Life lately

✱ Long overdue oil change!


Last weekend we had our long overdue oil change and PMS at Shell Dahlia. We're supposed to do it every 8 months or 10,000 km, whichever comes first daw. But well, it's been 15 months and the car has only been driven 2,000 km since. We usually go with the distance marker cos it looks more practical, but at our current rate it'll take us over 5 years to get the oil changed lol and that's something no one should ever do unless you enjoy riding an active road hazard.

The mechanic says everything looks good except for the AT fluid which needs changing. Have to buy this from Toyota directly so we'll get to that this weekend. It's the first time I heard of such fluid. Apparently it's used to lubricate the transmission component of the car to ensure smooth shifting from gear to gear.


We got the battery checked as well cos it's going 2 years and 10 months already and I feel like the headlights are starting to dim. The battery tester says it's at 62%, mechanic says it still a good number but if we're starting to observe some performance issues then it's probably time to change.

I did some Googling and it found that SOH (state of health) refers to the condition of the battery cells relative to its age, maybe like our phone battery health? SOC (state of charge) is the battery level relative to its capacity, so it's uhm 99% charged in a 62% capable battery. RES (resistance) - I don't really understand this but it says the lower the value of the internal resistance, the better the battery can discharge a high voltage load. Today I learned! Thanks to this Q&A.

✱ Maya and my first crypto purchase


So Paymaya recently rebranded into a neobank and it's offering 6% p.a. savings as its early access promo. Naturally I have to try. I pulled out a small amount from CIMB and transferred it to Maya. For CIMB to GCash to Paymaya, transfer fee is  ₱15 via InstaPay. Maya Bank is not listed yet so I have to move from Paymaya wallet to Maya bank account within the same app.

Since they also offer crypto on the platform, I tried that as well. Don't really know much about bitcoin so I just bought ₱500 worth. I mean it plumetted quickly cos I bought it on a downtrend lol but that's fine as I only intend to watch it fluctuate.

✱ Looking out 

You know I'm dreading RTO so much that I started handing out resumes to several companies through LinkedIn. I'm specifically avoiding consulting firms and agencies and so far I've gotten to three HR interviews. They all happened last week on Friday. It was a back-to-back-to-back interview begining 3pm and what can I say, I think it only made me more grateful for the firm lol. 

Company 1 has enough budget for my asking, offers permanent remote work, but I don't think I'm a good fit for the role. It's an automation testing role that uses technologies I'm familiar with but have never used within the scope of testing.

Company 2 has no budget for my asking, so they tried to encourage me by sharing their benefits. I was a bit hopeful about this company because the Jobstreet and Glassdoor reviews are good, and they're listed in Great Place to Work PH so those count for something right? But again, I don't think I'm a good fit because they wanted an automation tester with experience on Selenium and Cucumber so I'm definitely not the person they're looking for. Their max budget for the role is pretty much my current basic pay already so I decided not to pursue. The benefits are okay but not stellar compared to what I'm currently enjoying.

Company 3 is also a no-go. The position looks promising, very relevant to what I'm currently doing. The tools and technologies match, my years of experience check out, and it's a big company with a big infrastructure so it excited me how much I could learn from developing in such a scaled up environment. However, as much as I felt the fit, they couldn't possibly meet me at my asking price. Their budget is way below my current salary. And my asking, according to the HR is already on the executive level lol.

So yeah, after the call HR formally told me they'll keep me in the pool but would not pursue with my application. We talked for over 30 minutes, starting with a long primer on the history of the company, it's partners, subsidiaries, and parent conglomerate. It's actually the same company I worked with 10 years ago as a fresh grad haha, and back then the HR didn't give me this intro lol so I actually learned a lot haha.

It's kinda sad that none of the interviews worked out for me. It made me wonder if I'm actually overpaid or I'm just looking at the wrong companies lol. Actually no I'm not overpaid, some companies - specially local ones - just don't have the budget haha. Also, as my husband says, "better overpaid than underpaid".

It also gave me an insight at how blessed I am with the firm. In 5 years my pay has increased by 56% so I'm still on track as far as my personal standards go. My workload is manageable, my teammates are all great to work with, my manager is cool, and my office friends are a delight. I've become so comfortable I don't wanna leave. Also I don't wanna lose the iphone plan I literally can't afford it haha.

Okay that said I think I'm gonna give RTO a chance. Still actively responding to promising opportunities though, specially overseas ones!


