Saturday, June 19, 2010

Smencils: Gourmet Scented Pencils Now Available in the Philippines!

We do not have to be environmentalists to know that in order to preserve our planet, we must save and protect our trees. There is no urgent need to engage in large-scale environmental changes to contribute positively to the earth. We can protect and preserve our natural resources through simple ways such as reusing our printed documents as scratch paper, responsibly separating our garbage, limiting the use of plastic bags in our purchases by bringing our own reusable bags, and many more simple-to-do tasks.

The product featured in the photo above is called Smencils. The Smencil Company is a business from the USA that envisions to save the earth's trees one pencil at a time through its product - Smencils. Instead of wood that is used in commercial pencils, Smencils are made from 100% recycled newspapers. These newspapers are rolled to make Smencils and are sharpened just like you would your regular pencils. As a bonus, Smencils are dipped in the sweetest of scents that last up to two years inside or outside their corn-based biodegradable plastic tubes.

Smencils are now available in the Philippines and are open for distribution and reselling. The suggested retail price per Smencil is 69 pesos. They come in 10 different scents namely, bubble gum, cinnamon, watermelon, orange, black cherry, very berry, cotton candy, grape, tropical blast, and root beer. Currently, Smencils may be purchased from Hobbes and Landes in Fort Bonifacio High Street, Power Plant Mall Rockwell, Greenbelt 5, and Greenhills Promenade branches. The company that has authorized distributorship in the Philippines is Timbrel and Harp Marketing. Those who are interested in dealership or distribution may email . Wholesale buyers and resellers are also welcome. The official website of Smencils Manila may be found here.

Save the earth and its trees one pencil at a time! Smell great at the same time too! :D Buy your Smencil today :D

Smencils are now available from the following stores:

Hobbes and Landes Bonifacio High Street
Hobbes and Landes Power Plant Mall, Rockwell
Hobbes and Landes Greenbelt 5
Hobbes and Landes Greenhills Promenade
Hobbes and Landes Shangri La Plaza Mall
Hobbes and Landes SM Mall of Asia
Hobbes and Landes Trinoma

Fullybooked Bonifacio High Street
Fullybooked Greenbelt 5
Fullybooked Power Plant Mall, Rockwell
Fullybooked Greenhills Promenade
Fullybooked EDSA Shangri La Hotel
Fullybooked SM North Edsa
Fullybooked SM Mall of Asia
Fullybooked Gateway Mall Cubao
Fullybooked Trinoma
Fullybooked Eastwood Mall
Fullybooked Marquee Mall Angeles City
Fullybooked SM Clark Pampanga
Fullybooked Cebu 

Powerbooks Alabang Town Center
Powerbooks Greenbelt 4
Powerbooks Shangri La Plaza
Powerbooks SM Megamall
Powerbooks Festival Mall Alabang
Powerbooks Glorietta
Powerbooks SM Mall of Asia

A Different Bookstore Serendra

Bibliarch Glorietta 3
Bibliarch KCC Mall, General Santos City

Sketchbooks Greenbelt 3

DASH Store Eastwood City

Petshop Trinoma

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apply for Reduced Philippine Travel Tax for Children from Manila and from Clark!

Travel still is considered by most to be a luxury, a status symbol of sorts. In the 1980s, the only way through which you can book a planned travel itinerary whether domestic or international was through a travel agency. Today, things are much different. With the onset of high-technology and the birth of budget airlines such as Air Asia and Cebu Pacific, travel has become relatively inexpensive and very convenient to "do-it-yourself."  Everything can be booked online, from the air ticket, to the accommodations, and to even day tours. There is no need to dole out cold cash. Everything is charged to a Visa or Mastercard credit card. If you do NOT have one, you can still enlist the help of a friend who has one to book it for you. Just make sure to pay them. :)

Traveling to another country involves the payment of Philippine travel tax. As of today, June 14, 2010, travel tax rates are pegged at 1,620 pesos per passenger. If you are traveling with children aged below 11 years, you may apply for a reduced travel tax certificate and pay only 810 pesos (a whopping 50% discount) per child. Applications involving travel tax exemptions and reduced rates may be coursed through two locations namely, Manila and Clark. All information will be provided below for your convenience.

How does one apply for Reduced Travel Tax in the Philippines for children aged below 11 years old?

Contrary to the bureaucratic red tape expected from government agency transactions, applying for reduced travel tax for children below 11 years of age from the DOT (Department of Tourism) or its ONE-STOP PROCESSING CENTER in Clark involves only a few steps and a few minutes. Enlisted below are a few preparation tips when planning to visit DOT.

1.  Bring the original passport of your child/children along with photocopies.

2.  Bring the travel itinerary receipt which was sent to your email address or the original printed air ticket with your child's/children's names on it. Make sure you also have photocopies with you for submission.

3. a.  If you are applying in MANILA, the DOT building's address is along T. M. Kalaw Avenue near Taft Avenue, Manila.  It is a yellowish building that is right across the Manila Doctor's Hospital. You are to go directly to Room 117, the Revenue or Travel Tax Department. Their office is open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Mondays through Fridays. Telephone numbers are 523-3029 and 524-7734.

3. b.  If you are applying in CLARK, the ONE-STOP processing center in Clark is located in Building No. 7256 (the building across Oriental Duty Free Shop) along C. M. Recto Highway, Clark Special Economic Zone. The Clark office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Mondays through Fridays.

