I used to dislike doing strenuous physical activities when I was younger. I thought ocassionally walking the whole length and breadth of a mall while window shopping or moving around the house doing chores every day were enough to keep me fit. 

overcome laziness and pursue active living!
photo credit: Sun Life HK
I was wrong and I honestly regret not starting my fitness journey earlier. I started running about three years ago and found how much it has improved my endurance as well as my body. I am now seldom sluggish and am no longer afraid of very long walks or climbing long flights of stairs. More importantly, it comforts me to know that I am taking concrete steps to be here longer for my family.

Having experienced the benefits of regularly working out, I really want to encourage people I care about to also be more mindful of their health as well as their diets. It's hard to backtrack when you're already diagnosed with lifestyle diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure but you can still do something to improve your fitness level. You just have to start NOW!

I have a lot of reasons why I want to remain fit and healthy; find yours!
Personally, I feel sad about the findings of this year's Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index because the Philippines, along with Thailand and Malaysia, topped the list of countries in the region where people don't exercise regularly. It's ironic that Filipino respondents were found to be the most optimistic about their state of health and yet 61% do not make a lot of effort to engage in physical activities! In addition, 30% feel less healthy than they did three years ago. 

Launched in 2014, the Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index is a periodic study of health trends in Asia. The research is based on the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted in August 2016 involving around 4,000 Asians from 25 to 60 years of age and with middle class incomes. Respondents from Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam were interviewed online about their attitudes towards healthy and active living, their health concerns for the future, and expectations on access to healthcare.

Sun Life Asia Health Index Media Briefing at Shangri-La Makati
from left: Ms. Lirio, Ms. Mylene, Ms. Riza, and Ms. Jaymie
According to Ms. Mylene Lopa, Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer who delivered the report, survey respondents identified several barriers from living a healthier life: 57% of Filipinos blamed it on their lack of time due to work, 47% admitted to "lack of personal motivation," and 47% said it's due to "distractions of modern life" which, I presume, include too much time on social media. Other key factors named were cost (45%) and lack of accessible venues to engage in sports and recreation (36%).

Let me tell you right now that IT IS POSSIBLE to exercise at home if you can't afford gym membership fees or don't have a place nearby where you can go running! Buy a jump rope or yoga mat (they are not as expensive as you think, promise!), watch YouTube videos you can follow, and you'll soon be on your way to developing a simple fitness regimen for starters. 

on days when I can't run, I do jump rope exercises at home 
Please don't remain part of the population dubbed as "Generation O" or people who are overweight, overworked, or overwhelmed. Last year's Health Index identified six health segments in the Philippines. Find out where you belong by reading my other blog post, here, and see where you need to make adjustments.

Sun Life President and CEO Ms. Riza Mantaring reminds, "With all the things that demand our time and attention, it's usually our health that suffers because it's relegated to the least of our priorities. However, this should not be the case. This is why we at Sun Life have been boosting our suite of wellness products and mounting events that would help Filipinos to pursue their health goals." 

a healthy lifestyle makes for a brighter life
photo credit: Sun Life Canada
FYI, despite her very busy schedule, Ms. Riza finds time to do practice runs every day and has finished marathons in various countries! "You just have to schedule exercise like any other activity," she advises. 

Speaking of wellness products, Sun Life recently launched SUN Fit and Well, which offers comprehensive life and health protection from childhood all the way to the golden years. While most products offer benefits only when an illness strikes, SUN Fit and Well covers policy holders' needs from prevention to diagnosis to treatment, all the way to rehabilitation

Be protected! Learn more about Sun Fit and Well today!
Ms. Lirio Torres, Sun Life Health and Accident Head, shares that this new generation wellness product covers 114 critical illnesses (major and minor) that encompass conditions across life stages. She describes, "SUN Fit and Well is comprehensive health protection and savings from childhood (starting at 30 days old) up until age 100." 