✱ YouTube payout

Good news! I just got my second YouTube payout! I'm saying it's YouTube but it's actually Google Adsense so that's a combination of my blog and vlog earnings. The income ratio being 25% blog and 75% vlog so yeah it's mostly YouTube. I set my withdrawal threshold to $200 and I was able to reach it in six months! I know it's not that big, when I got in the Youtube Partner Program (aka monetized my channel) my first payout came nine months later. So this arriving three months early is a great thing! It means I'm still earning lol. It's fun to get paid doing stuff you enjoy no? lol

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Ah, life

For the first time in my life, I voted! May 9 was a monumental day for me. It's the first time I gave over zero fucks for this goddamned country. For a while I had hope for the Philippines. That while being less than 24 hours. Cos not even two hours after the voting period closed my heart began to sink. With every passing hour I tried to make sense of things. How is this possible? Has anyone applied Benford's law to the election results? The answer is yes and the data trend checks out. Read: PH 2022 election results analysis using Newcomb-Benford’s Law

So eventually the feeling of defeat turned into acceptance. Whatever fucks I invested during the day dwindled back to zero. Apathy. Then to a negative. Hatred. I was never proud to be a Filipino. This time I'm ashamed.

Now I'm back to usual. Lazy. Unmotivated. Didn't take a day to lose all the hope I had. Maybe because there was never much to begin with. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

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Samgyup with the fam with our new portable stove


I have always wanted to treat my parents to samgyup but we could never find a weekend that's not too crowded and ma-traffic. My parents are always wary of going out and as much as possible would rather dine in at home than expose themselves to the horrible Metro Manila traffic, and also people lol. And then I got a portable stove and an outdoor table and the first thing I thought was finally, we can eat samgyup at home!


It was a fine Sunday afternoon when we gathered at my parent's roofdeck. Jeckie and I brought meat for grilling. And to complete the samgyup kit we also came with some kimchi, minced garlic, and of course a bunch of lettuce!


Setting up the portable stove was very easy. It comes in a cute carrying case and also includes an English manual so you won't get lost. You may get this Gem portable stove from True Value. Don't forget to also purchase a butane gas!


Just place the butane gas in place, aligning the notch collar on the index arm. Our butane can is too big so we can't close the cover but that's fine! Press down the black lever to lock the cartridge in place. When it's firmly set turn the ignition knob all the way down to Max, then turn it a bit more till you hear a click. The burner should ignite automatically.


Didn't think it was so easy to set up your own samgyup at home if you have a portable stove with you!
 


Get the stove along with this Lifetime table that's adjustable and extremely portable and you've got yourself an easy to setup dining set that you can take with you anywhere you want. It fits just right at the trunk of our car and even the backseat. This portable Lifetime table is also available at True Value. I couldn't be happier about this table cos it's so multipurpose and compact, I can use it to work and just stow it away when not needed.




Needless to say we had loads of fun eating together this way. It was a welcome change dining in an indoor-outdoor space under the bright sun in a cool afternoon. It was worth hauling a bunch of things up two flights of stairs haha!


Already excited for our next picnic!

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Life lately: bye Bob, new office, and our dismal Eton stay


I'm usually very lazy at work but last week I achieved peak laziness cos I was just looking forward to the very long weekend. We didn't have anything planned aside from visiting our parents. But of course things inevitably come up when you have so much free time so we finally had the car washed after a long time, sold off Bob, met with the Chancos, and checked in at a hotel in anticipation of the scheduled power outage in our condo.

Here's my latest Weekly Monotony...



Bye Bob


Jeckie bought this training dummy two years ago and sold it off for less than half the price. After he went back to the gym it's not being used much anymore. I was initially against getting this in the first place cos it's fucking expensive but it's his money and we (kinda) have space for it so whatever. I also wanted a punching bag but I'm fine with the standing hotdog types. This Bob is too big and bulky. Thanks for the memories though! Off you go to someone who can hurt you more! :D

First day at our new office!
Our condo announced a tower-wide power interruption from 9am to 5pm on Monday so I took it as a chance to finally check out our new office and setup my things in hopes of maybe getting a bit of my mojo back lol.

Our new office is beautiful. 


It almost looks like I'm in a different country with that view. Like downtown Minnesota lol. But as much as I love the new vibe, it's not enough to make me wanna come here regularly.

All I know is that I don't want to go back to the office; for two reasons:

First and foremost, the terrible commute. Normally (pre-pandemic) I only take one ride to and from work. Now I don't have that option anymore. Because they moved the bus stops, what used to be a 350m walk to the nearest stop is now a 1.6km pilgrimage to an MRT station. Not walking distance considering my short legs and sweaty genes. Besides the bus stops getting a lot farther, the buses that usually get me to work are now ALL GONE. There are no more LRT-Ayala-Leveriza buses plying EDSA from the North. So taking the bus is off the list. Well, I could walk to MRT Boni, get off at Buendia station, take a jeepney, then walk to the office. But that's one very exhausting option that's well beyond the kind of suffering I'm willing to subject myself to. Plus, its not available all day round. By the time I get off of work, the only available mode of transportation is a cab.

