gabay guro

A Grand Salute to Teachers

 

Many children dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Some who are artistically inclined see themselves as sculptors, pianists or painters.  Still others desire to be beauty queens, racecar drivers or even  poets. The beauty of youth is such that one feels anything and everything can be achieved. But nobody ever became anybody just by wishing it. In order to become adept at any chosen field, one has to learn from good teachers.

Give, Guide, Educate

Gabay Guro, the education flagship program of PLDT SMART foundation under the directive of Manuel V. Pangilinan, has been assisting “would be teachers” and full-pledged educators for the past nine years. “Beyond the numerous scholarships that we have given out, we try to include pillars depending on the teachers’ needs. Over the years, we have included trainings, livelihood programs, provided computer labs and connectivity, built educational facilities and teachers’ housing. In addition, we have furnished tribute cards and held events like the annual Gabay Guro Teacherfest,” said Founder and PLDT SMART CFO Chaye Cabal-Revilla.  “The movement has improved the level of learning in the country. Education is a great equalizer. Educate a man and he has a bigger chance at having a better life,” added Chaye.

Chaye Revilla welcomes the 20,000 teachers who attended the event.

Chaye Revilla welcomes the 20,000 teachers who attended the event.

 

 

In 2016, more significant programs have been implemented to further the foundation’s cause. A digital livelihood partnership with 51Talk (a company listed in the NYSE) was recently launched. The goal of the program is to supplement the teachers’ income by teaching English to Chinese and Korean students online.  The tribute card has also been upgraded. Apart from the holder enjoying discounts at various retail partners, it can now be used as a beep card for LRT/MRT, buses and other public means of transport.

Teachers gather outside the MOA arena just before the start of the Teacherfest 2016.

Teachers gather outside the MOA arena just before the start of the Teacherfest 2016.

Last Sunday, an estimated 20,000 teachers from all over the country gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena to take part in the grandest Gabay Guro Teacherfest to date.  Raffle prizes included a house and lot, a van, four motorcycles,  laptops, cellphones , cash and more. The biggest names in local tinseltown performed to the delight of the audience. The event was hosted by Pops Fernandez, MJ Lastimosa and Andrew Wolff. Singers Vina Morales, Sam Concepcion, Michael Pangilinan and the Divas rendered numbers that were all warmly received. Maine Mendoza and the Eat Bulaga gang brought the house down with their medley of song and dance numbers. Industry giants Martin Nievera (who was still jetlagged and had just come from the airport), Jaya, Regine Velasquez and Ogie Olcasid each gave powerful performances. Gary Valeciano (with his son Gab and the Maneuvers) who was celebrating his birthday that same day shared his personal experience as a student and how his teachers inspired him to take a different direction in his life. At the middle of his number, the lights were turned off and the crowd lit up their smartphones. To cap the day’s festivities, broadway star and The Voice Coach Lea  Salonga read the Teacher’s oath together with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera each gave soulful preformances.

Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera each gave soulful preformances.

 

Lea Salonga, Teacher Annie Masongsong and reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

Lea Salonga, Teacher Annie Masongsong and reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

What’s next for Gabay Guro? “The goal is to bring the program to all the regions of the country. Allow me to say that I’m truly proud of the core team and the more than 700 volunteers who tirelessly work to make this vision a reality. Gabay Guro has bonded all of us with our common love and deep appreciation for teachers,” ended Chaye.

The hosts of the show.

The hosts of the show.

 

Congratulations Gabay Guro on another successful event!

To the people who have helped us achieve our dreams and are now guiding our children in attaining theirs – Mabuhay kayo mga guro!

With a pocketful of glitter,

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Easy, comfortable and cool get ups at affordable prices!

What the Cool Kids Wear

I’m quite sure a lot of moms have the same dilemma as I do.  We see clothes that would look absolutely adorable on our kids (never mind the price tag), we make them fit it in the store (or just buy them off the rack having been suddenly overcome by shopping euphoria), then we go home and keep it in the closet.  They wear it once or twice and voila!  Just like that, they seem to have grown overnight and the clothes don’t fit anymore.  Money down the drain, euphoria bubble busted big time.

The Summer collection is all about the 70’s vibe, marked by its powdery and aged blues combined with more upbeat and bright colors.

