The South of Metro Manila is known for having a relaxed and cool environment. I should know because this is my turf! Here in Alabang, Muntinlupa particularly within Filinvest City, residents and guests alike get to enjoy a more laid back vibe such as what Westgate exudes.

awaken your artistic side at Neil's Kitchen in Westgate!
With its open spaces and pockets of greenery as well as water fountains that delight the young ones and young once, Westgate Center is a great place to have a relaxing meal with family and friends any time of the day.  

open spaces and greenery in this village within a village
The development's open-air retail concept challenges the confines of the mall setting. Instead of a huge air conditioned building, Westgate looks like a "village within a big village" with a main street ambiance that's conducive for relaxation and recreation. It combines innovative dining, retail, and lifestyle concepts in a street-style, neo-cosmopolitan setting.

lunch with a view
Westgate is where you'll see how a lot of Southeners live the lighthearted Alabang lifestyle -- playful and passionate; adventurous and artistic.  

whimsical decor always pulls at my heartstrings
Here are five establishments I recently had the pleasure of visiting and what dishes I'd recommend you to try there:

BROTHER'S BURGER

Love honest-to-goodness burgers? Find juicy and delicious ones at Brother's Burger. They use only 100% prime choice imported beef and the freshest of vegetables. I honestly found it hard to finish a whole burger because the ones served there are bigger than what my tummy can usually handle. 

burgers and wings bursting with flavors
It's also hard to choose which flavor to order because they have several delicious ones. Some of my and my son's top picks: The Boss Burger (with one-pound patty!) and the Ranchero Burger with onion rings. I love its smoky flavor and barbecue sauce.  

friendly staff of Brother's Burger
Apart from the burgers, you also have to try their wings that are crispy outside but juicy inside. Very flavorful!

ALBA'S

In the Philippines, this restaurant has been synonymous with traditional Spanish cooking for more than half a century already! Founded by Don Anastacio Alba in 1952, the establishment has not only become a mecca for foodies seeking to indulge in authentic Spanish cuisine, it is also a preferred meeting place for many of its loyal patrons. 

some of Alba's delicious offerings
Alba's buffet is expectedly very popular because diners get to taste many of the best dishes the restaurant offers -- Pollo al Ajillo, Solomio a la Pobre, Lengua a la Sevillana, Pescado en Salsa Verde, Chipirones en Su Tinta, and Paella Valenciana, among others. 

my forever favorite Canonigo
I love many of the main dishes but, when it comes to dessert, their Canonigo remains my top favorite. It has been for years. Oh, and if you're celebrating something, go splurge on a Cochinillo and enjoy the tender meat and crunchy skin with your loved ones! 

BUTAMARU

The name of this specialty ramen shop is translated from Japanese as "pork circle" and it provides authentic Japanese flavors through Chef Jerome Lim's creations. He has trained under Sugimura-san of the Menko Noodle Company in Japan.

Butamaru's different ramen variants are a must-try when in Westgate
Butamaru's menu is based on five basic kinds of ramen -- shio, shoyu, miso, tantanmen, and curry tantanmen. They use traditional Kyushu tonkotsu broth made for 16 hours. No wonder the soup is so flavorful! 

savory takoyaki and gyoza
When you visit, make sure to also try their other specialties such as the fusion dishes. Two of the must-trys are the Curry Gyoza and the Cheese Hane Gyoza.

NEIL'S KITCHEN

Once you get inside this place, you will not be surprised why this is considered one of the hottest dining spots in the South today. Apart from the great tasting and innovative dishes concocted by Chef Neil Ramos, there are so many sweet spots ideal for getting Instagrammable shots.

me and son number two
I deeply appreciate how Chef Neil has given classic Filipino dishes a modern twist allowing diners to rediscover old-time favorites presented differently and creatively, yet still having that comfort food satisfaction on one's palate.  

delicious is not enough to describe the dishes at Neil's Kitchen!
Check out the beautifully plated Sinigang Paella with Grilled Pork Belly, Ooh-La-Laing Burger, Alabang Fried Porkchop, Menudo ManiaTokwa and Seafood, and so many more!

never thought I'd find a pretty reading nook inside a restaurant!
In addition, if you love reading books as much as I do, sit near the My Father's Bookstore area and browse the various titles on the bookshelves. Imagine my delight when I spotted a copy of Heirlooms: Timeless Truths for Mothers and Daughters, which I edited for CSM Publishing that was launched two years ago at the Manila International Book Fair. Of course, I had to have a photo taken with it at the lovely reading nook they have thoughtfully provided!  

