“Artistic Legacies” presents an intimate look into these artistic families and their artistic journeys, from the catalyst to their continuing legacies.
Family values are deeply etched into our culture as Filipinos. It is considered the foundation of an individual’s social life. The bond between a parent and a child can be considered sacred even. A relationship should hold values such as respect, discipline, honor, love, and everything good under the sun.
“Artistic Legacies” presents an intimate look into these artistic families and their artistic journeys, from the catalyst to their continuing legacies. The exhibition proves how art can be an instrument for uniting families and teaching family values.
The exhibition also aims to show the artistic journeys that branched from generation to generation, highlighting the importance of family. The artworks on display are works that have come from these families that take their art and their family to heart. A special bond between them will stand the test of time and last for generations to come.
The participating artists include Ramon Orlina, Anna Orlina, Michael Orlina, Eduardo Castrillo, Mierro Castrillo, Nixxio Castrillo, Ovvian Castrillo-Hill, Fil Delacruz, Janos Delacruz, Emmanuel Garibay, Alee Garibay, Bam Garibay, Nina Garibay, Raul Lebajo, Gio Lebajo, and Nikulas Lebajo.
Opening ceremonies of the exhibition will be held at the Reflections Gallery of Museo Orlina on January 29, 2023, at 3 pm. The exhibition will run until March 31, 2023.
For more information, you may call Museo Orlina at tel. no (046) 413 2581 mobile no: +63 995 7354462 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new year signifies a new cycle of opportunities and prosperity for most people. It’s a time to both manifest and be resolute with actions to better one’s outlook and outcome in life. The best way to herald this is a festive ritual that would bless the mind, body, soul, and spirit.
F1 Hotel Manila celebrates the new lunar year with a bountiful Chinese New Year lunch buffet at F All–Day Dining for Php 2,188 net per person on January 22, 2022.
A traditional Lion Dance performance will ignite the festivities accompanied by the beating symphony of drums, gongs, and cymbals. As the lion snakes its way through the crowd, it brings about harmony, prosperity, and fortune, and the noise is also believed to ward off evil entities.
This can all be enjoyed as guests indulge in the Chinese New Year lunch buffet, which will be meticulously prepared by F1 Hotel Manila’s culinary team and will feature special Chinese dishes including the following: Yee Sang, a prosperity salad that symbolizes abundance and vigor, which is tossed for good luck; DongPo Pork Knuckle, pan-fried braised pork flavored with secret Chinese spices; Duck Wrap pancakes with hoisin sauce; Suckling Pig and Tang Yuan, sweet glutinous rice balls with a hint of ginger, which may remind diners of local guinataan but with a twist.
A legendary Money Tree will stand in the foyer of the F All-Day Dining restaurant, which brings good chi or “energy” and is believed to bring wealth and prosperity to anyone who touches it.
Celebrate this special occasion with your loved ones at Xin Tian Di, and Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria.
Indulge in the abundant offerings of Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria this Chinese New Year! Celebrating this occasion with your loved ones will make it even more special at Xin Tian Di until January 23, 2023.
Give them a treat of our Nian Gao and Yu Sheng. Relish the unique flavors from the a la carte and special set menu’s auspicious and mouthwatering selections. Toast for good luck and health as we welcome the year of the water rabbit!
On January 22nd, Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria will be filled with cheerful energy brought by the Dragon and Lion Dances starting from 11 AM onwards. This will be accompanied by the traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony and Exchange of Gift Ceremony!
Make your reservation today! Contact 02 98790 3100, fandb.reservations@ihg, or +63 927 163 0128.
Singapore – Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is pleased to announce the opening of Conrad Singapore Orchard, its second Conrad Hotel & Resorts property in Singapore, joining Conrad Centennial Singapore. Set to create seamless connections between bold design and impactful experiences, Conrad Singapore Orchard will provide guests with a new sense of hospitality that is inspiring, meaningful, and purposeful.
Inspiring Culinary Experiences
Among the highly-immersive experiences at the hotel is the selection of distinct dining concepts that will truly bring guests on a culinary journey. The array of cuisines at the hotel’s ten restaurants and bars, including Manhattan, Basilico, Summer Palace, Dolcetto, and the Tea Lounge, enable guests to explore different cultures through the sense of taste while sparking connections as they reconnect over food.
To welcome the new year, one-Michelin-starred Summer Palace, well-known for serving authentic Cantonese fare in a sophisticated environment, has curated an impressive range of Chinese New Year set menus and special menu offerings perfect for intimate family reunions and business events. Guests can also look forward to sumptuous Chinese New Year buffet brunches and dinners with an Italian touch at the award-winning Basilico, which emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients and authentic Italian flavors.
The hotel’s 14 event spaces are also primed to host an array of memorable weddings and social events of any scale. Over 1,600 square meters of contemporary events and meeting spaces, including a 583 square-meter ballroom for up to 500 guests, are complemented by thoughtfully curated cuisine by the hotel’s culinary team.
Served by a passionate team that intuitively offers purposeful and personalized service, Conrad Singapore Orchard’s unique approach to hospitality includes pet-friendly solemnization ceremonies and 14 different floral themes to choose from for an unforgettable wedding.
Elevating Luxury Through Distinctive, Bold Design
From now till late 2023, the hotel’s 440 rooms will undergo extensive reinvention and refurbishment. Combining Conrad’s contemporary, bold design ethos that draws in local influences with best-in-class amenities, Conrad Singapore Orchard will bring new levels of sophisticated, modern luxury to Singapore when it opens fully in early 2024.
‘Like A Member’ Dining Offer
Conrad Singapore Orchard will be part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 18 distinct hotel brands. As part of the ‘Like A Member’ dining offer, Hilton Honors members will enjoy discounts and opportunities to earn Bonus Points when they dine at Summer Palace, Basilico, Manhattan, Dolcetto, and the Tea Lounge at Conrad Singapore Orchard.
For more information, guests may visit www.conradsingaporeorchard.com, call +65 6733 8888, or email email@example.com.
The pandemic disrupted life and plans, there were “lost time” as millennial and generation Z would describe it. It was time away from friends and family, away from different pursuits – one of which is traveling. But as COVID-19 restrictions have started to ease, travel, once highly restrictive and prohibitive, has become possible again.
If there’s anything better than traveling again, it’s the build-up. Daydreaming of the perfect destination, scrolling through unique places to stay, and browsing travel guides for the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and local must-sees are all opportunities to start wanderlust before you’ve even packed your bags.
But when does the journey begin? While planning may sometimes be overwhelming – mapping out nitty gritty flights, connections, accommodation, and a whole lot of pit stops. But, for today’s travelers, expectations are always set by non-travel experiences. They want flexible solutions with a simple click experience.
Both local and foreign tourists are in for a treat as the first-ever Filipino-owned booking app is set to launch this year to help travelers explore the Philippines with ease. Happy Hotels will give you easy, accessible, and packed information about your favorite local destinations. They have teamed up with the best, budget-friendly, and most accessible hotels nationwide. Its features include but are not limited to comparing prices, finding hotels with your specific requirements, determining the best accommodation through the app’s rating and review system, and different activities you can do in your favorite destinations.
What’s even more exciting is that the app empowers local hotel owners to showcase what real “Filipino hospitality” is and at the same time gives the opportunity to local workers and communities. Happy Hotels aims to bring everyone a smile by giving a wide range of choices from hotels, resorts, restaurants, and destinations at the tip of your fingertips.
For Tia Belle’s, great food is a big part of how Filipino families brighten up the holidays and anticipate the unfolding of a new year.
The New Year’s celebration in the Philippines is always something to look forward to. Being a Filipino means that you get to partake in occasions that actively involve family spirit and fondness for one another. The New Year festivities, in particular, shine brighter than the others. Aside from our fun traditions and customs, Filipino food has a culture of its own. From our heirloom dishes to fusion food, the Philippines never runs out of recipes and twists that come with its diverse palate. In addition, each region has its holiday staples and specialty dishes – the New Year is absolutely a feast for everyone!
This is what Tia Belle’s offers for every Filipino family this New Year – a feast of sumptuous dishes that binds the family together. For Tia Belle’s, great food is a big part of how Filipino families brighten up the holidays and anticipate the unfolding of a new year. Their holiday menu consists of Filipino specialty dishes that evoke memories and hope for the coming year. Armed with their cozy ambiance and hospitality. They offer a variety of food that becomes the center of attention this holiday season. Whether for the whole clan or a family of three, Tia Belle’s got you back!
As a Filipino, one of the staples in each occasion is the famous Lumpiyang Bukid. Tia Belle’s version of this traditional dish is both satisfying and creamy and is sure to become the star of the table. They also offer regional favorites such as the delectable Laing enriched with coconut milk. Seafood fans can have a field day with their specialty Dinengdeng, an Ilokano favorite. Other seafood dishes include Steam Pompano and Relyenong Bangus, a healthy alternative to greasy dishes. Moreover, if the holidays prove to be taxing for your health, you can also try their Ampalaya Sotanghon Guisado, which combines healthy eating and tasty food. They also have Ginataang Sitaw Kalabasa for vegetarians or those who want a healthy detox for the New Year!
Tia Belle’s history of serving people Filipino food all goes back to the heart and soul of its owner, Evelyn Wise. “Every time I am in the kitchen, cooking and concocting sauces, I feel like dancing — dancing with my wok,” she shares. To this Nueva Ecija native, being in the kitchen gave her power to produce dishes that became a core memory for her customers, which is what made her leave Europe after staying there for 20 years, a sacrifice she made to finally follow her dream to build her own restaurant. Tia Belle’s seeks to give people the homey vibes and hospitality they crave, which makes them feel like they belong, just like how Evelyn has wholeheartedly embraced Filipino cuisine.
Being hospitable is Tia Belle’s way of paying homage to the illustrious Filipino culture. “We want to be of service to our fellow countrymen while keeping and incorporating the important values and traditions of what being Filipino is all about,” Evelyn says. Tia belle’s also gives you the Filipino dining experience with their regional dishes, and great service, partnered with authentic Filipino architecture. “We make sure we provide an optimal dining experience for our customers by making sure that their dining experience is our responsibility the minute they step into our restaurant.”
Whether you want to dine in or celebrate at home, Tia Belle’s will surely make you feel like a true-blooded Filipino with its dishes. Tia Belle’s is waiting for you to make this occasion memorable. Let’s enjoy ourselves this New Year with Tia Belle’s mouth-watering menu– the Filipino way!
A round-up of holiday treats to make your celebrations merry and delightfully unforgettable. Indulge in these establishments’ many special Yuletide deals – ranging from superb accommodation, buffet feast, and a year-end party to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!
Awesome holiday experience at Richmonde Hotel Ortigas
Richmonde offers value-for-money holiday room rates for bookings until January 14, 2023 (except December 24 & 31), starting at PhP 3,600 nett (room only) and PhP 4,200 nett (with breakfast for two) for stays from Sunday to Thursday; and PhP 3,800 nett (room only) and PhP 4,400 nett (with breakfast for two) for Friday and Saturday stays.
On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, you can celebrate with a comfortable and convenient city staycation complete with sumptuous buffets and fun activities. Invite family and friends to Richmonde Café on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to bond over the dazzling Noche Buena and Media Noche feasts. The Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet is priced at PhP 1,595 nett and will be served from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Give 2023 a hearty welcome with the generous gourmet indulgences at the New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Buffet and glitzy cocktails at the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party at the hotel lobby. The dinner buffet is priced at PhP 1,880 nett per person while tickets to the countdown bash are priced at PhP 1,280 nett each, inclusive of three drinks, a cocktail buffet, party favors, a glass of sparkling wine at the countdown, and live band performance. To make it a total celebration to remember, New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet and Countdown Bundle is available at a special discounted rate of just PhP 2,550 nett.
For inquiries, table reservations, and countdown ticket purchases, call (632) 8638-7777, SMS or Viber (63) 917 534 4352, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or message @Richmonde Hotel Ortigas on Facebook and Instagram.
Festive buffets at Eastwood Richmonde Hotel
Have a wonderful time with an array of awesome room offers for your holiday break. On December 24 & 25, 2022, rates start at PhP 7,500 nett and come with a delightful breakfast buffet for two. To include a filling Noche Buena buffet good for two at Eastwood Café+Bar, book the Christmas Eve Room Package, valid only on December 24, which starts at PhP 10,500 nett, inclusive also of a special breakfast buffet for two.
Eastwood is the place to be on December 31st and you can have a stylish welcome to 2023 with the New Year’s Eve Room Packagesat rates starting at PhP 9,600 nett inclusive of brunch buffet for two, and PhP 12,600 nett for a night of revelry with two tickets to the New Year’s Eve Countdown Party and buffet brunch for two.
Indulge in fabulous banquets to celebrate the season and make your table reservation now to delight in the mouthwatering dishes specially prepared by Executive Chef Victor Barangan and his talented kitchen team. On Christmas Eve, feast your eyes, ears, and palate on the special spread highlighted by lechon roast, pork muscovado ham, beef short plate, Swedish meatballs with truffles, baked scallops, savory bonbons, and so much more, with live cello music in the background, at a rate of PhP 1,999 nett that comes with bottomless iced tea, coffee or tea, and a glass of red or white wine. The Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet is served from 6pm to 9pm on December 24th.
Bid 2022 adieu with a fun blast from the past at the Rockin’ Retro New Year’s Eve Countdown Party happening at the hotel lobby from 9pm to 12mn on December 31st. For only Php1,799 nett, revel in flowing drinks and a filling international-themed cocktail buffet.
For inquiries and bookings, call (632) 8570 7777 / (63) 917 531 6867 or email email@example.com. For table reservations, call (63) 917 821 0333 or send a message via Eastwood Richmonde Hotel’s official Facebook page.
Happy homecoming at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
Have a happy homecoming or relaxing staycation at Richmonde and enjoy the most spacious rooms in the city with its splendid amenities and friendly service. Book from December 16, 2022 to January 26, 2023 at rates starting at PhP 5,700 nett (room only) and PhP 6,200 nett (room with breakfast buffet for two).
On December 24 and 31, have a Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve stay for as low as PhP 6,000 nett (room only) and PhP 6,500 nett (room with breakfast buffet for two) with all the above-mentioned perks.
This year’s festive feasts at The Granary are extra delectable with an impressive spread of holiday dishes the whole family will surely love! The Holiday Luxe Dinner Buffets happening on December 24, 25 & 31, 2022 and January 1, 2023, overflow with flavorful gourmet fare lovingly prepared by Executive Chef Ariel Castañeda and his kitchen team.
For those long-awaited family reunions and much-anticipated face-to-face parties, Richmonde has Holiday Banquet Packages to let you safely gather as you revel in style. Rates start at PhP 59,000 nett for thirty (30) persons, and include a delectable lunch or dinner buffet with a round of drinks; coffee and tea; five (5) bottles of wine; four (4) pool passes each good for two persons; a gift certificate for an overnight stay for two persons in a Deluxe room with breakfast buffet; plus discount vouchers for room accommodations and food & beverage orders.
Holiday offerings at Crowne Plaza Seven Corners and Xin Tian Di Restaurant
Rediscover the warmth and joy brought by this Yuletide season as you dine at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria. Bask into the sumptuous feast from its season’s selections with your loved ones and friends.
In celebration of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at Seven Corners, they will be highlighting the following dishes: The signature Ribeye Steak, savory Roasted Turkey with Bread Stuffing, festive Holiday Ham and our succulent Salmon Wellington. You can enjoy these astounding dishes only at Php 3,300 nett per person.
Xin Tian Di has prepared a special set menu for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve that will surely complete your holiday celebrations. For as low as Php 1,888++ per person, you can enjoy authentic and luxurious Chinese flavors personally crafted by their in-house Chinese Executive Chef.
As we welcome the year 2023, celebrate Media Noche at Seven Corners Restaurant for a special rate of Php 2,500 nett per person. For inquiries, contact us at (02) 87900 3100, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us fill our hearts with gratitude for the past year and toast for good luck and prosperity in 2023!
Most of us spend Christmas at home while others like to spend theirs in once-in-a-year exclusive places where they can enjoy it with family and friends. Here are some of the places that will surely light up your Christmas season!
Star City, Pasay
After 2 years of closure, Star City Manila has once again opened its gates and it’s never been better. Star City is an amusement park located in Pasay, Philippines. This Christmas, build a snowman and explore inside the Snow world with your family and friends, or if you want something extreme to ride you will surely enjoy “Surf dance”!
If you want to feel the jungle breeze, be sure to have fun riding the “Jungle Splash” and be prepared to be soaked. Don’t forget to bring extra clothes or you may buy some souvenirs too! Other fun rides await you!
Star City is open from Friday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Don’t miss out on their Christmas promo! For only Php 699.00, you’ll be able to buy a star pass which includes access to the park and all rides. For more information, you may also visit the official website of Star City.
The Lights of Christmas, Taguig
Christmas by the lake Taguig is by far the biggest light park in the Philippines. It is a 6-hectare park and Christmas attraction that opened to the public starting on December 1, 2022. Christmas lights and attractions that use new technology are featured making them eco-friendly and sustainable.
Taguig is only 17.5 km. from Manila and is more convenient for families who want to travel within Metro Manila only. The Lights of Christmas, Taguig is open from 5:00 p. m. until midnight.
Fountain of Lights, Nuvali Park, Sta. Rosa, Laguna
Nuvali Park is located in Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines. It is a growing eco-city development owned by Ayala Land. Nuvali Park is most famous for its Fountain of Lights which pays tribute to the traditional Filipino Christmas celebration with wonderful, vivid, and blissful lights and sounds.
Entrance is free and there is no reservation needed. Nearby malls and restaurants are open from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. while the fountain of lights show is available to the public for viewing from Friday to Saturday only from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Okada Manila is Asia’s largest Forbes five-star ultra-luxury integrated resort. Located at New Seaside Dr, Parañaque, Metro Manila, it is best known for its grand Christmas tree, decorations, and luxury every December. Don’t miss out on their Christmas promos, holiday buffet, and many more waiting for you and your loved ones!
The Night of Lights, San Fernando, Pampanga
San Fernando Pampanga is also known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. Their Christmas Village is only one of the many Christmas attractions in the city. Get to experience their gigantic Christmas trees, colorful Christmas lights, and joyful and nostalgic Christmas carols together with your loved ones for only 50 pesos each.
The Christmas Village is open from Monday to Sunday from 5:00 in the afternoon until midnight. The entrance fee is free for 1-year-old and below. Don’t miss the chance to experience Christmas like no other!
Above all, let us not forget the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and always follow health protocols in the fight against COVID-19. May we all get to experience a wonderful Christmas celebration this year!
While Bakuchiol may appear new and unfamiliar, Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. (EBCI) is the first Filipino cosmetics company to have introduced this innovative ingredient to the Philippines as early as two years ago. EBCI is the corporation behind household names like Ever Bilena and Hello Glow.
Bakuchiol, pronounced, buh·koo·chee·owl, is a plant-derived extract found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant, nicknamed “Babchi.” The vegan ingredient has been heralded as a retinol alternative for those looking for anti-aging benefits sans the irritation.
While Bakuchiol may appear new and unfamiliar, Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. (EBCI) is the first Filipino cosmetics company to have introduced this innovative ingredient to the Philippines as early as two years ago. EBCI is the corporation behind household names like Ever Bilena and Hello Glow.
In 2020, Hello Glow released its best-selling Hello Glow Advanced Rejuvenating Set, a dermatologist-recommended anti-aging kit that incorporates Bakuchiol into its Night Cream.
EBCI’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Denice Sy-Munez shares that most skin care sets in the local market “use illegal and undisclosed dosages of hydroquinone and tretinoin. These can cause burning sensations and intense visible peeling that could result in severe skin damage.”
Thus, her Research & Development Department collaborated and consulted with numerous formulators and dermatologists before deciding to utilize Bakuchiol for their set’s rejuvenating benefit instead.
The British Journal of Dermatology has referred to Bakuchiol as a very “promising” active ingredient for preventing and addressing signs of skin aging such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Studies from the same journal have shown that topical bakuchiol and retinol have produced the same benefits in photoaging
According to Sy-Munez, “Research shows that Retinol formulated with Bakuchiol boosts the former’s efficacy.” And this is precisely the objective of Hello Glow when it developed the “advanced” skin set.
“The Hello Glow Advanced Rejuvenating skin set does so well, selling over 500,000 per year! We’ve sold almost 70,000 sets on Shopee alone!” exclaims Sy-Munez. “And what the majority of customers, skincare experts, and influencers rave most about it is our night cream!” The confidence in Bakuchiol led to the creation of the Ever Bilena Plus Bakuchiol Lifting Night Serum, finally giving the ingredient its own spotlight! “It is the most affordable pure Bakuchiol serum in the market,” adds Sy-Munez. Other international brands sell their Bakuchiol-infused serums at the equivalent of Php 1,800 up to Php 9,000 apiece. EB Plus’s Bakuchiol Serum is only Php 395 each and is made in Korea!
In its latest makeup release, EB Plus also integrated this superstar ingredient in its EB Plus Good Skin Day Serum Infused Skin Tint! The newest easy-to-blend sheer-to-medium coverage base product contains Bakuchiol paired with Hyaluronic Acid to ensure skin is firm and amply moisturized while revealing a natural filter-finish glow.
As gentle as Bakuchiol can be though, make sure to always patch test beforehand so to avoid potential allergic reactions! Hello Glow and Ever Bilena products are available in all leading department stores, Watsons, and online at their official flagship Tiktok, Shopee, and Lazada E-commerce stores.
As scriptwriter-director Bibeth Orteza said, “Ricky Lee is a remembrance of all that makes the idea of writing romantic: a lonely childhood, collegiate years without money to spend, a term in jail even. And then an enviable body of work.”
Ricky Lee has spent a good chunk of his career writing scripts for films. Like his screen films, he assumes multiple forms and shadows, complexity, and simplicity in one sleek package.
Filipino film buffs have bought this package, making Ricky, one of the best and most multi-awarded scriptwriters in the Philippines today. Some of his finest Filipino films include Himala, Moral, Brutal, Salome, Madrasta, Curacha, and Miguel/Michelle, among many others.
Aside from his many years of teaching at UP and the Ateneo, he has been conducting scriptwriting workshops, proof of his generosity in imparting career secrets to aspiring and upcoming writers.
Ricky is also a well-known fictionist, having won several literary awards. He has published an anthology of some of his works in 20 years in fiction, journalism, and film (Si Tatang at Mga Himala ng Ating Panahon.)
Ricky recalls that his scripts of Brutal and Moral had five to seven drafts before he finally perfected them.
“Talagang madugo, hindi bawat revision may nabago lang, talagang overhaul ng skeleton,” he shared during a past interview. “Kasi ‘yong first sequence ng Brutal walang makaintindi kundi si Marilou (Diaz-Abaya). So you have to be patient and concentrate para mag ugat ang mga paa mo. Kailangan mayroong matatag na foundation.”
In writing a script, Ricky follows not just his own judgment. “Natanggap ko na na magkakaroon ng sariling buhay yong script. Whatever will be good for the script doon ako susunod,” he said. “I’m willing to adjust to the popular taste of the audience. Dahil gusto kong ma-reach ang audience ko kaya ako nagsusulat.”
He culled most of his ideas from real-life experiences; some from his imagination. “The ideas in terms of the situation, characters, and images are mostly from outside influences and the environment. Then the inside which is the emotion.”
Length of time
In his early years as a scriptwriter, Ricky could finish a script in a month (the longer script took three months at the most). Now he can finish a script in one or two days.
For instance, the script of the movie Mapusok (starred by Rosanna Roces) was written for two days. As well as Malikot na Mundo (1997) and Sinner or Saint (1984). “I wrote Sinner or Saint on the airplane while going home from Brazil. Pagbaba ko ng airport, may script na ako,” shared Ricky.
The film Andrea by Superstar Nora Aunor was written in less than seven days. The longest material he wrote was Moral. “Hanggang nag shooting na nag-revise pa ako. Nagdidikta ako ng lines kay Marilou over the phone,” said Ricky, “because we wanted to find the best way of telling the story.”
Yet, it was the most fulfilling movie for Ricky.
Working with the best directors
His first year in the industry was a big advantage for Ricky because it was during this period that he got the chance to work with the local cinema’s best directors.
“Nakatrabaho ko agad sina Ishmael Bernal, Mike De Leon, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Mel Chionglo, Lino Brocka, para akong nag workshop ng todo,” he said.
When he was working with Marilou he learned a different technique. “Expand. Push. When you develop the characters huwag kang nakakahon. Let’s go unstructured. Most of my works with her are mostly on women, like the trilogy of Brutal, Moral, and Karnal. We clicked because she’s a woman. Hindi ko kailanman ma-approximate ‘yong mga alam niyang nuances, malinaw sa kanya ang pagkababae.”
With Ismael Bernal, he learned how to go “classical and structured.”
Meanwhile, Mike De Leon was very conscious of details.
Whereas, Lino Brocka was grounded in one kind of social and political philosophy. “Laging malinaw iyon kay Lino. That’s very reassuring kasi alam mo ang direction,” he said.
Working with dexterous directors (with different approaches) has stretched Ricky’s creative side to the most. From 1979 up to now, Ricky is full-time in the movies. There may be ups and downs in his career, but there will always be people around who will pull him back from leaving the industry.
Nowadays, half of his time is spent writing scripts; the other half he devotes to writing literature, journalism, and theatre. And of course, teaching.
“I will never stop teaching even if it’s difficult to teach because I’m always grounded with reality,” he explained. “Kung puro showbiz ako, lulutang ako, maaaburido ka, o mababaliw ka kasi ang daming humihila sa iyo sa iba’t ibang sides. Mawawalan ka ng perspective.”
Working with the stars
Among the stars he has worked with, he particularly cherished the times when he became close with Nora Aunor. He first worked with Nora in Himala. But they became good friends while they were doing Andrea.
“Kasi trabahong kaibigan talaga ‘yon. We’re still friends up to now, but not as close as before,” he disclosed. Ricky related that he’s not close with celebrities. He keeps a distance from them as much as possible.
Ricky’s turbulent childhood has taught him to face life’s challenges and to excel in one’s talent. He endured many hardships in his struggle to become the country’s multi-awarded scriptwriter.
He typifies the rags-to-riches story. He was born into immigrant families originally from Fujian, China, and was raised in Daet, Bicol. He had a desolate childhood after his parents died when he was still young. He grew up under the care of a relative.
He excelled in school both in Daet and UP. His college days were something for the books. He experienced hunger and loneliness and was jailed for one year during Martial Law for his student activism.
He didn’t resent his past. Rather, he became selfless. He uses his life experiences, struggles, idealism, and intelligence to create over 70 screenplays that have stimulated many Filipino moviegoers. For those pieces of work, he earned more than 30 (and counting) trophies from all the award-giving bodies in the local movie industry.
Because of his upbringing, Ricky related that he became a very shy person. However, he got over his shyness when he entered show business. “I was extremely shy because my father was also extremely shy. We hardly talked. But he loved me. I was very sure of that,” he intimated.
Behind his reserved manner are his witty punchlines. “Defense ko ‘yon para hindi nila ako tingnan sa likod,” he said. “I’m very trusting, but deep inside I’m afraid to trust people. Kasi ilang beses na akong nauntog.”
