Those who drink beverages that come in powdered forms know that it can sometimes be a hassle to prepare something to quench one's thirst – sticky stuff gets left behind on the bottom of your glass or you’ll suddenly swallow a whole chunk of solid powder while drinking.

hydrate in style with the Rubbermaid Shaker Bottle
With the Rubbermaid Shaker Bottle, you can enjoy the drink of your choice all day without the frustrations that come with mixing powdered drinks. This product comes with a unique five-sided paddle ball that breaks up stubborn powders to ensure a better blend of ingredients. Essentially, you don’t just mix; you REALLY mix!

the five-sided paddle ball
I have proven this for myself when I tried mixing my special child’s milk formula with powdered cereal for tubefeeding in the Rubbermaid Shaker Bottle. Before, I’d have to measure powder into a pitcher, add water, and stir everything using a very long spoon. There will be times I’ve already poured the mixture into the feeding bag only to put it back into the container to stir again because chunks of formula were still left behind.

preparing my son's tube-feeding formula

It started with the very engaging Koreanovelas. Years ago, Filipinos became immersed in watching TV series from Korea that offered interesting stories played by characters with really beautiful skin. No wonder, Korea also gained considerable influence over our cosmetics industry through the years.

I recently learned that the first wave of Korean cosmetics brought here were brands that focus on skincare. However, it is very interesting to find out that the Philippines in the only country in South East Asia where makeup remain more popular than skincare and that there hasn't been a brand that can truly stand for Korean makeup.

That is, until Banila Co. was launched last November 23 at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas. The multi-awarded Korean cosmetics brand in the field of base makeup is known for helping women achieve the popular Korean "Lit from Within" look. This is aptly how one can describe the photo of brand ambassador Song Ji Hyo, the Korean actress/TV presenter of the Running Man Variety show fame.

Many prestigious beauty arbiters in the industry has already lauded Banila Co.'s primers, foundations, gel eyeliners, CC creams, make up cleansers, and the like for the brand's prestige quality, creative packaging, and disruptive innovation.

The Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm, for instance, so captivated Korean beauty enthusiasts that one cleanser is sold every 4.8 seconds! The Prime Primer, on the other hand, was recognized as the best primer in the industry by Get It Beauty, a Korean cable program that reviews the best cosmetic products in the market. This item has a silky smooth texture and a potent ability to minimize the appearance of pores and fine lines. Likewise, the It Radiant CC Cream has been Korea's bestselling CC cream for the past three years. 

Banila Co. was founded in 2005 and has since rapidly grown to become the second best-performing Korean cosmetics brand in China. Now, it focuses its attention to South East Asia, headlined by simultaneous launches in the Philippines and Taiwan. The first Banila Co. store in Manila was opened last November 14 in Glorietta 4 and will soon open its doors in Robinson's Place Manila and other prime malls in the metro and in key provinces.

The Philippine launch, which focused on the "number one base makeup brand" representing Asian beauty, was graced by Banila Co. CEO Mr. Chang Soo Kim, Chief Makeup Artist Mr. Kangpil Kim, and Managing Directors Cathryn and Jon Lim of All That Blush Trading Inc. Banila Co. is projected to also become available in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand by 2016.


Banila Co. is owned by F&F Co., a publicly listed company engaged in fashion manufacturing and retail. At the helm of Banila Co. Philippines is Cathryn and Jon Lim of All That Blush Trading. For further information, please visit and follow its Instagram at @banilacoph and Facebook at

As a way of thanking its advertisers for their unending support, Cook Magazine celebrated its 5th Annual Holiday Bash at Houze Manila in Remington Hotel last November 24. 

The Disco Fever themed party was an occasion for guests to mingle, enjoy the food and drinks, and be merry as Cook Magazine recognized its 2015 Top Advertisers that made it possible for the publication to be the country’s longest running monthly food magazine. 

Cook Magazine team
Cook Magazine sincerely thanked the following advertisers: Petron Corporation, Lamoiyan Corporation, Hafele Philippines, Ugong Trade and Holdings, Inc., Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Mondelez Philippines, Gifted Minds PR and Marketing Consultancy, Berghoff Philippines, Excellence Appliances Technologies Inc., Unilever Food Solutions, Appstar Global Distributors, Inc., HDR Foods Corporation, G.Q.W.E.S.T. Inc., Zinven International Corporation, and Wilmington Imex Inc.