For prevention, SUN Fit and Well provides Gold membership access to GoWell, Sun Life's wellness program. Here, members can enjoy special privileges that will help them keep mind and body fit. According to GoWell advocate, Ms. Jaymie Pizzaro, this includes easy access to health and wellness information, fitness and wellness events, advice from nutrition and health experts, and more.

fit and fab women of Sun Life
The good news is, even if you're not yet a SUN Fit and Well policy holder, you can still be a member of GoWell. Just log on to www.gowell.com.ph so you can pre-register and join activities like zumba and yoga sessionsrunning clinics, and more for free! "We make sure to cater to all people so that a vast majority of Filipinos could start exercising now, get fit, and have fun," assured Jaymie.

"Sun Life remains committed to helping Filipinos face a brighter tomorrow by being in the best of health," shares Ms. Riza. "The results of the Asia Health Index reiterate the need to promote a healthier lifestyle, and Sun Life wants to be the Filipinos' partner in pursuing the journey."

For those who need that extra push, I pray that after reading this, many of you would finally find time to exercise. However, if you have an existing medical condition, make sure to ask your doctor for advice first. Please do share with me in the comments section if I was able to encourage you. I'd love to hear your story! 😊

Anybody who's familiar with collagen knows that this protein helps keep skin look plumper, more hydrated, and younger. It's no wonder products containing collagen has become very popular in recent years. But, what does this have to do with food, you ask? Read on …

looking forward to trying a beauty collagen hot pot for the first time
photo credit: ARC Public Relations, Inc.
Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo is a unique Japanese farm-to-table concept restaurant that became popular for its signature Beauty Collagen Hot Pot. Also known as Bijin Nabe, this dish uses the Golden Collagen Stock, a rich and exquisite broth that is imported directly from the Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan, home to the Jidori chicken.

the soup stock initially looks like white gelatin before it is heated
A special breed, Jidori is considered the "kobe beef of chicken" because it is meatier and more sinewy than its counterparts, making it tastier and richer in collagen. Jidori is grown in the only privately owned free range farm in Japan, under constant care and with a closely watched diet.

tender and tasty Jidori chicken in nabe
To produce the famous broth, Jidori chicken undergoes a delicate 18-hour stewing process until the essence of the bones and meat is completely dissolved into the stock. I was quite surprised when it was served on our table because it looked like white gelatin!

beautifully arranged ingredients on top of the soup stock
When heated, the stock slowly dissolves into its liquid form that is delicately milky and tastes very, very flavorful. My first sip from the tiny tasting cup was simply lip-smacking! Plus, the chicken meat that came with the broth was very tender and tasty.

condiments (from left): Layu, Leek Oil, Yuzukosho, and Shoyu
Of course, a hot pot wouldn't be complete without additional ingredients so we also enjoyed fresh vegetables, ground chicken meat, and seafood paired with a selection of four condiments: a light soy sauce called Shoyu, flavorful Leek Oil, the zesty spice of Yuzukosho, and the aromatic chili Layu sauce.

ready to make zosui
After the veggies and shrimp are consumed, diners have the option to use the remaining broth where one can add cooked rice and egg to make a tasty porridge called zosui, or request for a new bowl of nabe and add noodles instead of rice.

I like the dressing of this romaine lettuce salad, not too heavy
Before we started on the hot pot, my table companions and I also got to enjoy a Romaine Lettuce Caesar Salad with deliciously crisp greens, an interesting appetizer called Maximum Eggplant that surprisingly tasted really good, and Chicken Nanban made of boneless chicken that is moist and juicy beneath the breading.

the maximum eggplant -- crispy outside while soft and moist inside
We also got to sample different variants of Nikumaki -- rice wrapped with a thin layer of pork then rolled inside a lettuce leaf, which can already be a meal in itself. We capped off our amazing meal by sharing a plate of Sweet Potato with Vanilla Ice Cream. Yum!

like chicken fingers, I think this would be a hit with kids :)
Bijin Nabe is the brainchild of the Tsukada Nojo (Japanese for "Tsukada Farm"), a pioneering private farm located in Kyushu, Japan that is acclaimed for its high quality poultry raising methods. With its bona fide background, the Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo branch in the Philippines guarantees a new kind of authentic Japanese culinary experience that's exactly the same as its overseas counterparts in Japan and Singapore.  