The Summer collection is all about the 70’s vibe, marked by its powdery and aged blues combined with more upbeat and bright colors.

 

The good news is that the Zippy Kidstore has just opened!  Zippy is a children’s apparel brand from Portugal which caters to children ages 0 to 14 years.  “We pride ourselves in being an urban brand, characterized by a contemporary style so that children feel cool and comfy. It’s for the the preppy hipster, the expressive and the practical kids.  The store is a one-stop-shopping haven for the whole family.  Our Spring/Summer 2016  collection offers a full line of  apparel, fashionable shoes, accessories as well as  nursery products.  Soon we will have car seats, cribs and strollers in the stores,” says  Karren Alvarez, brand manager of Zippy.

Come on over and shop the  Zippy Spring/Summer collection at Glorietta 3!

Come on over and shop the Zippy Spring/Summer collection at Glorietta 3!

Adorable in white

Cool kids wear Zippy!

 

Last Monday, Zippy hosted an intimate gathering at their flagship store in Glorietta. Select moms and kids got to preview the latest collection from the brand and were treated to fun activities as well.   The children spent quite some time playing with different board and card games.  My 4 year old had a great time as she played a game of  Old Maid with older kids!  Red treat bags were also given to guests so they can have their sweet fill from the candy buffet.  At the far end of the table, there was a pyramid of cupcakes neatly arranged in a cupcake tree holder ready to be decorated by the guests.  Everyone had smiles on their faces as they poured multi-colored sprinkles, pearl beads and dollops of chocolate over the mini  pastries!

The highlight of the event was when the kids were asked to choose anything they liked from the store.   Everything was eye candy so it took a while before everybody got their choices down pat.  Before I knew it, my daughter had a denim Minnie Mouse bag dangling from her arm and promptly announced, “I like this!”  I built her outfit based on her choice.  Faded denim skirt, a light Minnie Mouse top and the cutest floral sneakers with peach ribbons completed her ensemble.  A perfect summer get-up.  Of course, we took photos.  What  fun!

Easy, comfortable and cool get ups at affordable prices!

Easy, comfortable and cool get ups at affordable prices!

 

Aside from the wide, fashion forward selection of apparel, what I like most about Zippy is its competitive price point.  Basic t-shirts sell for P179, ballerina flats for P529,  and sneakers for P659.  It’s definitely a brand that the cool kids will wear and one that all fashionable but practical moms like me will love!

My daughter all dresse up in Zippy clothing. Just look at her adorable floral sneakers!

My daughter all dresse up in Zippy clothing. Just look at her adorable floral sneakers!

 

Zippy stores are located at Level 1, Glorietta 3 and SM North Edsa.

With a pcketful of glitter,

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Untitled

Her Madjesty, Madonna

 

I remember several years ago when everybody who had anything to say gave their two cents worth about Lady Gaga’s impending concert.  The religious, the hateful and the fans took to social media to get their messages across. I watched that show and was impressed at how immensely talented she was.   I even brought my son with me.  There were some racy and suggestive  numbers which prompted me to send my son back to  the lounge at the private box where we watched.  Last week,  the furor was again repeated with the arrival of no less than the Queen of Pop, Madonna.  Manila was chosen as one of  The Rebel Heart Tour’s 80 stops around the world.  It kicked off September last year in Montreal.

Pinoys waited three decades to watch pop icon Madonna perform.

Pinoys waited three decades to watch pop icon Madonna perform.

 

Undoubtedly the most awaited concert  (Tickets were sold out since last year),  the fans could not contain their excitement as they entered the venue.   From her last concert in Macau,  three Boeing 747 planes carried lights,  sound equipment and props to our city.  The stage is really the  first thing to catch your attention.  An elongated cross with a heart attached to the tip and a rectangle stage with protruding balls at the end,  it was an early forboding  of what the show would be.    That show would start almost three hours late – at 11:42 to be exact.

When Madonna finally came out from a cage suspended in the air, the whole  Mall of Asia Arena exploded in shouts and cheers.   Madge mostly sang songs from her newest album.  I so loved when she did Rebel Heart.  “Why can’t you be like the other girls? I said oh no, that’s not me. And I don’t think that it’ll ever be.”   Flashes of  the music icon rendered pop art style flashed on the giant  screens showing her evolution through the years.  It was a visual feast as well as well as a hefty serving of lyrics to awaken the soul.  “So I took the road less travelled by. And I barely made it out alive.  Through the darkness somehow I survived. Tough love I knew it from the start  deep down in my rebel heart.”