4. The queue is not long and the process will take only 15 minutes, maximum. The processing fee is 200 pesos per child. This amount corresponds to the processing fee for your child's Reduced Travel Tax Certificate, which entitles him or her to a 50% discount on Philippine Travel Tax. You will pay only 810 pesos plus the 200 pesos for a total of 1,010 pesos per child. The certificate is only good for one travel itinerary. Future travel plans require another application. The photo above shows the picture of the certificate on the bottom right portion, right beside the DOT logo.

5.  Since you are already going out of your way to the Travel Tax Department, I suggest you bring extra cash to pay for the other passengers' Philippine travel tax (the adults'). That way, you go straight to the check-in queue on the day of your departure, without need to settle the Philippine Travel Tax.

I have asked staff of the Department of Tourism if this certificate may be applied in the airport. They confirmed that it can be done in the airport when you leave but when the queue is long, they will not bother to process your request since it takes a considerable amount of time. I do not like taking risks and so I chose to go to the DOT instead. The only regret I have is the fact that I forgot to bring extra cash to pay for the travel tax fees of my husband and I. That only means I have to be in the airport an extra hour earlier to allot time for this. Bummer! :(

August 18, 2010. I just returned from a Hong Kong trip via Cebu Pacific. I asked the DFA staff in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 if applications for reduced travel tax for children can be applied on the spot. They said YES! This means that you no longer have to go to their T.M. Kalaw Avenue office for the reduced travel tax certificate. :)

September 15, 2012. You can now apply for reduced travel tax for your children in the airport. When you pay your travel taxes, kindly indicate to the DFA staff that you would like to avail of the reduced travel tax certificate.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jacob's Ladder Immunization Center: Mommy's Best Friend


As parents, we strive not only to provide the best education to our children. A big chunk of our efforts are also invested in their health care. From infancy to toddler to child and pre-teen stages, where our budgets permit, we ensure that our children are given their timely "shots". In the past years, vaccines and immunizations in the Philippines have become a luxury. Only the wealthy can afford to provide this added health support to their children.

I have resided near SM Southmall for at least nine years and in one of those cinema nights (I would say three years ago), I stumbled upon this immunization center called Jacob's Ladder. Since then, I have referred a lot of mommy friends as well as some adults to enlist the services of this establishment for their vaccination and immunization needs.

Jacob's Ladder Immunization Center is owned by Mr. Jaime Villafuerte. He has taken upon himself the responsibility of providing CHEAPER vaccines to the public. Why? Rumor has it that one or two of his relatives died from diseases that could have been avoided by immunization/vaccination. The vaccines are purchased in bulk from Zuellig, the largest distributor of pharmaceutical products in the country. This explains why the center can afford to offer vaccines that are priced at least 30% cheaper than regular rates from pediatricians. No offense to all pediatricians in our country but I believe they just charge an arm and a leg for an ordinary shot. I love my pediatrician and rely on him for help for my child's health care. However, where an alternative exists that will help me save big bucks, why not?

Branches of Jacob's Ladder Immunization Center may be found in the following:
SM Southmall (3rd Level) Telephone #801-5453 - see update below for new location
Robinsons Mall Dasmarinas Cavite (Lower Ground Floor) Telephone #046-4163791
Puso ng Maynila Arcade, UN Avenue Telephone #404-1189
Port Area Manila Telephone #4043796
Baliwag Bulacan 

Here is a list of the vaccines and their price list as of June 8, 2010:
Hepa B Pedia (single)     500 pesos
Hepa B Adult (single)     700 pesos
Hepa A Pedia (single)     1,200 pesos
Hepa A Adult (single)     2,300 pesos
Flu Adult or Pedia         800 pesos (includes the H1N1 strain already)
Haemophilus Influenza Type B (HIB)     850 pesos
Diptheria + Pertussis + Tetanus Booster     1,200 pesos
DPT + HIB + Hepa B + Polio (6-in-1)      2,400 pesos
Measles + Mumps + Rubella (MMR)        750 pesos
DPT + Hepa B     900 pesos
DPT + HIB + Polio (5-in-1)     2,000 pesos
DPT + Polio (Tetraxim)     1,250 pesos
DPT + HIB (Tetracthib)     1,200 pesos
Combined Hepa A & B Pedia     1,200 pesos
Combined Hepa A & B Adult     2,100 pesos
Typhoid Fever     800 pesos
Chicken Pox (Varicella)     1,600 pesos
Cholera (Dulcoral)     1,450 pesos
Pneumococcal (Pneumo 23)     1,400 pesos
Measles     450 pesos
Tetanus Toxoid     200 pesos
Rabies     1,600 pesos
BCG     500 pesos
Meningococcal     1,600 pesos
PCV 7 (Prevenar)     4,200 pesos
PCV 10 (Synflorix)     2,500 pesos
Rotavirus (Rotarix)     2,400 pesos

Human Papilloma Virus - HPV (Cervical Cancer Vaccine):
Gardasil     4,000 pesos
Cervarix     2,000 pesos

Typhoid vaccines have a validity of three years for every single shot.
Pneumo vaccines have a validity of five years for every single shot. 

UPDATE (October 28, 2011) :

Jacob's Ladder SM Southmall is already closed.  The good news is, they have relocated to a new building in Las Pinas with details below:

Second Floor
It is an orange building near Citimotors (Times) and SM Super Center
Landline:  478-4707

Updates on vaccine prices:
Typhoid Fever - 900.00
Pneumo - 1,400.00
Polio - 500.00

New vaccine:
Combination MMR and Chickenpox - 2,500.00
PVC #13 - 4,200.00
DPT for Adults - Adacel 1,400.00
DPT for Adults - Boostrix 1,200.00