Monday, July 25, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

Staycation at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria

Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria is a 263-room hotel located in the heart of Ortigas Business District in Pasig. I've been to this hotel countless times attending private functions and events but it was only my first time to stay at Crowne Plaza last July 22.

I have already stayed for 8 days in one of the hotels of Intercontinental Hotels Group before but totally forgot about my IHG Rewards Club. I suggest that you take advantage of club membership offered by hotels. These are usually free and you'll definitely love the perks and benefits of being a member. To know more about IHG Rewards Club, visit

I had the 40 sqm King Bed Deluxe Non Smoking Room located on the 17th floor. I always prefer rooms on the higher floor to save myself from the noise of the busy street and to enjoy a beautiful city view during the night. 

The room is equipped with a 42-inch Devant LED TV and a very spacious working table with a desk lamp. The ergonomic chair is a bit uncomfortable but not an issue because I came here to relax and not to do anything work related.

This corner is very conducive for reading a good book. Made me wish I had stayed longer. 

The mini bar isn't well stocked but it's okay. Crowne Plaza Manila is connected to Robinson's Galleria Mall. There's a big supermarket at the basement level and there are numerous restaurants for your dining pleasure. What I love about the mini bar is the availability of the coffee maker.

The bathroom has a separate bathtub and shower. Basic toiletries are provided. I like the smell of their shampoo. There's a bidet which is a thumbs up for me. The hot and cold water is easy to control. The magnifying mirror is located a bit too high though.

I always want a bathtub because I love soaking in a warm bubble bath. It would be nice if there's a pipe-in music available.

I found this thoughtful detail at the bedside table to ensure a good night sleep for hotel guests. The therapeutic scent of Elemis Quiet Mind Room Mist gave me the most restful sleep. 

Buffet breakfast for two was included in my room package. Breakfast is served from 6am to 10am at the Seven Corners Restaurant located on the 3rd floor. I went down around 8am and it was great the dining area was not crowded.

I love that they provide this egg preference paper on the table. All you have to do is fill this up and bring to the Egg Station and wait for your order to be delivered. I'm  an omelette eater while hubby prefers 2 pieces Sunny Side Up egg.

I wasn't able to personally thank her for the perfect omelette. I hope my empty plate has sent the message across.

I ate my omelette with a generous serving of Nasi Goreng, Longganisa, Corned Beef and Salted Egg with Tomato. I'm not a coffee drinker. I had a glass of fresh orange juice. I can't find a banana for dessert so I instead nibbled on some walnuts and figs dipped in Nutella. How I wish I'm a breakfast eater! There's just so much to try on the buffet. And by the way, I had two glasses of the chilled Chocolate Milk drink.

Hotel guests have free access to the swimming pool located on the 5th floor. The kiddie pool at the far end is heated. There is also a fitness gym if you don't want to miss working out.

I enjoyed my overnight staycation at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. I was delighted when the front desk officer remembered me upon checking out. She remembered my room number. It was kinda embarrassing that I forgot her name. I usually remember and take note of the names of the hotel staff. I guess I got a bit used to checking in and out via mobile app in another hotel. Made me realized that it is still nice to interact personally with hotel staff.

I would really love to bring the entire family here for a staycation on my birthday but upon inquiry, they don't have a two or three bedroom suite. 

Are you into staycation too? Consider staying at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria.

Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila
Ortigas Ave Cor Asian Development Bank Ave, 
Quezon City, , 1100 Philippines 
Hotel Front Desk: 63-2-6337222
Fax: 63-2-6382927

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored accommodation. I paid for the hotel stay.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

Teriyaki Boy Brickroad Sta Lucia

One of the restaurants in Sta Lucia Brickroad that me and hubby frequent is Teriyaki Boy. We usually order the bestseller Teriyaki Boy Chicken. This time though, aside from the California Roll which is a regular appetizer for us we opted to taste the other dishes in the menu. 

Are you ready for food porn?

