Early this year, Vaseline Men held its successful XTERRA Weekend in Cebu and the brand aims to continue raising the bar for Filipino triathletes by forming a Philippine team that will represent the country in the prestigious XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Global Championships in Maui, Hawaii this coming October 28.

There will be a five-member team who will be sent off as the first Philippine contingent to compete in one of the biggest triathlon series in the world. The team will be composed of Coach Noy Jopson and celebrity athletes Matteo Guidicelli and Drew Arellano. Two more members will be selected from some of the best Filipino triathletes who participated in the Vaseline Men XTERRA Tri-Outs Camp: Race to Maui.

The three-day camp was recently held last September 15 to 17. Seven triathletes are competing for the two coveted slots to the Maui Championships in Hawaii. The training camp included seven grueling and physically-demanding Warm Up and Tri-Challenges which tested and prepared the participants for the actual Maui competition in October. 

Jonathan Cua, Vaseline Men brand manager, and the 7 contenders
In the Warm Up Challenges, members of the camp went through various swim, bike, and run challenges where they learned the different techniques needed to become a better triathlete. In the Tri-Challenges, the participants were asked to do mini triathlon competitions under time pressure to test their speed. All the participants went through at least one Warm Up Challenge and one Tri-Challenge each day during the three-day camp. 

Jonathan and Tricia
During the press conference held at the Milky Way Bar in Makati, host Tricia Chiongbian-Concepcion and Vaseline Men brand manager Jonathan Cua affirmed how rigorous the training has been for all seven contenders who are composed of Takbo.ph's Jinoe Gavan, chiropractor Dr. Martin Camara, Second Wind's Hector Yuzon, ultramarathoner Mark Hernandez, Health Food president Raffy Zamora, swimbikerun.ph's Carlos de Guzman, and Sutherland Global Services corporate training manager Redg Plopinio. You can view their complete profiles here.

Coach Noy and Matteo
Be part of the selection process and show support for the Vaseline Men Philippine team. You can even win loads of cash just by voting for the triathletes you think deserve to go to Maui! Watch their journey and struggles via www.youtube.com/vaselinemenph. Episodes will be uploaded one at a time for the next three weeks starting October 1 until October 15. Click on the voting link found within the YouTube site or at the end of every episode. Each vote will help determine the two winners from the training camp.

Public votes are equivalent to 50% of each participant's score while the other 50% will come from the judges' votes and the athletes' actual performance during the three-day camp. The two athletes with the highest scores by October 18 will join Coach Noy, Matteo, and Drew in the once-in-a-lifetime chance to represent the country in the XTERRA World Championships. 

Aside from helping raise Filipino pride in the competitive triathlon circuit, two lucky voters of the triathlete with the most number of votes will also get a chance to bring home P50,000 as each vote is equivalent to one electronic raffle entry. You can vote for two athletes per week. Voting ends on October 17 while the electronic raffle draw will be on October 18. Winners will be announced in the Vaseline Men Facebook page www.facebook.com/vaselinemenph.

For more information on how you can follow the adventures of the seven contenders, please visit the Vaseline Men XTERRA Tri-outs Facebook and YouTube pages.

I'm familiar with Cosplay but I didn't know that there's also a fashion trend called Lolita. Apparently, this is very popular in Japan and the way I understand it is that it basically means dressing up any way you want to for you to stand out in a crowd.

Yesterday, Beauty Elements Ventures incorporated (BEVi), makers of Kojie San, launched six new scents created under the brand Lolita. Unanimously chosen by the company to endorse the new cologne sprays is Myrtle Sarrosa, Pinoy Big Brother: Teen Edition 4's winner and a Lolita fashion aficionado.

In the press con held at 55 Events Place in Quezon City hosted by model Janeena Chan, Myrtle expressed her gratitude for being chosen to be the face of Lolita. "It's such an honor na ako ang pinili nila," says the pretty 17-year-old who adds that she loves using all the variants. "Every scent stands out and can cater to different moods."

At the moment, Filipinos have yet to catch on the Lolita fashion trend. Thus, Myrtle encourages, "Kahit sa scent muna, mag-stand out na ang mga tao."

