Thursday, July 26, 2012

Chic Black

Friday, July 20, 2012

So Korean

It is said that the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach. I'll stretch it a bit, the best way to race's heart is through his senses and stomach. 

Over the years, we've experienced a sort of Korean "invasion". It started with the Korean telenovela (series) shown on primetime TV, in all networks. When it happened, we knew that its Mexican counterpart is no more. 

Central to the themes of all the television series' are the Korean's love of food. The way it's prepared triggered a gustatory curiosity amongst the foodie and even those who are in constantly watching what they eat. 

Amazingly, its food is healthy. To us viewers, it feels like food, is part and parcel of the Korean culture. And so a demand for cabbage wrapped vegetable dishes and kimchis spike the enterprising Pinoys. And of course, some Koreans have set up shop to offer authentic cuisine. 

Wherever you go in the Philippines, whether it's in the province or in the highly urbanized cities, there will be one or more Korean restaurant around. 

Lately, we've been having our fill of bibimbap, cabbage stew and bulgogi. A few nights back, we've finally tried Sariwon in High Street Central at the Bonifacio Global City. We were in for a treat. Although, the menu is sparse but the taste and experience more than made up for it. 
wet tissue. just add cold water and it "grows"
It's a nice touch. One can be assured that at the kitchen, the staff takes great care in handling the ingredients. And of course, we like to eat with clean hands. So, it's such a welcome mind conditioning. 

I ordered bibimbap (rice topped with assorted vegetable and egg) while Mara had her cabbage stew. As we wait for the food to arrive, we were treated to these.
Refillable side dishes. On the house.
The house tea is also very soothing and it tastes yum. The main courses are superb also. 
Bibimbap and cold rice pops. Nomnomnom.
The price is okay. The portions can be better though. 

Bulgogi Brothers (Greenbelt 5) rates better but if you're in High Street, I'll surely recommend this.

Will we go back? Definitely.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Royally, purple!

Pretty in Pink

Over the weekend, I've been looking at shop windows and window-shopped on the internet portals for pretty things like clothes and accessories. 

The internet has so much to offer. It was such a joy to play dress up, virtually. Now, I imagined that I'd be hanging out with friends on a special night. Or say, a special dinner with your significant other. What would I'd love to wear. In my mind's closet, these will be what I'd pull out. 

Wouldn't it be lovely to don this outfit on a night in the town with your love or with your girlfriends?
  1. A romantic lace dress from Mango (P4,950). Black, for its elegance. And because it's my staple color.
  2. An Oscar de la Renta Necklace made from 24-karat rose gold-plated hammered-disc necklace (£395)
  3. Philippe Audibert Alberta and Watson set of two gold-plated bracelets (£159)
  4. Bijoux Heart Star 24-karat gold-plated Swarovski crystal ring (£282) 
  5. Anya Hindmarch Marano glitter-finish box clutch (£499)
  6. Miu Miu Leather platform pumps (£456)
One day, it shall be...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The price of being smoke-free

Ten years ago, Davao City implemented its No Smoking Campaign in all public places and business establishments. 

I remember that it drew so much opposition. So many negative reactions. Others even blatantly defied the city ordinance by smoking right beside/under the No Smoking sign or where there is police presence in the area. 

To show political will, those who were caught were fined heavily and the ones who were prominent citizens were made an example by throwing them in jail, with TV/News coverage, in tow. Fine ranges from P500 to P10,000. Steep for a one-peso stick of a 1-minute lung-busting, cancer-causing puffing of cigarette. *huff huff* 

I think the city and its leaders were really pushed and shoved. But the political will was strong; the socio-civic groups were relentless in information dissemination of the ordinance and the health hazards smoking poses. 

The campaign is so well-integrated into the business and social agenda of the city that anywhere and everywhere, one is reminded to smoke only at designated areas. Even in open spaces, one cannot just light a cigarette unless there is a sign that says it's legally okay. Unlike the country's capital, Manila, the people or smokers take it as their right to smoke even when there are kids around. 

In Davao, al fresco establishments and bars have an enclosed smoking room. This allows the other patrons to enjoy the air sans the deadly carcinogens. 
And it's a great reminder, too that signs like this are ever present in Davao establishments. 
Just one of the numerous signs inside the hotel's premises.
The smoking ban in Davao is even part of the spiel of cabin crews upon touchdown on its airport. Really, no one can claim ignorance.

