Karen Davila’s Mission

“I want to influence people in a positive way,” said the multi-awarded broadcast journalist. “Be ready to work hard. If you invest in hard work, people will respect you.”

Few encouraging words from a teacher went a long way for Karen. As a young student at the University of the Philippines, she contemplated a career in fashion design. Then one of her teachers noticed her good enunciation and said she had potential as a newscaster.

“I believe that a Tagalog show can reach more people. I have this thing about change-your-life-TV. It’s like viewers have to get something from you. They shouldn’t be just entertained by your presence. Time has to come that you have to give them something,” shared Karen. Image: politics.com.ph

“That was the first time anybody ever said that I was good at that,” she said, looking back. That’s when she decided to seriously pursue broadcast journalism. She graduated in 1993 from UP’s College of Mass Communications, and after a series of auditions, got her first job on the Business Today, a former morning show on GMA-7 with then Mon Isberto and Rico Hizon as anchorpersons. Before she knew it she was also doing the hourly news breaks.

In 1994, she joined Brigada Siete with the late broadcast journalist Louie Beltran, where she honed up on investigative reporting. A bigger break came in October 1995 when she was tapped as the news anchor for Saksi, GMA’s primetime Tagalog newscast. At this time, too, Karen became a contributing reporter of GMA News to CNN World Report. In 1996, she was given the opportunity to train for a month-and-a-half at CNN headquarters in Atlanta where she met CNN founder Ted Turner. In 1997, Karen was a finalist for the Best Environmental Report for CNN World Report.

After more than 24 years of television and radio experience, Karen is not one to rest on her laurels. She won the much-coveted TOYM (The Outstanding Young Men) Awards for Broadcasting in 2008 and TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service) Award for Broadcasting in 2013. In 2010, Karen was chosen as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, an honor given to young exceptional professionals below 40 years of age. This has allowed Karen to take exclusive leadership courses at the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, and Lee Kwan Yew School of Government. She has moderated televised sessions for the World Economic Forum East Asia Summits in Manila and Jakarta.

Moreover, she has won numerous local awards including Rotary Club’s Journalist of the Year in 2004 and several accolades from UST, UP, and De La Salle Award giving bodies. She is a Hall of Fame Awardee with the Anak TV Awards, consistently considered as a top role model for the youth.

Fulfilling work

“The real point in life is to truly find who you are in God’s eyes, everything else is secondary,” related Karen. Image: @iamkarendavila

Karen said her work is physically exhausting and fulfilling. “There’s a big difference if you just read the news or you’re just a TV personality. But I also go out in the field, come back to make my reports then host the show. It’s really a lot of work,” she quipped. At present, she can be seen in three live daily TV and radio programs—interviewing newsmakers on Headstart, a news talk show that airs 8-9 am on the ABS-CBN News Channel or ANC; anchors TV Patrol and The World Tonight, the late-night newscast on ABS-CBN.  As a volunteer, she has involved herself with Habitat for Humanity and World Vision in the last 10 years as an advocate for women and children.

But Karen is not really complaining. “I want to influence people in a positive way,” she related. “I think television plays a major role in its viewers. That’s partly why many love Oprah because she’s so positive. The TV can be that way; you can empower the viewers. I’d want the people to be encouraged just by, let’s say, my life or just watching the shows that I’ve done. I want to give them something.”

What’s the meaning of life?

“If you’ve read the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon asks, ‘What’s the meaning of life?’ I ask that, too. I say, ‘this is it.’ Fine, you’re on TV and people know you. The real point in life is to truly find who you are in God’s eyes, everything else is secondary,” shared Karen, who is a Born Again Christian.

Throwback pictures of Karen / personal file

More than anything else, she wants to do good stories. “I want to be able to do a program that rates and is less sensational. I believe that a Tagalog show can reach more people. I have this thing about change-your-life-TV. It’s like viewers have to get something from you. They shouldn’t be just entertained by your presence. Time has to come that you have to give them something,” rationalized Karen, who also hosts and writes for a weekly news magazine TV show, called My Puhunan, an inspiring business program that features rags to riches stories on ordinary Filipinos hitting it big thru entrepreneurship.  “But the most important is to have a personal relationship with God. Why? Because you don’t know what God has in store for you.”