Paul Chuapoco, Co-Chair/Managing Director of PMP Communications Co. which handles press relations for BEVi, admits that Myrtle is the company's first and only choice. "Beyond what you see physically, matalino si Myrtle," he praises. "Never kumuha ng artista ang company. Myrtle is the first. We broke the mold by getting a celebrity endorser.

He further reveals that the Lolita colognes contain 5 percent fragrance concentrate unlike others that usually have 2 to 3 percent. "We're using the most expensive alcohol being used in a fragrance so you won't need to spray a lot."

Myrtle's charming personality and quick wit are said to go hand-in-hand with the many playful sides she is known for. Aimed to capture the hearts of young girls everywhere, Lolita's scents vary from floral to fruity and everything in between. 

The pretty endorser further affirms that there is a Lolita for every kind of girl and every kind of personality. In fact, there is a Lolita scent for Myrtle’s every whim: audaciously floral with CALI, fresh and breezy with FANTASY, delicately warm with CHICK, tutti frutti with FAIRY, flirty femme with ROUGE, and simply saccharine with her favorite, COSPINK.

Lolita spray colognes come in fun, handy bottles that are color-coded to make it easy to distinguish each scent. Here are more detailed descriptions of each:

The CALI girl is fun and adventurous, always taking risks and daring to be different. Yet deep down, she is also a true girly-girl with a love for alluring floral scents that bring out her audacious feminine side.

CHICK starts off with a delicately sweet whiff and settles into a warm scent reminiscent of rich, velvety baby powder. Just a few sprays and you’ll have delectably lasting fragrance for hours.

A romantic fragrance all around, COSPINK will surely captivate your heart. Its dreamy blend of floral notes is part sweet, part flirty – and completely girly. A true pinkaholic’s dream!

Looking for the sweetest fruity scent to top off your look? FAIRY takes you to the next level with its sugary scent sure to leave people whiffing for more. Simply delicious!

This fresh and airy fragrance will leave you daydreaming about an endless summer filled with beach adventures and cool breezes. FANTASY’s light citrus notes simply make for the best tropical scent!

For the playful, outgoing girl – ROUGE is your perfect scent. Paint the town red in this classic flirty fragrance that will surely make a lasting impression.

Lolita is available in all Watsons, Mercury Drug, Robinsons Supermarket and Department Stores nationwide 

* Can't get enough of Myrtle? View more photos from the press launch here.

Do you also have days when you'd suddenly feel really tired physically with aches manifesting out of nowhere in different parts of your body? I have and it's not amusing. Most of the time, I get these pains on my right shoulder (which I know are caused by my heavy everyday bags) and in my lower back.

What I mostly do is grit my teeth and get on with my day hoping that a good night's sleep and a tablet of Ibuprofen would do the trick. Sometimes though, these are not enough and I'd really have to find time to schedule a whole body massage which is not so easy to do given my hectic schedule.

And then we discovered Big Apple Express Spa (BAES)! Hubby and I were in Market! Market! the other day to meet a friend we haven't seen for a long time. She recommended we check out Big Apple located at the fourth level. We found out that you can have quick massages there that can range from 5 minutes to an hour. It was a good thing we got there around 4PM because we were quickly accommodated. We were told that customer traffic becomes heavy by 5 or 6PM.

Hubby chose the Brazilian Deep Tissue massage while I went for Balinese. I desperately needed to have my shoulders and back massaged. We were led to separate rooms but they opened the divider so it looked like a couple's room :) The attendants were very considerate and regularly checked if they're applying the right amount of pressure. One hour after, I felt refreshed and energized, ready to tackle my pending writing deadlines anew. Hubby said he also liked the massage he chose. 

We got to talk to one of the owners, Ms. Roselin Pagunsan, and discovered that BAES has actually been operating since October 2005. Their pilot branch, located at Robinsons Galleria, was an instant hit to the mall-going public because of  its revolutionary concept of bringing the convenience and quality service of a destination spa at affordable prices. I think we would have discovered them earlier if there's a branch in one of the malls here in Alabang. 