UCC

Honestly, I only knew UCC as a popular place to get good coffee but wasn't aware that they also serve savory meals and scrumptious desserts until I visited their branch at Westgate! 

capuccino and choux cream cake = perfect pair!
They have so many offerings on the menu that I would have to come back for. This time around, let me praise the mouthwatering pasta and sandwiches I got to try as well as sensational Japanese-inspired treats like the Mille Crepe and the Choux Cream Cake

so glad to find out that UCC serves these and more!
For sure, there is something for everyone at Westgate Center. Even if you live outside Alabang, going there would be worth it. Promise! 




How busy are you? Would you agree that with our many responsibilities, we tend to forget giving ourselves some much-needed TLC? Unfortunately, by wanting to accomplish as much as possible, we end up spreading ourselves too thin, which takes a toll on our overall wellbeing.

It’s time to revitalize our youthful vigor and bring back the vitality we need to live life to the fullest! To help us get back on track, Watsons launches the Time to Renew campaign so we could more easily restore our beauty and recharge our health.

Ruffa Gutierrez and Iza Calzado
This campaign focuses on three things that people often set aside when running on tight schedules:

Restore beauty for proper skin care
Revitalize hair to bring life back to dull tresses
Recharge health for a more energized and healthier body

campaign launch at the Podium
In case you still don’t know, busy schedules leading to poor sleeping habits not only affect the mood but also result in dull skin, making it prone to blemishes, dryness, acne, or oiliness. Combat these with helpful products you can find at Watsons: Pond’s, Olay, L’Oreal, Belo, Celeteque, Neutrogena, Snow, St. Ive’s, Suave, Bellic, Glutamax, Shulammite soap, Cosmo Skin, and Nivea Men crème.

More than the skin, however, we also have to protect our hair. Simply shampooing and conditioning are not enough to prevent greasiness/dryness, hair fall, or graying. Hair needs intensive protection from the sun and heat styling products. So, make it a point to revitalize your hair with products like Tresseme, L’Oreal, Dove, and Moringa.

there is a right product for every need! find yours at Watsons!
As to recharging health to achieve a 100% you, make sure to mind your eating and exercise habits because skipping them lead to lack of energy and nutrition. Supplement a healthier life and get in tip-top shape with Watson’s healthy solutions such as Cosmo Cee, Poten-Cee, Met Tathione, IVI Collagen, Myra E, Stresstabs, Belo Glutathione, Snow Caps, and Kilo-off.

During the recent campaign launch in Podium, celebrities Iza Calzado, Ruffa Gutierrez, and Alice Dixson shared their beauty secrets using helpful products available at Watsons. Like them, you can restore your beauty and recharge your health while also enjoying big discounts and great deals at Watsons stores and the SM Store Beauty Section

Alice Dixson
In addition, get a chance to win revitalizing packages when you use your SM Advantage Card, BDO Rewards, or PriMo Card when shopping. Every P500 single-receipt purchase of any participating product entitles shoppers to one raffle entry.

There will be 35 winners of Spa Pampering Packages at The Spa; 10 winners of Full-Year Gym memberships at Fitness First, and 10 winners of Overnight Weekend Wellness Packages at The Farm at San Benito resort.

visit Watsons and easily find the products that are right for you
If you’re not yet an SMAC member, make sure to join now because the “Members Get More” program (read my other blog post about it, here) makes shopping more rewarding than ever before. 

Definitely, it’s Time to Renew at Watsons as well as time to get MORE POINTS, MORE SAVINGS, and MORE VALUE! Visit the store nearest you, now!




The months of 2017 seemed to have passed swiftly by, it's a bit surprising to note that Robinsons Supermarket was already launching the fourth leg of its year-long Route to Wellness journey for Filipino families! 

Tonipet Gaba hosting the fun event
This August, let us continue to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle with Celebrate Wellness. This campaign kicked off at the Eastwood Mall Open Park in Quezon City earlier this month with exciting sports-related and wellness activities from Robinsons Supermarket and its partners. 

