Jenny Soriano

Mabuhay Makati

July 14, 2012, Saturday
10:00sh AM
Hotel Celeste,
San Lorenzo Drive, corner Arnaiz Avenue, Makati
Mareng Wing and I decided to hang out around Makati before I go back to Shanghai. Convinced by a few, good reviews online, we decided to give Hotel Celeste a try. The location was convenient, it is only a stone’s throw away from the busy Ayala Center Malls and a short, cab ride away to Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. 
According to some people in the blogosphere, it is one quaint, boutique hotel, with every room having its own unique interior design.
A view from our room overlooking Ayala Center Malls

What happened to the twin bed room request?
Satisfaction served.

The hotel had a celestial weekend promo, for a weekend stay, you get Welcome Drinks (Read: Cool and refreshing bottled water), Overnight Accommodation in a Deluxe Room (with L’Occitane toiletries for the guests who are easily enamored by signature labels), Buffet Breakfast for 2 Persons, Welcome Foot & Leg Massage (Available on Fridays and Saturdays only: Yep, we did get this in room service, by a masseur at that. It took a lot of courage for me to keep a straight face and trust the masseur to do his work), Set Dinner for 2 Persons at Celi’s Restaurant, 50% Off on 1-hr Full Body Massage, In-Room WiFi Access, Php 1,500 worth of Services at Slimmers World. (We did not avail of the Full Body Massage and the Slimmer’s World offers). 

The only negative comment I had is that one of the day-shift hotel receptionists had an attitude, she should not be be allowed to do hotel reception duty because clearly, she was not welcoming and not friendly at all. Fortunately, the night-shift hotel receptionist was the exact opposite. Overall, the accommodation was great and I would certainly recommend it to my friends. In fact, I would definitely come back.

For more insightful view of the hotel’s interior, let me direct you to other satisfied guests. I can vouched for its accuracy.

* Disclaimer: We actually arrived too early, that our room was not available yet. We managed to get into the comfort of our hotel room around past 2:00sh PM. By that time, we were able to check out the Mind Museum in Taguig.

How We Roll in Shanghai


Hop in for a ride on any ordinary day and you might get this cab driver. They make quite good use of their time when the traffic light turns red.

Health Buff Cabbie

Health Buff Cabbie will not be on the driver’s seat.

He’ll be outside, stretching before his work-out.
 Movie Enthusiast Cabbie

Buying Movie Tickets in Shanghai


January 31, 2012, Tuesday
Weining Lu Metro Line 2 Station

The first movie I get to watch in Shanghai was Toy Story 3, in 3D, at Yonghua Cinema, Grand Gateway. I paid 120RMB.

This is China. There must be a much more affordable way to watch a movie on a wide screen theater.

If you live in Shanghai, you have probably seen these ATM-looking booths in the Metro Stations. Well, this is your key in getting them, cheaper movie tickets.

This is the Easy Life booth. Indeed, it will make your life easier.
Follow this simple guide to get your movie tickets at a more affordable price (published rates at the cinema  are almost 3x more expensive). 
1. Select the “Film Strip” icon from the main screen.

I wanted to watch Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol, this is what I picked.

2. Select your preferred dates from the options. You can book three days in advance. Then choose your movie from the selection.

3. Click the orange button at the bottom of the screen to view the list of cinemas showing the movie selected.

The closest cinema near my place is Tianshan Cinema however they only have MI4 in Chinese so I chose the movie cinema located in an area where I am familiar with (read: I know how to get there and there will be a slim chance of me getting lost finding it).

So, I picked the cinema that has Huai Hai 淮海 in it.

4. Select the cinema. It will show the address and which Metro Line and bus numbers to take to get there.

5. Pick the movie time schedule. Make sure to choose the time with 英语(English). Unless you want to watch it in Chinese. Good luck with that.

6. Pick your seats and then enter your mobile phone number to get your confirmation code. You need the confirmation code to get into the movie house. 

7. Then select the Unionpay card icon for mode of payment. Enter your card, enter your password and then Easy Life will print you a proof of purchase.

That’s it.

If you are up for more adventure. You can also use Easy Life to pay your utilities and recharge your Metro Card. It is very user-friendly, just follow the pictures.

According to this website, there are 86 movie theaters around Shanghai to choose from. If you want to try Easy Life, I suggest that you write down the name of your movie cinema in Chinese or familiarize the Chinese characters of the local areas that you visit frequently.

But of course, you can also find your regular list of movie theaters somewhere else.

Mission: Buy Bangus


January 31, 2012, Tuesday
Everywhere around Tianshan Road

Dear Mother,

Today, Dave and I were off to go to Pines.

Dave got some information from his Filipino friends that we could get Bagoong, Bangus (Milk Fish) and other food products that we do not normally get in our local grocery store.

He has been hinting for a long time on how much he misses Bagoong. So, off we went.

On our way to get into the Metro Line 2, we stopped by the Online Ticket Machine to book a movie ticket for Wednesday, February 1, 2012. It is my first time to try out this service. This is another convenient way for paying utilities and buying movie tickets online.

Dave and I have been planning to watch Mission Impossible 4 once it will be shown here in Shanghai. And according to some posters everywhere, it has been out this week.
I picked the Film Logo for movie tickets.

Choose the date and the movie you want to watch. Then press the orange box at the bottom left part of the screen to go to another screen. The next screen will show the list of movie houses where you can watch the film, screening schedules to choose from and most importantly, information on which movie theater will show the film in 英语, Ying1Yu3 (English).

It is also good to note that buying movie tickets this way is much cheaper than buying them at the movie houses. We bought our tickets for 38RMB per person but the movie house was priced at 100RMB – pretty good deal.

