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MAGAZINE

March 2016 Edition

Mardi Gras in Maui G Tongi, TV Host Lou Baron, “That’s Life” Baguio Flowers Abloom International Women’s Month

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AAA ENTERPRISES, INC. 1308 Manley Drive San Gabriel, CA 91776

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Tel: (626) 940-6542 Fax: (626) 312-5461 joyalegre@gmail.com

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SONIA D. BERMEJO Publisher/Executive Editor

MANILA UP! Publisher SONIA D.BERMEJO Executive Editor ANTONETTE B. ANG Associate Editor THELMA CALABIO Consultant GILDA PINEDA DIONELA Marketing Associate London, UK

Contributing Writers Manila, Philippines BECKY GARCIA ERNEST L. GONZAGA Contributing Writer, London, UK ELA HIDALGO SARAH REID

Contributing Writer Florida, USA MELODY GARCIA Contributing Writers Los Angeles, USA Rev. R.D QUEMA RSG MONET LU CARLOS MIGUEL CUSI CINCO FE KOONS ANGEL TAHIMIK Maui, Hawaii Contributing Writers EDITH PENDLETON RANDY ANTONIO Contributing Writer Las Vegas, Nevada JOEY GALON Sports Photographer JHAY OH OTAMIAS Photographers BENNY UY RUDY AUTOR WILLIE CHENG PHILIP NeR JOE COBILLA

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T

ime does fly when you’re having fun! It is amazing to

think that the first quarter of the year is almost gone, but in the meantime, let us live in the moment. March is so aptly declared the “International Women’s Month.” Right after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, where women take the front line in making each occasion a memorable and joyful one for her loved ones, it is very fitting that they get to be celebrated as well, considering the fact that women play an integral part in the lives of everyone. “By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacation-less class,” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

This Women’s month, celebrated in the United States and some parts of the world highlights. The contributions of women both in history and the society, and it corresponds with the International Women’s Day which is on March 8. It traces its beginning to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. A woman’s place is no longer just in the house taking care of her family, she can also handle the job of managing corporations, holding government positions, going to mission fields designed for the sturdiness of heart and body, and so on and so forth. Our femininity doesn’t confine us to demure positions at all. “Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels,” by Faith Whittlesey. This issue of Manila Up! magazine is dedicated to the women, Filipino women, who have made an impact in our lives and have made a big difference in our society. By their sheer wit, resilience, motivation and inspiration, they have achieved their goals in life, and then some. These empowered women, successful and fulfilled in every endeavor they undertake, are what makes life easier, if not for all of us, for most of us.

Kudos to these wonderful women, and all the women out there! Your sacrifices are deserving of all the honor and recognition for a job well done.

Art Director HYDEE ABRAHAN Graphic/Layout JOHN ERNEST GREGORY

MANILA UP! MAGAZINE 2720 W. Avenue 32 Los Angeles, CA USA soniadber@@att.net

Email: manilaup@gmail.com Website: www.manilaupmagazine.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Articles published in this paper do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. ISBN 231 256-2-16

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PANAGBENGA FESTIVAL 2016

BAGUIO FLOWERS ABLOOM By ERNEST L. GONZAGA Photos by MARK PEREZ | IMAGES ASIA The color and pomp of the annual Panagbenga festival brought out the best of the highland region recently with the staging of the 2016 Panagbenga Festival. This year’s festival theme was aptly called “Bless the Children with Flowers”. Now on its 21st year, the festival has grown from a crowd-drawing festival to a tradition and defining symbol for Baguio, alongside the pines and the chill. But unlike both elements sadly slowly waning, the Panagbenga stands as a testament of the beauty and energy the city contributes to the country.

Panagbenga is a word rooted from the Kankanaey term which means “season of blooming” or “a time for watering.” To Filipinos, Panagbenga refers to the premier flower festival in the homeland held every February, akin to the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, Panagbenga is an annual event held during the month of February in the City of Pines, known as the summer capital of the Philippines because of its generally cool weather. As in previous festivals, the Philippine Military Academy band and cadets led the street dancing contingents. They danced in the designated performance spots along the parade routes to the tune of the latest songs, and the roar and cheers of spectators. Colorfully-costumed schoolchildren, deftly making pulsating rhythm together with drums and lyres, began the street dancing which took all of two-and-a-half hours and left the legions of spectators breathless. Panagbenga executive committee chair Anthony De Leon said the month-long Panagbenga Festival 2016 celebration was graced by many tourists due in part to the long weekend and the extra-cool weather the city has been enjoying since the start of January. Panagbenga 2016 attracted throngs of revelers, especially with the completion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway next year. With travel time expected to be a mere 2.5 hours from Balintawak to Baguio City, Baguio could easily become a weekend destination.

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Anna Sia Total Fashionista

“What’s important really is you are beautiful inside out. Beauty comes from the heart.” Beautiful words imparted to us by Anna Sia, her most important life lesson.

Anna has been working in the fashion industry half of her life. She enjoys dressing up both men and women alike, and takes pride in being an instrument in making their appearance pleasing to the eye. She is an accounting graduate who pursued her passion in fashion marketing from the Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles, California. The fashion industry then became her major source of income, being very successful as the chief in fashion supply and merchandising, for a mall giant. There is no question that she has a gift, and that is in fashion. Anybody who has seen her work can attest to that. Her knack and keen eye for fashion soon became known in the fashion retail industry, where she develops high end designs and styles, which cater to a wide range of clientele, in varying age groups– ladies, girls, and teens. An example of such work was displayed in the character of Amor Powers (Eula Valdez), in the famed Filipino soap opera “Pangako Sa ‘Yo“, a few years back. The character’s power femme fatale outfits, came from Anna’s “Hollywood Boulevard” boutique, in Los Angeles, CA. She has learned that the fashion rule “Don’t follow trends or else you become a fashion victim”, is something that should be taken seriously.

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Her keen sense of style started at an early age, influenced by her parents, who owned beauty shops and garment businesses. She started showing an interest in the fashion world way back then, dictated by sheer intuition and the knack in determining what kind of style appeals to the vast majority. She now considers herself semi-retired from her high-powered career, and devotes half of her time being involved in numerous charitable organizations. Being involved in charity work gives her a sense of fulfillment. “Helping out feels so nice. Whatever you extend to others comes back to you- and it comes back a hundredfold, more than what you have given”. Her advice to aspiring fashion designers is just “to stick to classic styles, don’t be too aggressive with colors, and know what works best for monochromatic ugh, is this: looks”. She is a glamorous woman, not just your usual fashionable granny type. Her elegance comes from her having a simple, yet classic style, which she favors a lot, and which she picks out for herself. Brands like Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana are her favorites, as well as works by Ito Curata, a local fashion designer. From working behind the scenes, making people look their best, to being recognized in the best dressed list of charitable organizations, is a validation of her outstanding sense of style. She is still, indeed, in the height of her fashion career!

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NACIONALES AND ASSOCIATES, INC. 311 N. Doheny Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90211 Tel: (310)724-8190 Fax; ((310)276-5334

dba BEVERLY HILLS HOME CARE 302 S. La Peer Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90046 State Licence #197604766 Residential Care Facility to the Elderly VINA LELIM NACIONALES Licensee/Administrator

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Vina Lelim Nacionales “Cinderella

to become a Certified Nurse.” She said her life changed when she met Mrs. Sara Freeman, the wife of the former Mayor of Beverly Hills. “She was looking for a private nurse and hired me. Later, the family wanted to place Mrs. Freeman in a nursing facility and I offered instead to take care of her at my home,” which she converted into a board and care facility. She took care of Mrs. Freeman for 12 years. When Vina had saved enough money she bought her first house. It didn’t take long, within six months, before she had five more residences. “In a year,” she said, “I had six facilities.” She has truly achieved her “American Dream.” Vina has realized that she was born poor for a reason. “God has a purpose for me – to help the poor. Because I suffered growing up, because hunger was a companion, I have vowed to help the poor." The beauty queen joins pageants for worthy causes. Feeding school children is her pet project in the Philippines. She helps the parish church in her hometown. Her “ultimate plan” is to continue serving and helping the elderly community and the residents of her facility “Beverly Hills Home Care.”

V

ina Lelim Nacionales, a successful

entrepreneur, is CEO of Nacionales & Associates, Inc. founded in 1998. She’s a licensed State Administrator for a Residential Care Facility and a licensed Certified Nurse of the State of California. She’s also a realtor and a philanthropist. She describes herself as a “mother, grandmother, businesswoman, community leader, and Mrs. Asia Classic International 2015,” a representative of the Philippines at a beauty pageant in Malaysia in June. She was also recognized as Mrs. Asia Classic International Charity Queen 2015, and Mrs. Asia Classic International Popularity Queen 2015, among many other titles. She didn’t think she would win “because of my height and my age,” but she also won as Mrs. Asia Classic International of Goodwill 2015.