Her advice to aspiring broadcasters: “First, you should do your homework in all honesty,” said Karen. “You have to prepare well before the show. It’s important that you know the issues for the day; a newsperson should be ready to adlib whenever hassles occur during the live telecast.” She added: “The glamour part is the fact that you come out on TV and people recognize you. But be ready to work hard. If you invest in hard work, people will respect you.”

(Based on the article published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)

#throwbackseries  #exclusiveinterview #karendavila #broadcastjournalist #newsanchor #TVpersonality #preciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Featured photo: @iamkarendavila


Jaclyn Jose: “Good acting comes from within.”

Motherhood and career are in a merry mix in Jaclyn’s life.

Jaclyn’s Jose is, no doubt, one of today’s finest actresses. The stature, she says, has been a product of two things: the opportunity to play challenging roles and the chance to be handled by the finest directors.

Younger photo of Jaclyn Jose. Image: Personal file

“I am reaping the fruits of my labor. I love my job, it’s so fulfilling and I like the people I work with,” relates the international award-winning actress. “First things first, I prepare for my look. I want a simple look as possible. I always play safe by being consistently simple. Then, I work on attacking my role.”

“I’m lucky all good roles are coming my way. Even mother roles,” she replies. She plays a mother in fact in the TV drama series The Better Woman (shown at GMA-7, Mondays to Fridays). “It is a good project for me,” she says. She plays Erlinda Santos, the mother of twin sisters, Jasmine, and Juliet (both played by actress Andrea Torres, in the title role).

Jaclyn’s show business career started in 1984. Her early movies with Lino Brocka, Private Show, and Macho Dancer remain her favorites to this day.  “I will not be what I am today if not for Lino,” she says. “Through the years I have become more intense. I believe good acting comes from within.”

She continues: “I’ve learned a lot from Lino. He was an actors’ director. Among other things, he coached me to correct my eyebrow movement. Now I have no problem with that anymore. I’ve also learned a lot from Ishmael Bernal and Chito Rono. They’re so powerful.”

Jaclyn says that today’s directors, on the other hand, have incorporated new directing formula. “They have new things to offer. Laurenti Dyogi, for instance, is a very promising director. ”

Jaclyn Jose won as Best Actress for the film “Ma’Rosa” during the 69th annual Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France last May 22, 2016. Image: gmanetwork.com

Single parent

Besides finding great satisfaction in her job, she finds fulfillment in her daughter, Andy, and now, granddaughter, Ellie. Andy is her love child with a former live-in partner, the late actor Mark Gil.

“To me, being happy is to focus my attention on Andy. I believe I’ve scored pretty high as far as motherhood is concerned,” she says. “I believe I’m a very good mom.”

After her separation from the late actor-partner, Jaclyn was left with nobody but Andy.  “I would much rather sacrifice my personal life than create problems for Andy.”

She has no regrets that she opted to become a single parent rather than get involved in another relationship. “I’m enjoying it. It’s my choice. I’m doing fine. I work a lot and when I’m not working I take care of Andy. I don’t even have a boyfriend. I have lots of male friends, but you can’t kiss your male friends, right?” she says with a laugh. “But I had my time. When you have your own child you don’t own your life anymore.”

Jaclyn has a very simple lifestyle. When she’s at home, she watches TV shows. “My relaxation is drinking one or two beers and watching good movies. Those are enough to make my day.”

Jaclyn entertains plans of directing someday. “I already have ideas on my mind. But I know that I couldn’t apply them right away. I’ll give myself at least five to eight years before I finally decide to direct,” she concludes.

(Based on the article published in the old Mirror Weekly magazine by the same author)

#showbizthrowbackseries #entertainment #exclusiveinterview #jaclynjose #bestactress #preciousmoments #rubyasoyph

Getting closer to nature

The atmosphere of quiet lushness from the mountain made our stay a whole new experience in getting closer to nature.

Day 2:

Monster Village during the day

On our second day of the tour in Taiwan, I will take you to Nantou County, where you can take a glimpse of magnificent views in the countryside and cold weather at Monster Village and Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort.

Photo-op of the group at Monster Village.

Monster Village is one of the most popular attractions in Nantou County. You will definitely like it here because of its beautiful 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 were all kinds of strange monster statues and the villagers 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.

Stinging Nettle or Biting Cat Bread @ Monster Village. Photo: Me-An Clemente

Interestingly, there was particular bread that had caught our attention during our visit – the Stinging Nettle bread also known as “Biting Cat” in Chinese. The itchy part was the leaf and locals made it into bread but the inside was very savory and soft, there was like some cheese or some kind of meat as filling. But the highlight of the bread was 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.

