31 December 2015

New Year, New Beginnings

As the clock ticks closer to signify the end of a great year.  I'd like to thank everyone who have been a part of an exciting 2015 for me.  I have been blogging for 4 years now and what a wonderful journey it has been.  What started as an avenue to share new discoveries, passions and adventures led to many exciting experiences, meeting new and reuniting with old friends and working with brands that I love, as well as the hardworking teams behind them, is more than I could ever ask for.


25 December 2015

My Birthday Dinner at Cru Steakhouse, Marriott Manila

Last week, I celebrated my birthday at Marriott Manila's fine dining restaurant, Cru Steakhouse.  Although I have been to Marriott Manila many times, it is actually my first time to dine at Cru.  I have to admit, I was excited about this birthday dinner with Mickey.  As a couple, this is one of our firsts together and I have to thank our gracious hosts, Marriott Manila and Director for Marketing Communications, Michelle Garcia, for making my birthday truly memorable.


15 December 2015

Double Up on Beauty with Cream SIlk's Daily Treatment Conditioner

I have been coloring my hair for many years now.  I just love how hair color can easily transform a look from average to stunning or even daring (if you like bolder hair color).  On a daily basis, I also use styling tools which can really take its toll on my hair.  A hair cut can only cut the dry ends off, what I need is a hair product that can protect my hair from daily hair damage. 

Now, there's a hair product that can do just that, Cream Silk, enables us women to double up on beauty and style, and color our hair freely as well, by using Cream Silk's Daily Treatment Conditioner.  It combines the intensive care of a treatment and the smoothness from a conditioner in one.  For busy girls like us, I love that we have a two-in-one product that we can easily get off the shelves and use on a daily basis.


13 December 2015

New dishes, Christmas Meals and the new Catering menu at Tapella by Gaudi in Greenbelt 5

What I love about the holidays is the opportunity to reunite with friends and at the same time gather with family to celebrate Christmas and to welcome the New Year as well.  One of my favorite dining places is Tapella by Gaudi, I love that they are tucked in their own private corner in Greenbelt 5 and they serve delectable Spanish dishes by Executive Chef Robert Spakowski. 

Last week, I received an invitation from Tapella to come visit them again and try some of their new dishes on the menu and also to share with all of you what they have in store for their Christmas and New Year offerings.  How can I say no? 

On Friday lunch, being welcomed by Tapella's Executive Chef, Robert Spakowski


02 December 2015

The SM Supermalls Mobile App

If you live in The Philippines, I'm pretty sure you have a favorite SM Supermall that you frequent for shopping and dining, watching movies, going bowling or skating, or even spending some valuable me time in a salon or spa. 

Now, there is a fast and easy way to know what's happening in a SM Supermall near you with the launch of the SM Supermalls Mobile App!  Now you can search the nearest SM Supermall for your favorite stores, take advantage of great deals, know what's showing on the big screen (including screening times) and never lose track of where you parked your car.


30 November 2015

Shop and Save via Shopback

I have a new and exciting discovery to share with you!

I recently shopped for my two new Mango tops from Zalora via ShopBack and actually got cashback from my purchase.  Do I hear a resounding, "What? How? Where?"  First, let me tell you about ShopBack, they are a cashback site - basically, they pay back consumers to shop online, and the payments come in the form of savings.

Here are the two new Mango tops I shopped for at Zalora via ShopBack


19 November 2015

The New Nescafé Dolce Gusto Drop

I can still remember when the first Nescafé Dolce Gusto machines came out back in 2011.  I absolutely loved the way it was designed, it was futuristic-looking, it makes you think "what is it?".  The design was so good, I remember, it won a "Red Dot" award.  The “Red Dot”, is the revered international seal of outstanding design quality.

Recently, Nescafé launched the latest addition to the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Collection, The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Drop.  It's unique and modern design takes inspiration from a coffee droplet, it is easily operated by touchscreen technology and is engineered in Switzerland.

With my blogger friends Phya and Chessika


18 November 2015

Experience Real Care with Dove Deodorants and get a chance to win a Getaway for Two!

We are officially on high gear for the holidays!  All of us are busy planning for gatherings with family and friends, sewing together plans for holiday trips, making sure that we have bought the perfect gift for our loved ones. 

There are a million and one things we need to do before Christmas arrives and worrying about our underarms should be the least of our worries.  In fact, while 8 out of 10 women consistently engage in underarm hair removal to prepare for the season, all that plucking, shaving and waxing actually causes damage to their underarm skin, leading to irritation and bumpiness. 

Dove believes that active women like us deserve to experience real care and encourages us to show off our beautiful underarms with confidence, no matter what season it may be.  With its unique 1/4 moisturizing cream, Dove lessens underarm skin irritation due to plucking, shaving and waxing, leaving women with lighter and smoother underarms.

And as Dove Deo takes care of women's underarms, Dove now wants us girls to experience real care through a relaxing getaway for two!


Marks & Spencer's Shop Your Way to the UK 2015 draw winners

Marks & Spencer, one of the UK's leading retailers, currently has 14 stores in Metro Manila, 6 Provincial stores and 2 outlet stores in the Philippines.  A clear indication that Marks & Spencer has also become one of Manila's favorite retail stores offering men and women's fashion lines, lingerie, beauty products and food & wine.    

Recently, Marks & Spencer had a Promo open to all their Loyalty members where they can earn one raffle ticket for every P2,500 purchase of full priced or promo items in any Marks & Spencer store from August 14 to November 1, 2015.

