Saturday, May 18, 2019

Crimson Hotel - Crimson Posh Membership

10:16:00 PM
I have not told you about our Crimson Posh membership, Crimson Hotel in Filinvest Alabang and Cebu.

We actually availed of this around October last year. It was really a spur-of-the-moment decision (aka napilitan) when an agent called Jie and asked him to become a member. 

He availed of it simply because it was just P6,600, more affordable than the recently availed Manila Peninsula membership. I was not actually too hot about it. Until I check the vouchers and we availed some of the discounts. 

Unlike Manila Peninsula where they send a black leather case full of vouchers, we got an email with instructions on how to download their app. Once downloaded, the app automatically showed all the available vouchers. It was very convenient because one never leaves without his cellphone. The app showed exactly what vouchers were still available and were consumed.  

Aside from the usual dining discounts, Crimson Posh member gets a lot of other perks. We were informed that total amount of discount is at the 100,000+ thousand. I listed most below so judge for yourself:
  • 50% discount on total food bill for 6 - 10 diners at Café Eight.
  • one (1) certificate on total beverage bill for Php 750.
  • one (1) certificate on total food bill for Php 300 at Sandwich and Pastry Corner.
  • one (1) certificate for complimentary buffet for two at Café Eight during the week of member’s birthday or anniversary. 
  • complimentary bottle of house wine when dining with at least one guest 
  • two (2) certificates for 50% discount on the food bill for a maximum of 12 diners at Café Eight. 
  • Member will receive four (4) cash certificates valued at Php 500 each to off-set against food bill. One certificate per dining visit
Accommodation Benefits:
  • 15% discount to 50% discount on Best Available Rates for all room types 
  • Member will receive one (1) certificate for a complimentary night stay in a Deluxe Room, excluding breakfast. 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 3,800 net including breakfast for two in a Deluxe Room 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 8,100 net including breakfast for two at Crimson Resort and Spa Cebu. 
  • two (2) certificates to a special room rate of Php 3,500 net including breakfast for two in a Deluxe Room at Quest Hotel Cebu. Non-Transferable.
  • Dine and Stay Weekend Package: entitles member to a two-night stay in a Deluxe Room for Php 8,888 net inclusive of daily buffet breakfast and one dinner for two persons at Café Eight when checking-in on a Friday or a Saturday. 
  • Executive Lounge Access: Member will receive two (2) certificates that entitle bearer to Crimson Club Lounge access. 
Dining Benefits:
30% for member and up to 19 guests on food and beverage
20% for member dining alone
15% discount for beverage in all outlets
10% discount during special promotions 

There were actually a lot more discounts including those for banquet services. But it is easy to check that once you have the app as everything is written there.

So far, we have availed of the following:
  • Room accommodation for 2 with breakfast with published rate of 13,000
  • Complimentary bottle of wine. We chose the red Santa Luz cabernet sauvignon. Hotel price possibly at 1,500 to 2,000.
  • Executive lounge access for the whole day with buffet dinner and unlimited drinks/ cocktails : 1,800 each for 2 persons possibly
  • Buffet dinner for 2 on the members birthday or anniversary: 3600 for 2 persons
  • We have also availed of several automatic cash discounts when we dined at the lobby lounge. 

Executive Lounge which offers free snack the whole day for members

At night, the Lounge offered dinner and unlimited drinks  for members. Sorry, no kids allowed.
Even just for the free overnight stay, the membership was already worth it since published rate was at Php 13,000. As early as now, Jie already mentioned that he would renew the membership, and we were already planning our next visits. 

For the price, Crimson Posh Membership was a welcome treat especially for celebrations. In our visits there too, servers were very pleasant and friendly. Special shout out to Len of Lobby Lounge who was very friendly and welcoming during Jie’s recent birthday celebration. She ensured that we were having a good time and made us feel at home. 

Yup, we will definitely renew this membership. 

Drinks at the Lobby Lounge with complimentary bottle of wine

Lobby Lounge 
Lobby Lounge
Complimentary Room
Complimentary Room

Complimentary Room
Complimentary Room 
Complimentary Room 
The Lobby last Christmas

Friday, May 10, 2019

Flying economy with an infant (and how we chose our airline)

6:59:00 PM
Elora was 22 months old in during our recent trip to the USA. It was actually spur-of-the-moment. We applied for her visa, and when she was approved, we decided to take advantage of an infant's "free fare" if that infant is less than 2 years old during the duration of the trip. This just means that when you fly out and during your return flight, the declared infant should still be less than 2 years old. 