There were some souvenir shops as well and the hotel within the village for long-staying guests.

The writer at the Flower Center

The next location was at Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort. The place has an annual average temperature of about 20-degrees Celcius, and 1600 meters above sea level. The climate was 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. There were some waterfalls, lots of trees, a Flower Center, which exhibited some 30 flower species, such as peony, color cabbage, hydrangea, tulip, Taiwan cherry, fuchsia, etc.

We were billeted at the Sun-Link-Sea Hotel, an elegant building characterized by modern and neo-classical architecture. The atmosphere of quiet lushness from the mountain made our stay a whole new experience in getting closer to nature.

#Taiwantour #TaiwanTourismBureau #destination #Asia #tourism #rubyspreciousmoments #rubyasoyph

(Part 2 of a 6-part feature article)

Taiwan in 6 days

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.

Day 1:

Colorful Rainbow Military Village in Taichung, Taiwan

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.

Sumptuous set meals @ Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House

Bubble Milk Tea

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 absolutely loved this place!

Fengjia Night Market. Photo: roundtaiwanround

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).

The group @ Red Dot Hotel

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 actually use from the hotel’s second floor to the lobby. Some of our group had definitely 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.

#Taiwantour #PanahonsaTaiwan #TaiwanTourismBureau #travel #destination #Asia

(Part 1 of a 6-part feature article)

Daddy Dolphy

“There are no illegitimate children – only illegitimate fathers.”


Dolphy: A family man. Photo courtesy of DramaList

This weekend, we will be celebrating Father’s Day. We will be honoring our beloved fathers and those individuals who are experiencing paternal bonds. I thought of sharing my #throwback exclusive interview with the late King of Comedy, Dolphy because he was truly Daddy Dolphy with a big heart for his children off and on-screen.

He was one of my dream interviews, 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:

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 in spite of 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 with son Eric. Photo courtesy of pep.ph

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 families would really 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.”

The late Dolphy with former live-in partner, Zsa-Zsa Padilla, daughters Zia and Nicole. Photo courtesy of Showbiz Chika

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-asawa 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.”

Featured photo courtesy of DramaList

#Dolphy #ComedyKing #throwback #exclusiveinterview #FathersDay #tribute

Distinctively bai

bai Hotel Cebu is the biggest hotel in Visayas and Mindanao to date and also a culinary destination. The hotel changed the business landscape of both the city and the province when it opened.

Cafe bai carving station

As a first-time guest in bai hotel Cebu, one can easily feel the ambiance of “modern luxury and spaciousness.” Indeed, the biggest hotel in Visayas and Mindanao to date but also a culinary destination having 8 dining options including a fine-dining restaurant. Some of these are Café bai, Marble + Grain Steakhouse, and Ume Japanese Cuisine which are all part of the top 10 restaurants in Mandaue City. The Twilight Roofdeck Lounge + Bar on the 23rd floor gives you a 360-degree view of the cities of Mandaue, Cebu, and Lapu-Lapu.

Alfred M. Reyes, General Manager and Vice President of Operations at bai Hotel Cebu.

“We are also proud to say that we have an advanced security system to ensure the safety of our guests and associates,” shared Alfred M. Reyes, General Manager and Vice President of Operations at bai Hotel Cebu.  Upon entering the hotel, guests walk through metal detectors while their baggage goes through the X-ray inspection machine. “Our glass windows are also coated with anti-blast films for additional protection. We also have a seismic accelerograph that detects early signs of an earthquake and a fire detection alarm system that is very sensitive and accurate.”

The hotel is mostly composed of glass walls to showcase the city and the harbor. It is the first property in Cebu that is environmentally sustainable by using low-emission glass windows that shield the interiors from about 30 percent of UV heat, thus saving electricity by lessening the use of automatic air conditioning units. With this concept, the hotel supports sustainable nature-based tourism.

bai Hotel Cebu is meant for business travelers who look forward to doing business in Cebu and leisure travelers who intend to visit Cebu and its neighboring islands. It is near the Mactan Cebu International Airport which is 25 minutes away, and the Domestic Port of Cebu which is 10 minutes away.

The hotel also has plenty of recreational facilities: a fitness center with a sauna, an infinity outdoor lap pool, and kiddie pool, and an in-house spa – The Spa at Cebu by RSpa. Serviced offices are also located on the 5th floor of the hotel catering to businesses that are looking to lease office space in a prominent location in Cebu.

