Movies 5 Reasons Why “The Dark Knight” of Philippine online shopping gets mistaken for “Bane” @LazadaPH 5 Reasons Why “The Dark Knight” of Philippine online shopping gets mistaken for “Bane”

Note: This is a thank you/movie review/brand perception mash-up post about’s “The Dark Knight Rises” block screening at Cinema 2 of the SM Mall of Asia last night, July 19, 2012.

(Please refer to PR below for reference.)

Press Release
For immediate release

Lazada Philippines at the Movies: The Dark Knight Rises

Thursday night, July 19th 2012, almost felt like it was Friday with the successful turn up of events during Lazada Philippines’ premiere screening of the third and last installment of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises. Before the main event, Lazada has set up a booth and gave away branded tumblers, eco bags, umbrellas and P200-worth of Gift Vouchers to use on the Lazada Philippines website,, to lucky movie-goers who signed up for their newsletter and liked their page on Facebook,
SM Mall of Asia Cinema 2 was packed with top bloggers, celebrities, media, and employees despite the weather by 8:00pm. Among the attendees were actor Chuckie Dreyfus; Ms. Philippines-Earth 2012, Stephany Stefanowitz; Love Radio DJs, Kristine Dera and Diego Bandido; tech bloggers Abe Olandres of Yugatech, Kiven Codamon and Lia Espina Lopez; and lifestyle bloggers Lissa Kahayon, Farah Ramos and Tracy Ayson. But the valued customers were the real stars of the night, they were given reserved VIP seating and Lazada gift bags at the end of the movie. is the biggest online shopping mall in the Philippines. With a wide variety of categories including Books, Electronics, Phones & Accessories, Computers, Home & Living, Hardware, Home Appliances, Toys, Kids & Babies, Travel & Luggage, Beauty, Jewelry & Watches, and Sports. They carry the top searched-for brands making it convenient for everyone to shop for anything and everything in the comfort of their own homes. Lazada offers cash on delivery, free nationwide shipping and 14 days free return. Its parent company, Germany-based Rocket Internet, is the second largest e-commerce company worldwide with ventures all over South East Asia and the rest of the world.
Find out more about LAZADA Philippines by checking their website Interact with them by liking them on Facebook (, following them on Twitter (, and browsing the web for all their other social media sites.

The Dark Knight Banner on
The Lazada Philippines booth outside Cinema 2 of SM Mall of Asia.
Yeoh Egwaras of Yeoh Models; Model Farah Ramos; Ms Philippines – Earth 2012 Stephany Stefanowitz and friend.

The Dark Knight Rises

Disclosure: This blogger has been contacted by (Twitter: @LazadaPH) through email and was delightfully offered free tickets to the movie under no obligation to write a blog post, hence no compensation in any form was offered nor received.

Scroll down for photos taken during the actual screening night.

Photo Credit: John Heller/ZUMA Press/Newscom

As a Batman and Christian Bale fan (ever since “Equilibirum” and “The Machinist”) and former owner of an online store myself back in 2008, I’m just glad I can merge these two worlds and not lose my mind. But before I play with your brain Inception-style, let me just say I’ve waited so long to see e-commerce/online shopping take-off like this in the Philippines. The number of people shopping online today is astounding as opposed to years past.

Sure, there was Multiply, Ebay, Sulit, and online versions of the brick-and-mortar stores we have here (National Bookstore comes to mind, Ayala Malls, etc), but none offered as much payment flexibility and delivery coverage/options as the one “promises” — and yes, that is in quotes for a reason — which I will let you know in a while. Stay with me.

Truth be told, even as I’m an avid online shopper myself (purchases ranging from books to toys to gadgets and clothes to flowers and even food), I have *yet* to try buying from Lazada.  Yes, I’ve signed up and browsed through an assortment of products but I haven’t bought a thing. That is not to say I don’t have a wish list there, by the way — because I have. That “A Song of Fire and Ice” boxed set looks very delicious, if I may say so. :)  (Edit: Just bought a Creative speaker this morning to test their service. See Tweet below) .

Just bought these Creative speakers from @LazadaPH. Will blog about the online shopping experience.

— RJ Marmol (@RJMarmol) July 21, 2012

However, if you’re as diligent as me, you might have found enough disturbing stories online about dissatisfied customers reporting /blogging about their bad experiences with But probably none of them as bad as my previous experience with Groupon ( Philippines — which I never bothered to blog about because, honestly I don’t like stressing myself too much.

You had to wait over a week for your purchase to arrive, you say? Man, I had to wait over 8 months for a credit-back for an undelivered purchase!

