Category: Uncategorized

Best Snorkeling Sites in Coron, Palawan

Last week I had the chance to visit Palawan again, this time my friends and I explored the northern islands of Palawan. While Puerto Princesa left me in awe when I visited the place two years ago, Coron simply took my breath away. I have been reading much about the place from travel blogs but still, nothing compared to seeing it with your own eyes.  The sheer beauty of the different islands of Coron as we toured and explored them truly captivated us. The limestone cliffs and pristine white beaches are simply breathtaking and so are the coral gardens underneath the sea. There simply is a whole new world out there and I was glad that I was given the chance to see that world myself.

 



We set aside one whole day for our snorkeling activity. We went to three of the best places  to snorkel in Coron and made two fantastic stop overs in between.

First stop was Coral Garden in the vicinity of Atwayan Beach. Here you will find corals of different kinds as well as  whole schools of fish  in different shapes and colors. We had fun throwing in some bread so they can come near us.


 

Photos by Carmela Hernandez

 
Photo by Mildred Ravalo Yap

Second stop was the Skeleton Wreck where you can go about 5 miles deep into the sea to see the wreckage of a fishing boat that sunk during the 1940s. It looked kinda eerie down there so some of us  just contented ourselves with feeding the fish while others in our group had fun testing how far they can go deep by diving down the wreckage with the help of the bouy rope.
Skeleton Wreck


After Skeleton Wreck, we made a stop at Atwayan Beach for our lunch. It is actually a small beach, perfect as rest stop if you want to dock and eat in decent cottages in the middle of your snorkeling trip. There are a lot of these pocket beaches around Coron as I would later realize.
Atwayan Beach

 Before heading off to our third and last snorkeling site, we stopped by Twin Lagoon to check out this interesting site. On the way, we saw a lot of beautiful limestone formations. The Twin Lagoon are both accessible through this little hole on the cliff, an underwater tunnel. Since it was low tide when we reached the second lagoon, we were able to pass by the tunnel easily to go to the first lagoon. We had to get back though since the first lagoon is where the bancas usually stay. The water in the second lagoon was calm and tranquil so we were able to  enjoy a leisure swim around before we headed to our final snorkeling stop.


Twin Lagoon


Last stop for our snorkeling adventure was Twin Peak near the Barracuda Lake. This spot is much deeper and has more corals than the Coral Garden in Atwayan Beach. You have to be careful not to touch the corals or stand on the rocks though since sea urchins are all over the corals. There are a lot of different fish species here around too. Fish wise, this spot is much better than Coral Garden.
Twin Peak

Photos by Carmela Hernandez

Photo by Mildred Ravalo Yap

Photo by Mildred Ravalo Yap

It was my first time to snorkel that long, imagine a whole day. It was a great great experience. I was taken by the wonderful treasures that lie underneath the sea of Coron. It felt surreal being there, snorkeling there. I felt humbled, lucky, and blessed to be given this opportunity to see these wonderful sea creatures up close.


I know that come June, when I get back to the classroom and start teaching the natural resources of the Philippines to my class again, I will talk about it differently. I will be more passionate as I talk about preserving and conserving our natural resources. I will be more intense as I talk about safeguarding our waters against things that might destruct the marine life. For I swam with the fishes and paid homage to the corals. I bore witness to the beauty that God has blessed and entrusted us with. Coron definitely changed me.

Summer Lovin' With Footzy Shoes + A Giveaway

One of the things I am most crazy about is shoes–sandals to be exact. I get excited whenever I chance upon pretty and stylish sandals. I sure am a sucker for these feet candies especially when they come in pretty floral designs or cute candy colors. I like the way they make me look all girly, playful and fun.
Summer for me is the best time to bring out these shoe gems as sundress and beach wear are never the same without them. Somehow finding the perfect pair that fits you just right sets the tone of the whole fab summer experience.
If you haven’t found the perfect sandals for your wanderlust feet yet though, fret not, there sure is a pair of Footzy Shoes meant exactly for you. Made of unique fabric and excellently crafted to make you totally ready for those fun, fabulous summer escapades, Footzy Shoes sure is your summer best friend.

