Edit - Sept. 3: Congratulations Team Big Explorers! :)


Young people these days are very fortunate to be presented with so many opportunities to prove themselves while having fun. Lucky for them, the internet era has made it easy for everyone to access information that may lead to chances of a lifetime.

Cebu Pacific (CEB) opened its doors for video entries from adventurous college students who have an insatiable thirst for challenges and a knack for budget travel. Two days ago, 15 energetic young people were presented to members of the media at Bar One in Holiday Inn, Ortigas before they embarked on the first ever Cebu Pacific Juan for Fun Backpacker Challenge.

The five teams composed of three members were chosen to explore six destinations in the country from August 29 to September 2. They were given P30,000 per team and their primary goal was to accomplish the most number of fun activities in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, and Manila with the least amount of money spent.

Ms. Candice Iyog of CEB and Ms. Susan del Mundo of the DOT
The winning team will be awarded with 12 Cebu Pacific tickets to any domestic or international destination, three hotel accommodation packages, and three Canon S100 cameras. They can also get additional prizes such as hotel gift certificates and broadband kits when they complete surprise challenges highlighting CEB's destinations.

Here's sharing the profiles of each team:

Team BA is composed of Christian de Leon, Karla Toledo, and Rafael Ronquillo who all come from the University of Sto. Tomas. Roaring with energy, these Growling Tigers were all set for the ultimate backpacking trip.

Team Big Explorers is composed of Benj Tuason and Iris Patricia Ang of De La Salle University, and Godfrey Medina of the Philippine State College of Aeronautics. The three have been friends for eight years and are big on outdoor challenges. They say that their unanimous thirst for adventure keeps them together.

Team Bukidnon consists of Central Mindanao University students Jade Maglasang, Christian Fallera, and Queen Eduave. They are mountaineering enthusiasts who have a passion for extreme adventure.

Team Kelofe, the only all-girls group, has free-spirited Cebuanas Nina Alcoseba and Regil Cadavos of University of the Philippines-Cebu, and Samantha Solidum of University of San Carlos. All are confident that they are tough enough to beat the competition.

Team Titans, composed of runners Jamaica Malang of Our Lady of Fatima University, Jess Belonio of Asia Pacific College, and Fabio Bouazzi of PATTS College of Aeronautics, say they are ready and raring to conquer the race.

I don't want to take sides and wish each of them well. May the best team win! I look forward to knowing who will take home the prizes. Follow the exciting adventure of these fun-loving kids through www.juanforfun.com. You can root for your favorite team and join conversations on Twitter by using the hashtag #juanforfun.

This exciting adventure is supported by Citibank, Canon, Sun Cellular, and the Department of Tourism.

Hey South area residents! Starting tomorrow, August 31, until September 2, get a chance to shop for stuff at The BIG Sale at SM Southmall  and get discounts of up to 70% off!

Here's the list of participating stores ...

What's more, there are promos you can join where you can win cool prizes! Want P5,000 worth of shopping money? Check out this Online Promo where you just have to upload pics to Instagram!

If you want a new laptop, join this promo instead. 

Click here to for a more readable version of the contest mechanics.

In case you don't live in Las Pinas, Alabang, or Paranaque, don't worry, you can still enjoy SM Supermalls' 3-Day Big Sale in their other branches:

Happy shopping! :)

I am a big fan of the APO Hiking Society and was one of those who felt it was the end of an era when Sirs Jim, Danny, and Boboy decided to go their separate ways after four decades. Fortunately, I was able to catch one of  their very last concerts a couple of years ago.

Their music, however, continues to live on in the hearts of their millions of fans. Even my kids have become familiar with the trio's masterpieces thanks to the Kami nAPO Muna album which featured contemporary arrangements of APO songs interpreted by different bands of this generation.

When I found out about a movie musical that would feature APO songs, I knew it would have a very high chance of being a blockbuster. Now, I could definitely say it is after watching I Do Bidoo Bidoo: Heto nAPO Sila! during the red carpet screening in SM Megamall last night.

