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YOUR LOCAL GUIDE Get to know the country you’re in from the people who know it best. Get the heads up on where to be and places to see, where to eat, and everything else about the distinct Philippine beat. All these and more, right at your fingertips.

founding Publisher

Murray Hertz (1928-2014) Publisher

Butch C. Bonsol Associate Publishers

Francesca L. Ortigas Vernon Prieto Editor-in-chief

Timothy Jay Araneta Ibay Associate Editor

C. Jude Defensor Staff Writers

Angie Duarte Richard A. Ramos Ching Dee Via Baroma Layout and Design

Macjanry Imperio Nikki Joy Habana Contributing Writers

Paolo Nesi Kenneth See Cherry Africa-Pua Roger Pe

Contributing Photographers

Martin San Diego


Leah Egamino-PalaĂąa billing, credit & collection supervisor

Jennifer Codera

Subscriptions > Advertising > Inquiries T. (02) 840 2996 or 812 0987 F. (02) 840 2988 E.

Expat Travel & Lifestyle Philippines is published quarterly by Expat Communications, Inc. Main Headquarters Unit 207, Cattleya Condominium, 235 Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines Cebu Satellite Office M.J. Cuenco Ave. cor C. Mina St., Mabolo, Cebu City, Philippines Telfax: (032) 412 8000 Expat Travel & Lifestyle is a registered trademark of the Philippines. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

Photo by Curtis Mac Newton

Expat Travel & Lifestyle Vol. 10 No. 1 Opinions expressed in this magazine are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by Expat Communications. Reproduction in whole or in part, whether articles, photos, advertisement features and such, are strictly prohibited in any way without the written consent from the publishers and editors. Expat Communications cannot be held responsible for unsolicited material or photographs. Although the editors and writers ascertain to the veracity of all information published, they are not responsible for its possible changes.

Ed Note

Wellness of the State & the State of Wellness With barely two months (as of this writing) before a highly anticipated (and so far, unprecedentedly tight) national election, the Philippines finds itself at, perhaps, what could be a pivotal point in its eventful history. Yes, there remains a plethora of deep-seated issues that leave the country languishing behind its regional neighbors, but there is a prevalent feeling that the momentum for good governance has been established by the incumbent administration; making continuity, and nourishing the seeds that have been planted, even more vital than who actually winds up being elected to be at the helm of these islands for the next six years. And with that, Expat thought it best to dabble into something it hasn’t really gotten into before – politics. While expats may not have a say on who the country’s next Chief Executive will be, like the rest of the Filipinos calling this place home, you have something at stake as well. Hence, we have dedicated a 15-page spread touching on the five individuals vying for the highest position in the land – giving you an overview of their careers, and what both sides are saying about their respective campaigns. We also introduce you to the person tasked to chair the commission in charge of managing these highly-consequential elections – COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista – and give you a glimpse into the demanding path he has chosen to traverse and the intricacies of heading a commission tasked to conduct national and local elections that will vote into office some 18,000 individuals in a single day. But, the fact is, despite the system being called a democracy, anyone who’s been here long

enough understands that there is much going on in the underbelly of election politicking. Campaign machination in the Philippines is an entirely different beast. Having the best laid out platforms has rarely ever sufficed for a candidate. Allegiances are broken, mended and switched during the swirling chaos of the elections lead up. Suffice to say, no one really has a clue how all these will actually pan out come late May. The wellness of the state is, unfortunately, not entirely in the people’s hands. But luckily, our personal health and wellness will always be wholly up to the choices we make. And therein lies this issue’s theme—“Wellness of the State, and the State of Wellness” – where we give you some of the available options in the Philippines’ continually growing health and wellness industry. We give you the heads up on fitness gyms and alternative workout regimens; fitness classes for your kids; a calendar of fitness events hitting the metro in the next quarter; and introduce you to some of the best fitness mobile apps. We also get you acquainted with a different approaches in mental and spiritual health, got two RNDs to chime in on a few of the most popular diets; and give you a list of restaurants serving delectable, yet healthy fare; as well as proprietors that have dived into the fitness craze by delivering healthy fare right to your doorstep. There is never a better time to start getting into a healthier lifestyle than NOW. Enjoy your path to wellness. Cheers! - The Expat Team

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Carpaccio.Ristorante | ImAngus | Chesa.Bianca

Dining @ Yakal

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Beauty Beyond Skin-Deep Premier aesthetic clinic Beautylosophy talks about beauty from within and their holistic approach to health and wellness

Text and photos by Ching Dee / Photo courtesy of Team On Site Studio; used with permission from Dr. Michelle Manuel

Since its opening in 2012, Beautylosophy has been known for their hair and wart removal services and those oh-so-luxurious facials. With their continued success and innovation under the tutelage of prime dermatologist Dr. Michelle Manuel and holistic medicine advocate Dr. Homer Lim, Beautylosophy has evolved to offering a revolutionary and holistic approach to health and weight loss. Debunking colonics myths and fears Dr. Homer Lim is highly trained in complementary and integrative medicine and has made a name for himself as the “Cancer Healer.” Formally trained as a geriatrician, Lim saw more and more of his patients who have cancer struggling with the side effects from the myriad of medications needed to fight off their disease. This encouraged him to continue researching for alternative and better ways to help cancer patients through their ordeal. 10 | expat

Today, Lim is no longer a neophyte when it comes to alternative and holistic medicine. In fact, he’s become recognized as a trendsetter in alternative medicine. Having spent half a decade as the medical director of The Farm at San Benito where he upgraded the integrative medical therapies, while garnering numerous awards for The Farm, he now has several clinics around the metro specializing in integrative and alternative medicine—not just for cancer patients, but for everyone who’s seeking a healthier version of themselves.

can do it as frequent as once a week,” Lim says. So, what are the advantages of getting a colonic?

Lim was the one who brought and introduced colonics to Beautylosophy in late 2015. According to him, there’s no reason to be scared of getting a colonic treatment.

Lim enumerates, “When your colon is clean after getting a colonic, your digestive system works better. You will instantly feel lighter, [you will] lose about one to three centimeters [from the abdominal area]… You absorb nutrients better and the toxins are eliminated, which means your health will improve…eventually your skin will clear up…If your digestive system is also working well, you are less constipated and you do not feel bloated, which will help you get a good night’s sleep.”

“There’s a slight discomfort, but nothing painful,” Lim assures. “During the procedure, you won’t even feel anything anymore...The entire process is completely sterile and is administered by a trained personnel…You

Lim likewise recommends colonics to those who are immuno-compromised and patients suffering from auto-immune diseases. Colonics will also work wonders for anyone who wants to lose weight or those who

Doctor’s Beautylosophy Flawless Skin Signature Facial Silk Peel Biocell Pumpkin peel Korean Mask Acne Treatment Scar treatments Sclerotherapy Wart Removal Laser Hair Removal Skin Peeling Forever Young Beautylosophy Dermalift Signature Vampire Stomp V-Form Young Again LED PhotobioStim InnoPlus Acne treatment Pore reduction Eye bag /Excess Fat Removal Excessive Sweating Treatment Spider Vein Removal Non-Surgical Body Slimming Redustim Liposlim Fat Buster Face Contouring Mesotherapy

simply want to feel lighter. Going beyond the extra (weight-loss) mile More than losing unwanted pounds, Beautylosophy advocates a more holistic approach to weight loss, which involves dietary modifications, lifestyle changes, and a whole range of services tailored for each individual client. Beautylosophy General Manager Molleen Cabardo tells Expat, “Our services go beyond weight loss. We encourage our clients to undergo the entire program, and hopefully it will help change their lifestyle in the long run [and aid in] maintaining a healthy body and their ideal weight.” The Full Body Slimming Treatment is composed of six different procedures— the first phase is the medical consultation, second phase is dietary modifications, and the last is the Ultra Body Shaper where fat bursting and body contouring occur—which help “jumpstart the slimming treatment” for the client, according to Cabardo. Most of these procedures are non-invasive and administered by well-trained and licensed medical professionals. “We are very proud of our services because we make sure our number one priority is the client,” Cabardo says. “As long as the client is healthy and happy, then we believe [we have done our] job well.” Aside from slimming treatments, Beautylosophy is also known for Dysport (Botox) Treatment, V-Thread Lift, and the

Inno-Plus Treatment, which can be used to lessen spider veins, eye bags, and even ‘double chins.’ Other bestselling services from Beautylosophy include Vampire Stomp Facials, and hair and wart removals. (For the complete list of the services, please refer to the list on the right.) The mentioned procedures are just a few of Dr. Michelle Manuel’s bread and butter. After earning her degrees in Biology, Chemistry, and Theology from the University of San Francisco in California, she moved to the Philippines to work on her Medical Degree. After getting her medical license, Manuel—still the same high achiever that she was from her earlier years in school—worked for the best and brightest establishments to be certified in various dermatological procedures, earning various scholarships and fellowships along the way. For example, just for the Dysport Treatment alone, she was certified from four different workshops in Taiwan and Thailand. Having completed dermatological, aesthetic, and wellness trainings in Munich, Seoul, Bangkok, Taipei, Cairo and Buenos Aires, she is constantly tapped to be a resource speaker and trainer for fellow doctors, other health service workers, aestheticians, and even pharmaceutical organizations. Nowadays, Doc Miki—as she is fondly referred to by friends and patients—keeps a tight schedule between the Beautylosophy clinic in BGC and her flagship private practice in Quezon City. Once or twice a month she also travels to her satellite clinics in Cagayan de Oro City, Cabanatuan City, and Angat in Bulacan.

Beauty Within Detoxification Colon Hydrotherapy Acupuncture IV Glutathione Holistic Nutrition Programs

During her frequent travels, she is able to squeeze in motorcycle riding tours (either as a rider or navigator) with her partner and their friends who share her two passions: food and culture. They have gone on riding and food adventure trips in Yosemite and Pacific Coast in the US, Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Thailand, and Vietnam. But of late, with her renewed commitment to being fit and promoting wellness, she has done bicycle tours in London and Osaka. During these trips, she does not fail to search for new sources of organic farm produce and other wellness products and services that support her and Lim’s latest affiliation with the International Society of Integrated and Anti-Ageing Medicine (ISIAM). Truly, Beautylosophy doctors continue to serve as the company’s most important testimony—living by example as testament to their holistic approach in beauty and wellness. Beautylosophy is located at Unit 2G, Crescent Park Residences, Burgos Circle, 30th Street corner 2nd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. For more information on their services, call (02) 869-7492, (0917) 533-7546 or email expat | 11

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Village Tavern Benedict Monte Cristo

Starting the Weekend Right (And Early) Village Tavern introduces their weekend Brunch Menu

S’mores Hot Chocolate

Text by Timothy Jay Ibay

Over three decades ago in Winston Salem, North Carolina, a pragmatic concept to serve the best possible food, at affordable prices, using only the finest and freshest ingredients designed to inspire a positive difference in the community was birthed.

“We have just launched our new brunch menu, offering a wide variety of dishes from classic Benedicts to Asian Pork Rice Bowls, which are available from Fridays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” shares Chef Josh.

The result was Village Tavern. And just as it was back in 1984, it remains a place that delivers great food with equally great service that result in an overall dining experience that provides great value for money.

Also included in Village Tavern’s mouthwatering brunch selection are Steak and Salmon Benedicts; fluffy and moist omelettes like Florentine (vegetarian) Brie and Bacon; sandwiches like the Mexican-inspired Breakfast Quesadilla; Asian favorites like Asian Pork on Kimchi Rice; and another great option in their Tatter Tots with Crispy Pancetta and Pepperjack Queso Sauce (as filling as it is a mouthful to say).

“Village Tavern is one of our (Bistro Group) restaurants where guests will always feel welcome and never have issues on choosing what to eat,” says award-winning Corporate Chef Josh Boutwood. “Our menu is varied and eclectic to suit all palates and preferences. We put a lot of emphasis on flavors and selections and the ambience amplifies that to create an amazing guest experience.”

Along with the brunch menu, Village Tavern has also brought in a fresh selection of beverages that go perfectly with whatever you choose from the above. A couple of must-try’s include the rich and decadent S’mores Hot Chocolate, and the utterly refreshing Malunggay Citrus.

And most recently, Village Tavern ensured that you get that amazing experience as early as you can by introducing their brunch specials that just made sleeping in during the weekends, the second-best option.

“Village Tavern’s menu is extensive yet not overly large. The team has put a lot of time refining the menu to best suit our customers, ensuring that everyone will embrace a favorite dish,” Chef Josh says.

Speaking of the menu, the talented Chef points out that since coming to Manila in 2012, Village Tavern’s Black Pizza (made with their signature sourdough), steaks (selected for the best ageing and marbling), and their burgers (made from 100 percent wagyu beef and paired with amazing toppings and flavors) have emerged as some of the favorites. Amidst the wealth of dining options that inundate the metro, Village Tavern has proven to be a choice you have to make; and with their brunch menu, they’ve made it so it’s never too early to make the smart choice. Village Tavern is located at Bonifacio High Street Central. For inquiries and reservations, contact (02) 975-4140 or (0977) 8013682. They are open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and Sundays, and is open up to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, follow them on Facebook : VillageTavernPhilippines and on Twitter and Instagram @VillageTavernPh.

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WHAT’S INSIDE State of Wellness

What’s On



Tune Up “Master Transformation Rockstar,” Cherry Pua-Africa shares the magic of hypnosis and neuro linguistic programming towards a better you

Fill up your calendar with the hottest shows, events and fitness-related happenings


+ Read up on one of the country’s most revitalizing weekend retreats and find out where they’re off to next

Urban Ashram Manila and its CEO and Founding Teacher, Maricar Pastrana- Holopainen clue us in on the transformative power of yoga


+ Find out where you can get fitness on demand; elite training for the everyday man; futbol-life skills that go beyond the pitch; the best fitness apps; and a slew of other fitness ideas TURN ON, TUNE UP, DON’T DROP OUT STAY ON TRACK AND INSPIRE CHANGE FROM WITHIN WITH THESE MINDFUL LIFESTYLE TIPS

Local Shores




On the cover: The cast of characters vying for the highest seat in the land—Senator Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, former Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, and Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

54 Get a glimpse of what those in the know are calling “Palawan’s Best Kept Secret”

60 Tag along with the NLEX Lakbay Nortes crew and discover La Union’s treats off board, and Pangasinan’s distinct adventure and culinary flair

Wellness of the + State


Global View

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TATE LNESS OF TFHWEESLLNESS L E W Ofive individuals Get to know TEhighest Athe D THEforSTthe ANvying seat in A LOOK INTO

Expat Associate Publisher Vernon Prieto takes us along for the second of a two-part series of his Caribbean Diaries


the land


+ A peek into the juggling act Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista is undertaking for the upcoming polls; and we look at what has become of the EDSA Revolution 30 years after

Grub Hub


Healthy just got tasty. We list down some of the best (and healthiest) restaurants around the metro.


You’ve seen the photos, you’ve heard the raves, now read up on why the Maldives should be on your holiday destination list this year


Get specially designed healthy meals delivered right to your doorstep


“We want to be the best Asian-orientated European carrier. We try to create an environment in which people feel at home, even if they are flying a Dutch carrier.

Home is where the Gezellig Is Meet KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Country Manager to the Philippines, and find out why home is all about the gezellig. Text by Angie Duarte / Photos courtesy of KLM and Macjanry Imperio

Gezellig: perhaps one of the first words visitors to the Netherlands need to know. Gezellig (pronounced - if you dare try gre-sell-ick, with the “r” sound revving and rolling on the roof of your mouth) is at once indefinable, as it is all-encompassing in the variety of its uses. Truth be told, there is no one English equivalent, although its closest literal meaning would be “companionable.” It means cozy and comfortable, at ease and pleasurable, enjoying the company of people in a pleasant, friendly ambience; why, it even means the pleasant, friendly ambience itself. Gezellig is having a positive vibe or feeling about your surroundings, it is a pleasant connection with your surroundings and with people. This word that seems to defy definition is one of the most important words in the Dutch language; many would even go so far as to say that it encompasses the very heart of Dutch culture. The spirit of gezellig is the essence of being Dutch, and is what makes Raymond Reedijk, Country Manager to the Philippines of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, feel at home no matter where in the world he goes. As long as there is KLM, there is gezellig.

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Dreams and destinations Reedijk’s career in the aviation industry began after his studies, with a post in a premier travel agency in the Netherlands. He, however, dreamed of someday working with his motherland’s national carrier. “When I was working for the travel agency, a KLM Sales Representative came in and gave me his business card. And I still remember thinking, ‘I would like to have MY name on that business card, someday!,’” he recounted. In 2001 – as fate, determination and hard work would have it – Reedijk applied and was accepted for a post with the Royal Dutch Airlines, as an executive in the Leisure Market. He fulfilled this assignment for two years, after which he was transferred to Tanzania, in the capacity of Country Manager. This post saw Reedijk in Africa for seven years after the move, until he felt the urge to take on Suriname, and then Curacao, after that. “And here we are, 15 years later,“ he said, with happy contentment. Reedijk admitted that it is immensely fulfilling to work for a big

Dutch multinational company; specifically, a Franco-Dutch company, since KLM’s seamless merger with Air France in 2004. “In July 2014, I moved to Manila; my first post in Asia, because I showed my interest to move to Asia, based on the dynamics in this region. I had never visited Manila before, but I was already confirmed and appointed before I even had a chance to pay a visit!” he shared, lightheartedly. Connections and misconnections Reedijk explained that each previous post with KLM was filled with the learning that comes from being in totally different environments, and totally new business climates. There were always connections, and misconnections; thankfully, Reedjik’s experiences have thus far been primarily marked by the former. “With every posting, I feel either a connection or a misconnection, within the first 24 hours. With Manila, right away I felt that connection. My arrival at the airport was very warm and easygoing, because right away I could communicate with people. I also appreciate the mindset

SOCIALNETWORK towards business, and I am very lucky to have an experienced and skilled team here,” he elaborated. His family shares this feeling of having made a connection, as they have also adjusted very well to life in Manila. Reedjik has a wife and three young sons, and he joyfully plays the role of husband and father, spending time with his family every chance he gets. A sense of home It is clear that Reedijk places a premium on family: he beamed as he spoke of his wife and sons. The 42-year-old airline executive’s blue eyes lit up, as well, as he talked about the “KLM factor,” which likewise ties in with the concept of family. What sets KLM apart from other carriers? It’s the feeling of “coming home,” and that is definitely gezellig. “KLM Fosters a culture of ‘coming home,’ which possibly stems from our Dutch culture. We have a desire to connect, because we are a very small country. “ “I remember an old KLM commercial, with the line ‘Let’s go home.’ Two Dutch guys were racing from Bangkok to get ‘home,’ and one guy races to the airport, touches the wing of the KLM plane, and says ‘I’m home.’ Only to find out the other guy was already seated on board the plane,” he said, with a hearty laugh. “This is the same feeling I get – wherever there is KLM; that blue plane…I feel like I am home.” Dutch culture plus local flavor Perhaps KLM’s secret to its longevity in the airline industry is the capacity to make their passengers feel at home; something they successfully achieve by infusing Dutch culture with local character and culture. “We want to be the best Asian-orientated European carrier. We try to create an environment in which people feel at home, even if they are flying a Dutch carrier. For instance, we focus on various flavors, even local flavors, in meals. We pay attention to language spoken on board, and even offer local entertainment on our inflight system. We translate our ambition into actual action,” Reedijk detailed. Dutch pragmatism is also very much a hallmark of KLM’s service. This spirit of practicality is imbued with an innovative streak, which ultimately translates into comfort and convenience for the carrier’s passengers. Service and the personal connection does not end with the purchase of the plane ticket, but crosses over into added perks – in the form of seat and meal upgrades, for instance – made available to the guests. In addition, KLM has launched a new app that allows you to choose your destination, book your flight, select your on-board preferences, checkin, even navigate the airport, upon arrival – all from the ease of your own phone, tablet, or device. Soon to come, Destination Packages, which will enable travelers to customize and put together their ultimate

dream vacation. Travelers will be delighted to know, that, Aside from to the exceptional service, KLM and Air France now offer improved facilities on their Boeing 777 Business and Economy Classes. Among the added amenities, passengers can expect more legroom and wider seats in Economy, while those in Business Class can enjoy the new “lie-flat” seats, which practically stretch out into a horizontal position, at the touch of a button. Home, and Delft Blue houses In an initiative which began in 2009, Air France-KLM in Manila has extended the spirit of home to the people who, perhaps, most need it: the communities of the NGO, Gawad Kalinga. “This is now a global partnership, since the signing of the agreement in September 2015,” Reedijk said. To date, enough houses to fill up two villages in the impoverished areas of Bagong Silang in Caloocan City have been funded and built by Air France-KLM and its volunteers. The villages built by Air France-KLM, are – of course – patterned after Delft Blue houses, the traditional Dutch abode.

(opposite page)KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Country Manager to the Philippines, Raymond Reedijk; KLM’s Boeing 777-300; (above) KLM’s inaugural flight Amsterdam to Tokyo with stopover in Manila­­­—the 6th en route to Tokyo — in December 1951; Gawad Kalinga village built by KLM, with delft blue houses as inspiration.

Major milestone This year, KLM Philippines celebrates a major milestone, by way of its 65th year in the local airline industry. The Dutch carrier opened shop in Manila, way back In December 1951, with a staff of nine, and has indeed come a long way, since. As expected, the company will be celebrating this momentous event with major promotions and offerings; in tandem, with the Dutch Embassy in the Philippines, which is likewise marking its 65th year of presence in the nation. “When it’s your birthday, you have a birthday party, and we are doing that on the 5th of December. We are incorporating ‘65’ into our marketing schemes, and we are also working closely with the Dutch Embassy – it’s always nice to celebrate your birthday together,” Reedijk revealed. “And I can assure you that we know how to celebrate a birthday! We have many things in store, many surprises,” he added. Now that is most certainly very, very gezellig.

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Kenneth See

Martin San Diego

Kenneth See spent almost 20 years in the corporate software IT industry in the US and Europe. He then realized that he was only contributing to the further widening of the digital divide by helping already advanced and affluent global companies become even more efficient. He quit the industry and returned to the Philippines in 2015. He now wants to use the knowledge he gained for the benefit of low-tech local communities who could really use some high-tech help. His first new mission is in ecotourism. With the In Our Shoes project, he hopes to bring the 21st century Sharing Economy to offthe-grid islands and villages.

Martin is a Computer Science graduate from De La Salle University that eventually found his way as a photojournalist. This young Green Archer yearns to explore the world one photography genre at a time – and everyone who has seen the works of this brilliant lensman would agree – photography would be a much better world should he get his wishes.

Cherry Pua-Africa

Paolo Nesi

Known in her circles as “The Girl on Fire,” Cherry is one of the most widely followed transformation coaches in Asia. She is an international keynote speaker, Master Practitioner in NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) and Hypnotherapy, author, coach and the founder and “Master Transformation Rockstar” of the World Stage International Network.

Long-time Manila expat, visonary behind restaurants like the famed L’Opera and Prego, sommelier and infinitely curious soul—Paolo Nesi has with him an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and that quality shows in every endeavor he undertakes. He is also a columnist for Expat, mainly providing his unique view points on most things wine.

Photo by Gez Xavier Mansfield


n O s ’ t a h W

nd fill pages, a nd t x e n e gh th ities a lip throu s, fitness activ nts. F ! y d a e , shop flix alr of eve the Net hottest shows ecial calendar n o p u Ease ith the at’s sp lendar w tween with Exp a c r u o y e ings in b most th

Photo by Viktor Hanacek

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Here, There, Everywhere Your heads up on various events to fill your calendar Compiled by Via Baroma

EXHIBITS Octoroon: Peta Clancy & Helen Pynor, Bindi Cole Chocka and Steven Rhall Ongoing until Mar. 26; Ateneo Art Gallery, Level 2 Rizal Library Special Collections Building, Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City; for more information,call (02) 4266488 or (02) 426-6001 As they enter a new decade of partnership with LUMA | La Trobe University Museum of Art, the Ateneo Art Gallery (AAG) presents an exhibition of contemporary Australian art featuring three video and photographic installations dealing with issues of identity and representation from the Indigenous perspective. Since 2005, the Art Exchange Program has been enriched through visits and residencies by Ateneo Art Awards recipients, hosted by the La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre (Bendigo) and LUMA |La Trobe University Museum of Art (Melbourne) and a

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bi-annual exchange of exhibitions between AAG and LUMA. Octoroon opens as part of the series of events marking the 70th Anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Australia and in line with the three-day

symposium on “Modes and Indigenous Modernity: Identities. Stories. Pathways.” Organized by the Philippines Australia Studies Centre, La Trobe University and the Philippines Australia Studies Network, Ateneo de Manila University.



Transnational Narrations: Paperworks Ongoing until April 17; CCP’s Bulwagang Juan Luna (Main Gallery) and Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino (3F Hallway Gallery); For more information, call the CCP Visual Arts and Museum Division, Production and Exhibition Department at (02) 832-1125 or (02) 832-3702; email: ccp.exhibits@gmail. com The Cultural Center of the Philippines presents an international group exhibition entitled Transnational Narrations: Paperworks. Artworks done on paper tend to stress the skill and presence of the artist’s hand. Their scale is intimate and subtle. In a very real sense they bring us close to the creative act as a direct transmission from brain to hand. The exhibition Transnational Narrations: Paperworks centers on that process. The participating artists come from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the US, and work in different mediums such as dry point, lithograph, woodcut, pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, silkscreen, and mixed media. Transnational Narrations: Paperworks was curated by the late British art critic and curator Kevin Power and Spanish curator Mónica Carballas, The travelling exhibition’s Philippine run will be curated by Carballas and will feature the works of Ignacio Alcántara (Dominican Republic); Francisco de Assis Almeida (Brazil); Javier Arce (Spain); José Bedia (Cuba); Chema Cobo (Spain); Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico); Marcel Dzama (Canada); Curro González (Spain); Mondongo (Argentina); Lauren Kelley (US); Abraham Lacalle (Spain); Robert Langenegger (Philippines); Miki Leal (Spain); Manuel Ocampo (Philippines); Carlos Ricafort (Philippines); Carlos Rivera (Puerto Rico); Lazaro Saavedra (Cuba); Laurie Steelink (US); Taller Popular de Serigrafia (Argentina); David Griggs (Australia). Viewing hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Constellations: A play by Nick Payne Ongoing until Mar. 6; Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater, Circuit Makati, Level 2, Circuit Lane, A.P. Reyes Ave., Makati; for more information, call (02) 891-9999 or email: What if he had walked away? What if they stayed sober that night? What if she said ‘yes?’ What if she said ‘no?’ What if he had left? What if he had stayed? The what-ifs of Roland and Marianne’s colorful relationship play out in front of our eyes in this brisk romance in several universes. Constellations whisks you through one couple’s varied responses to their most critical moments, illustrating how destinies change, or why they must stay the same.

magnificent score includes the classic songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Stars,” “Bring Him Home,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” “One Day More,” “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” “Master of the House” and many more. This breathtaking new production has left both audiences and critics awestruck. Tickets are priced at PhP7,000 for VIP; PhP5,800 for Reserve A; PhP4,500 for Reserve B; PhP3,350 for Reserve C; and PhP1,750 for Reserve D.


Starring Cris Villonco and JC Santos. Directed by Rem Zamora. Runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Mar. 6 at the Power Mac Center Spotlight Theater in Circuit Makati, Level 2, Circuit Lane, A.P. Reyes Ave., Makati.

Les Miserables Mar. 11 to 13; Solaire Resort and Casino, Solaire Blvd., Entertainment City, Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 891-9999 The musical phenomenon comes to Manila as world’s most popular musical Les Misérables comes to these islands for the first time. Set against the backdrop of 19th century revolutionary France, Les Misérables is a much loved blockbuster musical which has been seen by over 70 million people worldwide in 44 countries and in 22 languages. Having won more than 125 major awards around the world, it has been hailed as the most stirring, moving musical ever. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, it is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. The

Wanderland Music Festival 2016 Mar. 5; Globe Circuit Events Ground, Carmona, Makati; for more information, call (02) 470-2222 An annual music and arts festival based in the Philippines, Wanderland Festival is a yearly commingling of good music and good people. Gear up in your space suits as Wanderland 2016 take you on an amazing journey to the stars. Wanderers will be treated to not just one, but two-stellar headliners: alternative rock legend, Death Cab for Cutie and Manila expat | 21

WHAT’S ON first-timer Bon Iver. Fueling up the space vibes is the electronic group The Naked and Famous, Australian indie pop band San Cisco and electric duo Panama. Serving up some chill beats are Blackbird Blackbird, Chad Valley, and Commandeur.

for Patron B; PhP3,960 for Lower Box; PhP1,850 for Upper Box; and PhP930 for General Admission.

Andrea Bocelli Cinema World Tour April 26; Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City; for more information, visit

Wanderland 2016 will also be welcoming the best homegrown talents: Crwn + Jess Connelly, Curtismith, Jensen and the Flips, and the Wanderland 2016 victor: Oh, Flamingo. Tickets are priced at PhP6,450 for Star Wanderer and PhP5,160 for Wanderer.

Experience an impressive musical gift from one of the world’s most beloved tenors as Andrea Bocelli returns to the Philippines with his Cinema World Tour. stream of hit singles like “Endless Summer Nights,” “Right Here Waiting,” “Now and Forever,” and “Hazard.” Tickets will be made available at all Ticketnet outlets nationwide. Visit www. Tickets are priced at PhP7,420 for VIP; PhP 4,240 for Orchestra; PhP5,300 for Loge; PhP3,180 for Balcony.

In support of the international tenor superstar’s new album “Cinema,” the concert will feature stunning pieces from the classic cinema soundtracks along with arias and duets from the most legendary operas and other classical pieces from the Maestro’s repertoire. Tickets are priced at PhP22,385 for SVIP; PhP18,160 for VIP (both come with an album and souvenir program); PhP13,725 for Patron; PhP11,615 for Lower Box A; PhP8,445 for Lower Box B; PhP6,335 for Upper Box; and PhP2,635 for General Admission.

Tom Jones Live in Manila 5 Seconds of Summer: Sounds Live Feels Live Mar. 12; SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 470-2222 Manila ring out, the boys from down under are set to bring the Philippine stage on fire as Australian pop rock band, 5 Seconds of Summer, brings their Sound Live Feels Live tour in Manila this coming March 2016 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Fans have eagerly waited for the time to come see Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Michael Clifford and Ashton Irwin in the flesh and live on stage. 5 Seconds of Summer will be performing their hits that include “Hey Everybody!” “She’s Kinda Hot,” “Jet Black Heart” among many others. Tickets are priced at PhP12,680 for VIP Experience (Standing and Seated), PhP10,560 or VIP Seated, PhP8,450 for Lower Box A, PhP6,340 for Lower Box B, PhP4,230 for Upper Box, and PhP2,120 for General Admission.

