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It’s been one and a half years since I first became a father. And while social media might make you think that fatherhood is such an easy, glamorous and picture-perfect thing to be in, the truth is, it’s not all that. Because behind the smiles you show on camera are sleepless nights, countless fights with your spouse after being exhausted taking care of the baby and sacrifices that other people don’t see and more so, appreciate.

So whatever difficulty you have been imagining inside your head on how hard it is to become a parent, well, imagine that times a hundred. Because nothing ever prepared me for this. I keep telling my friends that I found it easier to adjust to living together with my wife after we got married than having a baby. It’s really, really hard.

And so, in celebration of Father’s Day, I’d like to share my thoughts on what I have learned in the past year and a half of becoming a first time dad.

Things I Learned as a First Time Dad

Being Selfless

Fatherhood taught me to be selfless.

Before it used to be me, me, me.

Now? It’s the complete opposite. It’s all about the baby.

It’s so difficult that I even feel depressed sometimes because I can’t do the things I was able to do when I was single.

Partying all night? Forget it.

Blogging at a coffee shop until late? You wish!

I lost time to exercise, I ate a lot to counter the sleepless nights and yes, I gained a lot of weight.

I guess fatherhood taught me to be selfless and to think about myself last. But that’s not healthy so my wish is to bring back my “me” time and the balance in my life in the coming months.

Babies prefer mom and sometimes you feel jealous

One thing that you’ll discover when you are a dad is that babies prefer one parent for some things and the other parent for other things.

As a new dad, sometimes I feel jealous when PGG Junior prefers his mom. I mean, all babies prefer mom for a majority of things, don’t they?

Because what I’ve discovered is that baby wants mom for sleep time and cuddling, but he wants dad for playing, adventure and thrill. Yes, I admit I feel ignored in some cases, but that is the reality of life. Kids prefer their moms to soothe them, but they prefer their dads for FUN. Not really a bad thing, if you think about it.

Pee and poop are everywhere

Like it or not, pee and poop will be everywhere. You have to clean it and it’s part of the deal of having a baby.

I’m kind of a hands-on parent so I don’t mind touching poop. (I know right? Where was the cool Chris you read about on PGG before?) Well, it’s still me but now I’m a dad so instead of spending the whole night at a club, I’m cleaning poop.

But I have to accept it. I’m no longer in my twenties being single and happy go lucky. I’m now married with a kid so it’s part of me growing up, being matured and becoming a parent.

Bathing the baby is the scariest part for me

I don’t know about other dads out there, but giving your baby a bath is one of the scariest parts of being a parent to a baby under two years old. Bathrooms are slippery and if your kid is like mine who is too playful and sometimes hyperactive, giving him a bath is terrifying. You have to be careful to make sure he doesn’t slip, doesn’t hit his head on the tub and most important of all, doesn’t drown. Yes guys, infants can drown even if the water in the baby bath tub is just two inches.

Truly frightening!

You need to teach your kid to socialize

I’m scared about this generation of kids. Most of them, like ours, live in a condo where the space is small and it’s harder to socialize with other kids, unlike during our generation where you could simply meet, play and make friends with other kids in the next door neighborhood.

To make sure that my baby, PGG Junior, knows how to interact with other people, we bring him down to the condo’s amenities area to socialize with other kids. We also bring him to Kidzoona, ball pit and other similar playgrounds to make sure that he meets new playmates.

Making your kid aware of God as early as possible

Coming from a religious family, I make sure to bring my kid to Church every Sundays and teach him to pray. Even if he doesn’t fully understand, he needs to slowly get the habit of listening (and talking) with God. This will help him in his upbringing so that he would grow up as a righteous person.

Lessening gadget and screen time

The generation of kids these days are born in the era of the Internet. And it’s not healthy.

I learned that dads and moms should lessen gadget, screen and TV time of their kids and allow them to play with non-tech toys, games and activities because they will need it for their motor skills, sports and P.E. classes in school.

Listen to what your parents say, not just what the pedia says

During my first few months as a dad, my wife and I OBEYED everything that the pedia said. Everything down to the last detail.

However, my baby lost weight because we were too restrictive on food and we based it only on what the pedia said. If the pedia forgot to mention some types of food, we don’t give it.

The end result? Our baby lost weight.

Experience is the best teacher, so listen to the tips coming from grandpa and grandma (READ: your parents) and not just what the pedia says. Because your parents know how to raise a kid. You are proof of that.

Budget and travels with your wife plummets… tremendously

Once you have a baby, travel decreases a LOT.

The primary reason is it’s very inconvenient. Picture this: going to the church on Sundays requires my wife and I to bring two backpacks and one stroller. Now how much more would it be if we go for an out-of-town or out-of-the-country travel?

I remembering the hassle flying to Russia last year for the FIFA World Cup with the whole family. We have one large luggage containing only baby stuff, and two separate medium-sized luggages for myself and my wife’s. Heck, our baby has more stuff then both my wife and I combined!

Apart from inconvenience is the cost. Travelling now has gotten more expensive. You have one additional pax with you.

