Friday, January 27, 2006

The one with Episode 3

On to our 3rd part of the ratings… Message #128658 and
Message # 129007 for previous ratings.

Hotel: Manila Diamond Hotel - Roxas Blvd.
How we got them: Corporate account from office ko
AE: Trina Panapanaam 528-3000
Inclusions of stay: 2 nights, 2 deluxe rooms for 1st day and 1 Executive suite and 1 deluxe room for 2nd day.
Peso Power: P3,500.00 net for deluxe room and P7,000.00 net for Executive Suite
Rating: 10++++++++

During the first part of our preps, I’ve always thought that we will have our wedding preps at Westin since we have an AE there who accommodates us for corporate functions. Despite the fact that they really charge you with everything, (read: pati nga ice sabi ni Benz), I desparately wanted that hotel since I thought that’s the best in Manila and of course the picturesque gardens they have.

Until we learned about Manila Diamond Hotel when we attended a friend’s wedding last February. The rates are almost the same as Westin’s, no garden views but the service is the best I got…We are very particular with the services coz we don’t want to be stressed on our wedding day. Here are some reasons why we love
the hotel:
- our in-laws were the first to arrive. Kasama nila grandma ni simon para hindi na mahirapan mag travel sa wedding day mismo. Pag pasok pa lang nila, automatic
may wheelchair agad without anyone asking.
- The rooms are spacious for twin sharing rooms. All their staff are super friendly, and accommodating. Nakakatuwa simon’s dad, inaalam nya all free amenities
and services that go with the stay. He called the Room service to inquire and super bait naman at sinabi sa kanya lahat. Who would have thought sa amin na libre ang shoe shine service. Hehe, o sadyang hindi lang namin alam. ;) also, mineral water is free. Im sorry if I get so mababaw na pati water kino-consider ko but it just goes to show that hindi sila masingil of extra cost. Like sa amin, pag 1st time ka hihingi, you can get 6 bottles of Wilkins mineral water aside from the 2 that you have sa room. tapos, next requests ata dalawa na lang ulit.
- When we checked in, gabi na. We just had dinner sa hotel pero nagpadeliver kme ng food from Max’s! oh yes, pwede po sya magdeliver. You just have to pick it up sa lobby pero the reception people will call you and inform you once the delivery guy arrives. Sa westin, as I’ve said before, Bawal pa rin.
- Pag dating namin ng hotel, Simon and I parked agad without bringing down the things sa lobby (my bad, one of those moments na lutang kme) anyway, we talked to
the bell boy and asked if they can pick up our things from the parking since kakatamad na lumabas ulit sa parking. It’s not really their job to pick it up there kc for one, stairs lang ang dadaanan. You know what, two bell boys volunteered to get their trolleys, asked us to wait for them sa car and maya-maya lang, andun na sila getting all our things, panik-panaog sa stairs with all the maleta, big boxes, wedding gown and mannequin. Wow talaga! I don’t know if its just the Christmas season kaya lahat ng tao mabait, pero pwamis mababait tlga sila. Yung feeling mo that
sincere naman sila sa ginagawa nila.
- On the wedding day itself, I woke up at 6am. Our parents availed the buffet breakfast while Simon and I ordered na lang a sumptuous meal from Jollibee. Hahaha. We actually gave our stubs to them na lang so they can enjoy their stay more. The breakfast is quite expensive (700++) so we ordered na lang outside which we enjoyed, and babawi na lang kme sa 2nd day. Haha. Anyway, while waiting for breakfast to arrive, I called up the front desk agad and inquired lang what time kme pwede mag check-in sa suite and if we can request an earlier check in. This was around 7am and
surprisingly, biglang sabi ng girl na “Ma’am, you may check in napo at Room 2229”. As in ako, “Now na, pwede na?!” and natawa lang sya sa reaction ko. Nagulat ata. Imagine, as early as 7am we were able to transfer na agad. Plus, all our rooms were on the same floor so madali magpapunta-punta.
- Madali mag-ask ng late check out. My in-laws did’nt go to the front desk na when they checked out. They left lang the room at around 3pm ata and automatic
check out na sya. We checked out 3pm of the 23rd din, requested also for late check out.
- Buffet breakfast was superb! Dami food! Inabot na kme ng last call and the waiters served us ng lahat ng klase ng food sa buffet table. Hehe. Para tuloy ang
tatakaw namin (well, true!)
- For pictorial purposes, ang okay sa Diamond is the staircase talaga. Very nice! May kasabay pa nga me na nagpapapicture, nauna lang kme dun so they waited for
us matapos. Mas after talaga kme sa services kc ang pictorials sa hotel was more on solo shots since hindi kme nagkita ni simon nung dressed up na kme.
- On our wedding night, nagugutom kme ni simon bigla kahit madami kme nakain from the reception. Ang tira lang na food was the KFC. Ni-ask naming kung pwede pa
reheat yung food. Pag balik sa amin, may presentation pa yung food: nasa plate with 2 sets of spoon and fork, with pepper and salt. Haha. KFC lang naman. Katuwa lang and fyi, this was at 2am po.
- Our cake was delivered at the hotel. Nagkaron ng miscommunication ata. Nung magche-check out na kme, nilagay nila sa plastic wraps and big plastic bag. Yun
lang.
- Gusto ko lighting and ambiance ng room. Well-lit, they both have yellow and white lights.