In this photo (left to right) : Tina Villa, Chessika, Phya and Jeanne


17 November 2015

Costa Coffee Masterclass with Master Gennaro Pelliccia

Being a coffee lover at a very young age, I have become a good judge of how good coffee tastes like.  I have learned through experience that not because any good restaurant or establishment serves freshly brewed coffee it automatically tastes good.  Yes, I have experienced ordering an expensive cup of coffee that actually tastes bad and watered down.  Oftentimes, I felt shortchanged.

When I was recently invited to a Costa Coffee Master Class,  I was excited because I know that it will definitely give me more knowledge on how to appreciate coffee even more.  It's like being granted a free scholarship to a coffee university.

The by-invite only Costa Coffee Masterclass was conducted by no less than Costa Coffee's official tastemaker himself, Master Gennaro Pelliccia.  He ensures that Costa Coffee's only blend, the Mocha Italia, which is created from the perfect combination of Arabica and Robusta beans, is still the same as it was in 1971 - smooth, round, rich with the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.  It is with this special concoction that all Costa Coffee drinks are made from, all of which are espresso based.

Everyday, before leaving the roastery, Chief Taster and Master Roaster Gennaro makes it a point to taste the coffee, carefully preserving the taste that Costa Coffee is known for.  His tongue is so highly valued that in 2009 Costa Coffee insured it with Lloyds of London for a whopping GBP 10 million! 

Come and take a peek inside our Costa Coffee Masterclass!


08 November 2015

Casa Villa gets ready for Christmas 2015

As the song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year", Christmas is just around the corner, 5 Sundays away to be exact.  Stores have dressed up their window displays with Christmas-themed decor, Christmas carols are being played everywhere and shoppers are trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones.  We are officially on high gear for the Christmas season.

At Casa Villa, I have always dreamed of dressing up our space for Christmas.  This year, Mickey and I were finally able to do it.  There is a store in San Juan that's all about Christmas.  They cater to international clients like Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Target, among many others.  When they do open their doors again for the local market during the months of September to December, I am always sure to be there to take a first look at their current Christmas designs.  This store is Color it Christmas.  

They had many designs in the store when we visited, but there was one Christmas motif that they had that was in a corner that captured our eye.  They decorated this big Christmas tree covered with different red berries, mini apples, pears, pine cones,  twigs, leaves, shiny red Christmas balls, striped red bows and birds that dwell in the tree.  Mickey and I are very picky when it comes to design, but this one, just brought a smile to our face. 

I sat down with them and told them that I needed a Christmas tree that looks exactly like this but a
slimmer version of it since we live in a condo. Plus, we also wanted just the right size for our space.  For the height, I asked them to make it as tall as Mickey, which is 6 feet tall. 

Along with our first custom designed tree, I also ordered a Christmas wreath for our door, with specific measurements, just right for the size of our door and a Christmas table décor to tie up the look altogether.  They told me that it takes a week for them to make everything, which was fine with us since it was October when we ordered the tree.

Mickey told them that he will take care of buying the Christmas lights, he said that he wanted warm white LED Christmas lights for our tree.  We provided them the lights a few days after so that they can incorporate it in the tree.  A week later, our Christmas tree, wreath and table décor were delivered to our space.  "Let's come in". 

It instantly transformed our home in time for Christmas.


07 November 2015

Nescafe Red Mug Machine

As a coffee lover and a frequent visitor of many coffee shops, I often wish I could bring home the same coffee experience.  I already have the ambience down as I have made the feel of our home very warm and cozy but one thing is missing, I would love to make coffee drinks at home that are fast, easy to make, and gives me the taste, look and feel as if my perfectly brewed cup of coffee was made in a coffee shop.

The Nescafe Red Mug Machine is a coffee lover's simple dream come true.  Here's why:
  • It can help you create café style coffee in just 2 minutes. 
  • You don't need expensive coffee capsules to make your perfect coffee creations - All you need is Nescafe Classic and Nestle Coffee mate. You can make Espresso, foamy Cappuccino, layered Latte, fancy Mocha, velvety Americano and other coffee drinks easily.
  • It is developed in Switzerland by Nestle coffee machine experts.  It has a coffee chamber with a unique cyclone that brings out the Nescafe Classic aroma and flavor.  It also has a foaming jet technology that creates foam with ease, inspired by the barista steam in coffee shops.
  • It is compact, has a sleek design and comes in a glossy red color that is perfect for a cozy, modern space - whether you're living in a condo, an apartment, or house, the Nescafe Red Mug Machine is sure to blend well, not occupy too much space and adds a punch color to your space.  

02 November 2015

Costa Coffee, UK's No. 1 Coffee Chain opens in Bonifacio Global City

If there is one beverage I am sure to drink every morning to kick start my day, it would definitely be a cup of coffee.  I oftentimes find myself drinking between two to three cups a day and capping off a good meal with it.  You can call it my happy drink. 

So, can you just imagine how I happily welcomed with open arms an invitation, to celebrate the opening of UK's No. 1 Coffee Chain, Costa Coffee, One Global Place, Bonifacio Global City?  On opening day, Costa Coffee BGC was filled with coffee lovers like me, enjoying Costa coffee pairings with pastries and sandwiches.  I ordered a Double Chocolate Cookie Mocha Frostino and surprisingly, even if it sounds sinful, it wasn't too sweet at all.  I loved that the sugar was on a controlled level. 