After getting our movie tickets, we then got into Line 2 Train, to continue to our journey to Pines, and get that Bangus.

The plan was to get off at Beijinxing Road Station then walk towards Jianhe Road to take Bus 91. This bus will take us to Pines.

However, it took a long time for the bus to arrive. While waiting, the 兰州拉面Restaurant across the street was very inviting.

It reminded me of the Chicken Noodles in Tomato Paste that I always order for lunch at work.

The restaurant was packed. And as they say with restaurant patrons, more people means food must be good.

This is Mr. Noodle, preparing the noodles of your choice.

Rolling, rolling and rolling some more.
A little twist here and there.
He throws the noodles into
that window, right into a pot of boiling water.

When my noodles were served, I was too hungry to remember to take picture of the final product. All I remember was it has a thicker sauce and a bit tastier than the ones I always had (pictured above).

After that sumptuous snack, it was time to go accomplish our mission.
We hop into Bus 91, and after four stops, we reached Pines, the Market Place.
And yes mother, we got our bangus, frozen.
I am too lazy to rotate this picture.
These are my Bangus.

Now, we will try to remove the bones out from these bad boys so it would be much easier to eat. 

Dave and I were watching some videos online on how to remove the bones. We need some mosquito forceps to do so and maybe some time this week, we will try to do just that. 
That will be our next assignment.

~ Your  loving daughter

Brick Mobile


January 8, 2012
Red Town, Huaihai Xi Road

Are you ready for the Brick Mobile?

It is interestingly made out of bricks, even the interior features. 
I guess it could only serve a decorative purpose unless someone else wants 80000 British Pounds (that’s Php 5.44M) for it.

Mala Tang, 麻辣汤


Mala Tang (麻辣汤) Place
Along Guilin Road
January 4, 2012

The best part about the location of my work is that there are a lot of affordable places to go to for lunch that are just within walking distances.

The Mala Tang Place is literally just two shops away from the school’s main gate.

The freezers are always stock up with fresh vegetables and
various processed meat selections in skewers, neatly arranged in separate baskets.

Gafor, picking out his favorite vegetables.
My Mala Tang dish will not be complete without the meat balls.

After stuffing your basket, choose your rice noodles (there is another variety of choices here, I usually choose the bean sprouts over the rice noodles) hand it over to the friendly, Mala Tang Connoisseur of the day.

And voilà,

Yummy, yum, yum.

Shawarma Rama


North Caoxi Road
November 22, 2011

I have always love eating Shawarma or “lamb wrap” to many.

There is a nice Shawarma Stall near my place. Whenever I craved for one, I would just go to my tried and tested Shawarma place.

One day, I noticed that there is another Shawarma place near my bus stop. So, I figured, I might as well try it out since it is just on my way home.

Approaching the stall, mouth watering….

Posted by Picasa

But I had to pass the opportunity as I got a closer look….

Posted by Picasa

I fully understand the health and safety considerations that I put myself into whenever I eat street food. I know how to enjoy my food and I have standards, too. I did not plan on getting my seasoned meat filled Shawarma soaked with exhaust fan oil drippings. No, thank you.

Little Nolita


Nolita, Dagu Road
November 18, 2011

Gafor and I decided to try out an Italian Restaurant down at Dagu Road.

We got there around 6pm. Initially, it looked like the place was hosting an exclusive party. Well, it was, only at the first floor area but the second floor area was open. So, off we went and the wait staff brought us to our seats.

I ordered a Salmon Salad for appetizer while Gafor got himself some soup. For our main dish, Gafor got a Codfish dish with pumpkin paste and a hint of tangy lemon while I tried out the Tuna dish with some anchovies and tomato paste. (Note to self: Keep the name of the dish in mind next time for documentary purposes.)

We were served with complimentary slices of bread while waiting for our food.

And not for long, our food arrived. I was impressed. It was a very hearty proportion of steamed, fresh tuna coated with anchovies piled up one after the other in a neat, fancy presentation with tomato paste at its base.

Yummy, yum, yum!

Codfish in Pumpkin Paste

Tuna with Anchovies in Tomato Paste

I would definitely go back.

Hunan Lunch


Local Hunan Restaurant
Guilin Road
August 18, 2011

On our first day of work, Gafor and I tried out the Hunan Restaurant along Guilin Road for lunch. The place was not busy when we got there since it was almost 1:00 PM.

Interestingly, there was a deer meat dish on the menu. So, we decided to check this one out.

Within less than 30 minutes, our food arrived.

Deer Meat Dish

Broccoli with Century Egg Soup

                    Chilli Squid Dish

I always prefer dining at local restaurants in Shanghai. I get to try the different local cuisines plus I do not have to spend so much.

USA State Quarters


The Vertulis’ Home
Sayre, Pennsylvania
Week 5, Day 36 August 1 Monday

I made a vow to collect all the 50 State Quarters if I ever go to the US. FYI: Each quarter’s reverse commemorated one of the 50 states with a design emblematic of its unique history, traditions and symbols.

My first state quarters were loose coins from the Vertuli family, from Tops grocery shop and convenience shops across the US East Coast.

I remember how I would excitedly and patiently check out the coin changer at a game arcade in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and at the car wash center in Sayre.

I know that in the US, this fascination of collecting the 50 state quarters is common among elderly folks in the US and some people would pick on me for this.

I appreciate all the new friends that I gained in supporting me with this endeavor.

If you look more closely, I only get to secure the Northern Mariana Islands among the US territories.

And I did try to collect all the US license plates while we were doing our cross-state road trip. I did find all 49 states. Understandably, Hawaii did not make it.