Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Making of Harry Potter (Warner Bros. Studio Tour)

I'm cleaning up my phone's camera roll this afternoon when I realized that I haven't blogged so much about the time I joined hubs in his business trip to UK last year. I have so many things to share about that trip, which is eight months delayed already btw, and I have no one to blame other than myself and my poor time management (and also work and home duties! #excuses).

London has so may things to offer to visitors and it has become one of my favorite destinations in the world (now side by side with Barcelona, Japan still on top of my list). From pubs, royalties, theatres, and the famous red phone booths and double-decker buses -- you will definitely have a wonderful time. And if you happen to be one of those enchanted by Harry Potter, this attraction is definitely a must in your itinerary.


Harry Potter studio tour accommodates certain number of visitors per day only so you should buy tickets as soon as you can. You can purchase through the studio's official website, and in case they no longer have anything to offer (because tickets get sold out fast!), you may try checking from one of their trade partners. I purchased ours through Grayline Golden Tours and it included a round trip transportation along with the access pass.


Weather in London can be pretty unpredictable and lucky day it was for us, heavy rains came pouring on the day of our tour. We didn't have an umbrella and boarded the bus with our wet hair :) Travel time from London to the studio was a little bit long (45-60 minutes), bus was also jampacked and boarding at the last minute, we get seats at the upper deck, last row. It was a bit of an inconvenience for us but the hassles were all worth it by the time we arrived at the studio.

 

It was really a a memorable experience. Being able to see all the actual sets, props and seeing how everything was made was just -- Cool! There was even a shop where you get to gulp butter beer!


And now, enough with my talking (or actually your reading). Join my tour for now, scroll down and enjoy!

Ready? Wands up!!

Avis!

Warning: Photo heavy from here...


Costumes and Props

 
 


Life-sized Mannequins 
Detailed Sets
 
 

 Can you remember the following sets from the movie?


 How about these?


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the Hogwarts.


Here are some of my favorites from the movie :)


Oh, Buckbeak!
Take a pick!
The wands that brought so much magic in our hearts.
Take a ride at the Knight Bus
And the tour ends here. Hope you had fun browsing the photos as much as I had fun taking them :)

BTW, have you heard about the Harry Potter spin-off? What do you think about it?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Solaire Resort and Casino "1 in 1"


"ONE Million FB Fans in ONE year"

Solaire Resort and Casino, the fastest growing integrated resort in the country surpassed 1 Million Facebook “Likes” in one year (facebook.com/solaireresort) a great milestone to mark its 1st year anniversary.

Solaire is the first integrated resort to embrace Social Media with its own in-house digital marketing team since the property opened in March 2013 and has indicated its strength within a year. Social Media is an essential part of their continuous efforts to innovate and provide impressive and exceptional entertainment to all their clientele.  Growing engagement with fans of Solaire has contributed significantly to the business success. Social Media platforms will enhance the marketing plans of Solaire and allows them to interact and update regular patrons on all events, activities, shows and promotions.

Solaire engages its valued followers through Facebook and this platform provides them the opportunity to participate and share those special experiences of great memories. This provides an opportunity to connect our most supportive and passionate fans in a quest to find ways to enjoy and “Create their Moments” at Solaire.

"This is something we are proud of and wish to express our sincere appreciation to our loyal supporters and 1 Million Facebook fans for their continued support as we celebrate our 1st year in business. We are glad to be able to connect with our guests through Social Media," says Jasper Evangelista, Vice President Brand Marketing, Solaire Resort and Casino.

Solaire’s Facebook page has inter-active postings daily on the gaming and resort promotions, events, raffle and other activities. Solaire has a strong social media presence in the Philippines and a rising presence in Asia.

Stay updated with Solaire through Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Solaire Resort & Casino, the primary property of Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, is a USD $1.2 Billion integrated destination resort on an 8.3-hectare site in Manila, Philippines opened March 2013. Solaire, a luxury destination casino resort, is the first property to open in the Entertainment City, a government sponsored (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) economic development zone.

Solaire’s Bay Tower (Phase 1) features 500 luxurious rooms, suites and bay side villas, 18,500 square meters of gaming space, a wide range of award-winning signature restaurants, sophisticated bars and lounges, and an ample multi-level car park. The property has additional 258,721 square meter expansion project under development which is expected to open 3rd quarter of 2014. For more information and reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at www.solaireresort.com


Monday, March 24, 2014

Hometown Visit

Saturday was such a tiring day for me. After a strenuous Zumba session last Friday, I had to wake up early on Saturday morning to drive to Laguna.

