Thursday, March 19, 2015

LBR Transport Inc. rolls out Pink Taxis

60 Pink Cabs of LBR Transport Inc. owned and operated by celebrity business man Luis Manzano and his friends Bong Medel and Ron Estrella were rolled out yesterday by the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) in accordance with its 'Pink4' campaign. 

These pink taxis would provide priority rides during rush hours to senior citizens, women, children and people with disabilities.

LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said during the launch of the pink taxis in Quezon City yesterday that they are grateful for LBR Transport Inc. participation on this project, allowing senior citizens, women, children and people with disabilities to have direct access to public transport.

The 60 LBR taxis has a dark pink distinct stripes with double pink ribbons on the top lights. Cab drivers will wear pink polo shirts too. This move by Luis Manzano's Taxi Company is in line with their duty to give back to people, by providing safety and accessible rides during peak hours.

With that, Chairman Ginez is hoping to see more public transport services to participate in the Pink4 Program. 

LBR Taxis has already complied with the P10 flag down cut since Monday. 

For taxi pick ups, you can call LBR at 887-7527,  822-3539 or  (0917) 565-8942.

Photo before edited was from

Smart and Facebook partners to offer free mobile internet service

Talk 'N Text, a value brand of Smart Communications Inc. has partnered with Facebook to offer the app, a platform offering a set of mobile internet services without data charges. app allows subscribers to enjoy access to 24 websites including news, education, messaging, health and communication. 

Facebook led the initiative of which aims to make mobile data services available to millions of Smart Subscribers without internet subscription. Smart is the first telecommunication company in the Philippines to launch app in in Southeast Asia. Last year, has been rolled out to six countries, India, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. 

The free data service is not just available for Talk N Text subscribers but also to Smart and Sun prepaid customers. To access the service, you just have to download the app from Google Play Store or browsing directly at They can also text INTERNET and send it to 9999.

This partnership of Smart’s with Facebook is a big boost to its ‘Internet for All’ campaign. An advocacy Smart has to make useful information online available to millions of Filipinos. 

Currently, according to The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, only less than 40% percent of the country’s population had Internet access last year. 

The 24 websites other than FB and Messenger are, Bing,, wikiHow and Wikipedia for general information, news updates from Inquirer, Rappler, PhilStar, and Interaksyon. Sports News from ESPN and SPIN.PH, weather climate from Accuweather and RainCheckPH; and love stories via Wattpad. Browsing is also available for free including Jobstreet;; PesosandSense and, BabyCenter & MAMA and Girl Effect; and UNICEF’s.

Smart continues to be the most advanced network in the Philippines today, with a total of 26,000+ cellular/broadband base stations, including 11,000+ active 4G/HSPA+/Long-Term Evolution (LTE) base stations supported by almost a 100,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables around the country.  Using the App or by browsing from your phone, You can enjoy accessing this useful websites for free. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Smart extends 30MB Free Internet to its Prepaid Subscribers

There's nothing more exciting to any Smart Prepaid Subscriber than hearing the news of extending its campain of the 30MB worth of FREE data per day and still without the need to sign up or register. 

With this FREE 30MB, Smart Subscribers can now enjoy a wider range of online activities including watching video clips on YouTube and browsing their social media accounts. What's more useful to this 30MB free data is the capability to navigate Google Maps, Waze and MMDA’s app. You can also maximize the 30MB data by shopping online or listening songs via its award winning music platform Spinnr.

You can check more details about this new campaign by clicking the photo below! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Grand Vacation and What to Do in Phuket Thailand

I never thought I would be back in Phuket Thailand  sooner than I expected. I went there to have a grand vacation and just have fun with some Caucasians and Middle Eastern strangers. This time, I made sure I have all the time for myself and to enjoy what the island really has to offer and not to think about work and being a media person. 

The last time I was in Phuket Thailand was when I covered the Asian Beach Games, a multi-sport beach event held every two years among Asian Athletes with games regulated by the Olympic Council of Asia. It started in Bali Indonesia in 2008. Now on its 4th year, they decided to have it in Thailand's biggest island, Phuket.

Phuket is known for its several white sandy beaches. Patong beach on the west coast is the most popular and the most crowded. It is the island's most developed tourist area. The tourism on this part of the island alone generates much income to the region. A lot of chain hotels, restaurants, bars, spas, salons, tailor & textile shops, money changers and tattoo centers are located here. 

There are other more wonderful beaches in Phuket. They have the Kata Beach and the Karon Beach at the south of Patong, the Kamala Beach and the Surin Beach at the north, and the famous Phi Phi Island at southeast and Similan Islands at northwest. If you have more budget and you decide to have a quiet time in a luxury resort, then you might wanna stay at the Kata or Karon area.

