What do former House Speaker Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte, Blas Ople, Wigberto Tanada, and Alberto Romulo have in common? All of them are alumni of Manuel L. Quezon University (MLQU)! These men, and countless others, are just a few of the Filipinos who helped forge the Philippines' political foundation and the government on which this country now stands. 

MLQU's list of notable alumni
MLQU was founded in 1947 as a law school by Dr. Leoncio Monzon and eighteen other lawyers and justices. Formerly known as Manuel L. Quezon Institute, the establishment later received university status in 1958 and started offering several other undergraduate courses such as Architecture, Engineering, Education, Arts and Sciences, and Criminology

former House Speaker Sonny Belmonte

Let's admit it. Very few of us know how to do proper financial planning. On our own, it will take a lot of time to self-educate ourselves on how best to manage our personal finances along with planning for a secure future. Sure, there are self-help books, seminars, and courses we can enroll in to learn more about handling our finances but it will greatly benefit us to get help from an expert we can directly talk to about budgeting, investing, etc.

personal finance planning can be tricky if you don't know how to go about it properly
That's what a Financial Advisor (FA) is for -- to properly guide you in choosing the best ways to grow your money towards financial freedom for yourself and for your family. According to Registered Financial Planner (RFP) Aya Laraya, "Planning ahead with specific goals and getting the help of a licensed financial professional will help you make smarter financial moves and help you take more control of your future."

Last Saturday, my husband and I attended Sun Life's #Money4LifeChallenge seminar where Aya helped us understand the importance of finding a financial advisor who is a perfect fit for our needs.

Aya advised that before beginning this business relationship, one should clearly state expectations by letting the potential FA know the financial goals you'd like to achieve and what you would like him/her to help you with.    

a Financial Advisor is someone you can trust and be comfortable with 

It is exciting to shop for kitchen needs especially when you have a lot of dishes in mind that you’d like to prepare for your family or your food business. However, it can be frustrating when you find yourself at the kitchen tools aisle in a supermarket or department store but couldn’t find exactly what you are looking for. 

sample of an elegant buffet setup 
The solution to this problem can be found at Mall of Kitchens (MOK), a one-stop-shop for kitchen needs for both commercial/industrial and residential use. It is known as the first foodservice mall in the Philippines that’s fully stocked with quality kitchen equipment, utensils, foodservice furniture, as well as laundry equipment.

MOK is a one-stop-shop for homes and the foodservice industry
MOK is a 2,500sqm. facility featuring set-ups (or business models) for a Café/Bar, Bakery, Hot Kitchen, Gelateria, Wine Room, and Show Kitchen. Each module features all equipment, small wares, and furniture needed to set up a business. For instance, anyone putting up a professional hot kitchen could easily find a combi steamer oven, fryer, grill/griddle, wash water commercial kitchen hood with UV light, and a conveyor pizza oven in just one place.

gelato maker

"People leave managers, not companies." 

"Employees don't leave organizations, they leave bad bosses."

"Workers resign from their jobs because of their leaders."

However one wants to say it, the idea in these statements is the same. Majority of dissatisfied workers resign from their jobs because they couldn't stand their superiors anymore. That happened to me in the past; several times, in fact. This is one of the reasons why I totally love being a freelancer -- because I can choose who to work with.

touring INOZA Feed Mill Plant - a BAVI sister company
more about our BAVI facilities tour in another post
No matter how much we like our jobs, sometimes, we end up leaving a company due to supervisors and managers who don't treat us well. The funny thing is, only a handful of bosses still seem to recognize this truth! 

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Ronald Mascariñas, President and General Manager of Bounty Agro Ventures, Inc. (BAVI) during my trip to Cebu and I learned so many things from him about running a business, the huge benefits of treating employees well, and other interesting stuff about the Philippine economy. 

with Sir Ronald who is now in my list of
most-admired Filipino leaders 

When in Baguio, where do you frequently go? For many tourists, the regular stomping grounds usually include Burnham Park, Mines View Park, ukay stores, and several popular dining places that you must have seen over and over on your Facebook feed or were recommended by family and friends.