Remember this look way back in the 80's? She will always be our favorite rebel.

Remember this look way back in the 80′s? She will always be our favorite rebel.

 

Of course, she had to sing her old songs from the 80’s!  The people asked for  “Crazy for You” but  she denied that request and sang other favorites instead. Reworked to sound more appealing to millenials, I wished she sang the songs in their original versions.  Still Madonna’s performance of “Burning Up”  while playing the electric guitar,  literally set the stage on fire.  Audience were treated to  La Isla Bonita,  Just Like A Prayer, True Blue, Material Girl and Music.

She sang old tunes like La Isla Bonita.

She sang old tunes like La Isla Bonita.

 

The costumes were fabulous! Japanese warrior , Spanish Senorita, Sparkle-clad 20’s girl and Rocker Goddess—all showed her well-taut physique.  How in the world could this woman be pushing 60?!   She had plenty of Asian dancers, aerialists who wowed the crowd from twenty foot poles and a moving stage that kept everybody at the edge of their seats.  The audience lapped up the profanity and applauded all the perfectly choreographed numbers. She ended the first night singing  “Holiday” while straddling a dancer as he carried her on his shoulders.  And yes, she draped the Philippine flag around her body and waved it to the adoring fans.

Madonna with the Philippine flag

Madonna with the Philippine flag

Holiday! Celebrate!

Holiday! Celebrate!

 

 

The politics and religion I will leave to others to write about.  Was it a show for kids? No it was not .  “ Vogue” had the 12 disciples, Mother  Mary and Jesus both on screen and on stage “posing”.    Some will say that Madonna is  nothing short of crass —  irreverent and unapologetic.   No one , however ,can deny that she is one of the most gifted women performers of our time .   The concert was a brilliant two hour   spectacle — nothing more , nothing less.   Hail to her Madjesty, Madonna!

Love MADGE!

Love MADGE!

 

With a pocketful of glitter,

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A night of love songs

Royals – A Blended Valentine Concert

 

Concerts have always been part and parcel of the whole Valentine celebration.  Pinoys are ,by nature, sentimental and undoubtedly love to sing.  So it’s not  a surprise that all kinds of people – couples,  friends, families , even the singles, end up spending the night listening to their favorite artists belt out  love ditties.

At the Mall of Asia Arena,  “Royals”  gathered  two powerful pairs of singers as headliners.  The  blended pairings brought  icons Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez  who shared the stage with the younger breed of performers, rumored-couple Erik Santos and Angeline Quinto.  The quartet gave powerful performances one after another.  They opened the show with songs from  Queen (“Somebody to Love” and “Let Me Go)  and ended the first set with “Shut Up and Dance”.  The second set saw the girls bringing Adele songs “Hello” and “Sorry” to new heights.

Martin, Regine, Angeline and Eric in the Royals' Valentine concert

Martin, Regine, Angeline and Eric in the Royals’ Valentine concert

 

The spiels were funny too. At one point,  Regine motioned to the bleachers and said, “Akala ko ba mayayaman ang audience ko, bakit jan kayo bumili ng ticket???”  Martin Nievera chided Erik Santos for stealing “his song” (referring to This is The Moment) prompting the latter to retort “Bakit? Ikaw kumanta ng original?” “Hindi.”  “Eh bakit mo inaangkin?”  These and many more exchanges drew laughter from the crowd.

There were emotional moments too.  After Angeline and Regine did a series of Whitney Houston songs (which made the hair on my arms stand), the younger singer hugged the latter for a good two minutes.   In tears, Angeline said that she could not believe that  she was performing with her idol.   Regine complimented her by saying “Pwede na ko mag-retire.  You are so good!”

Angeline cries at the concert

Angeline cries at the concert

 

Highlights of the night included songs of Basil Valdez sang by the men and Nat King Cole/Natalie Cole  sang by Martin and Angeline.  The four also rendered a medley from Eraserheads (“Huling El Bimbo”, “Pare Ko and “Magasin”).

