Monday, October 27, 2014

Shopping for Winter Clothes in the Philippines

The main challenge for my Korea trip is planning what to wear for an-almost winter weather. Based on Accuweather, no snow fall is expected as my trip falls the second week of November, which is a period of  transition from Autumn to Winter season. Cardigans won't work anymore but I don't need to wear full on winter gear just yet.

Since I availed of a promo round trip ticket, I have to pay for my check in luggage. This is not a problem in itself since beggars can't be choosers haha. But since I want to save up on space and baggage fees, I have to pack clothes and thermals which are lightweight for layering. I want to bring home a luggage full of Korean goodies, not used clothes. It's also not practical to purchase bundles of thick clothes since I won't be regularly using them in our tropical weather. But I want to buy thermal wear as inner clothing because I know I can use them again and the styles will never be outdated. What I'm specially happy about is that I bought these thermal clothes brand new at super discounted prices. Wanna check out my cheap finds?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Perfect Nude Lip Color Alert: Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel

I'm in such a jubilant mood today! In relation to my previous post, my Korean visa has just been approved! Yippee! It's time to shop for thermal wear!!!

In other news, I've been toning it down in the lip color department by wearing neutral colors. My no-fail pick me up nude is Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Curviest Caramel.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Korean Cosmetics Shopping List

I am so excited because I have planned a trip to South Korea! My friends and I booked the tickets early this year and I feel like I've been waiting forever. I haven't been even out of Luzon this year! And both times that I was out of the metro were mainly because of work. So yes, I welcome this opportunity to travel (and buy cosmetics) with open arms. I have been writing and re-writing my must-buy list for the past 6 months haha. So I hope I am not going to forget the items included in this list once I get there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Crabtree and Evelyn, and The Body Shop's Hand Cream

I am really obsessed with hand creams now!

Now that we're veering around the colder (and rainy) BER months, I find myself using up hand creams more frequently. Also, since my work requires me to flip and read through volumes of records, some dating back to 20 years ago, I have to wash my hands or use hand sanitizer repeatedly. Otherwise, I'd get dust and all the invisible decade old germs (or insect droppings) on my hands haha! That's nasty.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Review: The List Salon

Hi guys!

I had a fabulous weekend. I had my hair colored at the List Salon using my Ensogo voucher (costs P1,200 but it was stated in the voucher that the services cost P10,000.00, It was funny, maybe that would be the price if I availed all the services simultaneously.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Be Vigilant and Protect Yourself this Shopping Season: How I was duped at Lucky Chinatown Mall Annex

I am still fuming mad because of what happened last Saturday. Honestly, I want to use my “lawyer” skills and knowledge to get even because I was duped and humiliated. Actually, there’s nothing wrong if I do get even because I could name a couple of violations which the store has committed and is still committing.

I was duped/conned/scammed at Divisoria (yeah, the place to be!) last Saturday but before you jump to conclusions about me having to expect it at a place like that, let me tell you that this is a stall located at Lucky Chinatown Mall Annex so it’s not exactly the muddled and chaotic Divisoria as we all imagine. In fact, it’s just like buying from a bazaar where you can haggle minus the hurried crowd. Some stalls even remind me of Cash and Carry Mezzanine which sell imported goods (not to be confused with those selling fake “authentic” imported goods; some owners in this area admit to having a branch or relative engaged in business in Cash and Carry too, still be careful though).

It happened when my mom accompanied me to purchase giveaways from a store selling imported goods in Lucky Chinatown Mall Annex. My mom has been going to Divi and all other similar places forever and she has mastered the art of haggling, has uncanny instincts when the owner/seller is selling overpriced items, or purporting to sell imported items from a certain country but in fact is not. I am not a Divi novice as well, although I am not a frequent shopper and I don’t have a suki. 

So this is what happened:

I ordered four boxes of chocolate biscuits which the owner’s tindero placed in huge plastic bags. Each box costs P200.00. So the total was P800.00. After I handed my P1,000.00 bill to the owner of the store who was just behind the counter, she turned around to answer a phone call. I didn’t see where she placed my money because she turned around. I wanted to interrupt her to get my change of P200.00 but my mom told me to let the owner finish talking on the phone so as not to confuse her. Her conversation on the phone lasted for more than 5 minutes. When the owner put down her phone, another customer handed the owner a P1,000.00 bill and she immediately handed the customer’s change. Then I asked the owner, “how about my change?”

