I have come to enjoy running (despite my misgivings a year ago) but I still find the gun start times difficult for comfort. The night owl in me has gotten used to doing practice runs in the late afternoons, just before sunset. So there's always a change in schedule whenever my husband and I join actual races. It's either I get very little sleep or won't sleep at all.

a beautiful sight to wake up to in the morning!
When we signed up for the Manila leg of MILO Marathon 2015, I already anticipated not getting enough sleep before race day and standing by for a couple of hours at the venue after hubby joins 42k runners at an earlier gun start.

Microtel's pretty facade
Since the race would be held at the Mall of Asia grounds, we had this idea of booking a room in Microtel by Wyndham, which is the nearest hotel to the venue. Thankfully, agoda offers discounted rates for thousands of hotels, including this one.

our beautiful sunset view room

The MILO Marathon has been in existence for 39 years. Finally, I got to join this prestigious race for the first time and ran 10k for the second time since I started engaging in this sport last year.  The Manila leg of the country's biggest footrace, held at the SM Mall of Asia grounds, was joined by children, students, aspiring runners, and professional athletes of all ages last July 26.

husband and wife bonding
Top finishers for the 42k were elite runners Eric Panique and Luisa Raterta who each received P50,000 in cash and a trophy. Victors of the 21k category, Gregg Osorio and Victorina Calma, brought home P10,000 and a trophy each. All runners who finished within the specified age-bracket and cut-off time per division will also receive a coveted slot in the National Finals in Angeles on December 6 where they will have a chance to be crowned the 2015 MILO Marathon King and Queen.

24k top finishers with Coach Rio and a Milo executive
Speaking of cut-off times, I only learned about it the day before when I checked MILO's Facebook page and felt really pressured to finish 10k before 1 hour and 30 minutes is up! Thankfully, we were booked at Microtel by Wyndham (booked through agoda) located at the Mall of Asia grounds so I got to sleep and rest longer before I started walking to the race venue around 4AM. Hubby, who ran 42k, left the hotel a couple of hours earlier.

bird's eye view of the race from Microtel's 11th floor

Do you usually leave the house wondering whether you should bring your umbrella and jacket with you, or not? How about making decisions to wear or not to wear waterproof shoes? That is often my dilemma. I dislike being caught off guard by the weather so I usually am prepared for the worst, despite the weight added to my already heavy shoulder bag. 

making use of event props for a fun photo op
You see, I've personally experienced finding myself under a sudden downpour on those few days I chose not to bring an umbrella or wear more sensible shoes. And that annoys me greatly. So imagine how glad I was to discover a mobile app that helps me check the weather in my area, before I leave home, and the weather in any place I'm supposed to go to!

traveling is more fun when you're prepared for the weather
According to WeatherPhilippines, makers of the very useful app, there is a tendency for people to over-prepare or under-prepare due to the lack of accurate weather information. Companies cancel work and lose money, and vacation trips get ruined only for a predicted bad day to end up with fair weather. This lack of accurate weather information prevents us from making the right decisions and actions and ends in affecting both our work and lifestyle. 

super cute weather-themed cupcakes

"Strength is essential to enjoy life as we age. It is relevant to the growing Filipino aging population" said Dr. Jose Rodolfo Dimaano Jr., Abbott Medical Director, during a media event for Ensure. "[Thus,] we have to maintain a good level of strength for better quality of life."Did you know that by 2040, 1/4 of the Philippine population will be composed of people age 50 and up? Before we reach that age, we must already do something about not losing our strength!

in pursuit of a better quality of life
photo credit: Azrael Coladilla
Loss of strength, according to a local survey, is a concern among Filipinos age 40 and up. Factors that affect this include:
  • Lack of physical activities (7 out of 10 adults with normal BMI consumer only 60% or less of their required food intake)
  • Nutritional gaps that reduce muscle function affecting performance of daily activities like walking and climbing stairs (food intake below 75% of estimated requirement puts people at risk of malnutrition)
  • Progressive muscle mass loss (there's an 8% loss for each decade among adults between the ages of 40 and 70), which reduces strength and physical performance
how many squats can you do in 30 seconds? do that in 3 sets! :p
"Eighty percent of our health status depends on the food we eat," revealed Dr. Dimaano. He shared about tests performed on adults where it was found out that those with nutrition gaps had lower performance scores compared to age-matched norm. For instance, they are five times slower to step up and down in a ten-step test.

Dr. Dimaano and Edu Manzano

We’ve often heard it said that being a truly beautiful person should be based more on what’s inside. I believe that and would personally like to see more young Filipinas not only looking good physically, but also feeling and doing good for others. 

