Shangri-La Plaza’s Kids & Youth Sale

This summer, Shangri-La Plaza is holding a month long (April 19-May 19) sale specifically for stores selling kids items.  Since Motion Wear is being sold in Crossings Department Store (which is inside Shangri-la Plaza Mall), we have a surprise for our customers!!!

Hurry, get your free Jackets for the coming rainy season ūüôā

We all love Freebies!
We all love Freebies!

How to apply for a Schengen Visa

Everything about application for a Schengen Visa at the French Embassy in Manila can be found here.

Now, make sure that all these documents are in order (organize them according to the sequence in their requirements list).

Make sure EVERYTHING has a copy. ¬† Even your passport pages with stamps. ¬†It wasn’t on their list so I didn’t have these prepared, but they still asked for it. ¬†So I still had to go down and photocopy it and waste time ūüė¶ ¬†¬†Have the set of originals separated from the set of photocopies. ¬†They’ll be getting the photocopies.

Also remember, time is gold, so answer in a concise manner. Straight to the point. ¬†Don’t go on giving information that they’re not asking.

 

Just to share with you my experience, here’s how it went:

EDSA traffic in the morning.
EDSA traffic in the morning.

My appointment was set¬†at 8am. ¬†I was told to be there 30mins early. ¬†You’ll be asked by the guard at the lobby entrance to go to basement 1 to sign in and fill out a slip. ¬† By 745am you’d be asked to line up, submit the white form and surrender an ID to get a guest pass.

B2

I was a bit early so after signing up at B1 I waited in Starbucks on the ground floor.
I was a bit early so after signing up at B1 I waited in Starbucks on the ground floor.
You will then be asked to go to the 16th floor. ¬†I was the 9th person to sign in but when we got to the 16th flr they’d call your name to line up according to their own list for the¬†8am¬†interviewees. ¬†Thank God I was #3!
We went through security and deposited our celphones. ¬†Don’t worry they’ll give you a pink stub to claim it. ¬†Just make sure you don’t lose it coz they’ll surrender the phone to anyone who gives them the stub.
16th floor. French Embassy entrance.  This is where you'll line up & be given a # stub.
16th floor. French Embassy entrance. This is where you’ll line up & be given a # stub
8am¬†we were inside seated waiting for our numbers to be called in window 1. ¬†By 815am they called my number. ¬†The woman in window 1 asked for my docs and I gave the originals. ¬†She went through them and asked Who i’ll be going with and purpose of travel. ¬† Then she asked in a certain tone why I was applying there. ¬†I said coz it was my point of entry. ¬†She then said “NO you don’t go here, you apply where you’ll be staying the longest (referring to the 2nd leg of the trip)”. ¬†I read the requirements and procedures prior to applying at that French embassy and I was certain I din’t make a mistake. ¬†So I said with conviction “No. I’m staying the same amount of days in both places.” ¬†Then she looks at my docs again and says “oh ok I thought… (she recounts the days on my itinerary with her fingers)…alright”. ¬†She then asks me to pay 3,260Php. ¬†Imagine if I had listened to her and just nodded and left I’d be going home empty handed, wasting time, money, and precious sleep. ¬†Anyway, she got my payment and asked to be seated to wait for my name to be called.
By 830am my name was called at window 3. ¬†Another Filipina was there to get my photocopied set of documents. ¬†I had fingers scanned and picture taken right there. ¬†She then goes through my docs and asks me to tell her about my business. ¬†I answered her in a short and precise manner. ¬†She asked who I’d be going with and asked if they were US/Canadian citizens then asked if we had family in Europe. ¬†She was about to ask if I had visas then she sees the photocopy of my U.S and Canadian visas. ¬†Then she makes me photocopy the pages of my passport with stamps. ¬†I go to B1 and photocopy then back up to the same girl to give it to her. ¬†She then gives me a white slip to pick up the passport. ¬†¬†9am¬†I headed back home…so I thought. ¬†But ¬†upon getting to Guadalupe, I looked into my envelope of docs and guess what I saw…MY PASSPORT! ¬†Holy Crap! ¬†The girl didn’t ask for it and just asked for the photocopies!
Oh well...
Oh well…
So long for having a short trip! ¬†It was a bit traffic already but had no choice but to go back. ¬†I got there by 945am and waited till she was done with the current applicant and went to her window. ¬†I showed my passport and said “you forgot to get it” (of course with a smile), and she says “that’s right, thank you”. ¬†10am¬†I headed back home. ¬†Good thing it only took me 10min. to get home¬†just in time to take the kids to school.
This is how the Schengen Visa looks.
This is how the Schengen Visa looks.

Btw, you can’t just go to any European embassy to apply for a Schengen Visa. ¬†If you’re going to multiple destinations, go to the embassy of the country you’d be staying the longest.

Well that’s my little experience. ¬†Hope it helps anyone who’d be going to the French embassy soon ūüôā

 

Uniqlo MOA

I don’t frequent the area of MOA or any place beyond Makati as it’s a bit far for me. ¬†But my friend Fides and I decided to check out Uniqlo one Friday afternoon when our kids had no school. ¬†The “no school” gave us a chance to consider traveling all the way to Pasay.

I just wanted to look for the lounge set I was able to buy in Hong Kong a couple of years back which I so totally LOVE!  I regretted I only bought one!  So here I am wishing they still had it or something like it.