And speaking of cost. Everything now should be budgeted. Being the dad and the head of the family, you now have another mouth to feed so you have to work harder to bring food to the family.

* * * *

With all the difficulties I mentioned above, I really wonder how young/teenage parents do it and I’m impressed by their ability to raise a kid at such a young age. Because if I look back at my younger self, I don’t think I can become a parent in my teens or early 20s. I’m just not prepared nor psyched for it and I don’t think I’ll make it without any help. But now, that I’m more matured and grown-up, I think I’m able to handle it better with my wife by my side.

And despite all the hardships, not everything is as bad as it seems. Because on the bright side…

Seeing your baby smile at you is the best thing in the world. Even if you are too exhausted from work and from taking care of him, once he smiles, all those bad feelings go away.

When your baby cries when you leave him as you go to the office, you are torn between staying home and reporting to work. Because you realize that this tiny little human NEEDS you because YOU ARE EVERYTHING to him. Your sacrifices at work now has a purpose. It has more meaning and more value – it’s for your kid’s future.

Whenever I come home from a hard day at work, and as soon as my baby hears me turning the keys into the locks to open the door of our apartment, he would start screaming DADA because he knows I’m there. (Dada because he’s still trying to learn how to say Daddy). Then once I open the door, my baby will charge to me to hug me tight and to welcome me home. He is very excited to see me. And YES guys, that is one of the best FEELINGS in the world.

So far, this is what I’ve experienced as a new dad. It is a life-changing experience mixed with pure joy and countless sacrifices that often go unnoticed.

I’m still new to this game but my wish is to become a great dad to PGG Junior.

To my dad, I can now see how hard it was raising me as a kid. I now appreciate your sacrifices even more especially when I became a dad myself.

And so to my dad and to all the dads reading this, Happy Father’s Day!

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Not many of you know this, but Dockers, the khaki-brand under Levi’s umbrella, quietly pulled out from the Philippine market a few years ago. It was a sad and unfortunate event since I am a fan of the brand.

But here’s the good news: They are back!

I learned this because I was invited to their re-launch in the Philippines last month. It was kind of a bummer that I failed to make it to the event but, thankfully, I managed to get photos from the launch and score a gallery of their latest products fresh from their marketing team. Check them out below and tell me which ones you like.

This season, one of their most promising pair of khakis is the Dockers® Smart 360 Flex, a line of pants that is made of fabric that can stretch four ways – that is, horizontally and vertically, to deliver maximum comfort, movement and durability.

 

Just check out how seemingly easy it is to move around this very flexible pair of khakis. I can’t wait to get to their stores and try them on.

Although a little pricey for most guys, I could personally say that their khakis stand the test of time. I have two pairs which I’ve used for almost 3+ years and is still going strong.

You can catch and try on these khakis at Dockers stores which are opening at SM North EDSA (March 29,2019), SM Mall of Asia (April 6, 2019), SM Makati (May 3, 2019) and SM Megamall (May 10, 2019).

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After being in two consecutive car shows in a span of a few months (i.e. the PIMS 2018 and MIAS 2019), I could pretty much say that 2019 is the year where a bunch of futuristic cars will be released.

In this blog post, I will present to you a gallery of 10 cars that were highlights of the Philippine International Motor Show 2018 and the recently-concluded Manila International Auto Show 2019. Both shows featured newly launched automobiles, electric cars and concept cars.

Let’s start with…

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a sports car that can go from 0 to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds. Meant for enthusiasts with money to burn, this baby costs 8.5 Million Pesos.

All-New Suzuki Jimny

When I was a little younger, I really had a thing for the Suzuki Jimny. I always had the impression that it gives off some sort of mini Pajero vibe that looks good on bachelors. I think that the All-New Jimny still has that appeal, except at the price of more than a million Pesos and just having 2 doors, it would not be easy to justify buying it if you are a family man like me who needs more space.

Nissan Nismo

Not many people know that Nissan is also involved in motor sports. Their brand Nissan Nismo which features the 370z coupe here is designed for competition.

Kia Stinger

See this gorgeous car below?

Who would have thought that this car was built by Kia?

Called the Kia Stinger, this compact fastback is a street style icon. That is, a car that is surely made to turn heads.

It is priced at around 3.3 Million Pesos.

Mitsubishi Evolution Concept

Telstra was one of the first to market a full electric-powered car. The rest of the mainstream brands followed suit.

One of them is Mitsubishi, which recently introduced their full electric Mitsubishi Evolution Concept Car as you will see below.

Toyota TJ Cruiser

I’ve always liked boxy-looking cars like the Hummer, which explains the reason why I liked the Kia Soul before, then the Toyota FJ Cruiser, and now the Toyota TJ Cruiser.

The TJ Cruiser seems to look better than the FJ Cruiser and it’s more functional too. I love its stunning look and commanding presence it gives off.

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Car

Unlike the one you’ve seen previously, Mitsubishi Evolution, the Ioniq car from Hyundai here is not a concept car anymore. It is an actual full-electric car (yes, not hybrid) that can run on full charge for 200 kilometers.

MG (Morris Garages) ZS

If you recall, last November 2018, I introduced to you MG Cars as soon as they arrived here in the Philippines.

