It seems just a few months ago when C2 Cool and Clean had its Sarap ng Bukas music video making contest. I am surprised that it has been two years!

This 2013, C2 created another milestone when it launched its first ever C2 Sarap ng Christmas Tree-Making Contest. This event aims to bring relevant and memorable experiences to both the young and the young-at-heart. 

NCBA's winning entry
Various schools from all over Metro Manila tried their hand at building beautiful Christmas trees using hundreds of C2 bottles in less than a month. What they came up with were really impressive! Out of many entries, 10 made it to the finals. The trees were displayed at the fountain area of Market! Market! in Bonifacio Global City

PWU's entry
Entries were judged based on the following criteria: 40% for adherence to the C2 Sarap ng Christmas theme; 30% for creative execution; and another 30% for technical execution. 

PLM's entry
The Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila's Supreme Student Council's entry won 2nd runner up. They received a P25,000 cash prize and an endowment of P15,000 to the school. Their tree, created by 100 students was 12 feet tall and sported 2000 C2 bottles. 

The Philippine Women's University's Student Choir group was declared 1st runner up. Their tree was also 12 feet tall and was made with 1200 C2 bottles. There were 12 students on worked on making their creation. The team received a P50,000 cash prize and an endowment of P25,000 for their school.  

The National College of Business and Arts' Hotel and Restaurant Management Society's scene-stealing entry was awarded the grand prize. Their 12-foot tree used 1211 C2 bottles crafted into a masterpiece by 24 students. The group received P75,000 in cash and P30,000 endowment for the school. 

All 10 finalists, which included The University of the Philippines UP Artists Circle Sorority; The University of Makati College of Allied Health Services; University of the East College of Engineering and Recognized Student Organizations; The United Architects of the Philippines Student Auxillary of the Central Colleges of the Philippines; Jose Rizal University's Central Student Council; National College of Business and Arts Cubao Future Educators Club; and National College Business and Arts Fairview Junior Philippines Institute of Accountancy, also received Christmas gift packs. Congratulations everyone for doing such a great job!

According to Mr. Edwin Totanes, Vice-President and General Manager for URC Beverage Division, C2 has always been at the forefront of supporting the youth and encouraging them to adopt a healthy lifestyle. "Through the C2 Christmas Tree Making Contest, we hope to showcase the artistic talent of these young students and, at the same time, remind them that a healthy mind and body is the best gift you can give yourself this Holiday Season."

During your upcoming New Year celebrations, let C2 help you lead a healthier life. Try their latest variants, Red Tea and Iced Tea, which are delicious flavors that will complement a lot of holiday meals. After all, kapag may C2, sarap ng Christmas! :)   

* To see more photos, please visit this Facebook album

For those who were already students in the ‘80s, I am sure many of you also had coconut-related school projects such as drawing a large coconut tree on a cartolina and identifying all the things that can be made from its every part, from the top of the leaves and the fruits down to the trunk and roots.

I remember bugging my parents to help me find pictures of coconut products that I could use for my homework. Some of what I found included suman wrappers, macapuno, copra, buko juice and, of course, cooking oil, among many others. You can actually read more about the coconut’s endless list of products and by-products and their many uses here Discover and prove for yourself why the coconut has been hailed as The Tree of Life for decades.

photo borrowed from
I grew up in a small town called Rizal in Laguna. During my elementary days, our school service would pass by the Minola Coconut Oil factory every weekday.  Expectedly, Minola supply was abundant around the area and I don’t think any other brands were available in our small barrio back then. I can even recall my grandmother asking me or my sister to specifically buy a bottle of Minola from the sari-sari store whenever we run out of cooking oil in the kitchen.

Minola has already been around for the past 50 years and continues to be one of the leading brands of coconut oil in the Philippines. To promote the benefits of coconut oil, Minola has partnered with the coconut industry’s leading organizations such as the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), United Coconut Association of the Philippines, and Coconut Oil Refiners Association.

photo borrowed from
Talking about benefits, did you know that Minola is rich in Lauric Oil that helps fight viruses and bacteria? Thus, cooking with Minola Cooking Oil can help boost your family’s immunity due to its Minolauric (which means full of lauric oil) property.

photo borrowed from
According to the PCA, coconut oil is the most readily digested fat among all those used in general around the world. This oil provides an estimate of 9,500 calories of energy per kilogram. Along with boosting immunity, coconut oil slows down aging and counteracts heart, colon, pancreatic, and liver tumor inducers.

Serve healthy dishes to your family and ensure their health at the same time. With Minola, you won’t need to spend a lot to be able to enjoy the benefits of coconut oil.

