Our first visit to a store that doesn’t exist

It’s been weeks since the monsoon rains have stopped Marcus from getting his regular Friday physical therapy. Opportunities to get him out of the house and away from his video games every weekend have been much harder. Yesterday weather permits but instead of going to the malls we frequent, we decided to go to SM Mall of Asia (MOA) instead with Marcus and I having our own secret goal: visit Ikea.

It was a two-hour drive slowed further by weekend traffic at the SLEX and Skyway expressways plus intermittent heavy rains. The sky cleared when we reached MOA via Entertainment City exit and it appeared then we could move around SM by the bay when the mall gets stuffy for Marcus.

Still clueless of what we’re about to discover, we pushed through finding Ikea. While having dinner at Pound by Todd English I checked online and read that Ikea is between MOA Arena and SMX. Next plan was getting there as soon as we have our tickets for Mission Impossible: Fallout and when drizzling has stopped.

I began to feel suspicious and stupid when I realized I must have skipped some details on the news about Ikea opening in the Philippines. Three security guards later, the last we asked said, “Yan malamang sir (That must be it.)” He was pointing to a still empty fenced block right outside of the mall. Sucks. It was a matter of will open versus is open. With only one short crane sticking out of that place, I don’t believe we’ll see an Ikea store this year.

Mainly to take note where we parked.

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The latest Mission Impossible sequel was a disappointment. It’s overrated and hyped. It’s like one of those films with trailers that are a whole lot better than the movies. My wife and I were dozing on and off but Marcus said he enjoyed it although I know it would’ve been a better experience for him if we watched it in a cinema with stable reclining seats.

We should have just watched the free Okada fountain show.

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Wheelchair access Bows and Boos

Bows:

Elmo at Pound by Todd English’s bar area.
  • Jollibee staffs at MOA Entertainment Hall who made sure Marcus and his wheelchair get a space.
  • Pound by Todd English staffs who accommodated us despite the tight setup of their restaurant. Burgers were surprisingly affordable and great too.
  • Restroom staffs who kept the PWD area clean.
  • Okada tour bus attendant who entertained our questions and promised to get Marcus prioritized.
Recreating how he looked like 10 years ago the first time he was in this mall.

Boo:

  • SM Mall of Asia south parking building elevators were already unavailable when we got out of the cinema past 12 midnight. Someone parked in the same area had to find security guards to get it back running. Not cool.

***

Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Weekend weight.)

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Control is the name of the game

For something to be resolved, the root cause must be recognized, and it has to be either fixed permanently, if not controlled. This must be my week’s theme. A year ago, thanks once more to Timehop, I realized all my efforts to lose weight were going nowhere. I ate less, I worked out, I ran but all were in vain. Something was stopping my desired progress.

A picture of my mobile personal drawer reveals I packed to work bread loaves, bananas, crackers, protein powder, and eggs (in small blue container). All seem the ideal weight loss food, or so I thought. Few more days later I’d discover some of these contribute to my weight loss plateau. Do you recognize the errant food? I’ll reveal it when I reach my first year of using MyFitnessPal.

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Saw this Tweet on Facebook (?) and I couldn’t agree more with the message. We recently had a long talk, over my sleepy state coming straight from work, with our son to remind him that there would days when we stop being friends with him. It is when we wear our parent’s hat and call him out when we need to so he grows up as a good person instead of a brat who knows no direction, observes no manners, and respects no rules. Frankly speaking, I hate such parenting talks but it has to be done. Sometimes we just have to dare be hated if it’s what it takes to remain in control. If only some leaders realize this too.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Wifey stopped looking like Shrek. I can work again.)

My Talkative YI Dashboard Camera

“Keep a safe distance, please. Keep a safe distance, please.” “Caution, car drifting. Caution, vehicle drifting.” That’s neither my wife nor Marcus interfering with my driving, they’re used to it. The demanding voice that repeated itself over and over again at quite close interval emits from my new YI dashboard camera with its ADAS or driving assistance feature.