Vina doesn’t hide her humble beginnings. She comes from Lambunao, a small rural town in Iloilo. “My father was a farmer; my mother, a street vendor. I’m the second of seven siblings and we experienced hardship as my father couldn’t afford to buy enough food for all of us. I had no shoes and no nice clothes. I felt sad all the time.” At a young age, Vina’s survival instincts were evident. “I bought bread from the bakery, sold them to farmers and got paid with rice. Then I sold the rice for more money.” She was a working student in college and worked at a sewing company as a secretary and bookkeeper. “The more I worked,” she said, “the more I became ambitious.” She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Iloilo. Her success did not come easily. Besides culture shock and language barrier, “I came to America with $10 and took on odd jobs to survive. I cooked and took the bus to deliver food to Filipinos at their offices; I was a house sitter and a caregiver; and worked at a nursing registry. I got paid well and that inspired me

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And what’s rewarding is “I’m not sad anymore,” she says. Besides being able to afford nice clothes and shoes, and have enough food at the table, Vina is happy her two children and grandchildren are with her. Her son Harry is a Director of Nursing in a large hospital, and married to Violeta Dasal, a registered nurse. They have three “gorgeous, smart” daughters: Cailin, Samantha and “cute” Rylee Paige. Vina’s daughter Riza, Nurse Supervisor in a Rehab Health Care and Skilled Nursing Facility, is married to Michael Stanley Ruiz, MDS Nurse in a skilled facility. They have two kids: “handsome” Michael Justin ‘MJ’ and “beautiful” Alaiza. Vina is running out of wall space for all her awards, not only as an outstanding mother and businesswoman, but also as an outstanding community leader. She was Word of Life Giving Ministries Awardee 2012; Hermana Mayor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church 2013; and Hermana Mayor Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels 2015; National Association of Senior Care Awardee 2011; and Excellence in Health-care Services Awardee 2014; She has been recognized by L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti, and City Mayor Jim Dear of Carson; and voted President of Friends of the Filipino American Press Club of California, among many other accolades. FAPPCA presented Vina with a plaque of Appreciation and Recognition. The reigning Mrs. Asia Classic International 2015, who was also voted Mrs. Asia International EsteeGold Ambassador 2015, was a judge at the Mrs. New York Philippines Beauty Pageant 2014. She was recently crowned the “Queen of the World 2015”, during the coronation and awarding night, at an event called “Beautiful Life” that was held in Omni Hotel, in Los Angeles, California last November 21, 2015. Vina is not only a beauty queen in appearance, she is also a beauty queen at heart, full of gratitude and is always willing to share her blessings through gift giving, one example of which is for the homeless people in the downtown area of Los Angeles, California, during the Christmas season.

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producer, president of Celestial Productions and founder/president of The Baron Publishing House Corporation. January 10, 2013 she was nominated for The Sidney Hillman Foundation Award for her book “Scripted In Heaven”. On February 12, 2013 she was nominated for the 2013 EOTM Award for her published book “Scripted In Heaven” in the category of Outstanding Literary (Inspirational, True Story, Biography). On February 28, 2013 she won an award for her book “Scripted In Heaven” at MoneyCytec Achiever Awards Night 2013 in New York. Lourdes Duque Baron holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Far Eastern University (FEU) and a dual masters degree from the University of La Verne where she earned her Master of Health Administration and Master of Science in Gerontology. Lourdes Duque Baron is a lifetime member of FEU Medical Alumni Foundation, founder of World Medical Missions and founder of the Gregg Robinson Baron Foundation for Autism. Lourdes Duque Baron lives with her husband Dr. Robinson Baron and her family in the San Gabriel Valley area of the State of California. For more information, visit her IMDB at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5505708/ or official sites at http://lourdesduquebaron.com and http://lourdesduquebaron.net

Lourdes Duque Baron Highlight Reel Music Video Breakthrough Album of the Year 2014 LA Music Awards Best Actress Lourdes Duque Baron is a master of many trades. She is a vocalist, songwriter, author, wife, mother, mentor, native Filipina and longtime Californian, but above all else she is a performer. Baron is in pre-production on a feature film project called “Scripted In Heaven,” an adaptation of her award winning book. Lourdes Duque Baron, MHA, MSG is a Catholic baby boomer and the wife of Dr. Robinson V. Baron. Lourdes Duque Baron is a community leader, international published book author of “Scripted in Heaven”, beauty queen (3rd runner-up for Mrs. Asia USA 2011 representing the Philippines),

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Beautiful Life by Monet Lu

A new skin for a new you, enlighten skin whitening on sale!

WE all wonder why many stars and

celebrities seem to have flawless, white skin. For sure, not all of them were born with perfect skin. Many rely on beauty products that effectively lighten dark skin and evens out darker pigmentations. Thank goodness, you too, can have beautiful white skin within just a few weeks with Enlighten Skin Whitening Beauty Pills. An FDA-cleared beauty product, Enlighten Skin Whitening contains genuine, grade “A” Glutathione that has gotten rave reviews from people who have tried it for themselves. We have exclusively marketed the product for years and glutathione is a wonderful antioxidant. In fact, it has been proclaimed by many experts as “nature’s most powerful antioxidant.” Enlighten is formulated and manufactured in the US at FDA-approved facilities that have been in existence for 40 years. Glutathione strengthens the immune system and has actually been used as a defense against cancer. There are people who fear that taking this may damage their liver. But on the contrary, glutathione is actually an effective liver detoxifier. The bonus, of course, is that Glutathione serves to make skin lighter. Unfortunately, not all products with gluthathione are genuine. Experts warn people: “Mag-ingat sa mga poor imitations.” There have been reports that some whitening products sourced from parts of Asia that claim to have glutathione in them are actually laced with traces of chalk. So be extra careful. I’m proud to say that Enlighten contains pure 500mg Glutathione plus Alpha Lipoic Acid, rosehips, vitamin C, vitamin E and papaya. These ingredients work harmoniously together to improve the skin. Besides skin lightening, Enlighten Skin Whitening Beauty Pills also targets to even your skin tone, remove darks spots, erase acne marks, and delay skin aging. “Doctors recommend that Enlighten be taken once a day (one tablet) coupled with 1,000mg of Ester-C (the modified version of vitamin C) which can be purchased at any of your favorite supermarkets or pharmacies. Results are usually visible before or within three months of use. This is a very limited sale. Stocks are running low. Order now and save! One unit order of Enlighten comes in a package of three bottles, or a three months’ supply is on sale for $129 ! Regular price is $209. Enlighten is available in all branches of Monet Salon outlets: Or call Reflections by Monet Salon: 8340 Van Nuys Blvd, Panorama City, CA. Tel# (818) 891-8949 Andy Monet Salon Canoga park at 818-912-68-35 or go to SKINBYMONET.com Monet Lu is a Marikina-born, award-winning celebrity beauty stylist with his own chain of Monet Salon salons across Southern California . Ultimately, Monet is known as an all-around artiste who produces sold-out fashion and awards shows as well as unforgettable marketing. To contact Monet, please visit www.monetsalon.com or email him at monetsalon@aol.com

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N th an co d E w o w M

Elna Villaflor

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“Driven”

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When her only child was growing up, Elna had decided to establish an assisted living facility for the elderly so that she could spend more quality time with him, and to take care of her aging parents as well. Being an extremely organized, hardworking, and compassionate professional, she started with one facility and now operates four beautiful communities in various locations. While most of her peers have retired from work or had switched careers, Elna has devotedly remained in this very challenging and demanding career. She had opened her doors to the elderly since 1996 and had provided jobs to our “kababayans” most of whom are now successful in their own chosen paths. She has also provided community services to seniors who have very limited funds. However, even with good and honest intentions and best business practices, Elna has also faced strenuous situations, lots of sleepless nights and external pressures in her line of work. During those times, she would think of giving up on this very tough and challenging profession, but because of her endurance, she is able to overcome a lot of difficulties that come her way. She gets inspired and motivated again and again by the dedication that she sees in her employees, and the gratefulness of her clients for the services rendered to them, makes this difficult but noble calling very rewarding for her. In addition to being a CEO of her company, Elna is a real estate investor, both here and abroad as well. She also ventured into the entertainment industry as an associate partner to dramatically enhance and unlock a world of business opportunities for her. In spite of her very hectic schedule, Elna still finds the time to retreat to her rustic mountain cabin on the lake to go boating and to enjoy her walks in the woods. Elna is also a voracious reader and loves to travel world wide. She is a prolific decorator who enjoys antiquing and is very passionate in gardening, arts and culture.

E

lna Villaflor was born in San Antonio,

Nueva Ecija and was raised on a farm by her grandparents. She is the younger of two children. Her parents are Gil Cayman Villaflor and Pacita Tinio Crisostomo, of the famed and huge Tinio clan. A consistent honor student and leader since her elementary school days, Elna received her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from one of the top universities in the Philippines, which is also the oldest Catholic university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas. Prior to immigrating to the United States, she had worked as a Systems Analyst in a leading commercial bank in Manila. Upon arrival in the US, Elna was immediately hired as a Controller/Office Manager with a well-known apparel company in downtown Los Angeles, California. She enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles and took up additional classes at night in order to further advance her career. She also became associated with the nation's leading health care companies such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross of California.

