Thursday, April 26, 2012

For Everything Else

I got my first Mastercard some eighteen years ago, I never left home without it ever since. And just like in the TV commercial, it has provided me with many priceless moments.
Last night, at the Salon de Ning of The Peninsula Manila, the BDO Bench Mastercard was launched. A happy celebration as it is also Bench's twenty-fifth year. Of course, the card comes with extra privileges, like 10% off on shopping at Bench and its many, many sister establishments on your birthday week. Also, you get invited to many of Bench's grand events. Now, I no longer need to worry about scrambling for tickets to their Underwear Show.
It's always good to see friends, Rissa Trillo's growing belly, Randy Ortiz and Bernard Banares teaming up for a new restaurant, Callum David on the DJ booth.. Priceless! And for everything else, there's BDO Bench.. Mastercard.

Salon de Ning

DJ Callum

Bench's first endorser, Richard Gomez

Tres belle! Isabelle Daza

Raymond Gutierrez, Isabelle Daza and Ben Chan

Miguel Pastor, Karylle and Michael Carandang

Randy Ortiz and Ipe Cruz

Richard and Lucy Gomez

Is it a girl for Paolo and Rissa Trillo!

Simon Tantoco and Mons Romulo

Tim and Mark

Happy duo, Rey Lanada and Perry Lansigan

Dapper Dale de la Cruz of Bench

A toast for BDO, Mastercard and Bench

with Karylle and Michael Carandang

Bench/ sister establishments: Aldo, Bench Body, Bench Fix Salon, Bench Skin Expert, Bench To Go, Bench Tweeners, Call It Spring, CC-OO, Celio, CPS, Charles & Keith, Cotton On, Dimensione, Early Learning Center, First Aid, F&X, Herbench, Kashieca, La Senza, Lyn, Mothercare, Patchi, PCX, Pedro, Pinoy Lab, Repetto, Studio Fix, and The Face Shop.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Perhaps, I Was An Englishman

I grew up watching Julie Andrews' movies. Day in and day out, I've listened to her recordings of Cinderella, Camelot, My Fair Lady and of course, Mary Poppins and The Sound Of Music. That was in high school, today, I can still sing along with her any given day. Oh, no one spoke English more clearly like Dame Julie Andrews. Many thanks to Ms. Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins, I've developed an accent not faintly boarding school. Ha, ha, ha!
Perhaps, I was an Englishman in a former life, I'm fascinated with brick townhouses, coat of arms, bicycles even. I've devoured English history books in the library, and after finishing DVDs of The Tudors, I went on reading Philippa Gregory novels.
Spring was a delightful time to visit London. It was perfect for long walks, sipping tea or coffee and speaking with an accent dear old Henry Higgins would have been very proud of.

Morning coffee.

Bicycle friendly weather.

Potato chips heaven!

Energy food!

Healthy choices.

Happy choices!

Tea time.



Souvenir Shop

London is love.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hop On, Hop Off

It was my first time in London and I was excited to see it's famous landmarks. It was also my first time to try the Big Bus tour. I've seen those double-decker buses in New York and Sydney, but I've never hopped on into one.
My friend Rey and I carefully studied the tour map a night before, choosing only five stops to hop off for our Facebook photo albums. The hotel concierge cheerfully told us that it was a beautiful sunny day to take the tour - no need for heavy jackets. And so merrily, like kids, we hurriedly went up the upper deck to get a better view and enjoy the Spring weather. Oh! It was a good thing Rey brought his wool jacket, coming from a tropical country, a 'beautiful sunny day' in London still felt like winter to him. Luckily, thanks to excess fat, I didn't feel as cold.
Traffic was particularly heavy in Oxford St., it already took us three hours before reaching our first chosen stop, the Trafalgar Square. Mid-afternoon and we were only half way through the tour, and so we cut the trip short from the London Tower, taking the much faster ferry back to Westminster. We made it to Buckingham Palace with the sun still out.
My favorite stop was Westminster Abbey, it's filled with so much history. A monument to noble men and women who made this kingdom a great nation.

Waiting for the Big Bus.

Giving you a little history of each stop, headsets are provided with eight languages to choose from.

Rey Lanada all bundled up for the cold.

Braving the cold.

Our first stop, the Trafalgar Square.

The Trafalgar Lion.

Our next stop, the House of Parliaments.

My favorite stop, the Westminster Abbey.

Tourists waiting for the Horseguards at White Hall.

St Paul's Cathedral

Nearing completion, the Shard.

The Tower Bridge

Famished, Rey buying a hotdog.

A good view of the Tower Bridge.

The gates of the Tower of London.

If you wish to cut the trip short, a free ferry ride takes you from the Tower Bridge  back to Westminster.

The London Eye

The Queen Victoria Monument, Buckingham Palace.

The Mall

The gates of Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace