WINE REVIEW: Cape Mentelle Chardonnay 2018

January 6, 2024

WINE REVIEW: Cape Mentelle Chardonnay 2018

Superb chardonnay. Rich but refreshing,  with the right balance of acidity. Full bodied flavor of toasted brioche, butter, peach, melon and a hint of lemon. Pleasurable to the palate, with a very long finish.

Pairs perfectly with Taiwan pineapple pastry. 

Winery: Cape Mentelle
Designation: Chardonnay 
Region: Margaret River
Country: Australia
Grape variety: 100% Chardonnay 
Vintage: 2018
Wine searcher: 92 pts
Vivino: 4.1

SINGAPORE AIRLINES: Meals on Manila to Singapore Flights

January 3, 2024

Meals on Manila to Singapore Flights

This is the meal served on SQ 921, Manila to Singapore , economy class. 

Flight was on time. Since this flight left Manila 7PM, the meal served is dinner. The photo below is barbecue chicken with rice. 

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Why I love Cibo Delivery

December 27, 2023


I am taking time out from my hectic holiday schedule to commend Cibo delivery for a superb performance especially during the peak holiday season. Not all restaurants can claim to be as consistent in the quality of food they serve especially during the peak holiday season, when demand for their food is at the highest. I've been a customer of Cibo delivery the past 2 years and have ordered pasta from them frequently, both during peak and non-peak seasons.  The quality of their pasta, both in flavour and the texture of the noodles has consistently been excellent, whether or not demand is high, unlike in some restaurants where quality goes down when customer demand goes up. And the other amazing thing is that even though there's a time gap between food being cooked, delivered then eaten, the quality of food stays the same. How? They are thoughtful enough to pack additional sauce and pasta water to the pasta you order to anticipate the possibility of the pasta absorbing all the sauce and drying it up.

This is why they are my go-to food delivery during peak season important occasions like Christmas day and New Year's day because they are extremely reliable.

To recap, this has been my experience with Cibo delivery :

1. The quality of their pasta is consistently excellent despite heavy demand.

2. They are open and deliver during Christmas day and New Year's day.

3. It's easy to order online and pay at their site.

4. Orders are confirmed via call to make sure they get your orders accurately.

5. They have their own delivery service so you don't need to look for a rider during the peak holiday season.

6. They text you when the rider is out for delivery to assure you it will arrive on time. 

7. The food you order arrives on time.

Take note that the branch assigned to service my location is Cibo Eastwood.

I usually order Farfalle ala Genovese, Penne al Telefono and Linguine alla Ghiotta and Tagliata di Manzo

To order:

Farfalle ala Genovese

Linguine alla Ghiotta

Penne al Telefono

Tagliata di Manzo

How to test if your Alipay works in China

November 18, 2023


For first-time users of Alipay, the greatest fear is for Alipay not to work when you're already in China. So before you start your trip, you can test it out by scanning the qr code of this charity. For a very minimal amount, you'll get a confirmation of whether or not your Alipay works.

A Heart for China:

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Why ALIPAY is the most important app to have when travelling around China and How to Use It.

November 16, 2023

Why ALIPAY is the most important app to have when travelling around China and How to Use It. 

90% of China is said to be cashless. Even beggars in China are cashless. They display signs with their qr code and ask people to scan it and make donations. Under the law merchants are prohibited from refusing cash payments, but sometimes they don't have change so if they accept it, be prepared that they might not have change. Foreign credit cards are also not widely accepted so you need to ask before making a purchase or eating in a restaurants whether or not they will accept your mode of payment. That's why I made sure I downloaded the Alipay app before arriving in China. Alipay is widely accepted in China and easier to use than Wechat. I attempted to use wechat, but before I get to actually use it, my account was blocked for reasons i cannot understand. 

That being said, I would say ALIPAY ROCKS! I used the app in China for everything: for my store purchases, for my metro rides and for my taxi rides. You can also buy China train tickets, attraction admission tickets and tours in the app because is incorporated in the app. It was seamless. All you need is a good mobile data connection. I discussed how to get it in my previous post. Check it out HERE


1. First you download it to your phone through the app store. 

2. You can sign up using your foreign mobile number or your email address.

3. Make sure your app is switched to the International version so it's all in English. It looks like this. 

If its all in Chinese, it means the app is in the Standard version. So go to Settings and click Switch version then put a check mark on the International Version. See below

4. Then add your foreign credit card. 

Click Account then Bank card then add your foreign credit card.

These are the cards accepted at Alipay:

Once you're able to add your card, you can already use the app. 


Refer to this dashboard

1. To pay for goods in 2 ways

A. By clicking SCAN to scan the merchant's QR code, to make payment. It will ask your payment password before executing payment. 


B. By clicking PAY/RECEIVE so you can generate a QR code that the merchant will scan. It will also ask for your payment password before executing payment. The QR code generated is for one-time use. You need to generate a new one for a subsequent purchase. 

You can use this second mode of payment if the merchant has a device that can scan your qr code. In smaller shops, they don't have a device so they just display their store qr code for you to scan


a. Call the bank that issued your credit card that you added to the app to inform them of the dates that you'll be in China to make sure they don't treat it as an unusual charge and suspend the use of the card. 

b. Activate the roaming signal of the sim card linked to the added credit card and bring it with you just in case your bank sends a message asking for confirmation of transaction. 

c. Add at least 2 credit cards to the app to serve as backup in case the other one suffers a glitch. 

2. To pay for metro rides

With the app, you no longer need a metro card. In fact, it's hard to get a metro card anymore because they're phasing it out. 

