Sunday, July 30, 2017

Of Spoilers and Leaks - Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode Two

Episode 2 down. Time to check the spoilers and leaks I've read about and posted last February.

Arya is reunited with her direwolf, Nymeria, which she left in season one.
No surprise here. A glimpse was shown at this episode's trailer. I loved it when Arya tried hard to convince her direwolf to return to Winterfell with her, only to be left heartbroken. Arya quickly realises that "That is not you.", the same response ("That is not me.") she gave her father way back in Season 1 when he told her that one day she will be a lady and marry. I hope that this would not be the last time we will be seeing Nymeria though.

 The Lannisters have special anti-dragon artillery, which is designed by Qyburn.
A very large and intimidating crossbow at that. Looks like Qyburn did his homework on Westorosi history. Meraxes, a dragon ridden by Rhaenys Targaryen, one of the trio who conquered Westeros, went down after being hit straight in the eye with a scorpion bolt fired by Dornish troops. Let's wait and see.
Euron Greyjoy finds and destroys Yara’s fleet and takes her as a prison but Theon manages to escape. Euron takes Ellaria and kills off two of the Sand Snakes.
The episode's ending scene. Everything was so fast paced I barely felt the death of two of the three Sand Snakes, Obara and Nymeria Sand. Well, everyone who have read the books hate how the TV show did the Dorne plot and were very relieved seeing them go. Since I have not read the books yet, I kinda like the sand snakes, especially their mother Ellaria Sand. Her reaction when Oberyn was killed by the mountain and how she killed Doran were one of my favorites scenes of the series.

Episode Three on Monday!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Grab Promotion - Eastwood City

Php50 is Php50, right? Available for rides to and from Eastwood. Just type EASTWOODCITY on the Grab Rewards page. Valid until June 2018. Yes, 2018! One year! I wonder s there's one for every city. I know there's one in Bonifacio Global City but its only available in limited time. 


Grab away!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Of Spoilers and Leaks - Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode One

So the first episode is already out last July 16 (July 17 PH time). Time to check the spoilers and leaks I've read about and posted last February.
Arya is reunited with her direwolf, Nymeria, which she left in season one. Upon her return, Arya uses her skills and the face of Walder to summon the Freys and after sending the women away, gives a toast and kills them all with poison.
Well, kudos to them, they've got it right. In season 7's premiere, the opening sequence features Walder Frey in what seems to be a flashback scene celebrating the success of the Red Wedding. He have gathered all the Freys and started giving a speech to those who engaged at the Red Wedding. But as his speech goes on, one will realize that this is not a flashback after all. As soon as the men started coughing their guts out, one will know that this is Arya Stark in Walder Frey's face crossing out the entire Frey clan on her death list.

What about Nymeria? Well, she'll be in episode 2! :)

My own predictions:

Most online spoilers points to Tyrion Lannister as the priceless gift Euron will bring Queen Cersei. Others claim that it would be DragonBinder, a horn that can subdue Daenerys's dragons. I personally think that it would be Yara and Theon Greyjoy with Ellaria Sand and her Sand Snakes meeting their end.

Til the next! ;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

#kolokoytravels - Maginhawa - The Nook Cafe

No one is too old for Harry Potter. Being the Harry Potter fan that I am since good old college days, I dragged a friend to The Nook Cafe Cafe, a Harry Potter inspired cafe in Maginhawa.  It is worth to note that my friend and I have been to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter in Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan way back October 2016. We already have the taste the original butterbeer (hot, iced and frosted) so we kept our expectations to a minimum. 

Located at 164 A Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City, and since there are no local jeepneys that passes the area, the best way to go there is just via Grab and Uber. If bringing a car, expect to search for a parking lot nearby as it does not have any. 

We arrived on a weekend, around 3PM which I guess a bad decision as the place is packed when we got there, and was told that the waiting time is an hour or so. Since we are already there and the weather is not too sunny, we decided to wait the time out. Good thing they allow ordering even though we are not seated yet. I initially opted for a mug of butterbeer. I was surprised that the staff didn't asked for any payment immediately and was told that it would be at the end of our stay. Plus points for believing that people are basically good. Haha!

My verdict? The butterbeer is just okay. A bit sweet for me. It tasted like butterscotch as it should be. However, there something missing from what we have tasted in Osaka. I believe it's the kick a carbonated drink will bring. At Php100 a glass, I think its alright considering the number of photos you would post in social media plus the bragging rights of "Been there, done that" tune. I've had thee glasses by the way. LOL.

I love this corner. 

From the stairs.

I believe that a part of what will make a successful themed place, is the staff who will manage it. Fortunately,  they were nice and accommodating. I can see visitors talking to them about the series while waiting to be seated. They really make you feel at home. I guess it counts to be a Potterhead too when applying for the job.