As a child, he was wont to read almost everything. “Ang feeling ko noon parang inaarmasan ko ang sarili ko. So I accumulated a lot of knowledge. Basa ako nang basa ng libro since I was seven years old.” But he always wanted to become a writer.
When he was in his fourth year of high school at Daet Chung Hua High School, he wanted to run away from home but there was no chance. He had no money.
“Then I read an ad from Free Press (Filipino) that they would accept the short story. Pinadala ko ‘yong story ko (entitled ‘Mayon’) and it was accepted. Every week, binabantayan kong lumabas ang story ko. Finally, when I saw my byline, na reaffirm ‘yong pag-alis ko sa Bicol. I was paid Php50 for my story. That was the happiest time for me as a writer. Then I came to Manila.”
Ricky said that he experienced the most personal growth during his Bicol and UP years. “Those were the happiest years of my life. And also the starvation years for me,” he said.
As scriptwriter-director Bibeth Orteza said, “Ricky Lee is a remembrance of all that makes the idea of writing romantic: a lonely childhood, collegiate years without money to spend, a term in jail even. And then an enviable body of work.”
By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo
(Based on the feature article published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)
“Ara Mina has a certain innocence and is in a category completely her own,” according to Direk Carlitos Siguion-Reyna. It helps that the actress is sexy and charming in person. She titillates readers with candid remarks on her sexuality. Meanwhile, this interview reveals a half-child, half-woman excited and eager to give her best shot.
Having a great body makes her more confident. Ara Mina described herself as “dibdib manok. Medyo hiwalay siya (referring to her breasts), so you need to push it, to achieve a cleavage. Sometimes it depends on the dress or bra I’m wearing.”
To maintain her 36-24-35 shape, Ara Mina said she works out at a gym twice a week and observes some dietary restrictions. “I have my dumbbells,” she volunteered. She said she has not eaten rice for two months now. Also, soft drinks have not been in her diet for two years.
Her liberal view of woman-to-woman relationships
Back to her past movie “Tatlo,” Ara Mina admitted she felt uncomfortable kissing another girl.
“I was tense, especially with my kissing scene with Ate Rita,” she said. “Ingat talaga ako. Mayroong torrid kissing scene pero hindi naman labas ang tongue. Actually, na-tense din siya.”
Ara Mina, however, confessed that she has a liberal view of woman-to-woman relationships in real life.
“It’s fine with me. In “Tatlo,” you can’t blame Elsie (my character in the film) if she falls in love with another woman (Rita Avila). She’s looking for something that she cannot find in her husband (Tonton Gutierrez).”
She recalled how she experienced difficulties doing a love scene with Rita. She called it the “Scandinavian style” ( a pumping scene between lesbian lovers, but she did not explain it in detail).
“We tried to relax . . . Nakakangawit talaga, pinagpawisan ako,” she relates. “Biniro ko pa nga si ate Rita na ituloy na namin sa kuwarto. Sa eksenang yon naisip ko, parehas naman kaming babae. So I decided not to wear any plaster. Pero talagang makikita ang boobs namin doon.”
Ara Mina admitted that she can be attracted to members of both sexes.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with having a relationship with another woman as long as there’s no sex involved. I couldn’t imagine myself having sex with another woman. I have best friends who are all girls. Sometimes I develop a crush on them. Sometimes, I feel I like a woman, and sometimes I like a man.”
But she denied being bisexual.
“Hindi ko masasabi,” she says. “Minsan gandang-ganda ako sa babae. Minsan nagsasabi pa ako, ‘Ang seksi niya.’ Wala naman akong nararamdamang feelings for her. It’s like an admiration.”
Reflected Ara Mina: A man is completely different from a woman when it comes to expressing affection.
“Ang lalaki siyempre medyo brusko; ang babae tender ang dating . Kaya lang nakaka-ilang kung humahampas ang boobs níyo,” she laughed.
In real life, Ara Mina said she has had lesbian suitors.
“I treat them as friends. Natatawa nga ako dahil kapag nanligaw sila, itsura nila babae, tapos inaamin nila na may boyfriend sila, pero may gusto sa akin at nag-I I love you,” she related. “They write love love letters, send flowers, chocolates, and stuffed toys. I entertained them kasi kung iniiwasan mo minsan delikado. Grabeng ma-in love ang mga lesbians; they’re very posessive, parang nakakatakot.”
Portraying meaty roles
Now that she gets to portray meaty roles, Ara Mina hopes that she will be noticed for her acting ability and not just her ability to show off those curves.
“Kahit na naghuhubad ako, gusto ko namang mapansin nila ang acting ko lalo na sa mga pelikulang ginagawa ko, para irespeto rin nila ako. Natutuwa naman ako dahil hindi nila sinasabi na bastusin ako, kahit na naghuhubad ako.”
She said she’s only daring in the movies. But she emphasized that she hasn’t experienced doing her onscreen love scenes in real life.
“That’s one good thing about me. At first, it was really difficult for me because I used to portray sweet roles. Like the scenes in my previous movie, “Sagad Sa Init” na nakipag-laplapan ako sa bubungan at sa kotse. As of now, ‘yong mga wild things na nagawa ko sa movies pa lang.”
Ara Mina’s life changed when she junked her sweet image. But the transition was not easy. Going the bold route made it possible for her to land her first starring role in “Maldita.”
But it was in the movie “Curacha, Ang Babaing Walang Pahinga” that film critics began to pay attention to her. Before this, she became a supporting player in such movies as “Roller Boys,” “Butch Belgica Story,” and the “Flor Contemplacion Story.” She entered showbiz at the age of 14 via the teenybopper show That’s Entertainment.
Ara Mina said she couldn’t imagine herself portraying bold roles or posing nude for pictorials. She was conservative then, she said. She recalled how she would react negatively to the bold pictures she saw in the newspapers.
“Now, pagbukas ko ng dyaryo, ang sinasabi ko, Okay lang naman as long as ang mga shots mo na hubad ay artistic ang pagkakakuha,” she smiles.
Because of the attention, she’s getting at the moment, she vowed never to let success get into her head. She said she is especially thankful to her parents for understanding her when she decided to go bold without their permission.
In the near future, she hopes to bag an acting award, “Para masabi ko na rin na may narating yong paghuhubad ko,” she said.
Ara Mina is Hazel Reyes in real life. Her mom combined the names of her two sisters Ara Christine and Mina Princess to come up with the name Ara Mina.
The eldest in a brood of six (two boys and four girls), Ara Mina is a product of a broken family. She was only seven years old when her parents separated. However, she was not disheartened by what happened to her parents. Although both have their own individual families, they maintain open communications. “They are on good terms now,” she notes.
Ara Mina is a high school graduate of Morning Dew Montessori. If her schedule permits, she said she plans to take up Interior Design or Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines (UP).
Off-camera, Ara Mina is a sweet, simple person. She doesn’t talk much during interviews.
“Hindi ako palaaway,” she relates, “gusto ko lahat ng tao kasundo ko. Tapos sweet pa rin, nando’n pa rin ‘yong pagiging childish ko. Sa set nga, nagugulat ang iba dahil parang ang lakas kong maghubad sa eksena. Then after the scene para akong bata. They are confused. That’s who I am. Trabaho lang.”
Her type of man is someone who resembles actor Matthew Mendoza. “Parang hindi siya makabasag pinggan, tipong hindi ka lolokohin. And he’s a gentleman, baby face talaga, she notes. “Yong guy dapat mabango ang hininga, malinis sa katawan, sweet, and understanding.”
Although she admits she has had two boyfriends before, one from showbiz, and one from non-showbiz. She prefers to stay at home during her free time and shuns the nightlife.
Ara Mina feels that her job is quite fulfilling at present. In her five-year stay in the business, she has been able to buy a condominium unit, a car, and jewelry. The other earnings go to her savings (time deposit) and her family. She rewards herself by shopping for signature clothes and accessories.
“Nakakatuwa dahil at my age, nakakabili na ako ng mga ganitong bagay sa sarili kong kita. . . kung baga sarili kong pagod.”
Older men go for her. Ara Mina reveals that she has received around five “indecent proposals” from different men.
“May nag-alok pa nga sa akin ng house and lot with matching brand new car and allowance. Siyempre ang kapalit no’n iiwanan ko ang career ko,” she revealed. “Yong tipong ibabahay ka. Hindi ko pinapatulan ang mga offers nila kasi kaya ko namang kitain sa sarili ko. Besides, I don’t want to experience what my parents had experienced in the past.”
(Based on the same writer’s exclusive article published at the now-defunct Mirror Weekly Magazine.)
As of a recent update, Ara Mina is experiencing a new “journey” in her personal life. She is now married to her non-showbiz husband, Dave Almarinez, CEO of Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC).
Featured photo courtesy of Ara Mina Almarinez Facebook
The first hotel in the Philippines to bring guests’ favorite Starbucks® coffees within the hotel premises.
Hotel guests in the Philippines can now enjoy Starbucks® favorite handcrafted beverages personalized the way they liked them. This has been made possible with the introduction of the “We Proudly Serve Starbucks®” Coffee Program, which is helping hotels such as Holiday Inn and Suites Makati to elevate their guest experience.
Holiday Inn and Suites Makati recently launched the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café and is proud to share that it isthe first hotel in the Philippines to have the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® in the hotel lobby bar.
Awarded as Philippines Leading Business Hotel 2022 by World Travel Awards, Holiday Inn & Suites Makati, an IHG hotel, is a 5-star deluxe hotel perfectly located in Makati’s Central Business and Entertainment District. The hotel’s ideal location provides both business and leisure travelers the convenience of staying in a Makati hotel with its direct access to Ayala Center’s Glorietta Shopping Mall and other commercial establishments.
Mr. Andy Belmonte, General Manager of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati said, “We are very excited to offer this as we elevate our guests’ experience. We believe that this will create a positive response from our guests as they now can enjoy their favorite handcrafted and iconic beverages every day. We are the first hotel in the Philippines and we are proud to offer The We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café.”
The Citron Café has been a favorite spot for morning and afternoon meetings and even walk-in guests can enjoy their Starbucks® coffee any time of the day at the lobby lounge. With the We Proudly Serve Starbucks®, the hotel is elevating its guests’ experience with the premium coffee brand by also making it available for in-room dining and meetings and events. Hotel guests can now enjoy a cup of the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at the comfort of their rooms or meeting venues, delivering personalized beverages that guests and visitors know and love.
We Proudly Serve Starbucks® at Citron Café is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday and 8:00 am to 12:00 am on Friday and Saturday located at Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, lobby level. For more information, visit www.holidayinn.com/makati or call + 63 2 79090888. Find us on Facebook or Instagram at HolidayInnMakati.
Starbucks® and Nestle have formed the Global Coffee Alliance to grow the reach of Starbucks brands in food service. Under the alliance, Nestle is an authorized distributor of Starbucks® products in food service channels.
With the yuletide festivities coming in full swing, Bayview Park Hotel stirred up cheers with a Coachella Christmas gathering.
It was an affair filled with fun and laughter.
Just like Christmas morning, guests were treated to a sumptuous feast with singing, dancing, and a whole lot of merry-making.
The hotel lobby sparkled with nothing but colorful trimmings. Keeping up with the season’s traditions, the Christmas Tree Lighting was meant to mark the beginning of unending holiday celebrations. Clad in red, silver, and gold, it was lit up by Metro Manila’s officials, Mayor Honey Lacuna and Vice Mayor Yul Servo together with Bayview Park Hotel General Manager, Eugene Yap.
Offering its signature brand of hospitality for over 75 years, Bayview Park Hotel continues to be among the preferred accommodation options of those who frequently visit the district.
With everyone looking forward to Christmas and the coming New Year, your home by the bay is also brimming with glee to delight and serve you with its full slate of exciting offerings and events.
Start by enjoying a relaxing getaway and avail the Bayview Park Hotel’s Christmas vouchers. For only P3,200.00 /net, you can spend a night in the Superior Room inclusive of breakfast for two. You can also avail of the Power Meal or Bento Meal food vouchers for only PhP 1,000.00 / net good for two persons.
For a sumptuous dining experience, indulge in the Festivity Dinner and treat yourself to Bayview’s baby back ribs and unlimited cocktails. Enjoy this for a discounted rate of PhP 999.00 until December 15. The regular rate of PhP 1,299.00 applies from December 16 onwards.
As a gift to their valued guests, you and your family can also take advantage of the Festivity Package. Just book from December 1 – 15, 2022, and stay in the Superior and Deluxe Rooms at Php 4,999.00 and Php 5,999.00 respectively – Php 1,000.00 off from its original rate.
At Bayview Park Hotel, it will be a holiday to remember.
For more information, visit bayviewparkhotel.com or check their social media pages @bayviewparkhotel. You may also reach them at (02) 8526 1-555 or book directly via bookings@bayviewparkhotel.
Featured photo: (L-R) Eugene Yap, General Manager Bayview Park Hotel Manila, Hon. Maria Sheilah “Honey” Honrado Lacuna, the Mayor City of Manila, Hon John Marvin “Yul” Servo, Vice Mayor City of Manila, Mr. Charlie Dungo, Director of DTCAM City of Manila.
It’s December, and the Christmas spirit is in the air. The culture of gift-giving is more than just the price tags and fancy presents – it’s about the comfort and memory that comes with the gift. Giving your loved ones the perfect gift or treat is more tricky than it looks, but with this list of holiday treats, people will surely enjoy the Christmas season with a smile and a grateful heart!
Great food, great time
Richmonde Hotel Ortigas is ready to spice up your holiday season with its own special menu, crafted by the renowned Executive Chef Tristan Galang. Presenting a mix of delectable goodies and sumptuous dishes, Richmonde hotel showcases its Special Hotbox Platters which includes Salmon en Croute, Cottage Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, and Potatoes au Gratin.
If you’re craving for something sweet to display at your holiday feast, Richmonde has the most delectable baked goodies that would brighten your family’s day! Starting with their Signature Moist Chocolate Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, and Red Velvet Cheesecake, your dining table will surely be filled with gorgeous smiles and happy stomachs! They also offer these fresh bread—Banana Walnut Bread, Creamy Spinach Baguette, Cranberry Babka, and Coffee Bun. You can also partner them with the affordable Richmonde Herbed Butter and Bacon Jam spreads.
They also offer Filipino favorites Plain Ensaymada and Ube Ensaymada, given a holiday twist with these new flavors, Pork Floss Ensaymada and Alcapone Ensaymada. They are also available in Mini-Ensaymadas in boxes of 4 pcs and 9 pcs.
If you want just the perfect gift this Christmas, you can choose from Richmonde’s Christmas Hampers! The Box of Freshly Baked Bliss and the Hamper of Holiday Happiness. What’s great is, they can also be purchased in bulk!
Eastwood Richmonde is also all geared up with its baked specials. They cooked up a twist in their Richmonde Christmas Cookies, with Sea Salt Double Chocolate, Oatmeal Craisin, and Santa’s Pantry flavors. They also parade their unique chocolate bars, with different flavors such as White Chocolate and Ube Marshmallow, Dark Chocolate with Dilis, and Milk Chocolate with Roasted Cashews and Candied Pili.
For those looking for Christmas staples, Eastwood Richmonde offers Christmas Tiramisu, alongside loaves with flavors like Banana Chocolate Chip, Walnut Bread, Chocolate Pistachio Babka, Kesong Puti, Tomato; Basil Focaccia, and Brioche. They also have the center of attention: delectable hams. Richmonde offers 1.5kg Muscovado Ham, 1.2kg Chicken Ham, and the 300g Sliced Muscovado Ham.
Moreover, they also have Christmas hampers such as the Sweet and Savory Christmas Bundle, as well as the Baked Yuletide Bunch. These tasty goodies will surely brighten up your holiday menu!
Best clothes to keep you warm
The Fall/Winter 2022 Collection of UNIQLO’s LifeWear features a lineup of wardrobe staples that will surely keep you stylish this holiday season!
Armed with its new HEATTECH technology, UNIQLO’s clothes will keep you warm, without the expense of bulking up in clothes. Moreover, it converts body moisture into heat, making you feel cozy and comfortable. Not bad for people seeking the snow and cold this season!
Electrifying music to keep you hyped
If you’re looking for the next band to stan, Globe and 88risimg got your back! The 2022 Head in the Clouds Music and Arts Festival is coming to Manila for the first time on December 9 and 10 at the SM Festival Grounds in Parañaque City. Featuring renowned singers such as Joji, Jackson Wang, NIKI, Rich Brian, and eaJ, it is set to take Manila by storm.
Courtesy of Globe, you can avail two-day General Admission ticket for only P6,888 from its original price of P12,888. Just purchase your tickets at SM tickets with the special code GLOBEPASS to avail of the promo! Get it now and live your musical fantasy this holiday season!
Keep in touch with new high-tech phones
This season, Nokia is big on gift-giving as they introduce new models, such as the Nokia X30 and the Nokia C10.
The Nokia X30 is presented to be the most eco-friendly smartphone, partnered with three years of warranty 3 and 3 OS upgrades. Nokia C10, on the other hand, is just a gift for the first-time smartphone user. It is the perfect entry-level phone for anyone who wants to be techy and at the same time, master the ropes of smartphones!
With all these gifts and treats in mind, your loved ones will surely feel lucky to receive these presents. There is nothing better than a well-thought-out gift – and this list might just be your key to a great Christmas. Happy shopping!
Tia Belle’s special Christmas dishes revolve around pasta and noodles. Aside from the symbolism of long life, these dishes are also a staple in every Christmas celebration and even in the New Year.
Filipinos are known for their hospitality, strong family ties, and super long Christmas holidays. Most families tend to celebrate in their homes or gather in restaurants and other venues to catch up with relatives. What’s never missing in these gatherings is food – lots and lots of it. It’s the holiday season, everybody deserves to eat good food while enjoying the festivities.
They say love is best expressed through food – and for Tia Belle’s Tagaytay, these scrumptious Christmas dishes are just the perfect addition to your holiday feast. Armed with its Christmas specials, Tia Belle’s is ready to serve customers with a smile and a warm heart. Whether you want to prepare food for two or the whole clan, Tia Belle’s got you covered. Be sure to feast your eyes and stomachs with these delectable dishes and the overflowing hospitality that Tia Belle’s offers!
Tia Belle’s special Christmas dishes revolve around pasta and noodles. Aside from the symbolism of long life, these dishes are also a staple in every Christmas celebration and even in the New Year. A celebration is not complete without these Filipino dishes we love and adore so much. Each dish will surely bring back a lot of memories, and eventually, make way to create new ones this year!
They offer Pansit Malabon, Pansit Siomai, Miki Bihon, Pansit Bihon, Pansit Canton, and Pansit Tofu– all of which are fit for family and clan reunions. The more food, the merrier their stomachs will be!
Other than that, Tia Belle’s also offers Carbonara and Spaghetti for their pasta dishes, perfect for all ages and tastes.
Moreover, they also have Bulalo Lomi and Mucho Lomi, which most tourists crave and always come back to. There’s no stomach Tia Belle’s can’t satisfy!
Food can bind families together
Evelyn Wise, the hands-on owner of Tia Belle’s, truly believes that food can bind families together, just like how her restaurant is bound to her heart. “Every time I am in the kitchen, cooking and concocting sauces, I feel like dancing with my wok,” she says. Cooking has become both her solace and passion, a privilege she enjoys as people appreciate her food. She has a diverse palate, and her cooking styles reflect the years she lived in Europe before she put up a Filipino-style restaurant in our country. For her, cooking can change the world, one plate at a time.
True to her word, Tia Belle’s reflects Evelyn’s life values. Her restaurant prioritizes its customers before anything else and seeks to uphold hospitality in all ways. “We make sure we provide an optimal dining experience for our customers by making sure that their dining experience is our responsibility the minute they step into our restaurant,” she elaborates.
The restaurant itself also bears a testament to how wonderful Filipino culture can be – adorned with a homey ambiance, it is surely the place to be during the holidays. It gives you a sense of belongingness in a bigger community – just like how Evelyn intended it to be. “We want to give our customers an authentic and genuine glimpse of the Philippines by honoring and delving into the Filipino culture and traditions through our services, atmosphere, art, and food,” says Evelyn.
This Christmas season, Tia Belle’s doors are always welcome for people who want a genuine Filipino experience of the holidays, complete with stellar service, delectable dishes, and good company. The holidays will never be boring for your heart and stomach whenever you’re at Tia Belle’s. You can contact them at 0956 470 8145 or message them on their Facebook page, Tia Belle’s Pansit Malabon and Pichi-Pichi.
Contributed by Princess Friel Lontoc
Featured photos: Pansit Tofu, Pansit Malabon, Carbonara, and Miki Bihon
Fintech Alliance.PH in cooperation with Enderun Conferences recently hosted the second edition of the Inclusion and Digital Transformation (INDX) Summit last November 22-23, 2022 at the Enderun Tent in McKinley Hill, Taguig City.
“This monumental event is the gathering of the Philippines’ visionaries and trailblazers. The past two years have been golden for the fintech industry in the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia. It is only fitting that we reflect on our successes and welcome promising years to come,” said Lito Villanueva, founding chairman of the FinTech Alliance.PH and the executive vice president and chief innovation and inclusion officer of RCBC.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the value of the digital economy in the Philippines increased by 7.8% and reached 1.87 trillion pesos in 2021. E-commerce erupted through the pandemic and continued to grow post-lockdown. Online selling transformed from being a side job to becoming a primary source of income. The main drivers of the digital economy, which contributed to 9.6% of the nation’s GDP in the same year, include digital infrastructure, e-commerce, and digital content.
BSP Governor Felipe Medalla stated that “to digitize more peer-to-business and business-to-business payments, the BSP collaborates with the payments industry to launch new innovative payment streams.”
For Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, “The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined what we considered to be ‘business as usual [and] it also presented an opportunity for economists around the world to quicken the pace towards a more digital economy. Although there are strides to adapt to the new normal, there is still much to be done before it can reach the goals.”
Philippines through digital transformation and inclusion
GCash President & CEO Martha Sazon said that “Digitalization or digital economy is a very complicated value chain. It starts from internet connectivity, device availability, and the various regulators around it, and into our space—fintech, e-commerce, and the various economic services. In the complete value chain, you have the government in every step. But you have different private sectors participating in it. While we may provide advanced technology, best practices from our partners, and execution, we need the partnership from the government to make it easy for us to participate and to increase the penetration.”
Indeed, as the Philippines transitions to a new digital economy, the government highly supports the fintech industry and is moving in a positive direction by imposing standards and regulations. During the speech of Senator Mark Villar at the INDX Summit, he stated that “[Although] the pandemic has revealed and brought urgency to necessary reforms in public health, social safety nets, disaster response, and rural development, among others, what reinforces all these reforms is the digital imperative. Going digital is the way and the key.”
“We are ready to support further innovations for the more efficient, convenient, and secured use of digital assets, as well as to legislate to ensure that digital transactions are duly protected. Our hopes for a more equitable and successful post-COVID society involve the establishment of crucial digital economy pillars such as robust digital infrastructure, digital skills, e-government, e-commerce, and an enabling legislative and regulatory environment,” said Senator Villar.
The INDX Summit 2.0 was capped by the Fintech Alliance Ambassador’s Gala, which brought together key heads of missions and other international development agencies as well as regional and global partners.
Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda, who is also the committee chair for Ways and Mean said, “Digital financial technology must be trustworthy. With more digitalization of finance comes the digitalization of the most predatory practices in the sector, and its underground mutations. Technology can do so much, but its aim must be to create value and virtue in society.”
Several pioneering initiatives have also been launched during the first FinTech Alliance Ambassadors Gala. These include the first off-campus Fintech and Regulatory Innovations Technology Program in the ASEAN region by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance by the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge in partnership with the Mapua University and the FinTech Alliance; the launching of the BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. FinTech and Inclusive Finance Grants Matching Program; and the collaboration with the Ant Group’s 10 x 1000 Tech for Inclusion. The event also saw the oath-taking of additional members of the Board of Trustees as well as incoming new members.
(From left to right:) Mags Fetalino, Fintech Alliance Trustee, Head of Alternative Finance of UBX; Martha Borja, Fintech Alliance Trustee, MD of Grab Finance; Edison Tsai, Fintech Alliance Chairman of Strategic Partnerships, MD of Seedin; Khalid Alhajeri, UAE Representative; Tull Traisorat, Thai Ambassador; Angelito Villanueva, Chairman of Fintech Alliance, EVP and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC; Titanilla Toth, Hungary Ambassador; Gerard Ho, Singapore Ambassador; New Zealand Ambassador; Israel Ambassador; Victor Aliwalas, Fintech Alliance Trustee, CEO of Multisys Corp; Allen Guo, Fintech Alliance Trustee, Country Manager of Alibaba Cloud; Ida Tiongson, Fintech Alliance Trustee, Chairwoman of Prulife UK; Christina Stieber, Commercial Counselor of Austrian Embassy.
Artifract, the country’s first tokenized NFT platform by UBX and Unit 256, has expanded its operations by collaborating with the Belvedere Museum and promoting “The Kiss” NFTs in Asia.
The Belvedere Museum in Vienna, Austria, has the largest collection of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day and works by foreign artists. The world’s biggest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings is the centerpiece of the Upper Belvedere’s Art Around 1900 exhibition, which includes such works as “The Kiss” and “Judith and the Head of Holofernes.”
Artifract and Belvedere’s collaboration is the firm’s first international venture and the first partnership of its kind in Asia. With the help of the Commercial Section of the Austrian Embassy, the partnership was made possible as the leaders of the two companies met through Advantage Austria Global NFT Academy.
“The Kiss” by Austrian painter Gustav Klimt will be Artifract’s first project with the museum. From December 2022, The Kiss NFTs will be distributed via Artifract. The NFTs will be minted on thekiss.art. According to Wolfgang Bergmann, the Chief Financial Officer of Belvedere, Artifract is an excellent partner for their project’s global promotion.
“Artifract is an outstanding partner for the international promotion of our NFT project “The Kiss,” as it allows us to reach out to contemporary art buyers in and around the Philippines.”
“People from the Philippines are well-known in Austria for their strong interest in art, particularly Gustav Klimt’s work. Therefore, we aim to inspire them with our unique and exclusive collectibles,” he added.
Christina Stieber, the Austrian commercial counselor, likewise anticipates “marvelous” results from the collaboration.
“When technology meets classical art, marvelous things will come out of it. Just like the cooperation between Artifract and the Belvedere Museum. This unique partnership across continents will unite beauty and groundbreaking new technologies in a fabulous new fashion.”
Steph Oller, Artifract’s co-founder and head of collections, expressed gratitude to the Belvedere Museum for its trust and pledged a fast and efficient partnership.
“Meeting the team behind ‘The Kiss’ during an actual panel that Artifract was part of was amazing. It was indeed a serendipitous encounter. At the end of the day, we at Artifract believe that we can help each other grow faster and more efficiently if we collaborate closer and better,” she said.
Rico de la Cruz, product owner for Artifract at UBX, stated that the relationship between Artifract and the Belvedere Museum exemplifies their mission to democratize access to valuable art pieces.
“Now more than ever, artists and collectors may access regional and international markets and collections,” he said.