Anyway, the booking of the airline was assigned to me, as usual 😄. It took me 2 weeks to compare between Philippine Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Eva Air, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Hongkong Airlines. These airlines were the ones with good reviews from people we know. I used the skyscanner app to check prices for all these airlines. I was also looking at reviews. Since it was a long flight, we wanted Elora to be as comfortable as possible. 

Since we were paying combined cash and credit card at the time, it was also important that they have an office here in the Philippines. 

In terms of price, Hongkong airlines was a sure winner. I read and watched reviews and it was good. I even saw comparisons with Cathay Pacific and Hongkong Airlines emerged as winner. It seemed that Hongkong Airlines was a good choice. Their office is also located just at Amorsolo St in Makati, which was very accessible to us.

Much as we wanted Eva Air, it usually emerged as the one with the highest price at that time. So this was the airline that we first dropped. 

Asiana  was something that we were considering because of good reviews. Price was also competitive. The same goes for Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines. Of course, among these three, we know Singapore Airlines was the best airline. But I was torn because among the 3, it had the highest cost. I was leaning more towards Cathay Pacific because my late father gave glowing reviews about it. He took it yearly for long haul flights when he was alive. 

Finally, Philippine Airlines. At that time, it was the first choice. Jie was strongly suggesting that we take this airline since it was a direct flight. All of the other choices above had layovers. But I was hesitant simply because this was the airline we were always taking. Also, from our experience the last time when we took United Airlines, the layover actually helped for us not feel jetlag. In my mind, this was not part of the options. Of course I was silent about it. 😉

Asiana was dropped when we checked the duration of the layovers. At that time too, price was steadily increasing. Hongkong Airlines was dropped simply because Jie does not personally know anyone who has taken it. (We later on found out that it was really a good airline, and one of our relatives was recommending it. So we might consider it in our next flight). 

So now, it was down to Cathay and Singapore. In our argument, it was decided that the moment we stepped in the airport, it was already the start of our vacation. So layovers should not be a big concern. But, the layover should allow us to maximize our time. Only Cathay (Hongkong) and Singapore would give that to us because both countries do not require a visa. We planned to check both since their ticketing offices were in the same building.

We stopped by at Singapore Airlines first. I inquired and gave them a screenshot of the time and dates we wanted. After checking his computer, the agent happily announced that he was able to get the same flights at a lower amount. That sealed the deal for us. 😁 He explained that sometimes, there are fluctuations in the prices because of some of the code. Only they know what the codes on the flights mean. For them, it’s simply a matter of checking which flights were cheapest.

Transacting through their ticketing office was also a breeze. They were very accommodating and friendly. We also told them that we have an infant with us, and requested that we be seated beside each other. He mentioned that this was normal because we have an infant.

So it was settled. Our flight had a 22 hour layover, but the plan was to explore Singapore during that time.

On the day of the flight itself, we felt really special. During boarding, when they saw Elora, they immediately ushered us in, as soon as the call for boarding was announced. We were given the first row of the middle seats.

I now understood why Singapore Airlines was consistently the best. Here were the comforts despite economy:

  • As soon as we were seated, a stewardess immediately arrived and ask if I would want to have my meal first or Jie since one of us would be holding Elora. I volunteered that Jie have it first.
  • Before take off, Jie was invited to take a vacant seat on the other aisle, so Elora can seat, and it would be more comfortable for all of us.
  • Elora was given an Olaf plushie. This entertained her during the flight. 
  • Entertainment selection was great. They even had a kids section which contained all the animations and family movies. There were also games. 
  • New earphones everytime
  • Hygiene kit and socks during the long flight (SG to US) 
  • Food was good, and soooo filling. I think we gained so many pounds during the flight alone. 😅
  • Stewards were so friendly and accommodating.

Our original seat before Jie was invited to transfer

New seating arrangement

Enjoying her own seat

In one of our flights, I transferred Elora to the bassinet when she fell asleep. However, a few hours into the flight, the head steward came and ask that I carry Elora. Reason is simply because she was already too long for the bassinet. This was actually not an issue because it was clearly obvious. Her feet were dangling from the bassinet! Hehe Just a tip for those with long-legged infants 😁

With the few airlines we have tried, clearly Singapore Airlines was a winner. It also made travelling with Elora so much comfortable. I’m sure we would want to try the other airlines in the future but currently Singapore Airlines would be our default airline.

