Monday, November 16, 2015

ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser Review

It has been a long time since I reviewed a tech-gadget that I really like. In 2012, I was able to acquire a high-end phablet which, at the time, was among one the first smartphones with a 13MP camera and an Intel chipset. Intel, noted for its very reliable processing speed when it comes to desktops and laptops didn’t quite follow through when they put it in smartphones like my old one. Somehow, overheating was an issue. Luckily, my phone still lasted for three years because I am a fairly careful user. I think that is already a long time for a smartphone’s life span.

However, my old phone’s android version was so outdated, it was time for a replacement. Among the numerous Android phones available today, I really wanted to have something that gives value for money. I am so glad to have found the ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser. Its predecessor, the Zenfone 5, actually already has exciting features but the ASUS Zenfone 2 is a much, much better version. 

Not only has it an improved internal memory capacity of up to 16GB, it is moreover expandable to 128GB. This smartphone also has enhanced camera features with manual operation, much like what a DSLR Camera can do. Aside from these, there are cool features that allow you to preview the enhanced look of a particular picture using sample guides to choose from. 

One issue that bothered me with my old phone was its internal battery. When it gets overheated, you cannot take the battery out to help it cool down faster. With the Zenfone 2, the battery is detachable from the unit that makes it more practical. The battery has a high capacity of 2070mAh, enough to cover the use of apps and features in much longer period of time. On my busiest days, I’d only charge it once and still get a few bars of power to spare at the end of the day. 

Although other phones are into the 13MP level in their back cameras and the Zenfone 2 has 8MP, I made a comparable shot with my old phone’s 13MP camera and the Zenfone 2’s 8MP camera and these are the test results: 

You can very much notice that these two raw photos hardly have any difference in terms of clarity and crispness. Plus, since most of the shots taken from phones today are being uploaded in social media like Facebook or Instagram, resolutions of original shots tend to be resized automatically. So whether you made the shot with 13MP or 8MP cameras, when posted on FB or IG, you won’t see much difference because they are already resized. 

The Zenfone 2 is powered by Qualcomm SnapDragon S410 – Quad-Core with 1.2 Ghz processing speed. With this speed, you can never have any problems in lag time, or hanging. It can process all your apps and features much quicker. 

The ASUS Zen PhoneFone 2 laser indeed provides value for money with its price tag of PHP7,295. I’ve been using this for more than two weeks now, and I’m still scratching the surface of what this smartphone can do. Next month, watch out for my follow up reviews about this amazing phone. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Nuvali Dirt Weekend’s top finishers to enter 2016 World Mountain Bike Championship

Last week, the Philippines hosted a venue for the qualifying race for 2016 World Mountain Bike Championship that will be held at Laisssac, France. This qualifying race was held at Nuvali’s Dirt Weekend and it was a sanctioned to be an official qualifier by the Union Cyclist Internationale (UIC). 

Dirt Weekend 2015 media launch at Mind Museum, BGC, Taguig...

In the previous week, the Dirt Weekend organizers held an event launch at the Mind Museum, BGC Taguig. In the launch, the executives of Nuvali were proud to present this year’s Dirt Weekend as the qualifying event for the world championship and it was even acknowledged by the UCI Race Director Geoff Kronenburg who checked the routes, difficulties and distance to make sure that the biking event is at par with world standards. 

Geoff Kronenberg, UCI Director...

At the launch, members of the media were able to experience a very short stint of how a cross-country mountain bike marathon would feel like in 50 meter distance course. Out of 30 participants, I came out as second place garnering a time of eight seconds. That short experience made me consider joining the 35 kilometer Fun Race at Dirt Weekend at Nuvali. Unfortunately, because of an unexpected biking accident I had a week before the race, my bike got some major damages that made it "decommissioned" for a competition. As much as I wanted so much to compete, I decided to forego the opportunity and just cover the race event as a media blogger. 

A taste of XCM in a 50 meter test-ride...

2nd Place with the time of Eight seconds...

At the race venue in Nuvali, thousands were already gathered at the race pavilion. I saw riders who just crossed the finish line resting on the grass with their battered bikes, still covered with dirt and mud. Some got a few bruises along the way but everyone looks so happy despite the exhaustion and fatigue everyone went through. As I took photos of them, I felt a little envious because I really wanted to compete so badly! 

