When your work entails being in front of the computer almost 24/7 like mine does, chances are, you also often experience having aches and pains in your hands, arms, back, and butt. This is the reason why I love having a whole body massage every now and then because it rejuvenates my tired muscles and make them ready for work again.


Finally, I got to use the Sparkle Spa gift certificate I got from Blogapalooza! The establishment is not very hard to find. From Bicutan, you just take the left service road (going North) and stop at Robinson's Supermarket near Merville. Sparkle is located at the right side of the building. 


The place looks very nice and well-maintained. The ambiance is cozy and there's even WiFi! Although the theme is predominantly pink, they have services that guys can also avail. My hubby also had a massage while our eldest son (who plays the guitar) tried the foot and hand reflexology treatment.


On the first floor are seats for those who are availing their hair treatments. Upstairs are two comfy chairs for customers who want to have foot, hand, back, and head massages; and two beds for those who need their whole body pampered. 


Unlike other spas, Sparkle does not have any shower or sauna rooms. You get massaged immediately while soothing music play in the background. Their beds are comfortable and the masseuse responds politely when you tell her to adjust the pressure applied on your muscles. Moreover, the staff are friendly and will readily answer any questions you have about their services.


For a complete list of what Sparkle has to offer, please visit www.sparkle.ph

   


It's not often I get invited to watch acrobatic shows but I do enjoy being amazed at performers' self-discipline and creativity in coming up with difficult and breathtaking routines that average persons like me won't probably be able to do in our lifetime.


Yesterday, I got to watch Uncle Sam's Flying Circus at the SMX in MOA and was impressed at some of the acts. There were jugglers, hula hoop dancers, Icarian game performers, and more. I'd say I was most impressed by the Genesis duo and the girl in silver who did some complicated balancing acts.



Of course, no circus would be complete without a clown and the one they have was pretty funny. He got two volunteers (well, more like pulled them with him towards the stage)  from the audience and proceeded to command them to do stuff using gestures, facial expressions, and his whistle. A lot of people laughed at the antics because the volunteers were game enough to join in the fun.


There were also two performers who impersonated Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. The dance moves and costumes were nice although the lip-synching needs to be improved :p



Kids and kids-at-heart would like watching Uncle's Sam's Flying Circus. However, if you've already watched a Cirque du Soleil show before like I did, avoid expecting too much because you'll probably be disappointed. Just enjoy what the Uncle Sam team has to offer and you'll still end up having a good time.


Shows at SMX runs from Dec. 25, 2011 to January 1, 2012. There will also be shows in Cebu on the first week of January. For show schedules and ticket inquiries, check out the SM Tickets website.

* Photos borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook album




Times have changed. These days, it's no longer practical for most Filipino families to expect just the husband to bring in the bacon. More often than not, moms have no choice but also take in full time jobs to support their families' necessities. 


Personally, it's not really an issue who gets to bring home more money. What's important is that the total family income can provide for everybody's needs and if circumstances come where the wife has to take in a full time job while the hubby stays at home, the guy should not be discriminated against just because the situation is not what most people consider as the norm.

The movie, My Househusband: Ikaw Na!, starring Ryan Agoncillo, Judy Ann Santos, and Eugene Domingo, was able to give audiences a glimpse into the lives of a family where the husband loses his job and his wife takes over the responsibility of earning for their needs. Although some of the scenarios felt a bit exaggerated, this film is mainly a comedy anyway and viewers would do well to focus on the movie's messages.


However, the truths discussed within the story, I believe, would resonate in many people's minds especially on the topics of marriage and partnership, compromises, extended families, friendship, and work ethics. Couples, most especially, would learn a thing or two that may make their relationship a lot better after they leave the cinema. 

Ryan Agoncillo played his role very well although some friends of mine and I felt that he could have been given a more dramatic scene that would really help him show the depth of his character like a solo shot where he'd let out all his frustrations at what has been happening in his life at the time. Maybe, just maybe, he'd have a better chance of bagging the Best Actor Award at the MMFF.


Judy Ann Santos performed effortlessly as the wife and mother who gets squeezed into a situation where she had to harness her strength and talents to pull her family out of their tight circumstances. 

Eugene Domingo, as expected, has once more shown her wonderful comedic timing and delivery of ultra-hilarious punch lines that had audiences rolling around in their seats. Her portrayal of a mistress and a BFF is quite unforgettable and would most likely stick with a lot of people for a long time. 

