Thursday, December 25, 2014

See the eco-friendly dandelion light show by artist Olivia d'Aboville at SM Aura

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During the Christmas holidays, one of the things families do is enjoy the Christmas lights and decorations all around the metro. Here's one that you should not miss especially if you are a supporter of protecting the environment.

A young French-Filipino artist, Olivia d'Aboville, who is based in Manila, is a famed textile artist specializing in tapestry and textile structures. Even as a design student in Paris, recycling was already a major component and influence in her work.

The artist behind the Giant Dandelions -- Olivia d'Aboville

Sneak Preview of H&M's 2015 Spring/Summer Collection

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It's always exciting to get a sneak preview of the next season's fashion collection and being invited to take this peek at H&M's 2015 Spring/Summer Collection was my exciting event of the day.

I was lucky to get there ahead of everyone else invited. I had time to go around and slowly take in the collection.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pinoys, let's promise to #ChangefortheBetter as a nation

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In a few weeks, it will be 2015. Another year, another chance to change for the better.

As a citizen advocate, I strongly believe that before we can change a nation, we must start from within ourselves. When each one of us does our part, before we know it, those wonderful values emanate out and manifest within our families, then within barangays, within cities and eventually within the country. This is what the Change for the Better campaign is all about.

Actually, I was curious and googled this campaign to learn more about it and found out that the Change for the Better campaign actually launched way back in 2012. Back then, the campaign was a call to personal change. This time, the campaign is a call to be a nation of citizens changing for the better. From a personal, individualistic focus, the spotlight of the Change for the Better campaign is now on the entire nation and what the true Filipino spirit is.

The Change for the Better campaign is one that believes that small changes put together can create a huge impact on a community (I am reminded of the analogy of the strength of a bundle of sticks that no one can break versus a single stick that can easily be snapped in half). We may not realize it but as a nation, we exhibit some values that oftentimes we may not be aware of because it comes naturally to us, but foreigners notice them and appreciate them. Hopefully, when we become aware that these Filipino values indeed set us apart from the rest of the world, and we practice them regularly, it becomes an integral part of us as a nation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Get your co-working space from vOffice while they are on promo!

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Hi friends! Just wanted to give you a heads-up on what's new at my virtual office, vOffice. Be sure to scroll all the way down to find out how easy it is to get an extra month free when you avail of any of their plans.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas -- at vOffice One Global Place!
I had just concluded a meeting with my yogini friends here at vOffice's beautiful, modern conference room

They have holiday promos now and this is definitely a good time to consider signing on for any of their plans because rates have been reduced (for a limited time) and on top of that, if you use my link, you get even more.

But wait….I'm getting ahead of myself!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment and CND Shellac nail polish

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Taming my naturally curly hair has always been challenging. I once tried rebonding. Never again!!! My hair was so unnaturally straight that it looked like walis tingting (wooden broomstick).

So I bought a titanium ceramic hair iron and would painstakingly iron my hair whenever I would go out to events where I had to look better than usual. But regular high heat applied to hair can be damaging. But more than that, I spend an inordinate amount of time ironing my hair. The sides are easy but the back is my biggest challenge! And I almost always never get it ironed the way I want it.

So when Azta Urban Salon contacted me about trying out the Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment, I immediately googled it to find out what to expect. Initially, I was hesitant to go through with it. If it looked anything like rebonded hair, I did not want it. But the different blog posts I read up on wrote about Cynos Kerasilk Keratin Treatment as leaving their hair not just straight but naturally soft as well. I was ready to take the plunge!

Last November 19, I headed on over to Azta Urban Salon at SM Jazz Residences along N. Garcia St. (formerly Reposo St.), Makati City. I was actually quite early and most of the mall area was still closed so I killed time outside a cafe. At 10 AM, I headed on back to the salon and was greeted by their very friendly staff.

For posterity's sake, here's my BEFORE keratin treatment look!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Knorr's "Sarap ng #LutongNanay" Movement brings easy cooking back to homes

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My Mom was a hands-on, stay-at-home Mom who knew how to cook and bake, sew, draw, play the piano, embroider, amd do oh so many things. Now that she has passed on, I remember her for all the things that she did for us as kids. And one of the things I truly remember (and miss a lot) is her home-cooked dishes.

When I went off to grad school in the States, the one thing she made sure I had with me was a box of her recipes so that I would not go hungry. That was typical Mom.  Memories of Mom washed over me during the Knorr #LutongNanay event I attended recently because everything about the event reminded me of things she used to do for us as kids. I listened to celebrity Moms talk about how some of them only learned to cook when they got married but that they now draw pleasure from cooking for their families.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Moms, think #WeAreBeautiful so your daughters will think so too

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Moms, your influence on your daughters is greater than you think.

We've heard it said that more important than what we say to our kids is what we do because even as small kids they watch and imitate us. We may not know it but as mothers, we also communicate fears and impressions of ourselves onto our daughters. If we are not careful, they will grow up mirroring our thoughts and actions.

How many times have we said aloud "I don't like my (fill in the body part)"? This self-deprecation rubs off on our daughters who grow up being self-critical or lose their sense of self-acceptance or self worth.

Dove, in its previous #IAmBeautiful campaign, found out that only 7% of Filipina women saw themselves as beautiful. That is a staggering 93% who don't think they are. In another locally-commissioned study by Dove, the results showed that 2 out of 3 girls feel pressured to look beautiful and this external pressure comes from peers and friends. The redeeming factor? 81% of them still consider their mom as their role model, much higher than the global average of 55%.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Register for the Digital Business Summit: Empowering Success Online

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Are you a start-up owner or a small- to medium-sized business owner? You probably spend a lot of time focused on your business operations. You may have some online presence, maybe a website or a social media account on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. But are you maximizing that online presence?

It is usually hard to find the time to catch up and learn about how to maximize your online engagement. But you need to be active online. As more and more people go online for different reasons, including online shopping and online searches before making a purchase, it is important that you meet your customers where they are -- on cyberspace -- and engage them.

Now there is a way for all of you, entrepreneurs and businessmen! The Digital Business Summit 2014 (DBS), with the theme "Empowering Success Online", is a series of online conferences from November 18 to 27, 2014 through different webinars covering the following topics:
  • Social media marketing 
  • Search marketing 
  • Mobile marketing 
  • E-Commerce 
  • Content marketing 
  • Online advertising

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Townships: Cities within Cities

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Living in Metro Manila and other metro cities in the Philippines, with poor transport system and horrendous traffic, can make the average commuter go through hours of just being on the road. And commuters do not just mean employees who sometimes have to commute from one end of Manila to another. It also includes students whose places of residence are often far from their schools.

In the United States, decades ago, I already appreciated the concept of suburbs. They were self-contained communities that included small businesses, entertainment places, restaurants, schools and even churches and hospitals. But suburbs were located outside the city proper. Employees who lived in the suburbs still commuted to the business district (of course, their transport systems were often very good so there was no great inconvenience).

In recent years, we have seen the concept of suburbs taken to a higher level in the form of urban townships. And this time, the townships are located within city proper.

Concept of Township

A township revolves around several key components: Live, Work, Play, Learn, Eat (and should I add, Pray?). Designed by master urban planners, townships' vision usually revolve around self-contained living and working environments where residents would not have to go far. This concept has been supported also by the mushrooming growth of IT-BPOs which locate within such townships. In addition, accreditation by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) of such cyberparks make the business of townships not just good business but convenient for residents.

One of the earliest townships I have seen is Eastwood City which is roughly 18.5 hectares. Located in Libis, it continues to evolve and expand as new buildings and shopping areas sprout.

Eastwood City Vicinity Map (taken from Eastwood City website)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Stories of Hope in the time of Typhoon Yolanda

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In times of disasters, there is often no end to news of destruction and loss of lives. Oftentimes it is so hard to find the positive in the face of utter despair. This was what so many went through when Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the Philippines exactly one year ago on Nov. 8, 2013. It is estimated that damage to the areas affected reached over 35 billion pesos.

But there is HOPE.

And over lunch with some people from Procter & Gamble (P&G), I heard some of these stories and how P&G, together with other partners, are some of the private sector organizations that are bringing hope back to people and places

Next to the devastating loss of loved ones, one thing that greatly affected those in Yolanda's destructive path was the loss of a source of livelihood for thousands. Looting became rampant in the aftermath of the super typhoon and store owners stood helpless as looters took their goods and food items even in their presence. It is actually a tribute to many store owners who later said that they allowed the looters to get everything as they understood the desperate situation they were all in.

Dranix East, P&G's distributor in the area, was also badly hit by Yolanda. But it quickly sprung into action together with P&G to start the rebuilding of lives. Calling their effort "Hope Stores", P&G had prefab sari-sari store stands, painted orange (Tide color, I immediately thought), made. The only requirement in the selection process was that the recipients of the Hope stores should have been previous store owners. This was because sustainability could only happen if the beneficiary already had previous store experience. For each orange Hope Store, P&G stocked it with PhP 1,000 worth of their popular, fast-moving products (Safeguard, Whisper, Joy, etc) to jumpstart the livelihood of the recipients.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Huggies Dry Pants: the easiest way to change baby

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It's been a while (uhhh…no…a long, long time) since I've changed nappies. And although I ended up using disposable diapers, I actually started with cloth diapers for my kids, complete with those pins that pricked me if I was not careful changing my babies.

But guess what came recently for me to try….Huggies Dry Pants -- the latest in diapers that even do away with those resealable side stickers. This time, Huggies Dry Pants look exactly like underwear that you just slip on left, slip on right, pull up, and you're done!

To make me experience it for myself, the creative people behind Huggies sent me a baby-sized doll that just wouldn't stop crying! But watch what happens when I change her nappies to the Huggies Dry Pants.

Monday, November 3, 2014

1780 by SariSari: heritage Philippine products in one site

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The sari-sari stores that we know have been a part of Philippine life for decades. It's everywhere -- those houses in our neighborhood that use whatever little frontage they have to sell canned goods, bread, chichirya (chips), softdrinks, cigarettes, and whatever else. We even have a sari-sari just two houses away from my home!

The physical sari-sari stores are what I call the earliest form of the 7-11 convenience stores. They are the run-to places when you find yourself craving for something to eat when stores are closed. Or the place you buy eggs from when you suddenly run out and it's just not worth a trip to the grocery. Or even the saving grace when a holiday shuts down all stores and you need to buy a few things.

This was what SimpleSoft CEO Ernell DyLim had in mind when he named his online site, after our iconic Filipino one-stop-shop. DyLim realized that there are consumers looking for certain products and merchants selling these products but there was no central place where they could meet. And oftentimes, cost was a big factor for the merchants to bring their goods to market. Thus, his site was born out of this need.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The 2015 Starbucks planners, Christmas Starbucks cards and Christmas merchandise are here!

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It's that time of the year again when Starbucks goes all out for the Christmas season and the new year!!! (Note: This will be a looooong post with lots of Starbucks goodness inside.)

The much awaited 2015 Starbucks Planners

It's here!!! I know you are all waiting with bated breath to find out what the 2015 Starbucks planners look like. This is the 12th edition of the planners since it began. You're getting first dibs before it comes out next week. Take your first glimpse!

Presenting the 2015 Starbucks planners with matching Starbucks double-sided pens!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Earn from home with 51Talk

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Are you in between jobs? Were you forced by circumstance to leave your job to take care of your family? Are you looking for something to augment your income? Are you retired or semi-retired and looking for something meaningful to fill up some of your time?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this post is for you.

At one blogger event in the past with a BPO, I raised a question with them. I told them that there was an untapped labor force in this country - the thousands of well-educated, English-speaking, degree holders who have opted for different reasons to quite their office jobs and take care of the family. While a majority of these are married women with small kids, there are a good number of single people who have elderly parents and even husbands who have reversed roles with their working wives. While the BPO's executives agreed with me, they said their present constraint was the kind of communications security required of their business which working from home would not be able to fulfill. Understandable. Still, the fact remains that there is a growing untapped labor force in the home.

Now comes a chance to tap that untapped market. And bring job opportunities back to this labor force.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Enjoy Starbucks Latte Mmm-oments (with a raffle!)