SkinWhite aims to do just that – to give our young ladies the tools they need to improve who they are both inside and out. The brand’s campaign called #BetterMe was launched specifically to inspire and empower teens.  Actress and SkinWhite Ambassador, Kim Chiu, shared how #BetterMe makes her and other girls look at the brighter side of life.

A few months ago, SkinWhite Captivate Council girls mingled with 20 girls from Barangay Tagalag, the second poorest barangay in Valenzuela City. There, they got to know each other’s stories and share about their lives.

Singer KA Antonio was invited to hold a Personality Development Seminar where she gave tips on staying confident and loving one’s unique qualities. She also highlighted why good grooming is important and how the girls can make themselves feel beautiful with the help of SkinWhite products like lotion, soap, deodorant, cream, and face cream powder. To make it easier for the girls to do just that, SkinWhite’s Marketing and Brand Activation Group prepared and distributed goodie bags to the attendees.

The #BetterMe movement, launched in 2013, chose the second batch of the Captivate Council from approximately 500 aspiring teens from some of the most prestigious college campuses in the country. Only 25 girls were handpicked based on their school accomplishments and their ability to inspire others with their go-getting and stay-confident attitude. 

Kids need a healthy body and mind. Those are two of the best gifts you can give a child. Of course, let's also not forget the value of a good education because that will further ensure a brighter future

photo credit: MilkPEP (Milk Production Education Program)
Last July 22, New Birch Tree Fortified and the Department of Education launched an advocacy called "Me and My Milk" at the Department of Education Complex's Bulwagan ng Karunungan in Pasig City. The campaign encourages children to drink milk at home and in school.

Present during the event were DepEd Undersecretary Dina Ocampo, regional directors and other key officials of the Department as well as executives of Century Pacific Food Inc. and Marylindbert International

"We may gotten older, but we remain passionate about education," said Erlinda Legaspi, President and CEO of Marylindbert, who expressed full support for the project. 

Edwin Africa, VP and General Manager of Snow Mountain Dairy Corp., started his talk with a quote from Kofi Annan: "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family."

Birch Tree brand ambassadors Richard Yap and Mutya Urquia

It is always a pleasure to dine on dishes that have both the components of a good meal: delicious tastes and premium quality ingredients. I am fortunate to discover new and awesome dishes in four Makati-based restaurants serving Australian Grass-Fed Beef.

beef tartare to be wrapped in sisho leaves and nori
Last Tuesday, I started my culinary adventure at Chef Jessie Rockwell Club where we were served really flavorful Australian beef dishes that I'd highly recommend you also check out. For starters, we had Australian Grass-Fed Cape Grim Beef Tartare with Sisho and Nori

beef tartare ready to wrap and eat!
It's a bit spicy but very delicious. The various ingredients (including corniks!) gave it a lot of texture, reminding me of Korean ssam wraps. 

Next, we enjoyed the Grilled Peppered Australian Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin Steak served with double-baked potato and raw papaya. The meat is very tender and the spicy sauce is savory. 

peppered beef tenderloin steak

Many of us love to go dining out with family and friends. Wouldn't it be great if the meal you just had could give you a chance to win nice prizes? 

peppered Australian grassfed beef tenderloin
Foodies all over Metro Manila are in for a culinary experience as more than 35 top restaurants participate in the first-ever Australian Grass-Fed Beef promotion. These dining establishments will showcase a wide variety of dishes that uses Australian grass-fed beef, which have been raised exclusively on natural pastures. 

Choose from a wide variety of dishes using customized menus carefully prepared by some of the top chefs in the city. Ordering these may get you a chance to win P5,000 dining privileges or round-trip tickets for two to Australia via Qantas Airways. This promotion, jointly presented by the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), and the State of Victoria, is ongoing until August 23, 2015.

Anthony Weymouth, Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner, confirmed that there is a growing demand for quality beef in the Philippines, "and this promotion reiterates the fact that Australia is in the best position to provide this, as Australia produces premium quality beef that suits the Filipino taste and budget."

I agree with Mr. Weymouth because I have been buying and cooking different cuts of Australian beef in the past year for my family. The cost is not as high as I previously expected imported beef to be and the meat is way more tender than any of the local beef I've bought in the past. (Read my other blog posts on Aussie beef, here.)

Chef Jessie easily cutting a thick but very tender cut of Aussie beef

Everybody loves winning prizes and if those are stuff that we really want to have, the more we'd make sure we get them, right? Great Taste White Coffee drinkers are in for a treat within the next two months as there are more than P27 million worth of prizes at stake in the Choose Great, Win Great raffle!

