I believe there will always be a child in all of us and that we will forever be fascinated by things that make children happy. Two years ago, my son and I got to watch the Disney on Ice Princesses and Heroes show and we loved it! You can find the photos I took and blog post link here

This 2014, Disney on Ice presents Dare to Dream, which combines the contemporary stories of two modern-day princesses, Rapunzel and Tiana, with the classic elegance of Cinderella and Snow White. The show is sure to whisk audiences away on exciting journeys where dreams really do come true.

Moms these days are very fortunate because there are so many resources available to them from informative parenting books and magazines to products that help make raising babies and kids much easier.

One of the things I deeply regret not having access to back in the late '90s was the availability and affordability of a good breast pump.  My milk dried up while my third son had to be incubated in the ICU for 10 days and fed via tube for another 30 days. The pump I had back then was no good. I knew that if I only had a good breast pump, I would have been able to maintain my milk supply until my son was discharged from the hospital.

For a lot of moms, a mother's milk symbolizes her lifelong commitment and unconditional love to her child. Nourishing baby with our own milk, we not only get to feed our little angel, we nurture a special bond while giving them the best health benefits that only breast milk can provide. Thanks to modern technology, adaptive products now help moms in providing safe breast milk for their babies even in the mother's absence while she goes back to work or performs other chores. 

My husband and I are often in Festival Supermall because it is where we regularly shop for groceries and most of the stuff we need at home. But it was my first time yesterday to cross the road behind the main mall to go to the recently opened River Park, the newest recreation and dining cluster in Filinvest City, and I was surprised to discover how beautiful it is!

Behind commercial establishments lies a flowing river and a wide expanse of grounds where people can enjoy the cool wind and admire the multicolored lights decorating trees and bushes around the area. A magical Christmas is certainly in the air at River Park because visitors get a visual and auditory treat from the Light and Sound Show featuring 200,000 twinkling lights blinking to the tempo of nostalgic Yuletide carols aside from the popular Let it Go from the movie Frozen.

Women, by nature, have nurturing instincts and those who dream of becoming mothers for the first time  could become too excited and anxious when they start missing their period. Many will definitely take a pregnancy test to find out.

These days, there are now various ways to confirm if a woman is having a baby -- via an ultrasound, a blood test, or an hCG pregnancy test. Because it's the fastest way, most women will choose the hCG test to settle her doubts. But, did you know that if you take the test way too early, it could end up negative? 

Uniqlo Philippines is having an exclusive holiday offer of its luxury collaboration line +J in response to what it described as overwhelming customer demand. The +J Collection is loved for its timeless yet forward-looking style and affordable quality since it debuted in Fall Winter 2009.

Having grown to become one of the most successful fashion collaborations of all time, +J elevates basic garments for functional, minimalist elegance to suit any lifestyle. This season, Uniqlo's best of +J collection reissues carefully selected garments from past seasons that capture the +J philosophy.

I love pizza especially ones that have out-of-the-ordinary toppings. If you're also a fan of gourmet pizza, I'm sure you'd be as excited as my husband and I were about Tuscano Italian Kitchen's Unli-Pizza promo!

For only P299 per head, you'll get to have all the pizza (there will be 3 flavors offered per day) you can eat plus one round of iced tea. Win-win right? This promotion is ongoing from Saturdays to Wednesdays only, from 11AM to 11PM, until January 31, 2015.

Grilled Asparagus and Egg Pizza (P345 one whole)

The Philippines is known for having the longest Christmas season in the world because many Filipinos start decorating for the Yuletide holidays as early as September. Parties and reunions are planned and held almost weekly leading up to Christmas until New Year's Day

What's for sure is that all these get-togethers could only mean one thing -- lots and lots of food! Thus, people look forward to this time of year when we can splurge on the menu and eat as many holiday delicacies as possible. However, those who have been trying to maintain a healthy diet all these months may succumb to indulging here and there. Before they know it, they've already eaten too much and are ending the year with the taste of guilt and a lot of extra pounds.

It's that time of the year again when many of us get busy shopping for gifts and attending parties. Of course, aside from giving, it's always nice to receive gifts in return. 

And yet, a lot of kids all over the Philippines may spend Christmas without a single gift. Help change that! When you go shopping for stuffed toys to give your little loved ones, buy one or several of the SM Christmas Bears of Joy.

