10 July 2012

HTC One V: One Very bad experience Part III

Just when I thought that all my troubles about my HTC One V are over, my phone died again. It died on me just 26 days after it was "fixed" by the service center.

I didn't have the time to visit the "service" center so I asked someone to drop off my phone for me. This time I wasn't issued a service phone which infuriated me since I have to look for another phone while they try to revive my dead phone. Instead of enjoying the low price of the HTC One V, I actually spent more, transportation to and from the service center plus another phone.

05 June 2012

HTC One V: One Very bad experience Part II

Outside the HTC Service Center
After dropping off my dead HTC One V at the HTC service center, I was informed that I would receive a text message telling me if my phone is fixed and ready for pick-up. I waited a week and called them only to be told their still fixing the phone. A week after I called them again expecting another line from the call center agent telling me my phone's not yet fixed but to my surprise, he told me my phone is fixed and is ready to be picked-up. Wait, where's my notification?

It took them 12 days to fix my phone and they had to replace the mainboard of the phone. Which means what now? I'm just relieved that I got my phone back, the one I paid for brand new just to die in less than a week.

03 May 2012

HTC One V: One Very bad experience

I'm well too aware of the limitations of my Samsung Galaxy Y. It's a great entry phone but after saving a few bucks, I felt the need to upgrade. I've been searching the net, looking for a sub 15k smartphone that packs a punch. The first phone that caught my attention was the Samsung Galaxy Ace. But after reading some negative comments, I turned my attention to its latest version, the Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus. Again, negative reviews. I looked to other brands and finally, one phone that's sexy enough to tickle my fancy, the HTC One V. Little did I know that this curved-chin looker would be such a tease.

and I'm still waiting
The looks, the specs, the ice cream sandwich android version, and of course the price point were my buying points. Recently launched mid last month, I had to wait a couple of weeks for the One V to pop up on outlet shelves. When it did, I immediately purchased but was immediately turned off. The phone had no "factory charge" and I had to stand there waiting for the phone to power on. I got bored so I cancelled the transaction. Only after an hour that we realized, my sister left her sim card inside the phone. We went back to the shop and the One V was now booting up. I resumed the transaction but was again disappointed after finding some adhesive stuff just below the screen. The shop didn't have extra stocks and asked me to return the next day only to find out they don't have new stocks yet.

07 April 2012

CoRon and Irene (Mt. Tapyas)

After a rich historical tour of Culion, it was time to come back to reality and head back to Coron town. The 7AM schedule of the public ferry was too early for us that we had to skip breakfast. After the one hour and a half ferry ride, we reached the Coron pier and took a tricycle to reach Islands View Inn to have them arrange for us our transfer to Busuanga Airport later that afternoon.

With a few hours more to spare, we had brunch at Binalot tong Daon. We had difficulty reaching the place since it's located far from view, behind the commercial complex at the baywalk, but with a few questions from locals, we were able to find the place (at the back of Caffe Camo near Lualhati Park). I'm always a sucker for everything binalot (as with most filipinos) and their Lechon Kawali is a must-try.

Binalot tong Daon's Lechon Kawali

05 April 2012

CoRon and Irene (Isla Culion)

Sunrise at Culion
I'm a history buff. Lucky for me, Irene shares the same passion for old stuff as me. She suggested we visit Culion Island, a more than an hour ferry ride from Coron and is a former leper colony. I haven't really researched anything about Culion prior to our trip aside from how to get there and where to stay. It has so much history that I'm surprised it was only recently that I found out it existed.

Corong Galeri and other tour operators offer trips to Culion Island for around Php1,150/pax. We chose to go to Culion by ourselves and that means taking the public ferry which leaves Coron Port at around 1-2PM everyday. Our extra time in the morning while waiting for the ferry was spent exploring the town and looking for a cheap place to eat. Enter Trining Bacsa.

Though a bit pricier than carinderias in Manila, Trining Bacsa was a welcome development for us having overspent on our dinners for 2 nights. I ordered their Nilagang Baka while Irene ordered Menudo. Together with 2 cups of rice and 2 bottles of Coke, our total bill was Php170. Their Menudo is the typical homemade Menudo while the Nilagang Baka has a hint of beef stew and is quite good. Trining Bacsa is located at Don Pedro street, near the public market. On the same street is Jackie's restaurant which I heard is also good and cheap.