Richard Marx Live in Manila Mar. 12 at 8 p.m., KIA Theatre, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City; for more information, call (02) 911-5555 American contemporary pop/ rock singer, songwriter, musician and record producer, Richard Marx, who’s sold over 30 million records is set to serenade Manila with his

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April 2; Smart Araneta Coliseum, Gen Roxas, Quezon City; for more information, call (02) 911-5555 or visit Legendary pop artist, Tom Jones, is coming back to the Philippines! See the legendary Tom Jones perform live in Manila on April 2, 2016 at Smart Araneta Coliseum. Groove with his classic jams like “Delilah,” “What’s New Pussycat,” “Sex Bomb” and “She’s A Lady.” Tickets are priced at PhP8,185 for VIP; PhP6,075 for Patron A; PhP5,020

Of Monsters and Men May 12; World Trade Center Manila, 2/F WTCMM Building, Gil Puyat Avenue extension corner Diosdado Macapagal, Pasay City, Metro Manila From the spellbinding country of Iceland, five piece band Of Monsters and Men are bringing their indie folk genius to Manila, performing their top hits “Little Talks”, “Love Love Love”, “Dirty Paws” and many more from the band’s “Beneath The Skin” 2015 record. Tickets are priced at PhP4,838 for VIP and PhP3,225 for Gold. Visit www. for more information.


Little Mix: The Get Weird Tour May 20; KIA Theatre, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City; for more information, call (02) 911-5555 One of today’s hottest girl groups will be performing for the first time in Manila with their Get Weird Tour. Little Mix, a British girl group, is set to perform their signature hits that include “Move,” “Wings,” “DNA” and “Black Magic.” Tickets are priced at PhP6,360 for VIP; PhP4,240 for Orchestra; PhP5,300 for Loge and PhP3,180 for Balcony.

event is celebrated in more than 20 countries across five continents.

Paradise International

Gather on the streets and enjoy an entire day of dancing, eating and throwing of colored powder (or Gulal powder) up in the air. The throwing of colored powder symbolizes unity, freedom and the joy of everyday life. This event is presented by Asia Society Philippines, Embassy of India, Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce, Indian Ladies Club, SingIndia, and SM By the Bay.

Paradise International Music Festival April 9; Aseana City Open Grounds, Diokno Blvd. corner Bradco Ave., Paranaque A brand new music festival is coming up this summer! The Paradise International Music Festival 2016 is scheduled to by highlighted by Yeezus himself, hip-hop megastar Kanye West. Joining him will be a mix of foreign and local acts that include Rudimental DJ, Afrojack, Austin Mahone, Jessica Milner, Up Dharma Down, Giniling Festival, Yolanda Moon, and Maude. Tickets are priced at PhP14,500 for VIP and PhP7,500 for General Admission.

Raveolution Manila: the Biggest Color Festival April 2; McKinley West, Festival Grounds, Taguig City

Jason Derulo’s World Tour May 27; SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City; for more information, visit www. Jason Derulo, one of the best-selling pop and urban artists today, is bringing his World Tour 2016 to Manila. Joining him as special guest is Redfoo, one half of the team behind “Party Rock Anthem,” “Sorry for Party Rocking” and “Sexy and I know It.” Jason Derulo has sold over 50 million singles worldwide with his popular hit singles like “Want to Want Me”, “Whatcha Say,” “In My Head,” “Talk Dirty” (feat. 2 Chainz), “Marry Me” and “Get Ugly.”

Raveolution Manila will bring the biggest color festival in the country, highlighted by four International DJs, 12 local acts, and 12,000 liters of paint that will bring one colorful summer to everyone! Tickets are priced at PhP1,800 for Gold (Regular) and PhP1,500 for Gold (Promo). For VIP Table Reservation, contact (0905) 322-6497.

The 1st International Reggae Festival in Manila Apri 16; SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds, Pasay City; for more information, call (02) 891-9999 or visit

Chroma Music Festival April 2, 2016; Globe Circuit Event Grounds, Carmona, Makati

Holi Festival Mar. 20 at 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; SM Mall of Asia By the Bay, Seaside Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City Now on its fourth year, the Holi Festival, which originates from India, celebrates the turn of the season from winter to spring. Because of its popularity, this fun-filled

Calling all reggae music fans all over the Philippines, take part in the first ever International Reggae Music Festival in Manila!

Dance to the colors of summer with musical acts Timmy Trumpet, Cathy Frey, Ace Ramos, Mars Miranda, Tom Taus and many more.

Get ready for a new flavor in music festivals with undeniable new soul and immortal vibrations as we reminisce the good old days with timeless reggae hits.

Chroma Music Festival will also feature nine local artists, three international DJs, 13 hours of dance music in a two-hectare field with 1.5 tones of colors, thousands of smiles and infinite good vibes.

The First International Reggae Festival will feature Big Mountain and Inner Circle, plus top local reggae artists in one spectacular night.

Tickets are available at PhP1,200 for Regular VIP and PhP650 for Regular General Admission.

Tickets are priced at PhP2,000 for VIP and PhP800 for Gold. Tickets are available in all SM Ticket outlets and TicketWorld nationwide.

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Stay On Track: Your fit and fun heads up

There’s a surge of popularity for fitness and wellness events where the emphasis is getting fit while having fun. Mark your calendars and keep your fitness resolutions on track with these events! Compiled by Via Baroma

Life at the Park: Free Community Yoga Class, Prizes and Promos Mar. 20; Life Yoga Center, 2nd Level, Forbes Town Center Burgos Circle corner Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig

will test your mettle at the steep mountains of Rizal—from gravel roads, fire trails, dirt road, river crossings and single tracks.

The Mommy Milkshake Run 2016

All runners will bring home an official event shirt, one raffle entry and other items from participating sponsors. Finishers will receive medals, while winners will receive trophies and gift items.

The Mommy Milkshake Run 2016 is a mom and family-friendly run held to promote active family bonding outdoors. There will be two distances offered: a 3K and a 5K run, while a side 100m dash event will also be held.

Registration fees are priced PhP1,000 for 15K; PhP1,500 for 30K; and PhP2,000 for 50K. Each category is limited to 150 slots. Visit for the online registration.

Mar. 6; Bonifacio Global City

Moms, dads, babies, kids on slings and strollers are welcome to participate! Even expectant moms can walk with the crew!

Calling all BGC residents: a fun, fit, and free community activity is coming your way. It’s playtime at Burgos Circle as Life Yoga Center invites you to join Life at The Park, an open community class every third or fourth Sunday of the month.
 A randomly selected Life Yoga teacher will lead the free yoga session under bronze sculpture The Trees in Burgos Circle, at the end of Forbestown Road. If you’re interested in meeting like-minded individuals in the Burgos Circle area, want to try something different with your Sunday morning, or simply curious about yoga, this event is for you. Meet and befriend people in your neighborhood through a stimulating yoga class where you can breathe the outdoor air and connect with nature. Each class begins at 9:30 a.m. sharp. Participants may register from 9 to 9:15 a.m., get settled, and meet the teacher before class begins. Special prizes and promos are in store for registered participants.

Atleta Ako Women’s Aquathlon 2016 Mar. 13; Philippine Sports Arena, Pasig Atleta Ako, along with Bike King Philippine Sports Commission, brings to all active females the Atleta Ako Women’s Aquathlon 2016. Team up with your best girl friends and see how far you can go. Atleta Ako’s goal is to inspire women of all ages, shapes, and backgrounds to come together in the pursuit of a happy, active lifestyle.

Life at the Park is organized by Life Yoga Center located in 2/F Forbestown Center, Burgos Circle. It is co-presented by BGC, and sponsored by Vita Coco & Flow Retreats.

Rizal Mountain Run Feb. 28; Pintong Bukawe, San Mateo, Rizal Gear up and conquer challenging trails that await you at Metro Manila’s backdoor at the annual Rizal Mountain Run. Different categories 15K, 30K, and 50K distances

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2016 Run United Series Mar. 13; June 5; Oct. 2; For more information, visit


Put your skills and training to the ultimate test! Bring out the better version of yourself. You may choose to upgrade to longer distances, or establish new personal records. Whatever your performance goal may be, each event has been designed to test the skills you currently have, the nutrition regimen that you’ve been following, the gears that you’ve acquired and most importantly, the training that you have been undergoing! The 2016 ActiveHealth calendar has been developed with experts within the swim, bike, and run community to cater to those who desire to progress from where they are today, to be better tomorrow.

will be addressed in all areas under the program of American Yoga School. To teach asana well, you must clearly understand what yoga is and how the system of practice works within the context of a human mind. This course will be guided by James Brown which will cover the study of yoga philosophy and, more importantly, by guiding you through your own personal practice. From there, developing familiarity of human anatomy and of the fundamentals of how people learn prepare you to start teaching, which is the final ingredient. This program, and the online companion course that comes with it, include all five individual modules required to earn your AYS Teaching Credential. This course is worth US$3,000. Taking this course requires application approval. Visit www. to apply.

Mega Sports Camp April 4 to 9 and April 25 to 30; CCP Center, Frontera Verde, Ortigas Avenue corner C5 Road, Pasig This summer, have fun while keeping your fitness on track with Mega Sports Camp. This 2016, the Mega Sports Camp will highlight sports training in basketball, soccer, handball, volleyball, fitness for kids, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and dance training. The program is inclusive of snacks, water bottle, sports bag, camp T-shirt, camp button pins. For more information, call (02) 866-9927 or (0916) 346-3960.

ITU Subic Bay International Triathlon

Nike Women Victory Tour Mar. 13; For more information, please visit to know more

ITU Subic Bay International Triathlon

Last year, over 200,000 women worldwide conquered their first half marathon or 10k run at the Nike+ Training Club (NTC) challenge. This year, Nike once again invites athletes of all levels to challenge themselves and experience the power of the global fitness community via a series of one-of-a-kind running and training events – each part of the Nike Women Victory Tour and Nike Women Weeks around the globe.  Inspired by Nike, the winged goddess of victory, the Nike Women Victory Tour is the largest women’s event series in the world. The tour kicks off Mar. 13 in Nagoya, Japan, and comprises 10k to marathon Nike+ Run Club (NRC) Races, five-hour-long NTC Tour training experiences and unique NRC and NTC events. The 2016 tour runs through September, which includes races and fitness events in 20 cities including Athens, Atlanta, Barcelona, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta, Los Angeles, London, Manila, Mexico, Nagoya, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Taipei, and Tokyo.

Advanced Yoga Teaching Credential Course - Asana Ongoing until Mar. 18; American Yoga School, Manila Do you want to teach asana as yoga practice? Either to go on to successful and gratifying careers as a yoga trainer or a business owner, teaching asana to groups of people has some inherent challenges, which

April 16 to 17; ACEA Subic Bay Freeport; call (02) 710-8259 or visit www.facebook. com/ITUSubit/ Race against the fastest hand-picked age group triathlon and earn your team some bragging rights in the newest and first-ofits-kind category at SuBit 2016.

United Colors of Summer Mar. 20; CCP Complex, Roxas Boulevard, Magdalena Jalandoni, Malate, Pasay City; for more information call (0922) 279-6329 or email Run for summer party fun at United Colors of Summer happening on Mar. 20 at the CCP Complex. Registrations are priced at PhP750 for 10K; PhP650 for 5K; and PhP550 for 3K inclusive of singlet, bib, medal, finisher shirt, raffle stub, freebies, and color powder party with celebrity DJs.

The longest running triathlon event in the Philippines is back and is set to happen this April 16 to 17. Registration fees for the Standard Distance are priced at PhP4,000 (until Feb.15); PhP5,000 (until Mar. 16); PhP6,000 (until April 1) for locals while US$150 (until April 1) for International Entries. For Sprint Distance, registration fees are priced at PhP3,500 (until Feb. 15); PhP4,500 (until Mar. 16); PhP5,500 (until April 1, 2016) for locals while US$125 (until April 1) for International Entries. The Mini Sprint Distance category are priced at PhP3,000 (until Feb. 15); PhP3,500 (until Mar. 16); PhP4,500 (until April 1) for locals while US$125 (until April 1) for International Entries. For the Relay Team category, registration are priced at PhP7,000 (until Feb. 15); PhP8,000 (until Mar. 16); PhP10,000 (until April 1) for two members while PhP10,500 (until Feb. 15); PhP12,000 (until Mar. 16); PhP15,000 (until April 1) for three members.

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Photo courtesy of Philippine Parkour / FreeRunning Association

EMERALD HEADWAY DISTRIBUTORS, INC. 5/F SMB Building, 40 San Buenaventura, St., Bagong Ilog, Pasig City Call (02) 790-4800

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We introduce you to a gym that leaves you with no more excuses; a boxing facility offering elite training for the everyday man; a football school that gives lessons that go far beyond the pitch; and mobile apps that should get you on the right track to health and fitness.

Plus, get to know a toddler that has climbed over 30 peaks; read up on an expat family’s seamless Philippine integration through sports and healthy living; and Max Henry – a student of movement and parkour practitioner – and a champion of vitality through activity.

Photo from pixabay

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On Demand All you need to do is commit, they’ve made the rest to be based upon your whim Text by Timothy Jay Ibay Photos courtesy of Anytime Fitness

A busy schedule, the increasingly horrific Metro Manila traffic, the absence of proper guidance – these are just some of the things that hinder trips to the gym, and ultimately a healthier lifestyle. But what if you knew about a gym that you can go to anytime, and almost anywhere in the metro? And what if their trainers told you exactly how to go about the journey to a fitter, healthier you? You’d have motivation like you’ve never had. And you would be left with no excuses. This is Anytime Fitness. Fitness on demand. With 11 branches across the metro (and one in Cebu, with the goal to have over 20 around the country before 2016 ends), Anytime Fitness has finally placed its foothold in a land eager for more fitness options – and did we mention they’re open everyday at all hours of the day? Two branches in BGC, one in Makati CBD, Mall of Asia, Pioneer in Pasig, Greenhills in San Juan, BF Homes in Paranaque, Nuvali in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and three in Quezon City – they’re everywhere. And they’re just getting started in these islands. “Anytime Fitness started in the USA in 2002,” shares Anytime Fitness Paseo Center manager Jam Parungo. “Over the past 14 years, it has grown into over 3,000 branches worldwide, with over 2 million happy members, and has been awarded as the #1 franchise globally by Entrepreneur magazine.”

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“The first branch in the Philippines opened September 2014, and at present we now have 12 operational branches in the Philippines. By the end of 2016, we should have more than 20. Members can use any of the branches, as many times as they could, anytime 24/7.” And the healthy goodness doesn’t end just with accessibility. Priding itself in fostering a friendly, non-intimidating environment, Anytime Fitness branches are designed to be relatively smaller-sized clubs, which allow their trainers and staff to interact more with clients and establish “healthy” relationships. Smaller clubs also mean less wear and tear on machines and equipment, and entail that all clubs are extremely well maintained and clean.


Adds Parungo, “Our coaches are the frontliners of our gyms, and they engage directly with members all the time. We pride ourselves in having the friendliest coaches whose main goal is to help members get to a healthier place — physical, emotional, social, etc. We try to get to know members on a personal level, and support them on their goals, and make sure they are on the right track and progressing.” “The name of the game for us is retention, not sales. We make sure members are happy, and members look forward to going to the gym instead of seeing it as a chore. When members are happy, they continue visiting. When they visit regularly, it becomes a habit. When going to the gym becomes a habit, sales will not be a problem. So our goal is for members to be happy.”

“We are surprisingly affordable,” says Parungo. “Given our world-class machines and equipment (and private bathrooms), members are surprised at how much value they get for their membership, not to mention 24/7 unlimited passport access to over 3,000 branches in the world.”

At around PhP2,300 a month, Anytime Fitness members, apart from the top of the line facilities, get access to free yoga, zumba, dance, circuit, boxing, boot camp classes. They also get a mandatory fitness assessment, which allow them to get a clear picture of where they stand, and where they need to be, depending on their personal fitness goals. “We are surprisingly affordable,” says Parungo. “Given our world-class machines and equipment (and private bathrooms), members are surprised at how much value they get for their membership, not to mention 24/7 unlimited passport access to over 3,000 branches in the world.” So whether you’re looking to turn over a new leaf, or wish to enhance your fitness level, Anytime Fitness stands as a smart choice – offering fitness when you want it, where you want it. For more information, visit

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Training for the Everyday Man As the fitness world continues to evolve, training regimens utilizing new discoveries in science and technology have become all the rage. But as effective and truly innovative as these contemporary training workouts may be, not everyone’s looking to be a topflight athlete. A good number of people are just looking to squeeze in a downright good workout in between their busy schedules. And if you’re part of that demographic, Elorde Elite is perfect for you. Text by Timothy Jay Ibay / Photos courtesy of Elorde Elite

Their combination of elite trainers at affordable rates make Elorde Elite stand out in a metropolis with a sea of boxing gyms.

Under the family of the renowned Elorde Boxing Gyms (named after one of the country’s greatest boxers) comes Elorde Elite—conveniently stationed in two of the metro’s premier business districts (Makati and Ortigas), making the road to fitness highly accessible to urban professionals, through boxing and martial arts. Yes, new school training may elevate one from being a good athlete to a transcendent one, but for those just looking to break a good sweat, get fitter while doing so, and learn more about the intricacies of martial arts, Elorde Elite strikes the perfect balance. If you’ve been to any other Elorde gym, different color schemes, bigger toilets and shower rooms, and its 10-meter ceiling, are among some of the elements that stand out as you walk into and around Elorde Elite. But as you put on your hand wraps, and strap on your gloves, you’ll find out where the “elite” part comes into play.

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Elorde Elite has a stable of coaches and trainers with elite pedigree in their respective fields. As great as that is, it’s the way they’ve translated those athletic and technical skills into coaching, that brings a unique experience to Elorde Elite fitness training. You can’t walk into just any gym and be taught the fundamentals by a national, regional, and Olympic top-flight boxer, but that’s exactly what you get at Elorde Elite. Coach Arlo Chavez (multiple time national champion, multiple-time gold medalist at the Southeast Asian Games, and a quarterfinalist at the Barcelona Olympic Games is one of the elite coaches that Elorde Elite prides on having. For those looking to get a good workout, whilst also understanding the fundamentals, and intricacies of the sweet science, there are few things better than learning from an Olympian. Adds Elorde Elite President and CEO Luke Britanico, “We also have former national team boxers Bonifacio Fernando, former Philippine Army team boxer and coach Bernie Chavez, as well as former Muay

“You can’t walk into just any gym and be taught the fundamentals by a national, regional, and Olympic top-flight boxer, but that’s exactly what you get at Elorde Elite. ” Thai national team members Jasper Lim, Mark Tura and Joji Veloro – most of our coaches are amateur and professional standouts.” Apart from boxing, the gym also offers Muay Thai, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training—ideal for those who want to burn fat fast), and what they call Combat Training (a circuit of exercises devised by Elorde Elite’s pedigreed athletes and coaches that allows you to experience what it is to train like a fighter; while plans to add boot camp and spinning classes to their Ortigas branch this year are in the burner). With an annual membership fee promo of just PhP2,000 (with individual sessions at PhP200 for boxing, and PhP350 for Muay

Thai), bundled with the fore mentioned benefits of training at this gym, it stands as one of the better deals you can get, especially for the Makati and Ortigas CBD areas. And despite having elite coaches, Elorde Elite does not discriminate – whatever your fitness level, the coaches are able to adjust your training to it. You won’t be pushed beyond what you can handle, but whenever you’ve leveled up in your fitness, you have the option to elevate your training along with it. With the new year already a couple of months in, you might want to mix up your fitness lifestyle. Elorde Elite is a good place to start.

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Get into the flow of all that is yoga at Manila’s Urban Ashram

That Yoga State of Mind Text by Angie Duarte / Photos courtesy of Maricar Pastrana-Holopainen

For millions of people the world over, yoga has become the preferred path to fitness and wellness, given its numerous health benefits. Among these pluses: weight loss and firmer muscle tone, better sleep, ease of breathing, flexibility, focus and clarity of mind. And lest we forget, the opportunity to don seriously cute Lycra outfits. Said in jest; but half-meant, nonetheless.

Ashram Yoga is passionately tapping into, one pose at a time.

Yes, those who practice it will swear that yoga is all that. But it is also so much more. The 5,000-year-old practice which originated in India encompasses – and seeks to transform – body, mind and spirit. Yoga is a state of mind, and ultimately, a state of being.

A whole lot of yoga going on “We are happy to see that more and more people are embracing yoga - no longer seeing it as a practice for just the strong, flexible and wealthy,” shares Maricar Pastrana-Holopainen, CEO and Founding Teacher at Urban Ashram Yoga. “We are seeing parents taking their children to Kid’s Yoga classes, new mothers taking our prenatal classes and taking their newborn babies with them to our postnatal recovery classes, and students taking their elder parents to the Stress Free Gentle Flow classes.”

It is this power of transformation that Urban

“There is so much more we need to do

to let people try yoga and experience it,” Maricar noted, by way of a quick afterthought. The practice, however, has seen a remarkable worldwide boom in recent years, with more and more people eager to take their Downward Facing Dog out for a stroll in Yoga Park. Yoga has become so popular and well-received, in fact, that in December 2014 the United Nations General Assembly approved the proposal of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare June 21 as the annual International Day of Yoga. As such, the first-ever day in celebration of yoga was held on that date in 2015, across several countries around the globe. In the Philippines, Urban Ashram was one of the celebration’s major proponents, in the quest to showcase the practice of yoga to an even greater populace. The birth of a yoga baby Urban Ashram Yoga is the product of a shared passion for the lifestyle that is yoga. Maricar’s own personal practice began when she decided to try yoga as a cure for chronic back pain, and everything escalated from there.

(Top)Urban Ashram Yoga CEO and Founding Teacher, Maricar Pastrana-Holopainen; (above) Last year, over 220 urban yogis gathered at the Ayala Triangle Gardens early in the morning of Sunday, November 8, for Urban Yoga 2015 with David Kim. Urban Yoga 2016 will be held on April 17, with Joan Hyman.

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“I discovered yoga with my husband, Lasse Holopainen, as a result of wanting to find a long-lasting solution to my chronic back problems…and took my first yoga class in 2008,” Maricar revealed.


“Professionally, it was when Lasse and I, and some other classmates from the YogaWorks Teacher Training – Marc Macadaeg, Martin Ngo, Ivy EvangelistaMelchor, and JP Abinuman-Cox – decided we wanted a place where we can practice together, share what we learned and study yoga as lifelong practice. That’s why we built Urban Ashram Yoga.” In August 2011, the first branch of Urban Ashram Yoga opened in Kapitolyo, Pasig City, with 42 first-time yoga students enrolled in the Flexibility Not Required class taught by Maricar. To date, Urban Ashram has over 700 active members in three wholly-owned studios in Bonifacio Global City, Makati and the original location in Pasig. Each studio is equipped and fitted with state-of-the-art facilities and props worthy of the most citified, urbanized of ashrams: hardwood sprung floors, top quality mats, bolsters, blocks, straps, blankets, to name a few features which all contribute to the safe and effective practice of yoga. Each studio is likewise designed with high ceilings and windows, which allow for natural light and help to create a serene and uplifting ambiance.

First timers are encouraged to begin with the Flexibility-Not -Required (FNR) class, which aims to create a proper start to the yoga habit through breathing, alignment and understanding the foundations of the practice.

A thriving yoga community Urban Ashram Yoga has evolved into a thriving community of like-minded individuals, in pursuit of like-minded goals, in part through the perfection of poses, controlled breathing, and simple meditations. Maricar has, since the opening of the first studio, clocked “over 1,000 public teaching hours and also over 1,200 training hours for continuing education programs and certifications for specialized yoga programs,” as she continually strives to guide others along their own yoga journey. The side-effects of a dedicated practice are obvious: Maricar, a 44-year-old mother of three, still looks every bit as youthful and is every bit as energetic and lithe as a student fresh out of college. “We believe that a regular yoga practice improves both the mind and body and helps everybody make more responsible choices for a healthier lifestyle. We want to share the benefits of a regular practice by making it accessible for everyone, regardless of age or previous experience,” Maricar expounded. Members of the ever-growing Urban Ashram Yoga community are in good hands. The studios are ably staffed by over 35 dedicated teachers and faculty members, from diverse professions and backgrounds, but with a solid commitment to the furtherance of yoga. “We have a couple of lawyers, a doctor, several executives from multinational corporations and now more full-time teachers who have given up their corporate jobs to teach yoga full-time,” Maricar pointed out.

Pursuing the path of least harm The practice of yoga must fall in line with the yogic principle of Ahimsa, or choosing the path of least harm. Thus, everything you do is, or at least should be, yoga. The food you eat, the activities in which you engage, the life you lead should line up with the path that is of least harm to your body, mind and spirit. “Diet and lifestyle and the way you live your life is yoga. The mindset to know that everything you do is a part of you, and to know what will allow (or prevent) you to become healthier and happier, and the effect this has on other people’s lives…your diet, for example, and how you relate to everything and everyone is a reflection of what you want your life to be,” explained Maricar. Easier said than done, that is true. Which is why it is essential to make your own personal commitment towards developing your yoga practice. Do take it personally Maricar’s advice to those wishing to reap

all the benefits of a solid yoga practice? Do take it personally. Very, very personally. “Having a personal practice is really time for yourself; checking in with yourself and, more significantly, a time for introspection and just being in the moment to check on yourself. It also allows you to see things for what they are and be able to respond to situations rather than react.” “We have seen students who have not only been able to manage and find relief in their chronic pains and daily issues (back aches, stress migraines, weight issues, and anger and temper problems, and lack of focus), but also bring their loved ones partners, spouses, children, best friends and even parents to the practice to share the benefits of what they have experienced to those they care about,” she added. Here’s to that blissful, healthful, definitely enviable, yet decidedly attainable yoga state of mind (and body!). And here’s to a nifty yoga outfit, or two. Namaste!

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FutbolFunatics: Alive and Kicking

(and Loving Every Minute of It!)

In the arena of youth football, one school is training kids to stay fit, have fun, and develop a healthy sense of fortitude Text by Angie Duarte / Photos courtesy of Candice Grey-Del Rosario

Call the game “soccer,” and you are very possibly in for a lot of flack from those who prefer to call it “football.” Call it “football,“ and some may think you are referring to the American ball game, in which hands are most often used. For many, the word is bestspelled “futbol,” in accordance with the European (some might say, the international) version of the sport.

Then there are those who don’t really care much how you call it, or your preferred spelling choice; they are just crazy about the game of football – errr, futbol. They are, in fact, fanatic – uhmm, FUNatic – for it. Fated for football Candice Grey-Del Rosario’s love affair with football (the word we shall use, for the sake of clarity and sanity; although we mean the game also known as soccer, and not the American ball game) began at an early age. Some would even call the relationship destined or fated; written in the stars or across turf-padded fields, more accurately. “My father was a football player in his time so I guess it runs in my blood,” 35-year-old Candice shared.

pProgram Director, Candice Grey-Del Rosario and Technical Director Avery Del Rosario at FF’s annual summer football tournament, The Belo Sun Expert Summer Soccer Cup

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“As a kid growing up in the States, I enjoyed playing kickball for P.E. in my elementary years, so when we moved to the Philippines and De La Salle-Zobel school first put up a girls football team, I was keen on trying out. I was a freshman. I made it to my high school varsity team and that’s when my love affair with football really started.”

Football fever She took that passion for and love of the game to the next level when she co-founded FutbolFunatics in 2003, together with (then boyfriend, now husband) fellow-football freak, Avery Del Rosario. In the last 13 years since the school’s inception, football fever has gotten hotter than ever. “One ordinary Sunday back in 2003, my older brother was having a chat with us and asked us what we wanted to do with our lives other than what we were already doing, so we shared that it would be nice to start a football school. We said it would be hard but he encouraged us to take a chance and follow our hearts. That was the day we had an epiphany and realized, ‘why not?’” Candice revealed. “We started our first FutbolFunatics camp in September of 2003 in one venue, Cuenca Park, in Ayala Alabang...with just eight kids. We did the camp on weekends while maintaining our 9 to 5 jobs on weekdays. The camp picked up and through word of mouth, more students started enrolling. People believed in our vision and appreciated our approach…We barely advertised, at the time. A month later we opened our second camp location, Tahanan Village Park in BF Homes.”

TUNEUP football training as well as with matters pertaining to their attitude and conduct. It goes hand in hand. You can be the most skillful player but if you have a bad attitude, no one will want you on their team. We aim to raise good kids both on and off the field.” A winning streak Thus far, FutbolFunatics is on a winning streak, with no signs of calling it quits. The school is alive and kicking (quite literally!) with a team of FUNatic footballers loving every minute of it. What started out as a passion project with eight children initially signed-up has evolved into a full-blown school for the sport, with an average of 400 students enrolled on a regular basis at various camps held throughout the year.

pFF’s FFAST SelectionTeam born 2001/2002 in Cebu for the Sun Star Cup qFutbol Funatics’ players ages 3-6 in FF’s year-round camp at Urdaneta Village, Makati

Camps are up-and-running in the cities of Cavite, Paranaque, Alabang, Makati, Taguig, Pasig and in Quezon City, with classes offered to children in the 3 to 6 (known as Beckham Buddies), 7 to 9 (Messi Magicians), 10 to 13 (Ronaldo Runners), and 14 to 17 (Cannavaro Captains) age groups. A diversity of nationalities has gotten in on the game: among these, Filipinos, Americans, Australians, Japanese, Koreans, Canadians, Mexicans, and French – the roster of FutbolFunatics students reads like the United Nations, really.

Common goals Candice and Avery, who were, at that point, already pursuing their own individual careers (“closer to our college degrees,” as Candice puts it) decided to totally commit to their shared sport. Fueled by common goals (pun most definitely intended), they threw their full support into the success of FutbolFunatics. “As the camps and number of enrollees started to grow, we realized that for us to be able to take the football school to the level we wanted it to be, we needed to focus on it and let go of our full-time jobs. We were 22 and 23 years old at the time, so we figured if it didn’t work out for one reason or another, there is time to return to our other fields. But we knew when we started FutbolFunatics that we were doing exactly what we were meant to be doing. It felt right and we felt a sense of fulfillment we had never felt before,” she said. Fun, fitness, and fortitude The driving force behind Futbol Funatics is the desire to see every child grow into “hardworking, intelligent and versatile players, while instilling important values such as teamwork, discipline, sportsmanship and perseverance.”

And – lest adults feel left-out – FutbolFunatics offers private workshops, as well, for bigger kids interested in getting in touch with their inner Ronaldo or Messi. kids must enjoy what they are doing. We believe if they enjoy the process, they will put in the time to work hard and improve. The element of fun should never be lost, even in competitive football.” “We teach our kids to enjoy the process of learning, and although it is ok to want to win and enjoy winning, you must also see the lesson when you lose. And when it happens, you pick yourself back up, get back on the field and work harder. Character building is our main concern in raising young footballers.” Coaches who care How, exactly, does FutbolFunatics achieve these seemingly lofty ideals? The secret lies in highly-skilled coaches (currently, 20 in all) who also genuinely care for the well-being of their students. Coaches are encouraged to keep open lines of communication with their students. Coaches are likewise trained to help the kids through the intricacies of not only the game itself, but also (perhaps more importantly) through the nuances of interaction with fellow-players, as well as through the complexities of each child’s own personal behavior throughout the game.

And don’t forget the added bonuses of fun and fitness, while developing footballers with fortitude!

