Busy Weekend

Posted by abie on 10:09 PM in
Last weekend was a very busy weekend for us. Howell has to go to work Saturday morning to check the progress of his staff and to make sure that everything is in order so it was my dad who brought us to school for Bela’s ballet class. But it turned out to be a productive morning for me as I was able to work while waiting for Bela.

Howell was able to go home around 1 PM and so he was able to accompany us to Mall of Asia to attend the birthday party of one of Bela’s classmates. After the party, we had dinner there while watching the Pyromusical competition.

Sunday morning, hubby has to wake up early to catch his 6:30 AM flight to Legaspi. It was again a productive morning for me as I was able to work again before we leave for Cobi’s Gymboree class. We left the house around 1 PM and we made it just in time to Cobi’s Gymboree class in Serendra. After the class, we had snack in Krispy Kreme and took Bela to Hobbes and Landes as her trip to Boni High Street will not be complete with visiting this store.

We then head straight to UST hospital to visit my brother after Boni High Street and then we ended the day with me and Bela, going to mass together.


Special Travel Needs

Posted by abie on 9:47 PM in
I need to read about lipozene review but before going home from work, I was able to chat with a colleague and we were able to discuss about our upcoming trip. Since she usually travels with her daughter to US via Cathay Pacific, she gave me tips on how we can have a more convenient travel.

So I checked Cathay Pacific website and I am glad to find out that they offer special assistance to passenger travelling with infant and kids. They can provide us with baby bassinet and packs and they even serve a wide range of baby food so I don’t have to worry about Cobi’s food while on board.

I am also worried if ever Cobi did # 2 and I have to change his nappy. Of course I don’t want to do it in our seats as the other passengers might not like it and my mom can't come with me if Cobi and I go to the bathroom to assist me since nobody will be left with Bela. So I am really glad to discover that each of Cathay Pacific’s aircraft has at least two toilets with special fold-down tables for changing diapers.

So now I am a little confident that we will have a great time on board. LOL. So I better call Cathay Pacific first thing tomorrow morning to advise them of my special assistance requests.


Get Well Soon

Posted by abie on 9:21 AM in
Looks like my mom would really need the best anti wrinkle cream because she is going through a lot of stress now because she is just so worried for my brother (we all are.)

My brother was hospitalized a week ago and was admitted for 3 days and the doctor was able to rule out the problem. He was discharged Sunday but then after two days, he complained from sever stomach pain and they have to rush him to the hospital again. He was admitted for the 2nd time and they did a number of tests and everything came back negative. The pain went away the next day and so he was discharged the next day.

But last night, he experienced severe stomach pain again and my parents brought him to the hospital again. He was admitted again but at least this time the doctors already have an idea what is wrong with him. They suspect that it is his gallstone that is causing the pain. He will undergo tests again today and if they confirm that it is the gallstone that is causing the problem, he has to undergo an operation to remove it.

I just hope and pray that my brother will be well soon.


Crossing Canada from US

Posted by abie on 9:20 AM in
As I posted in my previous entry, I already booked our tickets for our round trip ticket to New York and Los Angeles via award miles. Since hubby suggested that we visit my mom’s best friend also in Toronto, Canada, I also need to book for cheap airfares coming from either Washington, DC or New York to Toronto and I almost fell to my sit when I saw how expensive it can be (More than $1200 all in for 3 adults, 1 child and 1 infant).

If only we haven’t promised to my mom’s friend that we are coming and if only we did not paid for our Canadian visa already, we might think twice if we will push through in crossing Canada or not.

When Howell suggested that we go to Canada, I decided that we apply for visa as soon as we are done applying for Cobi and my mom’s visa so I can use all the financial documents that I use to apply for a US visa for our Canadian visa application. So there was just an interval of one week between our US and Canadian visa application so I was not able to do thorough research on airfare going to Toronto. What I did is just check how cheap the bus from New York to Toronto is and I did not check how for the travel time. What I just checked that time was the price and when I saw that it is only $360, right then and there, I went to the bank to get Manager’s check for our visa processing fee and applied for a visa.

It was only last week when I discovered that the travel time from New York to Toronto via bus is minimum of 11 hours which for sure is very difficult for the kids. So I checked the airfare and was surprised at how expensive can it get,

But I guess, we really have no choice so hubby and I have to work doubly hard to earn money to cover for our airfare from New York or DC to Toronto as it is not included in our original budget.


NY – LA –NY: Booked

Posted by abie on 9:17 AM in
Thanks to Sky miles which I earned when I went for training in Canada last 2005 and to the miles that I earned from using my BPI Card, we were able to earn enough miles to claim awards flight from Delta. So now for sure I will be able to go to my favorite Outlet store in Los Angeles and shop for clothes, shoes, bags and even creatine products. And of course the reason why I want to visit Los Angeles is I will be able to visit my friends there whom I haven’t seen for more than five years already.