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post

Many of us like to munch on crispy snacks and, in my family, tortilla corn chips are almost always on top of the list. Recently, we discovered a new brand called Chacho's that will also definitely delight your taste buds!

Chacho's Tortilla Corn Chips come in three flavors -- the Cheesy Cheese, BBQ Bonanza, and Spicy Curry. They come in 80g and 185g packs. 

I am not much a fan of anything hot on the tongue but the first two variants became my instant favorites. My boys, on the other hand, like the spicy Chacho's very much. These chips are great for afternoon or midnight snacks and go well with our favorite drinks.

Two days ago, my hubby, kids, and I went home to Laguna to celebrate Christmas with my extended family. We had a great time bonding with my siblings and their own families. I brought several packs of Chacho's with us and even my young niece enjoyed munching on the treats with her mom and dad.

Keep updated with Chacho's by liking their Facebook Fan Page. We saw that they have an ongoing contest and thought it would be fun to take some individual photos of each member of the family then stitch them together to make them appear connected. 

If you think this picture is creative enough, would you kindly like it on Chacho's contest page? We'd appreciate your votes! My three kids would appreciate having their old phones replaced in case we win :) Kindly check if your like was counted though. We observed that one has to make several tries clicking the like button for the counter to go up.

For those who have also discovered how lip-smacking Chacho's can be, try joining the contest as well! 

* Chacho's is distributed by JNL88 Marketing Inc., which was established in 2001 and is engaged in importing and distributing a wide range of high quality imported products such as snacks, biscuits, condiments, confectionery, coffee, beverages, personal care, and household products. Most of these are sourced from the USA and Canada. JNL88 is moreover the only authorized distributor of Mondelez International products in the Philippines and includes brands such as Chips Ahoy!, Jacob's, Ritz, and more.

Ice cream is not just for the summer months. There is always a good reason to eat some any day of the week! It is a great thing that Selecta Ice Cream is always coming up with new and delicious flavors. 

Although my top favorite Selecta product will remain to be Berry Strawberry from the Gold Series, my family discovered exciting variants that combined some of the Philippines' well-loved food items into three new flavors that are perfect for celebrating Christmas and New Year with loved ones this Holiday Season.

The Buco Pandan is delicious! The light green color is very pleasing to the eyes and the burst of flavors are just mmmmmm-good! This one has refreshing chunks of buco and pandan jelly folded into creamy macapuno ice cream. Fans of food items with the aromatic pandan scent would enjoy this.

My hubby and I have been buying plain mango ice cream for the longest time because we do like fruity flavors. Selecta's Mango & Cashews flavor just brought the level up a notch. This supreme dessert item features luscious mango ice cream with real mango sauce blended with roasted cashew nuts. The crunch from the nuts would definitely change the minds of those who think that the old plain mango ice cream is boring.

By the time we tried Ube Keso, it became really difficult to say which of these three I like best. This third variant is also yummy! Whoever discovered that ube is best paired with cheese is a genius! This creamy ube ice cream blended with real cheese bits is divine! 

Craving for some Selecta Ice Cream now? :p Head on to the nearest supermarket or convenience store and try one, or all, of these flavors. You will definitely not regret buying any of them. Don't forget to get some for your Noche Buena and Media Noche celebrations so other members of your family will get to try them too! :)

Hello Kitty has been, and continues to be, a favorite among little girls and young-at-heart females. So I am sure many of you would love to spend the whole of 2014 with the famous feline. This coming New Year, fans can enjoy precious moments with Hello Kitty thanks to SM Kids' Fashion.

Get your own limited edition Hello Kitty notebook organizer! This exclusive planner features three bold-colored covers in red, pink, and white with a gold stamped Hello Kitty logo. Just complete the stamp cards available at all SM Kids' Fashion outlets.

An initial P300 single-receipt purchase of regular-priced Hello Kitty apparel from the SM Kids' Fashion department entitles bearers to a stamp card and free first stamp. If you are a BDO Sapphire or Diamond Rewards cardholder, or an SM Prestige member, you can get your stamp card and first stamp with no need for a minimum purchase.

Young fashionistas can complete their cards by collecting more stamps using P300 single-receipt purchases of regular-priced Hello Kitty and SM Kids' Fashion apparel. You will need a total of 5 Hello Kitty stamps and 5 SM Kids' Fashion stamps to complete one stamp card. Items valid for purchasing are available in the Children's Wear, Girl's Teens Wear, and Character Shop sections of The SM Store.

