Monday, August 31, 2015

Baler Photodiary: My Solo Sojourn

Going on a solo trip to Baler has always been on the back of my mind. I thought, if I can fly to Singapore on my own then Baler should be a cinch! Not sure if that comparison made sense, but ironically I am more afraid to travel domestically. I am also not fond of bus rides but had to learn to live with it during my trips to La Union and Baler.

So off I went last Friday to Baler to maximize the long weekend. I really wanted to go on my own (much to Dad's dismay) because if I can hack it then I can just go anytime I want. Plus going alone will "force" me to socialize, learn to surf properly, budget my money wisely, and even go places that I haven't been to. Going in groups is fun and all but sometimes it sucks when you have to wait for everyone, or have to wait for people to decide where to go, what to eat, etc.

I took the 1:30am Joy Bus to Baler, very excited and anxious, prayed the driver wouldn't fall asleep on the wheel, put on my neck pillow-slash-hoodie from Philippine Airlines, and slept. I woke up at 6:30am at the Genesis Terminal in Baler, took the motorcycle to Circle Hostel (fare: Php 15), greeted Onyo (who was on morning shift), unpacked, slathered on sunblock, and set out to have breakfast.

DAY 1: Making new friends

Circle Hostel was quiet with only 3 guests that morning, myself included. Miguel (a Manila resident who transferred to Baler last January) was in the common area waiting for someone and I chatted with him for a bit, then went to Aliya to have breakfast.

Aliya's tapa tastes like Adobo to me - Php 150 w/ free coffee
Initially I felt a tinge of sadness, It's so lonely to travel alone pala, I thought to myself. Baler was so quiet, more people were expected to arrive Saturday. I was already feeling like I should've stayed in Manila and played with my doggies, but I trudged on. After breakfast I visited Kuya Jayson at El Dawn Surfing School and did a wave check. Um, yeah, the waves were really high this time, I thought they would've died down a bit because the storm had passed. I begged off surfing this morning still tired from Thursday's shenanigans, went back to the hostel and slept like a baby in the common area. I woke up at lunch time, Ate Viah and Den-Den (hostel staff and her 4-year old son) had arrived so I just chatted with them while eating. I thought day 1 was going to be pretty much uneventful, but here's what happened that afternoon....

Not wanting to pay for motorbike or bike rental, I had borrowed Onyo's bike and went around town buying cheap food and killing time. Eventually I found myself in Dialyn's and bought a slice of Brazo de Mercedes (you have to try this, it's so good!) and biked back to the hostel. I shared my slice with Den-Den, then this guy comes up to us and asked for some paint and brushes and started painting near my area.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Philippine Airlines Ultimate Seat Sale: August 28-30

Missed out on the yearly Travel Expo last February? Then fret not because Philippine Airlines will be holding their own online seat sale on August 28-30. 

From domestic to international flights with travel period towards the end of the year til 2016, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to score great seats at awesome prices. Personally I'm looking at heading to Singapore, Japan, and Korea in 2015. Won't you go with me?

Click here to get redirected:

International (Economy Class):
International (Business Class):

For more info, visit

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Grab it now: BYS Makeup Pro Glamourbox

Imagine this: Australian makeup brand BYS collaborating with Glamourbox and cooking up a makeup pro beauty box filled with trendy palettes, contour powder, brow and lip products...why, I'm not even too involved in makeup and I'm already curious about the contents. Is there a bronzer, a waterproof mascara, or a steely eyeliner pehaps? The excitement is enough to make any true makeup aficionado weep. 

The box value, I am told, is nearly Php3,000 yet you can nab this limited edition release for only Php1,100. You all know it, good things come to those who wait and we all know Glamourbox has been MIA for a long while but a beauty box comprised of 100% makeup is always something worth waiting for. Don't go procrastinating now because boxes are available in limited quantities and you just might regret not getting yourself one!