Basta, until now, we are still raving on that hotel. When our parents thanked us for a wonderful stay they had sa hotel and how much relaxed they were because of
a good sleep, we’re glad we chose Diamond. (naks! Parang pang-promotion ha. Hehe)

One minor concern though: Since I want to be as objective as possible, I will also have to inform you about one little thing. It did’nt bother us naman, sana lang na-inform kme earlier. I used kc my credit card for the deposit. A certain amount will float sa credit card mo pero it will automatically be cancelled after 14 working days. After settling the payment thru the same credit card, di ko na sya nagamit for
our next purchases. Kc muntik na mag-max out credit limit ko. Should we have known earlier, eh di sana pala we could have used another card for the deposit. Pero okay rin lang, I think na-cancel out na ata ngayon yun eh.

Cake: Emily Uy of Sugarbox
Contact number: 0917-534-8074 (memorize ko yan by heart)
Inclusions: 3-layer castle fondant cake, biggest layer edible; carrot-walnut flavor; 24 mini-cakes with castle design for ninongs and flowers for ninangs;
Cookies with our initials on all guest tables
Peso Power: P8,475.00 (with 10% discount)
Rating: 10+++++++++++++++++
Other supplier seriously considered: None

109935-small-76-cake

Kung pwede lang po kme magpa-ampon dito para kme lahat mag taste test ng mga cakes nya, gagawin po namin. Hahaha. OA!

We met her sa NBC Bridal Fair last March ata. After several texts, ang bati ko pa sa kanya that time, “Hi, Im Jacque. Ako yung may limited budget for a cake.” Haha. Narinig pa nga ako ni Mai ni Paul eh. Hehe. We only allocated 5k for the cake and this is one of the few suppliers na nag-exceed kme pero happy naman kme of the decision we made. No regrets, feeling ko pa nga kulang yung binayad namin eh. So anyway, we sat down, discussed and negotiated muna with the budget. After she presented her package and the fact that we can avail 24 mini-cakes, Simon agreed agad on getting the 8k package. Hehe.

When we started talking about the cake, I explained to her our working theme that time. Parang enchanted/ever after type pero in a not-so-formal way. We are not the serious type of people (obvious diba from all our grins sa pics?) and we want the cake to be the mirror of how our wedding should be and a mirror of our personalities. She asked me if I want a castle. At first hesitant me at baka maging Goldilocks bday cake. Hahaha. Pero when I saw a pic from a mag, I showed it to her. She made a sketch for me and after some consolidations and additional details, we have our cake na on paper. Since ayaw ko ng 3 layers na magkakapatong lang, we decided paghiwa-hiwalayin and make a little village of castles, tapos yung 2 smaller
castles are connected by a small bridge. Yung topper ni simon nasa isang layer holding a guitar (kunwari nihaharanahan ako), tapos ako sa kabilang layer holding my bouquet. Very nice. I think eto yung nagpalabas ng personalities namin coz simon’s a
musician…ako naman, wala lang. Hehe. More reasons why we love her dearly:

~ Physical Dimensions: the biggest layer ang edible, tapos ang dami pang castles na nakatayo. She added a square na styro pandagdag over the round cake para ata mas lalo tumaas. If you notice sa pics ni paul Vincent (pic 76), mas nagmukha sya mataas coz of the extra layer na yun. Nice! All our toppers did’nt melt, break or whatever deformation na pwede mangyari considering that it was an outdoor venue. Ive wanted to preserve it sana kaya lang after ilang days, nahanap sya ng mga langgam at pinapak na. Sayang!
~ I specifically loved the beads, pink, gold and transparent ones. At ang fur, hindi ko kinaya! Haha. Basta sabi ko lang sa kanya nun, lahat ng kaartehan at kung ano-ano pa isaksak nya lang sa cake ko…and it was tastefully done. Sabi nya kc it was every cake artist’s dream daw to make a cake castle. I kept all the paraphernalia she used, para pang scrapbook.
~ She added another free mini-cake na nakasingit dun sa layer nung cake ni simon. Haha. When we found out nga na edible pala yun, hala, we poked all the other
layers at baka edible din…di lang namin alam! Hahaha, OA tlga kme. So all in all, 25 mini-cakes yun!
~ The mini-cakes are cute esp the castle ones na we gave out for the ninongs. The roses naman for the ninangs. They never want to eat it daw kc ang ganda. Sabi ko kainin kc mas masarap.

~ She made cookies for us with initials J and S, two cookies per guest table. Akala rin ng guests hindi sya nakakain. Additional na pang-munch together with the
crinkles. The cookies she made for us was her gift. Touched nga ako eh. I’d still want to pay for it kc nahihiya na me. Abusado na ata ako.

~ Taste buds dimensions: The fondant icing, accordingto our families, is not matigas unlike sa ibang cakes we’ve tasted. Very easy to slice and hindi nag-crack

~ The carrot-walnut flavor…hmmmm!!! Sarap-sarap talaga! It’s moist, malambot and hindi kaumay. We also liked the choco-walnut pero settled for the carrot-walnut kc baka nga magtinga sa ngipin at Makita sa pics. Favorite rin ng dad ko yun and simon’s family kaya hindi masyado nagtagal ang cake sa mga refs nila. Hehe.

There was this day that we were texting our suppliers and thanking them for all the efforts and a job well done, I asked Emily kung napuyat ba sya sa cake namin. She texted back and told me na kme ang last client nya before Christmas kaya lahat na ng powers nya nilagay nya sa cake na yun. Hehe. Days after, she asked for a picture of us with our wedding cake, she will make a new brochure and wants to include our
wedding cake sa brochure nya. Happy lang kme coz we know she is a success in the making.

Caterer: Robert Camba Catering (Connie and Robert Camba himself)
Package inclusions: All silver wedding package
(5-course meal, 3 desserts, Pedestal for couple’s backdrop, gazebo for cake and for the couple, dove, champagne, ice carving, gold fountain for the buffet table, sound system, emcee (Mallory ferrer), purified water, bubble machine, torch parade, gues book, signature frame, live butterflies; Ceremony Set up – altar, 50 pcs. chairs plus additional 50 pcs (with P15per chair additional), posts with tulle, carpet
Peso Power: 58,000.00 for 150 pax plus ceremony set-up P5,000.00
Rating: 8.9

Feeling namin para makatipid kme ng konti and since one venue lang kme, we want a caterer na aside sa masarap ang food eh maraming amenities na free. Hehe. That way, marami ma-aadd sa wedding namin na free.

Pros:
~ We did’nt have problems talking to them. Open sila to changes or suggestions. On our last meeting with Connie, I had the organza ribbon na originally for tiffany chairs be converted to table runners. Ayoko kc nung table cloth nila eh, parang OA na kc super pink tlga. So we had white table cloths and gold na runners. Simple pero ok for us.

~ The head waiter, according to our coord, did a marvelous job. They kept on raving about him on our post-wedding evaluation. Kasi may pinabago ata si clarice na set-up ng VIP tables, after 5 minutes lang daw, tapos ang set-up. Galing!

~ We specifically marveled on our gazebo. Natuwa po kme dun kasi ang ganda sa pics.

~ Bow din kme sa freebies nila. Butterfly release that we used sa first kiss. Katuwa! Bubble machine na ginamit at least three times ata. (first dance, entrance to reception and closing time); torch parade – this added to the ever after theme;

~ Sound system: We thought parang karaoke lang ang sound system nila, yung parang pang-emcee lang. Tuwa kme coz malaki sya talaga. Rinig na rinig sa buong puerta real. Im not sure about the specs nun kc si simon ang nagkuha ng specs…but knowing that simon is particular sa sounds and pumasa yun sa standards nya, it must be really good.

~ All tiffany chairs – Syempre tuwang-tuwa pa rin ang guests dito coz the chairs really added elegance to our set-up.

~ Food: The best ang roast beef mushroom nila…ang daming guests raved on it. Some even had 3 servings. Hehehe.