So what now? The only option I'm considering is taking a cab/Grab to and from work. Not very economical. Plus, it's not always easy to get a ride!


Next reason why I don't want to go back to the office: Our 60-40 hybrid work situation means I have to maintain two workstations now. One at the office and one at home. And because I've gotten used to my current setup I kinda want my office setup to be the same. That means I must have a wireless mechanical keyboard (very specific with this), wireless mouse, laptop stand, chargers, etc. Just because I don't wanna keep bringing them with me in case I wanna work elsewhere. I picked up a lot of kaartehan in the two years I worked at home that I'm not willing to let go lol. I have very specific workstation needs now. I mean I could just work 5 days in the office to avoid having to maintain multiple setups, but do I really want that? Specially when there's an option not to? Hahaha I'm kinda conflicted about this actually. On one hand, I don't wanna keep bringing a laptop to work cos it's risky and I have to bring a bigger bag, you know the hassle. On the other, I want the flexibility of working at home specially when there's not much going on at work. 


With the thought of mandatory RTO looming ever so closely, I had to weigh my options. Is it worth it coming back to the office, what with the terrible state of our public transpo? Or should I look out for remote jobs and leave? Oooor look out, figure out my market value, and use that to gain leverage at the firm? lol Maybe I can demand for a permanent wfh setup and ofc a pay raise? Ugh. I don't know.

Although to be honest, I don't think I'm strong enough to get an offer at this point. I'm not confident with any of the skills I've put in my CV, and I kinda feel stuck at the intermediate level with regards to the technologies I use in my line of work. At this point, as a senior, I should have advanced knowledge on something right? But alas, I feel lost, career wise. Oh well.

I've submitted applications to nearby companies lol, hope they notice. At best, I'll get a new job that's walking distance from home. At worst, I get to keep a job that offers great benefits, has a light to moderate workload, and pays me 6-digits. Nothing to lose no? So I'll just keep passing resumes lol. Got an opening? If I can't get somewhere within walking distance, maybe I can try getting out of this country.

Eton Mini Suites

Before I forget, we checked in at Eton Mini Suites for two nights because of the power interruption at our place. What can I say, it's probably the worst hotel we've stayed at.


The rooms are tiny but they're neat alright, the people are polite and hospitable. But the amenities are subpar.

❌ There's only one TV remote (Cignal) so we can't control the TV itself in case we wanna attach our HDDs. Hassle naman to fumble through the buttons under the sceen so nevermind lol. 
❌ Also I hit the TV a whopping 5 times during our stay because it's in the way. I told you, the room is tiny. TV is mounted on one side of the wall and even in its least obtrusive position it's still a darned obstacle.
❌ Parking is hella confusing. Good thing it's not Jec's first time in this building. Actually their office is just right behind so he has tried parking at Eton before
❌Wifi is limited to 2 devices only, which is the first 2 gadgets you connect. If you wanna connect another one, you can't just disconnect another to free up a slot. You have to call front desk to reset your wifi device list. At minimum we have three devices with us (2 phones and an ipad). Sometimes we bring a laptop to work pa so good luck with that. Good thing I have data. 
❌ Also, wifi is slow. 5mbps tops. Smart 5G has good reception in the room though. I'm getting 200mbps+ which is great. I mean I can see the Smart building from our room haha there's probably a nearby tower too.
❌ The walls are freakishly thin. I could hear our neighbor playing music and talking. I didn't complain about them, cos they're not even noisy they're just plain talking to each other and yet I can fucking hear them! Oh wall.


❌ The worst part really is the shower. It freaking leaks. You have to face the showerhead a certain way to avoid water from spilling out into the room because the shower door has gaps. I've reported this and housekeeping acknowledged that it's been a known issue. Not much they can do about it except provide us with extra rugs and mop the floor. I wonder when Eton is planning to fix this at all.


Stuff I'm neutral about...

🔘 There's nowhere to put our things so I had to request for a desk and chair
🔘 There's no water kettle and hair dryer, had to request for those too
🔘 There's no restaurant or in-room dining

Stuff I'm okay about...

✔️ The people are nice and hospitable. As expected.
✔️ AC gets cold naman haha
✔️ Bed and pillows are okay
✔️ Location is great but honestly just go check-in elsewhere hehe

I couldn't find any reason to recommend it. The obvious lack in square footage they could've made up for room features but meh. We're not really fuming mad about this experience because we had low expecations. And they were met can you believe it haha.


Look, we're still happy despite our lackluster stay. It can only get better from here right?