We actually had other plans on that day, we were supposed to be somewhere else. But we had to change plans few days before for an important trip to my hometown. They say, you only get to see your relatives complete because of two things: marriage or death in the family. On that day, we were heading home for the latter. My cousin, who got married late and have been married for almost the same number of years as I, is now a widow. Her husband died in his sleep last week, leaving her with three kids, the youngest is eight months old. 

I can't really imagine how she feels on that hot Saturday afternoon especially when it's time to bid goodbye to her husband's body, one last time. She's a strong woman. Calm, composed with a heart that was made stronger by her faith to God. She even joked that she's been single for the longest time (she got married in her late thirties), and now she's single again.

It was heartbreaking. But she clings to hope and in the belief that life doesn't end here, that her husband is in a better place now. *sigh* May God bless her heart, and her family. 

Anyhow, that visit to the province was such a bittersweet moment. It's been a while since I went home to Laguna so that trip has also been an opportunity to rekindle some childhood memories.
Traffic was moderately heavy on that day and it took us two hours to reach my hometown.


A sign that you are already in Victoria (in case you missed the "welcome" arc) are these huge "itik" (duck), symbolizing the main source of livelihood of majority of the residents: duck raising. In fact, this town holds its annual Duck Festival. And in case you will have time to visit, you should try "kinulob na itik" (fried duck), salted egg, balut and penoy.

Pardon the photo. My sister wasn't a good photographer at all. Boo!
Last time I visited our old house was almost two years ago, when my daughter had a vacation with Mama. She was still so small back then so I am not sure if she even remembers. But this visit is definitely one for her books as she had a great time with our neighbors "white miming".


And this, ladies and gentlemen, was my view on my way to school when I was in grade school!

Let's sing now: "Sa bukid walang papel..."
I have so many childhood memories in Laguna. One of them is the night/day swimming with my cousins that usually happens during summer. It's like a field trip, we will make ourselves comfortable in my Tita's jeepney and we'll troop to Pansol in Calamba, Laguna. We'll swim all day and night until our skins are perfectly sunburned and wilted :) 

Pansol is nicknamed as The Resort Capital of the Philippines and it's where you'll a lot of hot springs ans private pools. You can make a reservation in advance or if you're a little adventurous, you can just approach ushers/brokers on the road. They are the guys holding a placard with with "PRIVATE RESORT" on it. You should be ready to haggle and firm to walk away if you are not happy with the deal :) 

Welcome to Pansol!
Stores like the one in the photo above is common in Pansol. A swan floater? Or maybe an airplane? How about a dora explorer theme life buoy? The collection is really huge, you'll have a hard time deciding. 

Or maybe not, my daughter's requirement was simple -- there must be princesses :

Because we can't go swimming yet coz she still got cough.
Some of the specialties that made Laguna famous are the following: buko pie, kesong puti, espasol etc. But wait, have you tried the chocolate cake from Mer-Nel's Cakehouse? OMG! The best chocolate cake in my memory! We used to have that cake all the time when I was still in college, for a birthday, for a class gathering, for celebrating the end of the hell week (exam week in UP) or even if there's no reason at all and you just happened to have Php120 extra from your allowance (that's the price of the smallest heart-shaped cake during my time). 

And oh, how can I forget Papu's siomai. Rumors have it that they are dirty, that's why they're tasty. I don't know if there has been a study that confirmed it, but so far in my college life, never have I stayed in the hospital or in the toilet because of it. I am only reminded of the times my tummy was satisfied by this tasty siomai especially during the times when I am working hard to stretch my allowance until the weekend :)

Too bad, I wasn't able to have the time to go to UP College for those. Traffic was really bad in College Crossing and also because my tummy was already satiated by another favorite from Bay, Laguna -- monay-bae!


As a bread lover, I grew up with pastries from local bakeries. Monay-bae is a family favorite. I remember myself holding a hot bun, cutting it in the middle and tucking my nose to it. Literally trying to finish it just by smelling it. TMO. And when I feel like I've smelled all the taste already, that's the time I will spread chiz whiz on it and enjoy it with a cup of Milo. 


Except for the price (it used to be Php2.50/pc when I was younger, Php5.00 the last time I bought, now it's Php10.00 per piece!!), nothing has changed with our favorite monay. The scent, the milky taste and the size is still the same. My sister bought a bag and the smell of the freshly baked buns filled our car. Even my little kid loved it, she even ordered to "Put Cheeze (chiz whiz!)".

Life may have given me a lot of changes, and I may have no time to go home that often. I may have been blessed to travel to different places but Laguna will always always hold a special spot in my heart. It is where the root of my family tree is planted, and it is the jar that holds my childhood memories. 

At the end of the day, wherever the Lord may take me, Laguna will always be a home to me.

Do you also have fond memories from your hometown? :)