A night of love songs

Ogie Alcasid joined in the fun.

 

Regine sang "Usahay".

Regine sang “Usahay”.

The singers also delighted the crowd by dong songs from the 80’s.  At one point Vice Ganda and Ogie Olcasid joined them on stage.  What an enjoyable concert!  Was not aware that three hours had passed by.  I must say though that Angeline Quinto made a fan out of me.

The crowd enjoyed the Eraserheads medley

The crowd enjoyed the Eraserheads medley

 

Up next — MADONNA!!!

With a pocketful of glitter,

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beautyqueen

Best Self Forward

 

Touchdown! It’s just been a few hours since my return. An almost three week vacation to the US was exactly what my family and I needed to cap 2015.  Time spent with family and friends away from the worries and cares of Manila has recharged, rebooted and refreshed our spirits!  We loved our time in Los Angeles and Vegas but at the end of our vacation we all looked forward to coming home.

The Fambam at Americana

Wishing you all a fountain of blessings in 2016!

 

On the plane ride I scribbled a few things I should do this year.  It could be helpful to you too in facing the  year ahead.  I prefer to call it my “must-do” list instead of resolutions.  Of course, at any given time, we are free to choose start over. The new year, however,   gives us that extra push to make amends, try new things and get ourselves out of the doldrums.

A Fresh Start

1. Move It!

I have the shoes, the club membership and even a pool at my own backyard.  So why am I still overweight?  Hopefully, by the end of 365 days I would have shed ten pounds, lessened my visits to the doctor and used my shoes, club facilities and overcome my fear of water so I can use the pool even without the kids around.  Even just walking after dinner around the village would be good.  Dancing and kickboxing which used to be my passions  are also on my list.  I’m sure you can find a workout that fits you too.

This pair called me halfway across the Nike Store in Sta. Monica Place.

This pair called me halfway across the Nike Store in Sta. Monica Place.

 

2. Think before you gobble.

Momentary gustatory satisfaction from eating all the deliciously sinful foods  (think lechon, cakes, ice cream and chocolate) will cost you in the end.  Give up the bad for the good. They say it takes two weeks  for one to be accustomed to a new taste.  Lessen the salt in your meals, steam instead of fry,  trade white rice for brown.   Have portions of fruits and vegetables daily.  Let your taste buds adjust to a healthier daily menu.

 

3. Shopaholics must exercise restraint.

Those stilettos sure look nice but should you buy it when you already have a dozen others in your  shelves?   January is sale season!  Look but keep on walking.  Shed some pounds and buy it in June in a smaller size when you’ve already lost five pounds.   Save for bigger and better things other than shoes, bags and clothes.  It may be hard to at first but rehab from any addiction is never easy.  Sigh.

4.  Try something new.

I love the dark side of the color wheel.  Blue, black, grey are my staples.  I don’t own anything pink.  Well, that was until I fell in love with a pair of hot pink sneakers.  Now, there’s a corner in my closet reserved for my new guilty pleasures.  More of my fab pink finds in my upcoming articles!

 

5.  Put on your best self.

Media mogul and icon Oprah Winfrey in her latest ad for Weight Watchers  said ,”I don’t have a pair of jeans I’d like to get into—I’ve been down that road honeychild.  I don’t have a dress or a big red carpet thing to do.  I’m really just looking at 2016 as the year of my best body. “  Prior to this, on her first commercial for the weight loss program company, she sends another  message, “Nothing you’ve ever been trough is wasted.  So every time I tried and failed, and tried  again , and tried again has brought me to this powerful moment to say ‘If not now, when?’  Are you ready? Let’s do this together. “   OMG,  what a hallelujiah moment! So all together now —Yes, we are ready, Oprah!

With 2 beauty queens

Let’s take the lead from from the newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. Be confidently beautiful with a heart. The Busy Queen flanked by Pia and 2014 Miss Universe MJ Lastimosa.

 

Thank you God for this fresh start.  May all of us be kinder, wiser, and grateful.  Happy 2016 everybody!

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Holiday toys from Hamley's.