Anybody who loves fashion could immediately recognize the brand behind the iconic crocodile logo, a symbol which is as popular as the classic cotton petit pique polo shirt that was designed in 1927 by tennis legend Rene Lacoste

Lacoste was nicknamed "The Crocodile" for his tenacity on the court. He was the brain behind the sports uniform that allows for better sweat absorption and freedom of movement. It was interesting to find out that the shirt's name L.12.12 actually came from -- L for Lacoste, 1 for its one-of-a-kind fabric, 2 for its short sleeves, and 12 for the number of the final version of the design he selected for production. 

Christmas in the Philippines will always be filled with traditions and good food. This Yuletide season, IHOP is having special limited edition offers by putting its stamp on popular Filipino holiday classics!

Archie Rodriguez, President and CEO of Global Restaurant Concepts Inc., which owns and operates IHOP in the country, shared that holidays are a big part of their campaigns. "We are proud to celebrate this joyous season with our diners with a Filipino touch.”

Visit IHOP and taste for yourself the following Christmas specials:

Savor the Bibingka Pancake, which is served with whole duck eggs, muscovado sugar, and garnished with shredded parmesan, cheddar cheese, and desiccated coconut. It is topped with a scoop of butter and served on a banana leaf.

Krisha "Kerxa" Cadiente, owner of NailGanic Lounge, has always been into manicure and pedicure. "At least once a week I go to a nail spa and have my nails done. It’s a girl thing I guess, a way of pampering oneself and there’s a feeling of renewed confidence one you get your nails done," she expressed. 

Since she spends an hour or two in a nail spa every weekend, she had an urge to open one herself. "I thought about franchising but after a few conversations with friends, I decided that starting from scratch is a better path to take. At least I would have control over the products and the construction," recalls Kerxa who observed that since young people today are more health conscious, she found going organic   as the way to go and carried the brand SpaRitual

In the past two years, Harman International Industries, Inc. won 116 awards for 70 unique products from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), producer of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), for its wireless sound systems that use Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.

Harman now brings its legacy of design and innovation to the Philippines with outstanding audio and entertainment solutions. According to Lauro Secreto, Representative from Harman International Singapore, the company recognizes the importance of providing stylish products that deliver not only high-quality technology, but also a sense of connectedness. 

Cherry Mobile recently held a Captain's Ball for its dealers and members of the media. It was a fashionable and entertaining night filled with musical numbers and a sumptuous dinner at Le Pavillion in Pasay City. 

Hosting the event were Victor Basa and Phoemela Baranda who introduced distinguished guests that included their fellow Cherry Mobile ambassadors.

We were treated to an opening number filled with curvy pole dancers that held every male's attention. Leading the production was TV personality Luningning who shared afterwards that she choreographed the number and is now the proud owner of her own pole dancing establishment.

This coming Christmas, there are many children who will most likely get their wishes. Whether it's a simple book, a high-tech toy, or an expensive dress, if these kids come from families where parents have stable jobs, mom and dad could probably afford a lot of those reasonable requests. What's heartbreaking to know is that there remain children whose only wish is to be able to go to school.  

As the Yuletide holidays come in full swing, join Etude House in making a difference in the lives of less fortunate African girls. These are young women from  Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Republic of Cote d'lvire, and Uganda who cannot afford education because of domestic duties, early marriage, and poverty.

Through the School Me Campaign, Etude House partners with Save the Children to grant these girls ultimate wish -- to get an education. And WE can help!

Many of us grew up reading the classic fairy tales although the younger generations are more familiar with the movie versions. This December, prepare to feast your eyes on the ballet version of Cinderella which is filled with delightful dancers, beautiful costumes, and a script that smoothly combines romance and laughter in one spectacular production.

Alice Reyes' Cinderella is the special pre-Christmas treat staged by Ballet Philippines at the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo, Cultural Center of the Philippines from November 28 to December 7, Fridays to Sundays. 

Cinderella and the dance instructor

Epic cook-offs and exciting carinderia visits … these comprised the journey of ten of the best street food cooks before they moved on to the Best Pinoy Street Food 2014 Grand Finals.  There, they were tested by food critics and Chef Boy Logro as well as a hundred people from the crowd who were present during the event held in SM Hypermarket Cubao last November 28.

the 10 finalists
The ten finalists mustered all their techniques, knowledge, and skills to win the country's first epic street food battle. Up for grabs for the champion is his/her own food stall at SM Hypermarket rent-free for a year plus 100,000 pesos worth of prizes including SM Prestige Card loaded with points, large food packs, ingredients, cooking equipment, etc. perfect for starting a business courtesy of SM Hypermarket's Food Service Center.

Chef Boy Logro

I like going to conventions that dwell on topics that interest me and add to my knowledge. The other day, I attended the 7th Business Management Students' Convention at De La Salle University (DLSU) in Manila and got to listen to the talk given by Liza Silerio, Vice President of SM Supermalls and Program Director of SM Cares Environment Committee.