#TeamFloresca at Camp John Hay
The next time you and your family go to Baguio, consider booking a room at Azalea Hotels & Residences (read my hotel review, here) and asking their travel concierge to help plan your Baguio holiday. Azalea can point you to new and not-so-well known destinations in the city as well as suggest activities that you and your loved ones would enjoy doing together.

pine trees and clouds on a beautiful day in Baguio

The members of my family are fond of sandwiches. We enjoy eating basic sandwiches (that are simply made up of two slices of bread and a yummy spread) as well as sandwiches loaded with lots of other ingredients for breakfast, snacks, and even at midnight. 

making midnight snacks with Son #4
On most mornings, when everyone needs to rush to go to school or work, we are already content to bite into a sandwich made yummy with Lady's Choice Ham or Chicken Spread. Those two are staples inside our refrigerator along with Lady's Choice Mayonnaise that's not only great for Macaroni Salad, but also complements slices of ham and cheese when making sandwiches.   

Recently, our regular spreads got some competition! We discovered two new flavors that could definitely rival our old favorites. Now, there's Lady's Choice Roast Beef Spread and Lady's Choice Chicken BBQ Spread that are also both delicious and are each made with real beef and chicken.

two new Lady's Choice Sandwich Spread variants

Drinking Mountain Dew was part of my childhood. I remember being fascinated by the green bottle and its yellow green liquid that's very different from the dark-colored sodas many of my friends would usually buy. 

Mountain Dew's green color is now in neon!
Now, the iconic green color is joined by two new ones as Mountain Dew makes another historic mark by launching #DEWmocracy, a campaign where Dew lovers are invited to take a stand and let our voices be heard.

Choose your favorite between two new and exciting limited-edition flavors. Blue Shock is charged with raspberry citrus and is known to be cool and stunning. The distinct raspberry-like flavor lets action do the talking and leaves you, well, in shock! Conversely, Live Wire with a blast of orange is loud and electrifying. It is said to be the Dew that hypes the crowd before they start jumping.

What's your Dew flavor? Vote now!

Any mom who does household chores knows that washing dishes is made harder when you use the wrong kind of dishwashing product. There are those that don't remove grease very well while others may cause skin irritation, or even leave the taste of soap on our dishes.

keeping a home in tiptop shape is already challenging
so an inefficient dishwashing product should not be added to the equation
Having these kind of problems add more challenges that we don't need because we lose more time in keeping our home in tiptop shape, spending time with our families, and taking care of ourselves. Thus, I am glad to have discovered Might Mom Dishwashing Liquid, a line of de-greasing, anti-bacterial, and deodorizing household products developed by KOHL Industries.

Mighty Mom provides value for money, time efficiency, and
a hassle-free, cleaning experience 

Ten years ago, Jazz Burila left her job at a multinational firm to pursue a dream. She founded Beauty Elements Ventures Inc. (BEVI) with the certainty that the Philippine market needs a skin lightening product that works. 

Jazz Burila with her Kojie San team and partners
Through extensive research, Burila and her collaborators were able to develop a whitening soap that do not contain harmful ingredients. Soon, BEVI was able to launch the original kojic acid soap formulated the traditional Japanese way but added with high-grade virgin coconut oil to make it even better.

Kojie San's Classic Line

It's amazing how one whole year has already passed since UNICEF and its Celebrity Advocate for Children Anne Curtis initiated the Heroes for Children Run. I was there when Anne jubilantly crossed the finish line for her first 21k run and admired her determination to conquer her goals (read that story, here).

with fellow runner, Anne :)
This year, she is once more calling on runners to support UNICEF and Heroes for Children Run 2016. happening on September 4, 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. During the press conference held in F1 Hotel the other day, Anne was asked how she survived her first half marathon and she admitted that however hard it was to push herself, "Best effort talaga but I knew what I was running for and that kept me going."