Having watched Mamma Mia! the movie as well as its stage version, I'd say I Do Bidoo Bidoo can competently rival that foreign film/theater musical in terms of audience appeal, creativity, and the integration of songs in the story.

The movie's trailer, which I first saw during the ICONS at MOA Arena concert and which Sir Jim Paredes co-hosted, far exceeded my expectations. Yes, I thought the movie would be good given that it stars some of showbiz industry's big names, but I never imagined how truly great it would turn out to be.

In a nutshell, my friends and I found ourselves singing along, crying, tapping our feet, and best of all, literally rolling in our seats from laughing too much while tears of mirth streamed down our faces during one particularly hilarious scene (which I won't reveal exactly what because you have to watch the film yourself to find out :D).

Sam, Tippy, and Neil
I Do Bidoo Bidoo is mainly about two star-crossed  teenage lovers who come from different backgrounds. Simply put, Rock (Sam Concepcion) comes from a poor family while Tracy (Tippy Dos Santos) has well-off parents. This conflict sets the tone for the story that revolves around the relationships between couples and between families.

As a long-time fan, I am very pleased with how the APO songs were integrated into the story line. The lyrics and the melody seemed to fit perfectly into the scenarios. Some of my favorite musical scenes include the ones where the following were sung: Awit ng Barkada, Salawikain, Batang-Bata Ka Pa, and Tuyo Nang Damdamin.

I'd say all the actors did justice to their roles. Neil Coleta, surprisingly was very convincing in playing the best friend with a secret. Mr. Gary Valenciano and Ms. Zsa Zsa Padilla's reconciliation scene has definitely made us go "Awww!" and smile. Still, something that everybody should watch out for would have to be a scene between Ogie Alcasid and Eugene Domingo towards the end of the movie. Again, I won't reveal too much what it was about but I should tell you that, in my book, it's one of the most unforgettable parts of the film because it elicited so much laughter among the audiences.

Mr. Gary V., Ogie A., and Eugene D.
Jaime Fabregas, who played Tracy's retired general grandfather was intimidating but funny in a way. The kids, Kiray Celis and Gerald Pesigan, who played Rock's siblings, as well as Rose's (Eugene) best friends, played by Sweet Plantado-Tiongson and Frenchie Dy provided a lot of welcome comic relief.

Those of us who grew up listening to, and loving, APO songs would definitely identify with many of the emotions the songs were intended to convey. I'd bet many of you, too, would find some of the lyrics and melodies evoking memories of certain people or places in your past.

I Do Bidoo Bidoo, I think, serves as a kind of journey down memory lane for us who are very familiar with APO songs but I'm sure younger people will also be able to relate to the songs and grow to love them as well especially when heard with visuals. 

my paparazzi shot of Sir Boboy and Sir Jim :p
Don't be left behind. Catch this epic film that deserves to be hailed as one of the Philippines' best movies of all time. Congratulations to Unitel, Studio 5Director Chris Martinez and the whole cast and crew for coming up with such a good quality film! 

Oh, and do watch out for some cameo appearances by ... guess who! :)

One of the things many Filipinas are concerned about would be having beautiful hair. In fact, I know certain ladies who are willing to invest a lot of time, money, and effort to maintain gorgeous locks. However, activities such as heat styling, friction from brushing, and chemical treatments make hair undergo torture. Thus, hair usually end up looking limp and lifeless. 

During a recent event held at SM Megamall, women members of the audience were invited to discover healthy hair that's full of life. Tristan Patricio, Pantene Brand Manager, explained, "Filipinas can now choose between hair that sways or bounces with life." This is made possible by the Cassia Complex and avocado oil contained in Pantene Nature Care Fullness and Life. On the other hand, a new variant called Pantene Nature Care Smoothness and Life was said to reduce friction between strands that's brought about by Cassia Complex and aloe vera for hair that sways with life.