Cook Magazine's top advertisers

"A sea of orange!" That was my first thought when hubby and I arrived at the Mall of Asia running grounds at 3AM last November 22. Hundreds of runners wearing the Gatorade Run 2015 orange singlets were already milling about, waiting for the first gun start.  

fireworks at 3AM!
night photography by Asus Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0
There was an energetic vibe in the air, which was amplified by an overnight open ground concert being held beside the race venue. We even caught the nice fireworks they featured before the music event ended. 

waiting for gunstart
Inside the media tent, Gatorade White Lightning bottles were stylishly displayed on lighted cocktail tables. We changed into our own orange singlets that came in different designs for males and females. That's a nice touch!      

highlighting Gatorade's White Lightning flavor

Huawei is known for building telecommunication networks around the world. Finally, the brand officially opened its first Experience Shop at the Cyberzone area of SM Mall of Asia. The store is said to symbolize Huawei's continuous growth from a reliable and respected brand into an aspirational brand with a meaningful purpose.

Charles Wu (middle) and Jojo Vega (right)
Charles Wu, Country Head of Huawei Technologies Philippines, affirmed that innovation has always been in the DNA of Huawei as they fearlessly envision cutting edge technologies. "But rather than innovate just for innovations' sake, Huawei creates innovations that serve as tools to realize the vision and passion of its consumers."

minimalist interior
Designed with simple, all white, minimalist interiors that reflect the "Huawei and I" philosophy, the 100sqm Huawei Experience Stop aims to establish better engagements with end-users where consumers can quickly find and try out the devices they are looking for. In addition, the well-designed store layout, with its inviting and relaxing space, engages visitors' visual and auditory senses with the top-of-the-line fixtures on the ceilings, the fit-outs, and the long stretch of audiovisual output that highlights the lifestyle themes of the shop.

ask the friendly Huawei personnel for help

My hubby and three sons are big fans of Converse sneakers. And because all four of them (except our special child) have the same shoe sizes, they often borrow each others' shoes. Imagine their delight when Converse came out with a new batch of slip-on footwear!

with my my boys
The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Cutaway EVO Canvas Sandals are available in various colors. They are so comfortable to wear, I haven't worn any other slippers in recent weeks. It is really a great pair of sandals for fans of the classic Chuck Taylor shoes because they look really good on one's 

Converse Cutaway up close

Many of us are very fortunate to have been able to afford prenatal care and give birth in a hospital attended by doctors and nurses. Unfortunately, not all women have access to good maternal care

advocates for moms: POGS and Mederma officials
It is this reason why Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy established MederMom, an advocacy campaign that aims to build a community in support of moms where mothers support and care for other mothers.

before gun start
photo credit: Running Photographers
Those who have already given birth know how challenging it is to go through a pregnancy. And yet, expectant moms would always put the care of their families first. Thus, MederMom wants to give them the care they need during this delicate period so that their journey towards motherhood could be a Belly Beautiful one. 

sunrise over Camp Aguinaldo
As part of this advocacy, Mederma® Stretch Marks Therapy, together with the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), dedicated a special run for MederMoms last November 21 at Camp Aguinaldo. The event had runners from the very young to energetic seniors and we all had fun running for a good cause. It's also my first time to run in this venue and I liked how the streets are nicely paved and lined with trees. Plus, the gentle wind blowing around us made running there a very pleasant experience.  

a pleasant running route
It was evident how the organizers take the concept of care seriously because this was the only run, so far, where runners were pampered so much! We were handed treats like candies, pastillas, and even frozen pops from the various water stations along the race route and we appreciated those thoughtful gestures so much!

a community of runners and advocates
According to Mederma® and POGS officials, they will continue to work hand in hand in introducing workshops and programs that will support access to maternal care in the country. It's good to know that there are organizations like them that advocate for this cause. There is indeed beauty in moms caring for fellow moms.

with hubby and son who ran with me
photo credit:
Apart from the Philippines, Mederma® has taken expectant moms all over the world to a belly beautiful journey. Carefully formulated with Onion Extract, Centella Asiatica and Hyaluronic Acid, it’s clinically proven to have a triple restore action that softens, smoothens and replenishes skin in as early as two weeks of regular use. 

You may not be able to get rid of stretch marks, but you can certainly
take steps to improve how they look so you can feel better in your own skin. 
Know more about how moms can care for other moms by visiting

There are very few establishments where one can find really good siopao. Chowking is one of them. Whenever my family and I want to eat siopao, that's usually where we go to satisfy our cravings. It's great that Chowking has a lot of branches nationwide so it's not hard to find.

