Minnesota Zoo

Yeyy! My first official gala with my colleagues hihi. It's fall season but it's freakin cold here. I'm gonna warn you there are no animal shots in this particular pic spam cos the weather was too cold when we went there on Saturday, most of the animals in the park were either sleeping, bored, or facing us with their backs. Also, they were too far for my camera's liking haha.

So these are mostly stills, fall colors are definitely upon us. I've taken such a huuuge liking to this palette of fading green, yellow, orange, red, and brown. What a beautiful transition. Hope you enjoy this post! :)

Most of the cafes inside the park were closed. I can't believe it :( On a Saturday of all days.

Aaaaah this one was super scenic in real life. I love how the lake is revealed like a hidden oasis tucked in he woods.

And the clouds hovering with just the right amount of gloom.

Hey, I art directed these leaves! HAHA

Totally digging this bed of leaves! Of course not literally lol

I just loooove how pink the leaves are!

I was freezing the whole time we were wandering at the open trails and was so relieved when it's finally time to go back, only to realize there are a couple more trails to explore! Good thing the Tropics Trail was mostly covered and semi heated. Well, dapat lang haha! And the aquariums and shark reef were all indoors so yeyy! The Minnesota Trail was another freezing tunnel for me, but it's great for when you want to familiarize yourself with the kind of wildlife the place holds.

On my first time on the way to the house where I'm staying, I was surprised to see deer on the sidewalk! Apparently here, askals are to deer and mice and roaches are to squirrels and raccoons. What a relief! XD

Alright, thats kindof it! Good night! :)

Live healthy and get rewarded with Philam Vitality

Insurance companies today aren't simply in the business of ensuring you're protected enough with savings products in case something goes wrong *knocks on wood*. To show you how we really care, we're now rewarding you for being healthy! 

Image from www.philamvitality.com
Today’s fast-paced urban lifestyle has exposed many of us—from young adults to professionals alike—to many stressors that have a huge negative impact on our health. Heavy traffic on the daily commute, long work hours, a sedentary lifestyle, the proliferation of processed and fast food choices, stress-induced drinking and smoking—all these contribute to higher health risks that can affect our family’s quality of life.

According to the UK-based Oxford Health Alliance, around 60% of deaths worldwide are caused by four “epidemic chronic diseases: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, and some cancers.” In order to prevent premature death and incapacity due to these diseases, we must be able to address three major risk factors: tobacco consumption, poor diet, and physical inactivity.

With these realities in mind, Philam Life, the Philippines’ premier life insurance company, has introduced Philam Vitality, the first in the market, science-backed wellness programme that rewards its members for getting healthy. As a global brand, Vitality is present in several countries with millions of members and makes use of incentives to encourage members to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors. By bringing Vitality to the Philippines through the Philam Vitality program, Philam Life pioneers giving real focus on healthy living.

Philam Life CEO Axel Bromley and CMO Jimmy Javier welcome media guests to the Philam Life Vitality launch
“People normally associate life insurance with protection and savings products to prepare them for life's uncertainties. At Philam Life, we are committed to take it further by helping people live longer and healthier lives so that they could spend more time with the people who matter to them most,” shares Axel Bromley, CEO of Philam Life.  “Philam Vitality will empower more and more Filipinos with the information and the tools to know and improve their health, and to enjoy longer and fuller lives.”

Philam Vitality comes with three simple components to help people live healthier lives:

  1. Know your health. With Philam Vitality Health Review, users will be able to take an online assessment through their desktops, laptops, tablets, or smartphones, and see if their Philam Vitality Age matches their actual age.

    Members can also assess their current state of health through partners such as Makati Medical Center (for check-ups and vaccinations), Hi-Precision Diagnostics (for laboratory procedures such as blood tests and X-rays), and GAOC (Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center) for dental care.

    “These assessments help you find out which parts of your over-all health are on track and which areas you can improve. It’s very empowering to know your health status so that you can take control of all the facets of your life,” says Jaime Jose D. Javier, Jr., Philam Life Chief Marketing Officer.
  2. Improve your health. With Philam Vitality, members can achieve better health for less, at partners such as Gold’s Gym for gym memberships; Toby’s Sports, Garmin, and Polar for fitness gear and other devices; and Makati Medical Center for smoking cessation program.