This automobile brand that debuted in the Philippines has a British heritage and has a promising line up of cars during MIAS 2019, just like the MG ZS pictured above.

Hyundai Palisade

Palisade is Hyundai’s answer to Mitsubishi’s Montero, Toyota’s Fortuner, Chevrolet’s Trailblazer, Isuzu’s MUX and maybe, even Ford’s Explorer.

Yes guys, this baby right here is a 7-seater SUV built for the Philippine market. It has a selling price of 3.2 Million Pesos.

Nissan Navara Warrior X

One of the most masculine-looking cars I’ve seen is the Nissan Navara Warrior X.

Sporting a bright red color, huge wheels and a body high off the ground, the Nissan Navara Warrior X is a beast to watch out for and a dream come true for the big boys.

And that’s it guys! Follow PGG on Instagram to see up and coming stories here on the blog.

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Most phone brands these days are ditching the 3.5 mm headphone jack and it might get you thinking: should I buy a bluetooth headphone?

You see, I think you should. Even if your device still supports the 3.5 mm jack, it wouldn’t hurt to get a bluetooth headphone. After all, it is one convenient accessory to use. You can easily listen to your music anywhere and most especially, during your workouts without worrying about being entangled and restricted by wires.

However, bluetooth headphones are not cheap, especially if you are looking for one from a decent and genuine manufacturer.

As for me, one of the things I bought recently and one which I would recommend most especially for the budget-conscious is the JBL T450BT bluetooth headphones.

It only cost me around 3,000 Pesos (which I think is fair enough) given that the headphone is actually semi-foldable as you’ve seen see here.

I also liked the fact that it has the necessary controls (Previous, Next, Play/Pause) though I wish that the buttons were spaced out more for ergonomics and easy tactile identification when you’re not looking.

Best of all, the battery lasts the whole day for me, plus a little more. On normal usage, it takes me about a couple of days before I need to charge it again.

I use this for both music and phone calls and it pretty much fulfills my needs. Pretty good one actually given its affordable price.

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So one Sunday, I was strolling with my wife and kid at Uptown Mall, after the usual mass when I chanced upon Base London: a men’s formal shoe boutique.

I never knew the brand existed in the Philippines for quite some time now in department stores. Or maybe I’ve forgotten? But I think it was only that day that I discovered the shoe brand.

The salesman told me that they already existed in department stores but then they decided to pull out and instead build and focus on their own standalone stores.

Given that their store is located in Uptown Mall, my mind was guessing that their pairs of shoes would be priced around 8,000 Pesos or something that is in the price range of Cole Haan at the very least.

I was wrong.

Their shoes are premium but are relatively at the mid range. Their price point usually starts from 3,700 Pesos and could go up depending on the style.

As you could see in the photos below, their shoes are really fashionable. Base London only sells men’s footwear means that they are laser-focused on their niche and they excel in it.

I bought this particular pair from them. It was originally priced close to 7,000 Pesos but they were on sale so I got it for almost half the price. I’ll be using this during two weddings I’ll attend to this year where I’m the best man then afterwards I would use it for work and other formal events.

You can check out this shoe plus more at Base London branches in Uptown Mall, Venice Grand Canal Mall, The Podium and Ayala Malls the 30th.

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This is a continuation of How I Met The One Part 1 and How I Met The One Part 2.

It was 5 am on October 18, 2015 and I just finished stuffing my travel bag (Technopack) with clothes that I would need for the next three days.

Aside from the Technopack bag, I brought with me a small bag where I hid a stuff toy I secretly bought for Joan as a parting gift at Blue Magic! (So highschool, isn’t it? LOL).

Joan and I would be spending the weekend together for two nights at one of Tagaytay’s most scenic hotels: Taal Vista. We were also planning to do some food trips around the area and make our last few days together special since we were basically clueless when we would meet each other again.  It should be fun!

Or so we thought.

What we didn’t see coming that day was a typhoon. What a bummer, right? It crossed our minds to back out of the trip that day due to the bad weather, but we both insisted we would continue with the trip because we had no choice. We couldn’t cancel anymore because the whole trip was already booked and paid for and Joan was flying back to the States in a few days.

We carried on.

At around 7 am, we were already at South Luzon Express Way where we stopped at a petrol station to gas up and also to have breakfast and coffee. Other than the heavy rain, everything was going perfectly as planned.

Going on a trip together, as a couple, is always a great idea. You see, when you plan and go on a trip together, you get the chance to know the other person better. You see how they act when it comes to planning, how they react when they are stressed, and how they behave when they are pressured. It is a venue where you get to see the other person, in the most genuine way, without any sort of “trying hard to impress”. Trips like these as a couple, would allow you to see the true colors of the other person and easily spot any differences in character that you two may have.

It’s like a compatibility test, but in a more fun and informal way.

At around 10 am, we arrived just in time in Tagaytay City. Since it was a Sunday we attended mass at Lourdes Church.

Afterwards, we drove to Sonya’s Garden and had an organic lunch made of veggies and salads. Yes boys, I’m not a huge fan but the healthy choices make up for the bingeing we’ve done in the past few days.