Gracing the occasion were celebrities Angelica Panganiban and Cristine Reyes who were chosen as Pantene Nature Care ambassadors because they embody being fun and full of life themselves. The ladies shared how they manage to remain energetic every day despite their hectic schedules. 

Angelica said that quality time with the people she loves helps her maintain balance in her life. On the other hand, Cristine revealed that she makes sure to reward herself for all her work with travel. Both women however agreed that being full of life should not only apply to their activities, but also to their hair. 

"Kahit straight lang ang hair ko, gusto ko pa rin na may life ang buhok ko," explained Angelica who relies on the shampoo that gives her hair that sways with life. "With Pantene Nature Care Smoothness and Life, I have healthy hair that's smooth pero hindi bagsak." 

Cristine shared that she likewise doesn't have to worry about the fullness of her hair anymore. "With Pantene Nature Care Fullness and Life, healthy na ang hair ko, may volume pa for the perfect bounce." The two celebrities invite other Filipinas to make their choice by voting for Sway or Bounce on Pantene Philippines' Facebook Page for a chance to be one of six women to be featured on TV. 

During the event, Pantene Nature Care set up a Beauty Studio where, for a minimum purchase of P150 worth of Pantene products, shoppers were given free hair and makeup makeover that prepared them for a Sway or Bounce professional photo shoot. The photos were uploaded to the Pantene Philippines Facebook page as entries to the online promo.

Log on to www.facebook.com/PantenePhilippines to cast your vote for Sway or Bounce and to find out when the next Pantene Beauty Studio will come to a mall near you!

*All Pantene shampoo and conditioner variants are available at all leading supermarkets and pharmacies for P120.00 each.

Edit - Aug. 28: Please check out the names of the two winners here. They are the first two names that came out in the randomized list from the electronic raffle draw.


Heads up Katy Perry fans! Would you like to be ahead of everyone and watch the advanced screening of the most-awaited 3D documentary movie Katy Perry: Part of Me on August 28, 7PM at SM Megamall? This is your chance thanks to Astroplus and  X-mini™, together with Solar Entertainment and Polyeast Records!

There are actually 4 ways to do so:

Get One (1) Ticket by buying a Katy Perry Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album worth P500 from any Astroplus/Astrovision branch. You can also order online via http://bit.ly/JV2ZQp and avail of the free shipping promo.

Get Two (2) Tickets by buying an X-mini™ II Capsule Speaker™ (choose from X-mini V1.1, Gen 2 Max V1.1 which sell from Php 999 to Php 1,790 at any of the following Astroplus/Astrovision branches: Greenbelt 5, SM MOA, SM Megamall, Shangri-la, Trinoma, Robinsons Ermita and V-Mall.

Get Four (4) Tickets when you buy a Katy Perry Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album (worth PHP500) and 1 X-mini™ II Capsule Speaker™ (SINGLE RECEIPT ONLY). Promo period is only until August 28. 

Only purchases of Katy Perry "Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection" albums and X-mini™ II Capsule Speakers™ from August 4 onwards will be accepted. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS SO YOU CAN CLAIM YOUR TICKETS at ASTROPLUS SM MEGAMALL FROM 4PM TO 7PM on AUGUST 28! STRICTLY NO RECEIPT, NO TICKET!

Here's the fun and FREE part ...

Win Two (2) Tickets for you and a friend when you follow this blog's contest mechanics. There will be two winners who will get two tickets each.

1) Like the AstroplusX-mini™, Solar EntertainmentPolyEast Records, and Write, Breathe, Live pages on Facebook so you can tag us later.

2) Copy and post this as your Facebook status message:

"I’d like to win two tickets to the advanced screening of Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D (http://mommywrites.blogspot.com/2012/08/blog-giveaway-win-movie-tickets-to-katy.html) courtesy of Astroplus (please tag the page), X-Mini (please tag the page), Solar Entertainment (please tag the page), PolyEast Records (please tag the page) via Write, Breathe, Live (please tag the page)."