Come Visit the Colonial Christmas Village

A different kind of Christmas awaits those who visit Manila Hotel this December.   Travel backwards to an era  where people receive posts and gifts through mail and cooking and baking hearty meals are as much a part of everyday life as well as holiday tradition.  Can you imagine a time and where books and storytelling kept kids entertained for hours?  These scenes are brought to life in a modern and updated Colonial Christmas Village at the Grande Dame.

 

Walk this way! There's something special for everybody at the Colonial Christmas Village.

Walk this way! There’s something special for everybody at the Colonial Christmas Village.

For the Kids and the Kids-at-heart

Get you cameras ready as every single nook and cranny  of the village is Instagram worthy!  Through  a partmership with Hamley’s London Limited (the oldest toy shop in the world) , Adarna  House ( a publishing company known for its story telling sessions) and Epson (which provided the decorative wallpapers that made the display come to life),  Manila Hotel offers a magical holiday experience for the entire family.

Streetlamps light your way as you stroll down Parsons Street.  Make your first stop at the Mayor’s office to get your passes.  Christmas  village golden tickets cost P1,500  and entitles you to visit all the shops, get a free stuffed bear and a movie ticket.  Companion tickets , on the other hand are at P800.    Don’t forget to exchange your money with the Christmas village paper currency so you can do all the shopping you want.

The Town Mayor

Manila Hotel’s General Manager Gerhard Doll is dressed up as the Town Mayor.

 

The children will love Willy’s Emporium where they can get dolls,  trains and other unique items from the UK based toy store.  Not to be missed is  the Patisserie Bakeshop and Tea Hall.   White tables decked with festive decors and white wooden chairs provide the children an authentic colonial dining experience.   Servers who are appropriately dressed to fit the colonial theme will help the little guests fill up their tin canisters with all kind of treats like cookies, bars and delicious french macarons. YUM!  You can also enjoy a kiddie meal prepared by the hotel’s esteemed chefs.  Meanwhile,  Santa could just be the the storyteller of the day at  Page, Turner and Company.  Storytelling activities are held every Saturday and Sunday of December.

Dainty furnishings and Delicious deights await visitors at the Bakery.

Dainty furnishings and Delicious deights await visitors at the Bakery.  Guests get to fill up their own tin can with sweets and treats!

 

Santa serves up the treats!

Santa serves up the treats!

To cap your modern-day colonial experience, relax , unwind and watch Christmas movies at the Grand View Cinema with your own popcorn bucket, cotton candy swirl and ice cream bar.  How’s that for major fun?

Movie time!

Movie time!

 

Holiday Packages

The Christmas village is open until January2, 2016 from 1pm to 9pm.  Stay in one of the Suites and enjoy the hotel’s Christmas Village Room Package for only P13,845.00 NET.  Get one bear, one regular Christmas village ticket, a complimentary bibingka at the Lobby Lounge for two and a 20% discount at The Manila Hotel Spa.  For inquiries and reservations please call 527-0011 local 1175 to 1179.

Holiday toys from Hamley's.

Holiday toys from Hamley’s.

 

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EBI TEMPURA TONKOTSU RAMEN

Ravenous at Roku!

 

Lately, my family has fallen into a “dining  out drudgery”.  We’ve ran out of options on where to eat.  When you have kids, their food preferences almost always dictate where the family dines.   On Wednesday nights (our weekly date night) and Sunday mornings (after mass) when we are all inside the car, the husband asks “Where do you want to eat?”   There’s usually a lull  that follows or turning of heads as we repeat the question to each other.

My latest dining discovery!

My latest dining discovery!

So it was quite a delight when I discovered ROKU in Trinoma Mall. ROKU means “six” in Japanese. I was told later that the owners have six family members – hence the catchy name. The place has a fresh, industrial and quirky feel.  Its modern light fixtures, stripped grey walls mixed with wooden touches and orange accents all seem to work as the restaurant was packed with diners.  “We’re a casual dining restaurant that welcomes families and friends. We want to create a fun vibe for guests to enjoy as they share delicious Japanese favorites.  This is our second branch,” said 22 year old owner Milka Romero.  “See, we love to travel and Japan is one of our favorite places to visit.  The food is fantastic and we wanted to bring the dishes back to Manila.   To make it more appealing to the public, we have infused Filipino flavors to the Japanese recipes. I think we have been quite successful in our kitchen inventions,” added  Sheila Romero, the other half of the beautiful enterprising mother-daughter duo behind ROKU.