02 April 2012

CoRon and Irene
(Island Tour and Maquinit Hot Springs)

With an 8:30AM call time for our Coron Island Tour care of Corong Galeri, we got up early and had a quick breakfast at our hotel. Though blocked by another building in front, Islands View Inn still offers a great view. The hotel is currently expanding and the construction suggests that upon completion, they will have a better view of the islands. Their breakfast is not bad for Php150 with choices of Tapa, Longganisa, Lamayo (Danggit) which comes with rice and fried egg plus drinks (choice of coffee and/or bottomless orange juice or iced tea). Irene recommends the Lamayo.

Though we booked our tour a day earlier, we forgot to reserve for a pair of snorkeling gears. After paying Php650/pax for the Tour B-1, our guide had to look elsewhere for available snorkeling gears for rent. We ended up paying Php150 each for the gears, Php50 more than if we had reserved for them at Corong Galeri.

Tour B-1 or Coron Island Ulitmate Tour offers 6 Destinations: Kayangan Lake, Twin Peaks Reef, Twin Lagoons, CYC Island, Atwayan Beach & Coral Gardens. At Php650 each, the tour already includes Entrance fees, Picnic Lunch with fruits and drinks.

01 April 2012

CoRon and Irene

How often can you find a place with your name on it then go there and have one of the best experiences of your life? Not that much I presume, or not at all. Coron, in the province of Palawan, is one of the best places in the Philippines to enjoy the summer.

Spend your days in Coron with a loved one and it becomes a paradise. Spend it with a loved one without much wallet action then it becomes heaven on earth.

Our Do-It-Yourself Coron trip was my gift to Irene for our second year together. The trip was jumpstarted way back last October with Cebupacific's promo fare costing us only Php838.88 each for our roundtrip ticket to Busuanga. By the time March 2012 came, we were ready to enjoy the quiet little town of Coron, on a budget of course.

22 March 2012

Pimp Your Metrobank Credit Card

Old (top) and New (bottom)
I remember a few years ago I applied for a BPI credit card and got rejected for some reason. Nowadays, getting a credit card is fairly easy.  Open a deposit account and that bank will issue you a credit card without even applying for it. In conventions, agents are everywhere convincing you to get a card with only one valid ID as requeirement. I can have as many as 6 credit cards, aside from the weekly calls offering more, but I only use 3: HSBC, Citibank, and Metrobank.

Of the three, I rarely use my Metrobank card compared to the other two and I think I might use it even less now that I'm afraid I'll ruin my awesome personalized card thanks to designmycard.com.ph.

20 March 2012

The Jimmy Sieczka Apology

I posted my thoughts on Jimmy Sieckza a few days ago on my blog entry Man of the Hour: Jimmy Sieczka and I don't know why but somehow I get him and what he's trying to say. Maybe It's the endless hours watching The Simpsons, Southpark, Family Guy, and American Dad that I was familiar Jimmy's style and what he's trying to say.

Jimmy issued an apology which is relatively new since only 340 viewed it compared to the 115,999 views of the dislike video. He looks devastated in the video, probably due to the fact that half of the country doesn't dislike him but worse hate him and wants him out. Or maybe it's part of the show. I don't know. But I hope filipinos would accept his apology because afterall, Jimmy is not the problem.

Here's the link to Jimmy's apology: http://channelfix.com/video/286/

17 March 2012

5 months with my Samsung Galaxy Y

I got my Samsung Galaxy Y last October and somehow forgot my rants about it. After 5 months of everyday use, I find it to be just right for me. The battery is good, lasting more than 2 days (texting and a few calls) with minimal use and a little more than a day with heavy use (wi-fi always on and/or watching movies). It gives me a good (though not great) picture quality watching movies or TV series. The camera is just right. I don't actually need it since I own a digital camera. The size is not too bulky, can fit comfortably in my pocket. And finally, the Android market can really beef up your phone without burning a hole in your pocket and you don't need to break out of jail.

Here are some of my recommended apps for your samsung galaxy y. All free of course.