“We strive to be coaches who enforce discipline but are still approachable. We keep in mind we are not just coaches, but teachers and guides,” Candice pointed out.

According to Candice: “FutbolFunatics is called FUNatics because we believe the

“We keep communication lines open, with both technical aspects and corrections in

More than just a ball game Candice is enthusiastic – highly so – about what she does. She is also enthusiastic – maybe even more so – about what she sees: the many benefits that come with being a footballer; the positive transformations in the lives of the students. It’s way more than just a ball game, really. “Being involved in sports teaches you discipline. Team sports teach you teamwork; working for a common goal, and acceptance of other people, no matter how different they may be from you. On top of that, you stay fit and healthy. You mind and body are exercised regularly; and with sports, kids focus their energy on the sport they are passionate about, rather than on less productive things,” she elaborated. “We have seen firsthand how kids in our program keep their grades up to be allowed to play football, become more sociable individuals, learn to be more accepting of others meeting people from different walks of life and, most importantly, learn to pick themselves up when they fall, both literally and figuratively.” Right there – to develop that life skill of picking oneself up– is most decidedly one goal worth all the dedication, discipline, and determination in the world. For more information, contact (02) 6222898 / (0917) 329-0011 or email futbolfunatics@yahoo.cpm.

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Log In, Tune Up

8 fitness, health and wellness apps for a fitter you! Text by Via Baroma

If history has any merit, that New Year’s resolution you made to get fitter and healthier in 2016 shall be toast. Statistics show most people only stick to their new health/fitness regimes (and other New Year’s resolutions) for a few weeks. But you’re going to keep your resolution, right? Heck, we’re going to make sure you will, (or at least help you to). Below are mobile apps to help keep your fitness and weight loss resolutions in 2016. Keep in mind: An app a day keeps the doctor away!

Sworkit- Workout Trainer Nexercise Apps, Inc. uDon’t feel guilty for skipping the gym. Sworkit, derived from “Simply WORK IT”, is a fitness app that takes you through anywhere between five to 60+ minutes of circuit training, strength and cardio workouts, yoga, Pilates and stretching–anywhere, anytime, with no room for excuses. Sworkit routines guide you through videos demonstrated by professional personal trainers, while Sworkit Premium provides custom exercises, exclusive pre-build workouts and access to ask questions directly to Sworkit’s qualified personal trainers. Available on Android, Amazon and iOS for free

RunKeeper FitnessKeeper, Inc. GymPact Pact Team uGetting fit and staying healthy is never that easy; that’s why great motivation is often needed. GymPact is a popular app (as well as a website) that pays you to work out, eat more veggies and log your meals to achieve your health goals week after week. You get rewarded an average of US$.50 to US$.75 each time you visit the gym, with the rewards taken from members who fail to keep their pacts. The app charges you US$5 if you miss a workout session, and can go higher depending on your settings. Your gym check-ins and workouts will be verified through your phone’s GPS, and partner apps like RunKeeper (See for complete list). The VeggiePact featured in this app makes you commit to the number of fruits and vegetables you consume per week. Again, reward money will come from those who fail to commit to their pacts. Your entry will be verified via a snap photo of your food. A variety of criteria will verify the authenticity of your photos. Available on iOS and Android for free.

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uStart off on the right foot…or left, whichever you prefer. Step out the door, join the running community and reach your goals with running programs that show you exactly what to do. RunKeeper is easily one of the most popular fitness apps today that makes tracking workouts fun, social, and easy to understand for everyone – from novice runners to those training for marathons. It helps you manage your workouts via your phone’s GPS and gathers helpful information about your daily runs. RunKeeper also allows its users to track their running progress, share them and sync the data with the RunKeeper website. You can also monitor how your workouts improve over time and engage in personalized routines that adapt to your busy schedule. Available on Android and iOS for free

Zombies, Run! Six to Start uWho wouldn’t run when zombies are hot on their tail? Zombies, Run! brings something different to your workout, making it more engaging with an ultra-immersive game and audio adventure. Put those Walking

Dead episodes on pause for a while, and experience that running-for-your-life rush brought by the virtual zombie apocalyptic world. Get your heart racing, adrenaline rushing and feet speeding, as you engage in this app. Zombies, Run! delivers a story that casts you as Runner 5, an important equipment handler and gatherer for the upstart postapocalyptic survivor. Hear your mission and music through headphones. The app will cut your music to tell you that zombies are gaining fast. In this ultra-immersive game/ workout, the only way to survive is to run. Run in the real world, become a hero in another. Available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Apple Watch for free

Instant Heart Rate Azumio Inc. uExercise is a key factor in improving your heart health. But, often, checking your pulse during workouts can be a bit problematic. The same goes with exercise watches with built-in heart monitor that can be very expensive. Instant Heart Rate app helps determine your target heart rate so that you can work out without putting too much stress on your heart. This app takes accurate pulse measurements by utilizing a smartphone’s camera to make color changes in the tip of a pointer finger. Just click the “Measure” icon, place your finger on the phone’s camera, and the app will find your target heart rate in just seconds. Available on Andriod and iOS for free

WebMD WebMD, LLC uWebMD is a health app that helps you research conditions, check your symptoms, access drug treatment information, and get first aid essentials by providing mobile access 24/7 to mobile-optimized health information. Simply select the part of your body that’s bothering you and choose your symptoms to learn more. The app also gives you access to first aid information without having to be connected wirelessly, which is critical if you don’t have Internet access in the time of need. You can customize WebMD



Sworkit- Workout Trainer


Zombies, Run!

Instant Heart Rate


KFit- Fitness for Everyone

by saving contacts, medications, conditions, and articles relevant to you through secure access and easy sign in. Available on Android, iOS for free

KFit- Fitness for Everyone KFit Asia uWant to try yoga today, Zumba tomorrow and Muay Thai the following day? KFit serves as your guide to a healthier and happier life by getting you into the best fitness studios, classes and gyms around the metro, while allowing you to choose classes that fit your schedule.

Pocket Yoga

With just a few swipes, the KFit app allows users to discover and reserve class slots from nearly 100 gyms, yoga and fitness studios in Metro Manila for a monthly fee of just PhP999 (special rates are offered to new app users). KFit even entices users to sign-up with a free one-month trial period. KFit allows you to find that perfect workout routine right at the time most convenient to you. Available on Android and iOS for free Pocket Yoga Rainfrog, LLC

uRoll out your mat, choose your type of yoga and you are ready to go! Pocket Yoga recreates the experience of being in an actual studio. The app is perfect for learning yoga right in the privacy of your home. If you have a class you can’t attend, this app will guide you through your entire practice. The app provides detailed visual and vocal instruction, over 145 pose images, as well as progress tracking features. It doesn’t require network connectivity to work, which means you can take your practice with you wherever you go. Available on Android and iOS for PhP132.86

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It Runs in the Family

A look into the Relf family’s transpacific sporting journey, and how an active lifestyle got them acquainted with a foreign land they now call home Text and Photos by Ching Dee / Additional photos courtesy of Mike & Carly Relf

“When we first got together— romantically—we biked from the UK to Portugal,” Mike Relf told Expat about his wife, Carly. Yes, that’s their idea of a romantic date: A 3,000-kilometer cross-country bike ride. Educators and sports enthusiasts, Mike and Carly Relf, lived and worked abroad before finding their way to the Philippines. Armed with their degrees in geography, Mike and Carly also spent some years teaching in Jordan where they first met. After a few years, they went to Venezuela to teach, then back to the UK where Carly was teaching physical education in an allgirls school, and where Mike was a college principal. All in all, Mike has been teaching for nearly 22 years and Carly has been teaching for 18 years. It was their passion for education (along with the happenstance of an international jobs fair) that brought them to the Philippines in 2010. Their innate love for sports has kept them here since. “Having found running (in the Philippines) meant we could stay here longer,” Carly told Expat. Adjusting to life in the Philippines In July 2010, Mike and Carly brought their daughters Jasmine, Bella, and six-month-old Sophia from the UK to the Philippines. After recuperating from childbirth, Carly and Mike knew they need outdoor activities to fuel their sanity, but at first Carly admitted that the harsh Philippine heat brought a new challenge for her and her family. “The heat here is different. It’s more humid,” Carly shared. “We still run every day, but we have to make certain changes when it comes to nutrition and hydration.”

The family that runs together, stays together. (above) L-R: Sophia, Jasmine, Mike, Bella and Carly Relf; (right) Mike and Carly in one of their long distance bike rides.

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“With sports, you can take down barriers.” It teaches the value of teamwork and commitment at a young age. It’s a great way to make new friends wherever you go.” Carly admits that the presence of a very welcoming running community and tons of outdoor activities helped her—and her family—ease into this new and foreign country. Despite exhibiting a far different culture compared to what they were used to, Carly knew being able to run, bike, and swim in the Philippines sent one message: You belong. Today, Mike is the International Baccalaureate Coordinator of International School Manila (ISM) and Carly teaches Wellness & Health and also coaches ISM’s Track & Field and Cross Country Running Teams. Their entire family—yes, even sixyear-old Sophia—also actively participates in marathons and triathlons, often finishing with flying colors. Breaking barriers through sports As a young girl, Carly was involved in various sports. She was a hockey player, a very strong swimmer, and an avid runner. With sporty parents at the helm of the Relf ship, it’s no wonder all Relf kids—Jasmine (12), Bella (10), and Sophia (6)—are also living very active lives. “With sports, you can take down barriers,” Carly points out. “It teaches the value of teamwork and commitment at a young age. It’s a great way to make new friends wherever you go.”

Jasmine and Bella are part of ISM’s football team and all Relf girls are also very strong swimmers. Both Carly and Mike make sure they remain involved in their kids’ activities, but they never push their kids to do something they don’t want to do. Mike shares, “Our kids saw me and Carly running and biking and swimming and playing sports and if they want to try it out, we let them. We never force them to do anything or join any team, but once they commit [to a team], they must honor that commitment.” “Being involved in sports gets you to do things, stay active, and in a way de-stress,” Carly says. “We’re happy our girls are into sports and that they really enjoy what they do.” Go out, Run Happy Both Mike and Carly ride their bikes to work (unless they have to bring the girls with them). While Mike says he could no longer run long distances the way he used to when he was younger, Carly still runs every day—clocking in several thousand steps daily. She also makes sure she gets to swim at least three times a week. They are a part of a group of expats who love running and biking together called Run Happy Group and Mike says being part of

(Clockwise) Bella wins 1st place at Power Man Marathon Philippines; Relf family photo; Mike’s strong finish after a triathlon

that group—despite being all expats— helped them fit into their new home better. “It helped us know our way around and we became more familiar not just with the neighborhood but with the culture as well,” Mike said. The couple encourages fellow expats to go out, try new things, and immerse themselves into the Filipino culture in any way they are comfortable with. For Mike and Carly, it was through joining marathons and triathlons. “We were used to very competitive races,” Mike explained. “But here in the Philippines, in all the marathons we’ve joined, everybody was smiling, taking selfies, saying hi to people. It was completely different.” “It’s always great to socialize and get to know people,” Carly said. “Sports is just one of the many ways to get to know a country and its people, so yes, we encourage expats to go out and try out a sport and we hope they find something they enjoy.”

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‘To climb hills and pass over mountains’ Meet three-year-old Wyatt Maktrav Bedural, conqueror of 31 mountains, hills and peak health Text by Ching Dee / Photos courtesy of Sha Bedural

‘To climb hills and pass over mountains’ is a Chinese idiomatic expression which means “to climb one mountain after another” or to overcome one challenge after another. For three-year-old Wyatt Maktrav Bedural and his parents Eduardo and Sha, this could not be any truer. Peaking early First time parents and mountain climbing enthusiasts Eduardo and Sha—who first met at Mt. Gulugod Baboy in Anilao, Batangas—had to put off their outdoor activities for almost a year and a half since they found out Sha was pregnant with their first child. The couple loved climbing so much that they decided to name their child either after a mountain or a trail—hence, Maktrav (Makiling Traverse). When Sha had completely recovered from giving birth and the call of the wild was already

too unbearable to deny, the couple decided to bring Wyatt with them to their climb since they didn’t have a nanny at that time.

and the terrain of the mountain where Wyatt could walk or climb by himself. They also take the weather into consideration.

Some would say that Wyatt had already accomplished more than people ten times his age by the time he completed his first climb in April 2013. At eight months old, Wyatt experienced his first climb—on his parents’ back—to the Pico de Loro campsite.

Apart from external factors, both Sha and Eduardo are very tedious when it comes to packing supplies and having contact persons on location.

“As parents, we think of baby’s safety,” Sha told Expat. “We know mountain climbing is a dangerous activity. For that reason, we only choose minor mountains at first which are easy to hike and with familiar trails.” Both parents consider several factors when choosing a mountain to climb with Wyatt in tow: the duration of the hike, presence of harmful insects (like what they call limatik or blood-sucking insects),

“We need to make sure that we won’t run out of supplies for the entire duration of the climb. Aside from the allotted food for the estimated days, we also have some buffer supplies, just in case there are unexpected circumstances,” Sha explained. “We also search for contact persons [who can] assist us, especially for the logistics such as the transportation going to the jump-off and processing of permits, so that our focus will be on our internal preparation - mostly for our baby.”

uPhoto by Rose Jane Lim

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Wyatt’s peaks Mt. Pulag (December 2013) Mount Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines, next to Mount Apo and Mount Dulang-dulang. It is the highest peak in Luzon at 2,922 meters above sea level. It is located between the provinces of Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya. Mt. Kitanglad (March 2014) Mount Kitanglad is the fourth highest mountain in the Philippines, standing 2,899 meters above sea level. It is an inactive volcano along the Kitanglad Mountain Range. It is located in Bukidnon. Mt. Dulang-Dulang (March 2014) Mount Dulang-Dulang is the second highest peak in the Philippines (2,941 meters ASL) and the highest elevation in the Kitanglad Mountain Range in Bukidnon. It is considered sacred by the Talaandig Tribes of Lantapan. Mt. Apo (June 2014) Mount Apo is the highest summit in the Philippines at 2,954 meters above sea level. Located between Davao City, Davao del Sur, and Cotabato, it was officially declared as a national park in 1936. In 2004, it was established as a protected area with the approval of Republic Act 9237 and considered as a center of endemism in Mindanao.

Wyatt is a natural when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. (Additional photos from Kevin Jason Manuel, Ysmael Domingo and Andre Molina)

Living up to his name

After climbing over 30 mountains and hills in his three years, Wyatt’s parents noticed the positive effects of an active lifestyle and constant exposure to nature. “Taking our child to the mountains makes him more physically active. As a result, his legs are full of muscles even if he’s still a baby,” Sha shared. “We are not medical professionals, but we just observed that Wyatt’s stamina is getting stronger and…unlike other kids, he seldom gets sick and [has] never been hospitalized. “ Like many kids his age, Wyatt is a ball of energy. “The funny part is that he didn’t want us to stop walking,” Sha recalled. “Yes, he didn’t want to rest. We had fun

climbing together as a family, so we decided to do it often more when the schedule and budget permits.” Wyatt’s more than impressive climbing log currently has 31 mountains, seven of which are major climbs—including the four highest peaks in the country. In fact, Wyatt overcame the Mt. Talomo – Mt. Apo traverse (also known as the Mindanao Mega Traverse) before he was two years old. This trail is considered to be one of the most difficult and highest trails in the country. Apart from climbing, Wyatt also loves to partake in activities more suited for his demographic like swimming and watching kiddie videos. “Everything that he knows now, he learned that on his own,” Sha shared,

adding that Wyatt sometimes gets angry when they try to teach him. “He first learned how to count one to 10, followed by the alphabet, shapes, and colors. He loves to read every letter he sees and [pointing out the] shapes and colors of objects…We’re really amazed because nobody [taught] him.” According to his parents, they named him Wyatt because it means “strong.” Upon researching, this writer found out that Wyatt also means “guide.” Truly, Wyatt is living up to his name at a young age, serving as his parent’s main source of strength and guiding them forward—one mountain at a time. He also serves as a prime example of how fitness, especially when incorporated with nature, translates extremely well to one’s overall development.

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Vitality in Activity

A look into the dynamic life of parkour practitioner Max Henry and how understanding your body’s movement can lead to confidence and wellness that trickles down to every other aspect of life Text by Timothy Jay Ibay / Photos by Steve Zavitz and Jeremiah Washington

It’s difficult to imagine how 24 hours would be enough for 23-year-old Max Henry’s days. Apart from his parkour practice, he teaches the intricacies of the discipline at a Brooklyn gym called the Brooklyn Zoo, while also teaching parkour programs in New York City public schools; spends time as a professional vocalist, plays the banjo “when his voice is tired,” is heavily involved with the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF), and is a product endorser, amongst many other hats he wears. “I’ve always enjoyed being busy and my family has encouraged me from a young age to pursue everything I found interesting, Henry shares, who was a

state regional gymnast at 10 before transitioning into baseball, basketball, soccer and eventually parkour. “I’m a pretty self-motivated person and I don’t like spending days with doing nothing, so I needed to find less physical activities I could work on while I was recovering from training,” he adds, trying to help the outsider make sense of his vast plethora of extracurricular activities. Cerebral gymnastics But while the B.A. Mathematics degree holder has plenty of options to spend his hours and days on, parkour remains the one thing closest to Henry’s heart— particularly the many lessons the

discipline has instilled in him. “For me, the most amazing changes I’ve gotten from my parkour training are not physical…they’re mental,” he shares. “The self-confidence I get from movement has translated into every other aspect of my life. My training is also a huge source of stress relief for me and helps me cope with emotional pain we all experience from time to time. In a lot of ways, parkour has shaped me as I’ve grown into an adult. It has encouraged me to explore, connect and ultimately try my best to live a life that I’m proud of.”

“The self-confidence I get from movement has translated into every other aspect of my life. In a lot of ways, parkour has shaped me as I’ve grown into an adult. It has encouraged me to explore, connect and ultimately try my best to live a life that I’m proud of.”

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“Confidence in parkour comes from repetition and consistent technique. Once you know you can perform a movement safely on the ground you gradually take that movement into more uncomfortable situations until you learn to trust your body despite fear and stress.

From the outside looking in (particularly while watching with dropped jaws, the absurd movements parkour practitioners are able to do), it’s tough to fathom how something that appears so physically demanding can hinge on the mental aspect. But that’s exactly what Henry (as most parkour enthusiasts) would tell you. “Working on your mental game is probably THE most important part of parkour,” Henry explains, while clarifying that, of course, the basics have to be pat down before progressing into developing the mental part of the practice. “Confidence in parkour comes from repetition and consistent technique. Once you know you can perform a movement safely on the ground you gradually take

that movement into more uncomfortable situations until you learn to trust your body despite fear and stress. So I try to put my students in positions that make them uncomfortable but are easy to physically perform when you trust your technique.” Free (running), for all There’s no doubt, Henry (as well as most you see in those insane parkour videos) are phenomenal athletes. But the New York native insists, that doesn’t mean elite athleticism is a prerequisite to enjoy the benefits of parkour and free running. “Some of my best students have limited athletic backgrounds,” Henry divulges. “To me, it’s much more important to be hard working and dedicated to your training. Parkour is such a mental discipline and once

pThere’s a growing buzz around understanding movement and being more in tune with your body, something Henry learned at an early age.

you’re past a certain point, probably 90 percent of the progression happens in your head. And for someone who isn’t in shape parkour is one of the best ways to develop your strength and mobility in a fun and functional way!” “It can be intimidating to start but every movement in parkour can be scaled down to suit anyone’s individual fitness level. One

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The body learns to speak a different language when it is taught to move beyond the confines of task specific movement.

“Some of my best students have limited athletic backgrounds.” “To me, it’s much more important to be hard working and dedicated to your training. Parkour is such a mental discipline and once you’re past a certain point, probably 90 percent of the progression happens in your head. And for someone who isn’t in shape parkour is one of the best ways to develop your strength and mobility in a fun and functional way!” of my favorite students ever was 39 years old, 5’6” tall, and weighed 300lbs when he started. We had a great time training together and for him parkour was also a wake up call to lose weight and eat healthier. So while being fit and sporty will never hurt your training, it definitely isn’t necessary for becoming a parkour athlete!”

“A lot of sports focus on raw speed and power (like American football or basketball) or intricate and sport specific patterns (like swinging a golf club) without first addressing the underlying movement basics,” Henry explains. “Learning those basics and then building on them with more complex skills will keep you safer and stronger in your sport.”

But, if you are the athletic type looking to elevate your performance, parkour (and movement training in general) might also be the key to leveling up. In the mixed martial arts world, UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor has been outspoken about his obsession with studying and understanding all types of movement. For his last championship fight (the one where he won the unified title in just 13 seconds by knocking out cold Jose Aldo – a fighter who prior to that, hadn’t lost in 10 years) he incorporated movement coach (and genius) Ido Portal to his training camp.

And parkour also has something to offer the more introspective, spiritual folk.

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“I have a friend who refers to parkour as ‘jumping meditation’ and I agree with that 100 percent,” Henry shares. “Parkour training puts me in a flow state quicker than any other activity I’ve practiced. When you have trained long enough, you get to a point where it almost seems like your mind goes to sleep and your body moves purely from instinct. It’s a great feeling, because in those moments you have complete trust in yourself. And I think

those moments are what really boosted my self-confidence!” There’s a reason why more and more athletes are delving deeper into the art of movement – yearning to allow their bodies to speak a more emancipating language. While the philosophy behind understanding the body’s movement has been around for a while, the good news is it’s never too late to get into it and acquire the benefits of being completely in tune with your worldly plane. To learn about parkour and freerunning in the Philippines, visit, and www. You can also check out and follow the Philippine Parkour and Freerunning Association on Twitter @ppfa09.


wellness Discover the path to well-being through the evolution of soul and self-love with health guru Lia Bernardo; elicit wellness from… elicit wellness from within through hypnosis and Neuro-Linguistic Programming by “Master Transformation Rockstar” Cherry Pua-Africa; find out how important “Me-Time” is to your daily state of wellness; and catch up on the evolution of one of the country’s most revitalizing weekend retreats.

Photo by Julia Caesar

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Sweet Soul Sister

She has answered love’s calling to evolve, and now, helps others along their path of evolution and well-being. She is Lia Bernardo, and she cares about your soul. Text by Angie Duarte / Photos by Mia de Zuzuarregui and Robby Carino

The name Lia Bernardo, in certain circles of the metro, has become synonymous with many things; for Bernardo is a multitalented woman who readily shares of her varied gifts. She has spent many years in media, and – at certain junctures in her life – has assumed the post of Editor-In-Chief for a couple of glossies (I met her in this capacity, having been tapped to contribute to one of the lifestyle magazines she was handling). As regular contributing writer to a well-read local daily, Bernardo’s column – primarily health-centered pieces – has developed a consistent readership. For some time, she conducted training programs and corporate workshops on Business Etiquette and Image Enhancement; she is, after all, the daughter of Conchitina Sevilla-Bernardo, herself an active public speaker, author, and etiquette guru. Bernardo has likewise fostered a strong following as an Integrative Healer, and is, in fact, currently studying for her PhD on Psychoneurology and Integrative Health from the Beurin University in Los Angeles, California.

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But, perhaps, of all her laurels and accolades, the one that resonates most deeply is this: SoulLove. “I am SoulLove” is the philosophy, the mantra, if you will; the concept that has brought healing to many. Bernardo is SoulLove. You and I can be, too.

The call to evolve “Creating SouLove within is the term I use for individuals who have decided to answer their soul’s calling to evolve,” Bernardo shares on her official website. “When I refer to the evolution of the soul, I am referring to tapping into your fullest potential. The soul will evolve through growth, and growth happens through experiences. How you handle those experiences will determine the growth of your soul,” Bernardo elaborated, in an interview with Expat. Bernardo heeded her own call to evolve and began her personal healing journey in 2003, when she decide to pursue Reiki, the healing technique of channeling energy through touch. Prior to her interest in Reiki, Bernardo was “always attracted to books

and article about angels, the soul, and selfhelp topics.” “I first sought out a Reiki certification course in order to learn how to heal myself. Being a healer was not my intention, I was propelled by interest, curiosity and wanting to learn more about a topic I was very passionate about,” she detailed.

The urge to give back When Bernardo’s own life began to take a turn for the more positive, as a result of her own personal path towards healing, she decided to give back by helping those around her in their own course of selfevolution. “When I could see that my life, my perspective and everything in general was shifting towards peace, fulfillment and positivity, I decided to start seeing clients and offered them Reiki. Reiki was not as popular then as it is now, and it was received by a very select group of people.” However, this did not stop Bernardo from her mission. She aspired towards


certification for Master/Teacher level of Reiki 2, and her healing practice steadily began to thrive. ‘It was a very interesting journey that had many ups and downs. I am now a full-time healer and teacher of personal growth workshops.” Through her blog (www.liabernardo. com) and her regular newspaper column, Thriving in SouLove, the healer-teacher reaches out to those in the throes of selfdiscovery, as well as to those looking for answers to this end. She is committed to the task, using even her personal social media accounts (you can find her on Instagram @liabernardo and on Facebook as SouLoveThrive) to share daily lessons on well-being, entitled “Just for Today.”

Therapy on steroids Bernardo’s main platform to guide others along the healing road is Psychoneurology, which she candidly describes as “therapy on steroids,” because “it works so quickly and so effectively that changes in one’s perspective and life can be seen immediately after the first session.” In this new approach towards creating a state of well-being, each individual person is viewed as already perfect and whole (as against broken or diseased), and must be guided back towards this way of thinking. “We use modern therapy techniques combined with ancient healing arts. I focus on how each patient thinks and then we reprogram the thought patterns of the individual so that they can focus on joy and happiness, as opposed to victimization and negativity,” Bernardo elaborated. Of course, she likewise utilizes more familiar forms of alternative and integrative healing, such as aromatherapy, the use of crystal energy, and what she calls “mindful and intuitive” eating habits (basically, knowing what you eat and eating what you need).

First, love yourself Like any other journey, the journey of healing begins with a first step: love yourself. Much easier said than done, as those of us who have lived long enough, and have experienced failure and heartache would know. “Self love, really, this is the foundation for everything….Because everything…. your relationships, your life, your whole existence is simply a reflection of your relationship with yourself,” Bernardo stressed. The ripple effect which begins with loving yourself radiates from within, and affects everything else that surrounds. Unconditional self-love results and self acceptance, plus getting rid of beliefs which limit and hold you back, are the initial steps towards the creation of a body, mind and spirit which flourish and thrive in radiance. This, in essence, is the definition

Lia shares her favorite health elixir: “I learned this recipe from my Kundalini Yoga teacher Madonna English. She calls it Yogi Tea.

“Self love, really, this is the foundation for everything…. Because everything….your relationships, your life, your whole existence is simply a reflection of your relationship with yourself”

of well-being, which is more encompassing than the more commonly used term, wellness.

Creating a new story Bernardo’s advice, for those who wish to realize their life’s potential? Create a new story. Leave the old one behind, and write for yourself a new, healing chapter. “If you experience trauma… you can choose to either be very bitter, cynical, angry, judgmental and resentful for the rest of your life, or you can take the experience and grow from it by first detaching from that story. That story is not who you are.” Bernardo shared.

For me it is a health elixir, I drink at least a liter of this each day and making it makes my apartment smell heavenly. Adjust according to your personal taste. Soak the following for 3 to 6 hours before boiling: 4 sticks of cinnamon, 1.5 tsps of dried cloves, 2.5 dried cardamoms, 1 tsp whole black pepper, 1 large finger ginger and turmeric. You can serve this hot or cold. It does so many wonderful things for your body; including anti-inflammatory benefits, blood pressure balancing, anti bacterial properties, balancing the immune system, detox, etcetera!”

“In doing so, you leave the story behind and take the lessons with you. You move forward and because you have evolved and grown from that experience you start making different choices with full trust in yourself. It is about growing and evolving and recreating your life at every single point,” she added. Healing words of wisdom, from a sweet soul sister.