I was so surprised when the owner began shouting she did not receive my money. I was so flabbergasted and told her to stay calm and recollect where she put my money. My mom and I told her we handed a P1,000 bill right before her phone rang.  We would not have paid her if she was on the phone because we know she would be distracted. Unluckily, the phone rang at the wrong time.  My only mistake was, I should have interrupted her when she began talking on the phone. She denied receiving any bill from us and retorted “Bakit kayo magbibigay ng pera, eh hindi niyo alam ang total price?” (How could you pay? you don’t know the total amount of your purchase) I was so furious and answered in Tagalog, “How can we not compute? it’s P200 per box multiplied by 4. It’s simple, the total is P800.00. I don’t need any special computation to do it.” She answered “Ay basta! Lahat ng pera dito sa drawer ko naka-bundle. Impossible yan, wala akong P1,000.00 bill dito” (All the bills in this drawer are bundled/tied together. This is impossible, I have no loose P1,000.00 bill inside this drawer). 

 I asked her to open the drawer, lo and behold! my P1,000.00 bill was inside, not included in any bundle. The bill was just sitting on top of other bills which were tied with rubber band. She was so defensive when she saw the loose P1,000.00 and changed her story, claiming that the particular P1,000.00 was paid by the customer I was referring to earlier. To my dismay, that particular customer has already left the store. So she cannot testify for me. I said my P1,000.00 bill was crisp and new, like the one inside the drawer. I saw the particular P1,000.00 that the other customer paid which was wrinkly and yellowish. But the owner won’t budge. I was so frustrated because she was shouting at me. It didn’t help my case that her tindero said he didn't see my mom and I pay anything. I said he was not even focused in looking at the cash register or at us so there’s a chance he missed seeing us give the P1000.00 bill to the owner. Even if that tindero was standing near me, his attention was frequently called by other buyers asking for prices and he was talking to them as well. 

As God as my witness, I told the owner she should have not answered the phone because she got distracted whereas she should have been entertaining her customers. Had she given me my change immediately, she would not have “forgotten”. She shouted and shouted at me, everyone was looking at us. I told her to stop shouting. In fact, I have all the right to shout at her instead because that’s my money which she claims to have not received. That’s my freaking P1000.00 bill in that drawer which she refuses to admit.


But do you know what happened? I had this voice inside my head saying let it go. I can have my money back and multiplied a thousand times over. God is watching us and He knows what happened. Whether this owner was feigning or her pride refusing to make her back down to own up her mistake (Which I am quite sure she discovered when she opened the drawer and finding my P1,000.00 bill inside), God knows.

It’s difficult to find balance between fighting for yourself and just stepping back. I realized that sometimes, you let go not because you are wrong or you admit defeat; simply, it means, taking the higher road even if you do not understand it.

Some of you may disagree and tell me why I didn’t use my being a lawyer in arguing. To tell you the truth, I don’t know either. I should have called the guards, reported the matter to the administration. Instead, I  told the owner that God saw what happened anyway, I can have P1000.00 or more back, but as to what will happen to her, I don’t know but God knows. I walked away.

I am still seething mad. As of now, I still couldn’t get the incident out of my head. I considered filing a complaint with the BIR to get even. The store owner didn’t issue receipts for purchases and I could give an anonymous tip to the BIR. Yes, that’s what I want to do NOW. But I have been praying about this too. This is a test for the both of us. It was a test for her honesty. It was test of my patience and willingness to let go of material things. God’s ways are so mysterious. Some people may say it’s so easy for me to give up P1,000.00 because I am a lawyer. Frankly, no. If it were easy for me, I wouldn’t be blogging about this anymore. I worked hard for that. I didn’t pull P1,000.00 bills out of thin air.

I prayed a lot about this last weekend. I lifted to Him all these negative emotions I felt, to let God handle this situation. I fought for myself; I explained my side. Yes, I could have hurled invectives against them and use my position (I work in the government after all) to get my money back, but really, with the way things are in the Philippines, using my position would only cast my office in a bad light. I want to tell you all, not in defense of the wrong doings of others, but there are government employees like me who choose to take the high road. 

