The store that’s got it all is now online!

Everything now seems to be easily accessible. Paying bills, online shopping, food delivery, even medical results can be accessed online. You name it, the internet has it.

Not to be left behind, our favourite store that’s got it all now has its own online platform! Just the right timing, as recently, the most accessible branch just folded, which is like one short walk or a tricycle ride away from home.

Enter ShopSM, the newest online platform of our much loved The SM Store. Over the holidays, I got acquainted with this platform, and at the perfect timing: I was not able to grab Christmas presents for my husband and my daughter!

We had quite a busy schedule the whole of December, that we went last minute shopping for gifts for our families and friends. It was not a lot, but still took some of our time to think, shop, purchase, and pack those Christmas presents.

Unfortunately, we ended December and welcomed the New Year with Emergency Room trips and medicines. Both my husband and daughter fell ill, and I unfortunately got the bug few days after.

So, browsing the ShopSM store online became retail therapy for me, as I chose gifts for my husband and my mini-me.

What I liked about the ShopSM online? Here’s some reasons:

  1. Easy to access website. The interface is easy to understand, and clearly broken down into categories: Women, Men, Kids, Home, Beauty, Sale, and New.
  2. Quick processing of payment and item delivery. I was surprised to received the order on the first Monday of the year! I purchased the Friday before that, and surprised to have received the confirmation emails immediately, and the message from the courier on a Sunday.  Quick service there!
  3. Return process is a breeze. I followed the instructions on my account dashboard on the ShopSM website, printed the return request form, brought the item to the nearest SM store’s Customer Service, and the return was easily facilitated. The item I returned was a shirt supposedly for my husband, unfortunately, I got a Teens Size whilst I was ordering. After the return process, I was given a voucher, which I can use until February to purchase another item. I decided to wait for hubby to be available so we could shop for his shirt together.
Easy to navigate website. I am always in it!
For my daughter’s ballet class, she needed a new bottle since her previous one got broken.
This was the wrong order! I was excitedly looking at another item, which did not say Teens on it. Unfortunately, all We Bare Bears for Men are only for Male Teens.

Some things that can be improved:

  1. The site kept on hanging whenever I reach the payment and delivery options. I chatted with their online chat service, which advised me to clear my browser data and cache. Which I did, and to no avail. Ultimately, I opted for a COD and delivery, which has additional cost. Still better than going out and picking up the item which would cost additional fare also.
  2. The size guide for teens and males are just the same. Here is where I got the mistake of ordering a teen sized shirt, which is also medium sized. Better check the brands and the exact name of the product before adding to your online shopping cart.
  3. Less plastics and paper for delivery of the items. I noticed that there was just too much plastic to wrap the items. I understand this might be needed to secure the flask I purchased for my daughter in SM Kids. There were also lots of excess papers—copies of orders—inside the package, which ended up in the trash. Probably some other way to reduce these excess papers and plastics?

I do hope as well that they would add more choices soon! Shopping is truly a breeze when done in the comfort of your own home, and with ShopSM, it will be easier. There would definitely be a next time, especially that the nearest SM Store now is about 5 kilometers away, which I would only get to visit on weekends or when there are Novena Masses at church.

Have you done some online shopping lately? What items do you usually shop for online?

~ Touringkitty

Touringkittyps: Five for whiter and healthier pearly whites

Another holiday season has ended. And of course, who says no to food on holidays?

But despite of all the food, do you even mind your teeth and gums? That would probably be last priority, it’s the holidays, anyway!

Good thing, our friends from Oral B sent a package with their latest products, which I got to try while eating all those yummy, sugary, salty, savoury food.

It came in this cute box! My friend thought it to be a graduation cap at first.

And before we fully unbox this, let me also share with you five tips to keep your pearly whites whiter and stronger.

1. Take coloured and acidic drinks like wine or coffee in moderation. Anything in moderation is fine. Just remember that these drinks would most probably stain and destroy your enamel in the long run. Water is still the way to go, and make sure to finish your meal or drinks with water to flush out any dirt immediately away from your teeth.

2. Make sure to brush after eating, and do not consume anything immediately after brushing. Never miss a toothbrush sesh, as it would help take away the smaller food excesses in your mouth.

3. Choose a good toothpaste and toothbrush that can help you clean and keep clean your teeth.

Toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss. Power trio for your dental health.

With the package came Oral B’s Charcoal White toothbrush (which I super like!), and their latest innovation, the Gum and Enamel repair toothpaste.