Plan a fantastic 2014 purr-fectly with the Limited Edition Hello Kitty Planner Giveaway only from SM Kids' Fashion. Promo runs from November 15, 2013 to January 15, 2014.   

Many Filipinos now feel the season of giving and sharing but a lot of our fellowmen in other parts of the country still need assistance. May we not forget them and continue to find ways to help as long as we have to. 

This December, Ayala Malls is staging Joy of Giving, a silent auction that involves a series of select fashion and beauty brands in partnership with Look Magazine and Inquirer Lifestyle. All proceeds shall be for the benefit of Bulig Bisaya, a fund raising drive for the rehabilitation of Carles and Estancia Towns. These are Ayala Land's adopted communities located in Northern Iloilo.

The auction started in Greenbelt and Glorietta last December 2 to 8 and 3 to 9, respectively. It was then transferred to Alabang Town Center from December 10 to 16. Now, Joy of Giving is in Trinoma until December 22.

Fashionistas who would love to own stuff from well-known brands will get a chance to bid on their chosen items simply by indicating their bids on the corresponding BID portion on the auction form. After which, they can drop the form in the drop box provided. This auction is open to everyone.

This activity is described as a silent auction because nobody knows how much other people bid on each item. That's an interesting concept, don't you think? Plus, the opening bids are really, really low! Winning bidders will be notified on or before January 6, 2014.

Participating merchants from Trinoma includes Bauhaus, Benefit, Celine, Chronos, Dumond, Fred Perry, Geox, Hotflopz, Hush Puppies, Geleia, Jewelmer, Original Penguin, Power Mac Center, Rabeanco, Sebago, Swatch, Thomas Sabo, Watch Republic, XOXO, and 101 New York.

Head on up to the lobby near the Trinoma Cinemas to view and bid for the items. For more information, please contact Ms. Stephanie Co at 901-5713.

At the start of every year, we list down goals that we want to fulfill before the year ends. This 2013, some of my aspirations included finding more time for our family to be able to go out more often during weekends and holidays. I knew doing that would need a lot of planning and budgeting.

Read about our Crosswinds Resorts Suites Tagaytay getaway here
Thankfully, with proper funds allocation and fixing of schedules, my husband and I were able to bring our four boys on overnight trips to a couple of hotels as well as have bonding moments with them over lunch or dinner in restaurants and watching movies at the mall.

Among the many factors that enabled us to do all these, I believe, include physical health. After all, we needed enough strength to keep on working and earning while we budget our finances for family outings at the same time.

Keeping oneself healthy is not easy though if you are like us who have to sometimes work long hours and undergo a lot of work-related stress. Aside from sticking to a proper diet, exercise, and enough sleep, thankfully, there are supplements that can also help boost the immune system by keeping various body functions at their optimum levels.

One of those is Circulan, the 4 in 1 dietary supplement that supports a healthy heart, arteries, blood, and nerves. In essence, Circulan promotes good blood circulation by combining 4 top herbal extracts – Hawthorn Berry, Ginkgo Biloba, Garlic Oil, and Lemon Balm -- in one formula. Please read my previous blog post where I described each of their benefits in detail.

The bottom line is, our family needs us. All our hard work and all the money we earn will be worthless if the people we love most can’t even enjoy our presence in their lives. It is not enough to provide our kids with material things again and again. They need us more and we need to be healthy for their sake.

This coming 2014, what goals are you aiming for? Make sure you also put “spending time with the people who matter” on the top of your list. In my opinion, only then can we truly say we’re doing everything we can to live a fulfilled and happy life.

Keep updated with Circulan’s news and promos by liking their Facebook page:

I am a sucker for moist and chewy brownies so I was delighted to receive a box of Brownies Unlimited treats the other day as an early Christmas gift. 

It contains 12 new flavors that seemed to magically disappear from our refrigerator in less than 24 hours. I only got to eat one of the delicious squares, the Walnut Swirl, because my kids beat me to the others :)

Satisfy your sweet tooth and those of your loved ones this Christmas! Here are Brownies Unlimited's new batch of flavors that will also have you craving for more:

You can buy these at any of Brownies Unlimited's more than 50 branches nationwide at P25.00 to P30.00 each depending on the flavor. They are also available in boxes of 4, 6, 10, and 12 pieces. Aside  from the delicious contents, the packaging's very nice and is perfect when given as gift items. 