What I love about Footzy Shoes is that its screaming comfort fun with its simple yet elegant designs and bright summer colors. It will definitely not fail you I tell you. To date, it has two designs in its collection with a promise of more to come in the next few months.
I love the A Thong of Life (Thong Sandals) collection for its fabric straps which goes perfectly well with the tan leather. They will surely make any feet happy. Perfect for a moonlit stroll along the beach or a day of frolicking in the sun in your gorgeous print dress.




If you dig total wrap around like me though, Strap Way to Heaven is for you. It’s two toned colors will give you more room to experiment with outfits as you go on a casual summer date with hubby or a fun day or night out with friends.




Getting your own pair of Footzy Shoes is easy, simply log on to their website and fill out an order form there.  You can pay via BPI Savings Bank.  You have the option to have your footzy shoes shipped to you via XEND/LBC or meet up with Ms. Nikki Teves in Paseo Center.
And as a treat, Footzy Shoes is giving away five 500 pesos GCs to five lucky followers of Footzy Shoes and Blancnotes! Winners can use the GCs when they purchase their very own Footzy Shoes.

To qualify for the raffle, simply follow all four steps.
1. LIKE Footzy Shoes on facebook.
2. LIKE Blancnotes on facebook.
3. Share this giveaway on your facebook wall and tag two of your friends with the following message:
“@Footzy Shoes and @Blancnotes are giving away five  500 pesos Footzy Shoes GCs. Join now! @Friend1 and @Friend 2. Giveaway ends on May 5.”
Note: Make sure to set your account to public and tag Footzy Shoes, Blancnotes and your two friends properly.
4. Leave a comment on this blogpost using the format below:
“I am totally ready for a have a fab summer with Footzy Shoes!”
Your Name:
Facebook URL of your post:
Your Email address:
Important Reminders:
* This contest is open to Philippine residents only.
* This contest is from April 29 to May 5 (11:59 pm).
* For your entry to be valid, you have to follow all four steps
* Winner will be picked randomly using random.org.
Have a great summer with Footzy Shoes everyone!:)

Teleserv: Public Service + Convenience

Two weeks ago, I was invited by Mr.Roland Allan De Vera, Marketing Manager of Teleserv, to attend a Bloggers’ Breakfast at Harvest Gastro Pub in BGC. Mr. Raffy David, Director for Marketing, was also present to give us a brief background of how Teleserv works to provide citizens with fast and reliable government services.

Teleserv has been partnering with NSO, DFA, and POEA for the past 12 years in providing citizens with an efficient system of securing important travel related documents such as NSO birth certificate, passport, and OFW Exit Clearance. Gone are the days when we have to endure the long queue at NSO when securing copies of our birth certificate or waiting for long hours at the DFA for passport processing and claiming. OFWs can now also make the most of their vacation and need not show their face at POEA anymore and waste precious vacation time just to secure an Overseas Exit Clearance. All these can now be delivered right at our doorstep through Teleserv’ Citizens Tele Services.
To request for a copy of your birth certificate from NSO, simply call 737-1111 or chat online at www.birthcertificates.com.ph.

For returning OFW, secure your Overseas Exit Clearance by logging on to www.oecdelivery.com.ph or calling 737-777.

To secure an appointment sechedule for passport processing, all you have to do is log on to passport.com.ph or call 737-1000.

With just a phone call or a few clicks of the mouse, we can now enjoy convenient and hassle free transactions with these government agencies, thanks to Teleserv.
Teleserv is the premier citizen service provider in the country. Currently it has three major contact center facilities. They use a system called Teleserv Maestro which provides for Voice, SMS, and Web Chat service among others. Their software is more streamlined making it possible for their customer service agents to respond to calls efficiently. With their strong manpower and top of the line equipments, requesting for a service from Teleserv takes only a few minutes to complete.
Teleserv has continuously proven itself to be a driver of growth and change by providing no less than excellent citizens services. It is indeed an example of world class service quality at its finest. It continues to bring professionalized and improved government services to citizens by empowering every Online Pinoy to take the lead in their affairs and become more involved.

