Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HALE Reunites and Releases New Single 'SEE YOU'

There's nothing more exciting to any #HALER out there than hearing the band HALE performing live again and doing gigs all over the metro. 

The band originally started in 2004 and became a triple platinum selling act right before they disbanded in 2010. Champ Lui Pio pursued a solo career and started managing new artists like Someday Dream and Luigi D'Avola. Roll Martinez put up his own music studio. Sheldon Gellada became a family guy and Paolo Santiago was still doing gig as a drummer. 

5 years after, they decided to reunite and make music again as a band. They started editing and rearranging the songs they wrote during the hiatus years. They came up with so many good songs that they had a hard time what song to release first. I got the chance to hear the song 'SEE YOU' 2 months before its released. They chose that song as the carrier single of their new album (under their own management) because that's when they felt the most nostalgic when they recorded it. Champ finds the song so genuine, emotional and glorious. It is about a love that was hidden and cannot be forgotten and became a tragedy. 

I went to one of their sold out gigs at 12 monkeys in Makati last Valentines. The bar was just so full and crowded. Everyone was so hyper, happy and screaming seeing the boys performing together again. There I saw  lot of friends and families of each band members as well as the #HALERS who were so ecstatic taking videos of the band's performance. 

HALE brought the hits 'The Day You Said Goodnight', 'Kung Wala Ka', 'Broken Sonnet', 'Bahay Kubo', 'Kahit Pa', 'BlueSky', 'Pitong Araw' and 'Sandali Nalang'. The had 4 albums, Hale in 2005, Twilight in 2006, Above, Over and Beyond in 2008 and Kundiman in 2009. Hale was once awarded as OPM Band of the Year by RX 93.1, Best Group by Smart People's Choice, Best Pop Rock Band by PasiklaBand. They also got the Best New Artist and Best Pop Video by MTV Pilipinas Music Awards.

Catch HALE live at 19 East in Paranaque this February 28, 2015! Follow them on twitter and instagram @hale_music or like their Facebook Page. You can start downloading the single here on iTunes right after watching this lyric video of 'SEE YOU'.  Their album will be out soon and will be distributed by Warner Music.

Bintan Lagoon Resort in Indonesia

Few weeks from now, I'll be back in Indonesia with some friends to have a first glimpse of summer! We'll be staying at the Bintan Lagoon Resort in Indonesia, a 470 deluxe rooms, suites and villas offering contemporary tropical elegance enhanced by distinctive and colourful Asian decoration. Each spacious room features a furnished balcony with in-room amenities. Most of the hotel rooms have been recently renovated to rebuild its brand showcasing a more refreshing unit. Every room has a flat screen television and a wide range of upto-date Indonesian designed teak furniture. The bathrooms are in light marbled tones, displaying Bravat designed bathtubs with an impressive full-length floor-to-ceiling mirror.

Exploring Bintan Lagoon’s Pasir Panjang is a must! It is a long stretched of white beach where you can make a splash with more than 30 water sports like jet skiing, kayaking, banana boat and snorkeling.

If coming from Singapore, You should be able to breeze through the checkpoint smoothly if your International Passport has more than 6 months validity from the date of arrival and you present a return ticket to your respective country. No Visa required for Filipinos, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Thai and other Southeast Asian and South American Nationalities.

Take the Mozaic Ferry Lines from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore. It sails the waters of the majestic South China Sea, bringing you directly to the doorstep of the exclusive, Bintan Lagoon Resort Ferry Terminal in Bintan, Indonesia. The ride takes only 75 minutes. You disembark on the pristine, golden sand beach of Pasir Panjang and cross the iconic Bintan bridge to enter to the Bintan Lagoon Resort through a modern and private international ferry terminal. Fare is around P1,200 one way or $28.

The ferry departs the earliest from Singapore at 8am with a 1 hour checking in requirement. It leaves Indonesia at 10 am the earliest. Here are some photos I got from a Google Search about Bintan Lagoon Resort Indonesia. I'll provide new photos soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hotel Pennington by Rhombus in Hongkong

I went back to Hongkong recently to accompany a friend who just arrived from Saudi. Nothing was planned on this trip and no itinerary was made except that we should to stay at Hotel Pennington by Rhombus in Hongkong. I've been seeing some good reviews about that hotel that I told my friend we should check the hotel out and experience their service by ourselves.

Hotel Pennington by Rhombus recently got the Certificate of Excellence Award from Trip Advisor. This award is given to few establishments who consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews. Among the thousands of businesses listed, only the top performing 10% can actually get this prestigious award and Hotel Pennington is one those for the year 2014. The hotel was also awarded as 'Asia's Top 5 Emerging Hotel' at the NOW Travel Asia Awards last 2013 and 'Newly Open Best Service Hotels of the Year' at the 2013 Asia Hotel Awards.

The hotel is prominently situated at the centre of the colorful Causeway Bay, a haven for shopping and commercial district in Hongkong. It's just a 5-minute walk away from the MTR train station. Hotel Pennington by Rhombus is near to popular attractons like Time Square, SOGO, Victoria Park, Lee Gardens, Happy Valley Racecourse, Hysan Place and the Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

The hotel's reception is at the 4th floor with a view of the downtown causeway. There I meet the friendly staff including a Filipino personnel who was very nice and even gave us directions on where to go when I needed to buy gifts for friends. 