Since I wanted the vibrant area, I decided to stay at Patong and checked in at Grand Mercure Hotel. The hotel is new, luxurious but not expensive and just a 10-minute walk to the Patong Beach. Everything in this hotel is just grand and lovely! (More of the story in a different article). Patong Beach is a 3500 metre white sand beach edged by the shimmering Andaman sea. Swimming here is free and you can leave your things on the sand without worrying that someone might steal them. Patong at night becomes colourful and loud with left and right partying especially at the Bangla Road, where a lot of disco houses, clubs and pubs are. Foreigners get to walk in the streets topless with a thai beer in their hand, a manifestation of being in a place where you can relax and be yourself without limits.

Other than the beaches, Phuket is also rich in Thai culture and history. You can visit the old yet radiant Phuket Town known to have Portuguese Architectures, the Big Buddha sitting on the mountaintop allowing you to see a great view of the island and the Wat Chalong, Phuket's largest Temple and prominent to be a place of meditation and healing.

There are a lot of food options in Phuket. Hotel restaurants offer variety of cuisines while those located along the street have a lot of seafood menus. In Grand Mercure Hotel, their Bubbles Restaurant offers both American and Authentic Thai Dishes! There are also fast food chains like Burger King, KFC, Dunkin Donuts and Mc Donald's with prices more expensive than their branches in Bangkok.

Other activities that you can do in Phuket when you have extra time and funds are snorkeling, diving, island hopping, jungle safari, elephant trekking, cooking classes and MMA courses. I tried 2 different island tours, one is with a big cruise ship while the other one is a small speed boat escapade.  (I'll have another article for this too).

For side trip, you can take the Phang Nga Bay tour where they will bring you to the island rich in limestones and was shown in the classic James Bond 1974 film, 'The Man With the Golden Gun' or the Maya Bay where the exquisite lagoon shown on Leanardo DiCaprio's film 'The Beach' is located. 

To end your trip in Phuket, you must visit Similan Islands National Park, one of the best dive sites in the world. For first timers, here's a detailed itinerary for you! 

From Phuket International Airport, take the van going to Patong Beach, rate is 200-300 Baht per person (recommended for 1-2 travelers). If you come in group like 4-5 pax, just take a taxi. Taxi rate varies from 1000-1500 Baht and divide it amongst yourselves.

After checking in at the hotel, walk going to the beach and start enjoying the water! At night, have an authentic thai massage at your hotel like RYN in Grand Mercure or try the fish spa or have a drink at any bar in Bangla Road. 

On your day 2, You can visit, Phuket Town, Wat Chalong and the Big Buddha. Have yourself an authentic and delicious Thai food after. Then at night, you can walk along the street of Patong start buying something for yourself and for 'pasalubong'.

On your 3rd day, You can either tour the other islands I mentioned above, or you can go back to Patong Beach and try parasailing or take the cruise. 

ATM's and Foreign Currency Exchange are available in almost ever corner of Patong. I strongly suggest to bring Dollars instead of other currencies. Or you can just withdraw using your own card with just a small one time transaction fee of $5 or P200. 

Grand Mercure Hotel can arrange a shuttle pick up for you to the airport. Here is the breakdown of all the expenses:

There was still so much to see and experience in Phuket. There were a lot of islands that I wanted to explore. If only I had more time, I would have tried scuba diving. I'm in love with Phuket and been wanting to go back since December! It was incredibly hard to say goodbye! 

Here are some reminders for first time travelers:

1. Travel lite - Don't bring too many clothes.  Don't forget slippers, sunblock and extra undies for swimming!
2. Wear comfortable shoes! Loafers would do! You'll find yourself walking a lot in Patong!
3. Have en extra Baht or US Dollars, much better Credit Card or Debit Card for emergencies. You'll never know what will happen there! 
4. Try Phuket's fresh fruits! There are a lot of vendors in every corner. 
4. Bring a pen and wetwipes. You already know what are they for! Haha! 
5. For Filipinos and Smart subcribers, I recommend that you register to Smart's all day roaming. They partnered with True Telecom so you can maximize your connection there without unnecessary mobile charges. It's only P500 and all you have to do is:

Text ROAM ON and send to 333 at least 30 minutes before leaving the country. Then Check your network settings & make sure you are connected to SMART’s Conexus Roaming Partner. To access the USSD Menu, Dial *133# and Press ANSWER then enter 5 to choose DATA ROAMING. Then choose Thailand and True Telecom from the list of countries and roaming partner. Select the All-DAY SURF ABROAD 500. If successful, you'll receive a confirmation. For more details, check out  #SmartAllDaySurfAbroad