25 October 2015

Dunlopillo's NormaBlock Collection

Do you experience back pain or a stiff neck after sleeping?  Chances are, your old mattress could be the culprit.  A quality mattress usually has a life span of 10 years, basic ones even less. 

When choosing your next mattress, find some time to shop and test the mattresses yourselves, always remember that the best ones will offer you more support and comfort for a refreshing sleep.  Also, make sure to look for a mattress that will support your natural spinal position. 

Usually, the cost of mattresses will depend upon the materials, size, thickness and construction methods.  The manufacturers usually give a higher warranty on their quality mattress line.

Health experts recommend 8 hours of good sleep in a day, which easily translates that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping (now that's a lot of time spent in bed!).  Our bodies need a good rest for rejuvenation and a good rest is difficult to obtain with an uncomfortable mattress.  If your mattress is already 10 years old or more, it's likely that you should consider replacing it. 

One of the few companies who take mattresses seriously is Dunlopillo.  This year, Dunlopillo launched a new line of mattresses that not only provides superior comfort but much needed support as well.


18 October 2015

The House of LUX

On a normal day, Valkyrie at The Palace in Bonifacio Global City, looks like your typical Night Club.  But on this special day, the whole place was also set abloom to become The House of LUX.  From afar, the entire frontage of Valkyrie was covered with violet blooms.  It actually made me walk faster than I usually do, my heart beating in exhilaration.  When I finally saw up close how beautiful it has transformed into The House of LUX for a night, I just had to stand outside for a few minutes and admire how fascinating and beautiful the frontage was.  

As soon as I stepped inside, I was greeted with the fragrance of florals.  The scent was luxurious and ultra-feminine.  The walls were decked from floor to ceiling with the same violet blooms that decorated the entrance, the main area opened to beautiful crystal chandeliers, the seats were covered in plush deep violet colored velvet and the wall of violet blooms continued all over the place.

                                             My date at the LUX ball is of course, Mickey


17 October 2015

The Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour: Inspiring Pop Culture for 100 Years

In Celebration of 100 years since the creation of the Coca-Cola bottle in 1915, the Coca-Cola Company marks this milestone with the Coca-Cola Bottle Art Tour.  The exhibition will travel 62,000 miles in 15 countries, curating 100 years of happiness in film, social history, design and fine arts.  A few weeks ago, we witnessed the opening of the Coca-Cola Bottle Tour at the Amphitheater, High Street South, Bonifacio Global City.  If you missed it, let me take you again on a journey with these photos:

Celebrating with Coca-Cola Philippines with my blogger friends, Phya and Luie


08 October 2015

Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Cafe

Is the iconic red bench and the green vintage bike in front of the newest place to hang out in Bonifacio Global City, familiar to you?  This is Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café, dubbed as "your second home" and your little piece of New York in the heart of Manila's newest business district and amidst entertainment and hip retail stores.

Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café has three levels of dining space:  a brunch café at the ground floor, a vinyl record listening station is on the second level where you can dine casually in bar stools with your close friends.  For those who'd like to hang out and party, or in this case, "house party" the night away, just head on up to the third level.

Since their opening this year, Unit 27 Apartment Bar + Café has been a favorite place to hang out by the fashionable set, the creatives, the music lovers and the 9 to 5'ers.  People come here for their popular all-day brunch menu and to just simply hang out.  It is a comfortable place to be at, just like when you are at your own home.  For those of you who haven't been here yet, let's go! 

When you visit for the first time, take a fun photo on the red bench or on the brick wall where the vintage bike is on the front steps.  You'll find that there are many Instagram worthy areas in Unit 27, go ahead and explore when you visit.


05 October 2015

Bathe with Perfume Everyday with LUX: A Review of LUX Magical Spell Fragranced Body Wash and Perfumed Soap. Plus, Sign-Up to Receive a Special Gift from LUX!

Fragrance is often associated with the people who wear them.  Such is that if you wear a certain fragrance and the people around you had enough time to associate the fragrance with you.  Once you have left the room and the fragrance still lingers, they still remember you and your presence.

Just imagine how luxurious it is, to bathe in perfume everyday.  Now, you actually can!  LUX finally sets the Philippines abloom with the launch of the new LUX Perfumed bath collection.  The collection is masterfully designed and crafted by perfume experts from New York, Paris and London.


28 September 2015

Learning a New Craft: Do-It-Yourself Stained Glass

I think the attraction for D.I.Y. crafting (apart from the fact that it's also a stress reliever), is the ability to create something new and putting your personal stamp on that creation.  One weekend, my blogger friends Chessika, Phya and I were invited by Stained Glass Craft to an art workshop at Hey Kessy Studio. 


22 September 2015

Marriott Manila's North Asian Showdown at Marriott Café

Traveling has certainly evolved.  In earlier years, we travel to shop, but now, most of the global brands are already here in the Philippines.  We instead find ourselves traveling to enjoy the local cuisine.  Just a few hours from Manila, and into neighboring Asian countries, we get a taste of authentic local cuisine.  Well Manila, you're in for a treat!  For a whole month, starting September 17 to October 15, 2015, you can go on a culinary journey to Korea, China and Japan through Marriott Manila's North Asian Food Festival at the newly reopened Marriott Café. 