Chowking's Chunky Asado Siopao
Recently, thousands of excited customers had the chance to try out the Chowking Chunky Asado Siopao at sampling booths located in selected malls nationwide. Chowking's #BuksanParaMalaman challenge complemented the delicious surprise with a trick art station where customers had their creative and interactive photos taken with a giant siopao on the photo wall.

customers lined up for the #BuksanParaMalaman challenge

I've been using Jolly canned products for years. One of my family's favorite dishes is Chicken a la King which, I believe, would be a good recipe to share this Christmas season. It's a great change from the usual Fried Chicken or Chicken Adobo that families usually prepare for meals. 

my Chicken a la King dish
This recipe is very easy to do because strict measurements are not needed, seriously! Just follow my instructions :) 

ingredients for Chicken a la King

Searching for some cu-cool gift ideas? How about making someone special's weeshees come true? :) This Christmas season, Oishi makes it easy to create new O, wow! moments with affordable gift ideas!

Oishi Weeshee and Cuckoo bags
Presenting the Cuckoo and Weeshee Bags that are packed with a variety of our favorite Oishi snacks. They come in attractive Yuletide-themed packaging that would look really good under the Christmas tree and are great to share with loved ones once they're opened. 

my youngest son (left) sharing Oishi snacks with his friends 
What's inside each bag? Check out the contents of the Oishi Cuckoo Bag with 14 assorted snacks and a premium item. Our bag has popsicle makers dressed up like Oishi's yummy drinks.

contents of the Cuckoo bag

Children around the world miss an estimated 443 million school days each year. This absenteeism stems from diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, including using unsanitary toilets. Just imagine all grade school and high school classrooms in the Philippines being empty for one month. That’s how much this number of sick days is equivalent to! 

Let's all support World Toilet Day!
Despite the many advances in technology and progress, millions of children in rural communities and urban households nationwide are still exposed everyday to many health problems by using dirty toilets populated by disease-carrying germs.

Last November 13, Unilever Philippines, through its leading germ-kill expert cleaner brand Domex, celebrated World Toilet Day 2015 at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City by announcing a stronger 1 Million Clean Toilets Movement. This advocacy campaign aims to educate a million Filipinos every year on proper toilet hygiene so we can all fight those diseases caused by unsanitary toilets. 

helps save lives, one clean toilet at a time

In the old days, people do most of their activities outdoors -- washing and hanging clothes, farming, playing out in the sun, etc. With the advancement of technology, individuals have started staying indoors more often. Most jobs now usually require staying inside air-conditioned offices and kids prefer to play with gadgets while adults find TV viewing a favorite pastime. Sunscreens and skin care products with SPFs likewise became popular.

beneficial outdoor activity
photo credit:
The bottom-line is that we don't get as much sun exposure as needed and that is what's probably causing a lot of health problems these days! Did you know that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a lot of chronic diseases such as Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Azheimer's Disease and Cognitive Impairment, Diabetes Mellitus Type I and Type II, and Cancer?

Vitamin D is very important to the body because it affects the functions of many organs: it reduces skin cancer by increasing melanin, it enhances nerve conduction (signals) and affects serotonin production; it inhibits parathyroid hormone secretion; it supports bone growth; it enhances calcium reabsorption by the kidney; it strengthens the heart muscle and reduces inflammation; it stimulates insulin production of the pancreas; it modulates immune function because it is anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory; it enhances calcium and phosphate absorption in the intestines; and it inhibits cancer growth.

do you get as much sun exposure as you need?

For many years, people think of life insurance as a tedious and uninteresting topic that you only think of in times of illness and untimely deaths. Contrary to that belief, getting an insurance early will actually allow you to enjoy life now while you invest for the future. 

what's your life goal?
Honestly, I deeply regret not knowing how to manage personal finances well while I was younger. That's why as early as now, I teach my kids what I've learned these past few years about saving and investing for the rainy days.

Likewise, I always find it nice to hear local celebrities' stories on being finance-savvy. TV host, lifestyle blogger, and fitness entrepreneur, Bianca King, for instance, shared during a recent press con how she made it a goal to have a house of her own at age 22, almost eight years ago. 

