Happy 2017!

Here comes the new year and most of us are feasting with food, fireworks, and fascinating resolutions. What do you aim to achieve this 2017? What do you wish to change or improve? How are you going to make it work? How will it be tagged at the end of another year, success or failure?

So many things we wanted to do yet so many uncertainties too. The first day of New Year seems to invite that moment of contemplation about life. That “what to do next” thought balloon as I stared the view of BGC from our 18th-floor hotel room (staying here so my son can avoid inhaling the smog of the evening’s traditional firecrackers’ funfair around the Metro).

New Year Contemplation while at Ascot BGC

Have I done the right thing or should it be another way? If the latter, then what’s the other way? To pursue what has been started and just enhance the process or completely begin anew? How do I see my life to happen? I really don’t know exactly but one thing I really hope to push is to maintain such optimism despite the looming negativity around. I aspire to learn more and be inspired by good people. If I am on the right track may perhaps be an eternal question but maybe that exactly makes life interesting…

2016 was not a year-round perfection but it was full of blessings that our family is always thankful about. Battles and challenges are surely part of the route and so are triumphs and wins with many in-between mundane days. We can always try to add spark even in our simplest way than troll nonsense negativity. Find our path while living the moment of the new year. Let’s make it the best!

May we all have a happy and productive 2017!


Dining at Katsuya, Hollywood

Our family was able to relive the blog about seven tips for parents traveling with younger kids as we visited the US about a month ago. It was a spectacular time for us. A lot of theme park adventures (Legoland, Disney Land, Universal Studios) and long drive escapades (from Orange County to Laughlin to Grand Canyon reaching Las Vegas back to Los Angeles) but the highlight of every stopover is food!

Serving size there is so overwhelmingly huge drooling on Popeye’s fried chicken, Panda Express’ lemon chicken, Shake Shack’s hamburger, Joe Shack’s crabs, Ihops’ pancakes, Kona’s grilled steak and a lot more I can only fancy now.

On top of all the meals we’ve had, one completely stood out. If you are a Japanese cuisine lover and is going to the United States anytime soon, you must include Katsuya by Starck on your itinerary.

Katsuya Hollywood

Katsuya Hollywood

They have many branches around the City (Hollywood ▪ Brentwood ▪ Glendale ▪ L.A. Live ▪ Las Vegas ▪ South Beach) plus Middle East (Kuwait and Dubai). And perhaps we’ve been into the hottest spot, Hollywood!

Sushi Tray at Katsuya Hollywood

Devouring the sushi (at once! So good that we failed to capture in photo the beautiful whole, untouch shot!)

Our tray of sushi was masterfully crafted by the only lady Sushi Chef at the Resto, KitKat Austria. I so love watching her prepare in precise rhythm and with so much passion.

Sushi Chef Kitktat Austria of Katsuya Hollywood

Sushi Chef KitKat Austria in Action!

Everything is outstandingly delicious but my #1 pick is the Baked Crab Hand Rolls! Imagine a baked snow crab lightly kissed with Chef’s signature sauce, wrapped with rice in soy paper. I can eat it all day and crave for more. As part of your starters, don’t forget to add the Crispy Brussels Sprouts with balsamic soy and toasted almonds!

Katsuya Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

Katsuya’s Japanese kanji symbol “Katsu” means “victory” or “to win” and it’s fitting considering the loyal following of Hollywood A-listers and Zagat critics the restaurant has won over with its inventive combination of Japanese and Californian cuisine. Exuberant servers welcome you “irashaimase” as you walk in and bid you “arigato gozaimas” as you leave and in between, original creations like the Crispy Rice, Spicy Tuna, Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño, Miso-Marinated Black Cod and award-winning cocktails like the Burning Mandarin delight your palate.

Featuring the dynamic pairing of Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi and design impresario Philippe Starck, Katsuya by Starck is truly a feast for the senses. With superb talent and exacting precision, it is truly changing the face of Japanese cuisine.

Freelance, Are You? Join the Freelancer Fair 2016!

Working as a professional freelancer is very fulfilling. Managing your own time and having freedom with how your day will go is truly an advantage especially for people who do not like routine (Count me in!). Alongside such liberty is the challenge in terms of cash flow stability. So we don’t stop looking for customers to buy our products or clients to avail our services despite weekends, holidays, and vacations(!).

Part of the work scope is building connections and taking care of our brand. But to some, the job description of a “freelancer” remains a question. What are we, really?  Google search defines it as:

What is a Freelance?