Nikumaki has four flavors: original, cheese, mayo, and spicy
Guests should also anticipate that when visiting this restaurant, they'll get a very personal dining experience as the service staff treats every bowl of nabe as a piece of art, giving it ceremonial respect aptly reserved for the most exquisite of Japanese cuisine. They are well-trained in guiding diners to make the Bijin Nabe experience as authentic as can be.

dessert for sharing to cap off a very filling meal
To give us an idea about the price, our server shared that a serving of Bijin Nabe per person costs P750. Visit Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo at the second floor of S Maison in Conrad Manila. Learn more by visiting their official website at http://bijinnabe.ph. You may also follow @BijinNabePH on Facebook and Instagram as well as join the conversations online by using the hashtag #BijinNabePH

I love visiting Conrad Manila. It has that refreshing and sophisticated vibe that makes one forget everyday worries for a while. And since the Lunar New Year is just around the corner, I'm glad I got to join an inspired culinary experience there the other night to sample a special menu created for the upcoming Year of the Rooster.

a Chinese New Year pre-celebration with friends
Want to bring in luck while also feasting on sumptuous meals with your family, friends, and business partners? Make reservations at Conrad Manila's award-winning China Blue by Jereme Leung from January 15 to February 2, 2017! Here are eight good reasons why. You get to:

1) Savor the specially prepared Lunar New Year set menu treasures by Chef Khorr and his culinary team while having a great view of the SM Mall of Asia Bay Area.

China Blue's "street food" corner features delicious treats
2) Make a wish while doing the Yee Sang prosperity toss. It was my first time to try this and found it fun tossing ingredients up in the air while saying "Lo Hei!" and making a wish. We made quite a bit of mess but I was told it's part of the ritual. 

Yee Sang's attractively presented ingedients
Let me add that I also appreciated the food symbolisms that Chef Khorr shared with us. He mentioned that the dish has healthy ingredients like radish, carrot, melon, and taro topped with deep fried prawns, fresh salmon with lime, sesame seeds, ground peanut, and crispy crackers. Chef Khorr also explained that the oil he poured is supposed to make the whole year a smooth-sailing one while the sweet prawn sauce invites happiness. The ang pao envelopes, on the other hand, contained five spice powder and white pepper.  

excited to say, "Lo Hei!"
3) Tickle your palette with three delicious appetizers. I was amazed at the pretty Deep-fried Smoke Pear Dumplings made with spinach dough. They looked like the real fruits but contain a hot delicious filling. 

so creative, so delicious!
I also loved the Steamed Seafood and Mushroom Money Bag in Dry Scallop Sauce. The flavors are lip-smackingly good!

money bags to welcome good luck
Of course, I didn't pass up on the Marinated Pickled Cucumber Jelly Fish with Spicy Sesame Sauce. It continues to be one of my favorite Lauriat appetizers that I usually order when dining in Chinese restaurants. 

yummy jelly fish
4) Sip a wonderful soup called Braised Peach Gum and Sea Treasure with Superior Crab Roe Broth. This was served to us in individual bowls that kept the soup warm while we enjoyed the different textures and tastes of its ingredients.

soup that warms the heart and the tummy
5) Enjoy the main dishes that are said to bring about a lot of positive things. Give your palette a good start with Braised Abalone, Black Mushroom, and Sea Moss Roll with Dried Oyster for business success and financial prosperity.

here's to a successful lunar new year filled with opportunities!
Relish mouth-watering Stir Fried Lobster with Golden Broth XO Sauce with meat that is firm and juicy. FYI, lobster in Chinese is the King of the Sea believed to usher in wealth, happiness, and prosperity.

meaty and juicy lobster dish
Next, get your dose of protein from the Steamed Live Garoupa with Soya Sauce and Spring Onion. This is great paired with the Wok-Friend Rice with Preserved Duck Meat and Chinese New Year Sausage. Like the other dishes, both warm the heart and tummy.  

a healthy protein fix
6) Satisfy your sweet cravings with decadent desserts in servings that are just right to cap off a hearty meal. My companions and I liked the Deep-Fried Crispy Banana with Chinese New Year Cake and were very impressed at the koi-shaped tikoy!

aren't those koi fish and the golden prosperity tree in the background amazing?!
However, I loved the Chilled Sweetened Black Glutinous Rice Puree with Coconut Ice Cream more. It's like our local champorado with a more sophisticated twist. I thought I was already full but I was able to finish the whole bowl because it tasted really good!  

this black glutinous rice puree ended my dinner perfectly
7) Treat the kids with their own share of Chinese delicacy. The dimsum set will be available at the Do It Yourself corner of China Blue on January 27 and 28. There will also be a Lion and Dragon Dance performance in the evening of the 27th and during lunch on the 28th.