Her motivation is UNICEF's First 1,000 Days campaign for children's health and nutrition needs. "I was deeply inspired by the support we received during last year's run. From children with disabilities to serious runners, the public came together for a great cause. This year, I'm inviting everyone once again to be a hero for children," implored Anne.

Anne Curtis, Lotta Sylwander, and Coach Rio Dela Cruz

One of the things I am sure we all want for our families is good health, right? The question is, what are you doing to make sure you have it? For us, steps to wellness mean paying attention to what we eat, engaging in fitness activities, focusing on the positive sides of life, getting enough rest, and avoiding stressful situations as much as possible.

smiling ladies at the registration booth 
Early this year, Robinsons Supermarket (RSC) launched its Route to Wellness campaign, which is a series of promos that give customers rewards for making wiser choices for their wellbeing. March's theme was Explore, May's was Learn, while a Wellness Festival was staged last July. 

TV personality Kuya Tonipet hosted the program
This month, Robinsons Supermarket highlighted its Celebrate theme by organizing a Wellness Theme Park at Eastwood Mall last August 6. There, families gathered for a fun and learning-filled day via booths featuring a bubble station, popcorn maker, and photo booth with a roller-coaster background, among others.

this made me miss the walls of Power Up!
I participated in some of the activities and got to do a bit of wall climbing, shooting basketballs, and even spinning a huge wheel to win some prizes. If I were many, many years younger, I'd probably be envious of the little girls having a great time in the beauty spa section :D

fairies welcomed little girls to the J&J booth
Don't be disappointed if you were not able to make it to the Eastwood event though. The journey to wellness continues in all Robinsons Supermarket stores this August until September! 

P&G's booth gave freebies when you spin the wheel
Throughout the promo period, you can get a FREE portable picnic mat for a minimum of P3,000 single receipt purchase that includes P500 worth of participating products from Unilever, P&G, Colgate-Palmolive, J&J, Coca-Cola, Selecta, Belo, CDO, and KojieSan, to name a few. Choose among blue, green, and purple picnic mats and bring it along the next time you literally "eat out" with the family :) 

the very educational Nestle booth
The Route to Wellness will culminate with Give in December where more wellness rewards await customers. Don't forget to collect at least 5 stamps at every promo period to get a P100 Robinsons gift certificate.

booths like this one helped kids to learn more about health and nutrition
Find out more about RSC's year-long Route to Wellness series of promos and activities by liking RobinsonsSupermarketOfficial on Facebook and visiting www.robinsons-supermarket.com.ph. If you haven't started yet, join this #ILoveWellness campaign and aim for a healthier lifestyle by beginning your own fitness journey, today! 

I've always loved eating Japanese dishes, especially miso soup, shrimp/prawn tempura, and sushi. I haven't really paid attention to grilled dishes though … until I got to try Nanbantei of Tokyo's yakitori items for the first time. In Japan, the term yakitori means grilled chicken. But while there are chicken items on Nanbantei's menu, diners can also choose from an extensive array of grilled beef, pork, seafood, and vegetables.

Nanbantei is now in Alabang!
Thankfully, there's now a Nanbantei branch in Alabang Town Center, which made the restaurant accessible for me, my family, and everybody living in South Metro Manila who love food grilled the Japanese way. I am excited to bring the boys there, soon, because I am positive they would love many of the dishes on the menu.

lovely ambiance!
As a little backgrounder, Nanban means foreigner while Tei means rest house or teahouse. Combined, Nanbantei means a place where guests can unwind and have something to eat or drink after a long day of work.


I've always wanted to come back to Baguio City with my family. The last time we were there together was more than 10 years ago. We unwisely planned the trip for Holy Week and had a difficult time finding good accommodations as well as got stuck in a horrible 9-hour traffic going back to Manila. That was when we decided to come back someday when the city won't be too crowded with tourists.