~ Ceremony set-up: Since Mang Boy did na the ceremony set-up (which was so good), we put the posts with tulle sa reception na. We still needed to pay them the ceremony set-up since we got the altar from them and chairs, flowers lang kc kay mang boy eh. Ganda kinalabasan nung separate ang ceremony sa reception, feeling namin we have maximized Puerta Real to the fullest. J they also gave us free red carpet to be used sa reception, since sa ceremony na namin ginamit yung kasama sa package.

Cons:
~ We give tips to all suppliers pero ayaw namin ng hinihintay kami at naka-abang sa amin na bigyan sila. While we were having the post-wedding evaluation, nakatayo lang yung waiter sa tabi ni clarice. Clarice had to tell him to wait kasi hindi pa kme tapos.

~ Prior to the wedding, I got some valuable information about their service from w@wies also. We took note of all those pero was not able to check closely on the food allocated for the event. We had 150 guests but approximate 140 lang were there and super sagad ang food namin. I understand that some were able to have 2 servings pero sa buffer that they put, dapat may sobra pa rin ng konti diba? Okay rin lang naman coz lahat naman nakakain…oh except for a guest who arrived nung nag-closing speech na kme. Hahaha. Di na sya nakakain.

~ The set-up nung ‘dirty kitchen’ nila, hindi man lamang nila tinakpan or nilayo ng konti. Sa laki ng puerta real, they should have set it up somewhere na hindi nakakagambala sa guests. My officemate kasi shared that they were seated at the back and they can almost hear the kwentuhan and the ligpitan ng mga plates and glasses. Yun lang.

~ The tents for the VIPs, buffet, and cake are so simple. I expected lang siguro na kahit lights meron sana. Buti na lang, maliwanag sa puerta real.

~ The cake gazebo was not set-up na kasi Emily didn’t want it there na rin coz she was afraid of a possible rain or drizzle nga. Hehe, not Robert camba’s fault
actually.

~ Some of the details were not implemented pero if we will base it on the overall set-up, I’d still say that they did a great job. Kung baga, some things are not
as important as we thought it would be (like white flowers lang ang nasa centerpiece where in fact it should have been pink and yellow), we were still satisfied with their service.


Emcee: Mallory Ferrer
Rating: 10+++

109866-small-14-emcee

I love her. We were’nt able to meet her. We just talked on the phone, discussed some little things and done. She was so good. Our guests were a combination of people from all walks of life. As in, may mga makyanders, mga hyper na yuppies, mga ka-age namin (mid-20s) and mga may pamilya na. But she was able to draw the crowd to her attention and made them all laugh. Haha. We loved how she pulled off our game. Simon wanted a trivia game from the start and ang mechanics is they’d have to answer and text it to clarice’s celphone number. Ang saya! I practically saw everyone opened their bags and prepared their cellphone texting fingers. Hahaha. Pati mga ninongs and ninangs, nakilaro! Ang price lang naman, P100.00 each. hahaha. It was fun. I also loved how she managed to implement the garter-bouquet game. Katuwa
sya!

Ceremony and Reception Music: JJS Wedding Symphony
How we got them: W@w
Contact Person: John Santos 0918-507-4709
Package Inclusion: String trio for ceremony and
reception
Peso Power: P7,000.00
Rating: 6 :(
Other supplier seriously considered: Velvet Mood, Senti Groove

As I wrote down before, almost all our suppliers delivered at par excellence except for one. And it is to our disappointment na of all suppliers pa, musicians pa ang sumablay considering na musically-inclined kme pareho ni simon. (esp Simon who
is a keyboardist). We gave them the benefit of the doubt at first pero merong mga instances that we cannot take sitting down.

Pros:
~ On our first few discussions thru texts or phone calls, we found him really nice and really flexible sa rates. Originally, we only asked for a string trio for the ceremony and I gave him a budget of 4k lang. Pumayag sya agad. Kaya super tuwa talaga ako sa kanya nun.

~ Everything that I asked from him, okay sa kanya. I requested kc that we have our own singers and kung okay lang yun. Okay naman daw. We have some songs that are not in their repertoire and he agreed pa rin naman sa mga songs na yun which we appreciated very much.

~ I appreciated their music nung ceremony.

Concerns: (minor muna)

~ We understand that December is such a busy month talaga. We never got the chance to meet him in person. Sa demo, he sent his staff to show us a video of their works, okay lang naman. We did’nt mind at all. We tried to meet up with him pero hindi sya pwede or minsan ako naman ang hindi pwede. Until one day he texted me and asked if we could talk on the phone na lang. While on the phone, we discussed
almost all the songs na and I told him that we’d meet him na lang so we can give the CD and the arrangement of how we’d like it played. He then suggested to have it mailed na lang thru LBC since lahat daw busy ngayon. I understood him naman nung una coz as I said, I gave him the benefit of the doubt na busy talaga lahat. So I mailed the three copies of the CD together with the misalette and the songs to play and anong mga songs dun ang may singers.