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Before anything else, new seasonal lattes are here again! Hot or cold, these 2 lattes are sure to be enjoyable so I'm trying them next time I go to Starbucks.

French Vanilla Latte

The French Vanilla Latte is the first one I want to try because vanilla has always been a favorite flavor of mine. Just imagine the Espresso Roast complemented by steamed milk and creamy French Vanilla sauce with mild custard notes. The beverage is topped with whipped cream, vanilla bean specks and dark chocolate curls.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Protect your liver against Hepatitis B

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Hepatitis B is a silent killer. Many Filipinos may be carriers of this virus without manifesting any symptoms. In the Philippines, Hepatitis B affects about 16.7% of adult Filipinos. That translates to approximately 8 million people! If not treated, the hepatitis B virus (HBV) can develop into chronic liver disease leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer. In more than two-thirds of all liver cancer cases in the Philippines, the cause is Hepatitis B, making it the second leading cancer killer here.

Young mothers should be especially vigilant against HBV because the most common way of being infected is through the passing of the virus from mother to child. This is not something many mothers know because HBV is more known for being contracted via blood transfusion.

For this reason, the Hepatology Society of the Philippines launched the B Aware Campaign which aims "to inform and holistically educate Filipinos about the disease so they can gain sufficient knowledge regarding this very common infection, and take action" says Dr. Eternity Labio, President of the Hepatology Society of the Philippines.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sharp Calculators launches the Search for the Ten Outstanding Young Mathematicians 2015 (TOYM)

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Do you know anyone who is a math wizard? Then give them and their school a heads-up to join the recently lauched search for the Top Outstanding Young Mathematicians 2015 (TOYM).

Monday, September 15, 2014

An empowering moment -- being free in one's skin -- with Physiogel

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I was luckier than most growing up. I had oily skin. But at my age now, reality is setting in. I'm losing my oily skin and finding that many parts of my body are more dry. Once, I went to church without putting lotion on my upper arms and to my horror, I found my skin was dry in some places. Ewwww!

The first thing that people notice when they meet you is usually your eyes and your skin. The skin is an organ and... the largest one in our body!!! Your state of health and well-being is shown not only in your eyes but also in the skin. Smooth and supple skin is a sign of health and youth.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Akira at Robinsons Magnolia and the Art of Teppanyaki

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My SoMoms friends and I had a chance to dine at the recently opened Akira restaurant at the ground floor of Robinsons Magnolia mall.

Akira's facade

With my SoMoms mommy friends

Named after a fictional story on the legendary Japanese teppanyaki chef Akira who fought the fire god Kagutsuchi to save his beloved Sayuri, Akira likewise does not just provide great Japanese food but does so with savoir faire and art as its teppanyaki chefs deftly handle the cooking utensils. Teppan means iron plate; yaki means grilled, broiled, or pan-fried (source: Wikipedia).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

GSK takes up the fight against dengue with Calpol's fever management

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I've had dengue. Two of my kids have had dengue. And one of them (and me) had to have blood plasma transfusions. I can still remember the feeling of having absolutely no energy and no appetite. And when my kids had it, it was doubly difficult for me to watch them, praying that the virus would just run its course without anything worse happening to them. I actually had friends who lost their child to dengue.

Although known to be a tropical country disease, dengue is surprisingly making its way into colder countries. Japan, just recently, was reported to have found cases of dengue among their citizens. Climate change is now spreading the risk of this mosquito-borne disease far and wide, beyond tropical boundaries. At the moment there is no dengue vaccine that is commercially available although recent news talk about one that is being developed.

Dengue is the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease in the world and is more rampant in tropical countries such as the Philippines. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito, usually seen in the early hours of the morning and early evening, and has white stripes on its legs, affects more children than adults. Those at higher risk are children aged one to nine years old.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Loving my virtual office at vOffice, One Global Place

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(Read all the way down to find out how easy it is to get an extra month FREE when you avail of vOffice's plans)

Mobility, accessibility and flexibility now dominate working conditions. Employers and employees alike now have access to digital technology that allow them to work while on the go. With office space also at an all-time high, it does not make sense for micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), single proprietorships, or even bloggers like myself to plunk in a large chunk of money for permanent office space when my work requires me to be mobile.