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She currently lives in the beautiful community of The Country Estates in Diamond Bar, California with her four beloved dogs and her husband, Ernie Moreno. Their only child who used to lend a helping hand in managing her business is now a resident doctor in Chicago.

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS: - She is an active member of their church and allows the use of their ancestral home and farmhouse in the Philippines for their church evangelical mission. -She is a member of the Thomasian Engineers Club of Southern California. -She has recently been named as one of the 50 Successful Filipinas in the USA. -Chosen as Ambassador of the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of OC -Crowned “Queen of the Philippines International 2015 by “The Beautiful Life Celebration” last November 21, 2015 Photos by Hydee Abrahan

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Isabel Rivas True Believer By Antonette B. Ang Virginia, USA

I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to interview with Isabel Rivas, a famous actress in the Philippine movie and television industry. It didn’t even feel like an interviewee/interviewer session. It felt more like a conversation between two old friends who had lost touch and reconnected. She was so easy to talk with, very warm and welcoming, the joy and contentment that she has in her emanates through the wire, it is a phone interview by the way, and though not face to face with each other, the happiness that she feels is reflected by the lilt and the sound of her voice, it is so contagious, I could almost picture her smiling face right in front of me, and I couldn’t help but smile and be happy with her.

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Isabel now resides in the United States of America, at Lake Forest in California with her Italian American husband, but goes back to the Philippines every so often, considering the fact her business is there, integrated farming, which is being managed by her trustworthy and dearest friend, Susie Macaraig. She runs a mango and dragon fruit farm, exports mangoes to Japan. She also has a poultry farm and is a supplier to Bounty Corporation. She loves her farm so much, talks about how breathtaking the view is from her terrace and jokes about drawing her last breath there, while gazing at the beautiful sky. She even pictures herself acting out that scene in a movie, and laughs about it. She is looking forward to going back home soon, so excited, anticipating the birth of her first grandchild, her son Richard and daughter in law, Nadine Samonte are expecting. When asked if she has any advice that she would like to impart to young people who wants to make it big in this world, her words of guidance were, firstly, to put God first and foremost in your life. Look to Him for guidance and you will never go wrong. Secondly, study the craft that you want to venture into. It is always a good idea to be prepared. Thirdly, be true to yourself. You will hit some snags along the way, but with hard work and perseverance, you will get to where you want to be. Do not be easily discouraged. The fourth thing is to “be in the moment”, be a good person. Stay grounded.

We talked about her life as a child, the fun that she had growing up with 3 siblings, hailing from the town of Iba, in the province of Zambales. How happy and carefree life was, growing up during the 60s and the 70s, how she really enjoyed the provincial life, until she went to college in Manila where she met the father of her son, Richard Chua, whom she birthed while still in school. She had to quit school in order to support her son, so she tried to audition with Joey Gosiengfiao, and was given a break in the showbiz industry. She then went on that path, and was ever so grateful to have Celso Ad Castillo as her mentor, guide, and teacher, as she pursued a career in acting. She always took to heart every role given her, which paved a way to her success in the industry. Although always typecast in roles as a villain, she is a very kind and caring person in real life. She will be saddened when people will see her on the street and show some animosity towards her because of the characters that she portrayed, but that only proves how good of an actress she is, to elicit such response from her audience, very convincing in the roles handed to her, deserving of recognition which she had received when awarded the Best Drama Actress by the Star Awards for television in the TV series “Villa Quintana” in 1996. She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series from the PMPC for her role in the television series “Recuerdo de Amor”. She enjoys acting so much that she wants to “keep on doing it until the day she dies,” spoken like a true actress.

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She talks about venturing into a business related to the field of medicine, and given her track record, raising a child on her own, losing every penny that she has saved due to one bad decision, and still managed to start again, we know that she will succeed. Her resiliency and positive attitude in life are the key factors that help her in achieving her dreams, along with her unfailing love and devotion to God. She is a force to be reckoned with. Isabel admits that she’s learned everything the hard way, having gone through life with lots of struggles, and has faced many challenges along the way, but she was able to overcome because God is always by her side, “God is her partner”. She has learned to thank God in everything, be it good or bad, that happens in her life, because she’s a firm believer that He is always there for her, working in her life, that her life is still a work in progress, and that she will always be His child, no matter what. Her faith is so inspiring. She attends Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The church was founded by Pastor Rick Warren. Whenever in the Philippines, she attends Bible studies with fellow Christian actors in Manila every Saturday. She takes everything in stride, tries to find humor in everything. Laughs a lot and appreciates even the little things that life has to offer. “No matter how hard you fall, always get up, keep up the faith, failures will always be a part of our lives, but prayers always make a difference, it makes our burdens lighter”, these words spoken by a true believer. Isabel Rivas is indeed an inspiration to all of us. There is still so much to tell, given the meaningful existence that she has, but that will be for another time.

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Joy Alegre Joyful Joy

J

oy Alegre credits her success and balanced life to the love and attention her parents had bestowed upon her, and her nine siblings, two sisters and seven brothers. Their parents, Atty. Sereno Agdianaoay Alegre and Anita Elefante Sipin, who was a former councilwoman of Espiritu, Ilocos Norte, made sure that they grew up with a positive and nurturing environment. They have instilled in their young minds the importance of having a very good work ethic and moral value. They became involved in church activities and civic organizations while growing up, and those involvements, and the kind of upbringing that they had, played a major role in her achievements and successes in life. Her parents taught her how to live a well-balanced life, and had shown her how to become a better person, a doting mother to her four children, and a loving grandmother to her grandchildren. Joy attended La Consolacion College in Manila, and then transferred to Divine Word College in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, where she earned her degree in commerce, with a major in banking and finance. She then took up hotel management at the Philippine Plaza Hotel in Manila, right after graduation. She also did some commercial modeling for Ace Compton Advertising Agency and for Pepsi Cola Philippines as well. Her beauty queen status started at an early age of 16, when she was crowned Miss Espiritu during the Banna, Ilocos Norte town fiesta in 1977. She got married at a young age of 17, in Manila, with a grand wedding reception held at the Manila Hilton. She has been blessed with four children, Sheryl, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Commerce, with a major in accounting management, and Fritzie, Bongbon, and Denise, the latter three of whom works as nurses in the medical field. She is also blessed with four grandchildren, three girls, Patricia, Julianne and Joy she reigns, and a boy named Joshua. After arriving in the United States in 1988, she started working for KMPG, a global accounting firm. She worked in that said firm for 24 years, as a senior tax processor, from 1988 to 2012. Joy used to own Handugan Restaurant in Carson, California, a very time consuming job, but still managed to attend to her family’s needs, and still be involved in community activities. She is currently the chief financial officer of the Philippine Independence Coordinating Council. She is also the owner and Chief Executive Officer of AAA Enterprises, Inc., which provides medical supplies and linens to health institutions, and yet, her busy schedule doesn’t deter her from enjoying such hobbies, like hiking, biking, playing golf, and ballroom dancing. She would rather spend her free time serving the community. She is involved in numerous church activities and community

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She would rather spend her free time serving the community. She is involved in numerous church activities and community organizations. She was a member of the board of directors of Banna Ti California Organization from 2003 to 2005. It is an association wherein the members are former residents of the town of Banna, located in Ilocos Norte, who are now living in California. She was also Hermana Mayor in 2012 for the Cathedral of Angels in Los Angeles, California. She was presented a Pamana Award as an Outstanding Woman of style in 2011. The year after that, she was chosen as one of the 100 Outstanding Filipino Americans in the USA. “I’m happy to have been a part of the organization because it gave me the opportunity to share with them what I know, and to inspire others,” Joy said. She also takes joy in sharing her knowledge and experiences in planning events like birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Her beauty queen status didn’t stop at the age of 16. She was crowned Queen of St. Anthony Parish during the church’s annual festival in San Gabriel, California, where she continues to be an active lector and volunteer in the Eucharistic ministry. On June 13, she was also crowned the 2015 Ambassador of Goodwill of the Philippine Independence Coordinating Council of Southern California, during the 117th annual Independence Day grand ball, which was held at the Universal Hilton, in Universal City. Joy has been ever so grateful in her parents’ influence in her life, acknowledging their role in instilling in her the importance of balance in one’s life. Their example, how they dealt with life, played a major impact on what she has become. She has led a very successful and rewarding life thus far, and is still going strong. She has been able to balance her roles as a mother and grandmother, a businesswoman, a community leader and a church volunteer, for many years now. By her own accounts, she has given and received all that her name stands for. her name implies!