Happy Weekend!

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😞

My throat has been hurting for almost three days now. I think I must've overloaded on sweets last week. I was afraid it might turn to covid (again) but thankfully, I haven't gotten the rest of the symptoms. Just this one heck of a pain in the neck. And it doesn't seem to be getting better. I've been downing a lot of water, consquently peeing a lot. Been spraying Kamillosan, and now swtiched to Difflam cos it's more targetted and has a numbing effect. I've also avoided eating anything sweet! And yet, every time I wake up my left tonsil stings like hell. Urgh. Hope it's nothing serious.


Been feeling down lately because I haven't been to the gym in almost two weeks now because of my knee injury. So yeah, I haven't worked out at all and it sucks. I feel heavy and ugly and fat, and somehow my cravings are back huhu. So this is how it feels to withdraw from a habit that's been working for you so well. I can't believe I'm saying this but I love going to the gym. I love getting wasted in sweat. I love the changes that I'm seeing in myself, the strength I'm gaining from each workout, the clothes that are starting to fit. The scale hasn't budged significantly but I'm feeling lighter, stronger, and better every day ever since I started working out regularly. I can't wait to be back but I'm also afraid to get injured again. Huhu.

Earlier this afternoon I went to follow-up with an ortho who advised me to get physical therapy sessions. After that I don't know anymore. I think it's gonna take over a month to fully recover and regain my footing. Right now I couldn't run or jump. Thankfully I could walk properly now so I was able to return the crutches I borrowed from the neighbor, but I still can't walk for lengths or stand for long.

Hay. Been struggling spiritually as well. Struggling in a sense that I think I've lost it completely, and I feel like I don't want it back. Don't need it back. Cos somehow I may just be keeping it for the sake of having it, but deep inside I know I'm hollow. Do I let faith fill this gaping hole? Or should I seek something more tangible like knowledge and confirmation and evidence of what's real? I'm not even that plagued about the lack of truth in my life. I don't know where to begin. Maybe I don't even want to begin.

lol


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[A Raving Review] Staycation at The Peninsula Manila

I think we just had one of our best hotel staycations ever. 


Booked two nights at The Peninsula Manila hotel (or Manila Pen) to celebrate my husband's 30th birthday. Originally we just wanted to try out their Beef Wellington, then we decided to indulge with two nights because... I don't really know hehe guess we just wanted to enjoy the place more.

Watch: [Room Tour] The Peninsula Manila - Deluxe King, Amenities, The Lobby's Beef Wellington




The Lobby

It's not my first time to stay at Manila Pen, I remember having a girls night out here with my cousins three years ago. The hotel didn't have much impact to me then, despite their gorgeous lobby, cos for the most part we were nine girls nervously waiting for our rooms. We only booked two rooms and we can't get caught "overbooking" lol. Is there actually a rule about this? XD

Now that we got to really check the place out, I must say, it's really one of the best hotels in the metro. And what set them apart for me is not the grand lobby, nor the impeccably clean and spacious rooms, not even the delicious food at The Lobby. You know what placed them a notch higher than other 5-star hotels we've tried? It's the level of hospitality. 

They don't just listen to you, they relate. I asked if they allow pets at the lobby, and besides the answer no haha, I also learned the person I'm talking to has a pet. The F&B coordinator who came to check on us while having dinner seemed very pleased that we're enjoying our food, actively engaging with us about the menu. And the security who led me to front desk when we got locked out on our second night, even accompanied us back to our room to make sure that the locks are fine and not just low in battery. Even checking out was a delightful experience cos nakakahawa yung energy nung nasa front desk? hahaha

It's the small things that really make a difference. You get tired of the niceties after a while but knowing that they'll go the extra mile to cater to you is something you don't get to see that often within their range of hotels.

Deluxe King Room


We got a Deluxe King room which has a nice view of Ayala Triangle Gardens. I could even see our new office building from the window, which isn't a very good sight hahaha. I didn't expect to like this room that much. The walls are all white, something I'm not used to in hotels. Usually they're beige and warm and textured so this was different. It's got a modern Filipino touch to it, mostly white, with dark wooden furniture, and streaks of blue. Interesting!


We loved the bathroom. The bathtub is bigger that it seems, the water pressure is perfect and the hot water is scalding... which is a good thing haha of course you have to temper it but I love how we're able to easily setup a relaxing hot bath.


The highlight of our stay is really the Beef Wellington at The Lobby. We ordered this at least two days in advance, and it was very well worth our penny. It came with Red Wine Jus for the sauce and Potato Gratin on the side. It's our first time to experience steak and potatoes this way and my goodness we're definitely ordering this again. Looks at bit meager on the plate but the weight on the tummy is gravid. Took a while to realize that it's indeed a very dense meal, with steak that thick and a pastry shell covering its entirely, it's one you definitely can't take lightly.