Hey, in case you want to check out the others: 👇

Hongkong Airlines:
Suite 402, Alexander House, 132 Amorsolo St.,  Legaspi Village Makati Metro Manila
Telephone: +632-812-2382

Singapore Airlines
33/F LKG Tower, 6801 Ayala Avenue Makati City 1226
Telephone +63 2 7568888

Cathay pacific
22F LKG Towers, 6801 Ayala Avenue, Makati City 1226, Philippines
For PLDT landline & Smart Mobile: 180014411011 
For Globe: 180087395117 

6F, The Salcedo Tower, 169, Dela Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, M.M. Philippines
Phone:  63-2-662-8000/8088

Filinvest Ticket Office, Westgate Center, Commerce Ave. cor  Filnvest Ave. Filinvest Corporate Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa
Tel: (632) 966-9046
Makati Ticket Office: G/F PNB Makati Center, 6754 Ayala Avenue cor  Legazpi St. Makati City
Tel: (632) 320-8983

There were a lot of PAL offices. I just copied the one most convenient to us. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Staycation at Microtel by Wyndham (Mall of Asia)

7:37:00 AM
We had the opportunity to enjoy a staycation at Microtel at Coral Drive, Mall of Asia over the weekend. Actually, it was more staycation for Jie and Elora, work for me because I had an event that Sunday in the same hotel.

The hotel was a pleasant surprise. The room was spacious enough with 2 queen beds, considering we just got the standard rooms. It had a mini-ref but no coffee making facilities, which I thought was standard. The room had a pitcher and glasses and the hallway near the elevator had a water dispenser. One floor below had an ice dispenser. These 2 alone can make the stay a little more convenient. 

My office mates got the family room, which was complete with 1 queen bed and bunk beds, good enough for 4 people; a microwave unit, mini-ref, a sink and water heater. Their restroom also had a bath tub, while ours do not.

Another good thing going for the hotel, I guess, was their location and the view. Our room was facing Mall of Asia Baywalk so we can clearly see the MOA eye / Ferris wheel. Just across the street was Buffet 101, and Conrad Hotel.

I mean, I would not really stay at this hotel since I live very near the area. But I was thinking that it could be a good location if someone was attending a function or event at MOA that would finish very late. The hotel was in a very convenient place, very near to the mall.

Elora was feeling extra active that day so Jie and I decided to just dine in the hotel. We discovered that they have a rooftop dining. You would need to go up to the 12th floor and climb one flight of stairs. The dining place was beside their pool. Actually, the pool was in the middle of their dining area, which we find quite weird, and think not properly laid out. So imagine if you are dining and there were a lot of swimmers around haha.

But the area was nice and cozy, i think good enough for an intimate dinner. At their rooftop dining, they had an option of salmon, baby back ribs, chicken kebab and pork chops. Each one comes with soup, bread, salad and rice. They also had pasta arrabiata. Since Elora was with us, and their grill menu was not exactly a kid’s fare, they offered that we can order from their restaurant Millie’s downstairs. But our order took a while, even the coffee, since it still came from downstairs. They did not have a kitchen at the rooftop, just a grilling, soup and salad station. Between the baby back ribs and the chicken kebab that we ordered. I liked the baby back ribs more. 

Breakfast was buffet. I was not able to take pictures any more as our event was about to start, but I remembered that that there was fried rice, vegetables, scrambled and boiled eggs, daing na bangus, corned beef and glazed ham. They also had a juice station, cereal, yoghurt, fruits, dessert and assorted breads. Pretty good considering that charge for an additional person was just P500.

More than the location and the amenities, what I noticed about Microtel, especially at Millie’s and their rooftop dining, was its staff were extra friendly., They really took the time to make us comfortable. For that alone, a stay at Microtel was worth it.

Monday, April 29, 2019

My answer

6:50:00 PM
It was a week of bleeding. Finally, on April 16. It just cleared up! 😄 It was answered prayer for me.  I couldn't explain the relief I felt. Finally, I would be able to enjoy my pregnancy. Or so I thought.

I came back to work on April 22. Everything was looking great. Still, at the back of my mind, I know that I still need to go undergo UTS to hear my baby's heartbeat and to check how big he has grown in the past 2 weeks.

At the back of my mind, there was also fear. What if? But every time this fear comes, I brush it off. I would not let negativity ruin my day.

April 27, with heart thumping, I went in for my UTS. The sonologist asked me why I needed the procedure. I explained quickly and she ended my statement by saying something like "oh, if it's still there".