The NEW Oral-B Gum & Enamel Repair Toothpaste is clinically proven to protect gums and strengthen enamel in 2 weeks. Oral-B’s Gum and Enamel Repair toothpaste has unique ActivRepair™ technology, clinically proven to neutralize bacteria on the gumline, and even keep it away afterwards, too. It also repairs the damage caused to your tooth enamel by everyday wear and tear and continues to protect it afterwards. Not only that, but it also helps do all this in just two weeks.

I saw a significant lightening of my teeth on my first try! Now that’s something I looked forward to each time I brushed, since I have consumed quite an amount of sugary Christmas treats and coffee to keep me awake for the piano playing and singing during Dawn Masses.

4. Don’t forget to floss! This we oftentimes forget, and because we neglect flossing, bacteria buildup is faster. Included in the package is the Oral-B Glide Floss. What I particularly like about this floss is that it does not shred and as the name says, glides in between your teeth really well. I am not a floss user but this one makes me use floss every after toothbrush already.

5. Visit your dentist regularly. Once a year is sometimes all it takes, so that the dentist can assess your dental health. In that one visit he will clean your teeth, which has to be done annually as well, and recommend if you need fillings, among other things.

So, there you have it! Five easy steps for that protected teeth, holidays and beyond. Keep up a habit of better teeth with Oral-B’s line of quality and innovative dental products.

Here’s to healthier pearly whites! And a Happy New Year to all.

~ Touringkitty

reboot

Happy New (half) Year!

Just a quick note for now. I’ve been through a rollercoaster of emotions the past half year, and I am slowly picking up.

As for this blog which I almost neglected (itself went through breakdown, literally), I will surely be back on the blogging track sometime soon. Meanwhile, follow my (mis)adventures first on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. All handles are @touringkitty.

Until then, hope you can wait for wee little me!

~ Touringkitty

Weight of Words: Words Create Worlds

If words could kill, then I’d long be dead.

Words are my love language and one of my self-expressions (poetry, writing, and blogging). Sadly, words tried to put me down several times in the past.

Thanks to Weight of Words, I rediscovered how powerful words are, how beautiful they are.

And how they should matter, or not. Ironic, isn’t it?

Very timely to have watched this work on Ascension Sunday, which was also World Communications Day. The Homily tackled about how words are used in social media nowadays, creating fake news, among others. And how our role as bearers and spreaders of the Good News is important nowadays.

Going back to the work, honestly, I did not know what exactly to expect in a “solo devised theater performance,” as the description announced. All I know is that a dear friend and great artist, Abner Delina, Jr., will surely showcase what he is known for–being daring, brave, and true to his work.

The premise was simple: how words are used, misused, and abused. The presentation on point and exact: from birth to death and how words evolved from nothing to everything. The message was clear: for all of us to be careful with our choice of words, and not to dwell on what we hear so as not to affect us. The latter may be harder to do, as with my case, but lately I have been praying more, got back to my meditation, and choose my words carefully before speaking or writing.

Abner is indeed a storyteller. With this work, he took his storytelling a step higher and turned out to be a message bearer, speaking for those who do not have the power to speak.

He based this monologue from a book of the same title published by CANVAS. He’s got a solid team of collaborators as well, handling various aspects of the production, which all contributed positively and greatly to the show. This is not just his work, but of so many who believed that mental health is important in this generation of using lesser and more meaningless words. Unfortunately, though, I was not able to participate in the discussion after the show, since I had a rehearsal to attend.

I have been called names in high school, been judged by people I trusted, even people who do not know me that well. There were even instances social media was used against me to destroy my name, which gave me emotional trauma. I never thought that words can cut like a knife, and they made a pretty deep cut which lasted years.

I thank this show for giving me this reflective pause about words I use, misuse, and abuse, and how these very words may affect me. Since morning that day, and especially during the Homily at church, I have been praying and reflecting and preparing myself to watch this show, to have an open mind, to accept things as they are, to forgive, and to use words as source of positivity and strength.

After all the setbacks, I should keep myself reminded of the following:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, (but words can never hurt me) . (Old adage)

It’s only words, and words are all I have to take your heart away. (Bee Gees’ Words)

For no word from God will ever fail. (Luke 1:37 NIV)

You still have four more chances (yes, four more shows!) to watch this work for yourselves, and like me, discover the power of words. See poster below.

If you have watched it already, do let me know what you think of the work in the comments.

And if any of you or your family and friends, even those you do not personally know, think they might need help, do not hesistate to reach out and tell your story, too. Sharing is caring, definitely.

Max’s introduces treats to beat the summer heat

I believe I have a lifelong affair with Max’s.