Last October, UBX and Unit 256 established Artifract to allow collectors and enthusiasts, as well as ordinary individuals, to engage in the market by making art more accessible and inexpensive. Also in October, Fundacion Sanso, a non-profit that exhibits the paintings of the world-famous painter Juvenal Sanso, partnered with Artifracts to make sure that all of Sanso’s paintings are safe and secure for future preservation.
The Belvedere in Vienna is one of the world’s leading museums. Austrian art is presented in an international context at three venues. The Upper and Lower Belvedere Baroque complex and its garden are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Its renowned art collection includes works ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. And with 24 paintings by Gustav Klimt, the Belvedere possesses the world’s largest collection of his paintings. Other highlights include prominent works from the Viennese Biedermeier period, the Austrian Baroque, Vienna around 1900, and French Impressionism. Continued development and digitization in all areas will ensure Belvedere’s status as an outstanding museum in the future as well. www.belvedere.at
ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, with around 100 offices in over 70 countries, provides a broad range of intelligence and business development services for both Austrian companies and their international business partners. Around 800 employees around the world can assist you in locating Austrian suppliers and business partners. We organize about 1,200 events every year to bring business contacts together. Other services provided by ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA offices range from introductions to Austrian companies looking for importers, distributors, or agents to providing in-depth information on Austria as a business location and assistance in entering the Austrian market.
Artifract.io is a joint venture between Unit 256 Ventures Inc. and UBX Philippines Corporation. It is a pioneer of Fine Arts NFT in Asia, focused on helping art estates and museums in the preservation of Fine Arts, ensuring the copyright of every piece, and future-proofing collections. On the collector side, they help art collectors and NFT enthusiasts have access to exclusive art pieces via tiles. To mint more fine pieces of NFT art, please visit Artifract.io.
UBX is the Philippines’ leading Open Finance platform, providing access to the widest network of financial institutions and solutions. They are a company that allows businesses, fintechs, developers, and the government to access embeddable solutions and the widest network of financial institutions in the Philippines. Banking and financial services are used to distract and interrupt the daily activities of individuals and businesses. Aboitiz-backed UnionBank, Asia’s Best Digital Bank, changed the narrative by launching UBX in 2018. Leveraging years of proven banking and technology experience, UBX’s first-in-industry solutions aid MSMEs and large enterprises to connect to a high-caliber financial network, fast-track automation, and improve scalability.
Featured photo: The Belvedere in Vienna is one of the world’s leading museums.
Christmas is fast approaching and the festive season is making us crave for the cold, the perfect combination with the warmth the holidays bring. Baguio is the place to be – with its cool climate and family-friendly attractions. Your trip to this magical place will certainly be memorable with these beautiful hotel accommodations, just in time for your Christmas getaway!
The Kamiseta Hotel
This gorgeous place just screams Bridgerton vibes with its French contemporary design and its equally enchanting glass house! Located beside the famous Mansion house, it is also near the stable Baguio tourist spots: Wright Park, Baguio Country Club Golf Course, and Camp John Hay. Each suite has a distinct motif that makes you feel like royalty, and their staff and concierge will surely treat you like one! Moreover, it is surrounded by pine trees, which gives you the serenity you need. This majestic 3360-degree view can best be seen in their glass house, an area adorned with glass ceilings and a spacious patio. Their comfy ambiance will surely help you settle into the Christmas feels– book your reservation now!
The Orchard Hotel Baguio
Do you want a hotel that’s Instagram-worthy? Look no more as the Orchard Hotel Baguio combines comfort and style with its millennial-themed rooms and amenities. Promoting the #TheORCHARDlifestyle, the hotel ensures that its guests receive 24-hour service that’s worthy of praise. Conveniently located 168 km away from The Clark International Airport, the Orchard Hotel Baguio is also near SM City Baguio, Mines View Park, and the Lourdes grotto.
Whether it’s a family vacation or a couple’s getaway, the hotel makes sure to give you the best room possible!
The Forest Lodge at Camp John Hay
Christmas is incomplete without outdoor activities that bind your family even stronger than before–and The Forest Lodge provides you with an equal dose of thrill and relaxation. Surrounded by the lush pine forest of Camp John Hay, the hotel is also famous for its Twist Cafe, with sumptuous dishes from different regions cooked by the Chef Billy King of Le Soufflé Manila. It is also near Mile Hi, a shopping center that’s perfect for buying your pasalubong and souvenirs. This place is perfect for a quick getaway from the busy streets of the city, and for you to embrace your adventurous side this holiday season!
Le Monet Hotel
Showcasing scenic mountain views, the Le Monet Hotel is also within the heart of Camp John Hay. This hotel has several amenities best enjoyed with family and friends, such as the Viva Verde Spa, which includes a variety of massages. Furthermore, their heated indoor swimming pool is a wonderful treat after a long day. Don’t you worry about your appetite–The Lobby restaurant offers a variety of delectable dishes presented by famous Chef Robby Goco! Le Monet Hotel surely lives up to people’s expectations.
Grand Sierra Pines Hotel
Looking for a hotel that is both culturally inclined and has an outdoorsy vibe? The Grand Sierra Pines Hotel has got you covered! Located at North Outlook drive, the hotel is known for its rich forests, adorned galleries,and environmentally-friendly amenities. Tourists have raved about the Adkos Gallery, an in-house gallery that showcases true Filipino talent; the true marvel and pride of the hotel. It exhibits various painters, from those in the indie scene to award-winning ones. Grand Sierra Pines Hotel will certainly never bore you this Christmas season!
These hotels will surely be your home away from home these upcoming holidays. Be sure to spend it with your family and loved ones in the lush greenery and beautiful spots of Baguio!
Hello Glow introduces a new ultralight multitasking sunscreen, jampacked with nourishing, brightening, and barrier-repairing benefits! It has certified broad-spectrum UVA / UVB protection, too!
It’s no secret that sunscreen is the single most imperative step in any skincare routine. Gone are the days when SPF protection is limited to beach trips and sun care. By now, it is common knowledge that sunscreen use is not only key to skin cancer prevention (which truly saves lives!), but is also the best go-to product for anti-aging!
UV protection has therefore become a bare minimum requirement in skincare. Korean-inspired skincare brand, Hello Glow, knows this by heart. Having been the first local brand to champion third-party laboratory test certifications in all its SPF claims, in line with its goal to educate the Philippine market about the importance of transparency in product labeling and understanding skincare ingredients.
This time, Hello Glow takes it up another notch, introducing a new multitasking sunscreen jampacked with myriad skincare benefits due to popular demand: the Hello Glow Ultralight ++ Matte Sunscreen SPF 30+ PA+++ in an economical 50g pouch!
Raved by top-tier dermatologists and skincare vloggers for its high-tech formulations and commitment to clean beauty, followers of Hello Glow may recognize its new release as the 10g day cream product part of the brand’s flagship skincare set, the Hello Glow Advanced Rejuvenating Set.
“We are a firm believer that the best sunscreen is one that you will be willing to use and reapply regularly every single day! We received so much feedback asking for a bigger size because our users simply loved the formula,” says Denice Sy-Munez, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. and the founder of Hello Glow.
According to Sy-Munez, beyond sun protection, their innovation team focused on creating a “comfortable and lightweight serum-like consistency” as well as incorporating active ingredients that are proven to be effective in addressing the major skin concerns of Filipinos.
“Most of our users are either seasoned skincare enthusiasts or recent converts from the ‘rejuv’ market,” shares Sy-Munez. Thus, the Hello Glow Ultralight ++ Matte Sunscreen utilizes an innovative blend of Centella Asiatica with 3 types of Ceramides to effectively calm and soothe skin, while simultaneously nourishing and repairing the skin barrier.
It also contains 4% Niacinamide, a popular multitasking skin-brightening agent that helps control oil production, blurs the appearance of pores, treats acne, and lightens dark spots. Sy-Munez states that “dermatological journals have shown that 4% Niacinamide is 80% as effective as 4% Hydroquinone in treating melasma, without the harmful and irreversible side effects!”
The sunscreen consists of an innovative and powerful brightening active ingredient Hexylrescorcinol for further antioxidant protection. Sy-Munez adds that the synergy of Niacinamide boosted with Hexylresorcinol can even out discoloration and reveal visible and superior anti-aging benefits. “It’s not as commonly used or known in the Philippines, but trust that it can do wonders for your complexion!”
To support its sun protection claims, the Hello Glow Ultralight ++ Matte Sunscreen has a BBioNest-certifiedDAISO UV Transmittance Analyzer SPF rating of SPF 43+ PA+++. The sunscreen can also be used as a primer before applying makeup, and as a nourishing daily barrier-selling moisturizer.
For those who prefer a watery-like sunscreen or a tinted moisturizer with SPF protection, Hello Glow offers two other multitasking sun care products respectively, the Hello Glow 3-in-1 Lightweight Sun Care Gel and Hello Glow Anti-Pollution Tinted Sunscreen with tone-adapt technology.
Hello Glow is available online at Shopee, Lazada, Tiktok , and Zalora, in physical stores like Watsons, The SM Store, Robinsons, SM Supermarkets, Alfamart, Puregold, Waltermart group, Gaisano group, among other leading retail outlets nationwide. Hello Glow can also be purchased through its resellers and Ever Bilena Direct Sales dealers.
The Philippines is known for observing the longest Christmas celebration. Once the “ber” months kick in, one can expect Christmas songs heard over the radio and commercial establishments already dressing up their window displays with the festive Holiday atmosphere.
Renowned establishment Century Park Hotel (CPH) recently launched its version of the Yuletide season with its Annual Christmas Tree Lighting which showcased “A Bountiful Christmas” theme. The stunning 25 ft. tree at the Atrium Lounge was the star of the show with its warm colors of bronze, copper, tangerine, gold, and greens. The warm, earthy palette is symbolic of lasting hope and positivity amidst the ongoing pandemic.
The guests’ faces were all aglow with wonder and excitement during the countdown. Dr. Lucio Tan and his family, the owners of Century Park Hotel, officiated the lighting of the Christmas tree.
“We are pleased to hold our Annual Christmas Tree Lighting once again which is undoubtedly one of the most-anticipated events at Century Park Hotel. After a 2-year hiatus, we are glad to see old and new friends alike and share the joy of the season with them. The pandemic has been challenging for everyone and we are grateful to our guests, media & blogger networks, and loyal patrons for giving us the privilege of serving them with our own unique brand of Filipino hospitality despite the unusual times. We have thrived because of their trust and confidence,” CPH General Manager Anthony Tan said. “Aside from the tree lighting, we will also roll out several Christmas and last quarter promos in the days to come,” he further added.
Incidentally, the hotel also launched its line of Christmas hampers starting from P3,500net. Guests can have a convenient time shopping for their loved ones with CPH’s array of pastries, delicatessen, and wines. For advanced orders, call 0917 528 8888.
Launched in 1976, the Century Park Hotel remains as one of the finest hotels in Manila. It is owned and operated by Maranaw Hotels and Resort Corporation and enjoys a mix of local and international patrons. The renowned establishment has over 500 rooms of varied types and facilities for a complete dining and leisure experience. To know more about Century Park Hotel, visit www.centurypark.com or contact email@example.com and telephone number: (632) 528-8888.
Radical Cars Philippines, in partnership with SEAOIL Philippines Inc., concluded the final race weekend of its inaugural season last October 28 and 30 at the Clark International Speedway. It was a season-ender full of drama and excitement as drivers and teams were pushed to their limits all weekend long.
PartsPro Racing had their eyes on the prize with Iñigo Anton leading the championship in points and Brian Poe back, eager to add to the team’s point tally after missing out on Round 2 in BRC.
ENSport and Stefan Ramirez came into the finale looking to secure maximum points and solidify their position in the standings. They looked to take the fight to the championship leaders in the last three races.
SEAOIL – OTR Motorsports entered the final race weekend with a new driver, Gilad Kreim from Israel. The gentleman driver showcased his passion, discipline, and competence behind the wheel all weekend long despite a two-year hiatus from Philippine racing.
Gentleman driver Richard Dy came to Clark competing for TrackHos Hazardboy this final round, eager to improve his racecraft and gain experience competing in the fastest race series in the Philippines.
A surprise addition to the weekend was guest driver Angie Mead King. The experienced racer ran the only Radical SR8 on the grid, participating under her team Car Porn Racing.
The season-end proved to be extremely challenging with wet races [all weekend long] due to the bad weather brought by typhoon Paeng. It was a full schedule with practice, qualifying, and three races all packed into two days.
On race day 1, the Radicals started early with three practice sessions throughout the morning. After the lunch break, the drivers were back on the track for qualifying. Anton secured pole position and set his fastest lap in an SR1 with a time of 1:56.726, beating his personal best which was set during Round 1 early in the season. Right next to him in the front row was Ramirez with a time of 1:58.887. In P3 was Kreim with a time of 1:59.458. P4 would be secured by Richard Dy, Poe in P5, and Angie King would start in P6 after opting not to participate in qualifying. She used the time to work on her SR8 which encountered some issues during practice.
Race 1 of the weekend started strong. King breezed through the rest of the grid after the rolling start to take the lead in her SR8. She stayed in front for 4 laps and secured the fastest lap of the weekend, a new track record with a time of 1:53.378. Unfortunately, her car suffered an alternator issue on the 5th lap, forcing her to retire. Iñigo Anton would then take the lead and win the race, followed by Ramirez and Kreim taking P2 and P3 respectively. Dy would take P4 and Poe took P5, struggling to catch up to the rest of the grid after his spin in lap 1.
Race 2 and 3 took place on Sunday, the 30th, during the height of the typhoon’s intensity. The Radicals shared the first warm-up session of the day with the V1s under the pouring rain which showed no signs of stopping. Race 2 started under the safety car. The rain eventually settled into a drizzle, the safety car came into the pits, and the rolling start was initiated. Ramirez got a great start and took the lead with Anton forced to chase. Gilad Kreim settled into his own race in P3, battling with the slippery tarmac. The rest of the grid struggled with the conditions. Halfway into the race. The weather worsened, forcing a premature end under the safety car and Ramirez secured his first win of the season.
When it seemed like the chances of canceling the third race were growing due to the storm, the rain suddenly stopped; long enough for Race 3 to push through. It was an intense sight and spectators were riled up by the hard racing showcased by the drivers. Stefan Ramirez had the early lead but Anton found a gap and went for it. The two battled it out but the young Motul PartsPro driver found the upper hand and secured the victory. At the back, it was a back-and-forth fight for 4th between Richard Dy and Brian Poe. Poe, who was struggling the whole weekend, seemed to find his rhythm in Race 3, showcasing his newfound pace, passing, and defending against Dy who didn’t make it easy for the rookie. In the end, the last race was a personal one for all drivers. One last chance for glory in what has been a brilliant first season.
The 2022 SEAOIL Radical Challenge Philippines is powered by SEAOIL Extreme 97 Octane as the official fuel. MOTUL Philippine distributor Infiniteserv International is a co-presenter of the season and provides all cars on the grid with Motul 300V engine oil.
Currently running an influencer marketing company called Blogapalooza, this millennial CEO, entrepreneur, and marketing and public relations specialist has seen it all. From blogs to vlogs, this social media mogul has gone through all the latest trends in the interwebs, witnessed the rise of the influencer, and figured out all the tips and tricks to marketing yourself.
Yet beyond the face value of her job, her goal to build a community and see the genuine person behind the screen shines through tenfold. “I hope there will be more creators. I hope that more voices could be heard. I hope that we will have more acknowledgment [towards creators].”
Started with a Blog
Growing up, Ace Gapuz has always been the ‘madaldal’ one in the classroom. As told by her class advisors, she was always going off talking to her peers and saying whatever was on her mind, whichever seating arrangement she was placed in.
Moving from the IRL to the URL, her talking audience switched to behind the screen where she discovered blogging around the ages 11-12 years old back in the early 2000s. “It’s just innate in me to just talk. I have always been a storyteller. I guess that’s what brought me very naturally into blogging.”
“It was a novel concept back then. You write about your thoughts. Let people read them. It’s like a diary that you can have other people read. And the fact that people were hearing you, paying attention to what you have to say, and making you part of their lives, that was groundbreaking during that time,” Ace fondly reminisces.
Ace treated her blog like a personal diary, writing about her day-to-day life, interests, and opinions to a faceless audience. But, come 2009, she stopped because, in her words, “college happened.” “Blogging, for me back then, it was an honored pastime. It was something I did because I genuinely enjoyed. It wasn’t something I thought about as a career,” she muses.
So, at this time, she found herself taking up a bachelor’s degree in Management Engineering with a Minor in HR Management in the Ateneo at Manila University and, later on, an MBA. She felt that business was the more practical and pragmatic choice for the future. It was a versatile path that led to many outcomes.
That was until Ace took on a corporate job in a fashion and retail company and worked at it for two years. And very naturally, she found herself back into more creative and media pursuits as she was placed in PR and events. “I like the dynamic nature of PR and events. You get to meet people. And I got to meet the bloggers I used to just know over the internet.”
Maintaining contact and connecting her way through the industry, she didn’t see any other path than to start Blogapalooza.
Ended with a Blogapalooza
Being a young CEO, Ace Gapuz didn’t let her age get in the way of pursuing her goals. She was determined to see things through.
From being a storyteller herself to letting other people share their stories, it all ties back to Ace’s roots with personal blogging to now, Blogapalooza. Through the years, the premier influencer marketing company has built a community of thousands of bloggers, social media influencers, and content creators all over the Philippine archipelago and nearby Southeast Asian countries.
“When I started building the Blogapalooza community of creators, I went to different parts of the Philippines and the world, for that matter. I wanted to hear them, to feel them. I think when you talk about building a community, it’s important to get to know what drives these people, what’s at their core, and what would make them happy. And that’s where you come in to provide the value.”
The greatest lesson she’s learned in the process? Be genuine, always. “If you’re genuine about service if you’re genuine about providing value, and if you genuinely care for them, they’re also going to feel that, and they’re going to give you that same energy.”
Lloyd and Judith Barran seemed to have it all– a blossoming business, a great marriage, but one must simply know how they came to achieve all of this. There is one word for it: love.
A couple’s shared love and passion
Before they married and had three wonderful children, Lloyd and Judith were in different worlds– almost literally. Lloyd was born in Guyana, South America while Judith first saw the light of the world in Davao, Philippines. Even as a young man, Lloyd did everything with passion and grit. He was a stellar student– up till he entered college at the University of Saskatchewan, he continued his love for science by taking up Pharmacy.
However, science took a break for a while when he went back to Guyana to become a corporate secretary to six companies in the Booker, McConnell Group of Companies. It was a great undertaking, but his love for science still prevailed as he went back to Canada, eventually opening up a retail pharmacy that lasted for 25 years. That was the time when Lloyd met Judith– an encounter like no other.
Judith was a Commerce graduate, but she was also keen on discovering and making new paths for herself. She studied interior decorating, and affluent people from Davao would acquire her to decorate their mansions. She followed her heart and married Lloyd in 1992, and moved to Canada a year later. In 2000, She attended Aromatherapy school, and Lloyd followed her the next year. Their love for each other and their interest in aromatherapy brought forth the existence of Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy, Presenting Cleopatra Luxury Skincare– a testament of dedication and passion to their craft.
A product of their love and dedication
The Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy, Presenting Cleopatra Luxury Skincare features a wide range of products that seek to enlighten one’s well-being and promote a healthy and invigorated lifestyle as well. Like the name Cleopatra, which originated from Ancient Egypt, they also want their customers to experience beauty in its most refreshing form. They have several products that seek to help people feel naturally better. They have several aromatherapy blends for Muscle & Joint Pain, Cold Sores, Headaches, and Cold & Flu, among others. All of their products are made from 100% essential oils and are used and recommended by doctors and dermatologists alike.
During the pandemic, they have also created their skincare line, Cleopatra Luxury Skincare. It features a variety of luxury serums–the Scar and Stretch Mark serum, the Youth Serum Elixir, and the Acne Blend. Customers from all over the world have been raving about it, as it enhances their youthful beauty and nourishes the skin!
On to greater heights
Despite all the odds, the couple’s love for aromatherapy and their strong bond has been crucial for the Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy, Presenting Cleopatra Luxury Skincare to rise to greater heights. Their partnership, sense of duty, and love for each other have helped them grow together and as individuals. In turn, the Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy is now growing and thriving, never backing down.
Lloyd and Judith are now hand in hand in managing their business, which has also helped people from all around the world discover what it takes to take their health and beauty to a higher level. Judith is currently focused on marketing its products in Western Canada, preparing for the launch of its product in the fall of 2022. One thing is for sure– their love for aromatherapy and each other will never waver, much like the Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy’s success.
A celebration of true love, and the realization of a dream by two dreamers – only Spain would “I do.”
“Location, location, location,” goes the old saying and, for Joanna and Raphael, the youngest children of property magnate Mr. and Mrs. Exequiel Robles and businessman Mr. and Mrs. Romualdo Tolentino – only Spain would “I do.”
Kicking off the two-day event was a visit to Monasterio de Monserrat in the afternoon with a Despedida de Soltera at Cavas Freixenet in the evening. The Rumbredos band serenaded guests into an open-floor Flamenco night.
The next day, Joanna Robles flowed down the aisle in a Michael Leyva gown on September 15, 2022, meeting her longtime sweetheart, Raphael Tolentino, wearing a Joey Samson Tuxedo, at the altar of Mare de Deu de la Bonanova in the heart of Barcelona. The couple exchanged vows in front of God and some two hundred teary-eyed, close friends and family at a ceremony officiated by New York-based Father Rhey Garcia, who surprised the couple with a marriage certificate signed by Pope.
Cheers from local onlookers served as an impromptu sendoff for the entourage as the group whisked away to the reception at Castel De San Marcal. A live jazz band welcomed guests as they strolled across fresh-cut lawns, the crowd enticed by caterer Merçes’s Spanish delicacies, including truffle paella, foie biscuit, and Iberian ham sliced so thin one could see through them. Liveried staff served various cavas, as some opted for freshly rolled Cuban cigars while waiting for the reception to start.
Festivities formally began close to sunset at 7 o’clock. Under the shadow of the former Count of Barcelona’s 11th-century fortress home, singers Lexter and Audrey serenaded Joanna and Raphael and their guests as they feted to a multi-course meal chosen with the help of planners Priscila Llorens. Heartier than the tenderloin and sweeter than the baked apple crumble the speeches and toasts given by guests to the newlyweds were followed closely by stunning captures from the esteemed photographer, Pat Dy, and a breath-taking same-day-edit by renowned videographer, Jason Magbanua.
The groom cutting a towering, 7-foot-tall wedding cake with a medieval sword amidst a stream of fireworks served as a finale to the dinner and the beginning of the wild after-party. The castle’s stone inner sanctum thrummed to beats by DJs Marlo, and Janus Naval as an open bar of wines and spirits kept guests’ energy up the next morning.
Joanna and Raphael’s wedding, originally slated for 2020, was instead realized as a three-year event in the making — a merging of twin cultures, a celebration of true love, and the realization of a dream by two dreamers.
ManilART is set to take place on October 19-23 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Taguig. This year is groundbreaking for its featured exhibitions focusing on emerging artists, genres, and forms, including the phygital and New Media.
Art reflects the times, and innovation is par for the course when it comes to “Forging Futures.” The theme alludes to the creation of new language–visual and technical– through a process that breaks down the form of the old, leaving the substance to take on a new shape, as in metal through a fiery forge. Art is its content, as well as medium, is redefined, expanded, and renewed.
Now in its 14th year, ManilART is the longest-running visual arts fair in the Philippines, established in 2009 as an annual flagship project of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). ManilART pushes onward with this theme, set to take place on October 19-23 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura, Taguig.
There’s always something new to look forward to each year, and this year is groundbreaking for its featured exhibitions focusing on emerging artists, genres, and forms, including the phygital and New Media.
Featured artists: from Impas to Orlina
ManilART ‘22 continues to introduce emerging talents: new artists joining the fray alongside established pioneers. The year’s line-up of masters to newcomers includes the following:
The Annual Sculpture Review (ASR) will present the long-awaited debut of Anna Orlina, who carries on the family legacy of glassworking, infused with both the Orlina tradition and new techniques learned through a study on three continents.
Gallery Nine will feature the multimedia power couple Maan Chua and Kublai Millan who is behind Balai Kalipay, a museum gallery with advocacy for regional arts located in Malagos, Davao City as well as Mindanao Art. While Millan is an established visual artist, singer-songwriter Chua collaborates for the first time with her award-winning wearable art design.
Galerie du Soleil presents artistic visions from north and south with Danny Rayos del Sol and Jun Impas. Rayos del Sol, acclaimed for his ostrich egg sculptures, showcases intricate patterns from the Northern area of the Philippines carved on carabao skulls. Highlighting the Southern isles, Impas draws attention to day-to-day life in the indigenous community of the Manobo, who hold ancestral knowledge and identity that necessitates preservation.
Artes Orientes features Iloilo-based mixed media artist Rudy Yu, who is best known for his attention to detail in utilizing acrylic, pen and ink, gouache, and pencil. This year, he exhibits eight of his artworks centering on his visions, impressions, aspirations, and passion for art through his ubiquitous genre of city and landscapes.
For Museo de Pacis, their forthcoming exhibition focuses on connectivity—building bridges through art. Some of their headliners for this year include Vincent Gonzales and Raynante Concepcion Carandang. Gonzales is the proponent of the art style tareptepism, the dynamic art of merging influences to convey fluidity through visual arts. Carandang is a Batangueño hyperrealistic artist who focuses on social milieus while executing his technical approach.
At Pugad ni Art, Manny Cabrera focuses on the topic of emotional connection amid the pandemic; his works focus on the seemingly mundane, but the powerful experience of missed intimacy during this period of isolation. They also showcase Alfonso Dato’s signature style, drawing inspiration from tree bark to capture the drama of men and women, the remaining fiber of humanity.
At Historia Arts, we see the works of Eman Santos and Noel Bueza. Santos’s work is a nod to the fair’s theme, where he melds money symbols into works of art that depict women’s empowerment as an instrument to forge futures while attracting prosperity and abundance. Bueza focuses on his vision for the future with his Mother Nature series, going back to basics in a world too fast-paced for its good; he sees beauty in simpler ways of living, and his art represents the calm beauty of mother nature.
Dry Brush artists present works that focus on the relationship between nature and man-made creations; they bring to the fore a dreamlike atmosphere where technology is utilized for the best purposes; by incorporating nature with man-made creations, they envision its positive impacts on society.
Bringing back phygital with Binance
Binance, the largest cryptocurrency platform, has partnered with ManilART to promote knowledge of New Media, particularly digital art in the form of NFTs. Talks and presentations are slated to cater to different audiences on the New Media, particularly one for artists on October 21 on “The Impact of NFTs on Filipino Artists.”
They are likewise supporting the debuting platform: NFT Manila which shall present select digital collections of galleries and artists. In 2021, ManilART had a first look at phygital artworks with last year’s “phygital” exhibition of Augmented-Reality facsimiles of artworks beside their physical pieces through Gallery Nine. This included the work of rising hyperrealist painter Ed Coronel, whose work, “Freedom,” recently garnered double first-place awards at the American Art Awards 2022. An expanded platform shall be introduced that carries paintings, sculptures, and more media in NFT versions showcased in virtual galleries, with some Augmented Reality works capable of being interacted with.
