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, 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

For Axis Watches, time is more than just about trends or superficial style. The brand believes time is precious and that how you use it defines who you are. This belief led Axis to collaborate with artists and talents for a charity art exhibit early this month at the SM Mall of Asia.

Dubbed "Time Out of Time", the exhibit featured the works of artists Ram Mallari, Buds Convocar, and Salvador Ching. Each piece formed a collection of mixed media that incorporated Axis watches. All artworks will be sold through a bidding process, the proceeds of which are to be donated to Children's Hour, an organization with the mission to promote child protection, education, health, and nutrition for all children.

Partner personalities, Lucky Mercado and Sam YG of Boys Night Out, helped create more awareness for the project by taking time out from their busy schedules to visit an artist at work and captured a short message of support through video. Watch the clips on the Axis Facebook page and Axis YouTube account.

Ram Mallari

Admit it, you love going out for quick getaways from home even for just an hour or two whether it's watching a movie with someone special, having dinner with family and friends, or drinking coffee by yourself for some peace and quiet. 

However, we sometimes opt not to go just thinking of having to jostle our way through the hustle and bustle of a crowded mall, right? Now, residents of South Metro Manila (including my family!) would be happy to know that Commercenter Alabang offers a place for #JustUs.

event host Edu Manzano

Definitely, it's more fun to eat a meal with someone you care about and have bonding over good food. At Tokyo Tokyo, it's easier to double the bonding fun with friends and family members because the popular Japanese restaurant chain serves Sumo2Share.

This meal is meant to be shared by a pair of diners who can enjoy generous servings of two dishes of your choice, two servings of rice, and two glasses of drinks.

Harvie Sering, Tokyo Tokyo's Product Manager reveals that the Sumo2Share is one of their signature products that give customers a freehand on what they want to have. "And the variety to choose from is wide. We have something for them whether they feel like eating seafood, beef, pork, or chicken."

Weekends are the best times to go out with our loved ones because the kids don't have school and most parents don't need to go to work. This coming Saturday or Sunday, plan to satisfy your appetites at Cravings in a weekend buffet that refreshes and satisfies, with a variety of dishes using freshly picked ingredients from the farm to your table.

Fresh Picks Weekend Buffet is currently ongoing in Cravings' three flagship branches located in Katipunan, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, and Molito in Alabang. Get to experience Cravings' Mongolian and soup and salad buffet, unlimited juice, and a choice of grilled item for only P550++ during weekend lunches and dinners.    

One of the topmost concerns of parents with babies is keeping dry these little ones' bottoms to avoid rashes and irritation. As a baby becomes more active, however, the diaper-changing experience becomes more challenging for moms and dads. 

Huggies Dry Pants is designed for active and playful babies who'd rather crawl, stand, or walk during diaper changes. It makes for a faster, more convenient, and hassle-free way to change diapers; making it easier and more comfortable for both you and your baby!

With Huggies Dry Pants, babies don't have to be laid down for parents to change their diapers. Simply put the left foot in, right foot in, then pull up! These three simple steps can make those dreaded diaper changing moments a fun and playful experience -- Step, Step, Up!

A lot of times, we barely notice the things around us because they've already become so familiar, we tend to take them for granted. For instance, the comfort rooms in our homes are already a given. We just clean and enjoy the convenience of using them regularly.

But in many parts of the world, even in the Philippines, a lot of families still don't have access to this very basic need. Thus, a lot of countries yearly celebrate World Toilet Day in an effort to raise awareness on the need for clean toilets and, at the same time, encourage communities to be more conscious about the connection between their health and the lack of these sanitation facilities.

Last April, I blogged about Domex's 1 Million Clean Toilets Campaign where Facebook users simply have to click the "Pledge Here" button to raise funds for UNICEF's Sanitation Program. This November, as World Toilet Day on November 19 approaches, Unilever Philippines launches a video on YouTube aptly titled "Fiesta" showing underprivileged Filipinos welcoming the "arrival" of clean toilet facilities in their communities.

Last November 8, 2014, Coca-Cola Philippines marked its most unique holiday campaign to bring Christmas closer to communities all over the country.

More than 400,000 stores owned by women entrepreneurs, whose businesses have been touched by the country's leading beverage brand, joined in Share Sari-Saring Happiness Day. Streets of Manila to downtown Bacolod, all the way to Tacloban, Pampanga, Batangas, and Davao were lit up with parols (Philippine Christmas lanterns) made out of Coca-Cola bottles, caps, and labels.

Good news ladies! This season, TRESemme, the salon brand used by professionals, is giving women a treat to get salon gorgeous hair at home at half the price with the TRESemme Runway Ready Sale!

TRESemme Keratin Smooth at 50% off
TRESemme has marked down their best selling TRESemme Keratin Smooth shampoo and conditioner 440 ml bottle packs by 50%!* This variant infuses keratin proteins unto every hair strand to help control frizz for up to 48 hours.

TRESemme Smooth and Shine

My family loves eating out whenever we can. On those weekends we find ourselves in Alabang Town Center, there is one particular restaurant we'd usually go for to get our Filipino food cravings -- Gerry's Grill. Here's sharing our most recent photo there last month taken after hubby and three of our boys renewed their passport at the DFA Satellite Office.

family bonding at Gerry's
We enjoy coming back to Gerry's because they serve really good food at reasonable prices. Here are some of our favorite dishes to order: Sisig, Sinigang, Chicken, and Bangus. Aside from the ala carte dishes, we find it very ideal to order their complete set meals that are very economical for big families. 