It was a hassle-free Lazada transaction. I ordered the item Tuesday and it was delivered morning of Thursday, paid COD. The box came with a Chinese manual but I was able to set it up in less than 15 minutes. Not that I understand Chinese but because camera’s menu is in English and control buttons made it so easy to navigate. Only time I needed from the YI Dash cam English manual that wifey found online is its wifi’s default password. It’s 1234567890. You can thank me later.

YI dash cam app.

Stock parts work. Suction mount holds and the camera fits nicely behind my rear view mirror. That’s right, I set it that way just to be compliant with our country’s anti-distracted driving law and besides I could access all of YI dash cam’s settings as well as extract video clips using its wireless connection. A YI dash cam app needs to be downloaded from Google Play or App store to connect to the cam’s wifi. Both our Android and Apple phones connect to the camera in a breeze. The USB-micro USB power cable that came with the package works fine but I find it thin and too long so I replaced it with something better which I already have at home.

Video quality is fair even at night except I noticed that lights appear dispersed and this could be an issue if there’s a need to capture an oncoming vehicles plate number so I hope I won’t have to.

For the price of Php2600 YI dashboard camera is worth it. It’s obviously a whole lot better than what I had since 2015 except for its talkative driving assistance. I have already turned it off the day after.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Back to healthy food.)

My First Lazada Order

Dashboard camera.

I have joined the bandwagon. Years of holding back, leaving all the online buying to wifey, ends today. Out of necessity brought about by the anxiety over my current dashboard camera hanging up on me yesterday, I’m left with no other choice but to take a deep breath and try out Lazada for the very first time.

Wifey never had any major setback with this online store. She has purchased several items that I once joked if she holds a share in Lazada. Of of these items I can count at least one or two that didn’t meet expectations but worked just fine nevertheless. So I’m crossing my fingers that I’d have the same experience in doing my first transaction. Site says my item would be received in 2-5 days. Let’s see.

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Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Created my first Epic account. I can now play Fortnite with Marcus.)

Fight For PWD Access

It’s another payday weekend, malls would be packed once more, and when this happens parking becomes more challenging than usual. No big deal if you think about it as sooner or later, a slot frees up and it could be yours. Its proximity to the mall doesn’t matter. We could just walk.

Sadly, not everyone has this luxury to just walk. Not everyone could just park their car somewhere, take a hike to the mall, and on rainy days like today, make a dash to the nearest covered area. Not everyone.

Image by Robert Mark Santos as posted on Facebook.

If you still don’t know it yet guys, people with disabilities (PWDs), specifically those in wheelchairs exist. Young and old alike, whether they can wheel themselves on their own or not, they exist. And if you still aren’t aware of it–by ignorance, poor upbringing, or plain insensitivity–PWD parking slots exist and should be respected.

PWD parking spaces are supposed to be reserved for folks who lack mobility. These slots are specially marked, wider than the regular ones, and are normally located close to PWD access ramps. While not all PWD parking spaces are “intelligently” designed, being aware that these are made to serve a specific purpose–and therefore must be used only by its intended patrons–is already a good start in showing that we are sensitive to others who need the PWD parking spots the most.

Not all PWD access look like easy access but don’t block it anyway. (Credit to owner.)

So if today you plan to enjoy your weekend, be sensitive and kind. At least before you enter the crowded mall. Don’t be that guy who parks in PWD slots just because you find it available when you arrived at the parking area or just because you figured your compact car or motorcycle fits the spot. People in wheelchairs will appreciate it a lot if you make their life less stressful by giving them the access that they deserve.

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The struggle to get a PWD parking slot is real and to understand why people who seem fit and abled continue to use it.

Whenever I see a party of abled individuals getting out of a car parked in a PWD slot I couldn’t help but wonder if either one of them qualifies as PWD. Someone once disputed that definition of disability is broad which makes it hard to judge if a person who appears fit should be allowed to use the PWD spot.