Top artists showcasing NFTs this year include Romulo Galicano with “Geoengineering Against Faith” and Ramon Orlina’s “Orlina Mother and Child 2022 Edition”. Bell Sison’s “Astro” and “Porky Family” collections will be interactive AR exhibits.
Open invites to Mindanao art appreciation
Another educational content feature shall be a regional focus workshop with Mindawon artists Kublai Millan, Jeff Bangot, and Victor Dumaguing.
On October 20 at 2:00 PM, Jeff Bangot is slated to talk about “Sculpting the Souls of Creative Mindanao” through the Lunang Mentoring Program; Bangot is an artist and teacher by profession, and the program reflects his life’s calling to educate through artistic ways.
At 3:00 PM, Millan shall reveal the culmination of his passion project to a public audience for the first time.
Over two days, mixed media artist Victor Dumaguing will teach and demonstrate Lukis Sulam, a leaf-motif embroidery technique hailing from the Sulu archipelago. On October 20 at 4:00 PM, Dumaguing shall introduce this distinctive style of textile embroidery from the province, composed of arrays of natural elements to produce an eye-catching totality through the cloth. On October 21 at 10:30 am, appreciation for Lukis Sulam continues through a workshop where applied techniques will be taught.
Forging futures beyond the fairgrounds
Satellite exhibitions affirm the national character of the fair by highlighting different regional shows concelebrating Museums and Galleries Month.
These upcoming shows include Balai Kalipay in Davao, Ap ‘Laya Gallery in Batangas, Tarlac Art at Tarlac, Pahiyas Art Gallery in Quezon, Angono Angkla Gallery in Rizal, BHL X in Bohol, and Pagsibol, the fifth National Watercolor Convention held at the GSIS Museo ng Sining at Pasay City.
This year’s participating galleries are 371 Art Space, AC 388, Annual Sculpture Review, Art For Space, Artes Orientes, AT Art Gallery, Dry Brush, Espacio Manila, Galerie Artes, Galerie Du Soleil, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Raphael, Galleria Nicolas, G9 Online, Gallery Nine, Historia Arts, M Gallery MNL, Museo de Pacis, Pugad ni Art, Renaissance Gallery, The Artologist, Village Art Gallery, and Ysobel Art Gallery.
“I’m so happy and I’m so proud. EB has been here for 39 years and they’re still the number 1 beauty brand in the Philippines …” says Alex Gonzaga (AG) about being the newest face of Ever Bilena.
Ever Bilena (EB) introduced us to “AG in Everland” to celebrate the launch of its newest celebrity endorser, Alex Gonzaga, last September 19. The event space was beautifully decorated in blooming shades of pink. Guests were invited to take part in a variety of fun games and beauty challenges for a chance to win more EB freebies. Using the hashtag #AGforEverBilena, the event was hosted by Samantha Bernardo and held at Eton Centris Elements.
According to Ever Bilena’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Denice Sy-Muñez, this was their first ever big event since the lockdown happened almost two and a half years ago. Denice mentions her happiness in reconnecting with influencers, editors, and users who have played an active role in creating conversations for Ever Bilena – “It’s been a while since we met and caught up, and it’s so nice to see the local beauty community thriving towards normalcy!”
Truly, a major Ever Bilena event was surely missed by influencers and media alike, as key opinion leaders and personalities made time to come to Everland. Among the attendees were Youtubers Letisha Velasco, Johnrey, Michelle Dy, and Bing Castro; Beauty Tiktokers Lenie Aycardo, Hajie Alejandro, Leishki, Chachaboom, celebrities Mariel Pamintuan, Alyana Asistio and Anykka Asistio were also present.
For Ever Bilena, there’s no one better than AG to be the Filipina brand’s newest face. Denice describes her as “fun, versatile, and relatable — representative of the kind of personality and beauty that Ever Bilena stands for.”
Denice shares that Ever Bilena is for the hardworking, modern Filipinas. “Whether they are stay-at-home moms, career women, college students, or hard-working entrepreneurs, we are inspired by our users and by what motivates them.”
When asked what EB customers can expect from the brand, Denice states that EB aims “to continuously tell stories and release innovations that resonate with [EB customers]. We will continue to be affordable because we recognize money is hard earned and we want our users to get every bang for their buck!”
Alex reiterates the sentiment, proudly repeating, “Almost all Filipinas have tried Ever Bilena. Even those abroad, they look for Ever Bilena kasi ‘yun ‘yung kinalakihan nila. And then now, there’s a new line of products that cater to the new generation that looks for products with certain ingredients. It’s just such an honor to be part of this beauty mogul [brand] in the Philippines.”
In a Q&A Session, Samantha Bernardo and Alex Gonzaga exchanged stories about their favorite Ever Bilena moments and products. Alex mentions that part of her day-to-day makeup routine consists of EB’s All Day BB cream, the EB Plus shape and set brow liner, EB Pro highlighter in the shade Spotlight, and topping the routine off with her go-to lipstick shade – “Toast of New York.”
Alex says, “[This] EB lipstick kasi kahit ‘yun lang isuot ko parang complete na look ko.” She likes a “low maintenance” effort for her glammed-up looks. Meaning, she wants products that are economical and easy to use, but deliver pigment and quality! Alex adds that her days are usually packed with vlog shoots and TV guestings, so her makeup needs to be set in a way that can make her feel made up but still light and fresh.
Aside from Alex’s press launch, the brand also revealed its newest EB New Plus range at the event! The new line was created to meet the consumers’ clamor for the rewarding feeling of wearing makeup that is also good for the skin.
In line with Ever Bilena’s advocacy of making global trends accessible to Filipinos, EB Plus integrates skincare and makeup into one. Part of the EB Plus portfolio includes:
The EB Plus Wide Awake Caffeine Concealer comes in three shades and is infused with Kaolin for oil control, and Caffeine for de-puff eye circles. As an additional feature, this concealer utilizes a metal roller applicator to relax and cool under the eyes.
The EB Plus Fearless Serum Foundation comes in five shades and has a lightweight formula that delivers medium to full coverage. It is infused with sunscreen filters, Vitamin E, and CoQ10 for anti-aging and moisturizing benefits.
The EB Plus Two Way Serum Powder Foundation incorporates Vitamin C, Squalane, and Kaolin for antioxidant benefits while keeping oiliness at bay.
Finally, Keratin-powered eye products are the first in the country. The EB Plus Super Charge Liner is a jet-black liquid liner pen that can nourish lashes as it provides a powerful and precise line. The EB Plus Shape & Set Brow Serum Duo, on the other hand, has Vitamin E and Vitamin C on top of its Keratin-infused clear brow serum gel that can hold the brows up all day!
There’s so much to celebrate with Ever Bilena. From partnering with one of the most popular and sought-after endorsers of this generation, Alex Gonzaga to releasing their newest EB Plus line, which demonstrates the brand’s adaptability in understanding its customers and delivering innovations that resonate with them.
The Philippines, with all its 7,107 islands, is a fusion of unique flavors, ingenuity, and creativity. As a hot pot of culture, it’s not surprising that this is seen in the many products that Filipino entrepreneurs have to offer.
What started as a small hub against its neighboring Asian giants, the country has shifted into the “Franchise Hub of Asia,” with external trade and export sales seeing positive growth. And championing these efforts to make Filipino brands and products known to the rest of the world is Market Reach International (MRI), the trusted distribution partner in the world of global FMCG logistics and supply.
“The Philippines is a net importer—a lot of our products are imported. And due to current external factors such as supply chain disruptions, us being an archipelago, and also currency which is now close to PHP 60, importing anything has become very expensive,” says Jiten Lalwani, CEO of Market Reach International. With this challenge in sight, MRI has put the focus on boosting Filipino exports in the country and on the international stage. And this drive and excellence have earned the trust and business of some of the largest brands in the industry while bringing various local products to consumers in over 28 countries.
Starting with the goal to make Filipino products accessible to OFWs, MRI is now enabling and carrying the dreams of local entrepreneurs by being the ship with which they are carried globally. “We’ve been in the industry for 15 years. This may be short compared to other giants in the industry, and yet we’ve quickly risen to one of the top consolidators in the country. That’s because we’re not here for the business; we’re here because we’re passionate about sharing Filipino brands with the rest of the world,” also shares CEO Jiten Lalwani.
The Philippines is home to many innovative products and homegrown raw materials from big, small, and medium businesses. With that, Market Reach International sees this potential to grow the market and has been pivotal in this mission since 2008. The pioneer business exports the nation’s best of the best products worldwide while supporting many local entrepreneurs in the process.
Their support for the locals goes from being engaged in causes to staying true to the products of these entrepreneurs. “What the suppliers deliver to us, we export. We just provide translations and comply with the municipality’s regulations and conditions. And of course, we offer fair prices,” says Jazzie Dayao, Sales Development Manager of Market Reach International.
CMO Nas Arcayan also adds, “We apply an extra layer of meticulousness when we export. We study each of the markets that we enter and ensure that we find the best brands and products that will fit it the best. It’s a win-win-win situation: for us, our partner brands, and our partner buyers around the world.”
Just recently, MRI was part of the International Food Exhibition (IFEX), a biennial global trade show and the premier international sourcing hub where local F&B companies can promote their products globally and establish and strengthen links with international buyers, importers, and retailers. Their booth featured a variety of Pinoy food favorites from beloved brands in the country in the hopes of making the local F&B industry known and sharing the unique flavors of Filipino cuisine.
As Market Reach International continues to grow, so do the local brands, partners, and their communities—all this to show success is achieved across the board from all sides of the equation. From a simple goal to reach Filipinos abroad to now exporting to over 28 countries and counting, MRI is leading the charge in bringing the best of Filipino brands within arm’s reach, anywhere in the world.
CEO Jiten Lalwani shares a hope to expand MRI’s reach internationally. But his bigger goal is for the Philippines’ export industry to flourish, the global market to diversify, and most importantly, for Filipino products to be recognized and distributed worldwide. “Filipinos have such unique flavors and products that are unlike any other in the world, and therefore, deserve to be enjoyed by as many people as possible.”
SeedIn Technology is a mobile app, a web-based investment platform that matches Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with potential investors from around the world. As the only SEC-licensed P2B SME Crowdlending platform in the country, this easy-to-use app has taken the finance world by storm, making financing and investment accessible for everybody. The model has been widely successful and SeedIn Technology is now one of the biggest P2B (person to business) crowdfunding platforms in the region, having put over US $200 million into SMEs across Southeast Asia in 4 countries (Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore, and Cambodia).
SeedIn was brought to the Philippines by Edison Tsai, Anson Uy, and Dexter Tiu, successful entrepreneurs in the Information Technology, Finance, and Energy space. They were looking for the next big thing and saw the potential in SeedIn’s financially inclusive model, along with the benefits it would give to both SMEs and investors in the country. They tirelessly worked to bring the brand into the country, eventually launching operations in 2017, and forged strategic partnerships with banks like Unionbank, fintech organizations such as FintechAlliance.ph and Fintech Philippines, and other government institutions and payment gateways in the country.
Planting the Seed for SMEs
SeedIn Technology has democratized the world of finance through crowdfunding and by tapping into SMEs—a sector that is often overlooked by banks due to their heavy risk portfolios or low credit scores. The company’s crowdfunding model has found a decentralized solution to financing. While banks are financially centralized, SeedIn pulls together the resources of tens of thousands of investors who use their app. Tsai calls SeedIn “The People’s Bank.” As a result, many struggling businesses are now able to gain access to credit and continue to thrive and be part of the comeback economy.
The process of becoming a borrower on SeedIn’s website is easy. SMEs simply need to register as Ïssuer” and make a “Loan Request” once their profile has been approved. SeedIn then contacts the Issuer and performs the necessary due diligence by analyzing the company’s financials and business plans to come up with a Credit Score. Once the project is approved, it will go live and be displayed in the marketplace on the app, where it becomes available to SeedIn investors around the world. The investors then select the project and their desired investment amount. With SeedIn’s platform, the possibilities for SMEs and investors are endless.
SeedIn makes financing more inclusive by allowing anybody to be an investor. With a minimum per investment amount of only Php 1,000 and an average of 10% per annum returns, investments now become accessible to anyone 18 and above with a Philippine bank account or e-wallet. The process is easy: download the app on Google or Apple store, upload your ID and fill up required fields, and complete the eKYC process within 10-15 minutes. Now the fun begins, and you are introduced to the fascinating and prosperous world of finance. SeedIn provides investors with the profile of the SMEs they are investing in and pertinent loan information such as interest rate, tenure, and repayment method. tenure, interest rate.
Tsai believes that what they are doing will have a positive social and economic impact on the country. “It is really about connecting people and allowing them to invest in an easy, convenient way,” he says. “We are not lending [to the big conglomerates] because they do not need us. We are thinking about the other 99%. That is our mission—our social purpose.” The company encourages “social lending” and “ïmpact investment” by ways of providing local businesses with accessible decentralized capital to help them grow and prosper.
Serve the Deserving
Having operated in the Philippines for five years, SeedIn Technology has continued to serve Filipino SMEs, and retail and institutional investors. Today they have served hundreds of businesses and over 80,000 investors across 80 countries around the world. As one of the largest P2B SME crowdfunding platforms in Asia, SeedIn plans to further educate SMEs and investors on alternative financing and investment by expanding to other regions in the near future.
Radical Cars Philippines, in partnership with SEAOIL Philippines Inc., kick-started the 2022 SEAOIL Radical Challenge last August 27, 2022. It takes its spot in Philippine motorsport history as the first and only local race series featuring an all-Radical grid, making it the fastest race series in the country. The championship is powered by SEAOIL Extreme 97 Octane as its official fuel. Motul Philippines, a co-presenter of the race series, provides the whole grid with its 300V Performance Oil.
The driver line-up features many familiar faces such as young talent Iñigo Anton, seasoned racers Stefan Ramirez, Jason Choachuy, Gibson Yu, JV Colayco, rookie racer Brian Poe, and Mark Bumgarner; a seasoned racer in his youth, now making his much-awaited return to motorsport. These drivers represent the well-known and respected teams participating in the series: Motul PartsPro (Iñigo), Illa Racing PartsPro (Brian), EnSport (Stefan), OTR Motorsport (Mark), and TrackHos (Jason, Gibson, and JV).
The race weekend started early last August 27 with a driver briefing. Race Director Marlon Stokinger welcomed the drivers and team heads at the Motul paddock and briefed everyone on the rules and regulations of the championship, followed by a full day of 5 practice sessions for drivers and teams to prepare for Sunday’s races. At the lunch break, the organizers initiated a practice start session for drivers to get used to the rolling start procedure at the beginning of the race. Qualifying took place as the last session for the day. It was a race against the weather as a light rain began to dampen the track at the start. Despite the sudden change in conditions, Iñigo Anton put out a dominant performance to secure pole position, followed closely by Mark Bumgarner in P2 and Stefan Ramirez in P3.
Sunday’s races saw another dominant performance by Iñigo, the young driver winning all three races in his Motul SR1, securing the top spot in the driver standings. Not far behind were Stefan and Mark in a heated battle for P2 in the standings with Stefan getting the upper hand in Race 1 and 2. Mark remained consistent throughout all three races by securing three consecutive podium finishes in P3 with his SEAOIL livery SR1. Jason Choachuy surprised everyone during Race 3 by starting in P4 and finishing in P2 in the only SR3 on the grid, securing big points for his team. Brian Poe started at the back of the grid after not being able to participate in qualifying but was very much still in the fight after close battles with JV Colayco in Race 1 and Gibson Yu in Race 2.
There was a decent number of spectators in attendance during race day; a good sign for any motorsport event, especially for a championship’s maiden race weekend. Among the crowd supporting the race was SEAOIL Vice President for Corporate and Consumer Marketing Jayvee Dela Fuente and official dealer for Motul Philippines, Charlie Ong.
It was a fantastic first race weekend for the SEAOIL Radical Challenge and one for the history books. Two more weekends remain on the schedule from the 23rd to the 25th of September at the Batangas Racing Circuit.
Every crop season, farmers use more and more chemical inputs to keep up with the yield and high quality needed for harvest. This results in a vicious cycle of the need for chemical fertilizers that strip our soil of its essential nutrients. As a way to combat this anti-productive practice, the bright agripreneurs at ENVIRO have made it their mission to introduce BioFertilizers to Filipino farmers. This sustainable method has been proven to bring the soil back to its healthiest state of biodiversity and nutrition. Therefore, increasing yields by 30-40%.
Planting the Seeds for Success
To ensure the effectiveness of their BioFertilizers, ENVIRO has partnered with globally accredited specialists, government research centers, top universities, and the best scientists to bring forward an innovative product that doesn’t only benefit our environment, but also the nation’s food security. One of the company’s main missions is to achieve Balance Fertilization or the practice of bringing our soil back to its healthiest state. “Balance Fertilization enables farmers to produce a healthy increase in yield, as well as nutrient-rich crops, contributing to food for the Filipino nation that is free from destructive chemicals,” explains ENVIRO co-founder Prashant Dargani.
Research has shown that the use of BioFertilizers have increased farmer’s crop yields by 30-40% while cutting costs by at least 30-50% —making it a highly sustainable, cost-efficient method of farming. ENVIRO has also taken into consideration our local farmers’ well-being. “[We] started because we first heard about how farmers’ health was negatively affected by spraying hazardous chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the plants without wearing face masks, gloves, and [other] protective gear,” says Dargani. With ENVIRO’s BioFertilizers, farmers are risk-free, because the product significantly lowers environmental pollution and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by severely restricting the use of manufactured chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Finally, price points for their products have been specifically designed for farmers. “Sobrang laki po talaga ng tulong ng Enviro samin,” says Mr. Jun Alcantara, a Local Farmer Technician (LFT) from Nueva Ecija. “Kitang kita po talaga and tagumpay.”
Changing the Future Today
ENVIRO highly encourages soil rejuvenation, knowing that there would be no future without it. “We need to do it today,” Dargani explains. “We need to be able to rejuvenate the earth back to a constant state of rich nutrients and bio-availability. Without this, we will never achieve food security. As we take care of the earth, so does it take care of us.” To help achieve this brighter tomorrow, the company has closely worked with farmers by providing them with on-the-ground training on how to maximize the use of Bio-fertilizers. These training centers focus on teaching them how to get higher yields, how to protect their crops against destructive pests, and how to use the latest farming technologies and systems.
The agripreneurs behind ENVIRO has built the organization on the mission of changing how farming is done, rather than trying to introduce “trendy” organic farming trends. They have also partnered with government agencies that have lent them their trust and full confidence for the last seven years. Particularly, the Department of Agriculture and its agencies continue to work with ENVIRO to help spread the word about Balance Fertilization across different regions in the country.
Saving Our Soil
By introducing this sustainable method of farming, ENVIRO hopes that it will leave a big impact on our Agricultural Sector. Dargani notes that “saving our soil” is the first step in providing our people with better lives. Good, nutrient-rich soil affects everybody. It begins with our farmers and ends with the rest of us at home, who consume their produce. ENVIRO is aware of the current situation of poor farming practices that could easily be remedied through help and education. Truly, a revolutionary company, helping bring the Philippines towards a brighter future. Save the soil, and surely, you can save the people too.
As the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it cannot be ignored that people felt like they’ve lost a mother, a leader whom they can all look up to. Her reign was eventful as it was legendary– and one could only hope that the next leader would be as astounding and dedicated as she was.
One of the longest reigns in the history of the British Monarch has come to an end. Queen Elizabeth II, an icon and a ruler, died on September 8, 2022, at the Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Her leadership style and dedication to her role have become a constant reminder of the monarch’s stability and power, and in her death, her legacy still resonates.
Queen Elizabeth II had an eventful and record-breaking reign in a contemporary monarchy. She assumed the throne when she was 25, after her father’s death in 1952. Her reign, spanning 70 years, has witnessed quite a several historical and groundbreaking events, most of which changed the course of humanity. She has seen the downfall of the British Empire, the birth of the internet and the smartphone, and took part in welcoming new norms and trends throughout her life. With all these experiences combined, Queen Elizabeth II played the long game.
Her impeccable influence
Through the years, Queen Elizabeth II has become a beacon of stability– not only for her subjects but for the whole world. Despite the chaotic slew of events that coincided with her reign, she was one of the vital reasons as to why the monarchy survived and continues to hold power and influence to this day.
In leading the British empire, and later on the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II has consistently been an enigma– in a way that her decisions are calculated and precise, yet almost nobody truly knows what is going on inside her mind. Her reign has also been full of scandals and exposes, most of which tarnished the image of the Royal Family. However, despite everything that happened, her influence as the Queen remained and the monarchy regained its reputation every time.
Her staunch beliefs, though reminiscent of the old colonial past of Britain, also evolved as the world’s perspective changed. Radical shifts and new norms were welcomed as the Royal Family embraced the modern era. Queen Elizabeth II has a favorability rating of 75 percent, which played a huge role in how the monarchy continues to be relevant in the current times.
Her unique leadership style
Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t born into immense pressure– she was far in the line of succession back when her uncle, Edward, was the heir to the throne. When he abdicated in favor of her father, King George VI, she immediately became the heir to the throne. Her discipline and utmost dedication to her work were highlighted, and they helped in accomplishing her steadfast vision for the monarchy.
She worked incredibly hard at her job. Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t the type to stay stagnant as a leader, she would always have engagements, both local and foreign, to expand relations and oversee operations throughout the entire Commonwealth. In turn, all the countries under the Commonwealth look up to her as an unchanging leader, whom they follow and admire.
One may view Queen Elizabeth II’s leadership style as apolitical and neutral, which she is constantly known for (and sometimes praised for) at times. The people of the Commonwealth valued her neutrality and deemed it vital for their countries’ stability. Despite the current political climate, the Commonwealth remained powerful and significant.
As the world mourns Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it cannot be ignored that people felt like they’ve lost a mother, a leader whom they can all look up to. Her reign was eventful as it was legendary– and one could only hope that the next leader would be as astounding and dedicated as she was. As people look forward to the new reign, it cannot be denied that Queen Elizabeth II did an adequate job in shaping the present– and who knows, with her long-standing legacy, maybe even the future.
Apart from being completely luxurious in look and feel, the Queen of Hearts Silk Sleepwear Collection makes an ideal investment in beauty, health, and wellness.
Sleep is a vital, often neglected component of every person’s overall well-being. With this premise, a relevant business idea on wellness has been created.
“Lack of sleep is a major concern among people of all ages so we decided to put up a sleepwear business to help people get all the benefits of quality sleep,” shares Mitzie Go-Gil, CEO at Beauty Queens Collection Fashion House. Her company distributes Queen of Hearts Sleepwear Collection products.
The silk fabric material chosen for the sleepwear can provide utmost comfort, gentle on even sensitive skin, and breathable which will promote better sleep, according to Gil.
For its initial stage, the products will be available online, and eventually will be distributed in Manila areas. “Volume orders for areas outside the initial distribution area including overseas will be considered carefully on its viability,” adds Gil, the beauty queen turned enterprising woman.
The health benefits of Silk
Did you know that silk is one of the most luxurious, coveted fabrics in the world? But more than this, it offers several health benefits.
First, silk is the strongest of natural fibers. It contains natural protein and 18 essential amino acids. It also contains natural cellular albumen which speeds up the metabolism in skin cells.
Second, silk is hypoallergenic. It does not attract dust mites and is a natural fungal repellent.
Third, silk does not draw moisture away from your skin and hair but encourages a proper moisture balance. While its extremely smooth and soft texture proves to be beneficial for those with a sensitive skin condition.
Sleeping on Silk for overall wellbeing
Sleeping on silk provides proper health hydration, natural, cool, prevents sleep creases, no sweat, slows down the aging process, and most importantly, it improves the quality of your sleep.
The fabric itself helps with eczema and asthma, prevents allergies because of its natural anti-fungal element. It suits even the most sensitive skin and helps to keep your skin moisturized.
As it does not conduct static electricity, sleeping on silk helps reduce hair breakage. Thus, works wonder for hair health.
Interestingly, wearing silk can help fight the symptoms of menopause. Silk is temperature regulating, which makes it beneficial for menopausal women combating the battle against night sweats and hot flashes. Hot flashes are usually triggered by fluctuating estrogen levels and other hormonal changes in menopause.
Can you give one important piece of advice to women on choosing the right sleepwear?
“Silk sleepwear is recommended particularly for women,” Gil said. “Silk is the strongest of natural fibers. As it is a breathable fabric and a natural temperature regulator. Silk helps the body retain heat in cold weather while excess heat is expelled in warm weather, helping the body maintain a comfortable, natural temperature. Silk sleepwear is free from wrinkles, looks elegant, classic, sexy, and beautiful.”
No wonder, Gil is a testament to a satisfied silk sleepwear user. It is her secret to a youthful, glowing complexion, healthy and happy physical state.
Apart from being completely luxurious in look and feel, Queen of Hearts Silk Sleepwear makes an ideal investment in beauty, health, and wellness.
For more information, visit the Queen of Hearts Sleepwear Collection FB page https://www.facebook.com/QueensSleepwear.
“No act is too small to make your country better,” said Leviste during a valedictory speech to his fellow graduates, encouraging them to make a positive impact.
“Being Batangueño is the best thing ever,” began Ronin Leviste, the uber-passionate and ultra-proud yet humble recently elected 23-year-old Municipal Vice-Mayor of Lian, Batangas. “We have the most beautiful province in the entire country — beyond the instagrammable mountains and world-class beaches, it is our people [my fellow Batangueños] and their stories who can showcase all the best my province has to offer. We’re already so near [Manila], but we still have a lot more infrastructure coming in soon, surely putting us in a sweet spot for rapid development.”
Following in his father’s footsteps
Politics was never an alien concept to Ronin. His father is Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste, whose flourishing career began over two decades ago. As soon as he could walk, Ronin was already accompanying his father to constituent consultations, sessions, and the campaign trails. Seeing his father work closely with communities inspired the young man to follow in his footsteps.
As a student at Xavier, Ronin developed outreach programs growing up and played a role in the social action arm of the school. He recalls a great memory when he started a movement of the solar light building with his barkada in the school’s science lab and then installed them in underprivileged dim communities in Batangas and Mindanao.
While in college at De La Salle University, Leviste received two of the highest honors, the Br. Gabriel Connon Award and the Gawad Francisco Ortigas Jr. Most Outstanding Undergraduate Student Leader Award. In his final year at school, he served as Vice President for External Affairs of the University Student Government. To top it all off, he graduated Magna Cum Laude in Development Studies with the Best Undergraduate Thesis Award.
Creating a positive impact
During the university’s 192nd Commencement Exercise, Leviste gave a rousing valedictory speech to his fellow graduates, encouraging them to make a positive impact. “Everyone here has a different timeline, everyone here has a unique story, but the commonality that binds us is that we all have talents, opportunities, and skills worth sharing when put together, with almost no limit to what the world can expect from us. More importantly, we all have an equal role to play in the development of the Philippines that we call our home. So when our country needs us, we, as Lasallian leaders, must always respond with unconditional service to the nation because to build the nation is to love.” It was Leviste’s wake-up call to his peers: that no act is too small to make your country better.
Education as his advocacy
Ronin soon began building his political career, serving as Sangguniang Kabataan Kagawad in Makati and as the Youth Affairs Head of the office of the Vice Governor. He then ran as Municipal Vice-Mayor of Lian, Batangas, as an independent candidate.