Do watch this very nice movie during its Metro Manila Film Festival run from Dec. 25 to January 7. It will not only make you laugh but also think and change your mind about looking past traditions and so-called societal rules that have become passe now that we're into faster-paced lives, higher standards of living, and high-tech environments.

*Photos borrowed from My Househusband: Ikaw Na! Facebook page

* To read other blog posts about this movie, please click the following links:  


I've been banking online since around 2001 or 2002. BPI Express Online has made my life easier in terms of settling utility bills and doing money transfers to members of my family. I could pay our electric or telephone bills past 12 MN with just a few clicks without having to line up and waste time at a payment center. 

A few months ago, after a certain bank with irresponsible officers keeled over and died, I had my kids transfer all their savings to BPI Jumpstart accounts. Right after they got their ATM cards, I enrolled their accounts online to make it easier for them to monitor their cash flow. Now, whenever they use their debit cards to buy stuff (e.g. a pair of pants D really liked or a scientific calculator to replace the one J lost), they can check where their money went days later.  

You, too, can enjoy these conveniences by enrolling your BPI accounts online. What's timely about this is that there's currently a promo between BPI and David's Salon called Pay Easy, Be Gorgeous where clients are encouraged to "make more time for the things that really count by choosing to manage their accounts easily and conveniently with BPI Express Online," as described by Anj Mirasol, Senior Manager, BPI. 

(L-R) Carlo Gatuslao, Assistant Vice President, BPI; Anj Mirasol, Senior Manager, BPI;
David Charlton, President and CEO, David's Salon;
and Patrick Zulueta, Marketing Manager, BPI
The promo was launched via a mini-salon show held at the Event Center, SM Megamall last December 21 where customers were treated to a live hairstyling demo done by Mr. David Charlton, David's Salon President and CEO. 

At BPI, clients enjoy less banking time and more me-time because you can now pay bills to over 300 merchants, including Meralco, Globe Telecom, Sky Cable, Smart Telecom, Manila Water, Ateneo de Manila University, BPI Express Credit Card, as well as the Philippine Red Cross via BPI Express Online.

By simply enrolling a deposit account, and paying a bill through BPI Express Online during the promo duration, clients will be qualified to receive a coupon which entitles them to a free treatment at David's Salon, including a haircut, manicure, OR pedicure at participating David's Salon branches. 

Promo is open to existing BPI, BPI Family Savings Bank and BPI Direct clients. Promo runs until February 26, 2012. For more information about BPI 24/7 Banking, visit www.bpiexpressonline.com 




I love seafood especially shrimp and crabs so being invited to lunch at Crustasia Rockwell the other day was definitely a welcome treat! My friends and I joined other guests who enjoyed eating several lip-smacking crab dishes prepared by Crustasia's creative cooks headed by Executive Chef Peter Ayson


We savored crabs that were as big as the plates they were served in. Each large claw spilled out sweet and juicy crab meat that is greatly enhanced by the flavors and sauces on each plate. Who'd have thought that crabs can be cooked in so many ways?!


Diners can ask the kitchen staff to break the tough crab shells before serving them on the table. But you'll also be provided with a crab cracker to help you further break smaller parts, as needed. 


Among the different variants I got to taste that day, two became my fast favorites: the one coated with, according to the waiter, a mixture made with duck eggs (heavenly yummy!) and the one loaded with lots of crispy minced garlic (very, very tasty!). 


The crab cakes are also good appetizers.


Some of the concoctions were a bit spicy so I just took a little bite of each. I like the one with cashew nuts though even if the sauce did sting my taste buds a bit. Good thing there were lots of rice and iced tea to wash away the hot feeling on my tongue.


To give you an idea about costs, I was told that crabs at Crustasia sell by P145 per 100g. and that the crabs we had weighed around 800g. to 1kg. each. For inquiries, please call 728.5463

Photo borrowed from Myke Soon's FB album
Overall, Crustasia in Rockwell is a really great place to bring your family and friends to (Ms. Janice de Belen was eating there with several lovely ladies when we arrived) for a hearty meal and good conversations. The ambiance is very nice and the staff really friendly. Thank you Ms.X for the invite :)




'Tis the season to have a (Black)berry Merry Christmas! :)

Four days before December 25th and I haven't found the perfect gift yet for my husband. And then I saw Globe's Kris Kringle Blog Writing Contest where three bloggers can win 1 of 3 Blackberry phones each! 