Hosted by TV personality Tonipet Gaba, families were treated to a fun afternoon program that showcased an impressive taekwondo demo from students of Diliman Prep School among other exciting features. Of course, we young-at-heart attendees also joined the booth activities and happily claimed our prizes and freebies. 

wish I could also kick that high!
It's good to know that more Filipino families would be able to experience the same when the Celebrate Wellness caravan visits Robinsons Place Metro East on August 18-20, Robinsons Place Malolos, Bulacan on August 25-27; Robinsons Lipa, Batangas on September 1-3; and Robinsons Ilocos on September 15-17.

You, too, can get a chance at winning prizes when you get your passports completely stamped at the event booths. Get to try out the virtual reality bike marathon, wii sports games, and mini soccer game. Also earn stamps by availing of promos and taking part in games by sponsor brands.

Woot! I won against my virtual opponent in this tennis match!
“We at Robinsons Supermarket are committed to giving Filipinos a chance to be fit by offering them healthy choices and encouraging them to be active through fun family activities,” said Jody Gadia, Robinsons Supermarket general manager.

What's more, customers can get a free Robinsons Supersavers hand soap for a minimum single receipt purchase of P3,000 inclusive of P500 worth of participating products from Nestle, P&G, Abbott Nutrition, Wyeth, Unilever, and CDO until September 30, 2017.

get this hand soap for free! read terms above
Learn more about RSC’s year-long Route to Wellness series of promos and activities. Like it on Facebook www.facebook.com/RobinsonsSupermarketOfficial or visit its official website at www.robinsons-supermarket.com.ph to stay updated on the activities that it has in store. Plus, learn more about the #ILoveWellness campaign by checking out the hashtag on social media sites.




I’ve been shopping at Althea Korea since January 2016 and I am always a happy customer each time I receive my pretty box of purchases. Althea is my go-to website when I want to replenish or try new Korean beauty products. It gives me peace of mind knowing I am buying guaranteed authentic items from a reliable source.

loving the new Althea Petal Velvet Powder!
Thus, I am very glad to find out that Althea is launching its own product range starting with the Petal Velvet Powder. The pretty pink packaging contains a translucent powder that you can use to set your makeup, leaving behind a silky finish. 

Since the powder is infused with oil from Althea seeds, sebum production is kept at bay without drying out the skin. The result is a radiant, fresh look! Plus, I love its gentle flowery scent and the fact that it’s made using natural and cruelty-free ingredients.

powder features
If you are looking for a lightweight setting powder that will keep your makeup looking great all day, try Althea’s Petal Velvet Powder. It is compact enough to carry, even if you have a small bag, and bring along wherever you go so you can dust some on and stay shine-free.

This Petal Velvet Powder weighs only 3g and can be used by all skin types. Simply use a brush or the provided puff and gently sweep onto your skin. If you’re not prone to sneezing, you may also want to inhale the nice scent to instantly boost your mood :)

discover a great way to have petal-soft skin ...
Inspired by Korean Althea petals, I love how this powder is described “like a flower’s gentle petals dancing on the skin.” The price? It’s Php 210 and is available via http://ph.althea.kr/petal-velvet-powder. Avail of free shipping when you buy items worth Php999 and up. If you’re a new customer, get Php200 off your first Php1500 Althea Korea purchase by clicking here

Stay confident and beautiful, ladies! 💕




I've loved NUVALI ever since I first set foot on it several years ago. The area has a relaxing vibe that makes me want to be around nature as long as possible. I am glad that this part of Laguna continues to develop with eco-sustainability in mind. Every attraction they've added only enhanced the place's charm rather than detracting from it.

our happy group having lunch at Misto
Last month, my husband and I spent a night at SEDA Nuvali and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay for several reasons:

1. Gorgeous views. We got a corner room that has huge windows on one side overlooking The Lake and two small ones on another side where we could see the hotel's pool area. The expansive view stretches out towards the far horizon which made me want to just sit on the couch for a long time to simply gaze at the beautiful sceneries outside.

a view of The Lake from our room
night view taken from our room's wide windows
2. Spacious bedrooms. I love the huge and soft bed with fluffy pillows! It was so comfortable, I found it hard to get up the next day to join my husband at the hotel's gym where he used the treadmill to clock in 5km. Yes, guilty as charged for not wanting to exercise that morning! Anyhow, our room had a nice sitting area overlooking the lake, a big desk, and a large bathroom with essential toiletries.  
If we didn't have places to go and things to do, I would have stayed on this bed all day!
eco-friendly toiletries
3. Delicious food. The meals at Misto are not only appetizing to look at, they taste great, too! We had the very filling bento for lunch then ate dinner by the pool under pretty fairy lights. Two thumbs up to Steph Turiano and her team for arranging a nice feast of barbecued dishes and desserts along with an acoustic duo that provided soothing music while we were eating.

