Meralco Orange Tag



My kitchen, renovated in 2013


When I was a kid, I never understood why my mother was always so conscious of us closing the door whenever the air conditioner was on or shutting off lights in rooms we were not using. I knew it was about energy conservation. But when you’re not the one paying the bills, it remains an abstract concept.

The past couple of years, I had gotten way more conscious of our energy consumption, most especially during the exaggeratedly hot summer months. Try being in Manila in April and May. You will melt without the air conditioner on. It’s almost a given that the chart of our electricity bill peaks during summer months. And needless to say, I have turned into my mother.

I have learned some tips along the way, especially when I renovated my kitchen a couple of years ago. All my new appliances were energy efficient (digital inverter types). We also use our washing machine and dryer during off peak times – like weeknights as opposed to daytime or weekends.


I have an all-gas range and electric stove. My refrigerator is inverter type.


My kitchen air conditioner also uses digital inverter technology.


But now, there are even more tools that can help you figure out the energy consumption of a certain new home appliance. And this is done not by the appliance brand, but by our own local electric company — Meralco. Very timely as I’m sure a lot of families are shopping for new electrical appliances this time of year — because of Christmas bonuses and homecoming of family members from abroad.

So before you go out there to shop for that new air con, fridge or washing machine, or small kitchen gadgets, look for the Meralco Orange Tag — brought to us by the Meralco Power Lab. In one look you already know the estimated operating cost of the new appliance. And you can make better decisions based on this information.


Cute commercial…


Now you can compare appliances not just based on design and performance, but by energy consumption levels. Look at the numbers! That’s cost per wash.


image5You won’t miss the Meralco Orange Tag. It’s big and orange!!


The Meralco Orange Tag shows the estimated cost consumption, estimated energy consumption and rate used, and transparency in computation.


It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in energy consumption consciousness.



SM Seaside City Cebu



1 SM Seaside City Cebu
SM Seaside City Cebu. A New Lifestyle Mall Above All Else*


SM Seaside City Cebu is the newest architectural landmark that is set to become the mark of a phenomenal experience in Cebu. Inspired by a nautilus design, SM Seaside City Cebu is a visually dynamic yet functional concept, adapting the spiral shell with a pale pearly partition including a series of expanding, concentric arcs.

SM Seaside City Cebu is a state-of-the-art, environmentally sustainable urban center on the waterfront of the new South Road Properties development in Cebu, the Philippines’ second largest city and a major tourism hub in the country.

The 470,486.31 square-meter mall is SM Prime Holdings’ 56th mall and the third in the Queen City of the South, after SM City Cebu and SM City Consolacion.

SM Seaside City Cebu is one of the first developments in the master plan of SM Prime Holdings for their 30-hectare space at the South Road Properties (SRP), a prime property development project on reclaimed land located a few meters from Cebu’s central business district.

Designed by Arquitectonica, an international architecture, interior design, and planning firm from Miami Florida, the development will be a benchmark in the region, and when completed, the complex will include residential towers, hotels, a convention and exhibition center, a school, hospital, and a world-class marine theme park.
With a harmonious perspective of creating an environment, which unifies fashion, dining, Cebuano culture, leisure and entertainment, SM Seaside City Cebu is truly above all else.


15 The Mall
The Mall. SM Seaside City Cebu will house local and international known retailers such as The SM Store, and global retail brands H&M, Uniqlo, Forever 21 and Sfera.


2 The Cube
The Cube. SM Seaside City Cebu’s iconic landmark is The Cube, a stainless steel 21 by 21 meter sculptural piece that is a symbol of strength and stability. It is a tribute to the resilience of the Cebuanos in particular and the Filipino people in general.


The Skypark
This green park, with several intimate amphitheaters, will provide a welcome break from the bustle of city life, featuring diverse dining outlets situated among greenery and soothing water features. The 1500-seater Sky Hall can accommodate large functions, corporate events and concerts. A children’s park, designed by renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue, will delight kids and their families when completed.

Seaside Tower
Considered a focal point of SM Seaside City Cebu is a 148-meter tower, to be completed in 2016, that has a viewing deck, a bar and a restaurant with an awe-inspiring panoramic view of the city and its surroundings


4 Cinema
The SM Cinemas gives you the choice to watch your movies the way you want to with its newest Large Screen Cinema powered by Christie’s that has a 30% bigger screen. There are 2 Director’s Club Cinemas with the most intimate cushy recliners, a 350-seater Large Screen Cinema with state-of-the-art laser projection system and 4 regular sized cinemas with PWD-friendly features


5 Cyberzone
Cyberzone, the popular tech hub of the SM Supermalls open its 40th branch at SM Seaside City Cebu with a full range of shops and service centers, for the latest gadgets and electronics to suit today’s digital lifestyle.


3 Chapel
The Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod was the first structure built in the complex. This is reminiscent of Spanish times when towns were built around a Church.


16 Bowling
SM Seaside City Cebu will have an Olympic size ice skating rink perfect for all aspiring Olympians in Cebu and a 16-lane Bowling and Amusement Center with 3 KTV rooms, a billiards area and a snack bar.