So let me tag this writeup as Something Special because, if I win one, I'll definitely give it to hubby. He likes qwerty phones and the one he's using at the moment is quite old already and might be ready to conk out anytime soon. A new Blackberry phone would be a great gift! :)


Did you know? Globe is offering the following amazing Blackberry offers with unlimited mobile surfing plans and free Globe services. My Super Plan UnliSurf Combos range from P599 to P2499.

BlackBerry Curve 8520
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 599 with unlimited mobile surfing

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 999 with:
• unlimited mobile surfing
• P400 consumable amount
• 1 freebie from A to C, E

BlackBerry Curve 9360
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 1799 with:
• unlimited mobile surfing
• P1,200 consumable amount
• 3 freebies from A to C, E

BlackBerry Bold 9780
FREE at UnliSurf Combo Plan 2499 with:
• unlimited mobile surfing
• P1,900 consumable amount
• 5 freebies from A to C, E

Here are the handset prices for each plan:


And here are your choice of freebies:

A - 10 min calls and 200 SMS to Globe/TM
B - 5 min calls and 25 SMS to other networks
C - 20 mins IDD calls and 10 ISMS to 10 destinations**
E - Unlimited calls and text to one Globe/TM number
** US, Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand
(Yes, there is no letter D. I double checked Globe's details! :p)

The promo period runs from December 1 to 31, 2011. Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 9409, Series of 2011 and is available for new Globe Postpaid line applications only.




Despite several invitations to do free trials or work out for free in different gyms in the past, I'd always end up forgetting where I placed the gift certificates or throw the cards away outright. I couldn't imagine myself slaving away on all those huge exercise equipment that I knew most gyms have. In my mind, I've always thought that staying active through regular walks and doing house chores would be enough. I tried running a few times and was even "dragged" by hubby to join one race (story here) a few months ago but it only convinced me further that activities like those are not for me.


When I attended a Del Monte event sometime last month, a couple of blogger friends encouraged me to sign up for the Fit 'N Right challenge. This entails working out at Gold's Gym for one whole month while drinking a bottle of Del Monte Fit 'N Right once a day. I was really hesitant to fill out the form because, again, it was hard to imagine myself hopping from one gym machine to another. But, since the initial measurements taken indicated that I have excess body fat, I caved in.

Still, doubts kept creeping up on me the rest of the day. If I do start going to the gym, albeit for just one month, would I be able to fit those visits in my already seemingly full schedule? By the next morning, I almost forgot about joining the challenge until a delivery guy showed up in front of our house that afternoon and left me with two cases (48 bottles) of Del Monte Fit 'N Right drinks. There was no way I could back out now!

Thankfully, Jeman Villanueva of Orange Magazine TV, another challenger, also lives in Alabang and we both decided to be gym buddies as often as possible so we could cheer each other on. I knew I'd need a lot of encouragement to see this through because, just thinking of sweating it out in the gym and feeling the body aches after, made me want to just curl up in bed and sleep.

Jeman and I, along with Rod Magaru, our friend and fellow blogger who also signed up for the challenge, first visited Gold's Gym Glorietta on November 20 for an orientation with Chris, one of the trainers there. The next day, we got measured by Mark, another trainer, and were made to do some exercises to gauge how fit we are. I think I was out of breath even before we were even halfway through the list of stuff to do. Results? I was found to be underweight but mildly obese, which simply meant I have fats in the wrong places :p That kinda challenged me to shave them off by the time the four weeks is up.


And so our journey towards being fitter and healthier started. Jeman and I tried to schedule workouts before or after the events we cover. If we happen to be in the Ortigas area, we go to Gold's Gym in Robinson's Galleria. There were times we'd visit the Alabang branch during weekends. But, most of the time, we'd be in Makati either in Glorietta or Hotel Intercon which is quite small and have a lot less equipment than the other branches.

I didn't get to complete the exact 30 days because there would be instances when I really don't have time to go to the gym or I would not be up to it because my body would still be screaming in pain from a previous workout. My rough estimate would be, in the space of one month, I averaged around three to five visits to the gym per week.  

Surprisingly, aside from enjoying a daily refreshing bottle of ice cold Del Monte Fit 'N Right (I made sure there's always at least one bottle in the ref every day), I found out that exercising could be addicting! I guess it must be the motivation of seeing other people determinedly pushing the limits of what their bodies can do and seeing results after a certain amount of time has passed. There were days I did look forward to working out and melting off those unwanted fats.