With cost control and strategic placement, coupled with a global cosmopolitan theme, Big Apple has paved the way to bringing the spa lifestyle accessible to everyone. With a phenomenal growth rate of 500% per year, at the moment, BAES now has branches around Metro Manila and Luzon and they welcome more franchise inquiries.  

In case you're interested, email them at pranavfranchising@gmail.com or call (02) 3810027. Visit their website at http://bigappleexpressspa.com and Like their official Facebook page to be updated of new promos.

Speaking of promos, they have one now called Daily Servings (see photos above). Visit one of their branches and ask for this set of coupons which you can use from September 16 to December 15, 2012 so you can say Hello to wellness and Goodbye to stress! :)

Hmmm, I wonder if the thousands of runners who race within the Bonifacio Global City area week after week already know about Big Apple Express Spa? The Market! Market! branch is very accessible to them after a tiring run. Just a thought.

FYI: New BPI Credit Card and ATM Promo with Jollibee that runs from Nov. 16 to Jan. 31, 2013 can be found here.

It's nice to redeem food items -- for free! -- just by using one's credit card transaction slips. This month until November, BPI has a new promo for their credit cardholders.

Shop anywhere using BPI Express Credit and you'll get the following Chowking freebies depending on your minimum spend:

Promo period is from September 12 to November 15, 2012.

Redemption is until January 14, 2013.

To redeem: Visit any Chowking branch nationwide. Present your BPI Express Credit card used for the transaction. Surrender your qualified original charge slip or cash advance transaction receipt (minimum single receipt purchase of P2,000, P6,000, or P12,000). Enjoy your meal! :)

My husband and sons wear BUM shirts. I haven't had the chance yet to have one that fits me but, after seeing this lovely poster of Bea Binene wearing that really nice BUM shirt, I just might look for a way to get myself one :)

A friend who works at BUM apparel shared that the company is celebrating its 20th year with chic black limited edition anniversary shirts for boys and girls. With my built, I think an S or M size would fit me just right :)

Want the shirt that Daniel Padilla is also wearing? Here's how you can get it for only P20.00! Just purchase regular BUM items worth P499.75 on a single receipt and you can already avail of a shirt for that very affordable price.

This anniversary promo started last September 14 and will last until October 15, 2012 at all SM Department Stores, Girls Teen's Wear Department, BUM boutiques and selected METRO Department Stores nationwide.   

I don’t remember playing with Lego bricks as a kid but my children are fortunate enough to be gifted with various Lego sets while they were growing up. The bricks are so colorful and challenging to one’s creativity that my husband and I would also find ourselves trying to come up with original designs whenever we play Lego with our boys.

I know there are lots of stuff you can create out of Lego pieces but I was blown away by everything I saw in Legoland Malaysia. My 13-year-old son, who writes for Manila Bulletin Funpage, and I were invited by Tourism Malaysia and Cebu Pacific to the opening of the first ever Legoland in Asia last week. We were one of the few members of the international media to get a sneak peek of the place one day before the theme park officially opened to the public.

Legoland Asia definitely brought out the child in me and in the other adults in our group. We had a lot of fun checking out the rides and touring around the place. There are so many things to see which really delighted the senses.

Amongst the many attractions, my favorite area inside the theme park would have to be the Miniland where we found amazing replicas of cities around Asia. The first display we came near to looked very familiar. It has a big church like our cathedrals in the Philippines and it also has jeepneys! What confirmed that it was indeed a representation of our country was this building with a sign that clearly says “Barangay Hall”. It’s so amazing how the creative team got even the littlest details right.

As we continued to tour the place, we found ourselves exclaiming over new discoveries that took our breaths away. I was very much impressed at the likeness of the miniature versions of Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers, the Great Wall of China, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, India’s Taj Mahal, and a whole lot more.