While he is one of the youngest vice mayors in the country, Ronin never takes it for granted. Apart from what he learned from his father and other mentors, he humbly credits his success to his education — learning loads from school and the people around him. The Batangueño says that education is one of his main advocacies as Vice-Mayor. “Education can uplift people from poverty and give them an extra sense of fulfillment. I learned so much from it, but it also taught me that there is still so much more to learn, so much more to do, so much more to serve,” he muses.
“Everything starts with a vision,” he says. “And mine begins by building a Tomorrow Together. For me, this means we leave absolutely no one behind. I want the Philippines where everyone can wake up in the morning knowing they have food on their tables, that they have jobs sufficient to provide for their family, and that their kids go to school and now have the means to do so. All of this will help uplift families to a better future — giving everyone equal opportunities in life. It is a daunting task ahead, but our generation has shown that if anyone can lead this change — it’s us.”
The first Fine Arts NFT collection in the country, showcasing the work of Juvenal Sansó, was sold out at a special dinner by Artifract, an arts NFT platform developed by UBx and operated by Unit 256.
Fundacion Sanso, a non-profit organization that exhibits the works of the globally famous painter Juvenal Sanso, expressed its excitement about this collaboration to safeguard the integrity and security of all Fundacion Sanso paintings for future preservation.
The event also hosted a private auction. It has sold out, selling off Juvenal Sansó’s NFT collection listing Serendipitous Visions and Flower Vendor to various art collectors. The next auction will presumably be conducted in October 2022.
“We in the foundation believe that NFTs are the latest and one of the most promising art platforms of both today and the future. It is a medium that many of the young, aspiring, and technologically-minded individuals and collectors can easily identify with,” Fundacion Sanso said in a statement.
“We are happy and honored that Unit 256 chose as its very first project artworks by Presidential Medal of Merit Awardee Juvenal Sanso,” it added.
Artifract, a forerunner in fine arts NFT in Asia, aims to help art estates, museums, private collectors, and artists preserve fine arts by securing the copyright of each piece and ensuring the continued viability of these collections through the utilization of blockchain technology.
Unit 256, an art-tech venture that aspires to make Philippine Arts accessible and help institutions in art preservation, and the company that manages Artifract have announced their plan to launch Juvenal Sansó’s Fine Arts NFT collection in September 2022.
“We intended to do a private dinner to feel the art community’s response to the technology we are introducing with UBx. We did not expect such a warm reception, selling out tiles of the initial Sansó masterpieces,” Unit 256 stated.
“With such successful precedent, the Artifract team looks forward to launching publicly this September 2022. We are also excited to share that soon enough, we will be launching partnerships with more Philippine Masters.”
John Januszczak, president and CEO of UBx, the leading open finance platform in the Philippines, has likewise expressed appreciation for the growing partnership
“It is not just about digital and it’s not just about NFTs, what it is about is unlocking the value of these works of art so we can enable organizations like Fundacion Sanso, the galleries, and the museums to come to further the cause of fine art in the Philippines,” he said.
Fundacion Sanso, under the leadership of Chairman Joaquin M. Teotico, Managing Director Ricky Francisco, and the founders of Unit 256, Brian Poe Llamanzares, Marvin Agustin, Stephanie Oller, Edison Tsai, and Magellan Fetalino, inked the partnership agreement in July of 2022.
“This event of launching NFTs of several of Sanso’s seminal works can only give us great pride and joy. We offer our best wishes for a very successful launch, and may Unit 256 be blessed with even more successful projects in the coming years,” Fundacion Sanso stated.
PXL has established a network coverage of 150 cities in 75 countries across six continents. It is now one of the country’s top logistics superstars.
It is 4 in the morning and Beverly Anne Arcangel is already getting out of bed. These early hours are precious for the Managing Director of Prozone Xpress Logistics INC. (PXL) because it won’t be long before her phone starts ringing off the hook. Though the majority of PXL’s clients are from China and Intra-Asia, Europe and the United States are also at par so she needs to be awake when they are.
The 43-year-old begins her routine with a session/flow of Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ), a traditional Japanese practice that helps harmonize one’s energy by holding different parts of the body. Beverly puts herself in a state of peace and relaxation. After that, she makes her way towards the fairway, yoga, or Pilates studio, but manages time to reply to every e-mail in her inbox. By the time the sun is shining bright, she already managed to put on her #GirlBoss hat even before she arrives at the office.
“I wear different hats in the office, “ she says while explaining her daily routine. Being in the logistics industry means new and unexpected situations happen daily. As Managing Director (without a General Manager), it is up to Beverly to be on top of everything – making sure her team is running like a well-oiled machine. While Prozone Xpress Logistics Inc. is a relatively new company, Beverly and her team have quickly elevated it to become one of the country’s top logistics superstars. They handle diverse industries from the shipment of luxury furniture and lifestyle items to medical supplies, pharmaceuticals, appliances, construction materials, retail, trading, and essentials (IT, telecommunication, water, agriculture, etc). PXL has established a network coverage of 150 cities in 75 countries across six continents.
Prozone Xpress Logistics Inc. maneuvered during the pandemic by being quick and agile. She also credits her partner, her co-Managing Director at PXL along with her colleagues whose hard work, commitment, and passion for logistics made them the ideal power team. Taking pride in their unique customer service approach which makes them different from competitors, “I always say, I don’t just give a quotation to the customer, I ensure to give them a solutions-focused and client-first approach that require precision, timing, foresight, and flexibility. I listen to their requirements then I customize our services depending on their needs,“ she explains. “I always tell my team, that it is all about personalized service.”
While many companies were minimizing manpower during the pandemic, Beverly did the exact opposite. She made sure that PXL’s clients always had somebody to talk to directly about their concerns. Her way of doing business helped foster strong relationships with her clients, who ultimately trusted the company with all their logistical needs.
The business of logistics
The business of logistics is high stakes and nerve-racking. One small mistake could cost millions. “If you miss information like the correct chargeable weight or correct volume in a cubic meter of a shipment, then everything changes. And a mistake translates to a monetary loss in dollars, not in pesos. This is the reason why it is called LOGISTICS – because this work requires LOGIC.”
Remembering her journey was an emotional process for the successful businesswoman. Throughout the interview, she held back genuine tears. Beverly was somebody else’s employee for a good 19 years, and now she is calling the shots. Yet, her success has not gone to her head. She remains humble, knowing that her quiet strength can be harnessed into gold. “Last June 2022, one of the Philippines’ leading shipping lines called a meeting with me. Announcing that Prozone Xpress Logistics Inc. was noticed as one of the top 10 importers/producers for their line. I was so proud to be in a roster of the big logistics players in the country.” As we ended the interview, I realized that life can indeed begin at 40. All you need is a little strength, a lot of prayers, and a lot of logic.
Now in its 14th year, the National Art Fair continues its onward and upward momentum with the theme, “Forging Futures” this October 19-23 at the SMX Convention Center, SM Aura Taguig. Past years have focused on Visions for a Future Reimagined (2020) and Continuing Legacies (2021) – giving novel approaches a space in well-established traditions.
Arts and culture evolve with the times. Participating in the creation of our cultural landscape, the here and now contribute to chronicling Philippine art history-in-the-making. In 2021, we saw the first look at new technologies alongside traditional media: the art fair was made accessible for online patrons through 360-degree digital walkthroughs, and Augmented-Reality copies of artworks were presented alongside original physical pieces through a first-ever “phygital” showcase.
Going phygital. The debut of the phygital on ManilART’s stage bridges the gap between digital and traditional spaces. Digital artworks are minted as Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) which are valued as extensions or digital prints of the physical piece. Ownership of these NFTs is tied to the blockchain in the form of a crypto work that enables itself to be valued and traded in virtual art galleries and crypto markets.
Learn about blockchain with Binance. Binance, the largest cryptocurrency platform, is set to hold educational talks during the art fair — opening the floor, and expanding digital literacy not just to those with experience. Hearing insights straight from them will benefit both newbies and veterans alike. In particular, learning more about NFTs opens up a new realm of creation, trading, and supporting artistic works.
Read the room with Vrady’s Joy United. We can expect this year’s iteration of ManilART to have more interactive surprises and booths in store. This year spotlights Joy United, an art installation by German media artist duo Juliana and Andrey Vrady that will explore and reflect the moods of fairgoers in real-time. Machine sensors will “read” guests’ emotions, and run them through the artists’ software codes, and AI will generate an artwork based on the collective’s feelings—interpreted as vibrant lights and color.
ManilART maintains the future as its focus these next few years. Artists and audiences are discovering new techniques, and setting trends through advancements in the digital age. Progressively younger audiences have the means to see art in the online sphere, which has arguably democratized its consumption through online exhibit walk-throughs and social media. Art practitioners and enthusiasts of all ages are invited to forge onward towards the future of ManilART, and trailblaze new paths in Philippine art at large.
This year’s participating exhibitors are 371 Art Space, AC 388, Annual Sculpture Review, Art For Space, Artes Orientes, AT Art Gallery, Dry Brush, Espacio Manila, Galerie Artes, Galerie Du Soleil, Galerie Francesca, Galerie Raphael, Galleria Nicolas, G9 Online, Gallery Nine, Historia Arts, M Gallery MNL, Museo de Pacis, Philippine Art Nation, Pugad ni Art, Renaissance Gallery, The Artologist, Village Art Gallery, and Ysobel Art Gallery.
ManilART 2022 is set to run from October 19-23, 2022, at the SMX Convention Center, 3rd Level, SM Aura Premier, Taguig City. Call (0977) 807 3369 or visit www.manilartfair.com for details.
For her forthcoming second solo exhibit in October, the artist will showcase her “Belle Fleur” series calling for women’s empowerment.
There is truly no limit to what a woman can do. Artist Mylene Quito proves this with her second solo exhibit this coming October 2022 at Ayala Malls Manila Bay featuring her “Belle Fleur” series calling for women empowerment. She hopes to inspire women to follow their passion, continue to reinvent themselves, and bloom.
The black backdrop in the Belle Fleur collection symbolizes all the dark times and failures she experienced throughout her art journey. Quito recalls all the painful storms she went through and reminisces an episode where a critic said she will not make it. Claiming she wasn’t talented enough, and would never succeed without their help . . . all of which she now feels thankful for as she realized it only made her stronger.
Every painting in the collection are flowers that symbolize the diversity of women – soft, sweet, powerful; all silhouetted with golden linings – symbolic of rebirth and indestructibility. “No matter what a woman’s flaws and imperfections are, we are uniquely beautiful,” Quito shares.
The Lotus is one of her favorite pieces, a testimony of human resilience and unwavering spirit; also a flower often associated with rebirth and enlightenment. Latched in mud, it submerges in the river and blooms sparkling clean in the morning. Similar to life, we are filled with different problems and anxieties but we will always find a way to rise.
From her La Familia exhibit inspired by her childhood roots, Quito pushes for more greatness beyond as she conquers the Philippine art industry.
From one woman in bloom to another, she says, “Once you become a successful woman, remember to raise others. Start a domino [effect] through your kindness and always remember to stay grounded.”
Catch a 50% off on lunch and dinner buffet if you enroll in IHG One Rewards. Joining is free.
Now that the hospitality industry’s recovery is back in full swing amid the pandemic, more Filipinos are dining out both for personal and work-related gatherings. Recently, this media practitioner had a hearty and sumptuous lunch at Flavors Restaurant in the company of the media and bloggers’ group, Southern Gaze (SG); and the dynamic marketing team of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati. It was an afternoon of good food and fun times with friends as we partook in the wide selection of buffet choices.
An all-day dining restaurant
Holiday Inn and Suites Makati is a family-friendly, 5-star hotel in the vibrant Makati Central Business & Entertainment District. Flavors Restaurant is an all-day dining restaurant that blends Filipino specialties and international favorites. Its contemporary design and relaxed dining atmosphere make it the ideal venue for a leisurely lunch or a celebratory dinner. Flavors’ safe and secure location puts families at ease and allows kids to also eat for free.
Flavors is a vibrant restaurant that showcases exciting and contemporary cuisine both Local and from around the world. A buffet selection of the best Filipino, South East Asian, and Western fare is available showcasing a plethora of flavors that will excite your palette. An à la carte menu is also available for those looking to dine well without the expense of a buffet.
Catch a 50% off on lunch and dinner buffet if you enroll in IHG One Rewards. Joining is free. Save money, earn points and enjoy great benefits with IHG One Rewards. IHG One Rewards gives you more options and places to use your points. It’s why more people choose the benefits of our award-winning hotel loyalty program than any other worldwide.
This promotion of 50% off on the buffet is valid from August 8 to 31, 2022 only. Discount also applies to existing members. Savor the discount for up to (4) companions.
Flavors Restaurant’s lunch and dinner operation hours and rates are as follows:
Buffet Lunch Schedule: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm Daily
Regular Price: Php2,300 nett per person
Discounted Price: Php1, 150 nett per person
Buffet Dinner Schedule: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Daily
Regular Price: Php2,300 nett per person
Discounted Price: Php1,150 nett per person
Not yet an IHG One Rewards Member? Sign up for FREE https://eej.at/F5ns0k3F.
Flavors Restaurant is located on the lobby floor of Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, Palm Drive, Ayala Center, Makati City. Contact Flavors Restaurant at +63275068132 or Viber at +639175968897 for reservations.
“Besides the fact that I was pleasantly surprised with how jam-packed Okada was to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, what made it special was the communal experience – the guests had a clear understanding of what the brand was all about,” Managing Director of Porsche Design Manila, Washington and Adrenaline Group of Companies, Hans Yao, shared.
Okada Manila was brimming with energy, passion, and enthusiasm as Porsche Design celebrated heritage and the birth of modernity. Founded by Ferdinand Alexander (F.A.) Porsche back in 1972, always emphasized that “good design must be honest. If you analyze the function of the object, the form becomes obvious.” The company arms and treats each item they make with the same engineering they apply to Porsche cars. In short, the general experience of riding a Porsche car is replicated throughout all their products with the philosophy focused on form and function.
The 50th-anniversary campaign is called “It’s About Time,” inspired by Porsche Design’s first products launched in 1972. “The Porsche Design’s chronograph watches are inspired by Porsche cars’ dashboard. These watches are going to be re-launched this year to celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary,” Mr. Yao shared with excitement.
The Okada Manila Porsche Design 50Y exhibit displayed the following cars: a 1956 356 Speedster, a 2016 991 GT3RS, a 2020 911 Speedster, a 2013 Carrera S, a 718 Cayman GT4, and a 1963 993 C2 Coupe with a mural artwork rendered by Filipino visual artist/sculptor Ramon Orlina.
Hosted by television personality and Porsche Design ambassador Migs Bustos, he kick-started the program with an introduction to Porsche Design’s history. Mr. Roland Helier, Chief Design Officer of Porsche Lifestyle Group, sent a personalized message from Studio F.A. Porsche in Zell-Am-See, Austria, to talk about how the brand evolved throughout the five decades. The event also welcomed Mr. Yao, Managing Director of Porsche Design, and Director for Porsche Design in Asia-Pacific, Nina Razali, who flew in for this occasion.
The celebration marked the continuation of the brand’s legacy: passion, design, and icons — all of which the roster of young ambassadors embodied.
The introduction of Porsche Design’s young ambassadors began with Olympian Pole Vaulter, E.J. Obiena, who immersed the guests into Porsche Design’s history through a pre-recorded video inside the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. The other ambassadors include racing enthusiasts Brian Poe-Llamanzares, Second Skin Industries owner Archie Chiang, Import Hookup owner Keith Bryan Haw, and CSB Blazers Coach and CNN Philippines Sports Analyst Charles Tiu.
“The entire event didn’t simply celebrate the brand’s heritage but also communicated a communal experience of freshness. All our ambassadors are passionate about what they do. They embody what Porsche Design is all about – engineered passion,” Yao shared. High energy radiated all over Okada Manila, a success from the Porsche Design Manila team’s four months of hard work, collaboration, and ingenuity to make their 50th anniversary memorable.
“The brand will continue to endure and progress, given its rich heritage and continued focus on product design,” Yao assured.
Porsche Design Manila has four boutiques throughout the metro, located at Resorts World Newport Mall, Shangri-La Mall, Rockwell Power Plant, and Okada Manila.
For more information, visit their website at www.porsche-design.com.ph, follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @PorscheDesign.Manila or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 09175287317 for your queries.
Featured photo: The Gentlemen Ambassadors of Porsche Design (left to right): Archie Chiang, Keith Bryan Haw, Charles Tiu, Hans Yao (Porsche Design Manila Managing Director) Brian Poe-Lamanzares, and Migs Bustos.
The Lam siblings remember their childhood as a busy one. “During the holidays, our friends would leave town, and we’d be working. Truth be told, back then, there was resentment. Why did we have to work?” recalled Aimee. What the trio didn’t realize was that they were part of a family legacy. Their parents are Joey and Herminia Lam,the husband-wife power duo who founded Fighter Lock Philippines Corporation (FLPC) in 1986, one of the country’s leading distributors of hardware, construction, and electrical materials. While their peers were enjoying the simple joys of childhood, Alvin, Aimee, and Alrich were training to take on the keys of the family kingdom.
The journey wasn’t easy. Unlike other COOs (Children of Owner), their parents strongly believed that their children needed to start from the bottom. As early as grade school, the siblings were asked to man the stores, make deliveries, and learn the behind-the-scenes nature of their homegrown company. Alvin, the firstborn, was the first to find his footing within FLPC. “He was a bit of a wild child,” Aimee shared with a laugh. As a way to deal with his rowdiness, Alvin was sent to China to learn Mandarin. It wasn’t long before he was homesick. The eldest son begged his parents to let him come back to the Philippines, promising that he would finally shape up. He kept his word and soon began running the business’ daily operations.
Aimee had a similar journey. She went to Canada to study, as a way of escaping the dullness of a daily routine. Although she was looking to do something entirely different, she realized her heart belonged back at home. “They told us time and time again, that this was our bread and butter. They frequently told us their rags to riches story. I felt that it was such a waste to throw this opportunity away if we didn’t continue it.” She moved back home, ultimately taking her place as the company’s head of finance.
Their youngest sibling, Alrich, also felt a sense of resentment as a child because he was asked to work early on. Growing up around his older siblings (Aimee is 4 years older, while Alvin is 10) and seeing them contribute to the company’s success, he came on board after college, handling the FLPC’s marketing department. “I realized, all the experiences we had mattered because they helped us become who we are today,” Alrich says.
Another important lesson instilled into them by their parents is that they are all equal. While many traditional Chinese families believe that the eldest should be the most respected, the Lams reject that dogma. Because of this, they can challenge each other’s perspectives, which have been an instrument in the company’s continuous growth.
As a trio, Alvin, Aimee, and Alrich have been able to bring FLPC into the modern age. The three put their minds together to build a professional image, as well as streamline operations, that propelled the company from a small family business to a thriving corporation. Under their watch, FLPC has expanded from being more than a distributor, but also a creator of their own brands: LAMCO (plumbing needs), Aimee (locks and keys), and Kantt (LED lighting).
Although their success was born from resentment, the Lam siblings are certain that they are where they’re supposed to be. “We can do anything when we’re together,” Aimee shared. As they continue to construct their empire, the Lams have embraced their destiny with open minds and a smile.
Traveling broadens our horizons and gives us more opportunities to enjoy and learn about the places we visit.
On our fifth day in Taiwan, we had a jampacked itinerary and explored several interesting tourist attractions, such as (1) Yehliu Geopark Wanli District, New Taipei City, Taiwan; (2) Heping Island Park Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, Taiwan; (3) Zhengbin Fishing Port Nostalgia Pier Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, Taiwan; (4) Agenna Aboriginal Culture Restaurant Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, Taiwan; and (5) Jiufen, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan.
Yehliu Geopark is a park of natural wonders. Located in New Taipei City, Taiwan, it has full of sea water-eroded holes as well as numerous rocks that look so real in many shapes and forms!
Among other statues are named Fairy’s Shoe, Tofu Rock, Ice Cream Rock, Mushroom Rock, Candle Rock, and Ginger Rock. But the most famous one is the Queen’s Head. All these make this 1,700-meter-long cape a geology park with rich ecological resources and a prosperous fishing village.
At Heping Island Park, tourists can appreciate ocean views and world-class geo-scape. The Cliff at the island park is the vantage point where you can see and feel the sound of the waves. The sight brings total relaxation to the mind, body, and soul. You can take time exploring the scenic spot and feel its everyday charm. The island park is located right within the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area.
Zhengbin Fishing Port, also known as “Nostalgia Pier,” gives a more laidback feel. It is located in the south of Heping Island. The Port is built by the Japanese in 1934, and it was the biggest fishing port in Taiwan during the Japanese era. Although it gradually diminished as years went by, its down-to-earth appearance endures. The city is actively seeking to preserve it as a place for relaxation and nostalgia. There has been a boat named “Folk Art” at the Port, considered the first art museum on the sea. Sports activities such as dragon boat races are also quite popular in the area.
The group had a sumptuous lunch at Agenna Aboriginal Culture Restaurant located in Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, Taiwan. The dishes served to us were a fusion of local and international cuisines. Indeed, it was a hearty and satisfying meal!
The last destination for the day was Jiufen, a well-known tourist spot in Taiwan. It’s a narrow street where you can shop for a lot of things from food to souvenirs. If you’re tight on a budget, it’s still alright to come here because there are a lot of stores offering some free food for tasting.
Jiufen is located on a hillside that faces the ocean and is surrounded on three sides by mountains, with its people still maintaining their original simple lifestyle. With the changing seasons, the scenery also varies greatly, presenting different aspects of Jiufen. In the past, the place was the dreamland of gold diggers; now it has become a sanctuary for many artists and tourists.
Being able to see and appreciate the beauty and history of these scenic spots makes every trip a learning experience.
The Atayal culture was quite interesting. We were introduced to its unique qualities of aboriginal performances, recreational activities, local food and aboriginal cuisine, cultural skills such as bamboo dance, assassination ball experience, and clothing try-on.
(Note: Bringing back Day 4 of our unforgettable tour to Taiwan when the world was still COVID-19-free. )
On our fourth day in Taiwan, we traveled to the Atayal Resort in Guoxing Township, Nantou County; the high-speed rail in Taichung station; visited the national historic monument, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101 Observatory, and mall, and had a wonderful stay at Amba Taipei Songshan.
To fully embraced the Atayal experience, we stayed at Atayal Palace Spring Hotel with a Baroque architectural style. Located amidst the fresh greeneries and natural forest, we were secluded from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The resort features the culture of the Atayal tribe, a minority aboriginal tribe in Taiwan.
The Atayal culture was quite interesting. We were introduced to its unique qualities of the aboriginal performances, recreational activities, local food and aboriginal cuisine, aboriginal cultural skills such as bamboo dance, assassination ball experience, and aboriginal clothing try-on.
A unique attraction at the resort was a popular skywalk that hangs out of the mountain located 500 meters above sea level, offering a stunning view of the mountainous landscape. The shape of the skywalk was in concise design with a geometrical pattern and tempered glass construction at the bottom.
Standing on the glass platform, 500 meters high above the mountain foot, you can admire the beautiful mountain landscape and spectacular natural scenery that leave you with many wonderful memories.
From the resort, we took the high-speed rail to Taichung station to be able to reach Taipei City in 40 minutes. If by regular transportation, travel time would be two hours. Our next stop was at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall located in the heart of Taipei City.
It has become the landmark of the city and is most visited by foreign tourists. Its architecture is inspired by Tiantan in Beijing and is a prime example of the beauty of architecture.
Two stairs leading to the top, you will find the bronze statue of the historical great leader. It’s being manned by equally attentive guards. The stairs have 89 steps which represent the age of death of Chiang Kai-shek.
View from the top
For first-time visitors like me, it was a must to visit the Taipei 101 Observatory. There was a fast lift up to the top and the view from the top was impressive!
I couldn’t get over how fast the elevator ride was. It was located inside Taipei 101 mall, considered Taiwan’s premier international shopping destination – featuring luxury goods, fashion, and fine dining. Here, you can enjoy your shopping in comfort and total relaxation.
After a long day of the tour, we were billeted at the Amba Taipei Songshan, which was five minutes walk to Raohe Night Market. The hotel is admirable for its urban vibe, spacious contemporary rooms, dramatic views of Taipei 101 as you arrived at the chic lobby, and multi-purpose communal areas, best of all, it has one of the best lineups of buffet menus.
It is designed for the savvy urban traveler who appreciates creativity, connectivity, and conservation. Created by Ambassador Hotels, the amba brand was launched in 2012 to coincide with the group’s celebration of 50 years of luxury hospitality.
We had a nice time at Amba, especially with the gracious and very welcoming accommodation of the hotel’s chief alignment officer, Ms. Jeanie Mak (in a yellow-orange scarf). She joined us during dinner and introduced us to the many amenities of the hotel.
With all these things that happened in just one day, we shared the joys and experiences like never before.
Sun Moon Lake provides visitors with different charms in all seasons. But my favorite is in early spring around February, and the place is embraced by cherry blossoms in full bloom. Sun Moon Lake – a stunning landscape and a romantic paradise rolled into one.
Discovering new places of interest adds excitement to any traveler who visits the destination for the first time. On our third day in Taiwan, we went to the Jiji Township, still in Nantou County, where the Jiji and Checheng Railway Stations, the Toushe Basin, and Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area can be found.
Jiji and Checheng Railway Stations
Jiji is a lovely small town surrounded by beautiful mountains and streams. Even today, the town has retained its rustic style and precious ecological resources. Tourism has been actively developed here, revealing the town’s charm to visitors.
When you pay a visit to Jiji, make sure to take photos in front of Jiji Station. It is Taiwan’s most well-known Japanese-style terminal station and has been around for more than 80 years now. It was destroyed in the 1999 earthquake but later reconstructed and restored to its original look. Since then it became a must-visit tourism destination in Jiji.
Checheng is the final destination on the Jiji line and is often referred to as “The Last Train Station.” Full of beautiful and amazing scenery, the Jiji Line is like a gallery that provides both sightseeing and educational enlightenment.
The next stop was at the Toushe Basin, where an old “Bed and Breakfast” (worth 25 million in Taiwan dollars) was located. But, because of the storm, the land became soft and wasn’t cultivated well. The structures turned crooked and appeared to be like a “leaning tower of Pisa.”
Sun Moon Lake
The last location we toured for the day was Sun Moon Lake – the alpine lake with serene beauty and tranquility. It is located in the middle of Taiwan, with an elevation of 748 meters above sea level, the only natural big lake in Taiwan.
The southern part of Lalu Island is shaped like a new moon, and the northern part is shaped like a sun; for this reason, it was named Sun Moon Lake. Visitors are often captivated by the refreshingly beautiful and elegant landscapes in this location. It’s like a Manila Bay cruise if you compared it to Manila.
Here, you can also enjoy a fascinating ecological tour. Sun Moon Lake provides visitors with different charms in all seasons. But my favorite is in early spring around February, and the place is embraced by cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Visitors can also appreciate the view of the lake by cycling around. It’s a must to experience the biking trails during your stay to better understand the different sides of Sun Moon Lake – a stunning landscape and a romantic paradise rolled into one.