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Ultimate Weight Loss in Your Magical Alpha State

Alright now…Close your eyes. Imagine your food cravings floating away. You are getting hungry and the only food that appeals to that hunger is chicken, fish and fresh green salads. Hum…how your mouth is starting to water just thinking about this yummy food…that’s right… Text by Cherry Pua-Africa

Welcome to the Alpha State of Consciousness – a superpower state of mind that enables deep shifts and chemical change to take place with no effort. This is the state where losing weight is taking place at a joyful level. This is a place where your conscious and unconscious minds are one and communicating perfectly with your body. At this state of intense relaxation, you are powerful, congruent and attuned to your core essence. The key to this pleasant destination is through the power of hypnosis. People are astounded by my profession and mystified when I tell them I help hypnotise people to be slim and radiant. They are interested but are wary of the process, having heard of the “budol budol” gang that induce people to freely give their money to the budol (robber). Stage hypnosis also gives this technique a bad taste, turning this powerful change process into a circus show. In truth, hypnosis is neither frightening nor controlling and you should not be afraid to be asked to do silly things or be brought to a state that you have no control over. Hypnosis, or trance, is a natural state

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that you experience just before you fall asleep and just before you wake up. It is nothing different to the state you are at when you daydream, read a book, engage in a sport or drive your car. Even a light trance can already enable deep changes in your lives. I personally lost more than 30 pounds and reduced my dress size from L to S from hypnosis. Prior to this approach, I tried all sorts of weight loss programs and got frustrated with my results all the time. When my weight plateaued, I blamed the program, as if “things were just happening to me” – the system was not working, the cravings were not leaving my body and the avalanche of temptations kept coming like crazy. Then, I learned hypnosis, became a practitioner and did the techniques myself and voila!, I recoded my experiences and restructured my internal programming to achieve the outcomes that I desired. My metabolism was programmed to direct itself to operate to the weight I wanted and I was in total control of my results. Hypnosis is a co-operative effort between the therapist and client to help

you establish better communication with your unconscious mind, the part of your brain that controls 97 percent of our perception and behaviour, averaging 10 billion actions/calculations per second! Here’s the incredible news - no one can hypnotise you apart from yourself. You are in control. You, and no one else (not even the therapist) are always in charge - you will only accept suggestions that are in line with your values and beliefs. If the alpha state is so powerful, how do you then access it? Let’s dissect your now-state for a moment. As you are reading this article, you are in the state of beta. It is your normal busy wakeful state and most likely, your default state when you wake up and go through your day’s work. Your conscious mind is busy, and engaged at this state. Ding dong, doorbell rings and you frantically rush to the door. Your beta brain is full to the brim trying to remember an average of 26 tasks including lunch for your kids, keeping medical appointments and school meetings, not to mention work stuff. It’s buzz-buzz busy bee, ‘let’s- go-getthose-lists-stricken-out-before-the-dayends’ type of grind for you. Change


Hypnosis allows you to take charge of your choices in life and the cumulative effect of those choices changes the direction of your life as well.

hardly happens at this state because the brain has no space for the process to take place. On the other hand, the alpha state is a state of focused awareness and pleasure. This is the inside job where change work happens wonderfully for people wanting it. In this state where the brain waves are at an idling default state of 8-12 Hz, you are relaxed, focused, joyful, creative and alive. If you really want to own the compelling visual of a body you want to live in, this is the place for you. Magical things and deep shifts happen at this level. You’ve got to consciously want to stay at this place for a longer time in your day – for your mind to recreate the body you want to live in. Hypnosis enables you to give commands to your unconscious mind while the conscious mind is being agreeable at the same time. A client of mine who wanted to lose weight told me she’s finding it hard to quiet down her gremlin chatter that was telling her to keep eating that sumptuous calorie overloaded piece of cheesecake. She felt controlled by this sweet craving, as if the cheesecake was happening to her when the energy source was really coming from her. When “I won’t eat this” turns into “I’m restarting my diet tomorrow,” you are giving your mind contradictory commands and its default programming will automatically look for the highest energy state in your body. Chances are, the bureaucracy of your bad habits will take command and your negating, old self destructive behaviour will assume full forward motion. Without the mental energy and belief system to redirect your thoughts, your diet program will lose steam and fail. Diet and exercise

are very much part of your weight loss program, but without mind power, it is just going to be an expensive yo-yo game. Weight loss is equally a mind game as it is a physical one. Mind trick Hypnosis and its twin sister, Neuro Linguistic Programming can trick the mind into the changing the way it responds to food. NLP changes your mindset and installs a belief that is resourceful and enabling to you. You will be able to get rid of beliefs that sabotage your weight and fitness goals and replace them with ones that allow you to own the body that you want. Your amygdala is fooled to send signals of pleasure for healthy food to other parts of your brain. The hippocampus pairs up the feeling of pleasure with the process of eating healthy food. It then tells your insula that you are in fact eating healthy food. The confirmation by the hippocampus changes the information in the insula. The insula now stores the new feelings connected to the healthy food and stores them away in the unconscious mind for future reference. You have just successfully installed a new map in your brain and new pathways of thinking. When the techniques to enable this change process get repeated over and over again, deep changes happen in your mind and body, which really are just coming from one system. In no time, you will have new ideas, emotions and behaviours that will ensure the success of your weight loss journey. The unconscious cravings are gone and replaced by a resourceful state, an enabling source of power that allows the journey of weight loss to be pleasant and fun. My life that once took off as an obese person has now turned into a life filled

with acceptance and joy, thanks to the power of hypnosis. Even though I am an advocate of loving oneself no matter the size and shape, I realise it is not my job to be in my old body for the sake of making a point. I’ve been more confident and alive ever since. This new map enables me to reach out and help others succeed as well. I’ve seen how my clients’ stories and change processes enabled them to draw from their deepest internal resources. Their stories are inspiring and empowering and I am moved by the adventure of transformation that I witness everyday. One minute coaching: In the next minute, I’d like to invite you to review your life script. What story have you been telling yourself about your weight? What’s your belief in life — is it enabling your goal or disabling you? A number of my clients tell me that they are genetically wired to be big. Even if you don’t have any logical evidence to support such a belief, you make this your life script and feel stuck. This belief can spiral to other aspects of your life which can potentially make you feel even more stuck. Keep telling yourself that you are in control of your response. You simply need to take action. NLP and Hypnosis are powerful tools to enable you to change your story, state and strategy. Take the business of changing these three aspects of your life seriously and you will be amazed by your results. Be awesome everyday, in every way! Hypnosis allows you to take charge of your choices in life and the cumulative effect of those choices changes the direction of your life as well. The author has worked with various processes of mental reframing across different issues— depression, insomnia, addiction, weight loss, installation of confidence, focus and concentration and so many more. Cherry is a Master Practitioner of NLP , Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy and is a member of the American Board of NLP. She is the Master Transformation Rockstar of World Stage International. Visit her website for more info: or email her at

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Looking Out for Number One

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Two tiny letters, one weighty word: ME! Text by Angie Duarte

Designed by Freepik

It is with some degree of difficulty and discomfort that I sit here and write this piece. Somehow, it resonates with the houls of condemnation: “Practice what you preach, woman!!!” – thus screams the voice of conscience somewhere in my mind’s inner recesses. I have to admit, I am not very good at putting “ME” first. Not very good, at all. Maybe it’s because I get caught up in the vicious cycle of “Wake up-work, work some more- sleep-repeat.” Between job(s) and chores (I belong to the nearly extinct species of household help-less Philippine residents), it seems there are never enough hours in a day to get all my work done. Maybe it is also because I am a mother; and mothers, by nature, tend to put everyone else’s needs before their own. In today’s society in which most women “have it all” (motherhood, career, community involvement, plus meaningful relationships), finding quality time for self is especially challenging. We may have it all; all, that is, but me-time. Whatever the underlying reasons, more often than not, I find myself holding the short end of the “me-time” stick. And by short, I mean very, very short.

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So you see the dilemma in which I find myself: writing this article about the importance of me-time, and yet never having enough time for it. I am preaching to my own choir, here. A very stubborn choir that knows and believes in the importance of the matter, yet falls short of applying it. Me-time matters! The world today is such that career and family generally come with an enormous amount of pressure attached. The drive to compete and succeed in both arenas is perhaps greater than ever. This pressure usually means that most folk, myself most definitely included, ignore those two tiny letters that form one very weighty word: ME. This, although true for men, is especially true in the case of women. “There’s a tremendous amount of stress and pressure put on women: being parents, being daughters, mothers, wives, professionals. All of these roles combined leave many of us not taking adequate care of ourselves – which is what sustains us and gives us the energy to take care of all these other responsibilities that we

have,” says Randy Kamen Grainger, EdD, a Wayland, Mass., psychologist and life coach specializing in women’s issues. Minus the guilt From this timely and accurate statement of Dr. Grainger, we glean that taking care of one’s self is the very basis of our ability to take care of other people, as well as our other duties. Hence, the invaluable role that me-time plays. Yet we push ourselves so much in all areas that me-time is the first to fly out the window. To boot, on the rare occasion that we do take time for me-time, we often find ourselves feeling guilty for the “indulgence” rather than viewing it for what it really is: a necessity. Beth Evans, manager of Mental Health Promotion at Alberta Health Services points out that “We are entitled to breaks. People need to respect that for themselves. You are taking care of yourself by taking a break. It ensures you’ll have the energy to return to whatever other roles you play, whether as a parent or a professional, or whatever your roles in life generally are.” Me-time should be a guilt-free part of our daily routine, if we are to remain functional,



productive, effective, and – let’s not forget – happy members of the human race. Stress buster We have gotten so used to the noise, the hustle and bustle of life that these all-too often drown out the part of us that cries out for me-time. Ironically, many of us even become dependent on the stressors of this fast-paced existence. We push deadlines, for instance, to the last minute; addicted, almost, to the stress that this brings. Like a carriage without a horse, we do not know how to get ourselves going sans the stress. Unfortunately, too much stress is not very good for you. In fact, too much stress can kill. Stress is a reaction of our body to what is going on around us, and it is part-andparcel of our biological makeup. Experts in the field will tell you that a bit of stress is necessary in order for us to work at peak performance. Yes, some stress is beneficial; but too much of it – especially when it becomes chronic stress – is bad. We all know this, yet shun the truth much as cigarette smokers addicted to the nicotine fix ignore graphic pictures and the Surgeon General’s warning.

Constant, heavy stress leads to chronic stress; which causes anxiety; burnout; mental, physical, emotional fatigue; and has been linked to numerous ailments. Taking time out for me-time is one of the best ways of dealing with and managing life’s stresses. Dr Shalini Anant, clinical psychologist, says, “If you ignore yourself for a long time, it can actually take a toll on your mental as well as physical health. It can lead to lack of concentration and disorientation. A lot of negative thoughts keep troubling us, hence there should be times when we need to just be by ourselves.” Making “ME” a priority So now that we are hopefully convinced that we need me-time, how to do it? How do we make this a priority in our fast-paced lives? Read this article’s sidebar, for some helpful tips to terrific me-time! Me-time: this choir sings its praises louder and clearer, with all that much more flourish, than ever before. And – more importantly – a newfound determination to live by it.


Plan your ‘me’ time. It won’t happen by magic; neither will you be forced into it by some deus ex machina GrecoRoman inspired divine intervention of sorts. Only you can make time for yourself.


Reassess your daily schedule to determine where you can cut down on unnecessary activities in order to get more me-time in each day. 15-20 minutes of time for yourself is the recommended minimum amount for each day.


Once you have set aside and planned the time, guard the appointment! Treat this as you would a doctor’s appointment, or any other schedule of great import.


Learn to say “No.” Realize you cannot possibly do everything, for everyone, all the time.


Realize that it’s okay to designate and delegate some tasks to others. Get help from the people around you.


Treat your me-time as a “special date” with yourself, and forget the guilt that may try to rear up its ugly head.


List down the things you enjoy doing, and plan to do one item on the list each day. These items do not have to involve lengthy or expensive activities.


Last but not the least, kick back and simply do nothing, every now and then. This is a good way to recharge, reboot, and re-acquaint yourself with your “ME”-ness.

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into Healthy, Mindful Living Text by Timothy Jay Ibay / Photos courtesy of FLOW

Be it a stressful week, a busy one, one that’s plain exhausting, or even a week most mundane; there are countless reasons everyone looks forward to the weekend. How you make the most of it is another question. So how do you rejuvenate for the next week? How do you go about unifying mind, body and soul to gear up for what lies ahead? For like minded, passionate women, Monica Eleazar-Manzano, Denise GonzalesBernardo and Noelle Hilario, it’s really quite simple: you FLOW.

(top)Flow Retreats participants in Boracay; (right) Flow Retreats in Anilao, Batangas, (below)Sunset Yoga Sessions,

Centered on the individual passions of these three women, the Flow weekend retreats allow its participants to take a breather from their everyday lives and create a space and a community where one can feel and enjoy the benefits of living a healthier, mindful lifestyle. Initially done so with the simplest of itineraries: yoga early in the morning, surfing next, followed by samba dancing and drumming to provide the rhythm while venturing into the night. It’s akin to hitting three birds with one stone. A weekend retreat that allows participants to strike off three things

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from their bucket lists, all done in a manner that, quite succinctly, flows. What started out as a pet project of three young mothers looking to fuse their individual passions into one weekend, has continued to grow and render participants with quite the revitalizing getaway with a mash of healthy, trendy activities that have transcended both fads and time. “At first we only offered surf, yoga and samba classes in our retreats, but we wanted to do something new and offer new activities that fit the Flow lifestyle,” Flow co-founder Noelle Hilario tells Expat.”


(above photos) Yoga at Club Serena Resort, Moalboal, Cebu; Green Smoothie Bowl snack; Preparing for a Green Smoothie Workshop; (right photos) Participants on a hiking adventure in Flower Island; Palawan, Stand Up Paddleboard Tour in Bohol; Surfing lessons in La Union

“Besides surf, yoga and samba, we started conducting Green Smoothie & Raw Food Workshops and Detox Tips. We also invited guest instructors to teach different yoga styles, poi, capoeira, art, meditation, and stand up paddleboard. Since we also hold our retreats in different locations around the Philippines and Asia, we also take the participants out to see the local spots. We go hiking, snorkeling, visit an organic farm or eat in a healthy restaurant or cafe. Our retreats are very holistic – it’s all about the mind-body-spirit balance.” As the country’s collective consciousness about mindful and healthy living continues to awaken, the women of Flow have kept pace with the evolution by continually introducing healthier alternatives perfect for those looking to transition into healthier lifestyles. And while providing an avenue to kick-start a better lifestyle may be at the core of the Flow retreats, that’s just the beginning of it, as the bonds forged and nurtured are just as priceless as the opened doors to better living.

“We headed out to San Juan (La Union) hoping for a good weekend. What we had was an amazing weekend where we made friends for life”

“It was our first month in Manila and we didn’t know anyone. We saw an advert about Flow and booked tickets straight away,” British Louise Ware tells Expat. Their hopes were simple, get a heavenly escape from Manila, have the chance to meet a whole new group of people and enjoy the beauty of the Philippines. What they got was much more than they bargained for. “We headed out to San Juan (La Union) hoping for a good weekend. What we had was an amazing weekend where we made friends for life,” says Ware.

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“It makes us feel fulfilled and happy to know that we are inspiring others to follow their passions and pursue a healthier lifestyle. This is a reminder that we are doing a great job and pushes us to do it even better”

Inspiring kindred spirits The women behind flow beautifully mashed their yearning to share their individual passions with others, what they wound up creating was an avenue where the inspiration is reciprocal. “I would have to say the most flattering thing is when we see our past Flow participants transform before our eyes,” shares co-founder Monica EleazarManzano. “Since 2009, we have seen our Flow-ers become yoga teachers, pursue businesses in the health industry selling juices or become live food chefs. Then there are also those who are completely inspired to live a life of travel! It’s amazing the kind of people you meet in our retreats. We’ve become a global group of kindred spirits. It’s absolutely contagious!” Adds Hilario, “It makes us feel fulfilled and happy to know that we are inspiring others to follow their passions and pursue a healthier lifestyle. This is a reminder that we are doing a great job and pushes us to do it even better.” While Flow would in no way take credit for the continued progression of healthy, mindful living, they beam at how the country has been moving toward the right direction. “We’re definitely on the right track,” Eleazar-Manzano says on how the Philippines’ health and wellness consciousness is coming along. “There are just so much more options now for people living on the mindful path. Nowadays, you can order a green juice or smoothie from several restaurants in the city, when back then people didn’t even know how to make one! There are also a growing number of organic and sustainable farmers as the demand for real quality food has increased.” And it’s only bound to get better as Flow’s 2016 calendar is filled with exciting and

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rejuvenating retreats that’s perfect for those looking to tread the healthy path, as well as those already on it. “We have about 10 retreats this year. We’ll be going around the country to places like Baler, La Union and Siquijor, and to international destinations Bali, India and Taiwan. Apart from the retreats, we’ll also have our monthly Flow Mystery Tours around Manila, as well as Flow in the City this April and September,” unveils Hilario.

(top) Spending afternoons outdoors in Flower Island, Palawan; (above) Flow Retreats 2016 calendar

To book your slots at the retreats and for more information, visit www.flowretreats. com and For updates, follow them on Instagram @ flowretreats and Facebook at Flow Surf Yoga Samba.


Read up about In Our Shoes – an immersive, community-based ecotourism project that aims to provide an alternative livelihood and diversified economy to isolated islands in Romblon; get a glimpse of what is being dubbed as Palawan’s best-kept secret; and go along for the ride with NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 as they reintroduce La Union and Pangasinan. -Photo by Martin San Diego

Candanay Beach Photo by Bernard L. Supetran

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A Step in the Dark and into the Unknown Text and photos by Kenneth See

Former London-based IT professional cum local community champion Kenneth See gives a glimpse of the changing, challenging times in small local communities, and his birthing of In Our Shoes - a project aimed at developing immersive, community-based tourism designed to end the pervading poverty in paradise.

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In 2001, my parents and I visited a relatively unknown island destination in the province of Bohol, an island with teeming coral reefs in easy swimming distance from its shores. We landed in the afternoon, checked into the only resort on the island, and after about an hour or so, my mom, easily bored, decided to schlep my dad and me to the village beyond the gates of the resort, to the place where the “real” people lived. We were in no danger of getting lost because the island was small. You could circle it in 20 minutes. We chanced upon a neighborhood store where about a dozen locals were sitting and chatting away the afternoon. We joined the group and listened to their stories: the kind of work the people on the island did, where their families are now based, why there was an absence of young adults on the island, how they cope with only six hours of electricity every day, and so on. My mom, the social butterfly, contributed some stories of her own, to the amusement of the locals. They invited us to eat dinner—freshly caught fish— and we accepted. One fisherman, after finishing his meal, stood and excused himself early, saying he had to go to bed because he was to go spearfishing at 4 a.m. the next morning. My mom, the troublemaker, volunteered me to the task of helping out the fisherman so that I could also learn how to fish. The fisherman was delighted at the suggestion and begged me to come, but I declined, explaining that “I might scare off the fish.” The real reason was that I would never get myself to wake up that early and brave the cold, dark waters.

p Rice delivery by boat. Due to its hilly topography, Concepcion does not have rice fields. Although root crops grow on the island, they are not a popular carbohydrate source amongst the locals, hence rice is imported all the way from Pinamalayan, Mindoro, the nearest “big city.” q Beautiful rock formations off Colong-Colong Beach on the island of Corcuera.

To this day, I regret that decision. That trip was already memorable because we stepped out of the resort’s boundaries and had that experience bonding with the locals. Going on that unplanned fishing escapade would have made it even more memorable, assuming I survived it.

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Return and realization In early 2015, we visited that island in Bohol again, and again found ourselves in the village beyond the gates of the resort, mingling with the locals and exchanging stories. The tone had changed this time. Among the people we met were Tony and Nena (not their real names), a husbandand-wife “fishercouple,” for lack of a better word. They complained about their ever-dwindling catch, how they have to work double the number of hours, but get only half the yield they did 15 years ago. With fewer and fewer fish to sell, they supplement their income by operating a small variety store out of their home. “We’re lucky that our kids are already grown up and out of the house,” they added, “so we can get by with lower income.” It was not a happy story, and I can imagine similar stories in many places in this archipelago of 7,107 islands. Rural villages here are heavily dependent on one trade, usually fishing, farming, or forestry. Disruptions brought about by changing winds, unseasonable storms or droughts, or unusually strong typhoons, often wipe out the already meagre incomes of families. Because the villagers often do not have or know any other trade, all they can do is work harder, pushing the available natural resources almost past the point of regeneration. As nature grants fewer yields, the people work even harder. A vicious cycle ensues, leading to a lose-lose situation for both man and nature. What I noticed is many of these vulnerable communities are set in beautiful places, where natural and cultural attractions abound. In other words, they have tourism potential. The longer I thought about it, the more I realized that tourism could be the force to break the vicious cycle. But it’s not going to be the usual kind of tourism.

Taking that step

After that trip, I flew back home to London where I was based, and decided to step down from my tech job to focus my energies on creating this business plan for community-based tourism. The In Our Shoes idea was finally born, after gestating in my

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head for more than a decade. In Our Shoes is a project to develop immersive, community-based ecotourism businesses in geographically isolated areas, providing an alternative livelihood and diversifying their economy. In this form of ecotourism, guests stay directly in the rural villages and experience the way the locals live, work, and play in a safe yet authentic and un-curated fashion. By living life in the locals’ shoes, even just for a few days, it is hoped that guests will gain a deeper, more memorable and meaningful experience of the culture they are visiting, beyond what resorts can provide. Revenue from this business contributes directly to environmental protection efforts by financially enabling locals to practice sustainable fishing, farming, and forestry. The immersive nature of this ecotourism business implies that there cannot be too many guests visiting the community at the same time. This removes the allure of quick money that often comes with culturally- and environmentally-destructive mass-market tourism. At the same time, it allows the community to adjust gradually to the presence of guests, psychologically and logistically (e.g. organizing additional transport, procuring extra provisions, or managing waste). My thesis is that people will patronize this form of tourism, not just because of the feel-good factor in directly helping out communities in need, but also because of the uniqueness of the experience they will get out of it. And they’re not exactly

visiting slums here. They are going to places that can rival the best of them in terms of beauty. Finding the communities for pilot-testing the project turned out to be a daunting task. Despite capital investment being eliminated as a barrier to enter into this business, the local mindset proves to be a bigger hurdle. Tourism, from the point of view of most locals, is about visiting expensive hotels and resorts with kidney-shaped pools, airconditioned rooms with flat-screens showing satellite TV programs, and service provided by uniformed staff wearing permanent smiles. It takes several meetings to get the point across, that tourism has many variants, that not all tourists go for the same things, and that even the same tourist can choose different forms of tourism at different times and don’t always go for luxury and comfort. “We are not trying to be the next Boracay or the next Puerto Galera here,” I remind them. Tourism infrastructure like what those famous places have is not


SPOTTING > Romblon

Getting there Getting to Concepcion: From Manila, take a bus to Batangas Pier, then a fast ferry to Calapan, Mindoro. Take the Pinamalayan Van right at the Calapan Port, and tell the driver to drop you off at the place where the ferries to Concepcion Romblon depart, as there are several points of departure in Pinamalayan. Take the ferry to Concepcion. Getting to Corcuera and Banton: From Manila, take a bus to Batangas Pier, then an overnight ferry to Odiongan, Romblon. There are also ferries to Odiongan from Caticlan Port across Boracay; that trip takes around two hours. From Odiongan Port, take a jeep to Calatrava, the northernmost town on the island. From Calatrava, take the ferry to Corcuera or Banton.

always necessary in this business. In the end, ecotourism is meant to supplement, not supplant, their trade. When the community finally gets past this, then things move quickly and the fun part starts: designing the immersive experience that the community will offer to the guests. We first tackle the essentials. For the accommodations, we follow the homestay concept and use the Department of Tourism’s minimum requirements for homestay facilities as a guideline, adding some more if necessary. As for food, meals are provided not by the host families, but rather by home cooks in the community, in order to spread the benefits of the tourism program and get more people actively participating in the industry. Food will either be brought to the guests, or they will be brought to the homes of the cooks, or both guests and their meals will be brought to a third location. Home cooks will be required to go through the Food Handler Certification process of the local Rural Health Unit in order to qualify as service providers. Next, we identify the cultural and natural heritage in and around the community, and create activities surrounding them, ones that will require active participation from the guests. Fishing and farming lessons, for example, will give guests a taste of the working conditions in the community, including the challenges faced on the job. Food has a central place in every culture, so an In Our Shoes stay always includes lessons in cooking the specialty dishes

of the region. There is also a tour of the attractions of the area, by land or by sea, and for the more adventurous ones, hikes up a hill or mountain, or snorkelling by the reefs. Time will also be given for guests to do their own thing, like walking around the community and observing the people as they go about their daily business. We will also reserve “alone” time for them to process all the new experiences. Safe and picturesque areas will be identified where guests can be left alone for a few hours, to be picked up and brought back into town once they are ready. Finally, we consider how guests will get to and from the community. The places in need of an In Our Shoes type of ecotourism program are often in geographically isolated areas that naturally restrict access. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, these areas are never overrun by tourists, allowing a distinct culture to flourish. On the other hand, it takes time and a spirit of adventure to get to these places, as it can be daunting especially for firsttimers. Very detailed “How to Get There” instructions have to be written, beyond the level seen in the usual travel guidebooks.

Off the ground

The In Our Shoes project is under way in three island municipalities in the province of Romblon: namely Concepcion, Banton, and Corcuera. They are all located in the Verde Island Passage, a strait considered to be the center of marine shorefish biodiversity, not just in the Philippines, but in the world. We’ve already made a lot of

About the Project In Our Shoes is a project to save the environment by helping vulnerable communities develop their own community-based, immersive ecotourism services. The aim is to help diversify local economies in a culturally and environmentally respectful and non-disruptive way. The ecotourism program is designed to appeal to people with a great sense of adventure, cultural sensitivity, and environmental awareness. Please visit the project website at www. You can also track the progress of the project by liking us on Facebook www. and Instagram @ lifeinourshoes. For questions or comments, please contact Kenneth See, project director, by email at or by phone at (0905) 344-2312. The Author Kenneth See spent almost 20 years in the corporate software IT industry in the USA and Europe. He then realized that he was only contributing to the further widening of the digital divide by helping already advanced and affluent global companies become even more efficient. He quit the industry and returned to the Philippines in 2015. He now wants to use the knowledge he gained for the benefit of low-tech local communities who could really use some high-tech help. His first new mission is in ecotourism. With the In Our Shoes project, he hopes to bring the 21st century Sharing Economy to off-the-grid islands and villages.

progress in Concepcion, reaching testing stage as of the end of November, with Corcuera not far behind. Unfortunately, Typhoon Nona swept through these islands in December 2015, causing widespread damage to crops and property. Concepcion was the hardest hit among the three, with 75 percent of the homes being totally damaged. Understandably, attention has been diverted to relief and rebuilding operations. Life in their shoes is very difficult right now. This setback is temporary, and I continue to be hopeful that the communities will emerge stronger from this trial, perhaps now with a clearer realization for the need to diversify their sources of livelihood. Hopefully, In Our Shoes can soon help get them back on their feet.

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Crown Jewel of Palawan Already voted by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine as Best Island in the World for 2015 and 2016, Palawan has another superstar – Onuk Island Text by Roger Pe / Photos from Nelo Marasigan-Manzo and Mark Togonon

It all started when master photographer George Tapan entered his photo of Onuk in a National Geographic photo competition. Had Tapan not done it, it would have existed only in the minds of a few. Today, it is Palawan’s best-kept secret, far, far away, hard-toaccess, but sparkles like an iridescent gem on the southern border near Sabah. Perhaps it is best to keep it that way, secluded and pristine, unspoilt and hidden from the influx of careless travelers. Onuk, as exotic as its name, is one of the last few remaining beautiful beaches in the country that is blessed with the purest and whitest of sand. Its waters are so clean, visibility is sparklingly clear. As you ride the boat on a lucky day, you could see dolphins and flying fish escorting you to this paradise. And down below, you would see green turtles and rainbow colored fishes cavort as you land on the beach.

it is open to the public. Number of guests visiting the island is controlled to preserve its virgin sanctuary state. People wanting to go to the island must approach the local Office of the Mayor in Balabac town. Special arrangements are needed prior in order to be allowed entry. Once in, you’ll cover your mouth to muffle the sound you’ll exclaim with amazement because, indeed, you’ve literally found paradise. Food? Seafood galore. Caretakers in the island will be more than glad to whip up a good meal for you. The freshest catch from the sea is standard on the menu. If you hate madding crowds, Onuk island in Balabac is one of the best places in the world to visit this summer.

God must have been kind to put Onuk within the Philippines geographical boundaries – not in Maldives, South Pacific or the Caribbean.

Balabac is one of the least visited towns of Palawan because it is hardly accessible. But it is home to many wonders that made Palawan famous. Like the mouse deer (locally known as “Pilandok”), the world’s smallest deer, Cape Melville, a national historical landmark and one of the oldest lighthouses in the country that was built by Spanish colonizers around the 1890s.

In one of the many tiny islands that dot Balabac, Palawan’s southernmost town, just 50 kilometers off Borneo, lies Onuk, privately owned by Mayor Shuaib Astami. While it is very private,

Ringed by countless other islets with spectacular white beaches, Balabac is also famous for the world-renowned Jewelmer pearls, farmed and cultured in its seas.

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SPOTTING > Balabac

Getting there From Puerto Princesa City, go to San Jose Market Terminal and ride a van going to Rio Tuba town. Travel time is four to five hours. Make sure you arrive in Rio Tuba before 10 a.m. Fare is PhP450 as of this writing. At the Rio Tuba Port, take a boat to Balabac mainland. Travel time is three hours. The only boat to Balabac leaves at 12 noon, but could be earlier depending on the number of passengers. Fare is PhP250 as of this writing. There is also a satellite office in Puerto Princesa City located in Pajara, where one can get permission. Best to bring a formal letter requesting entry to Onuk Island. You can contact the following point person Ms. Lorna at (0917) 553-2845 or Ms. Fatima at (0921) 777-6645.

“Its waters are so clean, visibility is sparklingly clear. As you ride the boat on a lucky day, you could see dolphins and flying fish escorting you to this paradise. And down below, you would see green turtles and rainbow colored fishes cavort as you land on the beach�. (left) Onuk island, (below) Cape Melville lighthouse in ballabac island.

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The Familiar, The Renowned & The Burgeoning

NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 reintroduces La Union beyond the surf break and Pangasinan’s blend of adventure and culture

Text by Timothy Jay Ibay / Photos by Martin San Diego

This writer kicked off 2015 partaking in an adventure with the Lakbay Norte 4 crew – immersing myself in the plethora of adventures Central Luzon has to offer. It was a fun way to welcome a fresh year, which turned out to be an amazing one for me, personally. This year, I couldn’t pass on doing the same – this time exploring the many hidden wonders of the provinces of La Union and Pangasinan. And despite embarking on a less action-packed trip, opting instead for a more natural and culturally inclined itinerary, Lakbay Norte 5 turned out to be six days peppered with hearty laughs, welcome discoveries and kindred spirits that knew no social classes, backgrounds or age gaps – a squad that shared memories certain to be treasured

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by all involved, a mélange of cherished moments inundated with downright fun times. NLEX Lakbay Norte – a media familiarization tour thrust by the Northern Philippines Visitors Bureau (NPVB) in partnership with the Manila North Tollways Corporation along with 10 member Convention and Visitors Bureaus – has been known to be one of the most awaited media tours in the calendar year. No one does media trips like the NPVB. And Lakbay Norte 5 lived up to everything it’s been esteemed to be. One of the first stops of Lakbay Norte 5 would be in La Union – a province known

to metro dwellers predominantly for its surf spots, breezy vibe and distinct concept of chill. The local surfing community, for years, has welcomed the influx of city slickers eager to discover what it is to be stoked. Their “Chill Committee,” with the continuously growing tourism industry, (particularly that of San Juan’s) has given visitors plenty of nightlife options to ensure that the fun doesn’t stop when the surf break does. The Crawl And with the fore mentioned mushrooming of establishments designed to cater to tourist owls, the Lakbay Norte 5 squad saw it fit to go on a crawl to sample the offerings and lifestyle available on San Juan’s post sunset menu.






(Opposite page)The soothing waters of Tangadan Falls is worth the trek when you find yourself in La Union; (1) The laid back spot that is Mad Monkeys is also home to what’s being dubbed as the best burgers in town; (2) Gorgeous sunsets every single day at San Juan Beach; (3) Kahuna Beach Resort’s pool area just beside their resto overlooks the beach scene; (4) The breeze at Natalna coupled with its cuisine makes this quaint resto an ideal first stop before diving into the many wonders of La Union; (5) Just one among the plethora of utterly delicious fare at Mommy Lu’s

First up was Mad Monkeys, a small, charming outfit, which despite just opening recently, is quickly being hailed as the joint serving the best burgers in town. Perfectly cooked, thick burger patties, spruced up with their special sauce that go perfectly with their equally delightful fries appear to be what will be Mad Monkeys’ calling card for the foreseeable future. The relaxed vibe and ice-cold beers – a welcome bonus from a spot that epitomizes chill. What would end up being a personal favorite would be up next – Surf Shack – with their wide selection of utterly delicious signature cocktails, local craft beers (mainly from the neighboring mountain city of Baguio), and comfort fare (with distinctly local twists like their Tuyo Pizza with Olives and Longganisa Pizza with Sunny Side Up Egg). The place looks exactly like what its name suggests, with surfboards and artsy profile snapshots of local surfers adorning its walls. There’s good music to be enjoyed (be it live or otherwise), and an overall ambience that’s as inviting and fun as it is steadying.

Planet G was last (if you don’t count the after party at one of La Roca Villa’s suites) – a community of small diners that also happens to have room accommodations (perfect for the weary backpacking surfer), and Click—a new club (yes, San Juan has a club) that recently opened for those souls that just so happen to miss the DJs’ electronica machinations. The Cuisine Again, because La Union has been so renowned for its surfing lifestyle, it’s easy to overlook the other elements this northeastern Philippine province has to offer. One such offering that came as a surprise to this writer during the trip was the culinary flair that seemed to tail the Lakbay Norte 5 Victory Liner bus. That La Union has gastronomic stylings that fly very much under the national radar was made evident with every meal stop the group made.

straightforward, good food. There’s a small stage for live performances (which on that night consisted of an acoustic performance from a city slicker-cum-La Union-local, and spoken word presentations by local students) to accompany the sumptuous grub bestowed on our tables.