Riders resting while waiting for the official announcement of winners...

Bikes resting from a gruesome cross-country trail-ride...

A rider finishing the last 300 meters to the  finish line...

As we waited for the other finishers to arrive, I took the opportunity to go to the trails and took a few shots of riders in full action, and that made me envy them even more! Adjacent to the pavilion is the course of the Four Cross Challenge where hardcore riders battle each other on a rouged slalom race to get the shortest possible time. I was lucky enough to catch some of the competitors’ raced neck-and-neck to win the top prize. 

Four Cross Mountain Bike. Riders await for the gun-shot...

Four Cross Riders battling neck-and-neck for the shortest time...

But the highlight of the Dirt Weekend race is the Cross Country Marathon (XCM). It was 60 kilometer course and participated by hundreds of riders from all over country and also from other parts of the globe. International delegation was so evident in the race, seeing some of the best riders from Spain, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Portugal, France, Thailand and Singapore. 

A rider cruises his way to finish the course...

A graceful winner...Ms. Ilda Pereira of Portugal, XCM (Women) Elite Champion.

After all the riders were accounted and crossed the finish line, judges and official race time keepers tallied the time and points to get the top 20 riders. The ranking of the three podium finishers are as follows:

Cross-Country Marathon (XCM) Women Elite World Series

•    3rd Place – Melissa Jaroda of Team Ground Zero (Phil)
•    2nd Place – Yazid Kuzmawati of Team Jabar Polygon (Indonesia)
•    1st Place – Ilda Pereira of Team Mozinho MTB/Martos/HRV (Port)

Ms. Ilda Pereira of Portugal bags the top place of the XCM Women Elite, with Geoff Kroonengerg, and John Estacio

3rd Place - Ms. Melissa Jaroda of Team Ground Zero (Phil) with UCI Derector Geoff Kronenberg and Nuvali General Manager, John Estacio

Cross-Country Marathon (XCM) Men Elite World Series

•    3rd Place – Alvin Benosa of Team BMC Phil. (Phil)
•    2nd Place – Tawatchai Jerra Vatchatam of Team Singha Infinite (Thai)
•    1st Place – Milton Javier Ramos-Gomez of Team Intense Bikes Go-Pro (Hunduras)

The three Podium winners...

2nd Place -Tawatchai Jeeravatacham of Thailand, 1st Place - Milton Javier Ramos Gomez of Honduras and 3rd Place Alvin Banosa of the Philippines

All the podium finishers and the top 20 riders are qualified to compete at the 2016 World Mountain Bike (MTB) Championship in Laissac, France.

The Philippines was not able to bag the top places but it is for certain that the Philippines delegations will double their preparation to compete with the world’s top riders next year. Nuvali, as an ideal training ground will make sure that these Pinoy athletes will have the best mountain bike trails, landscape and topographic technicalities that will set their game to be as world best. Good luck, team Philippines! 


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mango Habanero is the newest flavorful experience at Wing Stop

A friend who is an avid fan of Philippines History, once told me that the early inhabitants of Texas, were actually Filipinos, and the famous Buffalo Chicken Wings of Texas were actually of Filipino Cuisine origin! That make sense because Filipinos are noted for its spicy and hot dishes many foodies are craving about. 

Wing Stop, the newest and the hottest chicken wing hub in the metro today is currently serving more than ten unique chicken wing flavors that are quite distinct from each other. Now, another flavor is added in their menu and about to be served that will certainly capture the equally distinct taste preference of many Filipino foodies today. It’s called the Mango Habanero, the newest flavor from Wing Stop.

Last October 14, 2015, Wing Stop finally opened another branch in the South of Metro Manila. It is strategically located at the heart of another Ayala mall, the Alabang Town Center. Now this Wing Stop branch will surely grab the attention of many Southern residents who are already quite familiar with Buffalo wings and Wing Stop. I could imagine that this branch will be a big hit pretty soon.

At their media launch, we were invited to get the first dibs of the new Mango Habanero. For those who are huge fan of hot and spicy, then this wing is definitely for you. The hotness is not as hot as Atomic, enough just to give a little kick so you can appreciate the flavorful taste of the Mango glaze. Of ocurse, this will be best devoured with Java rice on the side. But if you are not the rice eater, the thick slices of good old French fries can do the trick to balance off the spiciness for just a bit.