On top of the many activities given our respective industries, it helps if we continue to harness our skills; stay focus on our job; excel on what we do and remain open to new learning.

There is a gathering this weekend for us, it is said to be the first in the country and the largest freelancing event so far. Take time to visit as this is a good venue to train and network.

Join the experts from different industries gather and share their knowledge to the Filipino Freelancers to help them become experts in their own right.

Freelancer Fair 2016

WHO should attend The Freelancer Fair by Manila Workshops?

  • Aspiring Freelancers and Experienced Freelancers
  • Brands who offer services to Freelance Professionals
  • Companies that are looking to hire freelancers for certain job functions

WHEN: November 19, 2016 (Saturday) at 9 AM (Registration will start at 8 AM)

WHERE: The Tent, Acacia Estates, Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines

You get to roam around the Expo area for an entrance fee of Php500. You will also be free to attend these talks, as follows:



09:00 AM:   Building Alliances: Freelancing in the Philippines with Evan Tan, Freelancing Advocate

09:30 AM:    Keynote Speaker: Government’s Role in Building Alliances with Freelancers with Monchito Ibrahim of DICT

10:00 AM:    7 Steps to a Successful Freelance Business with Marvin De Leon of Freelance Blend

11:00 AM:     How to Stand Out: Branding 101 with Fitz Villafuerte of 199jobs.com

12:00 NN:    LUNCH

01:00 PM:    Art of Pricing with Francis Guintu

01:30 PM:     How to Get International Clients with CJ Maturino of Online Filipino Freelancers

02:00 PM:   Business Registration with Dandy Victa of Manila Service Review


04:30 PM:    7 Tools that Multiply your Freelance Earnings with Genesis Reonico of OnlineJobsUniversity.com

05:30 PM:    Business Correspondences and Maintaining Key Relationships with panelists: Charlie Aquino of Sophie Creatives and Pau Lagura of RIS Philippines


To register and to join other related Freelancer training, visit the Freelancer Fair website today.

Grab every possible opportunity to learn more about your craft and reach your target market! Hope to catch up with you there.

Bandwagon of Reasons

I was about to draft an article about Southie café stores but could not finish it up as I would prefer. There are other ideas on my mind and I have been contemplating about this for a while.

Bandwagon of Reasons - WriteNowNa

Not that I am going to be preachy but I’m sure you’ll agree that this is what’s usually happening now, there are specific practices that we have to cut somehow. (Auliq Ice has an interesting profile as a Writer, Singer, Songwriter, Arranger, Author, Internet Entrepreneur and Investor.)

Simply put, perhaps consider this: let’s try not to join the recurring bandwagon of reasons?

  • When there is no time to keep in touch with friends or we simply don’t want to be in touch with anyone, “I am busy”.
  • When a deadline is not met or a promised agreement is not done, “I overlooked from the pile of messages”.
  • When coming to a meeting becomes a perpetual tardiness, “trap in a heavy traffic”.
  • When discord arises, emotions can’t be controlled, and extreme foul words get in the way, “…but the highest person in position can defy decent language, why can’t I?”.
  • When we have a problem with someone, instead of talking to them directly, we rant on our Facebook post with the thought balloon, “hope he reads this *#$&#*$@!”.

What’s trending or what appears to be the most accepted social behavior nowadays may not reflect our own values—it may affirm or sway our beliefs depending on how strong we hold it. Are we going to just simply follow because it is done by most people? Or has it become the most convenient reason that is automatically accepted without a blink, so use it? Maybe we can try to say no and get the habit of not using unnecessary excuses at all. Get real and take a tight grip of that goodness in us.

Parañaque City to Implement Number Coding Scheme

Traffic in Paranaque, like most areas in Metro Manila, has become a plague even when inside the villages. There are just so many problems along the way—rooting from poor government policies to bulk of cars to drivers’ bad behavior.

July 2015 I wrote about “BF Homes heavy traffic” and sadly, nothing has improved a year after that. It is still a frustration to go around even inside the subdivision (like anywhere in the Metro); let’s hope that right solution can still be implemented and followed to ease the intense congestion.


With the hope to improve the chaotic road traffic, Unified Vehicle Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or Number Coding shall be implemented in Paranaque starting October 1, 2016 which means all private and public vehicles will be banned from the streets depending on the ending number of their plate licenses and depending on the day of the week except Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.

