The Dilemma of Choosing The Perfect Home Entertainment Companion for the Modern Family


Unlike normal home appliances that get worn out fast, Televisions are not regularly replaced in typical Pinoy homes. We tend to get attached to it and use it for years until it breaks down, but once the time comes for you to replace your beloved TV you'll end up with a question - What TV do I get?


Step into a typical Filipino home and you'll find that the TV is the main focal point of the house. For instance, the living room is set up in a way that the sofa faces the entertainment system. Pinoys can't help it because we love our telenovelas and movies.

Because I work at home, I usually have the TV on for more than 8 hours a day, it keeps me entertained and at the same time gives me that quick break when workload piles up. I haven't upgraded my entertainment system in a while and still using the 42" Sony Bravia TV that I bought a few years ago, it still works flawlessly but it's not a smart TV so I tend to just connect my laptop via HDMI when the need occurs.


Now back to the question, when the time comes that you need an upgrade on your home TV, how will you decide what to get for the family? I've been checking out the latest ones in the market and I think I found the perfect one for any modern family, the Sony Bravia X8000D.

Why is the Sony BRAVIA X8000D the Perfect Home Entertainment Companion for the Modern Family?


Definitely, number one reason why I think the Sony BRAVIA X8000D is a great choice is that it comes from Sony. My family has been a Sony product user since I was young and the quality is really superior. But aside from being from Sony, the BRAVIA X8000D also packs a mighty punch when it comes to what it can offer. 

Image: Sony Philippines Website

The first thing that I love about this is its Connectivity - it's Android and can be easily connected to the internet, no more connecting my laptop to the TV via HDMI. And because it's a Sony Android TV, the family can enjoy using apps from the Google Play Store, you can even connect your mobile devices wirelessly through its Built-in Google Chromecast, perfect for Netflix movie nights with the family!

Image: Sony Philippines Website

As for picture quality, it boasts a stunning 4K Ultra HD resolution and 4K X-Reality PRO to enhance every picture you play on your entertainment system. And because it doesn't stop with just clear picture, you also need vibrant colors, this is where Bravia's TRILUMINOS Display comes in, this feature means no more oversaturated & unnatural colors on your screen.

As for other features that stood out, the X-Protection PRO: Xtra Protection TV is a perfect feature included in this series. What they basically did is they made this TV stronger, as it has advanced protection against electrical surges and unstable electricity, no more worrying when it's the rainy season where we experience a lot of sudden power outages. Aside from that, it also has an anti-humidity coating on the circuit board to prevent short-circuits caused by high moisture. Awesome feature fit for the Philippine climate! 

Image: Sony Philippines Website

Last on my reason why this is perfect is because of its sleek minimalist design. I love how they made this series beautifully designed to fit into any home with slim style and polished metal accents. 

They even thought about the cables at the back with a nice Cable Management set-up that keeps the wires out of sight as it runs down through the center of the stand at the back.

I can still list down more reasons why the Sony BRAVIA X8000D series is perfect for any modern family home but this blog post might get too long 😄. Just head to the Sony Philippines Website for more details about the Sony BRAVIA X8000D series and where you could get one.

The Lion King First International Tour to Premiere in Manila in 2018


The 25th global production and first international tour of Disney's The Lion King to premiere in Manila March 2018. Tickets go on sale in October 2017!

lion king manila international 1

Michael Cassel Group in association with Disney Theatrical Productions announces the first international tour of the world’s #1 musical, Disney’s THE LION KING, to premiere in Manila in March 2018 with additional engagements in Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa.

The international tour, which will be performed in English, will launch in celebration of THE LION KING’s 20th anniversary on stage and the title’s 25th global production.

lion king manila international 2

We’re proud to partner with our long-time friend Michael Cassel to bring the world-renowned stage production of THE LION KING to these vibrant cities,” said Thomas Schumacher President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions.  “Julie Taymor and her extraordinary creative team have realized a production of enormous scale, beauty, and heart. I cannot wait for new audiences to join us in the Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa, the show’s creative birthplace.

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor said “It is wonderful that these countries in Asia will be able to experience this new South African cast of THE LION KING. They’re in for a tremendous treat as the soul of this music will come through these extraordinary performers. Asia is a big part of my life, having spent four years in Indonesia and traveled throughout many countries in the region. It is thrilling to bring this production back to a part of the world that has been a major inspiration in my life.”

Speaking ahead of auditions to be held in South Africa, Lebo M, who provided additional music, lyrics, vocal score and arrangements to THE LION KING, commented “This international tour will provide the opportunity for audiences around the world to witness this incredible production, featuring South Africa’s greatest talents.”

lion king manila international 3

The first round of auditions for the international tour will commence in South Africa in March 2017.