She is indeed a very happy woman, as what

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by JOEY GALON

FILIPINO FASHION CONTRIBUTIONS IN AMERICA With the rich, diverse history of the culture of the Philippines, the beautiful blends of global influences all under one country certainly has caught the interest and attention of the world from the cuisine, beautiful geographic terrains, to the kind warm spirited personalities and especially, more lately in America, the influence of Philippine fashion artisans. I remember when I started in the fashion industry back in the 80's and early 90's, the real Super Models were very rare and you can count all of them with less than 10 fingers with one of them of Asian decent and more particularly a Filipina who was the exotic, incomparable and alluring Anna Bayle. I remember working with her on fashion shows during my employment at Neiman Marcus and at I. Magnin as well as independently when I worked for other

Oliver Tolentino shows like Escada and Oscar de la Renta. Her walk was like no other that was truly imitated by many yet could never be duplicated. She made Filipino's proud and aspiring new Filipina models started showing up on the catwalks after her. At the time, it was a dominantly Caucasian world of fashion with a minority of gorgeous black female models with very few other ethnic icons at that time. I think the closest Asian to Anna Bayle during that fashion phase that I got to work with was Escada & Chanel's model muse Yasmeen Ghauri of German/Pakistanian decent.

As for the designers at that time, Filipino designers were very rare in mainstream America and I remember the names that stood out for me from my original department store retail employment days were Josie Natori for her beautiful silk kimono robes and for evening gowns, I remember staring into the I. Magnin windows at Union Square, San Francisco in the 80s at the detailed beaded, crystalled gowns by Ruben Panis (comparable to American designer Bob Mackie) and of Pepito Albert for his Philippine infused modern works.

Michael Cinco

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Fast forward to today, the fashion industry has been a lot more culturally diverse both on the runway for models as well as the artistic contribution of many fashion designers especially Filipinos. Many of whom have brought influences in their designs of Philippine culture to avant garde artistry comparable to European designers like Balmain, Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Christian Lacroix.

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generalization of American competitive artisan attitudes, I certainly know it's not like the typical level of the friendly brotherly nature as in the Philippines. As a burgeoning Filipino American fashion designer myself, I'm grateful to at least have the chance to freely express myself as an artist and showcase my own personal, unique talents with the opportunity for the world to notice and accept me without the limitations than that of the Filipino designers and artists of the 80's and 90's. However, in tribute to them, they were the way showers and pioneers for us that paved the way and opened the doors of opportunities of today.

Truly, it's a grand time for Filipinos to show the world... . and as in the words of reigning Miss Universe, Filipina Pia Wurtzbach..."the Universe rather.." our rich and amazing culture. We truly do make a difference and are blessed with bountiful creativity to contribute to our global communities worldwide and especially in America!

Anna Bayle

In today's American fashion markets, runways and red carpets, we are seeing a long list of uber talented Pinoy fashion influential icons like Monique Lhullier, Michael Cinco, Oliver Tolentino, Alan Del Rosario, Rocky Gathercole, Veejay Floresca, Puey Quinones, Andre Soriano, Alexis Monsanto and many more burgeoning Filipinos blooded artisans. In the past few years, I fondly remember attending various fashion shows in Manila featuring the country's best designers. I think what impressed me the most was not only the incredible artistry of these creative forces, but of the camaraderie of the Philippine designers as they all seemed to hang together as one big family truly beholding some of the typical loving, kind and supportive Philippine characteristics. Unfortunately, here in America, when a bunch of artists are in one room together, there tends to be a bit more of an ego and untrusting competitive behavior. It was refreshing to be in the Philippines and to see how each designer supported each other in their work, many of which attended each other's fashion show. While I don't want to make a sweeping Josie Natori

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3/9/2016 7:29:44 AM


A FILIPINA’S JOURNEY TO A BIKINI-CLASS BODY BUILDING COMPETITION

UK NA UK By Ela Hidalgo

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ilipinos are globally competitive in all aspects of competitions, from music, arts, sports, beauty pageants and in bodybuilding competitions. If in UK, the 4th Impact made a wave in X-Factor, a Filipina who is based in Switzerland is excelling in bodybuilding competitions.

Dian Sarmiento was born and spent most of her childhood in the Philippines. Sarmiento moved over to London during her early teenage years. Growing up without parents near her she was tough and even worse during parents day celebrations in school. Nevertheless, she made sure to not allow any distractions hinder her from achieving her goals and ambitions in life. Sarmiento’s childhood experience and family background made her recognise that people are not equally fortunate to live a good and easy life. Some are lucky, but most are just living for survival. She has learnt that one has to work hard to gain rewards and always applies the same principle to overcome any challenges that may come her way in achieving her life goals. Sarmiento graduated at King’s College with a degree in Computer Science which was a way for her to land a job in Zurich, Switzerland in 2011 as an IT Consultant. Not long after moving to Switzerland, Sarmiento met a man called Christian, who is now her fiancé. Christian introduced her to so many wonderful things; two of them being fitness training and healthy eating. Through Christian’s guidance, It was easy for her to understand the relation of fitness and healthy eating. Sarmiento started to assess her food intake and to understand which foods and substances are good or bad for her. Sarmiento’s goal is clear in her head. “ I wanted to have a toned figure showing a feminine and strong physique. From here on, I slowly introduced myself to the fitness world and healthy living with no other intentions than to learn more and work hard towards achieving my new goal”, says Sarmiento. Sarmiento started attending the gym in early 2012 and trained on a regular basis of 3-4 times a week. Fitness training slowly turned into a passion – this gave birth to a new her. In those two years, she also learned so many things from various fitness instructors and websites such as body-building.com. Moreover, she came across motivational stories and interviews of women who have transformed from being overweight to having a bikini body-building shape, which got her very intrigued. From then onwards, Sarmiento was hooked and always in search of videos and photos, studying these amazing ladies with exceptional feminine figures yet showing strong physiques in bikini bodybuilding contests. Towards the end of 2014, Sarmiento decided to train and prepare for a really BIG goal, to compete for the first-time in a Bikini Class Body-Building Regional Competition in Switzerland in May 2015. It was a 10 week hard work of preparation and required extreme discipline. “ I had to work out according to my training plan, which required me to do weight training 5 times a

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week combined with 30-45 minutes of cardio 6 times a week. Moreover, I had to strictly follow the nutrition plan, which meant I couldn’t consume anything unless it was part of my plan. The last 4 weeks of my program, proved to be the hardest in the whole preparation, in terms of my diet. Due to less carb-intake, I also felt weaker during training. There were definitely tough moments, but with the right people supporting me, it gave me the required motivation to keep focused.”, she says Sarmiento’s first ever competition was May 2015, emerged first in short category and won the overall bikini class against the winner of the tall category. She was overwhelmed by the results and so thankful to her coach, her fiancé, friends and family who wished her luck and to all the people involved in organizing the competition at SBFV-IFBB Switzerland. Having won the 1st place automatically qualifies her to enter the Swiss National Championship in October 2015 wherein there were 18 athletes competed in her category. This was her first ever national event and it was a great experience for her to be involved in. Sarmiento is very pleased to have received 4th place out of the 18 ladies in her category.

Lastly, Sarmiento said that she have achieved better things that she would never have thought she could achieve. “ I am always thankful to God for making sure that I am surrounded with people that supports me all the way. I had my coach around to support me and to help prepare me (physically and mentally) for stage presentations. I am grateful to have the best fiancé who was very supportive throughout the whole process, from dealing with my temper during the preparation period for keeping me well motivated backstage. I felt so incredible being on stage. These are certainly rare occasions in my life, I faced hundreds of people without any worries or nervousness. My competitions gave me unforgettable, amazing experiences of my life, and just a pure JOY!”, she says.

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amille Agbayani is the Founder of L’ Aura Wellness in Artesia, California. It is a one stop shop for body amille Agbayani is the Founder of L’ Aura Wellness in Artesia, California. It is a one stop shop for body and facial contouring. She is a charismatic, amiable, motivated, influential, logical and enigmatic businesswoman/entrepreneur. and contouring. Sheto is be a charismatic, amiable, motivated, logical and enigmatic businesswoman/entrepreneur. She facial is a goal getter, likes around pleasant people and she influential, enjoys the finer things in life as well. She believes that God is the She is a goal getter, likes to be around pleasant people and she enjoys the finer things in life as well. believes that God is the core of her well-being. She advocates unleashing a person’s inner beauty, to let them shine and helpShe them gain self-confidence. core of her well-being. She advocates unleashing a person’s inner beauty, to let them shine and help them gain self-confidence. Her quests in finding ways and means to stay healthy, beautiful and youthful are endless. Her quests in finding ways and means to stay healthy, beautiful and youthful are endless. My being here in California is by far the biggest challenge in my life. I am determined to have a better and a My being here in California is by far the biggest challenge in my life. I am determined to have a better and a more meaningful existence, making it on my own and feeling proud of myself for being able to stand on my own two feet, more so more meaningful existence, making it on my own and feeling proud of myself for being able to stand on my own two feet, more so because I know how difficult it is to start anew in a foreign country. I still get homesick a lot that’s why I always try to go back to because I know how difficult it is to start anew in a foreign country. I still get homesick a lot that’s why I always try to go back to Manila every few months. I love the simple, serene life that I have here, but I still miss having my family and long time friends Manila every few months. I love the simple, serene life that I have here, but I still miss having my family and long time friends around me anytime, day and night. The social scene in Manila is like no other. Night life is so much fun! There are times that I around me anytime, day and night. The social scene in Manila is like no other. Night life is so much fun! There are times that I long for the comfort of having housekeepers around the house, to attend to my needs, as well as the service of a driver after a hard long for the comfort of having housekeepers around the house, to attend to my needs, as well as the service of a driver after a hard day's work, work, when when all all II want want to todo doonce onceIIget gethome homeisistotojust justlaze lazearound. around. day's Myexperiences experiencesguide guidememeininmymy daily life. They serve My daily life. They serve as my strong foundation. They give me motivation to whom I wish to as my strong foundation. They give me motivation to whom I wish to becomeininthe thefuture. future.My Mysister sisterAttorney AttorneyManette, Manette, whom I always look become whom I always look upto, to,isismy mymentor mentorininlife, life,along alongwith withmy myloving lovingand and caring mom, mom up caring mom, mom mysons, sons,my mysounding soundingboard boardand andthe thepillar pillarofof our entire family. totomy our entire family. Myhumble humbleadvice advicetotoaspirants aspirantsis is DREAM BIG My toto DREAM BIG andkeep keepononpraying prayingfor forthat thatdream. dream.Plan Planononhow how achievethat that and toto achieve bigbig dreamand andexecute executeit.it.IfIfyou youjust justsitsitdown downand anddon't don't a finger, that BIG dream liftlifta finger, that BIG DREAMwill willnever neverbeberealized realizedand andyou youwill willremain remaina "DREAMER". a "DREAMER". DREAM Whenyou’ve you’veattained attainedyour yourgoal, goal,you youhave havetoto Nurture it and give it Value. When Nurture it and give it Value. StayGrounded. Grounded.Always Alwaysremember rememberthose thosepeople peoplewho who have helped you Stay have helped you in in climbingupupthe thesteep steepladder laddertotoachieving achievingyour yourdream. dream. climbing

