Aside from insuring Filipinos and the things we value most, Pioneer has also been advocating for the artistic community through insurance coverage and sponsorships. The life and non-life insurance company, established in 1954, has already supported theater plays such as Miss Saigon, The Little Mermaid, and Trumpet's N.O.A.H. 

Pioneer and Partners
Last year, Pioneer rolled out the Stories of Friendship Video Competition where participants were encouraged to share their take on friendship via a three-minute video. Ateneo de Davao's My Friends Who Ran won first prize.

This year, as a means of continued support for the Filipino talent, the company is holding Pioneer   Stories of Hope Playwriting Competition. This new campaign paves the way for fresh ideas from young, aspiring playwrights who have 'hope-full' stories to tell.

Scars mean different things to different people. For some, they are a reminder of pain and personal tragedy while others consider them as a sign of healing wounds. Scars are a testament to what individuals have overcome because of their courage and resilience. These physical marks could also mean closure about a past incident and is something that can be visually improved as part of the healing process.

learn these SCARvivors stories and be inspired!
Contractubex (Extractum Cepae + Heparin + Allantoin), the country's leading scar management brand, has partnered with the burn centers of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons, Inc. (PAPRAS) mission for an advocacy called SCARvivor, which shares life-changing stories of six individuals who bear scars but kept on living inspiring lives.

Contractubex brings stories of hope
The SCARvivors shared a bit of what they went through during the press launch along with talks from Dr. Jose Joven Cruz, President of PAPRAS and Dr. Dorothy Dy Ching Bing, Burn Rehabilitation Consultant on burn centers in the Philippines.

Nikoy de Guzman

Savings or quality? That's a question that is echoed by many Filipinos when it comes to generic medicines. For families on a tight budget, healthcare often takes a backseat to more basic needs like food and household utilities. A recent study done by Nielsen confirmed that an average Filipino family spends only five percent (5%) of its income for medicines and health-related services.

save up to 80% when you buy Watsons Generics
With Watsons Generics, Filipinos no longer need to choose between SAVINGS and QUALITY because customers are assured all generic drugs sold there are manufactured by trusted pharmaceutical partners and undergo a five-step quality assurance process. In addition, shoppers also get as much as 80 percent in savings!

Danilo Chiong, Health Business Unit Director of Watsons said that they aim to help families by giving them more healthcare options and the ability to buy affordable, high-quality medicines. "This will not just give them access to quality healthcare products, they will also be able to focus their finances on other important matters."

at Watsons, you get both savings and quality, no compromises
The Watsons Generics line includes maintenance medicines for diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol; antibiotics for fighting off common bacteria; dietary supplements to enhance the skin, help slow down aging, and maintain overall wellness; basic vitamins; oral analgesics; and other over the counter medicines. 

"In the Philippines, Watsons has always been known for our branded beauty products," acknowledged Karen Fabres, Watsons Senior Marketing Manager. "But, with the launch of Watsons Generics, our customers now don't have to go elsewhere to buy their medicine."

Sai Pascual (Senior Category Manager), Karen Fabres, Krisel Macatangay
and Helen Capunong from Watsons with Lorna and Edu

It is hard not to be biased about the local food we grew up with but I personally believe that Filipino cuisine is really one of the best in the world. After all, we have a wide variety of dishes bursting with interesting and delicious flavors. 

Via Mare celebrates 40 Years of good Filipino food
Via Mare Seafood Specialty Restaurant, which opened in September 1975, gave global recognition to the sophistication and complex flavors of the Philippines thanks to Chef Glenda Barretto who believed in the Filipino cuisine's potential to be world class.

Ensaladang Suha at Labanos - P168
Ensaladang Bagnet - P195

Digital Walker has set the bar for industrial class and fashion forward digital accessorizing since it opened its first futuristic and pop-art inspired store in 2004. Until now, it remains a great place to find hip, quality, and trailblazing tech accessories that enable today's technocrats to get their geek on in style. 

gadget accessories galore
No wonder tech-savvy customers have repeatedly come back to check out the latest in music headgear, portable speakers, gizmo protectors, and a few cult-loved gadgets.

choose from a variety of sweet treats to pair with your coffee
To push the envelope further, this popular gadget accessory store brought a new twist in its Eastwood Mall location. Recessions Coffee by Digital Walker is a coffee and tech lover's dream because the cafe is located right inside the fun and funky tech store. What's more, patrons can order a great cup of coffee at whatever price they'd like to give or can afford. Just pay-want-you-want! 