16 March 2012

Man of the hour: Jimmy Sieczka

The name Jimmy Sieczka has now become a household name all of a sudden. From one facebook post I saw a few of days ago, he's now got the whole Philippines talking about him. He's even featured on Yahoo! Philippines as the DOT took notice. Comments flooded the facebook posts about him and is mostly dominated by the "get the hell out of my country" type. So what gives?

Many people were eager to hear what negative things he had to say that some never took the time to read the description which reads:

" If you think really hard, I'm sure you can come up with a couple reasons not to like something. In the land he loves so much, let Jimmy take you on a lighthearted tour of the negative aspects of living in a crowded country located at the earth's equator. On the flip side, check out 20 Reasons I Love _____. (the Philippines) at: http://channelfix.com/video/109/."

15 March 2012

Transport Strike? There's Gotta Be A Better Way

I first knew of this  transport strike yesterday as I was drawn to tweets that had "classes suspended" in them. I followed the tweets and found out  "Transport groups have called for a nationwide strike after the decision on their fare increase application was deferred" Their appeal for a fare hike was due to high oil prices.

I woke up today expecting empty roads and sidewalks full of commuters. Surprisingly, it was just like an ordinary day, jeeps crowd the highway and I didn't have a hard time catching one. The drivers were talking lightly with each other asking if they'll join the rally. What's supposed to be a transport strike was now labeled as a protest caravan.

13 March 2012

The Driver's Triennial Duty

License Renewal Form
Every driver in the Philippines have a duty every three years, to renew their driver license. The expiration date on one's license is conveniently dated on his birthday 3 years beyond. Drivers may renew their licenses within 2 months of the expiry date or pay a penalty if they renew past it.

I forgot to renew my license before my birthday. The LTO and the License renewal centers are closed during weekends meaning a typical working man had to file for a leave just to renew his license. Fortunately, LTO DLRCs (Land Transportation Office Driver's License Renewal Centers) have been popping up like mushrooms everywhere, spreading out the number of license renewers rather than piling-up in the few LTO offices. Now licenses are renewed in less than an hour.

11 March 2012

Moving In

We've moved!

After weeks of  sweating the idea of having my own domain name, I finally did it. I am now the proud owner of www.roni-g.com digitally delivered today via Google. I have always thought that having your own dot com address is pricey but I spent less than Php500 (10USD to be exact) for a year's registration. That's even cheaper than buying a McSavers Cheeseburger every month. A ".ph" however, is much more expensive, offering their domains at 3 times the price of a ".com." I'll stick with the ".com" for now.

The process wasn't easy though. The hardest part was coming up with a name that is unique as you and luckily not registered yet. I was surprised that names that I thought was uniquely me were already taken. Thanks to decades of the internet's existence, many domain names are already registered and if sometimes available are still up for grabs costing more than double the normal rate. Who would've thought there was already a www.ron2ron.com? It's also disappointing that some of the addresses you wished available were left for dead, updated centuries ago with empty promise of adding more content in the future. Better get yours now!

10 March 2012

Go Palawan (DIY Expenses vs Packaged Tours)

Here's a tabulation of what you can expect to spend going to Puerto Princesa for the Underground River Tour and Honda Bay Island Hopping Tour. As mentioned in my entry Go Palawan! we were lucky enough to have irene's family van take us around which cut our van transfer costs by more than Php2,000.00. I'll post their contact info once their travel and tours permits are ready.

Go Underground River

Go Palawan! (Island Hopping and Food Tripping)

It's our third day at Puerto Princesa and it's time for some island hopping! We were picked up by my girfriend's family van and went straight to Honda Bay. There's no need to get a packaged tour for Honda Bay Island Hopping, all you need to do is find a ride to get there, either by tricycle or van, rent a boat for the day and you're all set. We rented a boat for Php1,300, rented a few snorkeling gears, bought some bread for fish feeding and then we're off!

After a short boat ride, we arrived at our first island destination, Isla Pandan.

09 March 2012

Go Palawan! (Underground River Tour)

As luck would have it, irene, my girlfriend is from Puerto Princesa, home of the Underground River and so much more. Last October, when Cebupacific dropped their fares to Php1, I immediately booked my family a trip to Puerto Princesa for my birthday weekend a few months ahead.