Make sure your status message is set to "Public" so it will appear in Astroplus', X-mini's, Solar Entertainment's, PolyEast's, and WBL's pages. Failure to comply with the mechanics won’t make your entry eligible for the giveaway.

3) To get a second chance to win, follow @ruthfloresca on Twitter and tweet this message:

"I WANT TO WATCH KATY PERRY's 3D MOVIE on August 28 at @smcinema_mega from @Astroplus1, @XminiPhils@ruthfloresca http://tinyurl.com/c6n2x9l!"

4) Deadline of entries will be on 12MN of August 27. I will PM/DM the winners in the morning of August 28 how they can claim their tickets  (which is why you have to tag me on FB and follow me on Twitter).

Here's a bonus: Katy Cats can also have the chance to win a bottle of Meow perfume and other prizes if you come to the advanced screening in your best Katy Perry outfit! How cool is that?!

So start posting your entries now! You can also know more about the movie here.

* This blog giveaway is made possible by Astroplus and  X-mini™, Solar Entertainment, Polyeast Records, and Mr. Mix of Everything. Thank you so much everyone! :)

For me, what makes a commercial area interesting is the variety of things it has to offer. Now, there's a new destination for Alabang residents and those from nearby areas where we can easily find merchandise for ourselves and for our homes.

Metro Alabang, owned by Vicsal Development Corporation, has recently opened its doors to residents in the South. It is the company's 18th store and its third retail venture in Metro Manila after Market! Market! in Bonifacio Global City and the anchor supermarket in the recently opened Lucky Chinatown Mall in Binondo. By the end of this year, we were told there will be three more stores to be opened bringing the total to 21.

The massive 44,000 square meter retail establishment has a department store and supermarket. Metro is the newest anchor store of the premier Alabang Town Center (ATC) that's operated by the Alabang Commercial Corporation, a subsidiary of Ayala Land, Inc. 

Mr. Eduardo Ponce, Mr. Frank Gaisano, and Mr. Eric Poiret
Eduardo Ponce, Metro Retail Group's President and COO, affirms, "We offer great finds and great values. Our supermarket has simply the freshest of the fresh [produce]. We offer quality, convenience, and value with compelling pricing. You can spend the whole day here. It's a one-stop shop that has a full line of products."

"We cover all the needs from basic to premium brands," adds Eric Poiret, Supermarket Managing Director. "The supermarket follows international standards of freshness. We have 3500 to 4000 [imported] items coming from 20 countries [and over 12,000 local products]. We also have our own exclusive brands and food stalls."

To deliver an elevated customer shopping experience, Metro is said to have taken major steps to upgrade its merchandise assortment and store layout plus enhanced shopper amenities. Those are evident when my companions and I took a tour of the place. They have wide aisles for easy navigation as well as friendly staff and store environment. The comfort rooms, especially those located inside the department stores are really something. They look much better than what you'll find in some hotels, promise!

"We have employed the services of an award-winning retail store design firm from the U.S. and partnered with an experienced team of local designers and architects," reveals CJ Jesena, VP for Marketing and Retail Development.

Explore Metro and enjoy a different kind of retail therapy. They have an interesting section called Treasures of Cebu that features one-of-a-kind, export quality accessories that are hand-crafted, designed, and manufactured by Avatar (Gil Carungay and Artizans), Binibini (Janice Minor, Clara Guinefolleau, and MiArcenas) and Tribal Crafts International.

If you're in the market for home items, check out Metro's Appliance Center and the Heritage Furniture Collection where shoppers can find Cebu-made, world-class furniture pieces. Customers with preferred designs can even have them made-to-order! In the Home Department, there's Sleep Zone which offers an exclusive collection of beds called Regal Comfort Collection.