This has given birth to the concept of co-working spaces, also known as virtual offices. Everything is shared: office space, secretarial services, meeting rooms, conference rooms, internet connection, phone/email/fax services, and even a pantry. You get all the benefits of a real office and you need not even worry about human resources, property management or medical/dental benefits, among others, because these are taken care of by flexible, reasonably priced plans that suit even the smallest budgets.

Bonifacio Global City (BGC) and Makati are two business districts where co-working spaces are flourishing but I won't be surprised to see these in all business districts eventually. It is a logical step and a must in townships where commercial spaces are expensive but where people need to converge.

Recently I discovered vOffice, a fairly new virtual office in the Philippines with its first 2 co-working spaces located at prestigious buildings in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), and another vOffice co-working space that just opened in the Makati Avenue area near J. P. Rizal St.

While new in the Philippines, vOffice isn't new in the virtual office concept. They've been around since 2003 and have virtual office spaces in other countries like Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, UK and Vietnam.

There is nothing like visuals so let me give  you a quick grand tour of vOffice at One Global Place along 25th Street and 5th Avenue, BGC.

Professional reception and secretarial services are provided behind this modern desk

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Starbucks Food and Beverages beginning July 29, 2014

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Starting July 29, 2014, Starbucks is introducing a new set of food items, lunch sandwiches and beverages.

For starters, lets check out the lunch sandwiches.

Roasted Chicken Pesto and Shiitake Mushroom on Ciabatta Bread (PhP 165)

This warm sandwich is made of juicy chicken breast fillet tossed with pesto mayo sauce, Shiitake mushroom and melted Emmenthal and cheddar cheese in between Ciabatta bread.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Contests: Save, Share and get a chance to Win an Electrolux Washing Machine

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Electrolux just launched two (2) fun contests and up for grabs are their popular washing machines.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Get this Starbucks Collectible - The First Edition Philippine Starbucks Card

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This is one you would not want to miss at all!

Mark the date - July 29, 2014!

In celebration of the Starbucks card's 1st anniversary, the Philippines is issuing its FIRST EDITION Philippine Starbucks card! Yup, this is our very own country Starbucks card which you won't be able to get anywhere else in the world but HERE! It's a real collectible especially for people like me who have began collecting the cards. In a way, it's also historical, being the first ever Philippine-issued card.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Krispy Kreme's New Baked Creations

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I just got a whole box of Krispy Kreme's new Baked Creations!

I've always loved their Baked Creations because many times when I am running to different places and need to skip breakfast but do not want to be feeling hunger pangs before lunch comes around, it is what sustains me. I remember they had 4 variants before: Cheese, Sausage and Cheese, Bacon and Cheese and Cinnamon.

Now they have 6 new flavors. Let's meet them.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Philips Lighting Innovation Concepts gives us a glimpse of the future, now!

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Who says lighting is boring?????  Philips Philippines' Lighting Division recently showed me just how exciting their lighting products have become.

By shifting to LEDs, Philips has already moved consumers away from inefficient and more costly lighting into more energy-efficient lighting in offices and homes. And at a recent fun, fun blogger event where they introduced six innovation concepts in lighting, I realized that Philips has crossed from functional, hardware store basics into interior and exterior design that incorporates Flexibility, Controllability, Alternative Energy, Connectivity, Dynamism and Materials Integration elements.

Landmarks here and abroad that are lighted up by Philips LEDs

The whole presentation, featuring the entertaining and funny Gabe Mercado, was seamlessly integrated into a moving diorama that drew us into the mini stories while holding us spellbound as each concept was presented experientially.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Midea appliance line - enhanced productivity and money-saving solutions

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Concepcion Industrial Corporation, known for its Carrier product line, has tied up this time with global brand Midea's Consumer Appliances line and has formed Concepcion-Midea Inc. Philippines under the mother brand.

At a recent blogger event, we were introduced to some of the appliances in their product line. If you are one of many busybodies who have to multitask household tasks and juggle work with housework, you'll want to check out these Midea appliances that promise ease, convenience and even savings.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Starbucks Reserve Coffee - my unique coffee experience

It's not every day that I get to be treated to coffee tasting of a premier kind. I was very lucky to have been invited to this special coffee-tasting experience at one of the existing two Starbucks Reserve branches in the Metro.