  • Monday – 1 and 2
  • Tuesday – 3 and 4
  • Wednesday – 5 and 6
  • Thursday – 7 and 8
  • Friday – 9 and 0

Reasons (following the document screencap of Mayor Edwin Olivarez via his Facebook page):

  • There is an increase in the volume of traffic and it has become unacceptable.
  • Maynilad is heavily repairing certain pavements along Dr. A. Santos Avenue (Sucat Avenue).
  • Utility companies are also expected to perform repair and maintenance of roads in the entire city of Paranaque.

To be honest, the real details about this news has been very confusing and I hope the local government can properly disseminate a solid information. But this is what we have for now*:

  • The City Council, however, to create an ordinance exempting Senior Citizens from the ruling but not valid anymore. Our seniors are not exempted.
  • Some said BF Homes is not included but the ruling governs all roads.
  • No window hours at first for private vehicles (7 am to 7 pm) but there is now—open to pass from 9 am to 4 pm. Trucks with the same open window.
  • Effectivity starts on October 1 but this is a dry-run with apprehension and full implementation on October 10.

(*I will update the post as soon as soon as I get the “final” word.)

Don’t want to assume that this is the way to sort the issue neither do I refuse that this will work. It may or may not but we can always try. Do you think this will help solve the problem? Perhaps the answer is deeply rooted to each of us, our courteous and proper behavior on the road is a leap to traffic improvement.

Other online source: Alabang Bulletin

Tagaytay Restaurants to Try (Part 2)

The trip going to Tagaytay is becoming more exciting with the promise of seeing breath-taking views and the anticipation of experiencing so many gastro-adventures up ahead. There are just a lot of fascinating restos to try! Last year, I have listed our family’s top choices and this time adding more on the line-up. We simply love the food and the ambiance as we repeatedly come over to taste the moment.

Balay Dako

WriteNowNa at Balay Dako

Filipino Restaurant

Location: Along Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway, Tagaytay (beside Max’s)

Balay Dako which also means “Big House” will make your tummy huge with all the delicious Pinoy food on their menu list. The feel is like going to a well-maintained old house from the province (beginning from the arc at the entrance to the large banquet area with a nice glimpse of Taal). Ideal meal to offer to balikbayan relatives and friends. It is managed by Antonio’s BUT totally different from the kind of service that you may have experienced say from Breakfast at Antonio’s.

Beware of the very poor service! Either you get a frown or you will be ignored by servers when you request anything. There are chances too that the food will come so late you have already paid the bill before it arrives. It is a consistent disappointment so lower your expectations, drop the idea of getting a  warm and friendly accommodation especially when the hall is crowded, you will definitely not get it but… just enjoy the food. We had no choice but to go back the last time  (even if we prefer otherwise) because our son is a fan of their lechon kawali and it was requested during his birthday, how can we say no!

Favorites: Kare-Kare, Lechon Kawali, Fresh Lumpia

Marcia Adams

WriteNowNa at Marcia Adams Tagaytay

Mediterranean Restaurant

Location: Border of Tagaytay and Alfonso; close to Residence Inn Zoo and only 150m from Aguinaldo Highway.

The serving size is humongous; that slab of porkchop was perhaps one of the largest portions we’ve  seen for its kind and the taste is superb, delicately cook to the inside. The place is neatly designed as if you are transported to Tuscany, Italy. Such an ideal venue for a quick escape from the Metro.

Favorites: Porkchop, Chicken Kebab, Aegean Salad, Fried Bananas with Chocolate Dip

Buon Giorno! Caffe & Bistro

WriteNowNa at Buon Giorno!

Italian Restaurant/Filipino Breakfast

Location: Twin Lakes, Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway

Another resto to visit is Buon Giorno! at Twin Lakes (now one of the landmarks of Tagaytay). Yes, they also have a lovely branch at Cliffhouse (also along the same highway) but this new site is more spacious and more immersed in nature given their town and country theme. Quality of food remains outstanding and any pick from their array of pasta and pizza is surely mouth-watering.

Favorites: Veggie Pizza, Puttanesca

Whether you are dining out to escape the busy Manila traffic or wishing to relax with a lovely view, going up to Tagaytay and exploring different restos would always guarantee a terrific adventure. Enjoy every moment!