The supermarket has different sections where you can find, I would think, almost everything you'll need in the kitchen. There's a gourmet section with 180 cheeses and deli items, a section where you can find freshly-baked breads, a wine and liquor shop with selections from around the world, and an international section that boasts of items from various countries. 

If you get tired from all the shopping, head on to Food Choices where kiosks are lined up to satisfy your hunger. And if you're craving for a taste of Cebu, Metro also offers authentic Cebu Lechon flown in daily from the south along with other Cebu delicacies like Mandaue Bibingka and other sweet treats. 

For more details about the Metro Retail Group, please visit www.metro.com.ph 

* More photos from the Metro Alabang opening here.

One of the things Filipinos love to do is to eat which is, perhaps, next to the love of cooking. This is most likely why small food businesses continue to prosper because people will always need food and look for places where they can get the most delicious, as well as value-for-money deals.

If you are an entrepreneur who runs a carinderia, catering, or small restaurant business, this is your chance to own a brand new kitchen and dining area! Simply join SM Hypermarket's SM Master Chefs Free Carinderia Makeover -- one of three components of this year's run.

The food service business is said to be close to the heart of SM Hypermarket. You can find an entire section of the store solely dedicated to products and services essential in running a food business. At SM Hypermarket’s Food Service Center, owners of food businesses can buy ingredients in big packs or bulk plus any other essentials for their operations – plates, cups, utensils, tables and chairs, pots and pans and even chef’s uniforms. The Center can moreover deliver and take orders via phone calls! How convenient is that?!

Thus, as a tribute to food service owners, SM Hypermarket is giving away a free makeover of their kitchen and dining area to five (5) lucky and deserving food business operators so they can sustain their operations. Get a chance to win by making a minimum P500 purchase worth of groceries inclusive of two sponsor brands or a fully stamped loyalty card.

Aside from the free makeover for food business owners, SM Master Chefs 2012 would also have exciting back-to-back Cooking Demos of notable chefs because last year's cooking marathon was a big hit to SM Hypermarket shoppers. This year, the cooking demos are back with new recipes prepared by the respective master chefs of the different master brands.

The 2012 run is sponsored by Bounty Fresh, CDO, Nestle, Purefoods, Magnolia and Unilever Food Solutions Knorr. Each will have a featured chef who will go around the 34 branches of SM Hypermarket every week in three months for cooking demonstrations and a delectable shopping experience open to all shoppers for free. Please check attached photos of the schedules for your reference.

SM Master Chefs 2012 is also made more exciting with a Master Recipe contest for those who love to eat, cook and experiment with their food. Whip up your own master recipe and be hailed as Master Chef! Shop at SM Hypermarket for quality ingredients at affordable prices then whip up a great tasting, unique and reasonably priced recipe using any of the featured master brands and you might just  be hailed one of the thirty three (33) SM Master Chefs 2012.  Just bring your finished product to any SM Hypermarket store on judging day.

* To see more photos taken during the first cooking demos held in SM Hypermarket Cubao, please click here.

Our planet's resources continue to be depleted and everyone should help out in stopping the further destruction of the Earth. We all really have to be conscious of the things we do and use such as appliances that emit harmful greenhouse gasses.

The Department of Energy (DOE), in partnership with SKYcable, Asia Development Bank (ADB), SM Supermalls, and the Center for Clean and Renewable Energy Development, launched a week-long exhibit yesterday featuring 50 energy-efficient LCD TV sets from 10 international manufacturers promoting better options and smarter choices that help save energy.

Dubbed TV Olympics, the event held in SM Megamall's 2/F Atrium is part of DOEs energy efficient campaign called Watts Out which is being promoted to raise local awareness in energy conservation when using electronics and household appliances.

SKY Zone, (read a related blog post here) a showcase of SKYcable's HD channels was also held during the event. Mall and exhibit visitors got to check out first-hand the crisp life-like images and sound in all 17 high definition channels from SKYcable compared to standard definition channels. Also featured was an exhibit  that allowed spectators to personally test how fast SKYbroadband's internet connection is.