So head on over to Glamourbox and reserve yourself a box (only 1 box allowed per Glambabe), boxes will be shipped out on September 15 ;)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The social media black hole

I was reading this when it dawned on me -- social media has betrayed me so many times! I log on to nonchalantly check my Instagram feed during lull moments or while waiting for my ride, and before I know it I've been sucked in endlessly scrolling or bouncing off from article to article, online shop to online shop. And then 40 minutes later I am still immersed!

Feedly is love
How many times has this happened to you: you wake up when your alarm goes off, still a little woozy you decide to just sleep in for another 5 minutes - but wait! - let me check my IG, FB, Twitter first and then it all snowballs from there. I sometimes catch my sister underneath the covers, with only a beam of light from her iPhone screen. Is social media consuming us or what?!

We're all guilty, I'm sure. Here's a rundown of my fave apps (in order of importance) that I check every waking moment (I exaggerate):

1. Instagram

Of course, I get my good vibes from Instagram. From positive quotes to kickstart my day, bikins for sale, animal photos from NatGeo, and even photos of people on holiday get me in a good mood. These things always make me look forward to my next out of town trip. I don't follow a lot of fashion stuff because I'd rather look at beautiful photos of the ocean or of cute baby animals than see what everyone's wearing.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Ilog Maria Honey Propolis Throat Spray: Relief for Cough & Sore Throat

Okay folks, I almost have my voice back. Before I went to Baler two weeks ago, I caught a bug and have been coughing ever since. Common sense will tell you not to exert too much effort speaking when your voice is raspy and all, but lookie Kira went on overdrive and starting talking to everyone nonstop. So when I travelled back to Manila, my throat really hurt and I had lost my voice. I was also on antibiotics, thankyouverymuch, and stayed home the week after to recuperate. 

It's a little funny that when my cough was winding down, I discovered that I had the Ilog Maria Honey Propolis Throat Spray in the fridge. I had "hoarded" a couple of bottles from...I don't even remember when. 

Breath Freshener & Bacteriostatic Throat & Mouth Spray
Made from ILOG MARIA Virgin Honey, Propolis Gold & Peppermint / Spearmint Oils. Prevents colds and coughs, even fever/flu, if taken immediately after an "itchy throat" is felt. Spray twice on tonsils at first sign of a cough or cold. Soothes sore throat and smoker´s cough. Excellent for cold sores or "singaw". Clears itchy throat & hoarse voice fast. 
Price: Php 88/30ml (resellers charge more)
Where to buy: 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Daylong Spray Lotion SPF 30 PA+++

I am a sucker for sunscreen! Every time I go to the beach I bring a different brand in order to test its efficacy. Sun protection is one of the things that my parents inculcated early on, I think I've been using one since I was twelve years old. 

The most recent sunscreen product I received as a gift from Jessa is the Cetaphil Daylong Liposomal Lotion for Face & Body SPF 30 PA+++. I've been very curious about Daylong mainly because I've been a user of Cetaphil for years, though I've honestly never thought about purchasing because I was hesitant to pay a hefty price, plus I've always relied on my trusted sunscreen from VMV

So anyway, I brought the Daylong Spray Lotion SPF 30 PA+++ to my recent trip to Baler and I'll cut to the chase: I loved the texture bigtime but the protection is something they need to work on.

Daylong Spray Lotion SPF 30 is a liposomal sunscreen spray suitable for sun-sensitive skin. It is water-resistant, and offers reliable skin protection for both face and body against solar radiation thanks to UVA, UVB and IR protection. 
  • High protection (SPF 30)
  • Very water-resistant 
  • Non-greasy with great skin feeling
  • Cares for skin with aloe vera and vitamin E
  • No perfumes, PEG emulsifiers or additional preservatives
  • Dermatologically tested
Price: Php 1,290

Friday, August 21, 2015

Baler Photodiary: Of Motorbikes and Fish Tacos

When Cesar of Eat, Climb, Travel got in touch with me last May about his backpacking plans to SEA, I immediately told him, "Let's surf in Baler!" Being the eager beaver, I am always more than willing to introduce anyone to surfing, plus I have this [nasty] habit of bringing new friends (boys included) to Baler just to see how they'd fare in a simple, no-frills environment (prissy boys beware).