Great Taste White variants
There will be four regional draws in five areas: Greater Manila Area, North Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. For every regional draw, one winner will get P200,000 while another will have P100,000. Two winners will also get to bring home a white MacBook Air, four winners will receive a white iPhone 6 each, and six winners will get their own white iPad Mini

But wait! Aside from the already awesome prizes mentioned above, the Great Taste White: Choose Great, Win Great Promo will culminate in a Grand Draw where one lucky winner will take home P3 million in cash with eight others getting to own a white Toyota Vios 1.3 E M/T each!

event host Gelli Victor with Daniel Matsunaga

What comes to your mind when you hear of Tagaytay? If you've already been there at least once, you'll probably immediately think of its cool weather and the charming scenic views, right? I do. And I also sometimes wonder what it would be like to live there instead of just staying in a hotel for a night or two before heading home again.

Avida Serin East Amenity Deck
Avida Land's latest residential development, Serin East Tagaytay, makes it possible for families and individuals to be part of the charming and relaxing vibe that has captured the hearts of Tagaytay's dwellers and vacationers. The development is located on a quiet area that provides residents the privilege of enjoying Tagaytay as a laidback, contemporary haven.

a 2-bedroom unit's dining area 
We were given a peek of how it is to experience living in Serin East Tagaytay during its launch at the Avida Showroom in Glorietta, Makati City. We listened to an interesting talk on tasteful interior decoration as well as created our own tiny potted plants -- a leisure activity that people who have time on their hands would probably love to do. 

making our own tiny potted plants

It's inevitable … the years added to our lives will show on our faces sooner or later depending on various factors like genes, environment, diet, etc. At a certain age, people will notice changes like skin that starts to sag, cheeks that begin to sink, and chin lines that suddenly seems to widen. When laxity first occur on the forehead, it will eventually lead to eyebrow descent, excess skin, or hooding on the eyelids such that you'll appear less open-eyed, among other obvious physical changes.

physical changes brought about by aging
Merz Aesthetics offers a solution to all these changes related to aging via an effective, non-invasive, and sound solution. Merz held a press conference recently at Le Jardin in Bonifacio Global City to introduce Ultherapy, a non-surgical, skin lifting procedure that uses tried and true ultrasound energy.

Dr. Peter Peng, a Taiwanese dermatologist, shared that Ulthera is one of his favorite devices because it is the only device that is U.S. FDA-approved for "lifting" the skin on the neck, brow, and under the chin. "It uses micro-focused ultrasound and is effective and safe. You get lasting results with just one treatment," he described adding that Ulthera has a "deep see" visualization system that enables doctors to literally see what areas they are treating via a monitor. 

(from left) Dr. Elepano, Dr. Teo, Dr. Peng, and Dr. Viceral 
"You are not doing it blind. We can even avoid bones. It's very precise," agreed Dr. Z Teo, a Singapore-based dermatologist who has patients getting Ultherapy for the past six years. "I zero in the treatment where it's needed," he pointed out. When asked about downtime after treatment, he said patients who get a lot of "shots" might feel their skin to be a bit bloated, or there will be some swelling. He assured, "As you wake up everyday, it gets better. By the fourth week, you'll definitely see lifting. There's no redness and no peeling. Pain is subjective and can be managed."

Psychiatrist Dr. Ron Elepano affirmed that when a person feels beautiful, he/she tends to be more confident. "There is scientific basis to looking good. Most depressed patients look tired and sad. Something as simple as Ultherapy can lift and alleviate depressive symptoms," he explained. "Aesthetic medicine can be tailor-fitted to patients and Merz has different offerings to choose from."

before and after 150 days

All of us, I'm sure, want to do more, feel better, and live longer. However, discomfort of any kind, such as having dry and sensitive skin, has an impact on our quality of life such that we become unable to fully embrace living life to the fullest

happy, confident ladies
Any woman reading this would probably agree that on good skin days, we are naturally more confident about ourselves. When we love how our skin looks and feels, it's easier to go out and enjoy ourselves while meeting other people, making new connections, and simply taking on the world.

Unfortunately, during those bad days when we our skin feels dry, red, and itchy, we feel a lot of discomfort and are easily irritated. And when our confidence level drops, we also feel more vulnerable.   

women feel more confident during good skin days 
According to GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) 2014 Skin Health Asia Pacific Consumer Report, more than 50% of women across Asia experienced sensitive face and body skin in the past year. The research further revealed that despite the condition, only one out of two women will visit a skincare professional. Respectively, 71% and 61% of Filipino women also have sensitive face and body skin.