 

 

 

The rain was still heavy and so after we had lunch, we went straight to Taal Vista to check-in, drop our bags, rest and lie down in our room for a while as we wait for dinner time. We booked reservations at the fine dining restaurant Antonio’s and we were both excited to try their famed dishes.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. The rain continued on and on and on. It was virtually non-stop. We were ready to brave the storm to Antonio’s despite the heavy outpour of rain, but after trying to call them to confirm our reservation, they informed us that they would be closing their operations for that day since there was a blackout and they had no power.

Sucks right? Now, what do we do?

Of course there was a change of plans.

As an IT guy, it has always been inculcated in our minds to have backups in case things don’t go well as planned. So I had a plan B, which is to just have dinner at Taal Vista’s Cafe Veranda. We had a sumptuous dinner. Food was great and it compensated for the part of our trip that was cancelled. LOL.

After dinner, we still found ourselves stuck in the hotel, so we just headed to the lobby to listen to a musician playing saxophone. He was playing “Moon River”.  Joan and I liked the music because we both grew up listening to classics – thanks to our parents.

 

Make or Break

As much as we were trying to avoid the topic about our future together, we had to do it in one way or the other.

We were trying to avoid it at all cost because we knew it was going to be one very difficult and tough conversation, but we just had to do it anyway.

In fact, one of the primary reasons why we drove all the way to Tagaytay, was for us to talk about how our relationship would proceed from here without any noise and influence from other people. We wanted to talk about our future, together, as grown-ups. We wanted only the two of us to talk about our next step from here.

And so, I started the conversation by saying what I liked about her, what I didn’t like about her (yes guys, honesty is the best way to make a relationship work) what was important in my life, what are dealbreakers for me and what are not.

She also did the same. She mentioned what she liked about me, what she didn’t like and what I could improve on in the relationship. She mentioned her dealbreakers too.

So far, so good, until I dropped a statement that goes something like this:

Joan, you know I like you and I want to be with you. I mentioned to you that there are things here in the Philippines that are also important to me. My ageing parents, my brother, my career and also my blog, PGG, which is basically my alter ego and one which kept me sane through the years when I was single. I also love my country. If I fly to New York, with you, I lose all that, my identity, my soul and my sanity.

I am sorry, but I cannot move to New York… maybe someday, far in the future that might change. But not in the short term. Not in the next 10 years. Not this time. I just cannot. I’m sorry.

 

People would think that I’m a fool to blurt out that statement. Perhaps, even you, reading this would think: “What a moron, Chris is! I can’t believe it. How could anyone turn down the opportunity of going to the United States and make a living there, have kids, be rich and not be stuck in a third world country like the Philippines? How could he?”

Yes guys, I fully understand that. I’m aware of it. I’m not a fool. I, too, have said the exact things to myself and even tried to beat myself at one point for making that decision.

What if I was making a huge mistake? – I even told myself.

But before I made up my mind and made that final decision, I prayed to God about it. I asked Him to equip me with the intellect and wisdom to make the right choices on what would be best for me, what would be best for Joan and our future as a family in case things work out.

I made a decision and then I prayed to God for Joan to understand what my decision was, whether it was favorable for her or not. I also thought that if God thinks that we were meant for each other, things should work out and fall into place.

At the end of the day, it’s all about choices and all about what is important to you, what you value in your life and what makes you happy.

I also believe that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

You can make it, wherever you are, as long as you put your heart to it, and believe in your choices.

I then continued by asking Joan:

Would you consider moving back and start a family here in the Philippines?

 

When I said that, I started to see Joan’s eyes fill with tears. I knew it would be really difficult for her because I put her on a very tough spot. The ball is now on her and she had to choose between two things she loves and two things she worked hard for.

Me or New York City?

New York City is every young person’s dream. Even the song “Empire State of Mind” claims that if you made it there, you can make it anywhere.

She now has to decide whether she would leave all that.

If she picks me, she loses NYC and if she picks NYC, she loses me.

It never occurred to her that she had to choose between work or love. But this time, it happened, just like in movies. Just like in songs.

She paused, then afterwards said:

This is really hard and I know that I can’t change your mind. It looks like you’re already decided.

Here is the thing: I like New York City but it’s not all sunshine and roses.

I love the ease of getting around via the subway, I love the restaurants, I love the views, I love Broadway, I love the big city, I love the four seasons, but I know and I’m fully aware that despite all that, it’s not the best place to build and start a family. The cost of living is too high.

 

I was smiling and deep inside I was thinking that maybe, she will be convinced to move back here with me, at least for now, to get married, build a family and have kids.

Joan continued…

Can you give me two more years, before I come back?

 

I was extremely frustrated.

Two more years? That is too long! Let’s face it. We are not getting any younger. We’re both 30 now, we’re both ready to settle down and have kids. Or at least, I know that I am. 

 

She responded calmly as tears started to roll down her cheeks:

I’m ready too. It’s just that…

 

I interrupted with a slightly frustrated voice:

What?

We are not getting younger anymore. And you know that anything could happen in the next two years. What if you meet someone else while you are there? What if I meet someone else when I’m still here? Two years is too long and too difficult for a long distance relationship. We already waited for two years before we got here and you’re saying we wait another two years?