But I waited anyway. And what’s more, it didn’t deter me from buying from them again. I actually bought 3 more items on different occasions and never had a problem since. 5 Reasons Why “The Dark Knight” of Philippine online shopping gets mistaken for “Bane”

1. First impressions – Bane looks odd and tech-loaded. (and so does The Dark Knight)

Most people are technophobic. You look at Bane and you see nothing but that thing-a-majig he has on his head and mouth and you immediately run for the woods. You’d rather be eaten by a bear than confront this monstrosity of gadgetry. The Dark Knight is as eerie as eerie gets too. If you ever run into The Batman on a cold, damp night you’d probably freeze with primal fear so much that you couldn’t even pick up your jaw from the sidewalk.
Eerie-techie-looking = bad, bad omen. But try getting to know both of them and you’d be surprised that these guys aren’t defined by their looks. If you get past the intimidation their fashion statement elicits, you’d be kinder — maybe even become a fan.

2. Trust issues – “His only mistake was that he loved me.” – Miranda on Bane. (and so did Batman).

These days, we can’t seem to trust anybody. The least suspect almost always turns out to be the traitor. Like Gothamites, we feel a sense of entitlement to be saved at all costs and our hero mustn’t fail us at any time. And when they do — as they eventually will, we spring to our high chairs, play judge and ignore all pleas for second chances.
What we fail to realize is that at the heart of all heroism and sacrifice is a mortal — fragile and subject to make mistakes. Heroes will fail us, time and again. But it shouldn’t stop us from trusting that deep within that hard shell is a heart that beats because of a defined conviction.

3. Fear of the misunderstood – Why does Bane hate Gotham so much? (And why does Batman love Gotham so much that he became a recluse, appearing as though he doesn’t care?)

As humans, we fear what we don’t understand. We’d rather use our energy to hate immensely than to love effortlessly by simply trying to understand things — what they are, how they are, how they came to be and what brought them here.

4. Vague intentions – What will Bane gain if he destroys Gotham city? (And what will Batman gain in saving the city that he loves if he dies anyway? Doesn’t his very existence keep the city alive and protected? Why?)

When intentions aren’t clearly stated, we tend to make safe guesses. We either underestimate or overestimate based on our biases. Bane is bad therefore no motivation would justify such a despicable act. Batman is good so dying for Gotham is all but unexpected.

5. Too good to be true – Bane can’t be some kind of savior, can he? Batman can’t be all that consumed about saving Gotham that he’d die for his city in a heartbeat.

Believe it or not, the bad ones are outnumbered by the good ones. This world is filled with many good people who have pure intentions.

While many say that if something is too good to be true, then it must be, some things just are true. You plug it in and it works. No frills. No smoke-and-mirrors. It just works.

I don’t write this to defend or blame anyone, rather to encourage everyone to not lose heart on the merits of online shopping here in the Philippines. Because as much as it’s frightening to the uninitiated, it is very promising and viable form of commerce that must be ultimately accepted if not embraced wholeheartedly by consumers and business people alike.

So there you have it. Your 5 reasons. How does that relate to being the “Dark Knight” of online shopping mistaken for Bane? I leave that for you to think about. It’s your time you rise from the pit of skepticism about online shopping. It’s possible. It’s here. “DESHAY!!! BASARA!!!”






Many thanks to Monique Espino of for the invite. She’s been very kind and accommodating to the point of giving my little Batman fan an extra ticket so we can watch as a family. So pleased to see and thank her in person. Special thanks to my Twitter friend Joey Alarilla, Social Media Manager of for the warm welcome when we got to the cinema all wet and cold. MOA’s a long drive from Calamba but it was well worth it. :)


App News · App Reviews · iPhone · Mobile · Reviews

Get a chance to win Voice Dream Reader TTS App [REVIEW-GIVEAWAY]

How to enter Voice Dream Reader Text-To-Speech App Giveaway:

1. Subscribe to’s newsletter here.

2. You will receive a “Welcome/Thank You” email. In it, you will see the iTunes Redeem code at the email banner area.

3. Click on it, copy the code and redeem* it.  First person who gets/redeems  the code gets the Voice Dream Reader Text-To-Speech App.