Other than the new flavor, we didn’t fail to order the old time Wing Stop favorites, like Garlic Parmesan which is my wife’s personal choice, the Atomic which is my personal choice, and the Louisiana Rub. As always, to get the finger-lickin-good experience of the wings, you need to eat them with your hands, because that’s the best way to eat chicken wings. 

Chicken wing variants come in 5pcs. Good for one flavor, but if you order 10pcs., you’ll get to choose two flavors and if you get 15pcs., you can have them in three different flavors. You can have these wings either with catchup dips or garlic sauce dips. But personally, I choose none, because without it, I can appreciate more of the chicken wing flavors. 

So, visit the newest flavor of Wing Stop, the Mango Habanero and experience them at the newest branch in the south, located at Unit FB-08, The Street, at Ayala Alabang Town Center, Commerce Avenue, Muntinlupa City.


Global toilet sanitation problem leads to 443 million missed school days


According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), children around the world miss an estimated 443 million school days each year because of diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, including using unsanitary toilets. Simply put, this number of sick days is equivalent to all grade school and high school classrooms in the Philippines being empty for one month. This sanitation-related concern hinders the children’s learning and significantly reduces their quality of life.

Illnesses due to poor toilet sanitation include diarrhea disease and parasitic worm infections which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, physical and mental stunting, and death. Every day, millions of children in rural communities and urban households nationwide are exposed to these health problems by using dirty toilets populated by disease-carrying germs.

According to Dr. Luisa Efren of the Philippine Public Health Association (PPHA), the simple act of proper toilet sanitation can help prevent the spread of these germs. However, children continue to be at risk from these deadly diseases because many households still use ordinary laundry bleach to clean their toilet bowls, which is not enough to kill all toilet germs.

“A toilet that looks clean to the naked eye may not necessarily be free from germs and bacteria. So, it is very important to properly sanitize all surfaces using a germ-kill expert with proven efficacy in eliminating bacteria, and not just any ordinary laundry bleach,” Dr. Efren warned.

For the past three years, Unilever Philippines through its germ-kill expert brand Domex, has been working with UNICEF and PPHA to champion the One Million Clean Toilets Movement. This advocacy program aims to educate Filipinos on proper toilet hygiene and the need for sanitized household toilets to keep their families safe against disease-causing germs.

On November 13, World Toilet Day, join the One Million Clean Toilets Movement in the fight against disease causing germs to save lives, one clean toilet at a time. To learn more about Domex and how you can stay safe from disease with a germ-free home, visit Domex Philippines on Facebook. 

You can also help the 1 Million Clean Toilets Movement fight against disease by spreading awareness on the sanitation issue caused unsanitary toilets. Watch and share the “Sick Days” video ( to help keep your family and friends germ-free.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Live Healthy and get rewarded with Philam Vitality

It is so disheartening to know that according to statistics, more than 80% of Filipinos place health as a prime priority in their lives but sadly, more than 60% of these Pinoys are not doing anything to improve healthy living. According to surveys, around 60% of deaths worldwide are caused by four epidemic chronic diseases: Diabetes, Cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, and some cancers. And in order to prevent premature death and incapacity due to these diseases we must be able to address three major risks factors: tobacco consumption, poor diet, and physical inactivity. 

Philam Life Vitality Team with Brand Partners...

Fortunately, it’s not too late for the Filipinos. There are evidences that many people are starting to fix their ways and beginning to live healthier lives as the running community in our country continues to grow in numbers. We still have a long way to go to change the sedentary culture but everything starts in small steps. 

PhilAm Life, the premier life insurance company have come up with a program that allows a member to be rewarded as one continues to live healthy life. It’s called PhilAm Vitality Program. This new innovation from PhilAm keeps track of a member’s health status through an App that can be downloaded in your laptop, tablet or even smartphones.
Mr. Axel Bromley, CEO of PhilAm Life

If a member wishes to have a check-up, the PhilAm Vitality Program have forged a partnership with several health institutions such as Makati Medical Center, Precision Diagnostics and GAOC (Gan Advanced Osseointegration Center). These institutions offer service like comprehensive medical check-up and vaccinations, comprehensive blood test and over-all work up and state-of-the-art dental services. 