And that's pretty much it! I have no complaints. We didn't get breakfast cos it's too early for us. Booked through Agoda for around ₱9k/night. The Beef Wellington costs around ₱4.8k which serves 2-3 people. Check out my Youtube video for a hotel tour. 

Hope to be back! ♥
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How to Prepare for a Staycation

 
Photo Credit


So what exactly is a Staycation? A staycation is a vacation where you take time off from your normal routine and spend it at home. You might be staying with family or friends, or you may be staying at a hotel or Airbnb. There are many reasons why people opt for a staycation instead of taking their usual vacations.


It’s a great way to focus on slower travel which is proven to be far more sustainable, in the long run, this could be a lot cheaper (as staycations tend to be off-season), and there isn’t the stress of having to execute a big trip. In general the new normal has staycations and it’s something that plenty of people are loving. If you’re interested in creating your own staycation then these tips will help you out.

Why are staycations becoming so popular?

Staycations give people a chance to recharge and rejuvenate their mind, body, and soul. While regular fast travel can do this, it tends to be stressful as well. Slow travel is all about taking things in, taking in your surroundings, environment, culture, and everything else. It’s all about traveling but at a much slower pace.

How to prepare for your staycation

The first step is to make sure you have enough time for yourself before you start your staycation. It's important because it will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed with tasks or responsibilities when you're on vacation. If possible, try to do this at the end of the week so that there are fewer distractions during the weekend.

When it comes to preparing for travel, it can get pretty overwhelming and hectic as you’re having to plan, pack the essentials like some dog urns, food, toiletries, and anything else that could be considered a major essential. Depending on how long your staycation is and where you’re at, you may not need to worry about overpacking.

Choosing the right destination for your staycation

If you are going to plan a staycation, you should make sure that it is worth your time and money. You should also make sure that you are not going to be bored on your trip. There are many ways of choosing a destination for your staycation. You can choose from popular destinations or some lesser-known ones depending on what you want to experience during your trip and how much money you can afford to spend. 

But it’s also going to help narrow it down depending on the season you’re going. If you’re going on a staycation during the summer then it may be best to go off the beaten track to somewhere less known. This way, you’re saving money, avoiding crowds, and your staycation will be a lot calmer as well.

Taking time off from your daily routine is important to ensure that you are able to make the most of your work and personal life. While a lot of people tend to think of taking time off as a luxury, it can actually be seen as an investment. When you take time off, you are freeing up your mind and body so that they can rest and heal. This allows productivity to increase over the course of the week. Staycations are the best time to get out of your routine of what you do every day. This new environment and new pace in your life can truly help you with feeling recharged. 


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hay jusko

Heya. Guess I just wanna rant. I've been waiting for my HSBC Cash Advance Pin letter for over a month so I had to request for a reprint and now it's been two weeks and it's still not with me. It's a fucking pin letter so I assumed it will just be dropped in the mailbox just like all of the cash advance pins I've received in my life. Turns out I have to receive it personally and if I didn't call the lobby I wouldn't know that the courier has been here already yesterday and I FUCKING NEVER KNEW. Like how was I supposed to know? Courier never reached out, lobby never reached out, so what now? How come the courier didn't even think to inform its recipient that it's coming right now? More so, how come HSBC didn't even think to include my number in the parcel? That's so fucking basic so I'm fuming mad about the incompetence running around in this matter. Don't even get me started with our condo lobby who can't even load up a mobile phone so it could call its residents who don't have landline, instead of going up in our super slow elevators to knock on doors. That's just so stupid. Everything is stupid.

On the plus side, at least I know now that my letter is actually being delivered and it's just not reaching me for stupid reasons. I'm starting to hate it here. Move someplace with intercom at least, and better receptionists. Or probably just install a doorbell. What the fuck are we paying for.

Anyway. I think I've calmed down. I just need to get the fucking pin so I could fucking register to online banking. That's fucking it. 

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My 2022 LTO Renewal of Registration Experience

Heya! Sharing my experience renewing our vehicle registration at LTO Pasig. It's our first time to do this on our own cos for the past couple of years we just ask our car dealer to deal with this haha. Ultimately I think I don't mind doing this again moving forward cos it's very easy naman pala as long as you have prepared all the requirements before heading to LTO.


For context...

I'm renewing a private vehicle, a 2016 Toyota Vios to be exact, and my dad is the registered owner. I did the renewal at LTO Pasig (inside Ynares Compound, beside Capitol Commons) on a Friday at 3pm. We finished at 5pm. My car is due for registration first week of January, and due to alert level restrictions, the deadline was extended to February. If you want to know when your schedule is, click here.