For updates and promos, please like Brownies Unlimited's Facebook page

I love watching live theater shows. I'm sure it's obvious given the already numerous posts and reviews about theater that you can find in this blog. I greatly admire a lot of wonderful local theater actors and actresses, some of them still very young who, I'm sure could only get better and better every year. After all, Filipinos have boundless talents when it comes to the arts.

This December, Sacred Heart School Makati teamed up with Teacher Monique Bunuan of the Helen O'Grady Drama Academy Philippines to come up with a wonderful play called The Secret of Christmas Eve. It will be staged at the 7th floor of CAP Building in Amorsolo cor. Rufino Sts. in Makati City this December 16, 2013 at 10AM. 

Several parent bloggers and I got to watch the kids' practice yesterday and saw how much fun the little ones are having. According to Teacher Weng Palma of Sacred Heart, holding this year's Christmas showcase aims to help their students become their best in singing, dancing, and acting. This, she said, is very much in line with the school's philosophy of nurturing the children's unsung potentials.

Helen O'Grady Drama Academy is a well-known name all over the world for its expertise in the dramatic arts. It offers workshops in different countries to get kids to develop confidence about themselves and how they speak in front of people. I personally saw how Teacher Monique makes learning really enjoyable for all her participants when kids of my fellow bloggers and even my friend Myra joined in on the workshop. 

Teachers of Sacred Heart revealed that the kids really look forward to the lessons that teach them how to take on their roles as actors and actresses and make them aware that they are part of a team. Happily, everyone is doing a great job.

Come summer break, aside from the Galileo Enrichment Learning Program, Sacred Heart plans to also start offering after-school classes with Helen O'Grady. The Kindy Drama Program, for 3 to 5 year olds, aims to develop in preschool students confidence and self-esteem as well as verbal communication skills. These are achieved through storytelling, dramatic play, speech training, creative movement, songs, and lots of language development activities.

The classes will further help develop important life skills for young people such as listening, sharing, taking turns, following instructions, sequencing and memory skills, and vocalizing thoughts and emotions. Kindy drama classes meet once a week for an hour and the program runs for a whole year. This is done in a fun and stimulating way to ensure all participants have a wonderful experience and are getting the most out of the lessons.

If you have time tomorrow morning, please do watch The Secret of Christmas Eve where the kids will be cookies, bakers, and elves with a Rudolph to boot! Tickets are sold at P300 each for the benefit of Typhoon Yolanda survivors. This is Sacred Heart's way of helping as well as teaching their students that they are never too young to do their parts as members of society.

For updates and more information, please like the Facebook pages of Sacred Heart School Makati and Helen O'Grady Drama Academy Philippines.

* See more photos from our school visit here

Global warming is now one of the top concerns worldwide given the unusual occurrence of weather-related disasters that hadn't normally happened in past years. Aside from being conscious about our carbon footprints, one of the other solutions to help protect the environment is to teach young children to take good care of it for their future.

This December 15, game enthusiasts can start downloading the app called Dolphy Clean Up. It features a  main character patterned after the looks and demeanors of the late Comedy King Rodolfo Quizon

The Quizon family partnered with iGen Techonologies, a US-based software product development and consulting services company with an office in the Philippines, in developing the game in memory of the iconic funny man. The creators describe the game as both fun and educational as it is said to heighten awareness on environment protection. 

Players can enjoy a total of four stages: City Cleaner, Forest Protector, Ocean Hero, and Air Guardian, which cover 36 levels of thrilling and positivity-promoting adventures. I got to try the first level and it is quite challenging! I think kids and young-at-heart gamers, who are more adept at eye-hand coordination would do very well with this game. 

Quizon brothers
Eric Quizon illustrates, "Dolphy Clean Up aims to educate people, especially children, on the importance of trash segregation and proper disposal." The Quizons gave life to the concept through Dolphy Aid Para Sa Pinoy Foundation, Inc., an organization that channels the late actor's advocacies, particularly his care for the environment and the safety of the common tao. 

Dolphy Clean Up launch (photo credit: Dibs Trofeo)
This same foundation was behind the success of Dolphy Alay Tawa, a fundraising tribute and benefit concert held last year, a few months after the Philippines' cinema legend passed away, and which was attended by several top caliber Pinoy showbiz personalities.

In line with this, Epy Quizon shares that, "A certain percentage of the download proceeds [of the paid version] will be directed to efforts being made to rehabilitate and reconstruct communities in the Visayan region affected by the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda last month."

with Epy and Eric
Dolphy Clean Up will be initially downloadable from the App Store for iPads, and very soon for iPhones. It is expected to be available in Google Play for Android mobile devices in early 2014. The Quizon family will also be launching the game app in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

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