Free Digital Marketing Events on September 2016

As bloggers and digital marketers, staying in the know about anything and everything about the updates and new tools related to online marketing is very vital but sometimes the cost of various training and seminar is just so high. Attending all events becomes so expensive!  This September, three organizations are conducting free conferences around the Metro. Check each one on the list below, take your pick or attend it all without spending for the entrance!  Register today.

Ecommerce Show Philippines 2016

  • September 6 to 7 – Pasay

Ecommerce Show Philippines 2016

The two-day conference to be held on September 6-7, 2016 at the SMX Convention Centre, Pasay has been designed to enable delegates to learn from the best case studies across the country. The main conference themes will be focused on E-commerce technologies and strategies, payment and security, delivery and fulfillment, digital marketing, customer experience, and service.

Some portions of the event are paid but the organizers also opened the door for non-paying attendees (just like last year) as they kept quality access for those coming.

Free exhibition pass covers 23 on-floor seminars, 16 E-Commerce & Retail Workshops at the E-Commerce University & Retail University, Online Marketplace Consultation Village, The Accelerator Zone – Fintech & E-commerce Start-up Hub, open gate to 50 exhibitors featuring the latest innovations in payments, banking, e-commerce & retail with pre-arrange 1-to-1 meetings.

iBlog12 – The Philippine Blogging Summit

  • September 16 – Quezon City

iblog Philippine Blogging Summit

The 12th Philippine Blogging Summit (#iblog12) will be on September 16, 2016 at the Malcolm Theater, UP College of Law, UP Diliman, Quezon City. It is an annual activity organized by the Philippine Blogging Community.

The theme this year is on “Data Privacy, Cybercrime, Libel, and Legal Concerns: Its Impact on Bloggers, New Media Publishers, and Social Media Users”.

Note that the first 200 registered participants to come early (on or before 9 am) will be given food stub and participant kit. Afterwards, remaining food stubs and participant kits shall be given to early walk-ins.

#iblog12 is a FREE event. It is a popular gathering of newbies, novices, and veteran bloggers, social media users, media publishers tackling topics and themes that are relevant to the online community.

BlogEx Manila 2016

  • September 24 – Taguig

BlogEx Manila 2016The first BlogEX Manila 2016 will be on September 24, 2016 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Taguig. This is the country’s first blogging conference, expo, and awards event to be attended by 600 of the top digital influencers from the Philippines.

The event aims to bring together the country’s premiere bloggers, social media enthusiasts, digital broadcasters, entrepreneurs, influencers, brands and corporations, marketing, PR and advertising agencies, and influential new media experts in one location. The organizers curated a wealth of information to help grow brands, businesses and audience with the latest knowledge, upcoming trends, and important educational sessions.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Is it a Good Read?

(There is no spoiler here)

Harry Potter novel series reminds me of younger years—closing the door, secluding myself for a day, diving into the story while completely detached to everything and enchanted on my own corner. I had never been deeply engaged with other books since the end of Deathly Hallows which was released back in 2007.

My fascination continues, even introducing the wizarding world to my son.


The public distribution of the Cursed Child last July 31, 2016 seems to bring back the excitement a bit. “A bit” only because I have already put an end to the Harry Potter adventure along Book 7. Hearing that there would be a stage play of Harry Potter 19 years later of his life did not make me frantic. At first, it was announced that there would be no printed version but apparently, they have it now.


Hubby understanding my Potter passion surprised me with a copy simultaneous to the international selling.

It is in a script format so JK Rowling’s detailed description of what’s really going on is not happening here. Important to note also that she has not entirely written the story as she worked in collaboration with other playwright Jack Thorne.

Finishing the script would only require a couple of hours of devoted reading; the flow is still intriguing but not as compelling as the original novels nailed it. So, lessen the expectations.

The plot lacks the depth, the twist is utterly forced to occur, and the ending has none of that lingering effect we got used to. There are still bits of exciting and interesting portions though (as strong friendship of unlikely characters tends to bloom).

Is it worth the read? Yes. It won’t hurt to know what happened to Harry Potter and his gang whether we agree with it or not as Potterheads surely have their own conclusions post-Voldemort. And who knows, the West End stage might reach the Philippines? Then that would have been another experience worth anticipating for a fan of many years.

DICT Promotes Online Job Opportunities with the 1st Digital Career Bootcamp

So many opportunities are available online and it is becoming a lot easier to explore home-based digital jobs nowadays. Supports are coming from government and private institutions to push more and more Filipinos to financially maximize the use of the internet.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) of the Philippines and OnlineJobsUniversity.com (OJU) will be having the 1st Digital Career Bootcamp happening this July 30 from 8 am to 5 pm at Unionbank, 48th floor, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.