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I don’t talent. Thanks to to I don’twant wanttotowaste wastemymytime timeand and talent. Thanks my hashas finally blessed myspiritual spiritualguidance, guidance,for forthe thepatience patienceand andfaith, faith,God God finally blessed me most and bebe ofof value to to mewith withmy mydestined destinedfield fieldwhere whereI can I canexcel excelthethe most and value humankind even in my own small way. In this beauty and wellness humankind even in my own small way. In this beauty and wellness dictated essence sharing thethe dictatedworld worldthat thatwe welive livein,in,I've I'velearned learnedthethetrue true essenceofof sharing knowledge on how we should love and value ourselves. I am grateful forfor knowledge on how we should love and value ourselves. I am grateful my God-given talent and passion. Nirvana to me is seeing a client smile my God-given talent and passion. Nirvana to me is seeing a client smile after aftera asatisfactory satisfactoryservice, service,we wehave haverendered renderedthem. them. Success feeling Successtotome meis isemerging emergingtriumphant triumphantand and feeling fulfilled even after the challenges and hard work that I go through every fulfilled even after the challenges and hard work that I go through every day. It cannot be quantified in terms of how much money you have in in thethe day. It cannot be quantified in terms of how much money you have bank or how much you have invested in property, or acquisitions made. bank or how much you have invested in property, or acquisitions made. So I've some of of Sofar, far,atatthis thispoint pointininlife, life,I can I canproudly proudlysay saythat that I'veachieved achieved some my goals but there’s still a lot more to accomplish. my goals but there’s still a lot more to accomplish. I want to be remembered as L' Aura - beauty that I want to be remembered as L' Aura - beauty that radiates from within, with a compassionate, Big Heart and a Sound Mind. radiates from within, with a compassionate, Big Heart and a Sound Mind. “

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Camille Agbayani gbayani

Photos by HYDEE ABRAHAN Photos by HYDEE ABRAHAN

The TheBeauty BeautyWithin Within

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3/9/2016 7:29:47 AM


Giselle G. Tongi

Life’s Journey

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By MELODY GARCIA Photos by WILLIE CHENG had the honor to spend some time

learning something about Ms. Giselle Tongi’s life journey. Also known as “G. Töngi”, she currently hosts and produces the Los Angeles based Filipino Talk show called “Kababayan Today”, which is aired in KSCI/LA 18. Ms. Töngi’s professional career started at the age of 16 after being discovered at a mall, which launched into her multi-faceted dimension of artistry, that includes acting, singing, and dancing or what they call “ a triple threat”. One of the most admirable traits that this dynamic woman possesses is her passion for continuous growth, the pursuit of learning, and a high level of self-accountability. During this interview, she openly shared some of her beliefs and self-actualization that has enabled her to reach the level of success she has attained thus far.

Q: What is your “why? “ GT: Why I create? Why I’m passionate about what I do? When I was growing up in New Jersey as a young Filipino kid, I never saw people I could identify with in the media. I saw a need for representation in the FIL-AM community. It was hard to identify and look for commonality or have someone to relate to. Decades later, she is now in a position to make a difference to younger Filipino American generation to help them understand how important it is to connect with their heritage on a bigger spectrum. She is currently living her dream because as a child, there was not a lot of content available to people like her who grew up in America but struggled with their identities. “What are you?” was the question she was often asked. Q: How do you personally define success and do you believe yourself to be successful at this stage of your life? GT: Success is relative and I have to remind myself that in social media, it is so easy to look at a person’s life online and compare oneself to what one sees. I am an ardent believer in creating my own path and that my success is different from that of other women or individuals. Let me give you my disclaimer from the beginning, my life should not be compared to anyone else’s. I don’t use the word “successful” rather, I focus on what I can accomplish today. I set goals on a daily basis that is part of my larger goal. I use a mind

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o

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mapping strategy that ties back to what is ultimately the end goal. I give myself 10 goals each day, and if I’m not able to fulfill everything, as long as I’m able to move towards a bigger goal, then I feel I have accomplished some actions. Q: What was the biggest career obstacle you’ve encountered and how did you overcome it? GT: Just being a woman in corporate America has been a big enough struggle to overcome. I find that women do not negotiate their salary, and are still trying to overcome that. I believe that it is necessary for any woman of any demographic to have to fight for what they deserve, and so every single day is a hustle. Sometimes people say yes, sometimes they will say no, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. My recommendation is to ask for what you want and be firm about it.

Q: If you could choose any mentors from either past of present, who would it be and what 2 questions would you ask them? GT: I was fortunate enough that I was surrounded by mentors every day of my life because my job makes it possible. I am able to interview people in my community that have broken the barriers of success in representing minorities in America. My first mentor was Philippines director and actor, Eric Quizon. He was instrumental in discovering my passion for acting. He taught me that I shouldn’t just strive to do one thing, that in order to create, I have no limits and can wear many hats. It was from him that I was nurtured and taught, that I can be a writer, a producer and an actress. There is no limit to the amount of creative vision, and that was instrumental to me because it showed me that if I am going to aim for something, it’s not to be overwhelmed with the idea that “you can do everything” as long as you build a reliable and supportive team to work with! Q: For individuals aspiring to reach the level you have in your career, what 3 pieces of advice could you share with them? GT: 1) Never take no for an answer. Maybe it’s just rephrasing a question. When you are in a playing field where you are trying to make people see your vision, you just have to keep plugging along.

My deepest pain was the fact that people are always trying to put me in a “box”. I was always asked “what are you?”, to the point where I didn’t’ know my own identity, It was a very confusing time. I always enjoyed being involved in something larger than my own self. It is a part of my day to day existence. Being a volunteer, or being engaged in philanthropic work was not really encouraged when I was growing up in the Philippines though. The “cultural condition” to serve “self” first was prevalent in the Philippines, however, in America, it’s the opposite. We have in many ways better opportunities here in America than some of our “kababayans,” therefore we all have to try to give back as much as possible. I know I am a part of a bigger community that selflessly gives of their time and talent.

2) Surround yourself with doers not talkers. It’s fun to sit around, talk and brainstorm, but unless you do something about it, nothing is going to happen. Surround yourself with people who say it and take action.

To push my agenda for representation in the media is a big struggle. It continues to be my driving force in all I do. How have I continuously created work to celebrate the strength of the Filipino community to serve a bigger purpose which is to help others and put them on the map as part of our history here in America? In order to 3) Never forget where you started from. I remember when I was make history, we have to write it ourselves. We cannot rely on just starting. No one wanted to give me a break. Now, it feels others. We need to put in the work and the work comes from various good to be the one who gives others that opportunity. I am able to factors like networking, reading, writing and living bigger than our relate, therefore I have now become the mentor from being a day to day existence. I want to be the catalyst to make sure I mentee. advocate for her our Filipino people here in America. Q: How would you like to be remembered? Q: What is your deepest “pain”, the lessons you’ve learned from it and how has it served as a catalyst to serve others? GT: I want my tombstone to say: “An ardent supporter and activist of Philippine reproductive rights and a proponent of all things “Filipino American”.