So, it is but fitting that after 10 years, the city earns a well-deserved pat on the back. In a decade, it has influenced the nearby provinces and cities to actively campaign against unregulated smoking. This influence has even extended to neighboring ASEAN countries. They use the Davao platform in drafting their own campaign. 

I think that the regulation instill discipline on the residents. It doesn't strip the tobacco companies of their right to profit. It merely put in place the proper way of enjoying the people's freedom, in this case to smoke, without sacrificing the welfare of the city and its non-smoker residents. 

Given this organic and well-rooted policy, Davao is poised to take center stage, economically and socially. 

One day, its influence will extend to grass-roots levels in barangays, urban or rural. I hope that I get to see the day that my siblings will consciously choose or even build a smoking room in our property so the children and the non-smokers in our home, will get to enjoy fresh air. 

Even after inroads in huge developments in commerce and tourism, I envision that Davao will still have blue skies like this, a decade or more, from today. 
smog-free sky, any given day.
Congratulations, Davao! To former Mayor Rudy Duterte, Sir, hats off to you. A lot of things are said about you. But one thing for certain, Davao has become a better and cleaner place because of you. 

To you, my friend, if you're curious to see more of the Philippines, you may want to give Davao a chance. I assure you, it's the safest place in the country. And it has more to offer, more than the usual.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Beauty Must-Haves

I've always prided myself to be low-maintenance in the beauty department. I have very few products that I put on my face. Mostly, the rationale behind this is my desire to keep things simple because I am lazy. 

The amount of energy and time spent on lathering all the creams for anti-aging, erasing blemishes and keeping the skin supple and smooth, as if the fountain of youth has really been discovered, is amazingly a lot. All because, we all desire to be forever young. 

I am privileged that I work for a beauty company so I am one of the firsts to have read or tried a new breakthrough product. Avon, being at the forefront of research and development for skincare, releases products that gives it the leading edge when it comes to beauty. 

Selectively, I choose only what works for me and how simple its application. For most men and women, the choice of a skin care regimen varies on need, preference and budget. I've tried other brands but I've discovered that I always gravitate to certain Avon brands. Here's a peek into my stash. 
I like to hoard when these are on sale. Nothing beats a discount.

I travel with them. I feel naked without them. 

And there's no substitute for my loyalty to this body lotion, also. No highbrow brand could ever replace it. My affinity to it is unparalleled. Why? Because it delivers. Flaky, itchy dry skin banishes with a generous lather of this non-sticky lotion. If you desire a supple and smooth skin all over your body, just like your face, then to me this is the ultimate hand and body lotion. And the price is just chicken feed.
What's your skincare regimen like?

50 Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Christian Grey. 

People on twitter have posted musings about how awesome or atrocious, lame it is. Clearly, this trilogy have generated so much buzz that in an unprecedented event in the publishing world, it has been digitally published first before the presses have churned on millions of paper copies. 

Its critics say it doesn't warrant literally praise or non-praise because it's just a fan fiction. That it is badly written. And that it is just but mommy-porn. 

Intrigued, I sought out a copy. In a twist of fate, I got a hold of its paperback edition. Ironic, eh? I read it with trepidation. I didn't like to jump on the bandwagon. And I also don't like to get started because from experience I've never put down a book, unfinished. I have a stubborn streak in my body. I read, no matter how badly it appeals to me, if I had already started. I think I adhere to the notion that I shouldn't be a quitter... in reading. Hahaha.
The first in the trilogy that made me lose so much sleep.
Nica, a colleague and a friend, told me that she had a copy of all three. I asked if I could borrow. The rest is as they say history, written all over my dark-ringed under eye.

I think the pull of the book(s) is not just on its superfluous employ of erotic scenes. What it lacks in literary style, makes up for the author's vivid use of words that painted out of this world description of its male protagonist, Christian Grey. 

A hopeless romantic, spinster or otherwise, would surely pine for a man like him. Almost perfect in its description whose only fault is the desire to deeply care and lavish his woman with desirable material things, ordinary beings are just wont to imagine and have them in their fantasy. Never mind that he is extremely good looking, too with a penchant for sexual adventures not accepted in the "normal" world. 

It has a lot of parallelisms to the Twilight saga. Given that its premise spawned from the fan base of the saga, there's no surprise there. 