The place itself was small. Two-storey but could only seat about 6 persons at the ground floor and about 9 persons in the second floor, but filled with Harry Potter memorabilia: from books, funko pops, robes, wands. There is a cupboard under the stairs which I sadly was not able to explore as we opted to be seated at the second floor. They also have board games that you can borrow from the counter to level up the experience.   There's a hammock at the corner of the second floor and it quickly became my favorite place in the cafe. Nostalgia will really eat you out as you try every bits of the place. Sorting hat, school robes, wands, chocolate frogs, even the wall is painted as Diagon Alley. With a waiting time of almost two hours, we only stayed for an hour or so, but every minute was worth it. 

Food. Aside from butterbeer, we didn't really order any except for the bacon wrapped chicken which I can say is very very good. I always tell myself that for themed cafes, go for the experience, not the food, and you'll end up with a smile plastered on your face. Should there be a next time, I'll surely order more. 

Writings on the wall. 

Top view.

I swear someday I'll have my room with this. 

My favorite house. :)

Potterheads, literally. :)

I can stay here forever. <3

Overall, it was a great and unique experience. I just hope that they’ll get a more spacious place or a second branch I guess because it’s really hard when you have a lot of customers and the place becomes crowded and noisy especially during the photo ops time. I think the time taking pictures are longer than eating what you have ordered.  I basically gave up a Slytherin robe after 20 minutes of using it for a girl of 10 who really wants to try it and was obviously waiting for my turn to end. Being of older age that I am, I gave her my turn and just contently watched her role play with her parents, who obviously are Potterheads too. :)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

eBay 101 - 3 Things I Learned From Online Selling

Image from ebayph twitter page

I've been an occasional eBay PH seller since 2012. Nothing grand, just some collectibles which I decided to part with, and some buy and sell stuff.  My friends are usually surprised whenever they learn that I trade on eBay PH. All they know is OLX, though I also trade there from time to time. With that, here are three things I usually tell my friends when the subject of online selling via eBay comes up. This also applies to OLX, as they are both online trading sites.

1. Check out the nearest couriers around your area. It would be difficult for sellers to ship items if there's no available within your vicinity. Familiarize yourself with shipping cost, locally and internationally. Couriers like Air21, JRS Express, 2GO, Xend have lower rates compared to LBC, which I believe is the most popular courier in the country. I personally use Xend in shipping my items since I can always drop it off a 7-11 convenience store near my workplace. Having my items picked up at home usually does not work for me since my work schedule shifts every month or so. For international shipping, expect to pay a lot. I didn't and my first international sale was my last for the time being.

2. Before deciding to sell online, make sure you have that extra time to check your page at least 3 times a week and be prepared for haggling. learn to say "No, thank you". You can make your mobile number known to interested buyers for faster transactions. Be ready to respond to inquiries the soonest possible time, and not take it personally should the buyer decided not to push through despite several communication exchange. Believe me, Pinoys are great in haggling.

3. Decide how on you'd like to be paid. I personally choose to accept payments via bank deposit so I can have the cash immediately, and there's no fees to be paid. This is common on OLX and eBay PH. However, on other eBay sites especially the main US site, PayPal is king. And with the fees PayPal charges on every payment received, it best to be aware of the fees you will be paying so you can come up with an item price that won't get you out of pocket.

To sign up for an eBay account:

1. Visit and register
2. Fill up the needed information
3. You will be asked to confirm either thru your email or via text messaging.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Grab Promotion - July 12 - July 17, 2017

One reason why I love Grab.

Hey Grabber!

This week, we're giving you a P50 discount on a total of 5 GrabCar or GrabShare rides!

Just book with exclusive promo code GC250H from July 12 (Wednesday) until July 17 (Monday) to enjoy the discounted fares!

Promo Mechanics:

- Book with promo code GC250H to get a P50 discount on up to 5 rides;
- Valid for GrabCar, GrabCar Premium, GrabCar 6-seater or GrabShare services;
- Valid until July 17 (Monday).

Enjoy, and keep riding with Grab!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Manila Bankers Life Insurance: Scam or Not?

Image from MBLI's website

Last Wednesday, I received a landline call. Since I am no longer expecting character investigation calls through my landline number because of some credit card applications, I'm a bit surprised that someone would call via landline. Telemarketers are ok especially if I know the product like Citibank and PLDT but what I experienced was new to me. Here's how the conversation went:

