Touringkittyps: Staycationing to begin the New Year

Ever since I gave birth, we made it a point to spent New Year’s Eve and Day out of home. For some, it is not good luck since there is a saying that all doors and windows should be kept open to welcome the New Year, but for us, they’re all closed.

Why so? For one, we avoid the smoke, noise, and whathaveyous amidst the celebration. What’s even worse is the first day of the year itself, where all garbage and smog remain for quite a while. Also, we wanted to sleep in late as much as possible. Lastly, we’d have less stuff to pack away, since we’re going to leave the hotel by lunchtime anyway.

So, whether you are in the city, perhaps in the province, here are tips on what you should be bringing in, as you welcome in another year:

1. If you are fascinated with fireworks, the Capital city has it. Choose a rooftop in Makati Hotels and witness the magnificent fireworks around Makati, BGC in Taguig, Paranaque, among others, sometimes even as far as nearby provinces like Rizal or Laguna.

2. Bring a can with coins for your noisemaker. We brought an old tin can of what used to be butter cookies and placed some coins on it, to the delight of our small one.

3. Keep that cellphone charged while waiting for midnight. You won’t want to miss the events that are happening.

4. A notebook and pen can document what photos and videos cannot. You may start doodling your plans for the next days or months while having breakfast or waiting to check out.

5. Pray. Group hug. Shout Happy New Year together! Give each of your family members or loved ones a pat on the back for another year that has passed.

So, here’s our small greeting from our small family. Enjoy, and until the next Holiday Season!

#KoristaAko: Jacqui Jimenez

Hello, 2017!

Our Korista profiles were in absentia because of the busy latter half of 2016 that was. But thank you to the 2,300+ koristas who joined the Facebook Group (do join us!) and the 130+ Facebook Page likers (like like like!).

Now, we introduce another certified korista now based in the US. Plus, she is a newbie mom and now jewelry maker. Do read up to the end of this post for a giveaway!

This month’s korista is Jacqueline Jimenez (formerly Jacqueline Grace Ramos). She used to sing with university choirs back here in the Philippines as well as the then trio, The Nightingales.

Jacqui and family now based in the US.

Name: Jacqueline Jimenez (formerly Jacqueline Grace Ramos)

Current profession: full time mom, part time musician/jewelry maker

Choirs joined: Adventist University of the Phil. Ambassadors(now Phil. Meistersingers) 2001-2007 and Philippine Madrigal Singers (2008-2013).

Why did you join the choir?:
Church choir: I belong to a family of choristers (Pressure!) But I love to sing, so I joined.
School choir in college: out of curiosity at first. My bestfriend was there so I tried auditioning when I was in my freshman year but guess what, I got rejected! So I took voice lessons, developed my voice more and auditioned again after 3 years. I got accepted finally.
Madz: i was not loving my job anymore as an English teacher so I prayed to got for guidance. He answered. A friend of mine in the Madz told me that there’s an audition. I tried out and the rest was history. I quit my job and joined the Madz fulltime. Talk about passion.
What was that something or someone that influenced you?:
The church was a big influence and of course the loooove for music. Without that passion I wont be able to stay there for years! My parents influenced me a lot also because they were choir members. But studying music gave me more confidence to join the university choir then the Madz.

What is your favourite song arranged or composed for choir and why?: I dont have just one! I have a lot! But here are some popular songs arranged by Filipino composer-arrangers that I like:
Sempurna by Ily Matthew Maniano, You Raise Me Up by Nilo Alcala, Light of a million mornings by Fr. Arnold Zamora, Suscipe by GP Eleria, Thankful by Saunder Choi, A Better World by Bojo Lijauco among others. Memorable lang ang mga ito sakin at masarap kantahin lalo na pag alto ka!

What was the hardest piece you’ve studied?:
There’s a lot too but the pieces in the Premiere concert of the Madz last 2013 was definitely one! Lalo na ung Sarasvati! (It was a concert of all-new works premiered by the Madrigal Singers. I was able to watch it and the pieces were challenging!)

Any choir/s or vocal ensembles you look up to and why?:
The Madz, Swingle Singers.

What is your most unforgettable choral moment?:

When I was just starting in the choir (college), I was a trainee and i was the only one wearing black in the concert. I felt soo bad i cried! Sabi ko sa sarili ko I will work hard for that costume! The hard work paid off.

Madz- Italy concerts! The long applause and heightened emotions! Sobrang memorable sakin when one woman came up to me and said, thank you so much for blessing me today. I needed that badly. Just inspiring them or giving them a little piece of heavenly music is enough for me.