~ We requested for a rehearsal with our singers kahit yung keyboardist lang nila. Unfortunately, that did’nt happen. Simon even told john na kahit dagdagan na lang ang payment for them or charge us with a rehearsal fee, okay lang basta ma-practice lang ang singers. Hindi pa rin daw kc busy na talaga. Okay, so what happened was the weekend before our wedding, Simon had to rehearse the singers. We understood pa
rin naman coz we knew na hindi sya kasama sa package and he told us naman that the performers will arrive an hour before the ceremony so dun na lang daw ang practice…and okay pa rin kme dun. Simon called him ata regarding some changes sa songs and ang sabi nya lang is OK.

~ Sa buong discussions namin sa kanila, everything was okay…I mean literally Ok. Everytime Simon would text, lagi ang sinasabi lang Ok. I kept on assuring simon
that they are professionals and most likely wala nga problem.

~ Two weeks before the wedding, we have to extend their services to reception since something came up with our friend who was supposed to play sa reception. We texted him about that and since may copy naman sila ng reception songs, he texted Ok pa rin. We asked him if he can play all the songs para kung hindi man, we can adjust. He answered, Ok pa rin. Kaya kinakabahan na si simon kc puro Ok lang daw reply.

~ Come our wedding day, the keyboardist WAS late! He arrived 15 MINUTES before the ceremony. Eto yung hindi ko nakayanan. Imagine, three of the singers were included in the entourage. They chose not to have their pictorials with me before the wedding so they could rehearse their songs. They arrived at the venue at 3:30 p.m. The flutist and the violinist were on time. My SIL kept on asking them what time
darating yung keyboardist. Natraffic lang daw. My SIL said, “Kme kc ung singers and kelangan namin mag-practice” They’re not professionals so admittedly, they really had to rehearse diba kahit man lamang bridal march ko. When the keyboardist FINALLY arrived, ang sabi daw nung isang performer, “Oh, sila daw yung singers, papractice daw sila” My SIL was shocked sa ganung reaction nung girl.

~ They WERE’NT able to play all the songs requested. Sa ceremony, wala problem. Na-play nila lahat (as far as I know). Sa reception, cguro mga at least five songs yung hindi nila na-play. Madali lang kme kausap as in. Should they have told us na merong hindi mape-play sa list, no problem sa amin yun. We wont take it against them. Kaya lang kme nag-rant ngayon is because they kept on saying “Ok” tapos hindi naman pala okay. They could have easily told us or texted us na “sorry, pero ganitong songs lang ang pwede” and it will be fine with us. I know na short notice sila for the reception songs, pero we are just a text away.


~ Siguro sa disappointment na rin, I did’nt even text John to say thanks for the performers. I sent him an email to address our concerns...wala reply.

I would always say this to other brides that each supplier is to his own. It’s a case-to-case basis. Feeling ko nga, baka ako pa ang unang client nila na sumablay sila. I have’nt heard their side so this rating is more on our perspective and how we assessed the situation.

Back-up photographer: Roj Amado
How we got him: Another w@w supplier
Contact number: 0917-388-3702
Inclusion: Unlimited shots from hotel to venue; 3CDs
for master copy
Peso Power: P3,000.00
Rating: 10+

I love this guy. He is quiet at first pero super sensible kausap. He was the first photographer I met, and for the price he was offering then, akala ko I’d end up getting him. I had some concerns about his layout, so I got him as our back-up photographer instead.

Feeling ko ang mura rin ng rate nya for the service he rendered. We were viewing the pictures last night and grabe natuwa po ako sa kanya. He really was the back-up photographer I was looking for, yung pati Manila paper with the names of entourage to help them line up easily, kinunan nya. Pati yung mga moments na serious ako, nakatingin sa labas ng hotel na feeling siguro ng iba hindi na dapat kunan kc hindi naman ako naka-smile, kinunan nya pa rin! That was so important coz I was praying that time and when I saw the picture, I was reminded nung special moment na yun. (anxious nga kc ako of the rain) Tapos according to my SILs and friends, madali daw sya hatakin for extra shots kasi you’d see him everywhere, lakad-lakad taking pictures ng mga expressions ng guests, etc. basta, masaya po kme sa kanya. Bow!

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