In thist post I'll talk about...

✔️ Requirements and where I got them
✔️ Total cost and breakdown
✔️ Tips cos I have some haha

Requirements and where I got them

If you go to LTMS Portal here (https://portal.lto.gov.ph/) and navigate to E-Learning > Motor Vehicle Registration, you'll find the list of requirements for private vehicle renewal of registration.



1. Photocopy of OR and CR
2. CTPL Insurance Certificate of Cover
3. MVIR (Motor Vehicle Inspection Report) or CEC (Certificate of Emission Compliance)
4. Registered owner's TIN

First off, you must have registered at LTMS Portal because they will ask for the LTO Client ID. The ORs issued nowadays are generated from a new system which requires you to register to the portal. Instead of getting the usual blue OR, you'll get a printed copy instead (black and white on bond paper). 



I'm renewing a car that's registered to my dad so I asked for his LTO Client ID. 


1. Photocopy of OR and CR

This one's easy hehe. Just get a copy of your latest OR and CR. OR's are issued yearly after your car's 3rd year because the first 3 years are already covered. Funny though, and I learned this just now, I keep hearing that the first three years of registration is FREE, but turns out you already paid 3x the MVUC upon initial registration with LTO. Check your first OR hehe. So it's not really free, you already paid for it in advance and you probably didn't notice! I know I didn't! Hahaha

So in my case, had my car on 2016 so my 2016, 2017, and 2018 are already covered. I started renewing on 2019.

CRs on the other hand, there's only one copy of this, you don't renew this, and if you're bank financed, the original isn't with you yet. So just photocopy your photocopy hehe.

2. CTPL Insurance Certificate of Cover

It's very easy to get CTPL now that you can do it online. Note that CTPL is different from your  comprehensive insurance cover. The C stands for Compulsary so it's required haha.

What are your options?

✔️ If you have GCash, navigate to GInsure and you get a lot of options. 
✔️ A Google search will also do you well
✔️ Within the LTO compound there's also usually an insurance office where you can get yours, in case you don't want the trouble of doing everything online

I don't recommend it though because it could be more expensive. Plus you may run into fixers who would offer "assistance" and probably tell you you're not allowed inside cos you're wearing shorts or slippers or whatever. Just be careful. I remember in 2020 our CTPL costed around ₱1,000 which I thought was normal, but now upon checking, CTPL for private vehicles only ranges from ₱500 to ₱600! We've been robbed!

Anyway. 

✔️ I got my CTPL from MAPFRE Insurance (https://www.mapfre.com.ph) because it's on the first page when I did a Google search for "instant CTPL online philippines" and it didn't require me to register for an account. I did everything online and paid only ₱560.


Their website is pretty slow once you submit the form so just be patient and wait it out. I even ran into an error after payment which was a bummer because I wanted to come to LTO the next day and I don't know when they'll get back to me about this.



I immediately sent an email to teleservice@mapfreinsurance.com.ph requesting for a refund if they can't generate my policy in time. I also messaged them on Facebook and dropped an inquiry through the Contact Form on their website.

Thankfully, they replied immediately in the morning and I was able to get my policy before lunch. They sent a 12-page PDF attachment containing the policy, its details, and the actual COC. In triplicates lol.

You don't have to submit the whole doc. Just look for the page with the Original Confirmation of Cover and print that one.


I wonder what "ORIGINAL" meant with that double quotes hahaha.

Another thing, if your car has comprehensive insurance, make sure you don't already have CTPL cos sometimes it's already included in the policy and you just didn't notice. Or if you're just planning to get one, remind the agent to exclude CTPL (if it's not already) so you don't pay double, or have them adjust the CTPL period of insurance to match your vehicle registration. Personally I'd rather get CTPL separately.

3.  MVIR (Motor Vehicle Inspection Report) or CEC (Certificate of Emission Compliance)

Which one should you get?

Around two years ago LTO added a renewal requirement which says all vehicles must pass a multi-point inspection and submit a copy of the passed MVIR upon renewal of registration. They released a list of accredited PMVICs (Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers) and each center caters only to specific LTO offices based on its GAOR (Geographic Area of Responsibility) so it's like if you got inspected at a center in Mandaluyong, you can't submit your results to LTO Novaliches (just in case you wanna register there) because they're not in the same area. Something like that.

I remember it was very complicated for us once because we used to let Toyota BGC or Chino Roces handle our registration, but then they required us to get inspected at a PMVIC in Taguig because they process renewals at LTO Makati. So we did that, only to fail the inspection cos our tires were all expired lol, then when we got to fix our tires we had to go back to the same center for retest and hand the results to Toyota for processing. It was such a hassle going back and forth to Taguig argh.