8) Check out the delightful takeaway goodies that you can share with family, friends, and associates. You'll also find the restaurant staff very friendly and accommodating. They would even take your photos with a smile :)  

China Blue by Jereme Leung is a spacious restaurant that can seat 200 guests
and has private dining rooms for 8 to 18 guests
Always respectful of Asian tradition, Conrad Manila General Manager Harald Feurstein expressed, "Chinese New Year is another great time to celebrate family togetherness and great partnerships. Conrad Manila is sincerely grateful to all our guests for their support and for helping us write the story of Conrad Manila that we have written for the past six months. We hope that 2017 brings in the loud crow of the rooster for an extraordinary year for all. Kung hei fat choi!"

Make your reservations now because some dates are already fully booked! Choose between the Lauriat style set menu that starts at Php 28,888++ good for 10 persons or the special ala carte menu if you're coming as a couple or a small group. For inquiries, call +63.2.683.3915 or email conradmanila@conradhotels.com

For many years now, my family and I have been very mindful of how we dispose our trash. After all, we only have one Mother Earth that needs our help in preserving its beauty and natural resources. This planet is our only home so ALL OF US should be doing our part in taking care of it!

we live in a beautiful world, let's help it stay this way!
While they were young, our children have been taught to always look for a trashcan and throw garbage responsibly even when they are out of the house. I’m glad my husband and I don’t have to nag them about it now that they’re in their teens and twenties. At home, we have different bins for segregating trash. There’s one for paper, one for tin cans, another for plastic containers, and another for everything else that the junk shops would not accept. 

reduce, reuse, recycle, or upcycle trash and help save our planet
Although we’ve been able to considerably reduce the amount of trash that is collected by the garbage trucks, I’m always on the lookout for more ways to reduce our carbon footprints. So I was really glad to have come across a post on Facebook last month by fellow blogger Kira about an organization that came up with a brilliant idea to turn seemingly useless, unrecyclable plastic into something fantastic!

every stuff counts!
Let me introduce you to The Plastic Solution. Basically, they encourage people to stuff as many clean and dry trash (so there will be no decomposition of organic matter inside) into plastic bottles as possible until they are filled. The stuffed bottles, called eco-bricks, are then collected and brought to various places where they build structures like libraries, schools, and houses. 

see, even the wrappers of pain reliever patches served a purpose!
Please watch the video below to learn better how this is done. You can also read their instructions to eco-brick making, here. Imagine, together, we can turn plastic pollution into a simple solution that is making a big impact! So gather those soda, juice, and energy drink bottles; rinse them and dry upside down before using.

Since last month, we’ve been able to fill several bottles already with those small stuff that are usually tossed in the wastebasket – empty packs of chips and noodles, plastics used to seal jar lids, candy wrappers, courier pouches, tiny plastic strings from clothes’ price labels, etc. etc.

these plastic strings from the label off my dry fit shirt are now inside an eco-brick  
Seriously, if you look throughout your house, I am sure you’ll find a lot of things you can stuff inside a bottle right now! And to make it easier for your family members to also acquire the habit, place bottles in several areas like the kitchen, the bathroom, and bedrooms because, really, there is always something that could be stuffed inside a bottle instead of being tossed as trash.

eco-bricks made in less than a month 
For more information and to get updates, like The Plastic Solution on Facebook and find drop off points for the ecobricks, here

Disclaimer: I am not part of The Plastic Solution team; I just blogged about this because environment protection is one of my personal advocacies. So kindly direct all inquiries to them. On a side note, you can read my other posts related to caring for our environment, here. Thank you 😊