    Members start with Vitality status of Bronze and move their way up to Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels as they earn points for every assessment test and activity done within the program.

    “The more points you earn, the higher Vitality status you achieve, and the greater your rewards,” explains Mr. Javier. “We’ll take care of tracking your points through our integrated systems so that all you’ll need to think of is to get better and fitter each day.”
  3. Enjoy the rewards. While better health is already a reward in itself, Philam Vitality offers members more opportunities to enjoy precious time with their family and loved ones, through discounts on tickets to SM Cinemas and Enchanted Kingdom, and on bookings at Marriott and Seda Hotels.

    Vitality members also earn discounts on premiums of selected insurance plans. By purchasing a Philam Vitality Series insurance plan from Philam Life or BPI-Philam, members can get upfront discounts on first year premiums and continue to enjoy discounts in succeeding years by improving their health.

“Philam Vitality is unprecedented in the Philippines. We are grateful to have our esteemed partners on board as we encourage members to take charge of their health. Ultimately, a full life should be healthy, fun, and rewarding, and we want to be part of that process.” says Mr. Bromley.

To know more on how you can live a healthier lifestyle, visit philamvitality.com, email ask@philamvitality.com, or call 528-2000... OR you can also talk to me about this! I'm a registered financial advisor with Philam Life and our team of financial wellness experts (well, me and my parents) are always ready to for inquiries. Ping me using the Contact Form, don't forget to leave your number! :)

Today's agenda: fix my body clock

Unless I want to suffer the coming week half-asleep in the office, I have to friggin correct my stupid body clock now. This isn't even jet lag. This is just me sticking to my nocturnal habits. I thought I wouldn't have a problem with the time difference here since I was working the graveyard back in the Phils. and here everybody's working during the day. It can't be too hard right? Not a lot to adjust right?


Apparently I've been spending the entire day asleep, God knows why. When I wake up in the afternoon, I eat, try to get a shower (btw, the heater was down for 2 days so my aversion to baths is valid ok), then work on some docs. Nobody told me what shift I should be working anyway... uhm. So. Whatever. Still need to work on a couple of docs. I like it. I'm writing. haha

The past few days were pretty lax. I'm on a mission to eliminate all the extra food in this house, foods I think no one has touched for the past weeks, foods I was offered to freely munch on if I feel hungry, and also leftovers from last week's party. There is a lot of food in here. Chips, cookies, chocolates, cakes, cereals. I didn't want to be blamed for when we're suddenly short of food HAHA but so far the owner of the house is already thanking me for freeing up the fridge. Well, my pleasure actually! Hope my housemates don't mind tho.

Only places I've been to are banks, stores and groceries from daily errands like I mentioned in my previous post: Home Depot, Ikea, Wells Fargo, and just the other day: Cub Foods!

Allow me to spazz about this place. It's a 24-hour grocery, a 5 minute drive from the house, and a 30 minute walk according to google maps. It sits beside a Target store (which I'm excited to pay visit to one day haha) and is home to an entire lane of unmanned cashier counters! Talk about hi-tech!

This is one of their self service counters

You scan your stuff on the barcode top, place it in a plastic bag, confirm payment on the screen, and pay by inserting your cash or droping your coins at the designated slots (like a vendo machine). You can even swipe your credit card there. Then it will compute and roll out your change on the "Cash Out" tray.

Super cool. It knows when the item you're buying is on Buy 1 Take 1 promo. And the barcode top also serves as a weighing scale for when you're purchasing items like fruits, vegetables or meat. You just have to select what item you're buying and it will automatically compute for the price based on the weight! Grabe.

I can't believe this kind of technology hasn't reached our shores yet. I doubt it though cos there is very low honesty rate in the Philippines, even with the flawless programming of this one I'm afraid it can't prevent thieves from pushing out their carts without paying. I can only marvel at them while I'm here. :)

It's Friday noon in the Philippines, so... happy weekend goys! :D

Today's snaps: IKEA Home Furnishings

I'm getting better at this!
This day was pretty uneventful as far as work is concerned. I came for the drug test earlier this morning and was a bit sad it only took some 15 minutes HAHA. Eh kasi naman, I was hoping to just make pasundo after a supposedly lengthy drug test so that I could spend a few minutes at Mall of America which is just walking distance from the clinic. Too bad my fetch decided to wait lol. Pero okay lang naman, hassle naman magpasundo if ever haha. Yun lang, no MoA for me... for now haha. Ang kapal ng mukha ko diba dapat nagttrabaho ako haha.