Of course Cesar was special as he was a family friend (our parents are friends), he's never been to the PH, and I wanted him to experience the best of what our beaches had to offer. And the best thing I can offer is the experience of surfing in Baler.

So we scheduled our departure via Joy Bus on August 13 with Yuri in tow (check out my adventures with Yuri here) and looked forward to the amazing weekend that was laid out in front of us. We had no distinct plan except to surf, eat, and well, go around Baler. Our lodging of choice was of course The Circle Hostel, it was the most comfy and affordable and I was pretty sure Cesar would love the artsy vibe.


On the first day, there weren't any waves so we decided to rent a motorbike at Aliya (Php 400/12 hours) and bike around town. I mentioned that I haven't been to Diguisit Beach which was supposedly part of the blogger tour the next day (Circle was sponsoring a bloggers weekend which Cesar and I were a part of) when Cesar had this brilliant idea: "Let's ditch the tour and just drive to Diguisit today!" Without batting an eyelash I said yes!

Happy fiesta, Baler!
We first passed by the town plaza where we discovered that Baler was set to celebrate their fiesta on August 19, too bad we missed it but nevertheless the city was beautifully decorated with buntings.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Biding my time

Let's face it. We all get the lazy bug sometimes. But sometimes, I can become more lazy than most. I could blame the new puppy, or the fact that I am still down with cough and colds and therefore cannot finish one sentence without grossly clearing my throat.

The thing is, when you work in sales and you find yourself not doing anything ("anything" being defined as "not selling, pitching, calling, doing post-sales work") you just feel awful and useless.

But what can I do, I am literally a monster -- my face is an uneven color and is peeling due to sunburn, my voice is hoarse and manly. Maybe next week I shall be better. Maybe.

What are you doing this long weekend?

Image source

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Happy 1st month, #BabyMeerkat!

It's true that a puppy can change your life enormously. When we found out Mom's chihuahua, Pixie, was pregnant, we were all half-excited and half-anxious. We haven't had a puppy grace our presence in years, but we were also apprehensive about the expenses that came with it.  

When #BabyMeerkat arrived last month at 6:44pm (dubbed as such because he looked like a meerkat, mousey hair and all), we were all so ecstatic! Little did we know that the hardwork was just about to begin.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

All-natural & Refreshing: Lemongrass House Shower Gel

Have you tried lemongrass iced tea? Ugh. I remember having dinner with my then-boyfriend and I mistakenly ordered lemongrass tea, took a sip, didn't like it, and while the bf was away, I switched our drinks. Haha. I'm really not a fan. But lemongrass in shower gels or soaps are a different story altogether. Grassy scents are the sort of things that wake me up in the shower, and this shower gel is proof of that. 

The Lemongrass Shower Gel was given to me by Vivi (my all-natural skin care guru) a couple of years back (yes, it's still good to use and hasn't expired) when I visited her in Singapore, I had hid it in my cabinet of treasured natural products and just broke it open last weekend in Baler. 

Fresh, botanical extracts such as Cucumber & Aloe Vera cleanse the skin & awaken the senses. Essential Oil enhances this vegetable based shower gel which produces a bubbling lather to thoroughly cleanse the skin. Gently cleansing, refreshing lather of lemongrass moisturizes and softens the skin. Perfect for everyday use!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Be wary of plastic microbeads

Take a good look at the ingredients list of your skin care products, your beloved facial scrub may contain those dreaded plastic microbeads. Yes I won't deny that I do love a good exfoliation every now and then, and these microspheres (or other fancy names some companies call it) do the job really well and polish skin to perfection. But after reading about microbeads, I've started to lessen my consumption of products with this dreaded ingredient. 

Obviously made of plastic, these are non-biodegradable and are minute enough (approximately 1mm-5mm) to pass through filters in our sewer system eventually finding themselves in the ocean, to be later ingested by fish and other marine mammals. Pretty soon, we'll be finding these microbeads on our dinner tables, too. Yuck. 