More choices for travelers

Executive one bedroom

Reyes said that bai Hotel Cebu changed the business landscape of both the city and the province when it opened. “Our 668 rooms, 12 event venues, and 8 dining outlets added more choices to travelers who come either for business, leisure, or both. Because of this additional inventory, Cebu is now able to accept larger demands of tourists—Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and others—as well as large-scale meetings, conferences, and events.

Being a culinary destination, it offers guests delectable choices. At Ume Japanese Cuisine, ala carte meals are specially prepared by its Japanese Chef. The Marble + Grain Steakhouse is its very own fine-dining restaurant, where they serve prime USDA steak. For those who would love to talk, meet with friends and pick up where they left off, they have a self-serving coffee outlet—Wallstreet Coffee + Bar. The all-day dining restaurant, Café bai serves eastern to western specialties and is the #1 restaurant in Mandaue today.

Infinity lap pool (night)

Aside from sponsorships, collaborations, social media, and tri-media advertising, they have a membership program, the bai Platinum Membership. Members get exclusive perks and privileges such as huge discounts on their food and beverage outlets as well as two (2) complimentary overnight stays at bai Hotel Cebu and a cash voucher on selected outlets. Members are also entitled to exclusive promos at bai Hotel Cebu and discounts on their partner establishments they could avail of year-round.

Customer First

 Reyes’ work motto is “customer first – I always remind my associates about that,” he related. “I am very hands-on. I walk around the hotel regularly, do ocular inspections. I dine in our outlets to check the quality of our food. I talk directly to guests to ask about their stay. I do not usually stay inside my office. I just go there when I need to sign documents.”

The hardworking GM has been in the industry for more than 30 years. He graduated from the University of San Jose – Recoletos and had two certificates for finishing General Management Programs from Cornell University. He worked in various properties locally and abroad. His most remarkable achievement so far in his career is being the first Filipino to open a 668-room hotel in the Philippines.

“We strive to improve every day by monitoring all online reviews published on the internet and taking necessary actions for those that need our attention,” explained Reyes on how they stay current in terms of hotel reputation management. “We keep good comments and reviews as compliments. We practice transparency within the team by having our general assembly every month. In these events, we update our associates about the hotel’s current standing and discuss different situations as well as strategies. We are very thankful that we are gaining popularity and getting positive reviews and recommendations even though we are just in the first year of our operations.”

View from Twilight Roofdeck Lounge and Bar
Twilight (interior)

Managing a huge property while understanding the millennial workforce plus the evolution of digital platforms and the rising demand of travelers make his day exciting and challenging. Cebu is becoming the next M.I.C.E. destination in Southeast Asia. Hotels and properties are taking advantage of this. “This is an opportunity and I am very excited and positive about it. This positioning of Cebu challenges me to be more creative in finding ways to entice clients and continuously learn and improve in my job. Working in the hospitality industry with passion gives you the drive to manage a property like bai Hotel Cebu,” Reyes quipped.

bai Hotel Cebu envisions itself to be the most preferred world-class Filipino hotel. To achieve this, Reyes and his associates continuously work together on making bai Hotel Cebu the number 1 hotel in Mandaue City. In the long run, it aims to expand within Visayas and Mindanao with even bigger properties in terms of space and rooms, and more amenities and facilities than the present.

bai Hotel Cebu is distinctively one which stands by its own magnificence.

#baiexperience #baihotelcebu #cebu #hospitality #philippines #worldhotels

My beauty companion to glowing skin

The Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy Youth Serum with Argan Oil is an exceptional facial oil containing superior botanical ingredients that help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenates the face and neck. With this anti-aging solution, you’re never too old to become younger.

Sometime last year, I was introduced by a long-time lady friend to this essential oil product which originated from Calgary, Alberta Canada. Before this, I have been trying some products that will be suitable for my combination and sensitive skin.

I would use some of them for a couple of days but after that, I would experience some redness and rashes, which prompted me to totally stopped using them. I would surmise that I don’t really need those harmful products; what I only need is something that is natural, safe, and effective.

In short, I tried the product called Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy Youth Serum with Argan Oil. I was attracted by its packaging and the ingredients are made of essential oils. After 3-5 days of applying it to my face and neck at night, I noticed that my skin became moisturized, the dryness disappeared, my blemishes diminished. I’m happy and satisfied with the effect that it has brought to my skin.

