Bicol’s First Art x Fashion Magazine, AGORA, Is Launching Soon!

I lived in Naga City, Bicol for almost two decades. In all those years I’ve seen and met many people who are not only intelligent but are also very creative. Although Naga is one of the most prosperous cities in the region, there seemed to be a lack of venues for the thriving art community to showcase their work. Restaurants and bars have appeared like mushrooms in different parts of the city the last time I visited, but not once did I see a cafe filled with books, films, art pieces, or anything educational that the youth can actually learn from. Most people are either online or at a crowded place like Starbucks-Magsaysay, while only a handful of people would visit the art show at Avenue Square or attend the book launch of a nationally recognized Bicolano poet.

I’ve always had this dream for my hometown about a platform which my fellow Bicolanos could utilize to show their work. So when an old classmate of mine who is so passionate in promoting FIlipino culture and fashion pushed through with the idea, I was glad that finally that dream can now be realized.

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A Greek word meaning ‘a public place’, AGORA “was formed with the desire to showcase the best of Bikol and cultivate a sense of panache and a forward-thinking taste among homegrown talents with a local and global audience. AGORA Magazine is a non-profit online magazine dedicated to become a platform for up-and-coming Bikolano artists in the fields of Photography, Fashion, Beauty, Music, Literature, Film, Visual Arts such as Painting and Illustration, Theatre, Industrial and Interior Design and other fields of creativity.”

Here are a few of my favorites among the teasers posted on the magazine’s Facebook page:

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The maiden release, called ‘The Paper Issue’, “looks into the paper as a weapon, as a tool, as a means for expressing creativity; and as the translated ‘papel’, we look into the roles we play in cultivating Bikol Art into a global, social community of acquired tastes.”

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The best thing about AGORA magazine is it’s crowdsourced. If you are a Bicolano artist dying to show your talent to the online public, shoot the team an email at agoramagazinebikol(at)gmail(dot)com. AGORA Magazine is a tri-monthly magazine and accepts contributions in the form of Feature Articles, Fashion and Beauty Editorials, Photo Journals, Illustrations and Art Installations, Essays and Critiques

Follow AGORA Magazine on Facebook to stay updated!

Fiber Up!

For months, I had struggled with my weight that it had caused so many problems for me and my body. Last year until summer this year I weighed 56 to 54 kilograms and soon after that I began to experience back problems. According to the JD Robinson formula, my ideal weight is around 49 kg. Although 54 kg is still well within my recommended BMI, my body is apparently incapable of handling too much weight.

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This was me with my boyfriend last year. Actually, he’s the reason why I gained so much weight haha! That’s what love can do I guess. Lol (Feb 2013 – 56 kg)

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And this was me in January of this year. I probably weighed around 54 kg here.

I am a working girl, student, and blogger, which leaves me no time to go to the gym to exercise or even cook my own meal. I guess this is the problem most of us Manila girls struggle with. Just traveling to the nearest gym would take me 30 minutes to an hour (due to heavy traffic mainly), and I could already use that amount of time for so many things, like sleeping. Haha I kid! But when I was literally paralyzed for a week last summer, I knew I had to change my habits and start losing the extra pounds, or else suffer from back pains and paralysis for a much longer period. And I’m telling you, it’s not fun at all.

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Lately I’ve been trying out efficient ways to lose weight. My daily exercise consists of 50 squats a day and 30 pushups, which I do during breaks at work and a tablespoon of Psyllium fiber in my daily water drink, 30 minutes before breakfast. Doing so prevents me from overeating and helps digestion.

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This photo was taken just a few weeks ago. This is how I look sometimes haha! There are days I love pigging out which automatically adds 1-2 kg on my current weight. During good days, I would weigh around 48-49 kg, but this week my weight has been 50-51 kg due to the many dates with friends I’ve been going to these past days. But don’t you think it’s a massive improvement considering that I successfully lost 5kg?

 

MEGAFIBER is available in jars and sachets at Mercury Drug stores nationwide

There are several Psyllium fiber food supplements in the country, but I use Megafiber because it is cholesterol-free, yeast-free and gluten-free.

Megafiber is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Anyone suffering from diarrhea, constipation, or just simply watching their food intake can use Megafiber. It assists in regulating the digestive system and ensures regular bowel movement by cleaning out the digestive system and eliminating waste from the colon and intestines, which in  turn provides relief to those suffering from constipation or to those trying to lose the unnecessary. According to the product label, when it absorbs liquids, it forms a slippery film and swells by 8 to 14 times its normal weight and forms a soft, bulky mass that passes quickly and easily through the colon and acts like a sponge in the intestinal tract. It also helps stimulate the reflex needed for the bowels to empty.

Additionally, Megafiber binds with cholesterol secreted in bile acids and excretes it before it is absorbed into the blood stream, which helps reduce cholesterol and correspondingly, the risk of heart disease. At the same time, it provides a feeling of fullness which in turn helps reduce hunger pangs, and lessens the tendency to overeat, leading to weight loss as Megafiber also assists in capturing then excreting the fats in our food. [source]

Please take note that Megafiber is suitable for adults and children, but NOT infants.