I am a voracious reader of labels. I always check the ingredients list (and Google) before I buy and you should, too! Microbeads are sometimes camouflaged under scientific names such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Current Eye Creams on Rotation

In the world of skin care, I am most excited by sunscreen first and eye cream second. Sunscreen, well obviously because it's a daily non-negotiable and I need it for surfing, and eye cream because my eyes are naturally puffy and I have to address some fine lines that have been developing since college. 

But the one thing you must also know about me is I am not monogamous with my beauty products. I tend to rotate brands and products depending on my need and mood. And I think that's how it should be anyway. As the weather changes and our skin grows older, develops more spots, becomes less elastic, we always have to switch up products. 

So here are the eye creams that I've been using for the past few months:

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye

My Mom swears by the Midnight Recovery Serum stating that it really perks up her complexion and makes her look well-rested. Well the eye cream version of that is no different: it keeps the eye area supple and young-looking even if you've had only 4 hours of sleep. The non-migrating cream is thick, moisturizing, but heavily fragranced with lavender (stay away if you're allergic) and I only use this at night. It's expensive for such a small size (the one I have is a sample from a previous purchase at the Kiehl's boutique) and I'm not sure if I'd like to repurchase.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Honey skin care recipes, anyone?

And just like that, I am merely 3 days away from my next surf trip! I cannot wait, seriously. I had purposely skipped surfing in July to make up for lost time work-wise, and now my much-deserved vacation is on the horizon and I am just too excited for words!!! If I could add more !!! I would, I am really that excited!

Anyway while drinking my usual warm cup of green tea in the morning with a generous drizzle of Mindoro raw honey, it got me thinking about honey as a skin care ingredient. I've come across several articles on it, and Vivi of EcoBeautySecrets has Instagrammed it a while back. Honey has antibacterial and moisturizing properties and I believe that this combined with my green tea (a natural antioxidant) every day for the past 4 months has greatly improved my immune system. I used to be sickly and succumbed to cough and colds easily even with regular intake of copious amounts of vitamin C, but since that new addition to my diet I haven't been sick in months. Add the fact that I also became more relaxed when I quit the 9-5 daily grind.

So, that further enticed me to try honey as a possible facial wash, mask, or blemish buster. Though I haven't actually started, I'll probably do so when I get back from my trip or during the end of the month (when my work schedule is a little bit more forgiving).

In the meantime, please share your skin care recipes which involve honey. I'd love to try them out soon, and please share how your honey regimen has improved your skin. I'm currently susceptible to blemishes on my forehead due to overexposure to the sun (perspiration + heat = clogged pores), and due to sunscreen use (I may need to wash my face thoroughly) so any skin-clearing tips would greatly help.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Exploring Batanes: Diura Spring of Youth, Uyugan

When we travel, we usually allot one free day to go exploring after doing all the touristy stuff. On our fourth day in Batanes, we asked Kuya Dennix (our tour guide) where we should venture to next and he recommended the Diura Spring of Youth in Uyugan. Initially I was so gung-ho about biking to Uyugan (and I was advised it was possible) but since Mom didn't know how to bike and Dad wasn't too keen on prolonged sun exposure, we decided to take the easy route: hire a tricycle. 

So the plan of action was to have lunch first then head to Uyugan by 3pm. We took the tricycle (only 2 pax per tricycle allowed) and rode to Diura Fishing Village in Barangay Uvoy, Mahatao. Each ride took about 30 minutes and cost Php 200 each, and they will drop you off at the Fishing Village then you proceed with a 30-minute trek up the mountain (we figured it would take 45 minutes because we were with the parentals, hihi). 

in the tricycle

You're required to register in every tourist center, and I picked up this cute hat while on the way. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Do you believe in second chances?