To use it, set the city where you're using it. In the example above, I set it to Shanghai. Then click transport to retrieve the qr code of your transport card. Display it on your phone then scan it on the turnstile of the metro station for the barrier to open. You can also retrieve another qr code if you want to take the bus. You need separate qr codes for the bus and metro.


3. To get a taxi

Click Didi and it works just like Grab or Uber. 


Get China train tickets, book tours and admission tickets. To be able to use this, you need to verify your account in the app. This means you need to submit your passport information because your passport will be your ticket to the train and admission to sites. They do not ask for a physical ticket at the entrance of the train station to allow entry. They ask for your passport. 


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How to Have Internet Access in China and Where to Buy SIM card for China


You have three (3) options:

1. Buy a vpn ready sim card at Lazada before your trip. 

Why do you need a VPN ready SIM card?

In China, you cannot access non-Chinese apps like Google, Facebook or Instagram, if you do not have a vpn ready sim card. You need to separately install a vpn to do so. 

I got my sim card from Happy Telecom here:  It uses China unicorn as the provider. The regular price is 660 pesos for 8 gb good for 15 days. I was able to get a discounted price during the lazada sale at only 420 pesos. They delivered it to my home before I left for my trip so I was ready to connect to the internet when I landed in China. 


My review: The sim card from happy telecom is very easy to use. You install it in the first sim card slot of your phone before you land. It receives a signal when you land at the airport and can immediately use it. I used it in Beijing and Shanghai and on the train from Beijing to Shanghai. The speed is even faster than the speed of the hotel wifi. I was also able to access all apps that I regularly use, which are non-Chinese apps. The only con is that the sim is purely data. So you cannot make local calls. If you need to make local calls with your sim, you can buy a sim card at the airport.

MY TIP: Make sure to get 1gb per day data. I noted that while browsing in China, I consumed 500-750 gb per day, browsing and uploading photos, and using alipay for my purchases, and my metro and taxi trips. So it's safe to get a 1gb per day sim for your trip. 

2. Buy a sim card at the airport. 

We landed at Beijing Capital Airport so my information is on stalls selling sim card at Beijing Capital airport. 

You can find the stall near baggage claim area. We arrived in Beijing at 12 noon. I tried to find out the stall's operating hours, but the person manning the stall couldn't understand what I was saying. You can view the rates from the photos below.

The con of buying a sim card at the airport in China is that it is not vpn ready. So you need to separately install a vpn to be able to access non-Chinese apps like Google. Note that you can only install a vpn prior to your arrival in China. 

This is at Beijing Capital airport, near baggage claim

3. Avail of the roaming offers by your telecom provider. 

This is actually the more expensive one which I do not recommend unless you do not have time to purchase a sim card. For example, Globe telecom offers 3gb for 3 days at 999 pesos, 5gb for 5 days at 1599, and 7gb at 7 days for 2199. It's 3 times the cost of a vpn ready sim I got at Lazada. The only advantage of this is the convenience of getting data by simply registering in the app. Also, by using using data roaming, you can access all your non-Chinese apps. 

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November 10, 2023


1. First, have photo taken.

- You need to have your photo taken first because you can't fill up the application form and proceed to page 2 of the online form without uploading your photo in page 1.

- The size of the photo should be 48mm x 33mm, white background, in colored shirt with collar.

- You need a soft copy for uploading to the application form and at least 2 pieces photo print to be included with your printed application form. 

- Have your photo taken at Great Image. They are very reliable in taking visa photos. 

- Fill up the application form in all capital letters. It doesn't say so at the start of the online application form but it is said in the instructions after have submitted it online.

- You can save and edit the same application for a month. But once you have submitted it online, you cannot edit the application form anymore. You need to fill up a new one.

- You cannot edit the application form once you have submitted it.

3. Book an appointment HERE after submitting the application form online. 

- You will need the application ID of the form you submitted to access the appointment calendar.

- Print the application form then sign it. 

- Print the confirmation of appointment 

4. This is the checklist of the documents you need to submit:

A. Current passport with 6 months validity, with at least 2 pages free
B. Old passport with other valid visa
C. Photocopy of the information/photo page of your passport 
D. Photocopy of the emergency contact page of your passport
E. Printed visa application form with signatures
F. Printed appointment confirmation page
G. 1 pc photo as stated above
H. Confirmed flight itinerary
I. Hotel booking
I. Daily schedule of activities or itinerary: flight dates, daily activities, hotel address and contact information 

A. Certificate of employment (detailing salary and length of employment)
B. Bank certificate indicating account balance, date of opening and average daily balance of the past 6 months, together with receipt of payment for the certificate
C. Bank statement of the past 6 months
D. Photocopy of ITR: Form 2316
E: Other Other relevant documents proving the applicant's economic condition/ employment/study, or supporting the applicant's travel to China, or explaining the travel purpose. 

A. Old passport with expired Chinese visa
B. Photocopy of the expired Chinese visa

5. Arrive at the Chinese embassy before 8:00 am on the date of your appointment then get a number immediately. 

- Regular processing time is 4 working days. Apply on a Monday and pick up on a Thursday.
- After submission of documents, you are given a piece of paper stating the date of claiming of your passport

6. On the date of claiming, arrive at the Embassy before 8:00 AM to get your number.
- When they call your number, pay for your visa at the cashier, then claim your passport (current and old) from another window.

8. After claiming, check the details of your Chinese visa BEFORE LEAVING THE EMBASSY if everything is correct.

Here is the link of the the requirements from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines:

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