 

We left after lunch around 1pm, and arrived Mall of Asia (MOA) in 15 minutes. ¬†Thank God there wasn’t any traffic. ¬†We literally just went there to go inside Uniqlo, shop around a bit, and leave. ¬†We didn’t even get a snack coz we wanted to get out of the area before rush hour traffic. ¬†We decided to go to Serendra to eat instead so that it was already half way home.

 

So here’s what I ¬†was able to buy.

I found the lounge set! A bit different but they felt very comfortable (P1,300+/-).  Got a few tops (P799-I refused to get anything more expensive..hehe) and a few other inner garments.  
Then got some stuff from the men’s department. Shorts at P995, Collared Shirt P995, and ¬†plain shirts at P499.

Kids clothes were a bit on the expensive side so I didn’t buy any. ¬†I was only planning to buy a couple of lounge sets for sleeping or just to wear at home, but I ended up grabbing other stuff…which made me spend almost P10k! ¬†Note to self: just get what you plan to buy! ūüėõ

Little Gym

Does your toddler have too much energy? ¬†One good way to let kids release their energy is by letting them do physical activities. ¬†This doesn’t just help improve their motor skills, but makes them stronger and lets them exercise their muscles as well.

Little Gym is a good place for that.  Since they also have classmates in each class, their social skills are also developed.  If you have shy toddlers, this may help them get out of their shells.

Little Gym El Pueblo. ¬†Place is clean. ¬†Equipment is well kept so you won’t have issues with your kids rolling around dirty floors. ¬†I actually also looked at club gymnastica near Pioneer but the facility wasn’t inviting for toddlers. ¬†It wasn’t well kept at all and if your kid has allergies, it may be triggered when they start running around there. ¬†It’s more for biigger kids with better immune systems.

They have different classes/lessons for each age group. For me, I like the 3 years old and up classes coz it really focuses on their gymnastics skills (which we chose).  There are also other classes wherein the theme is sports so they have different toys for the kids too.  Kids who are 3 years old are left in the class without companions anymore except for the teacher.  This makes them learn discipline in listening to the teacher and waiting for their turn, as well as following instructions.

I’m not so into the classes for kids below 3 coz these are where the kids need companions inside and do singing and different physical movements. ¬†I’d rather send them to Kindermusik for infants coz singing is their forte. ¬†And Pre-school for 2 years old for the same reason. ¬†Well, that’s just me. ¬†Different strokes for different folks right?

Little Gym costs about 1k per session if you break down their tuition of 12k/semester (12 sessions).  A bit steep but if it benefits your child, and you have the means, why not?  At least its worth a try.

 

SSS ID Application – Shaw Blvd. Branch

You learn something new everyday! ¬†I recently went to apply for my SSS ID coz I lost mine. ¬†Probably left it in one of the guard houses in one of the villages. ¬†It was like more than a decade ago so I can’t remember where exactly. ¬†Well, it was time to change my SSS ID anyway to put my married name.

I decided to go to the SSS office on Shaw Blvd. at the corner of ¬†Meralco Avenue coz I felt it would have less people than their main office in Quezon City. ¬†True enough, it did. ¬†But that’s not what I was happy about. ¬†There was a PRIORITY LANE for preggos! ¬†Yipee for me! ¬†Talk about right timing.

As I entered the building, there was already a long line (around 100 ppl) ¬†for step 1 (They check your papers/documents/application form and encoded data in the computer.) ¬†Good thing I din’t have to line up. ¬†Went straight to the 2nd table seen above (where the girl in pink stripes is sitting) which was the priority lane (senior citizens, pregnant women, & people with disability). Office hours: 8am-5pm.

The entire process would just take less than 15 minutes. ¬†They’ll check your papers, then take your picture and you’re out of there. ¬†They’ll give you a stub to serve as your temporary ID for any SSS transaction you may have while waiting for your ID Card in the mail (normally takes 6 mos-1 year).

But of course, I wasn’t that LUCKY. ¬†I had to make a payment of P350 (SSS ID replacement fee. ¬†But if its your first time to apply for an ID,it’s free.) at Union Bank next door. ¬†That’s where I wasted time. ¬†It’s like that bank had their own slow motion world. ¬†Seriously, they were just moving tooooo slow!

It took tellers forever for each transaction!!! Productivity was way below average.  For this line, it took more than an hour for my turn.  Not to mention, there were 2 tellers!  Frustrating!!!

After paying, I went back to the priority lane…but of course, ¬†it was 1230pm already and the girl handling the priority lane took her lunch break with no one taking her place. ¬†Waited again for 30 minutes just sitting down in front of the table. ¬†I couldn’t take it anymore, so I go to the other customer service lanes and requested them to handle my documents next since I was supposedly in the “priority” lane. ¬†It defeated the purpose to be priority if we weren’t assisted on time right?! ¬†Thank God, they got the deposit slip and processed my papers right away.

 

Next step for me was picture taking.  Was done in 2 minutes.  Got my stub.  And done!

 

Good thing:   I was finally done with SSS ID application.

Bad thing: It took me 2 hours to finish something that was supposedly just 15 minutes! ¬†So if you’re gonna apply for a 2nd SSS ID at Shaw Blvd., have someone line up at Union Bank already while you’re doing Step 1 in SSS.

 

So just a tip: ¬† If you’re pregnant and need to have some stuff done in government offices, take advantage of the priority lane! ¬† I experienced that in DFA when applying for a passport for Lexi before. ¬†Infants are part of the priority/courtesy lane. ¬†You skip all the long lines coz you have an infant with you.