Marriott Manila's Best Chefs are joined by International Guest Chefs for a month long fete, to make your culinary journey enjoyable.  Imagine going on a journey to the Land of the Morning Calm for authentic bulgogi, japchae, galbi and Korean hot pots.  Travel on to the Land of the Rising Sun for fresh sushi, sukiyaki, katsu and savor roast meat, steamed fish, and choose from a wide selection of Chinese dimsum specialties at the Middle Kingdom.

A week ago, Mickey and I had the privilege to go on this culinary journey as Marriott Café reopened with their North Asian Food Festival.


20 September 2015

Let's Go Shopping: Watsons Triple Bonus Promo

Many years ago, when we didn't have Watsons yet in the Philippines, I remember whenever I travel to Hong Kong, I never fail to enter a Watsons store.  For me, it was a wonderland of beauty products where you can literally just leave me there and I'll be perfectly fine discovering and trying new stuff which I wouldn't find back here then.

Years later, we finally have Watsons here in the Philippines and although Watsons is a common sight wherever we go, I still find myself in their aisles, gleefully discovering beauty finds and trying them at home.

If you have a thing for beauty and personal care products (just like I do), or even just passing by the Watsons pharmacy to get medicines.  Now would be a good time to stock on your essentials.  Watsons has a cool ongoing promo called "Watsons Triple Bonus" where you can get a chance to win an Apple watch, get great discounts, cash coupons (get a P100 coupon when you buy a minimum P1000 worth of products with 1 participating brand in a single receipt) and 50,000 shopping points for SM Advantage/BDO Rewards members!  Just spend a minimum of P500 with at least 1 participating brand, register and submit your entry.  The promo will run until September 27, 2015.  Let's go shop!


12 September 2015

Gillette Introduces Flexball Technology at Esquire's Pop-Up Barber Shop

Guest contributor for this article is Mickey Villa.

I remember watching famous TV series with my brothers back in the early 90's.  There were a lot of Gillette ads being aired during commercial breaks.  It showed the superiority of the two blade razor versus the single blade razor in doing the job with fewer strokes.

Our eldest brother Robert, predicted that soon Gillette will introduce a three blade safety razor.  He was right, in 1999, the Mach 3 was launched in the Philippines.  Gillette spent $750 million on the research and development of the Mach 3.  It was intriguing at that time, and I got one.  It promises much less irritation and you can shave against the grain.

Robert made another prediction, that soon a four blade safety razor will be available.  He was right again, a four blade safety razor was made available by a different brand.  Being one of the most creative and imaginative person I know, he laughingly predicted a five blade safety razor is not impossible soon.  This time I was doubtful, and guess what, he proved me wrong again for the third time. 

Gillette will not be outdone, and being a leader in innovation, they launched the Fusion line in 2005, with five blades spaced closer together to help reduce pressure per blade resulting for a more comfortable shave. 


10 September 2015

Our Weekend Staycation at The Marriott Hotel, Manila

If there is one thing we all have in common, it would probably be battling horrendous traffic jams as we go about our daily routines.  Lately, this has been everyone's "new normal" and somehow, when it becomes too frequent, we all dream of going on a relaxing staycation just to break free from the unwanted stress that comes along with the "new routine". 

The invitation for a weekend staycation at the posh and luxurious Marriot Hotel, Manila couldn't have come at a better time.  It was a Monday when I got the invitation, but really my mind was already fast forwarded to Saturday.  In between those days of waiting, I didn't seem to mind the hours of traffic I was battling.  In my mind, I was already envisioning a relaxing weekend staycation in one of Manila's top hotels.


02 September 2015

Three Sisters' Restaurant of Pasig

Only a few restaurants can stand the test of time.  With prized heirloom recipes being handed down from one generation to the next, it is uncertain whether a certain generation of diners can still appreciate recipes that has been handed down by almost a lifetime. 

Last Saturday, we found out why this restaurant is a favorite among many Pasig habitué's until now. 

Three Sisters' Restaurant was first put up in 1941 by Lola Rosa Francisco, who is lovingly remembered to be always in the kitchen preparing hearty Filipino dishes for her family.  Her passion for cooking drove her to put up her own luncheonette in Poblacion, Pasig.  In 1970, Lola Rosa's little luncheonette transformed to a successful restaurant and later transferred to Kapitolyo, Pasig where they serve customer favorites such as pork barbecue, pancit bihon, sinigang na kanduli sa miso and beef caldereta.

Three Sisters' Restaurant has 3 indoor dining areas and one outdoor dining area, just in case you'd like to dine al fresco.  It is my first time to dine here with my family and I noticed that it is quite popular.  The dining crowd are mostly families, groups of friends, the occasional foodie couple, but one thing is for sure, there is always a customer coming in to dine in the restaurant no matter what time of day it is.  This is considering that this restaurant is not in your typical mall.  

We were at the restaurant from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and I guess this only goes to show how at home we were at the restaurant.  We chose to stay at the long table with a view of the pocket garden, ordered our favorite Filipino comfort food and just like any other Filipino family would do, laughter and stories were shared on that long table along with simple home cooked Filipino dishes that are way too familiar and gives you a sense of "home".

I guess the no-frills recipes are what makes this restaurant special.  The food is simple and upfront, no pretensions.  The price points are fair (if not inexpensive) and if you're up for a food crawl in Pasig City, don't miss passing by this famous Pasig resident.