Megafiber is available in all Mercury Drug stores nationwide, and comes in different sizes: 7.5g sachets at P10.75 each, travel pack of 30 sachets at P325, and in 300g jars at P430. It is also offered in half-kilo family size packs at P705. All inquiries regarding the product can be directed to the installed customer service hotlines 524-6549, 354-2208 to 09 and 09474890262. You can also visit the website (www.megafiber.com.ph) and Facebook page, or email info(at)megafiber(dot)com(dot)ph.

With the help of Psyllium fiber, diet, and exercise, I began to lose weight at a healthy rate and the back pain–although still present–is now tolerable. Hopefully I can continue this regimen until after I reach my goal weight. Wish me luck! :)

Step Forward

Warning: Senti post. Haha. With my birthday just a few days away, I figured I needed to blog about something more raw and personal today. How do you overcome unfortunate situations? The year has not ended yet but I’ve already experienced a series of ups and downs. Frankly, I’m surprised I’m still sane. If I were probably more weak-willed, I would have easily gone mad. But no, this girl right here has endured much more than you can imagine–and that’s not an exaggeration.

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Like most people, I get really terrible days, would lock myself in my apartment and think about why I’m experiencing such and what I could have done to prevent them from happening and what I can still do for them not to reoccur. When I was younger, however, I would get pretty self-destructive, but only for a while. I learned later on that it’s not a good way of dealing with problems. If we always try to escape every time we’re facing a huge dilemma, it will never stop. In the end, it will only create more problems.

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The past months were very emotionally exhausting, but one day, being the amazing partner that he is, my boyfriend told me the most wonderful thing. I am far from perfect but he said my best trait is I learn from my mistakes. When I was a kid, my mother would always remind me and my siblings the importance of chances, so I suppose I got that trait from her. Yes, I would often mope for a day or three, but I would certainly bounce back better and wiser. And I guess it’s because I give myself time to reflect. When we make mistakes, we are only given very few chances, if we’re lucky, of making things right so it’s important not to waste them.

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A lot of us can be quite reactive too when stressed and angry. While I do understand that it’s a way of “getting it all out there”, sometimes they cause more harm than good. You see, when emotions are high, our judgment is clouded by unpleasant things it’s impossible to be rational. So  when I’m in that situation, I would clear my mind first, ask for a time out before saying or doing anything.

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Even though I had numerous challenges this year I can say that I’ve successfully overcome them. Right now things seem to be going very well again for me. But you know, life never fails to find a way to shake us once in a while. But when you have a calm, positive disposition, you will always find a way to move forward. Keep in mind also that there are people who love us unconditionally, willing to listen and help. I’m honestly grateful for being surrounded by my wonderful family and friends. Although I usually keep my problems to myself, these people are always ready to cheer me up and support me when I need it. My boyfriend has unfailingly been my constant source of strength. This person is the only guy who took the time to really get to know me despite all the negativity surrounding us and I really appreciate that. The last time we were together was almost a year and a half ago (boy, time does fly) but we make sure to be ‘present’ for each other. I feel very lucky to be loved and understood by him. I honestly can’t wait to be with him again, hopefully before the year closes.

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My relationship with Chad and my family and friends are perhaps the only things that are consistently positive in my life. And that’s okay. I think, as long as we have love and positivity in our hearts, things will always work out. :)

SM GTW dress | Twinky pumps | MANGO quilted shoulder bag

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Take Me to The Brow Studio

Perhaps one of the most important parts of our face is the eyebrows. They frame our face and can make us look young or old, depending on the shape. So, it is a must that we groom them properly. Unfortunately a lot of us do not know how to do it that we sometimes tend to get tweezer-happy. We have to be very careful with overplucking our brows because it can cause them not to grow again.

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I was born with thick, black brows. While I never had any difficulty shaping them since they looked fine as they are, my main problem is they can get pretty bushy if not maintained. When this happens, I let professionals do it for me. So when a friend of mine invited me to try out The Brow Studio’s services at the SM North The Block branch, I agreed without hesitation.

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When I got there, I was greeted by the lovely interiors. Yellow and violet are two of my favorite colors–they remind me so much of ice cream hehe (mango + ube, anyone?). I’ve always been curious how threading works so while waiting, I watched some of the staff do it on a few bloggers.

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The Brow Studio is owned by Kristine Rochelle “Teng” Tobillo (pictured above), who opened her first branch in Eastwood on November 10, 2010. The Brow Studio now has 10 branches nationwide. It is the first FIlipino specialty salon to cater to eyebrow grooming needs, according to Ms. Teng. She sat with us to discuss some tidbits about her salon and what makes her salon different from the others–one of which is the Brow Rx. It was fascinating to me because I have visited several salons that offer eyebrow threading services and they do not have this.

Discussing the Brow RX

Before the threading process, the skilled staff at The Brow Studio would assess what eyebrow shape is suitable for the client’s facial structure and features. Afterwards, they would show the client’s perfect brow and which one needs rehabilitation. Fortunately, my brows did not need much shaping because apparently, according to one of the staff, I’ve shapen them correctly already. Yay for me! The only things they needed to fix are the small stray hairs and the point where my brows should begin, so yeah–threading time!