Clayvorite Craft + A Mini-Giveaway

I always admire people who make a living out of their passion. Especially those artists who started out as simply loving the thought of creating something beautiful with their hands, and then finding themselves earning extra because people just absolutely love their artwork.
Such is the case of Mary Grace Coquia, the artist behind Clayvorite Craft. I learned about Clayvorite Craft when I attended my friend Jenie’s wedding last year. She had her wedding giveaway customized by Clayvorite Craft, a pair of yellow slippers and a silver home.

Grace was on her first year at medical school in San Beda College when she had to stop due to medical reasons. For lack of something worthwhile to do, she turned to claying and soon enough, it became a hobby. She finds happiness in creating miniature versions of things she loves in clay. She did not take any formal lessons or attended any workshops in claying. She learned the techniques and the skill on her own by watching youtube tutorial videos and downloading ebooks. She also joined a group of clay enthusiasts in facebook, Clay Friends Society of the Philippines, in order to gain and learn new tips and tricks in claying.
It was only when her neighbors started ordering clay accessories from her after seeing her creations that she seriously considered the thought of turning her hobby into a business. With the help of her mom, Clayvorite (Clay+favorite) Craft was created. At first business did not pick up right away, selling online did not seem to work. But since she was determined and persistent to sell her creations, she joined Christmas Bazaar and accepted made to order jobs. When she had enough pictures in her clay portfolio, she posted them on facebook and soon enough word spread about her fantastic clay creations and orders started pouring in. Clayvorite Craft finally took off.
Clayvorite Craft is a one man team. Grace personally do the clay creations herself from design, conditioning and baking down to packaging and shipping. She shared that she started her business with a capital of only 900 pesos. She listed polymer clay, oven, metal findings (for accessories), creativity and patience as the main ingredients that you need if you want to engage in this kind of craft. She explained the steps in making one as follows:

  1. Knead or condition the clay (to make it softer if the clay is too hard or to remove air if it is too soft)
  2. Mold or create anything you want. (In her case, she just imagines how she would want say a donut to look like and then start creating details)
  3.  Bake it in the oven following the baking instructions at the back of the pack.
  4. Put a gloss or leave it as it is.
    Sound simple and easy as a pie right? But I’m sure it is not (hahaha). I still believe it takes a lot of patience, creativity, and talent to do that.

Clayvorite Craft does accessories such as earring studs, danglings, hair clips, necklace, bracelets, phone charms, keychains, compact mirrors etc.) as well as made-to-order souvenirs/giveaways (photo/card/pen holder, paper clips, ref magnet, miniature frames etc.)

sample bracelet

bracelets galore

earrings


cake pendants
donut pendants


converse necklace

chibi phone charms



name plates


paper clips


Grace also conducts clay workshops in Marilao, Bulacan and Caloocan. And soon she will venture into event organizing and will offer packages that include glitter tattoo, souvenirs, cakes and cupcakes.
I can definitely see a bright future ahead for Clayvorite Craft for it has seamlessly molded creativity and excellent craftsmanship in all of its clay creations. Grace’s attention to details, her incessant desire to improve herself in her craft, her sheer determination to succeed and her passion for her art have been the driving forces behind Clayvorite Crafts’ success. I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of life’s little pleasures immortalized in Clayvorite Crafts’ clay creations.
To order one of Clayvorite Crafts’ amazing clay creations, you can visit its facebook page or contact Grace at 0915-501-3127.
As a treat to Blancnotes readers, Clayvorite Craft is giving away one chibi (little person) phone charm and a compact mirror with clay design on the cover.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps using the rafflecopter below:
(more…)

Culion Island

During my recent trip to Palawan, we visited Culion Island, the former leprosarium of the American Commonwealth Government. It is found on the northernmost part of Palawan and is part of the Calamian Group of Islands together with the municipalities of Busuanga, Coron, and Linapacan.