What further make Legoland unique are the thousands of big and small figures scattered all over the place. Our group from the Philippines got to meet Pat Demaria who introduced himself to us as the “Mayor of Miniland”. From him, we found out that each Lego structure was built using glue in between each and every single brick. Just imagine, Miniland alone utilized around 30 million Lego pieces constructed by 150 people over a period of two and a half years. Now THAT is dedication to the craft!

with Pat Demaria (wearing blue)
Of course, a theme park won’t be a theme park without the exciting rides. Although Legoland is targeting families with children 12 years and below, there are still attractions that will delight the young-at-heart. My son and I joined throngs of people in lining up for Project X, a thrilling ride that looks like a roller coaster with cars that can only accommodate a few people at a time.

I also went on a ride in the Beetle Bounce with several Muslim girls and we had so much fun getting bounced up and down along a tall tower. My son and I also rode the train that took us on a scenic tour around Legoland.

Those who’d like to bring home mementos would enjoy browsing the various stuff inside Legoland’s souvenir shops. I particularly love how the Lego brick bags look as well as these colorful caps.

We went back to the theme park the next day to take more photos and try to ride more rides. Since the place has officially opened to the public, it was really packed with people when we got there around 9:30AM. Fortunately, the observation tower accommodates a lot of people so we got to ride that one. The platform rose and turned slowly giving us a 360-degree view of the whole area.

Finally, it was time to go. We had to leave early because we’re traveling back to Kuala Lumpur that afternoon and it would be a five to six hour trip. (Note: If you're coming from Singapore though, I was told that travel time is only around 30 minutes to Johor). From the bus, I got my last glimpse of Legoland as I savor the fun moments of being there with my son and of us having a grand time with newfound friends. I’m sure years from now, we’d still be looking at our pictures and smile at the wonderful memories created there :)

We took so many photos and they won't fit in this blog post. Please do view them here and here to see more awesome stuff you can expect to find when you also visit Legoland :)

If someone asks you what you value most in the world, I'd guess you'll say the same things as I would -- family, health, relationships, and oneself. Those were also the things the new Watsons ambassadors said during a recent press con hosted by Suzi Entrata-Abrera at the New World Hotel in Makati.

Love for one's family

Celebrity mom Christine Jacob-Sandejas, who seems to keep looking younger and younger, came with her husband Paco and daughter Gabby. She revealed that her husband and five children are her life. "It gives me joy to take care of [them] -- keeping all of us healthy is a top priority. It's a reality thought that healthcare is rather expensive especially with a fairly big family such as ours," she admitted. "It's good to know that we now have more choices when it comes to branded and generic medicines like Watsons is offering."

Like many moms, Christine knows that quality is non-negotiable despite affordability and shared that Watsons Buy Generics and Save counters are where customers can find the best quality generic medicines with up to 80% savings. The meds sold there are all made by trusted pharmaceutical companies like Unilab, Ritemed, Sandoz, UHP, Pharex, and others.

Love for one's parents

Being Pinoys, caring for our elders is also part of our culture. In the Philippines, we do spend time and effort  to give back what we can to our parents. Miss Universe 2010 runner-up Venus Raj told members of the media stories of her growing up years and how hard up their family was before. "My mom would do multiple jobs to support our family. [She] has been there for us all the time -- raising us and keeping us in good health. Now that I am able to provide for her, I make sure she gets the best care possible especially with her maintenance medications."

The beauty queen added, "I value my mom's health that's why I want her to live a longer life and have more time with our family. Ako naman ang mag-aalaga sa kanya." 

As we all know, a lot of older people tend to forget to take their medications for illness like hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol. With Watsons Compliance Packs, which are priced up to 80% lower than the leading brands, patients are reminded to strictly comply with their doctors' prescriptions to win over their ailments. 

Love for oneself

Aside being a good daughter and her beauty queen title, Venus now also wears the hats of a morning show host and product endorser. Still, despite her busy schedule, she makes sure to continue doing the activities she enjoys like pampering herself with wellness activities. "Since I became Ms. Universe runner-up, life has never been the same. I got more than what I prayed and worked hard for. And now, sabi ko sa sarili ko, no matter what I do, I would still think that there is no limit to what I can achieve. Ang dami ko pang gustong gawin at ma-achieve for me and my family kaya I really have to take care of myself."