 

The Usual, The New and The Unexpected

 All time favorites ramen, sushi rolls, tempura and donburi are included in the menu.   Ther servings are quite hefty and the prices affordable.   What sets it apart from other Japanese restaurants?   “It’s really the diversity of our menu. We are continually evolving so we can offer new and exciting flavors to the diners. We have all these flavors for our sushi rolls and people keep on coming back to try them.  People are looking for a fresh take on the old favorites and it’s our mission to deliver!”, shares Milka enthusiastically.

Roku Dream Roll

DREAM ROLLS – My favorite! Sushi with a crunch! Made from tempura-battered salmon, kani and cream cheese.

 

Firecracker Roll

FIRECRACKER ROLL – A spicy delight! Spicy salmon overload with crunchy tempura flakes

EBI TEMPURA TONKOTSU RAMEN

EBI TEMPURA TONKOTSU RAMEN – Shoyu Tonkotsu base soup with Ebi Tempura and Aji Tamago

ROKU CHASHU TONKOTSU RAMEN

ROKU CHASHU TONKOTSU RAMEN – A heapful of hearty flavorful soup. Shoyu Tonkotsu base with Chashu Pork and Aji tamago

The Dynamics of a Duo

Milka, a Management Economics graduate from Ateneo, says there is no better mentor in business than her Mom.  “I’ve always been amazed at how my Mom gets everything done.  She is such a multi-tasker!  From her I learned that it’s important to be passionate about what I do and to put in the hours – no matter how long,  She also  constantly reminds me to take a look at the numbers! Time management and communicating with the staff are things that are indispensable too. “   I can see Sheila beaming at Milka   “ It gives me pride to be able to teach my daughter and to see her thrive.  I can see so much of myself in her – but she is the better version of me “  What’s next for ROKU? Another branch will soon open by next year. The dynamic  duo has likewise created Sushi Nori which is all about sushi-on-the go.

The beautiful women of Roku- Sheila Romero with daughter Milka.

The beautiful women of Roku- Sheila Romero with daughter Milka.

Visit  ROKU at317 Katipunan Ave, 5th Floor of Oracle Hotel  and  at the Ground Floor of Trinoma Mall.   The brood and I just might bump into you!

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The BQP December Giveaway! Get to win 500 Gift Certificstes. Like, Share and Answer this question on the blog . Best answers will win ! 

1. What’s your favorite dish in the menu ? Why?

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Now who can resist these pillows for for royalty?

John Lewis – All the Pretty Things

 

They say one’s house is a reflection of the woman who lives in it.  This holds true for me. I like calm colors, clean lines and simple but elegant home decors and furnishings.

Now who can resist these pillows for for royalty?

Now who can resist these pillows for for royalty?

No wonder I felt like  a little girl in a candy store the first time I visited the John Lewis store-in- store during it’s opening earlier this year at the 5th level of SM Makati.  My eyes darted from the neatly arranged  royal themed throw pillows to the luxurious bed sheets  to the delicate tableware.  Men and women of discriminating taste where all invited to the launch of renowned home and furniture British brand John Lewis.    The whole event proved to be  a treat to all the guests as the  gorgeous line  lived up to its slogan “Never Unknowingly Undersold.”   Simply put,  these are premium products sold at the best possible prices .

 

Take your pick from these pillows with Union Jack flags, royal crests and british bulldogs.

Take your pick from these pillows with Union Jack flags, royal crests and british bulldogs.

 

Serene Surroundings

In keeping with its singular design aesthetic,  John Lewis has created yet another  exciting  collection.  From its Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, I  particularly liked the pristine beddings which came in grey,  duck egg, blue and white.  It was good, too, that there was an actual bed on the display floor which I was able to style to see what would would work best with the bedsheets I chose. The wide assortment of throws and pillows made it easy for me to mix and match  before I decided on my final purchase.

Perfect sheets for the home.  Breakfastware and candle also from John Lewis.

Perfect sheets for the home. Breakfastware and candle also from John Lewis.

 

Get your best sleep in these beddings.

Get your best sleep in these beddings.

This season’s collection also served tableware with waterlily design as well as an all white set. Coffee mugs in bright hues as well as nautical inspired  bath/beach towels were also on display.  I found three small marble dipping bowls on a wooden paddle and double layered cake stands. What lovely Christmas presents! Those went home with me as well.

