Review: Write About Love

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Write About Love is a story about the creative process. It is also a will-they/won’t-they romantic comedy about an industry veteran and a newbie film writer who are assigned to collaborate to complete an unfinished relationship story.

It all starts pretty mundane but the film takes off as soon as the writers begin to reveal bits and pieces of themselves that are reflected in their characters’ lives and the decisions that they make. While the writing isn’t necessarily great, the connections we make between the writers and their writing become quite immersive. It is like being given an inside scoop into somebody’s life, a CliffsNotes interpretation as to why the characters in a story do the things that they do and so we become invested, eagerly waiting for the next chapter.

Write About Love shows us that writing isn’t just relaying what you already know. Good writing can take a life of its own – free from the writer’s judgments and justifications. Just like in real life, we relinquish control and let the story go to places that we are not prepared to face. If we are lucky, it can lead us to grow and to looking deeper within ourselves until we realize that pain is a necessary part of life and love. And emerging from that pain can hopefully take us to where we want to go.

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Start spreading the Holiday Cheer! It’s the Starbucks Merry Coffee season!

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It is that time of the year for Starbucks planners, travel organizers, Toffee Nut Crunch Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Starbucks Christmas Cards, and a partridge in a pear tree. And while other brands have the same products out, collecting Starbucks goodies during the holiday season has become a tradition among Filipinos. So without further adieu, let’s begin with our annual list of things to haul from our neighborhood Starbucks branches.

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To renew or not to renew

It is that time of the year when my websites would alert for domain payment renewal. I think for about three years now, it has also meant contemplating if I should finally retire my blogs.

I’ve had my main blog since 2008. It has gone through at least three name changes and finally a spin-off travel site in 2015. Before I knew that blogs were a thing, I was already on Livejournal where people posted lengthy essays a la Facebook status messages/notes but without fake news and propaganda.

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CIMB Bank Announces 500,000th Customer, expands strategic partnership with GCash

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CIMB Bank Philippines (CIMB Bank PH) announced that it has garnered 500,000 customers, approximately six months after opening its doors for business in the Philippines. The milestone was reached anchored on a strong proposition of co-creation and partnership between CIMB Bank and GCash.

The all-digital, mobile-first CIMB Bank PH, was launched in early 2019 with a goal of bringing a unique and differentiated banking proposition to Filipinos. Anchored on a DNA of strong strategic partnerships and solving customer pain points digitally, CIMB Bank PH had forged a partnership with GCash, to allow GCash’s customers direct, paperless and seamless access to savings account services, a product termed GSave. GCash is an epayments platform owned by Mynt, the revolutionary fintech startup of Globe Telecom, Ayala Corporation and Ant Financial, an affiliate of Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group.

Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO, CIMB Group, who was in Manila to celebrate this milestone said, “CIMB Bank PH is surely the fastest growing bank in ASEAN, a wonderful achievement, and a strong testament of things that can be achieved in the regime of digital-only banks. We are motivated by this and will continue to innovate for our customers. Well done to the teams.”

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Check out the new Starbucks beverages and Nautical-themed merchandise

Starting June 4, Starbucks PH will release nautical-themed merchandise that are perfect not just for your collection but to carry around and use for those frappuccino orders to further eradicate our dependence on single-use plastic. The collection comes with a quirky card that features a whale diving into the ocean with its tail sticking out against the sailor stripe design, available for only a minimum P1,000 activation.

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What’s at stake in PH midterm elections

In 2016, we went into the elections knowing exactly what we would lose should Duterte win – the soul of the nation. The campaign was a dark preview of what his regime would be like and Duterte more than delivered on his promise of dead bodies – countless of them executed in cold blood in their homes in the dead of night.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/05/29/duterte-threatens-summary-execution-drug-suspects-again
https://kodao.org/14-farmers-executed-tokhang-style-in-negros-dutertes-mo-32-blamed/

Time and again, Duterte has publicly expressed that he would exonerate police officers should they get caught doing his bidding. He delivered on that promise as well.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/12/02/16/duterte-admits-ordering-marcos-reinstatement
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/inside-track/197073-espinosa-slay-pnp-marvin-marcos-camp-crame-cidg-party
https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/220595-duterte-government-drug-war-deaths-unsolved
https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/06/19/18/no-justice-for-kin-of-slain-drug-suspects-duterte-says

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CANNES 2019: Piolo Pascual is an activist, murdered Salvadorian priest paid tribute to in Lav Diaz’ Ang Hupa

Contemporary Master filmmaker Lav Diaz returns to the most prestigious film festival in the world, the Cannes, with his latest film ANG HUPA (The Halt) to represent the best of Philippine Cinema. Diaz’s new oeuvre could be the most profoundly resonating among his list of historico-political films.