Seda Nuvali's Misto offers tummy-filling Bento Boxes for P550 nett,
Monday to Friday, 6:30 - 9:30PM until Oct. 31, 2017

As to the 4-course executive lunch meal worth P499, check details, here
dinner by the pool under fairy lights
4. Refreshing pool. As I mentioned above, I felt lazy to get up for a treadmill run but when I peeked out the window and saw my husband having the pool to himself at 7AM, I immediately changed into my swimsuit and went down to join him. The water temperature was just right for a refreshing and relaxing dip! Plus, the whole pool area has several great spots for photo ops 😉

a refreshing morning swim
loved the serenity of the pool area early in the morning
5. Friendly staff. In my opinion, among the things that make a hotel stay unforgettable is how members of the staff treat their guests. At SEDA Nuvali, we were always greeted with a smile and a ready reply in case we have questions. We also got sweet treats in our room along with handwritten welcome notes from general manager Mr. Jeffrey Enriquez and our room attendant, Bho.

warm welcome
another sweet treat
6. Nice amenities. Apart from what I've already mentioned, I love the Club Lounge where guests can hang out and have snacks while admiring the spectacular views outside the floor-length glass windows. Families with young kids (and kids-at-heart) would also appreciate the gaming area and children's play area located in separate rooms. In addition, art aficionados would appreciate the beautiful paintings and furniture made by local artists prominently displayed in various areas of the hotel. Oh, and in case you're wondering, not only do they have complimentary WiFi and Internet access, they have iMacs guests can use!

the Club Lounge is accessible to guests staying at Club Rooms and Premier Rooms
iMac station at the lobby
7. Proximity to various attractions. Since we arrived mid-morning in Nuvali, our group went first to Camp N. I was there last November to cover the launch of the Bike Hub but didn't get to try the various activities. This time, I was able to and even got to conquer my fear of free falling! The next morning, we also visited Republic Wakepark, fed humongous koi fishes, and went on a fun boat ride. But, more on those adventures in another post. Stay tuned! If you love to shop, SEDA is just a stone's throw away from Solenad's dining and retail outlets.  

want to know why going to Camp N is fun? wait for my next post! :)

a view of SEDA Nuvali from the lake
8. Great location. As an environment advocate, I was so happy to find out that SEDA Nuvali is the first LEED Silver-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) hotel in the Philippines. It is an integral part of the NUVALI eco-city development within the flourishing Calabarzon industrial area where visitors and residents alike get to enjoy stunning views and marvel at structures that were built to blend with natural landscapes. 

beautiful painting and friendly faces at the reception area 
Did you know? Seda is the Filipino word for "silk," an impeccable fabric that represents the brand's commitment to provide seamless service, exceptional value, and a remarkable hospitality experience in an exciting destination.

I could stay at this spot for hours ...
So, if you are looking for a place to unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life, SEDA Nuvali is one place you should consider going to. The serenity of the environment will definitely renew your energy just like it did mine.

For inquiries, please email nuv@sedahotels.com or call (6349) 255.8888.




I have high respect for a true athlete's discipline because it is a major factor to winning. However, every goal to be met begins with a dream. And this is what AirAsia aims to motivate and inspire athletes with -- to discover their own potential and make their athletic aspirations a reality.


AirAsia, voted the world's best low cost carrier for nine consecutive years by Skytrax, has just launched its region-wide #DaretoDream sports initiative in time for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games (SEA) to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this coming August 19 to 31.

As the official airline partner of the 2017 SEA Games, AirAsia Philippines created an inspiring web video series featuring the stories of Filipino athletes who are all aiming to bring home glory for the country. 

6-time UAAP Season's MVP Alyssa Valdez
The #DaretoDream videos include the journeys of renowned volleyball player Alyssa Valdez, swimmer Jessie Lacuna, and long jump athlete Marestella Torres-Sunang. Their stories, and those of others like them, share both their challenges and joys to encourage young, aspiring local talents who also want to go into sports.

2-time Olympian Jessie Lacuna
"The #DaretoDream initiative is part of AirAsia's continued commitment to grow the local sports scene. Through the web video series, we are sharing the hard work and passion that drives our athletes," expressed David Viray, AirAsia Philippines Brand Manager. "We also want to gather support for them from every Filipino -- we want everyone to watch them compete and cheer for them during this year's SEA Games."

