largely depend on your budget, because the higher the carat, the more expensive it would be. Ask a reputable jeweler on how to choose the right diamond for your budget.

  • Choose a jeweler

You may have to ask around for this one, especially if you are completely clueless about jewelry. You can ask your mom where to shop for quality diamonds, if you don't object to her knowing that you're going to propose anytime soon. Or you can ask your married buddies where they scored their engagement rings.

  • Decide whether to buy the ring alone or with her

Ideally, it's best to purchase the ring on your own to keep the surprise element, but lots of couples nowadays shop for the ring together. This is practical for those who already know that they will be getting married soon, and have no need for surprise marriage proposals. This way, the couple can make sure that the ring is her taste, and fits her finger perfectly.

  • Decide on how to pay for the rock

There is no doubt that diamond rings are very expensive, and not every man can afford to pay for it with cash. Good for you if you're one of the lucky ones with unlimited cash supply, but if not, you may consider other payment options. The good news is, most jewelry stores accept credit cards for purchases, so that takes care of the problem. Just make sure to pay for it later on.

Gaining Control of Your Finances, the Old School Way

You've been getting loads of advice on how to double your money in no time, but before you can do that, you have to get serious cash into your bank account first. The first road to financial independence is to get a decent amount of money in and making it stay there. Fancy accounting and investment ventures will have to come in later; the first thing you have to do is save your cash the old-fashioned way. No, we're not talking about dropping loose change in piggy banks.

– Know the difference between what you want and what you need

A lot of people confuse the two – they often assume that they need all the things that they want. The thing is, they'll be surprised to discover that they don't really need majority of what they've been dying to have, as in you'll survive just fine without buying it. Those who procure the latest gadgets that come out are often the ones guilty of this. It's not that they need that newly launched phone model; they just obsess incessantly about getting their hands on whatever is new.

– Know exactly where your money is going

The moment your cash comes out of the ATM, note where each centavo is being spent. This may sound a little too OC for your taste, but this is the only way to know how and where you spend your hard-earned cash. Keep all the receipts of your ATM withdrawals and the receipts of all your purchases. When you get home, list all of the amounts and see if they tally. This way, you will see how fast your money flies out of your hands, and will make you more conscious next time how you spend.

– Don't share what you don't have

You can't be a Good Samaritan everytime your friends and family asks to borrow some of your money. Don't misinterpret this one; there's nothing wrong with helping out people if you actually have lots to spare, but if your money is just enough for your basic expenses, learn how to graciously say no. Your family and friends will have to understand that you might encounter money problems later on, if you lend them what little cash you have.

A Whole Day Is Never Enough When One Visits The Enchanted Kingdom


Braving the Saturday afternoon traffic has never been more worthwhile. Last weekend, we visited the country's premiere theme park – The Enchanted Kingdom and went home very tired but enormously happy. Arriving a little past 3PM, we originally intended to sample the most sought after attractions and leave by 9 Pm. We estimated that 6 hours spent on the best rides, a nice dinner, the fireworks competition and a little souvenir hunting would be more than enough.

Little did we know that we were about to have fun ‘til a few minutes before midnight. Had the park operated beyond that, we would have stayed some more. We probably sampled less than half the park's attraction and plans to go back for more. Needless to say, my previously sprained ankle, which I thought had fully healed, became badly swollen a day after.

A few minutes after the arrival, our little one decided to get into the warpath. In a mini warzone, she ducked, ran and fired a laser rifles with other kids and ended tired, a bit muddied and sweaty but very happy. Later, I saw an extreme paintball shooting range and field where bigger kids and grownups practice and blast at each other, simulating real battles.

(Please click on the photos for full sized views)

Realizing that time travels fast, we grabbed the little kid from a mini obstacle climb and headed for the small roller coaster (roller skaters). It provided an exhilarating 2 minutes of peaks and valleys that were adequately scary for the adventurous soul but short enough for the faint hearted to enjoy.

Being more daredevils more than the normal souls, we next dared the famed roller coaster (Space Shuttle) – the country’s first and only triple loop coaster that is known that turns riders upside down six times – 3 times forward and 3 times backwards. Not only that, it also includes 2 steep climbs and dives in an 11 storey high structure. Hahaha! Despite the seemingly extreme adventure, we had time to laugh at some of those in the crowd who watched in genuine horror, our 8-year-old girl strapped in the front seat.

We also had time to line up and try the bump cars and its water equivalent- the Bump N’ Splash. Having tasted a water ride, we went further by riding a log boat (Jungle Log Jam) that took us to high climbs and steep drops. Yes, we got a bit wet. Now veterans of the Space Shuttle, Log Jam and the Roller Skaters, we dared the Anchors Away. A replica of an ancient ship that simulates a vessel being battered by a strong typhoon. We found to our amazement, that the ride is not inferior by any means.

In between rides, we got henna tattoos, a nice dinner, relaxing massages in the mini jungle spa, indulged in ice cream, enjoined up close entertainment by store magicians and shopped for magician tools.

That night had two added attractions, a “Enchanté the Musical” that we had to because of time constraints and a magnificent fireworks competition that lighted the sky for a couple of hours and provided world class entertainment even to those far away from the 11 hectare facility.