The procedure started. And then it ended quickly. Without asking me if I wanted to hear the heartbeat. Without mouthing the  size of the embryo, or how many weeks I was. It was just done.  I couldn't see the monitor but the way the nurse and the sonologist were quiet, I know it could not have been good news.

We waited for an hour for the results and when we got it, I quickly scanned the document. Only one line stood out ".... no gestational sac/embryo seen".

I don't know how to react. I know there must be a reason why God allowed it, still tears kept falling. I couldn't help it.

We were so excited, we have planned out a lot; the car seats, the strollers. I have already listed down names... But it was not meant to be.

I was never good at expressing pain or emotions. I usually bury it inside and I give a smiling and even joking facade to the world. I think it is also why I feel physical pain. I find it hard to breathe for days now. My chest aches...

Perhaps written words can help this time.  Perhaps one day, the memory would fade but right now, I want to remember my angel.

Monday, April 15, 2019

A visit to the ER

10:44:00 PM

When I woke up morning of April 8, I almost dreaded going to the rest room. My fear confirmed. My bleeding turned heavier. I informed Jie and cried. I felt like I already lost the baby. Jie and I prayed that everything would be okay.

When Jie left for the office, I texted my OB and updated her about the situation. She informed me to go to the ER and request for a UTS. She will also call the hospital and inform the resident ER about me. I called up my mother (I was alone with baby JE at the time) so they can pick me up and bring me to the hospital. I can actually drive myself but I need someone to look after JE. 

At around 11 am, we were already in the ER. They performed an internal exam and also called me for a transV UTS. 

The wait was hard. I was googling and looking for information that would ease my mind. I know I just need to pray and leave it up to the Lord, still I can't help but be worried. 

When it was time for my UTS, they asked me questions and reviewed my previous UTS results. The sonologist informed me that the embryo was still there, however, a heart beat cannot be detected yet. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. It's still there. There is a chance!

My OB visited me after a while and explained that there is a 50% chance. The embryo was there but it seemed "faded". Also, it seemed to not have grown since my last UTS. She inquired if I wanted to be admitted but also warned me that nothing much would be done. I would sill be taking the same medication. I opted to go home. I was optimistic. My baby is still there. 

I checked the results and it was stated that I have subchorionic hemorrhage, a blood clot between the placenta and the uterus. I have read that a lot of those with this condition lead to healthy pregnancies. A sigh of relief... However my doctor informed me to check my bleeding. If some form of tissue comes out, then it can be a sign that I might have a miscarriage. 

I don't know what to think anymore.  I have been reading community forum and they all advised not to google the condition. Some stories have calmed me though. Some shared that they had bleeding and still continued with their pregnancy. I now leave it up to the Lord. He knows what is best. 

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Ultrasound #2

12:28:00 AM
My spotting returned on April 3. Despite my positivism, I texted my boss and our HR that I would no longer be coming in, that I would start my bed rest one day early.

I went to the sonologist alone this time. 

She estimated that I was about 5 weeks (my result came at 5 weeks and 6/7 days), and asked me if I have heard the heartbeat. She tried however no heart beat can be detected yet. She informed me that usually they wait for 1 to 2 weeks. If I had my UTS done that Friday, I would have probably hear it. 

The following day, I got my results and sent it to my OB as per her request. She seem unworried and informed me to just repeat the procedure after a week or two. 

My spotting, however continued and she advised me to just continue with my 3x a day Duphaston. 

I tried to enjoy my bed rest, which was really in front of my computer answering emails and telecons on projects, Still like being in the office without the meetings. 

My spotting continues and I was already contemplating to using pads instead of shields. I kept praying for it to stop. 

After church on April 7, however, another fear came in: my spotting turned to heavy bleeding, I stared and could not believe my eyes. 

I could not tell Jie. Telling him would be like acknowledging something awful. My OB was not available that day so I kept everything to myself. 

When I came home, I went to the bed room and tried to rest. 

I googled and tried to find any information that would alleviate my fear. The more I learn, the more I fear.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Too early and then...

11:59:00 PM

March 22, I went to get my ultrasound as per request from Dr. Calazan. I was supposed to get it at Hi Precision Jaka branch but then they told me that a guy sonologist is scheduled. Jie suggested that we go instead to the Las Pinas branch.

When we went there, we were pleasantly surprise that they have a section that is dedicated solely for expecting moms. Called MomMe Care, the place is actually quite nice because we didn't have to wait with all the seniors for blood extraction haha!

We arrived at 10:45 and we were informed that the next doctor would come in at 11 pm. We waited, however the sonologist arrived at almost 12 noon. She was all apologetic and rushed into ensuring those who were in line were quickly attended to. 