Anyway.

Somehow during the pandemic the MVIR requirement got lifted and they said CEC should suffice at the time. Since then I wasn't sure what was required. When we went to LTO to clarify this requirement, we confirmed that only CEC is required.... so yey? 

We were headed to the nearest emission center when some guy at LTO told us the nearest one is already full and you won't make it today so he referred us to AutoTEC along Shaw Blvd saying there's not a lot of people there. I was skeptic at first, but I knew AutoTEC cos it's one of the PMVICs I was checking out when I was looking at the requirements and planning this day haha.


We drove to the place which is just 2km away from LTO Pasig and true enough it's not busy. We were the only customers at that time. That's around 2:30pm. It's not just an emission testing center but a PMVIC. But the multi-point inspection already covers emission testing so LTO accepts this. We paid ₱500 and we were out in 30mins! Yey!


Pretty happy with the service. This center is obviously new. It's spacious and they have an airconditioned customer's lounge. I recommend AutoTEC if you're nearby!



AutoTEC Shaw - Automotive Testing Center, Inc. is located at 
No. 564 Shaw Blvd., Brgy. Highway Hills 1550 Mandaluyong, Philippines

They're beside Governor's Palace, there's like a small street there that leads to AutoTEC. There's a big sign with an arrow, you can't miss it. Or just Waze them, we did!

4. Registered owner's TIN

I just asked my dad, but no one really asked for it in LTO. As you will see in the OR, they just left the TIN field blank.

Pass your papers!!!
After gathering the requirements we drove back to LTO and waited two hours to get processed. Here's everything I submitted, just 4 pages...


There was a long line that afternoon, maybe because it's Friday, and also because they extended the deadline of January renewals to February, so we're kinda expecting this.

Total cost and breakdown
After two hours of waiting I paid ₱1,710 and went out with my 2022 OR.



Let's break it down...

✔️ CTPL - ₱560.00
✔️ MVIR - ₱500.00
✔️ On Official Receipt - ₱1,710.00
        • MVUC - ₱1,600.00
        • Change Venue Fee - ₱100.00 
        • Legal Research Fee - ₱10.00

✔️ TOTAL - ₱2,770.00

That's it! You only get a printed copy of your OR and nothing else. No sticker and RFID.

Tips cos I have some haha
Okay! If I'm doing this again I need some tips! So here's what I gathered...

• You can actually renew 1 month in advance which I think works for me because December is pretty lean for government offices... I guess??!
• Start with CTPL because it's the easiest to acquire
• I think it's best to get checked at PMVICs just to be sure because it already has emission testing and you don't know what LTO will require one day haha.
• Have a copy of everything you submitted. There's usually a photocopier within LTO.
• Bring water and snacks cos you don't know how long you'll wait. 
• Bring cash cos you don't know if they accept card or GCash hehe
• No to fixers. You can do this. It's so easy.
• Wear smart casual? Don't wear shorts or slippers just in case someone tells you you're not allowed inside and you don't wanna argue haha. 
• Come early in the morning if you don't want to wait long
• You don't have to personally do it. You can ask someone else to do it, just get all the requirements ready. My car is registered under my dad's name and I pretty much did this for him. Does that make me a fixer? I didn't do anything illegal though. Fixers don't just assist you, they fast track your application in suspicious ways. So beware.
• Make sure to double check your requirements and ask if it's complete. I saw some people in line at the payment who were asked to come back with their CTPL and CEC and it's weird because no one told them early on. I mean they should know for sure, but it's weird cos the staff who collected our papers were sifting through each page before giving us some sort of transaction slip so I thought he was checking. Apparently not. 

Guess that's it! Hope this helps!

Got any questions? Comment section is open, feel free!
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[Review] Our Grand Hyatt Manila Experience

Had a delightful long weekend staycation at Grand Hyatt Manila in BGC, Taguig. Check out my room tour video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Jg8EoX4JA9c


Stayed two nights here with my husband from Sunday to Tuesday cos wala lang hehe we didn't have anything better to do to for the upcoming holiday so I look a leave last Monday to just enjoy the long weekend. I booked through Agoda cos may discount and they have an ongoing deal called The Grand Escape Offer where we get ₱2k dining credits per night, flexible check-in and check-out, plus some other things (I forgot cos we didn't avail every perk). We still paid almost ₱10k per night so it's not really that big of a deal (pun intented) haha. 


There's early check-in and check-out but it's not what I thought it was. Basically you're only allowed to check-out as late as you checked-in, giving you a full 24-hour stay. So if we checked in at 5pm which is late, we can check-out as late as 5pm din. Ganun sya.