4-time SEA Games Gold Medalist Marestella Torres-Sunang
Please stay tuned to video updates of the 2017 SEA Games to be hosted by volleyball player and TV personality Michele Gumabao on AirAsia's Facebook page. They will contain the game highlights and team standings of the Philippine delegates: the first video will show the Opening Ceremony of the 29th SEA Games while the second and third will feature the winning athletes and teams from different countries. The last will recap the highlights and winning moments of our Filipino athletes. 

Learn more about AirAsia's #DaretoDream campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/AirAsiaPH.




Anybody who has tried organizing a party or get-together without much experience would admit how hard it could be to stay on top of everything to ensure a smooth-sailing event. I've had my share of mishaps while staging birthday parties for my sons when they were small because information about party planning was scarce during those pre-internet years.

Children's Party theme
These days, if you need guidance on party do's and don'ts, you can easily log on to www.hizoncatering.com and find an extensive collection of tips and tricks at the blog section. However, if you want to really enjoy your party and relax with your guests, it's much better to just contact them and allow them to take charge!

delectable hors d' oeuvres
Hizon's Catering is a popular name when it comes to providing food, service, and amenities for parties that range from simple and casual to lavish and formal. They can accommodate anywhere between 50 and 15,000 guests. In fact, since 1989, they've been busy behind the scenes of weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, birthdays, graduations, seminars, Christmas parties, product launches, and many more! 

cakes are one of those little things that can make or break a party
What are amenities, you ask? They're the little things -- decor, hotel reservation, bridal car, entertainment, sound system, cake -- that can add up and become a big headache if one or more suddenly becomes missing or broken on the big day. 

Joseph Hizon
General Manager Joseph Hizon assures that inconveniences like that can be avoided because they take care of everything. "We assign an event planner to every client to coordinate all the details. We don't mark-up on it. It's like an added service. We've always been known for giving good value," he shares. Their packages start at P450/pax. Although based in Metro Manila, Hizon's has gone as far as Subic, Batangas, and Rizal. 

party food for kids and kids-at-heart
Apart from good service, Hizon's is also well-known for their consistently good food. Joseph reveals, "There is no secret recipe, we just make everything from scratch. As part of our culture, we don't allow instant food and flavorings in our kitchens."

beautiful wedding setup
Recently, Hizon's Catering provided bloggers a sneak peek of their offerings and it was amazing how they were able to fit four party themes on each corner of Oasis Manila's Pavillon. On one end was an elegant Wedding setup complete with bride and groom along with a buffet featuring soup, salad, main course, and a carving station.

pretty table setting
At the circus-themed and colorful Children's Party corner, the fare were delightfully a more sophisticated version of the kiddie meals we are commonly familiar with. There was also a balloon twister whose creations went home with happy owners.

cute twisted balloon minion 
The third and glamorous corner was dedicated to an Awards Night theme complete with red carpet and paparazzis. Hor d'oeuvres were passed around and a dessert bar with a variety of tempting treats waited for those with a sweet tooth.      

elegant awards night theme
We also had the chance to see how a Corporate Seminar setup looks like. Since it was supposed to be a morning affair, the omelette cooking station with lots of fillings to choose from made up for the serious ambiance of the stark long tables meant for attendees.

savory treats
There were so many food items to sample, I wasn't able to try all of them but enjoyed everything that ended up on my plate. All the dishes were whipped up by the kitchen team headed by Chef Simon Dayrit while event styling was taken cared of by Drew Menor. The event planning group, on the other hand, was led by Cheska Pineda.

sweet temptations
Having experienced being a guest in a lot of parties and events, I am very much in favor of handing over the reins of being party organizer to the experts. So, if you also have a dream event in mind, make sure to give Hizon's Catering a call. They are the caterer accredited by the most number of venues (375 as of this writing) in Metro Manila. For more information, visit www.hizonscatering.com, email info@hizonscatering.com, or call (02) 925.0103 / (02) 925.0107.

practicing for our silver anniversary next year! :)
Thank you to the following partners for making the bloggers event possible: Oasis Manila, Advent Light & Sounds, Sentimental Groove Band, Bars Datiles Design Props, Star Balloon, Enzuno Cakes, The Photoman, Keon Salon, Jerome Yu LED Projector, and emcee Myra Lorenzo.


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