Since then, I keep on using the Youth Serum. It’s the only one I’m using now coupled with once a month facial. It’s a truly exceptional facial oil containing superior botanical ingredients that help to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenates the face and neck. I have found my skin companion to glowing skin. Now, I can wear less makeup and let my skin shine through.

Anti-Aging Solution

Youth Serum with Argan Oil has more than 10 ingredients available in a 30 ml. amber glass dropper bottle. It is regarded as an anti-aging solution from Canada, now available in the Philippines through Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy.

It has a line of Essential Oils, tinctures, and blends, which combines the ancient tradition of plant-based healing with modern-day aromatherapy and medical knowledge.

Lovely couple Judith and Lloyd Barran from Canada.

The brains behind this fascinating line of products are lovely couple Judith and Lloyd Barran from Canada. Both Judith and Lloyd became certified in Aromatherapy in 1999. In addition, Lloyd has been a practicing pharmacist and chemist for over three decades now.

Why Youth Serum with Argan Oil works so well? This product has over 10 ingredients of Essential Oils and Carrier Oils — specially chosen to rejuvenate, moisturize, heal, and completely nourish the skin.


The Carrier Oils (Hazelnut, Kukui Nut, Evening Primrose, Argan, etc.) not only moisturize the skin but supply all the vitamins and nutrients required for complete skin health and for the formation of new skin cells. As well, these Oils are very light and are rapidly absorbed into the skin, which permits the application of your makeup within 5 minutes of use.

The Essential Oils (Jasmin, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Ylang Ylang, etc.) penetrate to the innermost layer of the skin and speed up the formation of new skin cells, which cause old skin cells to be shed more rapidly and be replaced by new skin, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles. This effect can be noticed as early as 3 to 5 days.

To use it, place a few drops on fingertips and gently massage into face and neck at night using circular motions. Even when applied regularly, the Youth Serum with Argan Oil can last up to 3 months.

With this anti-aging solution, you’re never too old to become younger.

For more product information on Essence of Cleopatra Aromatherapy, you may check and like its FB@cleopatraaromatherapy. You can also inquire from this site.

#YouthSerum #ArganOil #Aromatherapy #EssentialOils #Aging #AntiAging #Healing #NaturalHealing #EssenceOfCleopatra #CleopatraAromaTherapy #Pilipinas #Philippines


Music soothes a broken heart

Jessa Zaragoza’s hit song “Bakit Pa?” made her music’s unexpected “Queen of Broken Hearts.” The three-stanza sad song with a simple, memorable melody has indeed struck the right chord among the women of the ‘90s (and even up to this day).

Photo @OfficialJessaZaragoza FB account

Actress-singer Jessa Zaragoza remains the reigning sentimental song queen of the airwaves. She hit it on her very first album with the song “Bakit Pa?” The song is heard in the metropolis as well as provincial areas up to this day. She is music’s unexpected “Queen of Broken Hearts.”

In her hit song, “Bakit Pa?” a girl is weeping over lost love. Another girl has replaced her in her lover’s arms. But she is not destined to die of broken heart. I’m sad and confused, she sings, but I will survive (Ito’y aking kakayanin).

Jessa related that when she read the lyrics, they felt so right for her and she deeply felt the heart of the song. “So I recorded it with my whole heart in it. But I never thought it would be such a big hit,” she said.

“Filipinos are very simple and sentimental,” rationalized “Bakit Pa?” lyricist Vehnee Saturno, who was also surprised at his hit song. As they say: Aside from a new love, music is the best salve for a broken heart. “At first, no one believes that she had promise as a singer because she had sexy image. But when I heard her voice, I knew that she had what it takes. Mukhang matagal-tagal pa ang pagsikat nya,” said Vehnee.

Jessa and husband Dingdong Avanzado. Photo @OfficialJessaZaragoza FB account

The three-stanza sad song with a simple, memorable melody has indeed struck the right chord among the women of the ‘90s (and even up to this day). For lyricists, composers and singers this means big revenues and more recording opportunities.

Jessa said that it has always been her dream to be a singer and to wax an album she could call her own. Her very first movie outfit did not fulfil the promise of giving her a debut album but instead built her up as a budding sex siren. “Before, it was just my dream to have an album,” quipped the young lady with Bette Davis’s eyes. “Even if it wasn’t a big hit, I would be happy. I just wanted to sing.”

