Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quiapo Frugal Food Finds and Shopping Tips

My humble contribution to Money Smart's Frugality week:

Last Monday, I went to Quiapo particularly on Hidalgo St. not to splurge once again on cameras, lenses, expired films for lomography or other photography equipment but to buy vegetables and other stuff. My ways of being frugal:

1. Didn't use my car, instead rode a jeep to Quiapo. It's hard to drive there due to lack of parking space.

2. Bought lettuce, apples, onions, broccoli, cauliflower at prices half or at least cheaper than SM on Hidalgo and P. Gomez St.

3. Withdrew cash from my own bank's ATM to avoid ATM charges/transaction fees

3. Didn't buy oranges though, I can buy them at 20% discount from my suki and stalls there don't have my favorite Valencia oranges or at least Navel.

4. For frugal food find, went again to Globe Lumpia House on Gonzalo Puyat St (formerly Raon) to sample their delectably good and surprising cheap lumpiang sariwa for only P16/pc washed down with Sarsi. The place, newly renovated, already got featured on several TV programs like Kay Susan Tayo. This is a place i've known for years whenever I go there to buy electronic stuffs.

Other Quiapo tips:

Quiapo Church where vendors sell herbal medicines including abortifacients called "pamparegla."

Quiapo's side streets are lined with traders selling pirated DVD movies and CDs.

Under Quezon bridge and Quinta market you can find handicrafts at prices you never knew existed in the big city.

On Globo de Oro St, near the Golden Mosque, waits halal restaurants like Moud's whose halal chicken is unknown to most Metro Manilans.

The other side of Hidalgo St, where the jeepney terminals are, you can find supplies for cross stitching needs.

For your electronic spare parts, DIY kits, appliances, head off to the various stores on Raon. You can also find tools and hardware stuff, trophies, guitars, and other musical instruments (reminds me of V. Mapa, Sta. Mesa)

On Paterno St, optometry shops abound where you can find cheap yet quality eyeglasses and contact lenses at a fraction of their prices in malls.

On Evangelista St, industrial pumps and generators are on sale while further north lies QP and other printing presses for wedding invitations and other events. (This is also near the so-called "Recto University" where almost every thing on paper can be faked e.g. school diplomas, drivers license)

If you feel like walking, nearby Sta. Cruz, you can see art supply shops and further down Avenida are medical supplies near Bambang. Nearby Arranque also have industrial tools and supplies at low prices.

This is getting longer, I know, and this post is more like a regular post on my budget travel blog so I'll just leave this as is and post a more comprehensive guide there one of these days. :P

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hong Kong Scandal

Been reading more on Hong Kong these past few days for new Hong Kong shopping tips when I stumbled unto a tabloid-like website bannering news about photos circulating on the Internet on some of Hong Kong's celebrities involving unfamiliar names:Edison Chen, Bobo Chan, Rachel Ngan, Cathy Leung, Gillian Chung, Cecilia Cheung. All of these are supposedly stars of Hong Kong.

An anonymous person allegedly was able to steal the pictures from a cache by Edison Chen and posted the revealing images and videos on the Internet.

If you happen to stumble on this blog looking for free Hong Kong Scandal videos/photos, then, tough luck. You may however click the links below or the ads displayed on this page to lead you there.

Related Posts:

Backpacking Hong Kong
Hong Kong City Tour
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Hong Kong Disneyland
Jose Rizal in Hong Kong
Hong Kong in Philippine History
OFWs in Hong Kong
Duk Ling: A Free Tour of Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour Cruise
A Symphony of Lights
Ngong Ping 360, Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastery, Wisdom Path
Hong Kong Shopping Guide and Tips

Monday, February 18, 2008

LTO Drivers License Restriction Codes

As I've mentioned earlier in my drivers license renewal post, I have a license for ten years now but I don't know yet how to drive, now I'm slowly learning to drive the dangerous streets of the Philippines particularly Metro Manila.

Since this is about Drivers License Restrictions, someone asked me how to add additional restriction codes to their drivers license. I replied it's just the normal drivers license renewal process, same drug test, same fees except the additional restriction request for a minimal cost (P30 or less, AFAIK).

In Metro Manila, you can only have the additional restrictions at LTO offices and not the regular centers i.e. LTO main office on East Avenue and the center in Pasay City.
Requests like that can't be accommodated in other renewal centers.

for those new drivers, the restrictions:
1. Motorcycles/motorized tricycles
2. vehicle up to 4500 kgs GVW
3. vehicle above 4500 kgs GVW
4. automatic clutch up to 4500 kgs GVW
5. automatic clutch above 4500 kgs GVW
6. articulated vehicle 1600 kgs GVW and below
7. articulated vehicle 1601 up to 4500 kgs GVW
8. articulated vehicle 4501 kgs and above GVW

Note that those owning bikes with restriction of 2 only are the targets of mulcting policemen so better be sure you have the required restriction when driving one. (note also the restriction on using motorcycles at the NLEX and SLEX)

It's a good thing i got a license with restrictions 1 and 2 already so that means
I can drive a motorcycle and any vehicle (manual or automatic) up to 4500 kgs.