SKYcable's participation in the TV Olympics also included providing synchronized feeds to the LCD TV units on display. This ensured an equal amount of broadcast input to be aired which avoided any discrepancy in energy usage. Energy consumption, as well as electricity costs for each TV unit, was publicly monitored in real-time.

Speaking during the event was DOE Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras who revealed that 21-inch CRT TV sets consume twice or three times more electricity than the more energy-efficient TV technologies today. "We have more than 17 million households and probably each has at least one TV set," he surmises. "Replacing even 100,000 32-inch CRT TV sets would reduce energy consumption by 14.8 GWh and abate about 100,000 metric tons of CO2 each year." This confirmed how CRT TVs largely contribute to high electricity bills.

The TV Olympics served as a venue where the hazards of old TVs are explained to the public. Did you know that each 32-inch CRT TV set is said to contain at least two kilos of lead? Imagine what dangers it presents when unregulated companies with untrained personnel near landfills re-process old TVs.

"There are solutions. We want to create an awareness that we can do it," encourages Sec. Almendras. "We only have one world and we need to take care of it. May companies continue to innovate products that are much more energy-efficient than they are now."

*More photos from the event can be found here

I’m a fruit lover. Not only do I eat most kinds of fruits, I also enjoy having them on top of pastries and in beverages. Ask me what I’d like to drink and I’ll choose something made of fruit rather than go for a soda because I believe that taking care of our bodies includes watching what we eat.

Recently, some of my friends and I visited the Mondo Juice branch in SM Megamall. It was my first time to try their smoothies and I was very glad I did! We even got to chat with one of its owners, Mr. Jonathan Kui, who gave out a lot of fascinating tips and trivia about their products. Here’s sharing some of the things I learned …

10 Reasons why you should also try (and love!) Mondo Juice:

1. The smoothies are made with PURE FRUIT – “We don’t add stuff that’s not supposed to be in there,” revealed Mr. Kui. “If you look at the stickers on your cups, there's an ingredients list like mangoes, strawberries, nectar, or cranberry juice. Whatever we put in the sticker, that’s it. We don’t add anything, we don’t disguise anything.”

Trivia: A Mondo Juice smoothie packs at least 1/3 pound of fruit in each cup and offers a rainbow of fruits spanning the spectrum from mangoes, oranges, pineapples, and bananas, to strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, and watermelons. Oh, and don’t forget to read the stickers on your cup! You’ll find them very informative as well as entertaining.

2. The fruits come only from PRE-APPROVED FARMS – Mondo Juice is very strict when it comes to quality control. They ask farms abroad to send them a fruit’s chemical analysis that tells them what variety it is, how sweet it is, what’s the size, the color, the nutrients, even the things inside the soil. “For example, in strawberries, there’s a special bacteria that’s needed in the soil to get it extra sweet,” illustrated Mr. Kui.

When the analysis passes the requirements, Mondo Juice would approve shipment. “When the shipment gets here, we have a machine to confirm if everything’s okay. For example, we order 100 cases. If 3 cases failed, we send it back. We only had that happen once with raspberries,” he recalled. “Ever since they realized that we will actually send the stuff back, they’ve been a lot careful. That’s the reason why we can make the stuff without added sugar or syrup – because we’re strict about it. For the local stuff, we go to the farms straight, and then we get a middleman to ensure quality.”

Trivia: There are over 200 varieties of strawberries. “Baguio strawberries are for decoration. The reason is, it doesn’t get cold enough here. Strawberries are very picky. It has to be cold, for example, at day 20 all the way to the end. Baguio isn’t cold enough,” explained Mr. Kui. “Among the 200 varieties, we [at Mondo Juice] can only use 10 kinds. Most of them are used for baking and, even then, you can only use 15 kinds. The fresh ones, the really good ones you eat, there’s only 6. So it’s not like ‘Oh it’s a strawberry, I’m gonna eat it.’ Some of them are good for pies, for syrups, for puree. So it’s not simply getting a strawberry and putting it in a blender. We have to study the genus, we have to study everything.”

