Aug 16, 2013

Divisoria Guide Series : Mall Hopping from 999, 168 to Lucky Chinatown (Part3)

It has become a routine for me to visit Divisoria once a week to mall hop, hunt for bargains and also to work out. It's a good thing that Gold's Gym opened a branch at Lucky Chinatown Mall, my one day spent in Divisoria every week gets fully utilized.

This is part 3 of my Divisoria Guide Series, here are my part 1 and part 2.

999, 168 and Lucky Chinatown Mall

If you view the map above, 999 mall, 168 mall and Lucky Chinatown Mall are just close to each other. There are other malls around Divisoria but these three are the ones I frequent due to their proximity.

City Place Square is part of Lucky Chinatown Mall and that is where Gold's Gym is located on the 2nd Flr.


The shops and restaurants inside are high-end. There's also Resorts World inside if you want to play some casino games but if you prefer to go to Resorts World Manila near NAIA Terminal 3, there are free shuttle buses located outside, leaving every 30 mins. A shuttle bus for Solaire is also available here. Metro Gaisano Supermarket is inside on the 1st and 2nd floor. It has also become my supermarket of choice when I'm looking for Asian and other International ingredients.

I also love to watch in their cinemas. They offer a very conducive atmosphere for viewing, intimate but not crowded, nice and guaranteed seats and modern interiors.

Lucky Chinatown Mall

It's like stepping in a different place, not the usual Divisoria you have in mind. The newly opened Building B Annex of Lucky Chinatown houses wholesalers selling different stuffs similar to the kinds you'll find at 999 mall and 168 mall.  

You can check my previous post on Lucky Chinatown Mall here.

168 MALL

168 Mall has become a favorite hangout for bargain hunters. It has expanded to serve more customers and offers more choices and varieties. Go check out their Soler Wing. Robinson Supermarket is on the basement.

168 Mall

I find their Bridal Section at the 4th Level more up to date compared to 999 mall. When my cousin from Canada asked me a favor to have her reception dress made here, this is where I had it done.

From a drawing to the finish product, I think they did well.  Among the shops I checked, they offer the most reasonable price. 

Bridal gowns here would range from 8,000 pesos to 30,000+ pesos depending on the design. 

999 MALL

999 Mall has also expanded and now facing Recto St which makes it the most accessible among the malls I've mentioned. There's Puregold Supermarket on the basement and 3 more levels for more choices. A bridge on the 2nd floor connects it to the earlier 999 mall which makes walking more comfortable.
999 Mall
The spaces for moving are wider here compared to 168 mall and prices of items are pretty much the same. But it is still ideal to check 168 mall if you've got the time. It's just an arm's length away.

I'd also like to commend our new Mayor's efforts in addressing the traffic problems in this area. There's really a considerable improvement and great ease in traveling to Divisoria and I hope it continues for a long time. Street vendors are not allowed to ply their trade on major roads like Recto from 6am to 6pm. They can only do their business at night from 6pm to 6am.

Gone are the days when shopping and mall hopping in Divisoria is a challenging sweaty activity that requires a lot of effort. Divisoria shopping can actually be a comfortable and rewarding experience once you've learned the ins and outs. 

Aug 11, 2013

PET SHOP BOYS Electric Tour in Manila

Pet Shop Boys performed in Manila for the first time last Aug 6, 2013 at Smart Araneta Center as part of their Electric World Tour to promote their new albums, Electric and Elysium. The younger generation may not be familiar with these British synthpop duo who rose to fame during the late 80's and 90's era and popularized cheeky and danceable music while gracefully shifting from disco to house to techno with ease thus still proving their relevance to date. Neil Tennant provides the vocals and Chris Lowe on the synthesizer.
Pet Shop Boys in Manila

I was expecting a sold out crowd similar to Tears for Fears but it didn't fill up as expected. We had tickets for the Upperbox A area (thanks Cooks and Ate) and there were many empty seats around. The most filled up spots were the VIPs and Patrons. Nonetheless the audience was treated not only with the sound that used to get us on our feet but also a visual feast of lights, colors and outstanding graphics. The party atmosphere was very evident and everybody was truly having a good time. Those who went to see Pet Shop Boys definitely got their money's worth. 
Pet Shop Boys in Manila

There was no front act. The show started with a huge screen with two dancers performing in front of it while silhouettes of Neil and Chris were morphing into different shapes and colors and moving according to the beat of their songs. There were plenty of out of this world costume changes on every act and the two dancers wore different headdresses, one in particular is that of a bull.
Pet Shop Boys in Manila

There were many unheard of songs taken from their new albums but the beats are familiar and danceable enough to make us jump to our feet and dance just like how the lights moved us.

They did 2 encores, their famous hit "West End Girls" and one of their new song "Vocal"
  The audience was still clamoring for more when the lights went off. It felt short though because we were expecting  to hear some more of their greatest hits like "What Have I Done To Deserve This" and "Heart". We were still having fun and wanted more. But I guess 24 songs are more than enough to call it a night.

Thanks Pet Shop Boys, it was a superb show! You may have aged in appearance but your performances are still spot on and more than up to par!