In this installment, I will take you to Taichung, Taiwan, where you can enjoy the tourist attractions such as Rainbow Military Village, Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House, Miyahara, Fengjia Night Market, and Red Dot Hotel.
Travel is a new experience that can transport you out of your everyday routine to create memories and discover new places of interest. For six days, we had the opportunity to explore the culture, beauty, historical landmarks, scenic tourist spots, and culinary offerings in Taiwan. Because this trip gave me a new way of looking at things and having new eyes – that no matter where you had been, whether the experience was good or bad – you take with you the memories and made you realize that life truly is a journey.
On our first day, the schedules were already jam-packed. We went to the Taichung side of Taiwan and visited the Rainbow Military Village. Rainbow Village is a military housing facility. This was painted by a military soldier and was supposed to be demolished but then students petitioned for it to be retained. They decorated it by putting various beautiful works of art until it became a tourist attraction. Around 3,000 supporters are maintaining this housing project.
Then, we proceeded to Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House for our sumptuous dinner. The tea house is known for its bubble tea, hotpots, meal sets, traditional noodles, and delicious side orders like dim sums, bean curds, dry noodles, etc.
The next stop was at Miyahara, a red-brick architecture built by Miyahara Takeo, a Japanese ophthalmology doctor in 1927. At present, Dawn Cake, a pastry company renowned for its pineapple cakes, acquired the building and preserved Miyahara’s original red-brick walls and archway. The interior decor was redesigned like Hogwarts in the movie Harry Potter. Visitors to Miyahara are not only recommended to appreciate the details of the historic architecture but also try Dawn Cake’s signature ice cream, bubble tea, and pastries wrapped in nostalgic packings. We loved this place!
One of the most famous night markets in Taichung is Fengjia Night Market. Here, you can buy a lot of things like food, apparel, cosmetics, and other surprising pieces of stuff. It’s famous for its “cheap and yet massive quantity” of foods, luring people from all over the world. Recommended delicacies here are: Chinese sausage wrapped in glutinous rice, brown sugar tapioca milk, Chow mien (fried noodles) stuffed bread, octopus balls (takoyaki), humongous stinky tofu, and huangjinzei (aromatic rice stuffed in cuttlefish).
We stayed at Red Dot Hotel for the night. The boutique hotel was attractive with its quirky fun and functional design. It has a big slide which you can use from the hotel’s second floor to the lobby – perfect to enjoy for the young and young-at-heart! Some of our group had tried the iconic hotel slide. I stayed in one of their spacious double rooms and quickly slumbered into dreamland. I woke up the next day energized and ready for the tour itinerary.
The studio is a ground-breaking project of one of the respected icons of Philippine visual arts, Raul Lebajo.
This year marks the 80th birthday of one of the respected icons of Philippine visual arts, master surrealist Raul Lebajo. What makes the celebration significant is that it coincides with the fulfillment of his ground-breaking project – a studio – which now houses his masterpieces, old and new, and can showcase them to a range of art lovers and collectors, even to up-and-coming artists.
Nestled inside the sprawling Lebajo ArtFarm and family resort in Sinaliw Malaki, Alfonso, Cavite, the studio is a two-floor edifice with wide spaces. The roof interior is made of bamboo sticks, which emits a cool atmosphere and looks exquisite aesthetically.
The first floor serves as the main studio. It displays various works of the Lebajo patriarch and his two sons Nikulas and Gio, who both pursued their father’s artistic inclination to arts. The second floor or the loft is where the working area of Raul can be found. It is here where Raul stays most of the time painting to his heart’s content while having a view over the verdant surroundings of the farm.
“Inspiration comes from a wellspring of imagination – what I see from my surroundings – from simple to the most extraordinary, things I can draw motivation from,” Raul shares. “I just keep on painting. No one forces me to paint. It’s like a stream of thoughts, which keeps flowing when creativity is at its peak.”
Raul believes that an artist is someone creative, passionate, and effective. He is someone who is not constrained by money. Ultimately, the reward will come when people see the value of your work, he quips.
“I’m grateful that I can leave behind a legacy that my children and grandchildren will carry on,” Raul muses.
Not too far from the main gallery is the basement, where the master’s bedroom is located, then the guest room, and kitchen area. The look and feel of the property all came from Raul’s ideas.
One of the best parts of having the studio in this location is to be closer to nature. The scenery is delightful and tranquil. The air is a lot cleaner and fresher, too. You feel relaxed. You can look forward to a picturesque sunrise and be fascinated with the chirping of the birds around you while doing your gardening activities.
Staying in this kind of healthy and comforting environment makes the artist more productive in creating masterpieces that resonate with his present views of the world at the time of the pandemic.
For the time being, the studio accepts visitors by appointment only. For inquiries, call +639296956656 and look for Gio Lebajo.
The atmosphere of quiet lushness from the mountain made our stay a whole new experience in getting closer to nature.
Traveling through this side of Taiwan on our second day, makes you appreciate the beauty of the countryside. In this installment, I will take you to Nantou County, where you can take a glimpse of magnificent views of the outdoors and cold weather at Monster Village and Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort.
Monster Village is one of the most popular attractions in Nantou County. You will like it here because of its captivating scenery and cold weather, which is comparable to our very own Tagaytay City. The place is situated 1,100 meters above sea level – the reason for its cool climate – and you can almost see the mountains and the clouds covering the mountain top. There are all kinds of strange monster statues and the villagers are dressed in Japanese style.
It’s not just a tourist attraction, but a one-stop shop for the guests. Whenever you get hungry, you can choose from one of the restaurants here which served best-selling Taiwan and Chinese dishes.
Interestingly, there’s a particular bread that caught our attention during our visit – the Stinging Nettle bread also known as “Biting Cat” in Chinese. The itchy part is the leaf and locals made it into bread but the inside is very savory and soft, it contains some cheese or some kind of meat as filling. But the highlight of the bread is the stinging nettle leaf on top of the bread.
Our group indulged in the set menu for lunch at Monster Village Theme restaurant. The food arrived in big servings. It was truly a mouthful of dishes served before our very eyes. We enjoyed the food, the company, and the ambiance.
You can also find some souvenir shops for your trip mementos. and a hotel within the village for long-staying guests.
We also visited Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort. The place has an annual average temperature of about 20 degrees Celcius and is 1600 meters above sea level. The climate is perfect like Baguio City. Here, you can enjoy a different side of Taiwan, far from the city.
You won’t feel perspired and get tired while walking; most of all, you get to enjoy being surrounded by nature. You will enjoy the atmosphere near the waterfalls, the environment surrounded by trees, and a Flower Center, which exhibited some 30 flower species, such as peony, color cabbage, hydrangea, tulip, and Taiwan cherry, fuchsia, etc.
Our accommodation at Sun-Link-Sea Hotel, an elegant building characterized by modern and neo-classical architecture, provided a total relaxation. The atmosphere of quiet lushness from the mountain made our stay a whole new experience in getting closer to nature.
Bangkok first-timers chart a memorable weekend experience.
Creating an authentic travel experience in Bangkok is a must. Well-known for its vibrant street life and cultural landmarks, it isn’t surprising why Thailand’s capital is a favorite destination for many foreign tourists.
Its attractions are endless: dazzling temples, thrilling tuk-tuk rides, boats to the floating market or just to cross the Chao Phraya River, shopping sprees at chic emporiums, and tasting culinary delights with their fresh and unforgettable flavors, savored at either fine dining restaurants or street-side stall. It is an amazing place with something for everyone.
If you are a first-timer here, exploring the city without a guide is part of the challenge.
How many charming and unforgettable locations will you find without losing your way? It’s fun to make your way around in a foreign country and return safely to the comfort of your hotel at the end of the day. That is truly an accomplishment.
This is what we discovered on a trip to the City of Angels, in partnership with the Erawan Group, ibis, and Mercure Thailand. True enough, a fun-filled getaway here is accessible at almost every street corner.
A must for any shopaholic is the Chatuchak weekend market. It has everything you can ever want from all over Thailand. And yes, you have to haggle to get a bargain.
Easily accessible by BTS Skytrain, it is best to designate a meeting place near the market’s entrance where you can all gather after exploring the market’s many alleys. For almost half a day, we discovered outstanding finds that we all wanted to bring home.
If you are going there, wear light and comfortable clothing and shoes. Protect yourself against the sun by wearing sunglasses and a hat, and use sunscreen liberally. Bring enough cash. Most vendors do not accept credit cards. Beware of pickpockets, and watch your belongings.
Any tour of Bangkok’s temples should start at Wat Pho. It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the city and is famous for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 meters long and is covered in gold leaf.
The Grand Palace is one of the most visited places and is probably the most stunning attraction in the city. It was built in 1782 and served as the home of Thai kings and the royal court for 150 years. It now welcomes millions of visitors each year coming from all parts of the world. Wat Phra Kaew, the temple inside the Grand Palace, is where you will find the Phra Kaew Morakot, or the Emerald Buddha, a sacred image carved from a single block of emerald.
Since our hotel is located by the river, the trip would be incomplete without experiencing the magnificent Chao Phraya River at least once. We spent a relaxing evening at the riverside after touring the city.
Comfort at the Best Price
Our home in Bangkok was the ibis Bangkok Riverside, one of the economy brands of AccorHotels, which promises modernity, comfort, and service at the best price.
Located by the banks of the Chao Phraya River, it offers outstanding value and beautiful river views. Situated close to the BTS Sky Train, which will whisk you into the heart of the city in minutes, it is also a short ferry ride from the riverfront lifestyle shopping and dining venue, Asiatique, and close to many other cultural highlights including the glittering Grand Palace.
ibis Bangkok Riverside has 266 cozy, contemporary rooms with double or twin beds, a desk, LCD TV with international channels, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, refrigerator, tea and coffee making facilities, personal safe, and hairdryer for a comfortable stay. The hotel also has a revolutionary bedding concept called Sweet Bed by ibis. It also has three spacious function rooms for up to 100 persons.
Taste, its all-day dining venue, reinvents tapas with new flavors and authentic local dishes. The Lobby Bar serves a wide selection of snacks and refreshments, while room service is available 24 hours a day. A highlight of the hotel is a fabulous riverfront swimming pool set in a beautiful garden and a petanque field for fun with the family.
Created in 1974, the ibis hotel chain is now the European leader in economy brands and the fourth largest chain in its category worldwide, with over 1,060 hotels and 135,000 rooms in 64 countries.
The Mercure Bangkok Siam, the seventh midscale Mercure property in Thailand, and ibis Bangkok Siam, the ninth economy ibis in the country, two hotels located in the central Siam area, provide guests with convenient access to all of the city’s top shopping, dining and entertainment venues.
Mercure Bangkok Siam has 189 rooms with a contemporary design, fully equipped facilities, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, three meeting rooms for up to 126 delegates, a swimming pool, a fitness center, and the Sky Bar. Privilege rooms come with a coffee machine, a variety of local teas, additional bathrobes and amenities, and an iPod dock. Guests also enjoy exclusive access to the Executive Club with its all-day refreshments, business center facilities, and an outdoor terrace.
Mercure’s signature restaurant, The Eight, is named after its location, and services guests from both hotels. This all-day dining outlet features an extensive menu of local and international cuisines with indoor and outdoor terrace dining.
On the other hand, ibis Bangkok Siam has 189 modern rooms equipped with LCD TV, a fridge, and complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access. All rooms also offer newly upgraded beds that are supremely comfortable. The hotel’s Quick Bite restaurant is open day and night, offering round-the-clock light meals. Guests also have access to the swimming pool and fitness center facilities at no extra charge.
AccorHotels, the world’s leading hotel operator, is present in 95 countries with more than 4,000 hotels and 240,000 employees. Its portfolio comprises internationally acclaimed luxury brands including Raffles, Sofitel Legend, SO Sofitel, Sofitel, Fairmont, onefinestay, MGallery by Sofitel, Pullman, and Swissôtel; the popular midscale and boutique brands of 25hours, Novotel, Mercure, Mama Shelter, and Adagio; the much-prized economy brands including JO&JOE, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget; and the regional brands Grand Mercure, The Sebel, and hotelF1.
With so many places to see and so many hotels to stay in, only one thing is certain: a return to Bangkok is needed to discover more of its many attractions.
(Re-posted from Experience Travel and Living magazine
Bring your kids when you plan a vacation to this awesome family destination. The hotel has child-friendly features they will surely enjoy to the extreme. Remember, kids, are the star guests here. Enjoy it, explore it, experience it. Don’t hold back.
Traveling with my family is a memorable adventure filled with laughter, fun, and new experiences that last a lifetime. It is true that traveling in the company of those we love is like “home in motion.”
As we planned our international trip to LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort just recently, we were excited to try the various offerings at the resort, and our bonding time as a family. At this point in our family life that my daughter is already grown-up, it’s much easier to travel as much as we can, and when time allows for us to go all together. From NAIA Terminal 2, we had a layover in Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1, then an almost two-hour drive by private van to reach our long weekend destination at LEGOLAND® Hotel Malaysia. The holidays we had been waiting for were almost here!
Picture this: The spectacular lobby features a LEGO® castle and a LEGO® pirate ship that transcends into the sky. You can see children all agog with their LEGO® bricks inspiring their imaginations to create their own LEGO® models. As first-time guests of this hotel, you would think that there was pandemonium because the welcome ambiance wasn’t your usual of a hotel lobby. However, after you have settled down you get to imbibe the uniqueness and charm of LEGOLAND® Hotel, which is sure to make your stay unforgettable.
Primarily, it caters to families with children, for the young and young-at-heart. Make sure to bring your kids when you plan a vacation to this awesome family destination. LEGOLAND® Hotel is located at the heart of LEGOLAND® Malaysia Resort.
Interestingly, as we toured the lobby area upon check-in, our eyes were caught with LEGO® mini-figures on display behind the check-in desk (it has around 12,528 mini-figures). The hotel is full of child-friendly features such as children’s play area with LEGO® bricks and Xbox 360 Kinect, interactive LEGO® features, swimming pool, themed lifts, low level viewing portholes, merchandise store, buffet restaurant with its organized LEGO® chaos, themed rooms, and of course, there are activities for children every day.
All 263 rooms are themed to give guests the choice of playing pirate, commanding a kingdom, embarking on an adventure, or living like a true ninja. All rooms include a king-sized bed for grown-ups plus a separate semi-private sleeping area for up to three children, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed, and entertainment unit. LEGO® features are found throughout the hotel as well as in the themed rooms, play areas, restaurants, and even the elevators.
As we went up to our assigned kingdom-themed room, we found ourselves entertained by a themed lift with dance music. It was a fun experience for my family. We were like dancing until we hit the assigned floor.
LEGO® Themed Hotel Bedrooms
Children are the star guests at LEGOLAND® Hotel. With a choice of themed rooms to suit every visitor, you can spur imagination and enter a world of daring pirates, brave knights, or powerful pharaohs. Guests can choose from these themed rooms:
Pirate: Step into your very own pirate cabin decked out with pirate bedding, curtains, wallpaper, and even Polly, a LEGO® parrot.
Adventure: Embark on the ultimate adventure and hunt for hidden treasure amongst tarantulas, scorpions, lizards, and other jungle animals.
Kingdom: Enter a kingdom fit for a Prince or Princess. Bunting, shields, and flags all meet the royal standards.
Ninjago: Enter the LEGO® Ninjago universe to master the elements, relax in your lavish room and sleep like a victorious
All in all, LEGOLAND® Hotel consists of 234 themed rooms and premium themed rooms, 7 pirate deluxe rooms, 8 kingdom suites, 13 premium Ninjago themed, 1 Ninjago kai suite. This year, the hotel has added more Ninjago rooms to ensure more people to be part of the Ninjago universe. When guests open their door, they step directly into a ninja cave and are greeted by famous Ninjago heroes. In the corner is an eagle keeping a watchful eye, and on the bunk beds are puzzles that can only be solved by true ninjas.
As for our family, we loved our kingdom-themed room! It was beautifully decorated and we felt the Royal welcome! We had quality and sound sleep, too!
Exciting Dining Options
Throughout the duration of our stay, we have enjoyed the breakfast offerings at Bricks Family Restaurant, an all-day dining serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a buffet-style concept restaurant and has a variety of cuisine catering to every taste bud of adults and children. The menu is just as exciting as families enjoy a meal together while sharing and relating their day’s adventure. It has a capacity of 465 guests. Open daily: 7:00am-10:30am & 6:30pm – 10:00pm.
Kai’s Sushi Bar is a brand new Japanese restaurant at the hotel. Hosted by the hero of LEGO NINJAGO himself, the restaurant offers a delightful variety of authentic Japanese food such as sashimi, tempura, donburi, noodles, and more. Also available are sake, shochu, and Japanese beer while children can have their pick from a selection of cool Japanese mocktails. all of which are meticulously prepared by Kai’s talented chefs. Open Daily: 12:00pm-3:00pm.
If you’re looking for a la carte style restaurant while at the hotel, head to Di Mattoni Restaurant, the perfect place to enjoy delicious pizza and pasta, soups, and desserts. After a long day, delight yourself with specially-created cocktails while the children have a blast with fruity beverages. It has a capacity of 50 guests. Open daily: 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm.
Meanwhile, Coffee@Bricks is an upscale deli specializing in cold sandwiches, grab-and-go style, or dine-in from freshly made salads to a choice of macaroons plus the chef creations of the day.
We also checked out the inviting swimming pool located on the 5th floor of the hotel. Space was perfect for family and children to enjoy their moments together amidst the view of towering structures of Iskandar Puteri, Johor.
Indeed, it was an unforgettable trip! The wanderlust got us!
Featured photo courtesy of Legoland
Special thanks to Ms. Stephanie Lee, marketing manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort and to Sing Ying, public relations executive of LEGOLAND, the management and staff for the warm accommodation:)
On his 10th death anniversary, I thought of sharing my #throwback exclusive interview with the late King of Comedy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon or “Dolphy” to many of his adoring fans. He was truly Daddy Dolphy with a big heart for his children off and on-screen.
He was one of my dream interviewees, and I was truly delighted that I was able to fulfill this conversation with him before he passed away at the age of 83 due to multiple organ failure. Here is an excerpt from the feature article which appeared in the old issue of Mirror Weekly Magazine:
He may have been less than ideal as a “husband,” given the long list of relationships in the open book that’s been Dolphy’s life. But as a father who sired all of 18 children by several women, the “King of Comedy” is tops, by his children’s own account.
His real-life children attest to his goodness and greatness of heart, which, they say, more than compensates for his unusual route to fatherhood several times over. And even on-screen, Dolphy has played father roles depicting a truly admirable dad, one quite deserving of the affection and admiration of his brood despite his unconventional ways.
As in the long-running TV sitcom John en Marsha where he played bumbling but devoted dad to young Maricel Soriano and other budding stars. “I must admit that my being a father has not been normal. The mere fact that you’re in showbiz, the more that it becomes atypical,” he intimates. But in his own way, however, he has tried to make up for the lack of normalcy, he says. “With all my children, I would say that I have been fair to them. Whenever I’m here, I make it up to them; I give all my time to them.”
A loving father
He delves into his life as a father with gusto, appearing to enjoy talking about his numerous children. Being a father has not been easy because it entails a lot of responsibility and discipline. “What’s important for now is to see my children bonding together, instead of quarreling with each other. You’ll be surprised that they have different characters when they came from only one person,” he jokes.
Dolphy admits he finds more pleasure in his children when they’re still in their infancy. “Pero kapag malalaki na, ang sarap pagsasakalin,” he smiles. Although he claims he allows no favoritism to cloud his love for his kids. But he treasures his girls. “Minsan napapansin ng iba na mas malapit ako sa mga babae, kasi nga iba ang karinyo nila,” he tells.
His children have only good words for the loving father. “He is very different from everyone because he’s the kind of person who has a big heart. He’s very loving and friendly. We always talk and we go out. We’re like brothers. Happy Father’s Day! I’ll always be here for you. I love you so much,” intimates Vandolph. “He always has time for us. He’s a nice, loving, and generous person,” said Nicole and Zia.
His priority has always been his family. “Pero siyempre, una ang trabaho ko bago sila. Kung naiintindihan nila iyon, sila ‘yon. As a father, you have to provide something for your family, and that’s my role.”
He adds: “Even when I was just starting in showbiz, I frequently went abroad. I was the first one to become a Japayuki (that was in 1951). Most of the time, I would stay there for six months and my family would miss me. Then I would go back and stay for a month, then, I would leave again. And when I was here, I would accept engagements, especially during Christmas Day and New Year’s Day because the pay was triple. So, I had to work doubly hard because I wasn’t moneyed at that time, and of course, my children were growing.”
It’s both a joy and a pain to have so many children. “Mahirap talaga dahil kailangan mo silang pagbigyan lahat,” he says. “They always come to me if they need something or they want my advice, maski hatinggabi na. But most of the time, we go out, especially on Sundays.”
Dolphy has no regrets for all the things he has done in his life, like having children out of many relationships. “Hindi ko naman ginustong magkaroon ng anak na marami,” intimates Dolphy, a quiet and reflective thinker who admits to praying twice a day, morning and night. “Kapag nahiwalay ka sa asawa mo ang tendency mag-aasawa ka uli. I just tell my children not to do what I have done. It’s righteous to have only one wife and you have an anniversary to look forward to. That’s what I don’t have.”
And how would he like to be remembered? “As a good person. I want them to mention my name with a smile. That’s what my mission in life is, to make people happy.”
Our Singapore trip will always be worth remembering. Foremost, we traveled and explored this bustling city-state in the heart of Southeast Asia as a family.
Amid the pandemic, Singapore now allows quarantine-free travel for all vaccinated visitors after omicron subsides. It’s just timely to reminisce about the moments and share them with you here.
It’s easy getting around the city because of its efficient transportation system. We preferred touring the city by cab. In some instances, we would encounter hospitable cab drivers who would talk lengthily about the tourist attractions we should check out. Since this was just a short stay, we planned what places to visit. The topmost in the itinerary was Merlion Park, one of Singapore’s popular landmarks. The Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish that is widely used as a mascot and national personification of Singapore. The Merlion symbolizes in its fish body the ancient city of Temasek, and its lion head, the legend of its discovery.
We were too excited to explore the Gardens by the Bay. At a height of 22 meters, this 128 meters long aerial walk is an experience not to be missed. As dusk falls, the captivating Marina Bay skyline emerges and the entire area comes alive nightly with the Garden Rhapsody — a free light and sound show.
We didn’t miss trying the Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice, which is probably Singapore’s most famous chicken rice stall located at Maxwell Food Centre. It has more tourists (including us) than locals queuing up for a plate of this local iconic dish. The late Anthony Bourdain said that the chicken rice was so fragrant and delicious that it could be eaten on its own.
We also toured the Chocolate Gallery, where you can find and purchase high-quality chocolates to bring home as pasalubong for your loved ones.
We also had a stopover in Little India, a vibrant cultural enclave of the Indian community in Singapore. The next location was Thian Hock Keng Temple, considered the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore. It’s replete with heritage, and a must-visit for tourists interested in oriental culture.
We stayed longer in Orchard Road, an upscale retail hub of the city. It is a popular tourist attraction with several clothing stores, restaurants, and coffeehouses. Then, we checked out Haji Lane, famous for its independent shophouses and quirky cafes. It is also the narrowest street in the city.
The following day, we spent our afternoon at Gillman Barracks, home to celebrated art galleries, restaurants, and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. We visited several galleries as part of our art appreciation journey. To cap the day, we enjoyed Singapore’s skyscrapers, and the well-lit surroundings even at night.
Changi, the world’s best airport remains our favorite to date. By its very nature a tourist attraction and a sight to behold. You can do a lot of activities while waiting for your flight – from shopping to dining, relaxation, and unwinding.
Indeed, travel is rich with learning opportunities and provides a broader perspective on life. Above all, it creates bonding experiences with your loved ones.
It’s time to explore Singapore again. Nowhere else in the world is quite like this amazing place!
For more information on travel requirements for short-term visitors to Singapore, visit https://www.visitsingapore.com/.
“Whatever I do in life, I always look at the consequences of my actions. Regardless of being a representative, a teacher, a lawyer, or anything, I always want to be a ripple of change,” shares Atty. Nograles.
“People are always telling me that I’m the girl with no rest,” said Atty. Margarita Ignacia “Migs” Nograles with a cheeky grin. Earlier that day, she took her House of Representatives Oath, officially making her a representative of the PBA Party-list in Congress on July 1. Between her oath-taking, Nograles was a busy bee. She began the morning with her usual fitness ritual (meditation and a daily run), before answering e-mails, attending meetings, managing associates at her law firm, and doing her duties as a public servant.
It doesn’t stop there. Nograles finished shooting a new episode of Paano ba Attorney?, a TV program where she gives free legal advice to anyone who needs it. On the weekends, she works as a law professor, preparing her students for The Bar through review classes. Atty. Migs is also continuing her Master’s Degree in law, after taking a few short courses at Harvard Kennedy School and passing her Arbitration Accreditation courses. Could she be bionic? Probably not—but she’s certainly a Superwoman.
The Lady Boss
As a #LadyBoss who wears many hats, it’s very impressive to learn that Atty. Migs is only 31 years old. “[I love my job] because I get to help people,” she says with an ardent smile.
Her Davao-based firm NICAD (Nograles, Ilagan, Cayco, Aban, and Dabi Law) is committed to helping the general public find solutions in a cost-efficient and a highly-sustainable way. She and her partners participate in a lot of Pro bono work and free legal advice. “The practice of law is really to use your knowledge to help your client’s concern. We just had our anniversary on the first. We’ve already been operating for a year, and we’re still surviving. Even with free legal advice, we’re managing to stay afloat.” The firm is already looking to expand with an office in Manila sometime this year.
The Pro bono cases the firm accepts vary on different issues that each partner is passionate about. Atty. Migs, in particular, has a strong stance against domestic abuse, emotional abuse, and all forms of bullying. Not just for women and children, but men and the LGBTQI community, as well. “While growing up, I was a victim of bullying,” she says. “When I got older, I realized that a lot of friends had also been victims of violence. It is something very dear to me, and something I want to protect now.” While she was in office, Nograles had to take a small step back. She had to take a leave from the firm but still makes an effort to oversee her associates daily.
Paano ba Attorney?
Although she can’t physically appear in courtrooms at the moment, Nograles continues to use her skills through different avenues. For instance, in her show Paano ba Attorney? offers free legal advice to their viewers. Originally conceived as a short Facebook Live show during the pandemic, it has grown in popularity. The fourth season (which is currently in production) will be broadcasted on local television.
Nograles shares that their team receives 300 to 400 videos/messages a day from people seeking out her expertise. “It keeps me on my toes,” she shares. “It keeps me updated with the newest laws, and makes me feel fulfilled being able to answer questions on the spot. Also, [it’s great] to be able to help people with [nothing in return] but a simple thank you.”
It runs in the blood
You can say that public service runs through Atty. Migs’ blood. Her father is late Speaker Prospero C. Nograles, and her brothers, Karlo and Jericho, both hold positions in government. Watching them do their work (particularly their role in giving free education to thousands of youths), inspired her to be in politics.
Just a few months shy of her 32nd birthday, she will be entering the House of Representatives as a newly minted congresswoman, under the PBA Partylist. Even without having officially begun, the passionate attorney is already working on bills she is eager to pass. “What I plan to submit as a bill is the Domestic Abuse Law Bill. I’m working on it already. Another one is the expansion of the Solo Parents Act. In the law, solo parents don’t have additional support for education, which they need,” she states with assured vigor.