The Bootcamp is a one-day event aiming to equip participants with the awareness and up-to-date information on how to get started finding sustainable work online through inspirational talks and lectures with actionable steps. Aspiring and experienced work-from-home professionals are invited to join and be part of this learning event.

To give the keynote talk is the Deputy Executive Director for eInnovation of the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) of the Philippines Mon Ibrahim will give the participants an overview of the state of digital careers in the Philippines and government initiatives.

This bootcamp showcases experienced online professionals; listen and learn from various experts in the field:

  • Genesis Reonico – Digital Career coach and founder of Online Jobs University (OJU)
  • Rea Yadao – OJU Training and Development lead and founder of REA Solutions
  • Charlie Aquino – OJU Media and Creatives lead and CEO of SophiesCreatives.com
  • Fitz Villafuerte – 199jobs.com Co-Founder, Registered Financial Planner (RFP) and Blogger
  • Gilmar Padua – Founder and CEO of Infinity Hub
  • Sherlane Fortunado – E-Commerce Specialist and Virtual Assistant
  • Valerie Joy Deveza – Social Media Manager  of Bidsketch,
  •  CJ Maturino – Freelance Customer Support Service Provider  of ‘Online Filipino Freelancer’ Community
  • Nizza Gueco – Article/Content Writing Service provider and founder of “Do It Write Solutions”
  • Leif Brian Margallo – Virtual Workforce Professionals’ CEO
  • Maritess Pasag – Front Line Virtual Services’ COO

The speakers shall share their respective success stories in creating their own Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) agencies. Attendees will also be given an opportunity to ask questions directly to them during the open forum in the afternoon.

Learn more, access big discounts and buy your tickets for the Digital Career Bootcamp at http://digitalcareerbootcamp.com. Learning investment starts at Php1,777.00  inclusive of event pass, lunch and snacks, access to exclusive online mastermind group and event recording, and discount to the upcoming ‘Digital Career Online Training Bootcamp’.

The Digital Career Bootcamp is done in collaboration with Unionbank (venue partner), Unionbank EON, Infinity Hub, RIS Philippines, SophieCreatives.com, REA Solutions, Bbulletin, OsipCampus and WhenInManila.com (media partner).

For inquiries contact events@onlinejobsuniversity.com or the “Digital Career Philippines” Facebook page.

Take advantage of this learning today!

Come to Conrad Manila

Sometimes the challenge of roaming around the Metro and nearby cities is to find a place without so many people. Going out on a Saturday or Sunday with the aim to de-stress becomes a failure when our trip is consumed by the overwhelming number of people we get to battle as they stroll and line-up to dine.

If you are around Mall of Asia (MOA) area and you found the crowd quite exhausting especially during the weekends, you can hop to Conrad Manila and S Maison. Conrad offers a spectacular view of the sunset bay and S Maison gives a more peaceful but delicious mall experience (a lot of stores are still closed but the restaurant selection is satisfying enough, given a few number at the moment). The establishment just opened last June 15 but is already gaining a lot of visitors.

What to do at Conrad?

~ Just enjoy the view and love the ambiance.

~ Watch at S Maison’s Director’s Club Cinema ( a deluxe theater that can seat 40 to 50 guests for a more comfy type of movie watching with La-Z-Boy Power Recline sofa).

~ EAT.

  • For Ramen fanatics (!!!), check Uma Uma at 2/F S Maison.
  • To drool over fried chicken, go to Buffalo Wild Wings at Seaside Blvd. corner Coral Way.
  • For a more intimate Asian-cuisine meal, make a reservation at  China Blue by Jereme Leung located around 3/F Conrad Lobby. It’s a must to order their mushroom bun!

Steamed Truffle Mushroom Buns

  • There is a Starbucks at S Maison but the coffee at the C Lounge (also at 3/F Hotel floor lobby) is worth a try. The iced latte is a real treat and served with walnuts and tofu chips on the side.
View from the C Lounge - Conrad Manila

View from the C Lounge

Conrad Hotels & Resorts is an international luxury property managed by Hilton Worldwide located within the MOA complex, Pasay City. It houses 347 rooms and owned by SM Hotels and Conventions Corporation.

Come there now before it gets too crowded!