#KoristaAko dahil:

Mahal ko ang musika at ang mga taong kasama kong bumuo nito. Kung akoy nagiisa di ako korista. Pamilya tayong kumakanta. ?

 

Tell us something about your product, Charms of Grace, how did it start?:

It started this year of April (2016). I got married here in the states 2014 and gave birth to Grace last year 2015 so I’m a full time mom. I don’t want to work because I want to really take care of my daughter. So I prayed to the Lord for his leading. And I got an answer.
My hubby Juan gave me a precious charmed locket necklace as a gift when we were still dating and I thought that was the most beautiful thing I have received! So I was inspired by that! I’ve always loved jewelry but charmed ones are the closest to my heart because it tells your story. So my hubby and I bought a couple of materials to start with, posted in Facebook until people started loving and buying them! I got more inspired and I just realized how happy I become just by making them. Lalo na pag nagustuhan nila. The hard work was worth it. The name Charms of Grace came from my daughters name and my sister thought of putting them together. As I’ve said in my blog one time, its like singing. I’ve discovered a new passion which is making charmed jewelry. I believe if you really ask God for guidance he will reveal it.

This is where the story began: Juan gave Jacqui this charmed locket which has: the word blessed, an airplane, a globe/earth, G clef, word faith, laptop, green and pink gems and the word love.

While this is mine, that Jacqui made for me after winning an earlier raffle. You can win yours, too!

And here it is! The Charms of Grace Giveaway!

Charmed keychain giveaway instructions:

1. Follow charms of grace on instagram and FB page Charms of Grace.
2. Tag 3 friends who would want to win this too. Make them follow charmsofgrace on IG and fb page.
3. Answer this question. Why would I choose you to win a charmed keychain? Give a brief detail about your life story and how colorful it is despite lifes challenges.

The winner will be chosen on January 15 (US time).

This is open, worldwide.

Join now! ?

 

#KoristaAko is powered by Touringkitty. Tune in for the latest post every month. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

Meet and Greet Belle at the SM Supermalls

Belle is coming to your nearest SM Mall this December!

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Welcome her in these dates and venues:

A Disney Beauty and the Beast Christmas

Mechanics:

Event is open to the general public.
First come, first serve policy applies.
Participants must be at the event venue at least 30 minutes before the scheduled session.
No food, drinks, strollers and sharp & pointed objects are allowed in the event area.
Entertainment subject to change without prior notice.

Dates and Venues:
December 7 & 8 – SM City Cebu
1:15 – 2:00pm
3:00 – 3:45pm
4:45 – 5:30pm
6:30 – 7:15pm
8:15 – 9:00pm
December 10 to 12 – SM Megamall
3:00 – 3:34pm
4:45 – 5:30pm
6:30 – 7:15pm
8:00 to 9:00pm
December 14 & 15 – SM Lanang
1:15 – 2:00pm
3:00 – 3:45pm
4:45 – 5:30pm
6:30 – 7:15pm
8:15 – 9:00pm

Follow Toy Kingdom online. Visit our online store at www.toykingdom.ph. Find us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Youtube: ToyKingdomPH

Toy Kingdom’s 10th Toy Warehouse Sale

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Now on its 10th year, Toy Kingdom brings you the biggest toy sale!

Happening this weekend at the SM Megamall, enjoy the best deals in Toy Kingdom’s Toy Warehouse Sale.

Here’s what you have to know about the sale:

FAQ about Toy Warehouse Sale Year 10

Question: What is the event?

Answer: Toy Warehouse Sale is an annual event of Toy Kingdom. This is our tenth time to hold the event at Megatrade Hall in SM Megamall. Expect huge discounts up to 70% off.

 

Question: When and where is the event?

Answer: It will be on November 4 to 6, 2016 at Megatrade Hall 1, 2 & 3 SM Megamall. Entrance is located at Hall 2 while Exit is Hall 1.

 

Question: What time will you open Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer:  We open at 10 am and close at 10 pm.

 

Question: Is the event free?

Answer: There is no entrance fee or registration required to enter the venue.

 

Question: What are the acceptable modes of payment?

Answer: We accept cash, credit card payments, Toy Kingdom gift cards, SM gift cards, SM gift pass and Sodexho gift certificates.

 

Question: What are the credit cards accepted during the event?

Answer: We accept all major credit cards, whether issued international or local.

 

Question: For credit card transactions, can I opt to pay in instalment during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Only locally-issued credit cards can avail of this promo. Minimum purchase of P3000 is required to avail of 3 months or 6 months instalment payment at 0% interest.

