Wednesday, March 25, 2015

California Pizza Kitchen Treats Photo Contest Winner To Sumptuous Dinner For Two

Peng Cruz and Cecil Cruz with California Pizza Kitchen-Shangri-La Plaza's
Store Manager Liezl de Gracia, Abby Pereira, Checile Montevirgen, Raymund
Macairan, and Nelson Cerda (Photo: Oliver Oliveros)
First published on 

City of Mandaluyong—It seemed like the food was endless when Cecil Cruz, winner of property search portal’s “Most Romantic Valentine Arrangements at Home” photo contest, together with her elder sister Peng, was recently treated to a delectable selection of authentic Italian pasta and pizza at California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) in Shangri-La Plaza.

Her joining the contest, which had a dinner for two at CPK and a pair of tickets to the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” as prizes, was actually unplanned. Cecil’s photo entry subjects, her recuperating dad, Roberto, 70, who suffered a heart attack at the height of typhoon Glenda last year, and her dad’s loyal, loving, and caring wife, Luisa, 64, posed before the camera after the former surprised the latter with a few plastic rose stems; a borrowed teddy bear; and some branded chocolates from the fridge clumped together impromptu!

Cecil said, “It was my dad’s simple gesture to thank my mom for she was so brave and caring during his recent three-month stay in the hospital.”

On the day the photo was taken in Greenwoods, Pasig, Cecil, a former employee at Jamba Juice and an occasional actor on GMA Network, even recalled her mother saying, “I’m just glad your father is still with us; that’s all I ask for.”

Brimming with love and wide smiles, Roberto and Luisa’s photo together, which garnered nearly 50 shares and 150 likes on the social media platform Facebook, was an instant favorite even prior to officially winning the Valentine-themed contest.

California Pizza Kitchen's baked penne
On hand at the celebratory dinner with Cecil and Peng were CPK-Shangri-La Plaza’s Store Manager Liezl de Gracia, alongside her very hospitable staff Abby Pereira, Checile Montevirgen, Raymund Macairan, and Nelson Cerda, and’s Social Media and Community Manager Oliver Oliveros.  

CPK’s bestselling menu items: mouthwatering quesadillas, roasted pumpkin soup, and original barbecue chopped salad as appetizers; fresh-from-the-oven mupesa (mushroom, pepperoni, and sausage) pizza and baked penne as main course; a reimagined campfire favorite s’more—a baked pizza crust topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream—as dessert; and free-flowing iced tea were exceedingly a feast for the eyes and tummy. extends its heartfelt thanks to Cecil, Peng, Roberto and Luisa, and to CPK’s Liezl de Gracia and General Manager Jem Ramirez.

CPK-Shangri-La Plaza accepts catering services, call 0927-7401136.

For more contests and promos, visit

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

6 Homeownership Costs You May Not See Coming

First published on

Purchasing a property comes with inevitable costs. You might not have imagined these things prior to buying your new home, but expect these bills to land on your doorstep soon.

When owning a home, here are some of the additional costs you have to deal with:

Mortgage Fees

You worked hard on financing your home, and now you have to work harder to pay the mortgage fees, e.g. mortgage arrangement fees, indemnity costs, and broker fees. It’s a must to pay these fees on a monthly basis or else the bank or lender will order foreclosure of your property.

Property Insurance 

It’s a must to have a homeowner or hazard insurance that covers basic protection against fire and theft. A building and contents insurance is also important to protect your assets in case of an emergency or a major disaster. So choose only reliable insurance products from the most reputable insurance companies. 


You have to pay property taxes depending on the assessed value of your home. Local tax rates vary, but the average cost can add up to a few thousands of pesos.

Paying taxes is compulsory; you can’t do anything about it.

Homeowners’ Association Fees 

Owning a home is a shared responsibility.

There are areas you share with other homeowners, which are called common areas such as elevators, balconies, parking spaces, and lawns. The homeowners’ association fees are paid by homeowners for the regular upkeep of these common areas.

Maintenance and Redecorating 

When moving to new house, you would need to redecorate it; and in doing so, you will have to spend some extra cash to buy furniture and home d├ęcor.

You also have to maintain your home. Keep some extra money in case an appliance conks out and needs repair.

Monthly Bills

Even though you’re just renting a house, you can never avoid making monthly payments for the consumption of water, electricity, cable TV, broadband Internet, and telephone service, among others. Luckily, you have control of these extra costs; if you want to pay less, use less water and electricity at home.

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Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Are You Ready to Sell Your Home?

First published on 

Do you want to sell your home, but you’re not quite sure when’s the right time? To help you decide on when’s the best time to sell your home, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Would It Get Sold Right Away? 

If you were to sell your home right now, would it get sold right away? Think twice.

If you’re moving or relocating for a new job, you could try renting out your house first until you’re ready to put it on the market. By doing so, you’ll have enough time to adjust to your new environment and focus on home selling later.


Real estate experts say that the weather or the season may affect your chances of selling your property. Bad weather can prevent most home buyers from searching for new homes. Good weather, on the other hand, can prompt prospective buyers to go out and show up at your open house.

Housing Inventory 

The housing inventory in your market may affect your timing and chance of selling your home.

A real estate agent can help you determine the housing inventory in your market, which changes every year. If the inventory of homes is low, it may be a good idea to sell your home at that time. 

Home Condition 

The physical condition of your property is a very important concern when selling.

Apparently, you can’t sell your property if potential home repair issues are visible. Before you plan to sell your home, you have to make sure it’s in its best condition.

Also, if there are major construction projects in your area and your prospective buyer finds out, expect the buyer to haggle over the price.

In situations like these, we suggest that you postpone selling your house. Wait until your house is ready and the construction works are over.

Current Employment Rate 

In general, people who are looking for properties are financially stable. So if the current employment rate is going downhill, you have a very low chance of selling your house.

However, you can explore tax incentives in your area. Tax rebates can be a strong motivation for home buying.

Market Condition 

Find out the current mortgage interest rates. If they are quite high, that’s good news for you. However, most home buyers purchase a property when the interest rates are low.

In addition, if you’re going to sell your home in a tight market, which is not advisable, the home buyer has more chances of getting your home at a much lower price. 

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