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Did I mention that The Brow Studio only uses 100% imported anti-bacterial cotton thread? Also they would always check up on the clients to see if the pain is manageable. Luckily for me, I’m quite used to waxing and threading so the pain was tolerable.

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See the difference? My brows are now more defined and less ‘sabog’. It felt like my whole face lit up after the procedure. What do you think? Afterwards, the staff showed me how to care for my eyebrows and which side I should maintain using the Brow Rx.

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Thank you, Tin! She advised me not to wet the threaded area for at least 4 hours after the procedure. It’s easy to see growing hair after so it’s best to pluck them to maintain the shape.

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We also had a small chat with Ms. Teng after the event. I was really curious about the yellow stick she held out earlier so she told us more about it. Seeing that her customers’ main complaint is their thin brows, Ms. Teng decided to create this product called Brow Vitamins that help grow thicker brows.

Brow Vitamins

While I do not need it, my relatives and friends have genetically thin brows and they always had to use pencils to make them look thicker. I’ve seen so many hair-grower products but some of them don’t seem to really work. However, Ms. Teng’s customers at The Brow Studio swore to the effectiveness of the product. She even showed us before and after pictures that her clients posted on Facebook! You can get the Brow Vitamins for only P425.

If you are interested to try their service, here is menu:

Brow Studio Menu

They also offer tattoo, waxing, and IPL services. Afford na afford, yes? And here’s a list of branches you can go to if you need a quick eyebrow fix:

 

Eastwood City2nd Floor Eastwood Citywalk 2,Brgy. Bagumbayan, Quezon City0922-818482902-3413356
SM Megamall5th Floor Bldg. A, SM Megamall, Brgy, Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City0922-887588302-7184796
SM City Manila(Franchise)5th Floor, SM City Manila02-3847258
SM City Lanang PremiereLower Ground floor, SM Lanang Premiere, Davao City0932-8839044(082) 3210754
SM City Baguio3rd Floor, SM City Baguio,Luneta Hill, Baguio City0932-8834055
Shopwise Araneta Cubao2nd Floor Bridgeway, Shopwise Araneta, Araneta Center, Cubao, QC0932-8663224
SM North Edsa The Block5th Floor, SM North EdsaThe Block, Edsa Quezon City0925-812547702-9216672
SM City Clark2nd Floor Wellness Zone,SM City Clark Expansion,Clarkfield Pampanga0925-8898388
SM City BF Paranaque3rd Floor, SM City BF ParanaqueDr. A. Santos corner President’s AveBF Homes, Paranaque0925-8993399
SM City FairviewLower Ground Floor, Annex 20932-8834033

Do let me know how your visit went! Thank you, Ms. Teng and The Brow Studio for having me! Follow The Brow Studio on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. :)

Sunshine State

How is your community doing after the #GlendaPH typhoon? My area only got power back yesterday so now I can finally begin catching up on some backlogs. Some of us are lucky enough to get back on our feet, but we all know many towns are still reeling from the damages Glenda has caused, especially my hometown Bicol. There are many ways we can help. If you’re on Twitter, type the hashtag #ReliefPH and you’ll instantly see ways on how you can lend a hand.
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Filipinos are the most resilient people I know. Our country is visited by an average of 20 typhoons a year and they always leave billions of destruction and hundreds of lost lives, but we always bounce back from every tragedy. And that’s what matters. Unfortunate events are a fact of life, and while they cause us so much grief and heartache, we must continue to live our lives the best way we can.
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I lost my father when I was 15. I was a daddy’s girl and losing him devastated me, but my mother showed us that dwelling on grief will do us no good. It took me a year after his death to finally recover emotionally. Now it only feels like my father is just somewhere, traveling the world, watching over me.
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If you would like to help #GlendaPH victims, here are some ways:

  • Volunteers are needed at DSWD’s National Resource Operations Center (NROC) at NAIA Chapel Road, Pasay City. You may contact: 02-8528081 or 02-8512681
  • Naga City, my hometown which was badly hit although recovering, is in need of volunteers who will pack goods. Donations are also accepted. Please call 054-4725462. You may go directly to the Congressional Office of Leni Gerona Robredo at Naga City Hall Compound, in front of Commission on Human Rights and Camarines Sur Medical Society.
  • If you have a phone and load, you can also send monetary donation via Red Cross by texting RED <space> AMOUNT to 4143 (Smart) or 2399 (Globe). You can donate the following denominations: Smart: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500 or 1000; Globe: 5, 25, 100, 300, 500 or 1000.

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It has been raining since July began and it’s a must that we’re always ready. My sweaters and long-sleeved tops have overtaken my entire closet. Knit sweaters can be quite expensive so I always look for preloved ones on Instagram. So far I’m loving my purchases. I find them by searching the hashtag #knitsweaterph by the way. :)
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Thrifted dungarees and knit sweater | Loafers from World Balance

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