A couple of months 'til our flight, I went to Puerto Princesa last December to see my girlfirend for a couple of days and to have a preview of what the city has to offer. From there I started to check-out places and tours that my family would be interested in and their corresponding prices of course. I want to make this trip as cheap as possible. More luck came our way as my girlfriend's family bought a van recently for a travel and tours business. All we needed was to pay for gas and the driver.

08 March 2012

Amazing Thailand (MBK and Pantip)

It was our last day at Amazing Thailand and as much as we wanted to go to more beautiful places in Bangkok, time and money aren't on our side. With our flight taking off later that evening, we chose instead to just go around the malls for some window shopping MBK and Pantip.

Located just outside the Skytrain's National Stadium station, MBK Center, also known as Mahboonkrong Center was named after the developer's parents, Mah and Boonkrong. It opened in 1985, the same year our very own SM City North Edsa opened. MBK Center is huge and you can find almost anything you need, in the same spirit as SM's "we got it all for you." The food center have a variety of food choices and uses a coupon system.

After having lunch and shopping for some last minute pasalubongs at MBK, we went next to Pantip plaza or some techie stuff. Walking towards Pantip Plaza we passed by a couple of malls barricaded, visibly damaged by the protests months back.

From LG, HP, Lenovo, Sony, Epson, and other familiar electronic brands, the brand that attracted me the most was A&W. That familiar smiling bear and his rootbeer float was surely missed.

After a quick snack at A&W we walked around some more until we reached the Baiyoke Tower II, Thailand's tallest building. At the ground level was a huge clothing market, closely resembling Tutuban's Cluster building. When it was time to go back to our hotel, it started to rain and we got lost so we hopped on a taxi to bring us to the closest Skytrain station.

For dinner, we chose a nearby place, just below the Chong Nonsi BTS. The food was good and the homemade spicy fish sauce was priceless. I wish they'd sell those in bottles. After dinner, we were supposed to take a taxi to the airport but after reading the local newspaper, we found out that the Airport train was recently opened and accepts passengers for free. Awesome.

Lunch at MBK: Php150
Float and Fries at A&W: Php75
Day 3 Transportation: Php75
Dinner: Php165
Day 3 TOTAL: Php465

Airfare and Hotel TOTAL: Php9,738.52
Day 1 TOTAL: Php1,435.50
Day 2 TOTAL: Php3,615.00
Day 3 TOTAL: Php465
Entire Trip TOTAL: Php15,254.02

***exchange rate assumption: 1BHT = Php1.50

Previous: Amazing Thailand (Floating Market, Siam Ocean World and Pat Pong)
First: Amazing Thailand (Temple Tour and Chatuchak)

07 March 2012

Amazing Thailand
(Floating Market, Ocean World and Pat Pong)

When going to a different country, it's vital to get as much information as you can to make your stay easier. Upon arriving at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok we grabbed almost every free map available at the counters. Almost because we didn't get maps not in english. The maps helped us navigate through Bangkok and the ads around the map paved the way for our Floating Market Tour. I've seen Floating Market Tours on the internet go as low as 650BHT. So when we saw an ad on the maps that offered 500BHT per person, we immediatey booked it.

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is roughly 2 hours away from the city proper and is popular among tourists. This floating market is featured in most tourism ads of Thailand. I remember this particular spot in a tourism ad I saw in CNN.

The floating market is a must try for first time Thailand visitors but the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is too much tourist-friendly that somehow I felt like it's a show. It's still a great experience nonetheless and Damnoen Saduak is thought to be better than those near the city, created specifically for tourists.

06 March 2012

Amazing Thailand (Temple Tour and Chatuchak)

Back in 2010, Thailand, specifically Bangkok, was painted red by anti-government riots. This led to security concerns prompting the Foreign Affairs Department to issue an advisory asking Filipinos to postpone non-essential travel to Bangkok. By June 2010, tensions have waned down. A couple of friends went to Bangkok and enjoyed their trip so much that I cound't resist a Cebupacific seat sale to experience Bangkok for myself. Airfare was Php9,037.04 for me and my girlfriend (Php4,518.52 each then add Php750 Terminal Fee and Php1,620 Travel tax).