Two weeks into the program, I noticed my jeans have started to become looser, I could wear some old shirts again without feeling like a suman and I felt I have more energy when climbing stairs or lifting stuff. After a month, we had ourselves measured again. Although I was supposed to gain pounds, my weight remained the same but my arm and leg muscles have become firmer and, guess what, my body fat percentages decreased from 34.2 to 33.2 to 30.9! Yey!  

According to Del Monte Fit 'N Right's The Science of Sexy, the discovery of more body-friendly food ingredients that make people avoid diseases while keeping one's weight down enabled health and well-being a simple yet oftentimes difficult choice to make.  

Here's a basic formula we should all keep in mind: FAT equals Calories Consumed minus Calories Burned

In short, how much fat our bodies accumulate is determined by the caloric content of the food we eat versus the calories we burn through regular physical activities and exercise. Ergo, to lose weight and reduce fat mass, we have to increase physical activity to burn more fat and/or eat fewer calories.

One of the best lessons I learned from all these is that we need to be conscious about weight loss and maintaining the right weight by trying to work in little steps into our everyday lives. This means having at least 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity (jogging, climbing stairs, etc.) into our daily routines and lessening daily carbs intake. 

Still, weight is not the only measure of fitness because muscle weighs heavier than fat. That holds true for me. My bet is that I developed more muscle during the one month workouts thus my weight didn't change and yet, I lost around 4% body fat. 

Del Monte Fit 'N Right contains L-Carnitine, a fat burner that metabolizes calories the body takes in by  converting fatty acids into energy. This beverage also contains Green Coffee Extract (GCE), a natural ingredient taken from unroasted (meaning not present in coffee we drink everyday as the beans have already been roasted) green coffee beans which blocks the body's absorption of sugar and results to less excess calories that can turn into fat. According to a clinical study, daily consumption of GCE has resulted to significant reduction in fat vs. L-Carnitine alone and vs. diet and exercise alone.

The New and Improved Del Monte Fit 'N Right harnesses the science of sexy and captured it in a bottle to amplify weight loss efforts. Its patented formulation results to greater overall fat loss than ever before, with just one bottle a day. Achieve a healthier and fitter body by trying Fit 'N Right for 30 days. Don't forget to combine this with some changes to your diet plus a little exercise and you'll see good results after one month. I did :)

  


After meeting Eugene Domingo and the Agoncillo couple (Ryan and Juday) separately the past couple of weeks,  I was once again invited to cover the grand press con of My Househusband: Ikaw Na! which is OctoArts Film's entry to this year's Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) at Guilly's in Quezon City.


The stars of the movie made the afternoon really fun. Aside from the three main characters, also present were Rocco Nacino, who plays Judy Ann's brother in the movie; Shalala, who plays a bank manager; and Ellen Adarna, who plays a bank teller.

Here's sharing some of the highlights during the Q & A portion:

Q: After coming out recently in the cover of Sense & Style, are you willing to do more daring photo shoots like that?

Eugene: Sa totoo lang, kung meron man akong pagsusumikapan talaga, gagawin ko to have a partner ... sila [Juday at Ryan] talaga yung couple na gusto kong ma-achieve -- parang mag-barkada na mag-asawa na magkalaro. Lagi silang ready, very spontaneous, in other words. Actually, si Judy Ann Santos talaga ang peg ko sa show business, you can quote me on that.


Q: Sa My Househusband, third party ka dito. In reality, ok ba sa 'yo yung ganung concept?  

Eugene: Naku iha, hinde. Masamang maging third party kasi makakarma ka. At ang karma ngayon, digital! 'Di ba? (laughter) Ah, digicam ang tawag ngayon d'yan. Masamang makiapid, hindi maganda, minamalas. Kaya nga ang character ni Aida Capinpin dito ay nasampal ng bonggang-bongga ni Judy Ann! Hindi ko naman akalain ... Sinabi ko lang sa kanya, "Judy, sampalin mo ako, wag kang matakot ha." D'yos ko, dalawang sampal, ang lalakas! Isa dito, isa sa hindi ko maintindihan saan nanggaling! (Looking at Juday) Ang lakas mo palang manampal! Kaya 'wag kayong magkakamaling maging third party ... kasi ikamamatay ninyo ang sampal ni Judy Ann Santos!  

Q: Rocco, your role in this movie is like a confidante for Judy Ann. In real life, kapag may problema kang personal, who do you usually ask advice from?