I am still nursing a sprained ankle and I am typing this post while an ice bag is rests over it. The pain gets bad as soon as I get home, after driving through Manila's jam-packed roads. Nonetheless, it is well worth it. Never have we had continuous fun for 9 hours.

This early, we are planning our next trip to Enchanted Kingdom. We will be bringing towels and extra sets of clothes and come early for maximum enjoyment. Other than the best rides, we intend to try kart racing, the all terrain vehicle adventure, watch a show and more.

My last sentence just made me realize that I another day will still be not enough.

Operating Days/Hours: For everyone's information, Enchanted Kingdom opens on Thursdays and Fridays ( 12 noon to 7 pm) and on weekends (11 am to 9pm). On December 20 to January 4, 2009, it will operate from 10 am to midnight (except on Christmas and New Year's Eve, where it will close shop by 7PM).

Here’s how to get to Enchanted kingdom

To free themselves from the hassle of slugging it out through heavy traffic, those who would like to commute to Enchanted Kingdom may opt to avail of itsfree Shuttle service at the parking lot of Glorietta, across the Gold Crest building. For those who will drive from Manila, here are directions on how to get to Enchanted Kingdom: Head towards Sta Rosa Laguna through the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), exit at the Sta Rosa Tollgate and turn left, drive straight past the auto bridge on top of the SLEX, turn right at the first corner and drive straight. You will see the Enchanted Kingdom on your right.

In addition, kids aged 0~19 may come in Halloween costume between October 31 ~ November 2 and get free admissions to the park. If they want to avoid large crowds and long queues, it is best to visit the park on Thursday's and Fridays.

See you there!

Good Buys in Quiapo Manila

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I think of Quiapo, is a combination muddy streets, disorder, illicit trade, pickpockets, good buys and goodbyes, Quiapo church and the chaotic trade activity around it. Yes, this popular destination in Manila’s old district is worthy of a repeat of Christ's rampage outside the synagogue.My recent trip however, proved to be a much pleasant adventure. For starts, we spent more than an hour walking around and the place wasn't as crowded as I remembered it to be. Believe it or not, we saw was only one beggar (at that time) making one of my friends remark, “What did they do, kill them all?”

The interior of the church itself was fine. It's not crowded when we came and its high ceiling provided good air circulation and did not perspire despite its being almost noon. It was pointed out however, that it was cloudy when we came and the situation is quite different during sunny days. The church can also be terribly crowded during weekends and some days like Wednesdays. For those wanting to visit the Quiapo Church and the surrounding area, it is recommended that the pilgrimage and succeeding tour be done on a Thursday, just like what we did.

After the service, came the fun part- exploration and shopping adventure!

The immediate area surrounding the Quiapo church was clean, considering the various trade activities going on. Immediately outside the church, other than vendors selling religious materials and candles, are fortune tellers, lots of them doing brisk business. One may wonder how a Catholic devotee, right after talking to God can immediately turn to people to look into their future. However, we all have our own beliefs and it is not in anybody's place to judge anyone.

Quiapo Fortune Tellers

Quiapo Church-Fortune TellerAs one lady famously remarked, Brother, you may worship a stone, provided that you don't throw it at me. Nuff said.

Into the shopping part, here's what I observed. The prices in the flea market around the church were quite a delight. Apples that sell for P20++/ piece in big supermarkets had a price tag of P10. I also noticed that a kilo of grapes that normally sells for about P200/kg were offered for less than P100. Mind you, I am not referring to dotted and over ripe fruit. What I saw were fresh and prime agricultural produce. I wonder how much the price could have gone further down if I attempted to bargain with the vendors. One thing though, a veteran Quiapo shopper told me that the weighing scales are supposedly 20% deficient. But even then, a minimum of 100% price difference should be more than enough to offset the variation in weight.

Manila Quiapo police k-9 unit
Looking around, I realized why there was order amidst the supposedly chaotic environment. There were at least three groups enforcing peace and order in the area. There was the local police squad complete with a k-9 unit, a local volunteer group and the mayor's anti-hawker's unit, moving back and forth to arrest illegal vendors. There's this guy moving around offering local paintings that voluntarily posed when I pointed my camera at him. We exchanged a few words but when I went back looking for him a few Quiapo Manila painting Vendorminutes later, he was gone. I later saw him on board the vehicle of the anti-hawker's unit among those to be taken to the local precinct. What a tough day to make a living.

On our way home, we opted to use the underpass and had a quick view of the popular stores selling handicrafts and other dry goods. The place was orderly and clean as well. That place alone should be worthy of another trip.

Among the things that we brought home was fresh Bangus (milkfish) smoked to perfection that we bought from a mobile vendor. Having it for dinner that day was a very pleasant experience. I wonder how we will be able to find that hawker again.

Banana Saver

I thought this is nothing more than a joke. I mean, why would anybody save half a banana? Putting it in a different way, who would not finish a banana? Apparently, a lot of people do.

There is a saying in Economics that demand determines the supply. Here it goes, a NANA SaverTM.

The product description goes, Keeps a sliced banana fresher, longer by reducing exposure to air. Hinged banana shaped body with tiny teeth grip sliced bananas firmly in place and flat plate presses snug against banana face to minimize air contact. Top-rack dishwasher safe. Plastic.