This July, GSK's Consumer Healthcare Division aims to help Filinas and all women across Asia to be free from dry and sensitive skin through Physiogel, its flagship skin health brand, by freeing the strength in sensitivity.

event host Bianca Valerio with GSK's Justin Lladoc

If I remember it right, it was two hundred twenty pesos (P220) -- that's how much hubby and I would set aside every few weeks in the mid-1990s so we can buy a Red Ribbon Chocolate Mousse Cake! We love how its layers blend perfectly into a delicious kind of sweetness that tastes really heavenly. 

solid Red Ribbon Chocolate Mousse fan for over 20 years!
We were living at the time in a small apartment in Los BaƱos, Laguna with our two young kids. Hubby usually buys the cake in Manila on his way home from work. It's too bad that taking pictures then was not as convenient as it is now. If it was, I probably would have dozens of stock photos of us enjoying our favorite cake whether it was a special occasion or not.

Red Ribbon's Black Forest Cake was my
firstborn's requested cake for his most recent birthday
Later on, when the boys started getting bigger, we had them choose what cakes they'd like for their birthdays. Sometimes, they'd prefer Red Ribbon's Black Forest Cake or one of those yummy Cake Rolls

Red Ribbon's Mango Cake -- another Floresca family favorite

New Era, the world's most renowned headwear brand and official provider of on-field caps to Major League Baseball (MLB) and the National Football League (NFL), has just opened its first store in the Philippines last Tuesday. 

one of the pretty models present during the store launch
Cap enthusiasts get to choose from over 500 cap styles inspired by different sports leagues and iconic characters, including the much celebrated 59FIFTY fitted cap, which has been considered as the premium cap of choice. 

my top choices :)
It's quite overwhelming, actually, to see all the very nice, authentic merchandise displayed all over this flagship store because I saw a lot of designs I like, especially the ones with the Avengers and Iron Man logos. 

New Era logo

Filipinos are known to love good food and if you're always on the lookout for great places to dine in, read on!

say cheese!
I had lunch yesterday at City Garden Grand Hotel and enjoyed my time at Spice Cafe. This beautiful dining place on the 7th floor exudes an elegant yet welcoming vibe. The lighting is superb while the attractive furniture are well-spaced out making it very easy to navigate in between tables while holding a plate-full of delicious offerings.

salad bar
The Spice Cafe boasts of a sumptuous breakfast and lunch buffet hailed as one of Makati's best. Its wide range of cuisines include a variety of international favorites. Aside from the refined class of service by its friendly staff, the pretty arrangements of food items would definitely please your eyes. 

roast beef and baked potatoes

Ital Design celebrates the renovation of its showroom at MC Home Depot in Bonifacio Global City by offering premium Dunlopillo mattresses (read a related blog post here) at special prices from July 16-19, 2015.

Compact and Cozy
The innovation of this one of a kind luxurious showroom aims to encourage customers to imagine the possibilities that mattresses and furniture hold. Highlighted in display featuring Dunlopillo mattresses are 10 uniquely decorated vignettes in styles appealing to every type of customer. Ital Design and Dunlopillo will make it easier to create your personal haven whether you’re young professional, a student, or a parent. 

Modern Tropical

It is so easy to find fault in our government. After all, with all those negative news reports about corrupt officials and worthless projects that waste the taxpayers' hard-earned money, we tend to dismiss the thought that there may be government-initiated activities that do work and are helpful to Filipinos.

examples of structures some poor Filipino families call home
When I was asked to join a few members of the media, civic society organizations, and the academe on a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Learning Visit in the provinces of Batangas and Quezon, I immediately said yes because I wanted to see my for myself what their programs are all about.

a briefing on our learning visit
The program officers of DSWD Region IV-A explained to us that their objective is for us to witness personally what goes on in the project areas. "Rather than telling you about them, we'd rather you visit the sites and talk to the direct beneficiaries so you'd learn that positive changes are actually happening in peoples' lives with the help of the government," they said. I found that a very reasonable explanation.

an enumerator asking a potential beneficiary initial questions

Who doesn't love the Minions? They're cute and funny, and they sing pretty good, too! Now, these adorable little guys are back and they have officially taken over McDonald's.

Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, stars of the Minions Movie are the highlights of the Minions Banana Festival that are sure to give McDonald's customers a full Minions experience. Get ready to go bananas because there are 10 Minions collectibles in every Minions Happy Meal plus the Minions Combos featuring a variety of Minions-themed desserts.

Honey Banana McFloat
Get the perfect snack combination for you and your friends by pairing a classic, like McDonald's World Famous Fries, with the all-new Minions-themed desserts. For Php65, you can order the Minions Medium Fries 'N McFloat Combo, which includes the new Honey Banana McFloat, a sweet and refreshing banana and honey flavored drink topped with vanilla soft serve.

Banana Crumble McFlurry and Banana McFlurry with Oreo 
NewerStories OlderStories Home