4. That’s it! So hurry and get it before someone else does!

*Don’t know how to use an iTunes/App Store Redeem Code? Here’s how:

1. Just to the App Store as usual, by tapping on the App Store icon on your iOS device.

2. Tap on “Featured” option located on the bottom of the screen.

3. Scroll all the way down and tap on the option that says “Redeem” just above the “Apple ID” field.

4. You’ll see the “Enter your Gift Card or Download Code:” prompt.

5. Type or paste the Download Code and the specific app will be downloaded to your iOS device.


It’s been a busy day in the app review world and I sure have a lot of apps to review in the coming weeks. But… I am excited to share that there’s one particular app that’s helping me make sure I have one less thing to worry about when it comes to keeping abreast with all the buzz around me: Voice Dream Reader. It’s a text-to-speech app that lives up to its name because it works like a dream.

Here’s why:

I’ve come across (and actually bought many) other TTS apps in the App Store and most of them have hefty price tags attached to them…and perhaps rightly so considering all the convenience they promise to provide you, it seems to make sense.

Voice Dream Reader [iTunes link] is one such app but without being overpriced.

And while I normally save the price for last, I wanted to get that consideration out the door this time because this just might be your lucky day! The good developers of Voice Dream Reader app have been generous enough to provide me with an additional promo code! :)


So stay with me and I’ll let you in on the details of this Voice Dream Reader App Giveaway later in this post. But first, my review:

What does the Voice Dream Reader app do?


It’s a text-to-speech app. Like most TTS, it converts text to audio and read it back to you.


You mean like an audiobook? YES but better! If you have ebook collections, there’s no need to buy separate audiobook versions of it. Just import your ebooks to the Voice Dream Reader app and voila! Instant audiobook.

Don’t care for ebooks, don’t have any?

Well the good thing about the Voice Dream Reader app is that it can do so much better than just read out imported ebooks or ePub ebooks, it can:

1. Read articles, blog posts, reports, papers, and books using the best available text-to-speech technology that comes out amazingly natural.

2. You can download trimmed articles from Pocket (Read It Later). All you have to do is set up your Pocket account in the app settings and from then on, all articles from your Pocket will be synced to the Dream Reader app each time you open it. Instapaper also supported (subscription account required).

3. Once imported, articles are stored locally for offline listening.


4. It can extract text from PDF, ePub, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, Apple Pages, RTF, HTML and plain text files.

5. Import files directly from your Dropbox.




6. It can extract text from a Web page directly with a built-in browser.

7. You want certain portions of articles read to you? You can add new articles using copy and paste via “In Editor” option.


8. It can also translate articles (using translation credits, that can be purchased in the app).

9. You can read using a playlist from all your articles.

10. Easily adjust text size and choose between light and dark themes.

11. It comes with a female American English voice with option to buy additional voices (52 voices to choose for) for English, or for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Catalan, Polish, Turkish, Greek, and Arabic for an in-app purchase of $0.99 per voice.

Can I import books from iBooks or Kindle?

Import from iBooks or Kindle is currently unsupported because third party apps are not allowed to access the content in these apps.

1. Fast import from DropBox.
2. Fast sync with Pocket.
3. Fast extraction and conversion of text from websites.
4. In over a month of daily use, the app never hanged or crashed.
5. Easy adjustment of reading voice pace.

6. Very useful as tool for checking written articles (for spellcheck, grammar, flow of thought). Since having the app, I no longer have to re-read drafted blog posts for error-proofing prior to publishing. I just open the editor, paste the article and let it read to me. It’s easier to spot errors this way than in relying with my tired eyes. As you can see here, I actually used it as the main text editor for writing this post!


7. Just like Safari’s Reader, it supports the “Define” button.


Don’t Like:
1. This is actually more of a “wish” than a “don’t like”: I hope the developers would add support for other third party apps, mostly cloud storage similar to DropBox like SugarSync, Google Drive, SkyDrive and even EverNote.

The Verdict:
A full-featured, highly-reliable and very efficient text-to-speech app — the best I’ve used so far. It’s an indispensable tool for the voracious reader, perpetual news junkie and pro blogger. It simply makes so many things easier from consuming information to creating your own. Priced at $1.99, it is worth all that and more.

I’ve never given this rating before in but the Voice Dream Reader app simply deserves no less than a perfect score: 5/5 stars.


I have one promo code courtesy of ready and waiting for the lucky winner.

How to enter Voice Dream Reader Text-To-Speech App Giveaway:

1. Subscribe to’s newsletter here.

2. You will receive a “Welcome/Thank You” email. In it, you will see the iTunes Redeem code at the email banner area.

3. Click on it, copy the code and redeem* it.  First person who gets/redeems  the code gets the Voice Dream Reader Text-To-Speech App.