California Roll. Crabstick salad with fresh mango, coated with fresh shrimp roe.  PhP145

Okonomiyaki. Japanese savoury pancake made of a special batter recipe, vegetables, squid, topped with bonito flakes. PhP94

Chashu Ramen Shoyu. Ramen noodles served with chashu slices, boiled egg, fish cake and wakame in shoyu soup base. PhP225

Wafu Fried Rice. Japanese fried rice with slivers of Wafu steak blended with secret sauce. PhP105

Tori Karaage. Japanese style boneless chicken deep-fried to perfection. You can request for a spicy version of this. PhP187 (solo) PhP336 (to share)

It was our first time to taste Okonomiyaki so we don't know if this is good compared to other okonomiyaki but we really like this. I'm not so much a fan of Teriyaki Boy's ramen. The Wafu fried rice is a meal on its own. The tori karaage is crunchy and we would have opted for the spicy version had we noticed in the menu that we could request for it.

Teriyaki Boy Brickroad Sta Lucia

Teriyaki Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

James Reid and Nadine's New Forever Love: Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak

Jollibee, the Philippines' number one fast-food brand, recently announced the latest innovation to their best-tasting Burger Steak: JaDine's newest favorite, the Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak. A flavorful twist to the classic Burger Steak, this new offering boasts of a special barbecue sauce and sweet corn kernels generously poured on top of Burger Steak patty made with100% pure beef and a serving of steamed white rice. Every bite creates a delightful combination of sweetness, spice, and interesting texture that Pinoys will surely fall in love with.

James and Nadine previously starred in the fast-food chain’s “Taste Forever Love” ad campaign, where they shared the kilig of savoring their forever favorite Jollibee Burger Steak with the whole nation. With the Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak, the two young stars are thrilled to discover something new in a product they have always loved.

The original Jollibee Burger Steak, first introduced in the late 1990s, captured the palates of Pinoys because of its unforgettable flavor and great value-for-money. With a patty made with 100% pure beef and a generous serving of gravy with real mushroom slices, the Burger Steak makes for a perfect langhap-sarap meal when paired with a serving of rice.

“The Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak is just one of the many innovations we are rolling out for 2016,” said Francis E. Flores, Jollibee Chief Global Marketing Officer and Philippine Head of Marketing. “The perfect balance of sweetness and spice, combined with the different textures of corn, perfectly cooked beef patty, and rice, creates an exciting new experience that captivated the hearts and taste buds of James and Nadine. If you’re a Burger Steak fan, you’ll definitely fall in love also with this flavor-packed new variety.”

A new TV commercial starring JaDine and the all-new Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak premiered last Sunday, July 17, 2016. Watch the new commercial on Jollibee’s YouTube channel or Facebook page by clicking through the video below:

JaDine’s new Forever Love, the Sweet-Spicy BBQ Burger Steak, is available for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, and delivery starting July 15, 2016 in all Jollibee stores for only P50 for the 1-pc solo variant, P55 with regular drink, and P80 for the 2-pc solo variant, P85 with regular drink.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

How To Earn With TravelBook Affiliate Program

Do you own a website or a blog?
Are you residing in the Philippines?
Do you want to earn?

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Getting To Know TravelBook.Ph

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How Will You Earn?

TravelBook.Ph is offering an affiliate program to bloggers and website owners. 

All you have to do is sign up for free at . Once you've verified your account, you will have access to the banners, widgets and links that you can use on your website. Earn as much as 65% on commission for every successful booking made through your affiliate link.

Who would have thought earning legit money online is that easy? Sign up NOW and start earning!

For more information, send an email at

Follow TravelBook.Ph on social media

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

My Journey To Financial Independence: Planning And Managing Expenses

A decade ago, one of the companies I was handling as a financial analyst was registering a red bottom line figure for six consecutive months. It was very alarming and the financial committee members were looking for ways to turn the company around. I was tasked to look into the financial statements and make recommendations on how we could save the company. It was a tough time for the company and there's nothing much we could do with the sales. But we could somehow do something with the expenses. It was a difficult time for all of us. Inasmuch as I do not want to decrease the salary and compensation expenses, I had to do it to save the company. The company stayed in operation for two more years and then we had to shut it down.