TOUR DATES
PHILIPPINES – OPENS MARCH 2018
SINGAPORE – OPENS JUNE 2018
SOUTH KOREA – OPENS OCTOBER 2018
TAIWAN – OPENS 2019
SOUTH AFRICA – OPENS 2020

Further announcements regarding theatres and dates will be made over the coming months, with tickets for the international tour’s premiere in Manila to go on-sale in October 2017, ahead of its opening in March 2018.

Visit www.lionkinginternational.com to join the waitlist!

BREAKOUT Philippines Opens 4th Branch at SM City North EDSA


Escape Rooms games became a trend in the Philippines a few of years ago and it looks like Pinoys seeking for adventure and thrill kept the fire burning for these kinds of business.

breakout sm north edsa

The pioneer in the Philippines, Breakout Philippines recently just opened their fourth branch in the metro at SM City North EDSA and we had the chance to visit them on their first weekend to see what they offer for the northerners

breakout philippines sm city north edsa facade

Breakout Philippines' fourth branch is located at The Block and features a minimalist black box type lobby with wood accent that really sets the mood for some mystery adventure.


Step inside the room...

Breakout Philippines - SM City North EDSA current offers two rooms that you can try - Boogeyman and Zombie Cabin. We heard that they will be offering two more rooms soon to make the total playable rooms four.


And because we are there, we decided to give one of their rooms a try and see if we can get out within the allotted time - with me that day was my friend Ken from ChibogPinoy.com

We're both a fan of The Walking Dead and tried their Zombie Cabin, we cannot document what happened inside the room but let's just say we ended up looking like panicking rats inside a cage... with a zombie. haha!

My defeated face together with one of their lovely staff who assisted us at Breakout - The Block

Unfortunately, we didn't come out victorious during our game. But like what they said, that's alright because you learn from your mistakes and use what you learned on your next breakout game. It's definitely a fun experience to do with your friends - especially if you're a large group.


Breakout Philippines - SM City North EDSA is now open for you to play with friends. Visit them by checking the address below or by visiting their website www.breakout.ph.

Breakout - SM City North EDSA
Second Floor, The Block Building
North Avenue, Quezon City

Revisiting LBC Shipping Cart: Is It Still Reliable?



Last 2015, I did a review of LBC Shipping Cart and how they conveniently handled two sets of packages from the US straight to the Philippines – you can read that if you haven’t yet by clicking HERE.

Shipping Cart was fairly new that time and as expected, their service was close to flawless that time. After reading a lot of comments on my post from disappointed customers last 2015 to early 2016, I decided to give their service a try again to see if it’s still the same.

The Packages


I did a little online shopping last September 2016 as a birthday treat to myself. I bought a couple of sets of Game of Thrones McFarlane collectibles from ToysRUs, I also bought additional Game of Thrones collectibles, a Tarot Card Deck, and a Pokemon Nendoroid knock-off toy on Ebay US – all of these were ordered and shipped early September. All in all, I have a total of 5 sets of packages all shipped to the Shipping Cart Warehouse in California.

Here are the shipping dates from merchant to delivery to the warehouse, in case you’re curious:

McFarlane Game of Thrones Iron Throne Room Set
Shipped from Merchant: September 3, 2016
Delivered to Shipping Cart Warehouse: September 6, 2016

Tarot Card Deck
Shipped from Merchant: September 6, 2016
Delivered to Shipping Cart Warehouse: September 8, 2016

McFarlane Game of Thrones House Lannister Banner Set
Shipped for Merchant: September 7, 2016
Delivered to Shipping Cart Warehouse: September 9, 2016

McFarlane Game of Thrones House Stark Banner Set
Shipped from Merchant: September 6, 2016
Delivered to Shipping Cart Warehouse: September 13, 2016

Pokemon Nendoroid Set
Shipped from Merchant: September 17, 2016
Delivered to Shipping Cart Warehouse: September 22, 2016

The Waiting Game Begins


September 9, 2016 when the first item showed up in my account, it was the McFarlane Game of Thrones Iron Throne Room Set which was delivered to their warehouse September 6. I though it’s going to be a super smooth transaction again that time because the package came in fast.


September 12, 2016 when my Tarot Card Deck showed up in my cart, just 4 days after it was delivered to the warehouse. I said to myself, “So far so good, hopefully the next ones turn out like this as well”.