Supporting youths and athletes
As a former athlete, Nograles also wants to ensure that homegrown talents are given proper funding. She is advocating for sports legislation, sports protection, and grass-root support for local athletes.
Through the Party List, she hopes that she can establish standard and retirement benefits for emerging sportspersons. Her family’s work through the Nograles Scholars Program (which supported youths and athletes) truly inspired the young woman to help emerging Filipino talents.
She remembers boxer Nesthly Petecio (an Olympic Silver medalist) as one of the athletes they helped through the program. “Just look at her now,” she says with a proud smile. “Athletes should focus on training and shouldn’t worry about [the resources to do it]. Small issues like this are what I want to push in terms of legislation.”
While Migs Nograles is just beginning her career as a congresswoman, she has already done so much to help those around her. Her desire to build a better Philippines reflects on her already flourishing career. It’s exciting to be in the audience and see the climb of this political superstar. “When I was a part of the Ateneo Student Leaders Assembly, they taught us to be a ripple of change,” she remembers. “Whatever I do in life, I always look at the consequences of my actions. Regardless of being a representative, a teacher, a lawyer, or anything, I always want to be a ripple of change.”
With such passion in her voice, it’s easy to believe her. However, to reach real “change,” one is afforded very little rest. Luckily for us, Nograles never does.
To mark the occasion and help visitors enjoy the benefits of playing together, LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort is launching a brand-new exclusive LEGO® experience: “Play Your Way.”
Johor Bahru – The LEGO Group is marking its 90th anniversary by celebrating the creativity of fans and the power of play as the new LEGO® Play Well Study shows play is fundamental to the wellbeing and happiness of the whole family. To mark the occasion and help visitors enjoy the benefits of playing together, LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort is launching a brand-new exclusive LEGO® experience: “Play Your Way”.
From 16 June to 10 August 2022, LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort visitors will be invited to discover their official Play Type and take on fun LEGO® build challenges to start their journey toward play mastery.
Guests will receive an exclusive, limited edition lanyard upon entry from our friendly staff and a limited edition pop badge for each Play Type build challenge they complete while exploring the park while stocks last. Visitors will be challenged to explore the different activities and find out which suits their play personality best:
Are you a Designer? Aware of problems, these builders are focused and get ideas from asking questions. Their LEGO® creations solve problems and playtime is thoughtful.
Are you a Maker? Aware of objects, these builders are energetic and get ideas from trial and error. Their LEGO® creations are detailed and playtime is experimental.
Are you an Explorer? Aware of the environment, these builders are curious and get ideas from new discoveries. Their LEGO® creations are bold and playtime is adventurous.
Are you a Storyteller? Aware of others, these builders are dramatic and ideas come from fantasy. Their LEGO® creations are used to entertain and playtime is theatrical.
Are you a Dreamer? Aware of possibilities, these builders are imaginative and ideas come from daydreaming. Their LEGO® creations are artistic and playtime is magical.
The ‘Play Your Way’ LEGO® build challenges encourage creativity for each play type, with prompts to spark different types of play. For example, Designers will be challenged to design a secret treehouse or the ultimate dragon. Makers are more experiential, so will be challenged to make a boat fly or a bus for the moon. The adventurous Explorers will love creating a magical lion, whilst Storytellers will have more theatrical build challenges, creating a castle in the sky or an underwater kingdom. For Dreamers, their creativity will be encouraged through magical build ideas from rainbows and flowers, to spaceships and treasure chests.
Within the park, Master Players (who have mastered all five play types) will roam the park in colorful costumes to surprise and delight guests with magic tricks and storytelling.
The new “Play Your Way” experience adds to the rides, shows, and attractions all geared to families with children ages 2-12 years old at LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort. The Play Your Way event will be included in Park admission along with everything that LEGOLAND® has to offer, and is hosted in the Rebuild the World area.
As part of the celebration, LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort partners with LEGO for a special Imagination Playground roadshow, where visitors can enjoy a FREE RM150 F&B voucher with the purchase of four Triple-Park Pass while stocks last. The ongoing roadshow at the ground floor of Centre Court, Midvalley Megamall Kuala Lumpur, will end on 12 June 2022, before moving to its next stop from 20 July to 31 July 2022 at Midvalley Southkey Johor.
“LEGOLAND® is excited to celebrate the 90 Years of Play with the LEGO® Group – we know that play has huge benefits for the whole family, so what better way to celebrate than through playing together? Our new event allows guests the chance to uncover their play type and rediscover the joy of creating together with LEGO® bricks,” said CS Lim, Divisional Director at LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort.
Play is an important part of everyday life and the LEGO® Play Well Study 2022 shows that play is fundamental to the well-being and happiness of the whole family. The LEGO Group polled more than 55,000 parents and children in over 30 countries and found that almost all parents think children strengthen their creativity (93%), communication (92%), problem-solving skills (92%), and confidence (91%) while they play. When children play, they develop skills that help them thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Referred to as ‘CHOSE,’ Chari and Rose have successfully launched some of the country’s most innovative and fastest-growing retail brands in the pandemic.
COVID-19 paved the way for a new normal. Streets were quiet, malls closed, with people afraid of leaving their homes prompting the boom in online shopping. The indoors provided solace and its interface are digital. This was the formula that kickstarted Rose and Chari’s ventures.
“The pandemic was the great equalizer. It gave new opportunities to those whose eyes are constantly seeking,” said the company’s leading Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rose Tolentino. While many slowed down, the duo went the opposite direction and launched not just one but multiple brands from personal and men’s care to food.
“2020 was the year. We felt the consumerist landscape was changing so to adapt was imperative for survival,” said Rose. “We were fueled to see the opportunity lying ahead so we did our best, and have been continuing to do so. We felt it would be an injustice to God not to do well. That was our motivation and push,” said Chari.
OMO! White, the company’s first successful brand scaled when it closed a partnership with the country’s biggest household cosmetic company, Ever Bilena Cosmetics Inc (EBCI). What once was a Korean-inspired product line is now manufactured in Korea. “The best of Korean technology with the Filipino skin in mind,” Creative Chief Officer (CCO) Chari Trinidad-Mendoza, says. OMO! White is now in nearly 2,000 doors nationwide in all leading beauty & department stores.
Building a team that runs 100% online, the duo found the system worked to the advantage of their millennial team. No longer bound by the regular ‘8-5’ office demands meant clockwork capacity for their members’ optimum hours. “You know creativity can spring at 3 A.M. I guess you can call it ‘structured flow,’ says Rose.
Oh Crop! Is an Adlai brand to serve the ballooning health-conscious consumer market. It is an alternative to the Filipino staple white rice, packed with nutrients, low in glycemic index (GI), and high in fiber. Partnering with celebrity restaurateur Marvin Agustin, the company has hectares of personally-owned and contracted land whilst pioneering the first Adlai-financing system with UBX and multiple LGUs to further encourage sustainable livelihood for their partner farmers. The brand is currently available at The Marketplace under the Robinsons Retail Group.
Halal-certified with a core philosophy of ‘beauty is kindness,’ Rosie Posie is a 4-step skincare kit made specifically for Filipino women in Visayas and Mindanao. it is a brand promoting gentle and natural ingredients that aims to take care of you, while you take care of the Earth. The brand is available in Rose Pharmacy in Cebu, Iloilo, and Bacolod.
Aside from their products in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category, the ladies own the media company Alike Media. Similar to OMO! White Alike was founded before the pandemic but its pivotal year was 2020. An originally digital media company, expanded into an omni-channel that now has both digital and print. They were ranked as part of the top 10 digital media companies in the country.
Best friends since they were 10 the two are now in their 30s. Two decades of friendship have evolved and formed them, but never separated. The pandemic taught them simplicity, grit, but above all – what truly is ‘essential.’
Get to know these Filipina entrepreneurs who are transforming lives with their awesome beauty products!
With the pandemic entering the world last 2020, a lot of lives were challenged. People had to live with the new normal, skipping some of the things that were usually so accessible in exchange for safety from the virus. Aside from that, livelihoods and businesses were also drastically affected because of the overall impact that the virus had on the lifestyles of people. One such industry is the beauty industry because now, people had limited access to its services and products, as well as a smaller budget.
In the case of these two local beauty brands, we see proof that despite the challenges the businesses might face, a brand can still make it through with hard work, the right intentions, and maybe, a little bit of luck.
Dear Face: Affordable and available for everyone
One such brand is Dear Face. Launched in November 2020, the brand started small with only two skincare sets, a facial wash, and a serum. During the height of the pandemic, its CEO and founder, Ma. Jonalyn Sison-Ramos identified two major problems that people were faced with: (1) lack of source of income due to the economic effects of the global lockdown and (2) lack of self-care due to isolation and quarantine. These are the main reasons whyDear Facewas born as well as the driving force of its mission and purpose. The company is dedicated to empowering people by providing a main source of income through its distributorship program. It also aims to give people a form of self-care with its wide range of effective supplements and skin care products that are affordable and available to everyone.
Since its inception, the brand has gained impressive momentum, with over 1500 local and international distributors in countries like the United States of America, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Brunei, United Kingdom, etc. Some of you may know their TikTok famous product — the Drunk Skin,which has sold more than 250,000 bottles to date. With the rate things are going for Dear Face, there’s no denying that this young brand’s current success is only the beginning!
Skinpotions’ magical touch
Another brand with a magical touch is Skinpotions. It was founded in 2013 by sisters Ma. Jonalyn Sison-Ramos, a registered nurse by profession, and Ma. Aileen Sison-Pacheco, a former international flight attendant. Interestingly, their interest started because Jonalyn struggled with teenage acne and her journey to finding products that worked on her skin. Apart from this, both share a common passion for helping people transform their lives and feel better about themselves through skincare and makeup.
Skinpotions started reaching its consumers through online selling platforms. It introduced cost-effective products in varieties of soap, lotion, face cream, and serum, then eventually expanded its selection, adding makeup and cosmetics to its product line. Only two years later, the brand grew to have more than 100 local distributors and also some from countries abroad such as the USA, Italy, Japan, UAE, and Australia. The company has also joined several shopping bazaars and collaboration stores to reach more consumers.
With the demand for products rapidly increasing around the country, especially in provinces, Skinpotions partnered with Francorp Philippines and opened its doors to franchising. The brand then became a duly member of the Philippine Franchise Association and was able to open several franchise stores, expanding its scope in Luzon and Visayas. Spreading its wings even further, its CEO, Ma. Jonalyn Sison-Ramos won the 2018 Nextgen in Franchising of the International Franchise Association in Phoenix, Arizona USA.
The following year, Skinpotions collaborated with The Walt Disney Co. Philippines to launch a selection of makeup products for Disney’s live-action remake of the movie, Aladdin. Like in the movie theme song – A Whole New World, this move was truly a shining, shimmering, and splendid one for the brand. Its block screening, attended by known influencers and vloggers in the country, was one of the many achievements this venture brought the company.
Skinpotions currently has over a hundred and seventy-eight thousand followers on Facebook, a reflection of its rising popularity as well as the lives it has changed through its products.
It’s inspiring to see these young Filipina entrepreneurs thrive while transforming the lives of their products’ users as well as their business partners. If you’re looking for a new beauty product to try, why not check these brands out?
Featured photo: Ma. Aileen Sison-Pacheco and Ma. Jonalyn Sison-Ramos
Summer is always the best time to experience and create moments in your favorite waterfall sanctuaries.
Traveling excites a greater sense of childlike wonder in us. This summer, make sure to go out and have fun with your friends and families. You don’t need to go far to enjoy and frolic under the summer heat, pristine and relaxing beaches, and invigorating waterfalls.
We have gathered our top three recommendations for nearby and easy-to-visit waterfall destinations.
Daranak Falls and Resort, Tanay Rizal
A natural resort and popular local tourist attraction in and out of the country, Daranak Falls is one of the flagship destinations of Tanay. You can swim, picnic and have a great time with your family.
It has enchanting waterfalls, ponds, and rivers cascading through elaborate tropical trees and plants. This 14-meter high falls is truly a refreshing location. Entrance Fee: P50.00 (Children below 3ft. are free of charge). Picnic Shed: P300. Picnic Table: P200. Operation Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8 AM to 5 PM.
Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna
Pagsanjan is known as The Tourist Capital of Laguna. It is where you can enjoy the well-known Pagsanjan Falls, and experience once in a lifetime thrilling and exciting boat ride, “Shooting the Rapids”. The town is continuously growing and attracting thousands of local and international tourists and businesses.
The Labasin Waterfalls Restaurant is one of the attractions of Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort in Tiaong, Quezon. While visiting the resort, you can enjoy its traditional Filipino buffet lunch — kamayan style — while soaking your feet in the low running water.
The falls is not natural falls, but an overspill from the Labasin Dam, the Philippines’ first hydroelectric plant. Just the same, the experience is real and unique. At Villa Escudero, it is where Filipino history and culture come to life.
The long wait is over and we are excited to share that Savoy Hotel Boracay is reopening this June 1, 2022. They can’t wait to welcome you back, so here are exciting treats to color your experience once again!
Reopening Room Treat!
The plan that perfect beach day to the Boracay you know and love, and avail of our hotel room vouchers for Php 3,150 per night good for two (2) people. Amazing surprises and complimentary treats await so start booking your stays and purchase these special reopening vouchers until May 31, 2022. These are valid until December 31, 2022. To book, visit our official website at https://booking.savoyhotelboracay.com.ph/4.31/ or avail of your vouchers at https://onlineshopping.savoyhotelboracay.com.ph/.
Reopening Food Trip!
As a special treat on our opening day, join us for an evening packed with live acoustic entertainment by the Chambery Pool Bar and sumptuous Filipino buffet selections at Savoy Café for Php 1,650 per person. Complimentary shuttle services to and from D’Mall, Station 2 is available for guests and walk-ins.
For those looking for adventure, we’ve got complimentary activities like kayaking and paddle-boarding. Plus, enjoy the sun and the sand with other options for leisure activities and watersports. Set off on a bike ride to the infamous Boracay Keyhole or sunrise cruise amidst a picturesque island view.
Finally, if you are looking to simply relax away from the crowded beach stations, then this is where you want to stay. Savoy Hotel Boracay is nestled in Boracay Newcoast, a tourist destination on its own where you can enjoy a peaceful, serene stay.
All these and more await you at Savoy Hotel Boracay… where you want to be, soon!
Savoy Hotel Boracay is located at the Newcoast Drive, Boracay Newcoast, Brgy. Yapak, Boracay Island, 5608, Malay, Aklan. To find out more about the hotel’s ongoing promotions and offerings, visit their website at www.savoyhotelboracay.com.ph or call them at +63 (36) 286 2800 or +63 (917) 821 0282. Like us on Facebook at Savoy Hotel Boracay and follow us on Instagram at @savoyboracay.
Managed by Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, the largest hospitality chain in the country having nearly 4,000 room keys across 11 home-grown brands. With a growing portfolio of hotels strategically located in key townships, it caters to the various needs of today’s savvy travelers by providing quality products, enriching experiences, and heartfelt service that is uniquely and proudly Filipino.
The resort provides the splendor and the “tranquility of an environment that truly feels away from it all.”
Whether you’re traveling for a family vacation or romantic getaway, for business or pleasure, Plantation Bay Resort & Spa is one of your best choices in the Philippines.
It’s a vast tropical plantation set in eleven hectares of secluded grounds. It’s a resort, a village, a playground, a respite from a stressful world.
Located in Marigondon, Mactan Island, and Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu, it has a waterfront hotel, a lagoon-style pool, and a posh spa. It offers one of the largest privately-owned waterways in the world, with the clean elegance of colonial-plantation architecture.
This writer had the opportunity to experience staying at Plantation Bay some years back. Until now, it’s still vivid in my mind the splendor and the “tranquillity of an environment that truly feels away from it all.”
There will always be some places that will create an impact on you and are worth visiting the second or even the third time.
Plantation Bay offers you more facilities, more space, and more separate lounging areas. There are various things to try when you are at the resort. You will never get bored.
You can go swimming, kayaking, archery, mountain climbing, play tennis or volleyball, have a relaxing spa at Mogambo Springs (my favorite part), listen to an acoustic band in one of the fave restos, and have your future predicted by a fortune-teller, or simply enjoy your day while at the hammock amidst the lagoon pool.
Outstanding Food Choices
Plantation Bay takes pride in its kitchens and can assure you of consistently delicious, beautifully-presented dishes at reasonable prices.
It has five outstanding restaurants, namely:
Kilimanjaro Kafé – offers international and Filipino cuisine, terrific soup, and vegan selections;
Fiji – offers seafood, Asian, and Filipino. It is often full so you need to come early;
Palermo – offers Spanish Tapas, Italian kinds of pasta, and the most complex, nuanced char-broiled steaks on earth;
Route 66 Diner – offers Retro American diner with all-day breakfast, burgers, hot dogs, and deli favorites;
Alien Abduction – offers a soda fountain in the late afternoon, family-friendly Night Club after dinner
During our stay, we dined in Fiji, the ambiance was so relaxing. When you’re in the mood for something different, try Kilimanjaro Kafe for the light international fare; or dine at Palermo, for another different ambiance that makes you enjoy Mediterranean-Continental dishes. We also tried the delicious burgers and hotdogs served at Route 66 Diner/Savannah Grill for our afternoon snacks.
Our trip to Cebu will not be complete without paying homage to the Cross of Magellan and Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino De Cebu. Not to mention, partaking in lunch at AA BBQ, reminded me of a happy conversation with travel friends because of its funny-sounding name.
When you’re inside the resort, you will not think of going out anymore – the charm of the place remains in you and make you want to stay a little longer.
The student that the Sintang Paaralan has guided has now become its leader – and he intends to do a great job at it. As the University President, Manuel has several plans that he wishes to implement to ensure that everybody is given the same chance as he was, decades ago.
The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) has been home to students from all walks of life, hence why it is dubbed the “Sintang Paaralan.” It was a haven for people who wished to continue learning despite obstacles and hindrances that may come their way. This is the exact environment that nurtures people into becoming something much bigger than themselves – something that Manuel Muhi has been on the receiving end of. Now that he’s back in the halls of the fabled university, the student that the Sintang Paaralan has guided has now become its leader– and he intends to do a great job at it.
Manuel Mengorio Muhi was just a seemingly ordinary student when he first entered PUP as a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering freshman. Life has been rather hard on him, as he did not come from a wealthy family. He was taught the painful and harsh realities of life early on.
“My learning journey in PUP required me to be humble to succeed, to make ends meet, to become more resourceful, and to appreciate the privilege of being a part of the university to further my education,” he shares.
Looking back, the time he spent as a student in PUP taught Manuel a life lesson in humility. “Kasi kapag PUPian ka, sanay ka sa hirap. Magtatrabaho sa gabi, mag-aaral sa araw. Minsan hindi sumasapat ang baon, pero dapat handa ka. Kaya matututo kang makibagay at magpasalamat sa mga taong makakasalamuha mo dahil sila ang tutulong sayo,” he elaborates.
Being a student at PUP has given him a chance to improve himself to unlock his highest potential, and Manuel was more than grateful for it when he received his diploma from the university in 1988.
The education that the university has provided him has given him the urge to reach for greater heights in the academe. “As a PUPian, hindi tayo tumitigil matuto dahil mataas ang pangarap natin.” Manuel says.
True to his word, he entered graduate school and earned a Master’s degree in Engineering, specializing in Transport and Road Engineering from the prestigious Technical University of Delft-International Institute for Infrastructural, Hydraulics and Environment Engineering – the Netherlands in 2000. He then chose to pursue a Doctoral degree in Technology at TUP Manila in 2008.
Armed with these huge achievements, he knew that he could look for greater opportunities elsewhere, but he chose to follow his true calling and that is to serve his beloved alma mater.
“The university helped me finish my education and gave me numerous opportunities to serve both inside and outside of the country,” he narrates. He knew that PUP could make it big – and he wanted to be a part of the movement that is going to make this vision a reality.
Back to Sintang Paaralan
Manuel felt that going back to PUP and serving the university is the best way to give back to the same home that has willingly accepted him – back when he was still a mere freshman student, lost in the university’s expanse. This time, he wandered through the classrooms as a professor, and later on, he became the Dean of the College of Engineering from 2006 to 2013.
“Magagaling ang ating mga estudyante. These are deserving youth and they need the university’s assistance,” he shares. As someone who benefited from the university before, he wishes to do the same for others by being someone that can give them the opportunities that he once had.
He also served as the Executive Vice President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vice President for Research, Extension, Planning, and Development from 2012 to 2016. After being appointed as the University President, Manuel knew that this position should not be taken lightly.
“Isa din sa mga inspirasyon ko ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan. Nakita ko kung gaano nila ka-gustong makapagtapos ng pag-aaral,” Manuel expounds. “[PUP] has the potential to meet a wide range of needs in the surrounding communities, and I recognized that potential. It gave me hope that I could be a part of an institution that could have a significant impact on the lives of many people.”
The life of a leader
Being the University President is a huge responsibility that comes with all sorts of challenges. For Manuel, the position required him to be on his toes at all times.
“We cannot let our position get into our heads. What matters is the kind of leadership you demonstrate,” he shares. Manuel wants to be the kind of leader who knows and sees everyone– including their struggles, hardships, and eventually their successes. “Kaya mula sa pinakaibaba, mga estudyante, janitors, security guards, empleyado, hanggang sa mga middle managers, directors and executive officials, pinupuntahan po natin sila, inaabot, kinakausap, pinakikinggan.”
With this kind of leadership, he has also drafted plans for the university’s improvement, geared towards technological advancement and infrastructure improvement. As an engineer himself, his plan was more focused on improving the technology and facilities. “Over time, we are seeing improvements, from our comfort rooms to our sports facilities, student centers, and newly constructed research and laboratory facilities, we are working tirelessly to achieve our goals,” he states.
He also plans to make PUP a smart campus, focusing on improvements in technology, and student services, mitigating compliance mistakes, automating workflows, reducing wait times, and conserving energy and resources, among other things. Just like any other institution, PUP must keep up with the times and the increasing demands for quality education.
However, the pandemic posed a significant challenge to his administration and hampered most of his plans for the university. As the University President, it was his job to ensure that everything is covered. “We were caught off guard and unprepared because we needed to come up with a solution right away to make things work,” he narrates. With his brand of leadership, he wanted to ensure that with whatever policy he implemented, no one will be left behind.
The pandemic’s awful hit
During these unpredictable times, the main concern of the university lies in three aspects: the studentry, the quality of the education they’ll receive, and the technological advancements needed to further their learning. With these in mind, the Flexible Technology Learning (FlexTel) is an alternative learning framework, which improved gradually through time.
FlexTel accommodates the needs of various learners, including their learning circumstances and their ability to access learning tools and gadgets. In this mode, the professors can also follow a curated teaching load that considers their flexibility as well. “Its implementation may have been hampered by birth pains, but it has opened the doors to learning for all PUPians across the country,” he adds.
With the mixed reactions from the studentry, Manuel recognizes that the FlexTel also needs improvement, and just like any other policy, it is open for criticisms and amendments. “PUP continues to work with various sectors to improve FlexTel implementation in the coming years so that it is more inclusive, accessible, and fully coherent,” he says, as he ensures that their concerns will be duly noted.
Moreover, he also launched the PUP Education on Wheels, a project that caters to the educational needs of the out-of-school youth in various places. This project aims to give more learning opportunities for everyone and to ensure that more people get access to education, regardless of their background. “Ito naman po ang matagal nang vision natin sa Sintang Paaralan, to make education accessible and of quality. The EOW is ongoing at napapakinabangan na ng maraming kabataan sa Smokey Mountain,” he proudly shares.
The Education on Wheels also seeks to expand nationwide, seeking out underprivileged youths – truly living up to PUP’s reputation of giving people, regardless of their stature, a chance at a quality education.
“The goal is straightforward: to bring education to those who cannot afford it, right at their doorstep. This would not have been possible without the generous contributions of our donors, all of whom shared the same vision of educating the next generation,” Manuel explains.
Currently, Education on Wheels has 65 students under the Bachelor of Science in Office Administration. Their courses are TESDA inclined, which guarantees them a job after two years of education.
PUP has come a long way as it is now regarded as the top choice for employers, according to JobStreet. It is now known as the number one producer of professionals in different fields.
The university continues to raise its proud colors as it always claims its spot as one of the country’s top-performing schools. Board top-notchers also hail from various courses such as engineering, accounting, law, nutrition and dieticians, psychometrician, and education, among others.
On criticisms and challenges
Since he sat in the highest position in the university, he has been faced with criticisms and various side comments from various sectors. Being in such a vulnerable post means that Manuel needs to have the right mindset to deal with them professionally.
“I was also once a student of PUP and alam ko po ang mga kailangang baguhin sa Sintang Paaralan, and this is their assurance that someone understands them at hindi natin hahayaan na mahihirapan ang ating mga estudyante,” he shares. He knows that no leadership is perfect, but for it to work, he has to listen to his constituents.
Manuel is aware that PUPians have valid concerns and that they only want what’s best for the entire student population-–a sentiment that Manuel shared back when he was still a student. This kind of connection, as he says, brings him closer to the calls of the studentry and makes him more adept at their needs and concerns.
“We always hear our students, sila ang priority. We always make sure that their frustrations are validated and heard. We understand them and make sure we address their concerns right away,” Manuel adds.
PUP is one of the most highly regarded universities in the country, but Manuel knows it has so much potential to be more, unlock more doors, and open up new opportunities for students and employees alike. The university has always been in the service of the Filipino people, which also educates them about the realities of life and how the world essentially works. While this resiliency is commonly romanticized, Manuel sees it as undeniably patriotic.
“Lagi’t lagi naming binabanggit, ‘Mula sa ‘yo para sa bayan.’ Ito po ang identity ng isang PUPian. Buong husay na maglilingkod at magsisilbi para sa bayan. Nandyan ang Sintang Paaralan na kaisa sa pagtataguyod ng maunlad na bansa,” he expounds. “PUPians know that in everything they do, it must be for the country’s sake and for the masses.”
For Manuel, this is what makes PUP different from the other universities. “PUP taught me to accept where I am and honor where I am. Accepting where you are and realizing how far you still have to go and learn is another aspect of humility,” he explains.
The university has taught him life lessons that he carries up to this day, making him more grounded and humbled tirelessly. As the University President, Manuel has several plans that he wishes to implement to ensure that everybody is given the same chance as he was, decades ago.
The current PUP administration is now focusing on reaching the elusive National Polytechnic University status, which will eventually raise the university’s status and open more doors for the students.
“In the coming years, we would like to continue utilizing these by building better infrastructure, as well as higher educational standards. Several plans have been developed for PUP, and these plans will serve to demonstrate that the university is truly concerned with the interests of its stakeholders, particularly our students,” Manuel elaborates.
PUP has been a safe place for Manuel as a student, and as he sits as the University President, he also seeks to make students and employees feel at home within its walls. The university has been through various ups and downs during his administration, but one thing is for sure – he ensures that PUP will stay true to its nature of being a beacon of hope, critical thinking, and quality education for everyone. There is so much to look forward to, and Manuel is determined to do a great job at helping these plans become a reality.