3. Mondo Juice uses IQF (or Individually Quick Frozen) FRUITS – “We don’t use fresh because fresh is not [good enough],” Mr. Kui pointed out and further explained that mango, for instance, matures in 120 days and that it takes time to get to the supermarket from wherever farm it came from say Zambales or Guimaras. “So what the farmers will do is that at 110 days, they will pick the mango then put it in a container, or jeep, or bus. They would spray chemicals on them to force the mango to ripen. Then, when it gets to the supermarket, they will store it for 3 days before putting it on display,” he enumerates. “By the time you actually get your ‘fresh’ mango, at least 20 people have touched it and it has been squeezed and prodded and everything else.”

With IQF, fruit is instantly frozen. Mondo Juice instructs farmers to allow the fruits to tree ripen. “So we only select farms that are 10 minutes away from our facilities. [After] they pick the fruit, they send it to the facility [and] the facility would then process the fruits. By process, we mean peel and cut. Then it goes onto this conveyer belt and liquid nitrogen would spray out and freeze [the fruits] just like that,” portrayed Mr. Kui. “The reason why we use liquid nitrogen is because fruit has to freeze at the fastest way possible to ensure the quality and the taste doesn’t disappear. When the fruit it mature, it tastes a lot better.”

Trivia: A normal home freezer would take 4 hours to freeze a mango cheek. Commercial freezers would freeze it in 2 hours. An IQF machine would only take one second. Additionally, fruits at Mondo Juice are carefully monitored using sensors and the freezers are checked twice as often as a normal freezer.

4. The smoothies HAVE NO ADDED SUGAR – Mr. Kui described that part of the reason why they serve the smoothies in clear cups is that they want to show off the color. “If you add things like sugar or syrup, it dulls the color because sugar has a grayish tint and produces muddy shades of yellow, orange, purple, or red. Ours don’t have that. We don’t use syrups, stabilizers, binders, emulsifiers or any artificial sweeteners.”

“One of the ways you’ll know we don’t add sugar is if you taste the different flavors, there are varying degrees of tartness. For example, Blushing Mango will be a bit more tart than, let’s say, Blueberry Bonanza or Midnight Mango will have a different kind of sweetness than Blueberry Bonanza,” compared Mr. Kui. “The reason is [each smoothie’s taste] completely relies on the sweetness of the fruit and the sweetness of a blueberry is different from the sweetness of a blackberry. Because blackberry has lycopene and lycopene, when it reacts with the sugar in the blackberry, it creates a different taste altogether. That’s also why it’s different colors. The colors have to do with the enzymes inside [each fruit] and affect the overall taste. If we put syrup, they’ll all taste the same because, what happens is, the backbone [becomes] the syrup.”

Trivia: A smoothie is basically 75% fruit plus any kind of liquid like milk, water, or juice. If you put additional syrup, it becomes a shake.

5. Mondo Juice has a special technique in making PERFECT SMOOTHIES – “We have what we call a 10 second swirl which will tell us when the smoothies are perfectly blended,” said Mr. Kui. A good smoothie should not be runny (too watery) or chunky (pours out in clumps) but instead should ‘build’ or ‘mound’ when being poured. “Then we’ll know the fibers are still intact.” In addition, “Every single smoothie has a different blending time. Again, it has to do with the temperature, the handling, if it’s sitting out for 30 seconds, it will blend different from something that’s freshly out of the freezer. We blend them straight frozen. No thawing.”

Trivia: The difference between the smoothie and the chunky is only 3 seconds while with a smoothie and a runny, 2 seconds. “So it actually takes a month to learn to get it properly. It’s not as simple as sticking fruits in a blender,” claimed Mr. Kui whose staff members are trained for two months to ensure that they serve only velvety, properly blended smoothies.