Okay, that might not sound right, but am sure you know which Max I am talking about–the restaurant, of course.

And indeed I have. From my parents’ wedding reception, the studio recital of my voice and piano students, my daughter’s baptism, reunions, meetings, or any time of the day eating, these all turn to special when we are at Max’s.

And they want you to experience the same through their special summer treats!

There’s heat quenchers, free food for kids, new products and discounted bread items.

Read more HERE:

Rice bowls: complete meal in one bowl. From Mondays to Thursdays, families craving for a hearty lunch or dinner after a long day at work and school can enjoy Max’s Rice Bowls with a free scoop of Selecta Ice Cream starting only at PHP149.

Rice pa more: unlirice!
If you’re more of a Meal Deal type of family, you can also top up with Rice All You Can by adding PHP50 to a Real Deal/Family of 5 meal of PHP100 for a Family of 10 meal.

Halu-halo ALL YOU CAN AND WANT! Looking for a merienda treat to cool you off? Or a place where you can hang out with family, friends, and coworkers while cooling down? From March 23 to 31, customers can get unlimited regular Halo-Halo at Max’s for only PHP 189 every day from 2:00-6:00 p.m.

Kids eat FOR FREE! Make the weekend extra special and troop to Max’s with the family, where kids aged 10 and below can enjoy a free Kiddie Meal, which comes with 1 pc. of Max’s classic Fried Chicken, rice, pasta, sago’t gulaman, and a caramel bar.


Take home treats with a discount. Want to make that weekend feeling last just a little bit longer? Parents looking to take a piece of Max’s home can also enjoy 25% off of Max’s Corner Bakery products from 5:00 p.m. onwards. With a minimum purchase of PHP150, the first 50 customers can avail of the discount on all of Max’s Corner Bakery products.

“Filipinos want to make the most of summer and make it a time to create new memories, so we wanted to make this summer extra special for every Filipino family, every day of the week” said Max’s Restaurant Chief Operating Officer Paolo Serrano. “No matter who you’re with or what day of the week you come in, we’ll make your summer dining experience one to remember with these summer delights.”
This summer, fill your family time with care, love, and hearty, comforting food with Max’s summer treats. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/maxsrestaurant.

Avail one, or all! Visit your nearest branch today. Some offers come for a limited time only, so make sure to catch them, else they’ll soon be gone.

Thanks to Max’s Restaurant and Mommy Bloggers Philippines for inviting us for lunch last week to taste all the new and yummy treats.

Vicks’ #TouchOfCare campaign creates awareness for children infected with HIV

(Manila, Philippines) A strong follow up from its 2018 #TouchOfCare video, Vicks once again releases another true-to-life story on the transformative power of care, to celebrate the extraordinary stories of the people who have lived it by their actions. This time, it centers on a child infected with HIV and a woman whose love and care paved way for the transformation of both their lives. This is a powerful story that aims to challenge current beliefs, social norms, definitions, and stereotypes; a bold move aimed to address issues on discrimination.

Vicks, a brand synonymous with Generations of Care globally, continues its mission on transforming people’s lives with the power of care with the belief that it is Care that makes a family, and not the other way around. The brand’s #TouchOfCare campaign brings to the surface societal taboos and sheds light on them to inspire change in perspectives and preconceived biases. It reveals how anybody with a loving touch of care has the capability to transform another person’s life.

“The purpose of the Vicks brand is rooted in care. With our #TouchOfCare campaign, we aim to share stories where people have transformed lives of others through their extraordinary acts of care. The story of “Agnes” was one such story which just needed to be told. We hope the campaign inspires more people to transform lives and transcend social norms, definitions and stereotypes through their own acts of care.”

The 4-minute video heroes a child who was born with HIV infection. When his mom died from the disease, the 4-month old was handed by his immediate family to Agnes, his mom’s friend. Captured in the story is how Agnes later on found out about the child’s condition, and instead of turning away from the unexpectedly difficult situation, she committed to raise him and showered him with love and care. It was the start of a beautiful life transformation for the two; revealing how Agnes fought for child’s life against all ridicule and discrimination from the people around them. Today, with Agnes’ unfaltering love and care, the child is 4 years old and his HIV infection lays dormant in his body.

To watch the video visit: https://www.facebook.com/VicksPhilippines/videos/316478069224916/

“With the Touch of Care campaign, we are passionate about telling powerful stories of love. The story of Agnes just grabbed us from the start and we felt this moving tale of mother and son, amidst their challenges, was something we want to share with the world. This is the power of care that Vicks celebrates, for when you choose it, you have a hand in transforming another person’s life and make it better.”