unwind with cappuccino and cheesecake while listening to music via a portable speaker

Robinsons Supermarket, the Philippines' first supermarket chain to take on the wellness advocacy, is celebrating its 30th year of serving the Filipino family with a series of activities for the enjoyment of its loyal patrons. From the first branch at Cebu Fuente in 1985, Robinsons has grown to 116 stores nationwide with more stores expected to open within this year.

wellness section shaped like an apple
Kickstarting the "30 Fresh Years" milestone celebration was the recent launch of a new health and wellness section format for Robinsons Supermarket Pioneer in Mandaluyong, sponsored by one of its trusted partners, Nestle Philippines. I found it fascinating how they arranged the Wellness Section shaped like an apple -- so inspiringly healthy! :)

ready to join the fun activities!
Around the store, sponsored booths with health-related themes offered various activities for shoppers. Some of my blogger friends and I joined in the fun and, after completing our stamp cards, got to take home a prize --- a container of Healthy You Mixed Nuts! My hubby and I love snacking on those!

visit the booths, complete the stamps, get your reward!

Adults find it hard to deal with itchy skin, what more when babies and small children have that discomfort? Moreso, the itch feels different with simple insect bites compared to skin conditions where the itch remains for a longer time. No wonder those with eczema find it hard to sleep at night!

even a teddy bear would probably up all night if it has eczema! :p
Eczema is characterized by red, dry, and itchy rashes on the skin. It is more common in children than in adults. It can also negatively affect a child's life as a result of the inability to sleep because of the itching. 

This is what celebrity mom Chesca Garcia-Kramer experienced with her daughter Scarlett who used to cry at night due to itchy rashes. Their pediatrician then recommended mometasone furoate or Elica for the little girl. Within 24 hours, the topical steroid from Bayer Philippines gave positive results and both mother and daughter finally got to sleep better at night.

beautiful mother and daughter, Chesca and Scarlett

I fully support natural and organic farming. Not only does this produces safe food, it also helps the environment. So I am very happy to learn that Earth Kitchen, a restaurant I recently visited, is very dedicated in supporting local farmers and indigenous communities around the Philippines.  

smiling with a happy tummy :)
Earth Kitchen's dishes showcase crops from the Got Heart Farms in Tarlac as well as the restaurant's more than 100 partner communities from Luzon to Mindanao. As a backgrounder, this establishment is a partnership of Got Heart Foundation and Hizon's Catering. Its interior feels like somewhere you'd like to relax in amidst fresh greenery.

interior of Earth Kitchen's BGC branch
Like many of us who have been advocating for organic agriculture, the founders of Earth Kitchen also believe that increasing demand for organic and natural produce will help sustain the livelihood of marginalized communities. This, in turn, also encourages farmers to raise good, clean, and healthy food without using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, and other harmful inputs such as petroleum-based urea, herbicides, and pesticides.

watermelon and rocket salad

A clinical study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, revealed that more and more Filipino children get sick more often due to their weak immune systems. Unfortunately, this growing concern in kids may affect different areas of your child's life, including time-sensitive activities such as attending classes in school.

kids who fail to attend classes also miss out on other opportunities for growth 
Getting sick for several days, leading to multiple absences, are likely to set back a child's education, overall development, and growth. Missing school means getting left behind in learning valuable lessons that could be crucial later on in the school year. More often, these children find it hard to get back on track.

Thus, parents need to make sure that kids are kept safe from infections by boosting their immunity through proper nutrition. According to Dr. Marina V. Vargas of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos recommends having two to three servings of vegetables a day (1 serving = 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked veggies) and two servings of fruits a day (1 serving should be rich in Vitamin C).

Pineapple Milk Shake made using Del Monte Pineapple Chunks

Barely two months since the Flare X and CUBIX were introduced to the market, the country's leading local phone brand, Cherry Mobile, continues to make strides as it strengthens its relationship with Google, with its Android One initiative.

all the sweetness of Android in Cherry Mobile's G1
Less than a year since the release of the groundbreaking Android One smartphone in the Philippines, Cherry Mobile recently unveiled the Cherry Mobile Android One G1, which was described as having "all the sweetness of Android."