August came and it was time to fly. Another couple was with us and was great since this makes things cheaper and one of them is already familiar with Bangkok. We arrived around midnight and shared a taxi to our respective hotels. Taxi to Silom was around 400THB or around Php600 for more than an hour ride (Php150 each). We stayed at The Heritage Hotel Silom which at their 2010 rate of Php1,800 per night was a steal given the spacious room and the delicious buffet breakfast. Our friends stayed for free at the Sofitel Hotel using loyalty cards.

05 March 2012

Hong Kong Hustle (Part 2)

Up early on our second day, we headed for our new favorite food place Café de Coral. Their breakfast menu didn't disappoint and it was a perfect start for a busy day. (Php1,320 total or Php220 each)

From Mirador Mansion we walked towards Victoria Harbour to the Avenue of Stars. It was a clear sunny day and the view was breathtaking, tall buildings crowding between water and mountains. Clearly, not an inch of land in Hong Kong is wasted.

After admiring the view, its time to go to it. Next stop was The Peak in the opposite side of the harbour. We rode the timeless Star ferry to get to Hong Kong Island and paid only Php12 for the 10 minute ride.  Travel guides suggest taking the Tram up to The Peak but after a mix-up in bus numbers, we ended up riding the bus all the way to the top instead of just the tram station. The bus ride up to the peak, particularly on the double-deck bus, was a nice experience. Although a bit slower, the ride gives great views of Hong Kong just the same and is much cheaper than the tram (Php72 vs. Php168). There's not much to do at the peak except admire the view of Hong Kong from the top. We already experienced a Wax Museum in Manila when I was a kid and visiting Madame Tussauds was not that appealing. After having some coffee and buying some stuff, we left The Peak this time using the Tram. The tram ride was a steep ride and the view, though scenic, was short to be awed at it.

04 March 2012

Hong Kong Hustle (Part 1)

After my Malaysia trip, my next stop was the fragrant harbour, Hong Kong. This time I was with my family, taking advantage once again of cebupacific's promo. Coming from Clark, or as the locals prefer Disodado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA), our airfare was Php2,950.76 each roundtrip then add on the terminal fee of Php750 and Travel Tax of Php1,620, then the total air travel expense was Php5,320.76 per person. I knew the DMIA was small but was surprised how really small it was. It's almost the same size as the Puerto Princesa Airport.

We arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at around 9am and took the A21 Bus to the city. The trip costs around Php198, cheaper than taking the train and offers a great view of Hong Kong, a must for first timers. Sitting at the front of the second level of the double deck bus also offers great photo opportunities. After about an hour of scenic views, we arrived at our stop in Tsim Sha Tsui and checked in at the Cosmic Guesthouse, Mirador Mansion. We got 2 rooms, one accomadates 4 and the other accommodates 2, for a total of Php7,890 for 2 nights or Php1,315 per person for our entire 3 Days 2 Nights stay.

03 March 2012

Pick and Pawn

History shows I hated history. During my elementary and my highschool days, I dreaded the history exams. All my grades were decent except for my history class. I couldn't care less about dates and what not. I didn't care who killed who or who conquered what country. I just didn't care.

Years forward and I'm a fanatic of history. I don't know exactly what triggered my passion for history but maybe my desire to travel and learn about everything about the world we live in combined with my fixation with knowledge channels on cable is the culprit. Now I'm hooked with the History Channel particularly the shows The Pickers and Pawn Stars.

21 February 2012

Walking Short

Long before the infamous Damaso stunt, me and my friends have always wanted to try and experience Carlos Celdran's walking tour of Intramuros. My sisters joined the tour a couple of months back and had good reviews, much like as advertised  on TV or in blogs. I finally got the chance to walk the way of The Pied Piper of Manila last Sunday.

I've been to Fort Santiago a couple of times, latest was just march last year. I was surprised at the number of tourists, foreigners and locals alike, but was surprised most when more or less a hundred of them was also joining the Walk This Way tour. I was really expecting a small group, around 20-30 just like what I saw on TV. It's even more surprising that there are a lot of locals who were willing to shell out a steep Php1,100 for the tour.

The "show" began at the entrance gate of Fort Santiago with the Philippine National Anthem. With a small Philippine flag in the Pied Piper's hand, locals started to sing with their hands on their chest. This, I believe is a really nice touch to the tour.