 

Question: Will there a 2 hour special or preview sale for SM Advantage or SM Prestige cardholders?

Answer: There will be no 2 hour special or preview sale during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Will there be a special area for children?

Answer: There is limited space at the event and there is no special area where customers can leave their children inside Megatrade Halls 1, 2 & 3.

 

Question: Will there be an area where we can leave our belongings?

Answer: There is no area at the event where you can leave your belongings. There are package counters at the mall (Supermarket area and Department Store area) which you can use instead.

 

Question: Will there be a lot of people during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Yes! We are on our 10th year and each year the number of people keeps growing. It’s a just a testament as to how amazing the toy deals are during this event.

 

Question: Is there gift wrapping service during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: This service is not provided during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Will you give free gift wrappers during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: Gift wrappers will not be given away during Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Do you sell the Toy Kingdom gift wrapper?

Answer: We do not sell the Toy Kingdom gift wrapper but we do have Toy Kingdom tote bags which you can use to put your toys in.

 

Question: Can I have the items purchased at the Toy Warehouse Sale gift wrapped at another Toy Kingdom branch?

Answer: Our branches can only gift wrap the items bought at the store. They cannot gift wrap items purchased from the Toy Warehouse Sale.

 

Question: Do you accept reservations?

Answer: No. We are selling limited quantities of particular toys because it is a warehouse sale so we cannot reserve pieces for customers. It would wise to come in early.

 

Question: Will there be an extension of the sale?

Answer: Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale only happens once a year during the specified date. There will be no extension of the sale however there will be other sale events in the coming months.

 

Question: How many cashiers do you have?

Answer: There are 24 counters which can accept cash, credit, debit and approved GCs as mode of payment. The speed of each counter is determined by the number of toys bought by each customer. Since the toys are really bargain price, a lot of people are buying cart full of toys and we appreciate a little patience and understanding from everyone in line.

 

Question: Will you provide the customers with plastic bags upon check out of items?

Answer: Yes, we will provide customers with plastic bags during the event but we do encourage you to bring your own tote or eco bags.

 

Question: Should I bring the whole family at Toy Kingdom Toy Warehouse Sale?

Answer: This is a warehouse sale and there will be lots of people in the venue who have only one thing in mind: shop and get the best toy deals. As much as we want to accommodate everyone, we highly suggest that you do not bring your babies and small kids for their own safety and convenience.

 

Come one, come all, and start making that Christmas list! you will surely find gifts for the young and young at heart.

 

 

~ Touringkitty

Korean Baritone sings Schubert’s Winterreise in debut recital

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“Winterreise”

In 1827, Franz Schubert produced his song cycle “Winterreise” based on Wilhelm Mullers poems from “The Posthumous Papers of a Travelling Hornplayer”. Winterreise is a perfect vehicle of musical expression for the male voice and piano, but the scope of its complexity elevates it to the level of a musical drama; in it, a young man, despondent over a spurned love, is forced to travel alone on foot through the bleak wintry landscape.

And thus begins the chilling journey of the lovelorn wanderer as he braves the cold night, narrating his plight in song after song.

Witness the artistry of eminent international Baritone, Park Byeong In (In his Philippine debut solo recital) and distinguished Pianist Najib Mabaning Ismail as they take you to the winter journey of Winterriese.

Adding to the visceral drama and emotional impact of their presentation that will feature staging crafted by noted Manila Director, Jaime Del Mundo and the lighting will be a product of award winning Lighting designer, John Batalla. Also appearing on stage in her first non-speaking/non-singing role is our baritone’s spouse, soprano Rachelle Gerodias-Park, as the Lover/Maiden thus accenting the allure of the production.

Part of the proceeds of the concert will go to the Rachelle Gerodias Music Foundation Inc., a foundation giving scholarships to talented church musicians who cannot afford a formal music education.

Tickets are now available at all Ticketworld outlets and the CCP Box Office. Please call Ticketworld: 02-8919999 and CCP Box Office: 02-8323704

Barbie Dreamtopia Festival

My sister and I are certified Barbie girls, having a few Barbie doll collection as young kids.

It is no surprise that my daughter likes Barbie dolls, too. And this event on the first two days of October was a great way to celebrate dreams coming true.

Barbie’s Dreamtopia Festival celebrated Pink Power last October 1 and 2 at the Robinsons Place Manila. The two-day event was filled with surprises for every little (and big) girl who came. My daughter had fun in the different Barbie stations, which has stuff such as these.

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Cute crown headband, colourful hair extensions, and glitter activity station were just some of the highlights of the event.

They even had quick contests where my daughter won some prizes (with the help of my sister).