My room in Pennington is slightly bigger than the room on Bonaparte yet both still offer the same kind of warm and caring services. The rooms come in Superior Queen and Deluxe Twin Accommodations. It's furnished with a 40-inch flat-screen TV, small fridge, supreme quality mattress, a big closet and contemporary bathroom with a rain shower. This long stretched of working table is just perfect for anyone who still wants to work even when traveling. 

The hotel has an in-site restaurant and offers American Breakfast. They also offer Shuttle and Airport Services, 24-Hour Front Desk, Baggage Storage, Daily Housekeeping and Wifi.

What I love about the hotel the most is that they treat every guest like a VIP.  They even gave me a welcome note and a bowl of fruits to make me smile after a long day of roaming around. If i'll be back in Hongkong anytime soon, I would still stay there and recommend it to my friends and families.

By the way pets are allowed in the hotel as long as they weigh 25 lbs or less and you submit in advance your pets' health certificates. For mode details about Hotel Pennington by Rhombus , check out their website here. Indeed, a retreat in Hongkong's Liveliest Neighborhood.

Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus in Hongkong

Got the chance to stay at the award winning Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus in Hongkong last winter 2014. Centrally located between Wanchai and Causeway Bay, Hotel Bonaparte is just few steps away from Time Square and Sogo shopping centres where I bought a nicely crafted music box. It's also near the Hongkong Convention and Exhibition Centre and the city's financial district. There are also a lot of money changers and chinese restaurants in the area.

Hotel Bonaparte is a micro-deluxe boutique hotel with contemporary bathrooms and upscale amenities. There's intuitive comfort and coziness in their accommodation. When I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by their friendly frontdesk personnel and even gave me a cute welcome gift, complimentary breakfast coupon and an extra wifi access since I had more than 2 gadgets. They also handed me a mobile phone that I could use for free with unlimited calls to any local number in Hongkong. 

Rooms at Hotel Bonaparte come in Business Double, Twin Room, Premium Double and Deluxe Premium accommodations. Every room features modern interiors and furnishings with a 52-inch high-definition LCD TV, In-room Safe and a small fridge. My room had a very comfortable bed with a nice view of the city. I also like the glass door of the bathroom making the whole room a little bigger. 

The hotel offers Shuttle and Airport Services, 24-Hour Front Desk, Currency Exchange, Tour Desk, Baggage Storage, Concierge Service, Laundry, Dry Cleaning, Daily Housekeeping, Fax/Photocopying with a Souvenir / Gift Shop at the hotel's lobby. Wifi is also available.

Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus was named as 'Best Economic Hotel in Guangdong Hongkong Macau' by LET'S GO Magazine in 2011 and 2012, the 'Most Popular Economic Hotel by Business Traveller of Asia' at the Asia Hotel Forum 2012, and the 'Best Service Hotel' at the China Hotel Forum in 2010 and 2011. 

Just few months ago, Hotel Bonaparte by rhombus received the 'Business Hotel of The Year' at the GHM Golden Pearl Awards. 

Pets weighing 25 lbs and less are allowed in the hotel as long as you provide in advance your pets' health certificates. For mode details about Hotel Bonaparte by Rhombus , check out their website here. A cozy retreat indeed in Hongkong's heartbeat.

Smart Communications unveils Pay with Mobile service

Smart announced today another mobile innovation that will provide its subscribers the convenience of paying for applications, games, books, magazines, movies, and music on iTunes using their prepaid load or have it charged on top of their monthly postpaid bill.

To be known as “Pay-With-Mobile,” this new service eliminates the need for a credit or debit card to get paid contents from App Store and iTunes. 

This innovation works by allowing subscribers the ability to sign up for a 'Pay-With-Mobile' number which they can use solely with their iTunes accounts. All appplication downloads, digital contents and in-app purchases bought using the Pay-With-Mobile will be deducted from customer's prepaid load, or have it charged on top of their monthly bills.

“Smart understands that not everyone owns a credit card, but that shouldn’t stop people from realizing the full potential of their mobile devices. This is why we have worked hard to bring this groundbreaking service to Filipino users, which we believe will further revolutionize the way they enjoy their favorite lifestyle apps and content on their devices,” said Charles Lim, EVP and Wireless Consumer Division Head at Smart. 

To get started, Text REG to 4949 and yoou will receive a Pay-With-Mobile number and other pertinent account details. Then go to your Apple ID Account Settings page on iTunes  and select “MasterCard” as the payment option and fill out the corresponding fields.

Once your assigned card number is associated with the account, you can already purchase all the apps, games, music and movies on your phones, as well as buy in-app purchases within “freemium” apps. Every successful transaction is verified by an SMS notification to inform you of the purchase. 

App Store currently has over 1 million applications available for download including tons of music and movies The Pay-With-Mobile service makes it easier for subscribers to maximize their Internet giving them instant and convenient access to almost all possible digital contents. 

This will soon be available to Sun Cellular subscribers.

To know more about this new Smart’s Pay-With-Mobile service click here