This latest smartphone, certified by Google, has a 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processor backed by an Adreno 306 graphics-processing unit. Upgraded from its predecessor, the G1 has an increase of 2GB RAM with 16GB of built-in memory, expandable up to 64GB for added file storage space using a micro SD card.      

the G1 is powered by … lollipop! :)

It is more the norm nowadays, rather than an exception, for Filipino families to have relatives abroad. Thus, we all probably have experienced receiving "padala" from our loved ones working or living in other countries. 

an OFW sending money remittance
At home, we often receive balikbayan boxes from my in-laws living in California who often send us stuff for the house and medical equipment and supplies for our son with special needs. In fact, one particular box sent to us by my sister-in-law was featured by NPR (National Public Radio) several years ago :) 

an OFW's family buying groceries using the remittance they received
For many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), it is always a joy to be able to send stuff and money to their loved ones at home. However, there have been a lot of stories about relatives here who mishandle remittances thereby wasting the efforts and hard-earned income of the OFWs. So I totally understand the struggle of some of our kababayans abroad thinking if the money they're sending are really spent on the proper expenses.  

Mr. Gary Valenciano for Puregold #PurePadala

The Teen Queen of Philippine show business, Kathryn Bernardo, has just been launched as Primadonna's newest brand ambassador the other night at The Green Sun in Makati City. This youthful Filipina actress, regarded as one of her generation's fashion icons, is described as a perfect fit for Primadonna's likewise young and dynamic personality.

Kathryn Bernardo -- the new Primadonna brand ambassador
Kathryn's style, which has greatly evolved from her younger days, inspired the brand's upcoming pre-holiday collection. This is composed of 20 styles reflecting the latest Sports Luxe trend, first set by the likes of Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang

Sports Luxe footwear
The collection features chunky platforms, thick-soled kicks, and "man repeller" slides, which have been seen on some of the most stylish people here and abroad, particularly in Hollywood. "I love how Primadonna is when it comes to picking up what's uso," shared Kathryn. "So if I see Taylor Swift wearing something na gusto ko, I run agad to Primadonna because I'm sure they have what I'm looking for!"

pretty pink shoes

The annual World Food Expo is a great venue to showcase new technologies in the food industry and I felt privileged to be there as Bosch unveils its latest built-in cooking series at WOFEX 2015 in SMX Convention Center this August 5-8.   

Event host Gelli Victor interviewing Chef Jean Charles Dubois
Bosch Series 8 Ovens, which were granted the 2015 German Design Award, feature 21 new technologies that will make preparing dishes a breeze for both novices and seasoned cooks. Host a party with a lavish menu or simply cook for your family with the help of the Series 8's intuitive and sophisticated sensors that guarantee perfect results. 

Chef JC setting the oven for baking
Bosch ambassador Chef Jean Charles Dubois, from the famed Balzac Brasserie and Bar in Singapore, demoed several of his specialties to prove to expo attendees how the Series 8 takes the guesswork out of creating delectable dishes with minimum effort. He showed us how to execute three heavenly recipes that looked really easy to prepare. You really just need an intelligent oven to get the doneness right.   

Chef JC showing how the choux pastry was perfectly baked

We experience a lot of changes in life. Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, some of these changes are beyond our control. Still, it has been said that whatever problems we face are not as important as our attitude towards them. "Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude," right?

change can be confusing
But, what if your boss informs you that the company you've served loyally for years has to let you go and that you no longer have to report to work tomorrow, next week, or next month? What do you do? How do you think you'd feel? When will you tell your family about it?

Many of us have probably experienced job loss at some point in our careers. Maybe it was due to a merger or takeover, a decision to downsize operations, or other various reasons. The thing is, laid off employees are not just the ones affected. Their families will also feel the financial and emotional impact.        

Mr. Vicente Kilayko
"When employees have to be laid off, it's really usually nobody's fault. Changes happen. When two companies merge, you cannot have two presidents, one must go. Or, if new technology comes in and manual labor is eliminated, then you have to let people go, too," explained Vicente Kilayko, Managing Director of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH). "But, it should be the employer's responsibility to make sure that the laid off employees are taken cared of."

Now THAT is the missing link! Displaced workers don't have to go through this challenging phase alone! Outplacement or Career Transition Service (CTS) is a program offered by LHH designed to help companies make changes in their organization by taking care of employees that are impacted or laid off because of change. 

LHH's Assess, Implement, Manage (AIM) Framework Milestones

As a wife and mom, one of my top concerns is my family's health. To ensure my loved ones' wellness, I strive to provide them with good meals and a balanced diet along with a good amount of fruits and vegetables. However, it's harder to control what my boys eat when they're in school so I really do try to make up for any nutrient deficiencies with better choices at home.

a family of healthy beverages
Here, my husband and I see to it that our refrigerator always has healthy items that our kids can just grab anytime they're thirsty or hungry. I am very happy to have found a partner in Oishi Great Lakes, an all-natural fruit and vegetable drink. 