Manila Bankers Life Insurance (MBLI): Good morning! May I speak with Mr. XXX? 
Me: Speaking. Who is this?
MBLI: Hi Mr. XXX! This is YYY from Manila Bankers Life Insurance and I’m calling you today to happily inform you that in celebration of MBLI’s anniversary, you won yourself 4 free rewards! You were recommended by one of our partner banks: BPI, BDO, Metrobank, RCBC, Security Bank, EastWest Bank, PNB, LandBank etc.
Me: ...
MBLI: Since our records show that you have a good credit standing, you were chosen to receive 4 rewards that includes an educational scholarship at a computer school,  free life insurance, as well as health and wellness GCs. I'd be happy to explain them one by one.
Me: I'm already a graduate and have a life insurance (even though I don't really have one). 
MBLI: No worries Sir! The educational scholarship can be given to anyone and our life insurance is free. We just need to confirm your credit standing via your ATM or credit card. 
Me: Sorry but I'm not willing to give my credit card or ATM details over the phone. Thank you. 
MBLI: It would be here at our office Sir. 
Me: No thanks. I'm not really interested. Bye!
I don't know if its the representative's voice and manner of communicating (heavy accent, script-dependent and all) but I'm very cautious with these kinds of calls. So I turned to my best friend, Google and made a quick search of Manila Bankers Life Insurance and was not really surprised to see the numerous negative comments and allegations of fraud:

These posts dates back 2016 but I also saw some way back 2013. Most are negative comments. I did see one positive post about it but the comments were bombarded with negative ones. From what I read, MBLI persuades people with offers of an educational scholarships and other gift certificates. When one claim their prize from Manila Bankers Life Insurance office in Ayala, they will be subjected to a product presentation of the company's insurance products and then pressured to avail of the products.

However, Manila Bankers Life Insurance seems to be a legit insurance company. They have their own official website and is listed among accredited life insurance companies by the Insurance Commssion. If Manila Bankers Life Insurance is not one of those fly-by-night institution, why the negative comments?

I strongly believe it’s because of their misleading marketing and sales practices.

Manila Bankers Life Insurance utilizes deception (for a lack of better term)  to secure a potential client’s attention. The modus is to use the scholarship and gift certificates as a bait to bring people to their office and once there, hard sell the product to the unsuspecting audience.

The aggressive selling of their life insurance product borders on pressure and  intimidation. Manila Bankers Life Insurance might say in defense that the final decision is still with the insured, but with such tactics, very few would be able to say no, and even if they were able to, it would be too late as representatives would already have a hold on their financial details. And with Filipino's  inherent meekness and non-confrontational nature plus limited knowledge, this would be easy as pie.

Based on the numerous comments against Manila Bankers Life Insurance on social media, the agents are smooth talkers who somehow manage to convince the insured to hand over their credit card or ATM for what they claim is a simple verification process.

So if it’s not a scam, would I recommend going to Manila Bankers Life Insurance to claim your supposed prizes? If you have an ample amount of time, or you want to your test your saying "No" skills or have something to write home about, then go right ahead. Otherwise, I honestly think it’s a waste of time. Even if MBLI is a legitimate insurance company, I wouldn’t want to deal with an entity that uses shady methods just to close a sale. I have friends who are into insurance sales and I see how they work hard to secure clients, explain the ins and outs of a policy, how knowledgeable they are with their company and product. And they are okay even if potential clients says no.  The least thing I can get for free is lunch. :)

Always remember, don’t let Manila Bankers Life Insurance or any other entity near your credit, debit or ATM cards. If you need to be rude, then do so and save yourself from the headache of unwanted and overpriced charges, and never ever sign anything you haven’t thoroughly read first. Be vigilant.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

#kolokoytravels Hong Kong 2016 - Nan Lian Garden

Disneyland, check.

Avenue of the Stars, check.

Tian Tan Buddha, check.

Now, what?

When one thinks of Hong Kong, you can surely bet that images of those three would definitely top the list. More often than not, those three will also eat up a huge chunk of your itineray, leaving you exhausted to the point of just calling it a day.

Since my first trip in Hong Kong was via a package tour, I only get to appreciate the city when I went DIY and searched various guides online. The Internet is really a very powerful tool when planning your travel itinerary. I only came across the Nan Lian garden while doing some research via my Sygic app on less popular but worthy (read: instagrammable) places to visit around the city. Thank God I did.

The garden was literally a breath of fresh air. A wide patch of greens amongst concrete. The very thing that I remember is how tranquil and quiet it is once you’re inside the walls of the garden. Maybe it helps that the weather back then was a gloomy one so walking is a bit easier to take. If not for the skyscrapers in the background, you may forget that you’re actually right in the middle of the city. The highlight of the garden is a spectacular golden pavilion in the middle of a pond crossed by a bright red bridge. There’s also  a big koi fish pond in the middle and a platform beside it where one can sit and rest. Watching the koi fish is fun, but no feeding allowed. Here re some pic I have taken, and hopefully would be able to post more.

Nan Lian Garden
Admission free
60 Fung Tak Rd, Diamond Hill, Hong Kong 
Opening hours: 7.00 to 21.00
MTR Station: Diamond Hill (Exit C2, then follow the signs to the Garden)