#TeamFloresca at Azalea
Finally, we had a chance to return to Baguio after the summer rush of visitors is over -- and we had an awesome time! :) Together with a few friends and their families, we excitedly went North one fine Wednesday morning last July. I was so happy that our eldest son was able to get away from work for a few days but quite sad that our youngest had to stay behind with my mom because he had to go to school.

the beauty that is Azalea Baguio
It was quite surprising how faster it is to travel to Baguio nowadays thanks to the SCTex and TPLex routes. We arrived at Azalea Hotels & Residences Baguio just in time for a delicious lunch at Tradisyon Coffee Shop. But first, we checked in our rooms and were delighted to find out how lovely and spacious our well-appointed two-bedroom suite was which had complete living, dining, and kitchen facilities!

the dining and living room area of an Azalea suite 

Scents can give us a way to control how we feel whether we'd like to boost our mood or take away the stresses from a long day. JAC Tripon, a marketing practitioner turned scent crafter, is a firm believer in the power of aromas. It was her dream to provide the Philippine market with quality and long lasting scents at affordable prices.

Celebrate life in the tropics with FAVORI’s Tropical Blast scent, 
available in Aroma Oils for aerators, diffusers, 
and burner devices as well as Reed Diffusers
This is why she decided to start FAVORI, a handcrafted home fragrances brand that allows customers to create a favorite feeling through their selected scents. FAVORI means favorite in the French language. It was chosen to express JAC's desire to capture every individual's preferred scent in each variant she designs.

"I want my customers to be able to identify with a scent that they can call their favorite," shared JAC who understands that scent preferences vary depending on a person's personality, mood, lifestyle, and specific needs. 

Channel some cool mediterranean inspiration with 
the FAVORI Rain Dance and Olive Branch Aroma Oils

Any homeowner knows that no matter how much you try you keep the area in and around one's house as clean as possible, there will always be chances of experiencing pest infestations due to various factors.   

New WBL giveaway! Read on …
For instance, if your area is prone to flooding, mice and rat poop may pose leptospirosis risks to people in the community. Likewise, when a neighbor puts out rodent poison around their property, the pests tend to transfer to other places such as your house where they end up dying.

Now that the rainy days are here, we must all be more proactive in protecting our families against diseases as well as the destruction rodents do to stuff such as food items, clothes, and even books!  

Pest Off! Rat Catcher Glue Boards
cardboard (2 pcs./set) - P142.75, wood board (2pcs./set) - P148.75

We are all in different kinds of relationships and they shape us into who we are and what we may still become. The other night, I watched a bittersweet comedy at the Mind Museum called Love/Sick by John Cariani, staged by Upstart Productions. This the first main-stream theatrical offering to be featured at the establishment's auditorium.

the amazing cast of Love/Sick
The show features nine vignettes exploring romantic relationships at various stages. The loosely connected stories tackle moments that range from the first meeting to dating to disillusionment and divorce. As the New York Times described, the critically-acclaimed series of plays "delivers laugh and some cleverness" and would most likely appeal to fans of Almost, Maine, another work written by Cariani.

Love/Sick, defined by Theater Mania as an "unromantic comedy," will make you smile, laugh, feel sad, think, and go "Awwww!" Whether you're single, married, or in an undefined relationship, there's a character or instance in the show that you would probably identify with.

John Cariani

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to aging. What remains true, though, is that we age faster when we subject ourselves to stress and bad habits. Plus, our hectic and modern lifestyles are not helping make us look younger!

Fact: my friend Lou and I always get mistaken to be younger than we are ;)
Did you know? Signs of aging – both internal and external – start to manifest as early as our 20s? For instance, those cute little laugh lines, when not treated as early as possible, might stay on and become full-fledged crow’s feet. Likewise, dry skin that isn’t moisturized as needed will likely appear wrinkled faster. 

Thankfully, Watsons Philippines has just launched its latest anti-aging campaign to help thousands of Filipinos Kiss Aging Goodbye. According to Viki Encarnacion, Watsons Marketing Director, the campaign is “an educational effort with a two-pronged approach, teaching our customers how to prevent the negative effects of aging by taking care of themselves inside and out. We are literally helping people ‘Look good. Feel great.’ And it’s a wonderful thing.” 

look good and feel great with Watsons' anti-aging products
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