But what makes it more exciting than Twilight is its ability to engage a wide-range of readers because for one all characters are human or as human, as one could get. Secondly, the readership centers on the upwardly mobile young professionals who enjoy the perks of being young with earning potential beyond the average person. 

In my love affair with the written word, I have not been selective with my reading. I'd devour anything printed, recommended or otherwise. As long as it's available, am game. Hence, my genre, I think is broader. 

I've read the likes of Mills and Boon, Harlequin when I was but a young girl. The stories written there are more provocative back then. Shocking and scandalous. The male leads were depicted as the Adonis's of the mortal world. In fact, Fabio as a perpetual paperback cover had attained a status unto itself. 

So, I'd say the E L James trilogy isn't really something new that should shock the sternest aunt or the extremely shy maiden. What it offers is a fresh take into what the modern world consider as shocking and delectably provocative. 

Cheesy, yes. Beneath the veneer of sophistication, women like their cheese. Especially, if it's served on a silver platter. 

Loyalty as an enticing prospect

In the war between competing brands and services companies have established that for them to gain footing there must be an irresistible need/want they must offer a clientele, they wish to establish as part of their loyal customer base. As a result, there's a superfluous availability of Rewards Program, in the market today. 

I have fallen prey to these marketing ploys. I've readily embraced them because the rewards are indeed worth the effort. Over the years, I've collected so many loyalty and rewards cards that I needed to have a separate card holder as they threaten to wreck havoc to my wallet. 

I have cards for virtually any type of service, from the mundane like spa loyalty cards to the staple grocery rewards programs. Each point provides a window for me to think that no matter how small, how token the cash equivalent, somehow I am rewarded for my loyalty to its service. 

Recently, Global Hotels Alliance (GHA Discovery) sent me my platinum membership card which entitled me to free room upgrades, 24/7 wifi connectivity, early check-in, late check-out, and a local cultural experience.
Platinum Membership.
My work gives me an opportunity to travel, regularly. I work for a beauty company that has over 160 branches in the country. Naturally, earning rewards almost seem to be a given. Last Wednesday, I checked in yet again at The Marco Polo Davao. 

And to my pleasant surprise I was told that my membership level has already reached Black. In the hierarchy of its program, it already is the highest level. Whoa. Backtracking on its website made me realize that I have already stayed for 30 nights in The Marco Polo, both in Davao and in Cebu. 

As a Black Member, I was given a double upgrade from a standard room to premiere, a healthy serving of fruit platter, and more. Am still waiting for that local experience, though.

Nice. As the Global Hotel Alliance home page states,

Join today. Reap the rewards tomorrow.

 Be a loyalty cardholder now. Just like me.

The Wedding Diary: Countdown to Expenses

There are only 14 weeks remaining before our big day. I have a hard time visualizing 14 weeks so, I need to break it down in months. There are four weeks in a month. That means, I barely have three months and two weeks before I finally exchange "I do". 

Like any normal sane person, I feel the jitters. But since am determined to conduct our big moment in serenity and total laid-back provincial vibe, I try to find my center in times of uncertainties. 
My mantra until the big day.
It's Friday, the 13th. Instead of dreading the day, am counting on it to bring me "luck". I need all the positivity today because I am set to meet some suppliers... to give them our hard earned moolah. Hihihi. 

And over the weekend, we would have to do food tasting, confirm pencil booked professionals and pay. Sigh. 

If it isn't my lucky day, I don't know what one is. My old friend responded to my Facebook inquiry if anyone knows any violinist in Davao. This old friend resides in Cebu but took the time to message me that her son is one. Woot! Woot! 

Am not sure yet, if she and her husband's going. But I'd be really floored if they do. They're one tough couple I greatly admire. Theirs is a relationship deeply centered in God. 

Married life, as it is, already paints difficult scenarios. So, I need all the guidance and inspiration I can get a hold of. More prayer warriors for a life enriched in His love and grace would be a dream come true. 

Friday, the 13th

I woke up today to a lot of Friday, the 13th musings on Twitter. 

Western civilization's belief that it heralds bad luck has rubbed on us. As I am not swayed by superstitions, I say
Happy Friday, everyone!

Blue Sky

I long for the day that I'd see a beautiful blue sky, when I look up. 
Without the filter from the glass pane (airplane) the sky looks much brighter. (Davao City)
That along with progress is a sustainable growth of the environment as the economy grinds its wheel on a blinding speed. And that the ecological system wouldn't be a casualty of modern civilization. 