6 Foodcourt
The well-appointed Food Court on the third level has an unparalleled view of the Seaside Tower and a host of international and local fare sure to please friends and family


14 STT and Mitch So
Mitch So, Andreas Johansson (H&M Expansion Director), Steven Tan, SCMC SVP


12 Ribbon cutting with priest
Hans T. Sy, Mayor Mike Rama, Gov. Hilario Davide III, Archbishop Jose Palma, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Antonio Ranola, Mrs. Felicidad Sy, Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, Herbert T. Sy


13 SM Supermarket ribbon cutting
Jojo Tagbo (Savemore President), Ashwini Nagpal (Kimberly Clark Philippines Managing Director), Jeff Go (J &J Philippines Managing Director), Robert Kwee (SM Hypermarket President), Fabricio Ponce (Coca-Cola Philippines Country Manager) Rohit Jawa (Unilever CEO), Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, Evelyn Lao (Benby CEO), Archbishop Jose Palma, Mrs. Felicidad Sy, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Jacques Reber(Nestle Philippines CEO), Stephen Lao (Colgate Philippines GM), Shankar Viwanathan( P&G GM), Jerome Ong (Foodsphere CEO), Carla Valderrama (Ms. Earth Fire 2015) Herbert Sy (Vice Chair SM Retail), Joey Mendoza (SM Supermarket President).


10 ASG with General Luna
John Arcilla, Annie Garcia (SCMC President), Carole Sy


7 Guests
(L-R) SM Women: Andrea Aldeguer, Meannie Alcordo-Solomon, Amparito Lhuillier, Quennie Amman, Alice Woolbright


Scheduled for launch in 2017, the 1-hectare Cebu Ocean Park will be the first educational, interactive and experiential oceanarium in the VisMin region. It will feature a 360-degree tunnel aquarium, sea lions, an exotic Birds of Paradise show and a Penguin Park.

*Source: SM Seaside City Cebu



Barcelona Christmas



Excactly a year ago,  I was in Barcelona filming DAPHNE Diaries for Lifestyle Network. You can watch some of the videos here.

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities for the simple reasons that it is so walkable and things are on a human scale. You won’t see massive architecture – well, except for the La Sagrada Familia. The city is multilayered – you see great architecture from different periods. And the food is not expensive and very accessible.

I had the most significant December 8th last year. It may have been coincidental that we were at the Our Lady of Montserrat Monastery exactly on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. I must have been really meant to be there.

But this story is about Christmas in Barcelona. We were lucky that when we were there, they had Christmas markets in the city. Our guide told us that the seasonal night markets only took place for a few days in December – around this time! I particularly liked the one just out side La Sagrada Familia. It had pretty clay sculpted miniatures.



Our hotel was just off of La Rambla.


It’s a must for every tourist. So yes there are a lot of souvenir stalls if you’re into that. I just liked walking up and down it.


This is how the Catalans do Christmas nativity scenes. This was set up in the square outside the town hall. It had a rustic Roman theme.


The little diorama had elements of rustic life when the Catalan region was still part of the Roman empire  — farming, traveling by boat and donkey, details of a Roman home. There is Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus by the waterfront. It isn’t your typical Holy Night scene.


There’s an aqueduct. And look further. There’s a figure of a man who appears to be squatting.


He is what is known as a Caganer – a figure of a defacating person. This has been part of Catalan tradition for two centuries now. Nowadays, Caganers come in all forms – Sponge Bob, Queen Elizabeth, David Beckham. I had to get one for myself! In Catalan culture, kids take turns looking for the hidden caganer.


Just outside La Sagrada Familia, there happened to be a lovely Christmas night market.


It was very rustic and crafty. There were no commercial products, no brands, no fakes from China. They had artisans and farmers from the region selling traditional Catalan Christmas goodies.


Pine trees


It is also part of their tradition to give pine bouquets as gifts.


Our guide Fabio gave me a pine bouquet.


These are Christmas logs known as Caga Tios. And just like the caganer, the cage tios also defacate. When the tail end of the log opens, out flows lots of candies for children.


She is the artisan who made the miniature Catalan nativity (belen) that I bought. Top row shows traditional caganer in the white shirt and red hat, and beside it are soccer players in caganer form.


Each little diorama element is made of terracotta clay. You can customize your nativity scene. All are inspired by a Roman village.


More figurines for the nativity scene.


PC091622More contemporary caganer doing the poopie act. These caganers are placed in the nativity scene, usually behind the cottage where baby Jesus was born. Never in front, that would be disrespectful. Usually kids make it a game to find the caganer every day.


Cartoon caganers. I found out that all this fascination with pooping is really part of Catalan tradition. It is believed that defacation is the greatest equalizer. It is something everybody does whether rich or poor.


The holy family in miniature.


My growing collection of Christmas nativity. I bought a the smallest sets.


And just to give you an idea of how small my lovely nativity scene is.


My gift to self – Antoni Gaudi as a caganer.


Mr Gaudi and his La Sagrada Familia


I’m not a fan of souvenirs. But I had to make an exception for these caganers because they tell such an interesting story of Catalan culture. And how adorable is the Sagrada Familia in clay pottery?!