 

As we were talking at the hotel lobby, the storm outside got stronger, the rain poured out heavier and lightning and thunder started. It felt like the thunder was riding along with our heavy and tough conversation.

She then continued:

It’s not that simple.

I answered back:

What’s not simple? Help me understand.

 

At this point, she couldn’t handle it, she cried to me. And I got teary-eyed too because I know it’s not easy for her. I hugged her and let her cry on my shoulders while we were at Taal Vista’s lobby.

I then whispered with a calm voice:

I’m sorry I had to put you through this. I’m sorry for making you cry and making life difficult for you. It’s just that this is the crossroad in our relationship that we need to face and the one which would determine how we should move forward. We can’t be forever stuck in a long distance relationship. We both don’t want to and we know that.

She was still crying, breathing heavily and couldn’t say a word.

Every relationship has only two possible endings. There’s the happy ending where the couple gets married, have kids and live happily ever after. Then there’s the sad ending where things don’t go as planned. The couple grows apart, then eventually breaks up and everything falls apart.

At this point, I was losing hope. I thought that the latter is what will happen to us. I thought we were about to break up. I was terrified, but I didn’t know what to do at this point. The words have been uttered and the choices have been made.

Then Joan started speaking:

How much time would you give me?

It was October 2015. I replied to her saying:

Until June 2016 then we could get married at that time.

 

Joan was frustrated. Still in tears, she replied:

That’s not reasonable! That’s eight months to go. I can’t. I’m not prepared. I have to resign from work there and look for a job and relocate here in the Philippines. And not only that: my New York apartment has a contract until October 2016 and I have to pay thousands of dollars if I don’t finish the contract.

Give me 1 year. Please?

 

At this point, I thought that 1 year seems to be a reasonable amount of time. Also, I have to compromise something and I believe this is it.

OK, 1 year.

 

Joan smiled and she said. One more thing. Can you promise to visit me in New York in the next few months before I come home to the Philippines?

I promise. You have my word.

 

A Brighter Day

The following day was a brighter day for us. As we opened our hotel room’s window, we were happy to see that the storm has passed and the sun was up.

Not only was it literally a sunny day, it was a brighter day for us too, figuratively. Because the storm had passed in our relationship and we were now laser-focused on what we wanted to do in the future and to which direction we wanted to go. We’ve both decided that Joan would move back on the following year and we would stay here in the Philippines and build a family here. And as promised, I would be visiting her in New York City before she returns to Manila.

We both knew and were fully aware that people (friends and family included) may agree or disagree or have something to say about our decision. We respected whatever that was, but we also hoped that they would respect our decision because that was based on what we thought was best for both of us given the situation.

During our last day in Tagaytay, we had breakfast at the hotel, and we began opening up more and becoming transparent about every aspect of our lives. I told her how much savings I had in the bank and she did the same. We talked about our salaries and Joan’s plans on how to tell her boss about her moving back to Manila. We also talked about how to plan the next year because we knew it was going to be a real struggle and a lot of hard work especially on Joan’s part but I assured her that I would do everything I could to help her and be on her side as we sort and figure how things will pan out. I promised her that we would make it all work together.

Now since the beginning of our relationship in 2014, I haven’t explicitly said “I Love You” to her.

Surprised? I knew you would be but I had my reasons.

The reason why I didn’t say it is because I wanted to make it special. I wanted to say it the first time face-to-face and not via chat or via video call to see her reaction and make it more memorable. I knew she was waiting for me to say it first but I was reserving it until this time.

And so, before we checked-out of the hotel, I pulled out the stuff toy I bought at Blue Magic which I was hiding from her the whole trip. The stuff toy was a white bear which has a rose in its hand and a heart inscribed with the words she had been dying to hear. As I handed over the gift, I said “I Love You!” and teary-eyed she said to me: “I Love You too.”

I told Joan to bring the stuff toy with her to New York City when she flies back and hug it whenever she feels lonely or whenever she misses me. She laughed and said that yes, she would definitely bring it.

Before we left Tagaytay, we went to Sky Ranch and rode the giant ferris wheel. This was where this memorable photo was taken.

In the next couple of days, we found ourselves, again at the airport. Yes, it would be a long distance relationship again, for one last year, but we are pretty satisfied that we had something real and something tangible to look forward to. Because now we know that we are on the same boat and headed for the same direction.

As I waved goodbye to Joan at the airport I whispered to myself:

“Here we go again. One more year of LDR”

Now as I walked towards my Uber which was waiting for me to take me back to my apartment, there was something that started to brew in my mind. Something I knew I had to do the next time we meet.

Propose.

To be continued…

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This post was written by PGG contributor Alrich

WE LOVE MUSIC! Who doesn’t?

Everyone has their inner passion for listening to music. It is like an escape from the bitter world. From turntable to radio, Walkman, disc player, mp3 player and now to the world of music streaming, the evolution of music players never stops! Along with this crazy evolution, earphones are also changing. From wired to wireless, from typical earphones to in-ear buds. Most of us like either in-ear or on-ear buds, both have its own good qualities, but it’s far from perfect – because they also have some issues.