Do you want to know how much I paid to avail for this ticket? $5 per passenger only for the taxes. Though I have to transfer some miles from my husband’s account to my account so I can avail 3 tickets and I have to pay $100 as processing fee. But even so, $125 for 4 tickets. That is still so cheap.

This gives me all the more reason to use my BPI World Perks card so I can earn more miles again for our next vacation.


Final (Or Not) US IT

Posted by abie on 12:58 AM in
Finally, I was able to take hubby away from his gaming computers and so we were able to sit down and discuss our final (or not) itinerary for our US trip this coming May. We are contemplating at first if we should just concentrate on the East Coast so we will have plenty of time to rest before moving to another city so it will not be tiring for the kids. We are thinking to just go to Florida (for Disney World), New York, Washington DC, and Toronto. But all my friends are in Los Angeles and of course I would like my mom to experience, LA and Vegas too so we decided to extend our vacation to 3 weeks and we will do both East Coast and West Coast.

So our final IT (which I am sure is still subject to change) is:

Day 1: Manila – New York
Day 2: Central Park and Central Park Zoo
Day 3: Times Square , Empire State, Rockefeller Center
Day 4: Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Day 5: New York – LA
Day 6: Hollywood, Kodak Theatre, Walk of Fame, The Grove mall
Day 7: Universal Studios
Day 8: Drive to the Hollywood sign before going to Disneyland
Day 9: LA – Las Vegas
Day 10: Las Vegas Tour
Day 11: Las Vegas – LA
Day 12: LA – New York
Day 13: Brooklyn Bridge, Financial District, Museum of Civilization, etc
Day 14: SATC Tour and Woodbury Common Premium Outlet
Day 15: New York – Washington DC
Day 16: DC Tour
Day 17: DC – New York
Day 18: New York – Toronto
Day 19: Niagara Falls
Day 20: CN Tower, downtown Toronto
Day 21: Rest day or more tour
Day 22: Toronto – New York
Day 23: Rest Day and Woodbury Common Premium Outlet
Day 24: New York – Manila (Howell to go to his training in Charleston)

Amazing race IT huh? I just pray that my kids will not get sick during the trip so they can enjoy our first US vacation.


MLA – NY – MLA: Booked

Posted by abie on 12:45 AM in
We really have the green light already for our upcoming US trip as I just purchased our Manila – New York – Manila ticket two weeks ago. Cathay Pacific is having an introductory offer for this route so they are giving discounts for tickets booked before January 31.

I was actually contemplating if we will book this ticket or not and just wait for the Travel Expo this coming February 18 as we prefer to fly via PAL as they offer a direct flight to Los Angeles compared to the Cathay Pacific flight which have a 4 hours lay over in Hong Kong. But as suggested by friends, this is a great deal already as Cathay Pacific’s service is way much better than PAL and I am even not sure if I will be able to get a good rate during the Travel Expo. So last January 29, I went to Cathay Pacific office at LKG Tower and booked and purchased our tickets.

So I guess this is it. There will definitely be a party in the USA.


Financial Challenge for 2011

Posted by abie on 11:30 PM in
2011 will be a very challenging year for our family as a lot of major expenses are lined up for this year:

• Our US trip this May
• Cobi’s 1st birthday party
• Acquisition of our new house

Though I am scared a bit because we have a though financial challenge to beat, I am happy and excited too for my family for the new adventure that we are taking this year especially the purchase of our new house.

Though it will be difficult for us financially as the monthly amortization is a bit big, I am proud and happy too because this is a major investment for me and my husband. Hubby and I believe that investing on something is always a wise choice as it is for the security and future of our kids. That is why when we learned about United States Gold Bureau, my husband and I got really interested in investing in gold.

Gold is a very stable form of investment as its value appreciates easily so it is a very good way to preserve one’s wealth. Hubby said that it will be a difficult first three years for us as we start to pay for our monthly amortization, but as soon as we have extra money, we will not think twice and Buy Gold Krugerrands as our initial gold investment.


For our 6th

Posted by abie on 1:02 AM in ,
This is a late post but like what they say, it is better late than never.

Last January 29, hubby and I celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary. Hubby actually wanted to have a quick getaway in Batangas with the kids but I told him we need to save for our upcoming US trip so we decided to just have a date. It was actually an impromptu date as we did not plan for it. We just decided that morning that we will use our Le Spa voucher, which I actually got as my anniversary gift for hubby from Cash Cash Pinoy. Luckily, there was a slot available when I called Le Spa for a schedule and so we decided to go there after getting Bela’s report card from St. Scholastica. We did not even have a print out of the voucher that I even have to go to a nearby computer center after getting Bela’s card.