  • Lester Estrada, P&G Philippines Marketing Director

Vicks believes that sharing Agnes’ story will create a ripple effect that inspires people to look past the current beliefs, social norms, definitions, and stereotypes placed on people, and ultimately creates a transformative power of care. The brand also wants to create societal awareness for children born with HIV in order to change society’s beliefs and perspectives towards them. Vicks is committed to amplifying inspiring stories that show the transformation of human lives when people give a touch of care.

“While brands have the power to lead conversations and influence culture, it is ordinary people in their everyday lives who actually inspire these brands to reflect relevant realities in our advertising. This extraordinary ability of a person to transcend every imaginable boundary to feel and care for another life, another human being, continues to be the inspiration for Vicks’ “Touch of Care” campaign across multiple geographies. To celebrate the lives, amplify the stories and support our everyday heroines and heroes is a privilege for our brand.”

  • Ajay Vikram, Publicis Singapore Chief Creative Officer, Global Clients

Vicks has partnered with Project Red Ribbon (a partner of Department of Health – National AIDS/STI Prevention and Control Program and is associated with the World Health Organization and UNAIDS). This partnership aims to give the same love and care seen in the film to the children under the “Duyan Project”. “Duyan”, a Filipino noun which means “cradle”, aims to provide care and support to children with HIV in the Philippines. Through the said program, they will be given care, love and attention, to improve their quality of life until they are once again healthy and can go back to school.

To know more about HIV, Project Red Ribbon, and the “Duyan Program” visit https://www.hivphilippines.com/duyan-program

https://www.hivphilippines.com/definitions

http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/philippines

https://www.doh.gov.ph/aids-hiv

About Procter & Gamble

P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Dawn®, Downy®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Joy®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, Rejoice®, Safeguard®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands.

Touringkitty Travels: Dating, European-style

We sang, we traveled, we ate. This is how we conquered Europe for the first time as husband and wife.

We got to do it for almost a month. And even if we were traveling with a group, we cannot miss the chance to go out on a just-us date. So, on that one free night in Cologne, Germany, before we head to Spain, we had our first European date.

We strolled along the cold streets, looking for a perfect place for that first European date, and ended up in a cozy bar just across Cologne Cathedral.

Bucket list checked: Date in Europe.

Funkhaus is the restaurant on the building of the WDR Funkhaus, the radio broadcast center, which is important in Cologne’s history.

Next, what to eat?

Eat local, but don’t splurge. That has been our eating out mantra. So, we settled with currywurst and Kölsch (Cologne brewed beer).

Sausage, beer, and hard bread. In true German fashion. Wunderbar!

We learned about the beer from our hosts in Weroth, and they were right, it tastes good! Not a beer fan here, but this one is worth the try.

Spent precious moments here, but not for long. We had to walk back to the hostel to catch our early morning flight. And did I say it was freezing cold that night? And that we were walking by the River Rhine? There you go.


They had these thick blankets ready for those who will be seated outside. It was THAT cold.

This date is definitely one for the books! We are just beyond grateful to have experienced this, and so much more, while celebrating a special milestone in our married life, and traveling with a choral group we consider family.

Crossing the bridge. Photo by the Pastorgrapher. Half smiles courtesy of the cold temp.

Know more about Funkhaus through their website. Click this linkhttp://funkhaus-koeln.de.

~ Touringkitty

Buy a ticket, help reach our target!

The Shrine of Jesus has been more than a church for us, it’s our second home.

Our beautiful church, standing tall for 20 years already.

There, we have built our first family, even before marriage. My husband and I formed a children’s choir in 2006 from among its churchgoers and relatives of other volunteers. We have taken part in so many Holy Masses, liturgical celebrations, activities in and out of the Shrine like recollections and pilgrimages.

You’d probably have read some of them here in the blog, like our outreach project and the dinner for the elderly priests.

Ton, Aria, and I are all volunteers of this beloved church. For all that we are, we have, and we will be, it is because of this Sanctuary and especially the community it build itself.

We got married, received the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist, Aria got baptised here as well. This church pretty much is a witness to our family life.

From a once barren land, this Shrine was built to commemorate the 10th World Youth Day and St. John Paul II’s Manila visit. Now, 20 years after it was built, the Shrine remains standing tall, despite being surrounded by so many structures.

But of course, like any other object, it is wear and tear. The edifice needs repainting, the corners need fixing. The choir loft alone needs repairs. Generally, the structure needs its much needed facelift.