Mr. Jaime Jose D. Javier, Jr. PhilAm Life Chief Marketing Officer

As you undergo these check-ups, a member will automatically get rich discounts from the services and the health status and official diagnosis will be downloaded to the Vitality App that brings a member’s Vitality Status from Bronze to silver then Gold to Platinum. As your vitality goes higher, more perks and discounts a member gets. 

Philam Life Vitality Program Executives

Benefits and discounts await for members who consistently on the path towards fitness and healthy living. PhilAm also partners with gyms and shops like Gold’s Gym and Toby’s that offer more discounts when you purchase brands that supports you in your fitness lifestyle and discounts when you join gym membership. Gold and Platinum vitality status will earn a member special points that allows you to get higher perks like heavily discounted rates at Marriott Hotel and Seda Hotel staycations.  

Start your fitness journey with a healthy diet...

These partners are just a few of other partners that will board in soon. But on top of this, PhilAm offers discount on premiums on selected insurance plans and get more discounts in the succeeding years as they improve their health. 

 Grilled Norwegian Salmon on Brown Rice...

To know more about how you can live a healthier lifestyle, visit or email or call 528-2000.

About PhilAm Life:

The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life) is the country’s premier life insurance company. Established on June 24, 1947, Philam Life has earned the trust of costumers for its financial strength, strong brand name and ability to deliver its promise.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Quezon City Celebrates 75th Founding Anniversary

Last October 11, 2015, the city government of Quezon and its constituents culminated its week-long celebration of its 75th Anniversary. The celebration was held at the Quezon Memorial Circle with a parade of various floats from different districts of Quezon City.

These mobile floats were made by creative talents from each district. The mobile floats paraded through the key streets of Kalayaan and V. Luna then, Maginahawa Street then went back again to the Quezon Memorial Circle. As they enter near the stage, each one is presented to the audience by some celebrities who are also Quezon City residents. 

 The celebration was hosted by two very energetic emcees with Mr. Daniel Matsunaga who presented the first mobile float to arrive. As much as he struggles with  his Tagalog, he did pretty well in presenting the float. 

The first one to arrived is the float from Mabuhay Rotonda. Formerly know as Welcome Rotonda. for the information of everybody, Mabuhay Rotonda marks as the boundary of City of Manila and Quezon City. It has been has been a significant landmark because of the hundreds of demonstration and rallies that were held in that place during the Marcos regime. 

 The next one to arrive was the float of the Quezon Memorial Tower. This monument holds the remains of the Philippines' great leader, Common Wealth President Manuel L. Quezon and his wife Aurora Quezon. MLQ envisioned it to be as the Government capital that holds the main offices of government agencies. 

This float is the replica of Bantayog ng mga Bayani. The monument represents the fallen heroes who fought injustices by the Marcos Regime. It is made of brass hand crafted by our very own artist/sculpture Ed Castrillio. Mr. Castrillio is a well known for his public art and nationalistic artworks. The monument is mounted along Quezon Avenue, near Philippine Heart Center. 

Another Ed Castrillio's masterpiece is the People Power Monument located near Camp Aguinaldo along EDSA. This monument represents the historical event happened in our country where the people fought the Marcos dictatorship on the streets of EDSA in a bloodless revolution. The revolt was triggered by the unjustly murder of Sen. Ninoy Aquino in 1983 that ignited a people power revolution in 1986.

Another iconic figure that can be found in Quezon City is the Oblation of the University of the Philippines, Diliman. The original statue of this replica can be found inside the main library of the university. This work of art is a masterpiece of a renowned Filipino artist Guelliermo Tolentino. Tolentino was commissioned by then UP president Rafael Palma. The statue is made of concrete and it depicts a man facing upwards with stretched open arms, symbolizing the selfless offering of oneself to his country. 

 This float is a replica of the Tandang Sora shrine located at Banlat Road, Tandang Sora, Quezon City. The original statue was sculpted by Toym Imao in honor of the life and service of Melchora Aquino, also known as Tandang Sora. Tandang Sora is known for her selfless service in taking care of many wounded katipuneros during the Spanish colonial revolution. 