When my time came, I called Jie in. She informed me that there is a gestational sac, however my pregnancy was still too early, probably at 5 weeks. Yolk sac was still not seen, including the embryo. I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping to hear Baby Dos' heartbeat. But it was not yet time. She advised me to come back after a week or two for get my next ultrasound.
After hearing this, my excitement bubble faded. I know it was bad of me, but it might also be a a premonition of things to come. 

March 31 was supposed to be my schedule to visit my OB to discuss my UTS. However, on March 30, after a pleasant day with baby JE and Jie in Tagaytay, I went to the rest room and saw some spotting. Dread went down my spine. 

I immediately sent an SMS to Dr. Calazan and she advised me to immediately take Duphaston, a medication meant to make the baby " hold on". 

Duphaston is a prescription drug and I do not have the issued prescription at the time. I informed Jie and we parked in the first drugstore that we can find. I almost jumped out, went inside and asked the counter if I can buy one without the prescription as I left it at home. After some consultation, fortunately they allowed me to buy one tablet. 

Still my fear did not subside. I was googling for anything that would be able to calm me. But all I get were information that made me more anxious. 

She also asked me if I can still come to the office to get an immediate UTS. However, we were still at Tagaytay then. 

After taking the medication, all I can do is pray that my spotting would stop. 

I visited my OB the following day and asked me to repeat the UTS and gave me a request again for the procedure. She also ordered bed rest for a week for me. She also asked me to take Duphaston 3x a day. 

With regards to my bed rest, frankly, I don't know how to broach it in my office. Is it that serious? Being the positive me, I was thinking I do not need to have a bed rest. I was considering all my meetings and was thinking if I can schedule  my bed rest the following Thursday after my big meetings. 

The following Monday, April 1, I talked to my boss and informed her about my condition, as well as the need for me to rest. I promised her that I would work from home too. Not because she asked it of me, but because I also want it. 

We agreed that I would start my bed rest by April 4. I also talked to our HR manager and informed her about my scheduled leave. 

On April 3, however, my spotting returned....

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A pleasant surprise

11:17:00 PM
Jie and I have been talking about our life plans. So much that we have somehow put our life on “stand still” as we wait for the fulfillment of our plans.

After a few months. we decided that we must not put our life on hold. Life goes on while we fulfill our plans. Let the Lord do the rest. After such a decision, a very pleasant surprise came.

Without Jie's knowledge, I bought some tests and on March 15, it was confirmed!

I was ecstatic. Though we have not really planned for it, we have talked about giving JE a playmate. After all, she is already 2 years old.

I tried again the  following day, and the result came back the same. A bit faded but still.... I couldn't contain my excitement. But I kept everything to myself. I don't know when I would tell Jie. However, when we were at Starbucks that time and Kristel, Noreen and the rest were joking about it, I couldn't help but blurt it out.

Jie was shocked! Hahaha. I wished I could have caught his face on camera. It was a good day. And I couldn't wait to hold my new baby in my arms.

I went to to my high school friend, and also my OB-GYN the following day. She was very happy and excited for me. She gave me prescription for folic and calcium, as well as request for a transvaginal ultrasound. She computed that I was at 6 weeks.

Jie immediately bought all the prescription and even decided to buy branded supplements instead of the generic ones. Life is good.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Familiar vs The Unknown

7:22:00 PM
I am not a risk taker. I don’t think I am. I am always comforted with the tried and tested, with the safe. With what I know. My morning drive, for example is always the same way, the same road. When I walk, I take the same road, every day. Since it is the familiar, I sometimes walk with my head bowed down, no longer noticing whatever is in front of me. I just know that I need to walk. I know what’s already in front of me.
But there are moments that I want something new. Or I want to think for a while. So I sometimes turn and take a different route. During these times, my head is help up high. I notice a lot of things. During these times too, I have something to share — about the new route, what I noticed, anything that I have not seen before.
Still, I always go back to my “normal”.
It’s safe.
It’s worry-free.
But lately, I have been thinking…
Is my “normal” route, the only route? Maybe there is another road worth looking into? Still I falter.
I am scared of the unknown.
I remember a recent conversation with a dear friend…
I hesitate.
But I know I must venture into it.
One step at a time into the unknown.

One step at a time is all it takes to get you there – Emily Dickinson

One day I would look back on all of these, head help up high, with lots of stories to share, just because  I have taken a different route.
In the meantime, pause, breathe in and out. And most importantly, pray for my route.




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