Lifestyle

Agoda Mix and Save helps you find cheaper accommodations

Save up to 50 percent on your bookings

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In this age, traveling is no longer a luxury. With the right planning and budgeting, one can travel further than they can imagine. As a traveler fond of budget trips, I always put my experiences first before my accommodation. My motto was “forget luxury and high-end stays, my adventures are far better than any other hotel experience.”

Accommodation was the least of my priority, obviously. I would rather opt for a hostel to save money and be able to afford more local experiences. I don’t like being forced to stay (both in life and in love) when adventures are waiting for me.

But as I’m getting older, traveling slowly shifts from adventures to relaxation. However, I can’t let go of the budget-conscious lifestyle I’ve developed over time which is why Agoda’s newest feature was a godsend for someone like me.

What is Mix and Save?

Mix and Save is Agoda’s newest feature which allows customers to save up to 50 percent in their bookings, by combining the cheapest rooms available within the same hotel.

How does it work?

If you search between two to 14 nights stay at any of Agoda’s two million properties worldwide, Agoda will suggest the Mix and Save feature as an option to split your reservation into multiple bookings to help you maximize savings.

For example, I’m booking at Virginia’s Cave Villas in Santorini on November 17 to 27. It would have been expensive if I opted to take the Executive Villa with Outdoor Hot Tub for 11 days straight, costing PhP 9,453 per night. Agoda then suggests the Superior Cave Villa with Outdoor Hot Tub, a cheaper room that’s only available from November 24 to November 27, which costs PhP 7,136 per night.

It’s definitely going to make my accommodations cheaper, as long as I agree to be flexible and move. It might be an inconvenience to move to a different room, but who cares about inconvenience when you can get a cheaper room with a different style and decoration that would look good on social media.

What does it mean for hoteliers and the traveling landscape?

Agoda is the first major global online travel agent to make these “hack-rates” available. Chief Operating Officer Omri Morgenshtern believes this new feature will help partners optimize inventory and reflect Agoda’s commitment to offering the best possible price to customers.

It’s currently available on desktop, and Agoda is planning to enhance the offering in the future so users can enjoy Mix and Save deals on mobile.

Mix and Save is great news for travelers, but it might be a bit of a hassle for a hotel’s operations. Nonetheless, it’s a new feature and it’s still too early to tell if this is good or bad for the whole travel industry. For now, enjoy and take advantage of the better deals.

Lifestyle

Apple got cute pet portraits on their billboards!

Get your pet to model!

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Have you spotted cute pet babies hitting it on the street billboards lately? Well, Apple launched an ad campaign where everyone’s pets take over billboards around Singapore.

Hoping to turn heads and make pet portraits into high art, it’s arguably the most adorable addition to their Shot On iPhone campaign. If you’ve tried to take get your pet to pose to no avail, they’ve got photographer Jason Nocito to help.

The campaign hopes to aptly demonstrate how photographic features often reserved for professionals are now accessible to Apple users. The charming and adorable billboard pet portraits were all shot with an iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max–utilizing High-Key Light Mono Portrait.

Tips from Jason for pet portraits!

  1. To help get your pet’s attention and eye contact, hold a squeaker or keys above the lens.
  2. If you are shooting outdoors, place your subject under indirect light in front of a simple wall or background.
  3. Place your pet in the center of the frame.
  4. If you’re having a hard time getting your pet-posed High-Key Light Mono mode try shooting ina few regular shots in Portrait mode. From there you can apply the High-Key Light Mono mode in the edit function after the shoot.
  5. Lastly, shoot a lot of different frames!

Up your pet photo game

The campaign will run globally–including an @apple Instagram takeover and WeChat component! There, you’ll get to play around the iPhone’s camera features while learning how to take billboard-worthy shots wherever you are. You can even check out the behind-the-scenes of the shoot with Jason and his furry friends!

The OOH billboards at Knightsbridge, Keppel, and Bugis in Singapore have gone live. But, be on the lookout for the coming weeks; a cute fur baby might be featured on a billboard near you!

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Entertainment

10 things we learned about Hyun Bin at the Smart Hallyu Hangouts

We crashed K-drama actor Hyun Bin’s fan meet

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Hyun Bin

Over the weekend, Korean superstar Hyun Bin had a virtual fan meet with his Filipino supporters. Through Smart’s Hallyu Hangouts, thousands of fans were able to watch the interview hosted by Sam Oh and Park Kyung-Lim.

A couple were also given the chance to ask Hyun Bin some questions, one of them even showed off their prowess in speaking Korean. It was a fun evening for everyone, especially his biggest supporters whose dreams of attending his fan meets were hampered by the pandemic. Thank goodness for technology and fast internet, Filipino fans still got to spend with the actor even virtually.