One of Quezon City's iconic food destination is the Laloma lechon. Lechon is the traditional roasted pig that is quite famous in every Filipino festivity. The District of Laloma is located north-west of Quezon city and this district is known to be visited by people from all over to experience their famous lechon. 

This is the replica of the iconic artwork in front of the Philippines Heart Center. It is a sculpture of a coronary artery of the heart - PUSO. The original art work is currently mounted at the Philippine Heart Center. It is created by an artist who happens to be a renowned cardiologist as well and he is Dr. William T. Chua. 

This float is a creative representation of Payatas. Payatas used to hold all the garbage of Metro Manila. The land is now a thriving low-cost housing development for the employees of Quezon City government known as Bistek-Vill. This housing development is an initiative of the city government of Quezon City for retiring city government employees who do not have a decent place to live. The development is in partnership with Habitat for Humanity. 

The last float is the replica of the Quezon City Hall. The 14 story building was constructed by the initiative of then President Ramon Magsaysay and he commissioned Mayor Norberto Amoranto to build the new City Hall in a 12 hectare of land at the elliptical road. The new cornerstone for the new City Hall was laid in 1962 but the construction began in 1964. 

After the Grand Parade of Lights, the celebration continued with the performances of some of the most sought after bands which includes some rising talented bands, RockSteady, Parokya Ni Edgar and many more. The celebration concludes with a colorful display of FireWorks that filled the Quezon City sky.  

Pioneer Your Insurance: Live Your Life’s Adventures

A very popular proverb that says; “If you didn’t take risks even once in your life, then you have never lived at all”.

I have an adventure-filled life. It is actually what made me create this blog site – Trails Unlimited. With all the outdoor adventures I engage in, I wouldn’t want to keep all those wild memories for myself. For me, living a life on the “edge” with some few elements of danger present once in a while, is what makes life more exciting and beautiful. 

Last October 24, 2015, Pioneer Insurance invited me and other lifestyle bloggers for a taste of fun and adventure at Kampo Trexo in Alfonso, Cavite. The place is an adventure resort where people can have an escape from the busy urban life to a nature trip full of rugged activities that will test your wits and physical stamina. 

Our exposure to this kind of adventure was set in a fun and friendly competition. The groups were given a series of teambuilding tasks that ranged from wall climbing and obstacle courses to and zip-line activities. The team who had the fastest time, wins. Unfortunately, our team came in last but all of us had a very exciting time together. 

Pioneer Insurance organized the event to allow us to experience a glimpse of living life on the edge. Despite the safety features of the activities, Pioneer Insurance gave us an insurance package especially designed for people who love going on adventures. It’s called the Travel Buddy Adventure Insurance package. 

For as little as P200, this insurance for adventure seekers covers expenses that may arise in case accidents happen while doing risky activities such as ATV riding, Bungee Jumping, Diving, Kiteboarding, or even skate boarding. One suggested product you may want to add is the MediCash Dengue Insurance, which provides one year coverage worth of P10,000 cash assistance upon diagnosis of Dengue for individuals 1 to 70 years of age. This will only cost P350 per person. 

Our short stint of adventure in kampo Trexo was definitely a fun time for me because this is practically my life. For the others, many of the activities were their first time to try and it was a self-discovery for them. Good thing that we were all covered with Pioneer’s Travel Buddy Adventure Insurance that made our day more enjoyable, knowing that our backs are covered. 

After our exciting activities in the morning, the teams were treated to a sumptuous “Boodle Fight” lunch where all the food were prepared along the length of the table on top of banana leaves to serve as plates as we ate with our hands. The feast was very satisfying and revived everyone’s energy for another set of adventures to conquer. 

The last set of activities was a short trek inside the thick jungle of Kampo Trexo and a technical rope obstacle mounted high above the coconut trees. After which, all of us returned to the camp site on a zip line which culminated our adventures for the day. All of us headed home to Manila with sore muscles and aching joints that were all superseded with wonderful fun memories with friends. 

About Pioneer Insurance:
Aside from being the trusted local insurance company in the Philippines, Pioneer is also one of the top five companies that offer non-life insurance coverage. Pioneer has been in the business for over half a century and has helped millions of Filipinos become financially prepared for the unexpected.

Find out more about InsureShop and its products at


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