Here's what we had during our visit at Three Sisters' Restaurant of Pasig:

Crispy Kang Kong, P100 


21 August 2015

#PositivelyBetter days with Jeunesse Anion Sanitary Napkins and Liners

The women of today wear many hats, we balance our time with work, our loved ones and even for ourselves, and as such, there are times we can't afford to slow down, especially when the going gets tough.

We all know that "red" days are part of a woman's biological make-up.  Red days can affect a woman's mood and performance, especially when painful menstrual cramps occur.   This is because during menstruation, the excessive levels of prostaglandin makes the uterus squeeze really hard and the arteries get blocked, thus, causing pain.  But, what if we can make these uncomfortable days #postivelybetter by using a sanitary napkin that would make "red" days more comfortable?  That would certainly be a delight and a relief at the same time!

At their recent re-launch at the posh Marriott Hotel Manila, I learned about Jeunesse Anion Sanitary Napkin and Liners' difference.  It is uniquely crafted with 7 layers of protection: the top cover is made of a special non-woven material, an anion strip that emits negatively-charged molecules, side leak guards, a highly protective polymer for liquid retention, a sterilized and dirt-free layer, a 6th breathable layer for free air flow, and a specially-designed back adhesive to keep pad securely in place.  

Apart from being the first anion sanitary napkin in the retail market that’s scientifically proven to reduce odor and bacteria, Jeunesse Anion is also a proud 100% Filipino brand.

Let me share with you these photos during the re-launch of Jeunesse Anion Sanitary Napkin and Liners at the posh and pretty, Garden Room of the Marriott Hotel Manila:


20 August 2015

Real Living partners with Match Contract Furniture for an exclusive mix-and-match themed showroom event

I've always been attracted to beautifully designed restaurants.  I tend to linger longer when I get accustomed to the homey and relaxing feel of the interiors.  Although design is the bigger scope that composes the interiors, when I zero in on the details that make up the entirety of the design, I noticed that I am also drawn to the beautiful chairs, tables and lighting that makes the look of a hip and happening space.  I often find myself wondering where it's sourced, because honestly, some of them can also be used in our own homes.

Recently, I was invited by Real Living to the launch of Match Contract Furniture's Makati showroom.  I learned that Match Contract Furniture is the go-to place for exceptional restaurant and retail furniture.  If you have been to these contemporary dining establishments (Locavore, Duck & Buvette, La Cabrera, Spice & Cleaver, ArroZeria, Susi, Santiago, Elbert's Cheesesteak, The Italian Market, Fireside by Kettle, Sarsa and Kafe Batwan), chances are, you have already seen their products: 


18 August 2015

Me Time with Pine-Sol Philippines at Le Spa, Sofitel Manila

In today's world, fast-pace is the new normal.

In the morning, there's a mad rush to get ready before we start a full day, we make an effort to wake up early to beat the rush hour traffic, we check off a list of things to do, there are meetings to attend to, e-mails to reply to, projects to finish, run a few errands, and then there's the proverbial traffic again going home.

When we get home to our loved ones at night, we have meals together, talk about how our day went, attend to our family's needs and when we are about to wind down for the night, we start a mental to-do list again for the following day.  It becomes a daily cycle that oftentimes, we tend to forget to also have some me time for ourselves.

I think that in order to function like the "wonder woman" that we all are.  We also need time to re-energize ourselves by doing the things we love doing the most.  It can be reading a good book, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee, going to the spa to relax those tight muscles or to the salon for a fresh new look.  We can also de-stress by attending an exercise or dance class, learn a new skill or craft, or even doing our favorite sports activities.

A week ago, Pine-Sol has given me and a wonderful group of women the opportunity to put ourselves first for a day of health and wellness.  


26 July 2015

Full Throttle on History Channel

This August 2015, there is  a new and exciting motoring program coming to your TV screens on History Channel!  Promising a fresh and vibrant take on the motoring industry, and will feature transportation modes for land, water and air.  "Full Throttle", hosted by celebrities Rhian Ramos and Sam YG goes beyond reporting just about the technical aspects. 

Full Throttle sets the bar higher with exciting challenges taken on by its hosts and special guests, whether celebrities or personalities who are experts in their respective fields, the team guarantees its viewers that when it comes to motoring, you won't get left behind.

The launch party was held at the newly opened House Manila Club at Remington Hotel, Resorts World Manila.  Here are some photos during the launch:

Amid popular DJ beats, celebratory food and drinks, there was a cool Mini Paceman on the club floor


19 July 2015

Experience Spice Cafe's Grand Lunch Buffet at City Garden Grand Hotel

There's a new place where you can celebrate milestones, gather with friends and family to enjoy international cuisines and experience the newest hotel lunch buffet in town. 

Tucked inside the 7th Floor of the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati City, is it's newly launched restaurant, Spice Café.  Spice Café boasts of a beautiful 180 degree view of Makati City.  It has comfortable seating areas, spaced far in between tables, so you can enjoy meaningful conversations and have a comfortable dining experience.

Spice Café offers a variety of dishes that range from Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese and Chinese cuisines.  It also has different stations (crepe, shawarma, and a noodle station) where you can choose what ingredients go with a perfect meal.  A carving station will also delight meat lovers.

Our favorite corner table at Spice Café has a view of Makati Avenue and Makati's buzzing business district.


12 July 2015

ELLE Decoration partners with Cucina Mobili, Inc. to introduce premium Italian kitchen systems brands, Dada and Armani/Dada

It's Italian, it's luxurious, it's functional and it's finally here!  ELLE Decoration has recently partnered with Dada and Armani/Dada for the Italian company's exclusive Showroom Grand Opening. 