One of the sites that caught my attention as our boat was drawing near the shore was the Purisima Concepcion de Nuestra Senora. It proudly stood perched atop a cliff and is set against the clear blue sky. Immaculate Conception Church as it is known today is one of the oldest buildings in the island. It was constructed in 1906 by a group of Augustinian priest. Now it is being run by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus.



It sits right across the Culion Sanitarium which once was a leprosy segregation camp.

Its watchtower and fort were constructed by the Augustinian Recollects as defense measure against the Moro Raiders which used to harass the whole island.



It has the most breathtaking view of the sea and of the shoreline of Culion.


Though we didn’t get to see much of the island, I noticed the presence of old traditional houses and buildings as well as the lack of modern facilities here. It gave me the impression that life here still remains as simple as it is. As our boat was pulling away from the shore, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset.

Clearly, its sheer natural beauty as well as its rich history are what gives Culion Island its old world charm.
Culion Island can be reached by an outrigger. It is an hour and a half travel by sea from the town of Coron.

Review: Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition

Last night while I was surfing the internet, I heard my 10 year old daughter and husband give out loud guffaws. So I got curious and checked out what they were watching. I was surprised to learn that they were watching Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition. It was our first time to watch the new PBB Teen Edition but I’ve been hearing a lot about it lately, mostly negative feedback. I have to tell you honestly, I was shocked at some scenes.
I don’t want to judge but if this is some sort of a gauge of how our teens are turning out to be these days, then this is really a cause for alarm. The show is running for just merely two weeks and already there’s a lot of teen pairing and rowdiness going around in Big Brother’s house. If you are an outsider watching the scenes, I wouldn’t be surprise if you will conclude that these kids are definitely lacking in good morals and values formation. My heart particularly went out to the parents of this girl, Karen, who shared last night in National TV how she had kept all her love relationships a secret from her parents. My gosh! And she’s only 15! I wonder what her parents felt while watching her disclose this information in National TV–hurt? betrayed? angry?
Some were saying it’s all scripted. If that is the case, then that makes it all the more worst. Imagine using these children, these teens, to attract viewers. Imagine using what could have been teen issues, problems,and conflicts best processed in the home and by the parents just so you will gain high viewership. I understand that they want to depict big brother as somebody who can straighten out these kids but really, does it have to be at the expense of these kids? I also understand that upon joining the show, the parents were asked to sign a waiver of some sort, and probably right at this this moment, they don’t have any right anymore to make a protest. But I also believe that if your intentions are good, then you would rather create scenarios that would put this kids in good light rather than have people questioning their upbringing. I understand the nature of the show, that its reality TV, but I guess its high time we review our regulation of casting teens in reality TV. A study has to be done if casting them in this type of show will prove to be beneficial to them or not. Unlike taped show where the parents can really see and review beforehand how their teens or children will appear on the show, in reality TV, the family is left with no choice but to deal with the “surprises” as they come since they don’t have that kind provision. This somehow makes the teen/child and his family vulnerable to abuse.
I am a fan of some ABS-CBN shows like May Bukas Pa, 100 Days and the others. I am not questioning their capacity to come up with excellent shows that promote and highlight good values. I just hope that in this case, they will be all the more discerning, conscious, and vigilant in injecting these in their shows like PBB Teens. Especially now that a lot of kids are glued to the TV, day and night since it’s summer break. It would be good if all the networks, not just ABS-CBN, can provide them with shows that will not only entertain them but form their values and character as well. For really, for media to become an effective tool of communication, it must somehow convey a message that will influence and move a person to do positive actions.
What about you, what’s your take on this?

Latest from Solemates

Last Sunday I was at SM Southmall to buy some stuffs for my upcoming Beach trip. Of course I was sidetracked from my purposeful shopping when I happened to pass by the shoe section. I was delightedly surprised when I saw the latest designs from Solemates. Pretty flats in bright, summery colors.