During the hangout, we picked up a couple more interesting things about Hyun Bin that makes him more than just the characters he plays on screen.

He’s a perfectionist

While shooting for the Smart commercial, Hyun Bin admitted that it took a while to learn his line. “Simple, Smart ako” might be a short and easy sentence to say for Filipinos but  “simple” proved to be quite tricky for him. He took some time to learn it and even asked people for help.

He says that he’s always been like this and while filming for dramas, he would even be quite hard on himself. There are times when his directors are already happy with the scene but he would still want to iron out his acting.

He had a fan club when he was in high school

Before entering show business, Hyun Bin already had his own fan club. Talk about being extremely good looking! He was modest enough to say that he didn’t know much about it, though.

He’s a news junkie

We love a well-rounded oppa and Hyun Bin admits to reading all sections of the news. “It’s nice to know what’s happening in the world I’m living in,” he said during the live.

He doesn’t watch his own work

He admits to going on OTT platforms a lot to watch series and movies but never the ones that have him on them. In fact, he has never seen Crash Landing on You (CLOY) after they filmed the drama.

Hyun Bin is passionate about golf

He says he would love to become a golf player. This, after getting hooked on the sport. He admits it’s just a hobby and that if he weren’t so busy, he’d probably be doing it more often. It’s also something that relaxes him.

Hyun Bin

He rarely cries IRL

Hyun Bin admits that he doesn’t cry much in real life. Maybe it’s because he does it a lot for work or maybe because he’s just extremely happy right now.

He searches his name online

Rarely does any celebrity admit to Googling oneself so this was quite refreshing. He says he does it about once a day. “I want to know if there’s something about me that I don’t know of. I also want to see how events like these are covered by the media,” he added.

He knew how to play the piano

Hyun Bin learned how to play the piano as a child. However, he forgot most of it as he rarely used the skill. So, when they were filming for Crash Landing on You, he would practice in his hotel room using an electric keyboard they brought with them all the way from Korea.

He would’ve loved to play two other CLOY characters

It’s hard to imagine Hyun Bin as anyone other than Ri Jeong-hyeok in CLOY. However, he says that he would have been open to playing the villain, Cho Cheol-gang and the wiretapper, Jung Man-bok.

Hyun Bin

He has an upcoming movie

They just finished the sequel to Confidential Assignment and he promises that it will be bigger and more international than the first one. “In the first movie, it was just North and South Korea that were involved. In the sequel, the US and other countries will also play a part in the story,” he shared.

Smart Hallyu Hangouts was powered by Smart, one of the country’s top network providers. Internet metrics company Ookla recently cited Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network in the second half of 2020 after it achieved a Speed Score™ of 24.99, with average speeds of 20.08 Mbps for download, and 7.42 Mbps for upload.

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Accessories

Stylish leather accessories: His and Hers

Accessories to help complement your look ✨

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More and more manufacturers are designing gadgets as a fashion statement. Depending on how you style it, a device can make or break a look.

If you haven’t tried it before, you can build outfits around a device and make it a focal point. These stylish accessories can help complement the look you’re going for.

His: Rugged Case for Pixel Buds A-Series in Rustic Brown

Give your wireless earbuds case a rugged makeover with a sleek leather cover. The raw, vegetable tanned leather is sourced from one of America’s oldest tanneries and the case has an optical light pipe to allow the Pixel Bud’s LED charging indicator to shine through.

Hers: Native Union Clic Heritage Case in Sapin

A premium phone deserves an elegant case that lasts, not a clear jelly case that will turn yellow in a few months. The Native Union Clic Heritage is made with a blend of smooth and cross-grained Italian leather and finished with gold accents to match even your favorite pair of earrings.

His: AirTag Leather Loop in Rustic Brown

Upgrade your everyday carry with a leather loop for your AirTag. Track your keys, camera, umbrella, or your bag with this minimal and sleek accessory. It’s designed to beautifully patina with time creating a MagSafe charging experience unique to you.

Hers: Stow Slim for MacBook in Sage

Your laptop doesn’t have to go into a clunky black bag. Truth be told, it deserves better than that. The Stow Slim protects your laptop from anything that might scratch it in your tote, but it looks just like a casual clutch that you wear with a flirty top and wide leg trousers.

His: Nomad Card Wallet in Rustic Brown

Keep your cards and cash secure in this slim card wallet from Nomad. It can fit up to 10 cards, including the Card for AirTag that will launch in September. Now the two essentials in your pockets match, too!

Hers: Heritage Card Holder in Sapin

Carry your cards and a little bit of cash in a matching card holder as your iPhone case. You would instantly look more put together when you want to walk into a cafe for a cup of joe.

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