Rocco: Usually my mom. Kasi I actually grew up being a mama's boy. She's always there for me. Whenever I want to ask about work, life, love life, s'ya yung una kong kinakausap. Looking up to her, being a breast cancer survivor, being a workaholic, I've seen how she does things. Feeling ko talaga, she's the perfect person to look up to.


Q: Saan mo maa-attribute yung success mo ngayon?

Eugene: Yung success, shempre, lagi mong ia-acknowledge ang Panginoon. Kahit na anong pagsusumikap, kung ang faith mo ay hindi buong-buo, hindi ka makakarating sa paroroonan mo. Number two, alam mong mayroon kang gift [kaya] you have to embrace it and acknowledge it. And you have the chance to study ... pag-aralan mo, i-develop, accept everything. Huwag kang mangiming tanggapin kahit maliit, malaki, 'ika nga there are no small roles. Basta mayroon kang chance na mapalawak ang iyong knowledge and experience, tanggapin mo lahat yan. At saka 'wag kang magmadali na marating ang karuruk-rurukan hangga't hindi pa naman talaga para sa iyo kasi you will end up competing with others and that will make you really frustrated. Just take your time, enjoy every moment, and your time will come.

Q: Is there a connection between your two previous movies (Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo and Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo) and My Househusband? 

Ryan: This is a totally different story. Although hindi maikakaila na maisip ng ibang tao na ito ang pangatlo[ng movie] lalo't andyan si Direk Joey and then us. Kumbaga yung unit na yun, naia-associate with the first two movies. That's why we're very careful to explain that it's not connected and it's a totally different movie. The characters are very different. When we did KKK and SSS, we did not know that we were coming up with a full-blown comedy. That's the magic of Joey Reyes' scripts. It's very intricately written and by the time it's edited, iba na yung lumalabas sa screen. What comes out is a gem. Even as actors, there's only so much that a director can tell you. Yung My Househusband, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Q: What part of the movie is true in your life?

Rocco: Isa akong nursing student dito. In real life, I am a nurse and I have a sibling kaya ako ang tumatayong pangalawang naga-advice sa kanya kapag may problema s'ya. Sakto yung mga eksena [ko with Judy Ann] sa akin, I'm there to listen. I'm not madaldal, I'm more of a listener talaga. I like to listen dun sa mga sinasabi ng kausap ko so sakto yung character na binigay ni Direk Joey.

Eugene: Ang layo naman ng character ko sa totoong buhay. Ang sa akin lang, ang sarap palang magkaron ng best friend na lalake, na straight! Kasi konting-konti ang mga kaibigan kong straight. Sa totoo lang! Sa set, kapag kasama ko si Ryan, bago kami mag-shoot, nagkukuwentuhan kami. (Looks at Ryan) Straight ka naman 'di ba? (laughter) Sarap! So sana magkaroon pa ako ng ibang kaibigang straight na lalaki, yung walang malisya.

Ryan: Dito sa pelikula, si Rod, isa s'yang ama na 5'6" ang height at may asawa s'yang maganda so naka-relate ako. Pero bukod dun, in real life, may best friend talaga akong babae. Kasi totoo yun ... kapag totally platonic [ang relationship], walang kahit anong bahid ng malisya, eh maganda and sweet ang exchange ng tinginan. 

Juday: Siguro sa characters namin ni Ry, makaka-relate kami 10 years from now? Kapag malalaki na ang mga anak namin at nag-aaral na at nakikipag-debate na rin sa akin tungkol sa pag-aaral. Kasi ngayon, mga tsikiting pa, tumatakbo, nabobola mo pa, nasusubuan mo ng masasarap na pagkain. Susunod n'yan, ayaw na nilang kumain kasi gusto nila kasama na nila mga kaibigan nila. Totally different yung pelikula sa buhay naming mag-asawa. Kasi sa buong pelikula, hindi kami nagngitian masyado o nagbibiruan. Kasi kami ni Ry, para kaming magkabarkada and I think that's really important when you get married. It's to marry the person who can make you laugh, who will cry when you cry at the same time ... Importante din na magkaibigan kayo ang alam nyo saan pumapasok ang pagiging mag-asawa.


Q: What makes you trust Direk Joey Reyes and his vision for the film?

Ryan: His mastery of the middle class, yun ang benta sa akin at naiintindihan ng aking mga kaibigan at pamilya. Dun ako kumportable. Also, pag sinabi mong commercial yung film, you cater to something na parang hinihingi ng audience. Si Direk Joey, kaya n'yang ibigay ang gusto ng audience at higitan pa at ipasok yung kailangan ng audience.