03 July 2015

The beauty of bespoke: throw pillow covers and table linens using designer fabrics from Townes, Inc.

On weekends, I always find time to read my favorite interior design magazines and books.  It keeps me up to date with the latest trends in design and it inspires me to change the look of our home every once in a while (every four months to be exact, to keep it fresh). 

While reading Elle Decor, I've been seeing these beautiful designer fabrics and I wondered where I can find some for a home project that I was planning.  I've always known that Townes in Pasay Road, Makati City has good quality fabric selections, so I decided to drop by a few weeks ago to check if they had some designer fabrics in the store.

In this photo (left to right) Elita Pacho, President of Townes, Inc., Me and Donna Pacho, Vice President for Marketing of Townes, Inc.


27 June 2015

The Hive is buzzing at Estancia, Capitol Commons: Burt's Bees opens their first store in the Philippines

Three years after entering the Philippine Market, Burt's Bees has finally opened their first store at the 2nd level of Estancia, Capitol Commons.

It was a great day to celebrate with my favorite natural skin care brand, Burt's Bees!


24 June 2015

Bambi's 28th Dress

Taken at Chatteau 1771, Greenbelt 5 for Bambi's send-off
(From left to right: Marilen, Rhia, Bambi and Me)

This is a photo of our Assumption Group.  Well, at least those who are in Manila at this time.  Marge is in Canada, Cindy is in the U.S. and Agnes is in Bacolod.  This photo will be quite a memorable one, it is the last group photo we took before our friend Bambi leaves for the U.S. to join her fiancé  Ricky, as they get ready for their wedding in San Francisco this coming August.


19 June 2015

At last, A real City Bike Bag: The Kipling Bike Bag

I absolutely love going on bike rides.  Whether it's for fitness, outdoor adventures or even for a quick trip to the nearby grocery or coffee shop, I like hopping on my bike and just go about my plans for the day.

However, when I bring my backpack with me, it blocks the airflow to my back.  With the heat of the sun and our oftentimes high temperatures, it sometimes wears me down.  I also pack my bag with the essentials - a bottle of water and gatorade, granola bars, a microfiber towel, a change of clothes, a hygiene pack, a first aid kit, the list goes on - and before I know it, my bag adds weight.

The truth is, I've been looking around for a bike bag for some time now.  I was quite disappointed that I can't seem to find the right one.  I am quite picky, and I always veer away from boring designs, safe colors and heavy ones.  I certainly don't want to settle for something because I'm left with no other option.  So I still look around to find the perfect bike bag that would fit my lifestyle, and then, the happiest surprise arrived!  Can you just imagine how happy I was when Kipling Philippines sent me this ultra cool bike bag?  I was jumping and dancing for joy, doing cartwheels, the running man and the roger rabbit, it was a fun, fun day!


14 June 2015

Helmet Hair Adventures: A new bike route in Subic Bay

On our recent trip to Subic, I spotted a scenic bike route that leads to the old Subic International Airport.  The route is long and there were parts that were hidden from the road where we were travelling by car.  The terrain leading to this new discovered bike route (from our starting point) is a challenge, but the view is to die for.


13 June 2015

A visit to Ocean Adventure, Subic Bay

For Mickey's birthday, we found ourselves going back to Subic Bay for a weekend of adventure.  Subic Bay is currently becoming our favorite weekend escape whenever our schedule permits.  With this happening quite often, I'll be sharing with you different adventures and discoveries whenever we visit so that when you find yourself going there, you'll have an idea of what's in store for you and your loved ones.

The last time I visited Ocean Adventure was when I was still single, whereas Mickey has never been there ever.  I asked him if he wanted to go and he said yes.  So, right after our usual breakfast at Subic Bay Yacht Club, we arrived at Ocean Adventure just in time for the first of the four shows to start. 

A quick tip: For some reason, Subic Bay is warmer than our already warm weather in Manila, so when you do come to visit Ocean Adventure, be sure you're wearing cool clothing, wear sunblock, bring out your sunnies as the sun is a bit harsh and always walk in the shade if you can.


12 June 2015

A fashion trend to try: Sports Luxe

We all have our own signature styles when it comes to fashion.  But there are times when a fashion trend suddenly becomes an iconic trend especially when fashion greats takes up on the trend and make it their own - I've seen it in the likes of Chanel and Alexander Wang and I absolutely love how they luxed up a normally casual and sporty outfit. 

I had a bit of fun today and brought together a look with my very own take on the Sports Luxe trend.  The key to the trend is to wear a sports-inspired outfit and mixing it up with luxurious fabrics and outfit details for a more upscale finish.

I pulled off my look with a white H&M dress (reminiscent of a ladies tennis attire), the fabric is made of a luxurious material which resembles somewhat like leather but very light.  The cut of the dress is relaxed so if you're off to have a full day ahead of you, you are pretty much covered when it comes to being comfortable in your own dress.  

Another key piece for the Sports Luxe trend is a leather bag (normally it is a boxy and structured bag). Since my outfit and shoes are of a muted color.  I chose this bright yellow bag from Kate Spade called 2 Park Avenue Beau Bag for a touch (or rather a scream of color).  The bag's hardware is subtle, but it's gold.  

For my watch, I'm wearing a Swatch chronograph and my skater shoes are in a neutral color but is blinged out with different sized studs. 