We arrived in Sofitel around 11 AM and since we are still full after having a heavy breakfast, we just decided to go inside the spa and enjoy the sauna, steam bath and whirl pool before the massage.

By 12 noon, we were called already for our massage. We were given, Harmonie room, one of their couple’s rooms and we really had a very relaxing massage which is what hubby and I needed. After the massage, we were given hot tea which relaxes us even more.

We dressed up after and head to Spiral to enjoy their lunch buffet and boy we totally forgot about our diet as we really tried to enjoy all the food served in the different buffet stations.


It was a short but sweet date. We rarely get to spend alone time together as we always tag along our kids wherever we go so it was a perfect anniversary celebration.


Thank you for the wonderful six years that you shared with me. You have made all my dreams come true, you are my rock, my shoulder to cry on, my ever dependable husband. I remember after we got married, we have a lot of dreams – having our own house, being able to enjoy traveling with our kids, sending our kids to good schools, giving them all the best that life has to offer. Before I thought that all those dreams are impossible. But little by little, (even if we just started with choosing the handlesets for our dream house), all those dreams are finally coming true all because of your dedication, hard work and your love for us.

I am one lucky girl to deserve someone as loving, caring, responsible, patient and most especially, handsome like you. LOL. And I am forever thankful to the Big Man up there for giving you to me.

Happy Anniversary dad and I love you very much.


My Never Ending Saga with HSBC

Posted by abie on 12:34 AM in ,
After the hacking incident with my HSBC credit card which I posted here, I have been very vigilant in using my credit card especially when doing online transactions. Actually I haven’t used my credit card to purchase anything online ever since my credit card has been hacked. I am also thinking of getting RFID blocking as I also heard about e pickpocketing and how easy it is to obtain credit card information.

It has been 20 days since I learned about the hacking incident with my HSBC account. I was informed that I have to fax a dispute form before they can start with the investigation:

Jan 7 – I received a text from HSBC informing me about the suspicious transaction on my credit card. I called them and I was informed that around P47,000 has been charged to my account from an online insurance site in UK. I gave them a call to inform them that I did not authorize the transaction. They canceled my existing card for protection and they will send a replacement card.
Jan 9 – I called HSBC again and the payment has been posted already and it is from the website Swiftcover.com. I emailed the merchant to request for an investigation for the transaction charged to my credit card. I gave them my credit card details and informed them that I did not authorize the transaction.
Jan 10 – I faxed the dispute form together with the photocopy of the front and back image of my credit card.
Jan 11 – I got a reply from Swiftcover:

Dear Ms Ramos-Laguerta,

Thank you for your e-mail.

Unfortunately, we are unable to locate a payment from the details provided.

Please request your card issuer to chargeback the funds in question in order for you to obtain your funds again as quickly as possible.

If you have any further questions relating to this, The Policy Validation Team are available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 0871 231 1005. Calls will be charged at 10p per minute from BT landlines. Calls from other networks or from outside the UK may vary.

Yours sincerely

Christopher Porteous

Policy Validation Team

So I faxed the dispute form again together with the print out of the email that I got from the merchant.

Jan 14 – I called the HSBC call center again to confirm if they receive the first two faxes that I sent as I was informed that I have to wait for three business days before they can confirm receipt of my fax. After faxing the documents and the form two times, I was surprised to learn that they still can’t confirm receipt of my fax and they requested me to fax it again to another number

Jan 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 – I called them everyday to check if they can confirm already that they receive my fax as the investigation is still not starting without my signed dispute form. Lo and behold, after 11 days, they still can’t confirm the receipt of my fax. I went to HSBC office to try if I can talk to somebody who can help me get my fax to the Dispute Services and I was surprised when the only thing that they offered me there was to fax my forms to Dispute Services again and I will have to follow it up with the Call Center after three banking days.

Jan 24, 25, 26 – I called the HSBC Call Center again and they were telling me that it is still within the allowed turn around time (which is 3 banking days) so they asked me to wait again. I was already irritated and I was really worried that my complain will not go anywhere as they can’t even confirm the receipt of a simple fax so how can I expect them that they will do something about my complain

Jan 27 - after almost three weeks, they finally confirmed that they got my fax and that the investigation will start already but it will take 45 – 120 days before I can get the result of the investigation.

Honestly, I am not hoping that this will get resolved soon or if this will get resolved at all. I am a good HSBC client. I pay all my dues in full and on time but there is no way that I will pay something that I did not authorize and I did not purchase. So I know this is like wishing for the impossible, but I hope they will reverse the transaction and credit the money back to my account even if it will take them 100 years.

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