Anyway, I was eating lunch and was about to prep myself to do some general admin tasks for the time being I'm not allowed at the office yet, when a dog suddenly barged in the house and ran to me! Thought it was gonna bite me but the cute little thing just wants to play!

Meet Louie! Apparently, the owner of the staff house (who is also our asset manager) came to check the basement bathroom for repairs and also initiate some mega cleanup aka throwing out stuff that belonged to previous tenants.

Suddenly, my entire day was focused towards cleaning and running errands with her and the cutiepie that is Louie. SUPER. WORTH. IT. I was waiting for the chance to get shown around the place and it's so cool I got to hop in on a benz too while doing that haha! Yeyy for errands!

We went to Home Depot, IKEA, Wells Fargo, another bank, and our US office... not in that order but the point of this post is (you should know) WE WENT TO IKEA. And ate there. Aaaaargh my Buzzfeed envy finally gets validated!

I couldn't care less that I'm on turista mode, snapping here and there like IKEA was some tourist attraction. What can I do? I love all things IKEA furniture and IKEA just happened to be a haven of such and such good food so well, here we go!

The Caf (I dunno what it's called lol)

I ordered this bowl of greens with balsamic vinaigrette cos I need greens in my life LOL. I love salads okay?

And their famed Swedish Meatballs.

To be honest there wasn't anything too special with their meatballs. It tasted good though, like a comfort food of sorts. :)

Other snaps:
I'll register here when I come back!
They have a planning table where you can access an online catalog and really plan for your purchase. They have rulers and pencils too to help you out :D

Love their meatballs? Buy a pack!

The place is super big.

Christmas decors are out! :D
On the way out, didn't mind the leaves blocking the letters haha. I think it adds a dramatic effect to it JOKE LANG! HAHA Arti arti

View from the sunroof :D

Aaaaand, that's it! Have a great day ahead! :D

Touchdown Minnesota!

Heya! Sharing with you a couple of snaps from yesterday's (was it?) travel. MNL--NRT--LA--MSP. :D

It's my first international trip so I'm crazy excited about everything. I was travelling alone but I wasn't too worried about it cos I'm sure there are people I can ask around for directions haha.

Flying Delta :D
 I thought I was carrying too much but look, 12.5kgs lang pala lol

Pre-boarding selfie cos I checked in too early :D

Love this in-flight entertainment system. Tons of movies to watch, tracks to listen, and games to play. Their earphones sucks though cos it's in-ear! Good thing Jeckie bought me an early birthday gift before I left -- a red Urbanista San Fran! yeyy! Didn't think we'd find one at Fairview Terraces especially that I was told they're only available at Megamall for now. I was also afraid the mic wouldn't work but thank God it did! Best earphones ever! Chos. XD

In-flight meals are surprisingly good. It's my first in-flight meal anyway so whatever haha

Above the clouds! <3

Deplaning at Narita Airport, Japan. I can finally say I've been to Japan HAHA but not really since I only had a short layover there and I found myself lugging super heavy bags I couldn't stroll around with ease. Lesson learned, even in long flights, try to lessen your hand-carry baggage. It can get super tiring. My arms are hurting right now.

Leaving Japan! Off to a 10 hour flight to LA. :D Lucky that I was able to score window seats for all of my flights! That means more pictures (of clouds), but it also means I have to hold my pee cos it's so hassle having to weave out of your seatmates to get to the lavatory. XD Anyway, you all know how window seats are important to first timers! hahaha

In-flight dinner. I love everything they served so far!

Specially their coffee ;D

Syalin. Delta proudly serves Starbucks. Bongga!
Well above the sky. :)

Gus Fring offering drinks. Kidding. But doesn't he resemble him? Only younger and chubbier? Haha

I had a pretty long layover at LA but I didn't do much strolling cos my bags are too heavy and I'm already so spent after passing through immigration and TSA check. My bags are a great hassle, I have an entire backpack dedicated to all my electronic devices and pulling them out on trays for checking and putting them all back in after that kindof stressed me, specially when there are other trays in the line haha.