Looking back, if I mentioned my office and began to call on BIR, DTI, Bureau of Customs, the other bystanders who didn’t know what actually happened might say or worse,  even videotape me as a corrupt government employee who is using my position to dupe/not pay a poor vendor. That’s the reality. People commiserate with those who appear kawawa. Really, who would sympathize with a lawyer? Especially IF they hear me name drop government agencies? Because of what happened, I feel more sympathetic towards others who were caught on video shouting in English or saying this and that. I feel compassion towards them, not because they were correct but because when your rights are being abused, you want to defend yourself. Sometimes, it may come out the wrong way. Too bad, Filipinos love underdogs. Or those who appear to be underdogs. Be vigilant. Not everyone who was videotaped shouting is the wrongdoer. Do you notice how one-sided these videos are? The videos do not even capture how a commotion started, like what happened to the “amalayer” incident. I never criticized the student who shouted at the guard. Who knows, I might have done the same if I was manhandled.

Here are my tips and lessons learned especially now that the bazaar season is starting:

a. Make sure that you are paying the person who is authorized to receive payment. Well, I gave my money to the owner herself but there are customers who are conned into giving their money erroneously to posers.

b. If the person who received your money begins another task before giving your change back, interrupt him/ her and tell him/her to finish your transaction first. This is what happened to me. I let the owner answer her cellphone and talk for more than 5 minutes, letting her forget that she placed my money inside her drawer. I should have demanded she give me my change first. 

c. If you are handing a huge bill like P500.00 or P1,000.00, take note of the first four or last four digits of your bill’s serial number. I know this is not really practical to do all the time, but take a glimpse of the serial numbers if you can before giving out your money. When I narrated this incident to my sister, she recalled that a similar incident happened to her in 168, years ago. But the good thing was she had a strange habit of looking at her money’s serial number before handing it over so she was able to dictate it when the cashier denied receiving her money. The cashier was so surprised and cannot deny that it was indeed my sister’s P500.00 bill in their drawer.

d. Have another disinterested person see/ witness that you paid for your purchases. Or say "ito bayad ko" loudly so that the person who gets your money has no choice but to give you your change. I now understand why restaurants and fast food cashiers and waiters say “I receive XXX pesos” when a customer pays. Having the words roll out of one’s mouth help both persons recall the transaction and the amount paid. Like how saying the words out loud help you in memorizing facts .

Well, I learned a lot from this experience and hope you all picked up something valuable from my not-so-good experience too. I wish/ pray/hope that JUSTICE gets served all the time. I cannot believe that something like this could happen to me. I guess it's being part of human and a super-humongous test for me to let go. Another note is to warn all who engage in deceitful practices to stop now. Truth be told, out of all the people who I knew to be bullies and power trippers in the past or who duped people for money, estafadors, etc., NOT ONE became successful in their careers. Some got terribly sick or plain miserable. Their lives deteriorated in general. Don't ask me about good people who suffer and get sick too. This is not an in-depth post on karma, but I am merely stating what I observed first hand.

I am still lucky that this untoward incident only involved money. There are millions of  things and problems which other people face everyday. No one is exempted from life's ups and downs. Including having to deal with cheaters and liars. It is so difficult to become the BIGGER PERSON. I am still praying that God take all these ill feelings from me away because honestly, I want to go back there, take pictures of the store and ruin the owner's business. I feel like the joke's on me because I am working to dispense justice but I feel terrible not being able to take my money back.  I am putting this on record to warn others and to share tips to avoid the same incident from recurring. More prayers. I need them.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Are You Ready for Octo-BAR? How I Survived the Bar Exam Season

It’s the month of Octo-BAR once again! The month of the highly anticipated Bar Examinations. 

Before taking the bar EXAMS, I didn’t understand the hype surrounding it—why it was on the news, why there is a Send-Off and Salubong party, why the release of the results would even make it to Yahoo , etc.

When it was my turn, oh crap! This stuff is what real nightmares are made of. Haha.