Bianca (center) with PLIA Inc. Board of Directors

Holidays are supposed to give us more time to rest and yet, we seem to find ourselves busier with all the planning for celebrations, get-togethers, and getaways. However, along with the numerous things on our plate, we women must not forget to take care of our underarms and make sure they are beautiful and ready for whatever occasion may come.

get the confidence you need to show off your underarms!
If you haven’t read my other posts about underarm care in the past, please take note that a lot of women still may not know how plucking, shaving, and waxing can actually damage underarm skin, which lead to irritation and bumpiness. Thus, women need a deodorant that delivers skin caring benefits to ensure we get beautiful underarms.

experience real care with Dove

I love eating fruitcakes although it's hard to find variants that really taste good -- moist, packed with tiny bits of nuts and fruits, and not too sweet. So I found myself sticking to brand names that I've proven to really produce delicious baked goodies. I am so happy to discover a new name to add to my list of favorites!

Ju.D's classic fruitcake P950/pc.
Ju.D Lao started selling fruitcakes back in 1975 when a two-pound loaf of fruitcake at the time was only P50.00 and the Philippine population was at 35 million with the average salary at about more than a hundred pesos a day. Over the years, Ju.D's business endured despite the times when imported ingredients became scarce, rotating brownouts were the norm, devaluation of the peso was inevitable, plus other series of uncontrollable events.

Ju.D Lao
Personally, I am very happy that Ju.D's is still here and is celebrating its 40th Fruitcake Season this 2015. She makes really yummy baked goodies! Her classic recipe, which took six months to develop, was inspired by a trip to Switzerland where she "met" the kind of fruitcake she enjoyed. 

my favorite fruitcake partner? coffee!

It was early this year when I first got introduced to Wingstop last April. Please read my blog post about it, here. Since then, I've visited the Glorietta 2 branch whenever I crave for chicken wings covered in Parmesan Cheese and Lemon Pepper, two of my top favorite flavors.

dining at Wingstop always gets a thumbs up!
Just last month, Wingstop officially opened its branch at the Alabang Town Center and also formally launched its 10th flavor called Mango Habanero. Know more about that one, here. Suffice to say, I am really glad Wingstop now has a store nearer our house!

flavorful Honey Garlic
This November, Wingstop once more delivers on its promise to keep its customers wanting more by keeping things new, fresh, and exciting. Having made its way into the hearts and tummies of a lot of people living in Asia, the dining establishment is now THE place where East Meets Flavor.

sweetly delicious Honey BBQ

All of us look for certain features before we can truly say we prefer a particular smartphone. I've been using the ASUS Zenfone 2 ZE500KL Laser for the past two weeks and I found so many things I like about it. Here's sharing 10 reasons:

1. Right size. The first thing I look for in a mobile phone is pocketability. I want a main communication gadget that I can easily put in my bag or pocket. This is quite difficult to do with a phablet or tablet. I also appreciate the ergonomic arc design, with its curved back and thin edge measuring just 3.9mm, this phone comfortably fits my palm for ultimate comfort without sacrificing style.

the ASUS ZenFone 2 Laser can be comfortably held by one hand
2. Pleasing to the eye and with very functional design. The ASUS Zenfone 2 Laser has a beautiful and striking back cover. I have the red one and it is really attractive. What I found quite unique is that the volume keys are found at the back, not on the side of the phone. This makes it easy for the index finger to adjust sound volume or use the rear key for other functions like take a selfie.

3. Great display. The 5.0-inch HD (720x1280p) IPS display offers vibrant colors, good brightness levels, and wide viewing angels. Outdoors, the readability is okay even under sunlight. The 72% screen to body ratio is definitely 10% better than that of the first generation ZenFone 5.

comparisons between Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 2 Laser 5.0

Our youngest son is an incoming Grade 11 student. Until last week, my husband and I were as confused as many other Filipino parents as to what awaits the first batch of students who are now required to undergo two more years of basic education before they can graduate from high school.

enlightened parents
The Philippine education equation of 6 or 7 years in elementary + 4 years in high school + 4 years in college no longer holds true for Filipino youngsters. In the K-12 framework, beginning SY 2016, kids have to undergo 6 years in elementary + 6 years in high school with diplomas only to be issued if students finish 12th grade.

The first time I heard about this mandate, my first questions were: "Can our school systems handle this what with the never-ending problems of insufficient classrooms and lack of competent teachers year in and year out? Why burden parents with paying for high school tuition fees for another two years? What benefits, really, would this system give our children?"  

I finally found answers when I visited Global City Innovative College (GIC) last week. Finally, I've met people in the education system who can clearly explain what K-12 is all about!

According to Engr. Mike Tan, GIC President, "Senior high school will allow our graduates to meet the global standard requirement of 12 years of basic education. It will let Filipinos be globally competitive. Those who want to work abroad will not have to take additional state examinations or certifications and will receive commensurate compensation."

GIC's Mackintosh room

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