LU BBQ in San Fernando, La Union, which (you guessed it) serves a slew of barbecued fare (alongside other Ilocano-inspired grub) is, as the LU ambience trend would be, a laid-back barbecue joint that serves

Another pleasant culinary surprise came in the form of Cube-O Grill (named after the ubiquitous Filipino nipa hut “kubo”), which has Ilocano dishes at the forefront, complimented brilliantly by grilled fusion fare.


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A must-try is their Cube-O Salo-Salo – gustatory heaven on a platter. I could list down what’s actually on it, but at around just US$20 (which is good for at least six people), you should just go ahead and order this steal of a deal whenever you find yourself anywhere near the vicinity of La Union. Cube-O looked to be the runaway winner in what amounted to a La Union culinary tour, but Mommy Lu’s (also in San Fernando) ensured that there would be no such thing as a hands down winner. You can’t miss out on their Lengua; and their squid dish being on your table when you visit, is also a must. Truth be told, you could be drunk, blindfolded and totally disoriented, and still get it absolutely right, when you pick anything off Cube-O and Mommy Lu’s respective menus. Meal ticket But of course, the beaches of La Union, its surfing, and the tangerine sunsets will always be the province’s main tourism grubstaker. Our home for two nights, San Juan Beach in Urbiztondo, allows for you to enjoy this small slice of paradise however you wish. Be it by hanging ten on its many surf breaks, immersing in the beach lifestyle that’s as warm and genuine as you can find 64 | expat


anywhere else, or just plainly transfixing yourself on the beach while pondering life’s many gifts, however you choose to enjoy San Juan Beach is solely up to you. And few would argue that one of the best resorts in San Juan Beach to call home as you take in all of the fore mentioned would be Kahuna Hotel, Café and Restaurant. A boutique hotel and spa, with Balineseinspired cottages that peer out directly onto the beach, Kahuna stands as the lap of luxury you’d be privileged to enjoy should you treat yourself to the joys of San Juan. Pangasinan: Unveiled adventures and possibilities Apart from a few destinations (most notably, the renowned pilgrimage site – Our Lady of Manaoag in the municipality of Manaoag, Pangasinan; and the way the famed Hundred Islands in Alaminos opens up its gamut of natural wonders as you make your way through and around its turquoise waters), the northwestern province of Pangasinan was often perceived as nothing more than a stretch of land that travelers and holiday-seekers traversed to get to where they really wanted to go. Of course, locals always knew better – that they had the natural gifts, at par, if not better than other esteemed tourist

destinations in the country. But because road infrastructure of the past prevented easy accessibility, very few of those places even dreamed of being jotted down on a travel itinerary. Huge thanks to the MNTC, that is but a thing of the past. Take the fourth-class municipality of Balungao, which is now able to tap into the tourism potential of its topography. The NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 crew got to sample the thrills of the Balungao Hilltop Adventure Park—the main draw of Mt. Balungao Resort. Zipping flight It’s but a certainty that everyone who finds their way to Balungao Hilltop Adventure Park will rave about their ziplines – the main one being 1.4 kilometers long (they claim to not only have the longest zipline in the country, but the whole of Southeast Asia). It’s quite unnerving even for those who fancy themselves as intermediate adrenaline junkies. Some 220 meters above sea level and about 170 steps up steel stairs. Call it a leg day, a good cardio workout, just make sure to call it what it is—a once in a lifetime experience. The height coupled with the fact that you don’t exactly see the end point creates a breathtaking sensation of fight and flight – fighting off the fear of heights, then embracing the amazing sensation of flight. As you zoom above verdant greens and gorgeous vistas of tree-dotted mountainscapes, you are at once elated and liberated – grateful for the gift of life…and adventure.






(6) Surf Shack is one of the best hangouts in San Juan, that they have a slew of amazing drinks paired with good music is total bliss; (7) San Juan’s bread and butter; (8) LU BBQ’s straightforward grilled fare; (9) Can’t miss platter from Cube-O Grill; (10) In the mood for beach clubbin’? Click is the spot to be (11) It takes about two hours to learn, but once

you get the basics pat down, land kiteboarding in Lingayen = a blast at the beach; (12) The charming Mediterranean-inspired La Villa Roca in San Juan is another excellent resort you should check out; (13) Some 220 meters above sea level is where a ride to remember takes off; (14) Pangasinan prides itself on its people’s culinary stylings; (15) The NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 crew strikes a pose as one of their comrades zips by; (16) One of the many magical sunsets at Punta Riviera in Pangasinan—a must visit when in Bolinao

Having just been opened to the public about five years ago, the Balungao Hilltop Adventure is still in its nascent stages. They offer ATV rides, but they would be better served when they finally find a way to tie up that activity with their ziplines (maneuvering ATVs as you ride the rough terrain going up to the zipline’s takeoff point would be ideal). They have the terrain to do so, and it’s not to difficult to see that sooner rather than later, they’ll be doing just that. Mystic meeting of river and sea Bolinao, Pangsinan would be NLEX Lakbay Norte 5’s home base for three nights, and reaching its primier beach resort – Punta Riviera – at night, and weary from the day’s adventures, it’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t been there before having an inkling of the amazing beauty resting beneath the darkness of night. Punta Riviera is not a luxury resort adorned with designer furniture, nor does it aspire to be. As owner Dr. Ian McFeat-Smith succinctly put it, they would rather have kayaks (that

would allow you to paddle through the beautiful Malino River) in a resort designed to be integrated with nature. This writer could go on and sew together words that could capture the charm and essence of Punta Riviera, but Dr. McFeat-Smith, has already done so with a brilliantly penned poem about his second home. A touch of magic once was found Where the river meets the sea So was it when we went to Bolinao And met Infinity   Oh Punta Riviera Beach Resort We fell in love (with) your turf Our soft lips touched as we embraced And stepped into the surf   Something new – something different Was what your web site said Your white beach environment Just knocked us out stone dead   At Ilog Malino we found that river Just at the break of day Fringed with lush green mangrove trees


It took our breath away Your Westward facing sunshine coast Has climate of its own Atoll reefs, exotic sunsets A special marine zone   The serenity of that night Consisting water, sky and sand Created mystic of its own As we stood there hand in hand   My heart leaps up when I recall The memory of your river Its stunning romantic ambiance Is cast in my heart forever. Punta Riviera is all that, and is also the perfect station should you wish to discover all the other natural talents Bolinao has to offer. Architecture, heritage and history The provincial seat of government and one of the Eight Architectural Wonders of the Philippines, the Lingayen Provincial Capitol Building is an impressive American Colonialinspired edifice of the municipality’s expat | 65

LOCALSHORES SPOTTING > La Union and Pangasinan


Expat would like to thank NLEX Lakbay Norte 5’s main sponsors:

heritage and history. It’s part of the equally impressive sprawl that is the Provincial Capitol Complex, which is comprised by a cultural center, the dazzling Sison Auditorium, the Veterans Memorial Park (where you can stroll through war memorabilia), the Capitol Resort Hotel (one of just two beach front resorts in Lingayen) and the 3.5-hectare San Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center—the premier sports and recreation center in Pangasinan. The best way to understand and take in both the magnificence and the relevance of the complex is by partaking in the Capitol Heritage Tours. Essentially, the tour involves a walk around the complex’s lush parks and gardens, tree-lined avenues, palatial structures and edifices, a 20-minute cultural show at the Sison Auditorium, capped with a panoramic sunset view of history-rich Lingayen Gulf—an experience that blends all the fore mentioned elements into a brush with history well told. Wind powered blast Another awesome addition to Pangasinan’s holster of adventure draws is Lingayen’s land kiteboarding scene. Set in the vast gray sands of Lingayen Beach, noobs start off trying to master control of a training kite. It’s a nice introduction to the power possessed by nature, which is amplified should you eventually manage to make your

way to the bigger kite. If you haven’t had any experience with any form of kiting, it’s not rocket science, and you should be able to gradually make your way to bigger kites (and on boards!) sooner than one might think. NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 was a six-day itinerary that, in effect, was an amalgam of the familiar, the renowned, the burgeoning and the promising. It aimed to stamp the soul of what the respective provinces had to offer. Needless to say, with the taste of adventure, culinary flair and natural talents the NLEX Lakbay Norte 5 crew experienced, they succeeded in doing just that.

North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) Victory Liner Petron Department of Tourism Region 1 Pangasinan Provincial Government Pangasinan Visitors Bureau La Union Convention and Visitors Bureau

For more information on the places mentioned in this piece, contact the Provincial Government of La Union through Danica of the Tourism Office at (0918) 781-1483 or email danica.balcita@gmail. com. For Pangasinan, contact the Pangasinan Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office at (075) 542-6853 / 6326795, or email

With the MNTC’s chain of world-class highways linking Metro Manila with the rest of Central and Northern Luzon like never before, you have every reason not to book that plane ticket going down south, opting instead to traverse the fine roads going up north, breathing in the sights, taking in the culture and experiencing the gamut of wonders north of the metro. 2015, kick started by the Lakbay Norte 4 sojourn, was an amazing one for me. But with Lakbay Norte 5, personally, being an even bigger blast, I can only envision even greater things for the rest of the year.


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•  •  •  •  •  •  •  • 

(17) The beautiful Capitol Building of Lingayen; (18) Dine, listen to acoustic tunes and relax while having good food at Balingasay River—one of the country’s cleanest; (19) Another can’t miss in Pangasinan is Bugallon Riverside Restaurant and Bar, where everything is absolutely divine



­­– Maldives

Photo from Fonthip Ward (

Expat Associate Publisher Vernon Prieto brings the second of a three-part series of his travels in the Caribbean—and lets you in on where to go and what to do when in that tropical paradise. Plus, a glimpse into the pristine beauty of the Maldives, enticing that you book that trip soon, just in case you haven’t yet.

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Read on for a glimpse of the tropical paradise that’s as inviting a romantic getaway as it is for a family escape Text and photos by Vernon Prieto

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a M


Spa Villas

s e v i ld

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I like visiting islands. So when the opportunity to visit the Maldives came along, I immediately grabbed it. From Singapore, I boarded a Sri Lankan Airlines A330 flight to Colombo with immediate connection to the Maldives. Part of the allure of the trip was the journey on Sri Lankan Airlines, which has one of the friendliest and most efficient services in the air. I arrived in the modern Ibrahim Nasir International Airport in Hulhule, a man-made island. Most visitors would take the seaplane or boat to their respective resort islands from here, but I was to stay a night in the country’s exciting, chaotic and densely populated capital city of Male. So with luggage in tow, I hopped on one of the many water taxis that ply the waters between Hulhule and Male islands. I landed in Male’s waterfront after mere minutes. Many of the hotels are within walking distance of the wharf, but I opted to take a taxi because I had lots of bags with me. Pristine clear The following day, I met with Jaison Yang of Travel Warehouse who organized the trip for me. A short exhilarating flight on a seaplane got us to our destination, the Kurumathi Island Resort. We were warmly greeted by the welcoming staff and were quickly led to our respective accommodations on the island. The resort offers several accommodation options - the lead category being the stylish Garden Villa, followed by the romantic Beach Villa, then by the fantastic Water Villa. We both had our own water villas on different sides of the pier, and I immediately realized how crystal-clear the waters were. I could see all kinds of colorful species of fish swimming around and under the villas. I wondered how it would feel to swim among so many creatures. When I entered my villa, I instantly took notice of all the wonderful room facilities and amenities, most prominent of which was the huge and inviting Jacuzzi located in the spacious deck. The glass wall leading to the deck displayed one of the most beautiful ocean views I’ve ever seen. Even the shower room faced the ocean and had access to the deck and the sea. Unfortunately it was time for lunch and I had promised

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2 4


to meet some of the resort’s officials, all of whom are good friends of Jaison. So I grudgingly left the comfort of my villa and proceeded to one of the three main dining restaurants where all guests on the basic all-inclusive plan dine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The plan also includes high tea, minibar in the villa, snorkeling and windsurfing equipment, and excursions. Select all-inclusive plans, depending on what is chosen, may include wines and spirits, dining in the other restaurant outlets, and other privileges. The other restaurants around the island include Island Coffee Shop by the Infinity Pool, Siam Garden featuring authentic Thai cuisine, Tandoor Mahal serving exotic Indian food, The Reef seafood specialty restaurant, Palm with its array of Mediterranean delights, international fare in Duniye Restaurant and beach-side barbeque at Island Barbeque. There are also six bars dotting the island.

Other facilities in the resort include a splendid Spa, Diving Facilities, Medical Center with Hyperbaric Chamber manned by European Doctors, Aqua Sports, Eco Centre, Kids Club, Gymnasium, Tennis Courts and Swimming Pools. The Eco Centre hosts a Coral Reef Protection Program, Nature Walks, Botanic Walks, Hammerhead Shark Points, and other exciting activities designed for all guests. This romantic honeymoon paradise is, surprisingly, also a very family-friendly oasis. Most resorts cater only to either couples or families and not both, yet Kurumathi is able to have both types of guests because of the sheer size of the property. Those seeking a tranquil holiday do not have to worry about noisy and boisterous children and teens having all kinds of noisy fun because the resort is big enough for everyone to enjoy their


SPOTTING > Saint Lucia, Barbados and Dominica



To book your fascinating Maldivian holidays contact: Travel Warehouse, Inc. Telephone: (02) 687-2490 up to 92 Fax: (02) 687-2493 website: social media: facebook/twitter/instagram @travelwarehouseinc or Sri Lankan Airlines G/F SGV II Building, 6758 Ayala Avenue, Makati City Telephone: (02) 813-7085 Facsimile: (02) 891-0435 e-mail: website: 10


Sri Lankan Airlines flies daily to the Maldives from Singapore and Bangkok via Colombo.

1. Male, capital of the Maldives from the air 2. Laid-back sea-plane crew - only in the Maldives 3. Relaxing beach bar 4. Detail of Limestone carvings of the Friday Mosque, Male 5. Waterfront, Male 6. Well-maintained water-sports equipment 7. Sunning and Boating are only a few activities to enjoy on the island 8. Water Villas with Jacuzzis 9. The fabulous sandbar 10. Intimate dining pavilion for two 11. Kurumathi’s Filipino kitchen crew



particular space and facilities for activities. After two extremely relaxing nights on Kurumathi Island Resort, it was time to bid farewell to new hotel friends and board another thrilling Trans Maldivian Airways flight back to the Seaplane Terminal in the International Airport. Our pilots were a friendly lot who amazingly absorbed island life to the core. They operated the aircraft wearing flip-flops or were barefoot. Only in the Maldives!


When we got to Male from the airport we went on a city tour. We learned much about this sovereign archipelagic nation in the Indian Ocean from our very informative guide. We started at the Republic Square where a huge Maldivian flag greeted us. Around the Republic Square are the headquarters of the Maldivian National Defense Force and Maldivian Police

Service. Also in the vicinity is the goldendomed Islamic Centre. I looked forward to seeing the Friday Mosque even from afar because non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. The Friday Mosque is one of several unique-to-the-Maldives mosques built using coral stones elaborately carved. These mosques are included in UNESCO’s list of Tentative World Heritage Sites. Unexpectedly, our guide was able to secure permission for us to enter the mosque to my great delight. Next to the mosque is its imposing minaret while a 17th century cemetery surrounds it. We also visited some handicraft shops to purchase some souvenirs and the fish market to see the many catches of the day. We returned to the airport after a delicious local curry lunch and relaxed in the comfort of Sri Lanka Airlines A330 service back to Singapore via Colombo.

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Caribbean Diary Second of 3 parts: Saint Lucia, Barbados and Dominica Text and photos by Vernon Prieto

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In the last issue of Expat, I chronicled my trip to the Caribbean for a reunion with dear Sister Gertrude in Trinidad & Tobago and adventure-filled cruise starting in Sint Maarten then to the islands of Saint Kitts and Barbuda. From St. John’s in Barbuda, we sailed to enchanting Saint Lucia, which has been declared the “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” an astounding eight times at the annual World Travel Awards. This romantic tropical island’s appeal is evident in its stunning natural attractions, thrilling adventures, luxurious accommodations a rich culture which is a blend of Caribbean, African, French and British flavors.

qMarigot Bay, Saint Lucia

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The shore excursion I purchased began at the Pointe Seraphine cruise ship terminal and we immediately proceeded to the overlook in fortified Morne Fortune or “Hill of Good Luck” to enjoy the breathtaking views of the harbor where raging battles were fought by the French and the British during colonial times. On clear days, the neighboring French island of Martinique can also be seen from there. From Morne Fortune, we headed to Marigot Bay considered by many as Saint Lucia’s most beautiful bay, and further declared by American novelist James Michener as “the Most Beautiful Bay in the Caribbean.” As a note, Marigot Bay is a sheltered cove where the original Dr. Doolittle movie was filmed. The coastal drive passed lush plantations of banana, verdant rainforests and traditional fishing villages before we arrived in Sulfur Springs Park – the Caribbean’s only drive-through volcano. Here, visitors can walk through the volcano crater and view bubbling mud pools, hot springs and fumaroles (steam vents). Others spend more time at the Sulfur Springs to take pleasure in soothing mud baths to cure rheumatism and skin ailments like psoriasis, and to reduce stress. After 30 minutes at the Sulfur Springs Park, we continued the drive to the Pitons Management Area where we finally saw the iconic peaks of Gros Piton and Petit Piton. The Pitons Management Area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 and is the most famous attraction in Saint Lucia. From a local cliff-side restaurant, we enjoyed the postcard-pretty views of the majestic Pitons and the town of Soufriere, which lies at the base of the mountains. The town was established by the French and was once the capital of Saint Lucia. After returning to port, I had some time left to stroll around charming Castries, the island’s capital and largest city. Castries was founded by the French in 1650 and the British made it a major naval port in 1803. The city center is the Derek Walcott Square, named after one of Saint Lucia’s two Nobel Prize recipients. The square is surrounded

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by elegant 19th century colonial wood buildings, as well as the imposing Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception built in 1897. The grand stone structure, with its colorful West Indian interior, is regarded as one of the most significant religious buildings built by the French in the Caribbean. Also worth visiting is the lively Castries Market where handicrafts, spices and other local items and produce are sold. That evening, we had another chance to once again view the Pitons from the ship as we sailed away to Barbados.

Bajan flavor

The following morning, we docked in Bridgetown, Barbados. Although the cruise was to end in two more days in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I chose to disembark here because I preferred to fly to Dominica, which was not part of the cruise. Since I was spending the night in Barbados, I took a taxi to my hotel then rode a local minibus back to the center of Bridgetown. The bus terminal is located in a very crowded part of the city, and after asking for directions from the locals, I walked to the tourist information center in one of the shopping centers to secure a city map. Most shops in Barbados sell duty-free goods ranging from fashion fare, electronics and spirits including world-famous Barbadian or Bajan Rhum. Bajan is short for Barbadian


and refers to anything and anyone from Barbados Bridgetown, originally named “Indian Bridge” from a primitive bridge constructed by early Amerindian settlers, is an impressive town with a population of 100,000. The City and its Garrison is an outstanding example of British colonial architecture and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011. Since I am a UNESCO Heritage buff, I excitedly explored the city by foot, starting in the neo-Gothic Parliament Buildings. Since the Garrison area is a long walk from downtown Bridgetown, I returned to the minibus terminal for a ride up to St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral where I got off.






1. Gros Piton, Petit Piton and Soufriere Town, Saint Lucia 2. Castries Harbour from Morne Fortune, Saint Lucia 3. Catries Market, Catries, Saint Lucia 4. Careenage Marina, Bridgetown, Barbados 5. Downtown Bridgetown, Barbados 6. Brandons Beach, Bridgetown, Barbados 7. Parliament Buildings, Bridgetown, Barbados 8. Caribbean Coast, Kalinago Territory, Dominica

Unspoilt Dominica


The Roman Catholic Church in Barbados was outlawed until the abolition of slavery in 1838, hence the Cathedral, built in 1848, then again in 1898, is one of the newer structures covered in the UNESCO list. I was at the Garrison area, so I walked the rest of the way to the different military buildings and sites, and stopped at popular Brandons Beach for a muchneeded refreshment. The beach is most visited by cruisers because of its proximity to the cruise terminal, calm waters, white

sands and array of dining facilities. After a short rest, the next stop was at the George Washington House. George Washington visited Barbados with his ailing older halfbrother Lawrence, and lived in this historic plantation house for two months in 1751, many years before becoming the first President of the United States. After seeing all that needed to be seen, I got back to the hotel, had dinner and retired early to have enough sleep for the next day’s early flight to Dominica.

When I arrived at Dominica’s DouglasCharles International Airport, I was surprised to find out how distant it was from the capital town of Roseau. Although a long one-hour drive, the scenery was spectacular. The taxi driver explained much about the island and described all the wonderful natural sites we passed by. I had lots to ask him too because I was unable to find a proper travel company in Dominica to purchase a tour from. After some haggling, we agreed on a rate for a tour to start after lunch from the hotel and to continue the following day on the way back to the airport. My home in Dominica was the Fort Young Hotel, which is nestled on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The 70-room hotel sits on the site where a French wooden fort was built in 1720. In 1761, British forces overran the fort when they captured the island and rebuilt the fort in stone. The original stonewalls still stand and are now part of the hotel. After lunch, I

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LOCALSHORES SPOTTING > Saint Lucia, Barbados and Dominica

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embarked on a very interesting tour of the Caribbean’s most natural, greenest, wettest and least-developed-for-tourism island. From the hotel, I was taken to Morne Bruce, an exclusive hillside enclave for the best panoramic view of Roseau and the surrounding mountains and sea. Below Morne Bruce is the 40acre Botanical Gardens where you can see the icon of Dominica – the Sisserou parrot (Amazona Imperalis) found only in Dominica and featured prominently in its National Coat of Arms and National Flag. We went up to the mountains to many of the sites included in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed in 1997. From Laudat Village, located inside the National Park, we visited the Freshwater Lake where kayaking and boat tours are available, Titou Gorge, the chasm featured in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, and the magnificent twin Trafalgar Falls. After an afternoon of eco-tourism it was time to take a short nap in the hotel before exploring Roseau on my own. Roseau is a densely populated market town with Stone and Victorian homes lining the narrow

cobblestone streets, some housing chic cafes, shops and restaurants. On a high ground stands the outstanding Catholic Cathedral of Saint Patrick. This gothicmeets-Caribbean designed 19th century landmark highlights stained glass upper windows and typical Creole wooden shutter lower windows for natural ventilation.

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On the way to the airport the next day, we visited the fascinating Kalinago Territory located in Dominica’s east coast. The Kalinago are the indigenous people of the Caribbean and it is only in Dominica that a substantial population still thrives. Approximately 3,000 Kalinagos live in the 3,700-acre territory spread over eight hamlets. Here, many ancestral traditions are maintained such as language, crafts, architecture, cuisine, song and dance. Truly Dominica’s unique unspoilt beauty and preserved culture sets it apart from its other more-famous neighbors.

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9. Trafalgar Falls in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Dominica 10. Statues representing Village Chiefs, Kalinago Territory, Dominica 11. St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Roseau, Dominica.

From Dominica I flew back to Barbados, then on to Trinidad before boarding a flight to exciting Paramaribo, Suriname. Suriname continued on part 3


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of the state Find out more about the five individuals vying for the highest position in the land; get to know the juggling act being performed by Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista; and read up on what is left of the essence of the EDSA Revolution 30 years on.

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The Ghost of

EDSA Past, Present and Future

30 years down the road, what has

become of the EDSA Revolution? Text by Angie Duarte

I remember an incident, in recent years, at the height of the investigations and hearings into the notorious Pork Barrel Scam in the Philippines. I was on board a cab, on my way to work, and live feed of the court hearings blared over the radio. The cab driver and I sat in stunned silence, the air between us heavy with disgust and dismay, as the lady on the witness stand recounted how she had – on several occasions – delivered large sums of money to lawmakers at their Senate offices, or to their homes. Sometimes (for sums of one or two million pesos only, she would use her handbag; others times, for amounts up to Php11-million, she would use a carry-on bag with wheels, she said, nonplussed. Her bad back couldn’t handle the weight of the cash, she added. The lady’s testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, in the long-drawn-out hearings which followed after the porky expose, was on everyone’s agenda that February morning in 2014. For once, I was thankful to be stuck in rush-hour traffic. I wanted to hear what she had to say, no matter that it made me balk, or how – to my already frayed “life in the Philippines” sensibilities – each word sounded like nails down a chalkboard. I realized the driver was asking me a question, so I tuned the testimony out for a bit, to tune in to his query. It was halfquestion, half-thought-spoken-out-loud: “I wonder what that much money looks like? I cannot even imagine it, Ma’am.” He could not visualize it, and neither could I; for I, like the cabbie, belong to the class that – on these islands – works hard for their meager amounts of money. Way, way too hard; for way, way too little.

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Neither of us could imagine what millions in cold, hard cash would look like; nor could we fathom the incredible lack of soul, conscience, and shred of humanity in the people who thought it “ok” to steal these millions from their fellow Filipinos. After all, a kickback comes from money allocated for projects, which in turn comes from the country’s coffers, which we all know comes from the people’s taxes paid from very, very hard work; for very, very little recompense. Despicable. Utterly so.


As the cab neared my place of work, we drove by some EDSA anniversary flyer or other, pasted to an electric

post (presumably to be stuck there until weathering took its natural course). ‘Twas the season, after all, that the nation stopped to remember the People Power movement that took place on the Metro’s main thoroughfare, EDSA, on the 25th of February, 1986. 2014 marked the 28th anniversary of the popular people’s revolt


to oust the Overstaying Dictator, and thrust the Hapless Housewife into the highest seat in the land. It was the movement that catapulted the Philippines to global political and socio-cultural fame. It was the movement that the annals of history will forever remember as the peaceful revolution of the masses that restored democracy in the Philippines. It was the movement that united a nation, across all socio-economic barriers - regardless of class, and despite political and religious beliefs - towards a common and noble goal. Yet in that cab, it was the movement that made me just about snort in derision. Where was the EDSA spirit, then? Where is it now? What happened to all that hope and promise?

Punk’s not dead. Is the spirit of EDSA? The Ghost of EDSA past came to haunt me, as I recalled a time that was charged with the certainty of a better tomorrow, and of a bright future for our country – finally.

Let’s throwback to 1983; to the revolution’s first birth pangs. Ninoy Aquino’s return to the country (after several years in exile) was as highly anticipated as it was dreaded. People feared for his life; yet no one expected the end to come so quickly. He had barely stepped onto the soil of his native land when shots rang out, and found their mark in Ninoy. His lifeless body was unceremoniously and hurriedly tossed into a waiting security van seconds thereafter. Video footage left people in shock; stunned at the brazenness of it all. Shock turned into mourning, which later morphed into outrage, as the icon of longoverdue change lay dead in a coffin – his face, disfigured by the assassin’s bullet and purposely left un-retouched. The people’s sentiments began to simmer, then to seethe. Yet for two more years after Ninoy’s death, Democracy lay dead in the tomb. And on the third year, She rose again. It was 1986 and I was a young punk in my senior year of high school; sporting asymmetrical hair, fishnets, studs and boots long before these were integrated into Manila’s stream of fashion consciousness. Under pressure from Uncle Sam and from an increasingly disgruntled Filipino populace to prove the legitimacy of his 20-year-rule, President Ferdinand Marcos called for a snap election, one year before the duly scheduled electoral date. The results declared Marcos victorious, to cries of “FOUL!” from all across the land. People took to the streets on February 22, 1986; EDSA was the melting pot of all collective woes, anger, and frustration. Generals, once loyal to the strongman, defected; and with them, their men in

uniform. Men and women of the clergy bore crosses and prayed rosaries; while intellectuals and artists gave speeches, sang songs, wrote essays extolling the virtues of nationalism and love for country. Three days, the clamor continued, until he who sat on his high wall had a great and decisive fall. Marcos, along with his family, relinquished power and fled in exile to Hawaiian shores. The people were jubilant; a yellow sea of frenzy. Ninoy’s widow Corazon was sworn into office as the country’s first female president. Hope seemed to spring eternal, despite her self-confessed lack of experience in any shape, form, or fashion to fulfill the highest call of the nation. The future seemed as bright as the shade of canary yellow which had become the color of the new movement. Three decades since, I am all that much older, and I am still a punk. Punk’s not dead, I can say with conviction. But what of the spirit of EDSA? Where has it all gone? Forgotten, perhaps, like the crimes of former ousted politicians who somehow manage to once again hold seats in government (only in the Philippines, maybe?). Is the spirit of EDSA, like punk, alive still? I am not as convinced. The Ghost of EDSA Present must be sitting in a dark corner somewhere, bawling.

Pork, rice, and unbridled greed

Since the storied People’s Power Movement took place on EDSA 30 years ago, much has happened to make me question if the legacy still lives. Pork and rice, for instance. I refer, of course, not to our favorite mouth-watering fare, but to the notorious billion peso pork barrel scam, and to the infamous billion peso “David Tan” rice smuggling scandal. Pork and rice: a meal prepared by unbridled greed, at the expense of the Filipino people. These are but two examples in a whole gamut of them. Throw in the Maguindanao and Mamasapano . . . the list does go on and on. Where do we, the people, factor into the recipe? I am no scholar on the matter, but it would seem that we have played the role of the “powerless and clueless” very, very well. In complete anti-thesis to the vigilance and initiative of People Power. We cannot live off one spectacular moment in time, and then slip back into our oblivious, routinary existence. We are too forgiving, and far too forgetful. We elect the same-old-same-old into office; blinded by smooth talk and lofty promises,

or bought by crispy bills. Something worth remembering and thinking about, with the fast upcoming, very important national elections. Yes; the economy has been on an upswing, for which Aquino’s son, P-Noy, like to take credit. However, the economic recovery that we are enjoying has yet to translate to concrete terms, for the good of the common man and woman; such as the taxi driver and myself.

“AKO” ay Pilipino (I am Filipino)

Where do we begin to unravel the hopelessly tangled knot of a country we have become? It all starts with the part you and I play in the knot. What can I do to make it better, one person at a time? I am not talking of the empty nationalism we all too often see; the kind that gets their underwear in a bunch and goes all ballistic on social media when someone says something nasty about the Philippines or a Filipino, yet thinks nothing of tossing their litter onto the streets of an already dirty metro. Folks, there is a reason we have been likened to the gates of hell, and you would have to be blind, living under a rock, or in absolute denial not to see it. So instead of expending effort railing against those who point out the truth, let’s do what we can to fix it. I am referring to the nationalism that takes ACTIVE RESPONSIBILITY for our own actions in the country we claim to love so very much. Littering. Driving like a moron. Paying off the cop who catches you for driving like a moron. Refusing to fall in line and shoving your way into the bus or the railway transit. Not paying your employees fair wages for their labor. Not paying on time. Not paying them at all. Treating your helpers like slaves, instead of workers with dignity. Putting-up with all the garbage (literal and figurative) the government passes off as good service. Electing former criminals into office. The list of areas in which we all fall short is indeed lengthy. Time to set the cogs into motion, and bring about a true revolution in our country; the kind of revolution that begins with self: “AKO.” I. Me. Me. Myself, and I. It begins with self and ripples all across the land into something more solid than the mere memory of a fantastic three-day event in our history. Ninoy said that the “Filipino is worth dying for.” Is he or she also worth living for? Can we live our individual lives in a manner worthwhile and worthy of the price that many a bygone hero and heroine have paid? I would like to believe that the answer is a resounding “YES.” So would the cab driver, I am guessing. As would the Ghost of EDSA Future, I am certain.