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IIwaswasbornbornandandraised in the Philippines. My twin raised in the Philippines. My twin sister and I grew up in the province of Bulacan, raised by overly

sister and I grew up in the province of Bulacan, raised by overly protective but protective butloving lovingparents. parents.I attended I attendedthe theUniversity UniversityofofSanto SantoTomas Tomasinin Manila, where I finished my bachelor’s degree in science. After Manila, where I finished my bachelor’s degree in science. After graduating, graduating,I was I wasnot notcompletely completelysure sureononwhat whatI Iwanted wantedtotodo donext nextsosoI I decided to go into medicine proper. I did some modeling and television decided to go into medicine proper. I did some modeling and television commercials commercialsduring duringmy myspare sparetime. time.I met I metmy myhusband husbandwhile whileattending attending medical school. He was already a medical practitioner by medical school. He was already a medical practitioner bythen. then.We Wegot got married in 2001, and then flew to the United States for our honeymoon. married in 2001, and then flew to the United States for our honeymoon. Little LittlediddidI know I knowthat thatmy mylife lifewill willbebeforever foreverchanged changedbybythat thatsupposed supposed round trip which became a one way trip for us. round trip which became a one way trip for us.

My Myhusband husbanddecided decidedtotoundergo undergosome sometraining traininginin Ohio, Ohio,in inthethefield fieldofofplastic plasticsurgery, surgery,and andtake takehis hisUSMLE USMLE(US (USMEDICAL MEDICAL LICENSURE LICENSUREEXAM) EXAM)atatthe thesame sametime. time.While Whilehehewas wasininOhio, Ohio,I Ihad hadtoto stay in inCalifornia stay Californiaand andwork workatatmy mysister-in-law’s sister-in-law’sdental dentaloffice. office. ItItwas wasaa difficult difficulttime timeforformemesince sinceI haven’t I haven’tbeen beenaway awayfrom frommy myparents parentsbefore before and husbandwas wasthousands thousandsofofmiles milesaway. away.But Butwith withGod's God'shelp, help,and and and mymyhusband support mysister sisterininlaw, law,we wewere wereable abletotoslowly slowlypay payfor formy my thethe support ofofmy husband'seducation educationand andforforour ourimmigration immigrationand andlawyer lawyerfees feesasaswell. well. husband's 2003,I gave I gavebirth birthtotoour ourdaughter. daughter.AAyear yearlater, later, InIn2003, our son wasborn. born.It Itwas wasthen thenthat thatwe wehad hadtotomove movetotoMissouri Missourifor formy my our son was husband'sresidency residencyininthe thefield fieldofofinternal internalmedicine. medicine.Working Workingwas wasnot notan an husband's option then,with witha atoddler toddlerand anda anewborn newborntototake takecare careof. of.Contrary Contrary option forformemethen, whatmost mostpeople peoplethink, think,my myhusband's husband'sincome incomeduring duringhis hisresidency residencyisis toto what muchat atall,all,not notwhat whatyou youwould wouldexpect expectofofa adoctor’s doctor’ssalary. salary.We Weeven even notnot much qualified in the WIC program, a program given by the government to aid qualified in the WIC program, a program given by the government to aid low income families. We had to take advantage of that assistance. Every low income families. We had to take advantage of that assistance. Every month,even evenduring duringthe thewinter winterseason, season,I Iwould woulddrive drivetotothe theWIC WICcenter centerinin month, the snow, with my children in tow, to receive our supply of milk, cheese, the snow, with my children in tow, to receive our supply of milk, cheese, eggs and cereals. I felt embarrassed at first, getting in line with homeless eggs and cereals. I felt embarrassed at first, getting in line with homeless people,who whowere werealso alsothere theretotopick pickupupprovisions. provisions.But ButI Ithank thankGod God people, because I was fortunate enough to have a place to come home to. We because I was fortunate enough to have a place to come home to. We moved to Iowa in 2006, where my husband took his residency in the field moved to Iowa in 2006, where my husband took his residency in the field of dermatology. After our third child was born, juggling house chores, of dermatology. After our third child was born, juggling house chores, taking care of my children and keeping tab of our financial records taking care of my children and keeping tab of our financial records became a challenge. On just my husband’s meager income, I had to spend became a challenge. On just my husband’s meager income, I had to spend every dime wisely. I would shop for winter clothes at Salvation Army, or every dime wisely. I would shop for winter clothes at Salvation Army, or at any other consignment store that I could find. at any other consignment store that I could find. After my husband finished his residency, both in Afterdermatology, my husbandwe finished residency, both in internal medicine and movedhis back to California to internal medicine and dermatology, we moved back to California to escape the snow and the freezing temperature of the Midwest. My escape the worked snow and freezing temperature of the My of time. husband as the a Dermatologist in Valencia forMidwest. a short period husband worked as a Dermatologist in Valencia for a short period of time. Then we decided to put up our own dermatology practice in Then we decided to put up our own dermatology practice in Pasadena. Neither of us got a degree in business, and has the faintest idea Pasadena. Neither us got a practice, degree inbut business, has the faintest idea on how to put upof a medical we did and it! Currently, I am the onadministrator how to put upofaour medical practice, but we did it! Currently, I am the two dermatology offices. We have two in-house administrator of well, our two offices. We have twofacilities in-housein the pharmacies as anddermatology service almost 100 nursing home pharmacies as well, and service almost 100 nursing home facilities in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Anaheim areas. We currently have a Los Angeles, Long Beach and the Anaheim areas. We currently have a total of 14 employees between our Pasadena and Diamond Bar total of 14 employees between our Pasadena and Diamond Bar locations. locations.

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Jannice Rigor Resilient Resilient

Our journey has not been easy. We made mistakes and had to Our journey has not easy. made mistakes and learn from them. Webeen made a lotWe of sacrifices and had tohad be to learn from We made a lot of sacrifices had to be patient. Mythem. husband and I worked as a team, and respecting and patient. My each husband andasI God worked a team, and supporting other, has as taught us torespecting do. The greatest supporting other, as God us and to do. lesson thateach we have learned is has thattaught success, all The that greatest we have in lesson that from we have is Him, that success, we have in life came God.learned Without none of and theseallisthat possible at all. life came from God. Without Him, none of these is possible at all.

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Maryann gain a positive outlook in life, in spite of all the hardships that she goes through each day, the heartaches felt when her vulnerability gets taken advantage of for being too nice. For her, it all comes down to having a heart full of love and sensitivity towards the needs of others. She believes that people do the ugliest things that they do because they might be going through some tough times. For that reason she tries to be more understanding, knowing that it is not her place to judge people for their actions. Coming from a very humble beginning, her story is quite inspiring to anyone who had the privilege of knowing her. When her father got injured and wasn’t able to provide for his family anymore, Maryann had to help her mother take on the role of a breadwinner. From a tender age of nine, the fourth amongst nine children, she took on odd jobs so that they can survive. When she reached the age of eighteen, she auditioned to become a dancer in Japan, but due to her height, she ended up being the singer in the group, which luckily for her, pays more. Being the shortest in the group played to her advantage, plus the fact that she can sing, of course. She worked four jobs while attending school and continued on providing for her family in the Philippines, who eventually joined her in Japan. She met her husband in 1994, they got married in 1995, migrated to the United States in 1999, opened their jewelry store in 2000, the RSG Jewelry store. She believes that “everything that happens to us comes from God. It is His way of preparing us, getting us ready for future trials that will come our way. As Christians, we ought to be ready at all times. We just have to keep on communicating with Him. We will be rewarded in the end.” For someone who’s led such a hard life, it is so inspiring to hear those words coming from her.

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r Maryann Ramos

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The Passionate

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love,” famous words spoken by Mother Teresa and is a favorite adage of Maryann Samadi. It inspired her to dream big. It doesn’t cost us anything to dream, according to Maryann, but be sure to be motivated enough to follow up on that dream, to always strive for more, to achieve your goals, to acquire and to advance in life. She strives to accomplish more and to acquire more so that she can give more. Another inspiration to her is the compassion and love Princess Diana had for others and the selfless way that the princess had lived her life. It helped

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She still manages to attend school despite her hectic schedule, running Signature by RSG and RSG Fine Jewelry, RSG Corporation as well as the RSG Foundation. She went to Alabama to train as a missionary, another dream of hers. She looks into setting up a Missionary Training Camp in the Philippines, as well as an orphanage, and a vocational school for young people. She remembers how it was not to have food for “noche buena,” (a feast shared by families, enjoyed at midnight to signify the evening of goodness because Jesus is born, practiced in the Philippines), and some kind hearted people would give out food to the poor so that they can enjoy their Christmas eve. Because of that experience, as soon as she was financially able to, she started doing the same thing, sharing her blessings with people in need. Hence, her foundation was born.

The prayer that she uttered when she was a young kid, while being carried by her mother, on her mother’s back, crying out of pity for her dear mother, “Lord, if ever I’m blessed in life, I want to share those blessings to people in need,” and the promise that she made to her mother, “someday, we will be well-off and you won’t have to live a hard existence anymore,” has already been realized, all of it owing to her great faith in God and a prayerful attitude.