Pregnant women, elderly, and those who lack mobility are apparently the ones who need to be prioritized in using the PWD slots. But what about those with other conditions that aren’t obvious physical disability?

Then there’s also inconsistency in implementing Republic Act 10070 which protects the welfare of PWDs. There are still establishments that lack PWD access and there are places wherein nobody regularly checks if a person using the PWD parking space is indeed a PWD or with one who needs assistance.

There’s still so much room for improvement in dealing with PWDs. We just can hope and pray the day would come when more, if not all, people recognize and respect the needs of people with disabilities.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Internet drags.)

Getting Used to Fancy Cinema Seats

When Marcus was smaller he almost got stuck in a cinema seat when the foldable chair tilted back in place. Since then he would hesitate to be seated alone for fear of falling in the gap once more. So it did come as a surprise when he immediately loved the first time he experienced watching a movie in a stable and comfy recliner seat. It was back in 2016 in California. It was a Star Wars film.

With our recent preference to avoid Alabang traffic we discovered that Cinema 3 of Solenad in Nuvali also offers such luxurious seats. For P400+ (approx USD7) per person it’s a win-win regardless if I like the movie or not. The recliners make comfy beds when boredom or effect of graveyard shift takes over.

Uptown Mall’s ultra cinema knows how to spoil a kid.

Two days ago we found a better movie deal. Uptown Mall in BGC has what they call ultra cinema which likewise offers recliner seats except that for almost the same price tickets already include refillable snacks of soda and popcorn. Take note, refillable. Soda. Popcorn. Besides the regular buttons to control the seat’s positions, there’s a summon button for the attendant when snacks run out. Thankfully that didn’t happen and our Incredibles 2 started and ended without interruption. Sort of.

Coming out of a short nap, thanks to the spicy Scott PNC burger and the free cheese popcorn and 500ml Coke, I had to excuse myself for a pee break. But what did I miss? None. Not only that the cinema’s toilet is clean, it also has speakers that play clearly the movie’s audio. I could have stayed longer in there and wouldn’t have missed any except watching Mr. Incredible play regular parent for the most part of the movie. This is how all cinemas should be like.

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New rings after 19 years.

We stayed for three days and two nights in F1 Hotel Manila, BGC to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. The hotel was average and our room is similar to what we had in A Venue Hotel wherein there’s a separate room from the suite’s receiving area.

It’s not an issue that the bathroom didn’t have a tub but it took time for housekeeping to provide a chair for Marcus to use while taking a shower. So his first shower was done seated on the floor. Lesson learned for us: bring our own monobloc chair next time.

The hotel has three pools but the lap pool was under maintenance. Two options left weren’t really good and pool area was quite tight considering Marcus has a wheelchair.

A couple of treadmills in the gym were also down. Towels aren’t readily available unlike in Acacia Hotel. I had good sessions though and what kept me going back was what I like the most in this hotel.

What the hotel lacks in its room and service, it makes up for in its breakfast buffet. F1 Hotel Manila serves remarkable food. I liked everything I had on my plate–veggie curry, Frankfurter, omelette, tortang giniling, Danish, pancakes, etc. My MyFitnessPal app recorded about 1000 calories alone for each free breakfast which was more than enough to fuel my treadmill runs and weight training. FYI, I returned home with just three pounds more.

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It rained hard so we sought shelter and learned we can afford Denny’s.

The hotel didn’t stop us from enjoying wedding anniversary though. We tried new things like our first Grab car ride and we discovered that we can afford Denny’s. It was also nice to set aside my phone for most of the day while I give more attention to Marcus, watched cable TV movies with him and listen to his perfect impression of his mommy sleeping. Trust me, he nailed it. Good times.

Glad we grabbed a Grab.

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Mood: 3/10 Honks! (Uneventful return to reality.)