And so it begins, the Delays


Unlike on my past two experiences last 2015 that I just had to wait for a few days after delivery on their warehouse for the items to show up in my account, the next ones took a little longer than I expected. One of the reason is their scheduled warehouse upgrade which happened mid-September (what luck, right?) which resulted in tons of backlogs in their warehouse – unfortunately, some of my packages were included in the delayed items.

Once they went back in service, I checked daily to see if my items are already in my account but it’s not. I tried calling LBC’s hotline but either it’s busy, no one’s answering or the agent in charge of Shipping Cart is out, their Facebook page and email support aren't helping as well.

I waited a few days more and the McFarlane Game of Thrones Lannister Banner Set which was delivered to their warehouse September 9, 2016 showed up in my account September 23, 2016. It took more than 10 days for it to show up in my account.


At this point, I only have two more items waiting to show up in my cart. It’s the end of September and I already gave up on the hopes that I will get my packages before my birthday month ends. October came in and I already sent Shipping Cart a few emails but no response from their end. I also tried calling their hotline again to see where my packages are or if they even actually received it.

I managed to connect with one of the Shipping Cart support team and raised my concern, they informed me that they received it but they are still dealing with delays. When I asked if there’s an estimated date on when I will see my missing items in my account, they just told me they also rely on the same dashboard where I see my account – so basically, they can’t email or contact their warehouse to check on it.

Finally, it showed up!


October 4, 2016 – just a day after I made the call, I checked my account and viola, my item that was delivered to their warehouse last September 13, 2016 finally showed up! It took them more than 20 days to process it.


October 11, 2016  - the last item I was waiting for finally showed up in my cart. It took them, 20 days again to process it and add on my account but I’m so glad it finally showed up. I successfully for the first time, managed to ship to Shipping Cart 5 individual packages and it all arrived safely there without getting lost in their warehouse.


Checking Out for Shipping to the Philippines


When I saw that all my items are now in my account, I did the standard checking of how much do I need to shell out for the shipping of all my items. Check out the computation sheets below:


Shipping it via Sea Cargo is quite cheap, it ended up costing just 800+ pesos but I already waited too long for my birthday shopping haul, so I opt for the Air Cargo which totaled to 2,100 pesos – I know it’s a little pricey, but I’m willing to pay it for these goodies.


Shipping Cart actually sent users affected by the delay with a 15% Off discount code, which I find nice since they know they screwed up a little during that time. So it decreased my shipping fee down to around 1,800 pesos.


Another Waiting Game?


Alright, so I thought I was in the clear with issues with Shipping Cart but it’s been a few days after I shipped out my items and the status in my account is still stuck in ‘Paid: Being Processed for Shipping’ and it stayed like that until October 24, 2016 – that’s already 11 days after I paid.

I gave Shipping Cart a call via LBC’s hotline and I managed to talk to representative but same as before, they told me they depend on the tracking number, which I still do not have at this point since the status of my package is still on ‘Paid’. They just told me the normal spiel of ‘rest assured it’s on its way to you, you’ll receive an email, blah blah blah’.

The day after, I checked my account and it’s now ‘In Transit’ with status update that’s in my city already. Looks like they have issues with their tracking & processing system and it just started tracking my package when it arrived in my city – email with tracking also was emailed on day of delivery.


Soon enough, I heard someone knocking at my door and it’s the LBC Delivery guy holding a big box filled with my birthday goodies all sealed and ready for me to unbox. My items are neatly packed inside the box, it’s almost a perfect fit.


I checked the content and everything seems to be undamaged & complete! The long wait was definitely worth it for these items, especially my Game of Thrones buildable sets that McFarlane already stopped manufacturing.


Will I Use Shipping Cart in the Future?


Definitely YES, it’s the third time I used their service and aside from the hiccups on this latest one, it’s still a great service. BUT, they really need to improve on their customer support service because they really fail in this department – last thing you want customers to feel is being ignored. So here are a few notes for Shipping Cart and how they can improve their service;

- Have someone on support who answers to inquiries on social in a timely manner. It’s already 2017, time to use social media to improve your service to the public. As a social media manager by profession, I recommend you set a person to focus on Social message & inquiries.

- Email support responds slow, which makes users customers frustrated. So improve it and try to answer emails within 24 hours & not totally ignore them.

- Live Chat Support? You do need one. Your mother company, LBC has one on their website, how come you don’t have one?


That’s it for my updated review of LBC Shipping Cart. Have you tried their service recently? Let me know in the comments below your experience!

Disclosure: This review is no way sponsored by LBC or LBC Shipping Cart and is independently done by www.alexbamin3D.com 
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