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Nurturing the Soul of Democracy

COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista is a man that has worn many hats of expertise, though he would be first to admit that none of them ensures success in chairing a commission in charge of managing elections of this magnitude. During a sit down with the man, Expat found that he is many things – but being cool, calm and collected may just be the most crucial traits he possesses – especially for this unique post. Text by Timothy Jay Ibay Photos by Macjanry Imperio

With news articles on the commission he is tasked to chair appearing in daily broadsheets every single day, it came as a surprise that Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Andres Bautista would grant this travel and lifestyle glossy a face to face interview less than three months before what is deemed to be one of the most important Presidential elections in recent Philippine history. The Expat team expected Bautista to show up understandably later than the slated schedule, what with the plethora of things he has to attend to. He did not. He showed up right on the dot, with a warm, welcoming smile. There was an unfathomable amount of pressure on this man and the commission he heads. But despite being neck deep in issues he had to address to ensure successful national and local elections, he showed zero signs of being under any kind of duress. This was grace under pressure exemplified. With that alone, he already appeared to be the right man for the job. Curriculum vital Bautista’s resume is as decorated as they come. Ateneo de Manila University Law class valedictorian and bar topnotcher; Master of Laws from Harvard; licensed law practitioner in the state of New York (while also having practiced in Atlanta, Hong Kong and Manila); headed a number

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of multinational corporations; chairman of the Philippine Association of Law Schools; chaired the Presidential Commission of Good Government; was a member of the Consultative Commission on Charter Change; was a nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court—the list goes on and on. But despite that wealth of experience, he understood full well that he would be tackling an entirely different beast with chairing the COMELEC. And assuming office barely 12 months before an unprecedentedly tight Presidential election certainly only made the task just that much more daunting. “Likening it to a basketball game, we came in and felt like we were already 20 points down,” the Chairman shared. “Not only did we have to rally, but rally fast.” Adding that despite his vast expertise, managing elections – particularly one that

will put into office some 18,000 officials in a single day – is not something you learn from books, or anywhere else for that matter. It’s just one of those unique beasts that you have to find a way to tackle on the job. This isn’t a moveable feast,” Bautista told Expat, referencing Hemmingway. “Elections are supposed to happen on May 9. If it doesn’t happen, it will have a slew of consequences that will not be good for the country. It’s not just about our democracy, but it’s about our economy, business, and the confidence of investors to come in.” If you care to open any random newspaper, it’s easy to get a glimpse of the myriad of issues the COMELEC has to juggle and address – from the ballot printing and ensuring the machines are properly coded, to candidate disqualification cases and making the sure the massively vital matter of logistics is down to a T. With all of those, it leads one to question why a highly


I think it’s probably one of, if not the most important elections in recent history, because there is momentum for good governance. The seeds have been planted, but they need to be nurtured for them to really flourish. The importance lies in ensuring continuity.

But Expat would have been wasting the Chairman’s time if we didn’t ask anyway.

accomplished man would take on such a thankless job. “I thought it was an opportunity to contribute something to society, specifically because as a teacher of constitutional law, I know how important elections are in a democracy,” Bautista said matter of fact when asked what made chairing the commission an appealing post despite being a man having nothing to prove. “Body is to soul as democracy is to elections,” Bautista added, succinctly epitomizing a personal mantra that drives him amidst the chaos of managing these overwhelming elections. Furthering, “ [It was] one of those things I couldn’t say no to. Although I fully understand the gravity of the responsibility and it does entail a lot of risks – physical, reputational – you are always in a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t; between a rock and a hard place; the devil and the deep blue sea.’ You can’t please everyone. But I believed that if I did not do it, if I didn’t grab the opportunity, I would regret it.” Juggling fact So there he was that random afternoon – with less than 90 days until what he personally deems as one of the most important presidential elections in recent Philippine history – as unruffled as one can be despite being mired in a myriad of concerns. “I really feel like a juggler – trying to balance so many things,” Bautista shared. “Elections are just not about making sure that the machines work. There are so many other aspects that you have to focus on.” And even that seemed like an understatement when the Chairman gave a glimpse into the gamut of COMELEC’s responsibilities.

There’s the technological aspect – a fairly new concept in this country having just adopted automation six years ago (acquisition of machines, reconfiguring them in accordance with the required specifications, and testing [more than a thousand people were tasked to that matter alone]; printing of close to 57 million ballots; and taking care of the overseas voting process were just some of the matters Bautista pointed out. The commission also spearheads various debates, screens the tens of thousands of candidates and is pushing some innovations like mall voting to add to the overwhelming amount of work that is expected to be taken care of in just 12 months. “It’s part of my job to project confidence,” he replied when asked how he’s able to maintain an aura of confidence amidst the rattling amount of concerns and the obvious time constraints. “I try not to be very emotional when it comes to these things. I try to look into the problem but try to be solution oriented instead of just focusing on the problem. Rather than cursing the darkness, we like to light candles.” “What’s important is not the start but the end,” Bautista offered with his standard hint of optimism. Beyond May 9 Bautista understands the magnitude of what the commission he heads is undertaking. The margin for error is so slim. And any sort of failure of election would mean a short-lived post for his part. He grasps this fully. And that is why he chooses not to concretely speak of anything beyond the May 9 polls. That includes the inherent things that need to be done to restructure a complex voting system that is overripe for amending.

“There are many provisions in our Omnibus Election Code (OEC) that need to be amended,” Baustista answered in response to what he thinks are some of the things the voting system needed. “They are still circa 1985. The mindset is still manual elections. They don’t take into account technological advancements,” adding that they’ve also been asking Congress to amend the law with regard to what candidates are allowed to spend, calling the existing provision “no longer realistic.” As a note, according to Republic Act 7166, Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates may only spend PhP10 per registered voter – which in this election would be around PhP543 million—a figure that research firms like AC Nielsen said have been shattered by nearly all of the Presidentiables way before the official start of the campaign period. Similar to the country’s OEC, Bautista admits that the Philippine Constitution may no longer be fit for the changing times. “It’s time we looked at provisions on our form of government [to see] whether this still works,” he said while also pointing out that the complexity of the election process stems from the constitution (which calls for synchronized elections for both national and local positions). It’s not difficult for anyone who has lived in this country to see that there’s a lot that needed to be done years ago. But, as Bautista opines: “The administration has laid down a good foundation that we can work with, and therefore, it’s important that we’re able to continue that. And you can’t do that unless you have credible elections.” “Ask me on May 10” is the Chairman’s standard response when asked what his future is with the commission. Although, with so much on the line for the country in the coming elections, he could very well have been referring to the future of the Philippines’ entire state.

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Manuel“Mar”Araneta Roxas II Liberal

The third straight presidential scion? Text by Richard Ramos

One of the highlights of the 2010 polls was Mar Roxas volunteering to step down as candidate for the Presidency so then Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino could run for the post under the Liberal Party. In return, a grateful Aquino named Roxas as his Vice Presidential candidate, appointed him as DILG (Deprtment of Interior and Local Government) Secretary (after losing the VP bid), and later anointed him as the chosen candidate under the “Daang Matuwid” (Straight Path) for the coming May polls.

Ateneo de Manila, Roxas earned a degree at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. His stint as an investment banker paved the way for the top post in the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Among his more notable accomplishments was the MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) development through low-interest loans, Personal Computers for Public Schools (PCPS), Make IT (Information Technology) Philippines.

Government service runs deep in the bloodlines of Manuel “Mar” Araneta Roxas II. His father, Gerry Roxas, was a former Senator, and his grandfather, Manuel Roxas, was a former President of the Republic of the Philippines. A younger brother, Gerardo “Dinggoy” Roxas Jr. who passed away in 1993, was a former Congressman. This paved the way for Mar Roxas’ formal entry into politics as he succeeded his brother in the 1st district in Capiz, Negros Occidental.

But his biggest impact was the setting up of the necessary infrastructure for the entry of various Information and Communications Technology businesses such as software companies and Business Process Outsourcing centers that later reached over a million-strong workforce nationwide. This proved to be a haven of employment, promoted a culture of consumerism, and jump-started the local economies through retail and real estate. Without these call centers, the OFWs would probably have doubled and resulted in greater strains on the domestic lives of society.

After spending his elementary and high school years at the

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He resigned later to run as Senator in 2004 and promptly topped the slate with over 19 million votes via his moniker “Mr. Palengke” (Man of the Public Markets). This was brought about by his visits to public markets nationwide in order to touch base with the townsfolk. While the President has managed to maintain his high ratings even during his last few months in power, Roxas has remained an underdog at the poll surveys due to negative public perception. The Mamasapano issue and the Yolanda aftermath continue to haunt him due to perceived errors on his part. Still, he remains confident of his chances due to the impressive economic gains made by the administration, especially on the global front where the Philippines has consistently placed among the top three performing Asian

countries for the past five years. It remains to be seen if President Aquino’s popularity is transferrable to Roxas and to the Liberal Party in general. Arguments abound if he should become a clone of the President or create his own identity. Should he adapt a safe and secure image or a gung-ho stance that would attract more voters appeal? What would make him a standout from the other candidates? The present consensus of the voting public indicate that they seem quite open to change despite the large strides made by the incumbent administration. Can Roxas make it as the third Presidential scion in a row?

ROXAS ON FOREIGN POLICY, INFRASTRACTURE AND TOURISM e Despite the numbers released suggesting that in 2014, net foreign direct investments reached US$6.2 billion – the highest ever recorded in the country’s history – there are those that say there remain plenty of restrictive provisions in foreign investment attraction. Should you be elected President, how would you address the concerns on existing restrictive economic provisions? MR

In my many years at the forefront of economic policymaking across several administrations, not once did investors cite the constitution as a constraint for pouring in their investments. It has always been governance and infrastructure, primarily. And as you said, this government still has been able to liberalize the economy and attract investments without amending the constitution (e.g. Passage of the Philippine Competition Law, the Act Allowing Full Entry of Foreign Banks, and amendments to the Cabotage Law). The bottom line is that you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube. I do not mean to be an alarmist but if there are consequences other than those that we desire, the process will be much more complex.

e There’s much left to be desired when it comes to the country’s tourism industry, and a lot of that hinges on the infrastructure that would not only entice visitors to enjoy the many wonders of the country, but also make a great number of destinations more accessible to potential tourists. What are your plans to elevate the Philippines’ tourism standing (particularly compared to our ASEAN neighbors), specifically when it comes to developing pertinent tourism infrastructure?   MR

First and foremost, we need to ramp up the implementation of infrastructure projects by developing the government’s capacity to implement such projects. By increasing our capital expenditures, we improve the connectivity and accessibility of our tourist destinations. We also need to ensure peace and order to tap new tourist destinations. This is not only for the purpose of providing security for arriving tourists, but more importantly, it will make for a stable environment for communities that depend on these tourism activities for sources of income and livelihood. Tourism is considered as one of the low-hanging fruits that enable the whole country to showcase what it can offer the rest of the world. More importantly, this sector provides concrete opportunities for Filipino families to find a stable and reliable source of income in order to achieve their dreams.

e Public-Private Partnership Projects (PPPs) have been highly-touted during the Aquino administration, but despite the fanfare, there are those that opine that the implementation of investment projects are far too slow, and with minimal participation of foreign direct investment in many of the PPPs. Should you win in the coming elections, how would you instill a sense of urgency that would expedite the completion of the fore mentioned PPPs and place more emphasis on building much needed infrastructure? MR

Make no mistake about it: This administration knows how urgent and necessary it is for our country to catch up with the demands of our developing economy. That is why we are focused on the full development of our infrastructure. In 2010, our national budget for infrastructure was only at PhP165 billion—only 1.83 percent of our GDP then. Last year, we started spending PhP570 billion in building new and better roads, bridges, and highways both in urban and rural areas. In the 2016 national budget and for the first time in Philippine history, the government will be able to meet the United Nation’s minimum standard for infrastructure spending as a share of GDP for developing countries at 5 percent or around PhP766.5 billion. My administration will make sure that this upward trend will not be interrupted. But we do recognize that the systems need improvement. One feedback from the business community is the emergence of bottlenecks in the implementation of some infrastructure due to more stringent measures that were imposed as part of the government’s anticorruption campaign. Let me stress that such efforts were undertaken to make sure that every peso from Filipino taxpayers is spent for projects for real development. As our administrators become professionalized and our systems adjust, I’m confident that we can find a dynamic balance between following the rules and implementing projects quickly and efficiently. At present, our contractors have already reached full capacity due to the number of infrastructure projects in our pipeline. All of which will require the next leadership to closely monitor their progress and to ensure that their construction are right on schedule. As such, we will produce and train more engineers to increase the capacity of our country’s pool of contractors. This will enable them to effectively harness technologies to provide high-quality services for all stakeholders. We are already on our way and we intend to see all of these through but we also have to understand that our desired outcomes will not happen overnight.

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Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares Independent

A breath of fresh air? Text by Ching Dee

“Ipagpapatuloy ko ang sinimulan ng aking ama.” (I will continue what my father started.) This has been the battle cry of Presidentiable Senator Grace PoeLlamanzares: To continue what her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr., started in 2004 when the “King of Philippine Movies” ran for President. Perhaps of all the candidates, Poe is considered the most embattled. Plagued with disqualification cases left and right (and up and down), Poe’s eligibility to run for the highest political post in the country is being questioned on the basis of her citizenship. According to her biography, Poe was left as a baby on the doorsteps of Jaro Cathedral in Jaro, Iloilo. The tiny innocent infant was then adopted by Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (Fernando Poe

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Jr.’s real name) and his wife Jesusa Sonora-Poe (also known as veteran actress Susan Roces). In all its essence and based on the Constitution, Poe is considered a “foundling.” As a student, Poe excelled both in academics and sports. Her strong performance propelled her to attend the University of the Philippines - Manila from 1986 to 1988 where she took up Development Studies. She finished her college education at Boston College where she earned her degree in Political Science. From 1991 to 2004, Poe lived in the US with her husband Neil Llamanzares, a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines since birth. This is where another issue in Poe’s citizenship comes in. On October 2001, Poe took an “oath of allegiance” to the US to become a naturalized US citizen. In effect, this means she renounced her Filipino citizenship.


“There is no proof that if you’ve been in a [government] position for a long time, you are more competent.” Poe’s struggle to provide genetic proof of her being a natural-born Filipino and her renunciation of her Filipino citizenship have been used by opponents and private individuals alike to dismantle her campaign and has come as far as getting a court order for the exhumation of certain people’s remains.

Poe was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in 2010. In 2013, she ran for Senator and topped the polls with a record-setting 20,337,327 votes—the highest number of votes in Philippine election history.

According to Poe’s submitted verified response to the Senate Electoral Tribunal in September 2015, “After her naturalization, she maintained her ties to the Philippines and visited the country frequently. She never foreclosed the possibility of one day returning to the Philippines, as indeed, she returned in 2005.” Yes, in 2005—just a few months after her father’s demise in December 2014—Poe and her family decided to move to the Philippines for good. In 2006, Poe filed for dual citizenship. In 2010, she effectively renounced her American citizenship when she took an oath as a government official of the Philippines.

As Senator, she became the first female Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. She is also the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media and the Sub-Committee on Public Services on Transport Issues. She is also the Vice-Chairperson of the Committees on Agriculture and Food and Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.

Poe also cited that according to several international organizations—including the United Nations—no person is “stateless,” even foundlings like herself. More disqualification cases against Poe were filed before the SET and COMELEC, focusing on the issue of her not meeting the 10year minimum residency requirement for presidential candidates. According to Article VII, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, “No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election.” Despite these cases thrown at her, Poe and her running mate Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero continue their campaign as President and Vice President for 2016. Running under the banner of Partido Galing at Puso, the two senators vow for “gobyernong may puso” (government with a heart).

In her first three years as Senator, Poe has filed a total of 198 pieces of legislation—68 bills and 130 resolutions—on national concerns like “social justice, child nutrition, industrial competitiveness, ecological protection, government modernization and professionalization, and graft and corruption. Two of her legislative initiatives are now part of the country’s statute books: RA 10649, an amendatory law of the Dangerous Drugs Act, enable the government to go after big-time drug pushers; [and] RA 10639 which mandates telecommunication companies to send free disaster and calamity alerts to citizens and subscribers to promote disaster preparedness and reduce risks during calamities.”* During the first presidential debate last Feb. 21, 2016, Poe admitted she has the “thinnest résumé” but stressed that there is no proof of the correlation of length of service and effectiveness as a leader. “There is no proof that if you’ve been in a [government] position for a long time, you are more competent,” Poe said in the vernacular during the first round of the debates. - Text from biography of Sen. Grace Poe (

Before filing her certificate of candidacy for president in 2015, what hER supporters are saying •  One of the reasons cited for the overwhelming public

support she got back when she ran for a Senate seat is her “aura of being clean.”

•  She stood as the most prepared during the first

Presidential debates – a testament to her commitment despite what others would like to call inexperience.

•  She is considered a breath of fresh air from the

traditionally corrupt politicians, which is tied up with the calls to try something new, since the same old names have repeatedly failed to make any kind of significant progress.

•  She projects a genuine concern for the Philippines

and its people. Supporters point out that Poe could’ve easily been living the American Dream with her family as opposed to the thankless job of being a public servant.

•  Many supporters find Poe’s stand on key issues

(Freedom of Information Act, Reproductive Health Law, Same Sex Marriage) to be more favorable for the greater good, which will create a more diversified, yet unified electorate.

those who oppose •  We can’t have a non-Filipino president. •  Apart from her citizenship, experience will always be

the main thing opponents of Poe will bring up.

•  And because of that very inexperience, she will wind

up being a puppet president, one that will ultimately swerve her administration away from her immaculate reputation and into the hands of traditional (corrupt) politicians.

•  Toughness is another thing question about Poe.

Opponents feel that at this point in time, the country needs a firm, experienced leader. She may be a lot of things, but being a tough leader is something Poe will be hard-pressed to prove.

•  This is a vital point in the country’s history. We cannot

make the same mistake we made 30 years ago, when we elected an inexperienced woman to the highest office in the land.

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Rodrigo “Rody” Roa Duterte PDP-Laban

The Punisher and the Presidency Text by Angie Duarte

He has been called many things –The Punisher, Davao’s Dirty Harry, or, simply Duterte Harry, to name some of the more commonly used monikers – and has likewise elicited perhaps the most extreme of reactions from the voting public. Love him or hate him, Presidential candidate Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is decidedly among the race’s top contenders. In January and February of 2016, Duterte jumped around the top three spots of various national polls ranking presidential favorites. Moreover, after the candidates’ first public debate held on Feb. 21 in Cagayan De Oro City, news sources pointed out that Duterte was the most mentioned and talked about on various social network sites. Undeniably, this candidate – infamous for his often foul mouth and vigilante-style tough guy image – is making big, tumultuous waves across the seas of local politics. 70-year-old Duterte has promised repeatedly to “stop criminality, stop corruption, and fix government,” should he be elected into the nation’s highest office. More specifically – among other aspects of his platform – he has vowed to exterminate drug lords; kick-out dirty politicians, policemen, and government officials; feed bullets 86 | expat

to wayward customs officials; raise the salaries of police personnel, law enforcers, and military; open all books and accounts within government; shift to a federalist form of government, in order to allow local government units to retain their earnings, as a means to alleviate poverty in rural areas. As seven-term Mayor of Davao, with a stint in the House of Representatives, as well, Duterte has had a lot of time (over 22 years to be more precise) to set the cogs of his radical machinery into motion in the urban city center on the island of Mindanao. Duterte’s iron fist has reportedly helped smash criminality in Davao, and his strongman methods have contributed towards making the city one of the safest in the Philippines. Collaborative online information sharing database,, has gone so far as to say that Davao City is the 5th safest in the world; a bit of a stretch, considering the results were based on the answers of not even 500 survey respondents. Nonetheless, that Davao has undergone a transformation for the better under Duterte’s leadership is undeniable. What was once dubbed as the “murder capital of the Philippines,” a known refuge for criminals and rebels in the 80s, has become a model of peace and prosperity; and Davao’s children


Duterte’s iron fist has reportedly helped smash criminality in Davao, and his strongman methods have contributed towards making the city one of the safest in the Philippines. swear by Duterte’s controversial methods. With Duterte’s supervision, Davao has rapidly progressed in efficiency, and now boasts of an integrated 911 rapid response emergency system (the first in the Philippines), as well as a realtime computer integrated system and data monitoring dashboard which aids in crime prevention, emergency response management and even traffic flow regulation. For this, IBM has hailed Davao as the first “smart city” in the Philippines. Davao City’s public coffers are well-accounted for, and monies spent wisely on the needs of the people of the city – ask anyone from Davao, and this is what they will tell you. Monies are spent so wisely, in fact, that there is enough left over to offer assistance to others in need. For instance, Davao donated a total of PhP7million

to those devastated by Super Tyhoon Yolanda, and Duterte himself helped spearhead relief efforts in Tacloban. The accolades and awards which have been bestowed on Davao City under Duterte’s rule are numerous. Among these, the Cleanest & Greenest City award (1999), for its watershed management, environmental rehabilitation and conservation program, including declaring the city a smoke-free zone; and the Award of Excellence from the Office of the President as the first runner-up in the Cleanest & Greenest Highly-Urbanized City in 2004, then second runner-up for three consecutive years, from 2001-2003. Love him or hate him, one thing’s for sure – you cannot ignore him. Rodrigo Duterte will make his voice heard and his actions felt – with the crack of a whip, whenever necessary.

DUTERTE ON FOREIGN POLICY, INFRASTRACTURE AND TOURISM e Despite the numbers released suggest that in 2014, net

foreign direct investments reached US$6.2 billion – the highest ever recorded in the country’s history – there are those that say there remain plenty of restrictive provisions in foreign investment attraction. Should you be elected President, how would you address the concerns on existing restrictive economic provisions?

RD Among the key restrictions embodied in our Constitution is the

ownership of land in the country which is reserved for persons or entities considered Philippine nationals or Filipino citizens except for foreign-affiliated corporations, with least 60 percent of the shares owned by Filipinos, which are entitled to own or acquire land in the country. I am willing to reverse the equation and even increase up to 70 percent the equity shares of foreign investors. I can do that. I can convince the country to amend the constitution to enable the 70 percent (equity) in favor of the foreign corporations. I am also willing to increase the number of years in the renewal of land lease agreements with foreign investors. You can renew your lease for another 40 years. That’s practically a lifetime (including the initial lease period). By the time (it ends), you and your factory will be gone. While we will pursue and adopt business-friendly policies in fostering economic growth, I am firm on my stand against any move allowing foreigners to own land in the Philippines. In a matter of selling the land, I must confess to you, I am not comfortable with it. But Philippines is many islands and since foreign businesses know exactly what they need, we can lease an island to them where they can build their factories and businesses according to their needs and rules like a “Business Island” patterned after Hong Kong. One way to do it (really) is to attract people. Now there are islands available here in the Philippines. It can be small, it can be big, but if it suits well to the business, we can lease it to investors without really giving up anything from the Filipinos. The investors can run their own show, discipline people there, and they can configure the island to their needs. I give you an island. Put your business there, obey the laws of the Republic of the Philippines, and you can tailor the configurations of whatever you want in that island, only [on the condition] that we could ask or demand that you protect our environment.

e Public-Private Partnership Projects (PPPs) have been highly-

touted during the Aquino administration, but despite the fanfare, there are those that opine that the implementation of investment projects are far too slow, and with minimal participation of foreign direct investment in many of the PPPs. Should you win in the coming elections, how would you instill a sense of urgency that would expedite the completion of the fore mentioned PPPs and place more emphasis on building much needed infrastructure?

RD The well-instituted PPP should be continued but some agencies

will be taken out of the process to hasten the program’s implementation. The agencies involved will have the expertise necessary to develop a sound project and the Secretaries or department heads to be appointed should have the consummate skills needed. We don’t need a lawyer to head the transportation department. We need a transport engineer. To achieve quality government service, we also need to implement full and coordinated computerization of all government services and minimization of bureaucratic requirements. There should be deadlines on all government services, and if these are exceeded approval is automatic. Every government requirement will be reviewed as to its necessity and removed, if it’s really not needed.

e There’s much left to be desired when it comes to the country’s tourism industry, and a lot of that hinges on the infrastructure that would not only entice visitors to enjoy the many wonders of the country, but also make a great number of destinations more accessible to potential tourists. What are your plans to elevate the Philippines’ tourism standing (particularly compared to our ASEAN neighbors), specifically when it comes to developing pertinent tourism infrastructure?

RD With the advent of Asean integration, we need to strengthen

our capacity to address the increasing demand for top-quality facilities, amenities and services for us to stay ahead in the competition. Putting in place a viable network of road, air and sea transport infrastructures will be a centrepiece economic program of my Presidency. We need to emphasize the crucial role of transport infrastructures in accelerating the movement of goods and services to spur up tourism activities and stimulate the country’s economic development.

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Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Sr. United Nationalist Alliance

Can the underdog pull off another upset? Text by Richard Ramos

Jejomar “Jojo” Cabauatan Binay, Sr. became the first local official to be elected as Vice President of the Philippines. His clan completely dominated the political landscape of Makati for the past three decades, never having tasted defeat as mayor of the country’s premier city. His wife and son also took turns at the mayorship. Indeed, Jojo Binay has come a long way from his early orphan years while growing up in Makati and Pasay. Binay heads the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party, a

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coalition between the parties Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino—Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). He was a definite underdog in the Vice Presidential race, facing Senatorial topnotchers Loren Legarda and Mar Roxas. Charges of a US-backed 60-30-10 in order of the Liberal Party officials, UNA, and others were never quite proven as Binay scored probably the biggest upset in modern history. To note, his running mate was former deposed President Joseph “Erap” Estrada who even placed second in the Presidential polls.


Binay is known to be very active and popular among the middle and lower classes in society, be it wakes, anniversaries, burials, baptisms, and illnesses. He gives them gifts in cash or kind, hence his strong ties with the masses.

Binay was a diehard follower of then President Corazon C. Aquino when they were still fighting the Marcos dictatorship in the 80s. He was a member of ATOM, or Aug. 21 Movement, which was founded by Butz Aquino, the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s brother. The body was so-named after the date of death of Ninoy Aquino at the airport tarmac. Binay was one of the founders of MABINI, the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc., with some of the prominent figures in the anti-dictatorship movement. After the EDSA Revolution, President Corazon C. Aquino appointed Binay acting mayor of Makati, her first appointed local official. Binay later won, on his own, the mayorship of Makati in 1988 and was reelected in 1992 and 1995. He returned to Makati in 2001 and served another three full terms. His resume revealed a long list of educational accomplishments. He finished basic education at the Philippine Normal College Training Department and graduated from the University of the Philippines Preparatory School. Next was a degree in Political Science at the University of the Philippines Diliman for college, followed by a Law degree and a successful bar exam at the same university. This was

followed by a Master’s degree from the University of Sto. Tomas in 1980 and a Master’s degree in National Security Administration from the National Defense College of the Philippines. He also took up further studies at the Center for Research and Communications, now known as the University of Asia and the Pacific; AFP; Harvard University; and two Doctorate degrees (Honoris Causa) from PUP and the Laguna State Polytechnic University. Then came five more courses including a Masteral degree at the Philippine Christian University and three other schools. Binay is known to be very active and popular among the middle and lower classes in society, be it wakes, anniversaries, burials, baptisms, and illnesses. He gives them gifts in cash or kind, hence his strong ties with the masses. While charges of corruption follow him everywhere, he remains unperturbed, dodges them through national sorties, and charges his rivals with politicking. His battlecry remains poverty reduction. Though he peaked too early in the Presidential surveys, he remains a favorite candidate for many.

what his supporters are saying •  He is seen as a great leader by residents of Makati where he ensured free medication, food and education to its citizens.

those who oppose •

Is facing a plethora of graft and corruption charges that include: (1) Alleged anomalies in the construction and design of the Makati Carpark Building, said to be the most expensive parking building in the country, as well as the bidding for the construction of the 10-storey Makati Science High School building, (2) Set to face four counts of violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, six counts of Falsification of Pubic Documents and one count of Malversation for his carpark project, and (3) the Court of Appeals froze the bank accounts of Vice President Jejomar Binay totaling PhP600 million in May 2015.

Amidst all these, none of the members of the Binay family could sufficiently respond to the allegations. Until the Binays offer a more credible explanation, the people will continue to have deep questions about the Vice President’s character.

Seen as an “evader,” traveling nearly the entire country to avoid court appearances.

Took months to find a willing running mate due to a battered reputation as a corrupt traditional politician.

•  One of the most experienced local officials, heading the country’s foremost city for six terms. •  Bucked tremendous odds and won over the more experienced Mar Roxas and Loren Legarda on his first stab at national office. •  Prioritizes well-equipped studentry to cope better with Makati’s business landscape.

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Miriam Defensor - Santiago People’s Reform Party

A Brilliant Mind’s Last Hurrah? Text by Ching Dee

The Iron Lady of Asia. The Fearless Fighter. The Queen of Popularity Polls. The Dragon Lady. These are just some of the monikers that veteran Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has earned in her decades of academic and professional excellence. Of course, an internationally acclaimed judge and public servant has to start somewhere. At a very young age, Santiago—the eldest of the seven Defensor children—showed tremendous and unparalleled promise. She graduated valedictorian both in elementary and high school in her

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province of Iloilo. Not only was she an excellent student, she was also a champion athlete (she was a swimming champion in high school) and a decorated editor-in-chief of their high school paper. Before blazing her trail in college, Santiago “topped the National College Entrance Examinations for the Western Visayas region.”* In her college and post-graduate years, Santiago set record after record: At 16, she earned her degree in Political Science from the University of the Philippines (UP) Visayas and graduated magna cum laude with a nearly perfect grade point average of 1.10—in just three and a half years. In UP Diliman where she took up Law, she broke the 50-year streak of male dominance and became the first female editor-in-chief of The Philippine Collegian, UP’s


“The Iron Lady of Asia’s” dedication to public service is as decorated and illustrious as her academic life.

nationally commended student paper. She also made history by having the most “number of consecutive college scholarships.” UP’s equivalent of the Dean’s List. In the annual debate competition between UP Diliman and UP Manila, Santiago made another record by being the first female to win the “Best Debater” award. As expected, she was the valedictorian of her class and graduated cum laude from UP Law. Yes, all these achievements and way, way more—including two campus beauty titles from the UP ROTC Corps. Later on, after marriage, Santiago qualified for the DeWitt Fellowship at the University of Michigan School of Law where she—surprise, surprise—made history yet again by earning her degree Master of Laws in one year and earning her degree Doctor of the Science of Jurisprudence in just six months. She went on to pursue postdoctoral studies in some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the world, like “Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Stanford, University of California at Berkeley, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, the Hague Academy of Public International Law at The Hague, Netherlands, and Sophia University in Tokyo. But her quest for academic excellence didn’t stop with the law of men. She also earned her Master’s degree in religious studies at the Maryhill School of Theology in Metro Manila, where she published her Master’s dissertation “Christianity Versus Corruption, Political Theology of the Third World.” “The Iron Lady of Asia’s” dedication to public service is as decorated and illustrious as her academic life. At the age of 25, Santiago turned down offers from big law firms to work as special assistant to the Secretary of Justice, the official legal adviser of the executive branch. She also worked as one of President Ferdinand Marcos’ speechwriters. Later on, Santiago worked in Switzerland as legal officer of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, then came back to the Philippines to serve as a regional trial court judge in Quezon City where she “disposed of the highest number of cases in Metro Manila,” appointed as commissioner of immigration and deportation by the late President Corazon Aquino where she said she “[ate] death threats for breakfast,” later on she became secretary of agrarian reform in 1989 “to put everything in place, institute reforms and help plug loopholes in the present agrarian reform law.” Because of her hard work, dedication, and fearless leadership, Santiago received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 1988, the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize, for her “bold and moral leadership in cleaning up a graft-ridden government agency.”