The event aimed to instill awareness and commitment to corporate sustainability, environmentalism, and social responsibility by introducing attendees to business approaches, strategies, and programs that incorporate sustainability principles.

Silerio told the delegates that they, as future business leaders, need to be ready for the risks associated with climate change. In her talk, she stressed the importance of sustainable measures by future private sector leaders to safeguard local communities during calamities and cushion the impact of an increase in carbon emissions, population, and demand for basic needs.

It is always a pleasure to watch live shows in venues that can make each song, each dance move, or each spoken line be a delightful experience. Last Wednesday night Solaire Resort & Casino raised the curtains of its newest crown jewel, The Theatre at Solaire, and treated guests to various impressive performances  by our very own Filipino artists.  

The Theatre at Solaire
The fan-shaped lyric theater has a seating capacity of 1,760 and is ideal for ALL forms of the performing arts -- be it musical theater, opera, concerto, pop concert, ballet, awards night, competition, circus act, kiddie show, or corporate event. These were showcased to us by different performers who conquered the stage with their individual talents.

Classical Suite

Every time the yuletide season comes around, many of us always find ourselves thinking hard what to give our loved ones. In previous Christmases, I'd often find myself buying various Zen Zest items that I feel would be appreciated by people I wanted to give gifts to. 

Zen Zest Christmas gift sets
In the past, I've given away Zen Zest massage oils, foot and body scrubs, lotions, cologne sprays, perfumes, room sprays, and more. What's nice about this brand is that it's constantly innovating and coming up with new products that are world class yet affordable. It offers stuff that would really be appreciated by individuals of almost any age.

Spread some holiday cheer this coming Christmas by giving the gift of scents! Zen Zest has bundled up fragrant gift sets for both men and women so you'll probably find something for almost everyone in your gift-giving list. 

Body Spray for Men gift set

In 1994, Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach won the Binibining Pilipinas Miss Universe title. She’s 40 now and still looks very much like the young and fresh-faced 19-year-old she was at the time. This must be why, when people talk to her about her days as a beauty queen, it would seem as if it happened just a few years ago.

In this Pond’s video, Charlene reveals that representing the Philippines for the Miss Universe pageant was not the peak of her life. She acknowledges it was just the beginning of her journey to having more beautiful experiences as “My best years are ahead of me.”

Filipinos have always been resilient but it doesn't mean we have to experience devastation one after another during typhoon seasons! Even if destruction of property can't always be helped, saving lives should remain a priority. 

According to Reuters.com, extreme weather conditions cause damages and economic losses that increase to nearly $200 billion a year. In the Philippines alone, with 10-20 typhoons arriving annually, the numbers of property losses and death tolls each time a disaster strikes always leave us staggering.

Sophie Brown of TIME magazine reported in November 2013 that roughly 1,000 to 2,000 Filipinos die every year due to adverse weather. Last year, Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon ever recorded to hit land, ravaged parts of the Philippines, flattened homes and infrastructure, and destroyed lives in its path. Even livelihoods painstakingly nurtured for decades were wiped out in a single sweep.

updated weather warnings in anticipation of Typhoon Hagupit/Ruby

In December 2013, I blogged about Dove's revelation that only 7% of Filipino women see themselves as beautiful. You can read that post here and other posts about Dove here. Since its inception in 1957, Dove has been advocating and encouraging women to fully embrace their #RealBeauty and now seeks to change the low 7% figure through the #IamBeautiful campaign.

Dove reports that the response to the #IamBeautiful movement has been staggering because in just a matter of months, "beautiful" has taken a shift in paradigm hinged on self-acceptance and self-worth. To date, the campaign has reached over 1 million women declaring their beauty. This, in turn, has sparked public interest and brought to light the need to address the issues and anxieties faced by girls of all ages.

Apples and Lexi

When we are invited to a bar, we'd usually think of alcoholic drinks.  As to bistro bars, I get the impression that they'd most probably be serving just cocktail food along with alcoholic drinks. Thus, it was a pleasant and most welcome surprise to discover that Twenty Two Jupiter Bistro Bar in Makati actually has a menu filled with good food and drinks at reasonable prices!

According to Twenty Two Jupiter's President, Vince Tanjutco, the 12 businessmen behind the concept were looking for a place they can go to after work. "We wanted a place where people can talk, where they serve good food, have good drinks, and a little entertainment," he described. "People can come here for lunch and dinner. Then, at around 9:30PM, we dim the lights and become a bar with live entertainment. But it's a bar with good food!"