Sentimental Song Queen

Jessa has earned for herself the title, Sentimental Song Queen, joining the ranks of former hit singers, Claire Dela Fuente, Imelda Papin, Didith Reyes and Eva Eugenio. During the ‘80s, the celebrated Jukebox Queen title was a tossup between Claire Dela Fuente, famous for her songs “Sayang,” “Minsa-minsan,” and “Nakaw Na Pag-ibig,” and Imelda Papin (who eventually got the coveted title). Now, it is Jessa’s turn. She has put her embarrassing sexy starlet days behind her.

Jessa was a BS Psychology student in San Juan de Letran when she was lured into the showbiz whirl. If she has given the chance, she said, she still wants to be a psychiatrist someday. Away from the kleiglights, Jessa is a homebody. The second in a brood of seven, she likes staying with her family at home.

Mom & daughter: Jessa and Jayda. Photos @OfficialJessaZaragoza FB account
The Avanzados Photo@OfficialJessaZaragoza FB account

These days, Jessa is blooming. She is happily married to singer Dingdong Avanzado, and a doting mom to her only daughter, Jayda, who is also making a name as a singer. Her music career is exciting as ever. Jessa and husband Dingdong have recently launched an album 20/30. She is also preparing for her concert with crooner Richard Poon entitled “Just Right,” happening on June 8 at the Resorts World Manila.

Original article re-posted from the old Mirror Magazine. Written by Ruby V. Asoy


Raul Lebajo’s ‘Enter His World’ Book Launch

In his book, the artist invites the viewer and art lover to enter his fantastic world and pursue the surrealist vision in his paintings and drawings.

It was a proud moment for our family when my father-in-law, master surrealist painter Raul Lebajo launched his first coffee table book entitled, “Enter His World,” at the Ayala Museum recently. Finally, it has been out after 20 years in the making. It was authored by noted art critic and historian, Alice Guillermo, and published by LC: Questor Worldwide Corporation.

In his book, the artist invites the viewer and art lover to enter his fantastic world and pursue the surrealist vision in these paintings and drawings.  “Special to Lebajo’s art is the experience of universal energy that courses throughout the whole nature,” describes the author. ”

Lebajo’s masterpieces crafted over the years are divided into several topics which composed the book’s entirety.  Of course, there are landscapes of cosmic energy, the secret life of plants, offerings of fruit, an uncommon aviary, reinventing nature, varieties of organic life, a marine universe, humans in nature, forces as archetypes, cosmic furniture, the vases series, sculptures, and other works.

“Raul Lebajo is a true artist of nature, but this does not mean that he does traditional landscapes and still life paintings of flowers. He does not paint valleys of earth, trees, and sky as though they stretched out before him, or does he paint flowers bunched together in a vase for his personal delectation. Not for him is a linear perspective, for, in fact, he plays with perspective, and his views are often warped, telescoped, spiraling, and spinning into multiple worlds,” – Alice Guillermo. She received her graduate degrees in France and at the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

#Throwback – Upclose and Personal with Ara Mina

“Ara Mina has a certain innocence and is in a category completely her own.” Meanwhile, this interview reveals a half-child, half-woman excited and eager to give her best shot.

What goes into the making of a sex goddess?

Tinseltown has never lacked young aspiring starlets willing to take their clothes off. But according to Direk Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Ara Mina has a certain innocence and is in a category completely her own. Of course, it helps that she is really sexy and she is willing to titillate 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 me more confident, said Ara Mina. She 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 own 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.

Back to her new 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 couldnít 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.”

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 bubugan 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. Prior to 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.

Looking back, Ara Mina said she couldn’t imagine herself portraying bold roles, or posing nude for pictorials. She was really 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 non-showbiz. During her free time, she prefers to stay at home and shuns the nightlife.

“I don’t like going to discos, instead I sleep early,” she says. However, if time permits, she tries to catch the bands playing at Strumms Greenbelt and Conway’s Bar at Shangri-La Makati. Her favorite bands include Side A and Mulatto.

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 to 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. As a matter of fact, 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 exclusive article published at the now-defunct Mirror Weekly Magazine by the same writer.)

As of a recent update, Ara Mina is experiencing a new “journey” in her personal life. She is now engaged to her non-showbiz fiance Dave Almarinez, CEO of Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC). 

Featured photo: Courtesy of Ara Mina FB page