At a blogger gathering at the Tomas Morato Starbucks Reserve store, we listened to the Starbucks team, headed by Keith Cole, tell us about these rare coffee beans.

In the Philippines, there are only 4 Starbucks Reserve blends and the coffee beans are extremely rare, limited, and hand-picked for the Reserve brand specifically for their distinctive flavors as well as unusual locales around the world.

Lucky us....we got to try each one of these four rare coffee blends together with special food items that can be found only at the Starbucks Reserve stores and go very well with each cup of Reserve coffee.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Enjoy Delightful-E Yummy and Easy Culinary Dishes with Electrolux Kitchen Appliances

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At a recent cooking show at Electrolux's headquarters at Bonifacio Global City, I was treated not just to an introduction to their newest line of kitchen appliances but also to special and surprisingly easy culinary dishes from the kitchens of Electrolux's brand endorsers.

Mom and daughter duo, Cheska and Kendra Kramer; celebrity chefs Rosebud Benitez and Bruce Lim; and mompreneur and co-SoMom Janice Villanueva shared their favorite family dishes using the different appliances that Electrolux has for the kitchen.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Magnum Manila's Premium Pop-Up Store Opens at SM Aura

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It's here! And only for a while - to be specific, ONE YEAR!

Just as they've done in premium locations around the world, Magnum, that velvety smooth ice cream with Belgian chocolate in one decadent bar, has put up a pop-up store right in the heart of cosmopolitan Metro Manila -- SM Aura.

It opened to the public last April 8 and is expected to be around only till April 2015. Some of us were treated to their soft launch where we got a gastronomic glimpse of what's in store for the public when you pay them a visit. And mind you, they don't just call it a pop-up store. They refer to it as a "Pleasure Store". Read on and find out why.

As soon as you walk in you are greeted by a luxurious restaurant. Yes, this is not your kind of ice cream bar but a full-blown restaurant complete with full meals!

Magnum logo -- Can you guess what it's made of?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When Skin meets Maidenform

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I always thought that I did not need to splurge on ladies' undergarments because it stayed tucked away and hidden anyway. So I always went for functionality, durability and price.

But after I received a sample of the Maidenform's Comfort Devotion collection (a bra and panty set), my skin got so much pampering that it dawned on me that if you had to wear something around all day (and night), extreme comfort goes a long way to extending your day. I know. I've worn shoes that looked fashionable but were so tortuous to the feet that halfway through the day, I was wiped out.

As soon as I held the Comfort Devotion undergarments in my hand -- oh my, heaven!!! Ang lambot! Grabeng lambot! This collection is meant to be luxurious - with carefully chosen plush fabrics and delicate trims to make its wearer feel sexy as it molds one's curves comfortably.

The Maidenform Comfort Devotion Demi Bra with matching panty.
Yes, you have to touch it to believe how soft it feels.

Front view (from Maidenform website)

Back view (from Maidenform website)
Shows smoothing wing with soft liner & leotard back for stay-put straps

Chef's Noodle's newest endorser is Sam Concepcion

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I first met him when he was still a teen-ager who, at that age, was already a bright, promising (and cute) boy among the summer cast of Trumpets. My daughter had taken the workshop with the group and usually at the end, they have a show to present what they learned. In one rehearsal, I got to meet him and have photos taken - with Sam Concepcion.

At the recent event of Chef's Noodle in Robinsons Magnolia, I once again saw Sam Concepcion - this time as Chef's Noodle's latest endorser. All grown-up now, with a girlfriend. And still very much...CUTE! :-)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fire Safety at Home with Solane

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It's no joke to experience a fire at home.

When I was in Grade 1, I came home with my yaya to find that our home had burned down. The fire started from a neighbor's home and crossed over to ours. It was December and we lost almost everything except the clothes on our back and a few things. That was the saddest Christmas our family ever had, with my siblings and I going around in oversized slippers lent by relatives and donated clothes. Since then, I've been really wary of fire-causing things and my gasul at home always has a safety device on it.