Gift ideas for the kitchen.

Gift ideas for the kitchen.

 

All white, speckled or floral? The choice is up to you.

All white, speckled or floral? The choice is up to you.

 

Shop and Win!

Great news to all  shoppers!  John Lewis is taking part in the Great British Shopping contest which is a project initiated by the British Embassy of Manila.  A trip for two to the UK and prizes from other participating brands are up for grabs.  Every P3000 worth of John Lewis purchase (single receipt) entitles the customer to one raffle voucher. If the customer uses their HSBC credit card, they double their  chances of winning!  The contest will run until the end of December.  Draw date will be on January 7, 2016.  Please visit https://www.facebook.com/ukinthephilippines   and http://smhome.com.ph/promos  for more details.

As I walked with both hands full of goodies, I passed by the delightful Christmas trees and holiday decors.  Hmmm…I need those silver snowflakes to hang on my own tree and that Santa inflatable with built in snow would look good in my front door. Five more Mondays to go until Christmas!  I made a mental note to go back to the SM home store and get more Yuletide shopping done… and to join the Great British Shopping Contest, of course!

 

For more information on John Lewis and the SMHome  , visit Twitter: SMHome_ph and IG: smhome  and johnlewisph

 

With a pocketful of glitter,

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Open up your face by having your brows dyed in the same hue as your hair.

High Brow – The Art and Science of Brow and Lash Grooming

As an on-the go mom, I don’t fuss much about putting on make-up or styling my hair.  From the moment I get out of bed in the morning, this momma is already multi-tasking.   Get the children ready for school.  Make sure everyone eats a hearty breakfast .  Wait, did they take their vitamins?  Where  are my nude stillettos? These are just some of the things I have to cross out from my  to-do list even before I make it to the bathroom to bathe and get ready for my day.  This is not to say that we busy moms should take our looks for granted.  The challenge is to find smart beauty fixes that will fit our lifestyles.

I’ve never been a fan of plucking or having my brows shaved by an overzealous beautician.   My  pleasant experience at Browhaus, however, has made me a brow grooming convert.  “Browhaus offers brow and lash grooming services.  We use the Blueprint  System which is a precise process designed to create the perfect brow.  Every facial shape  (round, oval, heart-shaped or square) is taken into consideration.  Even the client’s eye shape and setting as well as unique concerns like a prominent nose, chin or lip are factored in the equation,” says managing director Tab Abad-Estacion.  “Applicants undergo two to three months of rigid training before we employ them as brow architects.  To be able to do the Brow Resurrection, which is the salon’s signature service,  years of experience is needed. Only then do we send candidates to Singapore for additional training skills and tests which will qualify them to be called Brow Masters,” she adds.

Bh- Male and Femal Brow Resurrection

 

SHAPE,COLOR AND REVEAL!

After looking at the menu of services at Browhaus Greenbelt , I decided to try the upper lip threading (P200) , the Browgraphy: Shaping and Color Tweak (P1,298) and the Lashgraphy Color  (P1,150).  Each store has a design theme and  the particular branch I went to had green submarine-like cubicles.  Edz, the brow architect, patiently explained how she’ll go about giving me the perfect arch.   I warned her that I had very low tolerance for pain. “Ma’am please feel free to stop me at anytime.  I assure you that the result will be worth it.  Tiis ganda po,” she said jokingly.  I had to laugh at her suffer-for-beauty philosophy.

 The level of pain was tolerable.  During the upper lip threading, I was asked to stick my tongue to the side of my mouth to raise that area so the facial hair could be threaded more effectively.  My skin immediately turned reddish and a bit puffy minutes after the threading was done.  A mix of mint and licorice balm called Ice Cream was applied to soothe the skin flame.

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The brow construction took less than thirty minutes. This time , the attendant asked me to wait until my brows and lashes were dyed before looking at the mirror. Earlier I learned that dyeing the brows in the same shade as the hair will not only achieve perfect brow balance but will also open up the face.

   

Coloring the lashes, however, is more obvious in Caucasians than in Asians.  Lashgraphy makes the lashes appear richer and thicker.  I couldn’t wait to see the effect of the blue black vegetable dye I chose for my lashes!