6. Mondo Juice smoothies are GENUINELY HEALTHY – In fact, there are special blends and boosters that improve strength and vigor. For example, the Proteinzone is an appetizing concoction of raspberries, bananas, nectar, cranberry juice, and soy protein that helps repair muscles, especially after an intense workout. Power Up, on the other hand, is a brew made of strawberries, pineapple, nectar, and orange juice to perk up the senses and protect against sickness. And then there’s Detox, which my hubby ordered and which I also tried and enjoyed because it is loaded with mangoes, pineapples, nectar, and orange juice. This is as tasty as you can get to flushing out toxins and cleansing the body!

Aside from smoothies, you can also buy fresh-pressed juices from Mondo Juice that combine the goodness of fruit with a medley of vegetables including carrots, sugar beets, spinach, and green pepper. Also available is wheatgrass juice which is rich in anti-oxidants that help increase the number of red blood cells, lower blood pressure, and protect the body from health risks, including cancer.

Trivia: Blackberries and raspberries have thick skins that are impossible to peel but the skins are actually the healthiest parts of the fruit. Have some of the healthiest drinks by ordering the Raspberry Rush, Blushing Mango, or the Berry Blitz. They’re the nicest smoothies with berry skins that you can get. I already tried the Berry Blitz and loved the texture, the color, and the taste!

7. There are NO FLAVOR MIX-UPS at Mondo Juice – Staff members wash each blender jar with purified, sterilized water after every use to ensure that a mango-pineapple smoothie won’t taste like blueberry. “What if you have a strawberry allergy and we made a strawberry smoothie before you ordered?” asked Mr. Kui. “If we use the same jar without washing it, we just killed you. So we’re very strict.”

Trivia: The SM Megamall branch has 30 jars to ensure that customers are not kept waiting very long for their smoothies.

8. Mondo Juice smoothies are MOM- AND KID-APPROVED – I brought two of my boys to Mondo Juice last Sunday after watching a movie in Megamall. The friendly staff made us try small servings of Blueberry Bonanza which Son #2 ordered in mondo size. Son #4, who loves everything with bananas, naturally ordered Banana Mama also in mondo size. (Boys are so expensive to maintain!) Forever strawberry lover that I am, I got myself the Quench which has strawberries, watermelon, cranberry juice, and nectar in solo size. What a refreshing drink on a hot afternoon! My kids and I took sips out of each other’s cup and liked each and every variant. After we left the store, they had me promise to bring them back there again which made me wish Mondo Juice would have a branch in Alabang soon!

9. They serve delicious BREADS AND DESSERTS there too! – Of course, snacking is more fun when you have something to eat while having a cup of marvelous smoothie. Choose from various tummy-filling snacks, jello, cookies, and sandwiches made with all-natural ingredients which include grilled chicken breast, capicolla ham, and smoked turkey breast served on a bed of fresh vegetables.

Trivia: Mondo Juice bakes its own breads to ensure that there will be no preservatives or chemicals in them.

10. You will definitely COME BACK FOR MORE – Since Mondo Juice has so many items on their menu, I want to try them all because I honestly like everything there that I’ve tried so far. I’ve tasted shakes and smoothies from other stores before and there were times I regretted ordering some of them because they tasted really bad. You can’t even distinguish the individual fruit flavors anymore because the concoctions were either too sweet or too sour. Mondo Juice smoothies are able to balance the sweet and sour tastes so well and the flavors are so lip-smacking, I always find myself draining each cup to the last drop.

By the way, the store's name came from the Italian word “mondo” which means world. Mr. Kui told us that it had to do with the fact that it took them a year and half to prepare for the store’s opening because they really went around the world to try all the brands there are and make sure that Mondo Juice would taste better. I have to agree. This store is where the freshest and most delicious smoothies can be found!

Love to drop by for some healthy sips? Visit Mondo Juice in SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, and Alimall Cubao, like their Facebook page and follow @mondojuice on Twitter.

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