Juday: Si Direk Joey, after doing 65 films already and getting awards, sino naman kami para hindi s'ya pagkatiwalaan? In fact, we are so honored, nagpapasalamat kami kasi palaging kami ang ina-ask n'ya sa mga pelikula n'ya. And it never fails. Sa pagkakataong ito, masarap gumawa ng pelikula with Direk Joey kasi it's always real life and alam mong nakaka-relate ang mga tao sa lahat ng aspeto ng pamumuhay, sa lahat ng klase ng edad, mare-reach n'ya at ang fan base ng pelikula, hanggang bata. Kahit panuorin mo ng paulit-ulit, kahit anong panahon, naiintindihan ng mga tao. Kahit panuorin s'ya ng mga anak namin in the future, one way or another, makaka-relate sila. Importante sa amin ngayon yan bilang mag-asawa kasi alam naming may naipararating kaming magandang mensahe sa mga tao with Direk Joey on our side.


Q: What's the message of this movie sa mga families ngayon or mga mag-asawa?

Juday: Gusto naming ipakita sa mga tao na walang masama sa pagiging househusband. As long as ang lalake na natitira sa bahay ay hindi lang andun sa bahay para mag-imbita ng barkada at magpalaki ng t'yan, umiinom, nagkakalat ... mabaho ang bahay, pati s'ya mabaho. Hindi dapat ganun. Kumbaga, mag-asawa kayo, magtutulungan kayo. Kaya nga kayo nagpakasal dahil partners kayo, 'di ba? Hindi pwedeng isa lang yung nagtatrabaho. Sa panahon ngayon, hindi naman pwedeng pangatawanan natin yung salitang padre de pamilya. Eh kung si padre eh walang trabaho, eh di tumirik na lang ang mga mata [ng pamilya] kakahintay ng pagkain, 'di ba? Pinaparating namin, sa panahon ngayon, walang masama kung sino ang nag-aakyat ng pera. Pero importante na may respeto kayo sa isa't-isa bilang lalaki at babae, as a husband and a wife. Importante na nagkakaintindihan kayo. Hindi na uso ngayon yung 'Lalaki ako, ako lang ang magtatrabaho,' kasi mahirap talagang maghanap ng trabaho ngayon. So sana, kapag napanood ng mga tao ang pelikulang ito, marami silang matututunan. Sana panoorin ninyong lahat.

My Househusband: Ikaw Na! will start showing in Philippine theaters on December 25

* Photos borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook album




A new workout place has just been opened in the heart of Makati City and it's unlike any other gym I've ever been to! FTX is not crowded with a lot of bulky exercise machines. Except for the treadmills on one wall, most of the equipment take up less space than regular fitness equipment many of us are used to seeing or using.


The night we went there, my friends and I got to witness very fit members of the FTX staff demonstrate some of their CirQFit Signature Exercises. They went from one fitness section to another until they completed the full routine. The exercises are short but intensive and are apparently very effective. 



Reijo del Prado, FTX's managing partner and image model told us how he went down from weighing 180+lbs (if I got my numbers right) down to around 130lbs from May to August of this year.


Aside from the CirQFit exercises, we also watched an instructor do Fly Yoga. She's so graceful and her body's so pliant, I couldn't help but wonder if I'd ever get to that level of flexibility if I do that kind of exercise regularly. 



Next, two guys demonstrated how Muay Thai is done. It's a blend of dance and combat moves that made one lady gasp audibly every time the fighters hit each other :p


I didn't get to try out the exercises when we were there because we had to leave early but I definitely would love to see for myself how intense the seemingly short workouts are. 

FTX is located at 2/F Three Salcedo Place, Tordesillas St. just in front of Salcedo Park. They don't require any membership fees. You just pay as you come. Single passes are at P650 each but there are lots of promos ongoing like the special rate of P1000/4 pax and 50% off for 14 years old and below. 

You can choose from 15 CirQFit Signature Exercises (Lose Big Now, Kettle Burning, Tarzan's Jungle, Gladiator's Zone, Model's Runway, Burns & Glory, Core Builder, Strongman, Tita Cora's Circuit, FTX Chairman's Express, Baller's Circuit, Marvin's Xtreme Xpress, Runner's Circuit, FTX Express, and FTX Extreme); FTX Dance & Yoga (Zumba, 80's Groove, Teens Hip-Hop Cardio, Striptease Cardio, Pole Dancing, FTX Techno Rave, Ashtanga Yoga, and FTX Fly Yoga); and FTX Core & Combat Trainings (Boxing Skills, SPA Boxing, Boot Box, Circuit Box, Muay Thai, Kettlebell Basics, Kettlebell Elite, and Rip60).