Solane (known previously as Shellane) has gone a step further in ensuring that its consumers are doubly protected against LPG-related home fires. They introduced an innovative safety cap and seal, the first of its kind in the LPG industry.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Goodbye, Pangingilo! (Tooth Sensitivity)

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I'm NGILO-phobic. ('Ngilo' is Filipino for tooth sensitivity)

Anyone who has drank cold water, eaten ice cream or chomped down on frozen desserts knows fully well what ngilo feels like. A sharp pain hits you as the nerves around your teeth react to the cold. I used to be one of those poor souls. And for someone who loves ice cream, this was just awful. Often, I'd wait for the ice cream to melt a bit so that I could spoon the liquid into my mouth with less chances of ngilo. And did you know that 9 out of 10 Filipinos (that's a whopping 88M Pinoys) suffer to some degree from tooth sensitivity? That's the majority of the populace!

Luis Manzano, Sensodyne's brand ambassador, shares my horrible experience because he, too suffers from tooth sensitivity. According to him, times like meetings and enjoyable social events are cut short because of pangingilo. "I just endure the pain so it doesn't ruin my day or my night out", he said during the event.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Tzu Chi Foundation: Compassion in Action

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I learned about Tzu Chi Foundation as I was reading up one time on good friend Jay Jaboneta's advocacy together with Anton Mari Lim -- the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. The name of the foundation was familiar. I had heard it mentioned in different instances in the past but I guess I never really bothered to find out what they were all about.

Then recently I heard about them again when a friend, Maizie SyCip-Qua, sent me some information on Tzu Chi Foundation and what it has been quietly doing in our midst for years.

Tzu Chi: A Brief

Tzu Chi Foundation is an international non-profit humanitarian organization that seeks to spread what it calls Great Love through its work in the fields of charity, medicine, education and culture. Established in 1966 in Taiwan by the Venerable Dharma Master Cheng Yen, Tzu Chi came to Philippine shores in 1994. In 1995, volunteers, in cooperation with doctors and nurses from the Chinese General Hospital, headed by Dr. Josefino Qua, launched its first medical mission in Lion's Club, Baguio City. From then on, quarterly missions would be conducted in provinces, with each mission having between 5,000-7,000 patients, many of whom would walk for 3 days down mountains just to get to the medical mission site.

Although Tzu Chi began with members from the Filipino-Chinese communities in the country, a number of Filipinos have likewise joined the group.

Tzu Chi in Action

Below are some pictures from different crisis situations in the Philippines where Tzu Chi was present and helped in various ways.

Clean-up post-Habagat, August 2013

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tiger introduces innovations to kitchen appliances

Who has not heard of Tiger?

Even in my much younger days, Tiger was already a household name. The veritable Tiger lunch containers and water bottles were very well known and if you lugged one around your school, it was almost like a kiddo's status symbol of quality and durability.

Fast forward to the present.

Some of my SoMoms friends and I had the chance to sit down with Lorraine Go-Munoz whose family has long been the exclusive distributor in the Philippines of Tiger products. We had an opportunity to sit down and hear a little bit about the company and some of its product innovations.

Tiger is a Japanese brand that has a 90-year history. It's best known for thermal wares and cooking devices. At present, it enjoys a 23.5% market share in Japan.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Herve Leger launches its first Asian store in Manila

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Iconic haute couture has made its way to Manila in a grand way. Who would ever have imagined that Manila would trump the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong by playing host to Herve Leger's first and only store in Asia?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Afternoon ME Time with Karimadon and the SoMoms

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Confession: I have never owned or worn a Karimadon dress or gown prior to an afternoon with the SoMoms at Karimadon's SM Megamall boutique.

I do remember seeing their label at the old Virra Mall many, many, many years ago but I was already a stay-at-home Mom then and never saw the need to check their stuff out as I was always in very casual outfits. I met Karen Go-Wu at an earlier Steveston Pizza event, connected with her on Facebook, and finally got a chance, along with my SoMom-mies to check out the store that her parents, Richard and Josie Go, put up way back in 1980.