Would you agree that we feel more confident when we know we look good? Those who are aware of this fact want to look our best all the time. However, it could be hard if one's skin is not very cooperative so we continuously search for the right products to help us deal with various skin issues

shop at Watsons, too, so you can find the best products for you!
For many women, common skin problems include uneven tone and dull-looking skin. Watsons recognizes this and wants to help ladies become our fairest, most confident self by throwing a Big White Blowout sale where shoppers can find a wide variety of choices with the most amazing deals and discounts on whitening needs!

big discounts and great deals await shoppers at the Big White Blowout sale
During the Big White Blowout launch yesterday at the Watsons Podium branch, Cosmo Skin endorser Ruffa Gutierrez shared with guests that, aside from using the right products, we should also remember to get enough sleep and to never sleep with makeup on. I totally agree with those tips because looking good should begin with having the discipline to take care of the basics when it comes to skin care.

Cosmo Skin Founder and Marketing Director Dr. Nino Bautista 
and endorser Ruffa Gutierrez
photo credit: First Tier Brands
Personally, I am always happy to be inside a Watsons store because I can find many of my favorite beauty brands there. Visit one near you and you'll find shelves upon shelves of whitening soaps, facial creams, body lotions, deodorants, and more. There are even beauty supplements you can drink for those who want to experience the next level of whitening.       

some of the skin care products I use that are available at Watsons
In addition, there's another exciting feature of this blowout sale. Shoppers who use their SM Advantage or BDO Rewards card for every P500 purchase of whitening products will get a chance to win a brand-new iPhone 7! 

make sure to look for these stickers while shopping
So find the right white for you and join the conversations online by using the hashtags #WatsonsPH and #BigWhiteBlowout on your social media posts! 😊

One of the essential items in my makeup kit that I would never go without are my favorite items from the Céleteque DermoCosmetics line such as the Dual CC Matt Powder and the Blush and Face Contour Kit. I trust that they continue to help ensure the health of my facial skin while I wear them because they have been co-created by dermatologists and vouched for by beauty experts.

beauty and confidence begin by being comfortable in one's own skin
Ironically, despite makeup being known for helping a woman to feel more confident about her looks, we are often warned about how makeup can cause dryness and acne breakouts on the skin. So it's good that Celeteque’s dermatologists see no reason why beauty products should not also help ensure skin health which is, after all, the basic canvas we have to work with when we even out skin tone, highlight our lips or eyes or cheeks, and bring color and drama to our looks.

items from the original Celeteque Dermo Cosmetics line
In the past 10 years, Céleteque has continuously grown in popular demand for its DermoScience skin care products and, even more so, for its DermoCosmetics line because it perfectly blends the enhancing effects of cosmetics with the nurturing benefits of expert skin care

all made up with DermoCosmetics products
during Celeteque's 10th Year Celebrations
The good news is, this dermatologically tested and hypoallergenic ladies' favorite dermo-grade brand has just launched seven more all-NEW make up products! The new dream line offers a "perfect combination" of skin benefits: to protect and nourish our skin as well as make it look radiant and beautiful. 

I am excited to share with you what these are. Here are their ingredients, benefits, and prices:   

Base and Face Products

Joining the Matte CC Powder, Dark Spot Concealer Stick, and 24-hr Photoready Foundation in Céleteque DermoCosmetics’ all-face products line are the 24-hr Photoready Matte Primer, CC Micro-Hydrating Powder, and 2-in-1 Eyebag Miracle Kit. 

help your makeup look flawless longer
The Céleteque DermoCosmetics 24-hr Photoready Matte Primer (P825) helps your makeup look flawless for longer, thanks to its silky, weightless formula that minimizes the appearance of pores and fine lines and reduces shine for a smooth, flawless look. Four components help this happen: Polymethyl Methacrylate to minimize pores, fine lines, and wrinkles; Silica for oil control and to give your skin a silky-soft and matte look and feel; and Dimethicone and Dimethicone Crosspolymer, which work together to form a protective barrier on the skin and helps your makeup last longer.

