All posts by Mai Dela Cena

First Time to Fly

As I said to my post prior to this one, I will be posting more entry regarding my family’s trip to Hong Kong. Since that was my mom and our kids’ first time to board a plane, we were all very anxious and excited by that time. I was the one who purchased our plane ticket at Cebu Pacific via online a month before our scheduled trip but with hubby’s credit card details. The comfort of online transactions eh? Unlike before where you have to go directly to ticketing office and spent some time before you got a ticket.

 My Mom, my eldest son and the birthday celebrant waiting for our flight
at the assigned boarding gate, behind us is a walkalator that ain’t working:(
Well, back to the story, since we will be flying via Cebu Pacific, I browsed the net for some feedback regarding this airline. There are both positive and negative feed backs, but of course, the pessimistic me prevailed. I read about horror stories, like delayed flight, lost baggage, unfriendly staff and other unnerving stuff.
We rented a car to bring us to the airport  and we were at the NAIA Terminal 3 around 4am, almost 3 hours before our flight (much early than the usual 2 hours time allowance). The kids were all awake during our travel up to the time we boarded the plane at past 7am.

 little Cien fell asleep the minute we got inside the plane
he insisted to be seated beside the window so he could see the view below and the clouds
Luckily, our experience was not that bad at all. We had a little bumpy ride up in the sky but that was just for a while and then the rest was smooth and okay. I felt relieved when I saw that they have motion sickness bags in each seat. Remember my daughter’s dilemma when we’re traveling? Though we gave her Bonamine for kids an hour before we board, it’s still best to be ready, just in case. Good thing we had our foods with us while inside the plane because foods in there were for sale and at an expensive cost.

 Finally! After almost 2 hours we reached HKIA
We landed at Hong Kong Int’l Airport on time and by that time the kids were all giddy and up, asking ” Are we in Disneyland already? Is Mickey Mouse waiting for us outside?”..things like that.

* * *

Hong Kong Trip 2010

Yes, our long planned Hong Kong trip finally materialized last June 11-13, 2010 as our way of celebrating my youngest 1st birthday instead of preparing a party like what we did for her brother and sister’s 1st birthday. So, expect to see lots of post here about that trip as it was an unforgettable experience for me and my family. Just to give you a glimpse, here are some of our pictures (stories to follow as I have still some tasks to do, as always).
Waiting at the NAIA Terminal 3
Our first stop, Disney Hollywood Hotel
Yummy Treat for Cien Riley on her 1st Birthday

 Hong Kong Int’l. Airport with Mom and Cien


Few Common Triggers of Motion Sickness

My family is planning to have a few days vacation either out of town or out of the country as our way of celebrating my youngest daughter’s 1st birthday. And since we will be traveling with my three kids ages 4, 3 and 1 year old, I worry about them getting motion sickness especially when we ride the plane or other mode of transportation.

MOTION SICKNESS happens when one’s sense of balance is affected. There’s a conflict between the eye and ear: the inner ears detect that the vehicle is moving, but the eyes – focused within the car or plane – do not. The brain gets adverse signals and nausea results.
Most of the time, it is my 2nd daughter, Erin, who complains of having this queasy stomach feeling and sweating. As soon as she say this it will be followed by her throw up. That is why sometimes, we prefer to bring her older brother whenever we travel and not her. However, we observed that this incident happens to her when:

  • There is poor ventilation inside the vehicle
  • Unpleasant odor inside the car. (air freshener specifically)
  • She ate too much before we leave the house or
  • She has an empty stomach
  • She has the heightened level of anxiety or fear regarding our travel
Knowing that these reasons make her motion sick, we came up with some few  tips to prevent and relieve her from that dilemma whenever we travel. But as I have still some chores to do, I might post it here tomorrow so hope you can check it out by then.

Citibank’s Free Movie Passes Promo

My husband and I watched Robinhood last May 18, Tuesday at the Gateway Mall in Cubao. As we went to the cinema’s lobby, we noticed the tarp about the Citibank’s Free Movie Passes Promo. Then husband checked his wallet if he got the charge slip of his last purchased and there it was. We went to the ticketing booth and asked about the promo. The attendant was kind enough to explain about it. She said we should pay the difference between the cost of the free movie pass and the actual cost of the screening ticket. And how come the promo stated it’s FREE when you still have to shell out an amount of money?

As of this writing, I saw again the Citibank’s FREE movie passes (the word free is in all capital letters actually) on the newspaper. Now let me quote here the promo’s mechanics:

Get 1 movie pass when you spend at least P1500 and get 2 for Paylite or straight purchase of P5000 or newly approved Citi One Bill enrollments. Each movie pass is worth P100 and you can combine 2 to get a single screening ticket worth P200 or below. Movie passes may be redeemed within 30 days from the transaction date. Only purchases in Philippine currency are qualified.

Okay, as I was analyzing this post, I now understand what they meant about their FREE MOVIE PASSES. You cannot avail that free movie if you spent only Php1500 purchase using Citibank credit card simply because a movie ticket nowadays costs more than Php100. In our case, the movie ticket in Gateway costs Php170. We had 2 free movie passes (from hubby’s charge slip with an amount of Php5000+) and we paid an additional Php140 to cover up the cost of the movie tickets.

It’s kind of tricky (I think) so make sure to have enough money before you avail the promo. Because the truth is, in my opinion, Citibank’s Promo about Movie Pass is not free but only discounted.