For now, practice my driving skills, particularly defensive driving that I need lots of :P

Related Post:

How to renew LTO Drivers License
How Apply for Replacement LTO Drivers License

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Divorce and Marriage Annulment in the Philippines

I know of a particular case of annulment for a marriage gone sour due to a childish father who can't seem to take care of himself and be man enough to face his responsibilities.

The husband is a typical Filipino professional bum, living on "pension" and remittances from his mother working in Germany. Can't stay long in various jobs and just love to bum around and play computer games-- total jerk of a father!

The mother, used to be jobless, now is a medical representative (medrep) and is currently stable with her own car to boot but support from the father is non-existant due to his being a professional bum status (many pinoys are like that who prefer to just wait for remittances from their OFW family members, particularly women migrant workers, ans spend time idling or worst gambling, drinking and other vices instead of taking care of their family)

A sweet talking lawyer offered her services for a swift annulment of their marriage for a cost of P45,000.00 (around $1100) that the girl accepted. The estranged couple were made to appear before a judge, answered several scripted questions and made to sign several documents to declare their marriage dissolved due to psychological incapacity of the man (funny he agreed but it's really the truth) in a short annulment process worthy of a world record.

In less than three months, the decision of the judge annulled the marriage on account of psychological incapacity.

The woman now was able to use her maiden name once again and changed all her identification cards again while the man, the childish one, continues living as a bum and even had the guts to court another girl as if he can support another family on his own.

The lawyer is quite known in town and seems to be making a killing on the number of cases she's handling.

The rise in annulment cases is due to various factors in the Philippines, non-existence of divorce, and the surging hormones of teenagers in this predominantly Catholic nation and the people who can't handle responsibility. There are many high-profile cases bannered by tabloids, mainly rich people who can afford the high price, particularly the recent case of Willie Revillame (Revile-me, the host of the immensely popular Wowowee game show on tv whose voice I don't want to hear)

For Sale: Annulment in the Philippines

Friday, February 08, 2008

Bankwise Closed by BSP Monetary Board

I got a call from a banking industry contact inquiring about the status of Bankwise, a Makati-based thrift bank with braches in Mandaluyong, Las PiƱas, Cebu City, Davao City, and Quezon City of which news was released by the Inquirer as closed by the BSP's MB due to bankruptcy.

Formerly called Dharmala Bank, it's associated with Dante Ang.

With the PDIC receivership, depositors of the insolvent bank are insured up to P250k per depositor.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hidalgo: Photographers' Haven in Quiapo, Manila

Shopping for cheap lenses, cameras, nikon, canon, sony, kenko extension tubes, batteries, filters, ND filters, CPL (circular polarizers), tripods (manfrotto et al), video cameras, sigma, tamron, photo developing and printing, films, SD/CF/MS and other memory cards?

The best place to buy them in the Philippines is in the so called Photographers' Haven on Hidalgo St in Quiapo, Manila. The area at the west end of Hidalgo St, P. Gomez (at the back of SM Sta Cruz) teems with many camera stores and shops. You can also find camera repairs of your old film camera and lens cleaning.

Some stores' telephone numbers for your reference:

mayer +63.2.733.7722
watson +63.2.733.7697
avenue +63.2.733.5474
fotohaus +63.2.733.4564
henry's +63.2.733.7723

Hidalgo St. is named after the painter Felix Resurrection Hidalgo. The area is now called Hidalgo that includes part of P. Gomez Street and Carlos Palanca St.

Calling the store's published telephone number is not recommended. Tried it already and it's frustrating. Visiting the stores can also haggle for a cheaper price, discounts and freebies. Warn you though of in-store warranty for items with missing warranty cards, probably gray market units. Tutubi bought his Canon Ixus 30 at Henry's three years ago at a huge discount compared to malls and it's still functioning up to this day (still looks like new except for minor scratches on the LCD screen)

UPDATE: bought a brand new Nikon D80 body at Henry's for PhP34k with free bag and 1GB SD card on February 16, 2008. Use with Nikkor 18-200 f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.

I will try to look up prices of the following:
Nikon D90, Nikon D60, D5000, D3000, D300, D700, D3X, Sb-400, SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, 50mm f/1.8, Canon 1000D, Canon 450D, 40D, 50D, Canon EF-S 18-200/3.5-5.6 IS and various Nikkor lenses

Latest Hidalgo Price Lists:

Nikon Price Hidalgo
Canon Price Hidalgo
Tamron Price Hidalgo

For Canonites, these information may also come in handy:

Canon Customer Care, Mandaluyong City
8:00am to 5:30pm

Head Office & Main Service Center
Marvin Plaza Building
2153 Don Chino Roces Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
Tel. No.: (02) 884-9000
Fax No.: (02) 812-0067

How to get to Hidalgo St, Quiapo, Manila

Commute: any jeepney going to Quiapo can get you there. Drop off near Quiapo church. Hidalgo St. is the street in front of the church lined with flower vendors and photography and camera shops.

You may also take the LRT (line 1) then alight at Carriedo station. The area is at the back of SM Sta. Cruz.

Directions for those with cars, parking is a problem in the area, so park at your own risk. You may try parking at SM or in various side streets of Quiapo.