All-natural means these juices have no added sweetener, flavoring, or coloring, just 100% natural fruit and vegetable extracts mixed together to make yummy blends. Both variants, Tropical Blend Fruit Mix and Fruit and Vegetable Mix are tasty treats that don't make it difficult to convince kids to add more fruits and vegetables into their diet. What's more, the refreshing beverage is so good to drink any time of the day!

one of the best refreshments after a 10k run!

Any mom, I believe, enjoys shopping for her family. I do! Especially when it comes to buying food that I know my loved ones would appreciate. 

shopping for groceries is fun!
Last July 31, I found myself in Quezon City attending the opening of Merkado Supermarket's first store located at U.P. Town Center. The concept interested me because this project is a joint venture between Ayala and Puregold, two respected names in the retails business.

friendly staff in pretty costumes
ALI Capital, Corp. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ayala Land, Inc.) and Entenso Equities, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Puregold Priceclub, Inc.) collaborated to become AyaGold Retailers, Inc., bringing fun and ease to grocery shopping. 

super organized shelves -- an OC's haven :p

I've been hearing a lot about the health benefits of acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee) berries for a couple of years now but haven't had the chance to try it yet. These fruits come from the acai tree, the tallest palm tree in the Amazon jungle that grows up to 80 feet. According to Cathy Salimbangon, Vice President for Marketing of Organique, Inc., for centuries, the small, dark purple berries have been a staple in the diet of Brazil's indigenous people. "They consume it regularly and it is what they use to remedy aches and pains, from infection to stomach problems."

acai berries grow beside the Amazon River
photo credit: Organique Acai's FB page
Considered by many as the king of super foods in recent years, the acai berry is rich in antioxidants that fights cell damage. "It's basically a cellular approach, our cells are being attacked by free radicals from the pollutants around us, antioxidants help repair them so your body is replenished and functions better overall," simplified Cathy during Organique's recent media event at Prime101 in Pasong Tamo, Makati.

Antioxidants in acai, she said, gives you more energy, delays signs of aging, and strengthens the immune system, among many other health benefits. Acai berries also have omega oils that are needed for proper function of the brain and cardiovascular system. "It has all the basic vitamins and minerals that our body needs aside from being high in dietary fiber."

(from left) Ms. Cory, Cathy, Dr. Sonny Viloria, and Regine
photo credit: Nana Nadal

I love eating fresh oranges as well as drinking 100% freshly squeezed orange juice. They are delicious fruits that have long been considered a valuable part of a healthy and nutritious diet. It is also well-established that nutrients in citrus promote health and provide protection against chronic diseases.

fresh and sweet Aussie oranges and juice 
Given a choice, I'd love to live in a place where oranges are accessible all year round at affordable prices. Filipino-Australian celebrities such as TV host Iya Villania-Arellano, Chris Everingham of the Philippine Volcanoes, and Fely Irvine, a former member of Hi-5 Australia, are very fortunate to have grown up in a country where oranges are part of people's daily lives.

(seated) Iya, Chris, and Fely with
(standing) David, Anthony, Bill, and Suzanne Ong of Victorian Government
photo credit: Austrade
This whole month of August, Filipinos can also enjoy Australian oranges that are not only healthy, fresh, and safe, but also affordable. The Australian Embassy, in partnership with Citrus Australia and the Victorian Government, recently launched "Australian Oranges - Now in Season" to mark the availability of Aussie oranges in the Philippines.

Bondi & Burke Makati

It has been said in the past that nothing can actually prepare you to be a parent -- that what you can do is to mostly learn as you go. For many moms and dads who have a hundred and one things to do each day, it's easier to take action when situations already call for it. Parenting decisions then become a consequence of how we react to specific moments.

Every baby deserves a proactive parent
In reality, however, what we need is to be proactive parents who are committed today to get ready for tomorrow's issues and concerns so that we can deal with them in the best possible way. According to Ichel Alignay, a family life specialist, proactive parenting means long-term thinking

"We cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how to respond to it," she encouraged.  "Proactive parenting can buffer many unpleasant childhood events that may have long-term effects on the individual." In a nutshell, moms and dads need to set a vision for what they'd want their family to be. When? This should start the moment you find out you are expecting a baby.

start being a proactive parent while you are still pregnant
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