One, ear pain when used for a long period of time.

Two, the risk of not hearing your surroundings.

And three, the risk of having ear infection. The list could go on..


So here’s an actual scenario that you might have also experienced. We have this moment when we just wanted to be alone with our music playlist, blasting off music jams, using in-ear earbuds during a good day going to work then an acquaintance or a friend unexpectedly comes and because of this, we have to take it off and listen to our friend’s (non-stop) stories. Right there and then, the moment is ruined!


AfterShokz Trekz Titanium, an open-ear headset, provides solution to those issues mentioned above and gives our ears a break from earbuds and on-ear headsets. This sweet piece of gadget uses a bone conduction technology, which removes the need to insert earbuds into our ears. This device also lessens the risk of having ear infections. Neat! And most especially, you can listen to your favorite jam and still, can hear everything around you. Amazing if you think about it! It’s basically and literally giving the best soundtrack to your everyday lives!


Environment and Activities

This amazing gadget fits the office environment. Imagine rushing to a deadline while listening to your good vibes songs and not worrying you might not hear your boss calling you, it will be nice to hear everything and everyone as you listen to your music. This is also perfect for bike lovers, runners, yoga and gym addicts. Though it is not recommended for swimming since this gadget is not fully waterproof. Also, if you are traveling in a noisy environment like EDSA or in a PUV that plays heart-throbbing music, this might not be very effective because you can barely hear the music on your Trekz Titanium.


Comfort

The design of this masterpiece totally fits your head and since there is no need to put it in your ear, it is not painful to wear for long-time listening. You can totally forget that you are wearing it for it is very light. And just like other Bluetooth devices, the freedom from wires is such a delight for everyone. Trekz Titanium can last 6 hours of continuous listening and can fully recharge for 1.5 hours.


Sound Leakage

You don’t need to worry about sound leak for there is a minimal leak that you might need to be (at least) shoulder-to-shoulder to a person in a very quiet room for you to hear the sound leak.


Sound Quality

I found this to be the major bummer of this device. Trekz Titanium’s sound travels indirectly to the ears (via bone conduction) so the quality of sound is totally different from the in-ear buds and on-ear headsets. The lacking of bass in the audio is somehow a bit of a downer since I do like the sound of bass in my music coming through it. Also, using customizable equalizer from your phone or player is not very convenient for this one. However, the audio experience from this device is not bad, really. Let’s say it is very basic. If you are the type of person who wants the best audio quality, this device might not be the best option for you.

  • The box includes a small pouch, micro USB cable (for charging), manual and pair of earplugs (If you want a higher sound quality while listening).

The Verdict

I love new technologies especially the ones that are very useful to me. Like when I saw this piece of beauty and tried it myself, immediately I said to myself that I’m going to get this soon! And now that I got it, definitely I have no regrets on buying this. I can now listen to music at the office without worrying of not hearing my boss or colleagues calling me plus, it is also an ease to listen to my jam while having conversations with my friends, over lunch or dinner. Not to worry about it’s sound quality since you still have the liberty to use a super nice earbuds when you feel entitled to escape the noise of the outside world. So for me, this cool device is such a delight for those who has the urge to hear everything.

For technicalities and specifications of this device, you can check out AFTERSHOKZ official website.

* * * *


Alrich is a family man who works as a software engineer in an IT company. He grew up listening to The Beatles, Queen and Eraserheads. He was one of the ‘vintage’ 90’s kids that experienced the joy and excitement of playing street games. He considers himself as “one of the few”, a kid at heart and molded by life experience.

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New Year calls for a new you. And sometimes, that could include a new gym.

Speaking of new gyms, there’s a brand new one that recently entered the Philippines. It is Celebrity Fitness.

Why is it called “Celebrity Fitness”? It’s because of their one-of-a-kind concept where gym members are called SuperStars and their fitness instructors? They are called StarMakers.

Celebrity Fitness wants to bring back the fun to working out. They started in Indonesia in 2003 and through the years, has expanded their presence in Malaysia and now in the Philippines.

Celebrity Fitness offers a full range of unique Signature programs to get members to move and party with energy and positivity, including:

  • Playground: a 35-minute class on the gym floor that incorporates a range of innovative functional equipment and adventurous game-based workouts.
  • Dance N’ Attitude (DNA): a 60-minute class, perfect for those who want to get their body grooving to the latest beats.
  • Floating Yoga: a 60-minute class combining yoga, pilates, and functional movements in a suspended hammock.
  • Saltar: a 60-minute uber-fun trampoline workout. Saltar, which means ‘jump’ in Portuguese, is the first workout of its kind in the Philippines.

Here is a gallery of how the gym looks from the inside.