Santiago first ran for President in 1992 but lost to Fidel V. Ramos, allegedly because of the prevalent “Dagdag-Bawas” and vote switching schemes. Crying electoral fraud, Santiago “mortgaged her law office to pay for the judicial fees” so she could file an election protest to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. Santiago, also dubbed as the darling of the press, was hailed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by The Australian Magazine in 1996. In 2008, Santiago was the only female nominee from the Philippines in the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the US. In 2012, she became the first Asian to be elected as judge in the International Criminal Court (ICC). In 1995, Santiago ran and won a seat in the Senate where she served until 2001. In 2004, she ran again for Senator and won. Santiago has been hailed as the most hardworking Senator for having filed the most number of bills and resolutions. Now in her second term as a lawmaker, Santiago has passed numerous pertinent laws, some of which are the Reproductive Health (RH Law), Sin Tax Law, Climate Change Act, and the Magna Carta for Women. All in all, after two terms in the Senate, Santiago has filed a total of 1,324 bills and resolutions as of June 2015. Santiago shows no signs of slowing down, even when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2014. In October 2015, she officially declared her bid for the Presidency, running under her very own People’s Reform Party. She will be running with Sen. Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos, Jr. as her Vice President. Feisty, beyond competent, and a proven leader—these are just some of the reasons why people are voting for Santiago. Despite having the Marcos name in tow (let’s admit, not everyone will take this partnership well), Santiago stands by her choice and even went as far as saying that if anything should happen to her, BongBong will take over the Presidency (something Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also said despite having his running mate, Alan Peter Cayetano). During the first Presidential debates last February 21, 2016, Santiago pointed out three requirements that the future President of the Philippines must have: Academic excellence, professional excellence, and moral excellence. Many would say Santiago fills out the two requirements beyond the brim, but some would argue about the third requirement.

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Under my watch, bureaucratic red tape will be drastically cut. I will aim to reduce the number of steps for setting up a firm, for getting a permit to operate, for having a project approved, and for getting a certificate to operate approved. The number of steps will be benchmarked with other Asean countries. For the first three years, my administration will aim to shoot for the average number of steps. On years four to six, we should try to be better than our Asean neighbors. Cutting red tape at the local government level will be my top priority. Well-performing LGUs will be rewarded with additional intergovernmental grants. Regulations at the Bureau of Customs and the regulatory bodies will be reduced drastically.


• • •

The Philippines must capitalize on the opportunity presented by the integration of the ten Asean Member States into an Asean Economic Community (AEC). The task before us is to harness the potential of our industries and small and medium enterprises to manufacture more, and to trade more in the area of services. This is the key idea: preparing our companies for the AEC is one and the same as preparing our companies for the world. Making them competitive for Asean is the same as making them competitive for the European Union, for North America, and for other markets. In fact, preparing our local government units (LGUs) to accommodate FDI in a streamlined fashion, using the Philippine Economic Zone Authority as benchmark, is the same whether the FDI is from Asean or from any other country. The complaints about red tape and lack of transparency are the same. My administration will improve the investment climate by: • Streamlining and harmonizing business process and licensing procedures; • Codifying and updating laws and issuances affecting customs and tariffs; • Enhancing trade facilitation measures; • Cutting red tape at the local government level; • Drastically reducing regulations at the Bureau of Customs and the regulatory bodies; and • Amending the restrictive provisions in the Philippine Constitution which have discouraged the entry of foreign investors into the country.


social infrastructure projects. The benefits of using PPP for social infrastructure projects are:

Despite the numbers released suggesting that in 2014, net foreign direct investments reached US$6.2 billion – the highest ever recorded in the country’s history – there are those that say there remain plenty of restrictive provisions in foreign investment attraction. Should you be elected President, how would you address the concerns on existing restrictive economic provisions?

Public-Private Partnership Projects (PPPs) have been highly-touted during the Aquino administration, but despite the fanfare, there are those that opine that the implementation of investment projects are far too slow, and with minimal participation of foreign direct investment in many of the PPPs. Should you win in the coming elections, how would you instill a sense of urgency that would expedite the completion of the fore mentioned PPPs and place more emphasis on building much needed infrastructure? I am optimistic that the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act now pending before Congress will help remedy the dismal infrastructure situation. I am proposing several amendments to the PPP Act, particularly to include

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Relief from project risks that are managed better by the private partner, thereby reducing the project cost; Private sector efficiency, creativity, and innovation; and The likelihood that a contractor will build a better facility (in terms of quality of design and materials) if the same contractor will maintain the facility over the long term (e.g., BuildTransfer-Maintain), thus significantly reducing maintenance costs over the life of the project.

To avoid delay in the implementation of projects of national significance, I also propose that such projects should be exempt from real property tax and other local taxes and fees, and automatically granted their business permit by the local government units. The acquisition of rights of way is another major problem in the rollout of PPP projects. The approval of a pending bill on rights of way may resolve this problem, but I am not optimistic that it will be enacted before Congress closes. I shall review options to ease this bottleneck in PPP implementation as soon as I assume office.

e There’s much left to be desired when it comes to the country’s tourism industry, and a lot of that hinges on the infrastructure that would not only entice visitors to enjoy the many wonders of the country, but also make a great number of destinations more accessible to potential tourists. What are your plans to elevate the Philippines’ tourism standing (particularly compared to our ASEAN neighbors), specifically when it comes to developing pertinent tourism infrastructure? MDS

Tourism relies heavily on infrastructure to develop. This has been shown by Bali, Indonesia model where the operations of an international airport led to an impressive tourist inflow. There was even a time in the 90s when the arrivals to Bali alone equalled the arrivals for the entire Phlippines. The government has spent PhP150 billion for road development in potential tourist areas, much still needs to be done. A more comprehensive evaluation based on merits (tourism potential) of a project, and not on political pressure must be consistently implemented by both the Department of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways. Otherwise, the so-called “Convergence Program” of the two agencies will ultimately be regarded as a failure. Improved airports, seaports and bus terminals are obviously needed to improve tourism. The existence of four terminals prevents the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from becoming an international hub. Many passengers experience the problem of landing in one terminal and having to go to another terminal for another flight. The solution that should be studied is to set up at least a monorail that will connect the passengers to all four terminals. To address the taxi problem in the airports, the government should allow regular taxis and ride-sharing service providers like Uber and GrabCar to drop off and pick up passengers. The MRT should also eventually be connected to NAIA.


Photo by Monstruo Estudio

We list down a number of restaurants that prove the days of healthy and vegan fare being bland are behind us; RNDs weigh in on some of the most popular diet trends; restaurateur, sommelier and Expat contributor Paolo Nesi delves into the myths and truths behind the healthiness of wine; and we give you the heads up on how to get healthy meals brought right to your doorstep.

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Taste goodness! the

Text by Ching Dee

Healthy and vegetarian-friendly restaurants with more than delectable fare

Every year we say we’re changing for the better. Every year we tell ourselves, “I’ll start eating healthier” or “I’ll pay more attention to what I eat.” But at the end of the day, that juicy triple bacon cheeseburger is just calling out your name—waiting to get inside your belly. It’s not really a mystery why so many people are having a hard time when it comes to eating healthier food. Healthy food usually taste like sawdust (admit it!) and look all beige and blah, which is always a hard sell no matter how nutritious it’s supposed to be.

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However, with the advent of technology, creativity, and culinary innovation—as well as the collective awakening of people about healthier options—one by one, restaurants started popping up, focusing on healthy and even vegan-friendly fare. And as much as we would love to list down all of them, let’s focus on some of the best restaurants around the metro that will help you eat and feel better.




“It wasn’t some new age/hippy café. We weren’t purists. I felt it should just be a restaurant that served good food and if you enjoy your meal with wine or beer, then it was possible.”

After visiting her sister in London back in the late 90s, Chiqui Sy-Quia Mabanta realized how people abroad have easy access to tasty vegetarian fare. With her curiosity piqued, she bought books about vegetarian food and started getting into a “much more sustainable diet.” When she went back to the Philippines, she partnered with a friend to open a stall at the Legazpi Sunday Market to sell vegetarian meals. “We did okay,” Mabanta shares with Expat. “We then started joining the monthly American Women’s Bazaar and some bazaars in Rockwell. After almost a year, I felt confident to open a café.” So in 2009, Mabanta opened the Corner Tree Café along Jupiter Street, offering vegetarian and vegan dishes to the then unconvinced and skeptical populace. But soon enough, people started coming to this quaint and homey café in the otherwise bustling part of the city. “The public quickly accepted it and many [became] regulars,” says Mabanta. “[The café] was designed so that even meat eaters [can enjoy our food].” Mabanta’s hard work and innovation soon gave birth to many bestsellers inspired by various cuisines from her travels abroad, like Arroz a la Cubana, Vegetarian Bibimbap, Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna, Tofu Walnut Burger, and Spinach & Feta Croquettes. No wonder people from all walks of life—from health buffs to patients on their way to recovery—choose to dine at the Corner Tree Café.

“I decide on what goes into the menu. I love this food. [I] eat like this at home and there are a lot of dishes lined up to get into the menu,” says Mabanta. “It wasn’t some new age/hippy café. We weren’t purists. I felt it should just be a restaurant that served good food and if you enjoy your meal with wine or beer, then it was possible.” And speaking of hard work and delicious food, the Corner Tree Café has been part of the Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants Guidebook for four years. How’s that for quality? “Around 80 percent of the customers are meat eaters, and are enjoying vegetarian food for the first time in their lives…I

(clockwise from top)Restaurateur Chiqui Sy-Quia Mabanta takes vegetarian fare to a whole new level at the Corner Tree Cafe; Kare-kareng gulay (vegetables in peanut sauce); spaghetti with brocolli & toasted nuts; Sicilian tomato & bread soup; spinach & mushroom lasagna

can’t recall how many times customers have told me, ‘I could be a vegetarian if the food’s this good. I could give up meat,’” Mabanta shares. “I am happy that the cafe is doing its bit in allowing us to be kinder to ourselves, kinder to animals, and kinder to the planet.” The Corner Tree Café is located at 150 Jupiter Street, Bel-Air, Makati. They are open Mondays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For inquiries, please call (02) 897-0295 or 0906-558-6177, or email cornertreecafe@ Visit for more information. expat | 95




When Melissa Yeung-Yap co-founded Got Heart Foundation’s shop in early 2013, she thought their foundation could help farmers even more by creating and expanding their market. So, together with Joseph Hizon and chefs David Hizon and JR Trani of Hizon’s Catering, Earth Kitchen was born.

“It’s really the

flavors and the “Chef JR and Chef David are innovation that’s the culinary geniuses behind the put into every dish. concept, inspired by our local We always say that healthy should farmers and local ingredients,” not be bland and marketing associate Pinky Parra tasteless.” shares with Expat. “There’s not one type of cuisine offered, but there’s consistency when it comes to the ingredients, spices, flavors. The ingredients are still very Pinoy but also very creative and innovative.”

Two years after opening their first restaurant in White Plains Katipunan (Quezon City), they opened their second restaurant at Bonifacio Global City in July 2015. “We’re very happy with the public’s reception of Earth Kitchen, its concept, and its flavors…Perhaps there are still other people who are quite thrown off with the idea that we are a healthier option, organic, and vegetarian-friendly, mainly because they see it not as a lifestyle but a fad, but when they get to try Earth Kitchen, they are surprised!” Parra explains. “They always say how they love that Earth Kitchen is not ‘pretentious.’ We get a lot of repeat customers.” Even carnivores will enjoy their meals at Earth Kitchen with their numerous options— all bursting with freshness and robust flavors. “We offer a lot of options for the meat-lovers, Earth Kitchen is a great place



It seems that the Legazpi Sunday Market is the birthplace to many vegetarian restaurants in the metro, including Denise Celdran’s Edgy Veggy. When Celdran decided to become a vegetarian in 2008, she soon found out that the path she embarked on wasn’t so easy. She tells Expat, “In 2008, vegetarianism… meant eating grass-like food or fake meat and being hungry and deprived—since ours is such a meat-eating culture.” It became a challenge for her, especially when it comes to dining out. So she started cooking for herself and sharing it with her friends, who soon started ordering vegetarian dishes from her. 96 | expat

to bond with your friends and family whose fitness demands and food cravings are varied,” says Parra. When asked what sets Earth Kitchen apart from other establishments offering healthier alternatives, Parra answers, “It’s really the flavors and the innovation that’s put into every dish. We always say that healthy should not be bland and tasteless.” Earth Kitchen’s fare is definitely far from being bland and tasteless. They also look like artwork: vibrancy on a plate. Make sure to try their bestsellers: Watermelon and Rocket Salad, Beef Bulgogi Soft Tacos, and Beef Kebabs.

“Orders grew, so I got a booth at the Legazpi Sunday Market,” Celdran recalls, but that wasn’t the end of it. “In the market, people wanted access to the food not just on Sundays, so I started delivering every Wednesday by myself in my car. Pretty soon, I had to hire a rider and started delivering six days a week.” With the overwhelming growth of her food business, Celdran opened Edgy Veggy right below a yoga studio in 2012. After more than three years since the opening of Edgy Veggy, Celdran points out, “Now, we are growing from strength to strength and have expanded to include a deli (packaged, frozen, and bottled

(L-R) Watermelon Rocket Salad; Beef Bulgogi Soft Tacos and Beef Kebab with Ifugao Rice Pilaf

Parra adds, “Our customers find the flavors surprising yet comforting—without [the] guilt.” Earth Kitchen is located at White Plains, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City and at C2 Building, Bonifacio High Street (Central), Taguig City. They are open Monday to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For inquiries and reservations, call (0917) 584-3278, (02) 961-0572, (02) 577-9138. Visit their website at

vegetarian products), a vegan and glutenfree Daily Detox Delivery Service, as well as catering and a commissary supplying uMushroom Burger Burrito


...we are an advocate of healthy, sustainable, and natural food.

other establishments with vegan and gluten free products and desserts.” Some of their bestsellers and must-tries are the Big Burrito Mushroom Burger, Mushroom Sisig Rice, and Korean Tofu Bulgogi with Kimchi Rice. “Our company has heart,” Celdran points out. “First and foremost, we are an advocate of healthy, sustainable, and natural food. We make everything from scratch and do not use pre-packaged flavoring, chemicals or ingredients.”


Edgy Veggy is located at 03 Brixton Street, Brgy. Kapitolyo, Pasig City. They are open from Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For inquiries and deliveries, call (02) 5849080, (02) 622-8679, or (0917)-8474831, or visit

(L-R) Mushroom Sisig; Bulgogi Tofu and Kimchi Rice and Moroccan Falafel Rice and Lentils


“Heart2Hearth stands for recipes created from my heart and cooked in my oven (hearth),” owner Meeta Nanda shares with Expat. “It came in existence thanks to my daughter, Maya. I owe all my energy and inspiration to her and other kids around the world with food allergies.” Raising a dairy-allergic child was a challenge for a mom like Nanda, but her love for her daughter inspired her to create dairy-free treats not just for her daughter, but for other people who were intolerant to dairy as well.

“Every order is baked with tiniest details in mind. [I] guess our personal detail to each order sets us apart from others.”

“When I started looking for store goodies to feed her, I realized no one had anything available to cater to kids with severe food allergies,” Nanda shares. “My experiments and hard work paid off in [the] kitchen when I baked a perfect vegan cake for her second birthday. Everyone at the party asked me if they could order healthy, at the same time, delicious treats for their kids.” Since most Filipinos aren’t familiar with vegan fare, many were skeptical at first. “But once they tried [it], they all loved it,” she says, adding that their weekend market booth at the Salcedo Saturday Market was always a hit with expats and locals alike. The uniqueness of Heart2Hearth is indeed part of its charm: They are the only establishment that is purely plant-based vegan, and offers dairy-free, gluten-free, and allergen-free delights. Being a homerun business helps them focus on specific requests of customers based on their

“Heart2Hearth stands for recipes created from my heart and cooked in my oven (hearth),”

lifestyle and dietary restrictions. Nanda points out, “Every order is baked with tiniest details in mind. [I] guess our personal detail to each order sets us apart from others.” Indeed, Heart2Hearth’s goodies can give its less healthier counterparts a run for its

money. And speaking of goodies, make sure to try their Banana Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Truffle. For orders, contact Meeta Nanda at (0917) 805-3865 or email heart2hearth@gmail. com. Visit their Facebook page at www. for more information.

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Not a lot of people know that actress and endorser Bianca King is a foodie and a “closet housewife” who channels her inner Martha Stewart into her cooking, baking, and home making. When she decided to shift careers after attending Center for Culinary Arts (CCA), King knew she wanted an outlet for culinary creativity. Enter photographer and design guru Xander Angeles. When King found out Angeles was planning on opening his own restaurant, she jumped on the opportunity and partnered up with him—and Runner’s Kitchen was born. “Xander lets me do my own thing with the food, and I let him do his own thing with the interiors,” Bianca tells Expat. “I think it’s a match made in heaven.” When it comes to menu planning, King— who works out three to four times a week and who has been practicing yoga for 11 years—didn’t have a hard time pinpointing the kind of dishes she wanted in the restaurant. She knew she wanted to do her

part in spreading the word on tasty and healthy food that can cater to athletes and those who are simply looking for a healthier alternative. Runner’s Kitchen also uses organic ingredients—all of which are locally sourced. King says, “It’s part of my corporate-social responsibility to support our local farmers and make sure we also contribute to the economy.” Make sure you try Runner’s Kitchen’s best sellers: Tahini Quinoa Superbowl (vegan), Watermelon Kale Salad, Spicy Tuna Quinoa Roll, and Peppercorn and Sesame Crusted Tuna. King also suggests RK’s Breakfast Plates.

“We just want to put our best dishes out there and hopefully encourage more people to eat and live a healthier lifestyle.”

“I eat and cook like this at home, so I know the food is great and it’s done well—making sure that even our cooking methods are healthy,” King says. “I didn’t want anything pretentious, we don’t try so hard. We just want to put our best dishes out there and hopefully encourage more people to eat and live a healthier lifestyle.” Runner’s Kitchen is located at Creekside Square, 74 Tomas Morato, Quezon City. They are open Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.. For inquiries, call (02) 4156870.

(above)Watermelon Kale Salad; Gluten-Free chocolate Waffles; Spicy Tuna Quinoa Roll; (top left) RK’s “21k” Breakfast Plate

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Gone Green Gang

It’s not all about exercising. What you put into your body is just as important to your journey to fitness and wellness. Check out these shops for a taste of the healthiest, most sustainable products you can find. Text by Via Baroma

ECHOstore One stop sustainable lifestyle shop

EarthOrigins Marketplace+Cafe Healthy, happy joint

Mara’s Original Market The country’s organic market pioneer

Standing for Environment, Community, Hope, Organization, ECHOstore is an entrepreneurial venture promoting a slew of advocacies that include conscious and caring consumerism; fair trade and green products aimed at elevating the livelihood of the marginalized; and the preservation of the planet.

From the company that claims to have set the benchmark for organic and all-natural shops, Sugarleaf, Inc., comes EarthOrigins Marketplace + Café – a haven for certified and fresh organic produce, chemical and hormone free all natural meats, and home essentials pantry supplies.

Also known as MOM, Mara’s Original Market is the first open air organic market in the Philippines; stemming way back in 1993 from Proprietor Mara Pardo Tavera’s yearning to provide sustainable and clean food choices to her family.

Interesting finds • ECHOstore Choco Loco Choco Bars (Artisan chocolates with Philippine Flavors) • Spa in a Bottle (reliever for congestion, stress, nausea, dizziness and just whenever you feel like taking a momentary spa break) • ECHOstore Home Basics (an ecofriendly home care line of cleaning products) ECHOstore is located at G/F Serendra Piazza McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Open rom 9:00a.m. daily. For more information, call (02) 901-3485. ECHOstore also sells at and is open for corporate gift orders and personalized gift items for all occasions.

Today, EarthOrigins does not only supply organic, local produce of meat and vegetables to restaurants promoting healthy cuisine, they also cater to individual’s diet preferences (vegetarian, vegan, paleo, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, nut free). This one stop shop also offers a wide array of healthy drinks like herbal teas, milk, yogurt, coffee and juices, to personal hygiene and natural skin care products ranging from essential oils, soaps, detergents, to organic, recyclable diapers and cloth pads. Interesting finds • Organic Roasted Herb Chicken (an all-time favorite, brined using organic fresh herbs and spices then paired with marinated sweet potatoes and assorted roasted vegetables) • Cauliflower Rice (for the carbohydrate and low calorie conscious) • Goody Wraps (a mix of fresh vegetables and with beef or chicken meat option rolled in preservative free, whole wheat, vegetables infused tortillas topped with kefir dressings) EarthOrigins Marketplace+Cafe is located at G/F Wilson Bldg. 226 Wilson St. Bgy West Greenhills. San Juan City and at the Mezzanine, ADB Cafeteria. ADB Bank, Mandaluyong City. The store is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m, and Sunday until 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.earthoriginsmarketplace. com. You may also call (02) 5700878, (02) 661-6639, or email info@

ECHOstore Body Basics Line-up

ECHOstore Home Basics Line-up

Today, MOM brings a wide array of traditional, organic, natural and artisanal products that ranges from fresh produce and other food items such as organic vegetables, herbs and fruits, free-range chicken as well as apparel, crafts, art and home decor that promotes harmony both in our bodies and in the environment. “It’s a great solution to climate change; great solution to our personal health; and my reason for doing this market is because I want more people to understand: you are what you eat,” De Taverda shares. “Whenever you’re buying something from us, you’re making a choice in saving the environment and you’re health. You’re already part of the solution.” Interesting finds • Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy-free and gluten-free) • Kefir (Fermented milk from Grass Fed Raw milk and Refine grains) • Wild-caught sardines in cold-pressed olive oil (good source of calcium, protein and omega 3) Mara’s Original Market is located at The Gallery Building, Amorsolo Street, Makati City. For more information, email or visit www.

Kefir drink (Fermented milk from Gras Fed Raw milk and Refine grains)

Wild-caught sardines in cold-pressed olive oil (good source of calcium, protein and omega 3)

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Stokpic com



Busters Text by Ching Dee

Expat consults with Registered Nutritionist Dietitians to try and set the real score on fad diet programs, and help you find the right path for you There are hundreds of different kinds of diet programs out there—ranging from the doable to the ridiculous to the downright unbelievable. The only question is: Which one is the right one for you? “When we say ‘diet,’ it means the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person on a regular basis,” Jastinne Decena RND tells Expat. “Diet is not only limited to losing unwanted weight. It is crucial in attaining good health and fitness.” “Having a balanced diet allows us to get the nutrients and other substances our bodies need in different and varied food sources. There is no single complete food source that provides all the needed nutrients,” adds Ellesmere Bacabac RND.

Popularized by Arthur Agatston in 2003, the South Beach Diet (SBD) is probably the mother of all diet crazes here in the Philippines. With its three phases, an individual planning to undergo the SBD won’t have to say goodbye to meat or dairy (god forbid you say goodbye to cheese), but it does highlight the importance of proper food portions. However, Bacabac expressed concerns about weight loss claims after following the SBD program. “A drastic weight loss of eight to 13 pounds in two weeks [is not healthy]. The ideal weight loss is [only one to two] pounds per week,” says Bacabac.

To help sort out all the dietary shenanigans, Expat consulted two registered nutritionists dietitians (RNDs) to finally settle the score of the five most popular diet programs today: South Beach Diet, juice cleansing or juicing, the no-rice diet, vegan and/ or vegetarianism, and even the local Department of Health’s “Pinggang Pinoy” dietary program.

“South Beach Diet has a very low percentage of daily calories coming from carbohydrates…it could be as low as 28 percent. One might experience ketosis if carbs is restricted in the diet,” Decena points out, adding that ketosis means increased level of ketones, a by-product of fat metabolism, in the blood—resulting to the body using its fat as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates.

South Beach Diet “South Beach Diet promotes the consumption of unsaturated fats, which is the healthy kind of fat. This can improve one’s blood cholesterol levels,” says Decena.

So how effective and advisable is the South Beach Diet based on nutritionists? The rapid weight loss used to promote SBD may actually be its own worst enemy.

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“It’s not an advisable way or program to lose weight since it involves drastic weight loss in the first phase of the program,” Decena advised. “Since there is [a sudden and significant amount of weight loss] in the first phase, there is also a probability to gain the lost weight if the program is not followed carefully.” Juice cleanses “[Juices are a good source of vitamins and minerals, it aids in hydration, and it can be considered as a fruit or vegetable serving,” explains Bacabac. Decena believes juices are also a great “healthy drink replacement for caffeinated drinks and drinks with high [levels of] HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup)” because it’s made from all natural ingredients. However, despite its 100 percent natural source, Bacabac says that juices only have simple sugars (carbohydrates) and lacks essential amino acids (proteins) for muscle and tissue repair and it also lacks fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents high blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, and aids in good bowel movement. Decena also raised an important point about the term “detoxifying.” “Many people say that this is an effective


One should not be deprived of the good things even when undergoing a reducing diet. The secret is to just take a little bit of everything plus a little bit of physical activity, Any reducing diet is only as good as the person following it. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to lose weight is this: Energy In (food intake) should be less than or equal to Energy Out (physical activity). ‘detoxifying’ drink when in fact our kidneys and livers are the ones doing just that. Our kidneys and livers do the detoxifying. No other drink can match that,” Decena explains. So, is juicing an advisable way to lose unwanted weight? “If one wants a lasting healthy and fit figure, this is not the way to go,” Decena asserts. Bacabac explains, “Just like other fad diets, there is no scientific study that this diet is safe. This diet is limited to more or less 1000 calories per day, which can cause the body to use the stored energy to make up for the deficit. First, it gets energy from glycogen (stored in your muscles and liver) then from fat cells and muscles causing fat [and muscle loss], which can be very dangerous to the body…There is also a higher tendency of gaining back the weight that was loss and even gain more since the body is deprived of nutrients that can only be obtained from proteins and fats.” “It will help in losing weight, but there is a very high chance of gaining [the weight] back. Juice cleanse is a good complement to a healthy and balanced diet, but it can’t work on its own,” Decena adds. No mas rice A dear advocate of rice and good carbs, Decena says, “Don’t blame everything on the carbs. They are our primary source of fuel. When digested, they give energy for us to think, to work, to play. Sure, protein and fats also give us energy but they have their own job. It is actually the carbs’ job to spare them.” However, white carbs are different. Decena points out, “White carbs belong to the class of food having high glycemic index. Based on studies, these foods increase one’s blood sugar quickly once consumed. According to studies, white carbs are the main culprit for the increasing cases of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and Type 2 diabetes.” Developed primarily for persons with diabetes, the no-rice (or no white carbs) diet aims to eliminate all forms of white (or processed) carbs from the diet, like white rice and white bread. According to Bacabac, the much promoted no-rice diet prevailed in rice-loving Philippines because it helps improve blood

sugar regulation “as white carbohydrate sources are replaced with less processed sources, which are slowly absorbed by the body and consequently delaying hunger.” Both Decena and Bacabac admits alternative sources of carbohydrates can be quite expensive (like brown or red rice and whole wheat bread), which is one of the down sides of subscribing to this diet program. Another concern is portion control. According to Decena, “[There is] no definite diet guide and portion control information [regarding the ‘no white carbs’ diet]. One must consult a physician first especially if he or she is a diabetic…Just because you are allowed to eat wheat bread doesn’t mean you can eat tons of it. You still need to control the total amount of carbs to consume.” For those thinking of following the generally safe no-rice diet, Decena suggests using the “60-15-25” ratio for carbs-proteins-fats. “For example, for a 2000 k/cal daily diet for one person, 60 percent of calories will come from carbs, 15 percent from proteins, and 25 percent from fats. I will also advise the client to replace all white carbs with ‘colored’ carbs.” Vegan and vegetarianism With the rise of health and culinary awareness nowadays, more and more Filipinos are starting to realize that vegetarianism or going vegan doesn’t mean a sad existence without cheeseburgers and steak. According to both RNDs, following a vegan diet and/or lifestyle means lower risk of developing lifestyle illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes, renal (kidney) diseases, hypertension, cardiovascular ailments; lower in calories resulting in lower body weight, better cholesterol level since the food source is strictly plant-based, and better digestion due to the increase in fiber intake. But just like any dietary program, there are certain medical and nutritional concerns when one eats nothing but plants and plant-based products. A significantly lower consumption of protein, B12, and iron can be noted, which means it may affect certain bodily functions, like how B12 is needed in blood formation or how iron can help prevent anemia. “Strict vegan diet is safe as long as there is adequate consumption of nutrients from plant sources especially carbohydrates, protein, and iron,” Bacabas advises.

“Before engaging in this kind of diet, one must consult a health professional to ensure that this diet is allowed to him/her and will not interfere with one’s medical condition.” “[Vegetarianism or going vegan] will definitely help in losing weight. The only question is, again, its sustainability. Not everyone can pull off this kind of diet as it has a lot of restrictions,” Decena said. DOH’s “Pinggang Pinoy” Program Not a lot of people have heard of the Department of Health’s (DOH) “Pinggang Pinoy” (Filipino Plate) dietary and nutrition program. Created and endorsed by the DOH, it aims to inform the public about general nutritional principles coupled with the Daily Nutrition Guide Pyramid. These principles are easy to follow and relatively cheap, which is one of the best things about this program. Our RNDs love it, too. Bacabac says, “It emphasizes on having the right amount or portion size of rice, protein-source, vegetables, and fruit per meal.” “[Pinggang Pinoy] shows the right amount and right kind of food to eat per meal… and it’s not fussy and has very little restrictions,” says Decena. However, they also noticed some room for improvement with the DOH program. “[When you follow the program, you tend to focus] solely on the portion size and miss out on the method of cooking and the kind of fat source,” Bacabac points out. Decena also says that the DOH program “can’t apply to people who are suffering certain health conditions” like diabetes or kidney diseases, which requires a specialized diet. All in all, both nutritionists agree that the Pinggang Pinoy program is safe and easy to follow for most people who want to start living healthier and even lose unwanted weight. “The aim of [Pinggang Pinoy] is to help improve the nutritional status of the Filipino and to help prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular illnesses, and hypertension. This program, along with right…method of cooking, and exercise can help [a person] manage or lose weight. The key here also is moderation, variety, and balance of food intake and food sources,” says Bacabac. “One should not be deprived of the good things even when undergoing a reducing diet. The secret is to just take a little bit of everything plus a little bit of physical activity,” Decena says. “Any reducing diet is only as good as the person following it. The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to lose weight is this: Energy In (food intake) should be less than or equal to Energy Out (physical activity).”