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Prizes!

And, her much-awaited (which I, sadly and unfortunately, missed, boohoo! Because of work) mini-fashion show happened in the afternoon of October 2. She’s got the whole family though in tow for the activity).

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The first timer rehearsing on the catwalk with her beautiful gown.
Finale with all fashion show participants.
Finale with fashion show participants.

This was all made possible by the number 1 Fashion Doll in the world, that is Barbie. Because with Barbie, You Can Be Anything. Barbie Dreamtopia core dolls have a wide range of assortments that include the Fairytale Gift set, a Barbie that can turn into a fairy, a mermaid and a princess. The Rainbow Princess that has lighting feature on its gown and hair, and the Snap ‘n Style which lets kids twist, snap and braid Barbie’s hair. Barbie Dreamtopia dolls are exclusively distributed by Richprime Global Inc. and are available at all leading toy stores nationwide. Follow Barbie on Facebook and get to know more about products by visiting Richwell Club on Facebook and website at www.richprime.net.

Toy Kingdom’s Amazing Toy Expo 2016

Hooray! Been waiting for this event. The toy lover in me cannot help it. And great that it happens in my side of town. See you there!

Toy Expo Poster

Toy Kingdom once again brings the most amazing gathering of toys in the Philippines in its Toy Expo 2016 at the 2nd Level of the SMX Convention Center from August 19-21, 2016.

Experience the thrill of being one of the first to have the newest and upcoming toys in the market. These come with special price offers and freebies- a perfect treat for your early Christmas shopping.

Fun booths of branded toys with life size 3D character statues welcome guests to the Toy Expo. Each booth comes with an exciting activity wherein kids can explore and play with the toys they love.

They can also have a sneak peek – and have the first pick – of the latest toys for the Holiday season! These include toys from Trolls, Suicide Squad, Star Wars, classic Disney Junior; and the first Filipino Plush toys Plush and Play.

Kids will love the new Barbie You Can be Anything collection and My Little Pony. There will also be a Betty Spaghetti Launch and Meet and Greet sessions of Shopkins and Cartoon Network’s Power Puff girls. They will enjoy Marvel’s Avengers Metals Die Cast, the latest Lego Nexo Knights and Transformers. They will also have a thrilling ride at the Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt series, and be able to meet and greet the famous squad of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

During the event, kids can also Meet and Greet well loved characters from Nickelodeon’s Paw Patrol, the Grossery Gang, and more.

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Check out Toy Kingdom’s Toy Expo 2016 at 2nd level of the SMX Convention Center from 10am to 10pm on August 19-21, 2016. Visit www.toykingdom.ph; official event hashtag: #TKToyExpo2016; follow ToyKingdomPH on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Barista Course at Barista and Coffee Academy of Asia

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Judging by the amount of coffee shops and other restaurants that serves good coffee, there really can’t be any adult in this great big world that has never tried coffee.

Now, if we are to look beyond those coffee beans and grounds we see in these coffee shops around town, and wanting to learn and appreciate more about what goes inside those mugs and cups, the Barista & Coffee Academy of Asia is the center that teaches one to look beyond the cup. Short courses are being offered by the BARISTA & COFFEE ACADEMY OF ASIA on Brewing Practice, Barista 101, Brewing Practice, Coffee Business Management, Menu Development, Café Operations. High Tea, and Cocktails this August.

Coffee has become a serious business all over the world and providing a big impact in the economic development of the coffee farming and the business industry.

The next time you are sipping a java and seriously considering putting up your own coffee shop, make sure that a good bean is the first step toward achieving a perfect cup of coffee. Reinforcing the standards of specialty coffee links everyone in the supply chain with an integrity that shows pride in the product.

The Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) have created a system where coffee is graded. Coffee that is free of primary defects or unclean odors and scores 80 or above on the SCAA cupping form is considered Specialty Grade. There are two kinds of Coffee Quality Graders—Arabica and Robusta. These graders are licensed by CQI as they have passed several sensory, coffee origin cupping skills, triangulation skills, Olfcatory skills and calibration exams. While many variables in roasting and brewing affect the taste of coffee, Q Coffees confirm that the beans being used are Specialty and among the highest quality in the world.

The Board of director of the Barista and Coffee Academy, also the General Manager of Equilibrium Intertrade, Rosario “Cherry” Cruz is the Philippine’s First woman who holds the license for both Arabica and Robusta Quality Grader. She took her Arabica Q grading classes with Samuel Gurel last June 2015 when BCAA held the first Q grading classes in the country. One year after, she took the Robusta Grading class under Dr. Manuel Diaz in Chang Mai, Thailand.