Membership Rates

Their membership prices start at 2,595 Pesos with more options as follows

CelebrityMonthly Rate: 2,595 Pesos (12 months ongoing)
StarMonthly Rate: 2,750 Pesos (6 months ongoing)
FameMonthly Rate: 2,900 Pesos
(monthly ongoing fee, no commitment cancel anytime with 7-day notice)
Personal Training

As for their personal training rates it starts at 920 Pesos with more options as follows:

SOLO (1)STAR (12)CELEBRITY (12)
4O minutesPhp 920Php9,240Php 17,640
60 minutesPhp 1,150Php 11,220Php 22,312

Celebrity Fitness is located at the new and upscale mall, One Bonifacio High Street in BGC, Taguig. It is owned by Evolution Wellness which also owns and carries the other leading fitness brands such as Fitness First, CHi Fitness and Fiveelements.

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I am always on the lookout for new, unique and exciting products to feature and today is no exception as I discovered a brand of watches that captured my interest and one I’m sure will capture yours too.

Meet JORD Wood Watches.



Pronounced as “YODE”, JORD watches are fashionable timepieces which are made of wood. Yep, you read and saw that right: this watch is made mostly of wood.

I first discovered them when someone from JORD dropped me a note asking if I would like to share this timepiece with my audience here on PGG and I said, why not?



Because if I see a promising product like JORD – one that has a truly unique value proposition amidst a saturated market like watchmaking where all timepieces look almost the same, it just simply stands out.

As someone who is an avid collector of different types of watches, I find that JORD has a special place in my collection. In fact, very special because this is the only watch that I have that is made of wood.

When I got my first JORD wood watch, it was packed in a pretty decent container that looks like this.



I gasped with much thrill as I unboxed and opened the product. It was one of a kind.



Surprisingly, JORD wood watches do not feel cheap. It looks and feels sophisticated and is pleasant to wear and to the touch. It feels like an expensive, wooden timepiece.

The watches are assembled and packaged in Saint Louis, Missouri, in the United States but are mostly manufactured and built in China.

As you can see, each segment of the bracelet is a piece of wood, handcrafted to perfection. It’s beautiful.



The watch does not feel heavy nor too light. It’s just about right.

Now since the watch is made of wood, I had to ask JORD if it is waterproof or water resistant in any way. They replied to me saying that JORD wood watches are considered to be splash proof. That means, normal wear and use can include kitchen activities, a day on the beach, the gym, etc. However, they do not recommend full submergence in water because it would not be good for the integrity of the watch’s movement as well as the wood itself. Also, excessive moisture exposure could result in a diminished flexibility in the band wood links.



I think it makes sense, after all the watch is made of wood so it’s not really designed to be fully waterproof, but more of designed to make every man to be more stylish.

The package comes with a complimentary cleaning cloth and brush to help keep your woodwatch in tip top shape and keep you on top of your fashion game.



And speaking of fashion game, one of the best things I liked about JORD woodwatches, specifically this model that I picked from them called “HYDE: Kosso & Gray”, is that you can easily wear it with both business and casual outfits.



I found many of my friends taking a second look at the watch and asking me where I got it from.

If you’re wondering too, JORD wood watches’ prices start at around 129 USD and are available online at: JORD Wood Watches website here.

Also, we are hosting a giveaway where you can get 100 USD off when purchasing a JORD wood watch. You can enter the giveaway here and a random winner will be picked. And here’s the best part: even if you don’t win, you instantly get 10% off just by entering the giveaway.

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2018 was not an easy year for me. It was the time when my first born son, Liam, was growing up as an infant and during that time, I had my fair share of sleepless nights and super exhausted days. Heck, having a baby is much much harder than I thought.

I also gained a lot of weight (lost time to exercise and eat healthy ever since I had a baby) and I kind of wish that in 2019, I’d be able to shed all those excess pounds and eat healthier food.

But, looking back, 2018 had its good times too and it was not so bad after all. In fact, for me, it was the year of travels. It started with our whole family deciding last minute to buy tickets and fly all the way to Russia to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was a dream come true and surely a once in a lifetime event!

It was also this year when I went to Cebu for the first time, also to Prague and Vienna for the first time and to San Francisco again for the second time. It was the year where I felt like I was a legit jetsetter – all thanks to my job (and to my wife’s) which required us to go to places for work and also do some leisure trips on the side.

I’m also proud that this year, I’ve done some serious adulting stuff. Yes, apart from raising a child, I also took time with my wife to plan and to finally get our family some life insurance. I know some people like to call it investment, but for me, I see it more as a safety net and a protection in case something happens.

I’ve also done some form of serious investments in the form of UITFs and now I’m playing with PERA (Personal Equity and Retirement Account) in hopes that I’ll grow my money when I retire in the future.

Too much adulting stuff, eh?

Now due to my busy schedule, you’ve probably noticed too that I’ve scaled down a bit in writing posts this year for PGG. I hope that this changes in 2019 so that I could write more interesting stories for you here on the blog and also short snippets of it on my Instagram.

But before we end this year tonight and leap to 2019, let’s take a quick recap of the Top Stories of PGG in 2018.



1. A Guy’s Guide to Bakal Gyms in the Philippines
We started the year by talking about how Bakal Gyms are like, how much they cost and where you could find them. Because we think that enrolling in a gym does not mean that you’ll have to break the bank.


2. Memo Paris is the Luxury Fragrance for Men with the Most Unique Scents
This is one expensive fragrance, but very rarely would you find anyone wearing a similar scent because the smell is just too unique.