31 May 2015

Lemery, Batangas for the weekend

"Guess what? We're going to Batangas this weekend", Mickey tells me.  I didn't know whether to be shocked or to get excited, but nonetheless, I grabbed our overnight bag, packed it with our essentials and headed South this weekend to survey a weekend home (of a client of his) for home audio installation.
It is Mickey's first time in Lemery, Batangas and my coming back in many years (my last memory of Lemery are family vacations spent at the beach when I was still in my teens).


21 May 2015

Vintec wine cabinets at Cellar Solutions

As a general rule, many of us know that when it comes to wine, white wine should be served chilled while red wine should be served at room temperature.  But the truth is, if you abide by this simple general rule (as I have), chances are, you are not enjoying your wine at its best.  The fact is, room temperature in the Philippines is different from France, Italy, Australia, Canada, or even Dubai.

Apparently, there is more science involved in appreciating wine and nothing spoils wine more than serving it at the wrong temperature.  Each wine style has an ideal serving temperature.  Served below its ideal temperature, tannins will be harsher and acidity will be stronger.  Served above its ideal temperature, aromas are stripped of their youthfulness and hidden by the sensation of alcohol.

If wine is a staple at home when entertaining, or if you are in the restaurant or hotel business, it may be a good time to invest in a wine cabinet from Vintec.  You’ll find these sleek wine serving and cellaring cabinets at Cellar Solutions.  Vintec wine cabinets range from a small home wine bar of 30 bottles (retails for Php 39,000) to a huge wine cabinet that can hold 155 bottles (retails for Php 156,000).  Vintec wine cabinets are available in single temp, dual temp and multi temp models and comes with a guide on the temperature settings for different types of wine.

From left to right: Laurent Ducourneau, Daniella Sevilla, Tina Villa and Charmaine Wang


08 May 2015

Fight Day "The Battle for Greatness" at Casa Villa: Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao

Whenever Manny Pacquiao has a fight, Mickey and I make sure that we get to watch it.  In previous times, we would just wait for the fight to be aired on TV, keeping our cellphones at bay and not going on the internet so that we shut ourselves off from any news on whether he won or lost the fight.  For us, it is more exciting to watch a fight when you don't know the end result (yet).

Honestly, I never thought the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would happen - with Floyd Mayweather always finding a reason not to engage Manny into a match, I thought, we'd never get to see these great fighters in a boxing ring together. 

We were actually watching that NBA game on TV when Floyd approached Manny to exchange numbers and expressed his interest in making the match a reality.  Suddenly, it wasn't about the game in Miami.  It was about those two great boxers on that basketball court, actually talking to each other.

So when the contracts were signed, the fighters went on their individual training camps, boxing fans bought the most expensive tickets to ever watch a boxing fight, others subscribed to pay per view (just like we did) or made reservations in hotels and sports bars around the world and anticipated that day, May 2, 2015, the day we thought would never come.

On fight day, "The Battle for Greatness" day, here we are at Casa Villa, rallying Manny Pacquiao.  If you follow me on instagram @tina.villa, you'll know that this photo was up before the actual fight.  I tagged @mannypacquiao and @jinkeepacquiao, hoping that they'll see the support all the way from the Philippines.  It was a great day for boxing fans (like us) around the world.


30 April 2015

Niu by Vikings at SM Aura

I have to admit, I have never eaten at any Vikings restaurant before.  But, I've been hearing a lot of good things about their newest venture at SM Aura, aptly named Niu (which means "nine" in the Viking language), and represents the 9th restaurant of the Vikings group.

If you plan on going to Niu anytime soon, I suggest you make reservations first.  It is quite easy, we made our reservations online, received a confirmation by e-mail on the same day and a text confirmation on the day of our reservation.  It gave me the impression that they are orderly and professional.

On the day of our reservation, we took the lift straight to the 6th level from the basement parking area of SM Aura which opened directly to Niu on the left side.  Niu has elegant interiors, decked with chandeliers, plush velvet and leather seats.  It had an expanse buffet selection that occupied the entire left side of the restaurant as you enter until the very end of the restaurant at the back. 

Upon arriving at Niu, the maitre d' will welcome you and ask for your name so she can check their reservations list and bring you to your table.  If you arrive earlier than your reservation, there is an area where you can stay and wait until the restaurant opens at 11:00 a.m.

We were seated at the B section it is closer to my favorite Mediterranean cuisine  


23 April 2015

The weekend that was: A visit to Magaul Bird Park at Jest Camp, Subic Bay

If you are planning to have a weekend getaway, Subic Bay is a really good choice.  Just two hours away from Manila, they have beaches where you can enjoy the summer sun and engage in fun water activities, be one again with nature and go on adventure hikes, take the scenic bike route plus there are also several new attractions that are unique to Subic Bay.  One of which, Mickey and I were able to visit - the Magaul Bird Park at Jest Camp.

We paid the park admission of Php 370.00 per person to see the attractions, but there are different packages to avail of should you wish to get more adventurous and try other things like - taking the Goliath swing challenge (where you can swing up to 30 feet high over a cliff with a panoramic view of Subic Bay) or take the Aerial Adventure Walk (where you get to tackle their tree top obstacle course and finish by taking the zipline at the end).

Here's how our day went at the Magaul Bird Park at Jest Camp, Subic Bay:


18 April 2015

The weekend that was: Our Subic Bay road trip, Breakfast at Subic Bay Yacht Club and Our Helmet Hair Adventures

Summer is here!  What better way to kick-off this season but to go on an out of town trip, enjoy good weather, calmer scenery and do outdoor activities.