3/9/2016 7:29:51 AM


IN OTHER WORLDS By BECKY GARCIA

Prince Harvey & Prince Harry

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very event that he celebrates are all

unique and different from each other. He always makes sure no stones are left unturned. This time, The Lord of Scents Joel Cruz held the Christening of his new set of twins, Prince Harry and Prince Harvey, born last October 23, 2016, with a royal banquet at the Makati Shangri-La after the baptismal ceremonies at the Sanctuario de San Antonio Social Hall in Forbes Park last January 18, 2016. The godparents of Joel’s twins, the second after first Twins, Prince Sean and Princess Synne was a long list of personalities from presidentiables, politicians, business partners, stakeholders, to the entertainment industry, the academe, culture and the arts, his family and friends.

The Fabulous Christening of Joel Cruz Twins II Prince Harry and Prince Harvey Joel Cruz with the Two Twins

Godfathers to baby Harry were Felix Ang of CATS Motors, Inc; Marius Aseron, Julius Babao, VIce President Jejomar Binay, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, International Boxing Champion Nonito Donaire, Jr; Senator Chiz Escudero, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, Edouard George, GMA Network chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon; Ricky Laurel of Lyceum University, Former local government Sec. Mar Roxas II, Gov. Chavit Singson and Senator Manny Villar, Jr. Godmothers were Dr. Vicki Belo, Dr. Beth Chua, Marlyn De Leon, former Miss Universe Margie MoranFloirendo, Erich Gonzales, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Vina Morales, Xyriel Manabat, Cong. Imelda Marcos, Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Mae Querijero, Roselle Rebano, Elizabeth Ventura.

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Remar & Lavesah de Leon, Hazel Laurente and Dr. George Sarakinis

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Godfathers to baby Harvey, the younger twin were Jason Abalos, Bugoy Cari単o, Alfrancis Chua, Michael David, Andrew Yu Dee, Ejay Falcon, George Go, Jr; Senator Bongbong Marcos, Dr. Romeo Nuguid, Senator Ralph Recto, Dr. George Sarakinis, Dr. Jofe Syquia, Mr. World Andrew Wolff and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano. Godmothers were Grace Ang, Kris Aquino, Yoli Ayson, Christine Bersola-Babao, Dr. Elenita Binay, Mel Tiangco, Jamie Rivera, Rachel Donaire, Heart Evangelista, Reby Trinidad, Consul Fortune Ledesma, Consul Helen Ong and Cory Quirino. Joel Cruz and Mom Mila Cruz

A total of fourteen godfathers for each twin and thirteen godmothers for each as well. The Christening ceremony was officiated by Bishop Deogracias I単iguez, Fr. Vic Apacible. The formal reception was held at the Makati ShangriLa Rizal Ballroom with about 300 guests making it as intimate as possible with family, friends and business associates in attendance walking down the red carpet like an awards night where a group of photographers lined up to photograph the guests arriving at the entrance of the ballroom.

Cocktails were served at the foyer while guests had the chance to view the new twins in a makeshift nursery embellished with paper lanterns, tulle, balloons and light ready for a bedtime story and lullaby. Dr. George Sarakinis and Margie Moran-Floirendo

z

e

Julius and Christine Babao

The food was superb with cod fish and olive tapenade as main course with wine pairings from France and California. Dinner entertainment was provided by the Aficionado Symphony Orchestra specially put together only for this occasion, World renowned University of Sto. Tomas Singers conducted by Professor Fidel Calalang, Broadway Musical Highlights directed by the Atlantis group performed by Shiela Valderrama, Carla Guevarra-Laforteza who played Kim in the West End London production of Miss Saigon, The Dawn Rock Band frontman Jett Pangan and finale numbers by Timeless Diva, Dulce who brought the house down and her tenor son David Ezra who graduated from the UST Conservatory of Music. A truly entertaining program. Joel requested all godparents and guests that in lieu of gifts to his children, a donation to their ancestral church in Sampaloc, Manila the Nuestra Se単ora del Perpetuo Socorro Parish may be made. This early, Joel is teaching his legacy of philanthropy to his children. the family.

Noel and Aileen Gonzales

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To Joel, again congratulations for the new addition to

Felix and Grace Ang

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By ERNEST GONZAGA

D

Bob Miller’s Academy Awards Themed Birthday Bash ` The Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, is an annual American awards ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements in the film industry as assessed by the Academy’s voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette, officially called the Academy Award of Merit, which has become commonly known by its nickname “Oscar”. The awards first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel are over seen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

Birthday boy Bob Miller with Ito Curata and Taj

The Oscars is the oldest entertainment awards ceremony and modelled after it are the Emmy Awards for television, the Tony Awards for theatre, and the Grammy Awards for music and recording. As such, the Academy Awards are the penultimate awards in its genre. Characterized by all the glitz and glamour Hollywood is know for, it is one of the most prestigious and highly coveted awards ceremony in the industry. in the US of A?

Nina Hailey, Bob Miller, Margie Moran Floreindo and Ito Curata

But who says that all that glamour happens only

Ahead of the 88th Academy Awards ceremony hosted this year by Chris Rock at the Dolby Theatre, in homeland Manila, Philippines a comparable awards night happened at the posh Ayala Alabang home of designer Ito Curata and partner Bob Miller. Inspired by the Oscars, Bob Miller celebrated his birthday with Manila’s jetset society. The red carpet was rolled out at exactly 7:30 in the evening as Bob’s horde of dear dressed guests trooped in one at a time to celebrate with him. The pomp and pizazz one sees during the State of the Nation address in the Batasan Pambansa had nothing on this party. The guests of Bob spared no expense in glamouring up for his birthday. Some of the early birds were former Karilagan model Ping Valencia and sweet couple Manoling and Sandie Poblador, who wore a 200K plus glittery gown. As I walked in, familiar faces greeted me, Noel and Duday Tuason; lawyer Mela Benson, who just flew in from New York; lovely as ever Linda Ley; stunning Agile Zamora with Monchet Munoz; George Sarakinis and wife Becky Garcia. Clearly, the beautiful people of the Philippines came out in droves to party with Ito and Bob.

Duday Tuason, Suzette Hahn Lopez, Linda Ley, Len Olbes, Hera Geriene abd Manolyn Taylor

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But what is an Oscars event if there are no awards? That will not do and the organizers evaluated all the guests closely and came up with this year’s A list.

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Bes Aw


Duday Tuason, Len Olbes, Mela Bengzon and Hera Geriene

y Cory Quirino, Bob Miller, Yoli Ayson and Mayenne Carmona

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Agile Zamora, Sonny Tanchanco and John Gaddi

n, nd rds is ds

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Chris Badiola and Linda Ley

Best Dressed (Male) Awardee Francis de Leon

Best Dressed (Female) Awardee Hera Geriene

Star of the Night Awardee Len Olbes

The awardees are: Hera Geriene “Best Dressed” (female) award; Chronicler Francis de Leon, “Best Dressed” (male) award; “Star of the Night” awardee Len Olbes; “Best Actor” awardee David Lim to mention a few. Too bad Leonardo de Caprio couldn’t make it, he might have made the list too And if they every gave Oscars for party hosts, Ito and Bob would win it hands down. There was a veritable buffet of gastronomic delights. The resolve of the guests to diet to maintain their slim figures was tested by the endless stream of delicious and luscious food. The wine bottles making the rounds would put winery tours to shame with the sheer volume and quality of spirits served during the party. Then there was the bubbly, after all what Oscar celebration would be complete without champagne being poured endlessly by the attentive staff. With all those gustatory delights and spirits fuelling the party goers, the entertainment ala-Vegas and dancing went on until way past 2:00 in the morning. An epic post Oscars celebration if I ever saw one. Wishing Bob all of the very best and let’s continue partying till beyond. Then after that, let’s polish up the guest list and party on! Happy birthday, Bob!

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Rene Puno, Ann Puno and Mel Meer

Manoling and Sandie Poblador

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Women of Color Urged Genuine Liberation By Fe P. Koons

In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD) roughly 2,500 people took the streets of Los Angeles last March 6 to protest against attacks on women worldwide. The mass action which was led by AF3IRM, a transnational feminist organization composed largely of Filipinas, began at the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters and made stops at the Metropolitan Detention Center , the Federal Building and Union Station. According to its IWD statement, the stops were strategic. The LAPD symbolizes police brutality and sexual assault. The Federal Building represents the foreign interventionist policies of the United States government while the Metropolitan Detention Center is symbolic of the continuing immigration crisis due to the deportation of families. The Union Station is the hub of human trafficking in which women and children will be destined to be prostituted. The huge rally ended on Cesar Chavez Bridge above the Los Angeles River to highlight of the importance of climate change and pursue environmental justice. In her speech Jollene Levid, national chairperson of AF3IRM recounted how her grandmother was a“comfort woman”, a rape victim of the Japanese military in the Philippines during World War II.

Levid also stressed the significance of recognizing the struggles at the local level and connecting them across the globe. . In the Philippines one in five women between the ages of 15 and 49 has experienced some sort of physical violence since the age of 15. Globally, women are 14 times more likely to die in climate-change related disasters. Women of the world are half the population and workforce, yet labor two-thirds of all working hours and own less than 1% of property. These numbers are telling of women’s oppression across borders.