This, according to source, even has a futuristic touch to it, aiming to fight for real freedom and a better Philippines. One character is said to be Diaz’s tribute to an El Salvadorian Archbishop who was murdered while celebrating the mass in 1980. Father Romero will be played by Diaz’ regular thespian Noel Miralles. There is a 15-minute scene that features Miralles doing a zen meditation. His real-life counterpart is said to be very vocal about his stand against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture.

Mainstream actor Piolo Pascual who topbills the film will be playing the role of a political activist. Other actors in the casts are Joel Lamangan, Pinky Amador, Shaina Magdayao, Mara Lopez, Hazel Orencio, Ian Lomongo, Joel Saracho, Bart Guingona, Susan Africa, Ashton Llarenas, Earl Ignacio, Adrienne Vergara, and iconic musician Ely Buendia.

Cannes Film Festival will be held from May 14 to May 25 at the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France. Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu will serve as jury president. American film director Jim Jarmusch’s ensemble zombie comedy film The Dead Don’t Die will serve as the opening film of the festival. Cannes 2019 pays tribute to femme auteur Agnes Varda.

Starbucks unveils ‘A Day in The Island’ collection, new frappuccinos for Summer 2019

This year, summer was welcomed by Starbucks PH via an island carnival event dubbed as the Siren’s Island. New drinks, food items, merchandise, and card designs were unveiled along with the announcement of the rollout of reusable cups and straws (yey).

Starting April 9th, Starbucks is serving a new set of beverages that every dessert lover would love – the Triple Mocha Frappuccino, Dark Caramel Coffee Frappuccino, and the Red Velvet Cake Cream Frappuccino. And for those who want to feel the tropical vibes, Starbucks also offers a limited-time beverage that is perfect for the scorching PH summer – the Mixed Berry Frappuccino with Pomegranate Pearls. The smooth and fruity beverage is made with mixed berry sauce blended with velvety milk topped with cream.

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Swosh – the new laundry service app that you have got to have

Living in the Metro isn’t always easy. Moreso for urban professionals who live independently. You have your work and life balance to juggle along with responsibilities, bills, chores, and the undying traffic that always gets in the way, eating up our precious time.

Good thing, we live at a time when app-based services actually help make our lives easier. Heck, they have become integral for us to even have a life where we can still enjoy and not worry about our endless to-do lists.

When in Manila, I have to have the following apps: GRAB/Angkas for transport, Honestbee/foodpanda for food and grocery deliveries, Eatigo/Zomato for discounts, GMovies to avoid the pesky movie queue, Grindr for entertainment (I kid, I kid), and recently, Swosh for laundry/dry clean services!

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The Marison Hotel – Luxury Redefined

If you ever wish to catch glimpse of the famous Mayon Volcano in its original home before it gets moved to Naga (I swear this was funny in 2018) or simply experience the history-rich Legazpi City, consider staying at The Marison Hotel.

Strategically located in the heart of Legazpi, The Marison Hotel is built to be the premium gateway for tourists and business travelers in the Bicol region. Situated just a quick five-minute drive from the Legazpi Airport, it’s easily one of the most centrally-located hotels in the city.

“We aim to give our guests the best hotel experience,” says Ms. Daisy So, the President and CEO of The Marison Hotel. “Apart from being the perfect base for anyone who wants to see the beauty and splendor of Legazpi, we offer maximum comfort and convenience for the whole family. The hotel is here to provide a luxurious experience for everybody, making it the best place to truly feel the warm Bicolano hospitality.

(From L-R) Albay Provincial Media Bureau Chief Danny Garcia, The Marison Hotel Chairperson Lolita Uy, Department of Tourism Region 5 Director Benjamin Santiago, The Marison Hotel President & CEO Daisy Uy – So, and Legazpi City Vice Mayor Bobby Cristobal lead the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the launch of The Marison Hotel, in Legazpi City, Albay last February 5, 2019.

The Marison Hotel is a four-storey complex boasting 118 huge and elegantly-furnished rooms that showcase beautiful and contemporary design, arguably among the best in the region. It is one of the biggest hotels in Bicol — and the biggest in Legazpi.