Like her, Watsons customers can stay healthy and focused with Watsons Comply & Save value offers where SM Advantage Card members can enjoy the perks of more savings of up to 30% when they purchase featured vitamins and supplements.

Love for one's spouse

Husbands and fathers are not just providers. They should be partners with their wives in terms of building the home. But behind every man's success is a lady who provides encouragement and inspires. Paco Sandejas expressed how much he appreciates everything his wife, Christine, does. "We've been married for 12 years; Christine has supported me in all the ups and downs, and gave birth to our five great kids. In turn, of course I want to make sure that she is in top shape," said the loving husband. "It really amazes me how she is always ready to do different activities with me and the kids everyday! Christine takes care of everyone so I take care of her naman. She means the world to me." Awwww!

To stay at the pink of health, there are Watsons Health Packs which contain adult vitamins and over-the-counter medicines to prevent daily illnesses for those who want to be ready and be healthy whatever the day may bring.

Whatever you value, get some help from Watsons as it makes quality healthcare within easy reach for all Filipinos. Beyond affordability, Watsons also has a strong network of well-trained pharmacists who you can approach for free health services and medication counselling to bring you more value so you can get more out of life.

For more information, visit www.watsons.com and Like Watsons' Facebook page.

I am not easily scared by predictions. I usually take things one day at a time. In terms of planning, what I do prepare for would have to be my kids' tuition fees and my, and my husband's retirement. Whenever I see TV shows or movies about the end of the world, I'm not overly affected nor get worried that it would happen in real life.

This is not so with some families and individuals who take predictions seriously! I got a chance to watch the preview of National Geographic Channel's new series called Doomsday Preppers and was really amazed at how far some people would go to ensure their safety and protect their properties IN CASE something bad really happens to shake all of us out of our comfort zones.

Prepper livestock farm
Sure there are those who speculate on the idea of doomsday, whether it would happen through natural means -- massive solar flares, continents overthrown by water, or killer earthquakes -- or man-made disasters like a global economic meltdown, nuclear accident, or worldwide pandemic. The films alone are frightening. But there are people who actually prepare for the end of the world and go to extreme measures using various preparation styles and approaches.

Weekend getaway bunker style
Watch NGC's series and see for yourself how young and old doomsday preppers train themselves to face the worst. View their lifestyle, subculture, and drastic preparations. I think you will be as amazed as I was by what you will see.

For instance, there's this couple whose house look like a food warehouse. The wife believes that the day will come when supermarkets become obsolete and you can't buy food anymore even if you have the money. It's amazing how she preserves food to last for months and years. I learned from her that eggs coated with mineral oil won't spoil for a long time. She even served 8-month-old eggs during a gathering with her neighbors and the guests said they were delicious! Stay tuned for that part when she and her husband explain why they learned Tagalog which they consider a rare language :)

Greenhouse converted  from swimming pool
You'll also get to "meet" a man who delegates tasks and got his whole family to learn special skills so they would all withstand a worldwide financial collapse. Then there's a lady who teaches fellow females how to do quick-draw shooting and hand-to-hand combat so they can protect themselves when lawlessness become rampant after the economy collapses. 

House made out of shipping containers
In each episode, a group of expert, long-time apocalypse planners called  Practical Preppers, who share their knowledge through teaching, training, and consulting, review the progress of the preppers' survival plans, assess their logistic and contingency plans, rate their overall preparedness, and analyze their chances of survival. 

We were told there would be more interesting stories as each succeeding episode airs. I definitely would want to watch those because, even though I am not as passionate about doomsday as the featured people are, it does help to learn new things that may help save one's life in the future.

Decide for yourself whether the preppers you'll meet are practical or paranoid. Catch NGC's Doomsday Preppers premiering on Monday, September 17, at 9PM.

In my book, Aiza Seguerra is one of the few child stars who continued to shine long after she has grown up from being the cute and talkative toddler who was fondly remembered dancing to Buchikik. Aiza has blossomed into one of the Philippines' most respected acoustic singer-songwriters and guitarists today.