Last week, Mickey and I were able to do just that, we went to Subic Bay for 3 days.  We brought our Dahon S.U.V. foldies (folding bikes) with us, our trustee Coleman cooler that looks like luggage with wheels and enough groceries to last for the trip.

Here are some photos from the weekend that was.

This is at Subic Bay Yacht Club.  We had buffet breakfast at Cambusa Bistro, the restaurant had floor to ceiling windows, with a view of the marina and all these beautiful yachts parked outside.  It felt like we were in Sausalito, but really, were just in sunny Subic Bay.  It's beautiful here and we can't help but linger a little longer than usual just to memorize the view.


12 April 2015

Experience #MoistureThatLasts with The New Olay Body Wash Moisture Outlast Collection

Living in a country with tropical weather, has many advantages.  One of which is that it feels like summer most of the time, allowing us to enjoy some valuable vacation time in our island's beautiful beaches.  But along with the warm weather that we enjoy, is also the need to go inside and take refuge in our homes to cool down our bodies with the help of air-conditioning. 

Exposure to the sun dries up our skin, but did you know that we also lose our body's moisture and natural oils by exposing it to cool air that also dries out our skin, oftentimes resulting to cracked skin.  In fact, in a recent poll, 57% of women in Cosmopolitan Philippines revealed that women do not think that air conditioning causes skin to dry.

This summer, whether you're basking under the glorious sun or cooling down in an air-conditioned room, your skin needs longer lasting moisture.  Unfortunately, your everyday beauty bar just might not be able to do the job.

In the recent #MoistureThatLasts Press event and Consumer Swap, Olay Ambassador, Bea Alonzo shares that she keeps her skin moisturized with The New Olay Body Wash Moisture Outlast Collection.  It's new formula is composed of powerful active moisturizers that penetrate skin layer by layer unlike beauty bars and other body washes.  She also shares that The New Olay Body Wash effectively moisturizes without leaving the skin feeling greasy, making it the perfect beauty companion this summer and all year round!

Consumers were also asked to try Olay's swap machine (a giant air-conditioner) during the event where they can swap their non-P&G soaps for a bottle of the New Olay Body Wash Moisture Outlast Collection.  How cool!

Girls who love Olay


03 April 2015

My favorites at this year's March 2015 Manila Fame and meeting world-renowned Million Dollar Decorators Mary McDonald and Nathan Turner

Every year, Manila Fame and the Philippines International Furniture Show always has something special in store for buyers, exporters and importers.  All of whom have a common goal when attending the show - a strong desire to see the latest in local furniture design and if you're lucky enough, you can get your hands on some of them at the show itself.  I absolutely love beautifully crafted local furniture and I am proud of how far our local designers have taken design and craftsmanship to a global level.   


02 April 2015

The weekend that was: Our 6th Wedding Anniversary, Celebrating Earth Hour and Our Suite Escape Experience at The Linden Suites

If there's one word that would best describe the past week that Mickey and I just had, it would have to be - busy.  Don't get me wrong, it's the good kind.  The kind that brings forth blessings and the kind that allows you to bless others as well.

This summer is probably the one summer that we were not able to plan a proper vacation due to commitments, but still, God has His way of surprising us in different ways.  A few days before our 6th wedding anniversary, I was praying to God and asking Him, how I hope that Mickey and I can celebrate our anniversary despite our busy schedule.  Guess what?  Just like an answered prayer, we received an invitation from The Linden Suites to try out one of their newly renovated Suites on our anniversary. 


27 March 2015

Say Hola to new Spanish dishes created by Tapella by Gaudi's new Executive Chef Robert Spakowski

Last Saturday, Mickey and I had the opportunity to taste the new Spanish dishes in Tapella’s menu and at the same time, meet Tapella by Gaudi’s new Executive Chef, Robert Spakowski at their restaurant in Greenbelt 5.

Admittedly, this is my first time at Tapella, even if the restaurant is just a javelin throw away from where my office is.  It is such a shame that I’ve been missing out on the great tasting Spanish dishes all these years!  I guess, I have never explored Greenbelt that much to discover this gem of a restaurant which is located at the far end of Greenbelt 5’s al fresco dining area.   

Noticeably, there is a good number of expats dining at the al fresco area.  I guess this is a restaurant that most of them frequent and are comfortable being in.  

But first, let me introduce to you, Chef Robert Spakowski, Tapella by Gaudi’s new Executive Chef.  Don’t let the good looks and the foreign features fool you, he has some tricks up his sleeve too!  While we were conversing about the Tapella’s new dishes (in English), I was presuming that since he is a foreigner, of course, he doesn’t speak the local language), in the middle of our conversation, he suddenly speaks Tagalog  (and fluently too!) which is such a trip because you know how sometimes, when we Filipinos would for example say, “ang gwapo niya ‘no?” thinking that the person we are referring to does not have a clue what you just said, then he suddenly speaks the local language?  Suddenly, it’s an embarrassing but funny moment.  Chef Robert shares that he loves how he gets reactions when he suddenly speaks in Tagalog.

Meet Chef Robert Spakowski, Tapella by Gaudi's new Executive Chef
Left to Right: Tina Villa, Chef Robert Spakowski, Joan Tan and Vannah Santiago

Chef Robert Spakowski and Mickey

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