Anyhoo, we enjoyed the movie and afterwards we had our snacks at Pancake House and we ordered these:

Pancake Clubhouse
Blueberry Cheese Flavor Yogurt 
Black Forest Flavor Yogurt


My DFA Online E-Passport Application Experience

Disclaimer: The following post was based on my personal experience when I acquired my E-passport. For any comments and suggestions you can send me a message and I’ll try to get back on you.
 E-passport Front Cover

Check out my freshly released e-passport which hubby picked up last May 07, 2010 at DFA with its new address at ASEANA Business Park, Bradco Avenue corner Macapagal Boulevard, Paranaque City Philippines (near SM Mall of Asia). With my busy work schedule and of course, with my various tasks from work,  home and on the net, every minute counts. I couldn’t afford to spend another VL/SL  just to acquire passports for me and the kids when we have no plans yet of leaving the country. But because hubby had been telling me months ago to get one I finally applied for it. Well, its gonna be a long story to tell so let me just enumerate the steps that I gone through before I finally got hold of my own E-passport.

E-passport Inside Back Cover
E-passport Front Page


E-passport Back Cover
  • I visited DFA website and look for the E-passport Appointment System tab.
  • In there, I was asked to input informations about myself and my three kids. If you are applying for your family, you can use the Family Application Form  to help ensure that your appointment dates are all the same.
  • After filling up the forms, you will be reminded of the requirements that you have to bring and if you have acquired all of it then you  can choose an appointment date that is convenient for you.Wait for the possible slots to appear. Click the slot you want. If there are no slots for the date you chose, pick another date. Click Finish to submit your appointment and get your Reference Number.
  • The Reference Number is the only thing you should remember when you go to DFA on the day of your appointment date. (It is advisable that you copy-paste it in word then print the date, time and reference number because once you exit the site, there will be no way to get back on your appointment details. They will not even send an e-mail about your appointment details). You can opt to print the actual form that you filled up but then it’s useless because you will be given the exact form when you go to DFA in person.
  • After making an appointment online, you will just have to wait for your E-passport schedule. Remember to double check all your documents. By the way, you wouldn’t need any photo (Passport ID with blue background) because you will have your picture taken on the day of your appoinment using their own webcam.
What to Expect On the Date of Your Personal Appearance in DFA
  • Upon arriving at the DFA, don’t fret if you see long lines of people along the gate. (Actually, that was my mom’s initial reaction). They are those people not yet informed about the new passport acquisition procedures wherein you cannot just “walk-in” the DFA and apply for a passport. You will have to make an appointment either on-line or through their telephone hotline.
  • You must be at the DFA Consular Office 30 minutes before your scheduled time. Early/Late comers will not be entertained.
  • Ask the guard for the gate assigned for those who have an appointment . Proceed to the Appointment System counter to retrieve your printed application form. Give your reference number and wait till the representative returns with your printed forms (these are the forms you filled up during your online application). It is different from the one you had printed (in case you printed it after your online application) because it has the date and time of your appointment unlike the one you have with you.
  • You will have to wait in line and be attentive to the officer when they announced your scheduled time, because only by then will you be allowed to get in the lobby.
  • Upon getting inside the lobby, get your queue number at the Information Counter and sit on the waiting section of the Processing Area. Wait for your queue number to appear on the monitor indicating what processing window you will go to. While you’re on your seat, you can then completely fill up your forms. (don’t make it hard for yourself filling it up while you are not yet been called to get inside the lobby, because you will be given ample time to fill it up inside)
  • Look at their numbering system monitor and be aware of it. If your number was called and you missed it, you will have to get another number and you’re back to square one.
  • Before I forgot, while you’re number is still on cue, be sure that you have a photo copy of your ID’s and other supporting documents because they will be asking it from you aside from the original ones.
  • Once you are called and now in front of the representative’s window, they will ask for your requirements. Hand them to him/her and wait till they verify it. If your documents are complete, they will ask if you want it in a rush or just the regular processing. For rush passport which is 10 days, the rate is P1,200 while for the regular one (20 days) is P950.
  • Get your receipt and proceed to the second floor for payment and data capturing.
  • After you pay at the cashier, go to the data capturing personnel and asked for your cue number. Wait for your number to be called.
  • If your number appears on the screen, proceed to your assigned booth and give your documents to the one in charge. He/she will verify it again and will ask to affix your signature by the use of a unique electronic-like pen as well as your thumbmarks.
  • Get ready to have your picture taken. During the time I applied for my e-passport, there was no dress code imposed I’m not just sure now if they want your photo to look like  the traditional way (with collars and dark color shirt).
  • After your data and picture had been taken, get back your official receipt and it’s your choice if you want your E-passport to be delivered right at your doorstep or you will pick it up personally. If you want it delivered, leave the data capturing section and proceed to the courier’s booth on the same floor and that’s it!
  • On your receipt, you will see the date and time of your E-passport release, keep it in mind in case you opt to pick it up personally. You can have a relative pick it up for you just make sure you have an authorization letter and ID’s. And that’s it. You will soon have your new and improved E-Passport.
I commend all DFA personnel becaue they are all friendly and easy to deal with (maybe because they all seemed to be young and fresh graduates). Gone are the terror “manong and manang”. However, you might be annoyed at the security guards because they are the one who are “over-acting”.
As of May 20, 2010, they are now imposing a dress code for anyone who will come in the DFA vicinity. I don’t know their full dress code, but definitely, sleeveless shirts are not allowed.(it happened to me, but I insisted I have a blazer in my bag, good thing I passed and I finished my appointment without any blazer because the truth is I have none).