Not in matters of the heart, but in beauty products! Let's say you chance upon a glowing review written by a respected blogger/makeup artist, the product intrigues you which results to endless Google searches on the positive and negative effects of the said product. You swing by the mall and swatch, you're on the fence about it, but hey you'll come back next time, you say to the sales staff. 

A week passes and it's still on your mind. You pass by the store and swatch for the nth time while Googling on your mobile. You decide to bite the bullet and purchase, and go along your merry way knowing that your life will change the moment you get home. Because, isn't that what beauty brands promise anyway?

Does this premise sound familiar? Sometimes I'm enticed by hefty product claims, amazing flatlays on Instagram, and well-written blog reviews. And yet some products still don't work well for me. I leave it in my cabinet, forget about it for a couple of months, then do my regular spring cleaning, spot the "lonely" product on the shelf and think, "Hmmm..maybe I should give this another shot?"

Sometimes a brand is too famous that it can do no wrong, or so we think. Let's take into account my Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Clay Cleanser (please note that this is not a jab at Kiehl's per se, it is merely my example). Google it and you'll discover that it's a pretty popular skin purifier and goes for about Php1,200 locally.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Passport to Beauty: Robinsons Department Store Beauty Fair

And just in time for our mid-year bonuses, the bi-annual Robinsons Department Store Beauty Fair commences! Every beauty bargainista will enjoy stocking up on their essentials, and while you're at it, why don't you take this opportunity to try out new makeup and skin care products without having to worry about buyer's remorse?

So, let's get ready to shop! Here's a comprehensive rundown of what to expect:

  • FREE navy blue sling bag for every purchase of Dove products inclusive of Dove Hair Oxygen Nourishment
  • FREE pink cellphone pouch for every P250 worth of Eskinol, Vaseline and Block & White lotion FREE *grey sling bag when you buy P450 worth of any Ponds Flawless White items inclusive of Ponds Dewy Rose, and a chance to win *Michael Kors wallet
  • FREE white scarf bag when you buy P800 worth of Ponds Age Miracle and BB Cream 25g plus a chance to win 1 of 3 *Michael Kors watches
  • FREE white and pink cosmetics pouch for every P250 worth of Creamsilk products
  • FREE black weekender bag for every P750 worth of Tresemme products
  • FREE *brown sling bag for every P300 worth of Unilever Men’s (Axe, Master,Vaseline Men, Ponds Men) personal care products and a chance to win 1 of 3 *Nike Gym bags
  • FREE *checkered toiletry pouch when you buy 2 roll-ons or 1 aerosol deodorant inclusive of Rexona Invisible Dry
  • FREE Myra hand & body lotion 50ml for every Myra hand & body lotion 200ml 
  • FREE pH Care 30ml for every purchase of Myra hand & body lotion 100ml 
  • FREE Myra VitaWhite facial moisturizer 6ml for every purchase of Myra hand & body lotion 50ml 
  • FREE 2 Myra VitaWhite facial moisturizer 6ml for every Myra VitaWhite facial moisturizer 50ml 
  • 30% off on Myra face powder

  • 10% off on L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation
  • 10% off on L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Reds Lipstick
  • 15% off on L’Oreal Paris Quad Eyeshadow 
  • P100 off on all Casting hair products
  • P100 off on all Excellence hair products
  • 25% off on Revitalift Laser X3 Day Cream and Revitalift Laser X3 Night Cream Mask, plus 10% off for Robinsons Rewards Card members

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New Flight Destinations from Philippine Airlines

"You're not going to believe this, but flying used to be quite romantic. To fly -- people couldn't believe it. You only get that in little kids now. But back at the start, there was this sense of the future about flying. You were buying a ticket to this experience, this wonderful thing. There was this expectation that something thrilling would happen, that being off the ground could take you out of your world for a few hours. I felt that way the first times I flew. [With] every liftoff -- for 50 years -- we would hold hands when we took to the air. Not out of fear. Out of wonder." 
- The Number of People Who Meet on Airplanes
For someone who's been flying since birth because our family situation is not of the cookie-cutter type (i.e. my Dad is not based in Manila), I have learned to appreciate the thrill and privilege of flying. You fly because you want to be transported to a different world, you want to escape your predictable city life, to meet new people, explore new places. Flying also meant you only had to wait a mere couple of hours to cross continents, it is the bridge that connects you to your loved ones; no matter how far, flying always got you there in the shortest time possible.