And YOU can help! For as low as P200, you will get one raffle ticket, and you can contribute to the Shrine repair and repainting fund.

Watch this video to learn more about our Shrine, and why we are doing this project. May God bless your generosity!

Vuelo 2018 Music: Juan 14 (Mary Katherine Trangco)

Programming music. One of the most difficult yet the most basic block in any choral group.

As a chorister, I get excited with what’s going to be the repertoire for a certain concert I sing in or watch. Always interesting to know the hows and why of putting a set of songs together.

For the recent trip I was part of, the repertoire was unique yet sophisticated. Simple yet complex. Challenging yet exciting.

The Ateneo Chamber Singers specializes in sacred music. Most of their concerts in the past would consist all-sacred repertoire. For this particular tour, we sang a good mix of songs from all over the world and of different genres and eras. Secular and sacred music were included, and for the Canta al mar competition in Calella, Spain, we participated and won in the Musica Sacra category, wherein our repertoire included two out of three Filipino compositions.

Winners in Musica Sacra and Mixed Chamber Categories at the 7th Canta al mar competition in Calella, Spain.

This is one, a setting of John 14:6. And this piece spoke to me strongly.

The first time I saw this piece, I just saw the text AKO in the first couple of pages. And when I skipped on the last page, that’s when I saw the complete text of the Bible verse in Filipino. That’s when I had tremendous goosebumps immediately.

John 14:6 is “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” In Filipino, “Ako ang Daan, ang Katotohanan, at ang Buhay.”

Which is where the name of the Shrine of Jesus was taken from. Which is the verse that I always carry to mind and heart, in good times and bad.

It seemed to be a difficult piece, as the assistant conductor of the choir was dissecting a certain part of it. She, by the way, is the composer of the piece.

But each rehearsal proved to be better than the previous one, as we singers, with our conductor, witnessed how the piece blossomed into each one of us, how the seemingly difficult and impossible proved to be one of our strongest pieces.

And what’s even surprising (at least for me), I was assigned to do the short solo part, during a rehearsal I was not able to attend.

Here is Juan 14 by Mary Katherine Trangco. Video courtesy of the Tolosa Choral Contest Youtube Channel. We sang this as well for the Tolosa competition; three out of seven songs were Filipino works. The entire repertoire of the participating choirs can be found in that youtube channel, too.

It’s as if the Lord spoke to me, to cast all my doubts away, and entrust everything to Him, because all I need to do is to seek Him first.

Be blessed, be a blessing!

~ Touringkitty

Express yourself with Novelina Zeelke Cream Hair Color

Jet black hair. That has been our hair colour since birth.

But with ever changing world, plus the inevitable grey strands, one has to keep up with having their hair coloured.

I am not so much of a fan of colour, but about four years ago, my “virgin” jet black hair was subject to colour because of an opera production, wherein my character was a fairy with gold hair. Say what?! But out of need, I had my hair coloured. And been doing it about once a year since then.

And what perfect timing was this opportunity to try the Novelina Zeelke Cream Hair Colour a few days ago.

You read it right! Free application until December 28, 2018. So head on to Cash and Carry Mall in Makati for that Happy New Hair look!

Here are some snaps from my hair transformation. 

Colour of choice: Burgundy. Cos why not?

For my hair length, two bottles of this were used. Did not realise my hair was very long already! Haircut time soon.

I remembered I just had my hair colour done last March, and it was a brown shade. But my hair grew a lot already, so you could see the colour separation there.
Here we go! The lady who did my colour said I had a few grey streaks already. Because of previous hair colouring. 

And the finished product…

Ta-da! Not so obvious, but the lady said it will be evident when light strikes.

And here are some after colour shots of my hair.

After a show the day after I had the hair colour done.
After a show last weekend.

So, how was the overall experience with Novelina hair colour?

  1. I was worried with the chemicals used because I can be sensitive with them. Gladly, their formulation did not make my hair itch.
  2. They also have the colours in herbal formulation, just in case you wish to try it. I deliberately chose keratin cos my hair needs that extra shine.
  3. I was expecting the hair colour to bleed since it is burgundy, and true enough, it did…only in the shower and not on my bed! But it still bleeds a little, about 12 days after the colour, but I do not wash my hair everyday. Guess it will eventually be gone.
  4. I liked the effect–colour shows up when light strikes, and I am perfectly fine with that.

Thanks again, Novelina, for having me try this out! Should you wish to try their products, visit Cash and Carry Mall in Makati and have it applied for free until the 28th of December.