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Cheers to health!

Expat contributor, restaurateur and sommelier Paolo Nesi gives us a glimpse into the supposed health benefits of wine, then and now Text by Paolo Nesi

This issue of Expat focuses on health and wellness, thus, my column on wines and spirit may look a bit awkward at first, but there will be interesting facts coming out from the most prestigious health institutions around the world. I know, it is always a bit controversial to write about wine and health, and in no way am I the right authority to even suggest that wine and spirits should relate to health in a positive way. But then again, I could report to you some new thinking that is emerging in a slew of articles coming out just now from the those prestigious medical Institutions.

“Several studies by various prestigious institutions in Sweden, Finland, Holland, Italy, the United States, among others, suggest that drinking wine in moderation can translate to some health benefits for humans, especially for men over 40 and women in their 50s and 60s.�

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“Other suggested health benefits of wine where resorts and spas around the world are investing big money in; vinotherapy – the next generation of treatments that may keep us looking younger: new grace is bathing and scrubbing in wine!” In the beginning… In the Roman times, wine was considered a divine gift worth its own God: Bacchus. Wine was prescribed, mixed with other spices, as a cure for many ailments and as an antibacterial for wounds against infections. Christians referred to wine as the “Blood of God,” and one of the more popular of Jesus’ miracles was turning water into wine. It was the Catholic Church that continued to cultivate wines throughout the Dark Ages times for Eucharistic purpose when the Barbarians, who preferred beer as their “national” drink, ruled Europe and banned wine from all others. Throughout the millennia, wine was the preferred choice over water, when sanitation was a constant problem. Wine was simply the safer, and healthier option. But let’s fast forward to our times and see what the medicinal world now thinks about the health effects of wine. I might already add that none of the following findings are accepted nor endorsed by the World Health Organization or any national health departments. Anyway, several studies by various prestigious institutions in Sweden, Finland, Holland, Italy, the United States, among others, suggest that drinking wine in moderation can translate to some health benefits for humans, especially for men over 40 and women in their 50s and 60s.

A healthier life with wine Some reports suggest that moderate consumption of wine can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood clots. Others focus on the resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grape skins, which seem to decrease the probabilty of some cancers, such as oral and kidney cancer. There are studies that suggest that moderate wine drinkers have, generally speaking, higher mineral bone density than nondrinkers, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Resveratrol have been identified, more than a decade ago, to break down the Amyloidbeta proteins which have been singled out as a cause of Alzheimer’s – another devastating condition, we want to avoid. Yet despite the encouraging findings, many physicians are reluctant to advise nondrinkers to begin drinking. With good reason: While moderate drinking appears to offer some impressive health benefits, excessive drinking can be dangerous or even deadly. It remains a sad truth that millions of people all over the world die of liver disease and in automobile accidents caused by drunk drivers every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, in 2013 in the United States, one person every 52 minutes died as a consequence of drunk driving. Even the health benefits associated with wine disappear when people drink too much and there is no agreement in what exactly “moderate” drinking actually means.

Vinotherapy for the entire body I am much more comfortable talking about other suggested health benefits of wine where resorts and spas around the world are investing big money in; vinotherapy – the next generation of treatments that may keep us looking younger: new grace is bathing and scrubbing in wine! According to articles from the Daily Mail, the Guardian and that relate to the antioxidants, resveratrols together with polyphenols and vitamins that are found in wine have proven health benefits for the human skins, when the body is submerged into it and best if it is followed by a massage. Scrumptious! It is suggested that those compounds can be absorbed through the skin and with a massage afterword can get it into the blood stream and into our system. Caudalie, a health company operating spa services in some of the most prestigious hotels around the world, offer a Di-Vine Love Ritual for Two for two hours. A plunge for a couple into barrels filled with wines followed by massage and facials will set you back US$875, not including taxes and tips. For those interested in plunging on a barrel of wine, you could check the Top 10 wine spas worldwide at While the times when our doctor will prescribe a daily dose of wine might not happen anytime soon, maybe in the near future we will see signs for SPV (Salus per vinus) rather than SPA (Salus per aqua)! Cheers!

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Wellness at your doorstep Health and wellness delivered right to your home (or office!)

Text and photos by Ching Dee / Additional photos courtesy of Lunchbox Diet; Detoxify Bar; The Juice Barista; Juju Eats and Paleo Manila

Two of the reasons why so many people (this writer included) fail to eat healthier are lack of time and lack of energy. With more hours spent in traffic than at home, who has the time to prepare fresh fruit and vegetable juices or vegetable-based dishes at home? Well, thanks to the burgeoning industry of diet meal and juice cleanse delivery services, healthier dietary options are now just one phone call away—whether you’re at home or at the office. 1


When the initial partners of a hole-in-awall bistro realized their initial culinary business wasn’t doing so well, they knew it was time to shake things up. After studying a few concepts and products they actually lucked into the diet delivery model. Once the orders started coming in, they decided to shift gears and their small bistro evolved

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into their commissary; and they, focusing on making calorie-counted meals for deliveries. “At the beginning, in 2013, we worked on both the bistro and Lunchbox Diet,” Chef Darwin Cardenas tells Expat. “For about a month or two, we worked on the bistro in the morning and we fulfilled orders for Lunchbox Diet at night.” “It just snowballed,” Benj Sanvictores General Manager of LBD says. “Our orders started almost doubling every week…Now, we get an average of about 300 orders every day. We just started with our family doing all the cooking and even the deliveries, but now we have around 60 people in our team.” With just one phone call, customers can order prepared and packaged meals with a specific calorie count for the day—from 1200 k/cal to 2000 k/cal—consisting of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. Lunchbox Diet will even take special requests into account, especially for allergies and certain dietary restrictions. Customers can choose either a day-before (4 p.m. onwards) or same-day (5 a.m. onwards) delivery.


pLBD General Manager Benj Sanvictores(right) and Chef Darwin Cardenas (left) uThe anatomy of a typical LBD meal package

“People buy from us because it’s convenient and relatively more affordable compared to dining out and eating at fast food restaurants,” Benj points out. Just looking at Lunchbox Diet’s social media accounts will make people wonder whether they’re really serving healthy food—how


can healthy look (and taste!) this good? But believe it or not, all their meals are approved by their in-house nutritionists and dietitians. So all meals—roughly 270 recipes in their database—are guilt-free and full of flavor. “We make sure all our meals are in their

best possible state,” Benj says. “The more we try to understand our market, the more we realize what we can do to improve our products and services, which gives us more footing into the industry.” For orders and inquiries, please visit www.


One of the frontrunners in the juicing scene is Detoxify Bar, the brainchild of Paul and Joy Torres.

tGoodness in a bottle: Detoxify Bar remains to be one of the frontrunners in the industry

“Living and following a healthy lifestyle had always been important to the Torres family from the beginning,” marketing director Karlo Domingo shares with Expat.

q(clockwise) Meatless Pastaless Lasagna; Baked Stuffed Peppers; Salmon with Asparagus; Angel Hair Chicken Parmiglana

With the Torres family’s varying nutritional and health needs, it was a challenge to follow one dietary program—until Paul and Joy discovered the benefits of juicing. Joy, who has suffered from severe asthma since childhood, used juiced vegetables and fruits to aid in detoxifying her body from the burden of steroidal medication and antihistamines she had to take due to her condition. Their eldest child, Samantha, was an athlete and was introduced into juicing (the legal sort) as a way to improve her performance in the field. The combined benefits of juicing and Joy’s healthy meals helped improve Samantha’s performance so dramatically that her coach soon advised the rest of the team to subscribe to the same diet courtesy of Joy. Their youngest child, Matthew, was diagnosed with an inoperable but manageable congenital heart disease when he was only eight years old, and was advised to a diet rich in green vegetables.

“Everything that we serve is still carefully made and prepared with same quality and care as if you were a house guest in the Torres’ home,”

“Being a kid, he hated vegetables and would refuse to eat them,” Karlo shares. “The Torreses, as a last ditch effort, tried juicing the vegetables because this would be the best way for him to get the nutrients

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GRUB HUB he needed. It took months of trial and error until they arrived at a concoction that Matt loved. This is why we are proud of our juices—they’re delicious!” Seeing the positive effects of juicing in their lives, Paul and Joy decided to “put up a business wherein they could open up their kitchen to the public” as a way to provide healthy and affordable meals to more people, hence Detoxify Bar was born. Today, after almost three years, Detoxify Bar now has six branches all over Metro Manila and have gotten requests from countries like Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the US to open branches there as well. As a testament to their dedication to quality, they only use produce certified by the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines, and to ensure and maintain freshness, all juice orders are pressed upon ordering. For those who are planning to explore the goodness of juicing, make sure you try their all-time bestseller Green Vegan Detox and Minty Berry.

and their Stuffed Bell Pepper, which you can choose to stuff with chicken, salmon, tuna, dory, or quinoa.

And Detoxify Bar isn’t just about juices. They also have delectable meals that you will find irresistible, whether you’re a health nut or a hardcore carnivore. Their bestselling dishes include Salmon and Asparagus, Walnut-Crusted Chicken with Quinoa Pilaf,

“Everything that we serve is still carefully made and prepared with same quality and care as if you were a house guest in the Torres’ home,” Karlo shares. “We are thrilled that everyone has become more health conscious. In our own little way, this is


pDetoxify Bar evokes the same cleanliness of their food choices in their store’s interiors.

our contribution to society.” Detoxify bar has branches in Eastwood, Solenad at Nuvali, Alabang, Shangrila Mall, and McKinley Hill. For more information on their branches and delivery options, visit


After attending a wellness retreat, former pre-school teacher Maika Perez started The Juice Barista with a friend. “[I found out about juicing] not because it was something popular, I gained it through my practice with yoga,” Maika tells Expat. “I was on the heavy side during my younger days. I love food and my health wasn’t really great. I would always feel the rollercoaster ride of a busted immunity, hormonal imbalance, feeling bloated and run down on most days, and I would think how can I feel this bad? I lacked the vitality that a young girl in her 20’s should have.”

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Realizing the difficult but necessary choice, Perez changed her old habits. She started getting into sports and yoga and also focused on her nutrition. She says, “Once I realized how important proper nutrition can be for optimal health, I was hooked. I really wanted to understand it all, having a deeper knowledge and healthier relationship with food, it was entirely selfmotivated.” As Perez continued learning about good nutrition, the more she wanted to share it with more people. Today, roughly two years of experimentations and operations later, The Juice Barista boasts of unique flavors

like their bestselling Strong Like Popeye Smoothie (Water Spinach, Mango, Saba, and Cinnamon), cold-pressed juice King Kong Apple Pie (Water Spinach, Apple, and Cinnamon), lactose-free Matcha Mylk (Matcha, Coconut Milk and Pink Himalayan Salt), and their specialized upgraded hydration beverages Infused Aguas (comes in variants of fruits, vegetables, lime/lemon, herb and spices, and edible blossoms), and Coco H20 (Pure Coconut Water). Perez ensures great quality by fulfilling all orders by herself—from juicing, to blending and mixing, to bottling.

GRUB HUB “My relationship with The Juice Barista has always been and will continue to be on a personal level, homemade, making everything with heaps of love,” she shares. “I believe wellness isn’t one-size-fits-all. Whatever mode of eating, moving, and breathing works best for you, our programs will support it—giving you a manageable, customized method towards optimum health.” For orders and inquiries, visit www.



Health enthusiasts and advocates of the detox/wellness revolution, Katharina and David Azanza launched Juju Cleanse in 2010 with the intention of getting Filipinos to take a pro-active stand about their own health, and encourage everyone to balance what they love to do (lifestyle indulgences) and what they ought to do (eat healthy).

Our menu is based around the concept of salads (traditional bowls, wraps, pasta, red rice bowls and paninis) but we are not a vegetarian restaurant.

somewhat indulgent, and [will] not break the bank,” Katharina explains. “We are about balance: a balanced diet and a balanced lifestyle. Our menu is based around the concept of salads (traditional bowls, wraps, pasta, red rice bowls and paninis) but we are not a vegetarian restaurant. We offer a range

p“Juju Eats & Juju Cleanse creates healthy food choices to make nutrition a priority in every meal without sacrificing great flavor and value for money.”

of toppings and options for our customers to customize their own bowl and really personalize the experience.” While Juju Eats encourages their patrons

“My family is intensely immersed in the world of alternative health,” shares Katharina, the daughter of Eckard and Perla Rempe—the founders of the health and wellness resort The Farm at San Benito. “David and I are extremely aware of what we put inside our—and our kids’— bodies… It is this concept of convenience cleansing that we would like to bring to [the public], so in 2013, we launched Juju Eats: a salad-based restaurant,” Katharina tells Expat. “The simple idea behind Juju Eats is that healthier food can be good—in all senses of the word, satisfying and also

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GRUB HUB to personalize their experience by customizing their orders. Katharina suggests the following bestsellers for neophytes: their Mexican-inspired Ay Caramba Salad/Wrap, the Thai Crispy Catfish Salad/Wrap, the local Inasal Salad, their classic Chicken Caesar Salad/Wrap, and their own twist on the Korean favorite Bibimbap Red Rice Bowl. “The public has responded very positively to both the Juju Cleanse fasting program and cold pressed juices very well. They responded to Juju Eats with equal enthusiasm which is a great indication that everyone is becoming increasingly health conscious in Manila,” Katharina says. “We understand that everyone is on their own personal health journey and we celebrate everyone for the effort. We are all works in progress.” Juju Eats has branches in Makati, Quezon City, Pasig, and Mandaluyong. For more information on their stores and delivery services, visit



In April 2014, three lifelong friends— Trisha Lee, Genevieve Gabionza, and Isabelle Chiang—turned their “deeprooted, explicit ardor for good food” into a movement to inform and encourage people to eat healthier—and Paleo Manila was born. “We noticed nutrition education in the Philippines is highly misunderstood and disregarded, thus the rampant and growing case of malnutrition, as well as obesity,” Isabelle tells Expat. “It wasn’t until we started studying the fundamentals and the logic behind the [Paleo] lifestyle…that we had a complete paradigm shift on our views of being fit and by choosing to live Paleo.” Living a Paleo lifestyle means going “back to eating how we’re biologically designed to eat, allowing us to tap into our genetic potential and start living healthier immediately.” According to Chiang, “all Paleo meals we serve [are] cooked the way nature intended using all natural ingredients—never packaged, never ready-made, all from scratch.” Paleo Manila believes in living and promoting a sustainable and balanced lifestyle. Chiang says, “We want our clients to eat better, do better, and in turn live better…Imagine having made-fromscratch, all-natural, gluten-free, Paleo meals delivered daily to your door. Having meal plans delivered and prepared for you will leave you free to concentrate on the other aspects of your weight-loss program.”

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“A week into [the Paleo program], they start feeling better, knowing they’ve been consuming all-natural food. At two weeks, they start feeling leaner and cleaner and lose noticeable water weight. By three weeks, their sleeping cycles improve— leaving them with explosive energy fueling them more to do more the next day. And by the fourth week, their clothes start to fit better and lose body fat. After experiencing a month with us, most of them realize how leaving their nutrition to the Paleo Manila Team is more cost-efficient and convenient for them. And for most of them, they never look back,” Chiang explains.

A complete Paleo Manila meal plan consists of breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. All meals are all-natural, glutenfree, dairy-free, GMO-free (genetically modified organisms), uses no food additives, no preservatives, and no chemicals. “It is suitable for celiacs, foodies, gourmands, diabetics, athletes, culinary adventurists and the carbohydrateconscious; and it suits all ages, kids to senior citizens,” Isabelle points out. For more information on living a paleo lifestyle through Paleo Manila, visit www.

tHaving meal plans delivered and prepared for you will leave you free to concentrate on the other aspects of your weightloss program.”


Photo from Pexels

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Sofitel Philippine Plaza Celebrates

Korean food, the Lunar New Year, and Valentine’s with a triple treat of festive fun! Text by Angie Duarte / Photos courtesy of Sofitel Philippine Plaza

January and February were loaded with fun and festivity at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. In truly inimitable Sofitel fashion, Manila’s premiere luxury hotel ushered in the first quarter of 2016 with luxurious triple treat: its first-ever Korean Food Festival, a spectacular Lunar New Year celebration, and 21ways to make Valentine’s day all the more romantic! The season of festivity kicked-off at a sumptuous luncheon with the press, held on Jan. 20, at crème-de la-crème buffet outlet, Spiral. The afternoon was marked by cheerful camaraderie between members of the media, distinguished guests, and dignitaries from the Korean diplomatic community, as well as exceptional entertainment from select cultural groups. Annyeong Haseyo, Korea! The global fascination with Korean culture extends well beyond K-Pop and TV soap shows, to Korean gastronomic offerings. Korean food took center stage at Annyeong Haseyo, Korea: a food festival which showcased the culinary delights of the Land of the Morning Calm, executed by awardwinning Korean Master Chef, Jang Bo-Ik. Gastronomes delighted in the festival’s many exciting, appetizing activities held from Jan. 21 to 25; such as a lavish Korean Wine Dinner, a class on the Art of making Kimchi, a colorful demonstration of signature Korean dishes at the Korean

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Magnifique Chef event, and a Korean Cooking Class, all held at Spiral. 10 Secrets to happiness Sofitel rang in the Lunar New Year of the Fire Monkey with an epicurean feast, specially prepared by Spiral’s Chinese Culinary Artisan, Chef Michael Tai. From Feb. 1 to 10, foodies indulged in Chef Tai’s culinary interpretations of prosperity, longevity, friends, faith and fortune, in ten delectable dishes.


Above: Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s F&B Operations Manager Caleb Han, Korean Cultural Center Director Oh Choong-Suk, Miss World Philippines 2015 First Princess Cassy Naidas wearing a piece from Albert Andrada’s La Prospérite Chinoise Collection, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines His Excellency Kim Jae-Shin, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s General Manager, Chef Jang Bo-Ik from Grand Ambassador by Pullman Korea, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila’s Chinese Chef Michael Tai, Chocolate Chef Tweet Obsequio, Restaurant Manager Eric Norbert, Assistant F&B Manager Tanguy Gras

A fashion show featuring the grandiose runway collection of top-rated designer, Albert Andrada, made for a truly special evening on Feb 3. Jewel-toned fashion pieces melded with Spiral’s culinary creations, in seamless marriage of luxury and taste. Je T’áime de 21 Façons (or, I Love you in 21 Ways) The month of hearts was made all the more romantic, with Sofitel’s I Love you in 21 Ways promotion. Unique ideas designed to show your amour how much you love him or her, with a variety of exquisite artistic expression and amorous culinary interpretations. A myriad of marvelous, memorable moments, brought to you by the Sofitel!











(1) In photo are: Fashion Show Director Robby Carmona, Miss World Philippines 2015 First Princess Cassy Naidas wearing a piece from Albert Andrada’s La Prospérite Chinoise Collection and Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila General Manager Adam Laker (2) Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila Resident Manager Alfredo Denage, General Manager Adam Laker and Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines, His Excellency Kim Jae-Shin




(3) Simon Greatwich of the Loyola Meralco Sparks, Host Max Tiu, Restaurant Manager Eric Norbert, Gretchen Fullido, Director of Public Relations Yasmine Hidalgo and Assistant F&B Manager Tanguy Gras.

(4) Korean Fan Dance (5) Chinese New Year 10 Secrets to Happiness at Spiral (6) Lucky Coins (7) Chinese New Year Dishes (8) Valentine’s Day chocolates (9) Korean Wine Dinner Dishes (10) love in a latte (11) Valentine Jewelry Box (12) Strawberry Mousse Cake

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A Coming Together of Fashion and Art Mark Bumgarner and Love Marie’s Fashion Show Gala


Spectacular creations and masterpieces came to life as the collaboration of Mark Bumgarner’s fashion forward designs with Love Marie’s bold art pieces came together to showcase creations that surely captivated their audience last Jan. 18 at the Mayuree Ballroom of Dusit Thani Hotel. The exquisite partnership featuring the artistic creations of the two brilliant minds were set in the runway as stunning muses including Julia Barretto, Lovi Poe, Maggie Wilson-Consunji, Gabbi Garcia, Bianca Valerio, Hillarie Parungao and Ariella Arida wore, strutted and flaunted each uniquely crafted piece.



Before unveiling their fused dresses of design and art, the race car driver-turnedfashion designer, Mark Bumgarner, first opened the platform featuring his Mazda 2 Midnight edition inspired black and red evening gowns. The lovely evening proceeded as the inspiring and breathtaking collections of the esteemed artists were revealed through various interesting themes and inspirations. The first lineup portrayed hues of greens and champagne; the second one came with reds and greys; and then black and whites came last. Each masterpiece embodies a certain personality and invokes meaning to the viewer same as how viewing art moves someone. Interestingly, two of the Mark Bumgarner x Love Marie finely tailored and painted creations were silently auctioned at this night as proceeds will go to the Corridor of Hope Foundation and Thalassemia International Association. Indeed, the standards in the fashion spectrum got more exciting as the artistic creations of Mark Bumgarner and Love Marie made their way fiercely in the runway.

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(1) Dusit Thani General Manager Bruno Cristol, Vice Chairman and President of Philippine Hoteliers Inc. Ms. Evelyn Singson, Love Marie OngpaucoEscudero, Mark Bumgarner, Mazda President and CEO Steven Tan, Mazda Senior Managing Executive Mr. Yuji Nakamura, Mazda Executive Director and CEO Dato’ Sri Ben Yeoh, Mazda Executive Officer Mr. Hiroshi Inoue, and Mazda Executive Director Dato Francis Lee (2) Lee Bumgarner and Michele Bumgarner (3) Quintin Cu-Unjieng and Vani Vergara (4) Dong Ronquillo, Leah De Guzman and Charmaine Palermo (5) Mark Burgarner 2016 Collection 15

(6) Julia Barretto in a Mark Bumgarner dress, handpainted by Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero


(7)Love Marie Ongpauco - Escudero and Albert Kurniawan (8)Grace Ang and Felix Ang (9)Gabby Eigenmann (10)Bruno Cristol and Angela Cristol (11)Victor Consunji and Maggie Wilson (12)Max Santos and Kacci Santos (13)Charina Sarte, Rajo Laurel and Tess Villareal (14)Mazda President and CEO Steven Tan, Mazda senior managing executive, Mr. Yuji Nakamura and Mazda executive director and CEO Dato’ Sri Ben Yeoh (15) Princess Violago

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Of Alliances and Social Responsibility The Consular Corps of the Philippines second annual meeting


After the successful first meeting of 2016 with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the second leg of the annual Consular Corps meeting welcomed US Ambassador Philip S. Goldberg as its guest of honor and speaker at Makati Shangri-La Hotel last Feb. 24. The Ambassador stressed the importance of the US and the Philippines alliance, particularly with the ongoing and increasingly contentious territorial dispute. “The main function of what I try to do today and what I want to tell anyone whose President of the Philippines next is that this relationship is very important for both countries,” Ambassador Goldberg said. “People ask me about the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea’s developments and I point out that some of the things we’re doing are out of interest and out of agreement, not necessarily from the same position.”

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“These ties that we have with the Philippines based on the history, based on our military alliance, based on the friendship that has evolved through the migration of people in both directions goes well beyond the headlines that you see all the time, and that’s carried out through our public affairs programs, through our exchange programs,” the Ambassador added. But the day’s affairs were not limited to that matter as the Consular Corps of the Philippines, which is actively and widely engaged in various community development projects, announced a number of donations stemming from the Annual Consular Ball. My hometown of Catarman in Northern Samar, thoroughly ravaged by Typhoon Nona last December, also received donations that will be used for the replacement of books, other reading materials and educational toys in day care centers across the 55 barangays of



Catarman. With this assistance, the daycare centers of Catarman can now look forward to a much improved day care facility and services.

Again, on behalf of the children, their parents and day care volunteers of Catarman, province of Samar, our profound gratitude for your wonderful

gesture of generosity and our wishes for your continued success in all your future endeavors.











(1) Portugal Consul Antonio Rufino, Italy Consul Antonio Gallo, Europian Union Minister Counsellor Mattias Lentz, Chile DHM Camilo Sanhueza, Mexico Deputy Chief of Mission Christian Clay-Mendoza, USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg, Monaco Consul General, Dean, Consular Corps of the Philippines Fortune Ledesma, Argentina Minister Counsellor Guillermo Devoto, Ukraine Consul General Oscar De Venecia, Ivory Coast Consul General Vince Carlos, Estonia Consul General Juan Pena, Iran Ambassador Mohammad Tanhei (2) United State of America Ambassador Philip Goldberg, DEAN Consular Corps of the Philippines, Monaco Consul General Fortune Aleta Ledesma (3) Angola Consul Helen Ong; Togo Consul Evie Costa; USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg; Fiji Consul Jesus Pineda, Jr.; Costa Rica Consul Fausto Preysler and Eritrea Consul George Yang (4) Bulgaria Consul Rene Ledesma; RJ Ledesma; Angola Consul Helen Ong; Guatemala Consul Amelia Ablaza; Dean, Monaco Consul Fortune Ledesma; USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg; Fiji


Consul Jesus Pineda, Jr.; Costa Rica Consul Fausto Preysler and Senegal Consul (5) Jordan Consul Michael Ang, Sweden Consul General Carla Limcaoco, Bahay Aruga Foundation President Mayette Bonilla, Expat Butch Bonsol , Monaco Consul General Fortune Ledesma, Argentina Minister Counsellor Guillermo Devoto (6) Dean Fortune Ledesma welcomes guests and members of the consular corps for their second meet at Makati Shangri-La Hotel (7) Dean, Monaco Consul Fortune Ledesma (third from the left) and Gambia Consul Agnes Huibonhoa (leftmost) acknowledge donors and sponsors Sweden Consul Carla Limcaoco (second from the left); Denmark Consul Perry Pe (third from the right); Tanzania Consul Betty Ang Chua (second from the right); and President of Cats Motors Inc. Felix R. Ang (rightmost) (8) Angola Consul Helen Ong, Togo Consul Evie Costa, Guatemala Consul Amelia Ablaza, USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg, France Consul Christian HUE, Germany Consul Ulrich Kohler,


Russian Head of Consular Section Alexander Baskakov, Australia Consul Widad Zouiten, Czech Republic Jakub Cerny (9) RJ Ledesma; USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg; Dean, Monaco Consul Fortune Ledesma; and Bulgaria Consul Rene Ledesma (10)(11) Monthly corps luncheon meeting with USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg, as Guest of Honor and Speaker started with an interesting update on bilateral relationship and corporate social responsibility (12) Jordan Consul Michael Alexander Ang and France Consul Christian Hue (13) Guatemala Consul Amelia Ablaza; Angola Consul Helen Ong; Dean, Monaco Consul Fortune Ledesma; USA Ambassador Philip Goldberg; Fiji Consul Jesus Pineda, Jr.; Costa Rica Consul Fausto Preysler and Senegal Consul Edward Go (14) Italy Consul General, Vice Dean Antonio Gallo; Angola Consul Helen Ong; and Germany Consul Ulrich Kohler

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Get re-acquainted with your body’s natural balance Text by Timothy Jay Ibay / Photos courtesy of Karada

You hear it frequently, from most spheres of thought and discipline – balance is key. You might have the most innovative training regimen, taking advantage of technological developments to shape your body and get stronger, become more flexible and move freer. But absent of the body’s natural balance, you’re leaving yourself prone to injuries and conditions that will eventually rear its ugly head (perhaps not in the near), but definitely in the future. And that’s why one of Japan’s most famous Seitai salons – Karada – is a pit stop you should make. Lifting its name from the Japanese term meaning “body,” Karada amalgamates various principles such as Seitai (a practice that consists of easing the activity of the life force by re-adjusting the body’s physiology), judo-seifuku (non-invasive treatment of damaged bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues), osteopathy, among others, to come up with their own distinct technique called AP (Atlas and Pelvis) Balance. “AP Balance is a technique that aligns the first neck bone (Atlas) where the major nerves exit, innervating muscles and organs; and the pelvis, which is the main base of our body,” explains Karada General Manager Hanna Stelton. What makes Karada’s philosophy and

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therapy such an easy sell is that everyone – be it a person with an active physical lifestyle, or one that’s confined, slouched in front of a computer for the better part of the day – is prone to a disturbance in the alignment of the spine and pelvis, which, among others, cause stress on the nerves, discomfort, and other stress-related conditions. It’s pretty straightforward, disturbance in the balance of the atlas affects stress, hormonal balance, as well the eyes, neck and head; while the same for the pelvis often leads to back, lower back, shoulder and posture issues. And nobody wants that. Karada combines AP Balance with what they succinctly call Body Treatment (basically Shiatsu, or deep tissue massage combined with stretching). “This is a dry deep-tissue massage that addresses the areas of the muscles that are stiff. Using the therapists’ body weight transcended in the thumb and fingers,” divulges Stelton. “This improves the circulation, thus helping to flush out waste products and pain metabolites and also improves sleeping.” And speaking of their therapists, they could have the soundest approach when it comes to body treatment, but sans the expertise needed to perform such, it would all be for naught. That’s why each of Karada’s

therapists are not only given skills but also knowledge training for up to three months – under Japanese Master Hiroaki Naruse, together with Karada Philippines Head Trainer Charish Neil Jacquez. Starting with the introduction of Japanese culture and norms, the morning and evening chants, and the company’s mission-vision, the therapists are then given basic courses on the anatomy of muscles and bones – a necessity for understanding related bodily conditions. These are followed by rigorous training on the basic technique of muscle/ body treatment, foot reflexology, and their bread and butter, bone alignment. “Karada embodies not only the uniqueness of its technique, but also the hospitality and the happy spirit of its workforce that gives each clientele a blissful feeling after each treatment. That’s a Karada promise,” Stelton enthuses. Some have called Karada’s treatments life changing, others yet have come out of their doors, revitalized – emancipated from discomfort that have come to haunt their everyday lives. Do yourself a favor, and find out how they can make a difference for you. * To find out which Karada branch is closest to you, visit philippines.

Contact us at (0918) 656-8482 | (0915) 988-8011 or email us at

Y ou r own pr i v a te p a r a d i s e.

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Expat Travel & Lifestyle Magazine: WELLNESS ISSUE  

Expat Travel & Lifestyle Magazine: WELLNESS ISSUE  

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