I super love the flower printed ones too. So stylishly feminine.


They also have combination pumps.

And I was surprised to see that they have come up with their collection of funky sandals, sling backs and slips.


I am a huge fan of Solemates because they’re very affordable and surprisingly durable too. For php 299.75, you can have a pair of this fabulous feet candy. What can I say, I found my perfect “Solemates”, what about you?:)

Lenddo: The Answer To Your Pressing Financial Needs

Even up to this day, I still marvel at how internet redefined the way we live and do things. It used to be that we have to painstakingly go through different process and steps, and deal with long periods of waiting before we can fully avail of different services. But with the advent of the internet, almost everything can be had in an instant. This has forced companies, institutions and emerging businesses whose main job is to provide valuable services to people to reinvent themselves or come up with innovations to keep up with the changing times.
One such innovation in the field of finance is Lenddo.  It is the world’s first credit scoring system and the first Philippine loans facility that uses an individual’s online reputation to access current credit standing in granting and extending  simple business loans, payday loans and other personal finance services.
Joining Lenddo is easy, all you have to do is complete the registration process by filling in the necessary details such as complete name, email, password, gender, birthday and mobile number.
Once registered, you can start increasing your credit score to avail of the different services. You can build your credit score by making your online presence felt and by establishing a good online reputation.

My credit score after linking my facebook, linkedin and yahoo acounts.

Create good online reputation by simply linking all your social network connections such as email, facebook, twitter, google and linkedin to your Lenddo account. Build your community and trusted network by inviting friends, colleagues and relatives. This will also help increase your credit score. The higher your credit score, the easier for you and those in your network to access the different financial services that Lenddo offers.
My credit score after filling out other details such as employment status, address, contact nos. & after linking it to my twitter account.

Your connections are what Lenddo will use in assessing your capacity to borrow and pay for the personal, educational, small business and even home repair loans that you can apply.
Though I haven’t tried availing any of the loan facilities that they offer, I like the thought of not having to go through the tedious and stressful process of submitting endless documents as well as waiting for weeks for the loan to be approved, especially when urgent financial need arises (ex. medical emergency).
Currently Lenddo provides loans for Education, Medical Emergencies, Home Improvement and Career Based Relocation. Each type of loan has a corresponding list of requirements that you need to complete for your loan to be approved. Generally, you need to be employed and you need to have a credit score of 400+ plus at least three trusted connections to jumpstart your apllication.
As soon as you meet all the other requirements, the loan can be approved and the loan amount can be given as early as one business day. Lenddo offers loans at a minimum amount of php 5,000 to a maximum of php 43,000. Interest rates are dependent on your Lenddo score and terms of payment ranges from 3 months to a year, again depending on your Lenddo score.
Lenddo only provides loans to members with a current bank account. In claiming loans, you don’t have to take a leave from work to personally claim the fund from their office, the loan fund can be deposited straight to your bank account. You can also pick from the many modes of payment that they provide, it can be through direct debit to mobile payments or local bank deposit.
Lenddo is a fast, reliable and efficient way of applying for a loan. It is paperless and hassle free.

Lenddo

View more presentations from Lenddo

The way I see it, it works around three principles:

  • Improve the quality of life of its members by giving them access to loan facilities for their education, medical, career/business, and home needs.
  • Engage in community building by empowering members to create their network, maintain good connection and look after each other’s credit reputation. Every good or bad financial move such as increasing your credit score, dutifully paying your loan dues or failure to repay your loan dues affect not only your credit score but the credit score of people in your network as well.
  • Develop good sense of responsibility in handling finances among members. Lenddo doesn’t only provide members with funds, it also helps members become wise spenders by providing them tips on how to effectively manage their finances through its blog service. In fact, they also offer online class for Financial Responsibility that members can avail. A member can increase his credit score upon completion of this class.
Lenddo Testimonials

