Why you should secure your Balikbayan Box – A personal story

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Damaged Balikbayan box and a TSA inspection note

In a years time I think I post a total of 2 articles per year in regards to Balikbayan Box and packaging.
I know it seems redundant but my reason for this is due the ever changing trends and price increase when it comes to sending balikbayan boxes home.
Todays post is a great example on why I always emphasize on making sure you secure your box and its contents properly based on my recent Philippine trip experience. Continue reading

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San Diego Comic Con 2016 & Stan Lee (Friday Edition)

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Comic Con has descended upon our bustling city of San Diego.
Though I was supposed to and promised to write multiple updates on my latest trip to the Philippines, me and my company got swept up with the Comic Con #SDCC2016 fever.
My work are currently hosting several of the Fox and Comic Con HQ Panels by the convention & Hilton hotel park area, keeping us up on our toes since Monday.
I was lucky enough to be granted a preview night badge in which I was able to test the new Sony Playstation VR featuring the Batman Arkham game. Which by the way is pretty sick.

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Testing out the Batman Arkham VR via PS4

However due to work commitments, I wasnt able to enjoy most of the morning and early afternoon conventions. But today Friday the 22nd, I made a few reservations to scratch off a few things to write for my Comic Con articles. In addition I was finally granted with my sweet Press Badge – i have to thank some very very helpful friends in the old media industry for this 🙂

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Press Badge with my hidden identity

Lets start with the Stan Lee appearance at the Chuck Jones Gallery located in the heart of Gaslamp San Diego. Stan Lee was there to present artwork from his digital work & poem “God Woke”.
Many of of the attendants RSVPed days before the event, Me included. I was lucky enough to have my very first Press Badge this year and be able to seriously participate in a lot of media panels and events.
However, Stan Lee’s people and the Marvel team were very specific on which media outlets (big named ones) were allowed to enter inside the gallery before the attendees, so me and a few other press people had to wait in line.
I barely had the chance to see Mr. Lee and after some explaining with the organizers, they allowed me in.
Only attendee who bought prints from ” God Woke” and the invited media outlets were allowed to have a picture with Stan Lee by is own photographer (photos will be emailed to them individually). No autograph sessions were done. The meet and greet was quick and unfortunately due to large volume of people lined up outside the gallery added with Stan lees already packed Comic Con scheduled appearances- they had to cut the meet and greet
short under an hour.

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Stan Lee and the Chuck Jones Gallery & friends

As for me, I was content on getting a clear photo  of him with the rest of the Chuck Jones Gallery & Marvel Team.
This is my first time being in the presence of this great artist and story teller, and I have to applaud the man, given his fragile state & age (the stress of the convention was showing as it was late in the day) he was very accommodating to his fans and fellow artists, welcomed those lucky enough to shake his hand with a warm smile and encouraging words. (SOOOOOO JEALOUS)

Before my appointment at the Chuck Jones Gallery, I was given the coveted pass to the Resident Evil: Biohazard Experience located at the CAPCOM booth. I have a GREAT fear of dead things…and undead things. This would be my 2nd VR experience at SDCC and I was both excited and dreading my fight or flight…and vomit reaction.

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Resident evil booth at in SDCC2016

A short summary with minor spoilers of the Resident Evil VR experience- the game is played via Playstation 4 VR. The whole demo would be around 7 minutes tops. You are ushered in a room with an oldschool box TV. The attendant will outfit you with the PS4 VR and headphones and with some minimal instructions asks you to sit. The VR experience starts with you in a room tied up…..and there begins my 5-7 minutes of hell…screaming and closing my eyes only to hear this crunching sound….
Anyway GREAT Game preview….the fact I nearly threw up afterwards speaks volumes of how the PS4 VR will immerse its player into whatever game environment the player encounters. And those lucky enough to test the game demo also get some sweet swag.

The rest of my time before the Stan Lee meet up was a quick tour of exhibition hall. I was able to take pictures of the Stan Lee Pop Up with autograph at the Stan Lee Collectibles booth as well as merchandise from various vendors including my 2 favorite Good Smile and Kotobukiya.

Tomorrow is a new and fuller day of activities. One I hope I can catch some Suicide Squad Coverage, and some great cosplay pics.

More to update in the next day or so.
So for now its a few more hours of Tweeting and instagraming hashtags for #SDCC2016 and #ComicCon2016

P.S. The San Diego Convention Center and surrounding areas are hotspots for Pokemon Go battles, pokestops w/Lures and Pokemon Hunting

New Balikbayan Box Rates as of 2015-2016

A balikbayan box container from Alas Cargo

This is just a quick update.

I’m scheduled to travel again to the Philippines in a few weeks so my time is more or less juggling work and prepping up for my trip.  Which is great since I needed to take more video shots of the hotels I previously stayed last November being that my previous shots were unusable.

 

Normally I would get more than 5 months notice before I travel back home so I have time to send out a Balikbayan Box to our house in Manila. And on each time I always post an article on “How to Pack” and “Balikbayan Box Rates“.  I also add a disclaimer to check with your local Balikbayan Box shippers to check any changes in rates and unfortunately as of November 2015 sea cargo rates for Southern California has gone up due to changes in Philippines Custom Clearance. Continue reading

Being Identity Hacked

Being a victim of Identity Theft

In my lifetime I believe I have been only seriously stolen a handful of times

First was when I was 19, my Dad did business with a “family friend” who ran off with our car and life savings. Make matters worse, said criminal friend created a fake id using my name but with a different picture. Philippine NBI did very little to help our cause. We never recovered our car or life savings. Continue reading

LBC Express Mini Balikibayan Box Air Mail Review

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Flyer for shipping electronics with LBC Air

For years I’ve constantly blogged and reviewed different Balikbayan cargo sites. My favorite being Alas Cargo located in National City just a little south of San Diego. However the  popular company most Filipino’s use here in the US would be LBC Express since they can  easily remit money and pay bills through their onsite & online services.

I’ve been tempted since last year to try out their air mail service which boasted a 7-10 day delivery time to Manila. Up until now, I didn’t had any reason to use it until a friend of mine needed some quick buys from Old Navy to be shipped to her. Continue reading

The Hidden Beauty of Bato Springs San Pablo- Laguna

Before I start my article, I would like to tell interested adventure seekers of this spring…DO NOT TRUST GOOGLE MAPS on the location.  The spring is quite deep into the mountainous and forest area in Laguna that you need to be in San Pablo itself and ask locals to help you find it. ADVENTURE isn’t it?

I remember when I was planning my 2015 home trip back to the Philippines, I wanted to off some items from  my bucket list. One of them was reconnecting with nature and be able to capture it in photographs.

I originally planned for a trip to Coron however the APEC 2015 summit that collided with my schedule didn’t allow that due to a weeklong transportation ban both air and sea.

Days before my scheduled trip, I was  googling and instagraming hidden vacation spots hopefully close to home, when tagged photos of a hidden spring in San Pablo Laguna called Bato Springs grabbed my attention.  Pictures of the springs hailed crystal clear waters and a small waterfall carved both naturally and manmade from the mountain. I just have to go there. Continue reading