BH- BQP Before and After

NICE!

  

I couldn’t be happier when it was time for the big reveal.   My eyes were beautifully framed by perfectly shaped brown-hued arches.  The result was so natural. My face was cleaner and clearer…and I couldn’t stop batting my eyelashes!

The next day, I received compliments from my friends who couldn’t quite pinpoint what I had done .   “Do you want to know the secret?  It’s “tiis ganda” at Browhaus!”

Browhaus has branches in Greenbelt 5, Serendra, Lucky Chinatown , SM Megamall and Abreeza, Davao.

The author with Browhaus Owner Tab Abad-Estacion

The author with Browhaus Owner Tab Abad-Estacion

 

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With a pocketful of glitter,

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A Celebration of Filipino Flavors at Café Ilang-Ilang

 

My family is always in  constant search for new dining places to try out.  We each have our own preferences.  On numerous occasions, we have had  to vote on where to dine for the day.  Last Friday evening, though, our big appetites pointed us to one destination, our favorite buffet – Café Ilang- Ilang at the Manila Hotel.  It didn’t matter that we had to travel all the way from the south.  The famed Grande Dame’s french macarons alone  by Chef Jerome would be worth the trip!

Manila Hotel Macarons

 

Colorful dried leaves made into chandelier-like décor adorned the ceiling inside the hall.  My quizzical look was answered by the gracious host who led us to our table.  “Today is the first day of the Filipino Food Festival, Ma’am.  You have to try the lechon.  Enjoy the feast! ,” she said.  We had every intention of following her recommendation

Cafe Ilang Ilang Filipino Festival

 

Before filling up my plate, I scouted the Filipino spread for the night.  Although, Café Ilang-Ilang had all of its 8 live stations operational (Asian, Mediterranean, European, Western, Pan- Asian, Churrasco Grill Station, Italian and the dessert bar), I decided to zero in on the Filipino Cuisine.  The spread included everything from the familiar (fishballs, adobo and menudo) to the not-your-everyday fare (balut salpicao , hiplog-shrimp with salted egg sauce and pizza palabok).  I soon learned that culinary personality Dedet  “Lechon Diva” Dela Fuente Santos had been invited to showcase her Filipino specialties throughout the two-week run of the festival.  Along with timeless classics as prepared by Manila Hotel’s Executive Chef Walter Konrad, guests can partake of the exciting and award winning flavors of the guest chef.

MHFilFest- Balut Salpicao

Balut like you’ve never tasted before!

 

It was good that we arrived just before 6pm. Shortly, thereafter, the lechon truffle was brought out.  The framed description alongside the chopping board read – FRENCH LECHON – stuffed with truffle rice. Awarded tastiest Asian dish in  London by the Chowtzer group.  A line immediately formed at the lechon counter and guests had varying requests — “Can I have the belly portion?  Please give more crispy skin!  More laman and less truffle rice for me.”

So worth all the calories! But remember --everything in moderation.

So worth all the calories! But remember –everything in moderation.

 

Back at our table,  everyone was enjoying dinner. The lechon was sinfully delicious!  Both my 12  year old son and 4 year old daughter finished off their crispy, tasteful portions quickly. My boy then asked me to try the adobo pizza he had gotten from the Italian station.   The soy and vinegar marinated meat on  the crispy quick-fire cooked dough tasted really good.  I personally liked the crab cooked in crab fat and coconut cream.  I would have preferred for this dish to have more of the rich sauce though. Perfect for smothering the succulent crab meat in!

My favorite dish in the festival.

My favorite dish in the festival.

 

After two more gulit-free trips back to the roasted pig section, it was time for dessert.  I highly recommend the Mango Trifle from Pepita’s Kitchen.  Light, sweet and bursting with local flavors, this confection is made from mango mousse with rosquillos, broas, puto seko, fresh mango slices and leche flan.  Not to be missed also are the hotel’s special bibingka and puto bumbong at the alfresco area.

MHFilFest- Mango Trifle

End your meal with this delightful dessert!

The Filipino Food Festival runs from Sept 11 to Sept 27.  For more information, please call The Manila Hotel’s Food and Beverage Team via 527 0011.

With a pocketful of glitter,

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