View more presentations from Lenddo

As with any lending institutions, this works well for people who are financially responsible. Lenddo gives each member the freedom to determine their own credit standing. And as with any online activity that you will join, you have to be fully aware of its implication to your online reputation and privacy as well.
Although security measures are very much in place, you have to remember that what will make you financially sound and capable in Lenddo (your networks and connections’ personal & professional information) are what might be used against you too in the event that you decide not to complete your loan obligations. In short it requires huge amount of financial maturity and responsibility on your side.
If you ask me if I will recommend Lenddo to you, I would have to say I do as long as you are fully aware of your responsibilities and the possible consequences of your actions if you decide to join the Lenddo community.
Lenddo  is changing the landscape of financial lending with its innovative response to the changing needs of financial borrowers. It is a successful union of innovative financial solution and social responsibility. If used prudently and wisely this can work well for most of us.
Lenddo is duly registered at SEC (lending services company) and is covered by this regulation, RA No. 9474.

Ace Hardware Computerized Paint Mixing

Last week my mom decided to changed the color of the room she shares with my daughter from pink to beige. Since my mom was not satisfied with the way the paint color turned out from the last painting project in our house about a month ago, we decided to purchase the paint from Ace Hardware this time.
When we dropped by Ace Hardware in SM last Sunday, this sign welcomed us. I was aware that they have this kind of service before but we haven’t tried it yet so we were very curious about how this works. We purchased the paint that we used last month in the hardware store near our house and they did manual mixing that is why it took a lot of hits and mixes before they got the color right, well almost.

The salesman showed us swatches of colors. I chose the Whisper of White from the Cosy color collection, a shade of lemon beige. After that, the salesman encoded it in the computer to get the right color combination and amount of paints that should be added. After the computer came up with the correct formula, the salesman started adding colors from the paint dispenser using the computer data as reference.

color swatches


paint dispenser

My husband and I were surprised when we learned that they have a machine that will do the mixing as well. My husband, who was all prepared to do the endless mixing heaved a big sigh of relief when the saleman announced that he does not have to that. After three minutes, the paint was ready to go. No sweat and stress.
mixer

I highly recommend this service because, although a bit expensive, it would save you the trouble of having to buy different shades of paint to achieve your preferred color mixture. One whole gallon of Ace’s Essence Flat paint cost php 990. Not bad considering that the paint can both be applied on hardiflex plywood and stone wall. Another plus factor is, it doesn’t emit a strong smell, in fact the paint is odorless, perfect for asthmatic like us. The mixture quality is also good, not too thick and not to runny either, consistency is just right. Here’s one side of our room’s newly painted wall.

Thanks to technology, home improvement like house painting is now made easy. You don’t have to have an eye for color or be good in the art of mixing colors in order to achieve that perfect look for your house. All you need is an innovative technology like this and you’ll be all set for a house make over.

Shoebox & Me

Whenever I go to Alabang Town Center, I make it a point to visit Pop Culture at the second floor beside Food Choices. This is the area where you can find shops that sell fab and funky clothes, accessories, shoes and bags. And right smack in the middle of Pop Culture is this cute shoe kiosk that sells the prettiest flat shoes, Shoebox and Me.

They have loafers, ballet flats and wedgies in fun colors and fab styles.






I am a flat shoes fanatic so everytime I visit this store my eyes grow big and my mouth widens into a big happy smile. I just love looking at all the feet candies there. A pair cost around php 650-750 depending on the style. I was supposed to buy the perfect red shoes there last December but a co-worker beat me to it. So I therefore concluded that the pair wasn’t meant for me. During one of my customary visit to the shop a few weeks ago, I fell so madly in love with a pair. I bought it in a heartbeat since my black shoes recently retired.

This flat shoes costs php 749. A bit expensive for flats I know but then upon inspection, I noted that they’re excellently crafted therefore worth the price. The soles were stitched on so you don’t have to worry about leaving your soles behind when they happen to get broken.:) Plus they used good quality leather. I was surprised to know that they have a complete line for toddlers and kids as well. Mini versions of the mommy ones. They’re absolutely cute and adorable.