4. That’s it! So hurry and get it before someone else does!

*Don’t know how to use an iTunes/App Store Redeem Code? Here’s how:

1. Just to the App Store as usual, by tapping on the App Store icon on your iOS device.

2. Tap on “Featured” option located on the bottom of the screen.

3. Scroll all the way down and tap on the option that says “Redeem” just above the “Apple ID” field.

4. You’ll see the “Enter your Gift Card or Download Code:” prompt.

5. Type or paste the Download Code and the specific app will be downloaded to your iOS device.

Good luck! :)

News · Social Networking

Facebook Camera: New iOS Stand-alone Camera App [REVIEW]

Facebook Camera: New iOS Stand-alone Camera App [REVIEW]

As if Facebook’s recent $1B purchase of phenomenal camera app Instagram isn’t enough, here comes Facebook Camera.


And you thought Facebook Messages wasn’t necessary! Or even Facebook Pages!

This must be the trend right now — disintegration. Specialized apps spun from other apps. Not so long ago, social networks and even search engines are at each other’s throats trying to be the “ultimate launchpad” for every Internet user.

“Step right here folks! Photos, videos, music, blogs, news! We have it all! We can do it all! In just one app! ”

Now, it looks like everyone but the clueless in Social Networklandia is avoiding “integration” like the plague.

Why this sudden flip? Don’t ask me. I’m not the one who bought Instagram and launched a separate camera app soon after. Maybe all these separate Facebook apps are actually betas — just waiting for the right time to reintegrate with its Mother Monster. All in due time, my little apps.. All in due time! *evil laugh*

So anyway, since Facebook Camera is here I see no reason why we shouldn’t take it out for a spin.

Here’s a quick review of Facebook Camera — the-sort-of-but-not-quite-Instagram-for-Facebook:

What it is:
1. It’s your Facebook Photos stream high-jacked into a separate world via an app.

2. It’s a batch uploader for your existing local gallery. This is a major improvement mind you. This hasn’t been possible using the native Facebook app. Prior to this app’s release, batch photo uploads have only been possible using 3rd party apps.

3. It uploads batches incredibly faster than the native Facebook app ever does with just ONE photo.

4. It’s a camera app with sensibly-named “filters” that attempts to beautify your photos.



4. It allows simple editing like crop and rotate. And delete!


Tap and hold photo to easily delete it.


5. Like I said, it’s your same photo stream on Facebook only better because this app aggregates purely photos from your Facebook stream (no whiny, emo, funny or politically-flavored status messages or SocialCam video views alerts).

So that “Like”, “Comment” and “Tag” buttons you’ve come to love (or hate) were carried to the Facebook Camera app.


What it isn’t:
1. It’s not (yet) as beautiful as Instagram.
2. It’s not painfully slow in displaying and uploading photos.
3. It’s not capable of displaying photos in landscape orientation.
4. It’s not overly user-friendly. The UI may look easy enough to use but the “tap twice for full screen view” and “tap thrice for stream view” gestures prove to be a bit tedious (unless I’m doing it all wrong…oops!).

What it can be and should be:

While I still can’t say that Facebook Camera is an Instagram killer by now, I can’t discount that possibility in the future. And the way I see it, this is a move in the right direction for Facebook, whose IPO by the way has since been rocked by all sorts of issues.

Should you download it?

Well, for someone who spends far greater time on Google Reader than Facebook, let’s just say I spent 3x more time on Facebook Camera since I’ve downloaded the app. Yes. You should.

Final Verdict:
For a 1.0 release that got its first update this morning, I give it 4.5/5 stars! App-solutely app-laudable!

App News · App Reviews · iPhone · Mobile · Reviews

Snap2PDF: Convert Your Documents to PDF In A Snap! [REVIEW] #app #review #iphone

This is a review of Snap2PDF — an iPhone app that scans (takes a snap) of your documents and converts them as convenient PDF files for easy view, storage or transfer. It’s your own portable scanner.


If you’re stuck behind a desk holding a mountain load of files you can’t organize for some reason — you know, those random “important” files you just can’t classify right now but can’t throw away either because you just might need it in the future, have I got the iPhone app for you! :)

Snap2PDF puts order in that pile of chaos you call your “files”. Whether it be in the home or office, no longer should you need to suffer in silence. You now live in a world of apps, of unlimited possibilities of fixing everything from the mundane to the charitable so quit whining and take action! :)

How does Snap2PDF work?


As simple as its name implies, all you have to do is snap a photo of your “paper” document, and like magic, Snap2PDF will convert it to a PDF file, after which you can do whatever it is you desire — store, email, send to DropBox, etc. And as a bonus feature, it also comes with OCR (optical character recognition) for search.