As it turns out, Karimadon is a unique name that combines the names of the Go children. Karen is the Kar in Karimadon. To ensure the best quality, Karimadon has in-house designers who oversee the entire production to ensure the elements are all in the right places. Since those Virra Mall days, Karimadon has now grown to 16 standalone stores (2 are franchises) located in prime malls and 4 outlets inside department stores.

Hearing the Karimadon team talk about quality and style of their designs, I was already expecting price tags that were a bit steep. I was WRONG! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Just read on and see how my afternoon in Karimadon was a new discovery for women's apparel from daytime to evening wear to formal occasions that would be surprisingly affordable.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Alere: Bringing Careers in Health Care to the Philippines

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A leading health care solutions company based in the United States, Alere, which focuses on servicing patients with chronic diseases by providing them with near-patient diagnostic care and managing their supplies reorders, has come to the Philippines.

Alere Philippines has set up office at the Fort after having acquired a company established in Manila and felt it was a perfect match. They wanted to establish their service center platform here. Our English-speaking labor force as well as access to many healthcare-related graduates makes Alere's presence here logical, practical and forward-looking.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lead a great life in spite of asthma

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I come from a family with a history of asthma. I myself had childhood asthma though not too severe and during a couple of pregnancies, it came back even if I had already outgrown it. I also had to deal with asthma during the growing years of all my kids and I have to tell you that it is no joke.

Asthma is what I call "traydor na sakit" (traitor disease). It doesn't look too alarming but in reality, it has been the cause of many deaths even among young people. The triggers can happen any time and anywhere -- something you eat, something in the air -- and suddenly your airways start to constrict. You start having difficulty breathing and it creates panic and pressure on the heart as well. Several celebrities in the past died young just because of an asthma episode, including a young model.

At a recent GSK event, I listened to one of the GSK doctors, Dr. Bernadette Arcilla, talk about asthma. It affects about 10.7M people in the Philippines now. 250,000 annual deaths worldwide are attributed to asthma. Of those deaths, majority are 45 years old and older. With children, asthma is the most frequent cause of absenteeism from school, emergency visits and hospitalization. Scary stats. I can remember so many instances when we'd rush to the emergency room of the hospital because one of our kids could not breathe well and would be wheezing. We always had a nebulizer with us at home and on trips. When they were older, they had to be taught to use an inhaler and carry this with them all the time.

But asthmatics are fighting back. And, hopefully, winning the war against asthma. That is a very important inspirational message for so many Pinoys who are similarly affected by asthma. Your life is not curtailed by it. You can still live a meaningful life and engage even in sports in spite of your condition.

At the event, two local celebrities, who were asthmatics, shared about their own battles against asthma  -- Kim Chiu and Arnel Pineda of Journey.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Steveston Pizza: From Canada to the Philippines

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Who says NO to pizza? Ah, ah, NOT ME! And not when I am invited to try out Steveston Pizza which originated from Canada!

First let me tell you that I had no idea what Steveston Pizza was offering (but the thought of eating pizza appealed a lot to me!). Second, I was eager to check out UP Town Center because I heard of the place from my son but did not know exactly where it was.

Suffice it to say, I was pleasantly surprised upon arriving at the place. Apparently, UP Town Center is now the newest watering hole and the converging place for the students of UP Diliman, Ateneo and Miriam College.

I was early so I did some work at J.Co nearby. Noemi joined me shortly and we got to put in some productive time before moving over to Steveston Pizza close to lunch.

From the outside

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Brush, brush, brush your teeth...and stay healthy!

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If you think that brushing one's teeth is simply for beauty and fresh breath, here's one more piece of info you'll surely appreciate. It will actually keep you more healthy!

Why is it that when we wake in the morning, our breath is so eeeewy??? That's because our mouths were closed all night, allowing bacteria to accumulate and multiply. Because these bacteria are able to feed on some food sediments left, their waste products which are sulfur-based, emit a pungent smell.

Can you imagine if you start your day by taking breakfast immediately and drinking water or coffee? All that bacteria that multiplied overnight go right back into your system. Very unhealthy! Get rid of all that bacteria by brushing upon waking up.

Just recently tried Pepsodent toothpaste.
The blue paste has Perlite, a whitening ingredient.
The white paste has fluoride and calcium for stronger, healthier teeth.