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P

ag ako nag-asawa, gusto ko na

sasabihin din ng mga kaibigan ng asawa ko na magaling din akong magluto. Matutuwa siguro yung asawa ko.” (When I get married, I want my husband’s friends to say that I am a great cook as well. That will surely make my future husband happy). Her Wish Cook and owner of Lilian’s Breads & Sweets, Lilian Masaya had one wish when she was growing up. Being the youngest among 8 siblings, she loved hearing people tell her sisters’ husbands that their wives cook so well. She wished that someday, her future husband would also be told the same. Fast forward to 1992 when Lilian and her husband, Maxwell Masaya got married. Lilian quit her job as a flight attendant to be a stay-at-home wife. It didn’t take long for her to discover her culinary talent –and incidentally, for her wish to come true.

His Promise Lilian’s husband is the brain behind Lilian’s Breads & Sweets. Out of his love for his wife, Maxwell consistently encouraged and pushed his wife to start a food business. He supported his wife every step of the way by researching and modifying cooking methods, going through each recipe notebook to find the right ingredients, testing recipes, and being Lilian’s number one critique and fan. He promised to be her greatest ally; she served them (her husband and their son) great meals every day. Love

Breads, Sweets, and a whole lot of

A typical day at Lilian’s involves smelling the soothing aroma of freshly brewed coffee, a display of sweet and scrumptious breads and sweets, and a warm welcome by their friendly staff.

Lilian Masaya

A Woman’s Wish Come True The ‘Sweet’ Journey of LILIAN MASAYA By ANGEL TAHIMIK

Lilian’s Breads & Sweets also makes one of the best tasting “cebuchon” (cebu-lechon or roasted pork belly) in LA. The newest addition to their menu is their breakfast “silogs” (which will be available in spring). They have been supplying pastries to grocery stores, bakeries and hospitals. They also cater to parties and events. This small but quaint diner reflects the sweet and simple nature of Lilian Masaya – the woman whose wish came true.

Visit Lilian’s Breads & Sweets at 8870 Tampa Ave. Northridge, CA 91324. They are located inside Cruisers Carwash. For more information, you can reach them at 818.927.1917

`

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Oneofofmy myfavorite favoritethings thingsabout aboutliving livingininMaui Mauiisisthe thegenerous generous and and loving loving support support our our One community shows in the hundreds, and I mean hundreds of fundraising events that happen every year, on our our community shows in the hundreds, and I mean hundreds of fundraising events that happen every year, on island home. It truly says something about the "Aloha'' spirit that lives within the mindset and hearts of our island island home. It truly says something about the "Aloha'' spirit that lives within the mindset and hearts of our island folk. folk. admit,along alongwith withmany manyother otherislanders, islanders,that thatwe wereally really have have to topick pick and and choose choose the the charities charities I Iadmit, that we support, and the annual fundraisers we attend. They can add up quickly when you think about the cost itit that we support, and the annual fundraisers we attend. They can add up quickly when you think about the cost entails to attend these events nowadays. But, every dollar contributed counts. They always help someone in need. entails to attend these events nowadays. But, every dollar contributed counts. They always help someone in need. And we have so much to be thankful for to call Maui our home. And we have so much to be thankful for to call Maui our home. Thatbeing beingsaid, said,this thisyear's year'sMardi MardiGras GrasEvent Eventwas washeld held atatthe thealways always fabulous fabulous Four Four Seasons Seasons That Resort and Spa, in the upscale area of Wailea, Maui. The event sold out this year with approximately 400 people in in Resort and Spa, in the upscale area of Wailea, Maui. The event sold out this year with approximately 400 people attendance. The ballroom was styled like the colorful lights of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Folks were attendance. The ballroom was styled like the colorful lights of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Folks were dressed up to the hilt, in Mardi Gras Style costumes. The cuisine for the night was Creole style Louisiana cooking, dressed up to the hilt, in Mardi Gras Style costumes. The cuisine for the night was Creole style Louisiana cooking, and live entertainment was provided by Maui's top singers, Willie K and Amy Gilliom. There were also silent and and live entertainment was provided by Maui's top singers, Willie K and Amy Gilliom. There were also silent and live auctions of some amazing travel destinations that enticed bidding wars all night long. The evening rounded out live auctions of some amazing travel destinations that enticed bidding wars all night long. The evening rounded out with party goers dancing till the wee hours of the morning, to DJ club style music. Overall, another outstanding with party goers dancing till the wee hours of the morning, to DJ club style music. Overall, another outstanding event worthy of our support, while giving us islanders a reason to get all dressed up and party NOLA style! Until event worthy of our support, while giving us islanders a reason to get all dressed up and party NOLA style! Until next time...keep the Aloha spirit alive in your heart! . next time...keep the Aloha spirit alive in your heart! .

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That being said, this year's Mardi Gras Event was held at the always fabulous Four Seasons Resort and Spa, in the upscale area of Wailea, Maui. The event sold out this year with approximately 400 people in attendance. The ballroom was styled like the colorful lights of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Folks were dressed up to the hilt, in Mardi Gras Style costumes. The cuisine for the night was Creole style Louisiana cooking, and live entertainment was provided by Maui's top singers, Willie K and Amy Gilliom. There were also silent and live auctions of some amazing travel destinations that enticed bidding wars all night long. The evening rounded out with party goers dancing till the wee hours of the morning, to DJ club style music. Overall, another outstanding event worthy of our support, while giving us islanders a reason to get all dressed up and party NOLA style! Until next time...keep the Aloha spirit alive in your heart! .

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COLD EARTH ‘Tis the cold earth, it calls to me Seeping, freezing through this vein Sunlight slipping, darkness creeping Forlorn, as I lay, mourning, weeping We were happy, we were free Something beckoned, you went away Lost, all alone, left on my own This life back to sadness, such disarray!

Do come back to me, I pray For only you can ease this pain This longing in my heart, nothing can sway But dreams that someday You’ll be back to stay AntonetteBAng

ANTONETTE B. ANG

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Though originally from Manila, Antonette has spent most of her life in the United States. Heavily influenced by classical literature, she finds most of her inspiration in plays and poetry. Being a mother of three, she never had much time to write. She had to put that passion aside and concentrate on spending most of her waking moments with her children, enjoying them, knowing that they are kids for just a little while. They have become her whole life. Now that her children are grown up, she has decided to use her extra time reading and writing, and hopes to leave a legacy for her children. Being a mother is the best thing that ever happened to her life, and she is ever so grateful to the Lord for entrusting their care to her.

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THE WAY The way up ahead looks scary and dark Feels like I can’t go on Stuck here, all alone To my knees, I fell down To my God made my plea Please help me get through this Help this child to move on In the midst of the water, a great divide was created One side remained deep, while the other side hardened When I fell down on my knees I knew God heard my pleas I was able to overcome He’ll see me safely home

Dear Lord, You are great In Your loving way You have seen my heart, in there, please stay To love me, and guide me So I will not stray With You right beside me I know, I’ll be okay This heart, that once was aching and heavy My life that used to be so sad and so dreary Have changed in an instant With You right beside me I feel like I’m drowning NO MORE ! AntonetteBAng

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"A Beautiful and Healthy You"

In this Era where Beauty and Wellness has become a way of life, you wonder why there are those who refuse to keep up with the trend. What are the possible reasons why some deviate from it... Could it be due to lack of resources , physical and/or mental state? I would say all of the above. To be beautiful and healthy, entail lots of work, courage and resources. You have to be financially ready and emotionally conditioned for the outcome. Most of the times your desired expectations are fair, but in some cases, upon seeing the result, some would want more and more. Watch out .. Anything that's too much can result to "Disaster"! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Love of beauty is Taste and Creation of Beauty is an Art by: Ralph Waldo Emerson) For me, feeling good inside is paramount, that's the beauty that radiates from within. There are men and women who are physically attractive yet they focus on their flaws and imperfections thus, making them feel inadequate or always lacking in something while on the other hand, some less attractive men and women stand out confidently beautiful.. Why? Because the latter have accepted and have embraced their whole being. They nurture and cultivate their best self and maintain it or even bring it to a higher level making them ooze with self confidence.

Some lifestyle changes we can possibly adopt; Have sound mind and a healthy body; Healthy diet, fruits, veggies, fish and meat in moderation, less salt, less fat, less sugar, regular exercise, taking nutritional supplements. Protect your skin from UV rays, the no.1 culprit of all skin problems. We need to apply sunblock during the day and reapply every after 3-4 hours. Use reliable skin care products/treatments for maintenance. Avail weekly massage in your favorite spa for relaxation and treat yourself to some cocktails of dermal fillers and Botox. The latter are some of the quick fixes that are readily available over the counter in your favorite facial salons or in Medical Spas To sum it up staying beautiful and healthy is a "CHOICE", it transcends age, sex and ethnicity. Healthy lifestyle practiced early on will bring us benefits throughout our lives. Health plus beauty equates to "Treasured Wealth" and a good life.

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