All guest rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV, a desk, free WiFi, and a private bathroom. Some rooms are also fitted with a terrace for guests to enjoy the breathtaking view of the Legazpi skyline.

Attractions like the famed Mt. Mayon, magnificent Cagsawa Ruins and pristine Sumlang Lake are only less than an hour away from the hotel, as well as Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave and the Vanishing Island. In addition, the Redemptorist Church is just right across the hotel.

The scenic Legazpi Boulevard, the city’s business district and port area, is a popular spot for tourists as it offers a beautiful view of Mt. Mayon, Albay Gulf, and the Kapuntukan Hill — is also within the hotel’s vicinity.

Other must-see tourist destinations are the Quintinday Green Hills, the Kawa-Kawa Hill and Nature Park, both less than an hour drive away, Vera Falls, and Joroan Church, which are about an hour drive.

The idea behind The Marison Hotel, according to So, is to create a top-notch hospitality experience for its guests. Some of its impressive amenities that will surely make their stay in Legazpi extra memorable include their two outdoor swimming pools (one adult pool and one kiddie pool), a fitness center, a fully-equipped Executive Board Room that accommodates as many as 24 people, and a Functional Hall for formal meetings, seminars, and parties that caters up to 120 people. They also offer complimentary transfers to and from the Legazpi City Airport. And on top of that, to accommodate guests arriving in the city on early morning flights, the hotel offers free early check-in, subject to room availability.

Adding to these amenities are three dining options inside The Marison Hotel. Its main restaurant, the IL Morso Italian Restaurant, is the perfect place for guests to enjoy some of the best Western dishes in the area, from pizzas and pastas to steaks and mouth-watering desserts. The Sans Cafe & Bar, on the other hand, offers a quiet respite for travelers who simply want to relax over a cup of coffee. Those looking for a nightcap after a busy day of exploring the city can visit the hotel’s Chilo Bar to enjoy its impressive array of mocktails, cocktails, wines, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages — with a view of the majestic Mt. Mayon in the background as a bonus.

“The opening of The Marison Hotel is a testament that the Bicol region has come into its own as a prime tourist and business destination in the country,” So adds. “Last year, tourist arrivals in Bicol hit over one million — an unsurprising feat considering the unique beauty the region has to offer, yet an impressive achievement nonetheless. We enter the hotel industry with the firm belief that Bicol — especially Legazpi, has a lot to offer to both its local and international visitors. We are not only very eager to provide a premium hotel experience to our guests, but The Marison Hotel also looks forward to helping the Bicol Region welcome a much bigger tourist base in the years to come.”

The Marison Hotel is located at Corner Imelda Roces Ave, Legazpi City, Albay. For reservations, call (052) 732 7777 or email reservations@themarisonhotel.com. Visit facebook.com/TheMarisonHotel for more information.

Other must-see tourist destinations are the Quintinday Green Hills, the Kawa-Kawa Hill and Nature Park, both less than an hour drive away, Vera Falls, and Joroan Church, which are about an hour drive.

Tips for Wiser Christmas E-Shopping

It’s the season for 11.11s, Black Friday, Cyber Mondays and 12.12s. Whenever we go online, there seems to be some really good deal that we can’t pass up on and we usually don’t because online shopping is soooo easy to do. But did you know that some online sites actually jack up the “before” prices of items so the discounts look huge even when in reality, you are just buying the items at regular, non-sale store prices? 

So here are seven easy reminders for a wiser and regrets free online shopping experience:

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A complete list of Starbucks Holiday offerings and 2019 planners

Filipinos always say that we celebrate Christmas for four long months. As soon as September hits, you start hearing Christmas songs in malls and the Jose Mari Chan classic ‘Christmas in Our Hearts’ starts playing in the airwaves. Christmas decorations follow not long after. And then starting November 2nd, the Starbucks Sticker Collection Season begins, ingraining itself as a contemporary Filipino Holiday tradition!

Starbucks has tons of offerings during the holidays but what both young and old always watch out for are the annual planners. Good news, there are four choices this year: two (2) regular planners in Espresso and Milk colors that feature a canvas finish with metallic gold and copper stamping and a canvas pouch; two (2) travel organizers in Dark Teal and Sienna that have pockets for your valuables. All four come with their own unique Special Edition Starbucks Card that get you a chance to win in the Starbucks for a Year promo when activated with at least P500.

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