Mae West, the popular actress and Hollywood sex symbol of the 1930s once said, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." She's right. We really have to make our time count.

Metro collection in front, Pulse collection at the back
So, however you like to live your life -- be it rushing to keep up with work demands, jet-setting to various adventures, enjoying every luxury that comes your way, or slowing down enough to smell the roses -- make sure you live it by the second. Savor every moment! 

Veloci, the Italian-inspired watch brand built on making each minute count, challenges everyone to transcend the boundaries of time with its cutting-edge watches. Fresh from the success of its previous collections, Veloci launches another two:


By now, it has been established by studies that colored rice is definitely more nutritious than white rice. That is why health-conscious individuals have resorted to buying brown, red, and even black rice to make their diet healthier. From personal experience, I've observed that colored rice takes a really long time to prepare because I'd have to soak it first in water before I could cook it. Moreover, it costs a lot more than white rice.

easier to cook and healthier than other colored rice, promise!
Last month, hubby attended the media launch for RiCo Corn Rice (read his blog post about it here) and brought home some that we could try at home. What amazed me is that this rice-shaped corn is easy to cook, needs no washing, and is very filling! According to the instructions, you just have to Boil water, Pour the RiCo corn rice, and Simmer.

I did just that using our rice cooker and got perfectly cooked corn rice that we ate for dinner. To make the food presentation look better and more enticing to our boys, hubby used a cup to shape the corn rice before putting them on each plate. The verdict? Everyone liked the corn rice.

our family's first of many meals using corn rice

When you see TV or movie clips of people in outer space or walking on the moon, do you also wonder how it must be to feel weightless and how movements are affected by the lack of gravity? I have but I've never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd feel even a fraction of that experience.

So imagine my excitement when my husband and I were invited to try out AlterG, the first anti-gravity treadmill in the Philippines introduced by Kinetics Advance Physiotherapy. Since we are runners, we were really curious what the machine looks like, what exactly does it do, and what kind of technology it uses to make people feel weightless while they run.

I haven't considered myself good in art. Although I dabbled in the past with watercolor on paper, my attempts were never as nice as I wanted them to be. I guess I simply grew up thinking that being a talented artist is something innate in certain people; that individuals who have been gifted with that kind of talent are simply the "chosen ones".

I love that lighthouse painting!!!
I was actually glad to be proven wrong when I learned about Global Art Philippines. The other day, I visited their branch in Alabang Town Center and was totally impressed at the artworks of their students. Their ages? Three years old up to 56! 

According to Teacher Summer, the branch's principal, anybody with the heart to do art could learn many techniques to make good artworks, no matter how young or old you are. That was heartening to know! 

The advent of globalization has enabled everyone all over the world, including Filipinos, to have access to more goods and services from other countries. Unfortunately, not all imported products are of high quality. 

Taiwan aims to address this issue by organizing and implementing a campaign to help Filipino consumers identify the best from the rest with the help of the Bureau of Foreign Trade of Taiwan (BOFT) and Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

This campaign, dubbed Taiwan Excellence, identifies and guarantees high-quality and valuable Taiwanese brands. To be recognized as such and be awarded the quality seal award, products go through a rigorous screening process to ensure that they are of the highest standard and can proudly represent the unique and innovative culture of Taiwan.

Hey, friends who live in Sucat and its nearby areas! Have an epic holiday season at SM City BF ParaƱaque as this mall celebrates a How to Train Your Dragon Christmas

Always a kid-at-heart :)
Kids and kids-at-heart are invited to roam around the Main Atrium, which was magically transformed into the Viking Village of Berk complete with a Viking ship and the lovable Toothless the Dragon.

Viking village

Lenovo has just launched its trend-setting VIBE X2 last November 5 in 12 Monkeys at Century Mall in Makati City. It is the world's first layered smartphone that catches the eye with its signature design that frees users to express multi-faceted lifestyles.

Michael Ngan, Country General Manager of Lenovo Philippines revealed that becoming a PC Plus leader with a focus on smartphone is the most crucial challenge for their brand. "We are well positioned to succeed as we have the innovation and in-house manufacturing capability to bring new and exciting products to the market quickly and efficiently."

From countless samples of each hue, Lenovo utilized robotic arms and clean rooms to apply three coats of paint for each tone, totaling nine coatings per phone. Expert hand craftsmanship was used as a final touch to further refine the layers and achieve a smooth finish.

Leica Camera AG is an internationally operating, premium-segment manufacturer of cameras and sport optics products. Its legendary status is founded on a long tradition of excellence in the construction of lenses. New and innovative products have been the driving force behind the company's positive development in the past 100 years.

This 2014, Leica Camera Asia Pacific officially appointed Lucerne Group, the Philippines' premiere supplier of luxury timepieces, as the official distributor and retailer of Leica Camera products in the country. With over three decades of experience in developing a culture of appreciation for craftsmanship, Lucerne Group and Leica Camera were a natural and suitable fit.

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