The interest for becoming a specialty coffee grader is growing around the world! BCAA will be holding another Q grading class on September 13-17, and 19 under the instruction of Jodie Weiser of the Gather Coffee Company (USA).

Jodie worked with Willem Boot, and the Boot Coffee Team, as a quality consultant and trainer for 7 years. Now, she is a licensed Q Grader Instructor, as well as a Certified Instructional Trainer for the Specialty Coffee Association of America and will be BCAA’s instructor for this year’s Q Grader program. An advance roasting class will also be held under the same instructor on September 20 and 21.

Just like wine, coffee has its own distinct lingo. If you have been thinking of combining your love of coffee with your entrepreneurial spirit, make sure you are headed to the right academy who will provide you trouble shooting strategies in order to achieve your java goals.

For further information about the coffee courses and schedules the BARISTA & COFFEE ACADEMY OF ASIA is offering, please log on to : www.coffeeschool.asia or call them at : (02) 5707649 or email : classes@coffeeschool.asia.

Musicartes Stages Opera Intima

Musicartes Inc. launched its Opera Intima series on July 22 with other shows on July 30, August 28 & 30  at the Mirror Theatre Studio, SJG Centre, Kalayaan Ave., Makati, featuring La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice) with Soprano Kay Balajadia Liggayu and concert pianist Rudolf Golez. 

Francis Poulenc-John Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine is the first of this opera series. Poulenc’s tragédie lyrique was first performed at the Theatre National de L’Opera-Comique in Paris on 6 February 1959.
Multi-awarded international director Dr. Anton Juan directs this rarely performed operatic monologue which portrays a woman on her telephone:
“The telephone is still a new invention in this world. But already it has become the instrument for love and lies. On the line for the last time with her ex-lover, a woman turns the phone into a weapon.”

The venue for the performance is The Mirror Theatre Studio in Makati City. 

Masflex Cookware: Celebrating 25 years For the Love of Cooking

The Masflex brand recently celebrated 25 years in the Philippines.

I received an invitation to join Masflex’s celebrations, and it was an afternoon filled with food, cooking, and some surprises.

Products were displayed all over the venue. I was seated near the cookware displays, so I took this video:

A video posted by Em Alcantara (@touringkitty) on

What best way to showcase Masflex’s products than to try them yourself! We were given a chance to do some Pancake Art (which, I think, I didn’t fare well, haha, so much for the non-visual artist musician!).

Pancake Art

This was actually a contest of the best pancake art, and the winners did really pretty designs!

And, live cooking demo, of course! Masflex also introduced its newest Brand Ambassador, Nancy Reyes Lumen. Who else but the Adobo Queen can show off Masflex Cookware’s versatility through her cooking!

Ms. Nancy Reyes - Lumen (Brand Ambassador together with the Host, Mr. Hiren Mirchandani - VP for Marketing
Ms. Nancy Reyes – Lumen (Brand Ambassador together with the Host, Mr. Hiren Mirchandani – VP for Marketing

Ms. Nancy showed us three recipes – Adobo sa Beer, Kinulob, and Bibingka Crepe. She even showed a bonus recipe, called Rodrigo’s Roast, which became timely then because of the name of the new Philippine President.

Adobo sa Beer
Adobo sa Beer.
Kinulob
Kinulob.
Bibingka Ube Crepe Cake
Bibingka Ube Crepe Cake.

She invited guests to be “chef of the day” who assisted her in her cooking of each dish.

Chef Jaja, who is also an art teacher, assisted us in the Pancake Art area.

At the end of the program, the big box onstage filled with Masflex items were won by one lucky guest! 

Awarding of Grand Raffle

Before marriage, I wasn’t that keen on my cookware. What we have at home, we use. But now that I have my own family to cook for and feed, I was checking on the brands of my cookware, ensuring they are of high quality and will last for a long time. I think I’ve found where to invest my money on for cookware and kitchenware.

We are on the process of shifting into induction cooking, which some of my friends say, is more cost efficient and safe considering we live in a condo unit. Gotta change cookware as well, and I know which ones to get from the Masflex line.

Congratulations, Masflex Cookware!

Before I end, a final photo:

Touringkitty with Mr. Mirchandani and Ms. Reyes Lumen for a final photo op. I was so shy to come up onstage at first but I did, and even introduced myself to Ms. Nancy whom I first met during the Teresa production of their Alma Mater, St. Theresas College last year.

All photos supplied by Masflex.

Website: www.masflex.com.ph
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MasflexCookware
YouTube channel: MasflexCookware

~ Touringkitty