Alright let's look around!


This is their lobby. It's pretty expansive but it feels very bare at the center where you approach the reception desks. The lounge area though is very elegant where all the seating areas are. 


They have these glass staircases connecting each level of the lounge and they're very nice to look at, except that sometimes they just strike me as fancy jalousie windows lol.


The pool is just one big lap pool. Maganda pa ata condo pool namin haha. There are lots of cabanas and seating areas, and there's also a pool side restaurant which serves really good food (we'll get into it next!). We didn't plan on swimming though.

So we had dining credits right? That gave us ₱4k to spend on food which I thought is more than enough, but it also means getting 4k off on this bigass lobster from the pool side restaurant!


So that's what we did. That marvelous sea creature is an ₱8,900 worth Live Australian Rock Lobster, which we complemented with a ₱2,000 worth meat platter to give us the most indulgent surf and turf yet.


We shared this. Just the two of us. And we finished it. It was super good. The lobster may be huge but the bulk of the meat is just enough for two. My favorite part of the meat platter would be the sausage cos it's so flavorful! 


They also served us this super delicious salad with lemon mustard dressing and greens groceries don't usually carry. We loved everything on this bowl so much we had two of it. Good thing it was free-flowing lol


This tomato soup is also very good. It's not creamy, sarap higupin habang mainit! I love it. The sourdough on the side is also very very good. I've always been curious about it so it's feels nice that I finally got to try it. ♥

Room
Let's go to our room!


We got 1 King Bed / Grand King from Agoda. It's 45sqm big and we loved it! Everything checks out as far as 5 star hotels are concerned (wait I'm not actually sure if this is 5 star haha). 


Bathroom has a bathtub which I love. It's kind of something I'm looking forward to now when it comes to hotels hehe. Dipping in a warm bubble bath is one of my new found luxuries, apart from hotel dining, and regular staycations hehe.


If there's one thing I'm waiting for every hotel to offer eventually, that would be SMART TV ACCESS. In this day and age of widespread digital streaming content, I don't know how it still makes sense to ONLY offer cable channels to your guests. We always have to bring our Xiaomi Mi TV Stick on hotel staycations just so we could watch Netflix or Youtube on their TVs. Okada has Netflix and Youtube access on top of their cable channels, hope it becomes a standard soon! Victoria Court nga may Netflix eh! Hahaha

Also! I hope they offer drip coffee instead of nespresso machines because honestly, people who use nespresso in their homes have an entire station of condiments that go along perfectly with flavor of the pods. Ako lang naman yata to. I prefer brewed coffee over espresso. Or if I'll drink espresso I prefer it to be in latte form. Coffee mate barely does anything haha.

In-room Dining
Obviously, we've maxed out our dining credits but that doesn't stop us from trying out their in-room dining (which isn't covered by the deal). It's kindof tradition now for us to try in-room dining whenever we're at hotels cos we know it's always good haha


This one kinda disappoints though. That's their Indian Butter Chicken and it's very bland and malabnaw. A far cry from any butter chicken we've tried. Okada has an unexpectedly amazing butter chicken so when we found this on Hyatt's menu I assumed it's a staple in-room dining dish and couldn't go wrong. Sadly it did.


We also ordered buttermilk fried chicken which is just okay. The fries however are perfectly cooked. Evenly sliced, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and well seasoned. Love it!


The following night we ordered a burger and a sandwich. I got a Reuben Sandwich after seeing it uses sourdough bread and I loved it! It's got corned beef (not the usual kind), swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and some kind of dressing. Tastes very European. My husband got a bacon cheeseburger which tasted good, thankfully! The fries, as usual, are perfect! 

Gym

We also tried the gym cos we didn't wanna miss a lot of days in the week. Their gym is open 24 hours which is great and it's pretty well equipped too. It's got towels and drinking water for the guests and a good array of exercise equipment and free weights. They also have a private yoga room which they allowed us to use since we're doing routines and we're the only people in the gym hehe.

Breakfast


Breakfast is served daily at The Grand Kitchen between 6:30 and 10:30 in the morning. They don't offer buffet yet so you have to choose one set from their menu. There's Continental, American, Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese. The small portions you can order as much as you can; there's fresh fruits, bread basket, pancake, cheese and cold cuts, etc.


I got the Filipino breakfast (tapa) and loved it! The pancake I ordered on the side was weird though. They gave me honey instead of maple syrup and they don't go well together. 

And that's it!

Overall, I really enjoyed our staycation. Definitely got a much needed rest. You'd think I'd be all refreshed and ready to work hard, but here I am procrastinating yet again! 

You reached this part? Wow thanks! :D

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