Here's my first purchase, a $15 worth of food at the LA International Airport. My mom will be proud cos my drink is screaming greens and my food has vegetables in it. I enjoyed the drink but the food is so blah, too much arugula and not a trace of Caesar dressing contrary to what the label says. I was actually thinking of complaining about it but then I had to carry my bags with me to the counter and they were so heavy so I decided against it. It's okay though. But $15 is roughly Php675 and this is definitely not worth 675, even with the Ceasar dressing. HUHU

After eating and getting a short nap near the departure gate, we're finally off for boarding. The view was amazing. :) I posted a super short clip of this scene on Instagram haha

Some 4 hours into the flight and we've arrived at Minneapolis! I did a quick check and was shocked at the 0 deg temperature outside. Woah.

And indeed, it was crazy cold. I think I wouldn't be able to bear the temp outside. Even when the sun was up this afternoon the air was freezing cold! It's not even winter yet! Oh, here's the porch of the house where I'm staying right now. Love the abundance of trees in here! Also that there is 0 traffic! Minneapolis is pretty much filled with highways!

Right now I'm feeling, ano ba, alone. Sucks I came here knowing no one at all. I just came to be acquainted with a few people when I arrived here plus my housemates. Other than that, I'm not totally totally comfortable yet. In time, maybe. I wanted to go out but there's no place to go, and no one to drive me, and no one to bug about stuff. Shocks ang lungkot lang haha. But anyway, I'm loving the food here, at least what we have in this house. Haha. Sarap kumain oh no. T___T

And can I just say how I'm loving Facebook more than ever? It's super great that it allows us to do not just chat, but call and video call as well! I just talked to my parents this afternoon, and my sister this evening, and just now my boyfriend! We had super clear calls grabe. Waley na waley ang mga networks sa Pilpinas. XD

That's it's so far! Have a great week ahead! Good night! :D

Winter clothes hunting in the Philippines

Kebs kung dollars ung nasa picture okay?!
I'm leaving in a few days and I haven't even started filling my luggage. Searching for the right clothes to wear in US winter season isn't all that fun especially when I have to look in a tropical country. Good thing I inquired my officemates and the web for tips on where to buy thermal stuff and winter clothes so I was able to cost-plan my shopping spree to a minimum! Errr, not really.

Here's what: in cold weather, layering is key. Most of the spaces you'll be into are probably heated anyway so it'll only get super cold when you go outside. With that you would want to be able to strip off a few layers of your clothes when you're feeling warmer so yes, layering is a must unless your goal is to channel the Michelin Man throughout your trip.

So here are the essential clothes you should ready in case you're off to winter wonderland! Layering these should help keep you warm and comfy

1. Thermal underwear

Uniqlo's Heattech line is famed for being awesome heat retainers despite being tissue thin. I have yet to validate this when I get to the US but since I trust the brand and the reviews are pretty good, I got myself a couple of tops to serve as underwear. It fits closely and comfortably in fairness! It's a little costly though, but it's nice investment cos you can still wear it here.

Aside from Uniqlo, Marks & Spencers also has their line of thermal clothes. Tiangges have it too. SM department store has long johns stored in the men's section but they're pretty bulky for layering, they're great pajamas though!

2. Fleece or wool sweaters

Ukays are my favorite place to scout for pullovers cos they're really cheap, you might even score some with fleece lining which is perfect in cold weather! Aside from Ukays, we have an abundance of knitted stuff and pullovers at local department stores, just ask.

3. Coats and jackets

Down coats like these are extremely helpful in keeping you warm, plus they look good too! If you're going to be dressing for the office, you can invest in peacoats like these as well cos they look classy as hell and wouldn't leave you trembling in the cold.

Winter season isn't a reason to be out of style, keep it trendy by keeping your outermost wear beautiful. Just look at this down coat with a banging fur hood!

All of these coats and jackets I found over at Sammy Dress so be sure to check them out. They have a lot of other jackets and outerwears that will definitely catch your eye and make your winter more interesting so go ahead!

4. Scarves, bonnets, earmuffs, gloves, and socks

Small articles of clothing that make sure we're sealed tight against the cold air! In countries where winter gets really bad, you need to wrap up intensely to ensure no heat would escape your body. When your body is all wrapped up, heat tends to escape from whichever body part is most exposed to the air, that is our hands and our head, so make sure to protect those too! :)

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