I attended the 2nd session of Brighter Life Institute workshop with coach Aya Laraya last July 16, 2016 about Planning and Managing Expenses. I signed up during the launch of SunLife's Money for Life Initiative. Suddenly I remembered what happened ten years ago. The employees I had to let go. It was business decision. Nothing personal. But still painful because some of them are my friends. Somehow I felt like I failed to save the company. I was partly responsible.

Fast forward, last Saturday's session made me assess my own financial standing. Last April was very challenging. My father was hospitalized and we spent P375,000 on hospital bills. I must say my parents have prepared for their retirement. Good for them. They financially survived my mom's battle with cancer twice. Dad has more than enough money left for his hospitalization and just this morning I claimed his health insurance check. He also has a monthly pension from his employer and from SSS.

I want to be like my parents. Retired with own house and living a comfortable life.

Me and my husband will be turning 40 in a few months. They say life begins at 40. In our case, planning for retirement begins at 40. When do we plan to retire? If only NOW is a realistic reply. But we have some retirement concerns to consider. We should have more than enough money to pay for the expenses we will incur after retirement. 

Coach Aya Laraya was looking straight to where I was seated as if directly asking me the question, "Alam mo na ba ang expenses mo?" Thanks to my diligent husband, yes we do. Let me share with you the expense questions and my answers. Do the exercise with me. Get a notepad and answer these questions too.

What is your biggest expense?

We have a housing loan we applied for last July 2012 payable in 25 years. That means we need to work until we are 60 years old to have money to pay for the monthly loan amortization. 

Were you surprised?

No. We really planned this expense. We sold the house we bought when we got married and bought another house. More expensive than our previous house that's why we had to loan some money. 

What can you do to modify?

We both know that if we wait for 25 years to pay off the loan, the total amount of interest we paid is greater than the amount of money we loaned. The goal is to pay off the loan in 5 years. 

Feasible? Yes. 

How? Manage our expenses.

We usually travel outside the country once every two years and within the country once or twice a year. We had our last trip abroad last 2013 and decided to cut down on travel expenses. Let me get this clear, cut down on travel expenses and NOT totally remove travel and recreation in our life. We all need that! What we do instead is go to places where we need not spend on plane tickets. We take advantage of hotel promo for staycations. 

We have a PLDT DSL line, postpaid SmartBro LTE, postpaid Globe and CIGNAL subscription. We had our CIGNAL subscription downgraded considering we don't watch much television anymore.  I'll be having my SmartBro LTE plan terminated this September upon fulfillment of the contract and settle for a prepaid Globe account for pocket wifi.

Limit fast food deliveries to twice a month. There was a time we would call delivery every other day! It is cheaper to plan and prepare home-cooked meals.

Avoid unnecessary purchases. This is a bit challenging for me because I'm an impulsive buyer. So far, I can restrain myself from buying things I don't really need.

What challenges do you foresee?

We have already saved enough money to pay off a huge chunk of the loan this July, the loan's anniversary month. We project that by 1st quarter of 2017, the loan will be fully paid. The challenge will be after paying off in 2017, we will start all over again to save money. 

We are giving ourselves 5 years to retire from the corporate work. We want to save money for investments, probably have freelance work to keep our brains active and of course earn, and it would be great if we could start travelling again and enjoy spending time together. 

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Monday, July 11, 2016

Roselle Carlos-Toledo

A Mother's Plead: Wanted Liver Donor for Ndrei

I was at The Medical City Ortigas this morning when I saw a familiar face at the taxi bay. I stared at her for a few more seconds just to make sure. It was Ndrei's mom who I bumped into. The last time I saw her was two years ago during the Biliary Atresia Pre and Post Transplant Patients Christmas Party. Ndrei was on a wheelchair back then. But this kid is a fighter. 

I am religiously following his facebook account  and I've seen how he has been fighting for dear life. His mom is also not giving up. Drawing strength from her beloved Ndrei, she was able to raise the needed funds. But there is a bigger problem. There is no available liver donor for Ndrei.

He was hospitalized already in Davao and was in critical condition before they flew to Manila. The need for liver transplant is urgent. 