Spotted! Ms Tessa Prieto
Spotted was Ms Tessa Prieto which from afar I thought was part of some of the acts. But hey, she was just her usual self, quirky and fun!

Check Pet Shop Boys Electric Tour Setlist Below :

Pet Shop Boys Setlist Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Philippines 2013, Electric Tour

Aug 4, 2013

10 Ways To Enjoy A Weekend While In Manila

The City of Manila although eclipsed by its more progressive neighbors like Makati and Quezon City in terms of infrastructure and business development, remains the most interesting city when we speak of history and cultural heritage. I live and breath Manila. It's never boring with all the sights and attractions the place has to offer. How to spend a weekend of adventure while in Manila? Here's my Top 10.

If it's your first time to visit this lively city and travelling alone, I'd suggest you join a guided tour because the place might overwhelm you. There are many tours offered around the net, that popular tour by Carlos Celdran or go pick one of your liking.

But if you're the adventurous type, the one willing to go out of their comfort zone to explore and experience a place, here are the many ways you can enjoy Manila and feel its real vibe.
Manila Attractions

Manila Attractions

1. Wear Comfort and Act like a Local

There'll be long walks, it's wise to dress appropriately and make sure you wear your most comfy shoes. Be like any local and blend in the crowd. The place is busy and bustling with lots of action. If you must bring a camera, carry one that won't take much attention and secure it after every snap. Ask directions if you feel lost, most ManileƱos are friendly and willing to extend help anytime although there are also crooked individuals that you must stay away from. 

2. Take the Local Transportation

Jeepneys, Tricycles, Kalesa, these are rides that offer a more colorful way to feel the real vibe of Manila. Ready yourself for some chaotic moments, traffic scenarios and smoke-filled atmosphere. Plan your route and check the regular rates to avoid paying more. Standard jeepney rate is 8.50 pesos for the first 5km distance. Learn to shout "PARA" once you reach your destination to signal the driver to stop.
Manila Attractions

3. Sample the Local Flavors

Find out what makes Filipinos/ManileƱos tick by sampling what they love to eat. Try balut, isaw, sisig, chicharon bulaklak, fish/squid ball, dirty ice cream, mani, banana cue, taho, turon, tokneneng, kwek kwek, binatog and the list goes on.
Pinoy Street Food

4. Hunt for Bargains

Manila is still the best place to hunt for bargains. Check out DIVISORIA for the cheapest products you have in mind. Refer to my Divisoria post where to find the items you might need. From Divisoria you can go to Quiapo afterwards by riding a jeep and find more bargains like camera and all related stuffs (the cheapest in the country), handicrafts, beads and accessories. You can also pay a visit to one of the most famous churches in the country, Quiapo Church, say a little prayer and make a wish. Outside you can find a row of fortune tellers ready to tell your fortune for a fee.
Manila Attractions

5. Visit The Oldest Chinatown in the World

Established in 1594, Binondo is the oldest Chinatown in the World. You can walk your way here from Divisoria. Go visit Binondo Church, explore the streets and find plenty of quaint looking Chinese restaurants you can try, exotic Chinese medicines, charms and beads for good fortune and exquisite jewelries.
Manila Attractions

6. Bike your Way around Manila's Heritage Attractions

Since most of Manila's heritage attractions are not far away from each other, you can explore them easily riding a bike. I saw some bike rentals in Luneta and near Cultural Center of the Phils. You can start your tour from there, then head to the walled city of Intramuros, check Fort Santiago, bike your way to Roxas Blvd and have a massage by the bay for 50 pesos while waiting for the famous Manila Bay Sunset. 
Manila Heritage Attractions

7. Time your Trip during the Annual Aliwan Fiesta

Aliwan Fiesta is held annually on one weekend of April. Here, you'll witness colorful parades from representatives of most provinces in the Philippines, exhibiting their products and their cultural dances. You'll get a glimpse of every Festivals held in some parts of the country through Aliwan Fiesta.
Manila Attractions

8. Visit Mall of Asia, the 10th Largest Mall in the World

Partly Manila and partly Pasay, Mall of Asia occupied a reclaimed portion of Manila Bay. You can do your shopping here and afterwards have a seafood meal on one of the restos along the bay and a night cap on some of the bars offering live music or ride the MOA Eye.
Manila Attractions

9. Send A Postcard from Manila's Central Post Office

At Liwasang Bonifacio, you will notice a commanding neo-classical structure designed by our National Artist Juan Arellano in 1926. Get inside and send yourself a postcard before it becomes a hotel in the near future.
Manila Attractions

10. Capture Manila's Nightscape

If you're into photography, you should capture how lovely Manila turns out at night.  Take your tripod and position your lens along Roxas Blvd, from Harbor Square, and from  Cultural Center of The Philippines. The views from there are awesome. Practice your high aperture and long exposure shots to photograph Manila's breath taking nightscape. (still on my to do list!)
Manila Attractions
This was only taken using my HTC phone from a room in Manila Hotel
There are still many ways of spending a weekend while in Manila, I just listed my top 10. Enjoy Manila!


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