Snap2PDF features mentioned on the Apple App Store include:

– Effortless scanning and management
of multi-page documents
– Speedy data transfer to searchable PDF files
– Smart recognition of text in 21 languages
– Easy document search
– Convenient file management
– Special image enhancing feature
– Handy anti-shake function
– Simple upload of files to Cloud storage such as Dropbox
– Quick sharing of documents through email
– Innovative functions like Image rectification and Gamma correction

This app does the job of organizing your whiteboards, receipts, business cards, magazine articles, posters, print outs, coupons and newspaper clippings. Scanning multi-page documents can now be done continuously, with no waiting whatsoever.

You can search for scanned PDF files by keywords, document name, description and OCR text.



Snap2PDF recognizes text in 21 languages that include English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Slovak and Swedish.

Other features:

1. You can create categories and groups; add document description and keywords.





2. It has an image enhancing function that provides additional clarity and eliminates data recognition issues.


3. It has an anti-shake feature.
4. Allows rotation of scanned images.



5. Supports file upload to Cloud storage and email.


Price: $1.99


Fast. Never buggy. Very reliable. OCR search.

Don’t like:
This is actually more of a recommendation than a “don’t like” but I’ll mention it anyway: For the price of $1.99 and since they support OCR, I wish they integrated document image-to-text conversion. If you can export extracted text to email or Evernote, that would be awesome. That would make this a killer app — something like Snap2PDF2TXT. :)

Final Verdict: Snap2PDF is an indispensable app for home or office. Definitely app-laudable!


Vibe Technologies Officially Launch Vibe Tablet, Vibe Reader (app) and E-Bookstore (

I got an invite to attend the press launch of Vibe Tablet and its accompanying Vibe E-Bookstore ( at the Philippine Normal University (Taft) this afternoon.

You can watch the Vibe Tablet, Reader and EBookStore promotional video here shown during the conference.

Consider it as our local version of Apple’s iBookStore and Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore. Apple has the iPad, Amazon has Kindle, Barnes and Noble has the Nook and Vibe Bookstore has the Vibe Tablet.

And like Apple and Amazon, Vibe’s books are not limited to its tablet — because Vibe is also an app for tablets and smartphones of various platforms, much like Kindle. :)

But the similarity ends there. For Philippine education, Vibe isn’t just an app or a tablet — it is the new frontier of education — the so-called “brave new world”, if you will.

Vibe aims to revolutionize classroom learning as we know it and Vibe is probably just one of many other ideas to come.



But what is Vibe exactly and how does it differ from other tablets out there?

“Vibe is the first Philippine electronic bookstore. With Vibe, Filipinos will be able to access and buy all kinds of reading material through their smartphones and computing devices. Vibe is also the name of a reading application (app) that can be downloaded for free and installed on PCs, Mac computers, Android devices, iPhone and iPads.”







Please refer to below press release for more info on the conference.




PNU Holds Digital Education Conference for Teachers

May 7, 2012, Manila, Philippines -The Philippine Normal University (PNU), the country’s National Center for Teacher Education, conducted a conference today billed as Teaching Powered by Technology: 21st Century Skills and Tools for Teachers at the AV Theater of Edilberto P. Dagot Hall, PNU campus in Taft Avenue, Manila. This event is in collaboration with Vibe Technologies, the technology arm of Vibal Publishing House, Inc.

The event is also in support of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) thrust towards the integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education. DepEd Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro has issued DepEd Advisory No. 212 s. 2012, calling for the participation of school administrators, supervisors, principals, school heads, coordinators and classroom teachers from both public and private schools all over the country.

Among the speakers in the conference are Dr. Erico Habijan (Director, National Educators Academy of the Philippines), Hal Plotkin (Senior Policy Advisor, US Department of Education), Michelle Casio (Education Lead, Microsoft Philippines), Fr. Johnny Go, S.J (President, Xavier School) and Michael Xia (Regional Sales and Marketing Manager, McGraw Hill).

Highlights of the event include the launch of Vibe Tablet, the first Philippine tablet specifically meant for school use, and the formal donation and turnover of the open courseware repository of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to the PNU for the use of their teachers and students. MIT is recognized as a leading engineering and technology university globally.

In further collaboration, Vibal Publishing House, Inc. is donating a “classroom of the future” concept which will serve as the of icial home of the continuing year-long course with degree units at PNU. The facility will be equipped with mobile PC tablets, an interactive whiteboard and LCD projector. The project is also in line with PNU’s objective to enter into a twinning agreement with Columbia University s Center for Technology and School Change, which has a reputable international technology curriculum. #