For more info about what FTX can do for you, visit www.gymftx.com or email info@gymftx.com. You can also contact them at 822.3311 or 0916.2701177

*Photos borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook album




Ethan Hunt is as awesome as ever! I got to watch the premiere of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and was blown away by the amazing stunts. A lot of scenes were literally and figuratively breathtaking! The adrenalin was consistent all throughout this movie.

Admittedly, I can't remember much about the past MI films except that scene where Tom Cruise had to prevent himself from falling down and touching an alarm-sensitive floor. Now, I'm itching to find our old DVD copies of the first three films and have an MI-watching marathon :p


In this latest sequel, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) was broken out of a Moscow prison by fellow agents to once again be asked to take on another assignment. Things go awry and he ends up being blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin. As a result, he and the rest of the agency are disavowed when the President initiates "Ghost Protocol".

With very limited resources and no backup, Ethan tries to find a way to clear the IMF's name and prevent another attack. As further complication, he is given no choice but to continue on the mission with three other fellow fugitives with vague personal motives.


Tom Cruise is joined in this movie by an exceptional international cast. Paula Patton plays Jane Carter, a very capable field agent who can be as tough as the guys. She not only wants to finish the mission but to exact revenge on the assassin who killed someone she loved. Her fight scenes are something to look forward to. She's lovely, but can be deadly.

Returning from MI3 is Simon Pegg who plays techie-guy Benji Dunn. This time, he has graduated to field agent and applies his brand of humor to several of the scenes. He's the one who provides the comic relief in between the very intense action-packed sequences.


Agent Willian Brandt is played by Jeremy Renner, an analyst who's smart as a whip but could also hold his own out in the field. He's a reluctant member of the team who's forced to join the group due to unavoidable circumstances. Slowly, more of his character is revealed and audiences will get to find out what makes this seemingly staid desk guy tick. Check out another post in my other blog where Renner talks about being in the movie. It's a very revealing Q&A which makes it a nice read.

I like these four main characters. They all play significant roles that collectively make MI4 really worth watching. As Tom Cruise was quoted to say in the film's production note, "Each member is a unique piece creating a wonderful dynamic for the team.” And that is very true.


Of course, a movie also needs supporting characters and the other cast members, who came from Russia, India, Sweden, and France, also contributed much to the story's impact.

I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in SM MOA's IMAX theater. It's not in 3D but that is fine. You don't need 3D glasses to be awed at the magnitude of what the filmmakers and actors have accomplished.


What I appreciate here is the story angle that things don't always go exactly as planned. Gecko gloves could fail, a mask making machine may break down, and a camera contact lens might be detected by the enemy but the agents will still find a way to do what they set out to do using their intuition and training in smart and inventive ways even to the extent of stretching their physical limits. Those are what make this spy movie cool and that's part of the MI4 magic.

The scenes were shot in a variety of places including Moscow, Prague, Dubai, Mumbai, and Vancouver. But the highlight of this movie, and I think many would agree, would have to be those that happened in Dubai such as Tom Cruise's stunts climbing up the glass walls of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, and of chasing someone through a violent sandstorm. If you want to find out more about how they did the climbing stunts, read the movie's production notes here. Go to page 8.


At the end of the movie, all I could think of what that Tom Cruise, at age 49, still has what it takes to make female members of the audience gasp and sigh :) He remains the charismatic Ethan Hunt we saw in 1996 during the first MI film and, with his kind of boundless energy, enthusiasm, and fearlessness about doing his own stunts, I think and hope we'd see a lot of him for many years more.

Don't fail to catch Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol in Philippine theaters starting December 15 (one week earlier than the US opening!). According to my contacts at Solar Movies and Events, it will still be shown in SM IMAX theaters during the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) season from Dec. 25, 2011 to Jan. 7, 2012 and will resume screening in regular theaters by January 8.




Thanks to IBM, I found myself playing teacher and chef in one day! The afternoon of December 12, I joined IBM staff, volunteers, and other members of the media at the Pio del Pilar Elementary School in Makati for the KidSmart Learning Program wherein IBM donated several computer units for the students' use. This project is a partnership with the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (Cyberpress) to promote and advance the use of computers for young elementary students. Aside from Pio Del Pilar, another beneficiary is the Diosdado Macapagal Elementary School in Quezon City.