3. Five Best Stores To Find RTW Suits for Prom
In time for the Prom month, we came up with an article where you can find the best ready-to-wear suits for prom.


4. Five Signs You’re Ready To Tie the Knot and Live Together
For those men who are thinking about settling down, we came up with five signs in order for you to determine if you are ready to get married.


5. Big Bikes to Drool for at The Honda Big Bike Flagship Store
This year, Honda opened their Big Bike store in Makati where they showcased Big Bikes that Big Boys would drool for.


6. Poll Results: The Top Places To Meet Single Women
We conducted a poll among all PGG readers to ask where they met their special someone and the results were eye-opening. If you want to find out the best places to meet single women, then this post is for you.


7. Daniel Hechter Men’s Fashion for Spring and Summer 2018
Daniel Hechter is known for their business wear and this year they had an amazing Spring / Summer 2018 collection.


8. Cole Haan Original Grand Woodbury/Ivory Men’s Oxfords Makes You Look Good
My favorite pair of shoes to date is the Cole Haan Original Grand Woodbury/Ivory Men’s Oxfords. It just goes well with any outfit. Whether with a pair of jeans, or khaki trousers – it makes you look good.


9. Guy Gear: A Workstation On Your Bed
I have received a lot of inquiries about this “workstation on the bed” laptop table ever since I posted it on my Instagram stories. So for the benefit of everyone, I created a blog post about this. It’s a pretty useful gear to have especially if you feel lazy! Haha.


10. Top 10 Scene-Stealers at The Manila International Auto Show 2018
This year, the stars of the Manila International Auto Show were Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Urvan Premium and the all-new Volvo XC-90 to name a few.


11. Commodity Luxury Fragrances Now Available at Art of Scent Philippines
Commodity is a brand of luxury fragrances which are unisex. Check them out at Art of Scent stores.


12. Aqua Planet and Midori Clark: Last Getaway before Summer Ends
One of the newest and grandest summer destinations has just arrived this 2018. It’s none other than Aqua Planet – a huge waterpark located in Clark, Pampanga. It has promising facilities and state-of-the-art attractions that will truly make your summer an unforgettable one.


13. Rainy Day Men’s Fashion: Where Streetwear and Influencers Meet
One of the country’s top menswear designers, Jeffrey Rogador, showcased menswear for the rainy season which featured streetwear being worn by influencers. Check them out.


14. My 2018 FIFA World Cup Experience and My First Trip to Russia
Going to Russia, to watch the 2018 FIFA World Cup, was an experience I will never ever forget. Watching a live FIFA World Cup match inside a huge stadium in Russia is literally a dream come true for me and something that gave me chills. And the icing on top of the cake? It’s seeing the beauty of Russia – because despite all the negative press that the country is getting – I think it is such a beautiful country with so many undiscovered treasures to see.


15. Slimmers World Great Bodies 2018: What to Expect in a Bodybuilding Competition
This year, Slimmers World held its Great Bodies competition having PGG as one of the media sponsors. It was my first time ever to watch a Bodybuilding Competition and I’ve learned so much about how it works so I wrote and shared everything I’ve learned in this blog post.


16. Seasonless Men’s Fashion featuring SWONNE
SWONNE is a brand of menswear based in New York and they introduced style that is seasonless. Check this post for some fashion inspiration.


17. Mossimo Stylish Carry On Luggage that looks like Denims
This year was a year of travel for me, so I made sure to get myself this stylish piece of carry on luggage from Mossimo. What I loved about it is how it looked like an actual pair of jeans!


18. Engineered for Motion Fall/Winter 2018 is Fashion built for the Man on the Go
Engineered for Motion is line of menswear inspired by urban sounds and motion. It is built for the man who lives and thrives in the city, hence, the phrase, “Built for the Man on the Go”.


19. Reebok Speed TR Flexweave: The Versatile Training Shoe for Men
This year, Reebok launched the Speed TR Flexweave – a shoe which is built especially for training in the gym.


20. MG Philippines Offers Three Cars for Three Different Types of Guys
2018 saw the arrival of a new brand of cars here in the Philippines – MG. MG, which stands for Morris Garages, is a brand of automobiles that was originally born in the UK. For 2018, they launched three different cars for three different types of guys here in the country. Watch out as they come up with more line-ups this 2019.

* * * *

As always, I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, and my readers for a wonderful 2018. Thank you also to our major sponsors this year: Traveloka, Morris Garages (MG) Philippines, GoWifi, Louis XIII Cognac and all our partners.

I’m looking forward to 2019 with more posts (hopefully), lose weight and healthy lifestyle (hopefully), more books to read (currently in the works) and also more travels (if budget permits). I’d also like to focus better on time management because I badly need that with so many responsibilities and so many things going on in my life simultaneously.

To date, I’ve started doing the groundwork on improving Pinoy Guy Guide for 2019. You will see that I’ve changed the layout of the blog and hopefully you like its new look plus its new slogan!

I think that’s all for this year so once again, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Blessed and Prosperous New Year to all of you!

Cheers,
CHRIS

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