control oil and shine while also protecting your skin from the sun
The Céleteque DermoCosmetics CC Micro-Hydrating Powder (P930) comes in light porcelain, classic natural, and deep beige shades. It hydrates your skin while controlling oil and shine and has SPF 30 to provide double sunscreen protection—a must-have in climates like ours! The pot containing the powder features an autogrinding technology that gives you an ultrafine and hydrating powder that evens out your skin complexion and is easy to blend. With a few twists, it provides just the right amount of product you need. It contains Hyarluronic Acid to replenish the skin and help it retain moisture, Silica to reduce excess oil and give your skin a silky-soft finish, and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) to hydrate and nourish the skin even further. 

reduce those dark circles under your eyes in a jiffy
Say goodbye to raccoon eyes with Céleteque DermoCosmetics’ 2-in-1 Eyebag Miracle Kit (P745), which is a two-component solution to the dark circles under your eyes that may be caused by poor sleep, allergies, hormone levels, or even the food you eat or the genes you’re born with. The kit contains an Eye Balm to reduce puffiness under the eye and an Eye Foundation in light, natural, and beige shades to cover and lighten your eyebags. Ingredients include the trademarked Cytobiol Lumin-eye to reduce puffiness and under-eye bags; Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) to nourish, hydrate, and firm up the skin, minimizing lines under the eyes; and antioxidants like Ubiquinone, Squalane, and Ginkgo Biloba leaf extract, all of which help prevent further skin damage.

Lip and Cheek Products

The bloom of youth and health can be enhanced with Céleteque DermaCosmetics’ lip and cheek products; the Matte Lip Stick, Blush & Face Contour Kit, and Cheek Color Stick have become must-haves in womens’ kikay kits, but now you may want to consider the convenience of Moisturizing Lip & Cheek Duo or the luscious effect of the Ultra-Nourishing Lip Lacquer.

color as well as protect your lips and cheeks from dryness
If you’re on the go and need a one-stop-shop solution to add some bloom to your look, you may just find the Céleteque DermoCosmetics Moisturizing Lip & Cheek Duo (P665), available in Rosy Blush and Soft Berry, is a lifesaver. This oil-free and streak-free mousse contains Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), which acts as an antioxidant that protects your lips and cheeks from free radicals that lead to dryness, as well as Sodium Hyaluronate and Glycerin, which help your skin retain moisture better, making it firmer, softer, and smoother for a more youthful appearance.

for softer, smoother lips
For an extra-kissable pout, you’ll definitely want to carry around the Céleteque DermoCosmetics Ultra-Nourishing Lip Lacquer (P545), which is lightweight, smooth, and non-greasy and comes in three shades: Natural Nude, Soft Pink, and Velvet Red. This gel-based lip moisturizer will keep your lips soft and supple all day, thanks to a formulation that includes the hydrating and moisturizing Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), castor seed oil, and Panthenol, all of which contribute to softer, smoother lips.

Eye Products

If the eyes really are the windows to the soul, you’ll definitely want to make sure they look gorgeous. Céleteque DermoCosmetics’ 24-hr Lashes Volumizer and Eyebrow Nourishing Serum can go a long way to helping you pretty up your peepers, but they’ll be even more effective when you add the all-new Eyebrow Defining Kit and Long-Wear Eyeshadow Palette to your beauty arsenal.

define brows with ease
The Céleteque DermoCosmetics Eyebrow Defining Kit is a 2-in-1 formulation of Tinted Wax and color-complementing Eyebrow Powder containing Shea Butter and Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) to moisturize and smoothen your brow area, as well as Argan Kernel Oil to ease the blending process. The overall effect is easy-to-achieve definition for your brows. 

keep your eyelids moisturized and smooth while blending colors
Get those peepers to pop with the easy-to-blend lightweight Primer and naturally toned eyeshadow found in the Céleteque DermoCosmetics Long-Wear Eyeshadow Palette (P725). The product contains Shea butter, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), and Evening Primrose Oil, all of which help keep your lids moisturized and smooth and make the elements easy to blend.

Celeteque DermoCosmetics are available at all Watsons stores nationwide. 

OlderStories Home