I feel strongly about efforts (or the lack thereof) of an urban city to plant trees on its streets. I think it's an indication of foresight so that even when developments accelerate, the younger generation need not worry, for there shall still be trees amidst the concrete jungle. 

I love efforts from individuals that are geared towards lessening our carbon footprint. If we can't build a forest by our sheer efforts alone, surely we can plant a tree in our backyard or nurture potted plants that will not only prettify our space but will help us breathe a cleaner air?
In the offices of Avon Davao. What a green practice?!
 Any crevice, nook or cranny is given a chance to grow plants. 
Am so glad that synthetic plants are no longer considered in vogue. (Davao airport)

Each time I pass by EDSA, my heart swells with happiness. At last, the authorities have deemed it wise to plant shrubs along the smog-filled, traffic jammed of a highway. Imagine how choked this place is: it can only accommodate 1,600 public buses everyday and yet 12,000 ply the length of this avenue. 

The fumes, the enumerable cars and other elements choke the life of Manila's main thoroughfare. Now, that it has plants on every available space that is not a lane dedicated for vehicles, the road looks a little more alive and breathing. 

The urban planners have started adapting a new trend, vertical gardening. I've seen some in private properties and recently along the Ayala-EDSA intersection, before you traverse to McKinley Road or EDSA. It isn't just a pretty sight. To me it's a symbol of hope for our country and our leaders who in the past, do not seem to possess a desire or responsibility to care for the environment. 

In the streets of Davao, am seeing efforts to grow trees on the islands. It doesn't have the elaborate landscaping of the ones in Makati's Central Business District or the manicured ones in Bonifacio Global City, but it shows a lot of promise. 

The leaders took their sweet time. I guess it stemmed from the fact that Davao is largely forested. But with the advent of flash floods during heavy downpours, it's foolish not to turn to natural methods of preventing its catastrophic results. 

I hope that soon I'd take a more proactive role in re-greening my city or my adopted one.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thirty-four Summers

I'd like to believe that summer is my season. Although, in the Philippines, June is already the start of the rainy days. In fact, I spent my birthday in a heavy drizzle. 

Summer is all about being care-free, enjoying the sun, chilling at the beach and taking a vacation from everyday life. And that's how I treat my life. 

It also symbolizes hope for the future. For as long as the sun continues to rise, one has hope for a better life. Or live the life of her dreams. Or start all over again.

When friends are prompted to describe me they'd say that I am light and bubbly. I take it as a compliment. I take it to mean as being able to laugh at whatever life throws my way. Inasmuch as I have the immense capacity for laughing at the silliest of things, I have my low moments, too. But I strive to find a silver lining in the grey skies. 

On the 28th of June, I realized that it was to be my last birthday celebrated as singleton. Ah, the revelation. I realized that it was just but fitting that I made it a me-date day. I had a great time. I enjoyed my trip to the salon. I died in spa heaven at The Spa. And got resurrected but only to die again with the big breakfast I ate, for dinner.When I woke up the next day, I went to the nail spa to have a relaxing foot spa courtesy of the salon. Loyalty, pays. Lol.
The Spa & Wellness at the Bonifacio Global City. Absolutely, divine!

Met up two of my friends for a short run, Me-an and Mara. Yes, we were ready to run but it rained. So, we spent the remaining hours hanging out at Jamba Juice. 
I missed their calls because I dozed off and snored at the spa.Lol.

My friends took the time to greet me. Thank you, Facebook all of them were reminded of my day. Of my 800++ friends on Facebook, about 200 sent me personal greetings. Others wished me well on Twitter. And then, a very few, gave me a shoutout through text messages. Ah, the wonders of technology. 

Here are some gifts I received. 
Birthday card from our GM Kanwar Bhutani. Everyone in Avon receives one like this.
In keeping with my spa-themed solo celebration. Thanks, Erika! You're super.

When the day was over, I felt rejuvenated and bursting with happiness. God is good all the time. And He just added another year to my life. It is my prayer that He'd bestow upon me the grace to live a purpose-driven life. Am given another year to start afresh; turn a new leaf. 

A life that seeks to glorify Him in all of my ways and speech. Thank you, God for an awesome adventure all through the 34 years on this earth. 

To you who may be reading this, I wish you an awesome birthday.