New Delhi, India in 2012 via Philippine Airlines
Call me an idealist but I've always believed flying to be topnotch and special. Sometimes it's not just about the destination but it's also the experience of the plane ride itself. And of course, Philippine Airlines has always been my choice. This is not a sponsored post, mind you, because whether I am a paying or a non-revenue passenger (on account of my sister), I do choose to travel via PAL.

Headed to Korea and watching "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
If you're a fellow globetrotter/jet-setter and in the midst of planning your 2015-2016 itinerary, then you'd be happy to know that Philippine Airlines is expanding its reach and will be opening new exciting destinations both local and abroad.

On its 74th year, our country’s flag carrier is set to launch flights from Manila to the following destinations: 

  • Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) this October 2015 
  • Auckland (New Zealand) via Cairns (Australia) on December 2015

Additionally, PAL has also launched its services earlier this year to New York (USA), Guangzhou (China), Tablas (Romblon) and opened new inter-island flights in Visayas and Mindanao. PAL also reintroduced its Business class service to Cebu and Davao.

Monday, August 3, 2015

PSA: I am an Introvert

Most people think that because I work in sales and I attend blog events regularly, I like going out and socializing. While it's true that my work requires me to meet people on a regular basis and I do enjoy going to beauty events, I really am an introvert in real life and need to exert a huge amount of effort just to be pleasant, gregarious, and mentally present.

The old school definition of introversion was believed to be someone who does not want to socialize (and this is how my Mom initially understood it) but so many articles now prove otherwise. We introverts do have a social life (though with a handpicked set of really close and relevant friends), and we are okay with staying home on most days (yes, really). But we are not to be mistaken as shy as when the situation calls for it, we can be in our element and work it like nobody's business.

So while eating salad yesterday I had an epiphany: maybe I should write a light-hearted post about me being an introvert so people know what to expect. Because as friendly as I think I am, some still get this mataray and unfriendly vibe from me. I made a mental note to start writing as soon as I got home. Oh why do these brain-farts happen when I'm far away from my laptop?

Here goes:

1. My brain goes into hyper-drive when I meet a new person. 

I like meeting new people and expanding my social circle, but only in small doses please. Mingling at a mixer or any social event, for example, is exhausting especially since talking to several people drains my energy. I also try to make the other person comfortable even when I'm already wracking my brains out trying to think of things to talk about, funny anecdotes, or a common ground. Even with a drink in hand, I'd feel extremely tired and ready to bail by 10pm (especially if I've had a full day at work already).

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cheapo find: Watsons Gentle Eye & Lip Makeup Remover

On account of being cheap frugal, I'd go drugstore skin care/makeup all the way. Even when abroad you'd see me scamper to the nearest drugstore (Guardian, John Little, Target, etc.) just to check out the lot. Drugstore finds give me a little bit of a high, because you never know what goldmine might be lurking behind aisle number 6. 

So understandably, I get all anxious and excited whenever I pass by a local Watsons. The allure of finding something at dirt cheap prices, wow exciting. My last Watsons "discovery" (if you will) is this Eye & Lip Makeup Remover which I got on the fly last year while traversing the aisles (before that it was the Pure Beauty Treatment Conditioner which I fervently love to this day). I posted it on Twitter and a few said I should go ahead and review it. I may be 6 months late but I hope this is still relevant to you guys. 

Granting I don't wear waterproof makeup on my entire face as it's just mostly waterproof mascara on most days, the Watsons Gentle Eye & Lip Makeup Remover works just as well as any makeup remover in the market. It's gently scented and removes eye and eyebrow makeup easily without having to tug your eye area. Less tugging = less wrinkles, yay.