We were assigned "work stations" and several second graders who eagerly tried out the educational games installed in the PCs. Jeman Villanueva (of OrangeMagazineTV) and I enjoyed interacting with our "students" who, at first, would shyly raise their hands when we ask them questions. Pretty soon, though, they were laughing and joking with us which made the time pass very quickly. I would remember those sweet smiles for a long time.




IBM also had a huge Little Tykes/IBM toy computer assembled in one area of the computer room. I hope that many kids would get to enjoy that in the coming months and years.


After our stint as teachers, we proceeded to Enderun College to try our hand at being chefs. The night was actually a celebration and thanksgiving to cap off IBM's year-long centennial celebration.


We were divided into groups and were instructed to try and replicate the dishes that were demonstrated earlier by one of Enderun's chef professors. Our group came up with chicken and beef tenderloin dishes which we thought turned out pretty well. They tasted good, as far as my taste buds are concerned :p


However, another team won for cooking the best-tasting and best-looking dishes. I was just surprised that when they announced the best upcoming chefs from each group, I was the one named in ours :)


During the sumptuous dinner prepared for the guests, IBM key officers awarded six new Community Impact Grants to projects that are in line with the company's community agenda and local community priorities, in partnership with academic institutions or not-for-profit organizations. The projects were awarded grants worth $10,000 each.


The IBM Community Impact Grants reward an IBM's employee's dedication to community service, with a particular focus on projects that apply innovation and professional skills in improving the communities where they live and work.

The 2011 IBM grant recipients include:

Negrense Volunteers for Change for their “Bulig Mo...Kabuhi Ko” / “Young Scientists of Negros” Project: IBM will help drive higher quality of education by leveraging technology in helping five public elementary schools in setting up Science libraries and laboratories.
RFM Foundation, Inc. - The Outstanding Students of the Philippines - Alumni Community (National Capital Region): IBM will help expand the coverage of the “Youth Hours 2011” project. This is an annual youth seeding formation workshop focused on the three pillars of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) program: academic and professional excellence, leadership and social responsibility.
De La Salle University’s Operation Big Brother: This program aims to implement a high quality high school education for selected groups of student in selected high schools in the Division of Schools in Manila. Specifically, it aims to create quality education by providing students with an enhanced curriculum (based on La Salle), and providing all necessary support elements to include: continuous training and development of teachers, provision of learning resources, and a strong values formation component. The IBM grant will be used to cover the cost of learning resources and student learning materials i.e. full set of books, workbooks, school supplies, and logistics i.e. for teachers and project volunteers involved.
Ayala Foundation’s My Library Project – Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC): The project is focused on CENTEX Manila, a public elementary school that will be replicated to other community libraries under Ayala Foundation's "My Library" Project. Through the IBM Grant, IBM volunteers will help develop a system that can feature modules on acquisition, cataloging, circulation, OPAC (Search engine). Students will find great value in having all the needed information easily accessible with just one click.
Miriam College Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf’s (MC-SAID) Helping People with Disability project: The IBM grant will be used to purchase additional PCs for their computer laboratory that will help propagate the internet safety coaching material to more people (adults and students alike) and also enhance their computer classes with more up to date tools. In addition, the grant will help fund MC SAID outreach activities which are spent with more disadvantaged deaf communities and re-echo Internet Safety Coaching.
Exempli Gratia Foundation’s Health – Education – Livelihood – Preparedness (HELP) program: IBM will help sustain standard H.E.L.P. programs that aim to address primary concerns of livelihood, values formation and nation-building -- like medical and dental missions, post typhoon relief operations, and donation of e-classrooms in various towns and cities outside of Metro Manila.

*IBM's Celebration of Service builds on the company's flagship program for empowering volunteers called the On Demand Community. Launched in 2003, the On Demand Community enables employees and retirees to find volunteer activities and identify skills and expertise they can contribute to a specific cause. In October 2010, On Demand Community surpassed 11.5 million hours of service logged by more than 170,000 participants.

IBM's Centennial Celebration of Service is sponsored by the international philanthropic foundation at IBM, which has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and corporate citizenship for 100 years. To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, please visit: http://www.ibm.com/blogs/citizen-ibm.

*Photos borrowed from Orange Magazine TV's Facebook page


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