(Ruby’s Precious Moments 3rd anniversary Special Feature)
As we approach the end of March, women’s month may come to an end but the fight for women’s rights and women empowerment continues. These notable women have been successful and prominent in their respective fields, making a name for themselves in their chosen careers. Here are their thoughts on how women’s empowerment has changed their lives and how it revolutionized their careers.
Sustaining a culinary endeavor through strength and consistency
Evelyn Wise has been busy in the kitchen, not just by cooking sumptuous dishes but by also proving that women can also thrive in various careers. For her, women’s empowerment relies heavily on strength and consistency.
At the age of 69, Evelyn splendidly manages Tia Belle’s as its owner and chef, ensuring that women can also build, sustain, and innovate businesses in any industry. She relies on her inner strength to get things done and on her consistency to keep her business afloat. “Never go back, keep going despite the ups and downs,” she advises young women.
As she works in a hectic environment, Evelyn also views that women’s empowerment is also as vital as gender equality. “We must learn to work with both men and women,” she says.
Being a part of the culinary sector, Evelyn sees to it that her employees are judged based on their skills and merit and not by their sex or gender. Furthermore, her patience helps her greatly in managing her employees. “Be determined to motivate your people,” she says because noting their efforts will also contribute to the overall success of Tia Belle’s.
On creative freedom, empowering herself and other people
The Filipino local art community is a flourishing sector that seeks to cement its contributions to the innovation of homegrown art in our country. Bambina Aseron is an artist that has made a name for herself in the art scene, both as an artist and an art consultant.
For her, the local art scene accepted her despite her flaws, which helped her feel empowered and strong. “Art and the local Filipino art community always remind me to have the courage to accept myself for who I am even though I know I’m not perfect,” Bambina elaborates. It can be said that art also centers on self-expression, and Bambina has taken into account the creative freedom and power given to her through her art, and she tends to use it to empower other people.
Bambina also emphasizes that women empowerment is also about women’s agency or their ability and freedom to make their own choices for themselves. It can be hard to find one’s voice in this society that imposes judgment way too quickly and in a country where discrimination is rampant.
Bambina considers herself empowered through her art, for it gives her the keys to her voice. “Women empowerment to me is knowing that I always have the power to exercise my creativity and that I have the power of choice in all aspects of my life,” she expounds.
Even though Bambina dabbles in a lot of roles within the art community, she still considers herself an art person wholly. Her passion for art is what drives her to take up space in this society as a woman and as an artist.
While art empowers her to make such fine pieces and to flourish in this industry, she also views art as a medium wherein others can also find comfort and power as well. Being in control of one’s piece and creative power is such a wonderful thing, and for Bambina, she’s lucky enough to experience and witness it at the same time.
Women are meant to shatter glass ceilings and exceed expectations, and they need to be duly recognized for their worthy contributions to our society. However, as women’s month ends, our fight for women’s rights and women’s empowerment must not stop here, it must continue. Women deserve to be celebrated every day for who they are, what they do, and what they can be.
Summer is fast approaching and we can’t simply wait to dip our toes in the beach and lie down in the lush sand. It’s what summer is for– having the utmost fun while sightseeing and unwinding as well. These underrated spots are just the right destination for your next summer getaway!
Cabagnow Cave Pool in Bohol
While Bohol is largely known for its famous Chocolate hills, it is also home to beautiful caverns and caves. One of the most breathtaking cave pools in Anda, Bohol is the Cabagnow Cave Pool, locally known as “Kabagno,” which is a spot fit for swimming enthusiasts and thrill-seekers.
Cabagnow Cave Pool is home to crystal clear waters filtering from limestones that have been a cornerstone of the pond’s features for several years now. Due to the soft nature of the rock, aided by the consistent movement of water and other geologic processes, caves were formed in several parts of Bohol.
Located at Sitio Fatima, Bacong Anda, Bohol, the Cabagnow Cave Pool is 20-25 feet deep, and if you like cliff diving, it has an estimated height of 15-18 feet that’s satisfying for adrenaline seekers. However, if you’re on the safe side, the caretakers have also installed an iron ladder which tourists can use to go down slowly into the pool or to ease themselves into the feeling of the cold water. Ring buoys are also available, especially for amateur swimmers or those who want to ensure their safety.
Danjugan Island in Negros Occidental
Danjugan Island is located three kilometers off the coast of Brgy. Bulata, Cauayan, and Negros Occidental are surrounded by a marine sanctuary. This 43-hectare island, 1.5 kilometers long and a half kilometer wide, is rich in natural wonders that remained protected and treasured by the locals.
The Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization, conserved this particular beauty. Aside from being starstruck by the wonderful view and magnificent waters, the Danjugan Island also helps educate tourists about environmentalism and conservation of Philippine precious jewels such as this.
With its incredible features, Danjugan Island makes people feel soulfully present. It has five lagoons, a bamboo bridge, an amazing sunset view deck, all alongside several beaches. Several activities are perfect for individuals or big families, such as trekking, bird watching, kayaking, snorkeling, skin diving, and parasailing, among others. If you want to take a breather, you can also check out their nature walks and fabulous massage packages.
The “Pink Beach” or Sila Island in Northern Samar
Just by its name, the Pink Beach or the Sila Island is uniquely beautiful in itself. It is called pink beach due to its reddish sand, almost suiting the shade of pink. This underrated destination has been San Vicente’s best-kept secret, which has saved it from over-commercialization.
The pink sand comes from the natural color of the coral and shell fragments. Through the years, these tiny materials have mixed with the beach’s original white sand. When the sun is bright during midday, it also turns to a shade of saturated red. In this lush paradise, tourists can swim, snorkel, and even go scuba diving. Moreover, camping out is also a popular activity here, as long as the claygo rule is followed.
Casa Mendoza Garden Resort in Pansol, Laguna
For those looking for a resort with accommodation, all in one– Casa Mendoza has it all! Located in Pansol, Laguna, Casa Mendoza aims to give people the relaxation and the high-quality service they deserve.
Casa Mendoza unveils its main feature, the Hot Spring kiddie, and adult pools, which are perfect for families and big groups looking for a soothing bath to calm their nerves. It also has other amenities suitable for family outings. It has an entertainment area that contains a videoke and a television with cable; a sports area which has a dartboard, chess boards, and a badminton set. For kids, it has a garden play area that can keep them safe and excited.
Moreover, Casa Mendoza has a variety of air-conditioned rooms that are suitable for up to 16 persons, and even a conference hall for company events. When convenience and pleasure collide, Casa Mendoza is truly the place to be!
This summer, make sure that you’re refreshed and rested by booking your next getaway in these exhilarating summer destinations. Have a well-deserved fun vacation!
Now that graduation is drawing near, everything feels like a hazy blur. All the plans and requirements that need to be completed before the actual rites can be stressful at some point. With all these things in mind, planning a memorable graduation celebration can be a challenge. Don’t panic – we know just the right place!
Tia Belle’s is Tagaytay’s best-kept secret – a haven of great food partnered with a wonderful ambiance, all within a few hours’ drive away from Manila. It features a variety of Filipino cuisine that will surely make your mouth water and your heart swell with pride. True to its word, Tia Belle’s Tagaytay will surely give you a taste of home.
Evelyn Wise, the person behind Tia Belle’s, is deeply committed to paying homage to the diverse culinary history of the Philippines. As a Nueva Ecija native, she has been exposed early on to the dynamic nature of cooking. For Evelyn, cooking is both an art and a skill. “Every time I am in the kitchen, cooking and concocting sauces, I feel like dancing — dancing with my wok,” she playfully narrates. Her love for cooking is honed with her burning passion and dedication.
She had her share of travel as she also spent 20 years living in Europe, basking in the shores of international cuisine until Evelyn felt that there is no place like home – the very words that established Tia Belle’s to the culinary beacon it stands today. With each year, it grows and expands to being one of the best-rated restaurants in the South.
Each dish served in Tia Belle’s is intricately cooked to perfection, with its ingredients and methods stemming from genuine Filipino cuisine. Among her best sellers are the flavor-rich Pancit Malabon and cheesy Pichi-pichi. Travelers from all over the country also come for Tia Belle’s lomi assortments, the ever-so-fantastic Bulalo lomi, and Mucho lomi.
Of course, Tia Belle’s also pays attention to homegrown recipes. This sumptuous lineup includes the classic nilagang baka Tagalog (Bulalo), lumpiang bukid and the crunchy lumpiang Laguna, and of course, the piping hot crispy pata that makes everyone’s mouth water. These dishes are perfect for families looking for a traditional home-cooked meal while celebrating a lifetime achievement.
Tia Belle’s has always valued Filipino values more than anything, which is why its hospitality is like no other. “We want to be of service to our fellow countrymen while keeping and incorporating the important values and traditions of what being Filipino is all about,” Evelyn proudly shares. She wants Tia Belle’s to feel like a home wherein everybody can dine and share stories, all while keeping the Filipino culture and spirit alive.
As you enter Tia Belle’s, a warm welcome from the staff, and even Tia Belle herself will envelop customers with pride and happiness. Of course, they love taking part in their customers’ milestones too – which is why Tia Belle’s is the go-to restaurant for family occasions and celebrations.
Aside from its variety of scrumptious dishes, dining at Tia Belle’s feels like traveling back in time as they play Kundimans while the customers enjoy their meals. Their interior design has so much to say as well – the native Filipino trimmings and antique setup give off the ancestral home vibe.
Tia Belle’s also offers dine-in, take-out, and delivery options. They also accept advance orders and pick-ups. Health protocols are also strictly observed on the premises. To complete Tia Belle’s dining experience, customers can also visit the gift shop, Tia’s Aromatherapy Essential Oil and Cleopatra from Canada. They sell souvenirs and pasalubong to bring home to your loved ones.
For your graduation celebration, Tia Belle’s got you – it will surely reward your hardships with a glorious Filipino feast!
Tia Belle’s can be found at Putingkahoy, Silang Cavite, along Tagaytay – Sta. Rosa Rd. To learn more, you may contact them through these phone numbers: (049) 576 4155; 0939 3868 648; 0927 7133 558; 0929 1852 084; and 09554985998.
Since countries have opened their borders and entertained visitors, people have been traveling and living their lives in the realm of adventure and wanderlust. Traveling can indeed heal and eventually lead us to places we didn’t know existed. But now that restrictions are relatively relaxed, where do we go? You might want to consider adding these places to your bucket list!
Dubai, Arab Emirates
Dubai is known worldwide for its exhilarating tourist spots. It stands proud of its Burg Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, reaching up to 2,716 feet tall. Dubai also takes great importance in its diverse culture, which is evident in its Dubai Museum.
It is famously located at the Al-Fahidi Fort, which was built way back in 1787 to defend the Dubai Creek, which is also the home to gold, textile, and spice souks (marketplace). If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you may want to check out the hot air balloon over the desert dunes, or the IMG Worlds of Adventure speed rides. Dubai will take your breath away– both literally and figuratively!
London, United Kingdom
Who wouldn’t want to explore the streets where Harry Potter came to life, and the roads where Sherlock Holmes walked on? London is definitely on the bucket list of pure-blooded literary fangirls.
Aside from its regal royalty, London is famous for its London Eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel that offers a majestic view of the city–and it shines extra brightly at night. If you’re craving for the nightlife, Soho is the place to be, welcoming you with its bars and classy restaurants. Of course, the trip won’t be complete for film enthusiasts without visiting the British Film Institute. It shows different films every day, from recent blockbusters to cult classics. London will surely feed your pop culture knowledge!
Looking for a sunny, beach party vibe for your next trip? The ever-so-tropical Cancun is just the right place for you! Check out the fancy hotels located at their very own Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone), which also offers the wild nightlife and parties by the beach down at the Kulkukan Boulevard.
For the real Cancun food experience, drive down to the Avenida Tulum, which features their all-time favorite– authentic Mexican tacos! Diving and swimming is also something that Cancun offers through its numerous spots in the Ruta De Cenotes (Cenote Route), which are natural pools formed within limestone caves. It’s true– Cancun wakes the fun within you!
Famous for the serenity and soul it brings to its tourists, Bali continues enticing people to rest in its lush spots. Also known as the ‘Island of the Gods,’ Bali provides people the rest they need with its seas and beaches.
It is also a haven for surfers, which the waves of Kuta Beach readily welcome. Bali is also famous for its intricate temples, such as the Ulun Danu Temple, which is dedicated to the goddess of the lakes. You may also seek enlightenment and relaxation in Yoga Barn’s famous retreats, each a more freeing session than the other. Or maybe you feel like flying– jetpacking in Tanjung Benoa must be on your list. Whether it’s for fun or relaxation, Bali has it all for you!
The birthplace of the Olympian Gods, Crete offers a tapestry of culture, lore, and adventure. One of the most historical places in Europe, the Heraklion Archeological Museum should be your first stop to acquaint yourself with the rich culture of Crete.
Explore history through the cobblestone streets of Rethymno Old Town, the best-preserved town on the island. You might also want to visit Lake Voulismeni, famous for being seemingly bottomless– reaching down as far as 64 meters. If you’re a mythology buff, the caves of Mt. Ida might just interest you, the birthplace of Zeus himself! Crete dabbles between the past and the future, so let it be your present destination!
Traveling can be such a hassle, but the majestic destination often makes up for all the trouble. Hurry now and book your next trip–have fun and safe skies, traveler!
By Princess Friel Lontoc
Featured photo: Bali, Indonesia courtesy of Hotels.com
My eight-year-old tablet has shown some malfunctions lately, perhaps due to many years of frequent use. I would surmise that it will just conk out in the coming days.
It came as a relief when I was introduced to this newly released Nokia T20. It brings awesome holiday cheer! I checked it out and study the features.
The package includes Nokia T20, cable, charger, and quick start guide. The manual is very easy to follow, and in no time, I was able to switch the tablet on and display an ocean view screen. It has easy access to the Google apps you use most as well.
Here are some salient features of the Nokia T20:
The Nokia T20 tablet brings the classic quality people expect from a Nokia phone to the big screen. With our various online work and moments of relaxation, the crystal clear 2K resolution screen lets you see work presentations and movie marathons in stunning detail.
Immersed in sound
Hear and be heard clearly with its enhanced stereo speakers and dual microphones with AI noise reduction, and OZO playback.
Power through your day with an 8200mAh battery and fast charging.
This means you can take part in up to seven hours of conference calls, enjoy your favorite show, or work and play throughout the day with its long-lasting battery.
Secure for longer
Like all Nokia devices, the T20 has three years of monthly security updates and two years of OS upgrades allowing the device to run smoother for a longer time. It is reliable and future-proof.
Better for kids
Google Kids Space is designed to nurture your kid’s curiosity and creativity, inspiring them to explore their interests through recommended apps, books, and videos. Google Kids Space is designed for kids and works with your child’s Google Account that parents can help manage with Family Link parental controls4.
Whether you’re playing games or multitasking across apps, the Nokia T20 has an octa-core chipset, ensuring a fast and reliable user experience.
Sharing here the key specifications of the Nokia T20 for your guide:
Operating system: Android 11TM | Two years of OS upgrades
Dimensions: Size: 247.6 x 157.5 x 7.8mm | Weight: 470g, Wifi only 465g
Security: Face unlock | Three years of monthly security updates
Other: Google Kids Space | Google Entertainment Space
Designed, built, and tested with the same passion as all Nokia phones, Nokia T20 brings that trusted quality so you have one less thing to worry about when you purchase the unit as a holiday present to your loved ones.
1 Nokia T20 offers 10 hours of video streaming time, 15 hours of web surfing time, or 7 hours of video calling time based on our real-life usage test. More info at https://www.nokia.com/tablets/nokia-T20. Actual results may vary due to changes in connectivity, environmental conditions, or other variables.
2 From global product launch.
3Nokia T20 supports 15W fast charging.
4Google Kids Space requires a Google Account for your child. Parental controls require the Family Link app on a supported Android, Chromebook, or iOS device. Books and video content are not available in all regions. Video content is subject to the availability of the YouTube Kids app. Books content requires the Play Books app. Availability of apps, books, and video content may change without notice. Google Assistant is not available in Google Kids Space.
5All specifications, features, and other product information provided are subject to change without notice.
6Battery has limited recharge cycles and battery capacity reduces over time. Eventually, the battery may need to be replaced.
7Pre-installed system software and apps use a significant part of memory space. HMD Global Oy is the exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand for phones & tablets.
Nokia is a registered trademark of Nokia Corporation. Android, Google, and other related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. Variations on offering may apply. Check local availability.
After the massive success of the inaugural Clark Aurora Music Festival last June 2022 which gathered more than 150,000 attendees, the Philippines’ largest music festival is bringing back its magic this year.
Looking to escape the summer heat while still enjoying a wonderful festival? EP!C Events is once again ready to bring you the BIGGEST names in the OPM scene, giving you nothing but awesome live music, breathtaking views, and sheer excitement.
The Clark Aurora Music Festival this coming April 15 and 16 2023 promises to be even more spectacular than ever. This year’s lineup consists of a combination of various genres, from rising stars to the most sought-after artists of today – Ben&Ben, December Avenue, Arthur Nery, Adie, MRLD, and Lola Amour.
Moreover, Ely Buendia, Parokya ni Edgar, Kamikazee, Sponge Cola, Silent Sanctuary, and Mayonnaise are also expected to join the fun and bring superb and high-caliber music festival experience like no other.
Another thing worth looking for in this upcoming festival is the bigger and brighter batches of hot air balloons which will be displayed and light up Clark’s skyline, providing the perfect backdrop for a memorable weekend of music.
It’s going to be a huge weekend of music and a hot air balloon display, peeps! So, mark your calendars and get your tickets for the Aurora Music Festival! This is one event you won’t want to miss! See you there!
Clark Aurora Music Festival is presented by EP!C EVENTS and EGGSTOP in cooperation with ClarkGlobal City, Clark Development Corporation, and The Medical City Clark.
Visit their website for tickets http://ticket.clarkaurorafest.com/www.smtickets.com and all SM Tickets outlets and via Shopee https://shopee.ph/aurorafestival. For inquiries, call 09812390349.
Global apparel retailer UNIQLO announces the launch of the Uniqlo U 2023 Spring/Summer collection starting February 17. Designed by Artistic Director Christophe Lemaire and his UNIQLO R&D team in Paris, the new collection themed A Sense of Ease offers a modern, timeless modular wardrobe centered on clothes that make life easier.
Layering pieces in soft, matte cotton and refreshing AIRism cotton meet airy utilitarian outerwear to create a complete range of versatile basics with often unexpected, always thoughtfully considered proportions. A playful yet elegant color palette combines understated neutrals and rich blues and beiges with bright pops of green, orange, yellow, purple, and pink
Womenswear offers versatility; refined, seamless activewear is interchangeable between exercise and everyday life. Tailoring is soft and easy. A sheer shirt with patch pockets in matte-finish cotton is a fresh staple. The new jeans are slightly curved with a fitted leg to create a fresh silhouette.
A complete range of versatile basics for a modern yet timeless look. Seersucker striped shirts and cotton shorts are cut wide for an easy summer silhouette. An oversized utility jacket is a new proportion for outerwear. The crew neck 3/4 sleeve T-shirt has been further perfected with a boxy fit. Parachute pants are utilitarian and effortless with adjustable drawstrings at the hem.
BLOCKTECH hats and jet caps, and a new bucket bag in two sizes marry form and function, while the beloved drawstring shoulder bag returns for another season.
The lineup includes 27 items for women, 23 items for men, and 7 items for accessories.
Uniqlo U is a collection of “Future LifeWear Essentials.” The world-class designers and patternmakers in the Paris design team reimagine everyday clothing using innovative materials and new, contemporary silhouettes. Each season is designed with the highest precision and in pursuit of a simplified, modern wardrobe.
UNIQLO R&D Centers are places for experimentation, trying new ideas, innovating, and creating. The Paris R&D Center complements other UNIQLO R&D Centers in Tokyo, Shanghai, New York, and Los Angeles.
Christophe Lemaire has been designing his namesake collection since 1991. He has also served as Artistic Director of Lacoste and Artistic Director of women’s ready-to-wear at Hermès. In 2015, he partnered with UNIQLO, resulting in the UNIQLO AND LEMAIRE collaboration collections for Fall/Winter 2015 and Spring/Summer 2016. Christophe Lemaire was appointed Artistic Director of the UNIQLO Paris R&D Center in 2016, where he and his handpicked team of designers create the Uniqlo U collection.
If your life were turned into a movie, would you be playing the role of the main character, or are you just another forgettable supporting character? This 2023, make sure you’re the main character in your life story – discovering new faces and places, experiencing new joys, and making the decisions that matter. To do that, you have to look and feel your best. Thankfully, you can have some trusted allies such as Head and Shoulders to make you feel in control.
Having that main character energy doesn’t always come easily. You have to be on top of things, and be in control of what lies ahead. That, of course, doesn’t come easily if you’re not feeling confident because of small, everyday reasons and distractions that leave you with the feeling of not being in control. Traffic, new deadlines, the itchies – these can easily throw you off.
The good news is you can still radiate main character energy despite all these. Face 2023 by resolving to be in control of your day with #NoITCHuations. Here’s how:
Have a positive mindset. You can only radiate main character energy if you stay positive and see the good in every situation. That means realizing that there are things that are totally in your control, and things that are not. What can’t you control? Traffic, weather, people’s feelings. What can you control? Your time, your plans, and your responses to everyday challenges. Try to see the best in every situation, and think about how your presence or action can make even dreary situations turn better.
Remember your aspirations. When there are too many things happening at the same time, you might forget what you are striving for – whether it’s achieving major dreams or little but important wants such as going on vacation, a new outfit, or changing hairstyles. Even when you’re swamped by your schedule and everyday pressures, remember your little goals. Have a list of what these are and make time and plans to make these plans happen.
Turn to trusted solutions and allies for your quick fixes. Face it, you can’t do everything on your own. There will also be hitches and distractions in the day for which you’ll need reliable partners. Take itchies – they can put you in #itchuations that can just make you lose your focus and confidence. Take control by using H&S, the world’s #1 anti-dandruff shampoo brand that can keep you 100% dandruff-free and itch-free for 24 hours.
H&S Cool Menthol gives you superior scalp care with every wash, cleaning deeply with a menthol fresh feeling while keeping your hair beautifully moisturized – helping you channel main character energy. It is dermatologically tested, pH balanced and boosted with antioxidants for gentle care of hair and scalp. With H&S, you don’t have to be distracted by dandruff and an itchy scalp.
Stock up on Head & Shoulders via the Shopee and Lazada sales for more #NoITCHuations main character moments.
With hopes for prosperity to continuously hop in this 2023, Bayview Park Hotel Manila welcomes the Year of the Rabbit with a celebration rooted in tradition.
The festivity to mark the Lunar New Year started with a lion and dragon dance meant to usher in abundance. With performances and games to stir nothing but positivity, the gathering was filled with glee and good energy.
Bayview Park Hotel never fails to showcase its brand of hospitality. While being serenaded, guests were treated to a delectable feast of Chinese dishes specially curated for the event.
Considered to be among the practical preferred accommodation options in the district, Bayview Park Hotel constantly comes up with offers to make everyone fully enjoy their stay on the property.
Just as January is about to close, the hotel is already preparing for the season of love with its Valentine’s promo promising its clients a Magical Night to Remember.
As a gift to its guests, couples can indulge in a romantic dinner for two for as low as PhP 3,299.00/net which already includes a bottle of wine, a photo booth souvenir, and a long-stemmed rose for the ladies.
For a more memorable celebration, they can book the Superior Room or Deluxe Room at Php 6,750.00 and Php 7,750.00 respectively. The package covers overnight accommodation with complimentary late checkout until 2 pm, a romantic candlelight dinner for two, a stemmed rose for the ladies, and Valentine’s souvenir.
Opening its doors to a year brimming with health, wealth, luck, and love, Bayview Park Hotel also wishes to welcome you with its signature service that’s only meant to please you.
Learn more about our offerings for the coming months. For more information, visit bayviewparkhotel.com or check their social media pages @bayviewparkhotel. You may also reach them at (02) 8526 1-555 or book directly via bookings@bayviewparkhotel.
Globe cautions its customers against offers of SIM registration assistance online and advises them not to share personal information to protect their data security and privacy.
There are already reports of individuals taking advantage of the SIM registration requirement. They offer their services through social media either for free or for a fee and request the name, photo, valid ID, birthday, cell phone number, and address of SIM users.
Such personal information, when in the wrong hands, may be used to impersonate their owners, access their accounts, steal money, or other fraudulent activities. Identity thieves may also open accounts in another person’s name, run up debt, or commit crimes, causing damaged reputation and financial problems.
“We want to remind our customers to be wary of these types of offers and to only use official channels for their SIM registration,” said Irish Salandanan-Almeida, Globe’s Chief Privacy Officer. “Your personal information is valuable and we urge you to protect it from those who may want to use it for unlawful purposes.”
Instead of seeking help from unknown individuals, customers may register their SIMs for free at https://new.globe.com.ph/simreg. Registration through the GlobeOne app will also start later this month. They may also ask a trusted family member or friend for assistance.
Starting February 2023, Globe will also have assisted registration sites for senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, and users of basic or feature phones. The list of Globe’s registration sites will be announced through our official websites in the coming weeks.
There are 87.9 million SIMs under the Globe network. So far, over 7 million have registered.
To make the SIM registration process accessible and convenient for all, the company is offering multiple channels for registration. Customers are encouraged to take advantage of these options and complete their SIM registration before the deadline on April 26, 2023, to avoid the risk of SIM deactivation.
The SIM Registration Act, which requires mobile phone users in the Philippines to register their SIMs with their service providers, is being implemented to address the growing problem of fraudulent activities enabled by anonymous SIM use.
The Bellevue Manila is pleased to announce the appointment of Chef Xerxes John D. Narciso as its new executive chef. In addition to overseeing daily food and beverage operations of the hotel’s restaurants and banquet, Chef X also brings new ideas to the table.
Narciso holds a hotel and restaurant management degree from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas. In 2001, he earned a culinary arts and technology management diploma from the Center for Culinary Arts Manila, the country’s premier culinary school.
He marked his professional beginnings in the culinary world in the pastry section of the Marco Beach Ocean Resort in Naples, Florida. He then brought his career to the Philippines in 2003 working for a wide range of big-city properties and upscale resorts.
Chef Narciso then rose the ranks in his over 20 years of experience, with roles ranging from menu planning, junior chef training, recipe development, and overseeing banquet kitchens before sharing his expertise with The Bellevue Manila. The breadth of his work gives Chef X unique insight into the culinary field that will further elevate The Bellevue Manila’s food and beverage lineup.
“I am grateful for this new venture,” shares Narciso, who is known as Chef X. “I’m looking forward to showcasing even better food and beverage concepts to our guests. It is a privilege to work alongside my Bellevue family.”
The Bellevue Manila is a world-class hotel nestled in the heart of Filinvest City in Alabang. It has 456 modern rooms, fully equipped meeting and banquet venues, a gym, swimming pools, and wellness centers (Azurea Spa, Jing Monis Salon, and PrettyLooks). The hotel also offers gastronomic delights through its food concepts Phoenix Court, Café d’Asie, Pastry Corner, Vue Bar, and Cellar 22.