I had lunch there the other day and experienced for myself what he was talking about. Honestly, the appetizers alone were already very filling and tasted really great! 

Huawei has just launched its latest addition to its cutting edge Ascend D series -- the Mate7 -- last Friday at the very new Valkyrie Club, The Palace in BGC

The new smartphone features a single-touch fingerprint sensor, 6-inch screen, full HD display, slimmer 7.9mm body, octa-core processor, dual LTE sims, and a longer-lasting 4100mAh battery. Huawei executives say the Mate7 is the fulfillment of their commitment to better connectivity so that users have the power to balance work and play.

Gavin Dai, CEO of Huawei Technologies Philippines, described that the Huawei Mate7 is all about unlocking possibilities for smartphone users. "The handset performs excellently due to our design and engineering teams' accurate understanding of human behavior -- what we find beautiful and what we need from smartphones as our default daily companions," he said. "Through the Mate7, we assure our customers of longer and better connectivity whether it's for work or play."

With a dual antenna and 4G LTE navigation, Huawei assures users of crisp and clear calls that will keep them fully connected whenever and wherever. The Mate7's smart antenna is moreover compatible with a wide range of network spectrums worldwide allowing for seamless and intelligent signal switching, detecting the strongest signal and choosing the ideal source for emission or reception of data.

In my recent post, I shared the happenings during Giordano Philippines's 25th Anniversary Circus Themed Party. It was there when I got the chance to interview Filipino music icon Rico Blanco about the song he wrote for the fashion brand.

By now, I'm sure loyal customers of Girodano and fans of Rico are already familiar with the beautiful "World Without Strangers" song. I heard it for the first time back in July when the song was officially launched in the Giordano Music Festival meant to celebrate music, love, and life as one. I liked the melody at once and appreciated the general thought of the song.

But it was only the other night, when I got to ask Rico himself about the song, that each line of the lyrics took on a much deeper meaning for me as well. When asked how he would personally describe a world without strangers, Rico thoughtfully answered, "It's a world where we are united by our sameness and our respect for each other's uniqueness. It's that kind of world where we celebrate our differences but, at the same time, we know that we are one."

official video

Many of us may have failed to notice it, but Giordano Philippines has already been here for 25 years! To thank its loyal customers and fans, the popular clothing brand held a celebration party that included circus-themed games and performances, a fashion show, and a concert at the Eastwood Mall Open Park last November 22, 2014.

From morning until late afternoon, guests got to play classic circus games in various kiosks in the event area. Since we got there in the early evening, we didn't get a chance to witness the fortune telling and mechanical bull riding activities aside from the presence of circus characters such as clowns, mimes, stilt walkers, magicians, unicyclists, and many more.

Last September, I was at the Green Retail Agenda Symposium where I first learned about Solar Philippines, a local company that builds solar powered rooftops. I was so impressed with its president Leandro Legarda Leviste's talk that I felt compelled to pitch the story to my editor at Manila Bulletin's Business Agenda section. Read that story here.

Leandro Leviste and Hans Sy
Earlier today, SM Prime Holdings Inc. marked another milestone in its commitment to achieving sustainability in its operations and development. Finally, the solar powered rooftop at the SM City North Edsa was activated. President Benigno S. Aquino III and SM Prime President Hans Sy led the switching on of the solar powered rooftop located on the mall's Multi-level Carpark Building.  

(L-R) Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Speaker, House of Representatives,
Jericho L. Petilla, Secretary, Department of Energy; President Benigno S. Aquino III;
Leandro Leviste; and Hans Sy

Filipinos have adventurous palates. This is evident in the way international restaurant brands keep coming here to set up their businesses.

with Ms. Vivien Tan (4th from left)
My Singapore Food Street has a more personal history though. This food sensation located in SM Megamall was actually born out of its Managing Director's longing for food she grew up with. Aside from Singapore, Vivien Tan has made the Philippines her second home. She partnered with Jean Henri Lhuiller to offer Filipinos a taste of Singapore in our local setting.

Emman Orbeta, My Singapore's Restaurant Manager,
demonstrating how to cook Char Kway Teow

I like discovering out-of-the-way dining places that surprise customers with a combination of good ambiance and great food. Last weekend, hubby and I found one restaurant located at the end of a very (and I mean, very!) long road called Gil Fernando Avenue in Marikina City.

photo borrowed from Beeffalo's Facebook page
Beeffalo by Hotrocks is an establishment owned by three individuals whose friendship goes way back before 2004 when they started operations of HotRocks in Autocamp (a car display center), then opened a branch in clubsixfifty Libis a year later. 

choose to dine inside or outside under twinkling lights
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