Here's a screen capture from Ndrei's fundraising Facebook page:

If you know someone who is willing to be an organ donor for Ndrei, please get in touch with Rubi at 0905.497.3654 or 0999.543.9981 They are also accepting any help you can extend. Ndrei has been confined in Medical City Ortigas since June 27, 2016.

I felt so helpless this morning. The only thing I could do was hug Rubi and somehow give her the assurance that Ndrei will find a donor soon. 

Please include Ndrei in your prayers. It will also be a big help if you could SHARE this article and hopefully through this Ndrei will find a liver donor.

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Roselle Carlos-Toledo

Join The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit Happening On July 15

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is all set to hold its 3rd Social Media Summit on July 15, 2016 at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Spearheaded by Media and Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) and Civil-Military Operations School (CMO School) of the Civil Relations Service of the AFP (CRSAFP), the conference now on its 3rd year is scheduled to tackle current social media trends and issues as a tool to further enhance online engagement within the Armed Forces and key partner organizations.

With this year’s theme: “Change.Move.Achieve: Moving forward through Social Media”, the Summit is aimed at boosting and synergizing AFP’s online initiatives and strengthening nationalism and public service awareness through social media networks.

This one-day conference will cover issues on getting the most out of social media networks and its capabilities in nation building and how to utilize its potential and its relevance to the Philippine society in stewarding and synergizing online reputation management and strengthening nationalism and public service awareness through online presence.

One of the main topics that will be discussed is how did social media shape and affect the 2016 Philippine National Elections.

LTC MICHAEL T AQUINO (INF) PA, MCAG Commander, CRSAFP said: “We have been feeling the power of Social Media in recent years. We saw how Social Media technology has created an impact on the lives of many Filipinos even in the 2016 Philippine National Elections. With its fast-paced advancements and developments, it is high time for all of us, not only the AFP, to move forward through Social Media and utilize its power to achieve our personal and organizational goals.”

More than 1,200 participants (30% AFP, 20% PNP/BJMP/BFP, 30% from the public audience which includes students, working public, and academe, and 20% from other government agencies) are expected to attend this conference.

The event is co-presented by Smart Communications and HAIER Philippines. These organizations share the same value on the importance of social media in promoting the goals of their organizations.

“We have been part of the AFP’s social media summit since the beginning. Not only because we are a partner of the AFP, but more importantly we share the AFP’s strategy of a connecting and engaging our stakeholders. As more and more Filipinos connect to the Internet and with a new Administration in place, the 3rd AFP Social Media Summit could potentially be a powerful tool for developing the value of nationalism,” said Wo Rosete, Head of Public Affairs at Smart Communications. 

Invited participants in the conference include information officers from various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of National Defense, the Philippine National Police, academic institutions and other government organizations and agencies. Non-government and civil-society organizations will also be invited.

BGEN RHODERICK M PARAYNO AFP, COMMANDER, CRSAFP said: “With about 50% of Filipinos actively engaging in Social Media networks and the enormous number of people around the world, the Internet has become not just an efficient tool for disseminating information but it has also become the most important venue for connecting to those we in the AFP serve. The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit will tackle how we can optimize the power of Social Media to connect for change while we actively move forward to achieve the AFP’s organizational goals related to pubic service.”

The 3rd AFP Social Media Summit will provide participants the opportunity to get insights on:

  • Content Marketing and Social Media Benchmarks 
  • Organizing and Mobilizing Online Community 
  • Going Viral: Lessons for Creating Stories with Impact 
  • Bridging Generation Gaps and Social Media 
  • Shaping National Issues through Social Media 
  • Social Media and Countering Violent Extremism 
The summit is open to all interested parties who want to know more about trends, developments and issues in Social Media, the effect of Social Media in organizations, and best practices in utilizing Social Media in spreading useful information to intended audience, among others. Interested parties may contact: 09265540787.

Event partners include Ardent Communications, DWDD Katropa Radio 1134 kHz, AFP General Insurance, AFP Theater, ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative, and PNP Police Community Relations Group.

Media partners include Philippine Bloggers Network, Llamadista TV, StyleList,,,,,, and

More information about the 3rd AFP Social Media Summit can be accessed at

Connect with AFP Social Media Summit on Facebook at:

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