Time does fly by very quickly. I was surprised to find out that the little kid who made us laugh with her antics in the 1987 Little Miss Philippines and as Vic Sotto's daughter in Okey Ka, Fairy Ko, is now 28 years old and that her musical and artistic craftsmanship have already spanned 25 years! 

Armed with more than 30 movies and ten award-winning albums under her belt, Aiza shares her gratitude for this silver milestone with BENTE SINGKO, her anniversary concert scheduled for September 28 at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The event is a production of MediaNation, Blackbird Music Creations, and That's Ntertainment Productions.

Joining Aiza on stage as the major acts are Eat Bulaga's Tito, Vic, and Joey, Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano, and Concert King Martin Nievera. As early as now, I'm sure eager fans are anticipating that these artists' enduring ballads will fill the coliseum with energy, passion, and nostalgia.

Admittedly not a big fan of big production numbers, Aiza shared during the press con that she'd prefer concentrating on the songs during the concert sans the elaborate numbers. "Kahit malaki ang stage, gusto naming singers na halos magkakadikit habang kumakanta. Mas iba ang vibe."

Aiza, who is one of the mentors in the show Protege: The Battle for the Big Break, will have her ward, grand winner Krizza Neri as a special guest. "I'm happy to become a mentor because I can pay forward yung mga naitulong sa akin nung nagsisimula pa ako," expressed Aiza.

The CompanY will also be there to serenade audiences with hits such as Pakisabi na Lang, a song that Aiza has also popularized in radio stations.

To complete the night with their own distinct brand of music are Aiza's fellow ASAP sessionistas Juris, Richard Poon, Princess, and Nyoy Volante as well as Gloc 9, Bayang Barrios, and Cooky Chua of Color It Redd.

Providing musical depth to the evening would be the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra which will be under the guidance of accomplished conductor Gerard Salonga while Mike Villegas and Ria Osorio will serve as Musical Directors.

Aside from Aiza's success on film and TV, she has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits and accomplishments since her 2001 debut album entitled Pagdating ng Panahon. "Dun ako nakilala bilang singer," she said of the piece she described as a song about hope, "na kahit papano you'll get noticed. Ako yun eh." 

And got noticed she did! That year, the album reached five times Platinum award and her song Pagdating ng Panahon won as Best Pop Recording, Best Produced Record of the Year, and Song of the Year in Awit Awards. Her recent CD Perhaps Love (2010) was also released in Singapore and ranked no. 2 on the sales chart.

Despite her young age, Aiza has proven that 25 years is not enough to remain passionate in her commitment to her art. "When I produce music, I make sure I don't sacrifice quality. I believe ang music ay buhay at hindi dapat ikahon." She also affirmed that OPM has a lot of amazing underground artists. "As Filipinos, puso tayo eh. [Ang paggawa ng musika], hindi dapat driven by money, but by heart. Hanggang may kumakanta at nagsusulat ng musika, hindi mamamatay ang OPM."

25 years into the business, Aiza said she has learned to know and love herself and take good care of the gifts she was given. "I [also] learned to respect the competition [and that] it's actually more about [challenging yourself] to be better, loving your job, and trying to be happy no matter if things are [sometimes] not going well."

Apart  from being a musician, Aiza continues with her acting career and currently portrays a co-starring role in ABS-CBN's top-rating teleserye Please Be Careful with My Heart.

BENTE SINGKO: Aiza Seguerra Anniversary Concert is also made possible by ABS-CBN, ASAP Rocks, Eat Bulaga, MYX, Love Radio 90.7, Tambayan 101.9, Barangay 97.1, YesFM 101.1, Easy Rock 96.3, Crossover 105.1 and Mellow 94.7, Yahoo! Philippines, Philippine Concerts, Manila Concert Scene, PEP, OrangeMagazineTV.com, The Telenovela Channel, AstroPlus, Odyssey.net, BusinessWorld, and Star Records.

Tickets are prices as follows: VIP P3000, Patron P2500, Lower Box P2000, Upper Box A P750, Upper Box B P400, and General Admission P300. Reserve tickets by calling 234.2117. 

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